Sunday, September 27, 2009

My favourite Android Apps … (so far)

So in my search to transform my software needs from Palm to Android I’ve come across ALOT of apps in the Android Market .  Some are great, some not so.  In Canada, our Market is limited to only free apps.  So anything I want that’s paid I’d have to find alternate ways to get that .apk file and sideload it.

What I’ll cover here are some of the apps that I’ve loaded on to replace my Palm versions.

These are the most used on my Palm.

Palm Software Android version
there is an iSilo version, but I just didn’t like it compared to the way it worked on Palm, so I went with this  Works with TXT files, which is fine by me, but I’ll keep looking for something that’ll work PROPERLY with iSilo files as I have a huge database of books from my Palm.
checkbook for palm os ...

Only problem is that it can’t do automatically repeated items.  Maybe I’ll keep searching, but I love it’s simple interface.
 ... screenshot for AutoBase
Mileage (Android) screenshot 2
Browser (came preloaded)
Such an improvement!  Can’t wait for multi-touch to be allowed.
Core Player
13- برنامج core player
no such version… the video player works, but only with a small specific list of file types – I’m just waiting for VideoLan to come to Android.
Memos NoteEverything
haven’t really found anything to replace.  But then again I have my Zune to play mp3s lately.
Documents to Go
the same
Documents To Go
Your PDA toolbox!
Explorer, same name, but different obviously.
powerOne Graph 4.1 (for Palm ...
Haven’t really found a good replacement for graphing yet, but several good calculators.
The Weather Network:  Weather Eye
Mundu Messenger
it even allows me to log into Fbook chat
snapCalc unfortunately this is the one let down that I can’t have a similar program that pops up while in one program to do simple calculation.  This was indispensible on the Palm while entering some data.


Now I didn’t include any games.  Maybe I’ll do a separate review for games because there’s a lot of neat softwares out there.  Neatest thing about Market is that when you download an app and then there’s an update, it’ll tell you automatically to update.  Very cool.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Palm Loyalty

So, for the longest time I’ve been following very closely the release of the Palm Pre… and I noticed that my old cellphone and Palm TX have been starting to fail on a more regular basis.  So I just waited for the Canadian release.  I even put myself on all the mailing lists so I’d be first notified.  I probably became a pain for Bell people as I would call now and again to see if it was available.

See, I’ve been a Palm See full size image user for many years.  [PalmPilot Personal / PalmPilot Professional / Palm III / Palm m505 / Tungsten T3 / Palm TX / Treo 700w (for work) / Treo 650 (for work)]. I’ve gathered years and years of data and usage out of the many specific softwares released for palm.  So if I’m transitioning to a new phone and replacing my Palm, it’d have to be something that works with all that I’ve built up.

I’ve looked at the BlackBerries and iPhones, but nothing made go “cool” enough to ditch my legacy of Palm.  And BB’s had no touch screen… I have to be able to tap stuff nowadays.


The day finally came that Bell was able to get the Pre, so I made the call… I did my research on the types of plans etc… and it was all doable… except that Bell was unable to port my current cellphone number.  That caused a hiccup… then I debated about a whole new number… but Bell couldn’t even give me a Thunder Bay number. (I was told that if I wanted to, I could sign up for the long distance plan, that way I could call my local area without long distance charges!!!!!).

This was a major letdown.   My TX was crashing alot more, and becoming less reliable (there were days I wouldn’t even turn it on!).  So, I did some more exploring.  How was I to get a Palm… there were rumours that a GSM version MIGHT be available by Christmas time in the states, which means it would be a lot longer before it came to Canada… could my hardware keep that long?  What about if I went to Telus and got the Palm Pro… it’d be WinMo, but at least my data could be synchro’d.  It’d have Wi-Fi, GPS which is what I wanted, but a smaller screen and resistive touch (i.e. stylus) kinda had me hoping for a change.

So I did some more research.  It was then I looked at some possible alternatives with Rogers (stay with the company I was with).  And I looked at the similar options in Android.  There was the Dream , and the Magic .  The apparent difference was only the flip out keyboard.  Which to me, having the physical keyboard made sense.  However, some of the reviews said that the chin could get in the way of typing, and that the only way for it to rotate the screen was to flip out the keyboard.  Plus there wasn’t any news of a virtual keyboard for the Dream … so anytime I’d want to type even a small note I’d have to flip out out, and type.  So kind of a long process to reply “sure”.  Besides, more digging turned up the Magic had more ‘guts’ to it.  Which would mean more in the long run.  Sure, the microSD was under the battery cover, but … small sacrifice.

So I went and upgraded to my Magic.  And let me tell you, it’s been great.

Now, to get my calendar and contacts were a bit of a pain.  Nothing to sync from Palm Desktop to what it would use.  So I signed up for a gmail account and did some importing and most of it worked that way.  So I was able to keep contacts, it’ll sync my work calendar and some of my palm ones.  It’s a big upgrade in my book, with just a little learning curve.

Next I had to look for the software I used on my TX and find Android equivalents.  I couldn’t have been more surprised with the vast array of software, and most of it is FREE.  In no time I found a good accounting program, mileage, document editing, book reading, GPS navigation…  it’s been great.

So, anybody looking for a good phone, I recommend the Magic.  A little awkward using it as an actual phone as now and again I’ll smash it against my cheek bone causing it to end or something, but again, … learning curve.  But I just love the capacitive touch screen.

I’ll do some blog about my favourite apps next time.

Back to work

So, as of August 17 I’m back at work.  It’s been good.  For the first few weeks I just collected all the old information I gathered last year and did a huge email campaign to let everybody know a new school year was starting.  It started to feel a little like a telemarketer, or data miner as ended up doing like near a thousand emails.  It’s been a slow start, but it’s still a fun job.  Just a little bit of a headache this year contract/budget wise.  Nothing bad, just confusing when you have the Ministry’s point of view, the North Superior Workforce Planning Board’s (note the name change image ) and then take into consideration each of the board’s views (plus each of the boards have had some shake ups lately).

The school year started with a quick meeting with some of the board reps who told me outright that (tho’ not in the exact words) I’m not wanted by their board.  That’s always a fun start.  It’s just odd, because I didn’t get to be part of the school year start up last year.  Taking the time off in the summer has meant that I’ve got alot of catching up to do.  Several other P2Ps have surpassed my numbers over the summer.

The new year has also brought some good stuff too.  Devon’s put out the new Good Practices Manual, We’re going to have a Fall Forum in Ottawa – I’ve never been in Ottawa (as far as I can remember).  The Regional Career Fair has been moved timewise, so it’ll give me more time to figure out all aspects, and Pat’s staying on to help.

Should be a good go ‘round the whole year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

'Minni' trip [Aug 10 - 14]

still playing catch up here people... i'll try to get some new stories here, because there's some goodies!

Anyways, here's the recap of the Minni trip

The idea was to leave early and head on out spending the whole day to travel to Minni, taking our time and stopping where we can with Dean.  On the way home last time he was pretty unpleasant.  Unfortunately, his passport wasn't ready on Friday to pick up, so we delayed a bit in the day so that we could go to the post office to pick it up.  Now, we know we didn't NEED it, as he's under 2, but if we paid for it, and it's in, we're going to use it.
Turns out as Mandy came back from Shopper's they said "come back after 9am" ... to which we looked at the clock and it said 9:15, so she goes back in PISSED.  See on Friday the piece came in saying "pick up at the location anytime after 5", but they close at 430... so how are we supposed to get it.  We went before 5 (as I've been able to pick up items before previously) and they said not until Monday... anyways, long and short of it is that we were told alot of stories from the people at Shoppers that just didn't seem to coalesce with other stories and we left Thunder Bay without Dean's passport.
Getting on the road was good, Dean held out pretty good.  We were able to make some pretty good time.  We stopped at a couple places, but didn't need to stay too long at many.  We were making good time until we came near Minni, where there's some road work doing.  It was a long long long wait.  And I hate how those long lines are 2 lanes, but compress to one.  Now, that's not too bad, but they tell you to merge, well before you actually have to.  So, as a good driver you merge and make your way slowly through the queue and then some jerk-arse comes rolling along the 'closed lane' and then merges way ahead of you.  Grrr...

Well we finally get into Minneapolis and suddenly the GPS decides to say we're in the water.  It really gives us a headache.  So we start on the suggestion of Mandy's dad and start going on 'faith'.  Mandy recognizes a few of the landmarks and assumes we're on the right path.  Well... she remembered places, but not so much as 'remembered this is the right way to go' and we end up taking farthest route possible to get us to the hotel.  Once there we find out that their computers are down and therefore we can't check in.  Just par for the course we figure for the day.  So we head over to the Kolstad's for dinner.  It was a good visit, leaving them with a copy of "One Week" for their watching (we loved it, and it's Canadiana, which typically they're a fan of).

The next day we start out with some brekkie and get ready to head out to visit the mall of america and do the underwater world thing.  We have a slow start out to the day as Mandy now can't find her wallet... this is a real concern actually?  We recalled having it the previous night, but after breakfast it's missing.  Almost an hour later we do find it and we head out to the mall.  We buy the pass for the day and have a quick viewing of the aquarium.  Dean just loves it again.   After which we head to Mandy's grandmother's place and stop in for a visit.  Dean is the hit of the place as he plays with his legos during lunch.  I have my pipes in the car, but the agreement we made is that if anybody asks I can bring them out, if not I can just leave them there.  She eventually does ask, but I'm saved by suggesting the next day.  So I get pencilled into their activities for the next day.  We head back to the mall (or the hotel for a nap) and spend the rest of the evening there.  We get Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, Dean gets to play in LegoLand (wow, he loved it), we eat in Tony Roma's (where Dean meets a girl and discovers he loves ice cubes by themselves), do another tour of the Aquarium and head back to the hotel after a full day.

Now the plan for the Wednesday was to get up and go to this park, but realizing it's been so hot lately we decide to just relax at the hotel and Dean and I go for a swim.  Really fun!  Eventually we get back into motion and decide to go to Mandy's grandma's for my 'concert'.  We thought, before we go, we should have dinner... and Mandy's suggested Sonic... and we spend a near hour looking for it (Mandy swore she knew where it was), as the GPS had older data and it's a new location.  We give up and go to Culvers and then put on my concert.  man that was a hot day... even in the shade!  On the way home we get some more Cold Stone Creamery... mmm

Thursday - heading for home.  We get all packed back up and start streaming for home.  I figure I can make it just before band practice.  Not too bad through the construction.  Mandy decides to sit in the back with Dean for a bit.  Eventually we reach Duluth and decide for another stop in the island.  Dean's out solid tho'.  So we get some ice cream (yes, more Cold Stone Creamery) and he slowly comes to and starts to enjoy the sights and sounds of the downtown area.  There's even a 'spring' of water in the middle of an area where he can play with water jets.  We decide to head back to the car, when I start to realize how the other cars have parked and a lady giving out tickets... hrmm... I'm sure I parked in a space that said "2 hour parking".  As it turns out, I did... however it said "maximum 2 hour parking, please buy your tickets over at the station".  So, sure enough I have a parking ticket.  Luckily you can pay it on line, so I'll do that when I get home.

We get back in the car and keep driving.  Not bad, making good time!  We finally make it to the border, and there's a huge line up... still should JUST make it to band practice tho'.  That is, until somebody comes up to us and points out that my rear tire is so low, that the rim is almost touching the ground.  Argh!!!  So I pull off to the side of the road and pull out the inflator for the truck.  Man it takes forever.  It even attracts the attention of some guards who come by to check us out.  We eventually get back home, but the tire is really hissing... so I'm constantly stopping to fill it up.  I was late for band, luckily it's summer so not many people are there for it... so no great sin.  But what a trip... fun fun fun!

Check out the pictures in the gallery!