Category Archives: Tablet

Chinese app publisher limits children’s use of games at night via facial recognition

Bad feeling about this – we seem to be gradually adopting all of these methods in the West, over time.

Tencent, the world’s largest Chinese video game publisher, has taken an extreme step to comply with its nation’s rules about limiting minors’ access to video games. As of this week, the publisher has added a facial recognition system, dubbed “Midnight Patrol,” to over 60 of its China-specific smartphone games, and it will disable gameplay in popular titles like Honor of Kings if users either decline the facial check or fail it.

In all affected games, once a gameplay session during the nation’s official gaming curfew hours (10 pm to 8 am) exceeds an unspecified amount of time, the game in question will be interrupted by a prompt to scan the player’s face.

Source: Dozens of Chinese phone games now require facial scans to play at night | Ars Technica

Facebook says most app usage on iOS and Android is of pre-installed apps

The majority of apps used by iPhone and Android users are made by Apple and Google, according to a study commissioned by Facebook that was shared with The Verge.

Source: Apple Calls Facebook-Commissioned Study on Preinstalled App Usage ‘Seriously Flawed’ – MacRumors

Apple disagrees, of course.

Back in 2012, when I did my thesis on software issues related to Android power management, I remember that a relatively small number of apps do indeed account for most of the usage time.

The typical user may have many dozens of apps installed on their phone but they use only a handful, most of the time.

On my own phone, Android says there are 150 installed apps, many of which are part of Android and come pre-installed. On a daily basis, I probably use 3 to 5 of those apps. Many I keep because … someday I’ll use them again. For example, Delta and Alaska Airlines apps are on my phone even though I have not flown in 18 months. Some, like a lightning detector and a weather radar app I use only during bad weather – which means they go unused most of the time.

Yes, kind of: “Don’t bother with Android tablets – CNET”

Commentary: I love Android phones, but Android tablets stink as an investment.

Source: Don’t bother with Android tablets – CNET

We recently replaced my wife’s Nexus 7. Unfortunately, nearly all the Android tablets available today are old – or old designs, using older hardware, smaller RAM than is needed, and lower resolutions screens than contemporary hardware,

Samsung seems to be the only company still producing contemporary Android tablets – but my older Samsung tablet has not seen any Android OS update. It is as if the Android tablet market is vanishing and has been for the past 2-3 years.

Looked into iPad – even bought one but ended up returning it. Too many issues to go in to here.

My wife ultimately settled on a Microsoft Surface product that doubles as a notebook and a tablet. She really likes it.

Workaround: Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader app no longer available for PC, Mac #BarnesAndNoble

I discovered after a Mac OS X update that my very old Nook e-reader app for Mac OS X no longer works – and that Nook discontinued the app for PC and Mac desktops in 2013. Barnes and Noble says we should use their cloud-based/web-based app from a browser (presumably this means we must have an Internet connection in order to read?)

Problem 1 – Barnesandnoble.com Inaccessible

Unfortunately, an attempt to access the Barnes and Noble web site returns

This page is unavailable due to either geographic restrictions or other restrictions in place at this time. NOTE: other restrictions can be a result of our security platform detecting potential malicious activity. Please try again later as the restrictions may be lifted, or contact your service provider if the issue persists.

ID: 8387029820181080074

As best I can tell, this means Barnes and Noble has blocked our IP address for unknown reasons. Their recommended solution is to reboot our Internet access modem and/or attempt to request a new IP address. This is absurd. Our IP address works fine for accessing all other web sites.

Problem 2 – No Nook E-Reader app available – Work Around

If Barnes and Noble e-books can no longer be read on a PC or Mac, what can we do?

One solution is to install an Android emulator, and then install the Android B&N e-reader app in the emulated Android. An emulator is basically a simulator – it simulates and Android device but its really just software running on a PC or a Mac.

I installed the Nox Android emulator app on my Macbook. After dealing with odd user interface issues, I went into the Google folder and opened Google Play, and then downloaded and installed the Nook e-reader app for Android. I ran that and was able to synchronize my library of purchased e-books and can now read them using the Nook app for Android running in an emulator on my Macbook. The emulator seems to be a bit hard on the battery – may want to use this solution when you can plug in the notebook computer to AC.

I had the same IP address when I synchronized the Nook library, pointing to something very weird (and possibly very stupid) in Barnes and Noble’s web site operation.