Sunday, January 30, 2011

Android app roll call

It's been a little more than 3 weeks since I acquired my new favorite toy - the Samsung/Google Nexus S.  I must admit that I went a little overboard downloading apps the first week that I had the phone.  But I've since uninstalled quite a few, and am settling into a decent set that I think may be worthy of sharing (as inspired by a request from Ron Sturm).  So here's a list of the non-system apps that I use - I downloaded most of these from the Android Market, but several of them came with the phone.  An asterisk (*) denotes that the app is on one of my home screens, and a hash (#) denotes that the app came with the phone.  By the way, these were all free, or can be acquired for free.
  • Adobe Flash Player
    • Not really an app per say (especially since it doesn't show up in the app list), but worth highlighting since it enables web content certain other phones don't support.
  • Adobe Reader
    • For PDFs, just like on the desktop.
  • Amazon
    • Includes a bar code scanner and the ability to search by taking a photo.  But I got it because I buy so much from Amazon.
  • Amazon MP3
    • See last sentence above.
  • Audiogalaxy (*)
    • Streams my music collection from my home PC.  One of my new favorite music services.
  • Bank of America
  • (Google) Books
    • I like the idea of Google Books, but I don't really use it.
  • (Google) Calendar (*#)
    • If you know me, you know that my life is on Google Calendar.
  • Car Home (*#)
    • A collection point for shortcuts you would use while driving.  Especially useful if you dock your phone in the car.
  • Chess (for Android)
    • I'm not really into games, but if I played any, chess would be it.  I'm still trying to decide between this and Chess Free.
  • Chess Clock for Android
    • In case I need to time a real-life game.
  • Chess Free
    • See 2 items above.
  • Chrome to Phone 
    • Send links that you are viewing in your PC Chrome browser to your phone so you can continue browsing on the go.
  • Dictionary.com
    • The secret to maintaining my impeccable diction.
  • doubleTwist (*)
    • A great alternative to the stock music player (thanks, Chike!).  Useful for syncing your music collection when paired with the desktop program.  Also provides alternate lock screen during playback that allows quick/easy music controls w/o unlocking the screen.  And, like the stock music app, provides support for Last.fm scrobbling.
  • (Google) Earth (#)
  • Evernote (*)
    • Great for recording all sorts of info.  I only mainly use for notes and useful links.
  • Facebook
  • Firefox
    • Still in beta for Android.  Crashed my phone the only time I tried to use it.
  • fring
    • Supports VOIP calling (for a fee), IM (using various services like GTalk, Y! Messenger, AIM), video chat (over Y! Messenger).
  • Gmail (*#)
  • (Google) Goggles
    • Barcode/QR reader and all-around augmented reality app.
  • Google Search
    • Only worth pointing out because certain manufacturers and carriers make Bing the default search engine on some of their Android phones.  Wack.
  • Google Sky Map
    • For the casual astronomers out there.
  • Google Translate
    • Not only can you enter in text to translate, but you can also translate your SMS messages and audio that you record (e.g., someone speaking to you).
  • Grooveshark (*)
    • Stream almost any song from the web.  I think the app requires a paid Grooveshark membership (which I have).  Even w/o the app, the Grooveshark website is worth checking out.
  • GTasks (*)
    • Task manager that syncs with Google Tasks (part of GMail and GCal).  The fact that Remember The Milk requires a Pro account to use their app has sped up my transition from RTM to Google, though Google Tasks is still lacking in some features (and thus I've kept some stuff on RTM).
  • IP Cam Viewer Lite
    • Theoretically this should allow me to view my security camera video on my phone, but I haven't gotten it to work yet.
  • Kayak
    • Not entirely sure why I have this installed - searching for flights is much better on the full site.  But this app supports itinerary management and flight status checking.
  • Last.fm (*)
    • We all know how much I love Last.fm (even though I haven't had a post entirely dedicated to it).
  • Latitude (#)
    • If you've brought your Android phone in my presence, I've probably asked you to be my friend on Latitude, or installed it on your phone for you.  In case you're not in the know, this is the app that allows your friends to see where you are.
  • Lookout
    • I use this for anti-virus and for locating my phone in case of a loss (you can also make the phone "scream").  With a premium account (which I don't have) you can also remotely lock or wipe your phone.
  • (Yahoo!) Mail (*)
    • The UI is slightly better than the stock e-mail app for using Yahoo! Mail, but it seems to have some issues syncing the count of unread messages.
  • (Google) Maps (*#)
  • (Android) Market (*#)
  • Mint.com
    •  A highly regarded personal finance tool...that I don't really use.
  • Mobile Queue
    • You have no choice but to go third-party since Netflix does not (yet) have an official Android app.
  • My Account
    • Check my T-Moble account status (minutes, data usage, etc).
  • (Google) Navigation
    • Free turn-by-turn (driving and walking) navigation.
  • Newegg
    • Not really sure why I have this, but I sure do buy a lot of stuff from their website.
  • News & Weather (*#)
  • OpenTable
    • Make restaurant reservations online.
  • Opera Mobile
    • Opera has been making solid desktop and mobile browsers for a long time without much recognition.  Doesn't mean I use this, though.
  • PayPal
    • In addition to account management, there seems to be feature where you can bump phones to transfer money (unfortunately, I don't know anyone to try this out with) as well as a bill splitter.
  • (Google) Places (#)
  • PNC Mobile
    • This app is fairly pedestrian - it just supports regular account features, and isn't much of an upgrade over a web interface.  I wish that they had a Virtual Wallet app for Android (in addition to the existing iPhone version).
  • (Google) Reader
    • A little better to use than the mobile web version.
  • Ringdroid
    • Create custom ring/notification/alarm tones using your MP3s.
  • (ESPN) ScoreCenter
  • Shazam
    • Want to know what song is playing in the club?  Start up this app and be amazed.  Too bad there's now a limit on the number of songs that you can tag each month (though I don't use this very often).
  • (Google) Shopper
    • Kinda like the Amazon app - search/shop by photo and bar code.
  • Skype
    • The OS supports VOIP calling integration with Skype...if you have Skype credit.  But you can still make Skype-to-Skype calls for free.
  • Tags (#)
    • For managing NFC tags.  With the next iPhone rumored to support NFC, I think (and hope) the technology could take off.
  • (Google) Talk
  • Timerrific
    • A great (and free) alternative to Locale (which changes phone settings based on location) - you can automatically change setting based on time.  E.g., I use it to automatically put my phone in airplane mode during the hours that I'm normally at work.  I also put the phone on silent while I'm in class (even though I normally don't take my phone into class).
  • TripIt
    • TripIt is another one of my favorite things, since I travel a little bit.  This brings their awesome itinerary management service to my phone.
  • UPS Mobile
    • For tracking all the packages that I receive.  Not really necessary.
  • (Google) Voice (*#)
    • This may be the single most important reason (among many other very compelling ones) that I own an Android phone.  The OS natively supports calling and texting using GV.
  • YouTube

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Top Albums of 2010, Part 3

There really should only be two parts (well only one this year) to the Top Albums of 2010 posts, but I can add another one just for me because I own this blog after all.  I had a hard time narrowing down a top 10 this year (unlike last year where I struggled to find a worthy #10), as I would have been fine with any of about 13 albums making my top 10.  To give these others a little bit of credit, I tried to make a top 25 list, with 11-25 to appear in this post.  But then I couldn't keep the list at 25.  So instead, you get a list of noteworthy albums (in my opinion) outside my top 10...though the rankings don't mean too much once you get past about 20.  So here:

11. Delorean – Subiza
12. Phantogram – Eyelid Moves
13. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
14. Miike Snow – Miike Snow
15. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
16. Black Milk – Album of the Year
17. Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle
18. Vampire Weekend – Contra
19. Interpol – Interpol
20. Massive Attack – Heligoland
21. Freelance Whales – Weathervanes
22. Active Child – Curtis Lane EP
23. Apparatjik – We Are Here
24. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
25. Kele – The Boxer
26. Eluvium – Similes
27. Hot Chip – One Life Stand
28. Broken Bells – Broken Bells
29. The-Dream – Love King
30. Four Tet – There Is Love In You
31. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks
32. Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History
33. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening


I'll also give a shout-out to Jim Kolpack, who always brings quality music to the table.  He only had 9 albums to give (he's still catching up on what's hot on the streets), and he didn't rank them.  He did, however, put them in alphabetical order by band name, and provide some comments.

And while I'm at it, Brian George had these 5 to add:

Top Albums of 2010, Part 2

Unlike last year, there will not be a Part 1 to this year's top albums post, since only one other person submitted a full top 10 list.  So here are the individual lists:


Obi Orjih

1. Jónsi РGo
2. Foals – Total Life Forever
3. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
4. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles (II)
5. Kid Cudi – Man On The Moon II: The Legend Of Mr. Rager
6. Caribou – Swim
7. Bonobo – Black Sands
8. Sleigh Bells – Treats
9. Beach House – Teen Dream
10. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy



Robert Schwartz

1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
2. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
3. Stars – The Five Ghosts
4. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
5. Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz
6. OK Go – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
7. Caribou – Swim
8. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
9. The National – High Violet
10. Sleigh Bells – Treats