“The Shattered Glass Scenario” — Is it the end for the phone?

Shattered IPHONE 4g  -- Carrrrrlos

Shattered IPHONE 4g — Carrrrrlos

The phone screen!

I’m probably not the first one to have destroyed a phone by dropping it or other such actions.  When I first got the RCA A1, I had some problems figuring out how to protect the phone from such scenario.   I knew if you drop any equipment enough time it will break in one way or another.   I was just hoping to prevent it until they released a good protective case for the phone.   It however seemed to late for my phone now.   I can still use it but it will not last longer.   I could however go get it repaired by a local company IphoneTodd.   I have not used them and I am unsure it would be cheaper than just buying a new phone.  I only paid $130 for this phone from Amazon so I can’t prove paying more than that for a new screen!

My Choices!

I could keep the phone for a while and hope it last until I get enough commissions to pay for another phone from Amazon (Affiliate Link) or I have thought about going to T-Mobile (Affiliate Link) which is truly unlimited everything plan!  They have some really good phones now that I could get to check and tell you about.  For example the Samsung Galaxy S5 With Watch bundle (Affiliate Link) from T-Mobile which looks really nice and very useful.  The LG G2 (Affiliate Link) is what I wouldn’t mind using it with the 16 MP Camera and the stabilization feature looks really sweet to take pictures of my family and me.

Broken Record!

As you can see I only few options but I am looking to my readers to show me that they want me to continue to review android phones and to make your experience with phones as fun and enjoyable as it does with me!  It is a life long journey to find the best phones for my readers and to keep you informed.

Doing 2 Factor Authentications the Right Way.

Several types of authentication devices.  --  Eric Christensen

Several types of authentication devices. — Eric Christensen

Working with 2 Factor Authentication

No one ever said it would be easy but some things you will need to consider can greatly impact your success at keeping your accounts secure and your identity safe!  I will talk about some of the ways to increase your chances on improving upon 2 factor authentication.   Nothing in the blog is set in stone but are merely suggestions from someone who believes in the ideal of keeping your personal information safe.

Google Authentication

The first solution to 2FA (2 Factor Authentication) is simply using Google’s Authenticator app on Android, or even IOS.   It can be good because we all have phones and no new hard ware to have to carry around.  There are always going to be problems with this though.   The hardware could sooner or later be compromised and someone could get access to the keys to each site and you would be back at square one.

Yubikey OTP (One Time Passwords)

The next alternative is something that you probably have never heard of, is Yubikey.   It is a small USB thumb drive with a button on it to authenticate that your who you are.   It requires you to know a password for the USB key and thus the password needs kept secret and only you should know it.  I have yet to use Yubikey on anything or bought it.   You can use it with some services such as Google but you must have some work around to do it.   It seems that Google and Yubico are reluctant to make that option easy!

Those are the main two.

Being security minded

It isn’t like we are all wired to think about security every day of our lives.  So we have always been using unsecured methods in the past.   So it isn’t like we will ever truly be secure, but we can at least try to become better at it!   So we will discuss some necessary steps to make sure your more secure.

  • Keep Backup Codes — If a services allows you to have several OTP then print those up and save them for the time when your key doesn’t work anymore.   It isn’t going to happen at all but there are times when you will need that backup.  I do hope you never have to use the backup but it might happen.
  • Turn off Voicemail — This one is rarely unknown but you shouldn’t have any service call your phone for the backup code to the account.  This happens to be a problem if the attacker knows your voicemail pin!  Highly unlikely but possible!
  • Cell Phone — Using your cell phone as your token and login in it can lead to a single point of failure and can make it that much easier for an attacker to get at your account.   I do not suggest having all your keys in one Phone!

As you can see these are some simple steps to keep you more safe.  Do you know another way to keep your security safe with 2 factor authentication?  I’d like to hear your comments on the subject!

Infinite Boot loop comes back again. (Part 2)

Windows 7 - By Hector

Windows 7 – By Hector

I thought I fixed it!

Any person in the technical department will tell you they’ve had this problem that just comes back and they actually thought they fixed the problem the first time around.  When I first talked about fixing the infinite boot loop in Windows 7, I really didn’t think it would come back.   My friend called me the next day and said it was back!  So the story was, I rushed over there saw it was doing the same thing and I instantly knew it was more than jut re-installing windows but it was some major disk drive errors.  I told my friend that I now knew what was the problem and took the laptop and grab it and took it home to do some deep hard drive scanning.

Shameless plug!

I would have used Spinrite 6.0 from Steve Gibson hard drive recovery program, but I couldn’t afford the 89$ so I had to go with the Microsoft options.   If you me to want to get Spinrite 6.0, Please help me by using my Affiliate link for Amazon anytime you go to Amazon by using my link, I’ll get a commission but you pay nothing more for using it!  I do know that because I didn’t use Spinrite, I am sure there is a small chance that it will come back but I am pretty confident that I got the problem to go away for the time being!

Hard Drive Errors!

So if the other post didn’t help you with your problem this one should show that it is a hard drive problem and not a windows problems.  Here is how I fixed the hard drive errors without using Spinrite.   I think Spinrite would have solved all my problems the first time around and I wouldn’t have to resort to these steps.  The Good part about re-installing Windows 7 was that I was now able to start in Safe Mode (F8)!  I was then able to select “Disable Automatic Restart on System Failure“.  Once you select that it was an easy step to keep having windows boot into the operating system.   I got all the way into windows and that is when I could actually use the Microsoft Windows Check Disk utility (chkdsk.exe).   Side note you will need have Admin rights to do this step.   You should either log into an account that has admin rights or log into the account that is the admin!   I create two accounts anytime I install windows.  So as to help prevent computer infections and keep you a little safer but that is totally up to you!

How to get to Chkdsk.exe

First step is to go the command prompt as administrator:

  1. Click Start, click All Programs, and then click Accessories.
  2. Right-click Command prompt, and then click Run as administrator.
  3. If the User Account Control dialog box appears, confirm that the action it displays is what you want, and then click Continue.  (Instructions from Technet)

Once I got to the command prompt, I type this:

chkdsk /f /r /b

Then It it will ask if you want to do this when you restart the computer.   You will want to press “Y” and enter.   You will then type:

Shutdown -l -r

This will tell Windows to log off the current user and restart the computer.   So just wait patiently for the system to restart.   I let it do it for several hours.   It took like 2 hours for it to complete the chkdsk, so just go watch a movie or something.  Depending on how many bad sectors or how many errors chkdsk finds it will vary from computer to computer.

Defrag Hard drive!

I then proceeded to defrag the hard drive right after it got done with the chkdsk.   You can learn how to do that from Windows help center.  It helps to rearrange the file structure to make it easier and less time-consuming for Windows to boot.   It also helps me to work the hard drive a little to see if the problem returns.   So being patient on this one programs such as Defrag can help improve your system performance!  After that, I was fairly confident it wasn’t going to cause any more problems.

How I fixed the Windows 7 Infinite Reboot loop!

4203327202_3df16cd368_z

Danbo (heart) Windows 7 (flickr)

Why it happens!

It sometimes isn’t clear about why but some people have theories about it.   The main theory that I would like to talk about is the registry of Windows 7.   I have played around windows my whole life and know a thing or two about registry hacks and other such tweaks to do what is necessary to an operating system to get it to work.  I had a friend bring me a laptop that had this such problem.   It would just get a point in the boot up of Windows 7 and restart.   I never saw the windows screen or anything like that.   I am going to have to say it was probably an improper shut down of the operating system, or the hard drive got bumped because this was a laptop.   It is bound to happen for any laptop you have any laptop because most people do not know about preventing the hard drive from getting bumped.   You can always park the hard drive, which is rarely used today time.   I do remember having to do that in the 90′s and some of the early 2000′s but that was just nothing we’ve forgotten about.

OEM Recovery Partition

Since my friend was using an Acer Laptop, I used the recovery option included in all Acer laptops!

  1. Acer =  ALT + F10
  2. Toshiba = F8  (repair your computer)
  3. Dell = F11 (Some laptops have to do a manual installation of Windows)
  4. Lenovo = F11

These are only for of several manufacturers of Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and thus there are several that I am sure I have missed that have a recovery partition that you can use to recover you system in case of an emergency!

The Need for a Backup?

I have done post after post about backing up your data but in this case.   My friend just didn’t think about the need to keep those photos and important documents backed up!  I think I finally convinced him to look into backing up those important files.

How I did it!

The nice thing about recovery of important files is that I can use something like Kubuntu to use a live Demo of the operating system to gain access to the hard drive to put all those files on a [easyazon_link asin="B005MNGQ6C" locale="US" new_window="yes" nofollow="yes" tag="paulstechtalk-20"]Transcend 1 TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive – Military Drop Standards (TS1TSJ25M3)[/easyazon_link] and then wipe the system and use the recovery option to install windows brand new.

Extra problems!

Strangely enough when I finally got the first start-up screen for Windows 7, it said

“Windows could not complete the installation. To install Windows on this computer, restart the installation.”

I was thinking there was some disk error that did not get fixed on the re-installation of Windows 7.   So like a lot of computer savvy people, I found an article to bypass installation of windows and do it manually by going to the oobe.exe and running it directly!  Once I created a new account and rebooted it worked like a charm and I was able to login and upgrade the rest of the system like normally.   You might experience a driver that wasn’t downloaded and you will have to go fetch that driver from either Microsoft or from the vendor in question.   After all that, I was very pleased that it wasn’t going to be a hard repair and it was actually a simple repair other than making sure the important files was saved for my client!

How to setup your new RCA A1 Phone!

So you ha41en96KC1tL._SL160_ve the RCA A1!

When I first got this phone, You wouldn’t believe just how in experience I was with the RCA A1 on Straight Talk.  I didn’t know half the stuff I know now with this phone.  I am going to share with you what I’ve learned and what You will want to do or may NEED to do to have a better experience than I did when I started using this phone.

If your like me, you may have some Apps that you automatically install when you get your phone.  Then again you may just want to keep it simple and use it as it.  You may even just want to have it predict your typing patterns!  These are all just a few programs you can install on this phone but before you do you may want to do these steps to insure you use the most out of the 4gb of storage in the phone.

Fixing the Storage Problem!

If your like me and you just thought it would all go the 2 gb space on the phone, but later found out it didn’t here is how you fix that.  You should check out the other articles on the subject that might help you understand what I’m about to talk about.

To fix the storage problem:

Settings > Storage > Preferred Install Locations 

Select Phone Storage (it has 2gb Space)

Default Write Disk:

Select Phone Storage if you DO NOT have an SD CARD inserted

So know you have at least 2GB of space to use to install apps.

Securing the Phone!

You have several options on this one.   If you have a reason to keep it secure this one is the most under used but need to pay close attention to.

Settings > Security

Once your got to this screen you will want to decide just how much to secure your phone whether it be to encrypt the phone fully or just to have a pattern, pin or password lock for your phone every time you need to unlock it.   I really do not support the Face Unlock feature of the phone because I find it to be very buggy but it might be an option for you!  It however comes with a price, your face features could be taken from the phone and for other devices.  It is always going to be stored on the phone.`  I suggest either a PIN or Password but that is just me.

Display

Settings > Display

Brightness  (Check Automatic Brightness)

Theme

(4 Different Themes) Default, Mint, Mocha, and Raspberry

I selected Mint.  It makes it more personal!

Update your phone:

Settings > About Phone > Wireless Update

You should do this over Wi-Fi but it is up to you.   The current one as of this posting is MT77.ALPS.ICS2.MP.V1.18.   I have found out is an AMD processor chip for this phone and that they it is a Dual core.   So that is nice!  I will post more important information later on!  If this post has helped you please consider saying thanks by using my Amazon Affiliate link – http://www.paulstechtalk.com/amazon.   It cost you nothing but a small portion of the sales from what you buy with this will help me support my blog!

6 Android applications I installed on the RCA A1 Unlocked Phone!

LastpassLastPass Premium!

This was the first one that I installed on my new RCA A1 Unlocked Phone.  It wasn’t exactly a let’s think about this.   I have said in the past about Lastpass and I have bought the premium membership which only cost 12$ a year to be able to use it with my phone.

Google_Authenicator

Google Authenticator

Since I have 2 factor authentication enabled on all sites including Google.   I need to be able to get access to the authenticator to be able to gain access to those sites which need the app.

Weatherchannel

Weather Channel App

I know this one isn’t really one that everyone uses but I like to keep track of emergency conditions and this will take away some of the 3 gb softcap for Straight talk.  It is however worth it.

Podkickerpro

Podkicker Pro

I bought this app two years ago and it has been valuable for me.   I get to listen to my favorite podcast on the go.   I can go to a free wifi hotspot and quickly and easily just download the podcast that are most important to me.   It can be very good because you can specify which locations you want the podcasts to be stored at.   I put them on my external SD card and that saves me space on my internal space.

Google_Wallet

Google Wallet

Even though this Phone doesn’t have NFC capabilities, I like to have this app for the loyalty programs that I might come across and not have to find those silly cards that you get build up in your wallet.   This app is good at keeping track of those and if your go into a store with a loyalty program, your phone will be ready to pull up the scan bar that is related to that store.   Very useful for those of us who are trying to save money.

gasbuddy1

Gasbuddy

Yes this one is also very good at saving your money around town.   I use this when I am looking to get the most out of the gas prices in my local community and helps me get the lowest possible price on gas.   This has been a life saver for me, I once found gas for dirt cheap because of an attendant.   That day that gas station had to eat the cost!

How to setup predictive Text on the RCA A1 Unlocked Phone!

Predictive Text!

So I had someone sent me question on my Facebook page about setting up predictive Text for my RCA A1 Unlocked Phone!  I thought this was a good question for those who really aren’t good at settings on the phone.

Settings!

If you haven’t been using the phone yet, it is a good time to know how to navigate and get into the settings menu!   You have 3 good options that I know of and I will talk about them in detail:

  • Pull down menu — if you ever need to get to the settings menu, you can swipe down the pull down menu and then hit the settings button!    It is sometimes Black and White or color but it always look the same!
  • The Two Bar Button — Hit the two bar button on your RCA A1 Phone and then selecting System Settings
  • Into the Apps Window — Go into the Application window and look for the settings app which should look like a gear!   Once you figure out how you are going to get into the settings menu you are almost there.

Enabling Predictive Text!

The next step requires you to be in the settings menu.   Once there you will need to go and select:

Language & Input > Android Keyboard (Settings Button) > Auto Correction then Show Correction Suggestions

Once you have done that your predictive Text as you type it will start learning from the common words you type and will start to show them over the next few weeks.   Although I use Swiftkey (Free Version here) to do that because it works like a charm and learns quicker and easier!  I honestly do not have to worry about predictive text with Swiftkey.   It has always been one of the many apps that I install on any given Android phone or tablet I have bought in the past.

Apple(s) to Google(s), Who really wins and why you should care!

The raging battle between Apple's iPhone and Google's Android

The raging battle between Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android

The Battle Rages on!

While they probably do, compared to Google, I would assume it would be minimal. Apple doesn’t have financial incentives to collect data. Googles bread and butter involve the collection of big data. (Edited to fix type mistakes)

Joey Okazaki —  A Friend on Facebook!

My friend likes the Apple Iphone and Ipads because he feels safe.   I’ve talked about the security implications of assuming it is secure, in the past!  Yet because they aren’t worried about security, they have lost money getting scammed by scammers!   Each of these cases are unique to how Apple has operated in the past.   Far be it for me to point out just how much they have not thought about security because they believe Security through Obscurity is going to keep them safe.  This article is a basic comparison article both Apple and Google.   In the end it is your decision which one you will want to go to.   I like the Google Android because of the openness of the Operating system.

Apple’s Closed Mindedness!

Even though I usually speak harshly of Apple, I tend to do that because Apple to me is so closed minded.   I thought it was a good way to talk about some of the things that people assume about Apple.   While some of these are going to be rotten apples, others  will leave a sour taste in your mouth about Apple.   Although I will say that Google doesn’t come out smelling like a rose either.

Apple buys Burstly and they now have a reason to collect that data!  Although this isn’t news to some others have not been paying attention.  I know Some bugs in the wild that have yet to be fixed.   The email vulnerability in Iphone can be quite worrisome and troubling.  I’m sure I can find even more problems with the Iphone and Apple products but just because they do not allow openness than you will have people getting mad.

Apps on the IOS!

Although, I have yet to talk about the apps.   In order to get your app on the Apple store, you will need to have a Macintosh computer for one.   It however is the hardest hurdle for some but that isn’t the only thing.   You can’t expect to have your app in the Apple store if it violates the Terms of Service from Apple is quite freighting to say the least but at least I know what is collected from me on my android device!  When you install an app on the Google android device it tells you before you install it and sometimes when you first run it what the terms of service are for that app!

Google is Open Sourced!

If you’re looking to develop for Google, you can have any machine you pick.   From Windows, Mac, or Linux!   You can choose the way to develop that game and bring it into the android universe.   It however doesn’t come without some problems in the past and current!  With the security features that Android has you are less likely to see a problem!  Some problems I have heard about lately are quite serious such as the Heartbleed problem in Android!   Can leak serious personal information from users and could get your personal information.   I am sure however this will be fixed in the coming weeks and that we should not worry too much about such things that we can not control.

I’m biased!

I know I really do not like Apple because of how they think and want people to think they are more secure.   I am sure it can be assumed that the Apple fanboys think the same thing with the Android devices claiming they are less secure but no device is truly ever secured and if you assume Apple isn’t collecting your information that you are sadly blindly trusting them.   I’ve learned my lessons from Apple in the past and I still recommend Android to all my friends and family when ever they ask me for my opinion.   I know where  I stand with Google but I do not know where I stand with Apple and thus I do not readily recommend them for that one reason!

What mom didn’t want you to know about the Android OS!

When mom said no!

It probably made you wonder why?   I am going to talk about some things that will make your mom angry at me.   I am going to tell you secrets that will make your jaw drop and even make your mom probably curse at me!  Let’s not forget that this is an educational blog post so please keep that in mind!

Pesky Child locks!

For the most part, child locks are a good way to keep kids safe but the one thing most people do not know is Reseting the android device is probably the easiest thing you can do to get rid of them.  Here are a few Child Lock apps that would be gone if you did that!

I’ve only named off a few because when your child gets to that certain age of wanting more they will figure out ways and this way is the easiest to get the device back to factory settings without much effort from them.

Hide Pictures!

With android, anytime you have a photo or picture on your phone.   Android will index and put in into the gallery.   Well sometimes you really do not want  your mom see them and a few good apps to do that for you such as:

As you can see those videos, Files, or even text messages that you do not want anyone to see can be easily encrypted to prevent anyone such as your mom from seeing.   It also helps keep your privacy safe because do yo really want people to know you have a naked female picture on your phone!

Quickly call a favorite!

If your like me you have several people you call on a daily or even sometimes more than twice a day.   You do not want to go through the contacts to call them.   You can easily and simply put an icon on your home screen and every time you tap it, and you’d be calling them.   This however can be dangerous because of the possible hit dial while in your pocket so take not and maybe put it off one or two screens from the home menu just to be safe.

With Some older version you simply have to find a blank space on the page and just do a long press hold to have it come up to say Shortcuts > Contacts but with newer version.  You just have to go into the Widget screen and hold the contacts icon and it will make a contact shortcut.   You can do that with both calling and texting.   It is a really quick way to text to someone without having to type in their name or number.   This is the best thing to swiss cheese.   I love it!

As you can see these are just a few that will get your mom upset with you.   You can also us a VPN to help keep parental eyes off what your doing online, but it cost money and I am sure it is something you will have to consider when your at McDonald, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-a, and the library.   You really should use a VPN when possible but that is just my opinion!

3 Reasons Why I host on Bluehost servers!

bh_620x203_04Disclosure:  I am now affiliated with Bluehost in both the website and I also earn money every time someone clicks on my Bluehost links.   You pay no more than before but I get a commission every time you use the links to buy a hosting plan!

The Big Story!

A few weeks or I should say at least 2 months ago, I had Google give me the infamous warning about “Unnatural outbound links” and I finally had it with Squarespace.   I was pretty much fed up with not supporting Squarespace 5 anymore and since they didn’t have way to easily upgrade to 6 and of course Google.  I took the leap to going back to WordPress.  I had great success with WordPress in the past.  I knew I wanted WordPress but I really didn’t want to go back to those hosting providers that gave me the hardest time to cancel my account like Justhost and Hostgator.  I am sure I’ve missed one or two but those two were the worst with payment methods and hidden fees.

Cheaper than SquareSpace!

I paid $71.40 for a whole year with Bluehost.   Which is far better than Squarespace, which was easily 120$ a year if you bought them over a year at the premium level and I do not remember the exact amount for the basic level which was 10$ a month.  I should say I am really impressed with the ease of buying the hosting and updating my DNS to go here.  It was almost effortless but it was a hard decision non the less!

Domain Verification!

Bluehost verifies the domain by calling you and going through even more hoops to make sure the domain belongs to you.  It was a pleasant surprise when that week someone called me to verify that the domain that I used to set up was actually mine.   It can help thwart thieves and people from taking control of your domain without your knowledge.   So this verification was really nice to know it was there.   I am sure they didn’t have to call me and verify it but it was a nice change.

Increase in Ad Revenue!

The most important reason for me, was the simplest one.   It was the need to be able to do what I want with the themes and to change it as I see fit.   I can do what I want to my blog and not have to be constrained by no one or nothing.   I thought it was a great benefit with Squarespace but I found out that I couldn’t do as much or earn as much.   I’ve noticed that when I came back to WordPress.   I started earning more from Amazon and Adsense.   Like I was held back by Squarespace.  I do not know this for sure but I am glad I went back to WordPress.

I dare you to try Bluehost and give them a try because you’d be amazed as much as I was when I started the process.