Google Nexus 7 (2013) upgrade to Android Nougat 7.1.2 plus auto-rotation fix

 

Nexus 7 (2013)

I ordered my trusty Google Nexus 7 in 2013 so I could get it on the day of release. Google updated the Android OS (Operating System) for a couple of years before it went “out of support”. Since then I’ve had app updates, but no OS or security updates. After the recent reports of Android security vulnerabilities, I decided I needed to bring my N7 up to date by installing a newer version of Android.

 

In addition, my N7 has a common problem whereby the screen would not automatically rotate when the device was rotated. I had been using an app which allowed me to manually rotate it, but that wasn’t very convenient, so I decided to fix this problem before updating to a newer version of Android.

Nexus 7 disassemblyThe hardware fix involved separating the two halves of the device, disconnecting and reconnecting the component responsible for the failed screen rotation sensor, securing the component, then putting the device back together. I have done this fix previously on a Nexus 7, but it’s still pretty fiddly.

Then followed about two hours of very technical work to install Lineage OS, a version of Android created and maintained by enthusiasts. I have installed this before on many other devices, but each seems to have its own unique installation problems to solve.

 

Nexus 7 Android 7 Android N

However, I now have a brand new OS, with Android 7.1.2 (soon to be updated to Android 8 Oreo) with August 2017 security patches, and OS and security updates for the foreseeable future.

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Projects in Google Keep and Google Drive

I use Google Keep to keep track of thoughts, tasks and to-do lists, and reminders. If, like me, your Google Keep is becoming hard to manage then I have some ideas that you might like to try to keep more organised and efficient.

To give this some context, let me explain that I have adapted some methods from the Getting Things Done (GTD) productivity system to suit my needs. In GTD there is a concept of Projects and Next Actions. A Project is the thing you want to achieve (like “organise Emma’s birthday party”) and the “Next Action”, or “NA”, is the very next thing that can be done towards the project. There may be lots of things to be done on the project, like “send out invitations”, but the only thing that should be on your to-do list is the very next thing you need to do, such as “Call the play centre to check availability of dates”.

So, generally there are two types of projects, big projects and small projects. If you keep all these projects in Google Keep, you will find that you have a mass of Notes which are hard to organise and go through even if you’re using colours and labels. We need to keep Keep clean. So, here is my suggestion…

If a project has only a few steps then use a List with check-boxes and keep everything for that project in that list. Use colours and labels to organise as you would normally, but keep everything about that project in one Keep note.

Drive docKeeping a big or complicated project in Google Keep makes it hard to manage, especially if there is more than one thing that you could describe as a Next Action like “Call the play centre to check availability of dates” and “draw up a list of attendees”. Use a Google Docs (word processing) document in Google Drive to organise your project with notes and lists of things to do (use bullet-points). When you know what your Next Actions are, put each Next Action in its own Note in Google Keep and refer to the main project, such as “Draw up a list of attendees – see Google Drive ‘Birthday’ project”. And here’s the best bit…

You can add a link in the Google Keep note which will take you to the Google Drive Project. When you open the Google Keep note, you can click the link within it and it will open up the related project document in Google Drive, allowing you to note down your progress, review the project, or set a new Next Action. This link works on computers, tablets and phones; wherever you’re signed in to your Google Account.

Drive linkTo insert the link, go to the Google Drive document, highlight the entire URL link (the website address) and select Copy. Then open up the Google Keep note, and Paste the link into it.

It sounds more complicated than it is in practice. Once you’ve done it a few times it will seem easy. Your Google Keep will be less cluttered and you will be more efficient.

If you need any help with Google services, with computers and IT generally, or even entire organisational systems, please contact me using “Contact” at the top-right of this page or phone me on the numbers just below “Contact”.

Tip for fast account switching in Chrome now the user icons gone (again)

Old User IconI wrote in January 2015 here about Google removing the user avatar icons from the top-left of Chrome which allowed fast switching between Google (Gmail) accounts (and having multiple accounts open at once). Included in my post was a way to switch back to the old icons. Unfortunately, I’ve just noticed that Google has changed it again and I can’t figure out a way to change it back. However, I have a tip to make it easier to switch between the accounts.

New User TabLook for the new user tab at the top right of Chrome, right-click it, and then select the account you want to open. This should open a new instance of Chrome signed in with the other user.

If you have come here looking for a way to be signed in to two or more Google accounts at once, please let me know and I will reply with a tutorial to set it up (if I get round to it). Alternatively, if you’re in a rush, contact me and we can set up a remote support session and I can do it for you.

Revert from Chrome’s New User Tab to Old User Icon

Edit: This changed again in August 2015. For the new post please see here
New User TabGoogle Chrome has a new User Tab interface, removing the old user icon from the top-left of Chrome and replacing it with a User Tab on the right. If you use a lot of tabs, the new user tab takes up valuable browser tab space, and switching between users takes three clicks instead of one. Old User IconHere’s how to revert from the “new avatar menu” (as they call it) to the old icons:   Open a new tab and type/paste “chrome://flags/#enable-new-avatar-menu” (without the quotes) where you would normally type in a website address, hit Enter/Return. Disable new avatar menu In the top drop-down box, select Disabled. Then close that tab. Next time you open Chrome, the new User tab will be gone and your your old icon will be back. If you have any problems, please get in touch and we’ll arrange a remote support session for me to do it for you. Please Like, Share, etc

SearchGol browser hijack removal

A new client called me in because they had adverts on their search page and pop-ups, and their home page was set to searchgol.com.  These browser hijacks or search hijacks aren’t just annoying, the can lead you to other websites that install more rubbish on your system, and the certainly track your internet searches and browsing history and habits.

I have had lots of this type of thing lately and usually it’s fairly easy for me to remove these search hijacks, but it was the first time I had seen SearchGol.  I removed everything as usual, but each time I restarted Chrome searchgol came back.  Internet explorer was ok, but even unistalling Chrome and reinstalling wouldn’t stop the searchgol redirect from coming back.

[EDIT: I subsequently suspect that Search Protect was being used to prevent the user (and me) from changing the search provider too.  Search Protect can also be difficult to remove]

I tried all the tools and instructions I could find when searching for a solution on Google, but none of them worked.  It had taken much longer than the time I estimated, but I was determined not to give up.  I slept on it, and had an idea.  The next evening I tried it and it worked, searchgol was gone!

I’m usually good at finding a solution on Google, but none of the solutions I tried had worked.  Sometimes, I have to rely on my own brain to solve a problem.

If you have ads showing on your search engine (or search page) then you might have a browser hijack or search hijack.  Contact me and I will arrange an appointment to remove it either in person, or by remote login to your computer.

Google: change for change’s sake

Google are at it again! They’re changing lots of things including the layout of Google Reader and Google Docs, and they’ve virtually hidden the ‘cached results’ from Google Searches.

I am sad to say that the New Look is here to stay on Google Documents (and Google Reader by the looks of it). I prefer the ‘classic view’ of gDocs but they’ve taken away that option. How very Apple of them.

It looks like there’s no way to get back the old interface of gReader either, although I haven’t thoroughly researched that point as I don’t use gReader at the moment.

Regarding cached results in Google searches, there used to be a link just under the search result for the cached copy, but now you have to hover over the double arrow to the right of the search result, wait for the page preview to load, then select ‘cached’ from the link at the top. Considering Google’s efforts to make search quicker, this change seems counter-productive.

It seems that Google has moved it’s focus from functionality to appearance.

In haste,

Colin.