Where I’ve Been…

I’ve gotten some messages about where I’ve been because my postings have become much less frequent since the beginning of the year…so I just wanted to let you guys know what’s going on.  Since I started using google+, I’ve just found it to be such a convenient method for sharing information.  Subsequently, for all the small things that I thought were interesting that I used to post about on the blog, I now just post on my google+.  So if you’d like to see those things, just add me to one of your circles on google+.  You can find me under “yukisays”.  To be honest, with the advent of google+ and other social networking sites, I’ve been wondering what the impact will be on personal blogs.  For me, the effect has been that I now only feel like using a blog to write posts that are lengthy or of more significance.  Everything else just goes on google+.


HTC Rezound: Ice Cream Sandwich Update (my favorite things so far)

By this time, most HTC Rezound owners in the U.S. should have received their OTA (over the air) Ice Cream Sandwich update (aka. Android 4.0).  Congratulations to us all, it is a very welcome update even if many people are upset that it was released months later than promised.  To be honest though, I didn’t really have any complaints with the last OS version (Android 2.3 Gingerbread).  It was actually very usable and stable , and I don’t think there was anything I felt significantly deprived of.  Having said that, and after using Ice Cream Sandwich for a week now, I couldn’t be happier to have the update.  There is a lot to love about the new OS, and a couple gripes worth mentioning.  Here are some of my first impressions and things I think are worth checking out.

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Using a Verizon HTC Rezound Internationally In Taiwan

Yes – you can use a Verizon HTC Rezound globally on GSM networks, even though it is only advertised as a CDMA phone.  Here are the exact steps I took when taking my HTC Rezound abroad to Taiwan.

1.  call Verizon and suspend your account without billing  (you can do this for 6 months during a 1 year period)
2.  go to Taiwan
3.  buy SIM card from Taiwan Mobile
-SIM Card will cost ~300 NT (~$10 U.S.) – you get to use this 300 NT as credit for making calls/texts
-adding a voice + unlimited data plan costs ~1500 NT (~$50 U.S.)
4.  remove SIM card from HTC Rezound
5.  insert Taiwan Mobile SIM card
6.  turn on phone
*note:  you will see that the phone has no signal (voice or data)
7.  open the phone dialer and enter “*#*#4636#*#*

8.  this will open a screen titled “Phone Info”…scroll down until you see “Set preferred network type:”.  Tap on the drop down box and select “WCDMA preferred”

*note:  you will see that the phone will get voice signal immediately and you can place and receive calls, and you can receive texts, but you don’t have data capabilities, and you can’t send texts

9.   to get data, follow these steps –> from the home screen:  menu button > settings > Wireless & networks > Mobile networks > Access Point Names > menu button > + New APN > enter the following info in this “Edit access point” screen

9a.  Name
-type in “TW – Taiwan Mobile Web
9b.  APN
-type in “Internet
9c.  Authentication type
-select “PAP
9d.  APN type
-type in “default,mms

*you now will have data capabilities (there is no 4G LTE in Taiwan yet, so it’s just a 3G connection, but hey don’t be picky!)  I can receive SMS texts, but can’t send texts.  But you have to pay per text message you send, so I would just use a messaging app that works over the unlimited data plan (ex.  whatsapp, wechat, etc) instead of actual SMS texting

*special thanks to XDA developers (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1421341)
*special thanks to i rule123
*special thanks to kirasama1014
-I could not have been able to get this working without their help.  the android dev community is so awesome!!!

DropBox New Automatic Photo/Video Uploading Feature Is Awesome (new/old users can get up to 4.5GB extra free space for trying)

I signed up for DropBox a while back, but never found a reason to use it on a regular basis.  That all changed recently when DropBox released an update to their Android app with the beta feature of automatic photo/video uploading.

Once you download it from the Android Market, it’s just a couple clicks to get started and your phone is set to automatically upload photos/videos to your DropBox account which can also sync with your computer if you choose.

The best part is that for a limited time, DropBox is offering up to 4.5GB of extra free space just for testing out this new feature.

?:  you might be asking, what about the automatic uploading of photos to google+/picasa?  Great question.  I still have my phone set to automatically upload photos/videos to google+/picasa, but remember that the resolution of those pics is capped at 2048×1536.  This was fine for my last phone because it was only 5 megapixels so the resolution didn’t exceed that limit.  However, my current phone is 8 megapixels and the max resolution is 3264×1840, so the automatically uploaded photos wouldn’t be in full resolution.  If google decides to allow higher res photos for automatic uploading, then I probably won’t need another service.  But for now, I’ll be using DropBox to make sure all my photos are backed up in full res.

?:  why not just use DropBox and forget google+ entirely?  Another good question.  I still like to have photos automatically upload to google+ because it makes sharing photos so easy.  I’m just using DropBox as a photo backup utility and not as a sharing tool.

*here’s some more info on how to get the 4.5gb of free storage

SoundHound = a better Shazam that’s worth the switch

One problem I have with apps is that I get lazy and stuck in my ways.  Once I find an app to do a job, I usually stick with it, even if a newer, better app comes along that I should be using.  Such is the case with Shazam and SoundHound.  Shazam was the first big name in music identification apps, and that’s what I’ve been using this whole time.  I had heard good things about SoundHound months ago, but never gave it a try due to my aforementioned laziness.  However, last week when trying to Shazam a song, it ended up taking forever and didn’t ever come up with a result.  So I decided to give SoundHound a shot and I’m so glad I did.  Why would I switch from Shazam?

2 main reasons…
1.  it’s much faster  (sometimes it recognizes the song in just a few seconds!…vs. Shazam which usually takes at least 30)
2.  recognizes foreign music better (this may or may not be true, but has been my experience for the past week)

Your mileage may vary, but I’m glad I made the switch!  Oh one other thing, it also lets you automatically post your music matches to your Facebook or Twitter accounts.  I created a Twitter account so I’d have a way to keep track of mine.  You can find my recent music tags on twitter @yukstersays  (@yukisays was taken already…sadface)

Android Market

How To Fix The HTC Rezound Infinite Boot Loop

Ok so there’s an issue that some HTC Rezound owners are experiencing that involves the phone getting stuck in an infinite boot loop and I wanted to share my solution.

Here’s the issue:  once you turn off the phone…when you turn it back on, the phone will turn on, look like it’s going to boot up, but once it gets to the homescreen it will turn off by itself and turn on again…and then repeat…this is the infinite boot loop.

I experienced this for the first time today, and did a little research on how to get out of it…

Here’s what worked for me…

1.  take off the back cover
2.  take out the battery
3.  remove the 4G SIM card  (and leave it out)
4.  put the battery back in
5.  turn on the phone (it should boot fine, with the exception of it saying there is no SIM card inserted…this is fine, just ignore this for now)
6.  from the homescreen…hit menu > settings > wireless and networks > mobile networks > network mode > select LTE/CDMA
7.  turn off the phone
8.  take off the back cover
9.  take out the battery
10.  re-insert the 4G SIM card
11.  put the battery back in
12.  turn on the phone

So what’s causing this and how to prevent it?

Well for me, this problem was associated with me switching on/off the 4G LTE (I do this to save battery…I only turn 4G on when doing data heavy tasks).  There seems to be a problem when you turn off 4G LTE, which puts you in “CDMA only” mode, and then you turn off the phone…because when you turn the phone back on, the 4G SIM card needs to have the 4G LTE enabled, otherwise you get stuck in a boot loop for some reason.

*From my research it seems like HTC and Verizon are both aware of the problem and there is a software upgrade scheduled to be released soon to remedy the issue…until then, make sure 4G is enabled before you power down.

HTZ Rezound: Quick List of Pros & Cons

Just spent my 2nd day with the Rezound and wanted to share a brief list of pros and cons with you guys…I love it so far, despite some minor annoyances

-very impressive screen
camera takes great pictures (focuses quickly and even good in lower light situations with flash)
removable battery
removable micro SD card
-very responsive
-very comfortable to hold  (it’s actually much slimmer feeling and looking than I remember…also love the textured surface on the back of the phone)
-3g seems plenty fast for normal things, but 4g LTE is unbelievably fast for tethering, uploading a bunch of pics, streaming netflix (plus using voice and data at the same time has proven useful many times already)
Beats Audio sound profile  (gives your music a much deeper, “bass-ier” sound.  I’m not sure, but I think the Beats Audio profile only applies to when you are using the stock music player app, and it doesn’t apply to the actual cell phone speaker, just the audio out jack.
flashing indicator light on the front to inform you of incoming messages, emails, missed calls, etc

HTC user interface

-not a fan of HTC Sense user interface (but just download an alternate launcher like Go Launcher or Espier Launcher, and that problem goes away)

-the power button is hard to press for 2 reasons (1.  the button is flush with the top of the phone making it hard to press, 2. it’s on the top right of the phone which is a good position for left handers, but difficult for right handers)
-the volume keys also don’t give a satisfying click because they are too flush with the case (so it’s hard to know if you’re pressing them)
-the charging connector is on the left side of the phone towards the bottom…it’s just an awkward place to put it.  it makes it so that you can’t hold the phone properly to text message while charging the phone…also, if you have headphones plugged in while charging, you have 2 cables sticking out of the phone in different directions.
-the “home” button is on the far left in this order (  HOME  |  MENU  |  BACK  |  SEARCH )…it doesn’t make any sense to put the most frequently used button the farthest away.  it should be placed 2nd from the left.  (there might be a way to remap these, but most ppl won’t go through that trouble)
micro sd card slot is underneath the battery (so you need to take the battery out if you want to access the micro sd)
no dedicated camera shutter button (although I don’t know of any high end phone that has one these days unfortunately)
-screen is not made out of gorilla glass (I was hoping my next phone would have gorilla glass so I wouldn’t need a screen protector)