Best SIP client soft phone is GS Wave

I have tried almost every VOIP soft phone app on Google Play. Before I found GS Wave, I reckoned Zoiper app was the best soft phone, thus I paid for its premium version to get its premium feature of video call.

However I never got this feature working. I wanted to see the video from my video door phone on my mobile with Zoiper. My video door phone supports H264 video codec but Zoiper supports VP8 unless I pay Zoiper again just for H264 codec . Unlike audio codec while a VOIP server can translate audio codec between clients, video codec is said to be P2P. (There may be a way of video codec translation, but I don’t know how.)

I had video calls working between my video door phone and desktop SIP phones which are “hard phones” with H264 built in. And I had audio calls working on all devices. So I was not desperate for video on Zoiper.

Zoiper has a major defect. It cannot stay online 24/7 on latest Android version (I tested on two Huawei Mate 8 and one P9) or iOS. Many times status bar shows it is online but actually it is not reachable. Zoiper was reliable on Android 4.x.x. I guess Zoiper “forgets” to re-register itself when OS goes into sleep. For above reasons I am reluctant to pay Zoiper any more money.

Recently I visited Fanvil website and discovered Fanvil had developed a soft phone called “Vdroid” for free download. To my surprise, Vdroid integrated G729 audio codec and H264 video codec. They are premium codec as on Zoiper. (Later on I learnt G729 patent expired on 1st Jan, 2017 but Zoiper is still selling G729 for money. I knew nothing about H264.) However Vdroid has too many bugs and is not a mature software.

Then I thought other VOIP device manufacturers might have their own soft phones for public. I checked Grandstream, Yealink and Cisco but only found Grandstream generously offering GS Wave. GS Wave has both Android and iOS version, and both works reliably, and both has G729 and H264 built in for free! I cannot wait any longer to recommend GS Wave to everyone. Google Play is overwhelmed by other apps for search results of “sip” or “voip”, and GS Wave is nowhere in the ranking. But trust me, it is the best one.

 

Huawei app store has gapps

一直以来我都以为要在 Android 上安装 Google 框架只能求助一些开发者网站,比如 XDA Developers。但我一怕病毒,二怕麻烦,总希望原装设备上开机就带有 Google 框架,所以智能时代我从不买中国的行货手机,因为它们没有 Google 框架。

但最近华为 Mate 8 挺热门,我也关注了很久,可惜迟迟没有国际版,直到今天才听说华为两天前发布了 Mate 8 国际版,但要在世面上看到它,恐怕还得几个月。

正嗟叹中,朋友告诉我,华为应用商店里就有 Google 框架下载,安装好就能像国际版一样用 Google 服务了。有这等好事?我想起之前 Grandstream 也是如此迂回战术,但没想到华为也会。我赶紧上华为应用商店看,还真有一个叫”谷歌框架安装神器”的应用。我拿老妈的一个国行手机试了试,很顺利地装上了 Google 框架。我又拿它来给 Fanvil D900 Android IP Phone 安装 Google 框架,也很顺利安装成功(安装之前要 root D900)。D900 买了两年,一直觉得是鸡肋,就是因为它无法用 Google 服务,当时我频繁联系了 Fanvil 技术支持,他们给我发了好几个 firmware 去更新,都没有成功装上 Google 框架,后来我自行放弃。如今被华为的”谷歌框架安装神器”一举解决,我怎能不兴奋。(不过今天后来我在 Fanvil 官网上下了最新的 D900 firmware,更新后发现此次的 firmware 已带有 Google 框架,只是 Google Play 未安装,但在根目录下存了一个 Google Play 的 apk,安装一下就好了,也无需 root。)

总之,华为能提供 Google 框架,让我对入手国行华为手机再无顾虑。顺便我看了看小米应用商店,没有提供 Google 框架,那就多劝人不要买小米呗。

Play Blu-ray ISO images on Fedora 20

买了新电视 SAMSUNG UE46F6100,总想试一下它的 3D 效果。我没有 Blu-ray player,也没有 Blu-ray disk,于是下载了一个 Blu-ray ISO 镜像格式的文件。怎么放呢?

我一开始想在 Sony NSZ-GS7 机顶盒上播放,可是没有可用的 App。Windows 下倒有很多解决方案,可惜它不是我的首选。

我想的是怎么在 Fedora 20 下播放 Blu-ray disk?如果可行,就可以用 Fedora 20 配一台 HTPC 去客厅播放 Blu-ray disk。

做之前,我以为这有点难,不太会有现成的 yum package。事实上,很简单。

首先得有 libbluray,用 yum install 一下就可以。但我的机子也装有 libbluray,不知是 Fedora 20 默认安装的库,还是我装别的软件时带进来的。

然后加载 rpmfusion repo,装一下 vlc 就可以用 VLC 来播放 Blu-ray disk。


yum install vlc

HTPC 又多一个新功能。但是 SAMSUNG UE46F6100 电视的 3D 效果实在一般,要令我赏心悦目的 3D 技术还没有到来啊。

TV from France

春节到了,家里的电视机要升级换代了!我在 Pixmania 网站上订了一台电视机,SAMSUNG UE46F6100 – 46″ 6 Series 3D LED-backlit TV,才 £459.00,including VAT, free delivery, Pixmania’s 24 month commercial warranty。

samsung-ue46f6100-1

Picture 1 of 5

当然还有更便宜的 46 寸电视,比如,SAMSUNG UE46F5000 LED TV,£384,同样 including VAT, free delivery, Pixmania’s 24 month commercial warranty。但它不是 3D TV,也不是 200 Hz Clear Motion Rate,相当于我多花了 £75 买这些功能。两年前 B&B 买了一批 3D TV,但这功能在 B&B 客房成了一个摆设。我虽然有兴趣体验 3D TV,但没有合适的时间和地点,现在可以在家里体验了。

我没有要 Smart TV 功能,因为我不会考虑非 Android 的 Smart TV。英国市面上找不到基于 Android Smart TV,两年前我有关注此类产品,未能如愿。之后买了一堆 Android 机顶盒和电视棒,现在成了鸡肋。我深刻体会到 Android 是以娱乐为主的系统,而我真正想要的是兼顾工作(学习)和娱乐的系统。而且要有深度定制的功能,Android 的定制有软件和硬件双方面的要求,不是我辈玩得起的,在 Android 系列产品中寻找解决方案有点缘木求鱼。HTPC 应该是最适合我的产品。

2天前下的单,今天凌晨 2 点收到 Pixmania 的通知邮件说 order is dispatched。我迫不及待地追踪了一下,发现这台电视机是从法国发货的,我非常羡慕这种电子商务运作方式。

TV order UPS tracking result
TV order UPS tracking result

Hangouts SMS integration is useless

Android 手机上 Hangouts app 提示有更新,据说支持 SMS 了,看着更新挺期待的。

我是指望能在电脑上上 Hangouts 输入短信内容,手机上同步得到短信内容,然后直接发送到联系人。虽然我已经用 Talk2phone 实现了电脑收发短信,但 Hangouts 作为 Android 嫡出的 app,我当然希望它能够接管这个功能。但更新以后一用,非常失望。电脑上的 Hangouts 根本看不到 SMS 联系人(其实就是一个手机号码),只有手机上的 Hangouts 能看到,所以无法实现用电脑发短信。Hangouts SMS integration 只是用 Hangouts 来读写 SMS app,重复做了 SMS app 接收和发送的工作。

Hangouts SMS integration 把即时通讯的内容放在了一个 app 里,没有实质意义。更糟的是,我原先在手机上装了 Talk2phone app,实现电脑收发短信的功能(主要是发短信),现在 Hangouts 更新,Talk2phone 的机器人联系人 mobilenotificationsapp@appspot.com 也不见了,估计是 Talk2phone 没有相应地更新。

不仅如此,其他 app 的机器人也不见了,如 livechat。

我赶紧把电脑版的 Hangouts 恢复到早期版本,各个机器人都回来了。Hangouts SMS integration 真是误事。Google 这回没动脑子,推出个不成熟的功能。之前推出很多夭折的产品倒也没影响什么,Gtalk/Hangouts 毕竟是成熟产品,起点不一样啊。

 

 

Google+ makes perfect panoramic pictures

Google+ is so powerful!

I took several pictures when I visited University of Brighton a while ago. I did not mean to make them into a panoramic scene at that time. I just stood by the road and took several random pictures. And today, when I am looking through my Google+ photos, I find this picture. Google+ automatically made a panoramic picture for me.

American Express Community Stadium "made" by Google+
American Express Community Stadium “made” by Google+

Looking at this picture, I am shocked, because I can not find the seam. I have tried to make panoramic pictures before via different methods: integrated function of a camera, a software, a smartphone with 3-axis geomagnetic sensor. None of them came up such a good result even when I shot photos with a tripod.

So I am wondering if this is a viable approach for a even better result:

  1. Shot photos with a SLR camera on a tripod.
  2. Transfer the photos to an Android phone.
  3. Will Android upload the photos and Google+ make a panoramic picture?

We call Nexus 10 Google Pad

周围一些朋友都捧着 iPad,以致老婆说也要买一个。我始终觉得 Tablet 娱乐多过实用,所以一直不动手采购。后来儿子在他朋友圈里也接触到了 iPad,也嚷着说要买。我更不会答应。但是老婆有时被儿子嚷得烦了,竟然说,好,你表现得好的话,给你买一个 iPad。如此反复几次,我觉得苗头不对——要是我不动手采购,哪天老婆心血来潮,说不定真从苹果店里抱一个 iPad 回来。

既然阻止不了,我就有责任引导正确的消费方向。世界上脑残的人太多,于是 iPad 有机会成了 Tablet 的代名词,但iPad 我是绝对不会买的:离谱地贵、性能差、不合格率跟一个“高端”品牌不相称、制造商还出那么多惨剧,等等。

我也不希望儿子被误导或跟风 Apple。他或许还不能体会 Google 的同类产品要远远优于 Apple,我至少要让他知道,这世界上还有 Google 的产品。所以,我跟儿子说,你已经玩过朋友的 iPad 了,我再买一个 Google Pad (Nexus 太拗口),他的优点你要慢慢体会。

于是我飞快地买了 Nexus 10,他跟家里的 Google TV、Android Mobiles 对接得很好。我们家用得很开心,我们称呼他 Google Pad,再也不提 iPad。

Nexus 10
Nexus 10
Nexus 10 resolution 2560x1600
Nexus 10 resolution 2560×1600: 超高分辨率是我在众多 Android Tablets 里选择 Nexus 10 的主要原因
Nexus 10 Antutu score 11963
Nexus 10 Antutu score 11963: 远低于我用了一年的 S3 手机,有点小失望
Nexus 10 with keyboard case
Nexus 10 with keyboard case: 配上键盘、皮套才能算商务用品——如果拿 Nexus 10 只作游戏机就太奢侈了
Keyboard for Nexus 10
Keyboard for Nexus 10: 蓝牙键盘是经常被丢开的

AnTuTu for iPhone

安兔兔定量分析一个手机的好差,我很喜欢。连测了几个时下和过时的 Android 设备,给我了一个硬件在几年内进步的曲线。

我又突然想到 Apple 产品所采用的硬件都严重不匹配它的高价,就想安兔兔是不是已有一个 AnTuTu for iPhone 来量化对比一下 iPhone 到底有多少物不符所值。调查了一下,遗憾!AnTuTu 没有 iPhone 版,可能怕对果粉心理打击太大吧。我发现一个有趣的现象,果粉谈到 AnTuTu,不是说没听说(是真不知道还是掩耳盗铃?),就是说 iPhone 不需要 AnTuTu。

iPhone 虽没有不同硬件厂家的横向对比,但纵向对比 iPhone 4, iPhone 5 也可以看看 iPhone 进步了多少。可是果粉们视 iPhone 如同洪水猛兽,归根到底是害怕看到 iPhone 和 Android 手机、iPad 和 Android 平板设备对比后惨不忍睹的分数。因为害怕,所以果粉们说分数有意思吗?————看优劣得看流畅性、整合度。流畅性和整合度没有客观指标,于是各种争论可以变成了浑水。我想提请果粉注意的是,Android 设备来自众多厂商,硬件参差不齐,我在一台价值 £40 的 Storage Options Scroll 平板上跑一个写汉字软件,确实不流畅,可这个软件跑在 Samsung S3 手机上就非常流畅。如果真要对比流畅性和整合度,就对比一下时下同等价格的 iPhone 和 Android 手机对比,果粉们有这个自信吗?

Streaming YouTube to an Android set top box

I have an outdated LCD TV and a nearly outdated Android smart TV set top box. I mean, this Android smart TV set top box was bought a year ago, and it works very slow compared to current market products.

I want to combine these two equipment to make a smart TV. Actually, the only functionality I need out of a smart TV is a DLNA/UPnP player. To be more specific, a DLNA/UPnP player for YouTube.

I want to search for videos on YouTube using my mobile phone, stream to TV, and watch on TV. I do not want to search on this nearly outdated set top box because it is slow, and it accepts input via a fly mouse rather than a touch screen.

At first, I tried to install a few apps (iMediaShare Lite, aMPdroid, DLNA Server) on the set top box, but none of them is a DLNA/UPnP player.

Then I installed XBMC on the set top box, set it can be remotely controlled by UPnP. I also installed Beam on my mobile. Now I can stream YouTube video to my TV. However, XBMC is not reliable on this set top box, most likely due to some bug – this player is not always shown on the list of available DLNA/UPnP players. Every time I have to untick and retick “remotely controlled by UPnP” to force it.

So I have not found a perfect solution for streaming YouTube video to an Android device. I may have to buy a new TV with DLNA/UPnP player built-in.

FreeNote is the best signature making tool

I was looking for an app on Google Play Store to generate transparent background handwriting in PNG format, which can be put on an electronic document as a signature or watermark. It is either

  • to save paper – no need to print out a hard copy of document, write on it, then scan it back to an electronic copy.
  • or to use an existing Android touch screen mobile phone, instead of buying a graphic tablet pad and pen.

I tried a few apps.

Samsung Memo. It can only export JPG or PDF. No transparent background available.

Image Editor. It is slow responding to drawing track. Never record a complete handwriting. Useless. Too many bugs and Ads.

ShoDo. No transparent background available.

Adobe Photoshop Express. Too “express”. It can not open/save as PNG at all.

Handwriting. It can export transparent background PNGs. It is good. However, it always exports 720 x 1280 images on my test device, no matter how small writing. This requires another software to crop the images. So it’s not good enough.

Photo Editor. I did not expect it can export transparent background PNGs, as Photo is not transparent. However, I find it can open a transparent background PNG, write on it, then export as transparent background PNG. This requires another software to produce a blank transparent background PNG before first use. That’s not a problem. However, it is an ad-supported programme, which is a bit annoying.

FreeNote has options to transparent background
FreeNote has options to transparent background

FreeNote. I have known FreeNote for long, but before today I did not realise it can export transparent background PNGs. It does auto crop and it is ad-free. It does not require other software to do pre or post process. So it is a perfect solution.