Tuesday 26 June 2012

Technology: Turning your Galaxy S2 to Galaxy S2.5!!!

Image from Samsung
Modified by Locky's English Playground

I want a Galaxy S3, but my finance doesn't agree (since I'm planning to use the money to buy a camera flash), so I want to at least have some functions of the Galaxy S3. I started sourcing for apps and tutorials, and yes I found them, but they are distributed everywhere on XDA-developers forums, so I decide to compile them and write a tutorial of my own. You can find my article on the XDA-developers forum by pressing this link, but I would recommend you read this one, because this one looks prettier.

This is a quick tutorial to help S2 users (or other Android phone owners) to achieve a level of functionality close to that of S3, including Touchwiz, Flipboard, Smart Stay, Popup Play, Best Photo, Smart Alert, Direct Call and hopefully more to update in the future. Credits go to all the developers mentioned.

Ripple Live Wallpaper
Image from Samsung
Still waiting for the S3 lockscreen to be ported onto S2, but we can still get a little fun out of the live wallpaper. There are so many versions out there, but I am so far most impressed with this Galaxy S3 Water Dandelion LWP.

APK is one provided by XDA member pratikverma28 and it comes with editable waves.

I don't like the quality of the stock wallpaper, so I advise you use your own ones.

By far the best setting I have is as follow:

Quality: High
Refraction quality: Middle
Cycles: 3
Wave weight: 400
Spreading speed: Medium
Fade range: 100
Refractive: 20
Random creation: None


Image from Locky's English Playground

Image from Locky's English Playground
Thanks to XDA Senior Member Smando who keeps working on better versions. The latest beta version provide landscape view. However, you need your phone to be rooted in order to install this launcher.

Image from Google Play

Image from Google Play
Want to turn any web pages, Facebook and Twitter into a magazine? Then you must download Flipboard!!
Simply download it from Google Play!

Smart Stay

Image from Samsung
XDA Senior member elnoxvie Beta Smart Stay App has made Smart stay possible! Simply download the file and install it to your phone! 
(Interestingly, I just realised that the phone on the right is not S3!!!)

Popup Play
Image from Samsung
Actually, this is way better than the Samsung one! You should watch the video on Google Play. Simply download Super Video, Floating & Popup from Google Play

Best Photo
Image from Samsung
Well, not exactly Best Photo, but at least, we can achieve fast burst shots of up to 50 photos per second on my Galaxy S2!!!! (Mind you, the resolution is not exactly very high, but good enough to capture fast moving people!)

XDA Senior member androidindian's production Fast Burst Camera


The following requires rooted phones to proceed.

S Voice
Image from Samsung
Thanks to XDA-developers junior member Xavaris' information, you can now download the CWM Flashable for Galaxy S2 zip here:


The following functions require Tasker to imitate.

You can download the beta version of Tasker here:


Smart Alert
Image from Samsung

Choose the type of alert profiles that fits your needs from the link below:

Direct Call
Image from Samsung
If you want to implement Direct Call on SMS, Naver LINE andWhatsapp, you'll need Tasker.

For my Tasker Profiles, please download from below:

Image from LINE
Call-LINE (Shake Phone Left-Right Gesture)

Image from Whatsapp
Call-Whatsapp (Pick Up Phone Gesture)

For the tutorial to set up Direct Call with Whatsapp, please see Chef_Tony's:

For people who would like to try setting everything by themselves:

Task Edit for Whatsapp, use this,

For Task Edit for Naver LINE, use this I have created, 

(Points to note is that your gesture has to be performed slowly during actual use, and the speed of automation is really slow. If you are tired of the slow reaction and the retrying, I highly recommend you not set the Sensor as Gesture, choose Shake instead.)

More updates on this thread if the development continues.

And I can really officially call myself a developer now after developing those Tasker profiles, although they are actually very simple.

Want More???

Photography & Science: Flash and Which Flash? @ Locky's English Playground

[TUTORIAL][S3 Imitation] Turning your GS2 to GS2.5 @ XDA-developers

S3 Dandelion LWP with Settings @ XDA-developers

TouchWizUX @ XDA-developers

Flipboard @ Google Play!

Smart Stay Imitation / Beta Smart Stay App

Popup Play Imitation /  Super Video, Floating & Popup @ Google Play

Burst Shots Imitation Fast Burst Camera

S Voice:

Smart Alert Imitation


My Tasker Profiles:
Call-LINE (Shake Phone Left-Right Gesture)

Call-Whatsapp (Pick Up Phone Gesture)

Tutorial to set up Direct Call with Whatsapp @ XDA-developers

How to use Tasker on Android @ YouTube

Super Video, Floating! 超級影音, 漂浮! @ YouTube

Monday 25 June 2012

Food: Cuts of Pork, Beef & Lamb

My apology for missing out the Friday entry, I was really too busy to complete it.

My apology to all vegetarians in this entry, but this is an essential part of English and I highly recommend anyone to at least learn a few of the following terms in order to communicate well with English speakers, and of course, place good orders in restaurants.

In fact, words like "cow", "sheep" and "swine" came from the English speaking farmers, and the a la carte version such as "beef", "mutton" and "pork" came from the French back in the years of 1300. So you must thank the French for what you are going to learn here.

Interestingly (or sadly) enough, the cuts of the livestocks are not universal, so different countries will use different cuts, and I suppose it has a lot to do with food culture, that is the preferences of the people from different countries. Through looking at the cuts, you can more or less understand which part of the meat a particular culture has the most emphasis on.

American Cuts of Pork
Image from Wikipedia

British Cuts of Pork
Image from Wikipedia

Basically, American cuts doesn't have terms like "belly" and "trotters".

Can you tell what kind of cuts the following image uses?
Image from The Cultured Pig

Things get really complicated when you get to beef,

Brazilian Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

British Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

American Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

Dutch Cuts
Image from Wikipedia

Comparing all the beef cuts, you can see that the Brazilians have the most emphasis on the hind legs, the British come second in this aspect; the Americans and the Dutch simply take it as a whole.  All cuts except the British, have singled out the tenderloin and the regions around it, but the British are definitely not without demand on the forequarter

Overall, the Brazilians are the most detailed about beef cuts with 20 cuts, the British come second with 14 cuts, the Americans third with 13 cuts, and the Dutch 12 cuts including the tongue. Seems like only the Dutch understands the amazing texture of the ox tongue.

Another exercise for you, can you tell what cut is used in the image below?


Lastly, we will look at the lamb cuts.

Cuts of lamb in the wholesale level is called "primal cuts", at the retail level, it will be subdivided.

British Cuts of Lamb
Image from Wikipedia

Image from American Lamb Board
Australian Cuts
Image from mla
Maybe due to the size of a lamb, it seems to me that there are much less variations in the lamb cuts. The Aussies have 9 primal cuts, the British has 8, and the Americans 5. Then again, when retail cuts are involved, there could be many.

So when you do get to visit a country, knowing their cuts might just get yourself a better dish!

A final note here. In general, whenever you see the word "Prime", it usually means this is of top quality. For example, only 2.9% of the U.S. beef is graded as Prime according to Wikipedia's reference. However, you will never know when the use of the word "Prime" is appropriate enough, so just take it as a reference, and don't get too serious about it.

Don't forget those Crabs and Fish we have talked about previously!!!

swine -- (n)[C] (plural swine or swinesold-fashioned a person who you consider to be extremely unpleasant and unkind
a la carte -- (adj, adv) [before nounIf you eat à la carte, you choose each dish from a separate list instead of eating a fixed combination of dishes at a fixed price
emphasis -- (n)  [C or U] (plural emphasesthe particular importance or attention that you give to something


The Norman Conquest - The History of English (2/10) @ YouTube

Pork @ Wikipedia

Beef @ Wikipedia

Lamb and Mutton @ Wikipedia

Lamb Primal Cuts: Leg, Loin, Rib, Breast & More @ About.com

Food: More x2 Fish@Hong Kong Wet Market @ Locky's English Playground


Food: Serious Crab Time!!!! @ Locky's English Playground

Food: Groupers@Hong Kong Wet Market @ Locky's English Playground


Wednesday 20 June 2012

Photography & Science: Flash and Which Flash?

Xenon in a tube
Image from Wikipedia

Here, my friend Alan predicted on the day that I bought my Canon EOS 7D with my first L lens and the day that I bought my Tokina wide-angle lens that I will one day want to get a flash. I said "no" the first time, "maybe but not any time soon" on the second, but I must say "yes, I am getting one" this time. And that reminds me I still owe him a buffet for getting me much cheaper photography gears.

But buying anything to do with photography is not just about having the money, but also about understanding yourself. Why do you need it? Will you be upgrading in the future? If you are, should you get something less good? How do you get the best within your budget? And what is the "best" anyway?

To answer all these questions, you may first need to understand some basics, starting from the science.

How Does A Flash Work?

Discovery Channel has the best science knowledge possible available. Watch the video below to understand how a flash works.

Xenon, by the way, has an atomic number 54 and it is a colourless, heavy, odorless noble gas.

After you have understood the science, then you will understand why a flash is so costly, which helps you in evaluating the cost of a flash. 

Then you will need to understand what is master flash and slave flash.

What Is A Master Flash And A Slave Flash
Canon 580ex II master, Canon 430EX slave, Hotshoe to mini-phone for master, 2 RF triggers
Image from pointsinfocus
From the Discovery Channel page,

Master and slave are terms used by professional photographers to describe the process of setting up multiple flashes throughout a space in order to achieve a better lighting effect. The master flash can be set off by the camera's shutter. The other "slave" flashes are triggered in turn by the master. Some slave flash designs use the master's light itself as a trigger cue to light their own flashes.

What is basically means is, master flash is the flash you can control, like the pop-up flash, and slave flash is the one that needs to be controlled or triggered by your master flash. Master flash will flash faster, and the slave flash will flash later.

Some flashes can be both master and slave, like Canon 600 EX-RT or 580 EX II, but some can only be slave, like Canon 480EX II, then of course, the price difference is huge. Which one do you need? The best way is to watch a lot of reviews on YouTube.

MichaelTheMentor has some very good videos, and here's one,

You will also need to learn the types of flash metering.

What Is TTL, ETTL and ETTL2?

What Can A Flash Do Anyway?

To understand why you need a flash and some basics of working with flashes, I recommend you watch the following video for beginners, mind you, he speaks quite fast and it is 1 hour 50 mins lecture, but this video is the best.

Do I Need A Flash In Bright Daylight?

Well, in some cases, yeah. In the last video, you can see how to blur the background while using a flash to keep the subject lightened up. This photographer's English is very simple and slow, so it is really easy to understand.

I'll update when I have finally got my equipment. For now, I need that black-&white umbrella from the lecture, a flash-umbrella stand and a flash.

Bang for the buck -- more bang for your buck(s) informal the best result for the smallest effort

Xenon @ Wikipedia

How Stuff Works @ Discovery Channel

MichaelTheMentor @ YouTube

Canon 600EX-RT vs 580EXII | Is it worth the cost? | Tutorial Training Video @ YouTube

TTL vs ETTL | Canon 580EXii / 430 EXii Speedlite DVD @  YouTube


Controlling the Light: Beginners Guide to Off-Camera Lighting and Control @ YouTube

Strobist Photography: Part 4 - Midday strobist portrait at F1.4 @ YouTube


Sunday 17 June 2012

Technology: HOLY SMOKE!!! Galaxy SIII As A PC???!!!

Sorry guys, can't wait till Monday to share this holy goodness with you all!!!

Another reason to get an Android phone instead of an iPhone on top of what Zedomax has said in my previous entry, Message: Becoming Senior Members of XDA-developers!!! is what you are about to see below.

Open your eyes wide guys!!! Cos XDA Senior Member NZtechfreak will now show you how to turn your Galaxy SIII into a PC, a gaming centre, a audio and video station.

I am definitely not a gamer, but I want to be able to play YouTube or movies on my LCD TV without connecting it to my PC because my PC isn't as mobile as my smartphone. For this, if I want to sit on my couch from a distance and not want to walk to my Galaxy SIII all the time, I just need to buy a power hub, a keyboard for Android and a wireless mouse like NZtechfreak did in the video.

If you want to watch HD videos then you will need an Samsung HDTV connector.

For gamers, you don't even need to buy an Xbox 360 to play some of the cool games, save you a lot of money!!! All you need is buy an extra PS3 controller.

What if you have a Galaxy Note? Well, you can still do most of what SIII can do!

For S2? No such luck, at most it can be used as a USB On-The-Go storage.

Maybe this will give me a reason to preorder my SIII in blue, which I still haven't done so. But I am still so in love with my SII. Not sure when I will be willing to pour that HK$5,598.

By the way, to play Xbox 360 games, you will first need this, the Xbox 360 Emulator,

Xbox 360 emulator
You can download it here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ps.xemu

After that, you just need to download the Xbox 360 ROMs, which you can find on the internet.


Message: Becoming Senior Members of XDA-developers!!! @ Locky's English Playground

Galaxy S III Found to Work With USB On-The-Go, Xbox 360, PS3 Controllers, and More @ XDA-developers

[Video] Working MHL demo, also USB OTG, USB audio, PS3/XBoX/Wii controllers and more! @ XDA-developers

Samsung Galaxy S3: Connectivity demo - USB OTG, MHL, bluetooth keyboards/mice, games  @ YouTube

Samsung Galaxy Note: MHL, RDP + bluetooth keyboard & mouse, N64oid + BT controller, USB OTG @ YouTube

Samsung Galaxy S2 USB OTG demo @ YouTube

Xbox 360 Emulator @ Google Play

Friday 15 June 2012

Technology & News: Free Apps To Recommend Part 3

LINE Camera
Image from Locky's English Playground
Ever since I have recommended LINE Camera in my last entry, I have begun noticing more and more friends playing with it. Some are of course, much better than mine.

Image from Kaman b-lau
Image from Anna & Celia
Image from Katie
Image from Katie

It really takes some ingeniousness to make a really cute photo yet conveying your messages using LINE Camera, and compared with my friends, I am still a newbie.

Just a quick news and that is LINE has released a quick update and now it will add quick switch buttons for you to move from your LINE to LINE Camera or LINE Card.
LINE Taiwan ad
Image from LINE

This time I have other advanced apps for you to try out, but if you are iProduct users, sorry, you won't be able to enjoy this again. The reason being, Apple just likes to control your life, but Android unleashes freedom for creativity to let you enjoy the life you want.

What am I recommending? Check out the video first!

Great isn't it? This Phone To Computer app is great for those who want to have full control of your PC from a distance, like people (guess who?) who want to watch videos on YouTube from the toilet but the videos won't auto-play when it is on full-screen.

Phone To Computer
Image from Google Play
Download the app here: https://sites.google.com/site/razsapps/
Download the computer-side software: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.raz.ptc&hl=en

The next app only works if you have Samsung Smart TV, and they are the Samsung Remote and the Samsung Smart View.

Samsung Remote
Image from Google Play
Samsung Smart View
Image from Google Play
Image from Google Play
Basically, you can turn any of your Samsung smart devices into remote control and even go online with the SmartTV to access your Facebook or watch YouTube on your TV while controlling it over your smartphones or tablets! I've tried it, and it feels really good!

You need to find the right version of app to match the Samsung Smart TV model, but you can find all of them below:
Download the app here: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=samsung+remote&c=apps

Coming up is Rolle YouTube, its main function is that it allows you to download the YouTube video you want to keep.
Download button on the top right corner
Image from Locky's English Playground
This is a 3rd party app developed by the developers so before you install, you may want to go to "Settings" and then check the box for "unknown sources", but your phone will guide you through. Don't worry.

Download the app here: http://www.4shared.com/file/GLB_6tNV/comrolleandroidyoutube.html

Last but not least, the Apex LauncherHolo Launcher, developed by XDA Member dennisxl and  XDA Senior Member mobint respectively.

Image from Google Play
Image from Google Play
Image from Google Play
Image from Google Play
Basically, the Apex Launcher and the Holo Launcher functions similarly, in the sense it is for those who want to enjoy the Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) 4.0 look-and-feel, the difference is that Apex Launcher requires ICS 4.0 while Holo Launcher works on Android Froyo 2.2 and up. If you happen to NOT have rooted your phone or using an older version of Android OS but wants to get the ICS appearance, try out these two excellent launchers!

Download Apex Launcher here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.anddoes.launcher
Download Holo Launcher here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobint.hololauncher

Get High On Android!!

ingenuity -- (n)[U] someone's ability to think of clever new ways of doing something
newbie --  [C] informal someone who has just started doing an activity, a job, etc
unleash -- (vb)[T] to release suddenly a strong, uncontrollable and usually destructive force
Froyo -- (n)[U] short form for frozen yogurt


Technology & News: Free Apps To Recommend Part 2 @ Locky's English Playground

Phone to Computer Promo @ YouTube

Phone To Computer @ Raz's App

Phone To Computer @ Google Play

How to control a PC with your Android phone @ techradar

Rolle YouToube

Apex Launcher @ Google Play

Android Ice Cream Sandwich Users Can Try Another New Launcher @ XDA-developers

Holo Launcher @ Google Play

Holo Launcher Brings ICS Styling to Gingerbread and Froyo @ XDA-developers


High On Android @ YouTube



Thursday 14 June 2012

Message: Becoming Senior Members of XDA-developers!!!

Image from Locky's English Playground
Hi, all readers of English Playground, I have yet another great news for those of you who like to hear news updates, apps recommendations, rooting and custom ROM development of the mobile technology. As you can see from the above image that I have officially become a Senior Member of the XDA-developers -- the world's leading forum for mobile software development. Samsung is also working closely with the genius software developers of this community too!!!

So, from today onwards, those of you who are fans of Android or Windows phones, you will be getting more updates and recommendations from me, especially on the Android ones due to the creativity and expandable nature of Android Open Source. If you are iPhone fans, well, XDAdevelopers actually does have an iPhone developers page, except that there aren't too many important updates available, due to the closed source slow-updating selfish monopolistic nature of Apple.

Hm... thinking about it, Apple does sound like the Hong Kong's real estate monopoly, doesn't it?

As an educator, I want the future generations to know that sharing knowledge is the way to creating a better world, so definitely I will offer much much more Android news.

Upcoming on Locky's English Playground, some real good apps recommendation which iPhone can't do!!!

Attached are two videos of Zedomax explaining why Android is a better deal for the world and our future generations. Use it to practise your listening as well!

monopolistic -- (adj) (an organization or group which has) complete control of something, especially an area of business, so that others have no share

XDA-Developers Official Website

Zedomax Channel @ YouTube

Why You Should Choose Android Over iPhone/iOS! @ YouTube

High On Android Show - Everyone Must Start Buying Android Smartphones! @ YouTube