Android: What to Look for When Purchasing an Android Device

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iOS and Android are currently the most popular mobile operating systems on the market. Both iOS and Android are based on the rock solid foundation of Unix/Linux powering many devices from smartphones to tablets. iOS gets updates directly from Apple when they come out thus enabling the majority of iOS devices to remain secure. Apple does not allow third parties to have any control over its platform, which is excellent for both Apple and the consumer. This is not the case with most Android devices.

With Android, manufacturers are the gatekeeper for their respective devices. The current hierarchy is: Google -> Smartphone Manufacturer -> Customer.

If you bought your phone from a carrier, such as T-Mobile, AT&T etc the hierarchy is: Google -> Smartphone Manufacturer -> Carrier -> Customer.

In other words, when Google has released a security patch for their Android operating system, the manufacturer then decides whether or not their respective devices will receive the update. This is a serious problem as it means that many devices will be left venerable to hacks and exploits.

To add to this problem many manufacturers/carriers still produce and sell low-cost Android devices running out-dated software (as old as Android 4.2.2 JellyBean) and with no chance of upgrading. It is this phenomenon that has led the term known as Android fragmentation.

Today, I show you how to have your cake and eat it. Today, I’ll show you what to look for and what to buy.

Why You Should be Concerned About Security

Outdated devices provide a nest for hackers to thrive. Compromised apparatus enable them to gain full control. Once the device has been compromised hackers will be able to read your SMS messages, access, send and receive emails on your behalf from your device among other things. Hackers can activate your device’s camera and microphone thus enabling them to view or listen in on conversations taking place while in use or at that location. Stored financial information can be obtained and used for malicious purposes. It is therefore critical to maintain a secure and up-to-date device. Do Not Compromise!

What to Look For

  1. Only purchase devices running the latest version of Android (Android 7 Nougat at the time of writing)
  2. Only purchase devices from manufacturers with a reputation for updating their respective devices on time.
  3. Opt to purchase devices running Pure Android. You will thank me. Many manufacturers believe they are doing their brand justice by customizing every last detail of the OS and installing irremovable software that provides duplicate functionality of the features already present in Android but the truth is this just causes more bugs, more bloat, weaker performance and an overall inconsistent experience. I’m not asking, It is a fact! Over-customization also makes it a lot more difficult for the manufacturer to release device updates on time as new updates released by Google have to be tested against their customizations before they are pushed to their devices.
  4. Look for devices based on Qualcomm processors. They are currently the most compatible, secure, and stable processors on the market for use with Android devices. In addition when you device becomes obsolete you will have a better chance of installing a third party ROM such as Lineage OS to keep your device up-to-date.
  5. The device should have at least 2 GB of RAM and 16GB storage space.
  6. Purchase your devices online, carrier unlocked and directly from the manufacturer.

What to Buy

The Pixel line replaces the Nexus line as a premium set of devices made by Google running Pure Android. Pixel devices are made by Google so their is no 3rd wheel in the picture. Updates from Google will always come to these devices first. The Pixel line promises to provide “the best Android has to offer”.

If you stick to the devices on this list you should have no problems in the security and stability department. You will have an Android phone as Google intended. Clean, pure and free from all the junk that manufacturers and carriers love to put on their devices.

– Alexander Lindo

Android: Sustain Mobile Data

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Many Android users have been plagued by the issue of their data plan depleting even when the “Data Saver” option is enabled. I looked all over the Internet and did not find a solution. This led me to go back to the basics and think of the basic primitive protections put in place before the age of smartphones. In today’s quick tip, I am going to show you how to prevent data hemorrhaging on Android.

The first question many people will ask: “Why is my mobile data depleting even though I have disabled data usage?” Great question. Cellular Data is used on boot before the device’s settings come in to play. Once the SIM Card is present and has mobile data access available it will be used during boot. So how do we fix it? Well the answer is quite simple.

Enable SIM Lock

AL Android SMD2.jpgGo to Settings > Security > SIM card lock > SIM Lock settings and toggle “Lock SIM card” to the on position. Change your default SIM PIN (default is usually: 0000) to something else. When SIM Lock is enabled, the device will boot without access to services provided through the SIM card, thus retaining available data. Once device has booted, Android will ask you to enter your SIM card’s PIN. At this point Android won’t use your data (unless data usage is enabled).

I cannot say whether this is a bug or if it is done by design however above tutorial should help to alleviate this common problem. Please note that the above tutorial is not applicable if you have just factory reset your phone as Android will require you to enter your PIN immediately before the phone is even setup. In this event, it is best to boot the phone without the SIM card. Once the phone has been set up, install the SIM card.

Upgraded to Sierra

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I upgraded to Sierra and I am glad that I did. The OS feels much faster and lighter than El Capitan and the new optimized storage features are certainly a welcome addition. Logic Pro X appears to be working much better than it was on El Capitan and best of all, I am no longer having audio drop outs / distortion when using applications such as iTunes.

After coping over all my useful content (such as music, photos, videos etc.) from a backup, my first step after installing a new OS was to create a backup. For this, I used Time Machine. The backup when through just fine with the exception of “iCloud Drive” which took a while to download content during the backup process. Once all iCloud content was downloaded, the backup process was complete.

I opened up Logic Pro X and tested it without any 3rd party plugins installed. The DAW was as fast as its ever been since the OS X Mountain Lion; certainly a plus in my book. The next step was to install 3rd party plugins. Many companies in this area have warned users not upgrade to Sierra yet. Of course that did not stop me as I tend to keep 3rd party plugins at minimum. I opened up Waves Central and installed a local backup of my plugins after which I authorized. At first it did not authorize but this may have been due to the unstable internet connection at the time. After trying again it worked.

I opened up Logic Pro and my Waves plugins were fully operational. Recorded, mixed and mastered a song. Performance wise the improvements are certainly visible.

Plugins from Plugin Alliance do not work officially yet as told by the manufacturer however, I found a temporary solution that will work until the problem has been officially fixed. See below:

  1. First copy the auvaltool file from the /usr/bin folder from your El Capitan install on to a USB Stick.

  2. Restart your Sierra install and hold down Command + R until you see the Apple logo and loading bar.

  3. Once in recovery mode, Open Terminal from the Utilities menu and type csrutil disable

  4. This will disable System Integrity Protection, which will enable you to replace the auvaltool on Sierra with the one you copied from El Capitan. Be sure to keep System Integrity Protection disabled while you use the previous auvaltool otherwise the it will not work anymore.

  5. Once a fix is officially released, simply replace the auvaltool you copied from El Capitan with the one installed by Sierra.

  6. Reboot your Mac and hold down Command + R until you see the Apple logo and loading bar.

  7. Once in recovery mode, Open Terminal from the Utilities menu and type csrutil enable in order to re-enable System Integrity Protection.

After following steps 1-4 you may need to configure file permissions. Do the following:

cd /usr/bin

sudo chown 0:0 auvaltool

sudo xattr -c auvaltool

sudo chmod 755 auvaltool

Disclaimer: Please note that this temporary fix is not endorsed by Plugin Alliance and you must use at your own risk. Plugin Alliance say that they are working on an official fix. SIP must be disabled in order for this workaround to work and should be re-enabled as soon as an official fix is released by Plugin Alliance. Disabling SIP (System Integrity Protection) poses a security risk and should only be disabled when it is absolutely necessary.

My EP entitled “Progression” has been released recently and is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Google Play. BUY IT NOW!

Once again than you all for the support.

Alexander Lindo

Download: auvaltool from El Capitan

Studio Tips – Episode #1

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Music is an art-form. It builds, strengthens and enhances the human life. It is built with the purpose of delivering a message. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that (as artists, producers, and engineers) our message is delivered in the most accurate way possible. In the “Studio Tips” series I discuss methods on how to enhance the experience and delivery of “the song”. Enjoy!

Location

Ensure your environment is optimal as an uncomfortable environment will leave you with a poor performance. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, what you do, both as an artist and as a person. Do not be quick to “take what you get”, as you always have options. Never let anyone make you think that you don’t have options. If you are unhappy with the situation it is bound to show.

Preparation

If your intention is to record, make sure that you have adequately practiced the material before hand. Magic can and may happen in the studio but it is always best to prepare. If you are a singer ensure that you are hydrated, as failure to do so may leave you with some dry sounding vocals. If you are a guitarist ensure that your guitar is properly tuned and that you have at least 2 extra set of strings available. Other than failure to prepare it can be equally disconcerting when the performer is unable to record a take due to technical difficulties. If you are the producer/engineer set up your project with plugins that introduce the least amount of latency / CPU usage during tracking / recording.

The Message

Vocals / Lyrics are the most important part of every song (that contains vocals). They tell the story, and you want them to shine to the best of their ability. Be sure that your engineer is providing you with a space carved out just for you. Listen to the mix. If you cannot hear yourself clearly when the music is playing, you will be shouting above the mix and this is never recommended. The same goes for performing live. If you cannot hear yourself, you will not perform correctly. It is therefore extremely important to get the balance right, before you open up.

Happy Birthday Rupert Neve

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It is an honor to celebrate the 90th birthday of the legendary Rupert Neve, the visionary responsible for establishing some of the industry’s greatest pieces of audio equipment. A man who followed his dream and continues to do so till this day. Rupert has been and continues to be a massive influence in the way we create, mix and consume audio. In honor of this legend here are some of his career highlights.

The Beginning

The 1073 is a product that almost everyone in the audio industry swears by. Originally built in the year of 1970 as an upgrade for the A88 console at Wessex Studio, the 1073 remains one of the worlds most favorite microphone preamplifier and equalizer modules till this very day. This preamplifier / equalizer has been cloned far more than any other piece of audio equipment and due to its massive success, Rupert Neve continues to provide us with the option of using its most favorable characteristics in his most current products.

NECAM

Rupert Neve invented NECAM (Neve Computer Assisted Mixdown) which was the first motorized fader automation mechanism. This technology was released in 1977 after Rupert’s departure of Neve Electronics.

Focusrite

In 1985 he was commissioned by Sir George Martin to build a 16 channel sidecar which would be fitted with customized modules for his Neve console at the Air Montserrat studio. Neve invented the ISA 110 preamplifier/equalizer along with the ISA 130 VCA compressor under his new company “Focusrite” these modules were released to the world in 1987. They were an instant success. Focusrite was sold later on to Phil Dudderidge in 1989.

Rupert Neve Designes

Today we have Rupert Neve Designs. Established in 2005 Rupert Neve Designs is well known for their Portico series processors along with their 500 series processors. The 511 module is currently their best selling microphone preamplifier. The 5088 console which features Rupert’s legendary transformer-based design is one of the most beautiful consoles ever made.

Conclusion

From the 1073 preamp and equalizer the to the gorgeous 5088 Rupert Neve Designs console. Rupert is one of the most talented and ambitious innovators to have graced the audio industry. I have great respect and regard for Rupert Neve and look forward to what he plans to show us in the future. Happy Birthday Rupert and thank you for enhancing our lives with all of your wonderful creations. The list above is not intended to be elaborate as there are more accomplishments on record. For an even more elaborate look at the innovations of this legend visit rupertneve.com

-Alexander Lindo