Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Alternative to a lockscreen widget for my shopping list (Android 5/Lollipop/6/Marshmallow)

Originally posted at http://ift.tt/1ltoP6v

Background:

I’m not massively diligent about security, but I use a PIN to unlock my phone and I lock my phone when it’s in my pocket or bag. I’m also a lists person, and while I’m in the supermarket it’s a pain in the arse to keep unlocking my phone every time I want to look at my list or tick off an item I’ve put into my basket.
I used to get around this by putting a to-do list in a lockscreen widget, but since Android 5 (Lollipop) that’s not so easy to do. But I realised the Screen Pinning feature (more obviously useful for when you hand someone your phone to let them look at your photos and you don’t want them digging into your email) works even better than my old lockscreen widget for this purpose.
Screenshots here are from Android 6 (Marshmallow) but you should be able to follow along with 5.x/Lollipop without too much trouble.

1. Set up Screen Pinning

You’ll find this in your settings under Security.
In the event that I lose my phone in the supermarket I don’t want some random person snooping around on my phone, so I set it to ask for my PIN to unlock.
image  image

2. Launch your shopping list

I installed a dedicated shopping list app for this. Google Keep is actually pretty good for the task, but I keep other information in there and the Screen Pinning only restricts your phone to displaying one app, not one list. So, to keep things nice and sandboxed, I installed Buy Me a Pie! which so far works just fine for me, but use whatever you like.
image

3. Pin your shopping list

To activate Screen Pinning, tap the overview button to show the list of your open apps (the square one, and no, I didn’t know it was called that either) then drag up from the bottom of the screen. Next tap the pin icon that appears near the bottom-right corner.
image
Now you get a slightly annoying message about the screen being pinned. Every. Single. Time. But hey. Tap GOT IT to make that go away.
image

4. Do some shopping!

With the shopping list pinned, you can switch the screen on and off as many times as you want as you make your way around the supermarket, without having to enter your PIN to unlock. If you do manage to lose your phone someone else would have access to your shopping list app, but that’s about it.

5. Un-pin when done

Like it says in the screenshot above, to un-pin your shopping list, long press the Overview button (the square one that usually makes your apps list appear). Assuming you set PIN protection at Step 1, your lock screen will appear as usual.
Enjoy!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

How to respond to constructive (or difficult) feedback

All feedback is good feedback. And if you ask for feedback, there are only two appropriate responses to whatever you get in return:

1: "Thank you for your feedback."

Someone has taken the time to tell you what they think, so they deserve a polite acknowledgement. If you disagree with the feedback, that's fine, but keep that to yourself. In the world of feedback, perception is reality. If my colleague tells me that he finds me intimidating, now is not the time to tell him to toughen up, or that I'm really a pussycat. Whether I actually am intimidating is neither here nor there for the moment. This is information that someone thinks I am intimidating, and information is something I can use, or not, as I choose. (Maybe I want to soften my image. Maybe I want to be gentler on just this one teammate. Maybe I don't want to act on this information at all.)

2: "Please help me understand your feedback."

Some feedback needs further clarification. Being told I'm very quiet could mean I have a soft voice, or that I don't speak up very often, and if I'm going to do something about it I need to know which. So ask for more information, but be careful. It's very easy to step over the line from openly seeking clarification to getting drawn into trying to defend yourself. ("What do you mean I'm too quiet? I talk to you all the time!") Try to limit your questions, and keep them as open as possible. "Can you give me an example of where that happened?" is always a valid response. Sometimes people can't remember an example, so it's fine to say "Can you let me know if I do that again?"

Even if someone's opinion is demonstrably wrong, imagine it prefixed with "I think..." and it becomes a piece of information, which you can deal with as you choose.


Feedback cartoon

This all applies to good feedback as well as 'constructive criticism'. So if you find yourself deflecting compliments or arguing with them, stop! It doesn't matter whether you agree or not, just say "thank you", you can decide later what to do with the new information.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

What I want from a Google Reader replacement

So far none of the alternatives to Google Reader are quite ticking all the boxes for me.

Here's what I use right now and will really miss if I can't replace:
  • A web UI. By which I don't mean a browser-specific app or plugin. I want to be able to access my RSS content from work, and I don't have the option of installing plugins.
  • A good, solid Android app with offline viewing. I've been using NewsRob for years and even though it hasn't been updated in ages, it just works. And I like that it allows me to choose when to sync, what to sync, and how much to sync.
  • Synchronised read/unread state between web and mobile apps.
  • Doesn't insist on looking like a magazine all the time - I'm fine with lists. I like lists. Let me have my lists.
On my nice-to have list would be:
  • Ability to subscribe to feeds from a browser by clicking a link to RSS xml
  • IFTTT support, but I expect that if something becomes popular and has an API, they'll be on the case.
Surely I can't be alone in wanting these things? I'm hopeful that Feedly or one of the other contenders will quickly be able to bridge the gaps.
Creative Commons License This work by TechieBird is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.