Archive for the ‘PDA’ Category

Google conundrum

Google used to be such a great package.  I am not as happy with it anymore, though – especially since they are tying everything (specifically Picasa Web) into Google +.

I have met my photo data limit and, if I want to add any more pictures without paying their monthly fee, I need to delete some photos. But some of those albums have copious notes with the photos. A brief search reveals no solutions to this.  :/

I guess I can copy each comment caption to a text file and put it in the folder with the photos, but sheesh … it took lots of time to put those comments in in the first place, so that’s even more work now.

And on top of that, I get a warning that some of the photos are linked to a blog (mainly this one) and they will no longer show up in that blog now that they are deleted. Although those changes won’t show up for 24 hours.  I’m sure it’s very much true if those images were used on a Google Site (which is where my Epic Summer Cross Country Train Trip notes are) … so here’s the flip side to the benefits of such an integrated system. :/

UPDATE: Yup … the photos no longer link up in my posts here.  So there’s another time sink …  Blerg.


Quick tablet post

Previous posts have explored my penchant for technological fiddling.  Tonight I am simultaneously testing two new apps for my Acer Iconia tablet: the wordpress app and a typing app called Float and Split Tablet Keyboard.

Float and Split Tablet Keyboard
Since I hated the default qwerty keyboard, I decided to play with the 3rd party apps available, but first I had to recognize what I didn’t like about the default. 1) to type effectively I needed a place to set the tablet down or pick with one finger, 2) I felt switching to the symbol keyboard was awkward, 3) it took up too much space.


I found this app that has a variety of keyboard settings. At first, I really liked the two, separated split keyboards that floated over what I was working on, but after a while I’ve drifted to the stationary split keyboard with the number pad in the middle.  So far this is improving my journaling experience.

WordPress app
So far straightforward and a bit easier to type and edit in than the desktop version. I haven’t posted any photos yet, so here goes!es!



Picking a photo from the gallery was easy,  but trying to go and insert a break after the text is a pain. You think you’ve put you’re cursor where the break will go, hit enter, and the break happens somewhere else. Trying to go back and delete out characters trying to fix it, is difficult without possibly deleting the photo.  Horizontal alignment doesn’t appear to do anything while you’re composing. Going back and putting the photo online after the fact is much easier! I haven’t found a way to wrap text around photos yet… And now I’m going to insert a photo taken right now…


Awww… sleeping baby..  So, that seemed to work well! And now its time to get ready for his 6am meal!

Editing after publishing is easier than new entry or on the desktop! Mostly. Because the photos are just the html tag, so its easier to work around or with them! Sweet!




As I’m planning for my Around-the-Country-Train-Trip I’ve been thinking about how I want to document it. I have just downloaded an app for my phone to update my wordpress blog, so this is my first test of it! 🙂

…So, I might go to this plant sale. (Pic from phone gallery).

And I know two kitties who will be very unhappy with me while I’m gone! (Taken a new photo through the app).

I’m not sure how these photos are going to be placed in the post… guess we’ll find out soon!

G1 apps

But, let’s talk about the applications now… I’ll talk about what android apps I use and then later talk about what I have on the imate… (it’ll be a while … I still need to fix it!)

1. Calendar Widget (intrinsic to Android (iA)): shows date and next appointment. not skin-able
2. Analog clock Widget (iA) not skin-able
3. Alarm Clock: (iA) simple alarms. I use it sort of as a timer (the laundry will be done in an hour so set the alarm for…)
4. Digital Clock: shows a digital clock face, adjusts the brightness and color (so I have very dark red colored numbers set to very low brightness. It’s very easy to look at in the dark), it plays what ever mp3 I want as the alarm and is resets daily. I use it as my morning alarm.
5. MoonPhase Widget: shows the shape of the moon. I like it mainly because it reminds me to LOOK UP once in a while.
6. Calculator (iA) just a basic arithmetic calculator. Black and not skin-able.
7. AutoSync OnOff: In the Android settings you can choose to have the “autosync” on all the time or off all the time.  In order to get your calendar, contacts, and gmail to sync you have to select [menu], [settings], [data syncronization] and then each item you want to sync. With this app, it turns the autosync on or off. So I leave it off most of the time and once in a while hit it to sync everything up. A downside to this is that I have to consiously decide to sync – which happens irregularly.  I’d love it if I could set it to sync at certain intervals.
8. gtasks: an application which syncs to google tasks. Its much easier to use than the gtasx application that opens to the web portal of the same system. not skin-able
9. Battery Graph: shows me the energy amount in the battery over time. Lets me check for times of major battery drain to help me pinpoint better what is going on so I can change that. Sometimes lets me realize I accidentally left GPS, WiFi, or autosync on.
10. Close Everything: Applications don’t always close when you leave them. This makes sure everything that can be closed, is. Helps with battery life.
11. Nice Battery: like the AutoSync OnOff, gives me less buttons to hit to get to WiFi, GPS, Cell location, Bluetooth, and 3G settings. It cuts out the [menu] [setting] [security & location or wireless control] button pushes. I’d like it better if it turned them off or on right there, but ohwell.
12. Note Me: a pretty easy note pad.
13. My Backup: backs up data, non-paid for applications and settings to your sd card. Able to set up automatic backups. Works pretty well.
14. Voice Recorder: I need a voice recorder for my work. This only works so-so.  It takes a while to load and I hate having to push so many buttons to get it going (compared to Klaus, anyway…)  on the other hand, I get to send it as a file to my desktop so there’s no sd card transfering. Sadly, it’s a quicktime file that I have to convert to listen to.
15. System monitor: shows me how much cpu, memory, storage, and battery is being used.
16. Google Voice: this app lets other people see YOUR phone number and not google’s when you call them as well as let you see THEIR phone number when they call you. Ok. Delayed.
17. Music (iA) a music player. Does not strike me as either bad or good. not skin-able
18. Google Maps (iA). enter an address, identify your location, get directions.  From my limited experience with the iPhone, I definitely like this one better – the directions are written down as you move along the main markers. I did not see anything like that on the iPhones I’ve used for navigation, but maybe they just didn’t find that in the options. Also, they didn’t show what the traffic was like on the road…  again, options?
19. SK-LJ: a livejournal updating tool. Perfect for when I’ve just had a nightmare in the middle of the night and want to write it down without having to turn on the puter.
20. facebook: an app to let you easily read other’s updates or post your own. I find this almost as overwhelming as the pc version and mostly just use it to update my status.
21. GDocs: gives me access to my google documents with improving functionality (for a while the spreadsheets werent’ supported, but they are now and working well!).
22. Where: locate yourself, search for whatever. It’s only so-so .. I don’t think we’ve ever actually followed its directions or suggestions…
23. Gmail (iA): write/read emails
24. ADC 2: try out the Android Developer Challenge contestant’s programs! I tried a pretty awesome photo journal one that I hope is released soon. (Although I’d like to be able to post it to my livejournal or facebook, rather than to their own webpage…)
25. Better cut: change the icons on the desktop – fun!
26. Calorie Counter: a cool idea of a program to track calories. Sometimes problematic in how it is used, but one of the coolest things is you can scan the bar codes of many foods and get the nutritional information through your phone.
27. ES File Explorer: I’ve used this a couple of times, but I don’t store much on this phone… Most of my stuff is through google now.
28. Google Sky Map: SWEET!! hold your phone up to the sky and all the stars are labled and constellations are drawn in. VERY COOL. That’s pretty much all it’s good for… unless you’re navigating a space ship!

29. Pandora: plays the pandora radio project. Great sound and no lag that I’ve noticed. Although of course you have to guard your battery.
30. PhoneFlicks: supposed to be your netflix, but I’ve never used it. I’d most want to use it to rate the movies my friends have rated, but I can’t find that in it.
31. Star Contact: a different way to organize and view contacts. Seems ok. Probably should take it out and try regular version…
32. Sticky Memo Widget: puts post its on your screen – I like this for short and insistent notes!
33. Wheel of Yum! put in your 10 favorite restaraunts and spin the wheel – where it lands is where you go! Ends the endless “I don’t know, where do YOU want to go?”
34 White Noise Lite: several sounds to drown out ambient sounds. I like the white noise and crickets in this one (tried Dream but the sounds were too tinny).
35. Power Control Widget (iA – new with Donut!) Ooo!  I just now found this: controls WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, AutoSync AND brightness right on the desktop as a widget! LOVE IT! Deleted the (7) AutoSync OnOff and (11) Nice Battery applications.

1. Flood it: colored boxes. I have never won once and am starting to not enjoy it…
2. Labyrinth: the wooden box marble labyrinth! Shows the direction sensing/gyroscope off very well!
3. Graffiti: a drawing program. I like that you get to choose the transparency of your “marker” but the finger control is problematic – it’d be better on the imate!
4. Mystique: a mystery game. Spooky, but would be cooler if it used the direction sensing in the phone for roaming the halls and searching for items…
5. Solitare (both FreeCell and regular!) A MUST have for me! Still the game I play most frequently.  Free Cell is a bit cramped in the landscape mode though.
6. Abduction: save your cow friends from aliens by using the directional controler to control how you jump!




I’ve been playing with the HTC G1 using the Google Android OS.  The phone has been fun – or I should more accurately say the applications have been fun.  It’s very easy to search and find some great (and horrible) applications right on the phone.  I like the scanner feature, although I find don’t use it so much.  I mostly use it to scan the little squares in Cyrket: (a web based market place) so I can easily download the applications I found.

The specific phone features I like include: its width, the sliding qwerty keyboard, GPS, direction sensing/gyroscope and miniSD card.



I’m being pretty stingy about what I like about it because I’m comparing it in my head to the imate PDA2 that I was using before this.  I felt the imate was getting too slow and I’d broken the screen for a second time ($$$$!!!), so I thought I would switch to a cheaper, fully supported phone – no one knows what an imate is! And since I despise Apple and all their proprietary stuff, the G1 was the only alternative (‘imate” is NOT an apple product!). One of the things that I liked about it was that I’d be able to easily access all my Google stuff: calendar, email, and contacts.  I was able to get to them all on the imate with a 3rd party program, so it was neat that I didn’t have to mess with that anymore.

The features of the G1 that are similar to the imate that I like include: wifi, bluetooth, phone length, SD card (the imate’s is not mini), speaker phone, navigation buttons, camera.

galloping rabbits

imate: galloping rabbits

Pinata Penny

G1: Pinata Penny

The things I miss about the imate: graffiti, it’s thinness, precise screen use (albiet with a stylus), camera (it worked better than the G1, although the picture quality is not that great), physical memo button (although I just found a program that will let me repurpose the G1’s camera button to what ever I want), navagation buttons (answer, hang up phone, navigation “wheel”, calendar), longer battery life, infared keyboard, and infared remote control.

[I just spend 20 mins creating a rather comprehensive chart of each of the phones’ features… I decided at the last minute that no one else but me would be interested in that… So, if you have a deep desire to see it, I’ll email it to you!]
I often get defensive when people are all: “wow, the iPhone/G1 can do this great thing!” And I say, “yeah, my 2003 imate could do that…”  This G1 has no personality to me.  It is just a phone. All of my other pda’s have had personality – NAMES.  I kind of miss that feeling.  I was so devastated when I broke Klaus’s screen for the SECOND time, but if I drop this thing it’s no big deal…

In other news, I’ve been using Google Voice for a couple months.  Outside of a few settings tweaking and an occasional need for rebooting of the mobile GV app, things have been going pretty well.  I’ve been waiting to cancel my unlimited txts from Tmobile to make sure everything comes through well.  In almost all cases they do. There have been two instances when I have had to reboot the GV app because the program has locked up.  I had also set up one of my Tmobile favorites as the google voice number that most often gets used by my phone. That’s helped cut down on my “anytime” minutes, meaning I can keep the cheapest data/phone package.   On the down side it takes quite a while for txts and calls to arrive/leave to/from my phone and in conversations there is a lag.    But I like being able to send/get txts from the internet and set special voicemails for special people!  I should see if there’s an application for windows mobile 2003…  😀  Oh, and the voicemail transcription thing is sort of a waste – its rarly acurate enough for me to get the full message, although with one screen-button push the real message is immediatly played, so I don’t have to wait for the voicemail to answer and then give me menu options…

ANNNDDDD… I did something kind of stupid. I was trying to get some money out of Tmobile because I didn’t change one of my favorites to the google number fast enough and I got a big charge on my bill last month.  I thought I could talk them into it but… Man, I’m embarassed about this … I named the favorite “Google Voice” and the guy I was chatting with was all “you tried to switch it to Google Voice …?” ummm…. I thought – totally chagrined…  “yeah”.  His response was dissappointing, but a bit heartening at the same time.  I decided to come right out and ask him (I printed our chat out, so I’ve got it all exact!) “so, I have to change it?” and he responded “Google services are not supported with myFaves, and they should not be used.”  I know from past experience that cell phone companies are very careful and sticklers for leagal-ese, so if it was stricktly prohibited, then he would have said “will not be supported…” instead, he said “should not be used” which is clearly not “no, we’ll charge you regular for it” …  So, I interpreted that to mean that basically they can’t do anything about it if I leave it and I’ll still get them for free. So, I’m gonna keep it there for a while and see what happens. (I didn’t get a refund, though.)

But what if I can’t keep it?  The Tmobile coverage is a little bit less than what I got from AT&T, but they acknowledge my educator status and give me a 15% discount… or I could hack the G1 and go to another phone company…  So, I’ve been thinking about switching back to the imate.  I have to remind myself that there were other problems with that, besides breaking it twice!  I had to sync through GooSync to get all my google stuff in the phone (on the plus side, I bought a lifetime membership, so it’s still good!), the A2DP bluetooth headset I had wasn’t *completely* supported by the software (controling the media player AND answering calls – it’d play music and change the volume, but I couldn’t change the songs. The headset works perfectly with the G1, tho!), fewer free applications, harder to develop applications (not that I’ve made any for the android yet…), no GPS (although I believe there were programs I could have bought that would have made it GPS-ish), no sync capability with windows mobile device center (I know, I know, I got vista… O.o) so the documents that I made on Klaus would not sync with the files on my new PC desktop – I had to run the old PC and then email the docs to myself (using google docs through the internet SUCKED then), and all the programs had to run on windows mobile 2003, which was already pretty dated when I got the phone in 2006.

Sometimes I daydream about super-hacking the imate – wiping its hard drive and installing a new camera and a laser beam or something crazy like that. But I do think I will try to fix the screen myself this time (seen some for $30 online!) and just have it handy.