How to increase the length of a Zoe

One of the great features that came on the HTC One was a feature called Zoe. Zoe will take upto 20 pictures and a 3 second video shot that brings the Gallery app to life.

Also within Zoe is the Video Highlights feature that at the touch of a button brings all your pictures and videos together and puts them into a neat little 30ish second video with nice animations and background music.

I love this little feature but 30 seconds just isn’t enough sometimes, especially if you have lots of videos and pictures in a particular album/event, with this guide I’ll show you how to increase the length of the Zoe so that you can enjoy longer video clips.

Firstly go into the HTC Gallery app and go into a folder that has lots of pictures or videos that you want to make a video highlight of.

Video Highlight

As you can see here I have selected an album with 106 pictures, make sure they’re all selected and select a theme too.

Go to the music tab and click on the theme that you just chose, so for me I would select the Clean theme:

Clean Theme

This will take you to the Video and Audio Settings for the video highlight:

Video & Audio Settings

In this section you can adjust the music for the video highlight but as you can see the default music that HTC includes are roughly 30 seconds in length.

Again, click on the theme that you chose (so again for me it is Clean) and this will allow you to select a music track from the music that you have on your device:

Music Tracks

Select and confirm the music track that you want to use.

Now you’ll be able to use the Trim Selected Track option to increase the length of the video highlight.

Extended music track

I have only created a video highlight that is 1 minute and 30 seconds long but I can’t see any reason why you can’t make it the whole length of the music track.

Only problem with this is that this can cause problems with uploading the video highlight to social networking sites like Facebook because you have copyrighted music embedded into the file, to get around this I just upload it to YouTube and share the YouTube link to Facebook.

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How to use a PS3 controller to play games on your Android device via Bluetooth (Ubuntu/Linux Mint)

If you like to play games on your Android phone but you’re like me and you find using a touchscreen quite cumbersome to use when playing certain types of games like FPS games, then using a PS3 controller can be the perfect solution.

In the below guide I’ll walk you through setting up your PS3 controller so that playing games on your Android phone will never be the same again.

PS3 Controller

1 – Firstly you’re going to need to download the Sixaxis app from the Google Play Store, this app enables you to connect your PS3 controller to your phone and it also gives you a lot of other options which makes it really easy for you to setup the controls for each game.

It’s also a good idea to download the Sixaxis Compatibility Checker to make sure that your phone is compatible to be able to use the Sixaxis app and use a PS3 controller via Bluetooth.

If your device is compatible then you’re good to go!

2 – Make sure you have libusb installed by running the following command in the Terminal:

sudo apt-get install libusb-dev libusb-0.1-4

Now download sixpair.c to your Home directory.

Open your Terminal in the same directory that you saved your sixpair.c file and enter the following command:

gcc -o sixpair sixpair.c -lusb

3 – Open the Sixaxis app on your phone and make a note of the Local Bluetooth Address at the bottom of the screen.

For example, mine says:

Local Bluetooth Address: 98:0D:2E:46:1D:A6

4 – Now we need to change the Bluetooth address of the PS3 controller to match the Bluetooth address of your phone, to do this plug your PS3 controller into your computer via a USB cable and enter the following command, making sure to change the address to the same address that was shown on your phone when using the Sixaxis app:

sudo ./sixpair “98:0D:2E:46:1D:A6”

Changing Bluetooth Address

5 – You can now unplug your phone from your computer and open up the Sixaxis app on your phone.

Within your Sixaxis app on your phone now press the Start button and then press the PS button on your PS3 controller.

You should see a message similar to the below appear on the Sixaxis app on your phone (battery status will obviously be different depending on how much your controller is charged):

Client 1 connected [Battery status: Full]

If you see this message then your PS3 controller is paired correctly with your Android phone, you should be able to use the PS3 controller to control not only games but also the user interface of the phone.

In an upcoming post I’ll run through how to use the Sixaxis app to setup the controls to play different games.

Happy gaming!

Sense 5 Toolbox

If you’ve never rooted your Android phone and flashed a custom ROM, one like Android Revolution HD for the HTC One then it’s pretty safe to say that you’ve most probably never used the Sense 5 Toolbox.

I’ll be showing you all the benefits that the Sense 5 Toolbox adds to anyone using a HTC phone with Sense 5 on it, which in turns shows the power of Android and using a custom ROM.

Sense 5 Toolbox

Version: 2.2

Sense 5 Toolbox Icon

Before we start a special thanks must go to Langer Hans and Mikanoshi who developed the Sense 5 Toolbox.

I won’t go into the details of how to install the Sense 5 Toolbox as that has already been documented.

The Sense 5 Toolbox (or S5T as we’ll call it from now on), once installed as per the instructions in the link above, can be accessed either via the app icon in the app drawer or via a very handy option within the Settings.

As you can see below the app is split up into various different sections, within these sections are lots of different mods that range from changing the notification bar icons, to making the app drawer transparent to adding gestures to the homescreens that do a multitude of different things.

I’ll break down all the various mods into the sections they’re in within the app and link the screenshots at the bottom of the page.

EQS Reorder

EQS (Extended Quick Settings)

This allows you to quickly and easily change the Quick Settings that are accessed via the status bar. The Quick Settings were added to the HTC One in the Android 4.2.2 update, there is also a couple of extra toggles added in too.

You can save your current layout and restore it if anything goes wrong or you’re updating to a newer version of a ROM.

To move the toggles to your desired place just long press on the toggle and drag it to where you want it to be.

Camera Mods

So instead of having to take pictures, videos or focus with the on-screen buttons within the camera app you now have the chance to assign these actions to the physical Volume Up and Volume Down buttons, this makes focusing and then taking pictures or videoing a whole lot easier and reduces the chances of blurriness when your hand shakes to press the on-screen buttons.

Volume Up action

There are 5 options that you can choose from to add an action to the Volume Up button whilst in the camera app (Shutter, Focus, Force focus, then shutter, Record Video & No change).

Volume Up action

Same as above there are 5 options that you can choose from to add an action to the Volume Up button whilst in the camera app (Shutter, Focus, Force focus, then shutter, Record Video & No change).

Interface Mods

These mods add some extra touches to the beautiful UI of the HTC Sense.

Transparent status bar

Change the transparency of the status bar, you get to choose the amount of transparency too. 0 = transparent or 100 = opaque.

Transparent notification background

Same as above but for the notification background.

Clock style

Don’t like where the clock is placed or don’t like having one full stop, no problem as now you can remove the clock or put the clock in the centre of the status bar (Default, Center clock & No clock).

Remove AM/PM

The option to remove the AM/PM from the clock on the status bar if you have your clock in 12 hour mode.

Brightness slide

With this mod it allows you to move your finger along the

Horizontal EQS

Smaller horizontal EQS

Disable EQS panel

Don’t like the Quick Settings and want it to go back to the way it was in Android 4.1? With this setting it gets rid of the Quick Settings but and replaces it with the Settings button.

AOSP recent apps

Don’t like the Recent Apps style that HTC has implemented with Sense 5 well with this mod you can change the Recent Apps style to the way Stock Android has it.

Close all recent apps at once

With a simple swipe down gesture you can now clear all of your recent apps in one go.

CleanBeam Mods by vomer

This mod basically lets you change all of your status bar icons to the ones in the screenshot below, you can also choose which of the icons you want to change.

Sense Mods

Dock

Change the transparency of the dock, you get to choose the amount of transparency too. 0 = transparent or 100 = opaque.

4×1 clock widget

Change the transparency of the HTC clock widget, you get to choose the amount of transparency too. 0 = transparent or 100 = opaque.

App drawer

Change the transparency of the App Drawer, you get to choose the amount of transparency too. 0 = transparent or 100 = opaque.

Folders

Change the transparency of the folders on the homescreens, you get to choose the amount of transparency too. 0 = transparent or 100 = opaque.

Folder icons

Change the transparency of the folder icons on the homescreens, you get to choose the amount of transparency too. 0 = transparent or 100 = opaque.

Infinifolders

One of my favourite mods here, HTC only lets you have 16 apps within a folder on the homescreen, with this mod it lets you add as many apps as you like to a folder, making the folder up/down scrollable like the app drawer so that you can access all the apps within the folder.

Infinite home screen scroll

When scrolling through the homescreens instead of the scrolling stopping when you get to one end this mod allows you to keep on scrolling through the homescreens.

Remove Blinkfeed

As it says, it removes Blinkfeed from the homescreens.

Home popup menu

Allows for a menu to popup on the homescreens to give you further options.

Small app drawer grid font

Reduces the font size of the title of the app when using a 6-row app drawer grid.

Remove app drawer clock

Why they’ve put the clock and weather in the app drawer I do not know and this option thankfully gives you the option to remove it.

Gestures

The gestures are for when you’re on one of the HTC homescreens, they allow you to do different things when swiping your finger either Down, Up, Right & Left and gives you the following options:

No action
Expand notifications drawer
Expand EQS panel
Lock device
Go to sleep
Take screenshot
Launch app
Toggle settings

If you select to launch an app you get another list that allows you to choose with app you want to launch. If you select toggle settings you get another list with a whole host of settings that can be applied.

Messaging Mods

Disable SMS -> MMS conversion

This mod changes the way that long text messages are turned into multimedia messages which in turn could mean you’re charge by your carrier, it basically increases the limit of when the text is turned into a multimedia message.

Wake on SMS

Turns your screen on when receiving a text message.

Toast delivery reports

Shows a toast message (little popup on screen) instead of a notification in the status bar.

Raise MMS size

Increases the size limit of MMS messages that you send from 300k to 1000k.

Enable accent support

Enables accent support in SMS settings.

Controls Mods

Volume2Wake

Allows you to wake your phone up when it’s been asleep by using the volume buttons rather than having to use the power button.

Gestures

Gives you the following options to assign to the action of long pressing the back button or swiping the home button:

No action
Expand notification drawer
Expand EQS panel
Lock device
Go to sleep
Kill foreground app
Take screenshot
Launch app
Toggle Settings

If you select to launch an app you get another list that allows you to choose with app you want to launch. If you select toggle settings you get another list with a whole host of settings that can be applied.

Various Mods

APM

Allows you to enable the Advanced Power Menu which when long pressing the power button gives you more options rather than just turn off or restart you can enter the Recovery or Bootloader etc.

Enable ‘Keep screen on’

Puts back the option to keep the screen turned on in the display settings until you turn it off.

Show additional app details

Adds additional fields in the Settings > Apps section.

Disable volume change sound

Turns off the sound made when adjusting the volume.

Volume dialogue position

Moves the volume dialogue to the bottom of the screen so that it doesn’t disrupt what you’re doing on screen.

Hide MTP notification

Gets rid of the MTP notification icon in the status bar.

Screenshots

EQS Reorder

Camera Mods

Interface Mods

CleanBeam Mods by vomer

Sense Mods

Messaging Mods

Controls Mods

Various Mods

Tablet Browser Review – UC Browser

Browsers are something that we use everyday on our computers, phones or tablets. Some apps on Android, iOS, Windows Phone etc have replaced the need to open up a browser but browsers are still used everyday.

With that in mind it’s important that you pick a browser that suits your needs, one that makes your experience quick and easy as we all have busy lives and don’t have time to hang around, we want the content and we want it now!

It’s not all about the speed of loading a webpage though, these days there’s generally very little difference between the speed of browsers so choosing a browser that suits your needs comes down to many others things like easy of use, features and add-ons to name just a few.

This will probably be controversial though as what I think makes a good browser will probably vary a lot from what you think makes a good browser, so just remember that this is my opinion on how I use my browser. Having this choice can only be a good thing!

In today’s browser review I’ll be reviewing the UC Browser for Android tablets.

UC Browser HD

Price: Free
Official website: http://www.ucweb.com

Icon

Initial screens

When you first start up UC Browser you’re greeted by a nice Speed Dial whereby you can add upto 12 different website links. As you’ll see from the below it does load the favicon so that you have a graphical representation of the link you’ve just created but I can’t seem to get them all to load which is a shame as it takes away from the look of the Speed Dial.

Speed Dial

Long pressing on one of the Speed Dials opens a popup which allows you to open the link in the background, edit the details of the link, move the link or delete the link which will then leave the space with a ‘+’ sign to indicate that you can add another link there.

Edit Speed Dial

Swiping to the right takes you to the Site Navigation page where you have lots of links to popular websites, unfortunately I haven’t found a way to edit these.

Site Navigation

As you can see you have tabs at the top of the screen allowing quick navigation between all of the websites that you have open. You also have a dedicated search field with options to use different popular search engines.

Gestures

Gestures are a great way to navigate on touch screens with minimal effort and to get around the app quickly. UC Browser makes use of gestures and they seem to work great.

Swiping down with two fingers will open up another tab in the foreground and will take you to the Speed Dial where you can either search for a website or use one of your Quick Links. Swiping up with two fingers will also close the tab you’re on and take you to the tab to your immediate left.

Swipe Down - New Tab

Swiping from left to right or right to left with two fingers will either open up the tab to your right or to your left, this is quick and easy although I think it’s quicker to actually tap on the tab at the top of the screen. Where this comes in useful though is when you’re navigating in full screen so the tabs at the top aren’t immediately visible.

Swipe Left-Right

Full Screen Swipe Left-Right

Bookmarks

If you’re like me then you like to bookmark all your favourite websites so that you have easy access to them at anytime. For me it’s crucial that my bookmarks can be accessed easily and quickly.

With UC Browser your bookmarks are one button away, pressing on the star icon in the bar underneath your tabs opens all your bookmarks on the left of the screen.

Bookmarks

Your bookmarks can be organised into folders which again for me is crucial due to the amount of bookmarks that I have. They’re presented in a clean and pleasant looking list.

Bookmarks - Folder

Clicking on the ‘Manage’ button at the bottom of the bookmarks allows you to easily move your bookmarks up and down or you can delete a bookmark. It doesn’t allow you to move a bookmark to another folder so you would have to delete the bookmark and set it up again if you did accidentally put it in the wrong folder but overall it’s really easy to organise your bookmarks.

Managing Bookmarks

Features

The little widgets to the right of the screen are one of UC Browser’s best features, it’s something that I haven’t really seen on other tablet browsers and the ones that do something similar are miles behind with the functionality of the UC Browser’s implementation.

Long pressing on the umbrella icon brings up a load of other options that you can add to the widget. I personally only have a few but I’m sure the rest are useful to other people.

These options allow you to quickly move up and down a webpage, go in and out of fullscreen mode, refresh the webpage, opening a new tab etc.

Quick Widget

You can long press on a widget to move it up and down so you can have them in the order you want them.

Quick Widget Settings

Other features like night mode, text only mode, incognito browsing and being able to set the UA to desktop so that you don’t have to request a desktop version of every website that you visit are also nice touches.

Overall the look and feel of UC Browser is fresh and modern, it is quick but more importantly for me the parts of a website that I use often are easily accessible and customisable.

There are loads of other features, settings and things I could have commented on but I didn’t want to go on forever and most of these are covered exactly the same by other browsers.

Is this the best browser for Android tablets? We’ll see after the round up of the reviews of all the other browsers.

Let me know your thoughts, what do you like or hate about UC Browser?