If you have listened to previous episodes of my podcast(MHF Tech), then you will know that we had announced that we were working on a new website. I can now tell you that the website is now live. You can check it right now by going to mhftech.net.
The good people at EA have officially started their Winter 2013 sale for their iOS games. Basically, a lot of their iOS games have been reduced down to £0.69 from their original prices. Some of the games on sale include:
- Dead Space
- Need for Speed Shift
- Mirror’s Edge for iPhone and iPad
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit for iPad
- Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12
This discount will only be available for a limited time. Therefore, if you’ve been waiting to get some iOS games, then now is the right time to jump on them. You can find all of the apps from the EA Games section on the iOS App Store.
So which game will you buy? Let me know in the comments.
With the Christmas shopping season coming to an end here in the UK, people are looking out for that last-minute gift.
In particular, tablets are going to be on the wish list of many people this year. However, another new tablet has come out here in the UK that may raise a few eyebrows.
DataWind(a UK-based company) have released a tablet called the UbiSlate 7Ci. In terms of specs, you are looking at a 7″ display, a 1GHz single-core CPU, 4GB of storage, Micro-SD card slot to add more, 512MB of RAM, a Mini USB port and your standard 3.5mm headphone jack. It will also come with Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 as standard. What might raise some eyebrows is that this tablet is going to set you back only £29.99.
With such a low price, a lot of people will be tempted to go with this tablet as opposed to a Nexus 7 or an Amazon Kindle Fire HD.
On the other hand, at £30, it will be a good tablet for doing some reading, or listening to audio on the go. Because of the low specs, I fear that it might not be able to handle intensive tasks such as watching a HD movie or playing games or having multiple browser tabs open at the same time.
A lot of you who have a spotify premium account have enjoyed the ability to use the Spotify app for your smartphone or tablet. However, the folks over at spotify have confirmed that you now be able to use Spotify on your smartphone without having to pay for a premium account. The only condition is that you will have to use the shuffle feature in order to take advantage of the smartphone app. Those of you on a tablet will be able to have more control and select specific songs.
Personally, I feel that this is a really good move by Spotify. A lot of people want to listen to music on the go and streaming music to a smartphone or tablet seems to be the way things are going. However, with the barrier to the Spotfiy mobile app now lifted, this is going to make things a little bit easier for everyone to use Spotify on-the-go.
I will be trying this feature out and will update this article as soon as I’ve had a chance to check it out.
A hacker has managed to use a large network of computers to steal credentials to accounts for various websites, FTP accounts, email accounts, remote desktop accounts and secure shell accounts. These together amount to approximately 2 million passwords that have been stolen. This includes passwords for:
- Gmail (or any other Google service such YouTube or Google+)
I would highly recommend changing your passwords for the above websites immediately. Some of you might have web hosting accounts at sites such as HostGator, GoDaddy or Domain.com. If you do, then it would be a good idea to change your passwords for your cpanel login on those sites as well right now.
Not only should you change your passwords, but make them at least 15 characters long. They should consist of uppercase and lowercase letters, 2 digits, and at least 1 special character. I would suggest using a password storage system such as Lastpass. A lot of you might ask me “Why would I want to care about this?” Well, let’s say you have important emails with sensitive information stored in them, or a site where you have holiday photos stored(e.g. Flickr). If the hacker-in-question has managed to get hold of your password for your Gmail or Yahoo Mail account, then they can compromise any accounts that you might have for services such as DropBox, Tumblr, WordPress or many other services. This is because you might have used your email account to sign up these services including Facebook. Remember: if the hacker gets hold of your account, he effectively has the keys to the kingdom. I know this might sound scary, but this is the truth.
Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for any damage this may cause to your phone. Rooting a Galaxy S4 Mini may also void your warranty.
In the previous part of this tutorial on rooting the Galaxy S4 Mini LTE(GT-I9195), we talked about the importance of backing up. Assuming you have backed up everything that you care about, we can now proceed with the actual rooting of the device.
If you have not done so already, download the resources mentioned in part 1 (S4 Mini Root Kit, ClockworkMod Recovery and Odin). I forgot to mention that you will also need 7-zip installed on your computer in order to extract files.
- Extract odin to a new folder on your desktop. Make sure that you also extract the “recovery-clockwork-220.127.116.11-serranoltexx.tar.md5″ file to the same folder.
- Copy “S4Mini_RootKit_v1.zip” to your Micro SD Card
- Turn off your phone. Once you have done this, press and hold the home, volume down and power buttons. The Download screen should appear.
- At this point, connect the USB cable to your phone and press volume up
- Go ahead and start Odin. From odin, untick the “F. Reset Time” box and then click the AP button.
- locate the “recovery-clockwork-18.104.22.168-serranoltexx.tar.md5″ and click the “Start” button. After this, the phone will reboot. As soon as it vibrates, hold the volume up and home buttons to boot into recovery mode. This will launch the clockworkmod recovery software. To navigate around, the volume up and down buttons will act as the up and down keys, while the home button acts as the enter/select/confirm key.
- Select the option to install the zip file you copied over to the micro SD card/External SD card.
- Once the flashing is complete, you can choose the “reboot into system” option.
- Once you hit the home screen, download the latest version of SuperSU from the Google Play Store.
So there you have it! That is how you root your Galaxy S4 Mini(International/LTE version). While this process does not wipe any of your data, it is always best to backup your phone first before doing anything (including your call logs, text messages and contacts).
As a user, I believe that you have the right to customise the software on your phone to suit your needs and that includes the operating system. At the end of the day, it’s your phone, you own it, you should be able to do what you want with it without any restrictions.
Having rooted your phone, you have just unlocked a whole wealth of things that you can do. Of course, one of the things that you can do with your Galaxy S4 Mini is to install a custom ROM. I will have more on that one soon, but for now, happy rooting!
Disclaimer: I cannot be held responsible for any damage this may cause to your phone. Rooting a Galaxy S4 Mini may also void your warranty.
Welcome to my series of articles on rooting the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. I am going to break this guide down into a few parts. In this first part, I will be talking about what rooting is, what you will need and how to backup your device.
So, what is rooting? Well, rooting is a process which gives you full control over your phone. You are able to delete anything you want from your phone. In fact, if you root your phone then you will be able to gain superuser/administrator/root privileges and completely delete everything on your phone. Not that you would ever do that, but I would suggest being careful. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility. Simply put, it’s like running an app on a Windows PC as an administrator(right-clicking on an app and selecting run as Administrator).
So, why would you even root a phone in the first place? First of all, you will be able install different versions of the Android operating system(I will cover this topic in a future article) so you can get a newer version of Android on your phone or tablet. Another reason is that some apps require your phone to be rooted.
To do this process, you will need the following resources:
- Odin 3.09
- ClockworkMod Recovery 22.214.171.124 for the Galaxy S4 Mini (GT-I9195/LTE Version)
- The S4 Mini Root Kit
- A Micro SD card (4GB or bigger)
- An SD card reader/SD card slot (most laptops have an SD card slot built right in)
- A Windows desktop PC or Windows laptop
I would start by downloading all of the above right now to a folder on your desktop.
All of the above downloads(apart from the Micro SD Card and the SD card reader) are also available from the XDA Developers Forum. In particular, a user who goes by the name of arco68 has released all the downloadable resources mentioned above. So, I would like to give huge props to arco68 for releasing these tools and the tutorial.
Before I go any further, there is a small chance that you could brick your phone. Basically, this means you are going to damage your phone in such a way that you cannot use it at all. However, if you follow the instructions word for word, then you will be just fine. I can confirm that this process does not wipe any of the data on your phone, but you should backup your data just in case the worst does happen and you do brick your phone.
First of all, you will need to backup all your data on your phone.
Let’s start off by doing a backup of your contacts. Thankfully, the Galaxy S4 mini has a dead simple method to export all your contacts to a Micro SD card. From the home screen, go to Contacts -> select the contacts tab and press the menu button immediately to the left of the home button. From the menu that appears, select “import/export” and select “export to SD card”.
Whilst we are on the topic of backing up stuff, you might also want to backup your SMS messages/text messages. Thankfully, there is an app called SMS Backup and Restore which is a free download from the Google Play Store. This will allow you to export your text messages to a file that can be stored on your Micro SD card. Don’t worry, I have tested this and I can confirm that there are no viruses in this app.
That brings us to the end of this first part. In the next part of this series, I will cover the actual rooting process. Until then, stay tuned.
There is a new virus that is doing the rounds on the internet. Known as CryptoLocker, it is a virus that basically encrypts your personal data. By that I mean data such as documents(including PDFs), spreadsheets, photos and some audio. I can confirm that it does not encrypt your computer, only your personal data.
Every time you boot up your computer, you get presented with a window which notifies you that your personal data has been encrypted. The only way to get it back is to pay a ransom of two bitcoins(which at the time of writing is approximately £1000). After you pay the ransom, you get what CryptoLocker calls a private key which is used to decrypt your personal data. You will have 72 hours to pay the ransom.
If you choose not to pay the ransom, then your personal data is gone. You can plead as much as you want to but the server which stores the “private key” actually destroys the automatically generated private key after a certain amount of time.
At the time of writing, I can confirm that any data on a Windows PC can be infected. However, companies that have their own network shares, where personal employees store their documents are also at risk from this virus. I can also report that USB Flash Drives or External Hard Drives can be infected by Cryptolocker. Basically, anything that can be seen as an accessible hard drive (network attached storage, network shares etc) can be infected by Cryptolocker. At the time of publishing, those of you on a Mac or a Linux computer cannot be infected.
So this begs the question, what can you do to protect yourself from this Virus?
First of all, make sure you have a good internet security package. I would recommend using ESET’s NOD32 or ESET Cybersecurity for Mac. Alternatively, use Kaspersky Internet Security.
The second thing that you should do is to be careful when reading emails. If you are not expecting an email from someone, then don’t open it. If you’re not expecting someone to send you an email containing document or picture(or any other file), don’t open it. Instead, delete it or report it as spam.
Most important of all, back up your data to an external hard drive or even to something like Carbonite. Cryptolocker will only grab files on anything that can be mapped to a drive letter(e.g. the ‘C’ drive, ‘D’ drive and so on). This includes the hard drive in your computer, any network shares (folders stored on a server at work, that are mapped to a hard drive) or any external hard drive mapped to a computer.
If the worst happens and Cryptolocker infects your computer, then do not pay the ransom) I know that it’s easier said than done, but you should never pay the ransom. By paying the ransom, you are only encouraging these criminals to make more of this ransomware. If you lose your files to Cryptolocker, then you will need to wipe your computer clean and re-install Windows.
For those of you who had a PC in the late 1990s, the chances are you listened to MP3s using Winamp.
In it’s prime, it was considered a really cool way to manage your music collection.
However, on 20th December 2013, AOL has announced that they will be closing the Winamp website. They will also stop making Winamp and shut down all related web services.
You might not remember Winamp, but when you installed Winamp on your computer and ran it for the first time, then this is the track that you heard.
Until 20th December, you will still be able to download Winamp and use it to manage your music, so make sure you download it before it’s gone from the internet forever.
On my computer, I used it as my go-to music management app on my PC back in the day. It was the way that I would manage my music before I knew of iTunes. The fact that I could also customise the look and feel of WinAmp with different skins was really cool and innovative.
What did you like about WinAmp? Let me know in the comments
Whenever I come across a bluetooth speaker, one of the main concerns for me is sound quality. So this time round, I have the Jabra Solemate bluetooth speaker. It’s useable with most smartphones, tablets, desktop and laptop PCs.
Disclosures: I have been using this as my only speaker for about 2 months. I got this for free when going to a trade show.
In the box, you get:
- The Jabra Solemate speaker
- A Micro USB cable
- A wall plug to allow you to charge using a power outlet
- A carry case
- A 3.5mm cable to plug into a device directly
So let’s move our attention back to the speaker. When I unboxed it, the first thing that came to my head was the fact that it looked a bit like a shoe. It’s quite an interesting thing.
On one side, you have a MicroUSB connection for charging the speaker, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a switch(on, off and bluetooth pairing mode switch). It also comes with a cable if you want to plug it in directly to an audio source (such as a laptop or a tablet).
So let’s jump right into it. When I got it out of the box for the first time, I plugged the short audio cable which came with it and plugged it right into my iPad to check the sound quality. Afterwards, I then unplugged it and tried to set it up over bluetooth. You have to hold the power switch up at the top position on the Solemate speaker for a few seconds until it starts to play music. On your bluetooth-enabled device of choice, access the bluetooth settings and within seconds you are up and running.
The sound quality is really solid.To my ears they sounded good for the price, they did not sound tinny at all. Even over bluetooth, they still sound good. I have thrown a lot of different music and talk radio at it and I have to say that they sound good. I have tested this with a phone call on my phone (the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini at the time of writing).
In terms of build quality, I have to say that it is solid. In my general day-to-day usage of it I have put it on wood, granite, marble and have not experienced any problems with it.
What about battery life? Well, Jabra have stated that you should be able to get 8 hours with the volume cranked all the way up. In my testing of the device, I have been able to get about 5 hours. The Jabra Solemate has a talking battery meter which tells you if device’s battery is either full, medium or low.
So overall, I would give this an 7.9 out of 10. At about £80, it is a lot of money to spend on a bluetooth speaker, but it is definitely worth it due to the decent sound quality.
OSX Mavericks has been available for just over a while now and people have been downloading it in droves. This is where a problem might occur. Since 2011, Apple have been distributing their Mac OSX upgrades through the app store. This means that there is no CD/DVD available. I know that Apple has their own USB flash drive version of OSX Mavericks that you can buy of OSX Lion, but at the time of publishing this article, Apple does not have a USB flash drive version available.
So why would you want this? Well, if you have a slow internet connection then this might slow the install time down considerably. Since OSX Mavericks is more than 4GB in size, it will take more than an hour to download on slower connections. By having mavericks on a USB flash drive, you won’t need to download it over and over again. This can be useful if you have to install Mavericks on more than one computer. This would save you downloading it twice (or more times).
Thankfully, the there is a solution to this problem. There is an app that you can download for your mac that makes the whole process a lot easier. It is called DiskMaker X and it is free. It allows you to create a bootable USB flash drive with the installer for OSX Mavericks on it without the need for any command line knowledge or any messy workarounds.
It will require you to have an 8GB USB flash drive to hand. You will also need to run DiskMaker X before you install Mavericks direct from the installer which you download from the Mac App Store. If you have already installed mavericks, then you cannot do this procedure.
The way it works, is that you download DiskMaker X from the above link. Once you install it, plug your USB flash drive into your mac, select it. From there, DiskMaker X will guide you through the process and do all of the leg work for you. This makes the process so much easier. I have used it and it makes the process a breeze.
What do you think of DiskMaker X? Let me know in the comments.