Sunday, July 26, 2015

Google My Maps

After my Geotagging IV post I realized that I didn't cover how to make the Google maps I included.

Set GPSLogger to "Log to KML" and to create a new file "Every time I start". Also set location providers to "GPS".

After recording a track use GPSLogger's integrated support for Dropbox to upload the KML files.

While logged into Google, go to and click on "My maps."

Then click on "Create."

Click on "Untitled map" to name the map. Click on "Base map" to specify the background map.

Then click on "Import" to import your KML.

Drag your KML files (from Dropbox) here.

You can change the line color and width by clicking on the paint bucket.

Have fun!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

OnePlus One

I volunteered for Motorola's Test Drive of Lollipop 5.0.2 on my 2013 Moto X. Let's just say it didn't go well. After I got the replacement device I got the itch for something new.

I'd bought a couple of OnePlus Ones before and sold or traded them off. In early June, OnePlus started having "flash" sales of the One. I bought a 64GB SandStone Black for $299.

My OnePlus One came with CyanogenMod 11S. OnePlus has had a squabble with Cyanogen and subsequently built their own Android ROM called Oxygen. OnePlus has Lollipop variants of both of these but mine shipped with KitKat 4.4.4. They're promising 5.1.1 "soon." I haven't been in a hurry to flash Lollipop on the OnePlus One.

The OnePlus One goes against my bias toward modest, even small, phones. I'm still struggling with the One's size. The things that sweeten the deal are the gorgeous screen and the long lasting battery.


I never had the Moto X battery completely go dead but I found myself "managing" the battery by just not using the phone. I didn't think that was what you were supposed to do with a phone.

The OnePlus One's battery life isn't "magical" but I don't not use it for fear of exhausting the battery. At the end of the day I often find that I have more than 50% battery capacity left. You can watch my battery usage here.

The OnePlus One came with a pair of SIM trays. One for a micro-SIM and one for a nano-SIM so I was able to just slip the nano-SIM out of my Moto X and into the OnePlus One. I did this before I did the initial power up and the LTE has worked perfectly on AT&T.

Motorola Moto XOnePlus One
Device typeSmart phoneSmart phone
OSAndroid (4.4.2, 4.4, 4.3, 4.2.2)Android (4.4.4, 4.4) CyanogenMod 11S UI
Dimensions5.09 x 2.57 x 0.41 inches (129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm)6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches (152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm)
Weight4.59 oz (130 g)5.71 oz (162 g)
Physical size4.7 inches5.5 inches
Resolution720 x 1280 pixels1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density316 ppi401 ppi
Colors16 777 21616 777 216
FeaturesLight sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass)Light sensor, Proximity sensor, Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 3)
Camera10 megapixels13 megapixels
   FlashLEDDual LED
   Aperture sizeF2.4F2.0
   Focal length (35mm equivalent)30 mm
   Camera sensor size1/2.6"1/3.06"
   FeaturesDigital zoom, Autofocus, Touch to focus, Geo taggingCMOS image sensor, Autofocus
Camcorder1920x1080 (1080p HD) (60 fps)3840x2160 (4K), 1280x720 (720p HD) (120 fps)
Front-facing camera2 megapixels5 megapixels
System chipMotorola X8 (Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro MSM8960)Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 8974-AC
ProcessorDual core, 1700 MHz, KraitQuad core, 2500 MHz, Krait 400
Graphics processorAdreno 320Adreno 320
System memory2048 MB RAM3072 MB RAM
Built-in storage32 GB64 GB
Maximum User Storage28 GB
Storage expansion
Talk time12.00 hours
Stand-by time10.0 days (240 hours)
Capacity2200 mAh3100 mAh
Not user replaceableYes
Music player
   Filter byAlbum, Artist, PlaylistsAlbum, Artist, Playlists
   FeaturesAlbum art cover, Background playbackAlbum art cover, Background playback
SpeakersEarpiece, LoudspeakerEarpiece, Loudspeaker
YouTube playerYesYes
Built-in online services supportYouTube (upload), Picasa/Google+YouTube (upload), Picasa/Google+
GSM850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
UMTS850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz
FDD LTE700 (band 13), 850 (band 5), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1900 (band 2) MHz700 (band 17), 1700/2100 (band 4), 1800 (band 3), 2100 (band 1), 2600 (band 7) MHz
DataLTE, HSDPA+ (4G) 42.2 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRSLTE, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS
PositioningGPS, A-GPS, S-GPS, GlonassGPS, A-GPS, Glonass
NavigationTurn-by-turn navigationTurn-by-turn navigation
Bluetooth4.0 EDR4.0
Wi-Fi802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac802.11 a, b, g, n, n 5GHz, ac
   Mobile hotspotYesYes
   FeaturesMass storage device, USB chargingMass storage device, USB Host, USB charging
OtherNFC, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA syncNFC, DLNA, Tethering, Computer sync, OTA sync
NotificationsHaptic feedback, Music ringtones (MP3), Polyphonic ringtones, Vibration, Flight mode, Silent mode, SpeakerphoneHaptic feedback, Music ringtones (MP3), Polyphonic ringtones, Vibration, Flight mode, Silent mode, Speakerphone
SensorsAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Thermometer, BarometerAccelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Gesture
Hearing aid compatibilityM3, T3
OtherVoice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recordingVoice dialing, Voice commands, Voice recording
Officially announced01 Aug 201323 Apr 2014

As with the Moto X I got a Seidio Spring-Clip Holster (HLSSGT3AS). This holster is for a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but it fits the OnePlus One fine.

My OnePlus One came with a non-standard build XNF9XBS28K of KitKat. This is apparently a OnePlus internal build that is not intended to reach customers. Unfortunately many of the phones in the flash sales were shipped with this build. The downside is that this build doesn't receive Over The Air (OTA) updates so it won't get Lollipop. The upside is that it is really solid.

I followed the instructions here and flashed Cyanogen OS 12 (5.0.2) and it's as wonderful as I expected.

Oh, and I've installed the OTA Lollipop 5.1 on my Moto X.

Which one am I using?


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Google Photos

Google seems to be killing Google Plus with 1,000 cuts. Latest is moving photos out to it's own app.

I don't have the time or patience to address the "free" photo storage of Google Photos. Suffice it to say it's not "free."

Anyway on to a subject dearer to my heart, viewing.

I previously looked at Google Plus Photos and compared them to Picasaweb. All of my findings/comments from there still stand.

You'd hope that Google had noted those issues and addressed them in Google Photos.

You'd be disappointed then.

Just to recap here's the presentation of a photo in Picasaweb.

And in Google Plus.

No changes here.

And in Google Photos.

Aaarg! Still no way to see all the exif data. No way to zoom the map. No way to change the base map, i.e. to satellite.

Oh, do you want to change the sequence of the photos in an Album (or is it Collection?) in Google Photos? Sorry. You have to go back to Google Plus or Picasaweb to do that. And Google Plus will nag you when you do. It seems only a matter of time until Google kills Google Plus Photos.

What I do like is the sharing of Google Photos. You no longer get tangled up with needing Google Plus profiles.

After I wrote this Google did another flip-flop restoring function previously removed from Picasaweb.

This comment is exactly my feeling.
Matt Baer
At first I was against Picasa redirecting me to Google + photos. But after a few added features in Google + photos. I stopped trying to go to Picasa. I am really not a fan of the new Photo. Photos seems to be very limited compared to Picasa and Google + photos.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Chrome and "Ok Google"

A while back, Google added support for "Ok Google" to Chrome. This article on CNET discusses it.


All the links I could find on how to manage this feature are out of date, even Google's support article.

Chrome actually doesn't work that way for me on Version 43.0.2357.130 m (64-bit).

The first time I clicked on the microphone on the Google search page I got this dialog:

I chose "No thanks."


Now when I click on the microphone on the Google search page I get this:

Notice the red dot on the tab. It's listening.


This post isn't about how to manage Google's voice search.

It's about how Google snuck the bits into the open source Chromium project.

Steve Gibson's Security Now is one of my regular podcasts. A recent episode covered the concern over Google inserting a binary "blob" into Chromium.


          Microphone: Yes
          Audio Capture Allowed: Yes


9TO5Google had a good article on the concern.
The extension that powers Chrome’s voice search is not only downloaded automatically upon installing and launching the browser, but it’s also downloaded automatically in the Chromium open source version of the browser; the extension isn’t listed in the chrome://extensions UI... 
...the open source version of the browser, which is not owned by Google, automatically installs proprietary Google technology for both managing whether the microphone is enabled and listening for hotwords. [emphasis original]
What's happened to "Don't be evil?"

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Travel Gadgets

Recently we took a family vacation to Ireland. Being the family geek I felt like I had to take enough gadgets to cover the family including a 6-year old granddaughter.

There were at least 3 different modes of travel: airplane, car, and hotel. I got ziploc bags and labeled them for each set of gadgets.

Before you look, I went way overboard. I *ed the items I actually used. And yeah, I got pulled aside by the TSA guys!

*Cigarette lighter to mini-USB cable
*MicroSD to SD adapter

*Cigarette lighter to mini-USB cable

Mini tripod
*External battery charger and spare batteries
*USB power adapter
*USB power cable
*External 1TB drive

Spare Camera
Samsung CL65 camera
MicroSD card
USB power cable

Car Power
*Cigarette lighter to MicroUSB adapter
Cigarette lighter to 5 USB adapter
*Cigarette lighter splitter
USB to MicroUSB cable

Airplane Power
Fenix battery pack
EmPower to cigarette socket adapter

(Both trans-Atlantic flights (Delta 767-400ER) had 110V power under the seat, which I didn't use)

*Power plug adapters
*Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger
*Orange power cube
*USB to MicroUSB cable (several)
*Apple USB power adapter
*4 USB power adapter
*Lightning cable

Cigarette lighter to 110V inverter

*Lenovo ThinkPad X201
*iPad Mini
*iPad Air
*2013 Moto X
*iPhone 5S

Sunday, June 21, 2015


After the dashcam videos of the meteor over Russia in 2013, I had lusted for a dashcam.

I did my typical deep research and came away confused. I finally just went with price. I bought an OJOCam Pro Mini 0801 and added a SanDisk 32GB microSDHC which gives about 5 hours of 1080p video before it wraps.

I mounted it in front of my rear-view mirror and ran the cord under my headliner. I added a miniUSB cable with a right-angle plug to make the connection flatter.

Recently we took a vacation in Ireland and drove several hundred miles on "interesting" roads. I wanted to video as much of this as I could so I bought an additional windshield mount with GPS for the rental car.

The quality is incredible and it comes with a great program for viewing.

Here're the highlights from my Ireland vacation.

OJOCam appears to be responsive on Amazon answering questions on this product.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Geotagging IV

In Geotagging III I discussed my quest to capture a geotrack of a then upcoming trip. Well, we're back. We spent a week in Ireland.

As I noted in Part II of that post I had discovered that I could specify for GPSLogger to only use the device's GPS for getting location. This significantly improved location quality at the expense of battery.

After I posted Geotagging III I got an anonymous comment that told me that the author of GPSLogger (for Blackberry) has created an Android version. While I haven't tried it yet I would expect a it to be stellar app.

On our vacation I used my 2013 Moto X with GPSLogger for Android with the frequency set to 1 minute and location from GPS only. While this was hard on my battery I never ran out of charge.

The result was fabulous.

After a sleepless night across the Atlantic and then a day long drive on the wrong side of the road, I forgot to turn on the GPSLogger tracking until after lunch. This was near Ballinasloe. So the track from Dublin to Ballinasloe was using the Google Now tracking.

Likewise on the trip on 05/29/15 I turned off GPSLogger at Moneygall and didn't turn it back on until just before Kildare resulting in the straight line connection between those 2 points.

You can see the My Maps map here. If you zoom in you can even see where we walked through the woods with the hawks at Ashford Castle.