Tag Archives: geeky

Android unrooted

When I got my first modern Android phone, a Nexus 4, back in 2012, the first thing I did was root it. I had owned a bunch of cheap no-name Android phones before, but none of them had available roots, and were all locked up pretty tightly. My N4 was the first phone I had that made rooting easy. Since then, I have owned a N5, N6, and N6P. Every single one, I rooted as soon as I turned it on. However, after getting the upgrade to the latest Android version, Nougat, I unrooted my phone for the first time in years. I have been running without root for over a week and don’t miss it at all.

There are several apps I always install that depend on root, but all of them are now either rolled into the system, or have a rootless alternative. Greenify is one of the first root apps I ever used, but most of its functionality is absorbed into Doze on the Go.

Another main reason I always rooted was for AdAway, a simple way to block ads across my entire phone instead of just in the browser. However, I have since found that AdGuard can also block ads very well, without root. To do so system-wide requires paying for it, but if you change the currency you are paying in to Russian rubles, after converting the currency it is about $5 for a lifetime subscription. You can block ads in browsers only for free. Through a bit of sneakery, you are even able to block ads on HTTPS sites and on compressed pages in Chrome, which AdAway was not able to do.

I used Xposed, mainly for two modules: Greenify and GravityBox. GravityBox is a very comprehensive module that is able to interact with several parts of your system. A lot of its less useful functionality is lost but the parts I used the most have similar features built in to Nougat. Settings->Display->Size lets you change the size of your interface, mimicking shrinking the navbar and allowing more info on your screen at a time. Quick setting tiles are now editable. UI Tweaks (open quick settings menu and press and hold on settings icon) lets you make adjustments to how notifications, silent mode, and status bar icons are handled.

Android’s greatest strength has always been that you can modify it to do whatever you wanted or needed it to with enough work, but after eight years it has matured to the point where you no longer need to take drastic measures or void your warranty to do so.

Run a site on the cheap

Do you have a personal site or blog? How much do you pay for it? If you are like most people who host their own blog, you more than likely pay around $5 or $10 a month, and another $10 a year for your domain. This comes out to around $100 a year.

Let me tell you how I keep my blog up for under $30 a year. (It would be under $20 but I bought a second domain for my URL shortener).

Ever since I switched to 1&1 internet I have been dissatisfied. No really big problems with them that would make me recommend against them; I just felt they weren’t right for me. I don’t like their billing policies (why charge for my hosting in February then for the domain in March?), I don’t care for their control panel, I don’t like the way the user and host of my MySQL database are even more obfuscated than the password I randomly generated.

I had been thinking of packing up and moving to Lifehacker favorite Namecheap for a while anyway, so when Namecheap offered a to let me move my domain for cheap while helping wildlife, just as my 1&1 account was due for renewal, I took it as a sign from [insert deity here]. Continue reading Run a site on the cheap