Go into the Settings, tap on Display, turn off Auto Brightness and then set the brightness that you want. You can comfortably get by on some of the lower settings.

Reduce some of the connections your phone is making. Every time your Galaxy S3 searches for a Wi-Fi network or seeks for GPS, that eats up battery life. This is especially important in areas where there isn’t a stable connection or the GPS signal is weak. In places like this your device will keep searching for a nearby Wi-Fi or GPS signal. This drains the battery very quickly. If you know that you’re not going to need either of these, go into the Settings and turn off Wi-Fi and GPS. You’ll have to manually turn these on when you want to use it, but Samsung made this super simple to do by including quick access to these in the Android notification bar.

Make sure you know which apps have access to your phone’s location features and adjust accordingly. For something like Foursquare or Google Maps, having location capabilities is a must but you should think about whether other apps really need to know where you are.

Turn off background data syncing. For those who need every single Tweet, email or Facebook notification in real-time, turning off background data may seem crazy but it definitely will save on battery life.

You can download JuiceDefender Ultimate or JuiceDefender to help monitor your Android’s battery.

Make sure to charge your smartphone often and don’t let your battery drain completely before you decide to plug it into the charger. Try not to let it get below 10 percent too often. Once per month you can let it completely die. This is called power cycling, and it is important to the health of a battery.

Keep your smartphone at or close to room temperature. Don’t put it in the sun.

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The Jacuzzi Shepherd Dog

On 2012.08.27, in Humor, by Greg

Today we toured the Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Northern California. They do not use herbicides. They use Sheep. Sheep for weed control It’s quite a sight as you can see. Anyway the sheep are guided by dogs. One day a shepherd dog guided the sheep across a roadway to reach more vineyards. The dog had to get to the head of the flock. He was at the back of the flock. The sheep were so tightly packed that his only alternative to circumnavigating the flock was to jump from sheep to sheep across their backs which is exactly what he did. It was a memorable sight.


Droid Update #2

On 2011.03.29, in Technology, by Greg

I’m switching from Motorola Droidx to HTC Thunderbolt. Both run Android OS. Most folks that have compared Droidx to Thunderbolt have found that the Thunderbolt is inherently faster, but also the Verizon network 4G is faster. People are currently experiencing network speeds up to 20Mbps, which is faster than the average US home user experiences from his or her ISP. This is the updated list of Apps:

    Frequently Used:

  • Advanced Task Killer Free – you need this
  • Amazon – scan barcodes to compare price on Amazon versus store
  • CardioTrainer – uses GPS to track walking workouts.
  • Gmail – Google email
  • Google Calendar – to look up appointments, etc.
  • Google Maps – more than just maps
  • Google Sky Map – identify stars and planets
  • Google Voice – telephony from Google
  • Instant Heart Rate – Use cellphone to find out heart rate
  • My Verizon Mobile – shows minutes used etc.
  • Quickoffice – View Mircosoft Office files and PDFs
  • Sincere Prayer
  • TED Mobile – view outstanding 18 minute videos from the TED conferences
  • TeslaLED – use cellphone as flashlight
  • Tricorder – simulates Star Trek Tricorder
  • Twitter – alerts when new tweets arrive
  • Wifi Analyzer – check on wifi signals around you
    Less Frequently Used:

  • 3G Mobile Hotspot – built-in, extra cost service
  • AcroBible Lite – King James version
  • Alarm & Timer – built-in
  • Amazon MP3 – Amazon music store
  • Angry Birds – popular game
  • Backup Assistant – Verizon Application
  • Blockbuster – Movie rentals
  • Browser – Google Browser – Built-in
  • Calculator – Built-in
  • Calendar – Google built-in
  • Camcorder – built-in
  • Camera – built-in
  • Cardock – built-in
  • CityID – trialware built-in displays city and state of caller
  • Contacts – Google contact list
  • Dialer – phone dialpad built-in
  • DLNA – use Wifi to share files – built-in
  • Emergency – built-in
  • ESPN Mobile
  • Files – built-in file manager
  • FM Radio – use cellphone as FM radio (requires headset)
  • Gallery – saved photos and Movies
  • Gesture Search – search your phone by using gestures
  • Google Books – competes with Amazon Kindle
  • Google Earth – advanced mapping
  • Google Finance – quotes and charts
  • Google Goggles – scan business card to add to contacts
  • Google Latitude – find friends nearby
  • Google Listen – search audio feeds for news, subscribe to favorites, then listen
  • Google News
  • Google Reader – RSS Reader
  • Google Search – built-in
  • Google Talk – chat app
  • Google Translate – language translation
  • Help Center – built-in
  • IMDb – Internet Movie Database
  • Kindle – Amazon Book Reader
  • Madden NFL 11 – popular game
  • Market – get apps from Google Marketplace
  • Media Share – share files between phone and other devices
  • Medscape – medical app from WebMD
  • Messaging – built-in messaging like text messaging (requires service)
  • Morningstar – stocks and mutual funds
  • Movies – view Netflix queue
  • Music – listen to books on mp3 – built-in
  • Music Player – Realnetwork app, better than the built-in app
  • My Tracks – Google app like CardioTrainer
  • News – built-in Google app for reading News feeds
  • News and Weather – the Weather Channel app
  • Newspapers – read newspapers from around the world
  • Navigation – built-in Google app – speak destination
  • NFS Shift – Need for Speed Shift – EA sports
  • PdaNet – USB tether or Bluetooth DUN
  • Picasa Tool – works with online picasa account
  • Places – find things near you like restaurants
  • Pocket Agent – State Farm Insurance App
  • Radar Now – show weather radar around your GPS location
  • ScoreCenter – sports scores
  • Google Shopper – find things to buy
  • Skype Mobile
  • Social Networking – Google app – built-in
  • Southwest – airline app
  • Sportstap – keep track of your teams
  • Text Messageing – built-in
  • The Weather Channel
  • Trapster – avoid speed traps and photo enforcement cameras
  • Voice Command – use voice to do things like place calls
  • Voicemail – checks voicemail
  • Voice Search – Google search using voice
  • Voice Search – voice command what you are looking for near you
  • VZ Navigator – extra cost service from Verizon
  • WaveSecure – to locate cellphone if misplaced, and erase everything if stolen
  • Wikidroid – Wikipedia App
  • YouTube
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Today marks the last day for John Murrell as blogger in chief for a wonderful blog called Good Morning Silicon Valley. His explanation of the difference for him between writing and editing:

“But for me at least, the process of writing is wearing. I’m a grinder, and there’s a lot of chair squirming and wandering around and staring at the stars and sometimes some cursing that goes into the production of the daily sausage. And it’s a largely solitary pursuit, which appeals to my inborn reclusive nature, but can sometimes result in getting cabin fever from living in one’s own head too long. Editing, on the other hand, has its own collaborative and craftsmanlike pleasures and activates a different synaptic configuration than writing. You start with a piece of work already in front of you, and the job is to turn it this way and that to examine all its angles and components, to check for gaps or loose fittings, to do a little tweaking here and polishing there, and finally to set it loose at least a bit better than it was (and never any worse).”


Horsetail Firefall

On 2010.04.18, in Society, by Greg

Horsetail Firefall

Originally uploaded by Wiggum03

This is an amazing natural photo that was not retouched with Photoshop. Quoted: “Horsetail Falls is a small seasonal waterfall that only appears in late winter and early spring. It flows over the east side of El Capitan, so as a backdrop it has one of the most impressive walls of granite in the entire park. Then – only for part of February, and only when the sky is clear – the very last sun rays of the day selectively linger on the falls, lighting it up with a golden glow that makes the water look like lava.”

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January 25th of this year I listed my predictions for what is now being called the Apple iPad. You might say that the implementation is a bit shy of my predictions.

  • It’s not as thin as I thought
  • The dimensions are about right; I guessed 11″ (I meant for the diagonal including the display, but the delivered display is 9.7″)
  • I was right about the SSD, but I thought that it would be of a useful size
  • Looks like it is inspired in part by the Mac Air
  • No USB – oops got that wrong — how could they omit USB?
  • As of this writing, it is not known how much RAM is in the iPad — dude, I would not buy the thing for that reason alone
  • Sure enough, the battery is not removable, so you’ll have to find some other way of extending life
  • Nothing special for handwriting recognition
  • The OS is iPhone OS 3.2, not Mac OS-X Touch — users will pay for that decision
  • WiFi and no WiMax
  • Cellular service from AT&T, a decidedly inferior data network to Verizon
  • Well, it does have speakers, microphone, and headphone jack, but no camera — you’re kidding — no camera
  • iTunes access for sure

In addition to those shortcomings, here are some others that are truly surprising:

  • The browser does not support Flash; you will suffer in your web browsing
  • No multi-tasking
  • No video output
  • The dock does not do what you expect
  • No printing to a connected device; get ready to buy a Wifi printer or make some other arrangements
  • No optical drive
  • Eye strain is likely to be a problem trying to read for extended periods of time due to the display technology choice
  • iPhone apps may display very small unless they have been re-written for the iPad

You decide. No iPad for me…maybe never.


Droid Update

On 2010.02.18, in Technology, by Greg

My original post about the Droid was 2009-11-06. Three months into Droid and time for an update. The good news is that ones life can be divided into BD and AD, before Droid and after Droid. But not without some complaints of course. The camera is really slow, which means you are going to miss some opportunities. It is really easy to accidentally activate functions unintentionally.

These are the apps I use in order of most frequent:

  • Phone and contact lookup with integration to maps
  • Maps, especially with the traffic layer turned on
  • Music – listen to books on mp3
  • Gmail
  • Calendar to look up appointments, etc.
  • Sportstap – keep track of you teams
  • TED – view outstanding 18 minute videos from the TED conferences
  • CardioTrainer – uses GPS to track walking workouts.
  • Radar Now – show weather radar arond your GPS location
  • Trapster – avoid speed traps and photo enforcement cameras
  • WaveSecure – to locate Droid if misplaced, and erase everything if stolen
  • Wifi Analyzer – check on your wifi signal
  • Droidlight – use camera flash as a light
  • Google Goggles – scan business card to add to contacts
  • PageOnce – track financial accounts
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The Space Debate

On 2010.02.04, in Politics, Society, Technology, by Greg

Steven Weinbeg received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 and the National Medal of Science in 1991. He teaches in the physics and astronomy departments of the University of Texas at Austin. He has some important observations about space exploration funding in today’s Wall Street Journal, some of which are quoted below. It is gratifying to be able to report anything that the current Obama administration is proposing that would move us in the right direction and this is one.

One of my sons, Mark, worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL in Pasadena, CA during the summers of 2004 and 2005. JPL is a NASA contractor and lead center for the robotic exploration of the solar system. JPL has done far more with it’s tiny budget than the massive NASA manned programs to improve life on earth.

What about Hubble? Weinberg notes:

It is true that astronauts made a large contribution to astronomy by servicing the Hubble Space Telescope. But if Hubble had been put into orbit by unmanned rockets instead of the Space Shuttle, so much money would have been saved that instead of servicing a single Hubble we could have had half a dozen Hubbles in orbit, making servicing unnecessary.

The Mars rovers were dispatched by JPL, and they did an incredible job, as noted by Weinberg here:

It is difficult to get reliable estimates of the cost of sending astronauts to Mars, but I have heard no estimate that is less than many hundreds of billions of dollars. The cost of sending Spirit and Opportunity to Mars was less than $1 billion.

Weinberg concludes:

The only technology for which the manned space flight program is well suited is the technology of keeping people alive in space. And the only demand for that technology is in the manned space flight program itself.


In a presentation yesterday, a McAfee representative stated that security experts thus far have not found a way to modify the “Operation Aurora” zero-day exploit of IE to overcome the defense represented by the combination of Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) and Data Execution Protection (DEP). DEP alone is not sufficient. DEP is available in XP, but ASLR is not (from Microsoft). ASLR is available in Windows 7.

Quoting Wikipedia:

Operation Aurora was a cyber attack conducted in mid-December 2009 and continuing into early January 2010. The attack was publicly disclosed by Google on January 12 in a blog post. In the blog post, Google said the attack originated in China. The attack was aimed at dozens of other organizations, of which Adobe Systems, Juniper Networks and Rackspace have publicly confirmed that they were targeted. According to media reports, Yahoo, Symantec, Northrop Grumman and Dow Chemical were also among the targets.

By some counts, there were 34 firms affected. The Intellectual Property (IP) in each case was different. For example, it appears that a large amount of IP from an oil company was taken by the Chinese during this period. The property in question was bidding data on oil leases off the coast of Africa. The competition is China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).


The Wall Street Journal reported just now that President Barack Obama proposed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2011.

The budget plan calls for nearly $1 trillion in tax increases on upper-income families — largely by allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire. Banks, bankers and multinational corporations would face new fees and levies. And oil companies would lose $39 billion in tax breaks.

In all, the president’s budget would add $8.5 trillion to the federal debt through 2020, pushing the debt as a percentage of GDP to 77%, up from 53%.

If you are opposed to the budget (except perhaps for the tax breaks on oil companies), let your representatives know. They think you don’t care about your kids and grand kids.

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