Jul 172010

I spend my hang over time with my mobile, just sorting through some stuff, uninstalling unused apps, configuring etc. The Android is an awesome OS for a phone and a computer, there are only a few things I miss or I rather don’t like: the touch sense on the Xperia is a bit sloppy. It is not very accurate which gets especially annoying when typing text. The Wifi seems to turn itself off when the screen goes in sleep mode and it doesn’t come on quickly. Having Data transfer enabled it will get data via the 3G network during that time which I found out after my first phone bill. It took me some time to find how to make calls, answer calls, do texts etc – the entire phone bit is not intuitive for my liking. Ah, and it’s still Android 1.6

What I really like about the Xperia is its camera – it feels more like a camera with phone features ;) Pictures and resolution are good quality. I also like the screen, it’s clear, bright, sharp a very good contrast. And it’s huge – with the little drawback that some apps are getting stretched and look odd. And it is completely configurable, after the first week I had about 100 apps installed, a couple of home screen replacements, a couple of mail clients to test, loads of widgets – most of it I had uninstalled after a quick look.

I replaced the home screen, for that I used OpenHome Lite for a while. I eventually uninstalled it because it doesn’t support application widgets, themes were awesome but installed as separate apps. I used it for about a month. Other apps I have tried out and uninstalled after a quick look, a few clicks or a crash: aHome (pretty much the same like OpenHome), Live Home (crashed, some UI bugs), SweeterHome (looked ok), SlideScreen (not configurable and too much of an information overflow). I would want to give ADW.Launcher a try, but it supports Android from version 2.1. This as off today, an up-to-date list will be maintained here. My favorite Home screen replacement app is Home++ with a similar functionality as OpenHome plus widget support and a built in task manager :)

Some other nice little thingies:

  • Handcent SMS an iPhone like messaging application. Nice to look at it, loads of configuration options. I needed their FAQ to understand how to remove double notifications. I wish it could replace all occurrences of messages.
  • SayMyName Dessert little app which speaks out the callers name when the phone is ringing. The ring tone does not get replaced.
  • WordPress WordPress client for the android. First post is here.
  • Tricorder does what it says. Turns the Android phone into a Tricorder. How cool is that.
  • Foursquare social feature. It’s a bit the same idea as Dopplr. Check in to a place, leave a comment and see what others say about it. Foursquare has a huge user base and some interesting additional apps. Right now I only use my Foursquare feed as part of my lifestream.
  • AppBrain App Market offers a nice way to manage apps on an Android; offers sharing options. It’s basically a front end for the android market with recommendations and – what I frequently use – a Hot apps on AppBrain which shows which were the most downloaded apps in the past 7 days. Pretty similar approach is AppAware which has also lists for what people in my area have done recently, what the most installed apps on my platform are etc.
  • Opera Mini browser no machine without opera. Nothing more to say. A browser replacement.
  • 3G Watchdog allows to track how much data is being used on 3G network. Drawback is that it has to run in background otherwise it doesn’t count. On the other hand it makes managing limits etc quite easy and it comes with a nice widget. I am also looking at NetCounter which gives an overview over wifi usage and cell usage for the current month.
  • MySettings offers a quick way to enable or disable wifi, gps, airplaine mode etc.
  • K-9 Mail I use for my work mail. Pretty nice mail client.
  • I installed additional keyboards, SwiftKey Keyboard is the one to mention most, before that I used ThickButtons Keyboard; I couldn’t take much use out of Graffiti and ShapeWriter (didn’t work for me) and the Handcent Keyboard (T9 keyboard).
  • I really like Gesture Search, a tiny app which allows to draw a few letters on the screen and which delivers contacts and apps as search result. It’s pretty handy as it is faster than typing on the keyboard.
  • Speed Dial Folder pretty helpful if you don’t want to scroll through 15 screens or a long list of alphabetically sorted programs. I have configured some folders in there, speed dials, links to apps and web pages. Pretty cool.
  • Dropbox no machine without dropbox!
  • Share By QRCode another way to share information. Requires the Barcode Scanner.
  • A good addition to the Xperia’s own camera app (like a Sony camera, awesome!) is Camera 360. It allows to add some special effects like Polaroid, Tilt Shift etc.
  • Launch-X allows to create widgets with contacts and applications which contain more than 4 visible icons in one row :)

There are also a few travel tools and social network clients I am using, I am still looking for a reliable flickr client, gallery etc. So soon more on the android, and now, make sure you have the Barcode Scanner installed and get my favorite apps on your phone:

Also, I recommend to view the up-to-date version of this list

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Jul 162010

Having an Android
I just got the impression that I have a tiny computer which
looks like a brick and allows to make calls – once I figured out how to.
Why not doing the other way around and get a tiny laptop in the size
of a phone?

This little device can be bought for 99$ and comes
with a 3.0” color TFT display with 320 x 240 resolution, speaker,
microphone and a full qwerty keyboard (Full spec here)! The NanoNote
looks like a must have gadget. It’s awesome… like a baby laptop which
needs to grow – and it’s lighter than all of my mobile phones!

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Mavenator – part I

 tech talk  Comments Off
Jul 152010

Due to a longer term project engagements I had some time to freshen up my Java skills and code a bit. I need to write a couple of patches which will be installed as an overlay patch to a standard product platform. After I structured my projects and modules I tried to manage everything with Maven to one binary patch file. I keep forgetting how painful it is setting up a complex project with modules and a certain deployment structure with Maven and using it in Eclipse. Right now I get everything but the desired bundling. I guess I will read up a bit more and continue this post tomorrow.

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Jul 132010

I just read an excellent article about WordPress security [german]. It also linked to this article [english] which gives a pretty good summary of what an admin should (could) do.

I double checked and installed a few plugins:

I have also installed HTML tidy as Firefox addon to verify the resulting HTML pages.

A quick check this morning got me a thumbs-up; everything is fine. Hurray!

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May 292010

Yesterday I decided to get a mobile contract basically to get rid of all the hassle regarding roaming in UK. Even though I passionately hate them I eventually ended up with 3, from what I know there is no other provider offering a comparable package. When I got to the shop I was asking for Android devices and laid my eyes on a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and couldn’t take them off the phone anymore. It seemed to be quite neat…

I just went outside and searched for some reviews
and opinions,
a quick read through them proofed, that I was going to get an awesome
device. I got it and spend basically the day playing with it. I also had
pretty good experience with Sony’s P910
– the first smart phone worth to mention. Maybe the only – really odd
fact about it is that it is still running on Android 1.6 – a migration
to 2.1 will happen in autumn this year.

Due to a lack of food in the fridge we had to go shopping and so it happened that we accidentally run into google boy with whom I got lost into a device + tools + gadget chat. Most interesting service he introduced me was the Google Latitude Dashboard, once having enabled location history one can track his trips and locations and analyze these. A bit too much Big Brother-ish for Jimmy’s liking, but nevertheless interesting.

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