Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tech Advent Calendars

Several awesome tech and programming communities create advent calendars each year with a different article or demo for each day of December. Here are the ones I’m following.

Update: See my updated 2012 Advent Calendar list. It uses the same RSS feed as before.

I’ve also created a Yahoo Pipe to combine all of these RSS feeds into one: 2011 Tech Advent Feed.



Performance Advent Calendar 2011



24ways Advent Calendar 2011



Perl Advent Calendar 2011



PHP Advent Calendar 2011

Clean Up Android Downloaded Files

Today I randomly noticed on my HTC Evo a “Downloads” app which brings you directly to all of the downloaded files and attachments.

Android Downloads Icon

Look for the Downloads application

I didn’t realize there was a separate app for this, but had wondered if there was a way to return to browser downloaded files. Within Downloads, I found over 65MB of files, some of which I downloaded over a year ago. With a few taps I cleaned them all out. These are treated separately and outside of the browser cache, so if you download a lot you should periodically clean them up.

Android Downloads Screenshot

The Downloads app shows how much space is used by everything you’ve ever downloaded

Effective Android Screenshots

Taking screenshots from an Android device is similar to other platforms, although a bit more setup is needed. With a little bit of additional editing, your screenshots can look clean and professional.

To get your PC ready for taking Android screenshots, refer to addictive tips for a good set of instructions; setting up a Mac is a similar process.

In the instructions below, we’ll clean up the extra icons that appear in the notification area (the top left corner of the screen) when the device is connected via a USB cable. In this example screenshot, notice the extra icons that we want to clean up:

Android Screenshot 'Before' Example

Follow these instructions on your Mac to take better screenshots and clean those up:

  1. Prepare the Android device with the screen or application you’re taking a shot of
  2. Connect to your PC/Mac via USB cable
  3. Take the screenshot and save as a PNG file (refer to addictive tips for instructions)
  4. Open the PNG file in the Preview Mac app
  5. Zoom in once or twice and scroll to the upper left corner
  6. Select a rectangular area that is “clean” (showing just the header background)
  7. Copy
  8. Paste
  9. Use the arrow keys to move the pasted block to the left (using the keys keeps the copied rectangle in the proper vertical position)
  10. Repeat as needed to cover the undesired icons

This close-up screenshot show the copy area from the clean background:

Android Screenshot Select

And here we have the clean area being pasted over the icons we are hiding:

Android Screenshot Copy Paste

Finally, the end result:

Android Screenshot 'After' Example