Root And Install Oxygen OS Onto OnePlus One

OnePlus just released Oxygen OS for OnePlus One users.  Unfortunately, users cannot flash Oxygen OS over the air (e.g., LTE, Wi-Fi, etc…).  I’m not going to go through the steps in details of showing you how to do this.  Nonetheless, I’m going to list a few things that are essential for you to get before you can flash Oxygen OS onto your OnePlus One.  As always, don’t blame the messenger, but blame yourself if something goes wrong and you haven’t had a backup of your OnePlus One data.  Once backing up your OnePlus One data properly, you can then proceed with rooting your OnePlus One.

  1. Step one – you need to root your OnePlus One.  What you need to have to root your OnePlus One?
    1. Make sure you got the latest Java JDK installed on your Mac.  You can check out the version of your Java JDK by opening up a terminal and type this command in, javac -version.  If you aren’t seeing any feedback in your terminal, it means you don’t have Java JDK installed.  You need Java JDK to run Android SDK’s fastboot and adb tools.
    2. You need to download Android Studio at https://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html.  Although you can download Android SDK standalone version just so you can use fastboot and adb, but the easiest way is just downloading the whole Android Studio.  Once done downloading and installing Android Studio with recommended default plugins and features, you need to open up your Mac’s terminal to see if you have fastboot and adb or not by going to /Users/[enter your username here without the square brackets]/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/.  If you’re seeing fastboot and adb tools within this directory, then you’re knowing that you’re good to go.  If you’re using Linux and Windows, I don’t have the steps for you.  Google for the steps please.
    3. You need to enable Android Debugging function/feature within your OnePlus One phone.  Just go to Settings > About Phone > tap seven times on Build number.  Hit back till you see Developer options, go into here and enable Android Debugging.
    4. Connect your OnePlus One to your Mac through USB cable.
    5. In terminal, change into directory where your fastboot and adb tools are located.  The command is, cd /Users/[enter your username here without the square brackets]/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/.
    6. Follow the video right after this sentence for rooting your OnePlus One.
    7. https://youtu.be/fUB9lz5_BjY
  2. Step two – we are going to install Oxygen onto OnePlus One.
    1. You need to download TWRP Manager from Play Store.
    2. If TWRP Manager requires you to do a SD Patch, you should do so.
    3. Once done patching, you need to install TWRP using TWRP Manager.
    4. Go to https://oneplus.net/oxygenos and download Oxygen OS.
    5. Now you need to download Android File Transfer at https://www.android.com/intl/en_us/filetransfer/.  Done?  You need to install Android File Transfer onto your Mac.
    6. With OnePlus One connects to your Mac, use Android File Transfer to copy and paste Oxygen OS’s files onto your OnePlus One’s Download folder (directory).
    7. Follow the video right after this sentence to install Oxygen onto your OnePlus One.
    8. https://youtu.be/DTZV0B7Wxgo

Enjoy!!!

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Make Backup Before Ditching Mac OS X Mavericks For Yosemite

Are you using Mac OS?  If you are, you probably have heard all about how Apple just released the newest yet Mac OS X Yosemite.  I’d read some of the comments on various websites, and it seems that people are having mixed feeling about Apple’s newest OS.  Some people think Mac OS X Yosemite is ugly or just too plain.  In my opinion, I like it so far, because I like Apple’s simplicity design UI (User Interface) for Mac OS X.    With OS X Yosemite, things look to be simplified even further in term of the look of the OS.  Basically, Apple is trying to make Mac OS X to look like iOS, giving the users a feeling of unification between the two different systems.  Just like how Microsoft is trying to unify Windows Desktop and Windows Phone operating systems, Apple is doing the same thing.  I guess, by combining the ecosystems of the two systems together, thus Microsoft and Apple can provide same services for both systems (i.e., mobile devices and desktop computers).  Besides the point of providing the same services for both systems, these two companies are trying to create a togetherness feeling for applications and whatnot, thus providing a smooth service for different types of devices/systems.  I like this idea very much!

Although I like the idea of combining different ecosystems of different types of devices and systems together so the endusers can feel the applications that they work with become smoother in term of workflow and playflow (I made this word up), but to make the togetherness feeling happens Apple has to pool the services into the cloud.  This might be a good thing but also a bad thing!  For an example, iCloud is now becoming iCloud Drive — which is a good thing as endusers can now selectively browse the individual data within — and iCloud Drive will become evermore the focus point for hackers to try with hardy effort to hack into endusers’ data.  As Apple relies more on the cloud to provide essential services for endusers’ apps, it’s imperatively evermore for hackers to target Apple’s cloud services since endusers’ data are most likely pool abundantly into the cloud.  Instead of chasing different targets, hackers can just hack endusers’ cloud data to harvest whatever they need with less time wasting.  Cloud is good for endusers’ togetherness feeling, but it’s bad for endusers’ data security if Apple will ever provide the opportunity for hackers to loot endusers’ data.  In my opinion, Apple’s newest OS yet [cloudworries] me.  Recently, hackers were successfully hacked into banks and Home Depot, thus millions of endusers’ confidential data are at risks of being exposed to the blackmarket.

Besides of being dangerous but pretty and simplistic, you may find that it’s rather dangerously thrilling to upgrade Mavericks to Yosemite.  If you don’t do any backup for your Mavericks, you may not want to rush to upgrade to Yosemite.  I found out that once you upgrade to Yosemite, you cannot downgrade your Yosemite to Mavericks unless you wipe your hard drive cleanly and freshly install Mavericks.  Of course, others may have ways to downgrade Yosemite to Mavericks that I do not know of, but it’s for sure that Yosemite destroys the Mavericks’ built-in recovery partition and creates a Yosemite recovery partition.  This means that when you want to reinstall OS X through the fresh boot up or reboot gray screen using Command + R keys on the keyboard, Yosemite is the only built-in recovery you get to play with after you had upgraded the Mavericks to Yosemite.  Even if you have a USB thumb drive for Mavericks’ root installation files, Yosemite will complain how your Mavericks’ files are too old, consequently you cannot use the Mavericks’ files to downgrade Yosemite.

I’ve found this out the hard way as I had to wipe out my Mac HD just so to reinstall Yosemite fresh in order for Yosemite to work correctly on my Mac.   Luckily, I’d made backups of my essential data on my Mac before I said goodbye to all of my essential data.  Basically, the trouble was all about how Yosemite refused to let my Mac to have any Internet connectivity.  After I meddling with all network settings to be sure that the settings were right, Yosemite was even more steadfast in not allowing my Mac to have any Internet connectivity.  My only option left was to freshly reinstall Yosemite, because downgrading Yosemite to Mavericks might just be a lot harder.  Luckily, fresh installation of Yosemite was the solution.  Now, my Mac is connecting to the Internet just fine, and I’m having a blast of writing this blog post on Yosemite.  Like I said, please do many backups of your data before you even think about letting go of Mavericks or whatever OS X version you’re on, because Yosemite is that dangerously pretty and simplistic and cloudworried.

I found a pretty good YouTube video which explains Yosemite’s newest features in detail.  Enjoy the video right after the break!!!

With The New Mavericks, I Found Love In Bitdefender Virus Scanner

English: An "X" colored to be simila...

English: An “X” colored to be similar to the logo for Mac OS X tiger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just got done updating my MacBook Pro to the latest Mac OS X which is the Mavericks.  Coincidentally with the Mavericks update, my Kaspersky antivirus for Mac is about to be expired, seven days to be exact, and so I was frantically searching for a good alternative.  I downloaded all sorts of antivirus for Mac out there, but I found many of them had performed poorly or not worked at all with Mac OS X Mavericks.  Luckily, I found one that is working rather well with Mac OS X Mavericks at this point in time.  I didn’t even have to download it on a strange website, because it is readily available in the Mac App Store.  Basically, I pulled my hair out for nothing!  The antivirus I’m talking of is the Bitdefender Virus Scanner.

You can download Bitdefender Virus Scanner for free in the Mac App Store.  This antivirus app runs well, and I haven’t found any trouble with it yet.  It does not slow down my MacBook Pro at all, and so this is a really big plus.  I found most Mac antivirus software tend to slow down my MacBook Pro a lot, but Bitdefender Virus Scanner proves to be not this sort of case at all.  One downside to this Mac antivirus app is that it does not have a real time monitoring/scanning feature.  You know how the antivirus software on Windows would behave?  (Lurking in the background and checking to see if there is a malicious process!)

Bitdefender Virus Scanner also got a paid version, and you can also find it in the Mac App Store.  I think it is being called as Virus Scanner Plus.  I think the paid version comes with more features such as Continuous Scan, but I don’t really know what this feature does since I haven’t yet bought the paid version.

I combine Bitdefender Virus Scanner with Little Snitch Network Monitor to add an additional sound security defense measure for my MacBook Pro.  The first line of defense is obviously would be the Mac OS X Mavericks’ default firewall.  Still, you can never know how much computer security measures would be enough, because there is always that somebody who knows just enough to poke a hole through your computer security defense.  I hope this little confession of mine will be of some help to Mac users who are thinking of adding an antivirus program to their computer security defense.

Let Run VPN Server On Windows 8 To Allow You Securely Transmit Data At Any Public Place Which Relies On A Public Internet Connection

Using VPN (Virtual Private Network), one can securely transmit data back and forth in a public place which relies on a public Internet connection.  Wait, what is a public Internet connection?  It’s just an Internet connection in which just about anyone who has a computer can tap into and use.  A good example would be at a Starbucks.  Transmitting data in a public location is a very dangerous thing to do (i.e., only if you’re connecting to the public Internet connection), because you never know someone might do something nefarious nearby.  He or she might sniff the network traffics, and this means anything you transmit through a public Internet connection can be intercepted by such a person.  With VPN, it will be a lot harder for such an evildoer to actually get hold of your data in a public place.

Why using VPN can safeguard your data better when you’re connecting to a public Internet connection?  VPN will create a safe connection between your computer and a VPN server, and whatever gets transmitted through a VPN connection will be encrypted.  Nonetheless, VPN isn’t an end to end encrypted connection.  What this means is that when your data leaves VPN server so it can go to a server which hosts the web service on the Internet, the data will become unencrypted.  How come?  The Internet isn’t opening up an encrypted channel with your VPN server!  To put this in another way, it’s only the computer which you use to connect to a VPN server can actually open up an encrypted channel with the VPN server.  This is why you need a VPN client.  Nowadays, you don’t have to install VPN client much, because most operating systems (i.e., Linux, Mac OS X, Windows) come with a VPN client by default.  You might have to install a VPN client if you’re connecting to a non-standard, third party VPN server/service.

You can imagine the VPN encrypted channel as in a VPN tunnel or just a tunnel where cars travel through.  When a car got out of a tunnel, the daylight will hit the car in every direction.  Got the gist?

VPN is definitely a good thing to have when you are using the Internet in a public location.  Even though VPN isn’t an end to end encrypted connection, it’s still going to prevent the hackers in a public location from hacking you.  Of course, he or she can try, but it won’t be easy!  Let say, the hacker cannot magically insert himself or herself between the VPN server and the web service (which locates somewhere on the Internet and you want to connect to).  If the hacker wants to hack you in a public spot when you’re using VPN, he or she must hack your VPN connection first, and then everything else would be secondary.

To be even more secure, you can totally transmit all data within HTTPS protocol (a secure/encrypted hypertext transfer protocol), and this way the hacker is going to work even harder.  This means, a hacker must first hack your VPN connection, and then your HTTPS connection afterward.  VPN connection itself is already a difficult thing to tamper with.

Right after the break, you can check out a video I made on how to allow Windows 8 to host a VPN server/service.  Running a VPN server/service on Windows 8 allows you to go just about anywhere and connect back home for a VPN connection.  Of course, if your home network isn’t secure and already being infected with hackers’ exploits, then your VPN connection might as well be rendered insecure.  So, make sure your home network is actually well guarded.  A well guarded home network will definitely ensure your home devices such as a Windows 8 computer — which runs VPN server — won’t be tampered with.  I think a well guarded network equates to deploying all security elements within a network, and this means something as a strong firewall, strong antivirus software, strong network security policies, and the list would go on.

Apple Needs To Implement Stronger Authentication For iCloud; Google Can Be A Great Teacher On This!

Before Mac OS X Mountain Lion roared its way into the market, iCloud was already a stir.  After Mac OS X Mountain roared its way into the market, iCloud is even a bigger stir.  iCloud is now more integrated into Mac OS X ecosystem evermore than before.  iCloud is better now as it allows so many more apps to have the option of saving data in the cloud.  One example would be TextEdit.  If you open up TextEdit on Mac OS X Mountain Lion, you would see a finder gladly greets you and asks you if you want to create a new document in iCloud or on the Mac itself.  This way, TextEdit clearly presents you the option of saving data in the cloud.  Many more apps on Mac OS X Mountain Lion are implementing this approach for iCloud too.

It’s great that iCloud is evermore readily available for many more apps on Mac OS X Mountain Lion, because it’s definitely a convenience for Mac users to be able to save data on the cloud for syncing and safekeeping (i.e., to recover when local data cannot be recovered).  Nonetheless, can one’s data be secure on iCloud?  Just recently I had read “The Dangerous Side Of Apple’s iCloud” Forbes article, and this daunted on me that if one isn’t too careful — one might save important information in iCloud and such information can totally be leaked by being hacked as iCloud’s password protection isn’t exactly strong at the moment.  Unlike Google which has 2 step password verification, iCloud only requires a user to enter password once to access iCloud data.  To add the insult to an injury, although iCloud does encrypt the data during the transit of data and on the iCloud itself, the encrypted data can still be decrypted easily as long the evildoer has the correct password which can be used to unlock the data from iCloud.

Then there is another issue of trust.  Can we trust Apple to be honest enough to not take a peek at our data?  Sure, the data are encrypted on iCloud, but is there a way in which Apple can ensure us that their employees won’t try to decrypt our data at will?  Perhaps, this is a concern for using any third party cloud service and not just only with Apple, because once the data reside on the cloud — such data are truly beyond our control (i.e., no longer in the control of the data owner).  Nonetheless, I think when one encrypts the data before sending such data onto iCloud, one might be able to sleep better even though one knows Apple is way more trustful than some unknown and untested third party cloud services.  This is why, one needs to keep TrueCrypt in mind even when Apple does assure one that iCloud is encrypting all data on Apple’s iCloud servers.

To end this blog post, I must say iCloud is a lot more attractive than ever before.  I definitely think iCloud is worth it, because it’s so integrated into Mac OS X Mountain Lion and onward (i.e., I hope it would be so integrated into Mac onward).  Knowing that you can always recover your data from the apps that are supported by iCloud is definitely a peace of mind when it comes down to that one extra layer of data redundancy.  You never know how unreliable the state of your data are until your data become unrecoverable, and by then everything is just too late.  Obviously, even with iCloud, one can never have too much data redundancy, therefore it’s still wise for one to backup their Mac to an external hard drive with the usage of Time Machine, regularly.  This to ensure and insure one in the case of having one’s iCloud account being wiped out by a hacker — just as how Forbes had mentioned how Mat Honan had his iCloud account wiped out by a hacker.  To really end this article, I wish Apple actually implements or at least giving Mac users a choice of implementing 2 step password verification, just like how Google is doing it now.

Sources:

Apple Needs To Do Away With Dictation And Let Siri Takes Over On Mac OS X Mountain Lion

Dictation is a new feature on Mac OS X Mountain Lion.  It’s supposed to be one of those features that I would love to use since I write a lot.  Unfortunately, I can barely use Dictation on Mac OS X Mountain Lion on my MacBook Pro.  How come?  Well, let say it’s not yet up to my expectation.  In fact, it is far from pleasing me.

I don’t think I speak that badly in English, because my English accent isn’t bad at all.  Nonetheless, Dictation has constantly failed to dictate what I’m trying to say.  For an example, when I say feature it types out future.  When I say comma to tell it to write a punctuation mark comma into a sentence, it might type out a word of entirely different beast altogether.  Nonetheless, Dictation does work out alright sometimes.  I notice when you want a punctuation mark in a sentence, you’ve to pronounce the punctuation mark out entirely for Dictation to type out a punctuation mark.  It does make sense until I guess you really want a word comma in place of the punctuation mark comma, because Dictation may just as well type out a punctuation mark comma since it dictates that whenever you pronounce a punctuation mark in its entirety — it means you want a punctuation mark and not a word that spells out the punctuation mark.

I kind of feel there is something lacking about having to use shortcut key [fn] to tell Dictation that I’m done writing and wanting to take a break from Dictation.  I guess it’s the same problem as what I had mentioned previously.  Dictation might not be able to discern between a key command and its dictation function.  Perhaps, when you say I’m done talking to you Dictation, Dictation may as well dictate and type out what you have said — but not to actually understand that what you have said is a command to tell Dictation to turn off itself.  To enhance user experience, I guess Apple might have to enhance Dictation in a way that the users don’t really have to tell Dictation that they’re done using Dictation for the time being by clicking on [I’m Done] call out button or using the shortcut key [fn].

Using Dictation with a headphone which has a microphone might be better than otherwise.  I noticed that when I used Dictation with the MacBook Pro’s internal microphone, Dictation did poorly.  Perhaps, Dictation requires the users to speak really clear, and the internal microphone from any Mac might not be able to pickup a user’s voice as well as the headphone’s microphone.

According to MacLife’s “How to Use Dictation in Mountain Lion” article, Dictation does have more than few dictation commands that you can speak to actually tell Dictation to dictate such commands in a document.  One example would be “all caps” — when using this command, Dictation will turn whatever you speak into an all capitalized written text.  This is a great strength of Dictation, but this also reveals Dictation as a crude prototype.  Perhaps, I’m too critical of Dictation since Siri is around?  After all, Dictation isn’t that different from Siri in the perspective that it does have the need to phone home (i.e., upload what the users say to Apple’s servers before Dictation can write out what the users have said onto a document).

Anyhow, in conclusion I think Dictation can be improved further.  Nonetheless, Dictation does provide an alternative way for writing a document.  People like me though may not yet fully embrace Dictation for the reasons I pointed out previously.  Plus, people like me may write better when we type, because when speaking to Dictation it does feel like we talk more than write.  With this I meant, some of us might be able to form better sentences for a document when we type and not otherwise.  In the end, I still think that it’s rather strange for Apple to create Dictation as entirely a different feature when Siri is around.  After all, Dictation isn’t exactly 99.99% accurate in dictation.  In a way, I think Apple might as well combine Dictation and Siri into one for Mac OS X Mountain Lion, because Siri can bring Siri’s own useful features plus Dictation feature to Mac users.  Furthermore, I think with Siri as Dictation and more — the developers don’t really have to worry about two different things altogether (i.e., Dictation and Siri) when they create apps for Mac ecosystem.

Source:  http://www.maclife.com/article/howtos/how_use_dictation_mountain_lion