More phone tips Galaxy S2 and some iPhone ones

Just thought I’d put up some feature and tip how-to’s for those that care – mostly me so I can get to them if I need them 🙂

Also if you happen to screw up your phone – ‘brick it’ here is how to restore it; bring it back from the brink. Just go here and CAREFULLY follow the directions.

Here are some very good videos for the S2

Feature tips [Voice mode being neatest] for Galaxy S2

Some Must know tips

More Samsung Galaxy S2 Tips, Features & Shortcuts

Some iPhone tips there too.
Generic and 4S specific.

Good tips for iPhone here:

You can of course search for WAY more stuff if you are just persistent.

Some more S2 tips here:

BRIGHTNESS CONTROL With auto-brightness disabled, tap & hold on notification bar, then after a moment it becomes a horizontal brightness scroll bar.
APP DRAWER Organize the apps with folders. Tap Menu, then Edit.
APP DRAWER Uninstall programs from the App Drawer. Tap menu, then Edit. Programs with ‘-‘ sign can be uninstalled from there, just tap.
BROWSER AGENT Type ‘about:useragent’ in address bar and tap Go.
BROWSER SHOW TABS Pinch inwards twice (i.e. zoom out) to display all open tabs
CAMERA SOUNDS For full instructions on how to mute the focus and shutter sounds read this post.
CAMERA ZOOM In the camera app you can use the volume buttons to zoom in and out. OR you can pinch to zoom in and out.
DIAL CONTACT Swipe right on contact name from the Contact list.
DIAL CONTACT Swipe right on contact name from Messaging list
DIALLER Start spelling out the name of the contact on the phone keys to avoid scrolling through the contact list
FAST SCROLLING In a few apps such as YouTube, Astro File Manager, Market, etc. use 3 fingers to scroll much faster.
EMAIL GROUP BY DATE In the inbox of the Samsung email app, you can pinch to zoom out to group all emails by date, then expand individual dates or zoom in to expand all again.
HOMESCREEN DOCK APPS To change, go to Applications, tap Menu then edit. Tap & hold to move. Only Home/App. cannot be moved.
HOMESCREEN SLIDER The homescreen identifier dots double as a slider to scroll through your homescreens.
KIES Stop it from popping up on your Galaxy S2 whenever you connect it to USB. Go to Settings > Applications > Development > Select USB Debugging. Done.
LOCK ACTIVE SCREEN While watching videos, tap the power button to disable taps on the screen, the touch sensitive buttons and the home button.
MOVE HOMESCREENS From view of all homescreens, tap and hold then rearrange.
PAN TO MOVE This also works on the Application pages.
PINCH TO ZOOM You can also use pinch to zoom on the app drawer.
PINCH TO ZOOM Do it twice in a row (pinching inwards) in the browser as a shortcut to all open tabs.
PINCH TO ZOOM On homescreen, zoom out and see all homescreens at once.
PINCH TO ZOOM In the inbox of the Samsung email app, you can pinch to zoom out to group all emails by date, then expand individual dates or zoom in to expand all again.
RECENT PROGRAMS Hold down the menu button to switch to a recent program or to access the task manager.
SAMSUNG KIES To disable auto launch when you connect to PC via USB: enable USB debugging in Settings > Applications > Development.
SCREENSHOT Press your home button and lock screen button (power button) at the same time to save a screenshot.
SCROLLING You can scroll much faster on some apps such as YouTube, Astro File Manager and Market by using 3 fingers and if you scroll with 2 fingers you get precise scrolling (no scroll momentum).
SEARCH TOOL Some Android phones have a dedicated search button, to access this tool press the Menu button and hold for a sec.
SEND TEXT Swipe left on contact name from the contact list.
SHUTDOWN (FORCED) Push & hold the power button and just keep holding. Probably takes about 7 secs.
TASK MANAGER Hold down the home button to access recent programs and the task manager.
TOUCHWIZ DEFAULT HOMESCREEN To change your homescreen, you can simply download a custom ‘Launcher application like ADW or Go Launcher.
VOICE TALK Quick access by double tapping home button
WIDGET RESIZE Tap and hold, then release without moving the widget location. Re-size tool appears. Does not work on all widgets. Works on:, Agenda (the first one), Ap Mobile, Bookmark, Email, Mini paper, and Picture frame.
ZOOM In the camera app you can use the volume buttons to zoom in and out. OR you can pinch to zoom in and out.

I hope this helps some of you too.

My adventures in a phone upgrade part 1

It all started almost two years ago. I knew it was time to upgrade my phone but I could not find a suitable replacement for my ‘rooted/custom ROM’d’ Windows Mobile 6.5 phone – an HTC Touch Pro2. When I say suitable, I must first explain who I am and what I do. That may help to understand why I need what I do. I will also give out some definitions later too.

I have been having issues with my phone for over a year now, and of course they are not getting better with age. Hardware related problems and not ROM/Operating system issues like the reception of phone (which used to be stellar) getting poorer, data and GPS not working all the time – especially and of course when needed most. So I began my phone search in earnest nearly a year ago.

My background: I am a Network and System Administrator and integrator. I manage systems including Windows Domain(s), Cisco Firewalls/Routers/VPNs, VMware clusters and many Operating systems contained therein – Windows, OSX, Linux, Cisco IOS etc. I have been working in IT for a few decades, so I am very comfortable with technology. I am also not a ‘fan boy’ of any particular type of Operating System or hardware. I have and use Windows machines primarily, but have a Mac and Linux box here under my desk (and many Virtual Machines of those OS’s too). I have owned many machines since my first Amiga in the 70’s as a kid. I simply use the tools that provide me with the best ability to do my job(s) and any other tasks I may wish to.

I settled on Windows Mobile years ago because of the amount of customization and third party tools I needed that I could use with it. I need MS Exchange support, Terminal services/Telnet abilities, MS Office compatibility and other remote management software and tools – all to at least do my job and NONE available on any other platforms at the time. I was also able to put a custom ROM on my device to provide for even more flexibility and control of the Operating System, applications and themes.

I looked at the BlackBerry and iPhones but neither had the application support I needed, let alone the ability to customize the operating system in any real ways.

And the Android phones at the time were also limited in their functionality and performance. But I was sure that the Androids would improve fastest.

So I figured my next phone would be a Android but didn’t rule out the iPhones either. With the increasing ease of ‘Jailbreaking/rooting’ the iPhone and the newer iOs I thought that might be an still be an option for me.

Next and just as important for me is the service provider. I have been with Sprint for over a decade and it has provided phenomenal value, and most importantly RECEPTION in the places I use it most – home and work.
I had a friend who was on ATT and was considered the Blackberry guru – seriously this 80+ year old guy would show the ATT reps how to use their phones! [RIP Gerry] And his phone lost reception at my house and our office fairly often; much more than mine. So ATT was probably out. My fathers Verizon phone(s) too didn’t work well in his house or mine (both very close to each other) and neither did my step-brother’s Verizon phone(s). So Verizon was probably out too. I’ll stop here and say what ever phone you get won’t mean crap if you have no coverage and can’t use it!

A few months ago I demo’d an ATT iPhone and could not get ANY reception at my place – so goodbye ATT. Plus I was still not able to do all the things necessary for my work and fun. Even ‘rooted/Jailbroken’, the Apple device is WAY to constricting for me. Don’t get me wrong. the iPhone is a fine device. It makes phone calls, chats, take pictures and plays music and video well. And all fairly simply for the novice and average user. But to truly customize this device for my uses and needs is nearly impossible.

ALSO and this is NO small point the iPhone 4S is NOT repeat NOT a 4G device! No matter what network you use it on it uses 3G phone services! [look it up if you don’t believe me]. I require fast data connections for many of the management activities I do and it would be foolish for me to not have a 4G device. I also was again tempted to move to Verizon because of their build out of their 4G LTE network, but their recent changes in data plan fees are WAY too costly and restrictive for my uses.

So I stuck with Sprint. Now which phone? I purchased an EVO 3D a few months back but returned it because I just didn’t like the phone enough and the phone itself had some connection issues (much like the iPhone did – poor antennae placements I think) and it just didn’t quite meet my tech needs.

Back to my old dying Touch Pro2…

I found a device to dramatically increase my reception in my home for Sprint called an Airave for only $50.00US on Amazon and decided to give it a try to ‘extend’ the life (and reception) of my poor old phone. WORKED AMAZINGLY! It is essentially an in home ‘cell tower’. It uses your broadband connection to extend your wireless services. [Both ATT and Verizon offer these type of devices too by the way. Except Verizon’s devices START in price from $250.00US and ATT’s the same!] I was also able to install this device behind my home router in a DMZ – so it has it’s own network and is separate from my home systems yet still used my cable broadband.

So on to my final choice. After doing months and months of research (I’m kind of a nut about that) I settled on the Sprint Galaxy S2. And wow, am I a happy camper! I have the ability to completely customize the sh*t out the operating system(s). Blazing speeds on wifi, 3G and 4G and a very nice multi-media device which can actually play more types of media from more sources than the iPhone! With a rooted Android phone I can put any number of customized ROM’s and applications on the device – freedom, yay!

I mentioned rooting/jailbreaking. I would not get any device that did not provide me with this ability.
I completely understand why so many people (probably MOST) would not care one rip about this. They just want to be able to do what ever they can very easily. And they don’t mind be limited by their carrier, hardware or phone operating system as to what they can or can’t do. That is one reason the iPhone is such a huge success. It ‘just works’ as the fanboys like to point out. But of course it only works the way Apple and the carrier ‘let you work it. Period. Me, I must know that I have full control of the device I own! I must be able to make a ‘real full image back up’ of my device not just a file backup. And secondly I do not wish be stuck in a ‘walled garden’ of ‘approved’ applications and devices. I own it I want to be able to do what ever I want with it.

So let me briefly explain those terms.
Some definitions:
What is Rooting/Jailbreaking?:

Android Rooting is a process that allows users of mobile phones and other devices running the Android operating system to attain privileged control (known as “root access”) within Android’s Linux subsystem with the goal of overcoming limitations that carriers and manufacturers put on some devices. A good description of why.

iOS jailbreaking, or simply jailbreaking, is the process of removing the limitations imposed by Apple on devices running the iOS operating system through use of custom kernels. Such devices include the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and 2nd Gen Apple TV. Jailbreaking allows users to gain root access to the operating system, allowing iOS users to download additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store.

A jailbroken iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad running iOS can still use the App Store, iTunes, and other normal functions, such as making telephone calls. Unlike rooting an Android device, jailbreaking is necessary if the user intends to run software not authorized by Apple. A tethered jailbreak requires that the device be connected to a computer each time it needs to be booted; an un-tethered jailbreak allows the device to be powered without computer assistance. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, jailbreaking Apple devices is legal in the United States.


Essentially a ROM is the phone’s operating system that comes with your phone when you buy it.

I was going to explain what a ROM is but this post here is WAY better than I could ever have done so check it out.

I just realized how freaking long this post is! So I am going to write another post about the steps and tweaks I applied to my device along with some tips and tricks for Android and the Galaxy S2 in particular. Stay tuned.. [I post most of this sh$t for my own reference anyways. 🙂 ]

A little side by side with the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy SII

Your iPhone Is Secretly Tracking Everywhere You’ve Been

I am not sure how many have heard about or actually even care.
But, this does sound scary as sh*t to me! It’s time that we as consumers have more choice on what information we choose to ‘share’ with providers and vendors. Things like this should be disclosed to consumers.

“Security researchers have discovered that Apple’s iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronized.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program.

For some phones, there could be almost a year’s worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple’s iOS 4 update to the phone’s operating system, released in June 2010.” [from here]

So if someone were to get a hold of either your phone or gain access to your computer they could find out where you go often, what time and how often.

If you want to actually see what is there you can (and should!) check out this open source freeware application. has a super article on this too, check it out here.

Text to Phone

Want to send a short email to a friend and get it delivered to his/her cell phone as SMS? If you know your friends’ phone numbers and the carrier they are on then you can easily send emails to their cell phones directly from your email program.

Here is how it works:

Most of mobile carriers offer free Email To SMS gateways which can be used to forward simple text emails to a mobile phones. And the good news, majority of those gateways are free and available to the general public.

You just need to know the number and the carrier of the recipient to start emailing them to mobile phone. Below we put together a table listing free email to SMS gateways for different carriers. You can use as quick reference both for US and international mobile numbers.

Virtually all of the major US cellular carriers use the format for SMS to text capable cell phones, with a limit of 160 characters in the subject and message body (total).

Example: T-Mobile:


Send Email to phonenumber@….

[where phonenumber = your 10 digit phone number]








Verizon (text only) (pictures and videos)

Dead simple and when people reply to the text it goes right to your email instantly!

I love simple tech tips and hope this helps some of you too.

Jailbreaking iDevices Continues

Ok iPhoners and iPaders if you have a new device and/or the latest iOS installed (4.1.x) you can now ‘jailbreak’ them easily with the latest ‘GreenPois0n’ Jailbreak tool.

Greenpois0n  jailbreaks the iPhone 4/3GS, iPod touch 4G/3G, and the iPad. Their blog is here.

Here is a video of it in action.

Currently the crack is Windows only so (Mac and Linux users will have to borrow a Windows computer or run Windows in virtualization. They should be porting to all other OS’s soon.

I don’t have have an iDevice anymore but couldn’t imagine being locked into Apples restrictive use policies – and now the courts agree too. Article here and here.

You can Google the benefits yourself but here is a good quick article.

More iPhone/iPad Jailbreak info

There is now a web based solution to easily Jailbreak you iP.. device for you.
Jailbreaking allows you to get tweaks and apps Apple won’t allow in the App Store.
Free, legal and safe.
You should sync with iTunes before using this tool.

Using this service to jailbreak your iPhone, iPad, or other iOS-driven devices is as simple as visiting the link below and swiping the slide-lock style interface at the bottom of the page.
For more info:

Also see my previous post here.

iPhone/iTouch Jail Breaking

I’ve been asked a whole lot recently since the courts ruled that jailbreaking is now legal about how to do this. So here are the links I HIGHLY recommend:
Hope this helps.
Latest exciting news:

Jailbreaking you iPhone/iPad just got even easier!

The Jailbreak Matrix is a massive chart of all the iOS devices and lists the various versions as well as the different firmware, baseband, and boot loaders that run on each. You check what you’ve got against the chart and it will tell you if the device/firmware combination is jailbreakable, what tools you need, what version of iTunes the said jailbreak technique has been tested with, and a step-by-step guide on how to apply the jailbreak.

As always check out these folks too!:

[great information is here:
Great new article from Gizmodo on jailbreaking iPhones and iPads]
This is the site to start at!!:

Forums which will tell you how to use the downloads below:

Software Version: 2.2.5-2
Creator: iPhone Dev Team and poorlad
Description: QuickPWN allows you to unlock and jailbreak your iPhone and jailbreak your iPod Touch so you can modify it, SSH into it, choose your own theme and many other cool things.
For Windows:

iPhone Firmware
iPhone firmware 2.2

iPhone 2.2.1 firmware

iPhone 3G Firmware
iPhone 3G 2.2 firmware

iPhone 3G 2.2.1 firmware

iPod Touch Firmware

iPod Touch 1G 2.2.1 firmware

iPod Touch 2G 2.2.1 firmware

Software Downloads

WinSCP – WinSCP allows you to SSH into your iPhone/iPod Touch and add/remove/edit files and execute commands.


See Here:

iPhone/iTouch Jail Breaking

I’ve been asked a whole lot recently about how to do this. So here are the links I HIGHLY recommend:
Hope this helps.

[UPDATE! The latest & greatest information is now here:
Great new article from Gizmodo on jailbreaking iPhones and iPads]

This is the site to start at!!:

Forums which will tell you how to use the downloads below:

Software Version: 2.2.5-2
Creator: iPhone Dev Team and poorlad
Description: QuickPWN allows you to unlock and jailbreak your iPhone and jailbreak your iPod Touch so you can modify it, SSH into it, choose your own theme and many other cool things.
For Windows:

iPhone Firmware
iPhone firmware 2.2

iPhone 2.2.1 firmware

iPhone 3G Firmware
iPhone 3G 2.2 firmware

iPhone 3G 2.2.1 firmware

iPod Touch Firmware

iPod Touch 1G 2.2.1 firmware

iPod Touch 2G 2.2.1 firmware

Software Downloads

WinSCP – WinSCP allows you to SSH into your iPhone/iPod Touch and add/remove/edit files and execute commands.


See Here:

Windows Mobile ROM upgrade

Recent phone OS adventure:
I have had and or used just about every smart phone and been with virtually every US carrier there is since they came out in the late 90’s. Yes I have used custom carrier OS’s, Symbian, Blackberry, iPhone and Palm. But have always come back to Window Mobile. I have even demoed an Android for a few days and was NOT happy with it. I think the newer versions coming this year may prove better, but I still doubt I will have all my Windows applications available.
My reasons for choosing the Windows Mobile platform have primarily to do with my position as a network administrator. I require applications and functionalities only available in a Windows operating systems.
I have also learned how absolutely amazingly configurable the Windows Mobile platform is. Much like the Windows Operating system on the Desktop. And nearly all of the worthwhile applications and tweaks are free for the taking and searching or at very low cost. And the ability to ‘tweak’ and adjust the OS is unmatched. [Don’t bring Linux into the equation as it does not have the user, application or development base of the Windows platform as of yet and for most users is WAY to difficult to administer. And yes I do have a few Linux servers and desktops I use, but as I said I am a network admin and have been working with all kinds of OS’s for over two decades.]
   mac-vs-pc Chuckle, chuckle.

With my previous HTC Touch Pro (ver. 1) I flashed my ROM to give me access to features that were ‘disabled’ by my carrier. Most important to me was the ‘tethering/internet sharing’ abilities.
I found a ROM (OS upgrade) on the PPC Geeks and XDA sites and had no issues updating the phone and was very happy until my phone died and had to be replaced. I can’t stress enough the assistance and knoweldge I have gained through these two sites! I wish to thank them and their users for all the support.
That was nearly a year and a half ago and I have since moved to the latest version of the Touch Pro2 from Sprint.
I was more that a little disappointed upon learning that my new phone would not contain Windows Mobile 6.5 and would NOT be able to be upgraded!

So I set about searching for an upgrade.
The ROM (Operating system for Phone) I chose was created by the folks at MightROM (with Windows Mobile 6.5).
Good video showing it’s use:
From extensive reading over the last year this ROM appears to be the most stable and quickest of the bunch while at the same time containing loads more functionality that the stock carrier(s) WinMo 6.1 version. Also being Windows Mobile 6.5 it allows access to the Windows Mobile Marketplace.
So on to how.
I started Here:

Most importantly, it was the forums section of each where I gained an unbelievable amount of information over the past few years. From simple applications and tweaks to more complex configurations and ROM updates.
Though often hard to sift through so many posts doing prodigious searching and more importantly – actually reading each and every post COMPLETELY, I was able to find the proper techniques and tools needed for my ROM upgrades.
Registration is free for both forums and is often required for access to ‘downloads’ (.cabs) posted in threads.
XDA forum:
PPC Geeks Forum:
Here is the actual ROM information.
The forum concerning most things about this ROM is here:
I recommend reading as many posts as possible! I can’t stress that enough. The people at the forums are incredibly helpful but will NOT tolerate someone who asks questions that have been answered already numerous times. Spend a great deal of time reading posts, links and searching for question and answers you may have as you contemplate/plan an update. Asking questions that have already been asked will quickly get you flamed and not provide you any answers.

The actual download is here:
The process involves first ‘unlocking’ the phone 1st and then ‘flashing the ROM’.
There are two ways to do that.
One is the ‘free’ way and use the ‘Hard-SSPLunlocker’ method. This should enable you to then flash your ROM.
and more info;=1#post5731732
[note the disable antivirus warnings!]

The second is the ‘Full’ way to unlock your CID (enable you to flash) AND it also unlocks your SIM (allowing you to unlock the CID AND unlock your ‘Radio’ – Carrier if you wish.)
For those that wish to use a phone from another carrier on a different network (complete unlock) you need to unlock the SIM too.  This is NOT required to flash the ROM if you are staying with your current carrier.
I did not wish to change carriers so I really only needed the hard-spl unlocker.

However I was having troubles getting the unlocker to actually ‘unlock’ my phone. You cannot update/flash your ROM until your phone is ‘unlocked’.
So I sprung for the ‘Full CID/SIM unlocker from the Rhodium-htcunlock guys. Made a small ‘donation’ and received the complete unlocker tailored to my phone. Well worth it for me. It actually worked and unlocked my phone and also allows me to switch the carrier should I desire to later (if I sell the phone).

The ‘Full unlocker’ which lets you unlock your phone and also the SIM and to update your ROM is here:
The actual download is here:

After unlocking my phone I ran the MightROM upgrade with out a hitch.
I then did the ‘carrier provisioning’ on the phone (provided by MightROM in the ‘Systems’ folder.) then installed the ‘carrier cabs’ from Sprint (my provider).  And was good to go! It literally only took 15 minutes to be able to use my phone again!!
My phone has never been faster and more functional!!

There are many other applications that I installed after the upgrade and all went without a hitch.
If your phone is any type of Windows Mobile phone (not just a Touch Pro/Tilt) there are loads of ROMs and upgrade available.

I have loaded a crap load of productivity and media applications(there is NO media format I can’t watch or listen to!). I may list them later or you can post and request them if you

Remember when doing upgrades to your phone you risk the chance of ‘bricking’ it. So proceed with caution and great deals of due diligence. [see picture above :)]. One ‘skin/theme’ I downloaded and installed ‘torqued’ my new system. So I had to ‘re-flash’. No big deal after already having done it. But just a warning.
Here are some good links to applications:
Frequently asked questions:
User recommended softwares:
Just thought I’d pass on some information some of you may use.

I know many of you have iPhones too. I have written previously on how to do upgrades on those too so I won’t go into great detail here. But I will provide the links to two of the top places for information on ‘Jailbreaking’ your phone. If you have one and would like to be free of the ‘lockdown’s’ imposed by AT&T; and Apple I would look at these: