Thursday, November 18, 2010

Starbucks. Coffee. Free. Enough Said.



It's nearly 8:15 in the morning and you're probably just getting up, are en-route to work or already at work, and  chances are that you're gonna need that afternoon pick me up when 2:00 rolls around.  Well for all of you Starbucks fanatics today is your lucky day!  Are you a fan of Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, Eggnog Latte?  And do you know of a friend who also needs that morning coffee jump start?  Then bring them with you!  Starting today from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM through Sunday Starbucks is having a buy 1 holiday drink, get 1 free deal.  Bring a friend with and share the love.  





Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Google Voice App Finally on iPhone


Image representing Google Voice as depicted in...Image via CrunchBase
Congratulations iPhone users, you finally have a Google Voice app!  Sure you've been able to go to Google's mobile voice site for a while now but having a dedicated app is always better isn't it?  If you've never tried or even heard of Google Voice, do yourself a favor and give it a try.  You get a free phone number that will ring all of your phones at once and various other features such as:
  • voicemails that are automatically transcribed to text
  • cheap international calls
  • free text messages
  • separate voicemail greetings for each group of people you make
  • and many more highlights shown in the video below...
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Replace Your Android's System Fonts in One Click with Typefresh


Type Fresh, via AndroidZoom

Ever get a little bored of the way your rooted Android device looks?  You could download some new apps, change your boot screen, change your wallpaper, OR you could change your font.  Now I'm not just talking about changing your fonts for your just your text messaging app.  I mean changing all your fonts at once: the clock, the menu, anything that has words...you'll be ale to change it.  And all it takes is an app!  The app is called Type Fresh and it allows you to change your system fonts with ease.  The best part about it is that it works with just about any font with a .tff extension.  This means that you can use almost any font on your computer or the plethora of fonts available online.  Get started now and find a font that's right for you!  Check out Gadgets for a guide of how to use this app and change your fonts.  Use the Barcode Scanner app or Google Goggles to read the QR code below and download the app directly. 

 
Type Fresh App, via DoubleTwist











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Not Receiving Text Messages on Rooted Phone


I had this issue happen to me several times and it was driving me absolutely insane.  I could send text messages but I was unable to receive them.  I even tried sending a test text message to myself and nothing.  Nada. 

To solve this, create a backup of your current setup using the included ROM manager.  Then flash any other ROM that isn't a CyanogenMod one. I just flashed back to my backup ROM I originally made when first rooting my phone (the one with HTC Sense and 2.1 still on it).  After this step your phone should start receiving all of the text messages, and possibly voice mails, that you hadn't been getting.  Finally flash your ROM again, the one that wasn't receiving text messages, and you should be good to go.  I don't know why this happen, but I know that this solution does work. 


The Greatest Theme I've Ever Had on My Phone


The best thing about rooting is that anyone can come up with their own theme.  I found a fantastic one over at XDA called Steel My Elegance created by Gomorrah.  I think I'm going to use Type Fresh to switch up my fonts but other than that I'm going to be keeping this theme for a while. 
Asimmons has created a theme injector that enables any theme to be ported over to any ROM that you find.  I had to use this because the Steel My Elegance theme wasn't compatible with Cyanogen's 6.1 ROM that I'm currently running.  Asimmons' theme injector solved that problem though.  Peep the screen shots below and let me know what you think.  
 
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Friday, November 12, 2010

From Blackberry to Palm, Android or iPhone: Care to Make the Leap?


Verizon BlackBerry Tour 9630Image via Wikipedia

I see sooooo many people out there with Blackberry devices and I find myself constantly asking "why do people my age (24) love Blackberries so much?"  I know people with them but before I start, I'll confess that I've never owned a Blackberry device.  The following is my reasoning for wondering why there is such a great attraction to Blackberry devices:
  1.  They All Look the Same
    • There's the Bold, Curve, Tour, Pearl and they all look the same.  Why would anyone want 4 different model phones that, aside from the keyboards, are incredibly similar in appearance.  Don't you want some individuality?  I'll give the Storm series some love.  At least it attempted to be different.  Unfortunately, it wasn't shown much love from many Blackberry's.  For RIMs sake, I hope the Torch and Style sell a lot better.
  2. Small Screen Size
    • In a world of Facebook photo viewing, YouTube video watching, Twitpic uploading and web browsing, why limit your experience to such a small screen?  Yes, their screens have great resolutions but on screens that small that had better be the case.  Maybe their smaller to make up for their low 3.2 megapixel cameras, in the world where the average is 5.  Even 8 megapixels is starting to be become more apparent.  Don't confuse screen resolution with actual screen size.  As of November 2010, The newest models have the following diagonal dimensions:   
      • Bold 9780: 2.4"
      • Curve 9330: 2.4"
      • Tour: 2.4"
      • Tourch 3.2" (AT&T only)
  3. Operating System 
    • Two months ago Blackberry just got threaded text messaging (strictly referring to the OS and not apps).  Really?  That's a shame.  I feel bad for those that have to scroll through their entire message library rather than having conversations grouped together based on each individual person.  The latter way is much more convenient.  RIM recently released it's newest operating system OS 6 but if you don't have a Bold 9700, Bold 9650, Pearl 3G, or anything newly released, I'm sorry to say that you won't be experiencing it.  OS 6 does look pretty nifty, but it's definitely still behind Apple's, Palm's, and Google's operating systems. 
    • Blackberry devices are also majorly lacking in the app department.  More than 10,000 apps are available but they're severely lacking in quality. That is the feeling expressed by many Blackberry users themselves in the Crackberry forums, the number one site for Blackberry users.  So while your friends are off playing Angry Birds and watching Netflix on their devices, most Blackberry users are...umm...on BBM I guess. 
      • Speaking of Blackberry Messenger, will someone please tell me what in the world is so great about BBM!  In order to use BBM, you need someone's PIN.  Which already eliminates everyone who doesn't have a Blackbery or KiK Messenger.  RIMs site states that BBM enables the user to have their own display picture, know when your message has been delivered and read, and share multimedia with your contacts at once.  These days I'm pretty sure that no matter what phone you have, it'll let you know if your text message was never sent and that you can send an MMS to multiple recipients.     
 
Droid Pro (left) and Bold 9780 (right), via BGR

    With all of that said, my only main point is that Blackberry does not seem well suited or targeted towards a younger audience.  Somehow this has happened despite the fact that, feature-wise, Blackberry devices seem much more suited for corporate and business people.  It allows them to get their e-mail all in one place, delivered quickly, is reliable and has little to no fun factor.  The only device that combats this is the Torch.  I doubt that many people have adopted it yet so if anyone my age can explain why they'd rather own an under featured Blackberry device as opposed to an iPhone, Droid, or Palm Pre, I'm open to listen.  Otherwise, if you currently have a Blackberry device, you may want to think about switching it up. 
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    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Another Droid 2 Update in the Works


    An update is on the way that will give Droid 2 users the ability to switch profiles just like the scenes feature on other Android phones running HTC Sense.  For example, let's say you have a current layout of widgets that you like to use while at work.  And then you also like to have another layout that you like to use when you're outside of work or with your friends. The new profile feature will enable you to do just that!  There will be 3 profiles that you'll be able to configure separately.  Peep the video below to see how it's done on the new Droid Pro.
    Profiles, via how2moto
    Additionally, tethering via USB will also be enabled, which will allow your computer to access the internet using your phone as a modem. 
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    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Angry Birds Update


    Ladies and gentleman, Angry Birds is back again and better than ever!  The newest update features a whole new chapter, which brings the total number of chapters to a whopping 195 levels. This recent update now makes the Android version of the incredibly popular game equivalent to that of the iPhone version.  



    Another great addition is that QVGA screens are now supported.  I was happy to hear this because the previous version  had lots of white spaces where the graphics were missing.  I couldn't see the bottom of the levels and anything that remained stationary (couldn't be knocked over or destroyed with a bird) would be completely white.  Thankfully that has all changed with this version and Angry Birds can now be viewed by Android users in all its vivid color greatness as it was intended to be.  Use your phone's browser to head over to Getjar, which will make sure you're downloading the correct version for your phone. And if you're really smart you'd just use Fox to Phone send the link from your computer right to your phone, hassle free.



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    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Good News: The Kinect is Not Racist


    Kinect, via Ubergizmo
    Yesterday Microsoft's Kinect, a new peripheral that allows you to control the interfaces and games using only your body, and I just had to have it!  For fear being unable to get a Kinect due to it selling out, I decided to pick one up from Target during my lunch break.  Luckily Target had about 20 on the shelf and I couldn't wait to get home to play it.  In order to get my fix in before I got home and setup my Kinect I figured I'd watch a few reviews.

    However, a review by GameSpot review is the one that has been causing all of the controversy: 

    [Our] testing suggests facial recognition features of Microsoft's motion-sensing camera system might not work properly for some gamers... In testing the Kinect, two dark-skinned GameSpot employees had problems getting the system's facial recognition features to work. 

    This testing caused some people to perceive the Kinect as racist.  I'm not gonna lie though, a similar thought had crossed my mind because it failed to identify my face during the facial recognition portion of the calibration (the facial recognition allows the Kinect to scan your face and automatically log you in).  I went through the sequence three times and each time I received an error telling me to make sure I was facing the camera.  I even put on a brighter shirt in hopes that the difference in contrast would help.  NOPE!  After that I did some searching online and came across some information from Consumer reports.

    Here's what we found: The log-in problem is related to low-level lighting and not directly to players' skin color. Like the HP webcam, the Kinect camera needs enough light and contrast to determine features in a person's face before it can perform software recognition and log someone into the game console automatically.
    Yup, that was my issue!  I didn't have enough light in the front of the room.  It was hard to figure out what the problem was because Kinect was able to recognize every single one of my movements.  While video game console peripherals do see color, it's good to know that they don't discriminate.  
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    Dear Steve Jobs: of Course Your Users Want Flash


    Skyfire 2.0 Browswer, via PhoneDog
    As far as mobile devices are concerned, Steve Jobs is well known for his distaste for Adobe Flash and that HTML 5 is the wave of the future. That last part may indeed be true at some point but as now 75% of web content is flash, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. A few months ago Mr. Jobs wrote an open letter that stated that "Apple has set the standard for mobile web browsers" and that "the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short."
    Well Mr. Jobs if this is so true please do me a favor and let me know why Skyfire, a browser that enables you to watch flash videos (also available for Android) has been pulled from the market after only 5 hours. Just think...when's the last time you've heard about an app being sold out?

    So yes Steve, your devoted iPhone, iPad and iTouch users do like their flash. Skyfire's press statment below backs up this fact.

    Skyfire Becomes Top Grossing iPhone App in App Store and Sells Out of Inventory in Five Hours

    Historic demand forces mobile browser to halt new sales and expand server capacity within hours of availability.

    Mountain View - Skyfire, the first iPhone browser that plays video designed for Adobe Flash Player, is announcing that they have sold out of inventory within five hours of its public launch.

    Skyfire for iPhone has been received with overwhelming enthusiasm -- far beyond internal projections. The result: the company is currently sold out of its first batch of Skyfire for the iPhone and is temporarily not accepting new purchases. The company is working to increase capacity and will be accepting new purchases from the Apple App StoreSM soon.

    Skyfire is assuring users that the app’s sold out status was a temporary measure taken by Skyfire, and was not the decision of Apple, Inc., which has approved the app.
    The app, previously available in the Apple App StoreSM for $2.99, bridges one major gap between Apple and Adobe technologies, enabling consumers to view millions of previously unavailable videos designed for Flash Player on Apple iOS devices.

    The company which became the top grossing app in iTunes today ahead of popular titles like Angry Birds, experienced overwhelming consumer demand for its browser within hours of going live. The company is no stranger to consumer demand of its products as its Android browser generated over one million downloads in its first few months.

    "Skyfire has historically generated high demand for its browser products but nothing like this," states Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck. "It was hard to predict consumer demand since this was our first paid app, but we were blown away by the demand and sales."

    The company plans to open another batch of its iPhone application in the near future. It recommends interested customers follow the company on Twitter @skyfire or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GetSkyfire.iPhone for the new availability batch.
    About Skyfire:?Skyfire is dedicated to using cloud computing to improve multimedia experiences on mobile phones, and has created the first “Compression as a Service” (CAAS) offering for wireless carriers and device makers. Skyfire’s technology has been visible to consumers through the Skyfire browser app, which has enabled Skyfire to refine its technology with over one million monthly users. The app was named the #2 App of All-Time for Android by TechCrunch, and was the top pick in a PC World September 2010 comparison of all Android browsers. Skyfire won the Best Mobile Application-People’s Voice at the 2009 Webby Awards and was named a Top App of 2009 by the New York Times’ Gadgetwise. Skyfire is based in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. For more information, visit www.skyfire.com, or follow Skyfire on Twitter at twitter.com/skyfire. 
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