Sunday, April 19, 2015

Run Android Apps in Google Chrome Browser (yes really!)

Sadly I'm not the first person to post about this (duh!) but hopefully my guide is the simplest one out there for now.
This guide will show you how to run both Play Store and non-Play Store Android apps in Chrome.

  1. Install the ARC Welder app in Google Chrome. (This is a proper Google developer app)
  2. In Chrome, click the "Apps" button
  3. Run the ARC Welder app
  4. Select your Android app's APK file
    • If you don't already have the APK file and want to get it from Play Store, do the following:
      1. Install the APK Downloader extension (Note! the Chrome version of this extension did not work for me, the APK downloads failed. I had to use the Firefox version of the extension instead. So if you have Firefox, I recommend trying with Firefox first.)
      2. Go to the Play Store page of the Android app you want (e.g. WhatsApp)
      3. Click the "Download APK" button.
      4. The first time you click "Download APK" you will be redirected to the APK Downloader options page, where you need to fill in your:
        • Google email address.
        • Google password (if you don't like the idea of typing your Google password into a third party app, you could turn on 2-step verification for your Google account and generate a device-specific password instead.) 
        • Android device ID (use this Android app to get it). Note, unfortunately you need to have a valid Android device ID that is associated to your Google account. If you don't have a physical Android device, you could install and run an Android emulator like Bluestacks, AndY, DuOS, or Android-x86, register it on your Google account and use the device ID from the emulator (get it using this Android app).
        • After entering the email, password and device ID you can pick Android version and device name. If you're not sure what you want, just choose "Jelly Bean 4.3" and "Samsung Galaxy S5". If you run into problems with the app later on, perhaps come back and pick a different version here.
      5. Once you've saved the APK Downloader settings, click the "Download APK" button again in Play Store to download your APK.
  5. ARC Welder will offer you some options. Decide what you want then press "Launch App". The Android app will now be launched in a separate window (it might take a few seconds, or maybe longer for larger more complex apps). The app will now be accessible in the Chrome Apps tab. Type "chrome://apps/" in the address bar or press the "Apps" button in the Chrome toolbar to get there.
  6. If you want to change the settings of your Android app, for example make it fullscreen (very useful for video apps like Showbox or Koekoek TV!) then delete the app from the Chrome apps overview and run ARC Welder again with different settings to reinstall the app from the APK. Note, to run apps full-screen, choose "Maximised".
OK, you're done! Enjoy running Android apps in Chrome on your PC.

Some history on this post..

I was inspired to write this post because I was fairly sure it would get me page views ;-) just being real. But I really think people will find this useful.
I've run Android apps on the desktop before using emulators. Indeed I posted about using Bluestacks to run WhatsApp in 2013 and that post is number 3 in my most visited posts of all time.
Recently I revisited this topic because I wanted to get Candy Crush Soda running on PC for my wife and the desktop version of this game (via Facebook) is a bit slow.
Anyway I just want to credit some sources for the information above, although I can't remember exactly how I came to the info, I did save some links on my journey.
  • This post talks about Archon, a custom version of the Android Runtime extension. 
  • This post talks about it too and I arrived here via this reddit post while searching about the Android-x86 emulator, which I have also run under VMWare Player successfully. That's also a nice way to run Android, but it requires installing VMWare player and at the end of the day, I'd rather just run a Chrome app!
  • I eventually stumbled on this Engadget post which I think pointed me in the direction of the ARC Welder extension.
  • Today, just before posting, I searched a bit to see how redundant this post was and found this ancient Lifehacker post. I also found this very recent and nicely written guide that is similar to my post above, although I point you at the APK Downloader extension which that post doesn't!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Kill Windows Processes That Won't Die with "Ultimate Process Killer"


When trying to kill a process in Windows, you probably head for one of the following:

  • The Processes tab in Windows Task Manager's, where you try killing the process (tree)
  • Or Sysinternals Process Explorer, which may succeed where Task Manager failed. 
However, if Sysinternals Process Explorer can't kill a process, you'd be forgiven for thinking that there is no hope and for wondering why Windows is still so darn stupid ;)

However, this evening I succeeded in killing a very stubborn process using a utility named after a future Arnold Schwarzenegger movie: Ultimate Process Killer.
It's free on Sourceforge and I was able to use it to successfully kill a process in Windows 7 that refused to be killed by the options mentioned above. I even tried suspending and unsuspending the process in Process Explorer, which I saw suggested somewhere, but that also didn't work for me. By the way, I have no idea how well it will work on other versions of Windows, but I recommend you give this tool a shot if you're out of other options.

I was alerted to the tool here: http://www.mydigitallife.info/how-to-kill-stubborn-process-that-fails-to-end-process-in-task-manager/#comment-1120014170

Friday, October 24, 2014

You Should Buy Some Bitcoin Now

 The reality is as follows...

Bitcoin will without a shadow of a doubt at very least enjoy another surge when consumer-friendly applications that support Bitcoin hit a tipping point where ease-of-purchase, ease-of-use and breadth-of-acceptance all hit a sufficient level. Those levels will be reached. Most likely next year (2015). Probably in the Summer (July).

So now is a great time to buy some Bitcoin. It's cheap, there are plenty of apps now that make it easy to spend and accept (e.g. if you run a small shop, or even just sell things at school).
Bitonic.nl is a Dutch website that has been selling Bitcoin for ages. It always offers an incredibly generous exchange rate, even better than other major sellers like Coinbase.
Forget Bitcoin exchanges, these really are a waste of time for consumers like you and me. 
If you buy on Bitonic via this link, I even get a tiny bit of commission :))
If you don't have a Dutch bank account, then try Circle.com or Coinbase.com

So go on, go for it! You don't need to buy a whole 1 Bitcoin. You can just buy 0.5 or 0.1 Bitcoin if you want!

If you don't know how to get a Bitcoin "wallet" then you don't need to look any further than Blockchain.info
Blockchain.info is one of the most trusted websites in the Bitcoin world as has been around since the early days of Bitcoin.
They now have excellent iPhone and Android apps. Just install the app, sign up for an account and you will get a wallet with a so-called "wallet address". 
Just enter your wallet address when you buy your Bitcoin on Bitonic.nl and within a few minutes your Bitcoin will be transferred to your Blockchain account (and you will see it in the app).
There you go, ready to spend that Bitcoin! or wait and watch the fun when the price creeps back up :))

Enjoy!


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