Adding Qi wireless charging to the Fairphone 3

No, don't worry, this isn't a 'screwdrivers-out' scary hack. As you might expect with the Fairphone 3, it's as simple as taking the back off (3 seconds) and putting it back on again (3 more seconds).

The key is the existence of after-market Qi charging coils, using their slim ribbon cable nature, together with the relatively generous tolerances in the Fairphone 3's back cover/clips.

You'll need this coil (my link is to Amazon UK, I'm sure you can find similar items in your own country etc.) A typical price is £10 (or local equivalent).

You can guess what's coming, but here goes anyway. First, take the back off the Fairphone 3 by prising it off with your fingernail:

Next, insert the coil's Type C connector into the phone and lay the coil against the phone's battery surface:

Replace the Fairphone 3's back cover, it will clip down all around, even over the Qi coil's ribbon, which is pretty cool:

And laying the Fairphone 3 on a Qi charge…

Begone, Android File Transfer! Welcome MacDroid!

One of the bane of Mac users who have an Android smartphone is that the only way to get media off and on the phone using a wire (typically a Type C cable these days) is using Google's token 'Android File Transfer' utility for Mac. This was written back in the mists of time and never updated. Furthermore, it doesn't work with all Android smartphones, due to differences in MTP implementation. However, the good news is that there's now a modern equivalent! Enter MacDroid.

£135 for a plastic case? Save a fortune on Ford SYNC2 map updates

It's possible I'm being too hard on Ford here - maybe the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremes, as always... But I acquired a new car recently, a 2016 C-Max, with Ford's SYNC2 entertainment and sat-nav system built-in. All's fine, but the road maps are out of date, with several new roads on my regular routes not included. So... how best to update them?

A Nationwide Building Society phone support fiasco...

Forgive a little rant, but.... the folks who man support lines at big companies and organisations are, I'm sure, nice people, but they're not always trained very well at diagnosing what's wrong when a customer phones in....

So I'm buying a used car (my first for a decade!), £7,000 or so. I contact the Nationwide during the preceding week:

"When I arrive at the dealers (a 100 mile drive), will I be able to transfer the money from my account to the dealer using your phone app?"

"Absolutely", the Nationwide man said, "as long as it's under £10,000 you'll be fine. Just have your Nationwide card reader to hand for authentication."

I thanked him and now we move on to today. I drive the 100 miles and settle down to pay the car dealer. On the first try, following the usual steps and using the card reader, after the final 'Pay now' step I got an error message: "Transaction failed due to an unknown problem".

Ah. How helpful…

An experimental republish from (my own content) on AAWP!

The question is a tantalising one. How would someone get on setting up a Windows 10 Mobile smartphone from scratch... in 2020? i.e. a starting point of up to date security but no more updates to come - ever, plus a patchy set of mainstream services. I keep the latter tabulated and up to date here, but I also thought it worth documenting how everything comes together (or not) on a freshly factory reset Alcatel IDOL 4 Pro, certainly the slickest and shiniest (and boy, is it slippery) Windows phone ever made.

Case round-up for the Google Pixel 4

In the reviews of the brand new Pixel 4 so far, I note that the painted finish on metal and glass is worrisome - surely it's going to rub off and look tatty at some point? So here we go with some likely case contenders...

As usual for my case roundups, I'll cover a variety of styles, with most samples supplied by MobileFun, kind people that they are. See their complete range of Pixel 4 cases and covers.

But on with the individual cases, each link goes to the relevant product page, of course.

(I'll update this initially-brief round-up as and when more cases arrive for review from MobileFun and from other sources.)

Olixar ExoShield, £7 No, that price isn't a typo. It's just superb value. You're getting a top quality clear case with 'slab' (read: grippy) sides, reinforced 'bubble' corners, and the clarity that shows off your Pixel's real colour.

The only small caveat is that you have to have good fingernails to peel off the protective film that …

Lightning cables: 2m or go home! (Choetech review)

My family and I have discovered over the last decade of owning iPhones that the standard 1m cables, such as the ones Apple includes in the phone boxes, just aren't long enough: with the power adapter in a wall plug or a floor 4-way gang, the lead barely reaches onto the sofa or bed and then you've got to constantly worry about the iPhone being charged being knocked off. Or finding it hard to use while being charged.

The answer is, of course, to have a longer cable in the first place. Our home is now outfitted with 2m cables, giving masses of extra flexibility. And, in this case, with the Choetech cable here sent in for review, giving extra ruggedisation as well.

This is really thick, coated in tough TPE (ThermoPlastic Elastomer), and claims to be tangle proof. It's certainly the most substantial Lightning cable I've ever used. It's fully Apple 'Mfi' certified too and I tested it with an 18W mains charger, to charge an iPhone 11 Pro with PD (Power Delivery) …