Android Phone Dump: March 2015

Last year, I got sick of my LG not updating due to lack of space on the onboard memory (really, an android phone should have a MINIMUM of 8 GB onboard; this had a paltry 4 GB and I was running out of space daily) so I broke down and bought a Samsung Galaxy SIII.

It’s a good phone.  Not the highest of the high class, but a robust phone that’s running Android KitKat (and might get Lollipop; we will see) that has 16 GB of onboard space and has sweet 4g connections due to the upgrades at work.  Ahem.

Anyway, I’m rocking the Google Launcher (fuck Touchwhiz) and I’ve got the “OK Google” down for directions and for internet searches.  I love it.  I love “OK Google,” I love the quick right swipe to get to my Google Now cards, I love the simplicity of the whole thing.

Also the phone is a decent size, compared to what else is out there.  No, I do not want a LARGER phone.  This is about as big as I’d like it… the huge size and the super high price tag (seriously, $600) was the reason I did not go for the Samsung S5 when I was in Best Buy and picked this one up.  Bigger isn’t always better; I want my phone to fit in my pockets.  I’m a chick, so pockets are small and in short supply in my pants.

But anyway.  Performance of this thing is awesome.  You can read and watch all the reviews online; I’m not going to rehash it here.  Suffice it to say, I’ve had no problems with it (unless I push it while it’s in a case… the battery gets hot and the phone will restart if it gets too hot.  I let it cool and all is good).

Now for a quick explanation showing how I’ve setup the home screens:

2015-03-04 01.22.36 Here is the main screen.  I’m using the Dashclock widget on my homescreen because I lock my phone with a pattern, so it won’t work there.  But anyway, I’ve got weather, my Wunderlist tasks, a battery info widget, and bluetooth information active right now.  If I’m playing a song or podcast, it shows that as well as upcoming calendar appointments, missed calls, and any hangouts messages.  You can really configure this widget to work for you and you don’t need a million widgets cluttering up your screen serving you information.  This is all contained and I can resize it to suit my whims if I want it smaller.

In the dock area I’ve got my dialer, hangouts, the home button to get me to my app launcher thing, Blue Mail which is now Type Mail (I’ve no clue why they’ve changed the name, but it’s an awesome email app), and Firefox.  I’ll have another post detailing why I’ve switched from Chrome/Chromium to Firefox, but suffice it to say, I was having issues with Chrome and Firefox is working well.

Screen number two:

2015-03-04 01.22.43

Starting at the top, I have a flashlight widget (very handy) and my Noom Walking widget (this is not accurate as I walked a bunch without my phone today).  Next row is Google’s Camera app, Instagram, Roku, and a bunch of games in a folder.  The last row is a folder with my social apps (Untappd, AndroIRC, Swarm, Google+, Fenix, Facebook, Tumblr, Facebook Messenger), my “wallet” folder (Authy, Google Wallet, Chase, Evernote and Meijer), my “Music” folder (Play Music, Spotify, Pocket Casts, Pandora, SomaFM), and then finally my “Web” folder (BaconReader [Reddit app], Flipboard, gReader Pro, Pocket).

I will also be resurrecting my “Android App Series” and making an entry for Pocket Casts, but it’s probably the best podcasting app I’ve used on Android, IOS, AND browser.  Yes, they all cost, but I’m hoping that by paying I won’t lose the syncing that is crucial for my podcast listening.

I do not remember where I got the background from, but it was probably NASA or something like that.

Anyway, my phone (pocket computer?) is simple, quick, and multifunctional!  It also makes and takes phone calls, so there’s that too.

What’s on my Tablet, September Edition

I haven’t done a lot of writing about my iPad recently, and I’ve especially not done a roundup of my favorite and most used apps.

Here we go!

First, a screenshot:

I have an Adventure Time wallpaper that I found online.  I’m wondering if I should try something like Launch Center Pro.  But I digress.

Along the bottom you’ll see BoxerPocket, iBooks, Reeder 2, and Hangouts.  They are probably my most used apps, with the exception of Chrome.

Along the top I have the calendar app, Yahoo Weather (an awesome weather app that allows for multiple locations, my “Web” folder, which contains the following:

  • BaconReader (Reddit app)
  • Google+
  • Twitterific
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • GoodReads
  • Wikipedia
  • Google Search
  • Mail
  • Facetime
  • Messages
  • Safari
  • Xkit

I am thinking of moving BaconReader (which I will do full review of soon) out of my web fodler and into the bottom “dock” but I’m not sure.  It’s an awesome Reddit reader; I use it on my android phone too.  Most of those apps are standard things that most tablets will have.  I don’t use the last five apps as much.  Xkit isn’t robust enough on the iPad for regular use for Tumblr, but once it gets updated it will be.

My “Games” folder is next to my “Web” folder.  I’m not going to go through the games that I have, but suffice it to say that I have a few and I love each of them, from Candy Crush to Smule.

The next row is my “Entertainment” folder and I have the following in it:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu+
  • TuneIn
  • Spotify
  • Pandora
  • 8Tracks
  • Play Music
  • Roku
  • MetroTimes
  • WatchESPN
  • PBS
  • TitanTV (TV grid for OTA/Cable listings)
  • Youtube
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Podcasts

I don’t use the standard Apple Videos, Music, or Podcasts apps, but all the others I get a decent amount of use from.  They are mostly self-explanatory.  MetroTimes is a local alt newspaper in the Metro Detroit area that has local events and some cool writeups about local interests (DEMF and Movement come to mind).

The next folder houses the following under “Utiliities”:

  • M. Cycles
  • Google Maps
  • Chase
  • OverDrive
  • iTunes Store
  • Camera
  • Photos
  • Swiftkey (awesome keyboard app that I use here plus on my android phone)
  • Other iPad apps that I don’t use: Contacts, Notes, Photo Booth, Clock, Maps, Reminders, Newsstand, Tips.

Next is “Productivity”:

  • Evernote
  • Evernote Food
  • Penultimate
  • Skitch
  • UFYH
  • Dropbox

I love the Evernote suite of apps (Evernote, Food, Penultimate, Skitch).  They’re awesome for the iPad, phone, or an Android tablet.  UFYH I bought to support the blog that I use daily and for motivation for keeping my habitat picked up. Dropbox is indespensible for anyone who has more than one internet connected device.

Lastly, I have a guitar tuner (that I use for my ukulele!); Groove Bank, which is a drum machine that can keep me on beat for my uke playing; and Chrome.  I don’t use safari because I need bookmark and tab syncing between devices.

The second page just holds my Settings and App Store icons.

A tablet is a really personal setup.  I have what I need where I need it.  I like to keep things in folders to keep the front page sort of clear so I can see the awesome background I have.


WebAPP: HabitRPG

I’m no stranger to task apps and todo apps and tracking apps.  I’ve tried a bunch.

And I’m trying another one: HabitRPG.

This takes all the crap you have to do in a day and turns it into a game.  It allows you to define Habits, Dailies, ToDos, and Rewards.

Let’s take a look at my HabitRPG screen:

Screenshot from 2013-04-06 12:48:31My “Habits” section contains the things I want to improve upon.  I have five:

  • Take the stairs
  • Park further out at work.
  • Eat veggies and fruit (I try, dangit but I still need to improve.)
  • Write new receipts in checkbook ledger.
  • Floss (Again, I try so hard but this is something I want to do better at.)

From what I can gather, “Habits” is the section where you can define things you want to do better at and then track how you’re doing, sort of like the “don’t break the chain” method of productivity or whatever.

Next we have the “Dailies” section.  If you’re familiar with WoW, “dailies” are something you can do every day to get a reward (experience, rep with a faction, etc) and you kind of want to do them as much as possible so you can increase your skills or reputation with a certain faction.  I’ve added the following to mine:

  • Make bed (I usually do this but sometimes I need a reminder; whoops.)
  • Read anything non-web for 30 minutes (again, I read a lot but most of it is on the web.  I hope to get through my magazines and books on my tablet this way.)
  • 15 minute Band workout (I’m trying to get more exercise.  Also, 15 minutes is a good span of time.)
  • Call Mom (a reminder for Wednesdays so I don’t actually forget.)

I didn’t want too many dailies because I’d end up just doing chores when I got home from work and things wouldn’t be flexible.  I need to make sure I actually DO this stuff and not let it languish.

Next is the “ToDo” section and holy cow is it long for me.  I’m not going to type everything out, but suffice it to say, it includes some of the stuff up on my board as well as blog posts I want to write.  I think these are things that have no time limit on them, and I think they give more EXP and coins when you complete them, especially if you bump them up to “hard”.  I’ve done this on a couple of the items since I’m not sure how much time they will take.  If it’s a complicated project, you may want to break it down into more steps so it will be easier.

Rewards, of course, is where you can go to spend your hard-earned gold.  Seriously, if you didn’t have something to reward yourself with, then what’s the point?  Anyway, I have some choice things on there.


As you can see, I didn’t put vague things on my lists.  You have to be concrete.  Also, I didn’t put things on there that I already do, like “Do Dishes” as a habit.  I am good with doing my dishes every day, so I don’t need to track that aspect of my life.  I do need to track things I want to get better at, so that’s why I added so few to the habits.  As soon as they become habits, I think I might move them to  the “Dailies” section so I can still track them but they won’t be under “habits” because they already ARE habits.

I think this is for someone who is already somewhat disciplined with their time but needs some more motivation.  I wish we had something like this for work.  I would love to “level up” by doing X AFP grinds or cleaning X codes out of character for model.

I hope a mobile app comes soon because I want to track my food thing and the stairs thing and the parking thing on the go.  I’ve a bad habit of forgetting to log things.