Saturday, September 1, 2018

Installing PowerAmp on an Older Android Device That Can't Access Google Play

I use my old HTC Droid Incredible for a media player.  I would TOTALLY still use it for my main phone if it weren't for the fact that it maxes out at 3G and Verizon has stopped allowing older devices to be activated.  I love, love, love it's small size, and I also love the optical joy stick.  PLEASE, oh world's makers of phones, bring small phones and the optical joy stick back!!!

Anyway... I have ripped my hundreds and hundreds of CD's to FLAC.  That means I need a player that will handle FLAC files.  The native Android player on Gingerbread does not support FLAC (or much of anything else).  After a bunch of research, I've landed on PowerAmp as my app of choice.

Now comes the problem.  Google Play no longer supports Android Gingerbread, and my Droid Incredible is running Android 2.3.4.  I just want to play FLAC files with my beloved Droid.

I e-mailed PowerAmp, and they weren't much help.  In fact, here is there reply:
"Google quit supporting Android 2.3 so you may have to find and download older Play version"
Yeah.  Thanks loads for all the help.

So I can't download PowerAmp via Google Play (what is called "Market" on my phone).  I also can't side load the PowerAmp APK to my Droid because Android 2.3.4 doesn't have a file browser, thus if  I drop the APK onto the phone via USB from my computer, there is no way to get to it from inside the phone.  Even if you put it in the "Downloads" folder (to which Android 2.3.4 does allow access), the APK file won't show up because it wasn't put there by Android's Downloads Manager!  Furthermore, I can't download the app from the PowerAmp website, because the only way to access the internet from the phone is via the baked-in "Internet" app on Android 2.3.4.  That app does not support secure web connections (and thus really shouldn't be used to access today's internet, except my hand is currently being forced).

After searching for a work around, a long and convoluted process that I won't bore you with, I figured out a way to get things done.

I used my back up app (MyBackup Pro) on my everyday phone (a Moto Droid Z Force) to create an APK for both PowerAmp and the PowerAmp Unlocker that were on that phone.

I then uploaded those APK's to a non-secure web site --any old website to which you have FTP access and can upload files.  I would advise renaming the APK's so they are easy to type in and then place them as close to the root as you can so you don't have to do a lot of typing. (i.e. and

Thus I was able to download the two APK's via the "Internet" app on my Android 2.3.4 device.  Since they were downloaded in a way Android approved of, I was able to access the APK files via the Downloads app.

When I clicked both APK's, I verified that I wanted to install the apps, and BANG!  I'm running PowerAmp on my Gingerbread device.

Rock and roll (literally).


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Using an Old Apple Express to Extend Wifi Range (a/b/n)

It should be noted that the first time I went through the steps below, AirPort Utility told me it wouldn't work with a non-Apple base station.  However, I repeated the steps, and somehow it magically worked [update: no it didn't].  I can [not] confirm that I am using an AirPort Express 802.11n (1st Gen) to extend the network from my Netgear Nighthawk R7000.

It should also be noted that the current firmware for my AirPort Express is 7.6.4 (older firmware) and the newest available version is 7.6.9.  However, I am not updating the firmware just yet in case part of the update included Apple shenanigans to prevent the Express from extending non-Apple networks.

Update: Even after updating the firmware, I can't get the AirPort Express to pass the IP.  The broadcast works and functions as if it is extending the range, but the IP (the internet) does not pass through to the device connecting to the AirPort. So instead, I am just running a long ethernet cable from the main router to the AirPort Express, creating a "new" network with the AirPort, and extending my signal that way.

The steps to set up your AirPort Express as an extender (this information is largely based on a Quora answer given by E.O. Stinson):

Make sure your wireless router is set to a static channel, and write down the router's MAC address.

Configure your AirPort Express using Airport Utility:
    • Under Airport -> Wireless, set the Wireless Mode to "Participate in a WDS Network", and set the network name, security, password, and channel to match your router's settings
    • Now you'll have a new tab: under WDS, set the WDS Mode to "WDS remote" and the "WDS Main" to the MAC address you wrote down for your router. Be sure to tick the box for "Allow wireless clients."
    • Under the Internet tab, set Connection Sharing to "Off (Bridge Mode)."
    • Click Update. Wait for the Airport Express to restart.

      Tuesday, June 12, 2018

      Adobe Premiere CS6 Will Not Recognize MP4 Files

      Like so many before me, I was having issues with Premiere CS6 suddenly not being able to utilize the MP4 files it had been having no issue with previously (files already imported and utilized in a current project).  I tried to relink media and reimport the files to no avail.

      MP4 is just a container.  Because of this, some would suggest just changing MP4 (the file extension) to M4V or MOV. (extensions sometimes more readily recognized by Premiere).  This can work, but it certainly is not a prefered or stable solution.

      At first I thought it was a Quicktime problem (Quicktime is often annoyingly and persistently attached to the MP4 extension), so I updated Quicktime, but this had no effect.

      Then I realized that all the problem files were shot with a Sony A7R3.  Even though they were MP4 files and not Sony’s proprietary RAW file format, I thought maybe there was something inside the MP4 container that might be Sony-driver-specific, so I updated the Sony drivers as well.  No change in Premiere.

      Finally my internet search turned up another solution entirely… a really lame one.  Simply empty the Premiere CS6 media cache, and *poof* the problem is gone.  Thanks Adobe Forum user Miguel Chavez.  Thanks also, Adobe, for this known and frustrating issue, and for not ever solving it, even before CS6 had been depricated (though the issue is well documented and affected so many users).