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


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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Helping the next generation of techies


I have a favour to ask...

I'm taking part in a careers networking event in March where I'll be meeting teenagers from a range of backgrounds. When I was in school the careers advice we got wasn't great, so I want to make sure these sessions are worthwhile for the kids and young adults I'll be meeting.

If you're a teenager, please tell me in the comments what you want from a career. If you're not sure, here are some questions to get you started...
  • If you have an idea of what career you want, what makes that job attractive to you? E.g. doing something you love, working with brilliant people in a nice environment, helping people and saving the world, or do you just want to earn a huge pile of cash?
  • If you think of yourself being 'successful' in the future, what does that look like for you? Would you like a career that allows you to spend a lot of time travelling and maybe live in different countries, do you want a smart home with every comfort, would you be happy to live without luxuries knowing you're doing something for the greater good, or do you see work as a means to an end so you can afford to make the most of your time off?
And I have just one last question:

What do you want from a careers event? Do you just want to hear about different careers and hopefully be inspired? Do you want to know about what qualifications you'll need? Would you like CV and interview tips, or a list of links to industry-specific resources? Or something else...? On the flip-side, what do you already get from every careers event that's really not helpful at all?

As a small, geeky token of my thanks, here's a video of what happens when you heat mercury thiocyanate*, via @The_Stealthcow on Twitter:

Thanks for your help, and may all your careers advice be useful and inspirational!


*no, I don't really know what that is either, just look what happens when you heat it

Creative Commons License This work by TechieBird is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.