Tech Tuesday: An App a Day keeps the Doctor Away

I’ve always been an Android lover; in fact, I can’t recall ever wanting an iPhone….granted, I’ve also had Verizon Wireless for my entire life so I didn’t exactly have the option of getting an iPhone when it came out…but, I digress.   I’ve watched the Android market evolve and expand over the past few years, and I’m almost in love with what I’ve seen.  The OS has gotten sleeker, potentially even sexier – if you could call an OS sexy, that is. Though the phones have gotten larger in height x length dimension, they’ve also become thinner, lighter and with better quality resolution on the display.  Not to toot the horn for the HTC Rezound, but beepbeep: it boasts the first HD screen for a carried branded phone in the United States.  How you like them apples, Apple?

Now,  originally – one of the great things about the Android phones is the fact that unlike the iPhone – it contains(-ed) Adobe Flash.  I have to phrase it that way because Adobe has decided to discontinue its use after this November, and has started with devices that have already upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.1  One of the draws of having Flash was that you could view any web page in its full entirety.  But who needs fully supported web browsing when there are so many fantastic  applications for the Droid?!

Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming figuring out which ones you should download. Not to mention, how to handle re-downloading applications after upgrading to a new device. Well, first things first -in the Google Play Store you have the option to view every single application you’ve ever downloaded on your phone.  Simply go to the Play Store, toggle the Menu button (the middle left button on the bottom of your phone) to access the pop-up menu and you’ll have an option at the top called “My Apps“.  Click through and swipe your finger from right to left to see “All Applications.”

The pink oval represents an application that was downloaded in the past, paid for even, yet not reinstalled when I upgraded my phone.  The blue oval is an application that’s currently on my Droid.

Now – onto the fun part, the applications. Some of these are pretty straight forward, especially ones for social media and some deserve a little bit of an explanation. The great thing about the Google Play store, is once your Google account is linked to your phone you can actually pick your applications out online in a more hunt and peck friendly atmosphere, and then send them to download on your phone.  It’s pure genius.

Hit the jump for my should have applications, and anything that is in italic or bold is a “must-have” – enjoy!

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Tech Tuesday: Can You Find Me Now?

The Ice Cream Sandwich update for my Rezound has mostly been a good thing; my phone boots faster, applications load quickly, Facebook doesn’t force quit in the middle of loading pictures and the OS is a lot sexier.

But the other day, as I was trying to use Verizon Navigator – I noticed a small hiccup with the update.

Any time I attempted to load a ‘Map‘ related application (e.g. Verizon Navigator, Google Maps, Latitude, Places), my phone restart itself.  On the plus side, it’s challenged me to actually know directions instead of being super dependent on technology to lead the way.  Conversely, it’s been pretty damn frustrating because I realized I might not know Los Angeles quite as well as I thought I did.

I did some research on the interwebz and realized that this isn’t a unique issue; quite to the contrary, there have been quite a few complaints and forum threads dedicated to this very issue.

The Bug:

  • Open Map or Navigation App
  • Select Destination
  • System Reboot

The Fix:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a long term fix for this problem.  According to Google’s forums, this issue has elevated status and was given to the product development team.

In the mean time, there is a short term solution:

  • Uninstall Google Maps 6.10 and revert to old version of application (6.9 or 6.3)
  • Toggle the “Automatic Update” button
  • Go ahead and try the app again

And voilà, problem solved!

Tech Tuesdays: Comparing Apples to Ice Cream

Technology and I go way, way back.

From a young age, I was immersed in and surrounded by some of the newest, geekiest tech toys available. My mom would lean towards function over form while my dad was a fan of having the latest and greatest of everything – from new Movie formats, an upgraded OS, the latest in cordless Home Phone and cell phone technology.

I grew up on the Mac II, playing around with MineSweeper, Creative Writer, KidPix, Pipe Dreams and Lemmings when most kids were playing with dolls.At the age of 7, my dad brought home our first – and only – Laser Disc player. In middle school, I was lucky enough to get an iMac. I got my first mp3 player soon after and essentially played hotpotato with various iPods into my college life.  When the iMac was scrapped for parts, I inherited a Mac Sawtooth G4 and after that the shiny new iMac that I have today but I couldn’t fully escape the grasp of the PC.  In college, I honed in on my love of numbers, data and code and eventually switched my major to Statistical Science.  My new coursework relied heavily on applications that were PC only, so eventually I became proficient in both operating systems.

I got my first cell phone before I got my first car; it was an ugly brick of a phone but it did the trick.  It maybe had a game on it, six obnoxious stock ringtones and limited, if any, texting capabilities.  When I was 17 I upgraded to a smaller brick – and slowly, but surely I started climbing that magical cell phone ladder.  In college, I upgraded to an LG Flip Phone that changed color on the front panel; it might not seem so cool now, but back then it was the business. I had a Chocolate until it fell apart on me, literally. I thought about getting an iPhone but I have to be honest – at the time it seemed like a glorified, overpriced iPhone and I wanted nothing to do with it. So when HTC started rolling out Android phones, I was thrilled.  I started with an Incredible, then the Incredible 2 and finally – my precious Rezound. One of the best things about this model is the sleek GUI and design interface.

A few days ago, the Ice Cream Sandwich update was pushed through to my phone; I was stoked! It was honestly like having a brand new phone to play around with.  Here are some of the changes that I noticed, and a helpful little trick.

 The best aspect of the Ice Cream update is the locked dock at the bottom of the screen.  Before the update, I had my favorite applications on the lock menu and the rest posted all over the home screen for easy reference. The new dock not only lets you keep those precious applications at your fingertips, but you can choose between having one or many in one location by simply dragging and dropping one over the other.

Trick: To take screen shots on older HTC models, you either had do download and pay for a 3rd party application or go through the painstaking task of rooting your Droid.  One of the things I absolutely about the Rezound is being able to take screen shots on the fly.  If you didn’t know you had this feature and wanted to test it out, follow these super simple steps:

  1. Go to the main screen of the Rezound
  2. Press gently on the Power Button, holding it halfway down
  3. Tap the Home Icon

Your screen should immediately flash to white and a text box saying “Screenshot saved to Camera shots” will pop up on the bottom of the screen.

Tip:

Toggling this button may seem like a good idea:

I’ll save battery life! My applications will boot faster! WRONG.

I’ve had issues with previous phones and what happened seemed like a horrible flashback: every time I closed out of an application the HTC Menu would reboot.  Being the proud owner of now several HTC phones, I thought I was starting an infinite Boot Loop.

Thank goodness I wasn’t, but I got scared for a second! I’d much rather use this Advanced Task Killer application and save myself the heart attacks.