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July 19, 2010

Android apps, tips, and tricks

Whether you've been a user of Android since debut or you're new to the scene this will probably be of some use to you. With the Android market creeping up in 100,000 apps it can be a bit difficult to find exactly what you're looking for and equally hard to separate the good from the bad. All of these apps are downloadable from the market, most are free, however the ones that are paid are only a couple of dollars.

Tikl: It's a simple push to talk client that really excels in doing what it says. If you've ever used a Nextel it's the same principle. Free

Handcent SMS: A text messaging app that far exceeds anything on a stock Android phone to date. Customizable color schemes and conversation styles give it a very open feel. (Disable your stock apps notifications. open stock menu>settings>notifications.) One of my favorites. Free

Kindle for Android: A Kindle app that offers a very nice user interface and reading experience.
Adjustable text, page color and other great features. Free

Fox News: A news app with all the great features you would expect. Live streaming from Fox News Radio, video highlights and headlines. Free

Pandora: The most popular music streaming app available. Free

Swiftkey Beta: One of the best keyboards for Android. Swiftkey will scan through your text messages
and try to learn your style of talk. It will actually predict your next words as you type. Free

Twitter for Android: The official Twitter client for Android.

Dolphin browser: Dolphin offers tabbed browsing and a great user interface. Free

Shop Savvy: A barcode scanner and shopping app all in one. Free

Weatherbug Elite: a weather app with live radar and forecasts. $1.99

WikiMobile encyclopedia: Wikipedia at your fingertips. Free

Astro file manager: An excellent file manager. SD card and phone storage. Free

Skype Mobile: umm skype.

Google Translate: Makes conversations much easier than yelling WHERE IS THE MC'DONALDS. Free

IMDb: Movies at your fingertips and much more.

I hope this list gives you some insight on the Android scene.

July 17, 2010

Just can't justify getting a Droid X

I am one of those people who needs to be up to date on all of the latest pocket technology. I am always looking at the FCC site for new patent filings (NERD). I recently purchased an HTC incredible in 5-2010. As soon as i got comfortable with the Incredible the Droid X rumors started. Rumors turned to leaked images, leaked images turned to leaked release dates, and finally on 7-15-2010 it happened. A day that will live in infamy as one of the most historic and socially moving days of....... Ok so maybe i over done that one a little bit. Anyway the DX finally launched. I was super excited to say the least. I started trying to find a way to manipulate my contract in order to get one.
As of tonight I have officially changed my mind on the DX. Not saying that it isn't an amazing phone because it is. However, i just can't justify an upgrade from a Droid Incredible i got less that 4 mos. ago. With the new update that is coming to the Inc. including Wireless N, 720 HD video, and bug fixes i am beginning to lose the DX bug. Oh, and the fact that the bootloader is locked on the X didn't exactly hurt my decision either.
Also, the fact that the Android phones in Verizon's lineup are coming so fast; who knows how long it will be until we get a phone with a front facing camera, or even a built in ray-gun. That'd be SWEET!!!
Being the first Android / Verizon phone with a large screen and 720 video I am sure more will follow, and when they do I'm sure they will eclipse the DX just like the Inc. did the the Droid 1. No matter what phone you have a superior one will always be just around the corner and for a person like me that is a very difficult reality to handle but handle it I must.

July 15, 2010

Droid Incredible finally has root

Right around the time that the Droid X arrives the guys over at Unrevoked have found a way to painlessly root the Droid Incredible. This is pretty huge news. One of my favorite things to do with my original Droid was to hack the life out of it, install custom ROMs and kernels and backups. Now, all this is possible in the Inc.
Huge thanks to the guys at unrevoked for doing this. Now maybe the developer scene will pick up now that more people are rooting their incredibles.
All this is kind of making me think that the Droid X might not be my cup of tea after all. Root will be possible on the X but installing custom ROMs will be almost impossible due to the locked bootloader. We will have to wait and see. I will probably end up with a Droid X and hoping for someone to fix the bootloader lockdown

Google Chrome is my new favorite browser

I have been using Firefox for a long time, but have had Chrome installed on my computer ever since i came out. I just never really used it much until recently. Google Chrome is a simple browser but packed with features that everyone from a power-user to a grandma can use.
By far the most useful feature in Chrome is the sync feature. Sync lets you log into the browser from any computer and have everything from bookmarks to settings exactly the same on each computer. I did not understand how essential this was until i actually used it.
Another accolade of Chrome is the simplicity of it all. The navigation bar is very clean and minimalistic. Gone are they days of a 6 inch thick bar just to type in a web address and look at your bookmarks. Chrome has the address bar, extensions and bookmarks. That's it.
Integrated Twitter, Facebook, mail and other extensions are a nice touch. New extensions are added everyday and developers are really catching on.
It's my belief that this browser blows Firefox out of the water, and is light years ahead of windows explorer. Who still uses IE aside from old people anyway? Other than for site compatability. Now, for full disclosure i am a Google fan. I like what they do and how they think. If you don't like it bug off

EasyTether for Android Ububntu style

Right now its after 12:00a.m. I'm tired, worked all day, and even the pugs are asleep.
However, i did manage to finaly get Easytether to work on Ubuntu. If you follow these simple steps you can too.

Step 1: Download the drivers at http://www.mobile-stream.com/easytether/drivers.html
Step 1.5: Install said drivers. duh

Step 2: plug your android device into your laptop

Step 3: run easytether and ensure USB is checked.

Step 4: open up terminal and type "easytether enumerate" without the quotes. Then your devices id number will appear.

Step 5: type "sudo easytether connect #########" without quotes. Replace #s with serial num. This will bring up another command.

Step 6: open up another terminal window. THE OTHER ONE HAS TO STAY OPEN. type in "sudo dhclient easytether0" without quotes into the new window. This will configure your phone and signal.

Step 7: Enjoy. When you are done press CTRL+C in the original window to disconnect.

Sorry for any typos. it's late dang it

July 14, 2010

Is open source mainstream?

The open source movement is going strong. Google is doing great things with Android and Linux is getting into the hands of more and more people.
But, does the public know about open source? Does the average person care that certain companies lock down features that they don't see fit for their hardware or software.
I was an early adopter if android on Verizon and i have to say that open source is a must for me. I have Android on my smartphone and i run Linux Ubuntu on my laptop.
Companies like Apple only want you to be able to see what they want you to see whereas companies like Google think that you should be able to do what you want with your mobile device or other product.
However, the average person may be fine with a lockdown of certain features.

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Droid X thoughts

The new Droid x comes out tomorrow and it has got me thinking. I am watching all of these i*hone commercials and have to admit that facetime is a really neat app.
The Droid X does not have a front facing camera. That being said, Verizon is releasing Android phones at a shocking pace. I have had every major android phone since its release on big red, but my question is, will i be disappointed when they release on with a front camera or will i be so happy with my X that it won't matter?
Will i even use the camera that much? My guess is that i will know too few people with a front cam. to even use it.

Must love dogs

video

Ya gotta love dogs. here is my buddy Dexter sleeping

July 13, 2010

Customer Service



We've all dealt with it, whether it be a cell phone company or any other major industry. The customer service representatives that you speak with when you call tech support are very likely to be in another country.

I just got off a 58 minute call to belkin tech support to fix a router issue. A call that probably should have lasted all of 20 minutes, due to the language barrier has been pushed up to almost an hour. More and more these jobs are being outsourced to countries thousands of miles from where the caller is due to cheaper wages.

However, more and more i find myself trying to use companies that tend to shy away from this practice. Vision computers comes to mind. Vision Computers has a very good record of customer service. The average hold time for tech support is 15 seconds.... Let that sink in people. Just think of the last time you called tech support and held less than 5 minutes.

A lot of the "mom n pop" businesses out there just can't hack it. Much of that has to do with the internet age. Most times it is very expensive and time consuming to build a web page and maintain it. However, it is getting lot less expensive and troublesome. I admit that if i need something in a pinch google is my friend. If your out in town and you have your choice between Home Depot and Bob's Hardware I think you should choose Bob. He probably has more experience and knowledge than everyone at Home Depot.

Customer service has been a lost art to a lot of mega corporations. Just rememer this, if you are needing something; whether it be electronic or otherwise, check your local stores and businesses first. They might just save you a headache or two.