Design, Programming, Music and Life

Friday, September 25, 2015

Idea - Modular Powered Gadgets

This is one of my more recent ideas that I came up with. I was tired of events where I had to rely on battery powered gadgets, just to find out that there was no power, and no more batteries in the junk drawer, so I thought of a modular system that would allow me to see the battery level, as well as be compatible with new battery technologies in the future.
Upon also realizing the harsh reality of my ongoing economic state, I have decided to share this one with no attempts at trying to claim dibs on the idea. So here is a decent idea for any techno gurus out there with the capital to make it happen :)

The system is meant to be packaged as a pack of three battery packs, a charger, and one module of the users choice. The modules could be almost anything really, a video camera, flashlight, fan, microphone with recorder, USB charger, and many more possible modules could also be used. I just left a couple here to give the idea out.

I don't think it was a "ground breaking" idea, but it was decent enough to sketch it out at the time :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Top 9 Android Emulators For Gaming


I have tried many many android emulators for the PC over the last couple years, and there were a number of them on the market that I never found any mention of. So I put it upon myself to write up a review of what I found that works well for playing Android games on the my Windows tablet.

To start off with, I will not be focusing on Android-x86 variants like Console-OS, nor will I be focusing on android emulators focused on development, like the one that comes with Android Studio or Microsoft's Android emulator or browser based ones like ARC reactor, Appetize.io, Manymo, or xamarin. We will be focusing on the ones that work in fullscreen, and also support touch or multi-touch for Windows tablets. My test machine is a Surface Pro 3 - i3 - 4gb RAM, so it is the lower end of surface pro tablets.

#9 - Bluestacks

This was one of the first Android emulators to hit the PC, and in my opinion, has since sold out to the consumer hardware sector, and turned what could have been a great idea into a bloated, adware filled sluggish experience. This might be the most advertised solution, but it is one of the worst on this list. They do allow you to pay for a bloat free version, but it is not worth the trouble in my eyes.

#8 - YouWave

Following in the footsteps of Bluestacks, YouWave is also one of the older ones on the list, and as far as Android Emulators go, it has a lot of features, but not very well designed. This solution will also cost you around $20 too, and in my eyes is nowhere near worth that price. It looks like the developer who designed the interface is stuck in Win XP mode, and the performance reflects the same.

#7 - GenyMotion

This emulator is geared towards developers, but it can work in Fullscreen if you have a tablet device loaded up and a couple options selected. There is a wide range of different Android versions available for it, and it's overall performance is good, but on the downside, they don't have many features available at all for the free version, and the paid version will run up quite the bill at almost $35 per month!! No thanks, moving on.

#6 - Andy

This emulator does a great job at making it compatible with a wide range of Android games and apps, but it does suffer from a little lag, and very low resolution when it comes to graphics quality. The user interface is very simple and unrefined, almost looks as though it belongs on Windows Vista computers and nothing modern. This one is free for non enterprise users, and they do update it pretty often. Just not fast enough for me to use on my SP3.

#5 - Droid4X

This one is a step in the right direction, it is geared more towards gaming, and supports all the needed stuff to work on most Windows tablets/pc's, but it is a little sluggish and the options for display and performance are not where they need to be. It is however, completely free, and if you have decent machine specs, you will get by with it just fine.

#4 - Nox

This little baby is one of the new kids on the block, and is off to a great start. Still a little work needed to be done on performance and input, but the interface is well designed, and there is a pretty good flow of development going on behind the scenes. This is free, and does come with Google Play services built in. I am personally keeping an eye on this one in the future.

#3 - MEmu

This one is fast, and for the most part, it does the job well, but app compatibility is not where I think it should be, and the options available pale in comparison to some of the other Android emulators out there. It is free and should work on most machines though, so it is worth a try. It does install Oracle VM Virtualbox too, which does not un-install by it's self.

#2 - DuOS

This is a great example of how Android emulation on Windows should be done. It is fast, well designed, compatible with every app I tried, even VainGlory, and it also is the only one that allows me to let my computer go to sleep, and wake back up with the emulator still running in the background. The resolution of DuOS is also a great example of what the other guys should be doing. I love this one so much, that it was worth the $10 I paid for a full license a while ago. The only draw back I have from DuOS is that their development team could do a little better working with Windows 10. It can take quite a lot of work to get up and running. Another thing about DuOS, is that you have to install Google Apps separately, and can be a little confusing if you don't read up on it first.

#1 - Windroye

This one takes first place for fastest android emulator available now. It runs most of the apps I tried to install, but on the downside, there are still a good number of apps it doesn't support. So it's a trade off on speed vs compatibility with Windroye. They also have a couple different versions available, but Windroye is the only one that comes with Google Play services. As far as ease of use, this one is also a great choice, because I didn't have to mess with anything except for the resolution and DPI. It even fixed my SP3's issue of not having VTx enabled in bios for me. (Windows 10 locked down the SP3 bios options to not allow this any more)

In conclusion, it was a close call between DuOS and Windroye, but considering the issues my SP3 has with DuOS at random, I cannot rely on it when I want a quick gaming fix. So Windroye takes the win. There are also a number of things I did not mention about many of the emulators on this list, so if you are really curious, feel free to follow the links and check them out for yourself. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Windows 10, build 9926: Get through setup and windows update on Surface Pro 3


I like many others out there have found that the new release of Windows 10, is not as easy as M$ makes it sound when applying it to the new Surface Pro 3. Many users have reported that the screen constantly crashes and it restarts often. I too had these same issues, but I also found a temporary workaround that allowed me to continue using it and apply the updates and hardware fixes through Windows Update.
The trick here is to only leave the screen on for 5-10 seconds at a time. At least for me, it seemed that the Surface Pro 3's screen would start to flicker and blank out after 10-15 seconds on on time. So when you start up the update, and install it, it will mostly work fine until you actually get to the Desktop. Once there, tap the power button and count to 5. Then turn it back on, unlock it, and hit the start button. Then type in Windows Update, and then hit the power button. If you are not quick enough, the screen will start to blank out. If this happens, hit the power button as soon as it happens, because this function will override the systems want to re-enable the screen. Turn it back on, unlock, and select the Windows Update app on the search list. Once that starts, Check for Updates and install all hardware / software updates available. Throughout this process, I did turn the device off every 10 seconds, for 5 second intervals. Once Update was complete, the device restarted, and I repeated the process again to make sure it now grabbed the hardware fix through Windows Update. Constantly putting it to sleep and then waking it again in order to complete the process without rebooting.
Once it was all said and done, my Surface Pro 3 has been issue free on the latest 9926 build. Hope my post has helped out your journey as well :)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Setting up a new build environment for Android

4:21 PM Posted by Jon West , , , , No comments
Ok,
So the past week, I have installed about a dozen different Linux distros on my HP x360 in order to be able to build Android ROM's from source. Most of them work out of the box, but only a few came with support for the touchscreen. So that limited my selections to variants of Ubuntu 14.10. From those, I found the Unity and Gnome distros to be the best. Builduntu 1.2 was able to build from the Blissrom repos with only updating to OpenJDK 7, but the problem was no touchscreen :(

So after settling with Ubuntu GNOME 14.10, I set out to automate the setup of a decent build environment with minimal effort while I continue to test out different repos. I started with @rharshit script since it was recently updated, and I modified it quite a bit. So now I share my result with you all :)

Some things you should know first:
  • I will be updating these over time to only apply to 64 bit systems. 
  • I will be adding to this to make it a relevant as possible for Lollipop development
  • I will not tie it down to one repo source. That is all you. 
  • I would be happy if you find a way to thank me for my work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Not just another Christian

Socially, I'm at a point where I am surrounded by a lot of people who believe they are Christians, but philisophically, or theologically, I am having a hard time understanding their belief in God. They typically see God in one of a few different ways;
A) They understand God to be a single humanoid type being, with superpowers, living somewhere up above.
B) They understand God to be this Great War General in the sky, commanding religious armies and individuals to do Gods bidding.
C) They understand God to be some kind of puppet master,placing trials and tribulations in our path, just for spite.
D) They understand God to be a vengeful, demeaning being that only shows grace towards certain people who have either paid their way into heaven (penance), or have signed some kind of contract that signifies a firm understanding in the trinity (The Father, Son, & Holy Ghost).
E) Then there's those who take the Ancient Aliens approach to God, and actually understand God to be an race of creatures from outside our world.

Now I may not be the worlds foremost expert on what God actually is, and I will never claim to be such a person, but I am fairly certain that God is not any of the things above. If you can go through your life blaming God on every hardship or negative event in your life, then I think its time to take a step back and gain a little more perspective on how you value what you might already have and how you might be missing the boat when it comes to aligning yourself positively with the world. If you can say that you always do the right thing and God still puts roadblocks in your path, then I would have to ask you how you are teaching others to do the the right thing while facing hardship. Or a better way to put it would be, how can you always be doing the right thing, if you are still facing up to wrong things happening in your life?
The majority of the Christians I know, typically believe that God is in complete control of their lives, and this way of looking at things allows them to "pass the blame" on to God, for anything they might not completely agree with. This is not how I think God operates, and I find it hard to even think of labeling myself with the "Christian" branding that so many others who do not even have a loose understanding of what God is do. I will not be labeled with the same name as those that believe God will not accept those that have not heard his word and testament. I will not be labeled along with those that believe Gods will is to wipe out entire families and bloodlines, all for some kind of perverse property dispute. I will not be labeled the same as those who believe God is a vengeful, jealous, ruler that requires you to pay your way into heaven.

What other word, or label can I possibly use to signify that the God I believe in is full of grace, love, understanding, perspective, and wisdom. A God that shows us what we can do in our lives to maximize our positive influence on others through actions and not just words. A God that can help us understand what true enlightenment/heaven/etc. really is, and how we can achieve it. A God that shows us how to embody all the qualities of Christ. Since the Christian label has been ruined in my eyes by those that use it, I am looking for a better word that actually fits what I believe.

Suggestions are welcome...

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm not dead, just been busy

I have been working full time as a Graphic Designer/Animator/Video Producer/Web Programmer/etc. for a little over a year now, and I have not been able to share much of what I have been working on. Well, recently I have been given a little more creative freedom to work on some Web/Programming stuff, so I thought I would take some time out to share a snippit with you all :)

Speed Demon - eBay Store Template
This is a single eBay template, that carries some of the theme and branding from the main website over to eBay. Single .html file with all styling and Javascript done in line.

Speed Demon - Website
This is a responsive single page website, using html5 and css3, so it will change format to fit screen size and orientation dynamically. It is broken down to sections and mostly all information and links are optimized for search engines.


Stay tuned for some more stuff. I have a few CSS3 and HTML5 tricks up my sleeve that I can't wait to share with you all soon. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

OMG! Best Use Of A Billboard I Have Ever Seen.

11:23 AM Posted by Jon West , , , , No comments
Putting a reverse osmosis water collection unit into a billboard is a really smart idea for impoverished nations. Give these people an award!

The link: OMG! Best Use Of A Billboard I Have Ever Seen. http://www.upworthy.com/omg-best-use-of-a-billboard-i-have-ever-seen?c=ufb1 I fricking love engineers.