I Phone It With Android

No, iPhone isn’t getting Android.  That’s far too stifling an environment for the Android platform.

For many of us the conversation is changing from “Hello, I’m a Mac” to “Hello, I love me some Android.”  As an avid Mac-user (I still can’t part with my lime green iMac for nostalgic reasons), when I first heard of the iPhone I only dreamed of the day when ownership of another Mac toy would soon become a reality.

Then the money came, and the T-Mo contract was running out.  Do I iPhone it?  My biggest turn off?  AT&T.  Yeah, I know, it’s not like T-Mo’s network is giving me the coverage of Verizon, but hearing the nightmarish stories from friends and that a lot of people were getting unlocked iPhones for T-Mo, I hesitated.

Second biggest turn off: Mac snobbery.

I love my Mac, I do, but let’s face it.  Mac does the same thing every time.  They grab the market on something and then make it impossible to customize and charge ridiculous prices for cool technology until someone gives them a much needed ego slap in the face.  I am a little pleased to acknowledge I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of that much needed slap: the Android platform (for me, via myTouch, but I say if it’s got Android, love it).

Google Knows, iPhone Woes

Let me be straight with you.  All I know of iPhone is what I’ve seen other people showing me and the few random minutes I ever get to play with one.  iPhone is pretty cool, but some of them apps have a hefty price tag, especially considering the apps you can get with the Android market for free.

COOL FREE APPS

Google Maps. Much like what you’re familiar with if you use the web, Google can find it for you and fast.  Plus with GPS enabled on your phone, you can follow along with a little blue dot…at least until Google Navigation, a free addition to Google Maps.  Don’t want to pay Verizon, or Apple for expensive navigation apps?  Not willing to fork out the dough for a sweet Garmin Nüvi?  Google Navigation is your answer.  Mind you, it’s still in beta testing as of this post, but I find 95% of the time it works the way I want it to, and when it doesn’t, it’ll still get you there, it might just take a street longer.  Hence, “beta” testing.  In the end, I’ve just saved $100+ to get me a road navigator (and you can buy something to hold it up in your car like a Garmin).  You can also use it to look for restaurants, shops, whatever, and read reviews about them.

Pandora. Is it free on iPhone? (I really don’t know).  Well it is here, runs like a gem, and I can get my Pandora fix anytime I want.

Geobeagle. I love Geocaching.  Check out geocaching.com for more specific information.  But once again, with this free app, I can go caching (think treasure hunting) for free, once again without buying a Garmin.  You can also look up clues via the browser on your phone, use Google Maps to get an idea of the area it would be in, and log the cache all without your computer.

ShopSavvy. Wondering if you’re really getting a deal on something?  Scan the barcode using this app and find out what it’s going for on the net.  (And supposedly local too, but less available depending on where you live).

Ringdroid. Make your own ringtones, quick and easy.  (aka, you don’t have to edit them on your computer, export them, import them on your phone…. etc.)

Shazam. Heard a song on the radio and every time you never catch the name of it?  Use this app to find out not only what it’s called, but who wrote it and the album it’s on.

Reveal. An eBook program with a lot of free classics on it, such as Treasure Island, the Scarlet Pimpernel, etc.  I also use it for scripture reading.

Amazon MP3. Just as easy to use as the iTunes Music store, with the ability to sample songs, and a quick download via linking to your Amazon account.

The list could go on and on.  There’s free apps for Facebook, Twitter, something cool called Google SkyMaps, fun free games, reminder apps, and more.  All of this available on any Android phone.

One more thing… I love the interactivity with GMail and the Google Calendar. I can edit contacts on the internet, as well as calendar items, which to me is a huge plus because it seems like the phone (even the swankiest) can be much slower than just doing it via computer. You can also color code events via different calendars. I have contacts birthdays, US Holidays, personal, and work calendars all in different colors.

Convenience
could easily be synonymous with Android.

THE MYTOUCH SPECIFICALLY

There is some small regret that I didn’t wait just a little longer to go Verizon with the new Droid, but I’m still pretty happy with my HTC myTouch.  The virtual keyboard took me all of a day to get used to and the customizable background a huge plus (especially over the non-customizable iPhone).

The camera is a step up for me coming from the Nokia 5300, at 3.2 MP, though I wouldn’t have minded a bit higher, especially considering the Droid at about the same upfront cost has 5 MP (in addition, a physical keyboard).  But the pictures are still sharp, and the video great for a phone.

Battery life can seem short if you’re constantly using the 3G network for internet access.  I ran Pandora on both 3G and wifi, and got much longer life connecting via wifi.  I was also told by a few people that the 3G was faster.  Not the case for me.  Downloads were significantly faster with wireless, though the 3G speed is still good.

The keyboard text predictor is fabulous and I find typing for me goes just as fast if not faster than having a physical keyboard.  I have noticed, however, on occasion while browsing the virtual keyboard is a bit sluggish–not enough to make me hate it though.  And I do love me some full web browsing.

The ringtones are easy enough to customize, but your alerts and alarms will take some thinking (and probably ringdroid), which I felt was a step down from my old Nokia.  Still, the phone is something I love and I promptly bought a protective hardcase for it with a swanky design.  The phone does come in 3 colors: red, black, white (I chose black).

Android Platform: A++
myTouch phone: A-

Twilight I Thought This Book Was About Vampires…?

“As she gazed into his perfect honey colored eyes, she was overwhelmed with giddiness at the sight of his perfection, and swooned when he smiled the perfect crooked (does that really work?) perfect smile of perfection like a Greek God who could never hope to be as handsome and perfect as the work of perfection himself that was Edward…”

Basically, I’ve summarized 90% of the book for you.  (Quick, someone hand me a thesauraus.  I’ve got to look up synonyms for perfection!)

I had no idea what Twilight was about, other than a nod at vampires, but at the time I had just come off the Harry Potter hype train, and loathing as I did waiting for sequels I figured I’d give this series a look when more of the books were out.  The Twilight series hype continued to grow, with nearly everyone around me swearing to its authenticity as the greatest series of all time.

I still planned to give it a look, but paused after going over a review on my friend’s blog.  After conferring with a second friend who’d read the entire series (because the Twilight fans SWORE the books continued getting better), I felt little to no motivation to read this book.  Hey, romance novels just aren’t my thing.

But with fellow women and girls around becoming fans a plenty, I felt if I were going to be able to have an opinion I’d have to delve in.  So, I began reading Twilight.

I was surprised!  Well, at first…

Here was this character Bella.  A typical teenage girl with family troubles and teenage girl insecurities.  She’s interesting, the view she presents is interesting, and although I know what’s coming I hope that we don’t arc away from the current Bella.  Then came the dreaded “descriptions.”  Those who’ve read know what I’m referring to.  The gushing descriptions (see above for an example) that occupy 90% of the rest of the book.

*VERY BIG SIGH*

And so a perfectly reasonable an interesting character becomes a crazed obsessive “swimfan” type girl, and the cheesiness factor is laid on thick.

So if I knew exactly what was coming, why bother reading in the first place?

To be honest, the take Stephanie Meyer has on vampires, albeit unresearched and a little too Superman without kryptonite, is interesting.  I found myself the most involved when I heard Edward’s origins and his families origins.  In fact, publish a book without gushing affections about Dr. Cullen and Edward’s adventures pre-Bella and I think you might have a very compelling novel.  This may be out of Meyer’s capability to do (aka where would the story be without the gushing affections?)

Something that is incredibly disturbing is the way their relationship works, which most readers have tended to shrug off to being a vampire.

But probably 70% of my reason for reading the book (the 30% being to have an informed opinion–which wouldn’t have been enough drive alone) was to bring to you a comic series I’ve affectionately named “The Mid-Afternoon Chronicles.”  I’m by no means a professional when it comes to comics, and some of you may not get it if you haven’t read at least the first book, but it amuses me and hopefully it will do the same for you.

This is merely a character concept of our ‘heroes,’ but I promise a new comic is coming soon and hopefully weekly.

Ok, seriously!  What is this 'crooked smile?'

Ok, seriously! What is this 'crooked smile?'

Netflix on the Mac? Hooray!

netflixonmac1Is it really true?  Can we really watch instantly–a service we’ve been paying for since its inception?  The answer is YES!  I found out the news late yesterday, which apparently occurred on Halloween, but hey, there were other things on our minds (like an election, or something).

Now the question on all you lovely Mac users’ minds is, ok, so how do I do it?  Well, officially it is in its beta testing stage, so you have to opt-in and errors may occur.  This is also only for Intel-based Macs, so if you’re PowerPC, you’re out.  Thusfar I haven’t really encountered any more than on a PC.  In case you didn’t catch that link the first time, opt-in here.

And welcome to 12,000 or so movies (some of them not working the greatest in beta), about 30% of them something you might want to watch, though with Starz Play a little better variety than before.  (I recently watched Pirates of the Caribbean 3–not that that’s saying much about selection still.  Ok, I was just glad it was “free” I mean since I’m in it for the DVD rental.  Anyways…)

So enjoy!

Oh, and one more thing.  This is all possible due to Microsoft’s Silverlight.  Wait.  Microsoft is making it easier for me to watch my Netflix on my Mac instantly?  Shouldn’t Apple have taken care of that for me?  Yes, they should have, shouldn’t they?  (You can still thank Apple for the delay and send them no thanks for the problem actually getting solved.  Apparently they’re so confident we’d rather rent on iTunes they blatantly refused to offer Netflix any sort of help.  Not even a clue.  *sigh*  Oh well, the prices of a great operating system I suppose).  Netflix’s blog gives more details.

Mac Users Rejoice?

According to a recent post on the Netflix community blog, Mac support for the Netflix Instant View service will be available “by the end of the year,” which I guess still falls in line with their earlier post of “sometime in 2008.”

I’m really hoping this isn’t relying on Apple support, which has been the hold up in the first place for the Mac kids out there (they want you to use Apple TV and nothing else).  I guess come December 31, 2008 (but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for sooner) we’ll see.