Raygional update “2.0 widget”

It’s been over 2 years without any updates. Simply because it worked for me and HTC sense has a nice feature to change the keyboard configuration when typing. But recently I played with other smartphones and DAMN I was wrong. Worse I did  not read users comment. That was my old self = no customer support. Some emailed me. Hey I can’t reproduce your problem since I don’t have your device. But things have changed since I have plenty of devices at work.

What’s in the update

Raygional had a major update.

  1. First the one click change didn’t work on most devices. Not great for an app supposed to change the language setting in one click. On my device it was working but that’s no excuse. Now it’s compatible with android 2.x and 4 (ICS) , no test on 3 (honeycomb ) if someone can report.
  2. Second now it has a widget which is showing the current language setting used. Click on the widget to change the language.

Raygional widget

For those don’t how to insert a widget , here is a how to:

  • android 2.x :  press Menu button > Add to Home > Widget > Select the widget
  • android 4 : click on the app list > go to widgets tab

Ideas for next updates

The locale setting does not change the keyboard. You can still have all the apps in German and keep the French keyboard. It’s troublesome because word completion is in the keyboard setting. will be the  That’s two different settings on OEM smartphones ( at least on Samsung Touchwiz and HTC Sense). One setting on Nexus S. I’ll try to add on the widget both : language used in the OS and the keyboard.

One minor, the language displayed on the widget is just the language without any regional preference. There is English (United Kingdom) , English( United States).

Graphic designer needed

The icon ( tongue with flags) I’m using is not mine . Just found on google . I’m looking for a graphic designer for Raygional. It’s just one single 512*512 icon. I’d be really grateful for the help. Email me at raychenon At indolor.com . You’ll get your name or alias ( for privacy ) in the special thanks.

 

a Day in Macau

For the first day in Macau , we didn’t bother to visit typical tourists attractions but the casinos.

This adventure happened on Sunday April 22 2012.

Quick facts

Even tough macao has its own currency Macau Patacas ( MOP ). They accept Hong Kong dollars ( HKD ).

Macau is one of the two special administrative region (SAR), the other being Hong Kong. Official language is portuguese. But English is spoken as much as in Hong Kong = not very well but good enough to have directions.

If you’re coming from Hong Kong, bring your passport. My main complaint is the inefficiency at the customs, add one hour in the waiting line.

From HK to Macau/Macao

The boat travel takes one hour on TurboJet ( others may be as fast) . Since Macau used to be Portuguese and Hong Kong British. Even tough they belong to China now.They have separate immigration systems. So you’ll need to fill a form and your passport will be stamped. Yep if you came to Hong Kong for a visa SORRY. I’m surprised at HK departure, no one checks if you have your passport. The customs entrance takes another hour. That’s the big complain. If Macau wants to attract more tourists, why not just skip this step ?

After the port exit, we didn’t bother to take a paid taxi or paid tour guide. There are plenty of free bus to the hotels. The hotels have casinos. If you want to see the typical Macau monument : St Paul’s Church Facade …  If you want to feel casino, have a great buffet, then take the free bus. We took the latter path.

The bus took us at the grand Lisboa hotel. As you’d expect all casinos / hotels are lavishly designed.

grand lisboa hall interior

Casino/hotel ambiance

I had been in Las Vegas long ago, I was underage. But I did remember the ambiance, the sound coins dropping , free cocktails … The casinos were filled with people.  Macao casinos are nearly empty on a Sunday. In some cases , there were as many clients as staff. But most are BIG players and spenders : few slot machines,  plenty of poker tables. Unfortunately photography is forbidden inside gambling area.

The casinos from outside and inside look splendid. This one is taken at  the fountain of the Wynn ( 永利 shui li).

Buffet

Like all casinos , you ‘d expect a great buffet. We spent zero on gambling, we went to Macao for one reason: luxury buffet. BTW HK Dollars are accepted.

Look at the freshness of the sushis. FYI The red drink is watermelon juice ( I don’t know how why it’s so red )

lunch at MGM Grand Buffet

Fresh sushi at MGM Grand Buffet

fresh seafood

From outside

From outside

This buffet is under the transparent arch. At this time , a construction was ongoing for Buttefly Pavilion.

butterfly expo

Macau outside

Few more photos of the day.

One day certainly is not enough to discover Macau . Is it worth to spend a day ? Depends if you’re more than a week in Hong Kong , yes.

on the way back to Terminal Ferry

 

Hong Kong facts

Hong Kong ( 香港  Xiānggǎng ) means “fragrant harbour” . Been there in 2010 for a week and now 2012 for a week, walked past a dozen times avenue of stars. Some interesting facts I spotted from local friends who showed me around. For westerners, some local customs strike first and that’s part of the travel experience.

Locations

Lodging alone is the biggest spending. Most tourists stay in Tsim Sha Shui area ( southern tip of Kowloon ). Personally I don’t recommend to stay at Chungking Mansions.

Hong Kong people tend to judge social status from the place you live :
– New Territories = countryside
– Kowloon ( except Tsim Sha Shui ) = normal people
– the Peak on Hong Kong Island = riches

What Hong Kong streets look like on causeway bay

Causeway Bay street on Hong Kong island

Things to see

You don’t need spend a lot to enjoy Hong Kong tourist spots. A ride on the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Shui to Central costs only 3 HKD. It takes only 8 minutes : the instant you set the foot onboard until you land a foot on the other side of the sea. There you can see Hong Kong skyline ( better at night for the light show )

Hong Kong skyline

Tian tan Buddha ( visited on foggy day on April , not the best timing ) on Lantau island ( airport )

Victoria Peak or simply “the Peak” on Hong Kong island .

Eating manners

In dim sum restaurants, an empty large bowl and hot water may be served before eating. Nope this bowl is NOT to put food by-products ( bones ) . Its purpose is to wash utensils in hot water or tea. As a safety precaution, some locals may think dishes are not clean. How to do it properly ? Pour the tea in   in the large bowl. Wash the tip of chopsticks in the bowl. For tea cups, pour the tea inside first then bath in the large bowl.

There is no strict rules like the tea ceremony. But rest assured, cases of food poisoning are rare in Hong Kong. This practice arises in areas of Southern China : Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Taiwan.

In higher end restaurants , a set of two chopsticks black and white are given. Black chopsticks are used to take food from mutual dishes to one’s plate. White ones are meant to carry food to your mouth.

Cuisine style

In Hong Kong it’s Cantonese style, the popular chinese cuisine in overseas restaurant. But it tastes different ( cannot describe by words ) on place.  Here is a glimpse of “oddities”

Below is the “creamy yellow bun”  and its alternate names are “steamed creamy custard bun” ,  奶黃包 (Nai huáng bāo) . It’s yellow egg inside, creamy and sweet. This one is a bit oily.

There is also the HK eggball, a version of “gaufre”

Shopping

Hong Kong is heaven for shopping. It’s tax free and you can almost anything. For electronics , it’s the best place  to buy. For example Apple products are the cheapest in the world. I bought a mac book pro for 9088 HKD (890 eur ) at the IFC Apple Store. In my country it would be 1150 eur. That’s more than 20% discount. How come ? Shenzhen , the world factory ( remember Foxconn) , is nearby. And Hong Kong is tax free. Ironically it’s even more expensive in Mainland China for products “made in China”, because the Chinese government put purchase taxes.

There is also an electronics market for computer hardware located at Sham Shui Po.

Airport

On Landing. When you land in the airport, take the Airport Express to go either Kowloon ( 90HKD ) or Hong Kong Central (100HKD). Then take the taxi or bus to join the place you’re staying. Taxi line can be very long at  station on raining days. I waited for nearly one hour for a 10 minutes ride. Probably it’s better to check if the bus is stopping at your hotel.

When leaving. HK’s airport is a model of efficiency. Luggages checkin are available at Airport Express stations (Kowloon, Hong Kong Central ) . No waiting lines. The stations themselves are shopping centers. The ride from Kowloon to airport takes 20 minutes. So after checking your luggages , there is still time to visit Hong Kong and arrive at the airport one hour before boarding. So great I’m used to arrive 3h before the flight thanks to Paris CDG airport.

Kowloon checkin

check-in luggages at Kowloon Airport Express station

In the airport itself , there are plenty of shops and food in the airport. The terminals are LONG, the longest I’ve seen. For this reason alone, I advise to arrive earlier.

 

Google Play in China

There are many alternatives to the official Android apps distribution ( aka Google Play formerly Android market ). I didn’t bother to publish on the less known app stores.

Users themselves find apps via the official way. But what if a big market cannot access Google Play. That’s the case in China where it’s censored . One way to distribute in China is to use a local App Store. One of them Ndoo contacted me.

I shipped one version CompassRay back in November 2011, they did the translation. I signed an agreement as “License to Use and Distribution”.

Visit NDoo

In April 2012, I visited Shanghai for a week. Since I know the city and I studied nearby at Fudan. So why not say hi to them. They were nice to welcome me at their offices in Northen suburds of Shanghai.

Ndoo  is addressed to developers. Nduoa ( N多网 ) is targeted at the Chinese market. The language is Chinese only.

They have 2 floors and about 100 people staff for the Shanghai office.

 

No longer true / Google Play is accessible in China

I could access all Google services ( gmail, search, maps, reader ) except Google Play and Youtube  on April 16 2012. But on April 17-18 2012, I can access it. It seems the Chinese government is blocking Google Play from time to time. Thanks to great firewall = China internet censorship . It’s frustrating , I asked many Chinese and they don’t even know why. From now Google Play is not blocked. Friends living in Shanghai confirmed they can download from Google Play

Anecdote

Since Google closed  their office in China, the operations are now done in Hong Kong . Here is what I found on April 20 at around midnight. Google search redirected to google.co.hk/xampp . They use an xampp stack .