Droid Apps

After two months of using the Droid, I thought I would review the apps that I find the most helpful and fun.  First and foremost it is a phone, I’m very happy with the quality of calls and the quality of the built-in speaker.  I configured the contacts app when I first got the phone and haven’t thought twice about it.  The voice dial app took a little bit of trial and error to find the right phrases to use to quickly get the phone numbers to come up.  Of course the voice dial app provides all sorts of examples to help you quickly figure it out, but that would require reading on my part.  RTFM – No Way!  The messaging and email apps are used through out the day.  Occasionally (once per week) I find the email app will stop communicating with Comcast.  The quick solution is the Advance Task Killer app.  This app will kill off processes running in the background that are consuming battery life while offering nothing in return.  As it kills off these background processes, it also causes the email app to fully reload the next time I open it.  This is an ok temporary solution until an update is available for the email app.  The other two apps I have residing on the middle screen is the Facebook app and The Weather Channel.  The Weather Channel app is a must have.  I’ve got five different cities entered so with three taps on the screen I can have the current weather for anyone of the cities.  One more tap and I have the 10 day forecast.

On my left screen I have music and imusic app to help organize my playlists.  I find that I use the built in music app for playback.  I also have Google Sky.  This app allows you to hold up your phone to see what stars you are looking at.  I like to take the Google Sky app at night and point it to the ground to show the kids where the Sun is currently.  I also have Astro, which provides a file manager type of screen to access the memory card.  I would have thought an app like Astro would have been included as a base app to manage the data on the phone.  To round out the left screen I also installed 10001 Cocktails.  Of course the database doesn’t include 100001 cocktails, but it has the majority of mixed drinks and cocktails one would order.  Now why would I have this app when I always just rely on the bartender?  I don’t know, but it is a fun app to have.

On the right hand screen I have the app Where.  This is a pretty cool app, but I find I don’t use it as much as I thought I would have.  I also have my prime decision making tool, “Magic Eight-ball” app installed.  The original Magic Eight-ball was undoubtedly the best decision support tool and arguably the most accurate decision support tool ever made.  I also have a quirky tech app called tricorder.  This app provides you with information like your current GPS location, the nearest cell tower and all the wifi access points that are reachable.  It also analysis the surrounding sound levels.   Usefulness of this app – none.  Fun factor – priceless.  I also have Newspaper on the right hand screen.  This app allows me to pull up news from several dozen different newspapers from around the country.

The one app that I thought had great potential, but never lived up to it….Key Ring.  This app allows you to scan all those annoying customer shopping cards.  In theory you are suppose to be able to bring the card up and just scan the phone.  In reality the food store scanners don’t like the back lit glass screens.

The one piece of functionality that I don’t use – the camera.  It takes ok pictures, but whenever the need arises for taking photos, usually I have one of the digital cameras handy.


AntiVirus Software

Anti-virus Software is universally accepted today as a necessity.  Anyone using a PC without an Anti-virus software package is thought to be foolish or reckless.  Most people are very good about installing Anti-virus software when hey first purchase a new PC.  The majority of people allow their annual subscription to run out after a year, so they no longer receive updates.  Having Anti-virus software that is out of dat is just as bad as not running with Anti-virus software.

If you’re like me and you have several machines in the house, the $40 to $60 subscription fee per machine can add up to be a significant yearly expense.  With the kids in the house, I can’t even think about running the risk of not having Anti-virus software.

Well, there is a very nice solution to my problem – AVG.  For the home PC’s AVG has a free version of Anti-virus software that is on par with Norton and McAfee.  Under the free version licensing, each owner can have a single copy installed for personal use.  Since MJ and Jill each has their own laptop that is strictly for their own use, I can have a copy on each of their PC’s.

If you’re tired of paying annual subscriptions, or if you have allowed your subscription to run out, I would encourage you to check out Free AVG version.

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