How to make your web pages look good anywhere

On Google + some one shared a link to website on simplicity in web pages. The page says it will look good anywhere.  I tried on my handphone and  its true, text is nicely formatted and reflowed for the small screen.

A quick peek under the hood reveals nothing special, just lots of h1, h2 h3 etc.  Almost no /div.  Now I am curious.  A more detailed check in the header reveals this.

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>

Try it out.

Google return this site on design. link


link  NSFW language. Blog post by the author   A detailed examination

Preparing for Primary 1

Ted Birthday Celebration in School 2012

Sunday’s newspaper had a 2 pager on preparing for Primary 1 or Grade 1. Since I had two kids through that grade, I can call myself a veteran of sorts. It does not have to be stressful, All it takes are some preparation. Here are some battle scars.

  1. Label all possessions religiously.
    Magic marker, label  and cover with sticky tape, special stickers all possessions. Religiously! Bag, books, water bottle, pencils, pencil box, erasers you get the drift.
  2. Pocket money.
    Very few kids at P1 are adventurous in food. So don’t give them much money, just a dollar or two. Pack a light lunch box for your child to share/exchange. It’s a great way to bond. There are no ice to break. Most importantly, you must emphasize, the money is for food and nothing else. Otherwise you will end with some random junk from the school bookstore, overpriced erasers, pencils and magic matchboxes.
  3. Comm file
    My childs’ school operates on the lowest common denominator. Therefore all parent communications are via paper. Lots of them. You need a system for your child to keep them or you will be looking a pile of crumpled forms to sign off. There is also the time table and its various revisions, English spelling list, Mother Tongue spelling list and so on. Prepare a communication file with clear pockets, train your child to put these papers into the pockets. Label the file and the pockets. English stuff goes into one pocket, school comms letter goes into another etc.
  4. All-in-1 printer
    Since whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, duplicate the spelling lists. There is a good chance your child will leave the comm file in school on the eve of the spelling test. To save you the stress of climbing over the school fence, duplicate two copies of all spelling lists. One copy for home file, one copy for the caregiver. You may need a duplicate file at the caregiver. Don’t forget to duplicate the time table! I kept a photo in my handphone.
  5. WhatsApp
    Some teachers maintain a chat group for communication with the parents.  If you, the parent don’t have a smartphone, time to get one.  If you child needs a phone, give a dumb/feature phone.
  6. School calendar
    This is the calendar of upcoming activities. Eg tests, field trips etc. If your child’s school publish this, keep hold of this. This helps you to prepare for upcoming tests.
  7. Weird classmates
    Not all children are as well behave as your precious, teach them how to ignore them. I am sure you have heard of horror stories of children not sitting in their place wandering around in class and re-possessing other children’s stuff, trust me, they are all true.
  8. Teach your child to be responsible  for their stuff.
    Your child is old enough to play with the iPad, they are old enough to take care of their own stuff.  Eg encourage use only one pencil box for all locations and activities.
  9. Bag Inspection.
    You will never know what you might find.  On the first week, we found lots of trinkets from the school bookshop.  No parental control + money = freedom.  Make it a good practice to do weekly random bag inspections.  Daily if you have the time.  This is to make sure no assignment left behind.
  10. Try to wash the whites separately.
  11. Maths
    All problems are solved using a bar model link.  Using other methods, you are doing it wrong.  Use of algebra will get blank stares.  The official guide is available in the bookstore and Popular Bookstores.
  12. Spelling Lists.
    Keep all spelling lists for the weaker language.  You will need to go through all of them for mid year and end of year tests/exams

See?  Wasn’t so difficult after all right?

Google Hangouts and SMS

I finally received the latest version of Google Hangouts.  This version, 2.0 enables you to chat via Google Talk and use SMS all in one app.  Integration sometimes yield a better solution than the sum of its parts.  Except for Hangouts.

Google Hangouts does not do the following:

1. There is no QuickMessage  With the old Message app, when a new SMS comes in, you choose have it pops up.  This is no where to be found.

2. New message also shows up in the Notification drawer, just in case you missed.  Using Message, there are replies and delete buttons.  Hangout does not have any.

I tried sending an SMS to myself, it switches to a Hangout message, eg IM.

In summary, using Hangouts brings integration to the table and  sends you back to ICS world.  I hope the next few updates fix the above.

Ok Google not working

A few days ago, Google Now or more precisely Google Voice Search stopped responding to the hotword “Ok Google”.  The search bar just shows “Search” as if the functionality has been disabled. Well at least for my phone.  Since I am on Dorimanx kernel with Aviate launcher, I decided to take a “walk back in time”.

  1. Uninstalled Aviate
  2. Format System folder and flashed 10.1.3 v2 ROM to remove Dorimanx kernel.  Still the same.
  3. Format System folder again and flashed 10.1.3 Stable.  No change.
  4. Check and uncheck Hotword, No change.
  5. Download English US offline language pack, set phone language to English US.  No change.

Gave jp and started googling.  Lots of people have the same problem, but mainly caused by the language setting.

Still not working.

I discovered one very nice thing.  I am sure you tried out lots apps over the years, some good, some bad, some best forgotten.  Your Google Play account will these dormant apps.  Installed once, uninstalled, and forever lurking around.

Now no more!  With Play app 3.1.8, now you can delete them!

You can delete old apps in Google Play



Update: 19 Nov

Someone at XDA said that the hotword activation is only possible with the new KitKat Launcher.

Update: 16 Dec
Thanks to Android 4.4, I have discovered the cause for this.  It was due to Button Savior (non-root) app.  It places a service inside Accessibility and it somehow interfered with hotword detection.  I  have since changed to Button Savior (root) app.

Things Google Now will not do for you.

1. Search the “Relationship” field in People.  You get better results by using Phonetic name.  Put “Wife” as “Spouse” in Relationship gets no hits.  “Wife” as Phonetic name get an exact match.

2. It does not search your phone, well at least from 1 Oct 13 onwards.  What ever stuff you store, type, annotate, music, podcasts will not turn up in a Google Now search.   Even if you want to it can’t   I think the only storage area it searches is Drive and Evernote.

3.  Since it does not recognize music stored on your Phone, Play and Listen don’t work any more.



This is a new type of launcher.  It does not allow you to change the font, color, screensaver or look and feel.  It does however let you change some parts of the home screen.  Now that I have covered what it does not do, I will now cover it does for you.

Aviate is an intelligent launcher that is context aware.  For example in the morning, it presents the apps that you might use in the morning.  News, weather etc.  I have changed mine to Google+, Scope and XDA.

When you are out and about, another bunch of apps comes up.  This time with the location related apps Maps, Local.  I have added in Calendar and a bus app.

It senses where you are by sniffing the GPS and Wi Fi data.  It will also show nearby locations of interest. If you are near a location that has been checked in on Foursquare, it will pop them up.  For example, it shows recommendations of certain dish at a location.

At night, the homescreen changes for another set of apps for you.  It groups Android Alarm and Torch together, for your convenience.

Aviate groups apps  into Collections, eg Work, Home, Out and About, Day Time, Night Time, Social, News, Games etc.  There are only 3 homescreens.  The main homescreen, settings and the app drawer.  The first three collections, Work, Home and Out and About can swiped into the main homescreen from the left, see below.  The Day and Night Time collections triggered by time, pops into the main homescreen.  Work and Home collections are triggered by address.

Aviate Change Collection

If an app that you need is not listed in the collection, two swipes will get you to the new app drawer. The default app drawer is now no longer an after thought with all the apps thrown.  In Aviate, all the apps are grouped and listed in alphabetical order. See picture below.

Aviate App Drawer

If you are like me, a stickler for the locations of your apps on homescreens, Aviate takes some time to get use to.  All these context sensitive homescreen comes at a price.  It leaches an extra 2%/hr of the battery life.  At the time of writing, this app is a closed beta product, so some bugs/performance issues are to be expected.

The normal widgets for your apps can be installed, unfortunately only on the current main screen.  The most you can put in is one or two.  It does not scroll down. See below with four widgets installed.  The top widget is actually a picture, horribly compressed.

Aviate Homescreen with widgets

Putting the widgets in a collection gives a much better experience.  Swipe down to show the current collection, long press to install your favourite widget.

Aviate Work collection with Echofon and Flipboard widget

You can add change the contents of the collection by dragging the desired app from the app drawer into the collection.  If you press on the add icon, it suggests an appropriate app  from the Play store.  In this example, the SnapChat app.  You can control what collection you want to see in the Collections, by clicking on the gear icon at the top right hand corner.

Aviate recommending SnapChat

For Work collection , it suggest CamScanner.  You can have a repeating shortcuts across multiple collections.  For example I have Whatsapp shortcut in several.

Aviate Work homescreen with CamScanner widget

In the Music collection, it suggest installing the Pandora widget.

Aviate recommends Pandora widget

Games Collection, you can install SongPop

Aviate Games Homescreen with SongPop

For News, it recommends Podkicker Pro

Aviate with Podkicker Pro


Interested in trying this out?  Post your email address below.  I might have some invites left over.

Aviate website.  link

Edit 14 Nov

I am out of invites.

Edit 13 Jan 14

Yahoo has bought over Aviate.  link.  Use YAHOO as a registration code.

Android 4.4



This is the most famous Android 4.4 also known as KitKat, after the famous chocolate treat. It was announced a few months ago and just released on 1 Nov, together with the much leaked Nexus 5 from LG.

There a whole bunch of write up how Android 4.4  will reduce memory consumption, faster through a new JVM called ART, all to enable leaner hardware to run the latest version of Android. Leaner, not older hardware.

Personally, I would like try out printing supported right from the Android, immersive viewing and full screen wallpaper. What I am not so keen on are the changes in the colors in the UI. From the light blue-green, it is going grey. Grey on a color device? Very funny!

Those holding on to much older devices will have to wait for a dev to watch the patches to AOSP and finally, build one.

Engadget link Android link  Check out the time on the screenshots!