Why We Encrypt

Great post from Bruce Schneier from June 2015:

Encryption should be enabled for everything by default, not a feature you turn on only if you’re doing something you consider worth protecting.

This is important. If we only use encryption when we’re working with important data, then encryption signals that data’s importance. If only dissidents use encryption in a country, that country’s authorities have an easy way of identifying them. But if everyone uses it all of the time, encryption ceases to be a signal. No one can distinguish simple chatting from deeply private conversation. The government can’t tell the dissidents from the rest of the population. Every time you use encryption, you’re protecting someone who needs to use it to stay alive.

Private/group messaging and calling with iOS or Android? Signal is fantastic. For email, James Huff uses ProtonMail.

Habit Streak

I need to setup appropriate reminders to categorize twenty “Uncategorized” posts a day until they’re all organized again, so I’m reinstalling the free version of Habit Streak on my Android phone.

Habit Streak helps you achieve your goals (or New Year’s Resolutions) in exercise, diet or other areas of your life. Each day you report on whether you succeeded yesterday, building up streaks of habits and ingraining the activities into your life.

Android and the geek in me

I haven’t written about my Android in awhile, but I’ve been messing with it a bit more lately. The following has been rattling around in my head for the past few weeks. Please excuse the partial lack of structure.

Some background:

I’ve since purchased the Seidio extended battery, I can get between 30-48 hours of battery life, depending on usage. While I haven’t been keeping track like before, I’ll just say that I’m around 60-65% after being unplugged from 07:00 to 13:00 (six hours). Using the with the stock battery, it went down to 20-25%.[1. The six hours comes from being at school, using Audiogalaxy, Google Voice, and TweetDeck heavily between classes.]

Related: Your Battery Gauge Is Lying To You: Everything You Need To Know About Bump Charging And Inconsistent Battery Drain (Android Police)

More recently, Marcus demonstrated some features of CyanogenMod over a Monday lunch at school. A couple days later, my phone is running CM6.1, but I’ll probably upgrade to CM7 RC1 for kicks. (Interested? Backup first.)

  • I prefer the default Android calendar app over the calendar app used from HTC Sense. The weekly view displays event descriptions.
  • I also like the default Gallery app for viewing photos.
  • I don’t see “Verizon Wireless” on the notification or lock screens anymore.
  • There’s no built-in stopwatch or countdown timer, so I’ve installed Ultrachron Lite.
  • I have six power widgets in the notification screen, plus three on my [only] home screen.
  • ADW.Launcher is the default launcher included. Compared to Zeam Launcher, it has more options, but I don’t necessarily need them all. I’m sticking with it for now.
  • I don’t need Silent Boot or Silent Sleep anymore since (1) CyanogenMod doesn’t have a startup sound, and (2) CyanogenMod > Sound Settings allow me to configure quiet hours.
  • I experienced a slew of FC errors while installing my first few apps. Using ROM Manager, under Utilities, run Fix Permissions. You can also reboot to ClockworkMod Recovery and fix permissions before you boot into the OS.

With a rooted phone, PicMe and ShootMe are two awesome screen grabber (screenshot) apps.

I didn’t realize that the Mount USB Storage option in ClockworkMod Recovery allowed my to plug my phone to my computer with the USB cable, then copy files off my SD card. I copied my ROM backups to my computer for safekeeping. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have a way to revert back to the stock ROM since my 8 GB MicroSD card died, and I didn’t know about this feature. (I hope I won’t need to do that, though.)

Oh, and use Titanium Backup to uninstall apps you don’t want. (Why? I believe Twitter and Facebook were only included because of the Google Apps install. Oh, I nuked YouTube as well in favor of HTML5 videos.) No need for Terminal, unless that’s how you roll.

Finally, some screenshots:

Android battery life continued

I’ve given up on extending my battery life by means of software, such as JuiceDefender. Maybe I need more patience to configure it, but sometimes, I just want it to work. From what I’ve been reading across various blogs and websites so far, the iPhone holds that title.

I’m going to buy an extended battery. I’ll be alright with the bulk.

When I’m away from home[1. School, primarily], my usage consists of:

After six hours, I’d find my battery around 20-25%. Boo. (Yes, I adjust my screen brightness as low as I can tolerate and usually keep all GPS-related features disabled. WiFi is usually disabled.)

On a few work days, when I forced myself to use my computer for Google Voice and TweetDeck, I didn’t touch my phone and it barely got to 85% after eight hours.

Specific Android app-related posts to come. Sit tight.

Android apps I use, plus a few battery tips

Overall, I’m very happy with the experience using my HTC Droid Incredible. I’ve had it for about ten days.

After a couple of days with it, I root my phone with unrevoked3. (Ambitious, huh? I guess Wil Wheaton recently did the same with his HTC Droid Incredible. Wheaton!!!)

Side note: Why did I want to root my phone? To uninstall apps pre-installed by Verizon Wireless that I wouldn’t use. (Crapware.)

The following is a list of Android apps I’ve installed and used so far:

  • Android System Info
  • Barcode Scanner – When checking prices at the Cal Poly Pomona bookstore, this saved me $162.57 (Breakdown: $62.11 immediately + $100.46 Amazon.com Buy Back, which I’ll do at the end of the quarter.)
  • Chrome to Phone – Opens links from Google Chrome on my desktop to my phone.
  • Clockr – A simple clock widget that displays text, not numbers.
  • Dropbox – Along with Epistle (see the next item), this lets me save photos to any Dropbox folder, keeping my phone storage clear.
  • Epistle – Synchronizes text files to/from a specified folder in your Dropbox account.
  • Gmote – Control playback of videos and music, browse your file system, or use phone as a keyboard or mouse.
  • K-9 Mail – Robust email client, better than the built-in app. I use IMAP with my email server. (See update below)
  • Mint.com – View your balances and budget. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support adding cash transactions.
  • Pandora [Radio] – I haven’t tried Slacker Radio yet.
  • [Google] Reader – The formatting looks good. I prefer this over visiting the website on my phone.
  • [Google] Shopper
  • Silent Boot – Silences the “Droid” start up sound when powering your phone on. Stay discreet if you’re in a quiet room and need to restart your phone.
  • Silent Sleep – Specify when your phone should be silent.
  • Swype (Beta) – If you’re sick of tapping an OSK, you’ll love this app. I was comfortable using it after a couple days. I can write fairly quickly.
  • Titanium Backup
  • TLDR – Saves articles for later reading directly to your Instapaper account.
  • TweetDeck – More powerful than the official Twitter app.
  • Uninstaller
  • Google Voice – I heart this.
  • WordPress – In case I want to draft/publish a blog post from my phone, this works very well.

After I root my phone, I uninstalled the following pre-installed apps:

  • City ID
  • Footprints
  • Skype – I might reinstall this if I needed. At the moment, I wouldn’t want to use it while I’m out and about.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Battery life and task killers

From what I’ve read so far, it’s only bad to have rampant apps installed if they constantly use your CPU in the background. The Android memory system is pretty solid.

On Friday, I used my phone pretty heavily between classes. (TweetDeck, texting several friends with Google Voice, and Pandora.) It was unplugged between 7:00 AM and 1:45 PM. When I got home, my battery was down to 25%.

I might have to try the bumb charge method outlined in this HTC forum thread, plus remove the calendar widget. I technically don’t need it.

Actually, I should try one thing before trying another. That way, I know which factor was relevant. For now, the calendar widget is gone.

Otherwise, I’ll upgrade to the Seidio Innocell 3500 mAh Extended Life Battery shortly.

Note to self: With Auto-sync disabled and Background data enabled (Settings > Accounts & Sync), I still got notified of a text message through Google Voice.

Update 2011-01-09 22:10 — TweetDeck also updates with Auto-sync disabled. What apps are dependent on Auto-sync? (I’ll search for the answer eventually if nobody leaves a comment. Hehe.)

Update 2011-01-10

  • 06:15 — After charging all night, powered off phone, unplugged, then replugged the power cable. The orange light appeared, meaning the battery resumed charging.
  • 06:45 — Green light from battery charging.
  • 09:10 — Listening to Pandora Radio, checking TweetDeck, downloaded a few PDF files, and chatted with a couple friends through Google Voice (27 messages). My phone was on vibrate the whole time.
  • 10:50 — Battery level at 40%
  • 11:25 — While eating lunch and reading, my battery level went down to 28%. I checked my K-9 Mail settings and disabled background sync. (Settings > Global > Network)
  • 11:29 — Stopping the K-9 Mail service. Battery level at 27%
  • 11:42 — In class; battery level at 26 %
  • 12:50 — Battery level at 26%

For now, I’ve (sadly) uninstalled K-9 Mail and will resume using the built-in Mail app. I’ll resume my testing and publish a new post at the end of the week (so I don’t keep adding “clutter” to this).

Upgrading to HTC Droid Incredible

Nineteen months with an LG Dare (dumb phone) is over. While I was considering waiting for the Apple iPhone coming to Verizon Wireless, I decided to go with the HTC Droid Incredible (Android OS).

I’m glued to Google Voice and my life is in Google Calendar. I also have a Gmail account, but my primary email account (IMAP) is through my web host, Media Temple.

Of course, open source software is big plus.

I’m aware of the awesome Apple iOS apps, but I also see lots of good ones for Android. I won’t necessarily install a lot of Android apps, but it’s nice to have the option.

Most importantly, I still don’t want to leave the Verizon Wireless network.

Over these next two days, I’m importing, consolidating, purging, and organizing my contacts into Google Contacts with tips from:

I’m also looking forward to:

  • a better camera phone, along with the ability to upload full-res photos to Flickr[1. The LG Dare resizes photos before sending.].
  • Pandora Radio (or Slacker Radio, suggested by a friend because of caching)
  • sync plain text files with Dropbox (e.g. future blog post ideas, reference)
  • access to Remember The Milk anywhere
  • the ability to write and post [on my blogs] from anywhere, without a desktop or notebook computer
  • Google Maps

Yes, I have an 10GB Apple iPod (3rd Gen). And a DSLR camera. And paper. And my Kindle.

At the end of the day, I’m just a geek.

Oh, I ordered the HTC Droid Incredible from AmazonWireless for $0.01 with free two-day shipping. They check your account upgrade date. Their purpose (my emphasis added):

AmazonWireless is a new website by Amazon.com that offers cell phones and wireless plans, easy shopping without rebate hassles, and FREE two-day shipping.