Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Android Adventures – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my Android series. (Previously, My First Look At Android, part 1 and Playing with an Android – Part 2.) Yesterday, in part2, I ran long listing the features of my new Android smart phone I am finding most neat-o and useful. So let me continue…

7) “Hands free”/voice search/”Genius button”: Along with my phone, I got one of those Lt. Uhura ear doodads (Bluetooth headset), as Kallyfornyah has a much-ignored “Hands-free” Law. With it (or the ‘genius button’) I can tap a button, and say, “call, Joe Smith, mobile” and – like magic – a woman’s voice confirms that I am calling Joe’s cell. Or, I can say “find pizza” and – like magic – my phone will display results, and a map. I mentioned before that I am a dinosaur: so, I am a bit “weirded out” by voice recognition, but the more I use it the more I like it. I have to confess, too, it’s cool.
(The “genius button” is a dedicated “voice recognition” activator. Those w/o such a shortcut might prefer Vlingo.. from what I understand, it has fewer errors than Google’s app.)

8) “Swype”: Being the old dinosaur that I am, I completely missed the the whole ‘texting’ thing, and never learned to “thumb type” on those little-bitty buttons. While I find “touchscreen” keyboards doable, I also find myself using the backspace button almost every other letter. That is why I LOVE “Swype”, and consider it a must have. Here’s a video demonstration..

9) Clock/timer: I am somewhat like the “absent-minded professor” and get caught up in what I’m doing; which makes me a wee bit forgetful, and the ability to quickly set a timer to chime and remind me that it’s time to move the hose, or check the oven, has proven quite valuable to me.
(I still (usually) wear a wristwatch, but I have set each screen on my phone to have a clock ‘widget’; so a glance there is just as good as a glance at my wrist.. well.. my phone’s clock will tell me the temperature too.)

10) Productivity ‘apps’: I have found that get-myself-organized tools, like To Do Lists and calendared appointments (and reminders) are most useful to me when they are actually in the same place I am: it has proven near useless for me to write myself a note, and then leave that note at my friend’s house, or in my car, or some other location I am not.

It occurred to me that, as a full-blooded Geek, I am never too far away from a computer.. so I decided to start using Google Calendar, Tasks, and Evernote (whose slogan is “Remember everything”). I wanted that same ability on a phone. Android is a Google product, so seamless editing/updating of Calender, Gmail, and Tasks was/is a big “selling point” for me. I really enjoy being able to schedule a follow-up appointment, while I am with my client, by just tapping my phone — and having that appointment appear on my computers at home/office automatically (no ‘multiple entry’).
With Evernote, I can use the phone’s camera to ‘snap’ an image as a note/reminder.. which has come in handy a few times already. And I use it kind of like an ‘everywhere sticky note’.

I am curious what mobile “business productivity” apps folks out there are using, and finding “best”. I hope readers will leave their reco’s as a comment.

11) This last one is just plain .. odd. I downloaded a compass/leveling tool to fiddle with, and dang, if the bubble-leveler didn’t come in handy for some household chores I had to do (picture frame leveling).

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 12, 2011 Posted by | Android, cellular, gadgets, hardware, Internet, iPhone, mobile | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments