Monday, April 13, 2009

G1 Applications

I swear that this is my last G1 post. So beyond calling and texting, what do I actually do with my phone, or rather what applications do I use. I have a number on my phone but the following ones are the ones I use most frequently, in no particular order:

Anycut - Anycut allows you to make shortcuts on you phone home screen. It is pretty nifty when you start using it. For example, I put a shortcut to a new application on one of the 3 main screens. Ok, not too clever. What I can also do though is create a number of things that are essentially actions or script like activity. I have a shortcut that calls my wife directly. I have a shortcut that lets me send a text message to Shawn. I can do a data synchronization etc. This application also allows you to define a shortcut which I am assuming allows you to script your own although I have to confess I am clueless on how to do it. While this isn't an application that I open frequently, the functions and shortcuts I have set up on my device are things I use ever day.

Locale - Without question, one of the coolest Android only applications that I am aware of. Locale is an application that primarily runs in the background and is triggered by certain things. Click on the link of you want to see some examples. I use it in two ways. The primary way is that I set up GPS tags at every airport I fly into and out of. Whenever I trip the geo-fence of that location, Locale fires off a Twitter message that says @Derrick is SFO (or SAN/MCI/JFK/etc.). My Twitter name is @Derrick. I do this in case one of my friends happens to be in the same are and wants to grab a drink/bite/etc. Locale makes sure I keep Twitter current, at least as it relates to my travel activities. And the best part, I do nothing after I set the application rules up.

The second way I use Locale is a bit more subtle. Essentially I have a rule that checks my location, confirms if it is between 11 PM and 5 AM, and if I am at home and it is that time, the G1 volume is set to silent. Don't call me when I am sleeping.

One thing to note, to use certain things like Twitter you have to install a Locale Twitter plugin. While I was initially annoyed by this, it guarantees you can customize the application for only things you use.

Wikitude - This application is another Android only (as far as I know). You have to click the link to see the screen shots to do this justice. This is how it works. I fire up the Wikitude application. It looks up my location via GPS and then returns a map of places around me. I can then switch into list view to read them, or, most importantly, switch into camera view. With camera view, I can look around me and there is a virtual reality overlay of those places with distance from you and a clickable link to the specific information. Super bad ass. Think locative art from William Gibson's Spook Country or Cyborgs in Stephenson's Snow Crash. It is definitely a wow application. Too bad Tmobile isn't running ads for this. It would make the G1 a hell of a lot sexier.

One big note here, which also applies to the Sky Map application I will mention below. Both of these applications take advantage of a Compass and Accelerometer which is something the iPhone doesn't have (Compass).

Sky Map - I camp. I like to look at stars. One of the guys I camp with brings an awesome green laser out with us and he points out the stars and constellations to the kids. That is great and all but I can never really figure out what stars make up a constellation beyond the big dipper. This application gives you a great map of the stars and, when used with that green laser, it is amazing. All the dads were digging the astronomy show on the last camp out.

Gmail and K9 - I use these both. I use Gmail as a spam catcher and K9 for my normal email. Gmail is good. K9 is good enough. Nothing special to say in either case.

Browser - As I mentioned in my last post, a very good browser. In my opinion the best. I use it all the time. - I don't like to use my phone as a music player. It kills the battery and the speaker sucks. I don't have headphones for it. There are times when I am in my wife's car and I don't have Sirius Radio or a CD player and I will use has a scrobbled version of most of the music I have so it is a last ditch effort to do something other than listen to the radio. The application is generally good except when I am in low capacity areas for coverage. Then it barfs an hangs and starts randomly on me. That is why I have a Touch.

Maps and Location Stuff - Google Maps is awesome on this phone. So much so that it is kind of creepy. Street view, directions, etc. All the good stuff. Have to say that I am really impressed with it. I also use Latitude which is Google's Location based social network service. I think a piece on LBS social networks warrants a further discussion but not here. I am if you want to let me stalk you and visa versa. I also play around with Loopt which is another service. My real cell phone number is my user id there.

That is mostly what I use although I would throw in Shop Savvy on an occasion, as well as Weather Channel and NYC Subway maps.

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