Essential Android Apps

We’ve been very busy the past few weeks since Sandy’s dad George passed away.  He left behind a great family of three kids (if I can call them that) and a pretty darned nice house, if I do say so myself.  We’ve been busy getting things in order, cleaned up, shuffled around, and legally situated, and we’re almost ready to “Git ‘er done!” as they (Larry the Cable Guy) says.  Since I’m not willing to discuss anything regarding this in detail yet, and I still feel like writing, let’s talk apps.

There are a few apps on my Android that I just can’t live without, and I’d like to discuss them.  The first one is Evernote.  Evernote is free, and it’s awesome.  It’s very simple to use, and you can use it just as a basic note-taking app if you want to.  Once you write and save a note in Evernote, it’s on your account and will automatically sync with every other device you have (if you have Evernote on that device) and this way your notes will be available to you everywhere you need them!  This has become priceless for me at work–I often take notes before going offsite to other faciltiies.  I used to write up a quick Word document, print it, fold it up and put it in my pocket.  Now I simply type it up in an Evernote document and I can head out the door knowing when I take out my cell phone, it’ll be there for me to read whenever I need it.  Evernote also does much more.  It lets you attach files, insert images, and documents such as PDFs and docs, and it’ll even OCR your images and will find the text within them instantly whenever you search for something!

Another must-have app–for me, anyway–is Cardiotrainer.  I won’t walk without it.  It GPS-tracks your walks (or hikes, rides or drives), providing you with an excellent map of your journey as well as complete calorie-burning details and much more.  It even allows you to set optional goals for you trip, such as a specific amount of time you’d like to walk, a certain distance you’d like to travel, or a certain amount of calories you’d like to burn off, and it will prompt you accordingly at the intervals you set, as you walk, so you know exactly where you are and how close you are to your goal all the time.  This is one of those smart talking apps too–none of of beeps and ringtones, it talks plain english to you.  It will even automatically play a specific playlist of your music as you walk, if you want it to.  I prefer to listen to my audiobooks on my walks though, which encourages me to walk even more–so I can get further through each book I’m reading.  Cardiotrainer is free for basic use, but the “pro” version is the version I use, which include all of the features I mentioned.   It’s $9.99, which is actually pretty pricey for an Android app, but believe me, it’s worth every penny!  Especially if it helps you live longer and healthier, as it has me…A one-time $10 fee is a no-brainer!

There are many more apps I could mention here, but it’s time for breakfast, so I’ll only mention one more: Handcent.  Handcent is an SMS texting app replacement.  It replaces your stock Android texting app with a fancy-shmancy “bubble-type” texting app, akin to the iPhone texting app.  It includes a TON of options, so you can pretty much customize it exactly how you’d like it for everything from popups when you get a text to exactly what ringtones you want it to play for a specific person or for the default text-received ringtone.  It even has “skins”, which opens it up to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of user-created and custom skins you can use while texting.  You can even make it look and act just like the iPhone–if you want to keep it simple.

So that’s about it for now… breakfast time!


Doggie_DenturesSocks lost a tooth this week. I caught him chewing on something in the living room earlier this week and it wasn’t food, so I took it away from him.  At first we couldn’t figure out if it was a toenail or a tooth, because he was limping when he came in from outside the day before.  We quickly determined it was his tooth though–when I held him and forced him to smile, there was a large, newly-emptied hole near the front of his mouth.  No blood on the tooth or in his mouth though, it just came out cleanly.  He’s not in any pain and still has a good appetite, so I guess he’s ok.   The old puppy is over 10 years old now–70 in dog years.  Maybe we need to get him dentures…

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Amazon MP3 ROCKS!

Wow, Amazon MP3 just blew my mind!  When their service started, I was pretty disappointed that they didn’t grandfather in all of my old MP3 purchases.  Instead, from the day their cloud player went live and forward, it would store your music.  Bummer for me, since I had spent hundreds of dollars on music on Amazon since they first started selling MP3’s.  I didn’t lose any music though, I still had it stored on my own drives.  Well, today they’ve finally included all of my previous MP3 purchases into my Amazon Cloud collection!  I had just under 100 albums on my cloud drive before, and now, as Amazon continues to scan my old purchases, it is importing 1,936 previously-purchased albums!  Wow.  Luckily, NONE of these albums go against my GB storage limit, since they were purchased from Amazon!  So now this gives me another streaming option in addition to Audiogalaxy and Subsonic.

Up until now, Audiogalaxy has been my preferred streamer.  It’s completely free, streams much smoother than any of other option I’ve tried, and it even works great at work.  Subsonic has the added benefit of downloading as standard MP3’s so I can use standard media players on my devices to play the music, but it doesn’t want to play at work.  I’ll have to see how Cloud Player stacks up, now that I have all my music back on it.