Dec 152017

This month I switched from a OnePlus X to a Moto G5S Plus. More and more apps have a backup and restore options via the cloud that really helps in transitioning.

You can use List My Apps to get an HTML copy of the apps on your old phone for reference after doing your backups.

If you have purchased apps on a second Gmail family account you can add a second Google account to your Android settings. In the play store, you will then see a drop-down option to select which account to install the app from.

The one app I forgot to do backups of was Smart Recorder. I should just have used Helium to backup all my apps to be sure.

Backup & Restore via cloud notes

  • HabitBull synced via email address
  • Keepass2Android seamless via database file stored in Google drive
  • OurGroceries synced via email address
  • Textra uses the stock Android messaging database. I used SMS Backup & Restore to backup messages to Google drive, restored from configurable google drive location and re-synced in-app from Textra Settings > About > Resync
  • Telegram seamless via their cloud once you put in your number
  • WhatsApp seamless via Google drive
  • Cam Scanner seamless backup via email address

Backup & Restore manual notes

  • Beep’nGo is invaluable for all your store cards, unfortunately, it was shut down in May 2017, so here is the apk file to install. Backup using Helium, this post is invaluable to get Helium installed on your computer & working on your phone. Helium creates a *.ab file in internal storage/carbon which you can copy to Google Drive. This can be restored using Helium via the command line “adb restore *.ab”, see this android stackexchange post.
  • Boxer I just took screenshots of the incoming & outgoing server settings screens. Thankfully, a pro license is no longer needed for multiple accounts.
  • Podcast Addict stored backup in google drive & restored from there
  • SwipePad has a backup via SwipePad MoreSpace but you need to manually copy the file from Google Drive to the root of your internal storage (i.e. /storage/emulated/0/). I used Astro file manager.  You need to remember the mail you used to save your words; the app uses sync to mean restore and you have to “register the email address” on the new phone to sync your words.
  • Tasker has a backup option, I then copied this with Astro to Google drive. Prior to restoring you need to do a backup in Tasker first to create the tasker directory, just pick any app. Then copy the backup to /sdcard/Tasker/profiles/<your_backup>.xml
    • I use Tasker to keep the screen on when reading in certain apps, it’s easy to setup. I used to use Llama
  • Yr did not have any luck saving my locations, even with Helium
Oct 262017

I have been using for some years now and written about it before.

However, does not deal with my main use case well. I tend to build up long lists of ToDos and want an efficient way of managing them. does not have functionality for managing large lists on Android. Some missing features that would vastly improve this are:

  • An option to Move to Top, like in Jira or Podcast Addict. Currently, to reorder your list of ToDos one has to drag and drop an item by scrolling upwards screen after screen, a complete nightmare to do on a phone
  • has a search feature for the Web app and also for the iOS app but not for Android. It’s on their roadmap for Android, however, they don’t have a release date for this feature yet. UserVoice request #7594506
  • Tagging and colouring coding would help and has thousands of votes. #12796986

I have been using Trello for some time now and find it very useful. Today I bit the bullet and moved my main todo lists form to Trello having previously trialled it for managing ToDos. Today I however I moved and deleted the lists form has an email/export option but it is restricted to 31 items. Exporting and importing to Trello is not automated but the steps are manageable.

      1. Open your
      2. Select your list and from the menu select clear completed
      3. Click on the page to activate it & press ctrl + a to select all items
      4. Open a spreadsheet such as Excel, press ctrl + v to paste, which leaves blank rows very second one
      5. In Excel press F5 to get the Go To dialog box, then click the Special button
      6. Click the Blanks option and click OK, doing so selects the blank cells (rows) in the selected range
      7. On the Excel Home tab, click the Delete dropdown in the Cells group and choose Delete Sheet Rows
      8. Select the Cell A0 to the last item and ctrl + c to copy
      9. Create a new list on your Trello board
      10. Click add card in Trello & ctrl + v to paste your list, then click Add
      11. If you get the message too many cards, then you will need to select 100 cells at a time

I have Trello setup with Today, This Week, Next and Main lists. Dragging and droping between them is easy. You can’t move Trello cards with keyboard shortcuts, though there is a 3rd party Move to Top option available via a Chrome extension but not in the Android App 🙁 I’ll see how it goes!

Dec 042015

I needed to get a new work phone after both the battery and volume control cover of my Sony Xperia L broke. The main issue I had with that phone was the space for apps, I just ran out and was not able to have all the ones I wanted loaded. My requirements were an android smartphone which would be upgradeabale to Marshmallow (Android 6), the budget was €300. I considered buying a Sony Xperia Z3 compact used on Ebay but was eventually put off by all the stories of broken screens. This study with good sample size showed a staggering 30% of Z3 compact owners had a cracked screen. That said a colleague had Sony replace the screen recently for their Z3 compact hassle free (just a day before the warranty ran out!). I also looked at the Vodafone Smart ultra 6 but it didn’t seem in line for a Marshmallow upgrade and I reckoned I could do more for my budget. Then I heard about the OnePlus X!

To buy it was an invite only system, my mate who has a OnePlus One wasn’t able to get an invite. The I found an invites post on and had an invite within 10 minutes. Incidentally, I did receive an invite 5 days later from OnePlus as a result of just signing up on the site, but the invite was useless as it was non transferable. There’s a workaround, but it’s too much hassle unless someone is really stuck. They did have open purchase for Thanksgiving weekend but now it’s back to invite only.

I ordered from their website with the invite on a Wednesday night and my OnePlus X arrived from De Sheng International in Shenzhen, China via DHL on Monday. Packaging post iPhone has to be impressive.
ONePlus X Opening

The included user manual & quick start guide were useless, the picture of the phone was so small you could hardly read the labels without a magnifying glass. You can download a user manual I which is a little better. I was interested to discover the OnePlus X was a dual sim which took 2 nano sims or 1 micro sim. The concept of a nano sim was new to me, I was able to get nano sims easily for both networks. The nano can be adapted to a micro easily just like from a micro sim to a regular one. An issue is you use 2 nanos is that there is then no space for a micro SD.

The initial setup wizard was fine though it had 1 bug: the wi-fi signal was excellent but it hung on “checking connection”. Googling this is a common problem and skipping this part is the work around! Everything worked fine after. The wizard also mentioned an option to use software buttons instead of the (incognito) hardware buttons to navigate. I stuck with the hardware buttons thinking of screen space but may experiment with the software buttons which can be turned on via Settings | Buttons | On-screen Navigation Bar. As always there are view for both sides, see reddit.

I have been using Swype for years but this came with swiftkey (+ emoji), so I have been sticking with that until I miss something. The wizard asked for my last name and I was surprised that swiftkey got my Swype first time without me adding it to the dictionary.

2015-12-04 00_37_23-android bottom bar - Google Search
You can double tap the unseen hardware buttons to get a list of recent apps. The wizard also had an option to enable Shelf beta which is a OnePlus in-house app, swiping to the right from the home screen opens Shelf which shows frequent apps and contacts as well as a weather header. I haven’t used it much yet, you can give feedback here.

The wizard did not include a google login. I went to the gmail and added my address. Going into the contacts app they were all there.

The application drawer is accessible from the middle icon in the bottom bar. All icons can be drag and dropped to rearrange. It was not initially intuitive to me how to leave the application drawer but the back hardware button does the trick of course. In Settings | App Drawer Grid Size I changed to the largest 6×5. I have been using swipepad for years to open apps but I might try this app drawer for a while and see if it can do without.

In sound setup I set dial pad tones off and touch sounds off. When I got one of the google calendar notifications I turned off google calendar notification on this device. Clearing the notifications dropdown was not obvious. At the bottom of the pull down screen there are three horizontal which do the trick when clicked.

I tried the camera and the picture was all fuzzy and I never got back to it until a colleague who got a OnePlus X also told me there was a screen protector on the back covering the camera lens and sure enough there was!

Excellently, the OnePlus X come with a screen protector already on the screen. This is such a must for me that I had already ordered one before I opened the box! I also had ordered a gel cover, but it comes with one of those too, albeit it does not have the essential breaking protecting lip with the cover screen being flush.

Reading some applicable tips for the One Plus Two I like some of the gesture options: to activate the camera draw 0, double tape to wake. There are others for music control and flashlight (draw V).

The phone is a good weight, slim and handles well. First impressions are good. I will do a follow-up post regarding the dual sim.