Moto G Tempered Glass Screen Protector Review

After scratching and smashing a few screens on my last couple of phones I was determined to find a solution to save my new Motorola G from the same fate.

In the last year a new breed of phone screen protectors has launched onto the market - These are tempered glass protectors, thin strong glass overlays that replace the cheap plastic protectors.

The nice guys over at MobileZap sent over a Orzly premium tempered glass 0.3mm screen protector for review.

The Good

  • Much stronger that film based protectors, check out any of the youtube clips and you’ll see a bunch of people trying to scratch or smash the tempered glass with scissors and screwdrivers to no avail
  • 0.3 mm thickness adds minimal bulk to your phone.
  • No bubbles, anyone whose ever applied the old film protectors will have gone through a few just trying to get the bubbles out. WIth tempered glass is perfectly flat and solid, leaving now bubbles or air gaps under the protector.

The Bad

  • Finger marks, though the product description says its designed to leave no marks - tempered glass suffers from finger marks across the screen. Its not enough to cause any visible annoyance, its just more noticeable than than the film protector the came with the Moto G.
  • There are a number of cheaper tempered glass screens on ebay and amazon - watch out for these - some don’t fit the Moto G correctly

Conclusion

If you are concerned about scratching or smashing your phones screen I highly recommend a premium tempered glass screen protector, just don’t try and save a few $ on ebay - get a legit brand and you wont have to worry about accidental damage to your phone screen.

Note:

I had endless trouble trying to remove the Motorola film protector on the phone, quickest solution is to put tape on a corner and peel if off.

Links:

Motorola Grip Shell for Moto G Review

Following on from my review of the Cruzerlite case for the Moto G the second case from MobileZap is the Motorola Grip Shell.

The Grip Shell has semi-hard back and rubberised frame. It covers the side buttons, which does takes away from the tactile feedback of pressing the buttons, however they do make the buttons easier to press compared to the Cruzerlite case.

This is a very slimline case that replaces the back plate of the Moto G, which means you have to pry off the Moto G back plate. This isn’t that hard, just an extra step to put the grip shell on.

The Good

  • The slim line design and replacment of the back plate greatly reduces the bulk that the case adds.
  • The rubber edges provide an extra layer of protection and add some grip to the phone as the name suggests.
  • Looks much nicer than similar no name brand cases.

The Bad

  • If you’re after a case that will protect your Moto G from drops onto concrete, this isn’t the one for you. It will protect again minor drops and scratches but that’s about it.
  • Having to remove the back plate may put some people off as its a bit hard do to and the moldings over the buttons cheapen the feel on the Moto G
  • The material on the back the case is very similar to the orignal back of the Moto G but can does show marks from your hands and fingers in certain lighting.

Conclusion

If you’re not prone to dropping your phone and are after a slim line case that protect against scratches, wear and tear. This is the one for you.

I prefer the Cruzerlite case but I’ve seen my phone laying in parts all over the street before so for me the extra protection the Cruzerlite offers out weights the added bulk.


Links:

Cruzerlite Case for Moto G Review

After picking up a couple of Motorola Moto G phones on the weekend I set about looking for a couple of different covers for them so as to not destroy yet another phone. The good guys over at MozileZap set over a couple of cases to review.

The first up is the Cruzerlite Bugdroid case.

The Good

  • Looks great, made of a hard rubber so its strong and will bounce if needed.
  • Nice and thick material. Doesn’t feel cheap or slippery.
  • Super easy to install as unlike the Motorola Grip shell there’s no need to remove the back plate of the Moto G
  • Personally I like the cutouts for the power and volume rocker, other cases wrap over the buttons affecting their use.

Here’s a drop test video of the same case on a Nexus 5:

The Bad

  • The thickness of the hard rubber (TPU) used in this case may put off those looking for slim cases.
  • The fit isnt as tight as the Grip Shell and there is some minor flex on the edges.

Conclusion

If you’re after a case that protect your phone from a drop onto concrete and don’t might it being slightly chunky. This is the one for you.


Links:

Nginx Domain Setup Script

After writing a number of scripts to auto create domains for Apache and Nginx on linux servers I’ve finally gotten round to cleaning it up and releasing by current script to handle auto creating domains for Nginx (my current preferred web server)

This creates the Nginx virtual host config file, sets up a sane folder structure for the domain, enables the domain in Nginx and reloads Nginx.

Hope this help other Nginx users to manage domains easier - let me know if you have any additions to the script

Note: script assumes using PHP via fastcgi and unix sockets

Nginx auto domain setup script nginx_domain.sh
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
#!/bin/bash

# Info
# ---
# script can run with the domain as a command line input 
# `sudo ./nginx_domain.sh my_domain.com` or without and
# the script will prompt the user for input

#config
web_root='/usr/share/nginx/'
config_dir='/etc/nginx/'

if [ -z "$1" ]
then

        #user input
        echo -e "Enter domain name:"
        read DOMAIN
        echo "Creating Nginx domain settings for: $DOMAIN"

        if [ -z "$DOMAIN" ]
        then   
                echo "Domain required"
                exit 1
        fi
fi

if [ -z "$DOMAIN" ]
then
        DOMAIN=$1
fi

(
cat <<EOF
server {
        listen   80; ## listen for ipv4; this line is default and implied
        #listen   [::]:80 default_server ipv6only=on; ## listen for ipv6

        root $web_root/$DOMAIN/public;
        index index.php  index.html index.htm;

        # Make site accessible from http://localhost/
        server_name $DOMAIN www.$DOMAIN;

        location / {try_files $uri $uri/ @forum;}

        location ~ \.php$ {
                try_files $uri =404;

                fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+\.php)(/.+)$;
                #NOTE: You should have "cgi.fix_pathinfo = 0;" in php.ini

                fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php5-fpm.sock;
                fastcgi_index index.php;
                include fastcgi_params;
        }
        location ~ /\.ht {
                deny all;
        }
            access_log $web_root/$DOMAIN/log/access_log.txt;
            error_log $web_root/$DOMAIN/log/error_log.txt error;
}
EOF
) >  $config_dir/sites-available/$DOMAIN.conf

echo "Making web directories"
mkdir -p $web_root/"$DOMAIN"
mkdir -p $web_root/"$DOMAIN"/{public,private,log,backup}
ln -s $config_dir/sites-available/"$DOMAIN".conf $config_dir/sites-enabled/"$DOMAIN".conf
/etc/init.d/nginx reload
echo "Nginx - reload"
chown -R www-data:www-data $web_root/"$DOMAIN"
chmod 755 $web_root/"$DOMAIN"/public
echo "Permissions have been set"
echo "$DOMAIN has been setup"

Veho Bluetooth Speakers for Nexus 7

The original Nexus 7 (2012 model) is a fantastic tablet but has the constant criticism of its limited mono back facing speakers. Though the audio output level is decent, compared to the iPhone 5 or Nexus 10 (with front facing speakers) it’s quite lacking

Enter the Veho bluetooth speakers from the nice guys at MobileZap. These device has 2 speakers and dramatically increases the audio output volume of the Nexus.

The Good

Straight forward to pair and connect vie bluetooth, the Veho just works and with 2 decent speakers gives output similar to a small portable CD player. If you need to fill a room with sound the Nexus 7 speakers aren’t going to do the job - but with these connected using your Nexus 7 with a number of people in a room is not a problem.

The Veho looks great and given its very small size produces decent sound. Quality of the sound is questionable - but if you don’t care to much or compare against a Bose system its does the job and works great.

The other main selling point of this device is the SD card slot. It accepts MP3 format so you can load it up with music and it works fine without connecting to the Nexus 7 or any other device. This feature has proved rather useful as I can give these speakers to my 4 year old son filled with kids music and it can play it wherever he wants without having worry about the Nexus getting dropped

The Bad

MiniUSB is a pain point for this device, given that the Nexus and most other devices are now powered by Micro USB rather than the old Mini USB connections it means you need more cables lying around to charge the device. Its not the end of the world though.

The only other issue with the Veho is that sounds quality is good for the price but can’t compare to against premium bluetooth speakers.

Conclusion

There are a number of high end bluetooth speakers around (jambox, beats pill etc.) for $200 - $400 but if your after a cheaper option that works great I can higly recommend the Veho

Links:

Merge PDFs With the Zend Framework

I’ve used a number of PHP libraries to handle creation of PDFs but only recently needed to merge existing PDF files via PHP.

There are a couple of existing libraries to handle this, the previously popular pdfmerger script at codeplex has become unmaintained. Currently using the Zend Framework is the best way to merge PDFs.

Using the PDF component of the Zend Framework is suprisingly easy, just load in the PDFs, clone the pages and save as a new PDF (or display in the browser).

Here’s the code to merge 2 existing PDFs. Its easy enough to add more PDFs or dynamic content using Zend PDF or tcpdf

Note: This is using Zend Framework version 1

PDF merge with Zend - pdf_merge_zend.php
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
<?php
$path ="lib/";
set_include_path(get_include_path() . PATH_SEPARATOR . $path);
require_once 'lib/Zend/Pdf.php';

// LOAD PDF DOCUMENTS
$pdf1 = Zend_Pdf::load('first.pdf');
$pdf2 = Zend_Pdf::load('second.pdf');
// WE WILL MERGE OUR TWO PDF FILES INTO A NEW ZEND_PDF OBJECT
$pdfMerged = new Zend_Pdf();

// ADD ALL PAGES FROM THE FIRST PDF TO OUR NEW DOCUMENT
foreach($pdf1->pages as $page){
  $clonedPage = clone $page;
  $pdfMerged->pages[] = $clonedPage;
}
// ADD ALL PAGES FROM THE SECOND PDF TO OUR NEW DOCUMENT
foreach($pdf2->pages as $page){
  $clonedPage = clone $page;
  $pdfMerged->pages[] = $clonedPage;
}
unset($clonedPage);

// SEND THE MERGED PDF DOCUMENT TO BROWSER
//header('Content-type: application/pdf');
//echo $pdfMerged->render();

//save to a file
$pdfMerged->save('out/3.pdf');
?>

Bluetooth Headphones for Nexus 7

Thanks again to the guys at MobileZap for sending over Avantree Hive bluetooth headphones to review.

I’ve been after wireless heapdhones for my Nexus 7 since I purchased it and the Avantree Hive headphones looks like a great budget friendly bluetooth headphones. Lets look closer at these bluetooth headphones

The Good

Pairing worked perfectly. Theres no need to enter a passcode (like other bluetooth products) when pairing these headphones - they ‘just work’.

After figuring out that volume control is done via the Nexus 7 buttons and not the volume rocker on the headphones I was plesantly suprised by the quality of the headphones.

The sound quality is good, its not going to beat any $300 alternatives but for the price exceptional. The build quality is a plastics and faux leather which for the price is expected and fine.

On the right earphones there are controls for play/pause, answer/hang-up calls, volume and next/prev.

Battery life is about 18 hours of use, which is mid-range for bluetooth headphones

The Bad

There are 2 minor issues with these headphones

  • Volume control can only be done from the Nexus 7 itself. The volume rocker on the Avantree Hive don’t work with Android. This is a common problem for bluetooth headphones as bluetooth is implemented differently on iOS and Android. The next and previous controls work fine though.
  • The USB charger cable plugins into the 3.5mm jack in the headphones. This works fine but would be great if you could recharge the headphones using the same cable (USB micro) as the Nexus 7 to reduce cable clutter.

Overall

If your after bluetooth/wireless headphones for your Nexus 7 and don’t want to spend hundreds on Beats by Dre than I can highly recommend the Avantree Hive.

They work great with a few minor issues, for the price they can’t be beaten by any other over the head bluetooth headphones.

Links

Nexus 7 Keyboard Cover

The good folks at MobileZap(AU version of MobileFun.co.uk) sent over a bluetooth keyboard case for my Nexus 7(2012) to review.

Currently this is the only hard cover aluminium - clip on - case for the Nexus 7 on the market (though is availble as a few different brands) thats similar to Logitechs offerings for the iPad.

This is a mini keyboard to match the size of the Nexus 7, its pretty much the same size and quality of the original Asus Eee 701 PC keyboard

The Good

Works perfect with the Nexus 7 (2012 version), all normal keys, media, and Android specific keys ‘just work’. The Nexus 7 fits in perfectly in portrait and landscape mode and the case clips on and looks just like the Nexus 7.

The bluetooth pairing worked without a hitch and only took a few seconds. Battery life so far seems good, its rechargable via the same USB cable as the Nexus 7.

It’s a very minimal design - unlike some of the chunky leather style keyboard cases, making it perfect for when a laptop is too big and a plain tablet to slow for writing.

I logged into a linux server via SSH and fired up Vim to see how it would work for coding and its definitely better for coding than any touch/virtual coding keyboards for Android. It’s not as easy to type on as a full size keyboard but for the size it’s as good as I expect. Only issue with using the keyboard in Vim or SSH is the lack of an Escape key, thankfully you can use Ctrl+[ to do the same as Esc in Vim.

The Bad

The backing of this case is hard plastic rather than the soft material the nexus 7 uses. This is great for protecting the Nexus 7 when the case is clipped as a cover but when your using it to type on a hard surface it can slid around as you type. Though easily fixed with a small piece of anti-slip rubber glued on the back.

Overall

If you need a keyboard for your Nexus 7 for occasional typing - such as taking notes in class or lectures, or writing longer docs and emails this is a great budget keyboard case for the Nexus 7. It’s not going to magically turn your Nexus 7 into a full laptop/desktop replacement but does a great job for when a tablet is more suitable.

Links

Google Plus Photos Extension for Non Chromebook Pixels

Earlier today Google released a new Chrome extension for Google+ Photos that only works on the new Chromebook Pixel.

I’ve been after the functionality of this extension for my non-Pixel PCs/laptops. So quickly unminifed the source code, removed the pixel only limiation and loaded in Chrome.

The extension works fine - but may be missing some features that are in the Pixel version.

I’ve uploaded this extension to GitHub but won’t be uploading to the chrome webstore or distributing a .crx for it. Installation instructions are below.

https://github.com/justinkelly/google_plus_photos

ReadMe from GitHub

Status

  • The original extensions javascript has been unminified and adjusted so that it not starts on a non Chromebook Pixel

Install

  • Download
  • In Chrome open chrome://flags and Enable ‘Experimental Extensions APIs’
    • refer screenshot below
  • In Chrome Manage Extensions page enable ‘Developer mode’
    • refer 1. in screenshot below
  • Then click ‘Load unpacked extension’ and choose the folder for this git repo

Use

Once installed you can now launch Google+ Photos from your Chrome apps menu, refer below screenshot of startup in Win 7

Comments ?

Join the discussion at the Google+ post

Auto Select All Text With jQuery

If you’re stuck using an older version of jQuery ( < 1.9 ) and need to auto select all text in a dynamically created input field you can combine .select() with .live() to make it work.

Refer the javascript code and demo below to see it in action.

Code

Result