Thursday, January 14, 2016

Xiaomi's MiBand sleep tracking is inaccurate for daytime naps

The band seems to be programmed to only accept night sleep. My daytime naps (around 4 hours of sleep) never get counted.

It's step counter seems to be a bit more accurate, but only take it as a rough estimate. The first day I used it it gave me 2000 steps more than usual, despite the fact that I walked LESS than the following days. I guess it may have counted some steps from the time it was locked and unwilling to pair with any device - see my last post.

Xiaomi's MiBand is incompabible with Cyanogenmod 13 (and Android 6.0 in general)

This is the first of two posts about my new Xiaomi Mi Band.

For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a $15 Fitness tracker from Xiaomi. Basically a Chinese OEM which manufactures quality phones for low prices.

It was on sale, I got it for $10 dollars including free shipping. It was a steal.

I got it, downloaded the MiFit app, could pair with it okay, and even got some data about a few steps I took inside the house. Everything seemed to work fine, except that it never synced again with the phone.

The logical step is to unpair the band and start all over again, it makes perfect sense, right? WRONG!!!

I was greeted by a message stating that there were too many devices nearby. The logical next step is to Google for what the heck that means, and then I read tons of posts suggesting everything from  going to the middle of nowhere and attempting to pair the band - you need ZERO interference, mate! - to others suggesting that you do a factory reset on the phone, losing hours of work just to get a $. 10  piece of electronics to work, makes sense, right? Naturally, none of these methods worked.

I had nothing but an elegant piece of metal and plastic that was not even qualified to be a paper weight due to its weighing no more than a couple of grams.

Some websites suggested taking it to a service center, where they just replace it because it seems to be a widespread issue that can be considered a manufacturing defect. Just pay $20 top have it shipped back, costing twice what it had originally cost me? I will pass.

The solutions that made sense involved unpairing the band and resetting the Bluetooth information of the phone by erasing the cache, forcing the Bluetooth service to stop, and then opening the Xiaomi <I Fit app and allowing it to turn the Bluetooth back on. Did not work.

I decided to try pairing it with an Android 5.1 Galaxy Tab S2. The app in Google Play states that the Tab S2 is incompatible so had to download the app from Xiaomi's website. Then I still kept getting the too many devices message there as well.

I even tried the app on a Blackberry 10, still did not work.

So, I thought it must be something with the device refusing to pair. Some people suggested putting it in the freezer and letting it sit there for three days in order to drain the battery or just wait till the battery goes dead. The tiny 41 mAh battery only takes a month to die!

To make a long story short, it worked with my Tab S2, after deleting the cache of the Bluetooth service, stopping it, and making the Mi Fit app turn the Bluetooth back on. The trick was, I needed to set a new account up, that was the only difference, and that's the only thing that made it work.

I tried to unpair it and pair it again with the phone with CM 13 on it, did not work, still the same error. Blackberry 10 also still did not work. Thankfully, it did pair again with the tablet right away, and is back to being a little accelerometer that counts how many steps you take and how many hours of sleep you get at night.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ashphalt 8: Nitrous and Electric Cars

Just an idea, how can nitrous work in an electric car?

AFAIK, nitrous works by releasing extra oxygen in an internal combustion engine leading to better fuel ignition and therefore a faster operation.

But, an electric motor works by moving electricity through a coil in order to generate a magnetic field which leads to the shaft rotating and therefore moving the car, no oxygen is involved in the process.

So, why does nitrous work in the electric cars in Asphalt 8?!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Getting Rid of Magazine UX on the Galaxy Tab S2

I could not find the proper way of doing it online, and discovered it by chance.

People online recommended disabling the "briefing" app in the App manager, this made swiping right not work with a message saying "App not installed", but the stacked icon was still there on the home screen.

Theo proper way of doing it is to pinch out, as you would in order to zoom out, then you will find the different home screens with a check mark above the screen for the Flipboard-like magazine, uncheck that mark, now it will be gone for good without any error messages.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

TP-Link MR3040 Disassembly (Portable 3.5G Router)

I had a problem with my TP-Link MR3040 in which the power switch needed a bit of force when it's toggled in order to turn the router on.
I had to open the case but found no disassembly guide online and no pictures of the internals of it. So, here goes:
1- What you need:
     1- A small Philips head screwdriver to unscrew the two screws.
    2- A flat-head screwdriver, my plastic opening tool did not work.

The steps:
      1- Unscrew the two Philips head screws. Those are marked here using red dots:

2- Use the flat head screw driver to separate the plastic cover, you should probably start near the USB or the RJ-45 ports, as those seem to be the weakest point.
Tip, you can probably get to the clips through the marked openings in the battery bed. Those are marked in the picture above using blue dots.

3- Once you open all the clips, everything is just held in place without screws, all that's there are the thermal pads overlying the Atheros and Zyntel IC's. What you will see will be similar to this:

Did you notice the lovely floral pattern?

You can see the exact location of the clips that hold it all together in the picture above.

Here's the back of the board in case you are interested:

And the back of the battery, 2000mAh:

In case you're wondering, the soldering for the power switch was a bit loose. A hot soldering iron and a bit of solder fixed everything.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Getting an HDMI to VGA converter to work on a Windows tablet (Archos 80 Cesium)

I bought a generic HDMI to VGA converter a while ago. It worked well for my desktop computer, but the same can't be said about my tablet.

Connecting it to the tablet and my monitor just resulted in me having a blank monitor and the tablet seeing a second display - the actual converter, not the connected display, but giving no output to it. It was not the micro-HDMI to HDMI converter, as that was tested and is working with my TV.

Actually, it turned out that what was needed for it to work was for me to plug in the tablet to the charger, seems like it needs some extra power to power the converter (ironically, it does not need any extra juice powering my 42 inch TV). Now, I can use my tablet with any old display that's lying around, even that ancient CRT.

A USB-OTG hub for charging and using external devices at once (Windows Tablets only)

Update: This is a poor man's version of the display dock for the Lumia 950, aka the Continuum dock.

China, sweet China.

I have been looking for this for a while, especially after stumbling upon this video for the Venue 8 Pro:

There was also a diagram online about adding a 124k resistor to an OTG cable to get this to work, with different values for the resistor for different tablets. This forces the tablet to go into a dock mode.

Well, while this is a poor man's version - it doesn't cost $90 as the docking station in that video - it allows you to connect everything to the tablet and have everything work without breaking the bank.

Here is what I got: AliExpress USB OTG Hub

I chose free shipping, arrived a month later, and works with my Archos 80 Cesium when the switch is set 3. The hub also works as a powered USB hub for my Lenovo phone when the switch set to 1, allowing me to connect a hard disk to it. Pretty satisfied with the decision.