Restoration to the Rescue

A friend of mine came to me for help. She accidentally deleted all photos from her camera SD card. And she needed help to restore them.

This is quite typical scenario. Clearly you cannot repair much, but there’re tools, which can help you to restore as much as possible.

Restoration ScreenshotRestoration (Restoration @ Software Informer) is one of these tools. Unfortunately, the product seems a bit “abandoned” (last update was to make it compatible with Win2k 🙂 ), but it works on my Windows 8.1 Pro.

Restoration works quite well. It works on “full drive level”, i.e. it scans the whole drive for deleted files (you can set a filter), and then offers you to restore them by copying, i.e. to copy the (current) contents of the deleted file to another location, where you can review if the file has been restored OK.

In the “restore pictures from SD card” scenario, it worked quite well. It scanned the SD card, and I just asked it to copy all discovered files to my hard drive. Then I was able to clear the invalid JPG files and I delivered her the files, which were good.

Restoration is also delivered as a ZIP file, which you can run from any folder. It immediately went to my “Programs” folder, together with PortableApps, and as far as it works on the OS (Windows 10, we will see…), I’ll keep it handy!

Inline Comments!

Inline Comments Screenshot

Whoa! Inspired by Medium.Com, I decided to search, download and install Kevin Weber’s Inline Comments plugin (created by  to this blog too.

Inline Comments lets users add comment with specific reference to any paragraph of the blog post, which is kind of cool, considering how hard is to quote blog texts. Now you just get one cute ‘+’ sign close to the paragraph, over which you’re hovering (no mobile support, sorry), and if you click on that, you can leave comment instantly.

The same comment appears just like any other “legacy” comment below the post, but also with handy “reference” link to the paragraph you commented.

Together with Inline Comments, I decided also to install and run WP Ajaxify Comments, as these two compliment each other in quite nice way. As this is serious change to the overall comments experience, I will watch closely how it goes. Don’t hesitate to drop me a word, if you see any problems whatsoever.

So far I’m loving it :). And I hope Inline Comments will stay for a while on this blog.

Official Crypto.SignText Add-on for Mozilla Firefox

JS.CryptoAPI signingGood stuff came from Mozilla developers this week! Stuff, which may not had been needed, if they handled better their user’s needs during their release cycle initially :).

(Few) Months ago I was quite pissed, when in release 33.0 Firefox decided to remove at once their JS Crypto.SignText API. Maybe not a big deal for them, but a big deal for me and my use of:

  • e-banking
  • government digital ID
  • etc.

There was huge buzz on the subject (Spain also jumped, seems their e-government solution is based on this “insecure API”). I also submitted very angry feedback, but alas: the only solution (and temporary too) was to revert to the current ESR release of Firefox, based on previous version and still supporting Crypto.SignText.

So I ended up having three different Firefoxes on my machine: the developer version, the ESR version and the (latest) portable version, which I anyway always keep around. ESR was good for my signing needs, but I was wondering what’d happen, when ESR moves up. Then I’d end most probably with IE only, which is serious productivity hit for my e-banking activities.

However, on Dec 16th I received an e-mail from Firefox Developer, who asked me to test new extension, which restores Firefox functionality in that regard. Initially I was a bit suspicious, checked carefully the e-mail headers and route, and trusting both Google and what I saw in the headers I decided to try the extension (in a sandbox first, of course).

It turned out pretty nicely: all the missing Crypto.SignText appeared back and I was one very happy camper again. After cleaning up my ESR release, I decided to share my experience, because someone could probably need the same solution. On my question how stable this will be as a solution to the problem, the feedback from the developers was that this will be the official supported way for adding back Crypto.SignText JS API to Firefox.

The extension is signTextJS, it’s available here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/signtextjs. Use at your own risk and for your own pleasure or convenience. It worked for me, hopefully it’ll work for you too. Now it’s time to donate some funds to Mozilla, so they can keep delivering better web to everyone [although my primary browser is still Chrome] 🙂

It’s Movember again

My last Movember’s post was in Bulgarian. Now it’s English’s turn.

And so, it’s Movember again. The month, when men are growing (silly, in my case) mustache, in order to provoke and explain.

Today I’m starting a new Movember’2014. Despite the extreme success my previous  mustache had, I wanted to try a different one this year. I made some research, first I thought about the mustache of one of my favorite artists ever, but I did not want to grow something, which some not careful enough idiots could consider the style of a very, very different historic figure.

So I might just let it go, as I’m not that patient and/or careful to make it the best 15 mustaches chart anyway.

Movember 1st 2014The most important thing here is the thing, which Movember is all about. Being silly is one thing, being informative is completely different one. Movember is about awareness. Awareness of the cancer danger, which is upon us. Daily. Hourly. Cancer does not come only to the ones, who live unhealthy lives. As a matter of fact, the scientists still cannot identify why cancer comes to our lives and what’re the main factors, which make our bodies go into suicidal mode. There’re plenty of dependencies (i.e., smoking [both active and passive], radiation, stress), but none of these is 100% scientifically confirmed (or at least I have not seen such study) to be 100% cancerogenic, i.e. “you take a pill of this and you get cancer in a month”.

That’s why we must be aware. And do our homework. Large part of the homework is to go and get checked.

You think that small thingy under your skin is just ball of fat? Go get it checked. You think that the occasional sharp pain in the knee is just because of the weather? Go get it checked. And don’t just wait to feel something, before you go and do your prophylactic checks. These are to be done at least once per year, and not to be neglected.

If you have it in the family (as I, unfortunately do), learn as much as possible about it and decide when you start your more regular checks (let’s say, twice per year).

And the most important thing: do not fear the medical checks! Any cancer incident is 100% curable, if it’s caught on time.

Here’re some very high risk cancers, but very easy to get caught and cured, if you act on time:

  • Prostate cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovaries cancer
  • … (and many more)

So that’s all about what Movember is. Not [just] the silliness of a [crappy] mustache.

Here’s me on Movember 1st 2014. Let’s see what’ll happen a month from now :).

How to get 15GB for your photos and videos in OneDrive

image

I just did.

Until the end of September, Microsoft is giving 15GB additional space for image and video storage.

The only thing you have to do is to download OneDrive and enable camera upload to it. This will give your an additional 15GB storage space to be used for your pictures and videos.

Evil tongues speak that the addition is only to be used for images and videos, but at least the screenshot from my profile does not say that. So I hope Microsoft marketing had enough brains not to piss out its customers ☺

So go and grab it, either from Android Play Store or iTunes. And get your great deal now! (man, I do sound like a [cheap] salesman)

Don’t you just love the cloud storage competition? Microsoft is winning big so far (prices vs. offering, I mean)!

Oh, the [Android Battery] Horror

I am sure this title lighten up few smiles in my dear Windows Phone and iOS fans :). But no, don’t be in a hurry, it’s not what you’re possibly thinking.

I started today to analyze my Note 3 applications, using My App List application. One of the features of this application is to create an extensive list of the (additionally) installed applications on your device. The main reason to go in this direction is the fact that something is wrong with my Note 3 after it came by from the deep freeze, which my iOS experiment has put it into. During the experiment I was pretty mad from the bad performance of the iPhone battery, but since then the Note 3 battery runs pretty quick and the device is constantly hot! Its like I’m being punished for my harsh words about its fruity colleague!

GSam Battery Monitor reports main “juice user” (averaging 60-85%[!]) is the system’s gsiff_daemon, in which we have tons of system (including user!) services running.

Since I’ve never succeeded digging into gsiff_daemon process (I doubt this is possible at all, and even it it’d be possible, it’d require root, which I won’t do to my Note 3), I decided to check up what’s installed on the device and (eventually) to through full reset cycle this weekend.

That’s how I ended up with My App List, a really nice piece of software, which does this enumeration for you.

The (alphabetical) list looks amazing (and way too long!):

As you can see, this is quite substantial installation base, which I’ll most probably have to reduce. I’ve already uninstalled applications like BatteryGuru, AccuWeather, LinkedIn, Cover, which I was suspecting could eat up battery because of bugs, but the situation did not really improve. To be honest, the situation did not get worse as well, which would be strange, since BatteryGuru promises precisely that: saving battery life. However, I assume that the drain is so bad that the eventual savings from Battery Guru are not significant to mention.

The next step will be to completely wipe the device (don’t forget to pull out the SD card first!), and then to see what’ll happen. I’m very sorry that I will have to redownload ~5GB of Spotify lists, but nothing can be done to help that: the SD card will be copied, and then the card itself will be formatted via the Android, to ensure that it is not in a supported, but not so well tested filesystem.

I am very eager to see how this goes on. My Note 3 has not been wiped since I got it last October, and this is way too long time for an Android installation (it’s like the old Windows 98: if you use it too much, you have to wipe it out from time to time).

Time will tell. For now, I’m struggling with the thought how it’ll go, while I’m waiting 1 day with the stock Note 3 software, without any additional things but my accounts setup… I have a lot of account, so I’m assuming even that could easily put the device in the same state as it’s now (i.e., draining battery way too quick), but without check we can never be sure.

Weekend is approaching, I’m anxious!

Featured Image (cc-by 2.0) Intel Free Press

iPhone story end: one month, one week

It’s been a while since I decided to try an iPhone (the post is in Bulgarian, sorry!). I promised myself to follow-up as detailed as possible, but just now I’m succeeding to post few thoughts about this experiment. I also promised myself to try to keep at least for 2 months with that smartphone. I failed both promises!

I called it “experiment”, because I didn’t think this would ever become “new reality” to me. I knew that the platform is just way too crippled by Apple, it is way too limited for someone with my requirements. It’s the most non-flexible platform I’ve ever seen: it has tons of silly limitations (both small and big, see below) and a lot of illogical, stupid decisions.

Anyway, last week, after just a bit more than a month with an iPhone, I decided to abort the experiment and call it a failure (it’d be a success, if I lasted at least 2 month with this phone). Effective a bit more than a week ago, I’m back with my Galaxy Note 3! I have this buzzing thought in my head to make a try with Windows Phone 8.1 as well, but I am so tired of platforms, who put shackles to their users, I might need few months with Android first…

Anyway, the good, the bad and the ugly about those days follows.

Daily Stuff

Below I’m describing the daily use of the iPhone, all the Good and Bad things I’ve experienced with it.

The Good Things

  • Unlocking with a fingerprint: This gives tons of flexibility, when you want to quickly unlock your phone, while waiting on the red light. Just hold your finger and it’s done. Neat!
  • Keyboard prediction: no matter how stupid iOS default keyboard is, its word prediction mechanism worked great for me. I know it’s been a subject of a lot of fun, but it’s also the best autocorrect ever (yes, including the autocorrect of SwiftKey)
  • The Camera! Yes, it’s good! And the Camera Awesome app I’m using as my camera app makes really great pictures, too. Note 3 has also very good camera (I wonder why Vesela’s SGS 4 still beats it though!), but I believe iPhone 5S’ camera is aligned as quality to the camera, which is integrated in Samsung Galaxy S4/5 series! No compromise there!
  • Misfit Shine app for iOS was much better. I’m saying “was” here, because I actually lost my Misfit Shine device :(, somewhere in Austria, during our vacation in the beginning of July… But while I had it, it was clear that Misfit Wearables have put much more effort in Shine for iOS than in Shine for Android. I’m very sad about my little Shine, but I doubt I will buy another one: for one they don’t have any support in EU, and for another – I’m an Android user, after all. And Android users usually go for Android Wear these days.
  • Either by accident or not, Pebble immediately upgraded to 2.2. I did not see much improvement, except one quite bad thing (see below).

The Bad Things

  • Battery life! Don’t even get me started about that! The thing has such poor battery life, compared to Note 3, it’s just f***ing unbelievable. When I approached this project, I went with the impression that at least I won’t have that frequent charge need, something which I was anyway used to with the Android OS. What a surprise it was to notice that when I’m using the iPhone, its battery life is at least twice as worse, compared to the battery life of the Note 3! If I leave the phone alone on my desk, it definitely behaves better than the Note 3, but if you actually work with the damn thing, then the battery drains at least twice faster, if not three times! And as I’m a power smartphone user, this hit my initial impression badly!
  • Pebble applications are much weaker in iOS rather than in Android! The Notifier Pebble app I’m using, the best notifier app for Pebble I found so far, is available only for Android. No iOS version and no iOS plans. Such a big shame, indeed, but… what to do! I can surely bet that there’s some development limitation here, which prevents the developers to fulfill the same functionality as in Android. At least that’s my gutfeeling.
  • Video Player app for iOS suffers all problems, which a Video Player app would suffer under such limited conditions. MxPlayer for Android set does not exist in iOS. In iOS I purchased GoodPlayer months ago, which I was able to use also for the iPhone. Not bad app, but the sandboxed storage really limits you in many, many ways. One example: in order to play a file from BitTorrent Sync, you have to “open” the subtitles first (which copies the subtitle file to the sandbox of the video player), then “open” the actual file again with the player (which copies now the actual video file to the sandbox), and then you can start watch. Yes, you end up with two copies of the same thing in your phone memory… sucks, doesn’t it? One reason why you should pay EUR150 more for the 64GB iPhone version 🙂

The Limitations

Two lists here: small limitations and big ones. The small ones are the ones I can cope with and the big ones are the ones, which are definitely pushing (and keeping) me away from this platform.

Small limitations

  • Tons of irritating small stuff like lack of direct sharing of a link/file/whatever else to something, which is not integrated in the OS. Let’s say that you’ve installed Delicious for iOS and you want to share a link from Safari (or another browser) to the app. Well, you cannot! In Android you have intent receivers, which allow you to design cross-app communication with style and which could belong to any third party apps. In iOS you have… an apple (or worse).
  • Another “apple” is burried in the keyboard shift. Assume you’d like to switch from any keyboard to Emoji and back. Somehow iOS product managers figured out that it should be stack-wise switching, but why (just for fun) don’t we also move the keyboard switching button around? That way the users will never (ever!) learn where the button actually is and will have to look for it each time they switch English => Bulgarian => Emoji etc. Isn’t it great idea?

Big limitations

  • The Only One Right Keyboard: this is the one, provided by Apple. Altogether with its smartness and stupidity. If you don’t like it, then… well… don’t chose Apple.
    • It’s worth mentioning the fact that in iOS8 Apple will (maybe, let’s see what they’ll approve) give chance to third parties to build and integrate their keyboards too. I don’t know how much limitations they’ll introduce prior that, but the fact that the SwiftKey people plan to build their iOS keyboard is more than promising.
  • No App Can Run Forever (right!). I’m saying that by watching two favorite apps of mine: BitTorrent Sync and Spotify cannot sync content, unless they’re in foreground! At the moment they go background, Spotify informs you after a while that it paused your syncing, while BitTorrent just stops synchronizing. Quite annoying stuff, especially if you want to sync up few movies from your server to your mobile phone, and the stuff is with good size.

 Conclusion

Just one sentence: bye, bye Apple. I’m sorry, but before I try something that shitty, I’ll give it between two and four years time.

Just some fun at the end, totally not connected with the above, but still at Apple!

And last, but not least… Apple, WTF?! How can this trigger such kind of an error? Are you hiring interns to work on your site?
Apple Store Weird Error

Wanna repro this? Just put “https://itunes.apple.com/bg/app/spotify” in your Chrome or Aurora browser (maybe in the rest too, I just did not test there).

Featured image (cc-by-sa 2.0) Sean Neakums

iOS GPS challenge

Quick update on one of my iOS challenges now, more info for overall iOS experience to follow later. 

Garmin ViagoOne of the biggest issue I had to resolve with the iOS trial was to locate good and relatively cheap GPS offline software. Initially I chose “Maps with me Pro”, but while I was still researching I saw the Garmin Viago announcement.

With no doubt, I immediately purchased Viago and then purchased the Europe offline “Maps to Go” package. They both cost me around EUR14 (limited time offer, still available at the time of this writing). I am already Garmin user (my car’s integrated GPS is Garmin, but the maps are already a bit old and I am too cheap to upgrade them), and I’m very impressed with the quality of their maps and software in general. I already have Sygic purchased for my Android account, but I believe Garmin are better.

Viago, so far, showed as a product, which just “does what it’s supposed to do”.  It’s simple, it’s cheap (right now the software price is EUR2, but without offline maps it downloads maps from their site), but it lacks the big amount of extra stuff Sygic offers (one example, I can’t see or can’t find a way yet to see a screen, where all GPS parameters are listed). But for up to date, offline navigation is has a killer price!

After I tried Viago for iOS, I decided “just in case” to buy the same promotion for my Android account. After all, I’m still far not convinced that iOS would be a platform of choice for me, so my Android account needed that navigation too :).

From all what I’ve read so far, this bold Garmin’s move will definitely change the pricing of the GPS navigation software. I remember paying for Sygic for Android price around EUR40. Which is by far more expensive that the current, Garmin alternative.

Interesting times…

Facebooffline time


This FACEBOOK account is voluntarily suspended!

http://facebook.com/donangel

meme-2c7cOn August 25th/26th Facebook banned me for 24 hours for re-sharing a picture of cuisine art: shaped as male genitalia muffins.

A Friend or a Follower of mine reported this picture, because /s/he felt offended. And the report was considered valid, so I got banned for 24 hours. This is sole Facebook right, since this is their meat-mincer where we post, with their rights. We are all the meat there, the product being sold, so we all have to obey.

Since I was reported, it means I bothered someone. So I’d also like to apologize to the one(s), who felt offended. People are different and have different sense of humor or aesthetics, so everyone has the right to judge by his own mind, and to report whatever they find offending.

However, I also have the right to choose my reaction. And as my response to the Facebook ban, I’ll do the following:

  1. I’m moving all my virtual presence to other social networks (in this case: Twitter and Google+) for 24 weeks (that’s one week for every hour I was banned from Facebook)
    1. If you really care to read my stuff, you’re more than welcome to add me there (if not already)
    2. If you decide to stay in Facebook only, that’s your sole right and I accept it.
  2. During this time, I’ll uninstall all Facebook applications on all my devices and I’ll add facebook.com to my hosts file, pointing it to 127.0.0.1 (i.e., no Facebook updates will be visible for any application).
    1. All Facebook mail in all my e-mail accounts will be reported as Junk.
    2. Any Facebook integration in this blog will be turned off. Sorry, my fellow Facebook commenters. I know it is/was more convenient for you, but Facebooffline means facebooffline everywhere! Or at least at the places and services I own. If you comment via Facebook, it means I cannot reply, and I can’t stand that 🙂
    3. I’ll try to convince the members of my family to do the same for our home network: to effectively put Facebook into oblivion, if accessed from our home network. This has very small chance of success, maybe simply because my wife is reading my blog once per month, while she’s reading Facebook 10 times per day. However, I will try it anyway.
    4. I’ll not be available to any Facebook-related messenger.
    5. If you need any Facebook-related help or advice, please look for it on another place, as Facebook does not exist for me at this time, neither do I exist for it.
  3. Most of my “status updates” will be posted on my blog instead. Since the blog is linked to Facebook, these may/will appear here too. Because of misconfiguration of the system plugin (and I don’t care anymore for fixing it, at least not for the coming 24 weeks), they’ll be visible to Facebook Friends only.
    1. If you care to follow me, please add my blog to your RSS feeder of choice (I recommend Feedly).
    2. If you were following my blog before, please be warned there’ll be more updates now, as WordPress supports the “status update” type of post, which I may decide to use.
  4. The Friends, who care to stay in touch, know my IMs. The ones who don’t are welcome to ask. Since I won’t be on Facebook for at least 24 weeks, I won’t be reachable on Facebook messenger.
  5. I accept the fact that I’m turning from one of the biggest Facebook fans in your friend list, most active Facebook users and most passionate Facebook influencer to practically zero. I’m sorry, but sometimes life sucks. So does the Indian guy, who blocked my account for a muffin’s picture. Or the sense of humor of the one, who reported it on the first place.

If the 24 weeks facebooffline trial is successful and I survive physically and mentally without Facebook, I may take decision to delete my Facebook account. Or I may decide to keep it, I have not yet decided. Or I may return as it was. I do not know yet, time will tell.

Please do not think that I feel myself like a Social Net Giant, without whom Facebook will inevitably die in flames. No, no, it’s rather the opposite. I believe the opposite: no one cares about my crappy presence there. With or without me (or every single one of you, let’s be honest) Facebook will keep existing. They’ll keep pushing their anti-penis-muffins rights to everyone and they’ll sell us even better afterwards. I, however, start to think that it’s me who’ll be much better without Facebook, so I’d like to use the today’s reason to start a therapy!

Because if I cannot keep myself out of Facebook for 24 weeks, I may really need to start a therapy, because… well… I guess you got the idea!

That’s all, Facebook folks. See you again on/around February 11th 2014… maybe! Have a nice life, everybody! (that’s the message I used to use, when I was Face-blocking someone, for good).

Image stolen (because they even forbid even normal “Save As”) from QuickMeme.com
 These people never learn!

Milestone Systems is Looking for Vendor(s)

I rarely use my blog as a platform to find partners or recruit people in my team. However, it happens from time to time, and today is one example for that.

milestone-logo_tagOur mother company, Milestone Systems A/S, is rapidly expanding in a growing markets! In order to cope with the current demands, we are now are in an urgent need of a vendor(s) in Bulgaria, which can provide us with development and test services, delivered by his consultants, within the following areas:

  • Web developer(s) – with skill set: 3+ years of web development experience, strong JavaScript skills, new elements introduced in HTML5, XML, WebSockets, File API, History management, Local Storage, and Canvas 2D drawing.
  • Software QA(s) – with skill set: 3+ years’ experience, manual/functional testing, multiplatform products (e.g. Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android), TCP/IP, HTTP, XML and Web Browser-based testing.
  • Senior C++ developer(s) – with skill set: C++ (large scale multithreading environments), multiplatform product development, TCP/IP, HTTP, design patterns.

Sufficient/Good English skills is a requirement due to cross-country team. We foresee a growing need for additional consultants in Q4 2013/Q1 2014.

All candidates will work at our Sofia office, located on 23A Dragan Tzankov blvd., Sofia. We will provide all necessary tools and infrastructure.

If you or others in your network know of good vendors or consultants, or a company which can provide them, please contact me at DAA-at-MILESTONESYS-dot-COM, or via comment in this blog, or directly, if you know my contacts. Detailed Job Description documents can be provided on demand. All vendor consultants will pass an interview(s) within our development and test teams in order to ensure they skills and expertise are suitable for the projects in mind.