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Archive for the ‘Android’ Category

Somewhere in the second half of January, Samsung managed to publish another software update for the Samsung Galaxy S7 – I was late in installing it, but here is the resulting situation:

The latest situation on the S7 in terms of software

At least the machine now has the December 1, 2019 security patches.

By telling you this you know that I’m still using the S7 occasionally, although mostly as an alarm clock (there is no longer a SIM card installed in it). It’s a bit a shame not to use such a capable device; with better software support many smartphones, this one included, could have a longer productive life.

For those of you who care: the Samsung Galaxy S Plus (SGS+) I wrote about in the past (5 years ago, that is!) is still somewhat usable. That means nothing more than that it still starts up, running CyanogenMod 12, and its battery still holds out for a substantial time: it just dropped from 100% to 60% overnight – not bad for a device bought in December 2011!

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A few days ago I tried to use KeePassium on the iPhone. Yet another KeePass app, you say? Yes – because it pays to be open to change, and in this case because KeePassium promises to sync automatically with any of a list of cloud storage providers. That promise means you can not just use DropBox, but also Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Synology NAS, and more, to store your file(s). It’s nice to have more choices when it comes to safely storing your passwords.

My current KeePass app, MiniKeePass, requires an explicit manual “Save to…” and “Open in MiniKeePass” actions to keep your cloud copy in sync on multiple devices. I tend to forget those “Save“s and “Open“s now that a iPhone is my daily phone; on my Galaxy S7, Keepass2Android requires just a “Sync” to figure whether to save its local copy to the cloud or to get the cloud version if that is more recent (and vice-versa, of course).

So I downloaded KeePassium, and pointed it to a copy of my .kdbx file. Unfortunately, the app wouldn’t / couldn’t open it, although it claims to compatible with all versions of KeePass files. Strange – or perhaps a bad copy on my side? I don’t know, since the error message wasn’t very clear. This means I will stick with MiniKeePass for the time being, knowing that I will have to look out for another KeePass-compatible app soon…

Why should I replace MiniKeePass? To begin with, the MiniKeePass app is no longer actively maintained, going by the updates to the source code on Github: the latest updates are from late 2017. And it shows: in iOS 13 I can see a few mix-ups in the user interface. For example, look at this:

Is MiniKeePass in Serious Trouble?

It’s not the only KeePass-compatible iOS app that is getting (too?) old to be worthy of attention. Check out the list of ‘Unofficial KeePass Ports‘ and even a cursory glance at the majority of entries will turn out to be (very dated). One version even goes back to 2010 – that’s almost the prehistory in IT terms. Others are more recent but require payment to get rid of ads – without any guarantee that the app will work with my files.

Let me be clear: I don’t mind paying for an app, especially for an app that will guard the hundreds of passwords I have to store. But then I want an app with a better-than-just-good UI, since I will be using it every day; I want automatic syncing with a choice of cloud storage providers; I want serious support, at least in the form of regular and continuing updates to comply with Apple’s progress. And ideally the source code of that app should be audited by independent security specialists, to make sure that it is indeed a secure and safe implementation, worthy of a user’s trust. I’ll keep looking! Your suggestions are most welcome, too.

 

Update on 2020-02-02: I revisited the app and changed my recommendation

 

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Two months after the previous software update Samsung has published another 125MB package for the Galaxy S7. This time, it brings the S7 in line with the September 1st security patch level. It’s always a good idea to keep up with system software for any device you own – so get it onto your S7 if you haven’t done it yet!

The G930FXXS6ESI4 / G930FLUX6ESI4 / G930FXXS6ESI6
update installs quickly…

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I was not planning on continuing my reporting on Android updates for the Galaxy S7, given that Samsung clearly considers this device too old to be worthy of attention. But for completeness’ sake I will tell you that a new update did arrive a few days ago (I missed the exact date, since I’m no longer using the device on a daily base). Basically, it’s a security update, bringing the S7 in line with the June 1st patch level update from Google.

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I wanted to try Android Auto now that I drive a car that is capable of doing so. In theory, that should be simple, no? Unfortunately, no it isn’t simple. First hurdle: officially speaking Android Auto is not available here in Belgium and the Netherlands. But apparently this does not mean that a car salesman has to tell you that: (s)he will tout the availability of Android Auto as an fine feature of the car.

So I downloaded and installed an Android Auto .apk file and installed it on my Samsung Galaxy S7, only to find that the application started up and immediately presented me with the dark message “Google Play services doesn’t seem to be working at the moment“. I tried a few of the “solutions” offered on the internet, but none worked, whether the S7 was connected to the car or not. So I wonder: does this message occur because I’m trying to use the AA mode in Belgium, or is it a Samsung issue?

It’s not really news, of course, but the update stream for the S7 from Samsung seems to have dried up completely. It’s June 17 today, and the latest security patch occurred in March: my machine is still on Android security patch level “1 March 2019”. I suppose an update to Android 8.1 or 9 is completely out of the question…

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I know it’s already April, but I did not want to publish the low solar energy production numbers of March on April 1st. Many readers might have thought I was joking, and that is not the case. Here’s why: March only produced 133.760 Wh of electricity, and that is just a fraction above last years March numbers and 25% below what I expected. Let’s just hope that this is not setting a trend for the future.

Another update is worth mentioning, at least for users and fans of the Samsung Galaxy S7: I was able to install the March 1, 2019 Security patch and the assorted updates on March 26th. This is what your S7 should tell you about its software, at least here in Belgium:

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A few days ago, on Jan. 17 to be precise, my Samsung Galaxy S7 received a software update. Considering the limited info available in the ‘What’s new” section of the update, I’m assuming that the update is limited to the January 1st security patch level…

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