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Posts Tagged ‘Android’

Andy returns to the dark side, well almost - 90% Dark Side!

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

A number of years ago, I backed Apple, and invested in an iPad and iPhone, only to be burned, when Apple abandoned that platform, and left me with bricks which could not be upgraded, stuck on an iOS version with no applications available in the Appstore to support those expensive gadgets!

Fast forward a number of years and Google launched it’s first Android phone in 2012, the Google Nexus 4 - I blogged about it here - Andy’s Google Nexus 4 - that was over four years ago, and decided it was time for a switch to Droid in 2013.

In all those years Droid has served me well, BUT I’ve been experiencing more and more issues in the last 12 months with Droid applications failing to work correctly compared to iOS applications, also iOS application seem to be made available for iPhone and iPad before Droid (e.g. Airline eTicket systems), and also some applications are never developed or supported, e.g. Android Pay still does not support American Express -Do American Express have issues with Android security ?

Considering there are more Android phones in the world, than iPhones, it is indeed odd, that iOS is the preferred platform for some applications, but the Development time is longer, and also Apple verification can take a while, but with latest development kits, e.g. Xamarin - code can be quickly ported for Windows, Android or iOS applications from Microsoft Visual Studio. So this still puzzles me?

One thing I do know, is that Apple controls the hardware, the OS, the applications and therefore may make it a better applicatio  target, like Sun Solaris, Sun manufactured the hardware, and manufactured the OS - a strong platform, also similar to IBM, and AIX, developed specifically for IBM computers.

An opportunity arose to purchase a new phone, I could have purchased a new Google Pixel or Samsung something, but the costs are similar to an Apple iPhone, but the quality of Apple products are far superior in my opinion, and Google and Samsung products are overpriced, but believe because people will purchase Apple products at x GBP, they can also charge x GBP for their products.

So I decided:- to Return to the Dark Side, almost! I’m about “90% Dark Side” - I’ve opted for a Jet Black 256GB iPhone 7 .

But still using the Google ecosystem, e.g. Google+, GMail, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Photos, not that horrible iCloud thing!

Jet Black 256GB iPhone 7 & Decoded Case

Jet Black 256GB iPhone 7 & Decoded Case

Jet Black iPhone 7

Jet Black iPhone 7

Jet Black iPhone 7

Jet Black iPhone 7

So we will see how long this lasts me, before I change back, come back in four years, and read the blog to find out, I could have decided to get a Blackberry or Nokia Windows Phone!

This was one of the major reasons, I change airtime companies, see Goodbye Orange @EE, and hello @ThreeUK! #makeitright

Oh, and the iPhone 7 - I’ve had it 4 weeks now, and It’s @#!”£$%^& Brilliant!!!!

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Trials and Tribulations of My Amazon Echo aka Saga of Andy’s Amazon Echo Part 2

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Previosuly on Andysworld! - Part 1

So 48 hours later, no email from Amazon, telling me that my US profile, had been migrated to a UK profile.

I decided to get Amazon to call me again this afternoon at 4pm, and what surprised me is that there are NO call records of previous discussions, no service request number notes, and it was lucky I had a photo of the box with serial number, because they have no record of that either!

After giving them the serial number again, for the up-tenth time, it was confirmed that the Echo had been registered from the original Experts Exchange purchaser.

So why was it still not working, after long 1 hour discussions with Customer Support, Kiera went away to ask an Echo Specialist Engineer, and it would appear, I’d been given the run around, and given some bull sh1t!

She confirmed, what needed to be done was as follows:-

1. Add my UK Amazon account, to US Market place.

2. Start Alexa App, and setup Echo.

3. Once completed, then Migrate my US profile (which would then exist) to a UK profile.

She then proceeded to Add my account to US Market place, which she sometimes takes 3-4 hours, but mine, went through immediately…she asked me to uninstall and re-install the Alexa App from Google Play Store, and login again with my account and password and proceed….

Amazon Echo Connected!

Amazon Echo Connected!

Success, I’ve never got this far before in the setup, so this was the issue. I then proceeded with the setup, but for some reasons it did not like the Office WiFi, so returned home, to continue setup, and now have a working US Echo!

Okay, so it’s on US at present, but I’ll get it switched later….

So what have we learnt…

1. Be Patient with Amazon Customer Support!

2. If someone does purchase an Amazon Echo for you, make sure they Mark it As a Gift!

(I did discuss this with Amazon, and said Amazon should make this clearer with the purchase of Amazon Hardware, I spoke to many people in my office, that regularly order from Amazon, and they only consider a Gift, as something you send somebody direct from Amazon, and maybe Gift wrapped! e.g. would you mark an item as a Gift, for someone in your household, or would you just order, and give it to them yourself, maybe Gift wrap yourself!!!! Food for thought here!)

or Ask them to Deregister it, and this could be easier to find.

3. If you do have a non-Country version, which does not match your Country of residence, Ask Amazon to add your Account to that market place.

4. Ask Amazon then to migrate you.

Now I can get on with Home Automation coming soon….

Coming soon TP-Link KASA!

Coming soon TP-Link KASA!

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Trials and Tribulations of My Amazon Echo aka Saga of Andy’s Amazon Echo Part 1

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The Saga of Andy’s Amazon Echo!

This is the Saga of Andy’s Amazon Echo - it started just before Christmas 2016, when I received an email from Gene Richardson, Chief Operations Officer at Experts Exchange, telling me I had won an Amazon Echo, see this blog - I won an Amazon Echo - Thanks @ExpertsExchange.

I’ve been so excited waiting for the day it would arrive….So I’ve been eagerly tracking it from the US via the USPS website…

Captured on 10th Jan - still in transit?

Captured on 10th Jan - still in transit?

it all started going “Pete Tong”, when it had arrived in London, UK, but then departed on another flight to it’s destination…. I don’t live that far from London to justify a flight..(as of 10 January, time of writing this blog, it’s still in transit!). But at least it had cross the pond I thought.

On Saturday 7th January, whilst I was washing, polishing my car and new alloy wheels outside my house, the Postman pasted me, and I said hello, I later found he had secretly deposited a Charges Card through my letterbox!

UK Customs Charges

UK Customs Charges

Damn it, the Local Sorting Office is now not open until Monday morning, I’ve got to wait all weekend, until I can get my hands on my Echo, and pay £28.77 GBP Customs Charge!

There is an option on the card to pay by plastic online, but unfortunately that would trigger a re-delivery and I would not be at home to receive it, so the only option was to go to the Sorting Office on Monday I thought using my mobile phone, pay the charges (at the Sorting Office door) online via plastic, and collect the parcel - NO that’s not an option, because the Sorting Office does not get notified that quickly by office mice or something, so it’s very slow.

Sorting Office does not accept plastic, only cash and postage stamps!!! So I ran round to the Post Office, purchased £28.77 GBP of postage stamps to stick onto the card, via plastic! and then returned to the Sorting Office, handed the card, got the package, but needed a receipt!

Box from Experts Exchange with Customs Duty stickers!

Box from Experts Exchange with Customs Duty stickers!

20 minutes later……I’m on the road again to the office….now very keen to open the box, and get it setup!

Amazon Echo open box

Amazon Echo open box

So excited I can taste the Amazon Echo (I must admit, the build, box is of very high quality - Impressive!), and here it is

and the first issue, it has an American Plug, not a problem I thought it’s bound to use a micro-USB, and I’ve got plenty of them - NO it uses a standard jack type plug, but not a problem, I’ve got variable voltage supplies, with correct adapters, but that didn’t work, because the power socket is recessed under the body, and it would not fit. So I immediately ordered a UK replacement PSU from Amazon.

Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo

But good news, I’l order a US-UK converter from Argos UK, some luck we had some in the stock cupboard…..Best News all day, at least I can power it on, I did check the PSU supplied was 100-220v AC.

So Google Nexus 4 in hand, Alexa App is already installed, turn on Amazon Echo, Alexa greets us, we are in Setup Mode, start the Alexa App,

Android Alexa App

Android Alexa App

hit the connect WiFi button on the App, Amazon Echo goes bong, and responds with You’ve Connected to Echo, now use your App to setup Echo…..wait….wait…..wait…..wait….long wait….

Android App not working ?

Android App not working ?

with the Echo orange light circling around, and eventually it will time out, and sayh WiFi not setup, and display a nice purple ring.

The same happens with a Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Windows 8.1 laptop. So time to call Amazon support! (first call!). In fact it was a Live Chat, which was not resolved, so they phoned me.

After lots of discussion, it was suggested that the device was locked to the Amazon Account, that purchased the device, and Amazon could not tell me the email address of the person, and I had a guess it was @experts-exchange.com, and they told me that bit, and said I would need to contact the person, so they could Deregister it from their Amazon account, it would not work with my account, unless this was done.

So we played guess the email account with Amazon, listing the many employees names I know at Epxerts Exchange, it was not any of them! So I have up on this and pinged an email off to Experts Exchange….

later that evening at my home, I tried a different Android device, iPad and iPhone, Windows 10 PC, exactly the same issue, so it’s nothing to do with the environment in the office!

Another few discussions with Amazon….it’s getting late now … and I’ve been at this all day, and still no working Echo….

An Amazon Technical report specialist stated that it needed to be Reset to Factory defaults, and he would monitor his screen, whilst I did it, to see if the Registered User - disappeared when I did it - I had a discussions with him, as to how is that going to happen, because how can the Echo communicate with anything to do this, but he swore blind, it would do it…..

After a Factory Reset - no change to the registered user - what a surprise, he then told me, it sometimes does it…..by random.

I asked if they could let me know the Registered user, so I could contact them, Amazon then revealed they do not know, and all they have in the control panel was b**********@experts-exchange.com, later an email from EE, stated they had no record of it, and then it appeared against the Finance Controller’s Amazon account, which he had Registered…

Very late last night….I thought brilliant now I can get to use it….. but still I get….

Android App not working ?

Android App not working ?

So back on the phone to Amazon, and this time a Smart Person informed me that the Echo I had was a US model,which has a US Profile, and this has to be migrated to the UK Profile (EMEA)…..I’m still not sure how this CLOUD setting works with my Echo which at present has not and connect connect to the internet, because as of yet, it’s not been configured for WiFi, but I was told that the Amazon App, which is connected to my Account, would not be able to connect to a US Echo….

So how does my Echo get a UK Profile?

So I’m still here 22.43 still waiting for a communication from Amazon, this US to UK migration has been completed…….

Anyway for shits and giggles this evening, trying to prove something, if this Echo is really working, and is a US Model, what if I was to use the US Amazon Alexia App for iOS and Android….so sideload APK onto my Anrdoid phone, and some black-magic with iTunes, grab a Amazon.com account…

I’ve got both Amazon Alexa Apps from US, on Android phone

this should work right ???

Umm.. WRONG it does not!

and guess what THE SAME!

The SAGA continues…….here Part 2

22.49 Jan 10 2017 Still not working!

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Programming with Sphero 2.0

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

I’ve had my Sphero 2.0 less than two weeks, so you can use your Android or Apple smartphone to control your Sphero 2.0, but I want to program it, so it comes out during the day, entertains the cats, and then goes back “home” to charge up…

so far these are my efforts, using a Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit Linux computer, a bluetooth USB adaptor, and the ROS (Robot Operating System) and Sphero SDK.

ROS (Robot Operating System) provides libraries and tools to help software developers create robot applications. It provides hardware abstraction, device drivers, libraries, visualizers, message-passing, package management, and more. ROS is licensed under an open source, BSD license.

Starting roscore

Starting roscore

Starting rosrun, pairing with Sphero

Starting rosrun, pairing with Sphero

Here is a video, of the Sphero pairing with bluetooth usb adaptor, and then sending commands, to change colour from blue, green to red, and then unpairing the Sphero.

full throttle….zoom zoom …

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Sphero 2.0 - new robotic toy for the cats!

Monday, November 11th, 2013

This was the Amazon.co.uk purchase which arrived Saturday morning!

A Sphero 2.0! Sphero is a robotic ball, which can be controlled via a phone or computer, many different development kits have been released, e.g. Android, iPhone and Python etc It’s a bit like a modern day Big Track, but it’s a ball!

Sphero 2.0

Sphero 2.0

Sphero 2.0

Sphero 2.0

More pictures of what’s in the box

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