Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lund car roof top bag - good and cheap

There might be better or cheaper ones, but then either too expensive to not get ripped off or too cheap to work well enough. This is just like the Anker battery - you cannot find anything cheaper and still good quality.

Some tips:
  • Clean up the car top every time to avoid scratching.
  • Make the zipper face the back, or rain can get in and wind may open up the zipper.
  • Twist the strips so they won't make noise on highway.
  • The bag and the taller stuff should go as back as possible - away from the car front, to reduce wind noise and save gas.
  • Don't leave the bag on the car while staying in a motel for the night.
  • Watch above video, or you will miss a very important tip.
Easy to fold up for storage after use:

Friday, May 16, 2014

The computer of the future

Windows tablets need a keyboard but so far nobody has done it right. The Surface Pro adds a supporter on the back; ASUS T100 adds an iron in the keyboard. Both are flawed. Why nobody has not done it this way is beyond me:

Simple and flawless.

More on this keyboard.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Anker battery - qualty high, priced low

I saw a 6200 mAh battery on ebay for about $10, so cheap so I gave it a try. It works, but later I found the claimed capacity is far less than 6200, not even close to 5200 that its volume suggests. After fully charged, its level drops below 90% in 10 minutes or so. The seller sent me a replacement, but it behaves exactly the same. I returned them for a refund.

I do need a high capacity battery for my S4, as I'm preparing for a long trip soon when I need my S4 as a mobile hotspot for my laptop (the Miix 2 8). After some search, the Anker 5200 gained good reviews on Amazon and it costs only about $20. I bought one, it is real and an excellent product.

Very well packed, sealed, film protected and even well documented, far exceeding my expectation from such a low price and a company that's not a big name:

It's heavier than the fake one:

I'm glad I found Anker, it'll be my choice for batteries from now on.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Galaxy Light, a $99 global phone

Although price has gone up to $120, still a steel for this great phone. It supports the 3G/4G/LTE networks of T-Mobile, AT&T and China Unicom etc. Note it is a T-Mobile phone and need unlock for other carriers and it does not support CDMA like S4.

Compared to S4:

This is not a mainstream phone like the S4 and no stock ROM available yet, it is a good idea to have a full backup before any tweaking. So, the first thing I did was to odin TWRP to it and then used TWRP to do a full backup.

At such a low price, there is no point to buy a MiFi or its kind, because this phone is far more flexible, such as adding VPN or proxy. But first thing first we need to root it, because the built-in WiFi Hotspot function is deeply crippled by T-Mobile, totally useless. Even if you can use FoxFi or ToggleHotSpot widget to enable it successfully, it'll still lead you to T-Mobile's upsell page. Even VPN is no help.

If you really don't want to root, you may use USB or Bluetooth tether which work fine though.

Rooting is very easy, fortunately, with one-click. However, the kernel is replaced during the rooting process, so I went one more extra step - odin the stock kernel. This way, plus odin the stock recovery, I can still get OTA update.

Now we can install WiFi Tether Router 6.0 by Fabio Grass. The working configuration is:

Encryption Type: wpa2-psk
WiFi Channel: 1, 6 or 11
Interface: wlan0
Method: 3 - HostApd
No Firmware Reload: unchecked
Drivers: nl80211
WiFi Mode: G or N
ApType: ad-hoc or master
HostApd Patch: unchecked

If you need VPN, now you can use it and hotspot goes through VPN. Alternatively, you may use the native hotspot through Tetherfy etc. and use this fix.  Either way, all your other devices - phones, tablets and computers, do not need to run VPN.

If I want a brand new phone at the lowest cost and If I don't need CDMA, this would be my choice of phone, not just for hotspot. It is quad-core fast, screen is good, works on virtually all GSM networks.

As always, the built-in APN is another T-Mobile bad stuff, you must add a new APN: as explained here.

Out of box, this cheap phone allows you to select your preferred network, 2G, 3G, 4G or LTE: