Otter: Portrait of Selen
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Sony Xperia XA2 (2020)
Apps on the Phone

Jim Carter, 2020-02-07

Table of Contents

Apps to be Tossed

I have a lot of apps on the Galaxy S5. Maybe some of them can be tossed. 103 apps total on the S5, 69 that I want to keep, 17 stock apps that I never use (ignore), 5 other fates, 22 to toss. Counts don't add up because categories have been adjusted, and more apps got tossed, during setup. Several apps are not compatible with Android 9 or 10 (LOS-16 or 17.1) and had to be replaced. The old ones are mentioned in the descriptions of their replacements.

These apps from the Galaxy S5 (Android-6, CyanogenMod-12) were tossed and not replaced:

App Descriptions — Introduction

These are the new apps on my pocket computer (at the time of writing). Many of the apps have annotations from this list:

The apps that I need to install first are Firefox, Jota+, Huge Digital Clock and VLC.


Phone (PR) (OK)

The software that does voice chat.

In LOS-17.1 the outgoing call volume is either too quiet or is muted. It's fine on speakerphone. (2020-05-04) After various fiddling including switching to 3G and back to LTE, it fixed itself (in both modulations).

Messaging (PR) (OK)

AOSP SMS (text message) app. I use it.

JuiceSSH (Sonelli Ltd) (OK)

SSH client, replacement for VX ConnectBot.

VX ConnectBot had a problem parsing the imported private key. Apparently this is a known issue and has not been fixed (yet). The workaround is to have VX Connectbot generate a new key and export it to the peer(s). RSA or DSA only, though it's said to be able to import ED25519 (when not broken). I'm not going to do that; I'll replace with JuiceSSH.

To get started with JuiceSSH, hit Manage Connections, flip tabs to Identities, create one with these parameters:

Flip back to connections and create one, with these parameters:

Now it asks you for the password or key passphrase (unless saved). It connects. Use the volume keys to adjust the font size, or set the default in settings. Tap in the center to get the keyboard for control and arrow keys. Slide up or down to scroll back/forward. You can have multiple sessions: hit the down triangle to turn off the keyboard(s); hit the left-pointing triangle to return to the connections page. Open a new connection. Each one will have a notification, which you click on to switch to that session. To exit, exit from the shell or other command on the server, same as normal SSH.

T-Mobile Visual Voicemail (T-Mobile USA) (OK)

Retrieves and plays your voicemail with a GUI. There is an add-on called Enhanced Caller Information that they've outsourced and that gets an error whenever you start Voicemail or try to turn ECI off. (2020-05-04)

Visual Voicemail can play, delete or save messages, or reply by a voice call or by SMS. To play the message, to the right of the speaker icon is a triangle, which is a player control. Hit it. To delete, the top row has an icon of a garbage can.

You can also use their voicemail server by calling it: +1 805 637 7243. It is preconfigured; see Phone - Settings - Voicemail - Setup. The dialpad has a speed dial feature: long press on 1 which is preconfigured with this number. (And you can set numbers on other digits too.) No PIN is required if from your own phone. If from a landline, it wants the mobile phone number and the PIN. I'm not sure how, from a mobile phone, you could listen to someone else's voicemail.

When you have voicemail the notification light blinks green (but not during quiet hours). The card in the notification list has direct jumps to play voicemail, call back, or reply by SMS.

I've noticed that every few days it has trouble to sync its state, i.e. to dial up the voicemail number and find out what messages you have. It pops a notification (bloink) when that happens. It's hard for me to tell whether it always fails (unlikely) or sporadically fails.

I saw a forum posting where an irate user travelling abroad got a lot of charges for calls to the voicemail number and didn't recognize what it was.

Xabber (redsolution OÜ) (OK)

XMPP (Jabber) client. At first I was unable to connect to the server. These issues prevented connecting:


File transfer client for SSH, FTP, etc.

LTE Discovery (net.simplyadvanced.ltediscovery) (OK)

Details about your cell connection, including which frequency band you are using and what the signal strength really is. This is impossible to find otherwise. For the most useful information, turn off Wi-Fi so the phone will turn on cellular data and log in to the APN server.

Email (PR) (UU)

The AOSP e-mail app.

I exclusively use webmail on my home server, and I have de-emphasized GUI mail reader apps. One of my objections to Android mailer apps is that they save the headers locally, or at least index the mail locally, which may speed up searching but which takes a lot of local space. Another issue is, users tend to not maintain their moldy old locally stored e-mail: stuff that should be deleted is instead kept; stuff that legally should be retained isn't; and none of it is usefully indexed, so a subpoena involves the adversaries collecting and pawing through everything. E-mail should reside on the server and it should be organized, pruned, and backed up by a professional staff.

World Wide Web

Firefox (org.mozilla.firefox) (OK)

My preferred web browser.

I want to export bookmarks in a standard format (HTML). Growl, Firefox (Mobile) can't do that. You're supposed to create a cloud account and sync with their server; then you could sync bookmarks (etc.) with all your mobile and desktop instances of Firefox.

I'm an old troglodyte. See this post in, OP jaelle (2015-06-04). The respondent gives a procedure to locate the browser.db file and do a SQLite query, create an Excel spreadsheet, and extract a HTML-ish file.

Instead I'm going to just save and restore the whole file. The pathname (starting from the root) is: /data/data/org.mozilla.firefox/files/mozilla/xxxxxxxx.default/browser.db (where xxxx is a random identifier). Actually there are a lot of related files which I'm going to save and restore as a unit.

Cut and paste is a lot less error-prone than copying weird pathnames and random identifiers by eyeball. So rather than doing this in a local terminal like VX ConnectBot has, start Dropbear and start a remote session.

I chickened out and reconfigured Firefox anew. The currently most convenient way to transfer bookmarks (not including opening a Mozilla sync account): On the old phone, long press on a bookmark (in the order you want them to apperar on the new phone). Pick Share via Barcode Scanner. QR code appears. Start Barcode Scanner on the new phone and move the phone to see the QR code. It shows the URL and a list of actions. Hit Open Browser. When it's loaded the page, hit the dotdotdot menu and then the star (add bookmark). Quickly hit Options-Edit, or flip to bookmarks, long press on the new bookmark, and pick edit. Shorten the page title and/or jigger the URL, if needed. Again long press on the bookmark and pick Pin Site (if it's to be pinned). I still haven't figured out how to control the order of pinned icons.

Browser (PR) (UU)

This is the AOSP browser, similar to Google's Chromium.

Google (PR) (UU)

The Google App. Its visible aspect is a direct jump to the Google search page. But this app is huge, and is verified to open the microphone when the launcher has focus. A microphone icon pops up in the status bar. Obviously it's for Google Assistant. Turn this off in Settings - Apps & Notifications - Advanced - Permission Manager - Microphone - Google.

Jimc avoids activating weaselly entanglements with Google by only using the search page on the web, and by not using Google Assistant, which does the major part of its job by sending your requests to Google's cloud servers to be interpreted, and whatever else Google does with this information.

Voice Search (Google,, GApps) (UU)

Voice interface to Google Search. See the Google app for why I don't use Voice Search.

Map Navigation

Maps by Google (OK)

Map navigation by Google

StreetView (Google) (OK)

A plug-in for Google Maps to get a panoramic view from any place on any street in urban areas.

JogTracker (Highway North Interactive) (OK)

Track your route when walking or running. Needs to disable battery optimization, like this: Settings - Apps & Notifications - Advanced - Special App Access - Battery Optimization - (change from Not Optimized to All Apps) - select app - Don't Optimize.

In the upgrade from LOS-16 to 17.1, GPS has become unavailable making this app kind of useless. (2020-05-04) [Message sent to developer.] Google Maps works though. Likely the issue is an API change.

Google Earth (OK)

View a satellite image of anywhere on Earth (unless interdicted).

Sky Map ( (OK)

Originally Google Sky Map but donated by Google. No ads.

GPS Status & Toolbox (com.eclipsim.gpsstatus2) (OK)

Displays your GPS location and a whole lot more useful stuff. Also, record a location and use the app to navigate back to it. Coming with this are:

In the upgrade from LOS-16 to 17.1, GPS has become unavailable making this app kind of useless. (2020-05-04) Google Maps works though. Likely the issue is an API change.

ShakeAlertLA (City of Los Angeles) (OK)

Advance warning of an earthquake. It needs to avoid battery optimization. Procedure: Settings - Apps & Notifications - Advanced - Special App Access - Battery Optimization - (change from Not Optimized to All Apps) - select app - Don't Optimize. It also needs to override Do Not Disturb. How to do that: Settings - Apps & Notifications - Notifications (1st item) - Advanced - Do Not Disturb (at the bottom) - (what now?) Up to Android-8 Oreo it was possible to enable particular apps to override Do Not Disturb, but this has disappeared in Android-9 and 10.

Music and Audio

VLC (Videolabs) (OK)

The world standard in audio-video players.

Recorder (PR) (UU)

It can record audio, as in voice notes, or record the screen, not just screenshots, but in theory it can record your awesome fight sequence against some monster. Presumed to be an AOSP app (vs. LOS addition or Google Apps); Android has had the voice recorder since Android-2.

Sound Analyzer (Dominique Rodrigues) (OK)

Measures sound intensity and spectrum. For adjusting loudness of speakers with objective data vs. human fallibility.

AudioFX (PR) (UU)

For tweaking your audio.

Music (PR) (UU)

AOSP music player app.

Camera and Video

Open Camera (net.sourceforge.opencamera, Mark Harman) (OK)

Excellent ad-free camera app, which I prefer.

Camera (PR) (UU)

AOSP camera app.

Gallery (PR) (OK)

AOSP photo displayer. (I use it.)

For reference, here's the (current) procedure to export all the photos from the phone (old or new) to a desktop machine (Jacinth).

Barcode Scanner (ZXing Team, (OK)

My favorite scanner app; does various formats including QR.

IP Webcam (, Pavel Khlebovich)

Streams out what your camera(s) and mic are seeing/hearing. Main use case: baby monitor.

Pixlr (123RF Limited) (UU)

Photo editor. I should get familiar with this.

It is, or was in 2012, a product of Autodesk Inc.

Seeing Steve Jobs demonstrate the photo editing software that comes with the iPad 3, my wife bought an iPad on the spot. We've noticed that many posted photos could really use simple photo editing: specifically cropping and straightening. I reviewed the photo editors available for Android. The free ones mostly are very aggressively ad supported, with full-page ads popping up at random, plus incessant begging for a five star rating. Pixlr is the one I picked. I haven't used it a lot yet, but it looks like it has the features I want.


Huge Digital Clock (Riccardo Camattari) (OK)

Alarm clock for use in the dark of night. Formerly I used (and liked) Night Clock (, but had a lot of trouble getting it to play my favorite music track for the alarm. The new one has generally the same features but can play my wakeup music.

Clock (PR) (UU)

AOSP clock app, mainly useful as a screen widget.

Kitchen Timer (Maxim Kabluka) (OK)

Simple count-down or count-up timer. Needs to disable battery optimization, like this: Settings - Apps & Notifications - Advanced - Special App Access - Battery Optimization - (change from Not Optimized to All Apps) - select app - Don't Optimize.

Formerly I used (and liked) Kitchen Timer (com.leinardi.kitchentimer) but it seems to have disappeared.

My wife and I were visiting our son, and each of us was cooking a dish. They had both timers in action. So I downloaded Kitchen Timer on the spot and had my own timer.

Smart Time Sync (MasterCo) (OK)

Can set the time from NTP or GPS. It can sync time on a schedule. It needs root access to sync the time. Needs Smart Time Sync TZ Data also. Getting the time from GPS is broken in LOS-17.1.

Personal Information Manager (PIM)

PIM is a little more complicated than it looks: there are contact and calendar providers (from AOSP) which make these tables available to all the apps, e.g. phone, e-mail, cLock, notifier. Then there are user interfaces which display the contacts or events and let you search for, create or edit them. And there are connectors, which communicate with a cloud server and synchronize between the versions of the tables on the phone and in the cloud. I use ownCloud on my own server.

CalDAV Sync (dmfs, org.dmfs.caldav.lib) (OK)

Connector for vEvents (calendar events). Paid license, no ads.

Update: ownCloud's new version is successfully installed, and CalDAV Sync can successfully sync the calendar to/from it.

CardDAV Sync (dmfs, org.dmfs.carddav.Sync) (OK)

Connector for vCards (contacts). Paid license, no ads.

Update: ownCloud's new version is successfully installed, and CardDAV Sync can successfully sync contacts to/from it.

Simple Calendar Pro (Simple Mobile Tools) (OK)

Displays the calendar(s). Paid license.

Formerly I used aCalendar (Tapir Labs). But unfortunately aCalendar doesn't seem to have a way to export (or to share) an entire calendar. It can generate an ICS file from individual event cards, which can be shared via various channels. The normal way would be for both the old and new phones to sync with a master copy in the cloud, but ownCloud is currently non-operational. [Fixed.] Since I currently have no future events in my calendar, I'm not going to cry about this, just replace with Simple Calendar Pro.

Simple Contacts Pro (Simple Mobile Tools) (OK)

Displays your contacts. Paid license.

Formerly I used Contacts (the stock app), q.v. for the export procedure, but I tried out Simple Contacts from the same suite as Simple Calendar, and I decided to switch. Successful exporting contacts from Contacts and importing them into Simple Contacts.

Tasks (org.dmfs.tasks) (OK)

A tasks app that comes with CalDAV Sync. A task list is basically a calendar but displayed differently.

Calendar (PR) (UU)

AOSP calendar app.

Contacts (PR) (UU)

AOSP contacts app.

Export procedure (import is very similar):

Calendar Cleanup (Dobromir Gaydarov, org.dg.calendar.manual) (OK)

Delete ancient calendar events.

ownCloud (

App for using ownCloud across the net. Seems to be shared files only, no app GUIs for calendar, contacts, media, etc. The calendar and vCard providers are also using the DAV interface to ownCloud. ownCloud's main purpose is file sharing from a server which you operate on premises.

When specifying the server on the initial page, give the complete URL! https://hostname:port/owncloud . (I have mine on a port-based virtual host. Most but not all people put it in a subdir rather than in the host's root.)

On the web interface, the contacts and calendar pages will give you a URL to put in your connector. In the left panel hit Settings. Next to Contacts hit the dotdotdot icon, then Link. Select the URL text that appears. For the calendar, hit Settings and select the URL in Primary Caldav Address. It ends in /dav/ and at least for CardDAV Sync you can truncate the contacts URL also at /dav/, omitting the subdirectories and the 36 byte GUID.


Solitaire Collection (CandyMobile) (OK)

A collection of card games: Klondike (draw 1 or 3), Freecell, Spider Solitaire. Ad supported, on the selection screen but not during game play. My favorite is Freecell. Alternative name that appears in some contexts: Solitaire Classic. There are a lot of similar apps with similar names, included an updated one from CandyMobile.

Andoku 3 (, Markus Wiederkahr)

Sudoku game. Over 20000 curated variants; has zigzag regions and several other variants.

Sudokyuu (Mnara Solutions) (OK)

A different Sudoku game with different challenges. It has only conventional square Sudoku. The games are randomly generated, so you have an unlimited number of them, but they do not have the devilish traps that a human designer can throw at you, unless by chance.


By Rev. Johnny Healey. Gives a 4x4 or 5x5 grid of random letters; you're supposed to find English words. Steal this one off the old phone. Needs work

Done, see How to Steal an APK File. The game works, except that when you launch it there's an annoying message that its ABI is way back version, which you just ignore.

Text and Office

Jota+ (Aquamarine Networks) (OK)

Text editor; I have a paid license for this called Jota PRO-KEY.

RealCalc (Quartic Software) (OK)

Scientific and engineering calculator with unit conversion. It imitates one of the old Hewlett-Packard calculators with RPN (but can be configured for infix also).

Calculator (, PR) (UU)

Simple 4 function calculator (infix). In CyanogenMod-10 the AOSP app was enhanced with transcendental functions and graphics, but there's no sign of it in LOS-17.1.

Amazon Kindle (Amazon Mobile LLC) (OK)

One of the major proprietary e-book formats. The app can also display PDF. I won't actually move any files; I'll download the content anew from the cloud.

Bible Offline (Mr Rocco) (OK)

I used CadreBible (com.cadreworks.cadrebible), but it's gone, and I need to pick a new bible app. Criteria: should work offline, i.e. with no data connection. Should have English (ASV), Latin (Vulgate) and Chinese Union translations. No worldly advertisements. I picked Bible Offline (Mr Rocco). Pay $1.99 and lose the ads, well worth it. Good: the split screen feature is nice. But it depends on the chapter and verse numbering being the same in both books, which isn't true for Psalms in Vulgate. Not so good: the navigator has a lot of whitespace whereas in CadreBible you could be more agile getting to a book-chapter-verse. [Fixed]

By default, once a day it will pop a notification with a Bible verse recommendation. I've turned off these notifications in Settings.

KeePassDroid (, Brian Pellin) (OK)

Password storage. It's going to take work to get this to work with Firefox Mobile like it does on desktop Firefox. Needs work

The main issue is to wipe the database on the old phone. [Done] (sort of). I'll re-import the database master copy on the new phone.

Remember, with flash memory you can remove a file, but you can't really wipe it: When you overwrite a file (or when removed blocks are assigned to another file) the altered blocks go on a free queue in the hardware. Eventually they will be overwritten but the user has no control over that, and if some Black Hat is really motivated, he can cut the covers off the flash chips and can retrieve interesting information.

OI Safe (OpenIntents) (OK)

For storing passwords, account codes, etc. under protection of a master password. It used to require OI About and OI File Manager, but no longer. You can export the list to a file for backing it up: normally encrypted, but if you blow off warning messages (this is a really bad idea) you can omit the encryption.

System Maintenance and Testing

Total Commander (C. Ghisler) (OK)

File manager with lots of features.

Files (PR) (OK)

AOSP file manager.

Rescan SD Card (CodeAndPlayVn)

When a file has been added/removed from your media areas manually, update the index in the media provider. Need to test if it actually does the rescan. Needs work

Sensors (com.jeggersapp.tricorder, Jolan Eggers) (OK)

Tricorder emulation, sensor exerciser, avoiding legal issues with the name.

Droid Examiner (jackpal.droidexaminer) (OK)

Shows arcane data about the phone.

Network Infrastructure

strongSwan VPN Client (strongSwan project) (OK)

VPN client using IPSec, key agreement by IKEv2. Tested and working. Its one problem is, in LOS-17.1 it is not very effective at making Android use the DNS server that the other endpoint pushes out.

OpenVPN for Android (Arne Schwabe, de.blinkt.openvpn) (OK)

The better OpenVPN client, compared to OpenVPN Connect.

Setup notes: Need to use the up to date ovpn files. On 1194 on LTE, the phone has an IPv6 address and the connection uses it. The following is for to-cft-443. http connections are getting diverted to Claude, but whatismyip.cgi alleges that the server is the one to which the query was directed, e.g. Iris. Summary: http://{jacinth,surya} hangs. http://{jacinth,surya} are diverted to Claude. https://{jacinth,surya} are also diverted to Claude. hangs. reach the intended websites.

With other network issues out of the way, OpenVPN for Android connects and gives connectivity to the internal net, plus the global Internet through the VPN. Tested all internal hosts. Tested both port 1194/udp (strongly recommended) and 443/tcp (for weaselly hotel nets that block everything but 80 + 443). The OpenVPN client successfully configures the DNS server that the partner pushes out.

DNS Forwarder (, Yotta Studio)

Sends DNS queries to the server you specify. Requires root to do this.

Blue Monitor (Tis Veugen, nl.tistis.bluemon)

Manages Bluetooth connections.

Bluetooth File Transfer (it.medieval.blueftp)

OBEX client/server. It was a little hard to figure out how to make it work. My results:

SimpleSSHD (galexand)

SSH server based on Dropbear. It does not have root capability, so must use a nonprivileged port; default is 2222 and I left that. Trap for the unwary: the default SSH dir (for keys and log file) and homedir (for the user's .profile etc.) are by default /data/user/0 which is for some old Android version and which no longer is reachable. After debugging, I changed to /storage/emulated/0/jimc for both, and it started to work.

Helpful command lines:

The keys are in /data/data/org.galexander.sshd/files/ , specifically dropbear_ecdsa_host_key (no public key) and authorized_keys . From the Galaxy S5 they have been rescued into diamond:/home/post_jump/byhg/selen/etc/ssh/ . Orion (the new phone) has its own keys. The plan is to install Orion's ECDSA key, then replace with Selen's when it goes into production. The problem here is, the private key is in a format that OpenSSH ssh-keygen does not recognize, so I can't produce the public key and create the SSHFP record from it.

Workaround: Find a machine whose /root/.ssh/known_hosts file (or ~jimc) has Selen's public key. Extract to a separate file, let's call it Edit off the hostname, start with the algo (ecdsa in this case). Now: ssh-keygen -r -f > selen.sshfp. I inserted the resulting SSHFP record in hostdata.db and installed in DNS, and it induces SSH clients to believe in Dropbear's host key.

Keys were copied into ~jimc and SimpleSSHD was configured to use them. Working.

WiFi Analyzer (Abdelrahman M. Sid)

Working replacement for Wifi Analyzer (farproc) (note different capitalization) which was unable to do the channel scan. Ad supported.

Initially I thought it wasn't able to do a scan in the 5GHz ISM band (802.11ac). But there are so many channels in this band that a scan takes a long time. Be patient.

Network Tools (net.he.networktools)

Hurricane Electric's quirky package of network tools like ping.

Home Automation and Security

Domoticz Lite (nl.hnogames.domoticz) (OK)

Mobile app for the Domoticz home automation portal.

Ring ( (OK)

Mobile app for the Ring security and home automation product suite. Requires setup with the Ring password. [Fixed]

Total Connect Comfort (TCC, Resideo Tech) (OK)

Honeywell thermostat app. Requires setup with the Honeywell password. Normally I don't let apps save my password(s), but in this case there's no chance that I will remember the password, so I've allowed it into the app's database.


Play Store (Google) (PR, Gapps, OK)

Manager and installer from Google's app store, from Google Apps.

Whole Foods (com.wholefoods.wholefoodsmarket) (OK)

Whole Foods store app, use to authenticate for Amazon Prime discounts.

MyChart (Epic Systems Corp.) (OK)

Medical records access and telemedicine video conference. I haven't yet tried the latter.

Google Pay (Google LLC)

Pay with your phone and send cash. If you can psss SafetyCheck. Needs work; with the coronavirus there's no longer any opportunity to test it.

Isotope Browser (IAEA) (OK)

Properties of isotopes. Replaces Wallet Cards (good).

Periodic Table (Royal Society of Chemistry) (OK)

Properties of the chemical elements. Replaces Periodic Droid which is no longer available.


Interface app for a smart watch or fitness monitor that I use for blood oxygen estimates.

Smart Checker and Smart Geiger (FTLab) (U)

There's a sensor, presumably cadmium telluride or some similar semiconductor, which delivers audio signals, and this app and its plugin can count the data. But not reliably. I've uninstalled these apps and am relying on a dedicated gas-filled GM device.

Offline Survival Manual (ligi) (OK)

How to survive various unfortunate situations with no Internet connection.

Hacker's Keyboard (org.pocketworkstation.pckeyboard, Klaus Weidner) (OK)

Full 104 key keyboard. But the keys are closer together so you have to be careful when typing.

How to pick one or the other keyboard: First enable the ones you want to be selectable, like this: Settings - System - Language & Input - Virtual Keyboard - Manage Keyboards - Turn on/off the ones you do/don't want in the management menu. (Google Voice Typing is on by default and I turned it off.) Then in an app that uses the keyboard, look on the main button bar (just below the keyboard) at the right edge for the keyboard icon. Click. From the radio buttons, pick the keyboard you want.

Downloads (PR) (OK)

Downloads manager and launcher (AOSP).

Y.a. Phase Beam (noxx.evil.yet.another.phase.beam, Davide Nabais) (OK)

The original Phase Beam is gone, but this one is similar. The default blue and magenta color scheme is called Candy for some reason.

To pick a wallpaper: in the background of the launcher (home screen), long press, and in the resulting menu pick Styles & Wallpapers. Scroll down and find category boxes for My Photos, On-Device Wallpapers, and Live Wallpapers. Click on a category. Click on a specific wallpaper. A sample view will appear, with the title and a button Set Wallpaper. Click on that. It asks if you want to put it on the launcher, lock screen, or both. Done.

Minor annoyance: every time I back up my apps, the window manager reverts to the default wallpaper and I have to turn on Phase Beam again.

Otter: Portrait of Selen
Photo Credit