My New Toy! MacBook Air 13-inch


So I finally did it, I bought myself a brand-spankin’ new 13-inch MacBook Air. When the Air first debuted in 2008, I immediately fell in love with the form factor, but I wasn’t too keen on the under-powered specs. I understand Apple’s need to go with low-end specs in order to make such a thin ultra-portable computer.

But it’s now six years later, and the MacBook Air is now just as capable as a primary laptop for most purposes. I wanted something lighter than my MacBook Pro to use when I’m going on site to a client, traveling on a plane, or just carrying around my apartment.

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I decided needed a facelift, the “Matrix” theme just wasn’t keeping me happy anymore. Therefore, I’d like to introduce my new theme, which I am calling “Los Angeles TOD 2014.” As you can see from the header image, it’s obviously showing pictures of Los Angeles, California, which is where I live and work. I love this city and decided I wanted to show it off.

And what about that “TOD” in the name? Oh, that stands for “Time-Of-Day”, which is a cool PHP function I created that dynamically loads a different header image based on the time of day (in Los Angeles, Pacific Time Zone). I currently have defined four time periods, which are “Sunrise/Morning”, “Daytime”, “Evening/Sunset”, and “Nighttime”.

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Google quietly released another update for Nexus devices last week for the KitKat version of Android, bringing the version number to 4.4.4. Most of the included changes are security patches and performance/stability fixes.

The new Android 4.4.4 Dialer app changes the color scheme to a much brighter white and blue scheme.

The new Android 4.4.4 Dialer app changes the color scheme to a much brighter white and blue scheme.

New Dialer App

There is also a new Dialer screen, which changes the previously-dark color scheme to a much brighter and, in my opinion, more inviting white and blue color scheme.

If you have a Nexus device which is compatible with Android KitKat (4.4.x), you can download the factory images from Google’s Android Developer website, or wait for the OTA update notification.

OTA Update

Keep in mind that if you have rooted your device, or made any modifications whatsoever to the /system partition, you will be unable to install the OTA update, and you shouldn’t try to install it as a failed update installation can cause your device to go into a perpetual reboot loop. Make sure you return your device to 100% stock before installing the OTA update.

Full Factory Image

Another option, you can download the full factory image and flash it to your device using Fastboot (though the directions on how to flash a ROM using Fastboot are beyond the scope of this post). Download the linked ROM image file for your device (make sure you choose the correct one if your device has both Wifi-only and Wifi-and-Cellular models).

Download Links

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As of today, Google has made the official Android 4.4.3 factory images available for recent-model Nexus devices, including the Nexus 5 (hammerhead), the Nexus 7 2013 wifi-only model (razor), the Nexus 10 (mantaray), the Nexus 4 (occam), and the Nexus 7 2012 wifi-only (nakasi) and Nexus 7 2012 cellular-mobile (nakasig) models.

If you have any of the listed devices, you can download the full factory images from Google Developer’s site and flash them yourself, or wait for the OTA update notification to show up over the next week or so. Note that the Nexus 7 2013 LTE-model (razorg) is not listed, as the 4.4.3 update does not appear to be available for it as of the time this post was published.

The 4.4.3 update is listed as version KTU84L for all models except the Nexus 5, which is listed as KTU84M. You can view all available factory images for Nexus devices at this page. Direct download links for the Android 4.4.3 factory images are listed after the break.
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No-AdsI hate ads. On the Internet, on my smartphone, on television, on the radio. I hate ads, period. However, they have become an integral part of our daily lives. The income from ad revenue supports a great deal of the “free” infotainment we have access to. Network television, radio, web sites. If it’s so-called “free”, then it’s most likely ad-supported.

Now, this wouldn’t be a big problem if ad companies were responsible and respectful to us as consumers. I don’t mind small, non-intrusive ads on the sidebar of a website, or even at the end of an article.

I understand that web sites cost money to keep running, and unless people are willing to pay on-going subscription fees to access the site, ads it is. But unfortunately, few websites choose to go with the non-intrusive ads, since they pay out less. Instead they choose the flashy, in-your-face ads that pay out more per click or impression.

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Warpspeedchartclick on image to view larger


Jabra-headsetI have a 1-month-old Jabra bluetooth ver. 4 headset that I use every day with my HTC One Android smartphone which runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat Google Play Edition, for hours with absolutely no reception problems or static. In other words, it works perfectly.

I have even found it to work on different levels of my townhouse. My phone could be in the lower level at one end and I could be upstairs at the other end, and I can still answer calls.

Needless to say, I am beyond impressed with the bluetooth combo the One and this Jabra make. In previous years of using every iPhone up to the 5, I never had that kind of range with a bluetooth device.

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Happy New Year 2014!


Happy New Year 2014 from Portland, Oregon!

My Favorite Christmas Songs of the 2013 Season


It’s the holiday season here in the United States (and many other parts of the world), and I thought I’d take a break from posting Android-related material to share four of my favorite Christmas songs of the 2013 season.

There are so many Christmas songs I enjoy, from a few traditional ones to some more modern tunes. This year, most likely due to the amount of snow and record-breaking cold temperatures here in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been listening to several Christmas songs that put me in a sunny, tropical mood.

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(This post was updated on 9 June 2014 to correct a couple typos and clarify one of the steps.)

For most Android users, having the Android File Transfer application automatically open up when you connect your Android device to your Mac with its USB cable is a nice convenience. But for some users, such as developers, who may be frequently rebooting their device to test things, having the Android File Transfer application continuously pop up and steal focus from their development studio application is frustrating.

Android File Transfer application

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