Top 10 reasons to root your Android mobile phone or tablet

Some of you may have heard of it in whispered tones : "you can do this (or that) if you would only ROOT your phone". You might wonder what is this "root" thing and what it might do for you ...

How to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800

The steps below show how to root the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 GT-P6800. Note that this guide is for the 3G+Wifi version only. Be sure you know what you are doing ...

Singtel 3G APN settings for Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

One of the first things that I did upon getting my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 was to ensure that the Singtel 3G APN settings are correct. I've read that you can configure it with slightly more optimized settings as follows ...

Singapore : Telco authority IDA to mandate improved 3G mobile coverage standards, cap mobile roaming charges

IDA, the overall Singapore telco authority, has recently come up with a couple of mandates to try to resolve two of the most pressing issues faced by mobile phone users in Singapore.

Apple nets $46.33 billion revenue, Samsung gets $42 billion in Q4 2011

Tech earning season is in and we are looking at some incredible numbers out there. For Apple's Q4 2011 results, the official press release noted that the company "posted record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and record quarterly net profit of $13.06 billion".

Monday, February 25, 2013

Samsung Galaxy S4 launch date and tech specs (Update 2)




CNET has confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be the definitive model at the unveiling on the launch date of 14 March 2013 at the Samsung Unpacked event in New York.

The current thinking regarding the Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs is as follows :

Processor : Octa-core Exynos 5 / Quad-core Exynos / Snapdragon 600 1.9Ghz

Display : 4.99" 1920x1080 Full HD Super AMOLED (alternatively, SoLux or SLCD)
OS : Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Memory : 2GB RAM
Internal storage : 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Camera : 13 megapixel rear with 1080p video recording, 2 megapixel front
Dimensions : 140.1 x 71.8 x 7.7mm
Weight : 138g

The biggest uncertainties remain in the two "biggest" items, namely the choice of processor and the display. To date it is yet to be confirmed whether the processor would be based on the awesome new ARM big.LITTLE architecture which would mean the 8-core Exynos 5 chipset, or a more "normal" quad-core Exynos but clocked at a slightly higher rate, or as some have said, unlikely though it may be, that Samsung would abandon their own Exynos series and go with Snapdragon instead.

As for the display, most are in agreement that it would be 4.99" or you could round it off to 5" if you like, on the other hand the concern is whether Samsung is finally, finally ready with their mass production of their Full HD Super AMOLED display tech or they have to fall back on something else such as Super LCD or some such equivalent. All will be revealed on 14 March 2013, including the official release date, product availability and so on, hence we shall wait and see.


See also :

1. Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Updates on the Apple vs Samsung Patent War


Latest updates in the Apple vs Samsung patent lawsuit aka thermonuclear war. CNet reports that :

A key patent that Apple successfully used against Samsung in its multibillion-dollar courtroom brawl earlier this year is at risk following a re-examination by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office All 21 claims of U.S. patent No. 7,844,915 - also known as the "pinch to zoom" patent -- were rejected by the Patent Office today, following a re-examination.

That makes 3 major patents invalidated or close to getting invalidated that Apple had been using against the other side :

1. Multi-touch
2. Rubber-banding effect
3. Pinch-to-zoom

Interesting to see that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is finally making some common-sense decisions after the billion-dollar verdict had already been handed down. It's either that, or as they say, that the wheels of justice move slowly - but they do move.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs


According to sammobile.com and some other tech websites, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4 tech specs are rumored to be as follows :

Exynos 5450 2.0GHz quad-core processor based on Cortex A15
5" Super AMOLED Full HD 1920x1080 display
13-megapixel camera

If any of these specifications is even near true by itself, it would be pretty awesome. 2.0GHz quad-core CPU? Unreal.

And that holy grail of all OLED screen aficionados, the Full HD Super AMOLED display, hopefully with a "+" non-Pentile arrangement. If they could pull that off, itwould be a technical coup of the highest order. After all, Samsung did show that they could pull off a Retina-busting 2560x1600 display with the Google Nexus 10, albeit with PLS tech, so the next logical step would be to do something close to that with AMOLED.

However, these are all early stage speculations. The photo is a purported early rendering as well. We shall watch and see what the actual product specs will be like.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE : how to turn off 4G setting, remain in 3G mode



Just had a chat with a Facebook friend, he was asking about turning off the 4G/LTE setting for the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Though I didn't have a Note 2 on hand, I guessed that with the TouchWiz interface and all, it should be pretty similar to other Galaxy phones in the series.

So here's how to do it :

  1. Go to Settings, More ..., Mobile networks, Network mode.
  2. There will be 4 options : LTE/GSM/WCDMA(Auto mode) , GSM/WCDMA and so on.
  3. The 2nd option will leave the phone in 3G mode but disable 4G/LTE mode.

Hope that helps.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mozilla Firefox 14 : setting for new tab to blank homepage

Mozilla Firefox 14 has a new tab feature which by default shows your most recently visited pages. While this may seem to be a convenient feature, it may be a privacy concern as it shows anyone nearby at a glance what your most frequently visited websites are the moment you try to open a new tab.

Actually this "feature" has been implemened since Firefox 13.0 and Firefox 14.0 has just carried on with this setting. There is currently no easily-accessible user interface setting to change that. In order to set your new tab homepage to say a blank page, you need to do the following :


  1. In Firefox, enter about:config in the address bar.
  2. Simply click through when asked about "This might void your warranty". No worries about that screen, it's a joke. Firefox is a free software so you don't get any kind of warranty actually.
  3. Search for the newtab setting by simply typing "newtab" in the search box (as shown in the screenshot above).
  4. Double-click on the setting browser.newtab.url and set it to about:blank which gives you a blank page if that's what you want.
  5. Optionally, you can set this to any other homepage you like.
 While we are here, there is another setting that you might want to change. Similar to the newtab "feature", since Firefox 13, and now also in Firefox 14, the smooth-scrolling setting has been enabled by default. To turn it off, do the following :


  1. In Firefox, enter about:config in the address bar (or remain in the config page if you're already there).
  2. Search for the smooth-scroll setting by simply typing "smoothscroll" in the search box (as shown in the screenshot above).
  3. Double-click on the setting general.smoothScroll to set it to false.

Hope this helps.

(Update : this works for later Firefox versions as well, so far it's worked fine with Firefox 15 and Firefox 16).

See also :

1. How to fix color management problems in Mozilla Firefox

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to secure your home wireless network and wifi router


Securing your home wireless network is important, because you do not want to :
  • Get accused of being a criminal or worse, a terrorist, because somebody used your wifi network to hack others, threaten somebody, or looked for bomb-building instructions (let's say).
  • Allow others to intercept your online traffic, see what websites you are surfing, or hijack your user sessions, usernames and passwords over-the-air.
  • Receive a "friendly visit" from a SWAT team complete with assault rifles and flashbang grenades


Hence, here are 11 steps to secure your home wifi router and wireless network, ranked in descending order of importance :

  1. Remote management : should be turned off to disallow any attempts to login and manage the router remotely from the external (Internet) interface. This is the most important setting that should be double-checked during setup, though it is typically already set to disabled out-of-the-box.
  2. Turn on WPA2 with AES encryption : should be set to encrypt all wireless traffic and discourage over-the-air sniffing and interception of client traffic. This is another important setting to disable casual sniffing of over-the-air traffic. Do NOT use WEP, it can be cracked in a matter of minutes. The fastest WEP crack was done in under 1 minute (!). Also, do NOT use WPA with TKIP, it has been shown to be compromised as well.
  3. Turn off WPS (Wifi Protected Setup) : there is a serious bug in the WPS protocol that potentially allows break-ins to millions of wifi routers : it turns out that Wifi Protected Setup is not very "protected" at all, and that the searchable key-space is only around 11,000 instead of 110 million, which is easily crackable in a matter of hours or perhaps less. Hence pre-shared WPA2 keys should be set manually instead of relying on WPS.
  4. Set a complex pre-shared key : after ensuring that WPS is off, the minimum length of WPA2 pre-shared keys set should be at least 20-30 characters long to discourage brute-force attacks.
  5. Set a complex password for router management : never leave the wifi router using the default out-of-the-box passwords such as admin, linksys, netgear or some such. Use a suitably long and complex password.
  6. Disable over-the-air management : disallow attempts to sniff or hack router management over-the-air. This setting may be labelled "Enable Web Access" on some Cisco/Linksys routers, and could be under a different name on other brands and models.
  7. Enable HTTPS (SSL) for management : after disabling over-the-air router management, this setting will discourage casual sniffing of router admin password over the wired interface as well.
  8. Disable UPNP : to disable attacks on Universal Plug-and-Play (UPNP) that potentially allow hackers to utilize the wifi router or take over router management.
  9. Remove unused incoming NAT rules : after disabling UPNP, this part of hardening is to close unused ports and reduce exposure to NMAP-style port scanning. Ensure that incoming NAT or firewall rules point to the right internal IP address and ports. Separately, outside the scope of router hardening, ensure OS hardening : check that the internal servers are suitably patched and hardened, including shutting down unused services when they are not needed.
  10. Hidden SSID : to discourage casual attempts to connect to wifi routers, turn off SSID broadcast. People will typically first try their luck at connecting to stations that are broadcasting SSID's.
  11. Wireless MAC filter : not that secure since MAC's can be easily spoofed, hence this is put as a last option. Again this does not help much against determined and professional attackers, but discourages casual attempts.


Hope the above router hardening guide is not too overwhelming. If you must, do the first half at least, these should be considered mandatory steps nowadays. If you possibly can, do EVERYTHING on this list, with the exception that the last two can be optional.

The Hidden SSID option makes life a little bit more inconvenient as you have to manually set up each client since it can no longer scan for openly-broadcasting wifi routers. In Windows 7 for example, you have to select the option "Connect even if the network is not broadcasting its name (SSID)".

The wireless MAC filter option makes life even more inconvenient (you have to take note of each new client's MAC address and add it to the permitted list) and gives even less back in terms of security (MAC addresses can be easily changed and spoofed with a simple command in Linux and a few clicks in Windows), so in most cases we might not want to bother much with it.

Some people talk about reducing the wireless signal strength. Some router firmware allows that. But you do not really want to do that, because it will reduce your level of convenience while all that your adversary needs to do is to get a signal booster, or simply move in a little bit closer to your wifi router's location. If you are really paranoid enough to be thinking about shielding materials, signal penetration and stuff like that, perhaps you shouldn't be using a wireless network at all (and you probably work for an agency with letters in its name and you can't talk about it). But let's keep some perspective, we're talking about securing a HOME wifi router here, not a military / government Command & Control facility (not that I can talk about that, either ;)

Anyway, the above should contribute a lot towards reducing your security exposure. Don't wait further, secure your home wireless router now.

Friday, April 13, 2012

How to fix color management problems in Mozilla Firefox



Recently I've been looking at a Firefox color management problem. Certain colors on websites seemed to be off, especially white backgrounds that looked like they had a yellowish tinge. The issue was encountered on Mozilla Firefox 11.0 but I've actually been having this issue for quite some time already.

This problem seems to affect only a small proportion of Firefox installations out there. Among my machines, which include 2 desktops, 3 laptops and another from the office, only one of the machines seems to have been affected. Apparently the issue had been there since Firefox 3.5 where color management was enabled by default, but I did not notice the colors were off until some time after the graphics drivers were updated. It could be due to that, but I couldn't be precisely sure that it was the cause.

I've managed to fix the problem by changing the color management setting to disabled. Here's how to do that :


  1. In the Firefox address bar, enter "about:config" (without the quotes), as in the screenshot above.
  2. There's a warning about "This might void your warranty!". Having paid exactly zero dollars for your software, there actually isn't any in the first place, so click on the "I'll be careful, I promise!" button.
  3. Now do a search for the color management setting. Simply type "gfx.color" to start searching for the property name.
  4. Double click to change the setting from 2 to 0.

That's it.

Color management will be disabled and the colors should hopefully look normal now.

References :

  1. Gfx.color management.mode
  2. Firefox 3.5 color all messed up

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