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Author Topic: Droid Does what Nintendon't  (Read 4538 times)

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Thad

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Droid Does what Nintendon't
« on: September 06, 2012, 07:52:26 AM »

Welp, decided to take TA up on his offer and buy his old EVO 4G.  (Thanks TA!)  So I am joining the twenty-first century and will soon be carrying a tiny computer in my pocket that will have roughly the power of that Pentium 3 I got right before college.

So now I'm looking at things I need to ensure an enjoyable Android experience.  Brent already named SNESoid, and Ziiro mentioned Swype; these will probably be among the first things I install.  Stross just threw out a good app list too (Spartacus IDE and the Rhythm File Manager both sound like good picks), and of course there's every "essential apps" list on the Internet.  Maybe I will finally find out just what exactly it is that made those birds so angry.

Syncing is an issue.  At present I've got a primary desktop, a relatively-seldom-used laptop, an HTPC, and a work computer.  I'd like to be able to get a good password wallet going, keep my litany of secure passwords stored under one secure password.  And I suppose discussing specific apps for this does itself raise security issues as giving a list of ways I might store my passwords creates a smaller list of targets, but I've always found that robust, well-understood security methods are much better than security through obscurity anyway.

On Web passwords: well, there's Firefox Sync.  It comes with the advantage that the data is encrypted client-side, so even though it's stored in the cloud it's gibberish without a private key.

That said, the private key is effectively just one more password (albeit a secure one), and if I ever lose my phone it's a question of (1) how quickly I notice my phone is gone and (2) how quickly I can get to another computer with the key stored on it and change my password and then all my other passwords.  Which, granted, is a set of problems I will probably have if I lose my phone no matter WHAT locker's running on it.

I've also heard some good things about Roboform, which seems to be more fully-featured and less browser-specific.

There's also the potentially-more-secure possibility of not syncing this shit in the cloud at all and just running a different, discrete password locker on each of my devices (really just primarily desktop and phone).  This would be more tedious and time-consuming and introduce an additional potential point of failure, but on the other hand I'm a lot less worried about someone stealing my desktop than my phone, and if a service like Sync or Roboform was compromised and my master password changed I'd still have a way to access my password list.  And if I ever needed a login on another computer, I could just whip out my phone and type out whichever pass I needed.

Any site that'll offer two-factor authentication I'll probably opt into, though if it's done by text that of course brings us back to the question of what if I lose my phone.  (And does it really count as two-factor if my stored passwords are on the same device I receive texts on?)

Not that I'm losing phones all the time or anything; so far the only times I've ever misplaced my phone it's turned up in either the couch or my car.  And that's a shitty little free just-a-phone phone; I find it hard to believe I'd be any more careless with an IMPORTANT phone.  But, you know, just planning for failure conditions here.

As far as other stuff to sync: well, I suppose mainly it'd be mail and RSS.

I don't really use Gmail, and don't need to add it; all my various and sundry mail accounts support IMAP.  (That said, is there a good mail app anyone can recommend?  Hell, what about for desktop Linux while I'm on the subject?  I've been using Thunderbird for a decade but it's no longer under active development; it Does What I Need It To but I'm keeping an eye out for clients that aren't feature-frozen-forever.)  Guess that means I'll probably want a password wallet that supports a standalone mail app, not just my browser.

RSS -- guess I'll probably just go with Google Reader, unless anyone knows of any better solution.  I don't much care for the Web interface; does anyone know of a good frontend that'll sync with it?  (Or with anything else?)  That goes for desktop Linux too.  And I realize there's a good possibility that I'll wind up parking my RSS and my E-Mail in the same client.

My main objection to Gmail and Google Reader is probably Google itself.  Google presents a bit of a conundrum in that it's got robust security options and some real versatility in the way of features, but (1) it's a huge target (again, insofar as "security through obscurity" is a valid argument, which it only sort-of is) and (2) Google collects data from everybody, everywhere, all the time and is itself one of the major privacy threats in this modern world.  I can probably safely bite the bullet and start using Google Reader since it's not exactly a secret what blogs I read anyway, but I don't want to be tethered to Google for everything I do, even if I am running Google's OS and browser.

Other stuff?  Emulators (NES, Genesis)?  What other neat and/or useful shit should I put on this thing now that I'll be carrying a little Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy around in my pocket?

Also: Any good utilities for transferring contacts from one phone to another?  I'm guessing Sprint's probably willing to do that for me and may not charge for it, but if there's a handy Bluetooth-based address book utility I can use instead, that would come with the advantage of doing it myself (and having a backup on my desktop in case my phone ever got lost or fried).
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Brentai

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2012, 09:04:51 AM »

Throwing out the apps I've got right now that I recommend:

AndChat
Bejeweled 2 (quick and mindless if you can get it free)
Gauge Battery Widget (essential)
K-9 Mail
Lookout Mobile Security (may or may not actually be useful)
Skyvi (honestly never use it but wth)
Urbanspoon

I haven't used it in a while but NewsRob used to be a really good RSS app.  I switched to gReader because I was already aggregating my feeds through Google anyway, so it seemed like lower overhead.

Throw in basically any stopwatch and alarm clock thinger and you've got about all I ever use.  I try not to load up on too many crapps in general.
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TA

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2012, 10:03:26 AM »

I do all my video-watchin' with Act 1 Video Player.
Before I got my Kindle, I did a lot of ebook-reading using Aldiko.
These are most of the best console emulators for Android, except for Playstation, where you want FPse.

The stock Mail app has honestly been entirely fine for me with my campus email.

As for contacts, one nice thing about contacts with Android stuff is that they are synched to your Google account.  You don't have to transfer contacts from one Android phone to another, just sync from Google and they're there.

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Lottel

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2012, 11:47:47 AM »

I find I don't really use that many different apps and unfortunately several of the ones I used to recommend are now slightly buggy for some reason.

Only game I ever play on my phone is Edge EX. (Well, and I tinker in Minecraft for a few minutes each update).

Alarm Clock Plus is great. It has a setting that makes you solve math problems to hit snooze/dismiss the alarm. As for music, I use Ubermusic mostly for the Metro type skin you can put on it. ACV is good for comics, if your screen is big enough.

For file exploration, I suggest Solid Explorer. It's the best one I've found so far.

You're not huge into the social media scene so my suggestion of Tweakdeck doesn't matter.

As for the apps mentioned, UrbanSpoon and AndChat are great.


EDIT: Oh and maybe helpful tip: For most emulators you can set A + B to the volume buttons which gives you physical buttons to press and gives you more visible screen. Of course, this is only helpful for NES or Gameboy games unless you have more buttons on the side of your phone.
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TA

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 02:14:30 PM »

As far as more technical stuff, I find Splashtop Remote Desktop to be great for remoting in to my home PC, and Root Explorer to be my file manager of choice.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2012, 02:15:36 PM »

RSS -- guess I'll probably just go with Google Reader, unless anyone knows of any better solution.  I don't much care for the Web interface; does anyone know of a good frontend that'll sync with it?  (Or with anything else?)  That goes for desktop Linux too.  And I realize there's a good possibility that I'll wind up parking my RSS and my E-Mail in the same client.

OR, as an alternative to Google Reader, there's Tiny Tiny RSS.  Akregator (my main RSS reader for lo these many years) doesn't appear to have sync support with either, but Liferea has support for both and I expect I can find something on Android that does too.

EDIT: Oh and maybe helpful tip: For most emulators you can set A + B to the volume buttons which gives you physical buttons to press and gives you more visible screen. Of course, this is only helpful for NES or Gameboy games unless you have more buttons on the side of your phone.

Good to know; will keep in mind.  I was figuring mainly just using it for games I can comfortably play on a touchscreen -- mainly menu-based or point-and-click stuff.  But I might see if that works.

If not, I DO have a PSP.
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Royal☭

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2012, 03:15:02 PM »

You'll probably find yourself managing lots of tasks on the phone, so Tasker is a great little app (albeit $6.49) that will allow you to setup rules to automate things on the phone. It's very versatile, so you can do things like have it turn Wi-Fi on and off based on location, or have music play when you go for a run, or turn sound on and off during work.

Also, Lifehacker has a fairly recent post on turning your android into a portable media center (plus games) that's fairly robust and worth the time.

Speaking of Lifehacker, I use their Android essential lists as a starting point for a lot of things. My two main "productivity" style apps are Springpad and Pocket. Also, unmentioned there and kind of less favorable is Swipepad, which allows you to set a hotspot on your screen that can be used to call up a list of 12 apps from within any other app, without having to duck back to the homescreen.

Otherwise I primarily use a lot of customization stuff, such as Widgetlocker (which allows you to build a custom lock screen using widgets and custom sliders) and Minimalist text, which I find to be a simple, elegant clock and system info solution.

Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2012, 07:55:14 PM »

all my various and sundry mail accounts support IMAP.

This turns out to be the case and, not going to lie, pretty fucking infuriating that Cox keeps increasing my monthly bill while stripping away features.  (Looks like they USED to have IMAP; at least, that's what the bizarre, random mentions of it on their config page suggest.)

So, dunno.  Either going to have to work around the awkwardness of using the same POP account on multiple machines, not use that account on my phone, route it through Gmail, or figure out some other alternative.  Not happy.



EDIT: Course, I DO run my own mail domain; I'm double-checking with the admin to see if it supports IMAP, and if it does, all I really have to do is set the Cox account to forward to it.  If I'm really keen on keeping it separate from my website mail, I can always just create another account.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 08:49:37 PM »

Any recommendations for a lockscreen alternative?  Getting pretty sick of having to play ringtoss just to answer the damn phone.
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Lottel

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2012, 10:46:09 PM »

Widgetlocker has a lot of alternatives.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2012, 12:54:20 PM »

Three dollars?  What am I, made of airports?

Oh hey Ur-Quan Masters.
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Dooly

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2012, 05:58:41 PM »

Oh hey Ur-Quan Masters.

I wouldn't want to play it all scrunched up like this.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 03:58:08 PM »

So TA kindly sent me the phone kitted out with the latest version of CyanogenMod.

I liked it; it was cool and clean and simple.  Unfortunately I discovered in short order that I couldn't sign up for service with CyanogenMod.  So I switched to MikG, which is based on HTC Sense.  (I've been thinking about posting a step-by-step howto on my blog, since it took basically a full day's research and it would have been great to have it laid out simply.  If nothing else, it'd be good to have in case I ever need to do it again.)

I've found that I like the Sense interface just fine; it's snappy and it's got some good built-in features and I'm amazed someone managed to actually make a seven-workspace layout behave sensibly and intuitively.

But I'm a tinkerer and I'm considering the possibility of trying another ROM.  Maybe switch back to CyanogenMod, or try out MIUI.

It looks like Froyo ICS and even Jellybean are perfectly possible if I don't care about watching Netflix or using my front camera.  Which I generally don't.

Anyone have any recommendations?  XDA has a pretty comprehensive list.
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TA

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2012, 04:00:31 PM »

... why would you look at being on Froyo?  Froyo is 2.2, a downgrade from Gingerbread's 2.3.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2012, 04:06:40 PM »

Sorry, meant ICS.  The alphabet is hard.
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Ted Belmont

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2012, 02:15:37 PM »

News360 for, uh, news.

Office Suite Pro is a pretty good all-in-one office app; of course, if you just want to read PDFs, Adobe has a free version of Reader available.

Evernote for notetaking.

Astrid for to-dos.

Oh, and there's a Steam app too! Now you can see when Brentai is playing Barely Legal Cannibal Queens VI WHEREVER YOU GO

Also, Google Play is running a sale, "top apps" for 25 cents apiece. Not sure exactly how they're defining "top apps", but it seems to be rotating; I got Office Suite Pro for 25 cents this morning, but it's a completely different selection now.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2012, 03:41:54 PM »

Yeah, here's a list of today's.  Snagged World of Goo; wouldn't pay full price for the Android version since I already bought it in the original Humble Bundle, but a quarter's just fine by me.

Are Cut the Rope, Dungeon Village, or any of the others any good?
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Ted Belmont

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2012, 03:52:19 PM »

Cut The Rope is pretty good, although I haven't played that one, which is the sequel, but hey, it's only a quarter.

Haven't played Dungeon Village; seems like a cutesy JRPG version of Majesty. Again, only a quarter.
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Thad

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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2012, 01:41:59 PM »

Mass Effect Infiltrator today.  Says it's not compatible with my phone.  Can't find actual sysreqs, but given that it's got a bunch of 1-star reviews for constant crashes on CURRENT Evo hardware, I guess I won't chance it.

Sounds pretty much like when I try to play ME2 with an nVidia card, though, so points for recreating the desktop experience there.
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Re: Droid Does what Nintendon't
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2012, 07:04:03 AM »

SNESoid

I use Sixaxis Controller for my -oid emulators, and it's amazing.  I ended up buying a a holder thingy that attaches my PS3 controller to my Galaxy Note, but before that I had a makeshift thing made up with a wire coat hanger (not difficult to make). I've used it to replay Ocarina of Time and now Majora's Mask on my lunch breaks at work.  Anyway, yes it's $2, but if your phone is supported I think it's a great app.

Other than that I really just use Aldiko which was already mentioned for book purposes.  I'm probably wasting my phone's potential.
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