Sunday, July 28, 2019

Silent Notifications

I've been playing with Android Q Betas. On Beta 5 I've noticed a section of the notification shade that is labeled "Silent Notifications".

I'm not sure why you would want a notification to be silent. That seems to be an oxymoron.

Here's what they were:

What's that picture of the phone at the top supposed to illustrate? There's no legend.

What do the sliders beside the "Silent notifications" do? Does sliding them to off make the "Silent notification" not silent? Does it clear the notification?

This is a beta.

9to5Google's article on this begins "Android's notification system has been pretty great for a long time now..."


But I guess I'm not a big user of notifications.

9to5Google continues:
Android Q Beta 5 fixes this in one fell swoop by labeling notifications as "Alerting" or "Silent" and splitting up the notification shade as a result. Notifications that are set to "Alerting," the default for most apps, will appear at the top of the list of incoming notifications. Any notifications set to "Silent" are dropped below a clearly labeled section. The section also has its own button for clearing only those notifications.
So if you have a BIG problem with notifications on Android, Q should help.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Amazon Echo Show Live Video

When I chose the Amazon Echo Show 5 I hadn't considered the possibility of integrating it with my security cameras.

It was easier than I thought.

In the Amazon Alexa app, go to "Devices" and click on the "+" at the top right. Tap "Add Device" and choose "Camera". Select the brand of the camera and tap on "DISCOVER DEVICES".

That was easy.

I use it with my Ring Doorbell and my Wyze Cam.

Incidentally, since my Fire Tablet functions as an Echo, I can see these cameras on it as well.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Amazon Echo Show 5

I've been searching for a modern replacement for my wife's clock radio. It is a Timex and is so old that the programming for the dates for Daylight Saving Time are wrong!

Her requirements are fairly simple. Tell the time. Play the radio.

I had tried an Amazon Echo Spot. Close but no cigar.

Recently Amazon announced the Amazon Echo Show 5. That seemed worth trying.

She's comfortable with that. almost made it a no go. She listens to FM 100. recently moved all its streaming to its own web service. Amazon has not (yet) included in its streaming providers supported by Echo routines.

What this means is that you can't create an Echo routine to start playing FM 100. You have to speak a command to the Echo to play FM 100. Worse yet, apparently has more than one FM 100.

To get the Echo to play FM 100 you have to say "Alexa, play FM 100 Memphis." And with our deep Southern accent, the Echo sometimes confuses "Memphis" with "minutes."

I created a routine to walk her through that.

We still struggle with the command syntax. As an example it would seem that if you start playing FM 100 by saying "Alexa, play FM 100 Memphis" that to stop it you would say "Alexa, stop playing FM 100 Memphis."

Nope. You have to say "Alexa, stop."

We're learning.

Here's a good review on the Amazon Echo Show 5.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Android Q Beta 4

Somebody's gotta test this stuff. Might as well be me.

My Essential PH-1 has gotten a little banged up. I don't use a case and it shows. 2 corners are scratched up and there's a little crack of the screen on one of those corners.

I still love the PH-1 so I shopped for a replacement. I found one on and got it.

As long as I'm going to reload everything why not just put a beta operating system on it? What could go wrong?

Pretty much nothing.

I haven't found much different in Android Q. The biggest change I've seen is the gesture navigation. This is a lot like the iPhone X's interface. Swipe up from the bottom to go home. Swipe in from the left or right to go back.


Swiping in from the left is normally how you activate the "hamburger" menu. So I just don't do that.

Alternatively you can go back by swiping in from the right. That doesn't activate the "hamburger" menu but you have to be very deliberate to avoid the active app from sending a swipe on a menu item, e.g. delete a podcast in Pocket Casts.

The other gesture I've struggled with is to get the app list. The story is that you swipe up from the bottom part of the way and then stop. The app list will slide in from the left.

That has been difficult to execute dependably. Maybe Google will change that before the final release of Android Q.