Monday, 18 August 2014

Finally got my OnePlus One.. Unboxing!

After a much anticipated wait I finally received my invite from OnePlus One.

For those of you that don't know, OnePlus is less than a year old, but it has already slapped a great big wet fish across the faces of major mobile phone manufacturers. Its first phone, the OnePlus One, has many of the same specs as their £500+ phones, but costs just £229.

The One is slightly different, however, as it didn’t go the network route, preferring instead to oversee the entire retail aspect itself – sort of like how Google retails its Nexus devices in Google Play. The phone itself comes unlocked, meaning the consumer is free to shop around for the best tariff in the country. Also, because doing things this way allows OnePlus to keep additional, variable costs (marketing, advertising, distribution) well below those undertaken by Samsung and HTC, it can pass on the savings to the consumer.

Not heard of OnePlus or its One phone? As the nerd phone sensation of the year, it's a sign you may have healthy social skills and a non-dysfunctional relationship with the Internet. Well done you. But I think it's really about time you two got acquainted.


Every heard of 'rare as hens teeth', well this most defiantly applies here...

This is probably one of the main things that consumers are currently getting annoyed with. As the marketing is done via OnePlus themselves it means you cant just choose to buy one but have to be selected by them via an invite. Only then can you receive the phone. 

If you register on the website you will be made aware of competitions or invite giveaways. This is normally something to like 'smash the past'  where you break your current phone or promote the brand via social media. Register and keep an eye out. 

I received the invite last week and as is to be expected, the invite is only open for 24hrs. As such I didn't waste time and snapped up the offer. I selected the Sandstone 64GB version.

I will be posting the review and specs soon so watch this space.

See below for my unboxing;

Monday, 4 August 2014

What is NVRAM / PRAM and how to reset on Mac Macbook Mavericks


Learn about your Mac's PRAM or NVRAM, and when and how you might want to reset it.

Your Mac stores certain settings in a special memory area even if it is turned off.  On Intel-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as NVRAM; on PowerPC-based Macs, this is stored in memory known as PRAM.

Information stored in NVRAM / PRAM includes:

  • Speaker volume
  • Screen resolution
  • Startup disk selection
  • Recent kernel panic information, if any
  • If you experience issues related to these functions, you may need to reset the NVRAM or PRAM. For example, if your Mac starts up from a startup disk other than the one you've specified in Startup Disk preferences, or if a "question mark" icon appears briefly when your Mac starts up, resetting NVRAM / PRAM may help.

Resetting NVRAM / PRAM

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command (⌘), Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  3. Turn on the computer.
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys before the gray screen appears.
  5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  6. Release the keys.
After resetting NVRAM or PRAM, you may need to reconfigure your settings for speaker volume, screen resolution, startup disk selection, and time zone information. If issues persist, your Mac's logic board battery (not a portable Mac's rechargeable battery) may need to be replaced. The logic board battery helps retain NVRAM/PRAM settings when your computer is shut down. You can take your Mac to a Mac Genius or Apple Authorized Service Provider to replace the battery on the logic board.

Resetting NVRAM in Open Firmware

If your computer is Open Firmware-based and you are unable to reset NVRAM as described above, you may alternatively reset the NVRAM and Open Firmware settings using the steps in the Solution section of Message “To continue booting, type 'mac-boot' and press return”.

In some cases, an Open Firmware-based computer may not respond to the keyboard commands noted above, and may not allow starting up into Open Firmware by pressing and holding the Command, Option, O, and F keys during startup.  If you are unable to get to an Open Firmware prompt (and your Mac supports doing so), try holding the power button held down continuously during start up.

Resetting PMU on PowerBook or iBook computers

In some troubleshooting situations, if resetting PRAM does not resolve an issue, resetting the PMU may be the next appropriate step. For information on when this is appropriate and for instructions on how to reset the PMU in your PowerBook computer, see Resetting PowerBook and iBook Power Management Unit (PMU).

Third-party displays

If you have screen resolution issues with a third-party display (monitor), and resetting the NVRAM/PRAM does not help, try using the display's built-in menu system if it has one. For details, see the manual that came with your monitor.  There may be buttons on the front of the display to configure the internal settings and screen geometry. The display may include an "automatic" adjustment mode too.

Contents of PRAM on earlier Macs

Some earlier Macs store these settings in PRAM:

Status of AppleTalk
Serial Port Configuration and Port definition
Alarm clock setting
Application font
Serial printer location
Autokey rate
Autokey delay
Speaker volume
Attention (beep) sound
Double-click time
Caret blink time (insertion point rate)
Mouse scaling (mouse speed)
Startup disk
Menu blink count
Monitor depth
32-bit addressing
Virtual memory
RAM disk
Disk cache

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Amazon Fire... What?? Another smartphone to add to the confusion

You probably may not know this but I'm quite a big fan of tech. :) 

Even though I have an iPhone 5s I keep an eye out on new relatively reasonably priced android phones as a backup or new toy to experiment with.

Oppo 7
OnePlus One

Originally I was after the Oppo Find 7, the decision was done and done but a spanner in the works when Cynogen teamed up with Oppo to create the OnePlus One. This again had amazing specifications but the excitement has slightly dwindled. This is due to only being able to purchase one via an invite. For the invite you have to smash your old phone, or rave about it the OnePlus One publicly to stand a chance of being one of the lucky few that get selected. 

That episode aside, I now find out that Amazon have released a smartphone called the Amazon Fire which has a pretty sweet spec sheet. Ok, I know its not a true android as you will get amazon custom firmware but it will be based on android. Only thing is that its currently not available in the UK. 
Some will say get a Nexus 5 but compared to these it looks dull and dated. As much as I love the HTC One or Samsung S5 its not what I am after. As my everyday device I will stick with my iPhone.

All of these devices have premium aesthetics and specifications without the premium price tag, which is exactly what I am after.

Watch this space to see what I eventually decide to buy...


Find 7

OnePlus One

Amazon Fire

IOS 7 Lightning charger cable woes - How to use third-party cables and buying cheaper alternatives

With the introduction of IOS 7 it has come to light that Apple have found a new way to annoy their loyal fan base by dictating what cable you can and can't use for you devices. I do understand the argument that its a premium product and you shouldn't use cheap copies that could potentially damage the device but that alone is not a great enough argument for Apple to warrant harsh rules. 
I worked for an Apple approved repair centre and can honestly say that incidents related to to power cables was less that 1% where water damage and smashed screens being the most common.

Original or approved cables apparently have a chip which allows them to authenticate and not get the error above. If you are purchasing a third-party cables ensure they are MFI certified. These will work without any errors. 

The good news is that some third-party cables do still work. I purchased a cheapy one from Amazon which gives the error message but still charges the phone. I also have a Belkin car charger (wanted one with higher amperage for the car) which still works perfectly fine without the errors.

As I'm a sucker for a bargain, while at Poundland, I saw some lightening cables and thought heck, why not get one for every room (as you do). These no longer work with IOS7. There is not much you can do with these cables but I will highlight a workaround to at least make them more useful than a shoe lace.


Non-Jailbroken device

Ok, as you are still reading I'm guessing you are unfortunate enough to have a cable that no longer works. Some earlier iterations of IOS 7 did allow "plug -> unlock -> unplug -> plug" method to get them to work, which you may have already read or tried. This will no longer work. 

The only way I have been able to get my poundland cable to charge was to connect the cable and shutdown the device. Once shutdown it will not display a charging sign but will definitely charge the device. The software is not powered on to authenticate the cable. 
Even though this may sound like useless advice for some, trust me when I say it is most valuable information in an emergency. Traveling in a car and you get lost with 1% battery... need I say more.

Jailbroken device

By adding the repo and downloading Unauthorized Lightning Cable Enabler you could have used the cable. I say could because the repo no longer contains this package. For some reason this has been removed. Once installed the cable still displayed the error above but did charge the device. I am hoping this is due to a new revision so watch this space.
This package is available via xSellize repo but please do not download from there. It is more trouble than its worth.

Cheaper alternatives

The one that worked for me while still giving the error message;

Or if you'd rather have a guarantee that it works without paying Apple prices;

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

FIFA World cup fever - Watch the game on the move (iPad iPhone Nexus 7) No Root Jailbreak required

Just a quick post for those on the move who are worried about missing some world cup action. Just a few free, yes you read right I said free, options to watch the game without having the need of a Jailbroken or Rooted device.

These apps are only available to people in the UK. I will put a few steps at the end if you want to watch and are outside the UK.


Wether you have an IOS or an Android device I've found some free apps to help me watch the game when I am on the move.  Using my iPad/Nexus 7, I haven't found a truly HD compatible app and find it annoying that it's not as clear as I would like it, to make use of the resolution capable with these devices. That aside, the apps below do make a fine attempt and who am I to complain when its free.

Also, none of them seem to allow selection of playback quality, this seemed to be dependant on cellular connection.


TVCatchup - Probably the best for those wanting an all-in-one. This has all the channels you need, BBC/ITV etc and also some of the +1 hr and different variant channels for highlights.

Pros - Has all the channels you need, so no need to switch between apps. Ability to skip Ads.

Cons - Quality on larger devices is not great, but is normally dependant on connection. Quality seemed to be the worst from the three apps but definitely watchable. Sometime has buffer issues.

iPlayer - Clean user interface. This only has BBC channels but I preferred to use this when games were broadcast on the BBC.

Pros - Clear and easy navigation. Good quality. Ability to skip Ads.

Cons - Only BBC channels.

ITV Player - Clear and easy navigation. Again, like the iPlayer if a game was broadcast on ITV I preferred to use this app. Don't know if it was just me but it did seem to have the best picture quality of the three apps. Tad annoying that you cant skip advertisements and have to wait for them to finish.

Pros - Clear and easy navigation. Better quality than the other apps tested.

Cons - Cant skip Ads and sometimes displays multiple before stream. Limited ITV channels.

Using this outside the UK

To be able use these apps outside the UK for IOS you need follow the two steps below. For Android you only need to do step 2 as it will let you download and install region specific apps with other app markets.

Step 1 - Create a UK apple ID. This is so that you can download the app onto your device. If your ID is not a UK one it will not allow you to download the app.

Step 2 - Use a free VPN service (plenty of them around, google is your friend, I use The apps can check your location via your ISP, and if this is based outside of the UK will not allow the streaming but using a VPN based in the UK will make your connection look like it is based in the UK.

Hope this helps and enjoy. Let me know if you have any question and I will try my best to help.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Nexus 7 2nd gen even cheaper! Both 16gb and 32gb

Well, it seems a few places have completely smashed the price of the Nexus 7, gutted I had to pay what I did.

Game have the 16gb for £150 and 32gb for £169.99... Im sure if you ask John Lewis, they will price match and hopefully provide the 3 year warranty.  :)

Link is for the deal on HUKD's;

How to root and unlock bootloader on the Nexus 7 via a Mac

Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any damage that can happens to your Nexus 7 tablet when you use these toolkits below and are using these at own risk.

Also as this is not my work and take no credit for it but thanks to techfanatic9 for putting it together and 1KDS for the original script and tool. 

What Does This Nexus 7 Toolkit Include? 

  • Root Nexus 7 - Works with Android 4.4.x
  • Install ClockworkMod Recovery on Nexus 7
  • Unroot/Stock on Nexus 7
  • Unlock/Lock Bootloader on Nexus 7

Back-up your tablet as this will wipe everything on it.
Enable developer options and enable USB debugging.

How do I get this to work?
 1. Download the toolkit of your choice using the links below.
 2. Unzip the file and click on click on the green Android icon.
 3. Enter your phone into bootloader mode: 

  • First power off your tablet and make sure it's unplugged then,press the volume up, volume down, and power button all at the same time. When your phone vibrates let go of the power button, but keep holding onto the volume up and down button. You will now see a green start screen. 
 4. Follow directions on the screen.

Install ClockworkMod Recovery
Download Stock.Unroot4.3 The New Nexus 7
Unlock Bootloader
Download Unlock Bootloader The New Nexus

Common Issues

  • Stuck on the nexus X screen? A: Enter into recovery mode and do a factory reset, clear partition cache, and then reboot.
  • Asking for password? A: Click cancel and continue.
This is extremely straightforward and should be simple enough to follow the instructions on the applications. Do not worry, there is no need to type any commands and the first screen to be displayed will be the one below. Happy rooting.