OnePlus 3 Reviewed

I recently won a Twitter contest through XDA Developers, and they came through and sent me a OnePlus 3. It’s quite literally the first time I’ve won something of value! I am super excited about a new phone!!!

I’ve been a fan of OnePlus for a long time, ever since I began using the OnePlus One last year. Here are my impressions so far!

Love, love, love

My immediate opinion is that this phone is awesome. It has a “premium feel” overall, whatever that means. It is weightier but still maintains a good balance, similar to what an iPhone 6+ feels like.

Next, the display looks great! It is by no means top of the line (1080p only) but OnePlus released an update to allow the sRGB values to be modified slightly. The difference is noticeable only when you hold it up to another high end display, like the Nexus 5X.

Photos taken with this phone are fantastic; no complaints. I actually like the OnePlus camera app more than the Google Camera. And of course, it shoots 4K video too.

D-A-S-H charging is amazing!!! I’ve really enjoyed being able to just throw it on the charger for a few mins and actually get some juice back. This is great for a pit stop before going out, or having some much needed extra screen-on time.

Lastly, the screen gestures are freaking amazing if you use them. I really do use the torch and camera often, and these work just as well (slightly better actually, less false recognitions) as on the OnePlus One. I wish more phones had screen gestures.

Features

Fingerprint ID
  • PROs: It’s awesome!
    • Unlocks the phone quickly
    • Increased security. I won’t be setting up any “smart unlock” devices because of how much easier it is to unlock securely.
  • CONs:
    • I sometimes move too quickly off the scanner
    • It has had ~8% error rate with my fingers
Android

My last phone was running CyanogenMod 13, and the OnePlus 3 has the latest version of OxygenOS (OnePlus’ homegrown ROM). Here are my thoughts:

  • I miss some customization features from CM13… Here’s what’s missing
    • I can’t disable the notification/charging light, and can only select among 8 predefined color values
    • I used to have keyboard arrows enabled on the on-screen nav bar. Can’t have that anymore, so I’m switching to the capacitive buttons
    • The “Sleep Duration” toggle is missing. MISSING!
    • Taps are sometimes ignored, mainly inside the app drawer of the OnePlus Launcher. This seems to happen… this has happened to me 3 times in 2 days.
    • Enabling dark mode seems like a great idea to take advantage of the OLED display, except that the dark mode only really applies when you’re in Settings. Everywhere else (notification shade, app drawer background) is a dark but still illuminated grey.
    • Can’t customize the lock screen shortcuts. I had Spotify set up as one because I use that more than voice searching.

I know, I know, first-world problems. I might try a different ROM at some point because OnePlus released DASH charge kernel source, which many ROMs have incorporated. OxygenOS still has a lot of creat customization options over AOSP. For now, I can deal with not having these extra features with the hope that the OxygenOS team continues to incorporate more in the future.

Accessories

Screen protector

Surprisingly, the OnePlus comes with a pre-applied screen protector. It was ok but I wanted a glass protector. Sadly, I couldn’t find one. I ended up getting an Armor Suit protector for three reasons:

  1. It was “case friendly”, with slimmer margins so that it doesn’t get pushed inward and curl/bubble when using a case
  2. Wet-apply protectors can be positioned much easier and better. This time was no exception.
  3. Lifetime replacements!

The only complaint I’ll express is that makes the screen feels slightly tacky to the touch. Hopefully that will wear out over time.

Case

I chose a TPU case by Ozrly, 4.7 stars on Amazon. So far so good, it does it’s job well. I love that the case allows the phone to lay flat despite the camera bump. The only worry I still have is that someday it’ll turn yellow.

Conclusion

I would definitely recommend the OnePlus 3 to a friend. Of course they should also compare and consider any of the Nexus phones, especially with new ones to be released in October. But for $400, you’re getting an amazing phone that is built for the future.

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Angular2: Using third-party libs without typings

Angular2 is great in many ways, but one situation that I’ve found painful is integrating third-party libraries that do not have typings.

If you’re not already familiar with typings, these are the type definitions of libraries not written in TypeScript. Without these, TypeScript can’t type check them and therefore causes compilation errors. Fortunately, these libraries can still be used but they have to be added differently than imported modules.

  1. Include a script reference to the library on your page (index.html)

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    <script src="//cdn.somewhe.re/lib.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="/local/path/to/lib.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    • The first is an example script that is pulled from some CDN.
    • The second is an example of a script that can be referenced locally. These could be managed by npm (node_mdules), bower, or manually.
    • These scripts will add or attach to a global (eg. THREE, mapbox, $, etc.)
  2. In the component that requires these, use declare to initialize a variable matching the global name used by the lib. This lets TypeScript know that it has already been initialized1.

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    declare var <globalname>: any;
    • Some libs attach to globals, such as window or document. Since these already exist in TypeScript, these objects need to be extended with the new object interface in order to be accessible.

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      interface WindowIntercom extends Window { Intercom: any; }
      declare var window: WindowIntercom;
  3. Use the lib inside your components as needed.

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    @Component { ... }
    export class AppComponent implements AfterViewInit {
    ...
    ngAfterViewInit() {
    var geometry = new THREE.BoxGeometry( 1, 1, 1 );
    window.Intercom('boot', { ... });
    }
    }
    • NOTE: Be aware of and make sure to use the lib in the appropriate component lifecycle method. For example, any libs that manipulate the DOM should be used in the AfterViewInit stage (like in the example).
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Install zsh on Mac without homebrew

I’m not a big supporter of Homebrew. It just doesn’t solve any problems for me. I have only needed brew for zsh and maybe node (but for that I could use nvm or n). I don’t want to install brew just for those when they can be set up easily. Seems like a lot of overhead just for one function.

That said, I had a lot of trouble finding how to get zsh installed without brew. Seems like a lot of people have bought into it for what that it offers.

So here’s how I installed zsh on my machine without brew.

  1. Get the source tarball (zsh-*.tar.gz) from zsh.org
  2. Unpack the file

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    tar xzf zsh-5.2.tar.gz
  1. Build the binary. This will install zsh under /usr/local/bin/zsh

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    ./configure && make && make test && make install
    • The version of zsh that ships on Mac machines is outdated, thus why its necessary to build the binary.
    • You may get an error message saying install: /usr/local/bin/zsh-5.2: Permission denied. If so, you will need to sudo make install instead.
  2. You now have zsh installed and working on your system. Begin configuring it by running zsh in your terminal; you’ll see a series of prompts to enable and disable features to your liking.

  3. Next, you’ll want to also install oh-my-zsh. It makes zsh even more awesome by building in additional plugins and themes. This was the install script at the time of this writing.

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    sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
    • NOTE: you should read the contents of install.sh before directly piping it into your shell. Ya know, because security.
  4. Customize your heart out! Become familiar with the themes and plugins now available to you. Enable those which you might use most.

  5. Make sure everything works. I had exported some paths in my ~/.bash_profile file, and needed to copy those over to ~/.zshrc.

    • For some reason, nvm was one of those things that I couldn’t get to work quite right. I tried adding the paths to the zsh profile, making sure $NVM_DIR was correctly set, etc. Reinstalling was the only way I got it to work again.
  6. For these changes to persist, you’ll have to change your default shell. The easiest is to just access the setting through the UI. You could do this with a terminal command, so Google it.

    • Open “System Preferences”
    • Click on “Users & Groups”
    • Unlock the settings by clicking on the padlock and entering your password.
    • CTRL + Click on your user and select “Advanced options…”
    • Choose /bin/zsh from the Login shell dropdown
    • Click OK to complete

Bonus

Don’t let the fun end there. Here’s a few more things you can do to further refine your terminal to your liking.

Disable ‘last login’ banner

When I open up the terminal I see a line at the top saying something like

Last login: Mon Jan 1 12:00:00 on ttys004

This information is not very relevant to me, so I’d rather not see it. Silence this message by simply creating a .hushlogin file.

touch ~/.hushlogin

Disable the user banner

You can disable the user banner by simply adding DEFAULT_USER="yourusername" to your profile file.

Get a better font

I quickly became a fan of the Agnoster theme, but it required patched fonts (Powerline fonts) to be installed in order to display some of the special characters it uses (eg. git icons). I’m a fan of Source Code Pro, but I’ve also heard great things about Meslo, Inconsolata, and Terminus.

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Must-have Apps: Cross-platform edition

I believe that developers can benefit and learn from others’ favorite suite of tools. I’ll go over my favorite applications that help me be as efficient and quick while working on a Mac.

F.lux

F.lux is a great example of cross-platform compatibility. It comes with presets that are fine enough for me, and is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. I installed it on my two computers that I use regularly, one a Mac and the other running Windows. The peeps at F.lux have gone through a lot of research to set the foundation of why their application is so useful. This is a must for anyone on their computer passed 6pm.
The’ve recently released an Android Beta app, but might become superseded by Apple’s Night Shift and Android N’s Night Mode.

KeePass

Alright here’s one that I’ve debated with friends about. There are alternatives like LastPass and 1Password, but I’m always one to avoid paying money. KeePass is my favorite so far for several reasons.

  • It is free and open-source software. Freedom!
  • It is cross-platform. Use it on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Chromebook, and even BlackBerry.
  • They all use the same database filetype. You could save your database file to the cloud using Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. and use the same file among multiple clients.
  • Use in conjunction with chromeIPass (Chrome extension) or PassIFox (Firefox add-on) to populate your credentials into login inputs if a URL is matched to an entry’s site field.

PushBullet

I really couldn’t stand to use the iPhone (personal preference!) despite its great interoperability with the Macbook. PushBullet makes up for that loss by allowing me to receive notifications from my phone while on my computer, as well as letting me respond directly to text messages. An additional bonus is that I can use this on my Windows machine as well as other Android devices (think tablet). This way, I can see my notifications and respond to texts from literally any of my devices. Lastly, it allows me to push things like notes, links, and files between devices as well. Send a link from my phone to my desktop, push a new background image from my phone to my tablet, whatever. Its awesome!

Synergy

Synergy is a super handy utility that bridges multiple computers so that you can share one keyboard and mouse between them. You can use them multiple machines with the same keyboard, copy and paste from one to the other, and even transfer files using drag-n-drop (ahem, sorry. Between Windows-Mac only). Need it for enterprise? You can use the Pro version to encrypt your traffic using SSL. Its absolutely necessary if you work on different machines.

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Must-have Apps: Mac edition

I believe that developers can benefit and learn from others’ favorite suite of tools. I’ll go over my favorite applications that help me be as efficient and quick while working on a Mac.

BetterTouchTool

I find BetterTouchTool better than using BetterSnapTool, SizeUp, or Spectacle for one simple reason: it also includes keyboard/gesture customizations per app and globally. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all pretty great window managers. BetterSnapTool has some more features than BetterTouchTool, but BTT does all that I need it to. Right out of the box, you can define window snapping behavior, such as:

  • Snap when dragged to window edge (left, right, top)
  • Restore window size when dragged away
  • Animate preview window

That’s really all I need because I wanted to replicate Window’s AeroSnap functionality that is missing from OSX. But my workflow is also enhanced by adding custom shortcuts that can remap and shorten existing ones, or adds new ones. Here are a few that I can’t live without:

  • Global

    • : Snap window to right
    • : Snap window to left
    • : Maximize window
    • Press 8 to invert or revert the screen colors
  • Chrome specific

    • F12 was remapped to run I to bring up the Developer tools like on Windows
  • Firefox specific
    • I borrowed Chrome’s N to remap Firefox’s keyboard shortcut (P) for opening a new window in Private mode. This way I only need to remember one shortcut
  • Finder
    • I don’t know why swipe navigation in Finder isn’t already built in; it makes sense to have it.
    • “2 finger swipe right” in Finder will trigger [ which is the hidden keyboard shortcut for “back”. Yay for less work!
    • Similarly “2 finger swipe left” will trigger ] to navigate forward.

Sip

Sometimes I just need to know the HEX or RGB value of a color I see online, in an image, or on an application and Sip is my tool of choice. To pick a color, a magnifier shows up for precise color selection. You can copy the selected color value/code in an unbelievable amount of formats.

The Pro version costs $9.99 from the App Store. Since this one is only for Mac, you might also check out ColorCop on my Windows post.

iTerm2

I recently switched from TotalTerminal to iTerm2 because I need something a little bit more customizable. The two are not the same: TotalTerminal is a plugin that creates hotkeys for Mac’s Terminal.app. iTerm2 is a replacement for Terminal.app, and as such offers quite a bit more in terms of changing colors schemes, appearance, hotkeys and gestures, and even provides tabs. If you use the console a lot, I recommend at least giving iTerm2 a try.

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