Review: Uhans U200

Review: Uhans U200

A couple of months ago I decided to bite the bullet and get rid of my Windows Phone and switch back to Android, I donated my Nokia Lumia 930 to my son.  While I liked Windows Phone, and I do prefer the GUI, there were just too many niggling issues and bugs and those few “must have” apps that either did not exist or the WP version sucked, and this is not going to change due to the tiny user base.

Now my requirements are pretty simple, I do not need a phone to play 4k video or play 3D games which will drain my battery within 2 hours, so spending hundreds on a phone seemed like a pointless waste of money. I did get myself a Galaxy S7 edge, but frankly I found the EDGE quite annoying as I could not pick it up or put it down without touching the edge and causing some action to occur, and frankly it felt so flimsy I was scared  of breaking it, so I sent it back as I am not prepared to spend that much on a phone if it annoys me in any way.

I do not understand this whole concept of making phones more powerful with more battery draining features, yet thinner so the battery cannot even last a day if you actually use it for anything other than checking your email. Surely if you want to use your phone to watch a video and play games you need a phone that has a big fat battery in it, I think the phone makers are really missing a trick here. Phones are not primarily phones anymore, that functionality is likely the least important feature for most people, what they really want is a pocket tablet/gaming device.

So I decided to start looking at budget phones, and specifically the Chinese alternatives which seem to be getting more popular. My first choice was a Doogee X6, which despite having good reviews turned out to be a mistake. It felt very cheap and the screen was very unresponsive, either it did not even detect my taps or detected them in the wrong place, I found the device totally unusable and frustrating, so that was returned after a couple of weeks.

My second choice was the Uhans U200, which is an unusual looking phone, but it seemed chunky and solid with a bigger battery than most, a proper mans phone, which was exactly what I was looking for. So far I am glad to say it has delivered everything I had hoped and is absolutely worth the £85 I paid for it and I would not hesitate to buy this phone again. There is also a smaller model called the Uhans U100, which I have bought for my son, and he loves it also.

Despite being a Chinese phone, there are no issues setting it up, it is as easy to setup as any UK phone, and the Uhans packaging is as slick as any top of the range phone.

I have also installed a Windows Phone style launcher, so I still get the benefits of the GUI that I preferred on the Windows Phone but with an Android.

 

Look and Feel

The Uhans U200 I think is squarely aimed at men, it has a real leather back with a crocodile skin pattern, and I must say I like it, sadly it only comes in black, there are no other colors which is a shame, as I would have quite liked one in actual snake skin style. The other big advantage with the leather is that it is immune to greasy finger prints, which is something that affects just about every phone. As soon as you touch them, they are covered in them. It is chunky too, it has a 5 inch screen and I can hold this phone comfortably without fear of dropping it, and it feels solid, the buttons are easy to use with my big fat man fingers, and with the metal frame I do not feel the need to actually purchase a case to protect it. I carry a man bag so not really an issue for me, otherwise it sits quite happily in my jacket pocket or the leg pocket of my combat trousers.

Performance and Usage

The Uhans U200 has a 5.0 inch screen, 4G Smartphone,  Android 5.1 MTK6735 64bit Quad Core 1.0GHz 2GB RAM 16GB ROM, 13.0MP Main Camera OTG

So far I have no complaints with regards performance. The screen is responsive in all applications including games. It has had no issues with running any of the apps I use regularly, playing video etc and the only time it has struggled is when I tried to play some resource intensive 3D games, although it still managed to run them at an acceptable speed to make them playable, but this is not an issue for me as this is not what I use my phone for anyway, but when I do play games, it does the job.

Sadly you do not get fast charging, but hey it is a budget phone, so I am not complaining, and I suspect that in the near future that this will become a standard feature for all phones, budget or not.

The battery easily lasts all day for me, sometimes I have forgot to charge it and it has lasted 2 days, but that is with me barely using it.

Accessories

This is one area where the phone is let down, when I went looking for a case, I found only one, and not a lot else accessory wise. However this is a compromise I find acceptable, being as the phone feels so chunky and solid anyway, I am not feeling the need to buy a case, although I did order the only one available just so that I do have something to put it in when I don’t take my main wallet, and the case does match the style of the phone and it is wallet style case itself, so fits in well with the whole MANLY concept of the phone. Other than this there is actually no other accessories I actually need, so again I have no real complaints.

Camera

After several months using this phone, I can say that the camera is a bit of a let down. As long as you have good lighting then it takes great pictures which I have been happy with, but as soon as lighting is less than adequate then it struggles to get focus, and the flash often seems to go off BEFORE the shutter, which means it does nothing to illuminate the target. The rest of the time the flash seems to add a blue hue to the picture, which is also not great.

Customer Support

This has been the biggest let down of all, support from UHANS is virtually nonexistent. I contacted them about an issue I was having with the SDCARD reporting wrong size, and each reply took several weeks, the last response took them 2 months, so I gave up as they simply did not care and were unhelpful.

I then had cause to contact them about connecting the phone to the PC as this also would not work. They told me that Windows 10 is not supported and I had to install Windows XP or Windows 7 to do this. This is absolutely shocking and incompetent that they are suggesting I install an end of life, no longer supported OS with serious security vulnerabilities. Even Windows 7 is no longer secure to use.

 

Please follow and like us:
Turn your Android into a Windows Phone

Turn your Android into a Windows Phone

Windows Phone has received a lot of bad publicity, and the main complaint you see from ignorant reviewers is that there is a lack of apps for windows Phones (WP). While there may be many legitimate reasons to not like WP, lack of apps is not one of them, there are currently over 500,000 apps in the WP store, and there were 300k even when I got my phone, so I would hardly call this a lack of apps. Sure there are some apps you may want that do not exist because most vendors do not bother with WP due to the small user base, but in most cases someone else has created a good alternative and I have found the quality of most WP apps to be high. I have only found a very small handful of apps I wanted which were not available at all or were so bad I could not use them, LastPass and Kayako are 2, both of which I needed and both of which are dire on Windows as the developers have put barely any effort into them and they lack the functionality of their Android counterparts.

The biggest cock up that Microsoft did make was not releasing Windows Phone 10 at the same time as Windows 10, and I think this killed it for them, aside from being too late to the phone  party in general. And then they have taken forever to roll out the upgrade to Windows phone 8 users, and many phones will not even keep the upgrade as promised as their phones do not meet minimum memory requirements.

I have a Nokia Lumia 930, running WP 8.1, which I purchased after getting fed up with Android updates making my Galaxy note unusable, killing my battery life etc. It turns out I much preferred Windows Phone, it was faster, more responsive, more reliable, and I simply preferred the more grown up and business like UI. The requirements for WP are also a lot lower and thus the phones are lower spec and cheaper as a result. Certainly there were some areas of functionality lacking, and I got fed up waiting for WP10 to be released for my phone, and so I installed the insider preview instead. Sadly it has been riddled with bugs, with each update seeming to break something new, and then it seems the last update I did must have resulted in the battery being drained super fast, as it was only lasting half a day with no use whatsoever and suddenly became unusable.

At the time I thought it was a problem with the phone/battery itself, so decided to bite the bullet and get an upgrade from O2, and decided to try the much applauded Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (which I will be reviewing). While I like the look of the new Lumia 950 XL,  my experience with WP10 insider preview has given me a bad impression that if I bought a new WP10 phone, I would have same issues, and as much as I like Windows Phone, unless Microsoft pulls a rabbit out of the hat, its days are certainly numbers, unless the rumored surface phone saves the day.

wp_ss_20160317_0001.pngNow annoyingly after I got my new Galaxy S7, my son asked if he could have my Lumia 930, so I did a factory reset on it, and installed latest updates, and guess what, the battery is now fine GRRR!!

So I then decided to find out if WP10 was officially available yet, and it was, although this information was not made easily available by Microsoft, you have to install the upgrade adviser first to find out if your phone supports WP10, and then you have to enable the upgrade. So I would imagine that most WP8 users are never going to find this out. You can find upgrade instructions HERE.

So I now have an upgrade that I didn’t really need and I am tempted to just send it back and carry on using my Lumia. But I first decided to see if there was a way to make Android UI more like Windows Phone, so then maybe I could have UI I wanted, but keep the other advantages this phone offered, and it turns out there is a way.

wp launcherA number of developers have created Windows Phone style launchers for Android that emulate the WP8 or WP10 UI and layout. The best one I have found so far is “Launcher 8 WP style” which has managed to emulate the WP tiles interface so perfectly that you think you have a Windows Phone. The only thing that seems to be lacking is live tiles, as I so far have not seen any of the tiles updating. Most of the others I have tried have not got it right, and just look like cheap knockoffs as they have no got the tiles right. This app also includes themes so you can change the look further.

So if you are a fan of the Windows Phone UI and tiles, but find the Windows Phones lacking and cannot give up your Android phone, give this a try instead.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
How to update WebsitePanel services/providers

How to update WebsitePanel services/providers

If you upgrade Windows or any of the software on your server, there is unfortunately no easy way to apply these changes within WebsitePanel, which means it will often break if it is still using the old service/provider.

The video below shows you how to make the required changes directly in the database.

Please follow and like us:
Why ColdFusion is not suited to shared hosting

Why ColdFusion is not suited to shared hosting

This is a topic I have found myself explaining a lot over the years, not just to customers but to developers as well, and one thing I can say with absolutely certainly from dealing with hundreds of developers of all levels over the years, from newbs to gurus, is that most devs in general do not really understand how things work on the server (they know how to write code and upload it to the server) and most CF devs additionally don’t understand how ColdFusion really works and how/why it differs from other scripting languages like PHP or Perl or ASP.net, so I decided it was time to write a complete blog post on the subject and hopefully to try and enlighten some of those developers a bit more. I have copied this article across from my old blog as it was a popular article with a lot of views. I have removed all references to Railo (since it is now dead) and replaced with Lucee.

Now I have heard many say “I am just a developer, it is my job to write code, not to understand the server stuff”, but i’m afraid I disagree with this and consider it a bit of a cop out, because If you don’t understand how things work on the server to at least some degree, how can you be sure you are writing code that is going to be scalable, reliable and is not going to cause problems? Sure no-one should expect you to know EVERYTHING to the same level as a sysadmin, but you certainly should know the basics that are relevant to your job, especially if you are going to be making any hosting recommendations to your clients, which most devs do.

The first thing to understand, is that ColdFusion and Lucee are not technically application servers (which most people believe them to be), they are simply Java applications (that convert CFML into Java bytecode) that run inside a java servlet container (e.g. Apache tomcat, Jetty, Jboss) which runs as a service/daemon, and all requests for all pages coming into the server go through that same service/daemon. This means that any problems with that service affect ALL CFML (or JSP)  websites on the server.
This is also a bad thing for security because it means that all sites on the server run within the security context of the service and so cannot have their own permissions. So any java code in any site can access files in site2, site3 or any other site on the server or in fact any part of the system that the service itself has access to. The only way round this is to use security sandboxes, which is a feature of ColdFusion enterprise and Lucee.
But BEWARE, CF sandboxes can give a false sense of security, they are only applied to CFML code and do not sandbox Java, so if you drop any Java code in your CFML pages (using CreateOnject(java), then you bypass the sandbox completely, so they not stop any vaguely competent coder/hacker. There is no way round this on a shared server, you simply have to take the risk. On a dedicated VPS you can mitigate this by using multiple instances of CF/Tomcat and isolating each site using server side permissions.

Before you say “so hosts shouldn’t allow Java”, this also is not even an option for any host as all moden frameworks and apps need createObject(java), so disabling this function would break almost every modern application, ergo it is a risk that has to be taken, because at the end of the day 99% of clients simply don’t care about the security risks, all they see is that their app doesn’t work and will just go elsewhere.

When we look at other common languages such as PHP, Perl, asp.net etc, these run as an ISAPI or CGI process, so every website on the server spawns its own process to handle the requests. So if there are 20 PHP sites then there are 20 x PHP processes running (think of this like 20 instances of ColdFusion). The process runs within the security context of the website that spawned it, so in the case of Windows it runs under the application pool identity. So this means that as long as you have every website/application pool  set to run under a different user account with access only to that website root, and so will php also have only this permissions, so it is more secure and also isolates each site in a separate process.
So if site1 crashes php or ASP, it will have no effect on any other site because they are running php/ASP in a separate process.

Here is a diagram to illustrate.

cf-server-diagram

This is the primary reason why CFML is not suited to shared hosting, no application isolation and no control over security.

Imagine the following (very common) scenario.

abc.com makes a cfhttp request to an external web service at xyz.com  to get syndicated content for its pages.
The web service at xyz.com goes down, which means all the pages on abc.com are now going to timeout. On a shared server this will very quickly result in all the ColdFusion max number of simultaneous requests to be consumed, and subsequent requests to then become queued. The result of this is that every other CFML site on the server now becomes slow as well as all their page requests have become queued behind the problematic site, and now are likely to also timeout as a result.

An even worse scenario is where native java requests are concerned, such as database queries as these cannot be killed automatically, not even with FusionReactor. If a page hangs in the middle of a database query because it is waiting for a response back from the db server, then this request will not ever timeout and will hang indefinitely, thus 1 cf thread is now no longer available. If this happens 10 times, now 10 cf threads are gone and no longer available, if your “max number of simultaneous  requests” is set to 10, then you now have 0 requests left and your server will stop serving up CFML and all websites will now hang/timeout untill the service is restarted.
If the original problem still exists then restarting CF also will not help, as the issue will simply continue until all the requests are again used up and all sites start to hang. The only solution at this point is to turn off the site causing the problem.

Then we have the security issues that I mentioned. Everyone by now is aware of the CFIDE hack which affected many cf servers. This was only possible because CF runs as service and because that service runs under the SYSTEM account by default, which has full file system access, which allowed the uploaded hack to access every part of the server. If CF worked like a CGI/ISAPI application, the effect of this hack would have been far less.

But my code has proper error trapping and caching and stuff, so this doesn’t affect me right ?

Wrong i’m afraid, on a shared server it doesn’t matter how brilliant your code is, or how well your have performance tested it, or how much error trapping you have, this does not stop the other sites on the server from causing you problems.
You could be lucky on a shared host for months or even years if you are on a server that doesn’t have many sites, or simple  sites that are not problematic (at the moment), but It only takes one poorly written app to bring CF to its knees.
It is also important to realize that almost nobody using shared hosting has ever done any kind of load testing or performance testing on their website and in most cases do not even know what this means or how to do it, the result of this is that web site owners have no idea how their site will perform under load nor did the developer who made it. This results in another very common scenario which usually begins with a statement like “Nothing has changed on my site and it has been running fine for years, so it must be your server”.
Again this is totally irrelevant in most cases, sure your site may well have run fine for years with 20-50  visitors per day, but what happens when it suddenly gets 1000 visitors per day as a result of some marketing or media attention, or if it starts getting hit by search engine bots, suddenly this once stable site falls over horribly due to poorly written or legacy code.

But Railo/Lucee is better right ?

Ultimately no i’m afraid, as they run on Java so work the same way as CF so the primary issues mentioned above apply just the same.

Lucee is however an improvement in that the security sandboxing is automatically applied at website context root level (if you set this in your Lucee server admin) and does not require admins to set up sandboxes for each site as with ColdFusion which is a sandboxing nightmare, which makes Lucee better for shared hosting. However the sandboxes like ColdFusion’s only sandbox CFML and can easily be overridden with Java code.
Lucee also has its per site web admin allowing all users to admin their own site, which is again a bit improvement over ColdFusion which has a single Admin which must be administered by the host.
So by using Lucee you don’t have to rely on your host, you can pretty much do everything yourself.

So what’s the solution ?

The only solution is to do some research, educate yourself and use a bit of common sense.
ColdFusion is intended to be an enterprise solution, and thus run on dedicated hosting solutions, it was never intended to be used for shared hosting and is not built to do this. So the simple answer is, use the right tool for the job.
If you just want to run a blog, personal website or simple brochure ware website and you don’t have your own server and only have the budget for shared hosting but do not want to be affected by the above problems, then use a technology more suited to this purpose, one that runs as a CGI/ISAPI process, the most popular of course being  PHP or ASP.net . Avoid any Java related choices as these will all suffer from the same issues.

If you love CFML and want to use it for everything you do, then do yourself a favour and get a VPS running Lucee (or ColdFusion if you can afford it).
On your own VPS you then also have the option to use multiple CF instances, so each of your sites runs on a dedicated instance of Tomcat or whatever is your java servlet container of choice, so you can still run multiple sites but avoid the shared hosting scenario and also lock down the security.

I am going to use shared hosting anyway regardless, what do you suggest ?

If you really have no choice (or simply won’t take good advice), then here are some tips on choosing a host.

  • Choose a host that specializes in Lucee  or ColdFusion and actually knows what they are doing, do not choose a generic host that simply has Lucee/CF installed and classes this as SUPPORTED.
  • Test your hosts knowledge, see how much they know about CF/Lucee, ask to speak to a CF specialist.
  • Make sure your host is secure
    • For ColdFusion they should be using enterprise edition, otherwise no sandboxes, and no security. If they are running standard edition, avoid.
    • Ask them if they run a bog standard out of the box CF installation, if yes then it is not locked down and is not secure.
    • Ask them if they use FusionReactor or HackMyCF. Preferably go with someone who says yes.
    • Ask them if they use security sandboxes, if no then avoid.
  • Ask your host how many sites they run on each CF server. Too many = bad
  • If you regularly need to set up data sources, mappings or anything that requires access to the CF Admin, you would be better of with Lucee.
  • Ask if you can get RDS access, if they say yes then avoid, as this should not be enabled in production
  • Check if you can access the cfadmin or adminapi from your site, is yes, change host now as they are not secure.

Unfortunately there are very few noteworthy CF hosts these days, the ones I see most commonly recommended are Viviotech, Hostek, HostMySite (although not so much since they got taken over by hosting.com), Host Partners (my company)

Please follow and like us:
Kayako Fusion : Controlling the display of sub departments

Kayako Fusion : Controlling the display of sub departments

nb: copied from my old blog

We run Kayako fusion over at Host Partners, and one of the issues I have had is dealing with sub-departments.

e.g.

GROUP1

  • dept1
  • dept2

I do not want customers to be able to to submit tickets to the parent department “GROUP1”,  as this is just a a group/label, but fusion provides no way to stop this as it treats everything as a department., and does not allow to simply treat the parent as a group.

I never found any solution to this, so decided to do it myself, hopefully others may find this useful.

In the template editor, find the template named “submitticket_departments”

Find the following line, right after the first <(foreach block

 

and replace it with this

 

This will stop any departments that have sub-departments being selected, even if it is set as the default department. If you also want all the departments to be expanded by default find this line, after the second <(foreach block

and change it to

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial