Saturday, September 27, 2014

Restrict apps network access in Android smartphones with Firewall Plus

Do you want to block the mobile advertisement from appearing in the screen of your standalone (can work locally without network connection) apps or games?

Do you feel suspicious and insecure when you discovered there are network activities from some of the apps installed in your smartphone, even though you didn't open them, or the apps suppose to work locally without the need of connecting to the network?

Would you like to restrict certain apps that consume a lot of network data usage, such as e-Magazines, e-Newspapers, etc., so that they can only use WiFi connection to access the network, and not using your precious mobile data plan?

If you have already rooted your Android device, you can install the free Firewall Plus.

I found this Firewall Plus very straightforward and easy to use, and it has a very small file size of 239kb only.

It will list down all the apps in your Android device, which you can select to allow the apps to have WiFi access, or 3G/4G mobile access, or both, or none, respectively.

It has 2 modes, the Blacklist mode is useful when you want to allow majority of the apps to have full network access, and the Whitelist mode is useful when you want to disallow network access to all the apps by default.

Firewall Plus works on top of the built-in iptables firewall in Android.

If you haven't rooted your Android device, you can also try another app called NoRoot Firewall. NoRoot Firewall leverages on the VPN function of your Android device to perform its firewall function, which I think is less efficient than Firewall Plus.

By the way, if you have installed 3G Watchdog or its Pro version in your Android device to monitor your network usage, it is able to show you the usage by apps very clearly.

Of course, you can also make use of the Data Manager inside the Android Kitkat system to check for network usage by apps.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Reenabling external SD card access that is restricted in Android 4.4 (KitKat) with SDFix

If you have updated your Android smartphone to version 4.4.x (KitKat), you might find that access to your external SD card is now restricted by the system.

The system now comes with a file explorer that is having full read/write access to both your internal storage and external SD card storage. However, 3rd party file explorers lost the write access to the external SD card and can no longer create, move or edit files or folders in it.

Many apps can no longer save data and files in the external SD card, including your backup apps, multimedia apps, file transfer apps, etc.

This will bring problem to the operation of numerous apps. You might also face storage shortage if the internal storage of your phone is less than 32GB.

Luckily, you can reconfigure your Android smartphone to treat your external SD card the same way as before version 4.4, and let you get rid of the restriction that causes you hassle, trouble and problem.

There is only one condition: your Android smartphone must be rooted, as root access is required to change the affected system configuration file.

I use a free app called SDFix: KitKat Writable MicroSD by NextApp Inc. for my HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) after they've updated to Android 4.4.x. This app is simple, easy, and works like a charm.

You will need to reboot your phone for the change to take effect after the app changed the system configuration file. If the change is successful, you can proceed to uninstall the app as you only need to run it once.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Deepavali public holiday in 2014 changed from Thu 23-Oct to Wed 22-Oct

Malaysia Federal Government vide Gazette notification dated 6 December 2013 has declared 22 October 2014 (Wednesday) as the Public Holiday for Deepavali.

This superseded the earlier Gazette Notification of Deepavali which declared it to be on 23 October 2014 (Thursday).

Source references:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

ecoLiving Advance E27 LED light bulb

I need to change the light bulb in one of my pillar lights, and found this ecoLiving Advance LED light bulb (9 watts, 910 lumens, for E27 base) selling at promotion price of RM15.90 in Tesco.

I used to use energy saving CFL light bulbs, which cost around RM10-15 too. On the same day, Philips brand energy saving CFL light bulb (18 watts, 1040 lumens, for E27 base) was selling at the price of RM11.90 in Tesco, only RM4 cheaper.

Other brands of 9W E27 LED light bulb available in Tesco include Osram and Philips. They were priced at above RM40 in Tesco on the same day.

Since its cheap price, I decided to give it a try. So, this is my first purchase of E27 LED light bulb. Let's see it in action...

It is as bright as the 18W CFL energy saving light on other pillars beside it, yet it is able to save 50% of energy by operating at 9W only!

It also claims to have 1.5x longer lifespan (up to 25,000 running hours) than the CFL energy saving light bulb (10,000 running hours).

When the price of LED lightings become more and more affordable, I can foresee that they will replace the CFL energy saving lightings, which currently replacing the traditional fluorescent and incandescent lightings.

Malaysian Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) received firmware update to Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat)

After a long waiting period, the Malaysian Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 (GT-N5100) finally received its OTA firmware update to Android 4.4.2 (Kitkat) from previous Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean).

The build number of this update is: KOT49H.N5100XXDNH3, with Android version 4.4.2, baseband version N5100DXDNG1. Kernel version is 3.0.31-2637964 dated Fri Aug 29 2014.

This firmware incorporates Samsung Find My Mobile service, which you can perform remote control from the website to:
  • Locate your device
  • Lock your device
  • Ring your device
  • Retrieve call logs
  • Wipe off your device
  • Unlock device's screen

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Converting nano SIM card to micro SIM card or standard SIM card using Noosy SIM card adapter

During the good old days, all handphones use standard SIM card with the same size of 25mm x 15mm.

Then, certain high-end smartphones such as Apple iPhone 4, HTC One X, HTC One (M7), Samsung Galaxy S3, Samsung Galaxy S4, etc. started to use a smaller size micro SIM card of 15mm x 12mm. The standard SIM card couldn't fit in their micro SIM card slot, and need to be cut with a SIM card cutter, or you need to request for a new micro SIM card from your telco.

Not long after that, the later high-end smartphones such as Apple iPhone 5, HTC One (M8), Motorola Moto X, etc. started to use an even smaller size nano SIM card of 12.3mm x 8.8mm. Again, the standard SIM card or micro SIM card couldn't fit in their nano SIM card slot, and need to be cut with a SIM card cutter, or you need to request for a new nano SIM card from your Telco.

In some occasion, you might want to convert your smaller SIM card to a bigger one. For example, when your new smartphone is faulty and need to send back for repair, and you need to temporary fall back to your old smartphone which uses a bigger SIM card.

Luckily, there exist SIM card adapters that enable you to convert your smaller SIM card to a bigger one, similar to the concept of converting micro SD card to a standard SD card.

Noosy SIM card adapters come in a pack with 4 items:

  • 1 x Nano SIM to Micro SIM adapter
  • 1 x Nano SIM to Standard SIM adapter
  • 1 x Micro SIM to Standard SIM adapter
  • 1 x SIM tray ejector for iPhone, HTC One, etc.

Each pack only cost me RM1.80.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Favelle Favco (FAVCO, 7229) - business growing, share price yet to catch up

About 2 years ago, I mentioned about Favelle Favco (FAVCO, 7229) here.

Now, its share price already more than doubled up (29-Nov-2012 closing: RM1.47, 5-Sep-2014 closing: RM3.31, dividend paid between the period: RM0.18. Gain = 137.41%).

This stock counter caught my attention again, as its business continues growing over the period, but its share price topped at RM3.89 on 9 April 2014, after that dropped to RM3.24 on 9 May 2014, and has been side-lining until now. In fact, its share price dropped a bit during the last week in August 2014, and has been struggling between the range of RM3.25 to RM3.39 recently.

Below is its 3 year price chart, showing that despite its share price is laggard behind its business growth speed, but it is still keeping on moving up at a steady rate. In any month of the year, its share price in current year is always higher than previous year.

Now, lets see the changes in its fundamental over the past 2 years.

Traditionally, the 1st quarter is a slow period for FAVCO, which hopefully will improve in 2nd quarter, and becoming better in 3rd quarter, then slow down a bit in 4th quarter. This is reflected in its quarterly profit margin as shown in the table above.

The clients of FAVCO, who specialized in cranes, are mainly from Oil & Gas sector, and also from Construction (i.e. high-rise building), Marine (i.e. ship terminals), etc.

Its revenue derived from its outstanding order booked. Once the order booked materialized into revenue, the outstanding order booked will decrease. At the same time, new projects are secured with new Purchase Order (PO) received, which will then add on to the order booked figure subsequently.

FAVCO will announced their new substantial PO received in Bursa Malaysia Announcement website. PO with smaller value are not announced, but will be included in the outstanding order booked figure announced in the next quarterly report.

We can see that FAVCO's outstanding order booked has increased to above billion since the 3rd quarter of 2013. Over the past 2 years. every quarter in between the quarterly reports announcement, FAVCO had at least one announcement on new substantial PO received without fail. This mean they continue to get new business throughout the year, while fulfilling the secured projects on hand.

FAVCO announced their 2014Q2 report on 25 August 2014. This is a very good result, as its revenue and net profit growth are substantial, be it compared to last quarter or to same quarter in last year. It net profit broke a new record high. Its profit margin also gone above 10% for the 2nd time. However, its share price has not react to this good result, probably dragged by overall market sentiment.

Note that on 3 September 2014, FAVCO announced new substantial order booked amounting RM119.9 million. There are 2 more months to go before they announce the next quarterly report in November 2014. If within the next 2 months, they announce another new substantial order booked, then it will be confirmed that their outstanding order booked is breaking a new record high!

On 5 September 2014, FAVCO's share issued is 216.51 million. Its trailing 4 quarters net profit is RM84.228 million. We can calculate its EPS to be RM84.228/216.51 = 38.90 sen. With this, we can calculate its PE ratio on 5 September 2014 closing to be 331/38.90 = 8.5.

As long as FAVCO's business continue to grow, it is a matter to time for its share price to catch up and reflect its fundamental strength.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for sharing of point of view only. It is not an advice or recommendation to buy or sell any of the mentioned stock counters. You should do your own homework before trading in Bursa Malaysia.

Friday, September 5, 2014

HTC One (M8) users get 100GB free Google Drive storage (doubled from previous 50GB)

Today, I received an email from Google Drive with title the "Changes to your Google storage plan". Its content is as below:

Huray! HTC One (M8) users' free Google Drive storage is now increased from 50GB to 100GB! This includes existing users who have already activated the free Google Drive storage and had already received 50GB free storage, now it is doubled up to 100GB too.

This 100GB of Google Drive storage is on top of the existing free storage of 15GB, which is shared among Gmail, Google Drive and Google+ photos.

Thanks to HTC and Google!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Upgraded my HTC One Android smartphone from M7 to M8

Last week, I traded in my HTC One (M7) for a new HTC One (M8). I am glad that after slightly more than one year of usage, the M7 still carries a good resell value, and I got my brand new M8 at the cost of RM1,000 only.

To date, the M7 is still a great Android phone. Anyhow, it is a good move to trade it in for a brand new M8 while it still has good resell value.

One of my main reason to upgrade my M7 to M8 is to get better cameras both front and back. M8 has duo back camera, and front camera is 5-megapixel (compared to 2.1-megapixel in M7). M8 camera has additional features too, such as the UFocus function.

Another main reason is the availability of the innovative HTC Dot View case for M8. I can check current time and temperature, make call, and answer call without uncover the M8 from the Dot View case. The M8 screen also auto wake up when I open the cover.

M8 is longer than M7 and is having a larger 5" display (compared to 4.7" in M7). However, the bottom part of its display is used by softkeys, and the actual display length of M8 is slightly less than M7 (meaning, M7 displays slightly more vertical content on its screen). This is due to both M7 and M8 are having the same resolution of 1920x1080, but the M7 has higher pixel density at 468ppi compared to 441ppi in M8. This is something that M8 loses out to M7!

As a result of lower pixel density, the text in M8 (of same font and size) appears larger than in the screen of M7.

M8 is slightly slimmer than M7, and comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 (claimed to be 3 times more damage resistant and 40% more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass 2 used in M7).

The aluminium build in M8 is more solid than M7. There will be wear and tear in M7 micro USB port and volume button. Its seems that the M8 design is more durable. IMHO, the position of power button and headphone port on M8 is also better than M7.

The 2600mAh Li-Po battery in M8 surprisingly charges much faster than the 2300mAh Li-Po battery in M7. With a larger battery capacity, the M8 can generally last longer in one charge cycle than M7.

M8 also comes with a micro SD card slot, enable you to expand its storage up to 128GB. You will need the tray eject pin to access the micro SD card holder, the same way as the nano-SIM card holder. Bear in mind that Android Kitkat has imposed some restriction on the use of non-internal storage in order to improve on security, which will limit the usage of micro SD card in the phone.

M7 is using micro-SIM card, while M8 is using nano-SIM card. As the size is different, you can't simply migrate over the SIM card from M7 to M8 without modification or replacement.

Processor wise, M8 is using a newer and faster quad-core Snapdragon 801 compared to quad-cord Snapdragon 600 in M7. In normal use, you won't feel much different in terms of speed between them. You will feel the different when using processor hungry apps, such as certain 3D games.

Both M7 and M8 received software update to Android 4.4.3 with Sense 6.0 recently. There isn't much different between them in terms of the OS and default software. M8 has some additional features such as Motion Launch which you can't find in M7.

M8 is using Boom Sound audio enhancement (which can't be turned off when using internal speakers), while M7 is using Beats Audio. Both are great and is a key HTC feature that makes a difference from other smartphones in the market.

I have already got some additional storage space in Google Drive by using M7. I received some more additional storage in Google Drive after upgraded to M8. This can also be considered as one of the major advantage of upgrading M7 to M8.

As a conclusion, it really worth it to upgrade HTC One from M7 to M8, while the M7 still has good resell value now. You will get the newest HTC flagship smartphone with slightly larger screen, better build, faster battery charging speed, new features (particularly major enhancement in camera functions), and innovative Dot View case.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Migrating the contacts and conversation history of SMS, Whatsapp and WeChat from old phone to new phone

When you want to migrate from one smartphone to another, one of your major concerns is probably how to move over the contacts and chat history of your SMS, Whatsapp, WeChat, LINE, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, etc.

You shouldn't be worry about Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger, because everything is stored in their cloud server in the Internet. You just need to remember your user account and password, and setup accordingly in your new phone, in order to regain access to your contacts and chat history of these 2 apps.

If you are using Android phone, it is strongly recommended to store all your phonebook contacts in your Google account. In this way, you can always get back your address book by setting the same Google account in your new Android phone. Besides, setting the same Google account enable your new Android phone to install all your previously purchased apps from Google Play Store without additional charges too.

Your new phone should have a way to retrieve the SMS and phone calling history from your old phone. In the case of HTC smartphones with Android 4.4 and above, go to Settings > Get content from another phone for this purpose. You might need to install HTC Transfer Tool in your old Android phone to facilitate the data transfer.

For Whatsapp, backup your existing conversations in old phone with Settings > Chat settings > Backup conversations. Then, copy over the entire Whatsapp folder from your old phone's storage to your new phone.

After that, install Whatsapp on your new phone. Whatsapp will auto-detect the Whatsapp folder with backup data, and prompt you to restore your message history. Make sure you select Restore in this step, and your Whatsapp contacts, chats, group chats, attachments, etc. will all be restored. You can then continue using Whatsapp in your new phone with everything from the snapshot point of your latest backup in your old phone.

WeChat make use of their server for backup and restore. Go to Settings > General > Chat History Backup and select Back Up to backup your chat history.

Your backup will be stored over the Internet in their server for up to 7 days. If you don't restore your backup data within 7 days, it will be deleted from the server.

You will be given the option to password protect your backup data. The same password is required during restore process.

To restore, install WeChat on your new phone, go to the same place Settings > General > Chat History Backup and select Restore. You will get back your chats and group chats history.

In the case of LINE, there is no restore solution yet. After installing LINE in your new phone, you will be able to get back your LINE contacts, but you will start over your conversations from zero again.

How to cancel wrongly pressed lift (elevator) button

If you accidentally pressed one or more lift (elevator) buttons, or your kid is playing around with the lift buttons, or you just want to unselect a lift button, here is the tips.

All you need to do is double press the button, and its light will go off. If double press doesn't work in your lift (elevator), try a long press instead.

If you find this tips working and useful, feel free to share this article out to your friends.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Check TNB electricity bill payment status with myTNB app for Android and iOS

I just discovered that Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) has released a mobile app called myTNB for both Android and iOS smart mobile devices.

You need to register an account in order to use myTNB. After that, you can link all the electricity bills under your name to this myTNB account.

Then, you are able to check the billing status of each of the bills. This is particularly useful for residential property owners to check and ensure their tenants have paid for the electricity bill.

Beside that, you can also use myTNB to check for new electricity supply application status, Renewable Energy payment advice, report faulty street light, etc.

However, the report faulty street light is not done through the app itself, but still using traditional SMS method, which might cost you SMS charge for sending to 15454.

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.