Android, HTC, and me

So this is something I didn’t get to talk about during my hiatus. Up until November 2009, I was rocking a considerably old XV6800 (aka the Mogul). It was a pretty good Windows Mobile running phone made by HTC (whom I love*). Decent screen, physical keyboard, built like a tank (HTC phones are usually built quite well). It had its issues, mind you, but served me faithfully. Pretty easy to hack too, thanks to the help of the fine folks over at XDA developers. At end of use, I had Wm6.5 running on it, albeit it a little slow. Anyway, I was due for a new phone thanks to my contract upgrade and there were a few phones out or coming that made the gadget lust tingle within me. Some of that lust came from the promising nearly year old Android operating system from the Google folks. I’ve already accepted my Google overlords at this point, so this should not be a big surprise. Don’t get me wrong, windows mobile is a pretty good operating system, but its windows so it sadly had windows type issues. Windows phone 7 is said to address some of those issues, by the way. And while there is still to this day much over-hype about a little phone made by a fruit company, I never drank the kool aid ( though there is this pad that I have my eye on for some reason). This is in addition to not so much caring about AT&T’s service. Yes folks, I choose my phones carrier first as it was to be intended.

Like I’ve said, Android phones had been around for a minute, but there was nothing that fit my criteria. Yes, there was Android’s flagship phone the G1, but it was G1 hardware. That’s a no no. Plus, that lip it had bothered the hell out of me. What I really wanted was hardware comparable (read: sexier) than my beloved XV6800. Preferably, the HTC Touch Pro 2(or the even sexier HD2) running Android. That STILL hasn’t happened yet. And while the Motorola Droid had a physical keyboard and decent specs for the time, I dislike Motorola phones and that keyboard was not a very good experience for the little time I played with it. Plus, I don’t like Motorola phones….Oh, did I say that twice? Yep.

So what did I end up getting? Surprisingly enough (and against my better judgment at the time), I ended up with the then brand new HTC Eris. I say surprisingly enough because it had pretty much all of the criteria I was looking for. It was built well (by HTC, of course), it ran Android (though it came with version 1.5 and 2.0 was shipping with the also brand new Moto Droid), and it was sexy for its time. It had everything except for a physical keyboard, which to me was and sort of still is, kind of key in my decision. I hated to have to rely on virtual keyboard because I felt I needed physical keys and virtual keyboards on the whole don’t give you that. Well, after using as long as I have, I still miss the physical keyboard, but I seem to be doing alright without it. It’s not like I’m the world’s fastest typist anyway.

I say against my better judgment because I knew then when I bought the phone there was hotter, better phones coming down the pipeline. The Nexus One was the soup Du jour, I believe. What I didn’t know about was the HTC Incredible or the Evo 4G that came out this past summer. Every 6-8 months, it never fails. And I definitely didn’t know that apparently my phone was at end of life around time the Incredible came along and rumored to be replacing the Eris. I went with it despite that what I did know and do not really regret the decision. It’s been giving me exposure to a great operating system, and just as cool, apps! No Oses or phones are without flaws, and that is true for Android and the Eris. That said, I love the experience and while I am looking into a new phone, I know I’m sticking with Android and HTC. I am seriously considering porting over the Evo (I’m on Verizon, it’s on Sprint). I’m even thinking of trying my hand at making app for the OS. It would be nice if the big G would let me play with their app inventor, but I have checked out the alternative as well.

So basically what you should gleam from all of this is that, if you have a chance to try an Android phone, do so. If you already have one, be on the lookout for upcoming posts from me as I will be (as I have been) diving into the app market and trying to pull out some gems. Oh, and that I dislike….

*- the makings of an HTC fanboy, I know

Let your vanity searches come to you

All of ya’ll probably know about this already, so take it as a PSA for the rest of the class.

Alright, so the powers that be over at Google thought it would be handy for folks that like to search themselves out on the web to not have to keep coming to their site every time the whim to do so hits them. So, they set up Google Alerts to keep them from having to. This is how it works:

You go here and put in your name search term(s), type (from blogs, video, news, the whole ball of wax, etc), email address, and how often you want to be alerted. Every time your name the term(s) come up, you get an email on it. Because, you know, you’d want to know every time your name the term(s) come up, right? Right. You can also have more than one alert set and can manage them from here(if you have Google account, all the better).Oh, keep in mind that this is like any other search, so if you are not getting what you are expecting, you may have to tweak your search terms.

Oh, and I’m sure it’d be good for those who search on a specific topic frequently, but let’s be real here.

Alright, now that you’re armed with this knowledge, I’ve got a question or two.

Be honest:

  1. Have you ever done a vanity search?
  2. Why did you do it the first time?
  3. Did you expect to find anything incriminating?
  4. Did you find anything interesting? If so, what was it?
  5. Did you find anything that you wish you can change?

1. Yep, a couple of times on my real name and once for my pseudonym (you gotta do it every now and then).
2. A co-worker of mine said he had Googled my name found a bunch of people. I meant to question why the hell he was Googling my name.
3. nope, thank goodness.
4. Yea, there is an artist with the same as me. Also, there are more people with my real name than I thought.
5. Yea, I wish I had copped the artist’s website name before he did. The minute he lapses, I’m pouncing on it. Also, I’m out there a good bit, apparently. I’ve even seen ED posts in the search. It’s funny. I have been signing up for a good bit lately.

What say you?

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Blogger, Where the Hell did my last post go?

Alright, last night I checked my email and I had gotten a couple of nice comments from ILLaTV. One of which mentioned an error I had made on my last Sample Moment. I replied back and signed into Blogger to fix it. That done, I waited until it updated and I signed out. I had to sign back in because I wanted to copy the template so that I can try to make some changes. Something told me to look at my posts and lo and behold, the Sample moment was gone! I was pissed for about 10 seconds when I realized that I still had a copy in Performancing, the plugin I use to make posts with. I am glad I kept it too because i’m not trying to redo that again. So I will repost that after this, unfortunately without the comments (unless they happen to pop back in there). Stupid whatever the hell happened. And NO, I did not delete it, dammit!

Google Roll Call

This post is for anyone keeping score in the Google empire. If you already welcome your Google Overlords and know the name Larry, Sergey, Eric, and George, this list isn’t for you. You know about most of this stuff. If you don’t, follow me. Basically, this list represents almost everything the former search engine giant has to offer. I say former because while Google still does search and still does it well, they have evolved into a company of way more than what it started as. Ready? Oh, this is not exactly in chronological order, because some of this was already out before they got a hold of it. Most of this is in perpetual Beta state, which means they are still working some things out and could be for a while.

  1. Google – This needs no intro, so I won’t give it one. It’s good, it’s fairly fast and accurate with the right search terms (not as I used to be), and it’s now a verb. TIP: Did you know that you could do calculations and conversions in the search bar? Example: 3 X 7, or 1 dollar to Euro, or worded equivalent. Go wild with it.
  2. Gmail – Google’s web email. Features and space. What more is there to say. Most of you use it. Now integrated with…
  3. Google Talk – Google’s Voice over Internet / IM program. As I said, now integrated with Gmail, but can still be downloaded separately if you don’t have a Gmail account.
  4. Blogger – Gee, I wonder what this is? Sounds like a place that houses free web logs. Now, who would want to use this, I wonder?
  5. Picasa – Google’s acquired image manipulation software. You can arrange, edit, organize, print, and email all of your images on your computer. you can also share your pictures via…
  6. Hello – which you can use to upload your pictures to… somewhere online. You can also post said pictures from here to your blog. I haven’t used this, but that is an issue for another time. Put it this way, Hello + Picassa = Flickr, essentially.
  7. Google Adsense – You see any ads around Google, people’s websites, or blogs? It’s could from here.
  8. Google Language Tools – Translate a web page or text from one language to another.
  9. Google Maps – Is the illest. True dat. DOUBLE TRUE! It’s like search but with locations and a map. Try to find your place and zoom in, if you can. Not recommended for stalkers.
  10. Google Earth – Take maps, put it in a program, and add 3D. Plus, you are able to add 3D modeled building using Google Sketchup. It’s free unless you choose to buy the Plus version, which adds Global Positioning System (GPS) support.
  11. Froogle – I almost forgot about this one. Looking for the best price on the internet for things. Go here and search for it. It’ll give you a product description plus the best price and up (or down if you prefer). It reminds me of something else, but I can’t put my finger on it. Also, you can make a wishlist to pester send to others that you believe would even consider buying you what is on it. Or keep it for yourself.
  12. Google Video – Google’s version of Youtube, Ifilm, ebaumsworld(well, not so much), etc. with a dash of Itunes in that you can purchase shows (and movies now?) for $.99 to $14.99. Watch stupid people do stupid things, see product demos(maybe), the internet’s funniest videos at the press of a button or two, videos of whatever you search for that may or may not have been shown on TV(like this from the movie, ‘Date movie”. You get the idea. Speaking of which, check this out.
  13. Google Homepage – Name says it all. Your very own customizable homepage. You can check news, weather, sports, videos, and anything else you cared to have checked from here provided you added it. Plus, you can move it to where you want to see it on the page. SWEET! So instead of your ISP’s generic advertisement homepage , you use this if you want.
  14. Google Reader – It’s a lite RSS reader that can handle attachments. What does that mean? When someone (like me) says that you can subscribe to a podcast or RSS feed, this could be used in lieu of an offline program or Firefox web browser (because it has a built in RSS reader) to keep track of them. And it can be used with the just mentioned Google Homepage for that one stop shopping feel.
  15. Writely – One of the online answers to Microsoft Word. It was acquired by Google earlier this year. Save to your desktop, upload from Word, access anywhere you need to work on a document, make blog postings (as far as I know, they hadn’t integrated it with blogger yet), and collaboration, which means you can mark up someone else’s document like that high school English teacher you hated (“bled” all over your paper did she? the heiffer). Well, provided they let you anyway. If only they had an Excel like spreadsheet page…. Oh wait…
  16. Google Spreadsheet – is the name of Google’s “Microsoft Excel”page. it’s like Writely, but for spreadsheets. And nothing says lovin’ like sharing spreadsheets with others. I was going to make a spreadsheet that tracked my spending at Best Buy, realized that it’s on the internet and my wife could find it. Not that she doesn’t know i’m in there a lot….
  17. (EDIT) Google Calendar – Put your schedule online. Share it or events with others. Or not. Get reminders or SMS messages of upcoming events. If you use Outlook as your calendar, this does that part. As far as I know, however, there is no direct way to sync up Outlook with this. Yet. I apologize for forgetting about this. I haven’t used it. yet.
  18. Google SketchUp – A 3D modeling program. You’re an inventor, use it to sketch out your vision. Work out a project. Trying to build your dream house, use it for that. Model your existing house and make the changes you can’t afford to do yet. And while you are at it, you can plug it into Google Earth so that you can throw it up against some land or whatever. There is a free to use personal version and a paid version for commercial use. Last but not least is…
  19. Google Checkout – This just came out the week i’m writing this, so I don’t know much about it. It seems to be a PayPal / Amazon like entity where you sign up (or access with a Google account), put in Credit Card or bank info and use it with Online shops. It is said to be secure, but I haven’t looked into it. If e-stores take to this, it could be a big thing. I did run across an article or two and video about it, so check it out. Of course, if you ain’t a-scared, you can try it out for yourself.

It should be mentioned that all of these can be accessed if you have an account in the Google network (Gmail, I believe Writely, Reader, Homepage,etc). Particularily, if you have a Gmail account, it’s a given. Oh, and there are mobile versions of some of these pages. Just check the pages themselves and it should mention it. There is also a place to check out some of the other stuff that is being cooked up, including some of the aforementioned products, on their Google Labs page. Now, I omitted Google Toolbar partially because I don’t use it and don’t really care to. I don’t like toolbar plugins so much. You’d think that with as many web browser extensions that I use on a daily basis(more on that later), I would be into them. Nope. If you want to try it though, go to the Google Labs page. Anyway, this is the list so far and i’m sure there is more to come. Maybe i’ll update this list as time goes by. Or not, who knows. The stuff listed is worth checking out if you hadn’t already so go forth.