Oct 28, 2009


A nice little ride. Was dark and chilly, but not too cold. Ended for some Surly (Bender, Dark, etc.) at Common Roots. Yum!

We went the "wrong" way down first and also Hennepin, and got to see the new stadium lights blasting the night sky away.

Oct 27, 2009

My Android Post

A Facebook friend asked what I use on Android, and a co-worker just got an Anrdoid phone, so I'm summarizing my preferences and applications here:

Applications (bold means I really mean it)
  • GPS Tracker - tracks my walks home, has a nice web site interface for post-tracking work, etc. Clean background task doesn't hog memory or resources
  • Advanced Task Manager - pay app, but worth it. Typical "kill stuff" app, but it will also hunt down apps in the background and kill them at will. Which can be good or bad depending on who you are. :)
  • MountUSB - When I plug in the phone I hit this icon and it does the "mount usb" stuff that you normally have to do via notifcation and dialogs. Awesome.
  • Toggle Screen Timeout - Lets you toggle screen timeout on/off, obviously. I use this when I'm in the car and I want the GPS to keep the map awake or something like that. Otherwise I have the screen shut down after x seconds or whatever to conserve battery.
  • ixMAT Scanner - I use this daily. By combining my use of Cyrket's feed in google reader and this app I can see a review for a new app, hold the phone up to the PC screen and scan the barcde for direct access to the market app. Really handy.
  • Brightness Level - quick display brightness switcher, NOT a widget.
  • Craigslist Notifications - I have saved searches for used concertinas, boat stuff, scooter stuff, etc. You don't want to GO to craigslist every day and wade through the garbage, but you want to know if something you want shows up. This app does that. It's also great for reading missed connections, which will make you feel superior to the folks who post "I was the sensitive guy with the white belt and black hair at the Death Cab for Cutie concert, you were the chick with the piercings, coffee some time?"
  • Anycut - I place shortcuts via anycut for "Bluetooth settings" and "Settings" on my home screen for easy access.
  • Bookmark2 - allows you to put a shortcut on the home screen, but lets you pick (or screenshot!) your own icon.
  • Snooze - this is my own app, I wrote. Click it and the phone audio goes silent for 9 minutes, then back on. No more "oh I didn't hear it ring because I muted it so I could play solitaire" excuses. Contact me if you're interested.
  • PicPush - jams my pictures to Facebook or Picasaweb or wherever, either as soon as I take them, or ad hoc.
  • Twidroid - clean, strong twitter app.
  • Radar Now - simple temperature app, but it also has animated radar!
  • Space Physics - an awesome awesome game. Paid for it!
  • Andoku - a nice little sudoku app that doesn't require keyboard or writing on the screen. I tried a few sudoku apps and this was the best of the lot.
  • The Weather Channel - there's a reason it's a top 10 app.
  • Blockx 3D - 3d tetris. I'm from the 80's.
  • Jewellust - Bejeweled clone, paid for it, solid as a rock and pretty as a peach.
  • Video Player - I used to use Meridian player, which I would probably suggest you try first. But I don't watch videos on the phone right now, just on my PSP. :)
  • OI Flashlight - everybody has one
  • Shazam - I use this a LOT in the car to find out what song is playing on the radio. A little miracle.
  • Golf Solitaire Free - limited levels, but a great version.
  • Wabbit - lets me control my Nabaztag rabbit from my phone. You won't need this.
  • Wireless Tether for Root - This is how I rock facebook from the cabin at 3g superspeeds. Turns your phone into a wireless access point for any and all to connect to. Security and everything, if you're into that sort of thing.
  • AdFree - removes ads in some software. The old hosts file switcheroo. Don't know if you have to be root for this one.
  • Album Art Grabber - I use" iTunes Agent" to keep my G1 sync'd with an iTunes playlist just like it's an iPod. (Suck that, PalmPre folks!) And this fills in any art I may have missed.
  • AndExplorer - this is the random file explorer I chose
  • AppManager - nice, lets you back up apps so you don't have to go download them the next time you factory wipe or get a new phone. Useful only for ROM hackers who wipe a lot.
  • ChavOff - generates a range of tones that kids can hear and adults can't. I can get my kids to kick me in the face in 2 seconds flat with this one.
  • Camera Magic - awesome camera app, super fast, nice features. Replace your regular app with this one.
  • CoPilot Live - paid app, GPS maps on your SD card. No more network reliance for travel.
  • Facebook - the official app, rocks the house.
  • Google Sky Map - it really works! Even up in the north woods when you really need it
  • Pandora - just like the web app, I've listened to Pandora all the way home with no problems (1 hour walk)
Stuff and Such

  • Never had a problem running the GPS all the time, but I keep the wifi turned off unless I'm actually using it (rare) and the display turned down appropriately.
  • Display - I use "Brightness" (app) to keep my display turned down or up based on where I am. I think there are ambient light sensing apps out there to do this but I'm too lazy to check. Locale (app) might be another option for turning things on and off based on location and/or time.
  • Battery - when you first get the phone you will burn through the battery like crazy. But once you get into a rhythm it's fine. I use my phone all day and listen to music for an hour on the way home and stuff have juice for the evening. I plug it in when I can (at desk, couch, whatever) and carry an energizer battery usb charger if I'm on a long trip.
  • Widgets - some of them are handy, some of them are expensive in terms of CPU and battery. When you discover widgets and add as many as your phone has room for, you will suffer. But if you use a couple you should be just fine. Everything in moderation, right?
  • Root - I rooted long ago, I've done custom ROMs (Go Cyanogen!), but to be honest the only reason I need it is for tethering. Was a fairly easy process, and when they say "brick" your phone, they mean "screw it up enough that it's a hassle but not impossible" to recover.
  • Develop your own apps - it's not that hard, and it's really nice to be able to create something you feel a need for that nobody else has through of yet, or ever will. (ex: my android screen scraping app)
I've been using my phone for almost a year now and wouldn't trade it for anything - except another Android phone with some beefier hardware maybe. I have a lot of pressure to go iPhone, but haven't had enough checkboxes in my mental comparison chart to justify it. While I like to bash the iPhone, it's really not a *bad* phone, it's just not the phone for me.

I'm no expert, and I understand my needs are not always common. But I watch the new app feed and try a lot of apps, so I've been around the block a bit, hope this helps!