They’re still Angry!!

I haven’t done a lot of reviews about games. Mostly because I get bored with them so fast. Rarely does a mobile game hold my attention for more than a few days. Well I finally found, not one, but two that I have been playing for over a month now (Bejeweled dosent count lol)…

First my addiction…. Angry Birds. For a super simple game, I find myself unable to tear myself away from it frequently! Something about hurling those pissed of pigeons at those smirking pork chops that just sets me off lol. I can’t get enough of it. I have been playing the free android version on my Evo. I also have it on my iPad but I honestly like the smaller form of the android version better. I like how the screen slides back and forth before, during, and after the attack. When I first saw the game, I was like “what are these people talking about? Cant be THIS game lol”. Obviously I was wrong… Definitely a recommended download for both android and the iPad.

Now my obsession…. Pocket Legends! This free little tounge in cheek, rpg is an excellent time killer! Being an rpg fan from way back (yes I know who Gary Gygax is) and both an original Everquest and former World of Warcraft addict, I think I know a thing or two about RPGs. This one fits the bill. Just enough of a rpg to keep yup interested and wanting to level, but casual enough to be played in bits and chunks with no penalty. And it’s cool for all ages. The cutesy graphics initially turned me off, but once I got into the game I see the appeal. I can play this games for a couple hours or for 15 minutes and have a great time either way. Did I mention it’s free? Well almost. The app is free. And yes you can play the game and never spend a dime. BUT…. Most of the really cool stuff is a paid premium. Don’t let that dissuade you from trying out though. Seriously… Download it now LOL

Ok enough blogging, I need to get back to my games! Ciao!

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It’s so…. EVOcative!

So I finally upgraded! I know, I know you’re probably saying “about friggin time!” and you’re right. I probably took the longest time I ever have to decide on a new phone. As you may know from my previous post [Its a Quandry it is – 8/31/2010], I was twisted over my top choices: the HTC EVO or the Samsung Epic. Both are top notch, feature packed phones. Both get high marks from the pundits. Both are priced decently. So which did I choose? Well if you couldn’t tell from my ever so witty title (you know you smiled when you read it lol), I picked the iPhone slayer (yeah i said it) known as the HTC EVO.

Let me tell you why. The EVO just had more features and arguably more tech for the buck than the Epic. The EVO comes with 16gb internal and an 8gb card. It has better cameras, BOTH of them. It looks sharper. The Epic looks like a larger Moment. The EVO hotspot can support 8 devices. Not the Epic. I mean I don’t plan on ever connecting that many, but if for the same money, I can… Why not? Finally, I really like HTC Sense. I know there are a lot of you out there who swear by the “pure” android experience, but I love Sense. It just makes Android flow smoother. Oh and the EVO was $50 cheaper than the Epic. I just couldn’t justify paying that much more for a phone that was less tech wise, and was a slider. I don’t need a physical keyboard and every slider ive ever had eventually developed issues with the slide mechanism. Even with the awesome screen on the Epic (which I have to admit is freaking amazing!), it wasn’t enough to swing me away from the EVO. Did I mention the kickstand? My phone has a kickstand like my old Schwinn did! How cool is that?

So ive had the EVO for about a week. First impressions have been pretty much as expected. The only slight disappointment has been the battery life. Now having been around Android phones since the beginning I knew not to expect stellar usage times. And I’m the type of person that keeps my phone on charge when ever I’m in the car. Still it barely makes it through the day with moderate use. The good news is that is so far the ONLY negative I have found with this phone! Its way fast compared to my retired HTC Hero. even on 3G it’s much faster than the Hero. Next to my friends iPhone 4, web pages seemed to start to load faster on the EVO, but finished loading about the same time. Haven’t tested it on 4g yet as it’s not in my area yet (what’s up with that Sprint?). The cam is very responsive and takes great pics. Love the improvements of v2.2. Live wallpapers is neat for about the first day or so, till you realize it’s a battery killer lol

I am very happy with the upgrade and would recommend the EVO to anyone wanting the latest in Android. Don’t get me wrong, the Samsung is also an awesome phone, if you want a physical keyboard and a crazy clear screen. That’s the beauty of choice right?

Ciao!

Ps. Oh yeah, I made the “iPhone slayer” comment just to rile some of you up lol if you’ve been reading my posts, you know my stance on any one phone being the “best” phone out there 😉

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!

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!

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!

Facts, Fallacies, and Fiction.

So I’ve spent roughly 24 hours with my newly updated Hero. It’s been an interesting experience to say the least. Was it worth the wait? Was it all that I was anticipating? What is up with the horrible service at many MANY “authorized” Sprint service centers? Lets explore those questions and more, shall we?

Ok first I’ll say my piece about the Sprint service center just to get that out of the way. What the hell? I mean, I know these aren’t actual Sprint stores, but isn’t there some sort of qualification a place has to achieve to get status as an “authorized” service center? Or is Sprint handing that designation to anyone willing to deal with repairs? I won’t put the location in the spotlight here, mainly because the staff was very friendly and tried to be accommodating.

The day the update was released I was there just after they opened. The store was empty. I told them I was there for the Hero update. The guy at the counter immediately informed me that I was wrong, it was the Samsung update. [what?] So, I calmly stated that if he checked, I was sure he would confirm my statement. He, not budging from his seat, said “You’re wrong. Hero updates not due for like 2 weeks.”. Just as was turning to exit this den of stupidity, a tech from the back yelled out that indeed the update was released, but they didn’t have it yet. He took my number and said they would call when they had it ready. No problem right?

They called the next day. I told them I’d be in after 5p. When I got there the store was packed. The little girl […] working the service counter asked if she could help me. I told her the deal. She gave me an extended blank look, then said “what?”. So I looked past her at the tech, who was watching the situation with a bemused smile on his face and said “can you get me going here?”. He laughed and said no problem, much to the consternation of the people in line. Hey I made an appointment… Kind of…lol

So 45 minutes or so later, I was updated and out the door. At least the tech guy was good. But then that’s usually the case with these places. Ok I’m done ranting, on to the review!

Right off the bat I noticed that everything I did happened a lot quicker. Everything just seemed to pop! Scoring one for that nugget, I enthusiastically went about re-setting up my phone. That’s where the enthusiasm started to wane. I mean I expected this, but I didn’t realize it would be so tedious. Not only do you have to initialize your Google account again [on the phone], but you also have download each and everyone of your apps again. This shouldn’t have been that bad, but for some reason, the downloads section of Market only contained like 8 of my collection of 30+ apps. Meaning that none of my settings for each individual app were saved, so I had to set up all of them again also. Who has time for that? As of now, I am still not complete.

The battery life is supposed to be better with this update. I haven’t been able to evaluate that yet due to me still getting back to normal. The screen resolution look crisper. Or brighter. I’m not sure but ut definitely looks better. So do the icons. I like what was done to the Camera. Actually operates more like a camera now. Point and shoot style. Loving the Navigation app! Going to use it Sunday for a road trip. Oh and bonus for me? Thumbnail screen display of home screens! So nice…

As I experience more with this update I will continue to post my findings. You know you will get the dirty truth from me…and nothing but the truth lol

Ciao!