All posts tagged software

Netflix App

If you like TV and movies then you assuredly all ready know all about Netflix. It’s that great service where you can get DVD’s in the mail or stream movies right onto your computer, and TV with a gaming system. Awesome right? I mean sure they recently split the pricing for mail DVD’s and streaming so it’s much more expensive then it was, but I am only paying like $17 a month for unlimited streaming and one DVD at a time. I think it’s still a good deal.

Movies

What’s great is that the streaming options are getting more and more robust. Still there aren’t any newly released block busters but there is quite a bit. Especially if you like documentaries and/or children’s shows. I feel like Netflix has every kids show/movie ever made! My kids love it. Especially in the summer when there is really just nothing on TV to watch! There is always something to watch if you have access to Netflix!

Netflix App

What’s great is the Netflix App! I have the Driod X and a while back it occurred to me to check to see if there was a Netflix app. It turned out there was but I was expecting it to be a slick way to manage the movie queue. I thought that would be nice to do on the fly so I downloaded and installed the app. When I did I pleasantly surprised to see what the app was WAY more powerful then I thought. It was a viewer so I could watch the online content and stream it right to my phone! Awesome. Now when I have downtime I’m only a few clicks away from watching a cool movie or TV on Netflix!

This came in really handy when I was camping with the family this past summer. This kids were really tired and fussy and just needed a late afternoon nap (especially if they were going to stay up to have a camp fire!). I just couldn’t get them to settle but then I remembered I had a decently strong signal at the campsite. I min later the kids were laying quietly watching one of their favorite cartoons on my phone. They feel asleep shortly and we had a great day. Thanks for saving the day Netflix!

The Downside

The downside is that, especially on the Droids, streaming content is going to really chew up your battery in a hurry! So if you are going to watch a movie on your phone (whether it’s through Netflix or not) you are going to want to make sure you aren’t too far from a plug!

Also, and this isn’t really that big a deal, but the Netflix App doesn’t seem to let you manage you queue which was what I originally thought it was going to be far. Now if I had to choose one or the other I’m glad the app streams content, but going to the web browser on my phone and managing my queue is a little clunky!

Google Books

Google BooksGoogle Books is quickly becoming one of my most used apps installed on my Droid X! I resisted the whole book reader on my cell phone for a long time. Well actually it’s been there all along but I resisted using it for more then a year. My thought was that it was just going to be so small that it would be too hard to read. I knew that you could increase the text size but then I felt like I’m be turning pages so much that it would be way too annoying.

Discovering Google Books

So like most all of my other solid app discoveries it came when I was stuck with some downtime when I was bored and looking to pass the time. So I started looking through the apps that I have on my phone. With the the talk of Kindles and Nooks and all that it’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while because I do enjoy to read.

So when I looked I have Google Books and Amazon Kindle installed on my phone. I didn’t download these apps so I assume that they were there when I got the phone. So since I like everything else that Google does, I tried that. I was still not that optimistic but luckily they have three classics all ready installed that you could read for free. One was Alice in Wonderland which I clicked on and played around with to see what it was like. Surprisingly it wasn’t really that hard to read at all. I do turn the page pretty often but it’s far less distracting then I thought it would be!

So then I went into their book store to see what they had to offer. It appears that they have quite a few books you can download just like any of the other readers I assume. They were a little pricier then I thought they would be just for a downloaded book, but when I looked into it more they are in line with everyone else’s pricing.

So I chose Michael Connelly’s Suicide Run. It was only $2.99 (I assume because it’s probably in paperback now) and I could get a free sample so I went for it. It let me read the first ten pages. I was impressed both with the book, and the feel and flow of the Google Reader, so I spent the $2.99. Now it’s on my phone and it loads very quickly. So anytime I have downtime I can pull it up quickly and read. It’s so quick that I’ll sometimes pull it up and just read a page or two. It even remembers where I left off and opens up right to the page I left off on.

I haven’t tried using Google Books online but I assume they have a website where you could pull up the books you have purchases on your laptop and read there, and remember where you left off and all that cool stuff. I’ll look into that aspect more and report back.

Text Books

Another cool thing about Google Books is that you can find all kinds of offerings. I have a friend that is taking a college class that found his text books on Google Books. He downloaded it for cheaper then it could be purchased at the school book store and he’s ready to go. Now he has the book in soft copy and can use it where ever he has internet access or right on his phone! Now that is Cool Stuff!

Google Docs

Google Docs AppGoogle Docs is my new favorite thing out there on the cloud! Google does everything and they do everything well! Basically Google Docs is the answer to Microsoft Office, but it’s all on the cloud. The applications are on the cloud and the the data is on the cloud. As long as you have an internet connections you have everything you need for creating office type files!

Obviously there are some strong pros and cons for cloud computing in general, but over all I really think the good far out weighs the bad! The only real downside is making sure you have an internet connection and trusting the source to be always available. So let’s say you do a large presentation on Google Presentation. You are going to give this presentation to a large crowd out of town. You get there assuming there will be an internet connection but there isn’t. You are in some trouble. Or worse let’s say you do have an internet connection but for some reason Google’s servers are down and you can get to it. Scary stuff.

The Good 

The good news is, at least for Google, they are almost never down! I mean it does happen but it is really really rare, and very short if it does happen. I feel very confident trusting my office files to Google. And really other then a pressure situation where you need it for a presentation then if they were down for a short period it wouldn’t really effect you all that much! And let’s be honest, in a presentation situation like that Google being down is comparable to you forgetting to pack the CD with the presentation, or that CD getting destroyed on the plane or some other physical issue like that. I’d rather take my chances that Google can come through then worrying if the baggage handlers can take care of the CD!

The App

I’m really excited now too that I found out there is a Google Docs app that I can install on my Android phone for free. It of course is a little more limited in functionality then the full version you will see on your computer or laptop, but when you are on the go and not near a computer it really is awesome! It’s best if you just need to view one of your documents to find out some information or review. You can edit your documents but because of the screen size limitations it is a little clunky. I would only really try to edit Google documents on my phone in emergency situations.

The other thing I use the Google Docs app for on my phone is to share documents. Google Docs is really slick when it comes to collaborating with others on the same documents. You can grant someone access based on their email address and you can both work on the same document at the same time! Or instead of emailing someone a document and then later after revisions emailing it to them again (and everyone being confused because they are working off an older version), you can just grant them permission to view the document. Saves on clogging up everyone’s email boxes and you know everyone is always viewing the latest version of your document. Awesome stuff!

Facebook App or Internet Viewing

Facebook Smartphone

Face Book

The Facebook App is a good example of the kind of app that is really just an extension of something that all ready existing on the web which is now formatted to look good on your phone sized screen. So it’s not like some cool little function that really only exists as an app which you only use on your phone.

Facebook is of course everywhere. When you view Facebook on the internet on your PC or laptop there are more options, the pictures a larger, and things tend to flow a little smoother. There are people that like the internet experience much better then the app that is offered for their phone. These folks will usually just bring up a browser on their phone and go to facebook.com. This is fine but you are going to have to do a good amount of scrolling up and down and back and forth to view everything.

For me, even if the facebook app has a little less functionality then the web I like it. It always fits my phone’s screen (Droid X) and it looks better. And really it’s so good that there are large stretches of time that I don’t even go to facebook on my computer. I will check facebook on my phone on the go or even when I’m sitting on the couch and have a free minute. For me it really has become much more the norm that I go to facebook on my phone app then on my computer! It used to be that when I was on my phone I was trying to figure out how to do something I was used to doing on my computer. Now it really is more that I look on my computer screen to figure out the stuff I’m used to doing on my Droid!

Facebook and Big Brother

There are more and more people these days that are worried about all the data that facebook is collecting. One added piece of data that facebook can get when you are on your phone is your specific location. This can be a little unnerving. I typically keep my satellite function disabled unless I’m mapping or doing something else that requires the GPS, so it’s a little less of a concern for me. But it is something to be aware of and make sure you security setting are how you want them.

So if you are on the fence about downloading the facebook app I would say do it. You might want to disable your GPS satellite while you are using facebook (or always for that matter) but the smoothness of how the facebook app looks on your phone outweighs any of the cons.

Holiday Apps – Top 5 Christmas Apps for your Android Smart Phone

Well it’s that time of year again. Sure Thanksgiving isn’t quite here yet and we are all looking forward to stuffing out belly, but really the Christmas season is all ready in high gear, whether you like it or not.

With that in mind here is my list of the top 5 must have Christmas Apps for you Android phone.

Christmas App #1 – Snowfall Live Wallpaper

I really like this app because it is so vivid and really makes you think of traditional Christmases of the past. It also is live wallpaper which means it is moving in the background all the time. I really love wallpapers that will do this. Snowfall Live also lets you customize almost every aspect of the wallpaper as well. You can choose how much snow, how fast it’s falling, sky color, and everything else you can think of. You can create you perfect Christmas snow storm this year, right from the warm comfort of your living room.

Christmas App #2 – Countdown to Christmas

This one is a cool app for a lot of reasons. It is really great if you have kids that are asking how many more days until Christmas, even when they’ve asked you three times today all ready!

Depending on how into Christmas you really are you can have this app active as a widget year round with a new Christmas image each week! It also offers two different widget sizes so you can customize how much space you was to allocate for this app.

As an added bonus it also appears that it comes with countdowns to most of the other major holidays as well, although Christmas is the only one mentioned in the description.

Christmas App #3 – Christmas Fire

This app is sure to warm you up on a cold Christmas day. It’s an app that shows a high resolution fire in a fireplace, which includes all the realistic sounds of a fire too! It lets you customize all the effects of the fire as well.

As an added bonus it include 10 Christmas song tracks as well. You can change the volume level of the fire sounds and song tracks independently, so you can enjoy both at the same time!

Christmas App #4 – Christmas Ringtones

Now if you really want to get into the swing of the holiday season using your phone you have to include some holiday ringtones! This app lets you preview the Christmas song ringtone and if you like it you just hold tap it and set it. You can easily set the song ringtones you like for calls and text message notifications. The app also has the ability to easily set distinctive ringtones for different callers. Fa La La La La — oh wait I gotta answer this! 🙂

Christmas App #5 – Christmas Gift Planner Pro

How about an app that will take some of the stress out of the holiday season? This is a really powerful Christmas shopping app. You know how it is you want to buy for everyone and you want to make sure that you buy and equal amount for you kids. This app not only keeps track of what you have bought, wrapped, and shipped, it also keeps track of what you spent. So you can know that you have been fair with all the kids because you spend the same amount on them this year.

It also has a really cool feature where you can scan a barcode and add it to your gift list. It doesn’t get much easier then that!

From the category of the more things change the more they stay the same, this app is also password protected. Back in the day you just have to worry about your kids finding the present hiding spot. Now you have to worry about them getting into your Christmas shopping app on your smartphone! Just with this password capability, you can focus you efforts back on the hiding of gifts!

So Merry Christmas and Appy New Year 🙂

GTasks – Increase your Productivity with this App

Prioritize and be Efficient with G TasksGTasks probably ranks in my top 5 as far as Apps that I use the most on my smart phone (I have the Droid X running the Android operating system). If you are a Google person in general, like I am, then you are all ready familiar with Google Tasks that you can use when you are in Gmail. It’s that bar at the bottom that you activate which is basically a To-Do list, or more appropriately a Task List.

Google Tasks is great because it is a virtual to do list which you always have with you. Anytime you are on gmail you have a the bar of what you need to get done right there. You can minimize it so there is just a bar there (which frees up the screen when writing emails), or expand it and have a small window right there on the screen. You can also popout the whole thing to be it’s own tab full screen.

Why Download GTasks?

GTasks is the smartphone app that links directly to Google Tasks. You can create lists specific to your phone, or you can just look at the same list that you have going on Google Tasks. That’s what I always do, just one big list, which I prioritize and knock out each day.

There are a ton of to do lists out there but for me GTasks is the only one you need for one very specific reason. You can set dates when the task need to be complete and set alarms as well. So you might add an item that has to be done by next Wednesday. After a couple days it could get lost in the shuffle with many other tasks, but if you set an alarm it’ll pop up so you don’t forget.

The other great function that I like a lot is you can make the tasks and reminders recurring. So for instance, I have to put my garbage out on Monday night for Tuesday morning pick up. I set a weekly recurring task for 8:30p to take out the trash. I would forget every week if not for Gtasks! I put the cans out by the road and I click the check for done. Then next week it’ll remind me again.

 

So download GTasks and in a few mins you’ll all ready have the hang of it. Just the process of listing what you need to get done will help to make sure you aren’t forgetting things. Then working with GTasks as the day goes on will help you prioritize and be much more efficient. Before you know it you’ll be ahead of schedule…who would have thought that would be possible?!

Evernote App

Phone AppThere are tons of phone apps out there that will help you keep track of your life but one of my favorites is Evernote. At its core it is essentially an app that will let you quickly jot down a note about something you are thinking about and don’t want to forget about. It happens to me all the time, I’m thinking and come up with what I think is a really great idea. If I don’t write it down then I know I’ll never remember it. That’s when I bring up Evernote on my Droid phone.

So while the core function of Evernote is to jot down ideas so you don’t forget them, it’s has been expanded to be so much more then that! To start with it’s much larger then an average app that just runs on your smart phone. It can be accessed on a web browser on your laptop or on your tablet, including the Ipad. So where ever you are and whatever you are doing to can take down your note, or access the notes you’ve taken once you now have the free time to act on your great idea.

Just to be clean though Evernote is not at all just a text based note taker. You can clip out parts of web pages (how often do you come up with a great idea while you are surfing?). You can attach pictures to your notes as well. You can even attach files as well.

Another cool aspect of Evernote is that you can organize all these ideas and notes is a really smooth way. You can have your notes be grouped under notebooks so that you can keep notes about certain subjects all together.

I really like that on my Droid I can snap a quick picture and then make it an Evernote and add some text to remind me what I think was so important about that picture and how it relates to what I was thinking about. Evernote also offers a built in picture to text reader. In other words if there is text in a picture you take and make a note, Evernote will convert that to searchable text. To me if you think visually and use the picture functionality this is invaluable! The example I saw showed a pictured of someone wearing an “I heart NY” tee shirt. They then entered the search term “NY”, and Evernote was able to find that picture and include that note in the search results. Awesome stuff!

Overall I think Evernote is really getting very popular and powerful. I got an email the other day which was an overall Evernote update. They have user groups run by power users whose goal is to show how Evernote can be used in new and expanded ways to make you life easier!

Cell Phone Software

When it comes to software for cell phones there are really two main areas that you are talking about. One is the operating system which is the software which makes you phone run and handles main functionality. The other main area when it comes to software are the apps that you can download and allows you phone to do any number of specialized functions from games, to tracking, to books, and many more.

Smart Phones

First it’s important to note that we are talking about what have been come to be knows as smart phones. Sure all cell phones have some kind of software that is running them and are their operating system, but once you get your phone it is what it is. The software for a cell phone is really only interesting if you can customize it and change it. If you can’t do anything with it then why bother thinking about it.

Operating Systems

When it comes to operating systems you are a bit limited by what phone/carrier you choose. Really there are only two real operating system choices these days. You are either going with the Iphone which is an Apply product and comes with their operating system, or you are going with an Android powered phone which is a Google operating system. One key difference is that Apple make the Iphone and the operating system. Google has going a different route where they make the operating system and allow manufacturers to use it. Because of this there are many more phones that run Android. However Iphone was first and has something of a cult following.

Periodically phones will push out an update to the operating systems. This is often to fix known bugs, but it could also be adding new functionality as well. If you know there is a new released OS update you can usually look on the menus on your phone and find where you can download it right away. However if you don nothing the phone manufacturer/carrier will push the update out eventually and you’ll get it that way.

Smart Phone Apps

Apps really really are the sexy software when it comes to smart phones. Really it’s apps that have made the smart phones so popular and so much more like a computer in your pocket then just a phone.

Both Apple and Google went with a similar theory in that they opened up their OS to third party programmers to be able to create apps for end users of the smart phones. Apple keeps a little tighter control on what actually becomes available to end users by screening the apps and offering them through the App store (this is a format they are very used with dominating with their experience with Itunes). Google tends to micro manage quite a bit less. They have their own “store” on the Android phones, but you are also able to download from websites and other outside sources.

 

So make sure to check back to this blog often as we’ll be reviewing and suggesting apps that are either fun, functional, or increase your productivity!

Acrobat Reader Download

Adobe Acrobat Reader 9

Acrobat Reader

So most anyone that is even fairly computer literate is at least familiar with the Acrobat Reader. It’s almost gotten to the point that you only notice it when it’s not there for some reason. You get an attachment on an email and you click it and you get a message saying something like the format is unrecognized. Then you check the file name and see that it ends in .pdf and you are confused. Typically this is only going to happen when you get a new computer or laptop or maybe you install a new hard drive or operating system.

Adobe Acrobat Reader Free Download

The good news is that if for some reason you find yourself without the software to read a PDF file then you are only a quick free download away from being back in business. If you just Google “Free Adobe Acrobat Reader” you’ll find what you are looking for. You can also take a look at the download section of CNET or Filehippo and find a link to download adobe acrobat reader.

What Version do You Need for Acrobat Reader Download?

Like any other well made and useful piece of software Adobe periodically updates and upgrades their reader so they can fix issue and add functionality to stay up with customer demand. If they didn’t they’d have a bug ridden piece of software that customers would quickly tire of using. There are quite a few people out there still using Acrobat Reader 8 and if you find this download first it will do the trick for most attachments you will need to read. However, Adobe Acrobat Reader 9 has been released and you can also download and install it for free. So if you have the time (it really don’t take any longer) then it would be worth installing the latest and greatest. If you install Acrobat 9 now then you know you’ll never try to open a PDF file and not be able to.

 

So if you are like the rest of the people using computers these days, then it won’t be long until you will need some version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. So if for some reason you don’t have it you should download and install it now.

CCleaner FileHippo

Filehippo CCleaner

File Hippo CCleaner

CCleaner and Filehippo are actually two different but related things. CCleaner is freeware system optimizer, privacy, and cleaner tool for your computer. Filehippo is website which offers many different software downloads, of which CCleaner is one of them.

CCleaner

CCleaner is freeware which means you can download and use it free of charge. CCleaner is going to do a few things for you. First it is going to do what is known as optimize your system. This means that its going to scan you computer and make little tweaks to make it run the fastest and cleanest possible. Next it’s a computer privacy tool as well. This means it’s going to go in and clean out your download and internet browsing history from all the most common web browsers, including IE, Chrome, Firefox, and many more. 

FileHippo

Filehippo is basically a repository of software which you can download directly to your computer. Some of the programs are freeware and some you will need to pay for. Filehippo is similar to the download section of CNET.

One cool function I notices when exploring Filehippo is a download which you can install which will periodically sweep your computer for software from Filehippo to see if there have been any updates.

 

While there are many programs which you can download from Filehippo CCleaner is a very popular one. You can follow the link below to find the page on Filehippo for CCleaner.

Download CCleaner from FileHippo.com