Thursday, 27 August 2015

KDE Connect - Connect Linux to your Android Devices

KDE Connect is an open source alternative to Pushbullet, which is an application that displays your Android notifications on your PC . However, KDE Connect also lets you send files to your devices, browse the files, and view the battery percentage, right from your Linux desktop or laptop.

This article will be focused on installing and using KDE Connect on Ubuntu-based distributions such as Linux Mint and of course, Ubuntu.
To install KDE Connect for any desktop environment simply type the following commands into the terminal. (CTRL + Alt + T)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vikoadi/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install kdeconnect indicator-kdeconnect 

Once it is installed, simply run "KDE Connect Indicator" from the applications menu, or type "indicator-kdeconnect" in the terminal.

Now, turn on your favourite Android device and install the KDE Connect application from either Google Play or F-Droid.

Finally, launch the app on your Android device and look down at your indicator panel/notification area/whatever you want to call it and you will see icons for either a phone or tablet, depending on what it detected your device as.

Click on one of the icons, and click "Request Pairing". You should get a notification on your Android device that you can accept. If you don't, try multiple times. You can also request pairing from your Android device, which will display a notification on your PC. This may work, but it requires a desktop environment that lets you click buttons inside notifications. For me, in XFCE it didn't work. In Cinnamon, it did.

If you still don't receive a request to pair the device, make sure your device and your computer are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Note: If you have a firewall on your Linux PC such as GUFW, Make sure you have allowed ports 1714-1764 in both TCP and UDP incoming and outgoing. You only have to allow these ports in your local network, no port forwarding necessary.

Once your devices are paired, you can do things like send files to your Android device wirelessly, browse the device, and view the battery percentage.

Sending files to your device is easy with KDE Connect.

 On the device side, you can do things such as remotely controlling your computer by using your Android device as a mouse, and there's also multimedia controls.

Why use Pushbullet when you have KDE Connect?

I hope you found this useful.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Pale Moon - A Speedy Fork of Firefox

Since Mozilla is ruining Firefox, why not install a fork?

No, not a utensil used for eating food, a "fork". This means a copy of the source code, turned into a new project. This is a popular activity in open source software. If some one doesn't like the way the development of an application is going, they can take the source code of said application and make an entirely new project out of it.

Firefox has multiple forks, but today I will be focusing on Pale Moon.

What is Pale Moon? Pale Moon is a fork of Firefox focused on "efficiency and ease of use". It is compatible with most Firefox addons. It does not have the "Australis" interface that is criticized among many Firefox users. It claims to be more stable than regular Firefox. It is faster and smoother than Firefox.

You can get Pale Moon over at

It is available for both Linux and Windows. The Linux installer is available here. The Windows version is available here. There is also a 3rd party PPA for Ubuntu, as well as a build for the OpenPandora.

I hope you found this useful.

Mozilla, Why are you ruining Firefox?

I've recently switched back to Firefox on the desktop, for a few reasons. Reason #1 is that Firefox takes up way less ram. Reason #2 is addons.

Firefox has some of the best addons out there. Some of my favourites include DownThemAll, NoScript, Flashblock, Video DownloadHelper, and Greasemonkey, to name a few.

Firefox addons are more powerful than their Google Chrome counterparts. However, I woke up yesterday to I find out that Firefox is deprecating XPCOM and XUL-based addons.

What does this mean? A lot of addons won't work anymore. As mentioned on this post, addons such as DownThemAll will likely not work and the developers will probably not support them anymore. This includes any addons that let you do more "advanced" things.

Firefox is turning more and more into Chrome

The only upside to this is it will be easier for developers to make addons that work in both Google Chrome and Opera. However, if I wanted to use Chrome or Opera addons I would use Chrome or Opera, not Firefox!

Firefox is the most customizable and feature-rich web browser, and it should stay that way.

Mozilla, listen to your users.

Monday, 17 August 2015

[Android] My Top Recommended Xposed Framework Modules

If you’re an Android power user, you’ll probably know about Xposed framework. If you’ve ever used a Custom ROM on your phone or tablet, you will know that these ROMs often come with additional features that are not available in stock Android.

Xposed framework allows you to use the stock ROM that comes with your device but with the benefit of ROM-like features, called “modules”.

Xposed Framework

Please remember that not every module works on every device, so keep the Xposed Disabler ZIP and a custom recovery handy if you get a bootloop.

Here is a list of my top recommended xposed modules, in no particular order.
  • Awesome Pop-up Video – This module allows you to watch videos in a tiny window that you can move and resize, which lets you multi task while you’re watching the video.
  •  Blacklist – This module allows you to block certain numbers or texts, for example unwanted callers.
  •  BootManager – This module allows you to disable certain applications from starting up. Why would a game need to run at boot?
  •  NotifyClean – This module allows you to block certain applications from notifying you about something.
  •  MinMinGuard – This module allows you to block ads on a per-app basis, and removes the empty space that the ad used to take up.
  •  Greenify – This module saves battery life by preventing certain applications from waking your device up when you’re not using it.
  •  YouTube Adaway – This module blocks ads in the YouTube app, whereas regular Adaway doesn’t.
  •  GravityBox – This module brings a whole lot of User Interface customization options to the table.
  •  CpuTemp in Statusbar – This module does what it says on the tin. It puts the current CPU Temperature of your device on the Status bar.
That’s all for now, I hope you find these modules useful.

[Originally posted on my other blog, PizzaDude Talks Tech]

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

How to use F-Droid - The Free and Open Source App Marketplace for Android

F-Droid is an alternative app market for Android. It is basically a repository for open source applications, like the ones on Desktop Linux. Every single application on F-Droid is FLOSS. No, not dental floss. Floss as in "Free Libre Open Source Software".

Each application on F-Droid has to be approved. If an application on F-Droid has proprietary code, the code is removed by the F-Droid maintainers. If an application contains tracking code, it is reported on the app page. In my opinion, you can guarantee that 99.9999% of applications on F-Droid will be safe to install. On Google Play, you can't guarantee it. Even though Google Play is the default Android marketplace, some malicious developers have been able to put malware on there.

F-Droid also contains applications that Google have banned from their store, such as Ad blockers.

The installation of F-Droid is like any other app that is not in the Google Play store. In order to install it, you need to enable unknown sources. You also need to keep unknown sources enabled in order to install applications from F-Droid.

You will get a warning that enabling unknown sources is dangerous. It's not. Unless you go searching for random apk files on the internet that may contain malware, you should be fine. Just stick to trusted sources like Google Play, Amazon Appstore, and of course F-Droid. Please note that F-Droid is safer than Google Play or Amazon Appstore.

In order to enable unknown sources, open the Settings app, and tap "Security". You can enable unknown sources from there. You will get a warning. Just press ok.

Now go to on your phone. Tap "Download F-Droid". It will download an apk file. It should be named FDroid.apk. You should be able to install it from your notifications. If that doesn't work, open your downloads folder in your favourite file manager and install the apk from there.

Video clip on how to install F-Droid

Once installed open the F-Droid app. It will refresh the sources. Once that's done, you can select categories or search for a specific app. If you click on an app, it will show you a description, and multiple versions you can install. I usually install the latest version. If you click on one of the versions, it will download the apk file for that application and you will be able to install it.

Video clip on how to use and install apps via F-Droid

If you have root, you can allow F-Droid to automatically install apps once you've downloaded them. I personally haven't done this. F-Droid does not require root.

There are plenty of applications available for download. Of course, not as much as on Google Play, but way less junk, and much safer thanks to the open source nature of things.

I hope you have found this useful. Remember, there's more to Android than just Google Play!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Android Screen Recording Applications

If you have a decent Android device and you want to record your screen, here are some applications that will let you do that. These applications require root access, however some of them will work on Android 5.0+ without root.

Please note that recording may slow your device down if your cpu is weak, and requires a lot of storage to store the video files. Recording a game may slow down the game also, depending on your device.

Android Screen Recording Applications

SCR Pro is my favourite screen recorder. It requires root access. There is also a version for on Android 5.0 Lollipop. If you are on Lollipop, it only requires root access if you want to record the internal audio. I have found on my NVIDIA Shield I can record games with little to no lag. Here is a video I recorded of Asphalt 8 demonstrating that:

There is also an add-on that lets you broadcast to Twitch.

SCR Pro and the Twitch broadcasting add-on are paid apps.

If you want a free application that does the same thing, check out Shou.

Shou.TV is a free application that requires root unless you are on Android 5.0+. Again, if you are on Android 5.0 you will only need root to record internal audio. Shou.TV includes a broadcasting feature that lets you broadcast to the website of the same name. You can also choose to record the screen only if you don't want to broadcast to the world.

That's all for now, stay tuned for more posts!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

How To Install CWM Recovery on the NVIDIA Shield Portable

**UPDATE: July 28 2015 - is down. I have re-uploaded the recovery image. Click here for the link**

A few days ago I posted an article on reasons to root your NVIDIA Shield Portable. This tutorial will show you how to install Clockwork Mod (CWM) Recovery on your Shield. Please note this tutorial is for advanced users, and always be careful when flashing an image to your device.

This tutorial is for the Shield Portable, NOT the Shield Tablet.

Why would you want a custom recovery on your device? Well, it allows you to have a backup plan in case you mess up your system.

A custom recovery allows you to connect to your device using the command line, and copy, move, and rename files. Inside the interface you can also flash custom ROMs on your Shield, as well as other flashable "zips" for example a script to disable Xposed Framework in case you installed a bad module.

In order to install CWM recovery, you first need to unlock the bootloader if you haven't done so already.

NOTE: Unlocking the bootloader will void your warranty, and wipe your device.

To unlock the bootloader: Power your Shield off completely. Hold down the Back and Home button, and while holding those two buttons, press the Power button. Keep holding the Back and Home button. You should now be in the bootloader menu.

Plug your Shield into your PC.

If you are on Windows, you may need to install drivers.

If you are on Linux, you need to grab the fastboot and adb drivers. If you're on a Ubuntu based Linux distribution, open a terminal (Usually Ctrl + Alt + T) then type:

sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

Press enter, type in your password, press enter again, type the letter 'Y', press enter.


Once the installation is complete, type the following while still in the bootloader:

sudo fastboot oem unlock

Navigate to "Unlock" with either the Back button or Home button, and then press the home button.

Your Shield is now unlocked! Now hit continue, let the device boot, and once the device is fully turned on, shut it down again. 

Go back into the bootloader, and connect your Shield to your PC.

Download the following file,

The md5sum should be 2d17dc144196f763e37b345372da2e31 .

I suggest putting it on your Desktop.

The following step is intended for a Ubuntu based Linux distribution:

With your shield in the bootloader menu, and with a terminal open, type:

cd ~/Desktop
md5sum shield-cwm.img

If the output says "2d17dc144196f763e37b345372da2e31", then continue with this final command. If the output is different, re-download the file.

sudo fastboot flash recovery shield-cwm.img

If it successfully flashed, you can unplug the Shield and use the recovery.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you have any questions don't hesitate to leave a comment.