One of my pet peeves about logging into sites on my phone is the password field. On a large screen it makes sense that the field is obscured by * characters but what about on a small device only you can see?
I can’t be the only one bothered by this because the wifi login form on Android devices has a handy “Show password” setting. Maybe it’s because people use the default wifi password set by their ISPs so much it’s their only “strong” password. Anyway, I wished there was a similar setting for other login forms.
Well, now there is, sort of. A handy Xposed Framework module called HideNoPasswords that reveals the letters behind the dots. I found I could even swype my password which makes logging in with phrases so much easier.
There are downsides. Security is the most obvious one. An application could take screenshots in the background when it detects the keyboard is in use and send that data somewhere. Someone could look over your shoulder and see the password.
Also, your phone has to be rooted, and you need the Xposed Framework installed but if you’ve conquered those hurdles installing this module is simple.
Here’s the XDA Thread on the module, and the XDA blog post where I found out about this handy extension.
The Android version of Terraria is on sale right now on the Play Store and Amazon App Store so I bought it last week and it’s a pretty decent port of the PC original. Controls are reasonably good although I’ve sometimes found the movement swipes (left side of the screen) get confused and my character uses his weapon/tool instead. The local multiplayer over wifi is great!
Anyway, I had ordered a Ipega 9025 controller on dealextreme and it arrived a few days ago. It’s a bluetooth controller designed to hold a smartphone in a cradle so I was interested to see if it would work with Terraria. Initial tests were not good and various forums said Terraria didn’t support the controller. I tried Tincore Mapper but could not figure out how to map anything.
I finally read the manual for the controller and found it mentioned something called the ipega game lobby. You can find the APK for it here. It’s the file called “IPEGA Game Center_ENG.apk” and should be side loaded on your phone. Most of the app has been translated to English but Chinese characters still show up in a few places. Getting it to work is a bit fiddly too. My Galaxy S4 wouldn’t always connect to the controller, but the game lobby would usually find it and launch the test app. Moving the analogue sticks around moves a green dot on the screen to verify it’s working. Terraria now works fine and is very playable with the controller!
Ittle Dew worked perfectly and I also tried RetroArch, the multi-system emulator. It didn’t pick up the controller until I defined the keys explicitly and told it which “keyboard device” or IME to use.
Here’s where the major downside to using the game lobby comes in. It doesn’t require root which is great, but it does ask you to set the controller as the default keyboard. That means when you later use your phone to send tweets, emails or type anything it’ll be through this keyboard. I’m rather fond of Swype, and TBH, I don’t fully trust them that they won’t try to download everything I type.
There is a way around it however. By using Llama Profiles I set up an action to catch when the controller disconnects. It then used the secure settings plugin to change the keyboard back to Swype and display a brief message saying, “Swype activated again”.
The Ipega 9025 is also available on Amazon UK and Amazon US. The controller feels good in my hands. It’s not going to feel as good as an Xbox 360 controller but it gets close and it’s super convenient being able to clip the phone to it. Recommended!
On the day a world famous celebrity dies the Internet fills with countless messages remembering their life, expressing grief and shock at the death. It’s a collective coming together of humanity. Today was exceptional though. I read that grown men were reduced to tears when they read the news. In solidarity, people repeated the same simple catch phrase an alien in the 70’s used in greeting.
Yesterday, Robin Williams died. His Wikipedia page saw a flurry of activity today as the end of his life was documented for future generations to peruse.
I still remember him best as Mork, the alien who crash landed on Earth in an egg but he has a long list of movie and tv titles to his name which you’ll find on Wikipedia, or IMDB.
I knew he had battled substance abuse but had no idea he fought depression. It’s horrible that someone who brought so much laughter and joy to the world should see no alternative but suicide. I can’t imagine how dark the future must seem if this is the only way. I wonder what he’d make of the outpouring of feelings and grief today?
Some links that I came across today, because the Internet will return to normal tomorrow. I hope these don’t rot away with time.
These are dark days for his friends and family in their grief.
Nanu Nanu Mork. RIP.
Ever wondered what it would be like to fly a remote controlled paper airplane?
I backed the Power Up 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane last year and received my airplane in the post this morning. Excited? I was, just a bit.
I like the packaging. It comes in a plain cardboard box in a sleeve with a transparent plastic top containing the engine and brains of the device. Inside are a manual, papers for making various types of planes, a charger and a usb cable. There’s also a spare propeller and tail fin.
For my first airplane I decided on the Invader design they recommended. The instructions for making it are simple enough, although all the folding to strengthen the wings makes it more complicated than a regular paper plane.
How does it fly? Well, they’re not joking when they said you’d need around 150×150 meters. For my first flight I used a public grass area at the end of my street that’s maybe 15x15m and the plane flew so fast it had barely left my hand when I had to turn it. It didn’t respond too well to the Android app running on my S4 but that might just be my panic at seeing the thing fly away and heading towards a nearby tree at high velocity!
After a few goes we moved to a larger area that’s on a steep slope. So, up to the top, and there’s a wind blowing. “That’s going to cause havoc”, I thought. I was right. I released the plane and it was flying towards the hedge at the end of the park within seconds. A quick twist of my hand to tilt my phone and the plane changed direction and I cut the throttle. It glided to a stop just a short distance from a fence. Phew. The two kids watching the plane fly were a bit awed I think.
Next test will be tomorrow. I think the square in Blarney village is probably big enough..
Last weekend I took the train to Dublin to take part in my first Ingress event, the Helio XM Anomaly. All I knew was that both Resistance and Enlightened would be there fighting over portals but not much more than that.
Fights for portals were intense 15 minute battles. It must have made a strange sight watching two groups of adults bent over their phones on a street or park tapping at their phones. The only thing heard were the frequent shouts calling “DEPLOY”, “MOD” or “CUBE” as we shouted what we were doing. Who won? The Resistance of course!
The next (closest) Helios event is in Manchester but if there’s another one in Ireland I’d like to go if I can. Good fun, lots of walking.
If you live in Cork you’ll be familiar with KC’s in Douglas. Here’s their story.
I’m getting hungry for one of their pitas now!
Many might be surprised to hear that I watched the World Cup. You see, Bob Kerman left his cup of tea in his command module because in the vacuum of space the tea would boil off. Unfortunately for Bob his command module isn’t pressurized to sea level pressure so his cup of tea is taking an age to brew. You know you can’t get a decent cup of tea high up a mountain?
While waiting he decides to go on EVA and watch the World. His cup will wait.
Just a few photos that have been sitting in my “upload folder” for the last year or so after attending jQuery UK. Look at all those old 90s consoles! Snes and Megadrive machines? There’s another machine there too but I don’t recognise it. I wasn’t a fan of console gaming back then, but if they’d thrown in a C64 I’d have had fun!
It was an amazing conference and best of all, the talks are online. I remember being blown away by Wait, Chrome DevTools can do THAT? by Ilya Grigorick.
Scenic photos of Oxford will eventually make their way to my photoblog at In Photos dot Org.
Ironically, while we were at the local vet with our dog Oscar having his teeth checked I felt a slight pain in my jaw. Over the next hour it got worse and the next day it was excruciating whenever I bit down too hard on food.
A trip to the dentist and an x-ray showed an infection below the tooth that eleven years ago caused me agony with a painful tooth ache that required a root canal. I was dumbstruck. Of all the bad luck, the tooth was supposed to be dead. My dentist said he only saw this happen 4-5 times a year. It’s very rare apparently.
So, my options are limited. I either have the tooth extracted or have an apicoectomy. That’s where they peel back the gum and “a tooth’s root tip is removed and a root end cavity is prepared and filled with a biocompatible material.” I made an appointment for an apicoectomy this morning.
Remember my bad luck? I was referred to a specialist. I was sitting on his chair when he asked what tooth it was. “Lower left 4″ I replied, having burned that phrase to memory at my previous appointment. He gave me a look, and went on to explain that there’s a nerve from my lower lip going between teeth 4 and 5 and he’d be working very close to that. In very rare cases that nerve can be damaged and the lower left lip can become numb as a result. It could be temporary or permanent. I’m sure he saw the look of horror on my face.
Getting rid of that damned tooth is looking a lot more attractive right now! It’s always had it in for me. The last time it caused me pain was on the Sunday of a bank holiday so I had to wait until first thing on Tuesday morning to see a dentist. This time we were due to drive down to Ahakista in Co Cork for a weekend away. Thankfully my dentist made time to see me that Friday afternoon, antibiotics slowly killed the infection and my wife was a huge help and comfort. She bought Anbesol for me and that worked wonders to kill the pain as I would always accidentally bite down too hard resulting in muttered curses and shaking of my head to dull the pain.
I think the tooth will be coming out.
PS. Oscar got antibiotics and he’s feeling much better