Sunday, October 2, 2016

Gotta love Google Opinion Rewards

After arriving here in Australia, I decided to give a second go at Google Opinion Rewards app. I used it briefly in Japan but got nothing from it.

I don't know what got me to try it again but it's been worth it so far. I regularly get surveys, especially after I do some shopping at the Chadstone Shopping Centre and I earn a few cents to a couple of dollars a week. I've been honest in all my answers because you cannot cheat to Google. Google knows everything! People say that that's one reason why one would regularly get surveys. I've seen it ask some weird questions (especially about places that I've not visited) to test if you're being honest as well. Google knows where you've been to because of the GPS in my phone.

Some people say that if you are a female, you would earn more rewards because Google (and everybody else) knows that women love shopping. Their opinion is more relevant I suppose. Thus I signed up my wife for Opinion Rewards and she got a $1 survey after couple of days! I'd never seen one that paid that high. Probably there is some truth to that after all. It's a shame that I'm the one who usually does the grocery. Perhaps I should switch phones when I go shopping... Nah! I hate the Nexus 5.

However, there isn't much you can do with the reward points other than to spend them to purchase stuff on the Google Play Store. In my case, that would be Android apps. It's a shame that cannot cash them.

Here is what you've been waiting for. How much have I really earned? I signed up in April but didn't use the app at all. Since the 4th of July (which was the day I earned my first rewards) up until the time of writing this post, I have earned $15.49. I have bought 5 Android apps with those credits, all of which I probably wouldn't have bought if I had to spend on out of my own pocket.

  1. White Noise - AUD 0.20
  2. EZ Package Disabler - AUD 1.89
  3. Speedtest (Permanent Ad Removal) - AUD 1.09
  4. Network Signal Info - AUD 3.75
  5. MX Player Pro - AUD 7.10

There are a couple of Android apps in my Wishlist: Holo Launcher Plus license @ a whopping AUD 7.27, Premium @4.85 and Pocket Weather Australia @1.99. It'll take a while to pile up that much reward points. Perhaps I will find something else to spend that money on if I wait that long.

Anyways, Google Opinion Rewards has been pretty decent so far. I must have spent less than 5 minutes total on answering the surveys. That's way less that what it took to write this blog post.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fixing the Nexus 5 update error

My old Nexus 5 is with my father now. I did a factory reset before I passed it to him. After a few days, the phone received a security update, but when we tried to install it, it would fail mid way with an error screen as shown above. To exit the error screen, we had to press and hold the power button and the volume down button; then it would reboot the phone and everything would be back to normal. However, after a while, it would show that an update is available (it is the same one that failed), but it would result in the same thing. We tried several times with no success. The phone only had about half a dozen apps installed other than the stock apps, so it must have been a real mess up.

Next thing to do was to do a factory reset. It also did not fix the problem.

Then we decided to completely erase and manually install the latest official firmware for the phone. I had not done this in a while, so I had to look for a tutorial. Last time I followed this YouTube video but it was telling me to download Android Studio to get the ADB Bundle. Then I found this written guide, which suggested an alternative way to get the ADB bundle installed.

And it was a success. By that I mean that we are not getting that error anymore. But we have to give it a couple of months to see if it really got fixed, because since the phone is already running the latest build for the Nexus 5, there would not be any new updates for a while.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Installing Jekyll on OSX

I wanted to play with Jekyll after watching this video. You would usually install it using the terminal using the following command:

$ sudo gem install jekyll

But unfortunately, it failed for me with an error saying:

ERROR: Error installing jekyll:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

It appears the make command is not found on the system. you need to install OSX command line tools.

I'm sure you can download them from Apple somehow (some people say you need to install XCode and then install the Command Line tools from it) but what I found the easiest way to get it into my installation was by installing Homebrew (it's a package manager like apt-get on Unix) using this command:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Then it would run the Homebrew installer but after a few seconds it would pause it and ask you if you want to install the Command Line tools in a separate dialog. You tell it to do that (that's the whole point it all this) and it will take a moment to finish install the tools (1 minute to download, 1-2 minutes to install). After that's done, you press Enter in the Terminal window to resume the installation of Homebrew (sadly I couldn't capture a screenshot to show you, but it's straight forward, so don't be scared) and it will finish after a few seconds.

Now if you run our first command (yes, that one you use to install Jekyll in the first place), it will go through. Now you can play with Jekyll; yay!

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