More of the same?


“Okay, Google” without en_US

Filed under: Mobile, Software — Tags: , — _ds_ @ 14:51

This hack works for stand-alone Google search but not the integrated Google Now in the Nexus 5 launcher. (It was developed and tested with English (UK) on my Nexus 4 running Cyanogenmod 10.2.)

First, make sure that the voice search data for your language is installed and that English (US) is up to date.

Then, root shell time. Run the following commands, replacing en-GB with the appropriate directory name if you need to

# cd /data/data/
# ls ../en-US

If that second command succeeds, the next step is this:

# ln -s ../en-US/dnn ../en-US/*hotword* ../en-US/phone* .

Otherwise, this:

# ln -s /system/usr/srec/en-US/dnn /system/usr/srec/en-US/*hotword*
        /system/usr/srec/en-US/phone* .

When done, find -type l should list 9 symlinked files.

Of course, ideally this wouldn’t be needed. Maybe Google will, one day, get round to adding hotword detection to other languages and localisations…?

Update (2014-04-26)

A little belated with this, but anyway…

Google have added “okay, Google” to various other English localisations and a few other languages this year. It’s now recognised for British English (which means that I get to use it without hacks), Canadian English, Australian English, German and French.

If your language still isn’t supported (and the above procedure doesn’t help), here are two other sites which can help (and if they don’t, search instead).



What’s wrong with Google+ on Android…?

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous, Mobile, Software — _ds_ @ 02:45

What I don’t like about the ‘new’ +Google+ UI, having just upgraded downgraded from the last version for Android which supported Incoming (due to them finally having switched it off):

  • Circles menu is… inconvenient.
    • Being able to select which circles are shown there is useful, particularly if you have many. Alternatively, being able to mark some as ‘important’ (regarding placement in that menu) would work – and I include the pseudo-circles in this.
  • Pictures and videos are initially confusing, being above the name and posting text.
    • In portrait mode, they look like they’re associated with the content immediately above.
    • In landscape mode, the avatar and name appear misplaced.
    • The avatar shouldn’t overlap them – as is, it looks bad. I’d put it, name, date etc. above.
  • The avatar looks bad.
    • It should match desktop browser G+, i.e. not clipped to a circle.
  • In landscape mode:
    • Posting arrangement is strange. Should be vertical.
    • Notifications are badly placed. I didn’t find them until I saw the side menu in portrait mode.
    • Viewing a single thread makes bad use of the available space.
      • Here, it’s restricted in width to the height of the display (more or less). It needs to use the full width of the display (which, here, is 800×480).
    • Adding a comment doesn’t work well.
      • This is due to the above thread view limitation.
      • Portrait mode is better for display reasons, but this makes soft keyboard rather more awkward (narrow buttons).
      • Strangely, given this, making a new posting works as well as it previously did in landscape mode.
  • Nothing to indicate that there’s more text in a posting (in the stream view).
  • Still no indication of struck-through text.
  • No scroll bar in the stream view? Weird.
  • ‘Swipe to switch circles’ is missing.
  • ‘What’s Not’ is present.
  • Incoming is missing (but I expected that).
    • I don’t expect to go through each and every ‘not yet in circles’ profile to see what’s there – that’s what Incoming’s for.

The UI in the last version for Android to support Incoming works. It’s nice and clean. This one’s… less clean.

I’ve reported most of this little lot via the G+ feedback page (in smaller chunks due to the paltry 500-character limit). Hopefully we’ll see some improvements, including the return of Incoming. But somehow I think that that’s not going to happen…

Finally, according to the ‘city-level’ location, I’m in Northern Europe. While technically true, it often makes attaching my location rather less than useful.


Google+ – Incoming not merely hidden, but completely removed?

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous, Mobile, Software — _ds_ @ 22:58
Android G+ screenshots showing nothing found

Screenshots from the last Android Google+ app to support Incoming, showing “no posts found” (but there should be content). Taken on 2012-08-31.

Seems that Google+ have decided to cut off all but Nearby for those of us who still have the last version (on Android) to support Incoming.

This is Bad and Wrong.

Now I can’t easily and conveniently dip in and see what people who’ve circled me (but I’ve not circled back) are posting. There was a suggestion of looking at each individual profile to see what’s posted, but that’s repetitive, time-consuming and error-prone.

I might have decided to see what’s being shared for a while after being circled (i.e. not just what’s public) before deciding what to do. Incoming allowed this in a convenient way.

Well done, Google+, for removing useful stuff

I am now forced to downgrade to a newer version of the Android G+ app if I want something which works.

(Also, scrapbook pictures. Yes, I use them. No, I will not choose to use cover images instead. Yes, I want to use them on one of my pages, but somehow that got downgraded to cover image and I can’t revert that – THAT IS JUST PLAIN BROKEN.)

(You may pretend that the above text is liberally padded with expletives. That would be a lot closer to what I’m thinking.)


Geolocation: how to fake it or fix it in Chromium

Filed under: Desktop, Mobile, Software — _ds_ @ 14:06

After a little searching, I’ve found out how to set my location for desktop browsers without involving Google. There is sufficient detail there for any competent person to be able to appropriately configure Firefox, but it’s a bit lacking for Chromium and Google Chrome.

Quoting from the above page:

The way these geolocation services work is by requesting a file from Google which then responds with your location in JSON format. To fake this in Firefox, you can create a file on your computer with this text:

{"location":{"latitude":48.861426,"longitude":2.338929, "accuracy":20.0}}

You can find this location by locating it in Google Maps or any other maps program that supports Latitude and Longitude. Google maps generates a link that looks like the following:,2.338929&spn=0.011237,0.027874&z=16

In this case the first number is the latitude and the second the longitude.

The full name of the file should look, on GNU/Linux, something like /home/user/.config/location.txt.

To make Chromium respect your chosen location, you need to load ~/.config/chromium/Local State (on your common or garden GNU/Linux distribution etc.) and look for "geolocation" (complete with quotation marks); replace with the full path name of the file containing the JSON text describing your location, converted into a URL, so you’ll need to prefix with file:// and quote certain characters, e.g. spaces become ‘%20’ and, on Windows, backslashes become forward slashes. Using the above example name, you’ll end up with file:///home/user/.config/location.txt. Now save the file.

Do this while the browser is not running, else it’ll take no notice of your changes and will happily overwrite them.

While I couldn’t say for Google Chrome, I do expect that the only difference from Chromium is the file which you need to edit.

This allows me to properly attach my location to Google+ postings without having to rely on my phone, but it’s limited: I do still need to use the mobile browser version of G+ (which works fine in desktop browsers) if I want more control over the location, for example to use what Google call “your city-level location”.

(There is one error in the how-to, though: the example JSON text contains an extra number just before “longitude”.)

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