Change DPI on Android custom ROMs

Some ROMs like Slim ROM change the DPI setting so that objects on the screen are much smaller than is comfortable for me. This site told me how to change the DPI setting.

We need root access for this. Any file explorer with root access is fine. Root explorer is an excellent paid option, but ES file manager will do just fine as a free app. Follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to /system
  2. Click on Mount RW (It should appear as Mount RO, that’s when it is correct!)
  3. Look for build.prop. Long press on the file and press Open file in Editor
  4. Scroll down to ro.sf.lcd_density=240
  5. Change the value to anywhere between 180 and 240. The lower the value, the higher density your screen will have.
  6. Click on the Menu button, and Save and Exit.
  7. Reboot.

Some tips on personal productivity

Read an article on Sparring Mind about productivity. The article has links to research papers. Use Google Scholar to find downloadable versions. I thought that the article had some useful things to say. I am highlighting the main points here.

  1. Use habits, not just willpower. Tremendously important. My own experience – the less planning, the more willpower it takes for accomplishing a task. But this is more on form versus content. In a sense. By form I mean the structure of one’s day, the process of planning and the process of working. A strict schedule, and a well-structured system will set the grounds for high productivity.
  2. Go ‘all-in’ on tasks – Have work slots. The best work slots seem to be 90 minutes in length. At least, that is what the best violinists do. This depends on the type of work and the type of person. My recommendation would be to start at 40-45 minutes and have a maximum of 90 minutes. Then start the task and end when the task ends. Take a 10-20 minute break depending on the length of the work slot. During the slot do not take breaks and focus hard at the task at hand.
  3. Track your work. If it’s not worth measuring, it’s not worth doing. This is tremendously important. It’s also a part of setting up your system at work. Keep a list of achievements for the day. Every work slot should have some achievement at the end of it. Trello might be a good way to record this.
  4. DO NOT MULTITASK. This is very important and much ignored. Do one thing at a time. Don’t let your focus waver.

Review – Bonus.ly

Bonus.ly is a site with an excellent idea. Quantitative rewards for performance. Tangible positive reinforcement. Micro-bonuses.

The idea

The idea is that within a team, there are occasions when we want to recognise someone’s achievements. In addition to positive words, bonus.ly lets us give a reward to someone, a micro-bonus as it were. The advantage is that we can easily total the value that a person has added to others in their eyes. Since a reason can be given for every bonus payment, this can be a good objective basis for an evaluation.

The implementation

  • It has integration with Slack, which is a group chat app that looks great and is very fast.
  • The interface is quick and aesthetic.

Price

Free for up to 25 people in a team. This is fantastic.

Downsides

  • No penalties. So only positive reinforcement. But this also means that we cannot use this for a full-fledged evaluation of a team member.

Byword 2.0 and WordPress

In its newest version Byword supports publishing to WordPress. My blog workflow usually involves creating the entry in Byword using Markdown, viewing the preview in Marked, and then copying the HTML source from Marked. I paste this source in to WordPress. The big advantage of this is that I get to maintain my Markdown source code. The blog entries are stored on Dropbox, so that searching can be done conveniently through NVAlt and edited on Byword.

But now I have the chance to see if I can publish directly on WordPress using Byword. What would be great is if I could somehow edit existing posts on Byword. Maybe I should give MarsEdit a try.

Of course, it is a shame that Byword will not directly take the metadata for the post from the header in Markdown.

Extracting audio from video

I had this problem recently. I had downloaded videos from Coursera and I wanted to watch/listen to them on my Ipod Touch. Of course, nothing is straightforward on the idevices. I tend to listen to the lectures in the gym, so mostly listening and not watching. On my Note 2 I can lock the screen so that the video continues playing while I put the phone in my pocket. But the ipod does not. So I needed to extract the audio from the video (fortunately these lectures are not visually intensive).

Handbrake does not do it, and other options I found include installing ffmpeg on the command line using homebrew. Finally someone informed me that I could do this natively in the Mac OS. This page contains the details. The gist is the following:

Encode video service on

Go to ’System Preferences \( \rightarrow \) Keyboard \( \rightarrow \) Shortcuts. Click on Services and ensure that the “Encode selected video files” and “Encode selected audio files” services are selected. This will make these options visible when you right-click on a video file.

Extract audio

Select one or more video files, right-click, Services and select “Encode selected video files”. In the first dropdown at the top, select Audio only. Select where to store the audio files, then encode.

The nice thing about this is that you can batch process.

Disable two-finger scrolling in Chrome

This was a major pain for me. I use two-finger scroll for vertical and horizontal scrolling. Chrome trips me up by occasionally (when I swipe fast enough) browsing through my page history. A big inconvenience especially when one is working on documents or forms online. Almost got to the point where I was thinking of swearing off Chrome altogether.

I looked online and found some forums which said that it couldn’t be done. Then I found this website which gives simple instructions to disable this on an application basis. Just run the following command in terminal:

defaults write com.google.Chrome.plist AppleEnableSwipeNavigateWithScrolls -bool FALSE

 Update: This doesn’t seem to work in Mavericks. Chrome still has the same annoying behavior.

Aquamacs line wrapping

On and off, Aquamacs starts behaving strangely with the line wrap. I usually have word-wrap mode set. And yet, when I open an org-mode file I see that truncate-mode or some other such is set. Here is what to do to get it back to normal:

Go to Options -> Customize Aquamacs -> Aquamacs-specific options. That will open up a buffer with a bunch of options. Scroll down to ‘Text mode hook’. Unselect all the options, select set-word-wrap and delete all the extra options set at the bottom, if any. Save for all sessions.