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[ NNSquad ] Android 4.2's Super Vision Boost (and a Note for Developers)

        Android 4.2's Super Vision Boost (and a Note for Developers)


Google is now rolling out the Android "Jelly Bean" version 4.2 system
to capable devices, and there's a new feature included that is not
particularly obvious, but is potentially so important to so many
people that it deserves a special mention.

As most of us learn sooner or later, using smartphones and other
portable devices becomes increasingly challenging as we age, given
that most people's vision starts to degrade beginning as early as
their 20s.  Small fonts maximize information density if you have the
visual acuity to resolve them.  Otherwise, they can be rather

While Android apps and the Android system itself have been getting
consistently better about providing font and other sizing controls,
there have still been various situations where ease of viewing has
been suboptimal on small displays.

That's why I've been very pleased by the new deeply integrated
zoom/pan magnification function included with JB 4.2.  After being
enabled, which you can do via Settings->Accessibility->Magnification
gestures -- you can triple-tap virtually anywhere in the Android
environment (except the keyboard and notification panel, I believe)
and instantly magnify the current screen.  You can then pan around and
change the zoom level by touch, and drop back to normal view with
another triple-tap.  It's extremely well implemented -- kudos to the
team responsible!

While I'm talking about settings, regular Android users may notice
that 4.2 seems to have eliminated the traditional "Developer options"
such as "USB Debugging" and others.  They're still available, but
since a relatively small proportion of users ever need them, Google
has sort of turned them into an "Easter egg" function of sorts.

To enable "Developer options" go to Settings->About phone, then scroll
down to "Build number."  Tap on Build number.  Do it again.  Keep
going!  After a number of taps, you'll be informed that you're getting
close, then you'll be anointed with Developer status.  Take another
look at the main Settings menu -- the Developer options will now be

There are other very useful advances in 4.2 as well -- more powerful
camera app, gesture keyboard, and much more.  Great work!

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org/pfir-info
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com/privacy-info
 - Data Wisdom Explorers League: http://www.dwel.org
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren / Twitter: http://vortex.com/t-lauren 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com

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