Saturday, November 26, 2011

AppSnap: MVideoPlayer

My video player of choice is mvideoplayer. Great features and presents my videos in a great interface. Added bonus- the app let's you look up the selected video in IMDB.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Operation Admiral Fail: Mission Accomplished!

Just stopped by the Sprint store where they refunded my Admiral purchase with no questions asked. As an added bonus today I got an email from Verizon in response to my email and they added back my $5 text plan! Hurray!

Operation Admiral Fail: Phase 1 Complete

Last night was a cold and rainy night as I navigated my way back to my local Verizon store. I was pleased that it only took about 20 minutes for them to port my number back from Sprint. The only real downside is that in my haste I seem to have lost my $5 text message plan. Next phase is tonight when I head to the Sprint store and return the Admiral.
Side note: I have never been so happy to hold my Droid Pro as I was last night when the re-activation was complete!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Motorola Admiral Tried...and Tanked

On Friday afternoon I popped my Droid Pro on my work charger, figuring I would give it a quick boost before the long evening planned. After over an hour I took it off and noticed that the battery had not gotten a boost. But I had no time to investigate further and wrote off the incident as a fluke. But by Saturday morning my battery was at 20% after an overnight charge- I knew I had a problem on my hands. My immediate emotion was anger- it was just too much of a coincidence that I had passed the 1 year mark on my Droid Pro and suddenly almost to the day the phone had its first malfunction. So, I did some research and decided to port my Verizon account over to Sprint and pick up the Motorola Admiral. So on Saturday afternoon I went to my local Sprint store (and with the same agent that sold me my HTC View) I picked up the Admiral and moved my number over.
When I first spent some time with the Admiral I was impressed with the screen resolution. It wasn't the night and day difference that I thought it would be but it was enough to feel that I had upgraded. However, a few swipes in and I noticed that the screen was very finicky- it would select when I meant to swipe all the time. I switched screen protectors but the issue persisted. Next, I realized that the camera had no way to mute the shutter sound. This is a big annoyance to me as I take photos of all my receipts while in my office and do not need it to sound like I'm having a photo session behind closed doors.
Then the little glitches started- Launcher pro refreshes every single time I return to the homescreen, no matter what settings I have it configured to. The screen resolution is challenging for a number of apps (especially homescreen replacements) leaving me with overlapping or weird letterboxing. And finally this morning I had 2 spontaneous reboots for no apparent reason at all.
Now I've decided the aggravation is just not worth it. When I planned to sell the Droid Pro I popped in to Verizon to have them look at it and they were able to clean out the charging ports and that resolved the charging issue. Now, I just have to convince them to port me back over, and hope that I can bypass the ETF fees from Verizon and not generate any from Sprint. More details later!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Netflix Redesign

I am in love with the new look of Netflix for Android! It’s sleeker and makes my tablet look more media-centric. Navigation is much easier and on a single screen you get a great snapshot of all your recent Netflix activity.

Greener Grass....Tablet Edition

I've spent some time today with our iPad (better known now as Dean's iPad). Size asides, there are some definite pros and cons when I compare it to my Evo View.Here are some of the things that jumped out at me today:

1. Hulu:

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I don't have a Hulu plus subscription but with DroidLu I don't need one to enjoy Hulu on my View. No such offering to be found on the ipad.

2. People Magazine

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This one stings- the iPad app for People Magazine looks absolutely stunning. It's free and ties in our print subscriptions.


3. Photobucket:


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Again, the Photobucket app for iPad is gorgeous while the Android app is not size optimized for the larger screen.

4. Widgets

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I am definitely a widget-holic. This dates back to my Windows Mobile days (when they were known as plugins). I can't imagine not being able to have my mini-apps right on my homescreen. I was surprised that the iOS 5 version of widgets is restricted to notifications.

5. HTC Scribe Pen

I love my scribe pen so much I ordered a second one. Hands down, this is one of my favorite things about my View.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Plan on Every Carrier

As of the end of last month our household had 4 plans- 1 AT&T plan from my Blackberry days (kept it to have the unlimited data), 1 add-on (family plan) for Dean's phone, 1 Verizon plan for my Droid Pro and 1 Sprint plan for my HTC Evo View 4G. Needless to say, it was becoming quite expensive. 2 weeks ago or so I decided to take some drastic steps to cut our costs- When Dean got his iPhone 4 I had him switch to my old number to take my data plan. It turns out that with his job discount he is eligible for a 25% rate reduction so with the plan in his name we can take advantage of that. We killed off his old number since there was now no need for it.
Since Dean moved to the iPhone we have been using WhatsApp for messaging instead of texting. With that change I was able to drop my texting plan to 250 from unlimited, saving about $15.
After careful consideration I dropped to the $19.99 3G only plan for my Evo View from the $44.99 plan that included 4G. And that's when the fun ended. With the slower 3G data suddenly I wasn't having as much fun streaming video or doing anything data-centric outside my Wifi zones.
So yesterday I decided to add my Sprint 4G plan back to my View. After all, with all the other cost savings I could definitely feel good about that expenditure. Today, just as I was about to hit the button I saw the news that Sprint had changed its plans. For the same amount of money, I could now get a 3G/4G plan and there is an in-between plan of $34.99 for 3GB of data. So, I flipped the switch and am very pleased! We're down to a reasonable 3 plans and 1 of them is only $20 a month and it includes 4G. Winning!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Year with the Droid Pro

I noticed a most shocking thing yesterday as I looked at my calendar: I've been using the same phone for a year! This may not seem like much but its a huge feat for me- I've hit pretty close to 9 months here or there, but never the full year.
I've been generally happy with my Droid Pro. The only real gripe I have is with the amount of memory. Every so often it slows down to the point where I need to manually kill apps using SystemPanel. My minor annoyance is that since the Gingerbread update my keyboard light has developed a mind of its own.
But besides that my Droid Pro has really been a champ. I took it to London in January and was able to unlock it and pop a local sim card. In August I took it with me on our family vacation to the Dominican Republic. There I mainly used it as my camera.
Will I be upgrading? You know, I really haven't seen anything that I feel is a compelling step up. My next phone will be a QWERTYBar Android phone with a large memory boost and a drop-in dock like the Nexus One had. Perhaps when the Ice Cream Sandwich phones start rolling out, I'll encounter one I like. Until then, I guess I'll have some more time with my Droid Pro.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

App Snap: ChannelCaster

http://market.android.com/details?id=com.handmark.mpp.gateway

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kindle vs Kindle

When they announced the new Kindle a few weeks ago I was taken with the idea of having an e-reader without a keyboard- I usually push my purchases to my Kindle so I don't really do any typing.
I popped into my local BestBuy yesterday and got to get my hands on the new Kindle. Verdict: not a fan. I'm not exactly sure what rubbed me the wrong way: maybe it was the blockier footprint, or the color which I found jarring compared to the darker shade of my existing Kindle.
In the end I decided that I am content with my Kindle keyboard- it has longer battery life and I know I'm happy with it. As they say, if it ain't broke...