Pokémon Go Plagued By Freezing App

 

pokemon-goPokémon Go – the new app craze that is taking the world by storm – is unfortunately, despite recent efforts, continued to be plagued by a freezing and crashing app to much frustration of Pokémon trainers worldwide.

The latest augmented reality craze that we covered recently has had numerous problems since launch including logins failing (particularly through the Pokémon Trainer Club) and the app being extremely unreliable.

Despite much fixing going on behind the scenes at developer Niantic, unfortunately the dreaded freezing app issue still remains.  What’s causing it?  Let’s take a look.

What’s Happening?

The app freezes – seemingly randomly.  But rather than crashing (i.e. the apps doing nothing or quits unexpectedly), most of the time the app continues to ‘play on’ but no longer responds to user input (i.e. touching the screen, attempting to open the menu or catch a Pokémon).

What’s Causing It?

Well, we can likely rule out a few things here.

Firstly, it’s unlikely to be demand on the servers.  By now, almost a month after the UK launch, we expect that Niantic have finally managed to boost capacity on their servers to cope with the numbers of players.  Also, as with any new craze or fad, things have likely died down a little recently, many people downloading and playing the app but who have since given up.

Secondly, Internet connectivity.  It’s unlikely to be the source of the problem as internet connectivity issues across so many different devices and so many different internet connections are unlikely to be coincidentally dropping out at the point the app freezes.  Furthermore, when the app ‘freezes’ it seems to continue to be fully operational apart from the fact that it no longer responds to user input (which, I admit, makes the app pretty useless – unless all you’re doing is walking to hatch your currently incubated eggs, in which case you should be OK).  Having tested this out, although the app does have a tenancy to stop responding and/or crash when your internet connection drops or you are switching from one connection to another (i.e. your home wifi to 3G/4G when you leave your home), the app also has a tendency to freeze when there’s no connection drop or switching of connection – so whilst this is a possibility (and more likely than the first reason), it’s still down there on the list of possible causes.

So… what’s likely to be causing it?

I’m putting my money on a bug in the application.  Yes, I know they’ve been working on it – but a developers work is never done!  And with the tendency to throw an app out there and then fix the bugs, it wouldn’t surprise us if this was the case.  Even once you are aware of the effect of a bug, the cause is not always evident or easy to track down.

To be honest, this bug has probably been bottom of the pile (hopefully, until now) because of the much more severe problems that Niantic have had to be busy fixing – namely people not being able to play the app at all, rather than it crashing during use (albeit fairly frequently).

What Can I Do (How Do I Fix This)?

This depends on the way you’re asking the question.

How do you fix this – as in, how do you resolve the problem / bug that is causing this to happen?  The answer is, you can’t.  We’ll have to leave this one in the hands of the developers at Niantic I’m afraid.

But fear not – there’s a relatively pain free solution as a temporary workaround – and it’s quite easy.

If (when) the Pokémon Go app stops responding to your inputs (i.e. when you touch the screen), simply quit the app and restart.  When the app starts again, you’ll notice that it is once again responding to your inputs and you can play normally again.  Please note:  if you are walking at the time of doing this, you may lose a few fractions of a kilometer whilst the app restarts.  Sorry, there’s little way to avoid this, unless you stop walking when you quit the app and don’t start again until the apps reloaded.  However, the impact of this is going to be negligible – particularly when you consider the dodgy straight line GPS tracking that Pokémon Go employs!

To quit the app on an iPhone, double tap the home button and then swipe the Pokémon Go app upwards.  Then start the app again as normal.

For Android phones, go to the Application Manager (in Settings), click the name of the app, and then select ‘Force Quit’.  Start the app again as normal.

Conclusion

It’s pretty annoying – I’ll admit being totally frustrated with this myself.  We’ve got to sit tight and pray Niantic answer our calls.  Until then, use the fix above and Pokémon Go should just be a mildly frustrating yet addictive app to play, rather than a totally unplayable one!

Airplane Mode on Wireless Devices

Airplane Mode‘Airplane Mode’ is a common setting included on most modern wireless devices such as mobile phones and tablets.

As well as its obvious in flight usage, required to be activated on many flights due to potential interference with the aircrafts systems, it also has general usage whilst abroad and trying to avoid ludicrously high roaming charges.

Airplane mode will deactivate all connections to the mobile network and the internet.  3G, 4G, GPRS, and Wifi, for example, will all be deactivated.

This leaves many people thinking that they cannot get any connectivity to anything whilst airplane mode is enabled.  So whilst abroad in particular, many people will selectively disable airplane mode whilst using their device to allow them to connect with the free wifi connections that are usually available in hotels as well as cafes, bars etc.

Unfortunately, with the latest devices, apps are likely to be in the background requesting data – for example, as soon as there is an Internet connection the commonly placed Weather widgets, on iPhones, Android and Windows devices are likely to try to determine your location and download the latest weather information available.  This can all happen in a very short space of time – before you have managed to connect to your free wifi.

Although the time between you deactivating airplane mode and connecting to the free wifi may be short, on a two week holiday, doing this multiple times a day, it can all add up – especially when you’re outside the EU where roaming charges aren’t regulated.  Over the past couple of years the EU has regulated roaming charges in the member countries but that just means that they should no longer be extortionate, not that they will be cheap when compared to the rates that you pay at home.

There are many reasons why there could be a more lengthy delay between you connecting to your free wifi, bad connection, dropping connection (and in the meantime connecting to the mobile network), forgetting to reactivate airplane mode just to name a few.

However, I did wonder why people were taking this risk with bills when they didn’t need to.  Then it turns out, that there’s a small bit of information that a lot of people are unaware of.

When activating airplane mode, the presumption is that everything it disables cannot be re-enabled selectively.  This is not true.

Whilst it is true, that you cannot reactivate certain things, such as cellular signal or mobile broadband (this would really defeat the purpose of airplane mode!), you can reactivate your wireless connection without having to deactivate airplane mode.  By doing this, you avoid accidentally connecting to the mobile network and incurring charges.

Now you’ll be able to access the internet, download apps, sent instant messages, check the news and much more without the risk of dropping onto the mobile network and running up charges unknowingly.

Remember, if you’re just using Wifi, keep Airplane Mode activated – you only need to deactivate it if you want to use the mobile network, for example to send texts (excluding iMessages – which are sent over the Internet) or specifically access the mobile broadband network (for example, some mobile operators will only allow you to log in to certain apps or online areas whilst using their mobile network – for security reasons.  Whilst these are usually free, they are highly unlikely to be whilst abroad as a different mobile carrier will likely be providing your service).

An alternative to this, is to of course switch off data roaming on your device, although on most devices this will leave the cellular signal unaffected, so you could ‘pocket dial’ somebody or send a mass text without thinking!  Although it should protect you from any nasty mobile internet bills – which are usually the highest charging element of bills whilst abroad.

Android to iOS – It’ll Take A While!

Apple iPhone 4SSo, you’ve got an Android phone and you’ve jumped at the chance to get an iPhone.  Surely transferring things over will be easy.  Well no, due to the massive differences between the Android and iOS operating systems, you could be in for a long battle to transfer all of your stuff from your old phone to your new one.

Usually, one of the most important things that people want to transfer is their contacts (yes, that’s right, some people actually use their phones to make phone calls – shocking I know – especially now that Angry Birds is around ;)).

Unfortunately, for people making a switch to the dark side (;)), this isn’t easy.  There are usually a number of different ways this can be achieved but most of these won’t work when transferring between these two types of phone.

Firstly, forget bluetoothing your contacts (or any data for that matter) between your Android phone and your iPhone – it just isn’t going to happen in most, if not all cases.  You’re not even going to be able to pair the phones together to even attempt to start a transfer.  You can scan and find each of the devices but bluetooth wise, that is as good as it gets.

Secondly, you can forget Google to help.  As an Android user you probably have already uploaded and backed up your contacts to your Google account.  There are no free apps that we have found on investigation that successfully import your Google contacts to your iPhone.  They way they store them and the formats used are fundamentally different.  There were some paid apps out there ranging from approximately £1.99 to £5.99.  However, there are reports and reviews on at least some of these that they don’t work.  And do you want to risk spending loads and loads of money on a series of apps that leave you no better off than you were before you purchased them?

Thirdly, most of the import / export options look pretty on paper, but don’t seem to actually work between the devices.  The “Outlook transfer” method doesn’t seem to work on Android phones – the export seems to only register your first contact in Outlook, despite assurances that it has exported your whole address book.  Our investigations show that the entire address book has probably been exported (although it took us three attempts at the export to get this to work correctly) but Outlook (2007) seems to have issues with importing it – despite supporting the file format (.vcf).

However, don’t worry, there is one final thing you can try – and we’ve tested the method, its fully working!!

The two phones that we used to test this were an HTC Wildfire (Android) and iPhone 4s (iOS) however any Android / iOS phone combination should work.

Firstly you need to get your Android and export all of the contacts to your SD card (yes, you will need an SD card – but these are pretty standard in most phones nowadays).

After you have done that, connect your Android phone to your computer (using the USB cable that came with your phone – sometimes this cable forms part of your charger).  Mount the phone as a disk drive.

Open up the “Removable disk” that has now appeared in My Computer – this represents the SD card on your phone which is where your contacts export file will be placed.  It could be called anything – this is determined by the phone, but it will be the latest .vcf file on your SD card.  Copy this to your desktop.

Open Thunderbird (if you don’t have this on your computer then download it for free).  Please note that we did try this with Outlook 2007 and it didn’t work.  Use the Import / Export (Tools) option in Thunderbird and import the contacts to your address book.

Disconnect your Android phone from your computer.

Now connect your iPhone to the computer and start iTunes.

If you’ve used your iPhone on the computer you are using before, great, it should all start loading up.  If not, register it, then it will load up  – there is a wizard to help you do this.

Select the iPhone and go to the Info tab – there will be a contacts section in here.

Set it to import contacts from the relevant source (in our case Thunderbird – although you can use Windows contacts as well – it works in a pretty similar manner although obviously you would import the vcf file from the SD card into Windows Contacts rather than Thunderbird.

Scroll to the bottom and tick the ‘Contacts’ box so that it overwrites the contacts on your iPhone with the address book from your computer.  Please note that if you already have contacts in your iPhone these may be lost during this process.  We are assuming if you are following this guide then this isn’t going to be an issue as you have most likely just got your phone and have no contacts stored in it anyway.

Click the ‘Sync’ button to start syncing the data.  A progress bar should show how far it has got with this and how long it is going to take.  After its all finished you are free to unplug your iPhone from your computer.

All your contacts should now magically be on your iPhone!

Please, please, please be aware that this is not a perfect process – but it is the best you are going to get.  Android and iOS are fundamentally different and it is not designed to have information shared between the operating systems.  You will likely notice that some of your fields or contact phone numbers have not been imported (Android fields do not all directly map to iOS fields and vice versa).  From our tests, numbers stored under mobile, home and office seemed to transfer fine, but numbers that had been stored under ‘Other’ or in other categories didn’t transfer successfully.  These have to be manually added – but look on the bright side, at least you don’t have to do them all.

It is strongly recommended that you check all your contacts in your iPhone and add any details or phone numbers which have been omitted.

Chronicles of Merlin Players Encounter Another Bug

Chronicles of Merlin logoPlayers of the popular iOS game, Chronicles of Merlin have recently become increasingly annoyed about the major ‘Alliance’ bug present in the game, which DPS Computing reported about on Friday.

Now it appears yet another bug has been added to the ‘major bugs’ list that has started to really get on the nerves of players.

This bug, which is gaining notoriety by the day, involves some buildings in the game appearing to be ‘downgraded’ after a previous upgrade.

DPS Computing has investigated this bug and has discovered that it exists for at least some buildings on the game.  The ‘Tower of Trials’ used to train up the games heroes to higher levels, appears to ‘automatically downgrade’ randomly from level 60 to level 59 with no apparent cause.  DPS Computing managed to recreate this error by being in a ‘Level 60 Region’ and upgrading the tower to Level 60.  Then at some point after log out, when a player logs back in they usually discover over the course of the day that the building has been downgraded to level 59.

The frustration for players regarding this bug is likely to grow as sliver, the currency used to buy things in the game, is used to upgrade the building (as well as time having to be waited for the ‘cool down’ period after the upgrade) which simply disappears after the building is downgraded.

Now doubt this will be another bug that the developers will have to seriously look at before the ever growing list of bugs damages the reputation and popularity of the iOS game, which initially found fame as a Facebook game.

DPS Computing would like to note that although the iOS game and Facebook game are released and developed by the same developer they are in fact two different games.

CoM Players Anger Grows Over Major Bugs

Chronicles of Merlin logoPlayers of popular iOS game Chronicles of Merlin are becoming increasingly frustrated with the developers of the game after another release is made but major bugs have still not been rectified in the game.

One of the most complained about bugs is the ‘Alliance’ bug where the game will regularly crash after trying to perform any functions in the Alliance section of the game.  This evidently has caused frustration for many users with some also reporting that it is happening to them in other areas of the game.

Upon closer inspection by DPS Computing we have established that indeed the ‘Alliance’ bug remains in the latest version of the game.  Players have been assured that the developers are looking into this and hope to release a bug fix for it in the near future.

The impact of the ‘Alliance’ bug makes using any of the alliance features in the game very frustrating and with growing user tension it seems like the developers should be pulling out all the stops to fix this bug before it leads to a decline in the number of players.

If you are a Chronicles of Merlin player and have noticed any issues with the game, including the ever more infamous ‘Alliance’ bug, the please let us know in the comments below.