23 September 2014

Track Your Android Phone with Google Android Device Manager

If you don't want to ever lost your Android phone, then you should read this. Google offers a very simple solution that can come to help in case you lose your phone or it gets stolen. There are some others solutions available, but Android Device Manager is already installed on all smartphones, so there is no reason not to try it. Ups, there are some reasons (privacy, few features...), but we will throw them away for now and describe how Android Device Manager works.

It is understandably that you should prepare rescue procedure before you lose your phone. There are some requirements you should comply with:
- phone is connected with Google account,
- phone has access to the internet,
- Android Device Manager has been allowed to locate and lock your phone and erase its data.

If this requirements are met, you can track your phone, or making your phone ring or even wiping it. Because Android Device Manager is simple, it doesn't offer more options. If you want to remotely take a picture, you should find another solution.

Turn on Android Device Manager
To turn Android Device Manager on your phone, open Google Settings -> Android Device Manager. You can select two options:
- Remotely locate this device. If you select this, location access must be turned on. This can be done in Google Settings -> Location.
Allow remote lock and factory reset. If you select this, you should activate device administrator confirmation dialog which follows.

Locate, Ring, Lock or Erase your phone remotely
You can locate your phone with Device Manager App or (usually better) with web browser on computer. Latter can be accessed on android.com/devicemanager and will show you the approximate location of your phone and offer you to Ring, Lock or Erase it.
Sample of Android Device Manager

Google Location History
It isn't part of Android Device Manager, but this feature goes with it hand in hand.
If you turn on Google Settings -> Location -> Location Services -> Google Location reporting, your phone will reporting location data to Google. Beside GPS, this use a Wi-Fi Positions System and Cell-ID data, so your location can be pretty accurate even if disable GPS. Check it, if you don't believe.
Sample of Google Location History

Google offers to delete location history, if you believe them. But as I said before - leave this privacy problems beside for this article.

Conclusion: Android Device Manager doesn't just locate your phone, but also lets you ring it, lock it and erase everything from it. Maybe it isn't perfect, but can really come to help.

22 September 2014

GPS road navigation - Navitel Navigator

It is always interesting to try new navigation app. Especially if it has over 20 million of users. Last month it was Navitel Navigator. At first moment it looked promising, but I quickly found some big issues.

+ Good and custamizable user interface (dashboard).
+ Geosocial services.
+ Nice weather presentation.
+ Lane assistance.

- App often displays strange weather informations (from Gismeteo).
- Bad map packages. Slovenia is in Balkan package and you must install the whole package.
- Bad route planning. Beside that, the planned route is sometimes shown with straight line on display (not on roads).
- You can't select fine tuning options for route planning (Fast, Short, Green...).
- Even if you select that map looks towards North, it doesn't work as it should.
- Icons on top of the display are too small to use them between navigation.
- Many errors on map (including spelling errors).

Developers have a lot to do. To be honest - I expected more from this navigation. 

19 September 2014

How to Disable Facebook Video Auto-Play on your Android

Facebook introduced Video Auto-Play back in December. This feature automatically plays (silently) while browsing your News Feed. If you click the video, it will play in full-screen mode with sound.
When Facebook introduced Video Auto-play, they said there won't be any way for disable it. If you weren't interested in viewing a video, they suggested you just scroll past it. But Facebook listen to their users and added a setting to disable auto-playing videos.

Facebook Video Auto-Play is really annoying, especially on mobile devices. It can raise your phone bill, eats your data and slower your Facebook application. Many Facebook users have discovered that this feature may be responsible for unexpected charges on their mobile phone bills. But fortunately you can disable this behavior very easy.

To disable auto-play videos on your Android, you will need to access the Facebook App Settings.

Now search for Video Auto-play and set it to Off.

Voila. You won't have any problems any more :-)