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We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Note 5's Screen-Off Memo For Your Other Galaxy Notes

Pull out the Galaxy Note 5's S Pen while the screen is locked or off and you'll see the Screen Off Memo launched, allowing you to immediately jot down notes or doodles without having to unlock the Note 5. Once you are done, you can either click on the Save button manually or just slide the S Pen back into the phone and the memo automatically gets saved in S Notes.

How very handy, especially in situations like when your boss suddenly ambushes you from out of nowhere in the office and starts shooting off a bunch of instructions you need to remember. You can throw a smirk his way when you are done as you put your S Pen back into your Note - a gesture of victory that you have survived his ambush with fully detailed memo filed before he can blink again.

Some bosses can be creepy like that and so it's always a good idea to be always ready. Hopefully, your boss will get convinced soon enough to decide to give you a justified pay raise for the swift productivity and efficiency on your part after your S Pen saves you a few more times from his ambushes with the Screen Off Memo feature.

Oh, and speaking of the S Pen, remember to never put the S Pen ass-backwards back into the Note 5 or it will get stuck if you push it in far enough, making the Note 5 seem like it's having an erection gone awry after an overdose of viagra. If that should happen, unloading a whole full tube of KY Jelly into the slot for the S Pen won't save you but this could. #PenGate

If you would like to have the Screen Off Memo feature similar to the Note 5's but you own instead a Note 2, Note 3 or a Note 4, you can still have it and you don't even need to be rooted. All you need to do is to install it as an APK file (you need to enable 'Unknown Sources' under your phone's 'Security' settings to side-load downloaded APK files) and you are good to go.

Here's the link to the XDA thread made by the author of the app where you can read more about the app's features. Even though the thread has been posted in the Galaxy Note 3 forum, the app works for the other Galaxy Notes too but I'm not sure about the Note 1 though. As you can see in the first photo, it's working as intended on my Note 4. Hmm, even though there's no point in doing so, I wonder what would happen if you install the app on the Note 5, assuming it lets you install it at all to begin with.

The download links to the app are at the bottom of the first post within the XDA thread. Pick the link with the app's latest version number to download, then install the app by clicking on the downloaded .apk file. The reason why I don't provide a direct download link to the latest version of the app at the time of this blog post (which is version 1.3) is because: should any newer subsequent version(s) get uploaded in the future, the link I would have provided here if I did, would have become a link to an older / obsolete version. As such, it's best to link to the XDA thread itself.

Just like on the Note 5, the Screen Off Memo app kicks in when you pull out the S Pen while your screen is locked or off, NOT when it's unlocked. Well, it's called 'Screen Off Memo'. However, you can still launch the app while the screen is already unlocked and on by tapping the app's icon in the App Drawer. And just like on the Note 5, putting your S Pen back into your device after you are done with your memo-taking automatically saves the memo which you can access within S Notes.

If you find yourself running out of writing space while using the app or should you need to make another memo, just tap the '+' at the top. You can make as many new pages or memos as you need all in one sitting and each additional page or memo gets saved as a seperate individual memo in S Notes. In that regard technically, a new page and a new memo mean essentially the same thing. I'm giving you the heads-up about this just in case you end up trying to find 'page 2' from within 'page 1', know what I mean? Page 2 would actually be the next seperate memo within S Notes. It ought to be the same on the Note 5 too if I'm not mistaken.

Any bugs or issues?
Other than just one minor issue I came across only occasionally, but which is very easily resolvable, everything else is working properly as intended. The minor issue in question is: After you restart your phone or when you lock your screen to test out the app for the very first time just after installing it, the Screen Off memo may or may not launch when you pull out your S Pen. However, it always launches during subsequent times each and every time from my experience with the app so far.

As you can probably tell already, the easy fix for this, if you are experiencing the same issue, is to pull out the S Pen once after every phone restart just to ensure that the app will launch when you next need it. You don't even need to pull the S Pen out completely, you just need to pull it outwards a little until you hear the usual unsheathing sound it makes. You can then push the S Pen back in again and forget about it.

The whole process doesn't take more than a second for me and I only need to do this just once after every phone restart just to be sure. No biggie and I only restart my phone once in a while whenever I need to do the hanky panky with my custom TWRP recovery. Alternatively, you can launch the app to 'wake it' by clicking on the app's icon from within your App Drawer.

Like I've mentioned, this bug happens only sometimes upon phone restarts, as opposed to every single time. So I'm just going for the paranoid overkill just to be sure each time; You know, it's an OCD thing on the side of certainty and all that Jazz a shrink would probably use as an explanation.

In Closing
By the way, since the app involves interaction with the lock screen in ways, I've given it administrator privileges just for the assurance that it works optimally (Settings ⇒ Security ⇒ Device Administrators). Just make sure the app is checked under 'Device Administrators' if you choose to do the same.

Finally, if you don't need to use the app when you pull out the S Pen while the screen is locked or off, just tap the Back capacitive button on the lower right of your Note and the app closes and goes away. Alternatively, tapping the 'X' at the top of the Screen Off Memo does the same.

If your boss happens to be the really nasty kind and he's jealous of your productivity and efficiency aided by your Note's tech prowess while he secretly mumbles curses at his iPhone under his breath, he might be plotting to steal your S Pen from you just to make himself feel better about himself. Who knows, shrugs.

The pen is always mightier than the sword and creepy bosses, so always keep your best weapon close to you even when your screen is off.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Wound of 70 Years Yet To Be Fully Healed

I was surprised to see the above in the Classified section of our national newspaper today (the Classified app, actually. Yup, we should all use less paper when we can - save the trees, save God's green earth and save ourselves).

The print above is an acknowledgement of Japan's aggression in Asia during World War 2 and a written expression of current times anti-war sentiments by 12,791 Japanese citizens. The significance and relevancy is there because my own country was victimised too during World War 2, where wholesale massacres of civilians by Japanese Imperial troops took place.

I was surprised by the article above but it was a rather pleasant surprise seeing anti-war Japanese citizens acknowledging their past and standing up against their current military policy pushed and endorsed by their Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (安倍 晋三), that now allows for the deployment of Japanese troops overseas to engage in warfare. Before this and after her formal surrender at the end of the Second World War, Japan could only have her own self-contained military defense force meant strictly and solely for self-defense within her own turf. So that is no longer the case now that Japan is freed from the shackles that tied up and limited her military prowess.

Watch out, world, Samurai sword is on the loose again. Unapologetically. If said sword tags itself with #Bushido, then according to what history has taught the world, the situation ought to gain some notches up the horror scale. Apparently, the horror seems lost on Shinzo Abe, along with the heartaches. I think one would certainly be amused to see Abe trying to crash a kamikaze plane himself right smack into the faces of his enemies instead of him just cheering others on to do it in his place. A perceptive man once said that wars are declared by older men while the young do all the fighting and dying. Ouch.

Protesting Japanese citizens protest because they perceive the lifting of Japan's military restrictions as leading Japan towards a possible déjà vu revival of World War 2-esque Japanese Imperialism and militarism as well as a possible path to conflicts of aggression in Asia (mainly with China as the biggest target, while not discounting the possibility of other Asian nations getting dragged into the ring as well) with the current hotly debated ownership of the Senkaku 钓鱼台 islands and the natural resources there as a springboard - which the current gist and crux of it all really hinges on in essence. History has always seen Man fighting over resources.

The 钓鱼台 islands situation

Stripping away dubious political mumbo jumbo and the so-called historical claims by Japan, if you look at the world map where the 钓鱼台 (or 钓鱼岛) islands are located, you can see that they are plain obvious being geographically closest to Taiwan that it probably makes you wonder just how and why Japan is making the claim that they possess rightful ownership over the islands and whether if that is really justifiable. Japan's colonization of Taiwan has ended before you were even born, Abe.

Oh, and the United States is actually standing on the side of Japan regarding these contested islands, as evident in their joint military exercises in the region. I don't think the U.S. of A has forgotten Pearl Harbour so quickly but rather, somebody else has now become the current arch-rival for both Uncle Sam and Uncle Bushido. I can imagine the Bushido man getting emboldened with the Stars and Stripes on his side. We'll consider this in more detail later but for now, let's get back to the 钓鱼台 islands issue:

If you lean towards the notion that Taiwan belongs rightfully to China, then you lean towards the notion that the 钓鱼台 islands belong to China, assuming that you find Japan's claim of ownership dubious, that is. If, on the flip side of the coin, you think that Taiwan as part of mainland China is a debatable subject, then chances are, you are inclined to think that the islands belong rightfully to Taiwan - again, if you are finding that Japan's claim of rightful ownership to be dubious.

Whichever of the 2 considerations above and either way, the million moolah question is: Is it really valid and justifiable for Japan to claim rightful ownership over the islands when they are geographically closest to Taiwan / China?

One would probably think that the situation is a ludicrous one in consideration of the fat cats in Japan who are asserting so-called rightful ownership over the islands as sanctioned by their claimed version of history, since by just looking at the world map of the contested area, your eyes are probably telling you that that is akin and parallel to claiming the front yard of someone else as belonging to you when your own house is in another neighbourhood a greater distance away.


As for the United States being bedfellows with Japan on this, if you read between the lines of related current events and the news, it's because of the thorn in Uncle Sam's hide - China. You know, the enemy of my enemy is my friend and I egg my friend on in harassing my enemy and all that jazz. What better way to intimidate my enemy than to use my enemy's enemy who has once pillaged the land and slaughtered the people of my enemy to stir the pot - especially when said enemy has not forgiven so-called friend over incidents like the Nanking massacre (WARNING: graphic content). Oops, it looks like you've probably grown some horns on your head there, Uncle Sam.

So one ought to have discerned that Uncle Sam doesn't like fortune cookies if one has been keeping oneself abreast with related current world happenings, especially about the things disguised beneath the carpet of look-good politics in the face of the rapid expansion of China and her military muscle at breakneck speed, not to mention the effective ranges of her latest missiles. Shudder. Oh, and there are $keleton$ in the not-so-dusty-yet closet too, Sam.

In case you were wondering why the United States aided China against Japan during the Second World War but have changed her stance since (after the Chinese civil war), well, it was the non-Communist Kuomingtang (國民黨) government that was the government of China during then that the United States aided before the Kuomintang fled to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war when the Chinese Communist Party took over China. We will see hell freeze over before the United States become lovey-dovey buddies with the Commies.

Nature's resources in the ring of the 钓鱼台 islands is the source and focal point of the current tension going on in that region of Asia that dragged in the American military muscle on a grander scale and the buildup of said muscle is on everyone's side in the region (inclusive of the Philippines, India and Vietnam, besides Japan) except for, of course, China. The goal here is to contain and confine China to prevent her continued expansion in the region.

The polar bear from the North sashays into the fray

Apparently, China stands alone in all these.. Oh wait. Not completely alone if you consider the recent Russian intimidations towards Japan. Russia may not have seemingly gotten itself directly involved with the 钓鱼岛 islands but when you are buddies with China and you are doing the hanky panky at Japan's doorstep, then from China's point of view, that's as good as 'my enemy's enemy (which makes it my friend) harassing my enemy at his doorstep while I tussle it out at the front'. And it's not like China and Russia are running things in subtlety.

Sigh. What a mess.

12,791 consciences and counting

The underlying spite and anger towards Japan in Asia, like how Kimchi doesn't see eye-to-eye with Sushi and vice-versa, for example, has its main roots still firmly planted in World War 2. Japan's co-prosperity sphere plan in Asia during then turned out to really mean prosperity solely for Japan herself and brutal sufferings for her neighbours and the rest of Asia.

Germany has been man enough to face up to their past, apologised without reservations, shown remorse and acted accordingly. But Japan? I don't think it's fair to put the full blame squarely on the shoulders of the current generation for the atrocious mistakes committed by the previous generation - if the current generation does not turn a blind eye of denial on the past mistakes made. Unfortunately, this isn't the case for a part of Japan's society, she still has her share of denials and white-washings of historical events.

But there is a glimmer of hope for Asia's wound yet to be fully healed. We now know that there are at least 12,791 consciences in Japan's society brave enough and responsible enough to face up to their own history. However, the glimmer of hope seems to come in bigger numerical numbers within Japanese society that is actively crusading to give peace a chance, though I'm hoping there are no political rivals of Abe among them who are hitching a ride just for the opportunity to take advantage of the situation solely for political motives and gains.

Above all, I hope any subsequent and further protests in Japan will remain peaceful and not degenerate into violence. I hope no one gets hurt. I won't know what to make of it if the crusade for peace sees blood flowing at the same time.

In the past, seeing large scale active protests by Japanese citizens against their goverment authorities and policies during the period before and within the World War 2 years was something unthinkable to Japanese society then. Times have certainly changed but certain hard lessons that endure through the passage of time and etched permanently on the pages of history will always remain true, relevant and constant.

You know what they say, he who forgets history will be doomed to repeat it. Those who remember and who can see past all the white-washings, reality distortion fields and denials are actually the ones that are doing the forgetful among them and the rest of the world a really big favour.

Make Love, Fuck War.