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Here’s how to unlock ZenFone 2’s bootloader

by Kok Kee 0 Comments
Here’s how to unlock ZenFone 2’s bootloader

It’s a while back since ASUS released the official bootloader unlock tool, and I managed to download it and give it a try, after all I do like to unlock ZenFone 2 to its full potential. Some users have reported that the tool caused issues to their ZenFone 2, and ASUS removed the tool temporarily whilst getting it fixed. Bummer, but it’ll return soon.

WARNING : Heavy use of jargon words ahead! Also will void your warranty. We here at NLT are not responsible for anything happened to your device!

So anyway, it’s simple. Here’s how I did it.

1. I downloaded the tool, installed it.

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The app icon looks sketchy, but I assure you that the app is at its bare minimum in terms of design. After all, it’s a one-time-use app anyway.

2. Open the app

Self explanatory right here

3. [!!!] Read the notice!!!

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By doing this, it most definitely will void your warranty. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

4. Security measure

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Make sure it’s not your troll friend who wants to unlock its bootloader!

5. Hit the button

And wait for a short period of time. A message saying something along the lines of “successful” will come out, assuming nothing goes wrong. Then you’re done!

6. Hit restart

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You’ll see that the boot logo’s colours are now inverted. That means it’s unlocked!

7. ADB/Fastboot now please

Connect the phone, enable USB Debugging, get ADB running and do these. Of course, you’ll have to find the appropriate files and steps on how to install custom recovery and custom ROMs yourself.

  1. adb reboot bootloader
  2. fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
  3. Select boot to recovery
  4. Enjoy the fun!

Personally, I’m running BlissPop ROM for the ZE551ML. Runs excellently, but a little on the hot side. Might change back to stock, just because how well ASUS actually optimized ZenUI.

How To and Photo Sample: ASUS LolliFlash

by Kok Kee 1 Comment
How To and Photo Sample: ASUS LolliFlash
Selfie flash.

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We took a look at the ASUS LolliFlash a little while back in Jakarta, and we reviewed it a couple of weeks ago. Now, LolliFlash is upon us and what better time it is to have a how-to guide?

Selfie flash or rear-camera flash?

With the nature of design, this LolliFlash can work both ways – or neither if you prefer. There is an audio jack-like piece of plastic can lets you dock on the phone or tablet (even laptop, if that’s what you want) and you’re good to go!

Selfie flash.

Selfie flash.

Else if you prefer to be a rear-facing flash, just spin it around!

Another rear-camera flash

Another rear-camera flash

Else if you couldn’t find a good flash angle while docked on your tablet or phone, just take it out and hold it with your hand. That works too!

There are 3 filters… what are they for?

Total of 3 filters - blue, white, and red.

Total of 3 filters – blue, white, and red.

Excellent question! And here is where the photo samples come by. It’s an interesting little device, and ASUS wants to do more with this than just being a basic external torch.

Here, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. There are too much to tell in words, and pictures do tell a thousand of them.

Setting up the reference image

In ambient light condition.

First things first – setting up a benchmark. This lovely model here will be our subject of the day! Also pay close attention to the wall colour.

Taking photos without filters

With 3 filters, there comes 4 different modes – one mode per filter and the last mode where there are no filters. It still works, and quite too actually. These filters are meant to be light diffusers, but adding colour to these diffusers will give an entirely different look and feel to the final image, as you’ll see below.

One disclaimer though, all of the below pictures are taken using an ASUS ZenFone 2 ZE551ML on full auto mode, with the LolliFlash docked on the audio jack. Each picture here is focused on our lovely model’s face.

Then onward to press the button on the ASUS LolliFlash!!

Brightness level 1.

Brightness level 1.

Press it again!

Brightness level 2.

Brightness level 2.

And again (last time, I promise)!

Brightness level 3

Brightness level 3

Through the 3 different images, you can roughly know how bright the flash really goes, as the shadow cast by our lovely model starts to get deeper and darker, and apparently bringing very slight hint of red around the entire image when brightness goes up.

Swapping in the filters

Let’s stick with brightness level 3 to bring out the most significant difference in its colour. Now, let’s get some coloured rubber around the LolliFlash!

Brightness level 3 with blue filter

Brightness level 3 with blue filter

Under blue filter, the LolliFlash goes through some colour balancing and produces a slightly blue light around the subject. It does give a little bit of Eiffel 65 feel to the picture too – I’m blue babudibabuda, anyone?

Brightness level 3 on white filter.

Brightness level 3 on white filter.

On white filter, the redness is enhanced a little, as the image glows with even more red than without a filter. The shadows however is blurred, and this tells that the the light is diffused.

Brightness level 3 with red filter.

Brightness level 3 with red filter.

Then comes the last and final filter – the red colour. The LolliFlash itself already produces some redness in the image itself, and this filter just enhances even more, making it reddish-pink all over.

I’m pretty sure many of you can create some creative images using this red filter on the LolliFlash. Screw that, I think you guys can create images with or without any of the filters!

Wrap up

Is it useful? Definitely, especially in dark locations. It’s not only an external flash for selfies, but also a short-duration torchlight to maneuver around the darkness, let’s say when your power goes out. Things like these happen, and your smartphone might not be ever-ready for it.

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How to revert back to Windows 8.1 from Windows 10

by Kok Kee 0 Comments

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We’ve all been upgraded to Windows 10, most of us are already using it for some time now and let’s face it – not everyone is satisfied. However, Microsoft is kind enough to instead ask you to format everything and start off a clean slate, a button to revert back to your prior operating system can be done.

Surprisingly, Microsoft not only implemented this button in the system, but instead made it very simple to use look for it too. Here, we’ll take you through the steps.

This downgrade ability however is only offered for a month after the upgrade – so do it while you still can so you don’t have to live with your regrets.

WARNING : I do not hold any responsibility if in any case your Windows machine cannot be started.

1. Open Start Menu and search for “Windows 8”

You should see "Go back to Windows 8.1".

You should see “Go back to Windows 8.1”.

If you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 however, this might appear as “Go back to Windows 7”. However since all of the machines readily accessible to me are running on Windows 8.1, I can’t confirm that it’ll display as “Go back to Windows 7”.

2. Hit enter key (or just click on it)

3. Continue with the instructions on screen

Click on the "Get started" button below "Go back to Windows 8.1" and continue.

Click on the “Get started” button below “Go back to Windows 8.1” and continue.

4. Proceed with the warning messages that will pop up.

5. Wait until the downgrade process is done.

6. Back to the previous Windows version!

Windows 10 Technical Preview is gone

by Kok Kee 0 Comments

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“Tick, tock, tick, tock”, as the clock works its arms around, slowly completing one revolution. July 29th approaches real soon – in fact, just 10 days! But oh well, let’s just try out the Technical Preview now, shall we?

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Sadly, you can’t. Not now, at least. Microsoft has removed all of the links to download the technical preview files. Even accessing the page for details on how to do it (given that you have another technical preview ISO file lying around) is removed.

Quoting from Microsoft’s Insider page,

NOTE: We’re very close to the public release of Windows 10 so we’re not onboarding any new PCs to the Windows Insider Program just now. You can still onboard a supported Windows Phone and please do keep using Windows 10 on any PCs you’ve already set up and sending us great feedback!

Basically, Windows 10 Preview for PCs are removed, but it’s still available for Windows Phones right now. Bummer – I was going to install the preview on my main PC instead of trying it on a very slow test machine I have lying around.

And oh by the way – all of the hyperlinks leading directly to the ISO download are also removed. All of them are removed.

All. Of. Them. Removed.

Source : Windows Insider

Top 5 tech misconceptions

by Kok Kee 0 Comments
Top 5 tech misconceptions

We’ve dealt with a huge amount of smartphones over the years, and I’ve personally seen a heard and read about a lot of misconceptions, and we’re here to address some of them, and even explain why many might think so. Here are top 5 misconceptions about tech gadgets, mostly focusing on smartphones, that we really hope to destroy.

1. New major update means major screw-up

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In extreme cases, getting an entirely new device is necessary to run the new system. While this might be somewhat true, it isn’t always the case. It varies between who is the manufacturer of the device, some of them provide major updates seamlessly and without any issues, whereas some manufacturers can provide an update and screw everything up.

Let’s start with a brief introduction on the manufacturers and brands. Nexus devices are always the first one to get the latest and greatest, but suffer from the same fate as others – once aged, they’re forgotten. However, since the Nexus community of modders are very active, old and forgotten devices even manage to upgrade to the use a version of Android that is not officially supported.

However, the point is – phones get outdated when it’s two years old (worst case, [S]ertain phone manufacturers’s flagship phone) to 3-4 years (best case, Nexus 4, some iPhones). Do you need a new phone every year to run the latest and greatest? Nope.

2. New phones have no issues software-wise

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Actually – this is entirely manufacturer-dependent, and a hint of personal preference. There are people telling me that their new phones are supposed to be running without any problems at all – WiFi works without any dropping issues, there are no whatever gate-related issues like iPhone’s antenna, and camera works fast and absolutely having no issues.

Problems were there - even for the OnePlus One running CM11S.

Problems were there – even for the OnePlus One running CM11S.

While this might be true for some manufacturers, there is no clear cut on how issue-free the device will be during the launch. For example, the ZenFone 2 had a problem which I thought was extremely stupid – pictures taken with LINE messenger were all rotated 90 degrees counter-clockwise.

That’s where software updates come into the picture. ASUS fixed that issue recently with a software update. And that makes me wonder – why are there people who resist to update their device’s software and apps???

3. Chinese phones are the worst

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5 years ago, it might be. Today, Chinese phones are the few best in the market – OnePlus One, Huawei, Honor, Oppo, Xiaomi, and even Vivo – are all from China. The Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi shocked the world with their custom ROM – the MIUI ROM – many years ago, since the early days prior to Android 2.2 Froyo. After some years, the group formed a company called Xiaomi (now also known as simply Mi), and as of 2014, Xiaomi is the world’s third largest vendor already.

Heck Xiaomi even makes the most amazing yet budget-friendly accessories out there now! Just check out their earphones!

Back to Chinese phones – it can be justified by a simple supply and demand concept. If the brand is horrible, there will be no demand and thus the manufacturer will seize to make anymore phones. However, it can obviously be seen that Chinese manufacturers are getting better and better – to the point where even Xiaomi can be compared to the big names of Apple and Samsung alike.

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Personally, I like the OnePlus One way too much. Vivo is making great phones, Oppo’s VOOC is still the industry-leading fast-charging technology with their very high wattage chargers. It revolutionized the entire market – everyone is adopting fast charging and with that said, it’s a good thing. Everyone will soon be enjoying super fast charging with their lithium-ion batteries.

4. There is always a “best brand”

It’s a personal preference. That said, I personally disagree. Samsung doesn’t make the best phone all the time, so does ASUS, Xiaomi, Oppo, or any other brands. Sometimes, a mid-range phone can be much more better than the rival’s flagship device.

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Let me rephrase that – it’s supposed be “there is always a best preferred, specific device at a specific budget at one particular time”. It might be confusing, but here’s an example – if I want to buy a very good phone now with a sub-RM800 price range, we can see the market is flooded with smartphones from many manufacturers. There’s the famous Mi phones, Motorola phones, and Lenovo phones. The question remains – which is the best device with this limited budget?

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After the question of budget comes personal preference – the physical look and feel, and even the software’s user experience. Android comes in multiple flavours depends on which brand you go for – Nexus is purely from Google, Samsung comes with TouchWiz, ASUS has ZenUI, and so on. Ultimately for this case, I will personally go for Xiaomi’s very own Mi 4i. It has greater user experience, better hardware, more storage, and definitely better software support.

Now, back to personal preference. The choice is ultimately yours – other people can only recommend or list out of the phones that meets their requirements. Some might want a better camera but does not care about the software user experience, but some might want a phone with balanced software and hardware. It’s entirely your own choice.

5. Apple has no viruses

Everything has exploits. Jailbreak is an exploit, but used only to gain root access and not to do something malicious. That said, if something malicious is done using the jailbreak method of exploit, it’s a virus. That means viruses do exist on iOS and Mac OS X.

And Macs have them too – just less viruses in terms of amount.

How does it affect you?

First of all, don’t be so gullible. If you’re reading this, then congratulations – you have access to the internet. Go do a quick Google and double check on facts you happen to cross over – heck, triple check if you have to. Doesn’t hurt to be a little paranoid on such things.

After all, the things we choose to believe will ultimately affect our own choice – and those choices will affect our very own devices that we choose to use, affecting our user experience with the device. If I’m happy using something that I feel absolutely comfortable using, then use that.

Never conform to trends and buy the latest, most expensive gadget, but couldn’t find any reason to like it.