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Transfer files between Mac OS X and Samsung Galaxy S3

In this post Im going to show how to transfer files between Mac OS X and Samsung Galaxy S3. Unlike Windows its not very straight forward to transfer files on Mac OS X as the device does not have drivers to detect it. Samsung of course provides the Kies utility, however I find that this is quite unstable and it may or may not work specially if you have Rooted your device. From the research I have done a lot of people are also complaining about this very problem. If you have installed Kies I advice you to uninstall it completely. At the end of this post I will provide steps to uninstall Kies.

The two best alternatives I have found to be useful were,

Samsung Galaxy – What is a firmware ?

I recently bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 i9300 and like all other android enthusiasts wanted to hack and install custom ROMs. There’s a lot of good guides and information on the site but after some research I thought I will write about my experiences and the steps I took to install a custom ROM on mine.

I will start the process by explaining what a firmware is.


Lithium Battery

Smartphone lithium battery myths explained!

Ever since the world witnessed the invention and introduction of iPhone there has been a boom in the smartphone industry. Specially after Google’s release of Android OS and other tech companies following the trend we find are moving gradually to smartphones from the traditional phones. On another note do you call traditional phones “dumb” now ? If you own a smartphone yourself you might have seen a lithium battery when you opened the back cover to insert your sim or micro sd. Similar to smartphones these batteries are too very smart in their own right because they contain “smart” control to monitor the charge/discharge rates of your batteries. They should have built-in protection that prevents problems caused by overcharge. In contrast to other battery technologies such as NiMH & NiCds, lithium batteries have no memory effect, better energy densities and a very slow loss of charge when not in use. Hence these batteries are ideal for mobile devices. These days, lithium batteries are found in most commonly used mobile devices.

I recently purchased a smartphone and I was really interested about learning the charge/discharge of these batteries and also how to maintain an optimal battery lifespan. I found this article well worth reading which discusses the necessary steps.

In summary, the charge should be kept at 40% to 80% if possible. You can achieve this by using a socket with a built-in timer such as the Belkin Conserve Socket. Manufacturers recommend not to charge lithium batteries to 100% all the time. But it is fine to do so once a month where you discharge it fully to 0% and charge it back to 100%. This helps in calibrating the battery.

Hope this helps anyone having doubts and to kill those battery myths.

Timely shutdown HTPC

To further save power I have setup a timely shutdown in the cron (schedular under Linux) which kicks in whenever the PC running.
This must be set under user ‘root’ and I have chose to shutdown the PC at 1.30 a.m.
The cron should be in the format ‘minute hour dayofmonth month dayofweek command_to_run’.

Open the config file /etc/crontab in your editor and the line /sbin/shutdown -h +5 as I have given in the following. I edit the file in vi as my personal preference. +5 denotes the warning that will be given to anyone who is logged in at the time that the machine will be shutdown.

sudo vi /etc/crontab
30 1 * * * root /sbin/shutdown -h +5


HTPC Case (Side)

Low cost and Green HTPC build

Well this is my attempt at building a green and cheap HTPC to run a media center. I’m mostly interested in playing videos for now. In the future I may add music streaming as well. I built this machine at the beginning of 2012 so some of the hardware may be discontinued!

Prerequisites in my case were the following:

  • It needed to be running below 40-50W as it may be running for few hours a day.
  • It needed to be less noisy
  • It had to have a good wireless connection so that I can stream the movies from any where in my house by means of UPnP or Samba. As my router was in one of my rooms I can just have the standalone tower in the living area. This will also enable me to update the PC whenever I want to.
  • And the cost had to be in the vicinity of NZD ~350-400 

So I did some research into mainly AMD APUs and Intel low power CPUs. This is because of the my requirement for low power. If you have no problems of using high power CPU+GPU then theres plenty of options out there. The advantage of an APU is that it integrates a GPU and it is a cheaper option compared to Intel solutions. If you are a fan of Intel and you would like to use Intel low power CPUs such as Intel Atom then you can use a low power GPU such as the Nvidia Ion. Theres a number of motherboard manufacturers such as Asus who have released motherboards with Intel Atom+Nvidia Ion and they are quite cheap as well. However my choice was an even cheaper option of using AMD APU in particular the AMD APU E-450 processor. The basic theory of building a green PC is combining an efficient power supply, low power CPU/GPU and a low power hard disk.

I chose the following hardware for my HTPC build:

  • Corsair CX430 Power supply (430W)
  • Asus E45M1-M Pro motherboard (Contains AMD Fusion E-450 processor)
  • Crucial 64GB M4 SATA3 SSD (For Boot OS)
  • WD-Green 2 TB Hard Disk (For Movies)
  • 1 TB Hard Disk (For TV Shows) (Note: This is not green. My budget kind of blew because of a temp monitor so I stuck with a hard disk I already had)
  • A-RAM Memory 8 GB kit (You can run 64-bit OS)
  • TP-Link TL-WDN4800 450Mbps Wireless N (Make sure if you are getting a wireless PCI-e card that its compatible with Linux)
  • Lian-Li PC-A04 tower case
  • Blu-ray rom


Adobe Flash Player Settings

Trouble buffering and reloading Youtube videos

I have been having this problem of buffering Youtube videos on Google Chrome with the latest updates. I am not entirely sure when this problem started but my guess is very recently. It could perhaps have started due to one or more of the following reasons: Chrome update, Youtube update or Adobe Flash Player update.

What I discovered was a simple fix in the end. I started by deleting the Google Chrome browser cache by going into Options->Under the Hood->Clear browsing data. You will come to the following window.

First tick both Empty the cache and Delete cookies and other site data options and then click on Clear browsing data button. Next click on Adobe Flash Player storage settings link.

You will then come across a browser window with the following settings window.

What I did was to click Delete all sites initially, closed all browser sessions and then loaded Youtube website on a new browser window. Once Youtube website was loaded I reopened this Flash Player settings screen and found the site under websites. I then highlighted the website and then dragged the slider to the far right until Unlimited was displayed. This ensured that Youtube has enough storage space to load videos. This fix helped to buffer videos as far as I can tell. Let me know if this improves your Youtube viewing experience too !

  • Update 1: Windows vs Linux vs Mac OS … must say I have only seen this buffering issue on Windows. Quite weird.
  • Update 2: Just wanted to say that it has been a week since I have had buffering problems. So seems like the issues have resolved. I do have the odd crash on google chrome. and thats due to me running windows 7 on a laptop that does not handle it very well ..
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