Tasker: An ultimate automation tool for Android

Meet Tasker, a state-of-art automation tool for Android that can:

  • turn on GPS when Google Maps starts; turn it off when Google Maps closes,
  • show a list of your music apps when you plug in headphones,
  • turn off pattern lock while on home WiFi,
  • read incoming text messages aloud,
  • even more,
  • a lot of more,
  • even a lot of more.

It isn’t free (of course!). I costs… 5 bucks. But it is worth every damn cent spent on it!

And, if above is still not enough for you…

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Limit Android-based device functionality to an absolute minimum

If you ever need to turn some Android-based device (like a spare tablet) into single-function device (like auto-started browser with precisely selected website and all other functions disabled) then there’s a great article at Android Enthusiasts that explains in quick, sharp words, what you need to achieve this (some time and cash).

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ALWAYS check manufacture date of the battery, you purchase!

I have put my own and Izzy‘s answer on Android Stack Exchange to formulate this check-list or rather list of importance for things that you should consider when purchasing a new battery.

tl;dr: Li-Ion batteries stored in store or warehouse without cyclic re-charging (which most likely never happens in these scenarios) are completely dead after 20 months at most. Thus, you should never, ever purchase any kind of battery that is two years old or more. No matter what seller says.

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Dealing with ‘No external storage available’ error in Android 4.3

I’ve been cleaning internal storage (the only one, that I have) on my Google Nexus phone and it seems that I remove a bit too much… My storage stopped responding and when I went to gallery or photo camera I saw a beautiful message, saying:

No external storage available.

If you’re facing the same or similar problem, you may find solution in this post. However, I must warn you that most likely you’re going to loose everything on that storage!

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Doubled canvas drawings on Android with hardware acceleration enabled

There is a bug in HTML 5 Canvas object exposed on Android platforms, in versions 4.1.1 till 4.3 (newest, as of writing it, though not yet fixed). It causes that, when hardware acceleration is turned on, any drawings on canvas will be doubled at top of the page. At first, I thought, that this is caused only in Segment Display — a fabulous JS library, that I use. This is why, you’ll find a lot of references to it in this article. But then it turned out to be general Android problem, that appears not only in PhoneGap applications (which uses webview), but also in all pages served on Android 4.1.x+ platform. So, you’ll also find some ideas, how to work around this problem, if you’re not using Segment Display.

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Can’t install any application from Google Play

If you’ll ever get some cheap Chinese crap, called tablet, you may face up a strange issue. Though device is most likely equipped with Android 4.0 or newer, it still has old Android Market (not Google Play) installed. Opening Android Market does not perform automatic update to Google Play. And attempt to install any application ends with hang-up. If you’re experiencing this or similar problems, you may find solution here.

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Minimal installation of ADB

ADB stands for Android Debug Bridge and it is a toolkit included in the Android SDK package, used mostly for debugging problems with Android applications and Android system itself. This is a must for Android developers, even if you’re using PhoneGap or PhoneGap Build to develop them. But in this case, you don’t have to install entire SDK. This post shows minimal approach for getting your hands on Android debugging along with some side-effect issues, you my run into.

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Real APK Leecher

Real APK Leecher is a great tool that allows you to download offline versions (installers) of all your Android’s (Google Play) applications, even paid ones. As good as any other free. For what purpose? Why this is obvious. You can finally install any APK you want on any Android-based device without need to provide your Google login and password. You won’t be able to update them automatically though, but who cares? You can always use this piece of software again to get the newest version as offline installer.

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My favorite AI Factory’s Chess Free games

I’m playing Chess Free by AI Factory Limited on my mobile devices. Games has an option to export gameplays in PGN format. Though I’m pretty weak player, I wanted to write down myself most interesting games I played.

If you’re anything more than beginner in chess, you probably won’t find anything interesting in this post. Sorry! :]

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Downloading Google Play applications directly to your PC [updated]

Yes, it seems, that with a little bit help from Vietnameese developers, there is a fairly easy way to download Google Play applications to your PC. Why you would like to do this? There are at least few reasons.

It is a faster way, that does not require Internet connection. You copy a bunch of *.apk files from your PC to your Android-based device, and install them directly from there, without touching Google Play.

If you have ever read this article before then read it again and notice extremely important security update.

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Transfering files from Galaxy Nexus or other device with Android 4.0

Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and Samsung Galaxy Nexus 7 tablet, as good as probably all other devices with Android 4.0 or higher on-board, are missing USB Mass Storage mode, which allowed you (under older Android) to use your mobile device as external hard drive and copy files directly via Windows Explorer.

Here you’ll find some alternatives to transfer files from Android 4.0-based device.

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Correct wallpaper dimensions for different Android-based devices

Even prettiest wallpapers looks pretty ugly when stretched by Android to fit different device screen size. Either used algorithm is poor or I have too high expectations, but most of my Windows wallpapers look like a real crap, when copied to Android and used there as that system wallpaper. Some idea is to prepare own set of wallpapers, especially fit to your device screen size. For this purpose it is good to know, how to calculate it.

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