Thursday, December 25, 2014

Netgear PTV3000 with AppRadio

The key success factor for AppRadio to work is the ability of the connected phone to output or cast the screen via HDMI, and a compatible adapter (either Slimport connector or the MHL adapter) is crucial to make this happen. This actually becomes the show stopper for many as not many phones can work with an aftermarket adapter. For instance, the One+ One and the Nexus 6.

With a series of posts on AppRadio I shared, some of my friends really got poisoned to do the same on their lovely car. Too bad, none of them are using Nexus phones, so I ought to further inject the poison making sure I have a solution for them! Glad that I do have something to offer!! *evil grin*

As wired solution is almost impossible for some phones, the alternative is to go on wireless. There are few matured wireless display technologies such as Miracast, WiDi and so on. The safest is to pick a technology that is natively supported on any Android phone, which is the Miracast. 

A deep dive into Amazon and I found this...

Read on to see the "alternate solution".

Update A Rooted Nexus 5 with Lollipop 5.0 to 5.0.1

Google released update 5.0.1 just few weeks after the major upgrade to Lollipop 5.0. A minor update that I thought I could just let the OTA to run and complete the upgrade. Unfortunately, something happened...

If you encountered the same, read on for remedy.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

CX-5 AppRadio 3 Ep 5

It's been a busy gadgetry month for me. Few goods and bads. 

1 x Good - I have been enjoying the AppRadio in my everyday commute. :)

2 x Good - It came earlier than expected. Google just pushed the OTA Lollipop upgrade to my Nexus 5. :)

Oh wait! The good turned bad...

1 x Bad - The AppRadio Unchained ARU app stopped working after the upgrade!! This is really really a nightmare!

Let's see if I have any workaround after the break.

CX-5 AppRadio 3 Ep 4

Follow up from the earlier post that few pending items to complete the installation of AppRadio:

  • To reactivate the stock backup/reverse/rear camera.
  • To reuse the OE/stock USB port in the center console.
  • To activate Bose's center dash speaker when playing music from phone i.e. Spotify.
I bought the step down transformer and USB cable off eBay/Amazon to achieve the first 2 items...

I will go through one by one, and share as well things that I discovered over the use of more than a month. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CX-5: AppRadio 3 Ep3

This post demonstrates how the whole setup works, from the phone to AppRadio 3. I recommend you to check out the other links at the end of the post for previous articles. 

I will also summarize some residual drawbacks for your consideration. 

Shall we start the video? No sound but caption. I tried but I am not used to record myself. LoL.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CX-5: AppRadio 3 Ep2

Enough on the installation I posted earlier (link at the end of this post), let's talk about AppRadio 3. This official video is probably a good introduction...

In short, AppRadio is a simple head unit that provides basic car player functions like radio, Bluetooth phone and music streaming and CD / DVD playing. The key feature is to enable you to connect your compatible smart phone to it and have it take advantages on the smart phone apps. You can find AppRadio app in Play Store. This is the official app (basically a launcher app) that runs on the smart phone to cast the screen and touch control to/from the head unit. Here's how it looks like when connected...

There are quite a number of official supported apps (check out the link here). Find them on Play Store and install onto your phone if you want to view the apps on the big screen. Obviously Waze navigation apps is on the supported list...

Same goes to Google Maps...

Look interesting? Hang on, make sure you check all the prerequisite before you jump the gun. Read on after the break to find out what are the prerequisite. 

CX-5: AppRadio 3 Ep1

Look at CX-5 dashboard above. Now compare with my beloved 7 years old Civic FD2's below...

The CX-5 fails big time on the dashboard design, in particular, the head unit looks like a product of a decade ago. It does come with Tom-Tom navigation software, but heck, what is that piece of junk software on a pathetic 5" display compare to Waze with live traffic info on a full double-din display? 

Adding salt to the wound, the head unit is so handicapped that it can't play mp3 from USB properly. I have thousands songs of my CD collection and the head unit never ever plays from the last played song, it starts from first song all over again whenever CX-5 is started. Did I mention that the Bluetooth A2DP is so laggy that the head unit needs a second or more to act upon the commands from the steering wheel control? What a humiliation and insult to Bose speakers pairing with such a head unit, the speakers just sound like a piece of flapping cardboard to produce some recognizable voice noises.

Well, Mazda did not fail entirely, at least. The head unit is not an integrated head unit like other continental cars. It can be easily replaced with a better aftermarket head unit, and here is my sharing on my makeover project on CX-5, with a teaser below...

The Pioneer SPH-DA210 AppRadio 3. The rest of this post will be focused on this unit, but I believe some likely relevant if you plan to install other head units especially the Pioneer's local set like AVH-X8650BT. 

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engine!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How To: Convert Shimano XTR M980 Triple to Double Chainrings

Searching around the internet on this matter has returned negative result. Many people asked about it but it seems no one has really done it. I started to have this idea when I realized I had not been using the 42T ring for long time and few friends jumping to Sram XX1 single chainring setup. I wondered if this is possible without changing a brand new crank which is costly. After some study on Shimano XTR components and technical details, I am glad to share the result here. 

Here's the "before" - Shimano XTR M980 Triple 42-32-24T setup...

Check out after the break for the result.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Tweak Your Android Phone To Run Faster & Longer

The title for sure attracts many Android users. As smart phone users we always find ways to make the phones or tablets run faster and squeeze more juices out from the fixed battery capacity. I do not buy in the idea of higher CPU equals to faster speed that most phone makers are brainwashing most consumers, I am a devotee of optimization be it in work and in personal. A very good example in phone industry is the Moto X or even Moto G versus the high end models from all brands. No regrets from one of my friends "downgrading" in hardware spec of his high end S branded phone to Moto G but indeed it was an upgrade in speed and user experience.

So now if you're on the latest Android phone, or in precise the latest Android KitKat 4.4.2, perhaps you can tweak a little to get more out from the phone, both performance and battery life. No root required, every Tom, Dick and Harry can do it with a 3 steps guide. Check it out after the break.

Friday, January 31, 2014

GXFC! Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

No specific topic to share, just logged in to the site to wish. Been pretty busy since April 2013, have been typing too much i.e. emails, scope of work, technical specifications and whatnot, so kinda "give me a break" in blogging. LoL. Life moves on, so still need some lights and colors to cheer up the life and I am taking this horsey Lunar year for slight enrichment in life, errr.. in home to be precise.

Here's the "before" look...

Plain look or look ordinary for a typical Ah Beng house with a pair of lanterns. One uniqueness is that the lanterns are one and only one exclusive at my home sweet home, you can't get it elsewhere except to steal from i-City. This pair is LED lanterns that are similar to the one in i-City, I didn't steal but got it from my friend, the supplier to i-City LED decoration ;)

It's been 3 years so I thought it might be good to enhance its look. I found something interesting at GM Klang and cost me no more than RM50. Here's the new look after 2 hours of "design" and "TNB" works...

Oh, the idea of putting up the lights this way was inspired by my little 4yo niece. Brilliant kid!

Happy & Healthy Chinese New Year!