Dec 272018

OK, so here is the deal.

I have my videos in an external HDD and I want to be able to view them without having to plug it into every device I want to view it in. We have so many devices with WiFi capability lying around the house, smartphones, tablets, TVs and the like.

For now I want to be able to access the videos on my HDD from my smartphone’s file manager, given it supports network storage. Many file managers available on the play store allow network storage access. I’ll add them here or in my next parts of the blog.

I originally planned this as one post, but looks like my questions grew as I started this project. I have referred to many posts and tutorials online on how this can be done and have experimented on a Pi I have lying around. None worked for me. So, as a person who has lost touch with my inner nerd, I want to rekindle him (my inner nerd that is) and use my Pi for something.

The hardware:

  1. An old WD expansion drive, containing my media
  2. A Raspberry Pi 3b+ on which I installed using NOOBs, well the memory card at least (16GB Sandisk class 10)
  3. An HDMI compatible monitor to help with any settings/running the setup scripts
  4. A wireless mouse, keyboard – they actually demand way less power than connecting a wired mouse/keyboard
  5. A 20k MAh power bank for continuous power – that is the only power supply I have which give 2.4 A output over 5 volts.

The 20000 foot view of what to do:

  1. Install the default NOOBs package available on the Pi’s website
  2. Install Samba server
  3. Mount the HDD to a folder created on the Pi’s file system
  4. Set the server and the mounting to happen automatically every time you start the device

I have understood everything above till yet and hence, for now, won’t go forward in this part of the post. Planning to go deeper soon, hopefully this weekend. Look out for Part#2 of this post.

May 132018

As I was sifting through Indiegogo for the latest projects in action, I came across one which immediately made me contribute to the project.


The Mi mini PC is a 5 inch touchscreen device boasting a dual boot Android 5.0 and Windows 10. The basic model comes with an 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, an Intel Atom chipset with the X7-Z8750 processor with options to upgrade the storage.

It has 4 USB Type-A ports (3X 2.0, 1X3.0), 1 Type-C port, one HDMI for connecting it to the TVs or projectors, and one RJ45 LAN port for wired connectivity. For wireless, it has dual band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2.

This shows that the PC has a terrific interfacing capability. (My laptop doesn’t have that many USB ports.)

The Intel X7-Z8750 is the most powerful atom series processor from Intel. It was designed using the 14nm process, with 2MB L2 cache capable of 1.6GHz(burst frequency of 2.56GHz). With 4 cores and 4 thread execution, it can support multitasking with ease. For game support it has 200MHz graphics processing with a burst frequency of 600MHz.

With a size of 135X90X16 mm portability is the key feature here. The team behind this PC appear to have designed it with ease of transport in mind.

These numbers are powered by a 6000MAh battery and is charged via a charging pin port. I got to know from the project owner that there will be a USB to charging port adapter in the package which helps with the freedom to charge anywhere.

To promote gaming on this PC, there is a perk of adding a gaming console to the package.

All of this points to a device with huge potential. The specs, design and the price are quite an unbeatable combination, at least on paper. With a suggested delivery date of Sep2018, there is a small wait involved before reviewing the actual thing.

The mini PC will be back here in a few months time, with an in-depth review and much experimenting.


Sadly, I ended up getting a refund. Few blogs suggested foul play looking at the specs vs price, and I now kinda believe it. I hope this isn’t the case and they actually ship the item. Many have faithfully placed their orders over.

Sep 282017

I use a snapdragon 820 with 4 GB RAM and 32 GB internal, with 128 GB for my media needs. A 2K screen, with a pretty quick fingerprint sensor and a 12MP/5MP combo camera.

This device is used for web browsing, casual gaming, some blogging, youtube, music. Most people I know use their phones for less if not the same. Everything is smooth but I always wonder, what amount of processor juice would I need to get these tasks done. I am sure that a SD820 is capable of doing much more complex and demanding tasks than these. A SD430 series too is able to do these things.

One area where I felt this power is needed is the operating system itself. Yes, I use split screen on my recently “Nougat’d” phone and running youtube and Whatsapp in parallel takes up some processor power. What if I didnt have the split screen functionality? What if I had to IM when I am IMing and YouTube when I am YouTubeing?

Android had the ability to do parallel processing from way back, and a very good version where this was combined with a brilliant battery life was KitKat. I still remember days where I could go well more than a day without charging my phone. I didn’t appreciate it enough back then. With the newer processors and the advancements in the OS capabilities we are given more power than really needed. I still have a device from the olden times, which runs on KitKat and it works like a charm. Many apps have stopped supporting that far but I can easily get my tasks done with it and not bother about charging it daily.

If only OS upgrades and security updates were not very much linked. I hope we will be given a chance to keep that simplicity while we use our devices everyday. Without the heaviness on the pocket and on the battery usage.

Feb 262017

LG has been kind enough to stream the launch event online and it deserves the thanks for doing that. Not all are able to make it to Spain to watch the event. But this is no reason to not be able blog on the magnificent device that the G6 is.
After the semi-success of the G5, combined with the drama surrounding the Note 7(nothing direct but inspired nonetheless), the G6 brings with it a lot of hopes, given the campaign run gathering lots of inputs for the perfect smartphone.
Sitting thousands of miles away, the device appears to be of the size of the Z3 (pardon the comparison) with a lot more screen.
The design language suggests a new generation of aspects with high concentration on the body-screen ratio.

The display is a 5.7 incher with an 18:9 ratio. Apparently this is an idea suggested by Vittorio Storaro (Univisium) on how a wide screen should really be. With most ignoring the fact that the 18:9 ratio can also be called a 2:1 ratio, the phone still is a very beautiful piece of hardware.

It has a special feature of zooming all content to the new ratio with the display being able to provide Dolby Vision (HDR 10) video quality in partnership with Dolby.

You get 200$ worth in-app purchases on 6 games in the Google play(not one being my favorite but hey, I do like other stuff). Temple Run 2, Sim city Buildit, Crossy roads, Spiderman unlimited, and two others I failed to remember. Simply put, not worth the effort.

Professor Freivalds from the Penn state university explains us about the research done on the kind of user experience which sets the beauty apart from other devices. The bottom bezel being 10.5 mm satisfies the minimum requirement of a 7.3 mm bottom bezel for very good experience.

After nearly 30 minutes of design choices with explanations we get to the actual design.

The G6 has minimised the bezel size, and the removed camera hump.

In order to provide reliability, the smartphone has been embedded with extra safety. Extra safe measures, battery capacity of 3300 mAh, a heat pipe for extra heat loss, distance between the AP(Application Processor) and the LCD IC for lower heat generation, following a highly green set of materials, IP 68 resistance. It also has the in-built AI(as introduced by Scott Huffman from Google Assistant), the Google Assistant helping you even when the screen is off.

Following wishes from the consumers, the camera has a 13 MP wide angle lens(125 deg). Michael from Qualcomm expands on the camera in the G6, using the Snapdragon 821 to work on the HDR10.

The LG UX 6.0 features a square camera with lots of camera shot features, neat tricks including grid shot, the 360 panaroma.

With a final video and a thanks to the presenters, the event ends.

Finally, the phone shouts out “handy” at the heart of the design language.

Pardon any unedited content in the post, pure perspective drove it. Also, there are now plenty of youtube videos showcasing the G6 for its handy beauty.

Nov 212016

Long story short, use the USB cable connected to an OTG adapter with the ground side on the tablet. i.e, the controller gets the power. Hence, the control.

Ok, if that hasn’t answered it, please find below the step by step procedure.

What you need

What you need:

  1. One USB-A to micro USB cable(the kind of one generally packaged with every smartphone/tab nowadays-barring the shield, but that’s another story).
  2. One shield tablet(original or the K1)
  3. One USB OTG adapter cable.(Please check google and get one, a really useful device)
  4. Last but not the least, the Dual Shock 4 controller (Bundled with a PS4, available otherwise too).

Before we proceed, there is something to be known. When the setup is done (being fancy here), power will be passed from your tab to your controller. It means, power drain on your tab will be relatively faster, but not too significant though.

Next, connect your USB cable to the DS4 controller. Then, connect the other end of the USB cable to the adapter.

Finally, connect the OTG’s micro USB end to the tablet.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4

Now, when you turn your tab’s screen on you should be able to see icons or app shortcuts highlighted. As so below.


This is no official guide or technique, just something I tried out on a lazy Sunday noon. One of the best 15 minutes I’ve spent.

Sometimes you may not see that highlighted content. Try fiddling that joystick axis.

If that doesn’t work too, then try removing the USB OTG adapter from the tab’s micro USB slot and re-insert it. As an indicator that it is working, you will be able to see an orange glow, turning on and off, from your controller’s indicator.

Charging Indicator

Game on!!!

Jun 022015

Few years ago, we had a revolution called the S^3 from Nokia which brought a good front end to the then called smartphones. A 600MHz CPU with a well to do memory of 256 MB to 512 MB. Other features such as the connectivity, camera aside, these hardware specs defined the pinnacle in contemporary hardware (I own one of the devices).
This was a single core processor, a “single” core processor. Stressing on the “single” part here, as the stress wouldn’t have been valid at that time. A WOW for something called a smartphone here.
Then the speed of the processors increased to 800 MHz and 1GHz processors with devices from other (now) smartphone giants like Samsung(galaxy and wave series), Sony(xperia series), HTC(one series) and the like. A WOW for the processor as much as the screen size, memory size and GPU.
In 2011, Samsung launched the galaxy S2, which was a revolution in smartphones for its high end specs and the software. The wow here was increased processing capability (dual core), increased memory and screen size. Software changed too, but that was not necessarily the reason the phone performed so good in the market. Other manufacturers launched their own devices with similar, better/worse specs, but I used this device solely for the class of devices it was a part of.
The trend continued in 2012, with bigger screens, faster processors(enter quad core) and increased memory. Also entered, the tab rave. Crudely, a phone with a bigger screen and no phone capabilities(barring few devices which could be used for their phone features).
There hasn’t been much revolutionary ever since. The only changes seen ever since were the technical definitions of terms like flagships, mid range and feature phones. It has only been a bigger screen resolution, a bigger RAM, GPU, storage, camera. Nothing new from when smart phones became a household term.

That was a very highly summarized history of smartphones(no offense to any manufacturers not mentioned here, am not taking sides here). Now, what do I want say here? With increase in the specs, the desirability of the devices only grew. But, what was never truly comprehended is that what would make us feel content. “I have a big screen phone with a good processor, good memory and a good GPU”. Can we give a number to the “good” part? Do we really need to change the smartphone we now own (that was directed a bit towards smartphone users, but non-smartphone users can pitch in their thoughts)? What will the next big thing bring to the smartphone that would ease some part of our life that cannot really be accomplished with the thing we have in hand right now?
Something to add to my list of complaints, what and whom exactly are you aiming at by launching that new phone? Have you thought about why your phone is better than others? The end user ends up confused as hell and goes for the one which was advertised best. You are losing out on a lot by concentrating on nothing instead of searching for that new thing, that new feature that’ll make life better.

Apr 232015

My N4 celebrated its 2nd anniversary with me last month and this is the longest time I’ve stuck to one phone. I must admit though that I used my 808 as my primary driver for almost 5 months in this period but the N4 was always there to get me through my day for entertainment.

After the latest editions of CES and MWC I was startled by the new and shiny pieces of hardware and the accompanying software. I was also impressed by Lollipop on my N4, and N7 2012.

Some background info to start off with, the N4 has a 4.7″ 720p IPS LCD display, with 2 gigs of RAM, 16 gigs of internal memory and as all Nexus devices, no expansion slot. It has an 8MP snapper with an LED flash and also can record 1080p video. It has a gorgeous glass back, rubberized sides and a gorilla glass 2 front. I have my N4 engulfed under so many layers of protection that it is not hard to see anything more than the charging port, mics and the 3.5 mm jack. Have installed a tempered glass in the front, a gadget shield back and is under a double layered case. Rugged.

It is important to note that the camera was not good enough for the time when it came out and obviously hasn’t improved 2 years hence. May be the updated camera app does some justice software wise but with medial hardware you don’t get to good an output despite the software.  Nevertheless, when the pics from the cam are viewed on the phone itself, they aren’t bad. It takes decent macros, and is generally good under medium to good lighting conditions. Wouldn’t rely on this to be my camera though, given that I also have that 808.

While I used the 808 for a few months I realised how much I would rather go for android. Symbian is good. But only when I used WhatsApp, phone calls, and SMS. Everything else, other than the camera, was age old. I couldn’t reliably view my emails, couldn’t read books, couldn’t play games, couldn’t browse the net well.

My thirst for these was quenched by the N4 and it still continues to do that. It still lets me play almost every game out there without lag.

Recently, I thought of upgrading from the N4. Looked at many prospects like the many flagships out there, but there wasn’t anything revolutionary about them which would completely make my existing device obsolete. The 4.7 inch HD screen lets me do everything I need. And the minimum one day usage(battery life) despite 3G always on makes me use it as my daily driver. I read my mails, play a few games, read books, listen to music, watch movies, browse the web, edit photos, download stuff and much more.

Now I think, do I really need to upgrade my phone?

I have written this not to tell you that the Nexus 4 is the best phone out there, trust me it isn’t. What I intended, instead, was that we should give a second thought when we want to buy our next phone replacing the current one. Does our phone currently do what we need it to do? If the answer is yes, wait for some more time. May be till our needs out of our phone outgrow its capabilities. lots of things will be saved. Money, materials, the planet too!!!

Jan 052015

I came to know about the new Lumia recovery tool, more about it here on AAS. I experimented on my N8, and spoiler alert, it worked like a charm. So, yes, the tool works on Symbian phones.

The downloadable file is about 18 MB in size. After downloading the file, opening the file will take you through various installation pages, common procedure like with any other tool.

During the installation process, some more data will be downloaded, about 50-100MB depending on the versions of Visual C++ distributables you already have installed. Also, many USB drivers will be installed.

Once the installation process finishes, restart your computer. These drivers take effect only after a successful reboot of your computer, something they should have mentioned in the official page.

After the restart, open the tool and you will be greeted with this.


Now connect your Symbian phone in the Nokia Suite mode and let the tool recognise it.

The tool will automatically check for the version online and give the details for you.


Once all looks ok, hit Install.


Mind you, this step will take a lot of time to complete, depending on your internet speeds.

My N8 needed a 1.36 GB data download, and left it to do its magic overnight.(Took me about two hours to download that though. Was asleep the rest of the way:P).



Just for this blog post, I hit install once again to see what I missed out on.

To be franker than usual, nothing much.


Few more screens and voila, my N8 was flashed with the official firmware. I did get a few gifts though. The following apps came preinstalled.

  • Galaxy on fire
  • NFS shift HD
  • Real Golf 2011
  • India Today

In this day, mobile apps have grown in complexity. Those apps are part of the nostalgia which I haven’t been able let go off. My 808 is my daily driver, though I have a couple of androids lying around for other stuff.

Barring the last few statements, I hope I’ve presented the usage of the tool clearly. Please do comment if you have any questions or suggestions. I have my N8 to experiment on 😉


P.S. Some info for the geeks at heart, the gigs worth of files downloaded are available in the following path:


The content there is similar to what we’d have using the Navifirm, when it worked. Or I should say, when it was allowed to work.

In the first image there is a button asking if the phone does not start. This works only for windows 8 phones.

Disclaimer: I hope I haven’t hit any copyright or other legal stuff while writing this post. This post is just me, as a fan of Symbian, sharing information with others who like Symbian.


I tried the tool on my 808 after it made work very hard deleting old sms. The download size was 1.94 GB, so an overnight attempt later the 808 is good as new. New apps which came preinstalled are

  • Climate mission
  • Videopro

Videopro is definitely a gift.