Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Beta star is born

Where can you find Google play beta apps nowadays ? In the past you could simply go to the app store and click on “Early Access” and you were given a list of apps which are currently in open Beta testing.

Come 2019, things on the play store have changed and it is hard to impossible to find those beta apps anymore. Without much of any announcement google has removed the link and it is now up to the developers to stir up some marketing SEO, and social campaigns to point to the link in the Google play store.

I have created a new version of CPU Information in the past weeks called CPU Information Pro

After working and sweating for some time to pull this app together I pushed it into Open Beta testing and was expecting that it will be visible to those who are seeking out new apps and early versions of games. However, the google play beta apps page is no more and so there is little a user can do in order to actively seek out the latest new apps by himself through the pay store.

On the social front, a developer can now find users willing to test their app on Facebook ( Of Course ).

Pinterest is another social opportunity to promote your beta app, and so are Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and others.

Since I still have my Google+ account until April 2 this year ( 2019 ), I also went ahead and added a tink on my page there as well as on the collective Beta Testing Apps – page.

Of course I also created a special web page for CPU INformation Pro where the app can feel right at home and where I display all the goody-goodies of it. And while I have the space, I also added a lot of nice screen captures and images to display the app to the best of my abilities.

All of this is however no substitute for the might of the Play Store’s recommendation and browsing abilities. So it leaves a void for developers of new apps and games to display and promote them during the crucial startup-phase.

I have posted the question on Reddit Here and Here and there does not seem to be another way to get Open Beta to test users.

And so google has left you on your own

Over the past few month google has been changing things around for app developers, and for Android users.

As things stand it may get worse for the developer community as google set out to replace Android with Fuchsia OS in the near future. Wile I don’t want to get into the insanity of why this does not make any sense for them to do so IMHO, it just goes to show the changing relationship from a formerly supportive, open and engaging company towards a closed system company.

It seems google is on track to repeat Microsofts’ mistakes from the 90’s. A mistake Microsoft is now trying hard to fix and honestly if things continue this way they will take a bigger bite out of googles cake.

Googles biggest mistake in the past has been to remove Don’t be Evil from their Code of Conduct. The replacement with Do the right thing is a complete takeover of corporate greed. The right thing for google ( Aka Alphabet ) is to make money and is not bound to any other human values, thus the right thing may as well be to pass on all your information to the Kremlin or to the Chinese government.

Okay I am not saying that this is what is going on, I just want to point out that the lack of social value in this sterile term “Do the right thing” is a shift in how google approaches the rest of the world.

Google Play Beta Apps gone “bye bye”

At this point in early 2019 developers and Android users alike have lost the ability to connect through the Play store for Early Accessing apps and games. And as of now there is no official way to replace this lost ability.

There is only hope for either google fixing this missing piece or fro a third party to jump in and offer a means to provide this information in a structured and searchable manner to Android users and developers.

Throwing money at google

Here, take these $26.​60 google to find me some nice people to install my app.
... but why would you do that ? Google already rakes in billions of dollars in revenue … Well let me tell you why.

I have been running a few AdWord campaigns in the past and I wanted to run a new ad campaign for my latest app :
CPU Information

CPU Information

As I just started out with this campaign and as I am not a huge corporation but a small indy-developer, I started with $20,- and thought to myself I want to get up a bit on the high side and then reduce my bid target to stretch the money throughout a 24 hour time period. So I started to target at $0.15 per conversion.

Chill time

Off I went onto doing different things. Then about an hour later I checked back and I had spend $26.60 already on this campaign. so 30% over budget and way earlier than expected. However this is not the reason I told you that I threw money at Google, the real head scratcher came when I wanted to correlate the approximately 200 conversions to my play store account.

Interestingly The play store hourly installs did not budge at all. So it is almost as if another app profited from my investment :(. I have no idea how this may have happened as I would have expected to see at least the bump of an additional 200 installs during that time period. Also My AdMob account showed the same unmoved result, as if nothing had happened and the 200 conversions did not reach my app at all.

I have shifted my approach now and reduced my bids down to $0.05 to stretch the installs out. Next thing to do is to go and dig a little bit deeper into stats from Firebase, the Play store, AdMob, and AdWord.

I want to find out what happened to my supposed conversions and the approx 42k views of my app. If you have an idea of what could be going on, please share and let me know.

AdWord where …

After some more digging I found one issue with the campaign which was location. Originally I wanted to only target the US and Canada. I set this up but I must have forgotten to click on the [Save] button before starting the campaign.
Thus my ads were distributed worldwide and a good chunk of the installs went to the southern hemi-sphere, to countries like Libya, Algeria, Iraq, India to name a few.

While this explains why the money was exhausted as fast as it was at the target bid prices, as well as why my AdMob revenue did not jump up. After all the cost-per-click in these regions is usually way below
what you will get in the northern hemi-sphere, I.e.  Europe or northern America. 
So from a regional targeting you get more per click however at the same time it is also way more expensive to get traffic to your app.

App Store stats …

I am still investigating as to why my app-store does not reflect the additional 200 installs.

And finally this mystery has been solved as well. It took The play store around 6hours to get the hourly stats to reflect the actual installs which came from this one-time boo-boo of mine.

What have we ( I ) learned

  • Be careful when starting a new ad campaign. Going forward I will set the max allowance to a small enough amount so that in case something does ot work out as expected, I can re-adjust before go all in.
  • Look at the stats of all available sites, like AdMob, AdWord, Google Play, and Firebase
  • Be patient. I have had some interesting correlation dissonance happened to me in the past. Especially the google play store stats are somewhat funky.

Android Oreo’s CPU stats

I have been using Android phones for a long time now and have never really considered switching to an iOS device. I think that ever since Android version 4.x ( 3.0 was terrible ) the hardware and software selection was better than those offered by Apple. From there on, Android waas getting better by the release it seemed … or was it ?

Google has however started to remove features from the OS over the past few years which is starting to limit the apps which can be written for these devices.

The storage API is one example which started to slowly diminish over time and is getting to the point where you can no longer access external storage in a concise and manageable way.

With Oreo, google has again removed some functionality which was very useful. This time Google made it impossible to monitor, and report on the CPUs utilization of its cores or the overall CPU utilization.

New motto ???

All of /proc/stat has been disabled for non-System apps, as a side-channel. More information, with an official response from Google here: https://issuetracker.google.com/issues/37140047

While there is an API available to retrieve similar information, it is only available for kiosk-like devices and not enabled in a stock mobile device. Starting from API level 24:

HardwarePropertiesManager propertiesManager = (HardwarePropertiesManager)context.getSystemService(Context.HARDWARE_PROPERTIES_SERVICE);
CpuUsageInfo[] cpuUsages = propertiesManager.getCpuUsages();

But only system apps have access to this API, because only system apps can have android.permission.DEVICE_POWER permission, which is needed here.

So the developer, and the users are left out in the dark on what’s zapping the Phones battery, and you will never know when the cores got to 100% proactively but only when your phone slows down.

Please let me know if you have Oreo ( and above ) and you know of an app which does display the CPU stats for you.

D-Tube, video cryptonite

D-Tube is a distributed video platform based on Steem . Say what ???
Okay I can see the proverbial question marks popping off of your head. No worries, I am hear to help.

Lets  go through this one fancy term at a time.

Steem, Steemit, Steem-Dollars, Steem-Power


We all know Bitcoin or we have heard of it. That magical unicorn currency which created billionaires over night. And while a lot of what has happened in the past few months was mostly negative, such as the collapse of bitconnect, the underlying technology is sound and offers many new opportunities in the tech sector.

As bitcoin has eased off last years heights of over $19000,-US per bitcoin, it currently stands at around $3200,-US per bitcoin, the whole blockchain technology front is in search of providing value beyond the selling of dreams of digital currency backed by … well I leave that up to you to figure out …

Steem is a crypto currency which is in contrast to bitcoin is based off the. Here is a good rundown of what steem is. This article goes into steem vs steem-dollar vs steem-power.
Overall, steem solves a major problem in digital content creation. You can consider Steemit as similar to Reddit, where users can create and publish their content online and get rewarded for it. However, there is one major difference. it also rewards its users using cryptocurrency!

Oh and it is uncensored, decentralized and safe .. in theory.

D-Tube, the YouTube alternative

D-Tube was started by Adrian M  as an alternative to other digital content platforms such as YouTube. The whole concept is build around the steem cryptocurrency and as a creator you will be rewarded with Steem instead of US Dollars.

There is a lot to learn about Steem and D-Tube in the beginning but once you created your account with steemit you can go ahead and create contents and publish it on D-Tube without the fear that your video may be removed by a corporate working slave with a set agenda.

What’s more is that Steem will reward you for any kind of contents you create and publish on the Steemit platform. For example I am publishing this WordPress blog post on the Internet and also on Steemit to increase visibility, and potentially earn a few cents of Steem ( Dollars and Power ).

D-Tube app

​​ 
The D-Tube app can be used to view videos in a very similar fashion as you would watch YouTube videos. However the functionality at this point in time is not much further advanced as creating a shortcut to the d.tube mobile friendly web page on your home screen. Both solutions allow you to get very similar functionality as YouTube’s video client.

From a technological point of view I think that both YouTube, and D-Tube are neck-to-neck and you will have no issues finding your way around the app.


Video Quality

Now I am not talking about the resolution, bitrate etc here. What I mean with quality is the contents of the video provided on the platform.

While it is true that you can earn money on D-TUbe, the ability to do so heavily depends on the Whale’s on Steem. In reality what you will realize is that while there is no censorship on steemit, there is an indirect censorship driven by the people with the most money ( Steem-Power ).

If you make a video which one of those whale-people likes, you stand to earn a lot of money. On the other hand, if you like to create contents about knitting or Java, there will be very little you can earn.

But on the positive side, just like YouTube, you can create your audience over time and if you are truly good at what you do and you do provide real value to — the community –, then you can grow your income as well over time and eventually become one of those whales yourself.

App vs web-page-shortcut

Android App
Android App
If you are thinking about installing the app or simply creating a web-page-shortcut, then either one will do the trick at this time. I am confident that over time there will be more advantages in choosing the app.

For not my recommendation though has to be to go to your mobile browser, navigate to https://d.tube, then find your settings and “Add to Homescreen”.
Web Page Shortcut
Web Page Shortcut


Creator vs Consumer

The answer is Yes ( or 42, depending on your leaning ). You have to check this out and decide for yourself if you like it. I found myself fascinated with the whole concept and given the proper circumstances, I can see this platform grow by leaps and bounds over the coming years.

YouTube killer … not quite yet. But if YouTube continues to disregard the smaller contributors and build more negative sentiment I have no doubt that a platform like D-Tube will give the multi billion $ behemoth a run for its money ( and future ).

Overall app rating : 3 stars out of 5.
Overall technology rating : 5 stars out of 5.
Overall honesty rating : 5 stars out of 5

Get it on Google Play

JAMFOX earbits

A few weeks ago, my trusted BT headphones broke. I had them for about a 1.5 years and I was very happy with them.

They were comfortable and quality was great and they were omni-present to the point where I forgot I was wearing them around my neck.

 
I charged them up once in the morning and when I returned from work they could still give me company until bedtime. Obviously not un-interrupted.

Then one day the left side speaker gave out. It was the cable. In my younger days I would have fixed it with my soldering iron but as you grow older you tend to value your time more and so I decided to get a pair of new bluetooth headsets. 

JAMFOX Earbits

Wireless headphones have shrunk down to the point where they have been renamed to earbuds. Well JAMFOX thought earbits may be more along the lines of their marketing strategy and indeed those speakers are tiny bits of Bluetooth technology.

You get two bluetooth devices which connect to your phone. You can also use them individually. For example, you could loan one to your friend and keep the other one connected to your phone.

A fun experiment is to connect them to different phones and listen to both at the same time. Absolutely the best solution for people with multiple personality disorder.

In my case I was more the normal user and wanted to listen to music most of the time, talk on my phone, and also have the ability to use only one side to have the second ear available for my colleagues at work while I am in the kitchen eating lunch. 

Setup and usage.

In order to pair the set to your phone you have to only pair the JAMFOX-L and ignore JAMFOX-R. That is you do not need to pair the right side with your phone. The Left earbit will connect to the right earbit and thus allow you to listen to stereo.

The bits both come with built in microphones and allow you to do a normal phone call. They behave as you would expect, which means they will stop playing your music or video when a call is coming in.

Another great thing about those little gems are the touch sensors sitting on top of each earbit. They are used to pause / play, as well as increase and decrease the volume through double-tapping the left of the right bit.

Troubleshooting

I used them the first 4 weeks without any issues and eventually I gotten myself into the situation where I could only listen to the left earbit OR the right one but not to BOTH at the same time.

Searching online did only reveal a set of instructions which did not work for me but eventually I figured out how I could get stereo back:

I could fix it by

  1. unpairing from my Android device ( Nexus 6 )
  2. pairing it with another phone ( Remember to only pair JAMFOX-L, and ignore the right channel ). Stereo came right on.
  3. I then unpaired it with the second phone and could
  4. finally get stereo back on my Nexus after re-pairing JAMFOX-L

I hope this helps people with similar problems.

Conclusion

Those are great earbuds / earbits / headphones to have and they are well worth the investment. The battery pack will allow you to basically survive the whole day without the need to plug in.

The sound quality is the only thing which could be better however this is mostly due to the size of the speaker and I would not expect them to of the same quality as a full sized headset.

Please share your experience with them if you have the same set of earbits.

Android Storage Wars

If you have ever tried your hand on coding for Android you certainly have found google’s JAVA based API to be somewhat of a incoherent mess in certain areas, which over time has evolved into an even larger incoherent mess in even more areas.

One of those messy areas is that of the android secondary storage API. All phones have a primary storage area, where you can store images, videos, apps, and application data, and some phones come with a secondary storage option. The API to gain access to the primary storage has evolved over time but allows you to seamlessly integrate proper functionality into your app.


Now you may assume that the Android secondary storage would follow the same paradigm, and grant the same access as the primary storage to your app. However you would be wrong making this assumption. The reason you have apps like the “ES File Manager” handling this for you seamlessly is purely through tricky code in the background which circumvent googles protective scheme for secondary storage, Aka a hack.

Dont do evil … yeah right!


Yes, google in its drive to push people into using their cloud storage is actively pressuring phone makers to get rid of that large secondary storage, or worse the micro-SD slot. That overarching goal of google is driving the API and the access rights to the Androids secondary storage media in a negative way.

Let’s start with a small bit of terminology. Since the dawn of Android, nearly every type of storage has been considered “external storage” even the non-removable flash memory that comes in every device. To distinguish, the non-removable flash memory is called “primary storage”<, while a removable micro SD card is called “secondary storage”. In the early Android versions, an app merely needed permission to WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE to be able to fully access both primary and secondary storage.

In March, 2011, a drastic change to Android was made which changed how secondary storage mediums (external SD cards) were mounted by the Android OS. Specifically, the commit read like this: “Mount secondary external storage writable by AID_MEDIA_RW rather than AID_SDCARD_RW.” This meant that the media would now have to belong to the “media_rw” group to modify the contents of the SD card. As a result, a new permission, called WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE, was added to the source code. Basically, WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE replaced the original WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE.

This change has a devastating effect on apps trying to utilize secondary storage because from now on forward only system apps could request the permission to read/write to the external storage ( I.e. sdcard ).

Android secondary storage

Since the WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE permission could be used by any normal app and thus any app can write to the primary storage but not to the secondary storage (external micro SD cards). The WRITE_MEDIA_STORAGE permission could write to the external micro SD card, but regular user apps could not request the permission. This change took place on Android 3.2 Honeycomb, but due to the logistics of hardware and storage mediums at that time, it was barely noticed.

Quote: “Starting around the time of Android 4.4 4 KitKat, and even a little earlier, the implementation of the userspace FUSE filesystem, in conjunction with changes to the open source code, resolved this problem. Yet, still to today, even with Android 8.x.x Oreo, third party apps must explicitly get the user’s permission for both primary and secondary storage before the app can alter either storage medium in any way. And of course, the newer concepts of adoptable storage have alleviated problems in this regard.” — end quote.

Bottom line

Thanks to google the way that most apps now handle android secondary storage heavily depends on the Android version being used. Unfortunately at this time most phones will have a hard time working with the secondary storage, but some phones do. I have updated the file browser integration into my apps and have fixed the issue of secondary storage on some Android versions and not on others.

This whole debacle has not only cost me weeks of effort and research, it has negatively affected all apps with file system access and is the main reason that almost all apps only storing their data on the primary storage, which in most cases is much smaller than the external storage. At this tmie you can get a cheap microSD card with up to 512 GB. However what good is this in your phone if most apps can only use the built-in 16GB ?

Crypto Portfolio app

Keeping track of your overall Crypto Portfolio is not as straight forward as it should be. Investing into crypto currencies can leave you with multiple wallets and online resources. Each one may contain different coins and tokens for different purposes.

It is highly recommended to store all ( or as much as possible ) offline, detached from the internet. This way hackers won’t be able to get their fingers on your hard earned Bitcoins, Ethereum, etc.

I have started to look into Crypto currencies in early 2018 and I see great potential in the basic ideas behind the technologies. While my timing was especially bad I wanted to know what the fuzz was all about. The best way to understand things though is to start playing with them. So I did spend some time and money learning a new technology.

Shut up and take my money

Shut-up-and-take-my-money
Shut-up-and-take-my-money

You need to sign up with and exchange when you want to buy some coins or tokens in order to convert your dollars into a crypto-currency. With Coinbase being one of one most popular which people would recommend for n00bs.

Coinbase allows you to convert to deposit funds using your credit card or your bank account information. Paypal is no longer supported. You can then exchange your fiat currency ( I.e. Dollars, Euros etc. ) into Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Etherium, or Litecoin. Any other crypto currency requires you to sign up with another exchange of which there are many to choose from.

Coinmarketcap.com, and coincap.io provide you the information as to which exchange supports the crypto token you are interested in.

Binance is one of those larger exchanges which has received good online reviews and has supposedly the lowest transaction fees.

Getting your hands on some crypto coins or tokens also requires you to safely store them somewhere. Here we have probably one of the weakest points in this area. Every crypto-currency has their own way of storing the tokens. You can keep them on your computer, in an online wallet, in offline wallets or as a paper wallet. You will quickly arrive at a point where you can lose track of your virtual wealth ( or as we have seen recently, the decline thereof ).

Crypto Portfolio

So I wrote a Crypto Portfolio app which will allow you to enter your token amount and then look at the market data for it. I will not store this information on the server but instead store it in your browsers’ cache so you don’t have to fear releasing any data to my servers.

One thing I quickly realized is that almost everything you do in crypto will cost you either a fee or a transaction cost.

Binance fees

So yeah Binance has a 0.1% trading fee however one thing which you will not see right away is that you will not be able to convert all of one crypto token into another crypto token.

Binance will always leave you with some leftover on their platform. These may vary but my worst case leftover position is worth about US$1.00.

On top of that Binance also requires a minimum transaction for certain coins. E.g. you require at least US$97.181- ( as of Feb 2 2018 ) in Etherium before you can transfer it out of Binance.

Then you have to pay for the actual transaction fees which for Etherium ar 0.01ETH, which is … well about $9.71 as of this date.

Since Binance does not display this information in a useful way I went ahead and added this into a table in my little app which you can sort to gather some more information on trading conditions of a certain coin. [ Menu -> Utils -> Binance Fees ]

So you add this all up and you end up spending a lot of money in the whole exchange process.

If you exchange E.g. $100,- by the time it leaves Coinbase you are down to about $97,- Then you exchange it for ETH on Binance and send it back to your private wallet, you end up with only about $85,- worth of ETH.

This of course does not take into account the huge market swings, which could increase or decrease your position a few percentage points in the time it takes to go through the whole operation.

To sum it all up

First though I have to remind you that; yes it is possible to lose money, which is why you should never put in more than you can afford to lose.

This app is in its early stages and I will certainly add more features as time permits. Please feel free to check it out here …

Please leave me some feedback for enhancements if you find it useful. Or follow the link below to the source code, make changes yourself, and then send them to me for integration 🙂

Resources

Graphing library used : NVD3 Re-usable charts for d3.js

If you click on the image below you can start using the app online from within my WebOS.
You can find it under [Start -> Utils -> Crypto ]. Note: This app does not send any data back to any server.

Feel you want to play with the code: follow the link to the Battlefield.

Startup ignite November 2017

Today I went to one of our local startup incubator called startup ignite.

Startup Ignite Flyer
Startup Ignite Flyer

The Meetup was originally started by Amu Fowler in ? 2014 ? And over the years I went to a few of these meetings on and off. I find it very interesting to meet new people, and see what ideas or dreams they have.

Meeting Amu at the Ignite Meetup
Meeting Amu at the Ignite Meetup

The Place:

This months Meetup was focused on patent on general and how they retire to a startup. You can find a link to the video below.

NOVA-Labs Logo
NOVA-Labs Logo

It was held at the NOVA-labs facilities in Reston VA, which in itself is another very interesting space to discover. I have a few projects which could use a 3D printed Chassis or use some of their tooling or build a 12ft tall Optimus Prime.  But I leave this to another time.

NOVA-Labs mad science going on
NOVA-Labs mad science

The People:

In the past I have mostly met and talked with people who were in the ideation phase or in the very initial phase of building a prototype or advancing their ideas. This time around I met a few folks who were in beta testing ( rukku.io ).

I had also a very techie talk with Keith Fowler, who is one of the organizers and likes to talk about programming languages probably add much as I do.

The good, the better, and the best:

Overall the Meetup was about twice the size since the last time I went and the content of the speeches and presentations were at a great level. I can only recommend to go and visit one of those meetups if you are ever in the greater northern Virginia area.

Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s the free pizza or maybe it’s the flair of the startup scene … but whatever it is, you will leave the place with a great satisfaction and who knows you may catch the startup bug.

Startup Ignite crowd
Startup Ignite crowd

Results from Fiverr for a new backdrop

I needed a new backdrop image for my YouTube Channel and while I was trying to come up with a good idea I wanted to see which results from Fiverr I could expect.

Fiverr
Fiverr

So at first I wanted to try the “Request a Gig”. However I did not appreciate that this feature is a curated feature and my request was rejected the next morning for some technical reasons. Obviously I sent in a support request because I wanted to understand what I had done wrong.

In the meantime I went ahead and was looking through the hundreds of designers who offered their services. This took about two hours of my time, which is exactly the reason I sent out the Request a Gig – request in the first place.

eventually I found a designer who had good reviews and was not asking for US $2800,- but a more reasonable $5,- for Basic, $15,- for standard, and $30 for the VIP package. Since I did not need VIP treatment but at the same time I though $5,- was on the cheap side, I went ahead and requested the $15,- standard package.

However I wanted to get at least one or two ideas / samples from him before I placed my order to avoid working with some one who is on a completely different train. So I contacted him, send him my requirements, and was surprised to see about 30 minutes later 4 screenshots with initial design suggestions.

Out of those I found one design which I considered a good starting point. So I asked him if he is willing to make some changes and replace some of the elements in the image with others. Wow, within about 15 minutes he had applied my changes.
I was impressed and wanted to place my order but he insisted that I first had to be happy with the results before I placed my order. I thought he wanted to avoid bad reviews, and as long as you don’t place an order I guess you can send a bad review ?

So anyways, long story short, it took a few hours back and forth, me on my smart phone, and he on his computer to eventually arrive to the image below.

Results from Fiverr

Backdrop created with Fiverr.

I was really happy with the results from Fiverr, and went ahead, placed my order and he sent the Adobe Illustrator file plus some rendered JPGs. However I found out that Inkscape on Linux would load the whole source file as a single Layer which was not what I wanted. So I asked him to send me the file as an SVG, which he promptly did, though yet again I could only see a single Layer.

I went again back and asked him to provide me the layers in separate layers, which he uploaded right away. All in all he provided me
12 layers
which I could then import in The GIMP in separate Layers and render to my liking.

Results from Fiverr

Overall this was a great experience and after I acknowledged the reception of my goods Fiverr offered the opportunity to give him another tip, which I gladly did.

All together, including tips and fees, I spent $27,- on the image and I had a great experience.

I have to say though that Fiverr is taking a bite out of you if you end up going for the $5,- Fiverr is charging you $1,- for a gig, Wich amounts to a whopping 16.66% of the total cost.

I will be going back and get some more artwork done for my SoftwareSamurai blog, or my YouTube Channel

Ordering a new TV

Going through the process of getting a new TV is always a stressful situation.

Wall Mount:

With our kitchen remodeling we were also in need of placing a TV over our fireplace. So the first search was for a proper wall-mount.
Finding one which fits the bill but does not bust the wallet was no easy feat and I finally ended up getting the AEON-5030, Pull-Down over Fireplace wall mount.


Pull down TV mount for fireplace - Aeon 50300

The Television:

Now this only took me an hour or two. Looking for a good TV on the other hand is a completely different beast. I wanted to get a 60 inch TV as 65 inch was too big to fit, and 50 inch seemed small by today’s standards.

So off I went to look at Walmart, BestBuy, Costco, Target and so on. Here were some of my requirements I was looking for in the new TV

  • 60 inch screen size
  • less than 60 pounds
  • 4k UHD resolution
  • Should be below $1000,-

Interestingly after some hours of wandering in the marketing forest, looking at different models of different brands, I found only one TV which fulfilled all of my requirements.

The LG 60UJ7700.

LG UJ7700

We picked our TV up at a BestBuy nearby for less than my set target of $1000,- and I am very excited about our new living room decor. I recommend you check out the LG 60UJ7700 at a store nearby, or if you like you can follow the link below and get one from Amazon.

AMAZON Affiliate link:

Now let’s talk some tech:

SUMMARY
Size 60 inch IPS display
Resolution 3840 x 2160
Display Type 4K UHD TVs
Display Format 4K UHD 2160p
HDMI Port(s) 4 (HDCP 2.2)
2 USB, 1 RF In (Antenna/Cable), 1 Composite In, 1 Component In, 1 Ethernet, 1 Optical
Operating System webOS 3.5
Active HDR with Dolby Vision™, Wider Color Gamut, Ultra
Natural Voice Recognition Yes

DIMENSIONS / WEIGHT
TV without Stand (WxHxD) 52.9” x 30.6” x 2.5”
TV with Stand (WxHxD) 52.9″ x 33.3″ x 10.7″
TV Shipping Dimensions (WxHxD) 58.7″ x 34.6″ x 6.9″
TV without Stand Weight 45.9 lbs
TV with Stand Weight 46.7 lbs

Review:

The LG 60UJ7700 features WebOS 3.5, the newest version of WebOS. As we know, WebOS is a smart TV platform which has a lot of low-level options but it still offers simple navigation. The user interface and layout is also designed attractively with strip bar at the bottom of the screen contains quick access to most of popular apps. Additionally, its performance is fast and responsive. Once an app is launched, the loading in time is very fast. Additionally, selecting between apps or multitasking also feels very responsive. Meanwhile, talking about apps provided, there are plenty of interesting and useful apps available. There are VoD apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, Hulu, Google Play Movies and more, web browser, LG Contents Store, Social Networking, and many more.

LG Magic Remote
The Magic Remote comes as the controller for the LG 60UJ7700. Like previous versions, there is a built-in microphone for voice navigation. The remote acts as a “point and click” input device which functions like a mouse on your PC. This certainly makes entering text, surfing the internet, and other navigation easier. However to fully enjoy those activities a external, physical keyboard with trackpad would do much better.

The use of an IPS panel causes black level and contrast produced by the LG 60UJ7700 to be weak, however this allows the LG 60UJ7700 to have a very wide viewing angle which is far better than TVs without IPS panels. This means the picture quality will look more consistent when the TV is viewed from the side.

Now as you can see from the picture below, in our case that won’t make a whole lot of a difference to us but it is worthwhile noting.

Construction Site
Construction Site

I will post some more images once we put this one up on our wall.