A Guide to fixing a slow Android Phone

Like most devices, Android Phones do get slow over time. If your phone has slowed down you are at the right place! In this guide, I will show you how to speed up a Slow Android Phone.

This guide will work for Android tablets too!

1. Clean your Storage!

Storage problems are known to cause performance issues on Android devices. When your phone or tablet gets low on storage space, it will have limited space to store files that are required for an app to run smoothly.

There are many apps that will help you clean your storage. Below are the two that I recommend:

Files by Google is a file manager which helps Android users Free up space by giving users recommendations on useless files that don’t need to live on your phone. Since the app is technically a file manager, it also helps users find files quicker, backup files and share files.

On the other hand, CCleaner is an advanced optimisation tool which removes useless junk from your phone. It also allows you to monitor your system.

You can also manually clean you app Cache!

2. Uninstall apps that you don’t use

Sometimes, we install apps just for that single occasion. Those apps take up valuable storage space so get rid of them!

But what if you need those apps?

Sometimes we just can’t help it our phones are full, the list below shows your options. This works well for low end phones!

  • Check if there is a lite version of the app
  • Check if there is a browser version
  • Check for an alternative

You may find that some apps will not delete. If that is the case you should disable them.

3. Try a different launcher

Sometimes device manufacturers create launchers that are way to heavy for that particular device. They probably do it to save money, especially if they create that launcher for more then one model. The beauty is Android is that you can customise it. There are loads of cool launchers out there.

4. Check for updates

Sometimes all it takes to speed up your phone is an update. Manufacturers often release updates to fix stuff.  Give it a go!



Microsoft is moving Edge to Chromium!

Yes! You read correctly! Microsoft is moving Edge to Chromium! But is that a good thing?

Have you ever heard of the phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them”. Well, Microsoft definitely has! The truth of the matter is that this is an amazing opportunity for Microsoft to make their browser more popular even though it will mean that the browser will no longer be made by Microsoft. Instead, it will be a user interface for Chromium.

In a blog post by Joe Belfiore, it has been mentioned that they want “to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge on the desktop to create better web compatibility for our customers and less fragmentation of the web for all web developers”.

The full article can be found here

Is this a good thing?

Definitely! The web store has tons of apps available. In my humble opinion, that’s just one of the reasons that so many people chose to use Chrome over other browsers. The compatibility is another thing too. From my experience with Edge, I found that Edge is a good browser but it lacks in many features such as customisation, apps and most importantly of all, I found there to be compatibility issues with certain web apps which lead me to download Chrome to use them.

What do you think?

A Guide to installing Ubuntu

Ok, so you’re either thinking of trying out or you’re actually installing Ubuntu on your machine. You are in the right Place! In this article, I will show you how to install Ubuntu.

So, I will be installing Ubuntu on a Virtual Box. Virtual Box is a free, open-source program that allows you to install an Operating System as an application within your current system. This guide will cover the installation with and without Virtual Box.

You will need:

  • Ubuntu Desktop ISO – Available here…
  • Virtual Box (If installing virtually) – Available here…
  • USB Drive with at least 4GB storage (If installing on your PC)
  • Etcher (If installing on your PC) – Available here…

Installing Ubuntu

If you either want to try out Ubuntu on your PC or actually install it on your PC, start with step 1. If like me, you want to install Ubuntu onto a Virtual box start from step 3.

1. Prepare your USB drive

The USB drive needs to have at least 4 GB of storage space. The USB drive will be formatted so you will lose your data. If you don’t have a spare USB drive. It’s possible to burn the ISO onto a blank DVD.  When ready, Plug your USB drive into your PC.

2. Create your Image 

I will be installing the image onto an 8 GB USB drive. To create your image you will need to…

  • Run Etcher
  • Select your image – that’s the Ubuntu ISO file that you just downloaded
  • Select your USB Drive
  • Click Flash

Once the program finishes flashing, you simply restart your PC and boot from the USB drive.

Skip to step 4

3. Configure Virtual Box

  • Launch Virtual Box and select New
  • Name your system, Choose type and version
  • Press Next
  • Choose the amount of memory (RAM) you want to give your system – I chose 2 GB
  • Select “Create a virtual hard disk now”
  • Chose VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) and click next
  • Select Dynamically allocated and click next
  • Give the hard disk some storage space. I decided that 20 GB is sufficient.
  • Click Create
  • Select your newly created system and click on settings on the bar
  • Go to Storage
  • Click the CD under IDE Controller
  • Under attributes, select the cd drop down and browse for the Ubuntu ISO
  • Once selected, click OK
  • Click the Start button 

4. The Installation

This step is for when you are installing Ubuntu on your PC and Virtual Box

  • If you want to Try Ubuntu on your PC before installing it, the “Try Ubuntu” option allows you to do so with out even installing it
  • Click “Install Ubuntu to continue installation
  • Choose your keyboard layout
  • Select “Normal installation” and click continue 
  • Click “Erase disk and install Ubuntu”
  • Follow the setup steps in creating your profile and wait for Ubuntu to install

 

Also Checkout…

A Beginner’s Guide to Ubuntu

So, you’re interested in Ubuntu? You have come to the right place! In this article, I will explain the basics you need to know to get started!

So what is Ubuntu?

Well, Ubuntu is an open-source Linux operating system based on Debian. You’re probably thinking what that means right? Well, open-source means that it’s free to use, download and modify. Debian, on the other hand, is another free Linux Operating System. Ubuntu is also one of the most popular Linux Distributions.

What do I mean by free?

Yes! You heard correctly! It’s free. But it’s not only free to use and download, but you can also modify it to suit your needs.

What about security?

Since it’s free you may have security concerns. Ok, yes it’s a free system, which users can modify as they please. But actually, Ubuntu can be considered as a more secure system. How have I worked that one out? Well, the Linux architecture does not allow viruses and malware to penetrate the system easily. This limits the need to run posh anti-virus software. In fact, many users might say you don’t need antivirus software on Ubuntu, I would still recommend a basic virus scanner, especially when you use and share files between other operating systems. Ubuntu also receives regular updates that provide firm security. These updates are not aggressive, meaning that you can choose a suitable time to install them. If you’re a Windows user, you may face the issue with constant and aggressive updates. These updates are a good thing, but since Windows is one of the most popular systems out there, these updates are essential.

So what about the hardware compatibility?

Ubuntu is very well designed, most drivers are included as standard. I have been using it for years and I only ever had 1 driver issue on an old laptop, where the WiFi card was not supported. The fix was easy, all I did was purchase a USB WiFi adapter for under £15 and it solved it.

What if I get stuck and need support?

Ubuntu has a huge community of pro’s who are always ready to help you out with any situation you may have.

What is Linux?

Linux is a kernel, no not the army one. It’s actually the core component of an Operating system and it allows the software to connect with the hardware. It’s important to note that a kernel on its own is just a set of instructions.

It was created by Linus Torvalds in 1991.

Why Ubuntu?

What a great question right? Here are some reasons…

  • You don’t have to be an expert to use it.
  • It’s Free!
  • You can try it out before installing
  • It has a stylish interface, just bear in mind that the true beauty is in the terminal 😉
  • It works well with older and low spec computers
  • You can customise it to suit your needs!
  • It’s fast and most importantly of all stable
  • It’s supported!
  • Say goodbye to the blue screen of death!
  • It has good security
  • Don’t like the style, there are tons of flavours to choose from
  • Tons of free software in the Software Center
  • The Terminal

The Desktop Releases

Ubuntu currently comes as two releases.

LTS

This is the latest version with long-term support. It usually means about five years. It will give you free security and maintenance updates.

Latest version

If you feel experimental, The latest version comes with 9 months worth of support, you later update to the next latest version.

How do I try it out?

Easy! All you need is a USB drive and the Ubuntu Iso file.

  1. Download Rufus, Available here
  2. Download the Ubuntu Desktop, Available here
  3. Run Rufus
  4. Insert your USB drive. Please bear in mind that your USB drive will be wiped!
  5. Select USB drive under Device – Choose carefully as choosing the wrong one may lead to data loss!
  6. Select FreeDOS under boot selection, press Select and browse for the Ubuntu ISO file
  7. Select Start
  8. If the Download required box appears click Yes to continue
  9. Once complete boot from your USB drive.
  10. Select Trial Mode. Please note that if you press install you might wipe your current Operating System causing data loss!

Also Checkout…

A Guide to installing Ubuntu

5 ways to protect yourself from Cybercrime

There are several things which end-users do wrong, some of these errors can make the lives of cybercriminals easier. Here are the top 5 things which you can do to improve security…

1. Educate yourself and keep updated on the latest threats

Your brain is the most important weapon. If you know what to look out for and how to secure yourself then you should be fine. Remember “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. If a company that you deal with suffers a security breach, change your password. Being up to date with these things can save you a lot of money and hassle.

2. Don’t use the same password on more than one account

Yes, I know it’s tempting, but using the same password on several accounts is not a good idea. It’s risky because if one account get’s violated, the attacker is likely to try the password for your other online accounts. However, using strong and unique passwords makes it harder for the attacker to gain access. Never write your passwords down or give them away!

3. Be careful what you open

Just because it looks real, doesn’t mean it is. This can cover many things. The most popular are emails. I mean, have you ever received an email from a bank that you don’t bank with saying that you owe money with a big URL in the middle. This most likely is a scam. In this instance, check who the email is addressed to if it’s addressed to either your email address or to a generic user. It’s likely to be fake. Real emails are usually addressed to you direct. The other thing to look out for is the sender’s email address. Organisations don’t usually use free personal email addresses, they use professional ones that often contain the name of the company. So If you are receiving the email from “bankname@gmail.com” It’s fake.

On the other hand, if one day, you find a strange icon on your desktop from a program that you don’t remember installing. Don’t open it, it’s likely to contain a virus. On this occasion, I would run a virus scan. Most antivirus providers offer a right-click scan. This is where you right click the file and select Scan.

4. Stay updated

Software updates can be annoying. Especially when they take forever to complete. It gets worse when you’re in a hurry, it’s like the computers can sense that. In reality, updates are essential in keeping your device secure. Cybercriminals tend to find holes in programs and the operating system. Updates help to patch these holes up.

5. Use good antivirus software

There are mixed opinions on antivirus software. But the truth of the matter is that if you know what you’re doing and what to look out for, Free Antivirus software should be enough for you. Windows Defender, AVG and Sophos Home Free are great options. However, if you are the opposite then paid antivirus solutions to provide more features which will help prevent your device from being infected. It’s also important to remember to keep your software updated. I recommend installing Malwarebytes in on-demand mode alongside your antivirus program. This is so that they don’t conflict. Malwarebytes is a great program for removing malware.

 

What is life like using a Chromebook as your main PC?

Chromebooks are those cheap laptops you find online and in stores usually for under £300. You may be thinking; What good will such a cheap laptop do for me? In this article, I will discuss how powerful a Chromebook can actually be and my experience with using a Chromebook as my everyday laptop at University.

To begin with, I don’t like to carry many things around with me that might either be heavy or unnecessary to me, so since I was in the market for a new laptop I decided that this new laptop should be small and lightweight. I looked at many laptops, including netbooks running on Windows 10 and Chromebooks running on Chrome OS, but the netbooks seemed to be slow, whereas the Chromebooks seemed to be up and running in no time.

Before I purchased my Chromebook, I have done some research into what types of web apps there are, I already knew about Google Docs and Microsoft Office Online. There turned out to be thousands of online web apps which work on Chrome OS and that’s not mentioning the browser apps that can be downloaded from the Chrome web store.

I also found that some Chromebooks support Linux, this meant that I could have a fully functioning Linux operating system. The only issue I found was that Chrome OS runs in the background.

I found a decent device on Amazon, it was the Lenovo N22. It was perfect for what I wanted it to do, it even had a carrying handle so that I can carry it like a mini suitcase, which I thought was useless. I did manage to install a run down version of Ubuntu which I used for basic programming tasks and local usage using the pre-installed Libre Office. In terms of performance, I didn’t expect much, especially when considering the price I paid but actually, I was in for a surprise as I didn’t get any lag or performance issues. This particular Chromebook also came with free cloud storage space for Google Drive.

Differences worth considering

If your like me and used to systems like Windows or Mac it can take time to get used to it, it didn’t take me long to get used to it, but hey we’re all different! In fact, from using it every day, I didn’t find it much different from the other systems. Obviously, you don’t need to purchase software for it, unless you are wanting to subscribe to Office 365, which on a Chromebook is only good if you want the 1TB cloud storage or if you are an organisation, but that’s a different story. The other major difference is the fact that it’s technically a web browser unless you purchase one with Android app support, but once again, that’s a different story! The fact that it’s only a web browser means that there is no reason for users to have performance issues unless you are carrying out heavy tasks like photo editing using one of many wonderful online tools.

So are Chromebooks suitable for everyday use?

The short answer is YES! however, there is a but! and that’s the fact that I would not recommend them if you are a heavy user. It’s a simple as that! They are perfect for basic tasks but tend to get complicated when it comes to the more demanding tasks. The only trouble is that they rely on an internet connection, although it is possible to use them offline, it depends on whether the Chrome plugin can be used offline. On the other hand, if you are using Linux then they are fine!

Want to try Chrome OS before you buy? Try it with Cloud Ready!

 

 

Test: is it worth purchasing a second-hand laptop?

Laptops can be expensive right? The question is, is it worth purchasing a second hand one? Well, I decided to purchase one and put it to the test. This article will cover my recommendations, what you need to know and most importantly of all the test.

Before making a purchase

It is important to research into what you are purchasing, for example, Many second-hand laptops don’t come with hard drives. This is a perfectly normal thing for a seller to do, it’s usually done to protect the seller’s data. If the laptop doesn’t come with a hard drive, it’s very likely that the laptop won’t come with an operating system unless the laptop comes with an installation disk. On the other hand, if the laptop does come with a hard drive and an operating system it is important to know which one you are purchasing. If you are purchasing a laptop with Windows XP or Vista, you need to know that Microsoft has discontinued support for these systems. This means that they will no longer get any essential security updates. Many software vendors have also stopped support for these systems meaning that the latest versions of the programs can’t be installed.

 

My Purchase

The internet is full of interesting websites that sell second-hand laptops, I decided to look on eBay. There were loads to choose from my and my budget for the entire project was £250, that’s for the laptop itself and any parts. Below is the laptop that I decided to purchase:

Specs:

  • CPU: Intel Core i3 2310M 2.10GHz x2
  • RAM: No Ram included
  • Storage: No Storage device included
  • OS: No OS included

Price: £90 – sold as spares and repair

Please Note!

If you do not feel confident opening up a laptop or computer, please take it to a PC repair shop! The software (Operating System) and components purchased for this laptop may not work on yours! It is important to research compatibility. Purchasing laptops that are labelled as faulty or spares and repairs can be very risky if you don’t have enough information about the product.

As you can tell, the above laptop was sold as spares and repair. Like I mentioned above, it can be risky buying laptops for spares and repairs, However, the auction did state that the laptop was in full working order with the exception of the RAM and hard drive being removed by the seller. The seller has also included a 3-month warranty. So having spent £90 on the laptop, I needed to acquire a storage device, RAM and an operating system. I decided to purchase a hard drive. Normally in these situations, I would recommend an SSD since they can improve speeds. However, the laptop will be used for tasks which require a lot of storage space. Since the laptop is second hand, I did consider to purchase the required components second-hand too, however, hard drives are so cheap these days that I decided to purchase a new 1TB hard drive instead. However the RAM was purchased second-hand, it was an 8GB stick. Last, of all, I purchased Windows 10 Home for £74.

Money Spent on making the laptop work:

  • Hard drive: (Toshiba 1TB): £42
  • RAM (Kingston 8GB): £34.99
  • OS (Windows 10 Home): £74

Total spent: £240.99

I spent £240.99 all together on this laptop. Which is a lot cheaper compared to new laptops of similar spec. There were laptops available at a cheaper price with a hard drive and RAM included, but they had a small amount of storage space and a low amount of RAM.

Tips for purchasing a second-hand laptop

  • If purchasing a spares and repairs laptop, make sure you are confident enough to purchase it and that the seller accepts returns.
  • Make sure that a power adapter is included
  • Make sure that the operating system is still supported
  • It’s always good if the seller has a good feedback rating
  • If unsure, ask the seller or forums
  • If you don’t feel confident rebuilding a laptop or computer buy one in working order!

After 1 Week of usage

In order to make the test fair, I used this laptop as my main PC for a week. In fact, I’m writing this very article on this laptop. While conducting basic tasks such as browsing the internet, playing basic games and basic PhotoShop I had no performance issues. In fact, considering the fact that it has an old processor I was quite surprised at the speed of the laptop. I was able to use Photoshop and conduct more demanding tasks too.

So I have any issues?

Some might say that buying a second-hand laptop can give you more problems then it’s worth and that can be true! That is the exact reason that you need to be careful when purchasing second-hand goods. A good thing to look out for is whether the laptop or computer comes with a warranty. This can be a lifesaver when something goes wrong. If you don’t feel confident rebuilding a laptop or computer buy one in working order! I have been building and re-building computers for years if you are new to this, please be aware that you may face a lot more issues, which might lead to spending more money.

So to answer this question, No I did not have any issues with this laptop. However, that’s not to say that I won’t face issues if I decide to buy another second-hand PC.

The outcome of the test

I am very happy with the purchase. The laptop will be used as a test PC for testing various operating systems. However since it doesn’t have a new processor, it will struggle with the more demanding tasks. The Core i3 wasn’t intended for the heavier tasks in the first place and comparing it to other processors that were on the market during it’s time you can see that similar processors have a better overall benchmark.

CPU Benchmark:

Available here: http://cpuboss.com/cpu/Intel-Core-i3-2310M

When purchasing a PC, it is very important to consider what you will be using it for. Heavier tasks such as photo editing, programming or even gaming require more resources. You can find my test results below:

 

 

 

 

Project: Raspberry Pi NAS Server

Do you have more than one PC at home? A NAS server is your solution for storing and accessing your files in one place. This article will cover my mini project…

NAS servers can be expensive right? so why overpay? It’s more fun building your own! I decided to do just that, using a Raspberry Pi.

Why Raspberry Pi?

What a good question! When I was planning to build a new NAS, I had two factors that I needed to consider, energy usage and space. My previous NAS Server was built using an old desktop PC which was slowly starting to show it’s age. Not only was it using up a lot of power, but it was also loud and it used up a lot of space. A Raspberry Pi was, therefore, the perfect solution.

The project…

For this project I used:

  • Raspberry Pi 3B+
  • Power Supply
  • Case
  • 16GB Micro SD card
  • Open Media Vault image (Available here)
  • Portable Hard drive

The total price I paid for the above is <strong>£80</strong>, which is a lot cheaper comparing it to off the shelf NAS Servers.

If you are interested in building a server yourself, here are the instructions I used.

Was it worth it?

I have used many NAS Servers in the past and I can definitely confirm that this one is by far the best one for basic file storage. It’s not designed for heavy use but all I wanted it for was to store files so that I can access them on many PCs at once.

Have you ever done a project using a Raspberry Pi? Comment below!

 

Is your laptop running low on storage space? Try this life hack!

Storage space is precious, especially when you don’t have much of it. When it comes to desktop PC’s the solution is easy, all you do is add a second hard drive. But what if it’s a laptop?

Many new laptops come with SSD’s, some of which have less than 240GB of storage space. 15 years ago that amount was amazing, but most computers were running on Windows XP and the system requirements weren’t that heavy. I mean last year I purchased a Lenovo IdeaPad, which had a built-in 120GB SSD which got filled up extremely fast. Most laptops at that price range had them. Luckily this laptop was well designed and had a slot to put a second hard drive in. But not all laptops do.

So, the question is how often do you use your CD drive? Not many people use CD drives these days, would you be willing to give yours up? The reason I’m asking is that you can actually swap out your CD drive with a hard drive enclosure. I have done this with two laptops, both of which are working without issue. The last one I did was for my mid-2012 MacBook Pro. I purchased the hard drive enclosure and a 2.5″ hard drive pictured below….

 

Check out…

Yes, I know CDs are slowly becoming extinct, but can I survive with my new rig not having a CD drive?

 

So where do I start?

Warning!

If you do not feel confident in carrying out such tasks, take your laptop to a computer repair shop and please remember to back up your data before carrying out any maintenance tasks!

To start with, you will need a 2.5″ hard drive. I purchased a 1TB Seagate Baracuda drive and a specifically designed enclosure. Most laptops are SATA, It’s worthwhile to double check what you have before you make the purchase. It’s also good to check the dimensions of the hard drive.

Steps:

  1. Connect and secure the hard drive in the enclosure
  2. Remove the old CD drive from the laptop
  3. Carefully remove the front cover from the old CD drive
  4. Attach the front cover to the enclosure
  5. Connect the enclosure and hard drive into the laptop.

Costs:

  • 1TB Hard Drive: £49.99
  • Enclosure: £9.99
  • Total: £59.98

Check out…

My previous patient was an HP ProBook. I have just upgraded it to an SSD to improve performance. Unfortunately, that came at a cost and that’s the amount of storage space I had.

 

Was it worth it?

Definitely! These hard drive enclosures can be life savers!