Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!  And for those who do not celebrate Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

As I write this,I am watching my son play with his Stealth Flyer II Micro wireless helicopter and my daughter playing with the Leapster Explorer.  The kids had a great Christmas.  They got up about 6:30 AM, which is not too bad.  I remember getting up at 5:00 AM and trying to get my parents out of bed to open gifts Santa Claus brought.  One disappointment was the Leapster game we bought, no game cartridge was inside.  Not to happy with the LeapFrog company right now.  I wonder how my return experience at Best Buy will be?

I also have been using using Skype video to talk with my in-laws.  For some reason I had the wrong sound card set for Ubuntu which cause the internal mic not to work.  No problems, I rebooted into Windows 7 and ran Skype for our call.  After the call, I rebooted back into Ubuntu and researched the problem.  That’s when I found out I had the wrong profile.  I switched to Analog Stereo Duplex enabled me to select the internal mic.  I tested using the Droid with my account and Ubuntu with my wife’s account.  Audio and texting worked, now I’m ready for my next call.

Tonight we’ll have spiral cut ham, scalloped potatoes, and green beans for dinner.  Maybe we’ll drive around the neighborhood to see all the lights one the houses, watch some movies, and play some more games.  Either way I am enjoying my days off with the family.

UPDATE:

On December 26th I waited in line at Best Buy to return the LeapFrog game and explain the situation.  After listening to the manager tell me he will do me the favor since I bought the game at another Best Buy store, he exchanged it for me.  He made it seem like it was a huge inconvenience.  Now my daughter can enjoy the Leapster Explorer.

Bar Codes to Install Apps on Droid

Last week I created a new page called Apps on my Droid which contain most of the apps on my Droid.  Instead of using a link or entering a search in the Droid Market, I posted the 2D bar codes which links directly to the app.

Just install a bar code scanner on your Droid and you can install apps from any bar code.

Received Second OTA Update for Motorola Droid

Motorola MILESTONE smartphone displaying Wikip...
Image via Wikipedia

On August 19th I received the OTA update from Verizonwireless which brought my Motorola Droid up to version 2.2.  This update includes the following features:

  • Speed boost:  Any Android App will run 2 – 5 times faster thanks to JIT compiler.
  • Install Android Apps to SD Card:  I would like to move all my apps from the internal phone memory and onto the card.  Guess i need to wait for the developers to update the apps.
  • Flash:  Android 2.2 natively support Flash 10.1.
  • Tethering / Portable Hotspot
  • Cloud to Device Messaging.
  • Android SDK 2.2
  • More Enterprise support

I’ve also noticed a few things right from the start after my upgrade.

  • I now have 5 home screens instead of three.
  • There is a popup menu on the home screen – deleted the Phone and Browser icons.
  • Apps menu will stay open after you close the app you were just in.
  • Camera has new controls to adjust focus, exposure, scene mode, picture size and quality, and color.  Can also include location information, white balance, flash mode and zoom.
  • Screen orientation adjusts to all four sides while in camera mode (although that may have been available before, but I don’t remember.)
  • Allow automatic updating of any app.
  • Update all apps when multiple apps require updates (currently updating 2 apps at once.)

However, I noticed all of my custom ring tone and notification sounds that I installed and assigned to contacts were removed and replaced with miscellaneous songs.  This was annoying because I had to reset about 30 contacts and add the sounds from the Star Trek Soundboard back into the database (scan bar code below.)   Also for some reason, Swype beta was not working as the virtual keyboard.  I had to remove Swype and reinstall to get it back.

While I was trying out the new OS, I installed Trillian beta for Droid.  I like the interface, but was expecting to hear sounds while I had a chat window open.  The only time it will play a sound when I receive an IM is when a new chat starts.  Hopefully they will fix that or allow additional controls through the settings menu.

Star Trek Soundboard

Received OTA Update for Motorola Droid

On March 30th it was announced on Phandroid that Motorola and Verizonwireless would be pushing out an OS update from the Motorola Droid, bring the OS from 2.0.1 to 2.1.  I had the option to wait for the OTA (Over the Air) update or download the update and manually update the OS.  I chose to wait for the update.

I read there are around 2 million Droid phones in the market and the update would be issued randomly.  I figured I was not going to see the update until April 10th at the earliest.  Yesterday around 10:45AM I was prompted to install the OTA update for my Droid.

The upgrade process completed within 7 minutes.  I am amazed how fast the phone responds with this update, even though a small number of users stated the phone seem to run slower.  I rebooted the phone and clock boot up at 40 seconds, a improvement from about 1 minute on my phone.

What’s included with the update:

  • Live Wallpapers
  • Pinch to zoom in native browser, Gallery, and Google Maps
  • New Gallery application with 3D layout
  • New Weather and News application with widget
  • New Voice to Text
  • Free Yahoo! Mail is supported
  • Updates to Google Maps
  • Improved pattern-lock
  • Improved headset audio when disconnecting wired headset

I liked some of the Live Wallpaper but I think I will keep my picture of the Enterprise from the Star Trek movie for now.  Most of the sounds I am using are Star Trek based.  The pinch-to-zoom works very well in the native browser and the Gallery.  For me it was already working in Google Maps before.  I removed Dolphin Browser from my Home screen, but plan on keeping it installed if I ever need it again.

The new Gallery application is a huge upgrade.  When it starts, you see all the different groups of pictures as messy stacks of photos.  You can see other stacks by swiping your finger across the screen.  If you tile the screen left and right, the the stacks will tilt a little too.  Opening stack of photos will display them all side by side or you can restack them with a tap in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

I tried the voice to text feature and it was OK.  I think I need to train the phone to recognized my voice.  If I can get that to work, then I can dump the keyboard for all of my text messages.

I have not had the chance to try the other features with the new update such as improves pattern lock or the new weather and news apps.  I keep forgetting to bring my Bluetooth headset to see if I can voice dial without using the screen.

One Week with the Droid

About a week ago I purchase my new Motorola Droid running the Android OS 2.01.  The phone came with a two prong wall outlet which allows you to connect the short USB cable to the phone for charging, and a 16GB microSD card.  I am disappointed I didn’t receive an owner’s manual, but I was able to download one easily enough.  I’ll try to remember to post it on Box.net plug-in on the right.

I went through the standard phone activation with the Verizonwireless rep.  I made a few test calls to verify the phone was working, now I needed to connect to my Gmail account.

Setting up Gmail was easy.  All my contacts from Gmail were downloaded to my phone, and that’s when I realized my contacts in Thunderbird didn’t match what I had in my contacts list on Gmail.  Using my Droid, I modified a few settings, but this was a little slow.  I need more practice with the keyboard.  Using a PC I modified my contacts to include birthdays, multiple phone numbers, home / work addresses, multiple e-mails, and pictures.  Within a few minutes, all the information was downloaded to my Droid.

Setting up Facebook and Twitter was pretty simple too.  I can check the post from my friends, post updates (I did several of them this weekend) and upload photos.  I normally don’t text too much, but the Messaging app makes it easy to read and track a conversation.

I was amazed of the number of apps in the Market place.  Several of my friends gave me a few “must have” apps.  I’ve installed so far:

  • 3banana
  • Advanced Task Killer
  • AIM
  • Airplane Mode Wi-Fi Tool (Easy way to turn off all signals or enable Wi-Fi only)
  • Android Lightsaber (Several different Light Sabers to choose from, all sound the same)
  • BatteryTime (Nice app to tell you your battery status, also places the notification in the task bar)
  • Compass (Incase I ever get lost, can also use it for Cub Scouts Belt Loop)
  • Daily Dilbert
  • Dolphin Browser (Installed so I can use pinch to zoom)
  • Explorer (File manager for your OS)
  • Get Fuzzy
  • Google Buzz (I have a Buzz account with a few friends)
  • GPS Tracker (have not used it yet)
  • Key Ring (scan in your supermarket or store bar codes from the key rings.  Works well, but I need to adjust the brightness – check the website and video)
  • Light Racer 3D Basic (Because I always liked Tron)
  • My Tracks (Just installed and have not had time to try it out)
  • My Verizon
  • Noble Fart (Plan on having some fun on game night with my friends)
  • Star Trek Sounds (Save a sound file or two as ring tones.)
  • Star Wars Sounds (Save a sound file or two as ring tones.)
  • Tip Calculator
  • Twidroid
  • Where (Neat app that help you find local things based on your location)
  • WikiMobile
  • WordPress
  • WorldWideTime (Just to see if it matched what I see when I have multiple time zones in Linux)
  • XkcdViewer
    The only issue to date I have with the Droid was the charger.  For some reason, the plug and the USB cable died on Sunday, six days after my purchase from Amazonwireless.com.  I called Verizonwiereless and spoke with Technical Support.  We determined that I should go to the local store and have a technician check the phone and charger.  Within 5 minutes they diagnosed the problem was with the charger and gave me a new store brand charger – no questions asked.  The new charger is one piece with a long cord.

This is the coolest phone I’ve ever had.  I bought a holster at the Verizonwireless store last week, and plan on getting an adapter for my I-Go car charger.

Post using Droid

A few days ago I purchased a Motorola Droid from amazonwireless.com. I’ve been loyal Verizonwireless customer for about 10 years. I like their service, it is rare that I drop a call, Customer Service always assisted whenever I called, and the local store is OK.

I’m writing this post using my Droid and the free WordPress app I installed. Typing is a little tricky for me’ and I find my typing skills are slow. Practice makes perfect.

The Droid is the coolest and best phone I’ve ever had. Battery life is not that great, but I blame it on me exploring the phone. I also bought a holster from the local Verizonwireless store.