Category archive - Smart Phone

Fruit Ninja App on Android Market

 

Fruit Ninja is a new game that my girlfriend recently told me about and I am starting to hate her for it. It has to be one of the most addicting games I have downloaded recently.

The concept of the game if very simple.  Different types of fruit will fly up from the bottom of your screen and you need to slice them with your samari sword with the swipe of you finger.  Sounds simple enough I know.  The difficult part is that there are bombs thrown in to the mix.  Slice one bomb and your game is over.

Every time you fail to slice a fruit you get an “X”.  Three X’s and you game is also over.  Many time throughout the game you are going to have multiple pieces of fruit and a few bombs all flying around and you will have to work you magic.

My girlfriend and I have an ongoing battle to see who can maintane the high score.

There are also different types of playing modes.  There is the classic mode, which in my opinion the only way to go, along with that there is also an arcade and Zen mode.  In the classic mode you just need to keep slicing fruit.  Easy enough.  In the arcade mode you are on a timer.  Once your time is up you are done.  However there are some frozen bannans in the arcade mode to add a little excitement.  Each banna send the game in to a different type of play.  One will put it in to slow motion while another increases the amount of fruit coming your way.  You cant die in arcade mode but there are still bombs.  In this case though they only deduct points from your total score.

Good luck and happy slicing

GTask Issues

One of my most used app on my Droid X is GTask. It’s essentially the Google task bar from Gmail on your phone. It will automatically sync up with Google Task bar, and you can keep a list just for your phone if you like.

I really like that you can set recurring events and set reminders. It is really helpful when trying to remember to put the garbage! The problem I’ve been having recently is that these recurring event reminders are accumulating. So now when the remind comes up about garbage night, it literally announces about 40 reminders, which I’m guessing is the number of weeks that I’ve been using it to remind me to take out the trash!

I haven’t really had the time to dig into it, or at least no time when I’m thinking about the issue. I’m guessing that I’m going to have to uninstall it and re-install from the Google store (which I notice is now called the Play Store). The trick is I just have to take the time to do it. It’s not as quick as it sounds because I need to write down all the things I have in there that I need to remember, so that I can remember to put them into the app when it’s re-installed.

Then I need to dig into why it’s doing this. I’m guessing it has something to do with the way that I click off the reminder when it comes up. It goes away until the next week when it comes back double. So it’s either a bug or something I’m doing.

I’ll keep you posted as to what the deal is when I get it all fixed up. Speaking of which I guess maybe I should do it now while I’m thinking of it 🙂

MyFitnessPal App – Droid and iPhone

After finally breaking down and purchasing the Droid phone, I found myself barely using any of the apps that it seemed the entire world was talking about.  It seemed crazy to me to download an app for the small things in life that could just as easy be accomplished by breaking out a pad of paper and writing it down.

 

That was until I found an app that was not only user friendly but accomplished everything I had been looking for when it came to fitness and keeping healthy eating habits.  MyFitnessPal is free calorie counter app for any iPhone or Droid.  It makes counting the calories I consume all day SO easy. It also adds in any exercise that is done during the day so you can get a true count of calorie consumption.  Having been once a huge advocate of the Weight Watchers Plan which I used after both my pregnancies, I knew the concept of keeping weight off was easy – just count your calories.  And although the concept sounds simply enough, the packaging of most foods today does not make it easy.

 

Most meals consumed today don’t come in a nicely neat packaging with all the nutritional information needed in order to correctly count the calories consumed.  A donut out of the box in the work lunch room, a handful of candy out of your coworkers candy dish will not have the necessary nutritional value listed for you to easily know what amount of calories you just ate.  MyFitnessPal helps you add up all the calories from the day and track how many you have left – VERY similar to the Weight Watchers concept that we have all followed.

 

Having a handheld device to easily track all this info makes calorie counting SO simple!  It even calculated the calories burned during your work out!  Being accountable and knowing what your body consumes is the only way I have found to lose or maintain your weight and MyFitnessPal makes calorie counting so easy it’s literally at your fingertips!

Games Soft Processor

For older games (like from the Atari era) or newer smaller games (like the apps on your smart phone) it is a common practice to set them up and run them on a soft processor. A soft processor is microprocessor core that can be wholly implemented using logic synthesis. To me this basically means a soft processor is something you virtually create using programming instead of an actual hard processor which is a chip on a board that physically exists inside your computer.

These soft processors make a great fit for the older style games. Think Pitfall, Pacman, or Qbert, just to give you an idea. You can make them for different sized but if you really need something huge like would run some of today computer games which are smash hits you would go with a larger hard processor.

These games soft processor are also a nice fit for the type of games which run on today’s smart phones like Angry Birds. Today’s smart phone app games are much more sophisticated then the Atari classics of yesteryear but they are still small by today’s standard for sure.

So if you are looking to run existing smaller games, or maybe even create your own, you definitely need to consider the soft processor.

Music Download Programs – Apps

free ipod download musicWhen it comes to downloading music there are two major players in the legal category. There are many out there from the Napster days, like limelight and others which aren’t legal (although I heard Napster is legal these days…who knew :). For me it’s not worth the risk, or the guilt of stealing the free music. I mean imagine if you spend years making something that you were hoping to sell and then millions of people came into your garage and took a copy?!

Music Download Programs

Of course the big number one in this industry is the Apple Music Store which is mainly for the Ipod although you can use it for other media too. Digital music had been around for quite a while but it took Steve Jobs to figure out how to make it user friendly for the masses. Once he made the Ipod easy, he then make the music buying easy as well. It was the synergy of those two areas which really made the whole industry flip on end.

The other main player is Amazon. You can get music from the Amazon store just like you can from the Apple Music Store. Typically the songs on Amazon are 99 cents which is cheaper then Apple. Also my understanding is the Amazon files have less restrictions as to how many times you can copy them to your devices. Again, I’m not at all advocating that you buy it and then sell it or give it to others, but if you have multiple Ipods, or would like it on your computers as well then it is your file and you should be able to use it where ever you are!

Not all music downloading programs are created equally of course, but these two really seems to be the most user friendly and cost the least as well (as long as you don’t count stealing the music for free).

How to Transfer Music from Your Computer to Your Ipod

Depending on where you are downloading the music files to they may well end up on your computer, which is handy if that is where you are going to listen to them. More often then not of course you are going to want those files on your Ipod. You may also have an old CD collection from before you had an Ipod that you would also like put on as well. Once you have the software installed and your Ipod linked to your computer it is really easy. It’s just a matter of deciding which songs you want to move and dragging them to the right place. The same is true if you want to move music from Ipod to computer.

What Else Besides Ipod?

Believe it or not there are tons of other devices that play songs out there these days. Sure Ipod was the first and holds the majority of the market share, but most all phones today will play and store music files. I personally have the Droid X and because of that I prefer the Amazon store for my music. The concept really is just the same as with the Ipod though. The point is Ipod was first and they should be acknowledged for it, but don’t be afraid to try something else too. Once something is discovered it can be relatively easy to improve on it by others.

Google Calendar – Keeping Track Of The Family Schedule

Google Calendar AppMy wife and I both have the Droid X. We’ve had them for about a year and a half now and really love them. Sure there are some frustrations that you are going to have with any computer, but over all they are really awesome. Notice that I said computers, and not phones. These things are really little computers that you can carry around that also happen to make phone calls! Both of us came from having flip phones before our Droids and it was like a whole new world!

Google Calendar

One of the really nice perks that we found was the app for Google Calendar. The Droids run on the Android operating system so they all ready came installed with the app. Once we synced them with our gmail accounts we were off and running. We then realized that we could all access to each others Google calendars and life really got easier.

Having a family of four with two young kids life can get really hectic. There is always something going on with school, sports, or some other activity that one or both of us need to attend and be on time. It really used to be a pain to keep track of it all. Don’t get me wrong it can still be hectic of course, but keeping track of it is really much easier now.

Whenever one of us see something that we need to know about we just put it on the Google calendar (which can be easily done right on the phone, or you can do it online if you happen to be at the computer as well). Within minutes, and sometimes less, it is showing on both our phones and online. Also when we have personal meetings, usually for work, where we can’t be available for kid stuff, we make sure to put that on the calendar as well. Then as the days approach and we are trying to figure out the plan we can just take a quick look at the Google Calendar App and know a pretty good idea of what is going to go on. Or if there is a conflict where two things are going on at once, or neither of us is available and need to be, we can see it ahead of time and adjust accordingly.

 

News Apps – USA Today

When I think about the apps that I use most I have to include the USA today app I downloaded shortly after I got my Droid X. It is a really nice working app which is really well done and is a great reflection of what you think an app should be that would reflect the USA Today newspaper.


Headlines

The main tab which comes up when you load the app is for Headlines. It will scroll through about two screens of the top news stories, usually with a thumbnail pictures. If you click the story it’ll take you to the detailed news story and you can usually blow up the pictures when you click on it as well.

You can also click on any one of a listing of the sections of the newspaper as well to get a detailed list of all the stories for that given section as well.

Scores

The next tab is called scores, and as you can imagine it is for getting the sports scores. Sure there are lots of other apps for getting game scores which do a great job but when I just want to check a specific score or the days results I always find myself going to the USA Today app to find them. Its just a nice basic layout of all the scores which you can flip from screen to screen for the different sports quickly.

Weather

Just like the print version I find that I don’t use this section very much. Not that it’s not good information, it’s just that I don’t travel that often so I don’t need the weather for the whole country. And I live in a big state so I’d rather get the weather for my regional area not the whole state. If I travel though I usually will flip to the weather in the USA Today app to see what to expect.

Pictures

This is a cool section that I’ll check out on occasion when I have some downtime. If you are sitting on the train or waiting in a line and are looking to pass the time this is a great way to do it. You can look at the pictures of the day by category. So you can see all the headline type photos with captions, or space pictures, sports, or pictures of celebrities as well.

Snapshots

This is a great little tab which is an electronic version of the great infographics that USA Today is really known for in their print newspaper. If you choose to have you GPS activated then it’ll also incorporate geographic factors into the results as well.

 

The Groupon App – Don’t Miss Another Good Deal

Deals with AppsSo just in case you have been living under a rock and don’t know what Groupon is, here is a basic definition. Essentially they are a company that finds restaurants, spas, and other companies that are looking to advertise. They they work out a deal with that company which they present to Groupon members. It’s often something like a $20 certificate for food at your local restaurant, which you can buy for $10. They key is that the offer is only good once a certain number of people buy the certificate for $10. This is how Groupon can get advertisers so easily. They say we are going to sell a bunch of certificates to your restaurant for $10, but none of them are good unless we sell 200 of them. The restaurant gets a bunch of people to come in and use the certificates and they get known. It really is a great concept and Groupon is doing quite well. The trick is that it’s not that had a concept to understand so many competitors have entered the market as well, but that is a conversation for another blog.

The Groupon App

So I have the Driod X the Groupon offers an app for the Iphones as well as most of the Android smart phones as well. You download and install it and once it is running on your phone, it is basically a notification system for Groupon. It’ll pop up once a day and let you know that the Groupon of the day is available to view. You can then click in and see what the deal is for today. During your first purchase on the app you will need to enter your credit card information, which you can safe if you like. I did and it makes it so much easier. I can do it on the fly now.

So if the Groupon of the day pops up I’ll hit the botton. If it’s a restaurant I like or know I’ll go to I click to buy button. Since my credit card info is all ready saved it asks if I want to use that card. I say yes, and with one more confirmation it is purchased. Done.

The information is saved, and when I’m ready to go to the restaurant I’ll log in to Groupon at home or work and print out the deal to bring along. There are also options now for some advertisers where you can do everything right on your phone. I haven’t tried this yet but I believe a bar code will come up on your phone and the vendor can just scan it and you are done. Couldn’t be easier.

So if you have a smart phone and like good deals, then you need to download and install the Groupon App. Do it today and you’ll thank me tomorrow!

Soft Download Stuff – Mostly Free Software Online

enter games softI remember when I was young and computers were still kind of a new idea (well lots of people had computers at this point, but they were still rare enough that a family would share one big PC). I’d periodically trek down to the COMPUSA or some other computer store to find some software. Maybe it would be a game that I had in mind, or some application that I needed (OK wanted), or maybe I would just stroll through the long aisles of software boxes (which contained 3.5″ disks) to find something interesting, the same way I’d look for a movie at Blockbuster.

Although I think there is one long aisle of software in the local Staples store, those days are mostly gone. I mean you can find everything you need online and then download it and have it installed by the time you’d warm up the car and leave your driveway!

It’s Usually Free

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all advocating stealing software. If it has a price, then you should be paying it. But there are just so many free options out there that if you are willing to look around a little bit then you can usually find an option that is free for you to download and install. Soft download stuff can really be found with just a quick Google search most of the time. When you get looking, if you are like me, you’ll often end up finding options that will cost you a fee, but as you look into them you decide that they are worth the money.

These downloads are really getting more and more like smart phone apps everyday. Just like on your phone you do a search for some software (app) that will do what you need. When you find it you will find some free options and some pay options. Often the free options will do everything you need just fine. However sometimes you’ll find a pay options that is just so function and slick that it’s worth spending the money.

Mickey Puzzle – Entertain the Kids with Your Phone

kid pix free downloadIf you have kids then you have been there before. You are at a restaurant with them and the food is taking a little longer then their attention span can handle. They are getting a little too fussy to handle and you are starting to get frustrated. I have two boys and my wife and I have both downloaded a few kids appropriate games on our phone for just such an occasion.

Micky Puzzle

One such kid game app that we use a lot at times like these is called Micky Puzzle. It’s Disney character based and works great. Essentially it’s a series of pictures of Disney scenes. When you hit the bottom it splits the picture up into nine equal boxes and shuffles them around the screen. You then need to slide the nine panels around until you have put the picture back together again. My little guys are 4 and 5 and it keeps them entertained long enough for the food to come without being too hard as to frustrate them where they don’t want to play (which has happened with other game apps we have tried).

Both my wife and I have the Driod X which has a big screen which helps, but I’m sure they offer a similar or same app on the IPhone as well.

How Much is Too Much? 

We really try to not let the boys play with the phones too often though. They are young and don’t need to get addicted to them yet. But for times when they are fuzzy and just need to pass some time it works out perfect. So at restaurants, or on long trips, it really can be a life saver!