Tag Archives: Samsung-Galaxy-S-II

#VicEmergency, phone app question

With the continued dry weather and fire season fast approaching, I’m a bit worried by the VicEmergency app on my phone. Okay, lie, I’m a lot worried. I get notifications of fires within my watch zone, but the damn phone doesn’t ‘ring’. All I get is a vibration.

When I’m home, the phone sits on my desk so I can generally hear it as it bounces around. If I go to the bathroom or into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, I hear nothing at all. Zero. Zip. Nada.

My phone is a Samsung Galaxy SII with the most up-to-date firmware it can take. I looked up the specs. My phone should be receiving the VicEmergency notifications without any problems. And I do, I just can’t hear them.

I’ve checked the phone and all the settings are fine. I get proper notification sounds for both calls and SMS messages. What’s more, when I was using the now defunct, EmergencyAus phone app. I had a special sound setup just for the notifications. If I heard that sound I knew to go check the phone, immediately.

-sigh- I really have to say this. The EmergencyAus app was ten times better than the VicEmergency app that seems to have pushed it out of the market. VicEmergency should be the better app because it includes data – such as wind direction – that wasn’t available on EmergencyAus. Read this post to see why wind direction is good.

The trouble is, the VicEmergency app is slow to load and slow to update.  I’ve seen fires showing on the app long after they’ve been downgraded to ‘safe’ on the VicEmergency website. That makes me wonder how much I can trust the app to provide emergency info. when there really is an emergency situation. And I can’t hear the alerts. In some ways, that’s the worst thing about the app because I’m now constantly worried that I’ve missed a vital notification. And that will only get worse as the season progresses.

So, the reason for this post is to ask other VicEmergency users out there if you get notifications with sound or not. If you do, what phone are you using?

I can’t afford to buy new phones for the Offspring and me, but I can’t afford to continue with this stress either. Not being able to hear the alerts has dumped me right back into the emotional state I was in after Black Saturday. People died because they didn’t know. 😦

Oh, and I did try to get some info. from VicEmergency itself but got no reply. Don’t you just love government agencies?

Any info. gratefully received.


How to fix missing ebooks on your Kindle Fire 6

Last night I went to bed, got cosy, opened my Kindle Fire 6 and discovered that the ebook I’d been reading the night before was nowhere to be found. What the…?

This morning I discovered that missing ebooks are a known problem with a couple of solutions/workarounds. I could:

  1. De-register and re-register my Kindle, or
  2. Reset my Kindle to factory defaults

Not having a Wi-Fi modem* and remembering how hard it had been to register my Kindle Fire when I bought it [I had to go into work and ask to use their Wi-Fi connection], I quickly decided that the first option was not for me. Instead, I chose option 2 – resetting the Kindle to the factory defaults.

<<cue ominous music>>

This is where my geek friends roll around in fits of laughter, and my reputation as a baby geek takes a nose-dive. Let’s just say I should have known better. In my own defence, I have to say I did know that resetting the Kindle would mean losing all the ebooks I’d downloaded from Amazon, but in my wisdom I thought it would not matter because :

a) I’d already read those books anyway, and

b) I could always download them again from my Amazon account if I wanted to re-read them.

It did not even occur to me that there might be an option ‘c’ to consider. 😦

So…I did the deed. I’m not providing pictures because I don’t want to make this too easy in case someone does it by mistake, or in a drunken fit. Anyway, the steps are detailed below:

With the Kindle Fire 6 turned on, swipe to unlock, tap Apps, tap Settings, tap Device Options, and finally, if you’re brave [or foolhardy] tap Reset to Factory Defaults. You’ll be given one chance to change your mind, but once you tap OK you won’t be able to stop the process; everything currently on your Kindle Fire will be erased.

Sadly, it was only when the screen prompted me to register my newly empty Kindle that I realised I’d done the very thing I had not wanted to do – i.e. I’d erased the registration data along with everything else. Ut oh….

I won’t detail the choice words that flew around my office at that point. Suffice to say I was not happy. I did consider asking my neighbour if I could use her Wi-Fi connection to re-register my Kindle Fire, but embarrassment stopped me before I could dial her number. I hate having to explain that I’m not really a complete luddite, just a scrooge. [I built my house with Cat 5 cabling in the walls so my network is hardwired. I don’t need Wi-Fi…except at times like these.]

Anyway, that was when desperation made me remember something I’d read about using a mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Could I do it?

Much research later, I finally found a video clip that detailed how to turn a Samsung Galaxy S2, Android version Jellybean [exactly what I now have] into a mobile hotspot. And this is it:

It’s a great video, but it does go very quickly so I’ve provided a sort of step-by-step transcript below:

  1. Make sure your S2 is fully charged
  2. Turn it on and swipe to unlock
  3. On the home screen tap Apps
  4. Then tap Settings
  5. Then tap …More settings
  6. Then tap Tethering and portable hotspot

The next bit involves a slight change of technique.

When you see an option called Portable Wi-Fi hotspot, don’t tap it. Instead, tap-hold-slide the slider bar from ‘O‘ across to ‘I‘ as shown below:

Wifi hotspot 1

Now tap Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot. You will get a warning message that says turning the portable Wi-Fi hotspot on will turn the phone’s Wi-Fi off. Tap OK.

Next you will get a message saying ‘enabling Wi-Fi Hotspot’. When it’s finished doing what it needs to do, the display changes to show the ‘I’ lit up in green:

Wifi hotspot 2

Tap the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot option to display the configuration options as shown below:

Wifi hotspot 3Your phone will have a default name and password. At this point you have two options, you can either change the default name and password on your phone, or you can leave it as is and simply connect your Kindle to the phone’s default hotspot settings. Either way, your Samsung Galaxy S2, Android version Jellybean is now an active mobile hotspot.

Now to connect your Kindle Fire to the Wi-Fi.

Keep your phone set to portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

Turn the Kindle Fire on.

Swipe to unlock.

At the top of the screen, tap Apps.

Tap the Settings option.

Tap Wireless and VPN.

Tap Wi-Fi.

The next Wi-Fi option is set to ‘Off’. Tap it once to change ‘Off’ to ‘On’.

You should now see the name of your mobile phone in the list of available hotspots. If it’s not there, tap ‘join another network’ to make your Kindle sense the mobile phone’s presence.

Once you see the name of your mobile phone on the list, tap it to select it.

You may now be asked for the phone’s password. This will be the password shown on the configuration screen of your mobile phone!

Tap in the password and the Kindle should show a connection to your mobile hotspot. Yay!

Now, follow the Kindle Fire onscreen prompts to complete the registration of your device.

Note: The email address required to register your Kindle will be the email address you use to login to Amazon. Similarly, the password will be the normal password you use to log in to Amazon.

Once you’re done, your Kindle Fire should sync with your Amazon account and display your most recent purchases. I downloaded my two missing ebooks via the mobile hotspot but doing so does chew up quite a bit of the data allocation – i.e. it’s expensive so be warned.

Finally, when everything is ticketty boo again, close Wi-Fi on your Kindle Fire.

Now to fix up your phone.

If the screen has gone black, just tap the ‘On’ button at the side of the phone to wake it up. It should still be showing the configuration screen for the portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

Turn the portable Wi-Fi hotspot off by moving the slider bar from ‘I’ back to ‘O’.

Your mobile hotspot is now off but you are not finished yet. Go back to Settings/Wireless and networks and turn the [ordinary] Wi-Fi option back to ‘I‘.

[Do not get confused, this is the setting your phone uses. It is not the portable hotspot setting].

And that is that. A lot of work to fix a silly error. The only good thing to come out of this is that I’ve got my new ebooks back and I’ll have something to read tonight. Oh and I’ve learned some new stuff about my phone. 🙂



*Normally when I buy ebooks from Amazon, I download them to my pc and then sideload them onto my Kindle device[s].


How to transfer photos from Samsung Galaxy SII to the PC – update Nov. 10, 2013

Since posting my little how-to back in March, 2013, I’ve had a number of people commenting that the instructions did not work for them. With help from other commenters, and a lot of time on the technical forums, I’ve seen a pattern emerge. Basically, most of the problems are not to do with the Samsung phone itself, but with the Android operating system the phone uses.

In simple terms, Android is to the Samsung what Windows is to the PC, except that there seem to be far more versions of the Android – even within the same model of Samsung phone.

The original how-to I wrote works for Android version 4.0.3. ONLY.

To find out what version of the Android software your phone uses, go to Applications, then Settings, then About Phone [down the bottom of the menu list].

Now, if your version of Android is earlier than 4.0.3 – say 2.0 or 3.0 – then there is a good chance the reason you cannot transfer photos to the PC is because your phone came with only 1 cable. In these earlier versions, this one cable was supposed to work for both charging the phone and transferring data.

Over time, this cable can become slightly damaged. It may still charge the phone, but it can no longer transfer data.

The solution we [other commenters and I] have found was to try a dedicated data transfer cable. They are relatively inexpensive so worth a try. If the new cable works then you know the problem was with the cable rather than the phone.

Another problem we discovered was that for some versions, the process works BUT apparently you have to try it THREE times in a row before it ‘clicks’. I have no idea why that should be, but more than one commenter has said it works.

Finally, we have the issue of people whose version is more recent than 4.0.3. In particular, those running Android version 4.0.4.

Apparently, this version of Android does not have the USB option at all.

“Samsung removed the USB mass storage option in the ICS update, instead moving entirely to MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) for file transfers.”


The ICS update mentioned in the quote above is the update to 4.0.4.

In searching for info on this Media Transfer Protocol [MTP] I stumbled across a workaround. Before people get too excited, however, this workaround is for the Samsung Galaxy S3 running the 4.0.4 software, not the S2. Moreover, the workaround is for transferring photos from the S3 to Linux, not Windows.

The core of the workaround seems to be to use the ‘Camera [PTP]’ option instead of MTP.

If you follow the link below, it will take you to a step-by-step guide [with screenshots] on using this workaround. The person who posted the guide is called Rocksockdoc, and the post is ‘permalink #12’, so you will have to scroll down a bit until you find it.


Unfortunately I can’t experiment with the workaround because my version doesn’t support it, so I cannot recommend that anyone tries it. However if someone does try it, could you please let us know whether it worked or not? If the workaround works it could save a lot of frustrated users.

And last but not least, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on the original post. The success stories all made my day, and the not so successful stories motivated me to learn more about smart phones than I otherwise might have done. Thank you so much for your support.



How to upload photos for Samsung Galaxy SII, Gingerbread build… I hope.

I’ve been trying to find info for people using the Gingerbread build of Samsung Galaxy SII. Gingerbread is an older build and I’m not sure if the info below applies to it or not, but the post was written a year and a half ago so the timing seems right.

I have copy/pasted the info below directly from the post I found. To check out the entire thread, click on the following link.


[Note: to find out what your particular build is, tap Settings then go to About Phone. There you should find the model, version, build info etc for your phone.]


1. Re: uploading photos

rinthos Jan 7, 2012 8:27 PM (in response to jblast101)

Without knowing type of computer this can be tough, but generally speaking…

(I’m taking the content below from : http://androidforums.com/android-media/200379-how-do-i-upload-photos-samsung-galaxy-s-pc.html

saves me re-typing..one thing to note, I think it’s DCIM\100 not just DCIM).

Instructions: Step by Step

As almost ANY Digital camera would be…

the DCIM folder contains your photo’s taken from your phone..

Media folder would be any photo’s you placed yourself…

But Generally DCIM is your Main folder…

This is after you Set your Photo to Mass Storage.

Samsung Galaxy S Exact Instruction to Confirm and explain Below;

Plugging in Samsung Galaxy S:

Step 1. Settings > [Scroll to the Bottom] About Phone > USB Settings > Select “Mass Storage” [This should be the one with Green Dot, if it isnt, Select it] – Once this is done Exit to home screen (Press the back button until back to main screen with background – Not necessary but no point having it on setting screen)

Step 2. Plug in Device to Computer via USB Cable – XP / Vista / 7 works good – Mac Tiger or up Works good too

Step 3. Use the Top Status Bar and pull it down.

Step 4. Select the Status that mentions “USB Connected”

Step 5. A pop up window will show up. Press – MOUNT

Your Device SD is now mounted to PC and is acting as a Mass Storage Removable Disk.

My Computer > Removable Disk X (where X is the next letter available to name a drive)

There you’ll find your DCIM folder Plus other folders.

Drag / Copy / Move – Any files you need

Once Done Follow these Steps:

Removing / Unplugging Samsung Galaxy S:

Step 1a. Close the Removable Disk Folder and Make sure No Files is Transferring and/or make sure no program (including windows) is talking to the Removable drive.

Step 1b. You can Safely remove your Drive from your computer. But this step isn’t necessary.

Step 2. Open your Status Bar on your Phone on the top screen by pulling it down

Step 3. Click on Status bar “Turn off USB Storage”

Step 4. a Pop up will show up. Click “Turn Off” – This will Dismount your removable Drive from your computer.

Step 5. Unplug your USB cable.

You Are Done.


You have another Option. Download Samsung Kies. from Samsung Official Website.

Support for that program is offered by 1-800-SAMSUNG. Although I personally ill advise using that program unless you need to update your phone or back up Device Memory Contacts. That program has known issues and Samsung has taken it off there website numerous times to do “Patch updates” on it to prevent it from crashing.

Hope This Helps.

Finally, if having issues…start over (unplug from computer)..

In the settings go to Wireless and network. Tap to open, go to USB utilities, tap to open. USB mass storage comes up, tap on connect storage to pc. A message comes up, now connect your usb cable to your phone and computer. The little green android guy comes up. Tap the connect USB storage, the circle turns then the little green android turns orange and says USB storage in use. Auto Play will pop up on your PC screen. Click on open folder to view files. Double click DCIM, click on thumbnail. There are your pics, you can now move them to your computer. Good Luck


As you can see, the alternate method is pretty much the one I described in my original post. Hopefully, most people will be able to upload their pics using one method or the other.

Finally, if all else fails, beg, borrow or buy a new USB cable in case the one you have is faulty. 

As always, I’d love to know how you go.



Samsung Galaxy SII – extra instructions

When I wrote the original guide – how-to transfer photos from the Samsung Galaxy SII mobile phone to the computer – I left out the steps that happen on your computer because there are now so many versions of Windows floating around.

Since then I’ve had a number of people emailing me for help on the Windows side of things. The following how-to is for Windows XP users.

Samsung Galaxy SII – the missing Windows XP steps

Important : the following steps can only happen once the Samsung Galaxy SII has been correctly attached to your computer –  i.e. your computer ‘sees’ your phone and can control it in the same way it controls the mouse or keyboard.

Step 1   If all has worked so far, this is the first screen you should see on your computer :

windows wizard

Click the Next button to continue.

Step 2   The computer should find the pictures on the Samsung and display them.

windows wizard 2

Note : The small green checkbox on the top right-hand corner of each individual photo contains a green tick. This indicates the photo has been selected for transfer to your computer. You can uncheck the pictures you don’t want to transfer by clicking the checkbox [it’s like a light switch, click once for on, click a second time for off]. When you are done, click Next.

Step 3   The next screen is to select the folder where you want the transferred photos to go on your computer. The important thing here is to take note of where that folder is so you can find your photos after you have transferred them.

windows wizard 3

Click OK to select the folder, and then Next to continue.

Step 4   This screen shows you the folder location on your computer AND it gives you the option to create a family name for all the photos being transferred. So for example, I chose to call them ‘Wedding photos’ so each individual photo will be called Wedding Photo 1, Wedding Photo 2, etc.

windows wizard 4

Click Next to continue.

Step 5   When your photos have finished being transferred, you will get the option to do some other task. Just click the ‘Nothing. I’m finished working with these pictures’ button, and then click Next.

windows wizard 5

You’ve now finished transferring your photos to your computer, but your Samsung Galaxy SII phone is still connected to your computer by the USB cable. You should now return to the original guide to safely disconnect your phone from the computer. Do NOT just yank the USB cable out!

I am currently using Windows 7 so if anyone is desperate, please email me via the Contacts page and I’ll write a quick post for Windows 7 users as well.

If there are any Windows 8 users out there who would be prepared to take screenshots, and write up a post for their systems, I’d be delighted to link to your posts.

As always, please let me know if you find any mistakes or have any problems. I’d also love to know if there have been any success stories!



How to use the USB cable to transfer photos from the Samsung Galaxy S II to Windows XP

I recently posted a very unhappy article about my Samsung Galaxy S II phone, and how I could not use the USB cable to upload photos from the phone to my pc. Well… now I know how to do it and I thought I’d share.  😀

Before I begin, I’d like to extend a huge thank you to the girl at Virgin Mobile who took my call, and walked me through the process with understanding and patience. It took a while so… thank you!

Now, the very first thing you have to do is make sure the Galaxy S II’s USB cord is NOT connected to your pc. If it is, none of the following steps, or screenshots will make any sense. More importantly, the process will not work because there is a strict sequence of events that must happen before you plug in the USB cable. I’m serious. UNPLUG IT!

Step 1. Turn on your Galaxy SII and swipe the screen to unlock it. [I did warn you this would be basic].

Step 2. Tap the ‘Applications’ icon on the main screen

Step 3. Inside the ‘Applications’ menu, tap the ‘Settings’ icon

Step 4. You should now be looking at the Settings menu. Right at the top there should be a category called ‘Wireless and Network’. I have circled it in yellow.

galaxy 1

For some reason known only to Samsung, the name of the category is in very small type and easy to miss.

Under ‘Wireless and Network’ you will see options starting with ‘Wi-Fi’, and ending with ‘More’.  I have circled this in red. Tap ‘More’.

Step 5. Under the  ‘More’ menu you will see a new set of options, including ‘USB utilities’. Tap ‘USB utilities’.

Step 6. Under ‘USB utilities’ you will see just one option – ‘USB mass storage’.

Beneath that you will see an icon telling you to ‘Connect Storage to pc’.

Tap the ‘Connect Storage to pc’ icon as shown below.

galaxy 3

Step 7. Finally, you will see ‘USB utilities – Connect USB cable to use mass storage’.

galaxy 4

At last you can CONNECT THE CABLE!!!!

Once you connect the USB cable from the phone to the pc,  you will hear your pc make a noise to alert you to the fact you have connected a new device.

On the phone, you will see a new screen.

galaxy 5

Step 8. Tap the ‘Turn on USB storage’ icon and then tap the ‘OK’ icon as shown below.

galaxy 6

Step 9. From this point onwards, you will have to follow the Windows Wizard to transfer the photos to the folder of your choice.  These should be fairly easy to follow, however if anyone needs help I can send you the screenshots by email.

Step 10. When you have finished transferring your photos, you will see the following screen on your phone.

galaxy 7

To unmount [or eject] your phone from the pc, look on the taskbar of your pc for the ‘Safely Remove Hardware’ icon [as shown in the following screenshot].

safely remove hardware 1

Step 11. Right click the icon and follow the Windows prompts.

When you see the following Windows message you are ready to go back to the phone for the last step.

safely remove hardware 2

Step 12. On your phone you can now tap the ‘Turn OFF USB storage’ icon as shown in the first graphic under Step 10. And finally, disconnect the USB cable.

Phew. We’re done. The whole process is a bit convoluted but once you get used to it it’s bearable. Just.



WARNING! multiple rants ahead

I thought I was going to have a great day today. I was looking forward to showing you some pictures of the pet emu wandering around Lavandula Farm [the setting for the wedding on the weekend]. I was particularly pleased with these photos as I’d taken them with my Samsung Galaxy S II mobile phone!

Before I go on I should explain that my daughter and I have had these phones for about 6 months now and neither of us knows how to use them properly. She knows the bare basics, but until the weekend, I didn’t even know how to answer an incoming call.

I can almost see the looks of horror and disbelief on your faces,  but you see,  I am used to buttons acting like buttons, and the important ones on this phone aren’t buttons at all. Just learning that was a huge breakthrough. I knew I was supposed to swipe the screen to answer a call, but I didn’t know I had to swipe across the buttons, instead of just swiping anywhere on the screen. So sometimes it worked, and most of the time it didn’t. And because I use the phone so rarely, I never had the opportunity to see a pattern emerging.

For those of you who haven’t experienced the joys of touch screen living, I found this youtube video that will show you what I mean.

Anyway, I have loathed this phone for 6 months and have used it [successfully] about three times. I rarely go out and when I do, the phone only comes with me  in case the car breaks down or something. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Twenty-six years ago I had a tiff with my husband. I waddled my 7 month pregnant body to the car and took off in a huff. It was about 9 o’clock at night and I was just driving aimlessly when… the car ran out of petrol. I was in some kind of industrial looking area and the only light I could see came from this house? warehouse? tucked behind huge wrought iron gates.

The gates were open so I walked in. I went around the back and found a guy working on a motorbike. I used to ride motorbikes, and I still love them, so we had a nice little conversation,  and then he very kindly let me use his phone to ring the Husband. All ended well, but I was never allowed to live down the fact I’d waddled into a Hell’s Angels club house by mistake.

So I’ve learned the value of having a mobile phone, but only for emergencies.  I don’t like chatting on my phone. I don’t listen to music on it. I don’t send emails on it. I don’t tweet on it, or look up restaurants, or check addresses. It’s… Just. A. Phone.

Getting back to my rant, a friend showed me how to use the camera function [and a heap of other functions] while we were waiting for the Bride to make her Grand Entrance. Like a kid with a new toy, I thought I’d finally found a use for The Beast!

Fast forward to this morning. I found the USB cord for the phone, hopped on the net and found some nice, detailed instructions on how to upload my lovely photos to the PC. Great, right? Wrong. None of the menu items in the instructions corresponded to the items on my menus. What the…?

Then I stumbled across another tip that said I could just email the photos to myself. So I found the email function on the phone and laboriously entered my email address and password into the app.

Now, I have small hands, okay? But I grew my nails for the wedding. Do you think I could key that stuff in properly? It was hell, especially the password. But I persevered. And then, when I finally got it right, something else turned out to be ‘wrong’. That was the point at which I gave up.

I hate this phone. I hate its user interface. I hate the assumption that everyone will be able to work it out ‘intuitively’. Hah. I hate the fact that things that look like buttons don’t work like buttons. I hate the lack of logic to it. I hate that I have to be shown how to do the simplest things like a child being taught how to use a spoon. And most of all I hate that this is the way of the future.

About ten years ago I owned a very, very small business teaching Baby Boomers how to use PC’s. So many of them had avoided learning computers in the 80’s and 90’s and now they were getting left further and further behind.

I told my clients the learning curve was worth it because it would give them mental freedom, and a sense of digital community even as time  stole their physical freedom.

I still believe in the power of the internet, and in the need to stay mentally fit and active, to learn and embrace new challenges. That is why I own this freakin’ mobile phone. I don’t want to become a little old lady who’s scared of new gadgets, and becomes horribly isolated because of that fear.

I am determined to master this phone of mine, and I will, eventually. But I am never going to stop hating it, or Apple for coming up with this monstrous innovation in the first place. It may be the way of the future, but I hate it.

I am not even a little bit happy at the moment. 😦


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