emergency weblog; or: epersonae; or: elaine nelson

in which I write about stuff

Some notes on Android

musings on a few days worth of a new phone

Categories: General, Professional

So after vacillating for something like two years, last week I bought a new phone: a G2. Yes, I went all the way to the top of the line: a good combination of discounts & an Xmas gift. Following, some thoughts in no particular order:

OMG SHINY. Really, I like the screen size & quality a LOT. When it’s off, the smudges really show, altho they don’t bug me much when it’s on. The keyboard is a little tricky to type with, but I’m glad to have it; definitely better for me than the on-screen keyboard. I also really like the slide-out motion. I’m glad I got a rubber case for it. Makes it kinda bulky, OTOH I don’t feel anxious about scratching, dropping, etc. Nice camera, good enough for snapshots. I found a simple app for uploading to flickr, too. Haven’t tried making any videos.

I’m having a silly amount of fun futzing about with my various home screens.

I’m trying to be judicious about what apps I install; so far just freebies, big thumbs up for Weather Channel, ZipList, the NPR app, and Google Reader. I’ve created a “know-it-all” screen, too: search, Ask-WA, IMDb, Google Goggles, and a browser shortcut to Wikipedia. Trivia searching while watching vids FTW!

I’ve installed FOUR ebook readers. (OverDrive Media Console, Aldiko, Google Books, and Amazon Kindle) I have a hunch I’m going to end up keeping all four, at least for a while until I figure out which has the combination of features that I like best. I tried searching through OverDrive for recent books from my library, and it SUCKS. The selection is terrible, and I have yet to get the actual book downloading to work. (Through the phone, I may try downloading to computer and then transferring to phone. We’ll see.) It’s a decent reading experience in all of them…also decent reading in Google Reader; overall just a hair smaller than a paperback book, with crisp (and adjustable) lettering.

Speaking of Google Reader, I’m still working out a solution for bookmarking/saving links. For right this minute, I’m just starring things in Reader with the intention of going back on a desktop to re-read and save on Pinboard or whatever. (Oh, it looks like there’s a way to do something with Reader in Pinboard. Something to try….)

I have yet to get my own music on here, but I’ve installed doubleTwist because it seems to be well thought-of. Pandora was nice for Christmas music over the weekend! (Via wifi, passed through our little bookshelf stereo.)

I’m still trying to figure out a password management system that syncs over my phone plus 2-3 other computers. I was really liking LastPass for the desktop, but the Android version is a bit lacking. Erratic filling in of browser passwords, no management outside of the browser, and it doesn’t even actually use the built-in browser. And when I’m done with the trial period it’ll be $12/year. :( Might try KeePass, synced through Dropbox.

Also trying to figure out a task management system: I’ve been using Remember the Milk, albeit erratically, for about a year. Astrid, which seems to be super-popular, doesn’t sync with RtM anymore. (Something about an API use violation?) And the official RtM app is $25/year. (Yes, I know, that’s actually the cost of a Pro account. But that’s the only thing I need a pro account FOR.) They have a mobile site, but it’s weak. I’ve got Astrid installed, and it’s a nice little setup, but I’d need to use either Producteev or Google Tasks (?) to have desktop access. So I’m waffling. Location awareness in RtM would be DAMN nice…but I could also get that with Astrid’s Locale Add-On, plus Locale, which would be about $10 altogether.

Speaking of location, I’m wondering whether to try Locale or Tasker. (Tasker looks crazy-complicated, but more powerful.)

The battery seems to be good for about a day; I’m taking Lifehacker’s advice and just plugging it in whenever that’s an option. It does seem to power back up pretty quickly.

I need to see about a Google Docs app; even if I can’t create documents, I have too much stuff that I need to be able to get at.

I installed Evernote, but have no idea WTF to do with it yet.

Overall, it’s just nice to have an outboard brain that I can carry with me all the time. I think it’s going to be both useful & fun.

(BTW, C got an HD7 last week – two for one phones FTW! – and is planning on swapping it for his own G2. He was not especially happy with the Windows 7 phone experience, for a variety of reasons.)

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One Response to “Some notes on Android”

  1. I agree that Overdrive sucks. I like Aldiko best of the book readers, but your book options are limited.