Runaway Android apps

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[UPDATE June 5, 2014] Multiple observations confirm: Instagram (which behaves (mostly) properly on Wi-Fi connections) becomes a CPU hog on carrier (cellular) connections. Not sure why, will report here if I find out more.

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[UPDATE June 2, 2014] In an effort to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside my Nexus 4, I installed two utility apps:  and . Lookout scans and monitors for malware, and offers a bunch of other security features; Watchdog alerts me when an app exceeds a certain CPU threshold.

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First impressions are great. Phone runs cool. Interesting observation: When I kill Instagram — the worst offender — through Watchdog, it stays dead. By comparison, when I used to force-stop Instagram via the Android device (system) settings, it would often start up again right away by itself.

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My phone (Google Nexus 4) has been getting really hot lately, draining the battery in the process. I started monitoring running Android processes and services, and found out that several apps sometimes don’t close when I tell them to, but keep running and consuming CPU cycles and battery juice. The biggest offender is Instagram, followed by Facebook (which starts on boot and keeps running (and restarts itself after a force-stop, the nerve!)), Google Play Music (which seems to randomly start itself on a whim, or possibly gets launched by Google Drive), and MailDroid (as ).

[UPDATE May 17, 2014] Adding Snapchat to the list of runaway apps that must be force-stopped after every use.

My response:

  • Remove the Facebook app, which I have been threatening to do for a while. I am not leaving Facebook, just removing the app from my phone.
  • Scale back the use of the Instagram app, and force-stop the app after each use.
  • Scale back the use of the Google Drive app, and force-stop Google Play Music after each use (confirm cause-and-effect).
    • [UPDATE from a ]: “Google support told me to uncheck the box Settings > Accounts > Google > Accounts > [myemail]@gmail.com > Sync Google Play Music. I had sync checked before the update as well, but it caused no problems. In any event, this didn’t do all that much good. The app is like the freakin’ Terminator — force stops won’t kill it.”
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Disabled Google Play Music. Problem solved.
    • [UPDATE from A.T.]: Also wiped a ton of other Google shit off my phone. It felt great.
  • Stay away from the MailDroid app.
  • Monitor Android system activity regularly for runaway apps and force-stop them as needed.
  • Reboot my phone daily.
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Pepsi Throwback Made with Real Sugar

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I don’t always pick Pepsi over Coca-Cola, but when I do I pick “Pepsi Throwback Made with Real Sugar”.

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It’s a shame that my favorite drink is apparently married to the makers of HFCS (), and the only is imported into the US from Mexico.

Pepsi Throwback Made with Real Sugar
Pepsi Throwback Made with Real Sugar
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Grimmie is the new Aguilera

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“The Voice” contestant Christina Grimmie blows me away. Her  of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is currently , ahead of John Legend, Idina Menzel, and Justin Timberlake. Way ahead of coach Shakira (35) and the next closest contestant Audra McLaughlin (40).

I predict that Christina Grimmie will win The Voice, hands down.

Below is Christina’s rendition of Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” for the blind auditions.

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Prescription sunglasses for $20

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I don’t do “sponsored” posts, but this will probably look like one so I feel I must say it: This is NOT a paid post.

It’s a brave new world, and you are invited

I have been wearing glasses for over fifteen years. Every time my prescription goes up (about every other year or so) I must shell out $500 or more for new lenses and new prescription sunglasses. No more.

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The folks at made me these wonderful new prescription sunglasses for a fraction of what I would have paid at the mall store. You order online, you choose from thousands of stylish frames, you upload your prescription info, you choose the type of lens. They mail you brand new glasses (frames, lenses), case, and a cleaning cloth in about a week.

My new prescription sunglasses from Zenni Optical
My new prescription sunglasses from Zenni Optical

PS I opted for the higher-end polarized lenses, so these glasses cost more than $20. But I could have had the same frames with prescription tinted lenses for about $20.

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New Google Camera with “Lens Blur”

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Today (April 16, 2014) Google released a new version of the application for Android 4.4+ (KitKat). The app comes with many new features, but my favorite is the “Lens Blur” mode, which allows the user to focus and refocus the photo after it was taken, similar to the stand-alone .

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Below is a selfie illustrating the new functionality.

Google Camera Lens Blur collage
Google Camera Lens Blur collage
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Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan — 1983

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Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan — In Session 2010 1983

An amazing hour-and-a-half-long live session recorded December 6, 1983 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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Is it a Banksy?

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Is it a Banksy? .

Great new suspected Banksy piece on a wall in Cheltenham, the home of UK spy agency GCHQ

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