Consumer Interest Consumer Tech

Consumer tech: Android phone tip of the day


My wife was stuck while using the WW app on her Samsung A51 smartphone. She needed to lookup a nearby “studio.” We’ve all seen these forms – you enter a zipcode and up pops their nearby locations. But in this case there was a problem. No keyboard was popping up! Instead the bottom of the screen below the search field was filled with some blather which we could not get rid of to reveal the presumably hidden software keyboard.

The (kludge) solution

Please note that I am a specialist in doing things the wrong way that manage to get it done. I noticed the field still permitted long touch, and hence paste (from the clipboard). So I told her to enter the zipcode into another app such as Evernote, copy that text into the clipboard, return to the WW app and paste it into that field.

And do you know – that actually worked!


So if you’re in a jam and just need to fill out a field on your Android phone but your software keyboard isn’t appearing, a way out is to paste the desired content from another app such as Evernote or Onenote.

References and related

I use this one all the time: find my phone – no BS apps, just the straight-up Google URL for this built-in service.

Consumer Tech

Verizon Tips I need but can never easily find

Verizon Phone Finder
They will lead you to some page that seems to suggest you needed to buy a premium service from them if you need to find your phone. Don’t fall for it. Or maybe you will get their other page which only sends you on to Google’s page. So, for Android phones, here is the universal phone finder link:

It’s pretty cool. It shows pretty precisely where the phone is, how much power is left and gives you the chance to ring it for five minutes and even lock it.

Apple iPhones

Use . But you’ll have to know your icloud password. Actually I’ve used the Android finder a few times but never really used the iphone finder. Hopefully it works just as well.

Change your Verizon Wireless Voicemail password
This is even harder to find unless you have just the right search terms.

From a Verizon app on your phone
I haven’t used this method.

From the My Verizon web site
I just used this so it works pretty well:

How to set up your voicemail so as not to enter a password
Basic idea: add a contact for Voicemail tack on two pauses, then append the password. So that will be


For instance I named this contact VM. If my password were 1234 the number would be


To generate the “,” character go to the special characters key to the right of # when typing in the number.


How to change Fitbit account from one user to another

I’ve had a lot of trouble with my Fitbit HR, or more to the point, with the auxiliary programs. Two different Dell computers can’t find it – Bluetooth driver problems perhaps? My Windows phone can’t sync to it 99% of the time. Then I used an old Android phone, but I realized it was set up with my spouse’s account. And there’s no way to change it from the app itself. What to do?

The details for Android devices
Short of a full Fitbit app uninstall, I found what works is to go to the same place where you would uninstall an app, namely, Settings|Application Manager. Scroll to Fitbit. Touch Clear Data.

Then next time you launch the Fitbit app it will walk you through an account setup so you can associate it to your account.

This is the only practical way to do it, and the Fitbit site itself is useless for advice on this topic.

I’ve shown how to change the associated account from one user to another on an Android device. You cannot do it from within the app itself so you could waste a lot of time aimlessly looking around. Hopefully this post will help some people like me who are confounded as to why something so simple should be made so hard.

Admin Linux

Setting up my Galaxy S3 for remote host access

I just got a Samsung Galaxy S3 last week. Before long I was wondering how I might use it to access my cloud server if indeed it was at all possible.

The Details
Looking at my other Android devices I decided to install Terminal Emulator. That’s a cute application, providing shell access to the underlying OS of your phone. But it’s fairly useless. You get a shell, but your account id, 10155, has essentially no privileges, and you can’t do much more than ls, cd, ps and top. You don’t have enough privileges to look into interesting directories. So you can’t do anything interesting. There’s also no native ssh so you can’t connect to another host.

To ssh to my Amazon cloud server I got the app ConnectBot. This app shows promise. I was able to connect to my server. I read some of the introductory screens which gave some helpful tips. So I quickly learned how to resize the window. I found 80×39 is a good size in portrait orientation. Yes, the font is tiny, but it is legible. Getting an elusive Esc or Ctrl character isn’t bad at all, just tap the top half of the screen.

So running constantly refreshing screens like top worked out fine.

vi was a problem. It used multi-colors in displaying my code. Comments, in dark blue, are not legible to me. In fact using vi at all on this device with a soft keyboard is quite unnatural. It might be better to use a curses-based editor like pico, though I haven’t yet tried it. But w/ vi, I found I could get rid of the multi-colors by setting the TERM environment variable to vt100. It had been screen screen. Once that was done:

> export TERM=vt100

vi displayed all characters in white, and background in black – quite legible.

It’s a strange world where you can administer a virtual server on a device that fits in the palm of your hand, and achieve fairly powerful effects.

Being a resourceful person, I had alternatives to reach my server. There is a web-based terminal emulator which works surprisingly well. See this post for a description.

connectBot is a native ssh remote terminal app and is actually useable as such on a Samsung Galaxy S3, if your eyes are still good! Pay attention to a just a few usage tips and you’ll be in full control of your server.

See this post for the world’s most natural, unobtrusive ringtone.