Dropbox….all over!

I find myself drawn to the “cloud” environment and so am excited when I find legitimate uses for it. The ability to access files, notes, pics, from whatever device I happen to be using is essential. As I am an avid user of both Android and iOS, it needs to be seamlessly multi-platform capable. I have found that app.

Dropbox is an application which does all of the above and more. It’s a true “cloud” meaning that all of your data resides on the web. Theoretically, you don’t rally even need to download an app to use the service as it is accessible from any web browser. The app is more about convenience and auto syncing.

I have a Windows XP laptop, a HTC Hero (android) phone, and an iPad. The main reason I love Dropbox is this: I can take a pic and add it to a note on my phone, edit the note and add other media on my computer, and add the note to a list and share it with my friends on my iPad. It’s all seamless and 100% interchangeable. Of course the icing on the cake is that it’s FREE! You get a very decent amount of storage up front (the amount of which I seem to have forgotten lol) but what’s really cool is that you get even MORE free storage when ever you refer someone to the service! Is that customer rewards or what? Dropbox does have a paid premium service but honestly I can’t see ever needing to upgrade to it.

So if you’re like me, always seeing something you want to remember later, or show someone, or if you have files that you frequently need to access away from your computer; check out Dropbox. I can’t think of a reason why it wouldn’t be worth your time.

Ciao!

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Its a Quandry it is…

So the time has come for me to upgrade my phone to a newer model. Nothing is particularly wrong with the old phone (HTC Hero running v.2.1). It still does the job, although it has developed some annoying little quirks as of late, which i attribute to being underpowered to run v.2.1. That aside, my initial choice for the replacement was going to be the HTC EVO as I am a Sprint customer. It was a given, hands down. First 4G phone, fastest processor, huge screen, and HTC product, hotspot creation! It was the god phone! The choice was a no-brainer. Now not so much…

[image via Android Trek]

Enter the Samsung Epic
It is everything the Evo is, PLUS a brighter screen AND a slider keyboard. Or is it? From the average consumers point of view, yes. But if you dig a little deeper, the differences magically appear. First of all, and probably the most important, lets examine the screen. EVO has a 4.3 screen, Epic a 4.0. Both at 480×800. You have hot to see them side by side. The Epic screen is amazing! Dont get me wrong, the EVO screen is incredible also, but next to the Epics screen, it is clearly in second place.

The processor speed on both phones is comparable, but I’d have to give the edge to the Epic. Is it enough of a difference to matter to the average Joe? I dont think so. So web pages load in 5 seconds instead of 8. The next difference is in the cameras. EVO sports a 8mp main cam and a 1.3mp front cam. Epic is rocking a 5mp main cam and a VGA front cam.[VGA? seriously?] Again, probably wont make that big of an issue for the average user.

The final difference worth noting is the hotspot ability. HTC says the EVO can maintain up to 8 separate devices on its hotspot. Samsung says the Epic can do 5. Again I say not a deal breaker as I dont plan on providing the neighborhood with access. There are several other minor differences that I feel are a matter of aesthetic preference more than anything else. For a good visual comparison check out this video…

Im going to try to get some more hands on with both phones before I make my decision. I have to admit, the EVO isnt the clear choice anymore. Like I said, its a quandry…

Ciao!

Does it really matter?

[Warning: Opinionated rant follows.  People with narrow minds or tunnel vision should probably stop here. No, seriously.  You guys should probably go read a Dilbert cartoon or something.]

Why must everything be so divisive?  Why must the Apple fanboys dislike the Android geeks who mock the Crackberry addicts?  I mean really, does it matter?

[image via Networkworld]

Personally, I think diversity is not only good for competition and consumer choice, but also good for the technology!  Without the intense rivalries, mobile innovations would not be occurring nearly as fast and as prolifically as they have been the last few years.  As a consumer, I love having several comparable choices, dont you?

What I can do without is the fanatical, quasi-religious, chest thumping rhetoric extreme that some smartphones fans go to.  The lengths that some folks reach for to defend their phone of choice is frankly, both hilarious and frightening.  I love my phone, which happens to be a HTC Hero; an Android phone.  I personally think that Android is the best mobile OS available currently.  If you happen to disagree (which im sure many of you do), thats FINE.  I dont hate you.  I dont question your intelligence, or assume the lack of.  I’m not going to jump on a soapbox and shout Android love to the heavens.  If you make inaccurate statements, I may correct you.  Thats about it.

All the rest of that nonsense is unnecessary, childish, and pedantic.  There I said it.  Why?  Simple.  No one company has it 100% right.  Most likely no one ever will.  The will always be one manufacturer that does something better than a rival.  Thats just the nature of the business.  Embrace it.  Release the stress and add a year or two to your life.

Ciao!

Myspace? Music? Really?

Most people that I know, that used Myspace back in the early arguably “cool” days of the site, have long since abandoned it to the cluster *bleep* it has become. I only still even have a Myspace account due to the few diehard friends I have that refuse to come to Facebook (zealots lol).

Anyway, this review isn’t about Myspace per se. It’s actually about an app I recently found called Myspace Romeo. When I say “Myspace” in the title, I immediately ignored it. As would any sane minded person. But curiosity got the best of me, so I downloaded it. To say I was surprised is the understatement of the week! I cant believe this smooth performing, good looking, “works as advertised” app is affiliated with Myspace! Seriously?

Myspace Romeo (ok what’s with the name?) is great. You pick your genre, pick your mood, and it streams music videos. That’s it. Simple and effective. Of course there are the requisite ads. I haven’t decided if there are enough to be annoying yet. Other than that I don’t really have any complaints yet. I’ll use it for a few days and revisit this review. Oh, ok I do have one minor thing. Sometimes, the choice of videos made, based on your preferences can be a little strange. I chose “r&b, naughty” (purely for testing folks! Heh..) and the first video played was by Bieber. (what?), so…. Take that how you may. Check it out. Worth the download…

Ciao!

Lights, camera, action!

It’s not often that I find an app, download it, and immediately love it. I mean it happens, but not often. You are probably also aware that I very much love my iPad. It’s fast becoming my “go to” device for anything media related. Music, streaming radio, podcasts, movies, whatever. Well movies not so much. The way Apple has the iPad locked into iTunes, getting a movie that didn’t originate in iTunes onto the iPad is a pain. The conversion process is ridiculously long. Even then iTunes will sometimes balk at accepting it. Consequently I only had a couple of movies loaded.

That’s all changed. I just found out about an app that is the answer to my prayers! It’s called CineXPlayer. It’s a simple little app that does exactly what it says it does… Play divx (.avi) movie files WITHOUT conversion! It couldn’t be simpler. Download the app to your iPad. Hook up to iTunes. Choose the iPad, then choose apps. Choose the app, then choose the files to upload. Bam! It’s done! My movie files average about 550mb, so took about 2-3 minutes a file to upload. Tons faster than if I had tried to convert them in iTunes.

Playback is excellent. Nothing is lost. Audio is crisp. At least as it is in the native file. Nothing is changed as far as I can tell. So what’s the catch? Nothing right now, but I’m willing to bet that soon Apple finds some reason to pull it from the market. Why? Because it gives iPad users FREEDOM. And that is a very bad word to Apple. If they haven’t approved it, they don’t want it on their device. Whatever.

So my advice to you is to get ahold of this app fast, because it most likely will have a limited shelf life. You still reading this? Go get the app! Now! Lol

Ciao!

Places… Where are you going?

You want to check out some place new. How you find out what’s around you? Well you could do it the caveman way and pull out the Yellow Pages, or you could find a native and ask them. Or you could get on your home computer and search that way. Neither of these methods is very convenient when you are in your car, riding around. Which happens a lot, to me anyway. This is why I really like this app…

Places is an app in the Google “suite” of iPad/iPhone apps including mail, search, maps, and navigator. It is an app that lets you search for business (or whatever) based on your location. It can be used with or without GPS, but of course its going to be more accurate with.

The basis is you enter in a search term (i.e. Biggby) and it’s will show you any nearby. There are several built in categories such as restaurants, bars, attractions, shopping, gas stations, etc. that you can choose if you don’t have a specific place in mind. From the generated listing you can choose whatever appeals to you. Once you choose, it gives you details of the location including address, comments/recommendations, photos, etc. From there you can actually view a map (Google maps) or even seamlessly drop right into Navigator to get turn by turn directions.

I use this app all the time. Even if I know where the spot is, I’ll check on Places just to see the comments LOL. Other than Maps, is is probably one of the most useful apps I have on my phone. Highly recommended for anyone that is not a chronic shut in or card carrying hermit!

Ciao!

Flipboard, the REAL review

Finally! I got the email from Flipboard, informing me that I can now enter my accounts into it. Awesome right?

So, I immediately did so, with only a minor hiccup on the Facebook side of things. Which is to be expected as Facebook has been having issues for several weeks. That aside, everything else went smoothly.

The first thing I checked out was Twitter. I almost don’t know where to start. The experience is seriously amazing. Flipboard takes your incoming tweets and presents them in magazine fashion. Yeah I know you already know all that. What I’m saying is that it actually works as advertised! The layout is clean and easy to read. Pictures are displayed in-line. Snippets of articles are shown to make it easy for you to choose what to read further. There is a slider at the bottom of the page which allows you to move forward or back in the tweet timeline, regardless of the orientation of the page. I follow a lot of tweeters so I have a lot of tweets coming in regularly. Because of the volume, I typically just skim over the last hour or so of tweets to see if anything catches my attention, unless I am following something specifically. I find with Flipboard, I am actually reading a lot more tweets (completely) mostly due to the new convenience. It really is just like reading a magazine. Hard to put down once you start it. Lol.

What I don’t like… There’s not any deal breakers, but there are a few things that can be improved upon. First, and probably most troubling is I don’t see any readily available way for Flipboard to handle direct messages either from Twitter or Facebook. Without that feature (if the functionality IS there I can’t find it, which is just like it not being there), the apps is relegated to just being a neat way to view updates, not a real replacement for a dedicated Twitter or Facebook client. Which may or may not be their intent. Also there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how the tweets or updates are displayed. The Twitter side at least has a timeline, but the Facebook updates don’t. So you don’t know which updates are being left out, and yes some do get left out. So what’s the choice algorithm? Lastly, I’d like the retweet feature to allow me to edit the tweet before sending it. Like I said, no deal breakers, just things I’d like to see changed.

Overall, I think Flipboard is a great app. Is it the “killer” iPad app? I’m reserving judgement on that u till after the first update!

Ciao!