Paranoid Android 3.60 (Hello HALO) Review

Some of you may have read my recent post about the time I’ve spent with my Galaxy Nexus. Ironically the day after I wrote that post (which was a couple of weeks before I had posted it) My phone stopped working. I mean completely, it refused to open the app drawer then when I tried rebooting it went into bootloop and ultimately crashed. That was the tipping point for me, I took it as a sign. My phone was screaming at me to go back to the old ways of root apps, sick customizations and custom rom’s. So what other choice did I have?

The first decision was, which ROM do I use? This was a relative no-brainer, Although I wanted to go with AOKP as I had used it briefly and loved it, all the hype right now seemed to be surrounding paranoid android and it’s “Hello HALO” feature. For those of you who are unaware of what HALO is, and no it’s not the game, it’s a sort of unified chathead, where all your notifiaction appears in a chathead like format. Before I give you my review, I would like to point out that I’ve been using Paranoid android for 26 days right now and my opinion stems from that time spent with it.

To be honest I was underwhelmed. I was expecting something that would blow my mind away, like AOKP and CM10.1 did. Cause they felt like stock android on steroids. Paranoid Android however felt like that one schizophrenic part of the android 4.2 system that was out of place from the rest. The whole time I used it the concept of the ugly duckling came to my mind. It’s pretty much the same as stock android on the inside, it has the same features, but it’s not pretty. I also ended up comparing Paranoid Android to your typical highschool douchebag. It’s trying to be something that it’s not. You get the feeling like you know he’s a good guy but he’s trying too hard to be something he’s not.

Screenshot_2013-07-05-07-00-59

In all actuality, my experience with PA wasn’t all that bad. I was just expecting something over the top and my expectations were set too high for it. That’s not to say there weren’t some parts of it that didn’t completely blow me away. For instance, the standby battery life was brilliant, simply outstanding. I have those days where I just don’t use my phone all that much, like when I’m really busy at work and have tons of meetings and deadlines. Usually by the time I reach my office (at 8:00am)  it’s at 84% and by 5:00pm it’s below 15%. Imagine my surprise when I pulled my phone out of my pocket at 5:30pm one day and see my battery at 78%? Even on the days that I use it moderately I end up leaving the office with 30-40% which isn’t really that great compared to other phones but compared to stock android it’s brilliant. As you can see from the screenshot of my battery information on the right (that small bump on the graph was when I was transferring music onto my phone) The kernel does a great job of managing power.

There are a few other things I liked about paranoid android. For example, I liked the fact that I can change the status bar colour and icon colour to match the app that I’m in, this actually helps in space perspective. For example, I made the colour of the status bar green in whatsapp and faded blue in instagram so that it made it seem like my screen was actually bigger, it’s a nifty trick. But you must also keep in mind that it took me ages to get the right colour combination. I also liked that the lag was noticeably less compared to stock android and that my battery didn’t heat up as much, but then again that’s the case on every other ROM.

Screenshot_2013-06-29-15-49-26  The main reason I wanted to try out PA was HALO, I love chatheads and I dreamed of the day where I would get whatsapp functionality for Whatsapp. It’s safe to say I was hugely disappointed. I understand that it’s in beta, that’s why I’m not going to say anything about the errors and the bugs. What annoyed me was the way it worked in general. When you click on the bubble your app opens, that’s obvious, what annoyed me was that when I clicked on it again, instead of closing the app back into the bubble, it just opens another window. That irked me more than you’d think. I hated having to open an app and hit the back button to close it, if I wanted to do that I would stick to android’s built in multitasking as it offers the same functionality. After a while what I realised was that HALO is basically offering me what I already have, but giving me less than 50% the screen real estate. This for me made the whole concept of HALO utterly redundant.

PIE control is another feature that PA touts around. In my experience with it it definitely looks cool but is really just a gimmick. It takes to long for it to pop out, just so we can go back or home. It looks really nice and makes you feel like you’re using a gadget out of minority report but at the end of the day for a power user like me it’s really more of a hassle then it is a feature to talk about. The extended desktop functionality is useful when I need extra real estate and know that I’ll be within that one app for a long Screenshot_2013-07-12-09-41-54time but otherwise is just problematic. One would think after reading what I just wrote that the simple solution would be to use PIE in conjunction with HALO but trust me, once you try it you’d see for yourself why it really does not work.

There are a couple of other gripes that I have with this ROM, such as the over exaggeration of colours, which makes you feel like you’ve dived into the deepest realm of the matrix and the fact that my cell reception has dropped intensely ever since I flashed PA but these are small things that I can live with. All in all Paranoid Android is fine if you’re on a device where you want the stock android experience but in my opinion the entire ROM itself is a gimmick and just doesn’t have what it takes to keep up with the better ROM’s available out there.

Disagree with my opinions or have something you need to add? Sound off in the comments below or shoot me an email at sohamthenerd@gmail.com

Until next time folks.

OS Review – Windows 8

Yes, it’s true, for the first time since 1995 Microsoft has decided to overhaul the user interface on their coveted windows OS. People like me have been screaming “yes, finally!! get rid of that dipshit UI” but those loyal to microsoft are being very annoying regarding their concerns on the modernisation of the user interface.

I installed the Windows Developer Preview on my daily driver, my beloved laptop. Now yes I agree that is a very very stupid thing to do, considering this is just test software and not nearly stable enough to be my daily OS of choice, and all that is true. Although I was and still am truly amazed my the METRO UI on a big screen, especially since I’ve long been a fan of windows phone, this build had way to many bugs and glitches to run any of my software properly, It drained my battery like crazy, giving me a 3hour life span when I used to get 7, the brightness could never be adjusted, sound never worked and WiFi always got disconnected, hell it couldn’t even install the blackberry desktop software due to problems with .NET but I’m here to give you my review of what is to come in windows 8, and so far so good 🙂

We shall start with probably one of the most talked about features of the new OS, the start screen. The start screen was amazingly well thought of and all the work and effort by the entire microsoft team is visible in this dev preview. Even though it’s mainly designed for tablet use and finger touchy touchy, the new UI works great with a mouse and keyboard as well. With a multitouch trackpad, you can use two finger swipe to scroll back and forth around your start screen and pinch to view the entire thing as a map, although I have not been able to accomplish this. The use of keyboard shortcuts also helps navigating around your start screen, such as
“windows key + a” lets you search for apps, all in a very METRO way.

Moving on to number two, the explorer. The new windows explorer is amazing! I never liked the ribbon system, but over here it’s extremely useful and allows much more quick and efficient workflow. I can do all the usual stuff from right on top plus a hell of a lot more stuff I never knew I could, and with 3rd party developers allowed access to add their own plug ins to the ribbon, there’s gonna be some pretty good stuff heading our way. The transfer system is also really amazing, I used to hate copying and moving stuff on the old OS’s because windows explorer would crash or lag if you tried to move too many different things from different places, not to mention the crazy number of pop up windows. the new system allows all the transfers to combine their-self into one window and finally transfers can be paused! thank you microsoft! Oh and not to forget native ISO support! Bowchickawowow

On to my most favorite part of windows 8, the new task manager, now many people don’t even care about this so I shall make this breif, while sitting in my briefs. THE NEW TASK MANAGER IS AWESOME! that’s all I have to say, as you can see in the picture above, it allows us to monitor our memory usage, cpu usage, data trafic, etc. and gives us complete information detailing what’s going on in our computers, sweet!

Applications baby! the most amazing this about this OS are the applications! They’re built atop of html5 and other languages and incorporate metro so they have the best user interfaces and feel completely awesome to use! I do not know how to explain this in words, you will just have to use these yourself to know how awesome they are. Some apps I could really see being built amazingly in metro are Skype, Twitter/TweetDeck, Microsoft Office, Adobe CS’s, Windows Movie Maker, Windows Live Writer, uTorrent and basically everything else! It will just feel completely awesome, awesome awesome awesome awesome awesome!

In conclusion, windows 8 is a very fast, smooth and easy to use operating system thats not only beautiful in terms of the UI but also under the hood. I am extremely excited about the next release of windows and even though I am uninstalling it from my laptop, I will miss it immensely and I am eager and anxious for the next build, which is the beta build, expected to be released by feb 2012 and will definitely be reinstalling it on my laptop.

Most Useful Application for Students (High School)

Students have a hard time keeping track of what’s going on, especially if you’re like me, and if you’re like me, then you most likely don’t have your phone with you at all times, sometimes you have maybe a tablet or media device, or sometimes just your computer.
Not only that, but most probably you’re always distracted by your tech? Am I right?
Well for me, I always seem to forget my homework, or what I was supposed to do at home, that’s when I started writing notes on my phone’s memo app, like I’m sure many of you do.
But how many times has it happened that you’re sitting at home, away from your phone, or maybe its dead, and you’re just chilling with your comp, tablet, ipod, etc. Then you realise that you need to do something on that day, and saved your notes on that other device, then you’re at school again and have only your phone with you, check the notes and that’s not there, then you forget your work and might just end up in a crapload of poo. (haha, poo)
So what’s the answer to that? Evernote. Evernote is not just your basic note taking application, it allows you to keep text notes, audio notes, snapshots/pictures, etc. And it even let’s you upload PDF and .doc files. What’s unique about evernote compared to all the other notetaking apps? Well it let’s you keep all those notes in sync!! Now you must be thinking wha?? What the hell is wrong with this guy??? All other applications let me do that too? Well yes, while this statement may be true, not all note taking apps are available everywhere!! yes well literally everywhere, its got a native app for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS, and even that dinosaur:- symbiosaurus ( only nerds will get that)
Well what’s appealing to me about this app, the logo is an elephant on freakin green background!! Even though blue is my favorite colour, this logo is KEWL!!!

>Ubuntu 10.10

>

hey guys, just yesterday i installed ubuntu 10.10 on virtual machine and i must say i’m very happy with it. it has an overall awesomeness and is much more fun to use compared to windows and mac. people say its tougher to use but its comparitavely easy and hassle free. using it as a virtual machine causes some serious lagging which is why im considering installing it full time on my old laptop. now that i finally got my new one. just so you know what it looks like here are a few snapshots. i’ll have an indepth review after my exams.

>Linux Mint 10 "Julia"

>

Hey guys, I just spent the entire day cleaning out my laptop to try out new shit. now as you can see in the above picture, I have installed Linux Mint 10 on my laptop. I just wanted to try it out and considering i already had windows on my house pc i wanted to try this out. i haven’t got the chance to use it much and all I can tell you now is that the UI seems quite good although the usability will take some time to get used to. i will be dualbooting this with Mac OS X so if you have any questions email me at soham.adwani69@gmail.com.