Droid Smart Phones





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Chronicling my experiences with with Droid SmartPhones

All content on this webpage copyright ©2009-2011 by , all rights reserved.

Which Droid - the Logic Behind the Decision

In December 2009, my New Every Two with Verizon Wireless was available for me to take advantage of. I decided to get an HTC Droid Smart Phone. The decision between the HTC and Motorola models was an easy one for two reasons - firstly, the price is lower and secondly, the HTC model has no moving parts, like the Motorola version has. I have always seemed to have issues with flip phones, so the HTC softkeys were a better option for me.

One pitfall of my HTC Droid is that it only supports apps being installed into the phones base memory, which is not all that large. Regardless of the fact that i have an 8GB card installed, that is not usable for the installation of apps. So, as soon as my current new-every-two plan expires in November 2011, I will be switching to a newer Droid and retaining the HTC for use as a WiFi-enabled mini-tablet.

I have decided that my next smartphone will be a Droid X (preferably with the 16GB card). It provides 3-user MiFi capability. Because of that capability, I will be able to ditch my MiFi and its associated monthly expenses.

In April, 2011, I went ahead and upgraded to the Motorola Droid X SmartPhone. I feel it was a good move, but I am disappointed that in order to utilize the MiFi function, you need to not only have the standard phone and data plans, but you need to acquire an additional data plan.

Coordinate Geometry (COGO) Program for the Android OS

Coordinate Geometry (COGO) Program for the Android OS

While I was looking on the Android Market for a simple little Android app to perform some coordinate geometry (COGO), during the following of a legal description for a parcel of property, I found that there was not any such land survey app on the market. That has me starting the development of such an application, using the Android SDK, from the Android Developers website.

I will be marketing three different versions on the Android Market. The free version will provide some basic coordinate geometry functions, such as point input, turned angles, curve calculations, inversing between points and traverse closure reports. The second version, will be offered at $1.99, and will offer point file saving (this may be incorporated into the free version), basic map display of the points, calculations for cul-de-sacs, and the ability to export points to a DXF format for importing into AutoCAD or ArcGIS. The highest-priced version, will be offered at $9.99, and will include the above-described functionality, plus several traverse adjustment options, line drawing on the map display, and point and line output to DXF.

The target audience for these Android apps is for students, land surveyors needing some basic in-the-field or at the town hall close-out-that-deed capabilities, title researchers, etc.

HTC Droid X - Performing a Quick Screen Capture

The next handy app that I am looking for, for my Motorola Droid X, is a quick screen capture app. I have tried some, but they need to have a rooted phone to function.

One of the screen capture applications that I have tried is Screen Capture, version 5.0, but it had a complicated installation process, requiring an ADB Tool download, and a sclib installation. Looks like folks trying to install it were also encountering a 'Segmentation Fault' error during the ADB Tool installation. That does not seem like a fun install, so that will not be installed on my Droid X. On top of that, it requires some permissions that seem outrageous to me for a screen capture utility - coarse and fine GPS location, and full internet access. Why? Beware of cellphone apps that require such permissions to run.

Taking Quick Screen Captures on a Droid X - How to take screenshots on the Motorola Droid X - this looks like a good

HTC Droid - Making Music on the Droid

I have a few synthesizers at home, but sometimes, I am not home when I have the urge to get some riff or chord progression out of my head before I forget it. But, I usually have my HTC Eris smartphone with me, so it just makes sense to have some method of creating some sort of composition with it.

The music-making apps that I have reviewed on my Eris include: Musical Phrases (ver.4), from www.MusicalPhrases.com; and ChordBot Pro (ver.14), available from www.Chordbot.com; Automatic Music Dictation (ver.2); and BudgerigarTrial (ver.3), by Currach Software.

ChordBot, from www.chordbot.com is my favorite, as I like to work with chord progressions as my starting point and it is super-easy to export to either WAV or MIDI files. This looping application allows you to specify the chords that you want to utilize, the tempo, the playing style and to some degree the instrument. My favorite feature of this app is the ability to export the MIDI file directly as an attachment to an email. This is a time and aggravation saver, as one of the things that I hate is to have to open the email app, start the email, and navigate through my SD card for the MIDI file to attach, before I can send it. The four export functions of this app make it a breeze to use. I highly recommend this application for anyone who looks to have this workflow in musical composition. The built-in looping functionality is great to have, again, little user intervention required, and it lets me listen to a progression through either headphones, the phone speaker itself, or though the headphone jack of the phone and into a stereo system, especially good-sounding through the aux-in jack of my pickup's stereo system. I found that this app was so pleasant to use, when I was first reviewing a downloaded trial of it from the Android Market, that I only needed to tinker with it for a few minutes before I was convinced that it was a must-have app for my smartphone and thus paid for a full version.

My wishlist for ChordBot would be the option of being to choose individual instrument patches for the parts and the ability to record a vocal (or humming) melodic track, concurrently with the looping of the music.

Musical Phrases (ver.4), from www.MusicalPhrases.com is a fun little app to work with, requiring little interaction for the variety of riffs that it can generate. For me, the less interaction, the better. I imagine that this would be very fun to use on an Android tablet. This app allows you to export the MIDI file, which I can then email to the music composition workstation for playback on the synths.

My wishlist for Musical Phrases would include the ability to export directly into an email, as is possible by ChordBot.

BudgerigarTrial was recommended by AppBrain. It is a MIDI sequencer and is very easy to use, being setup like a spreadsheet. There are 128 musical instruments to choose from. While I would have liked to have been able to export a MIDI file from it, even just a few measures would have been nice, the trial version does not allow for exporting MIDI. So, until I decide to spend the $4.17 or so for it, it just sits there on my Droid.

Among the other music composition apps that I want to install, play and review are: Jasuto Modular Synthesizer, Robotic Guitarist, RD3 Groovebox, Cleartune Chromatic Tuner, Dialpad Gravitone, Musical Pro, Electrum Drum Machine/Sampler, ReLoop Music Sequencer, and Ultimate Guitar Tabs.

Of course, if anybody wants to donate a Droid to me, so I don't have to uninstall something in order to install and review something else, that would be sweet!

HTC Droid - Secure File Transfer Solutions

In my quest for finding the best secure file transfer software for use on my HTC Droid Eris, I have tried using two free web file transfer apps, DroidFtp, by TheCrayonBox.org and AndFTP Ver. 2.0, by LyseSoft.

I have used DroidFtp for over 10 months and worked with it's nuances. Last week, I installed AndFTP and found that it addressed everything that I did not like about DroidFtp. AndFTP is about the equivalent of using Fetch software on my Macintosh. It works so well, that I can change the way I work on my webpages. My former workflow, taking advantage of hour-long lunchbreaks, required the use of my Verizon MiFi to transfer files from my laptop, to my webservers. This extra Verizon broadband device is no longer needed with my new workflow. Now, I connect my Droid Eris to my laptop, using the mini-USB cable (which is also the charging cable) and then using AndFTP, connect to my FTP server. I then download the folders that I wish to work on to a folder on my microSD Card of the Eris. I then mount the SD Card on my laptop, which makes my phone look like a removable hard drive to the laptop. Using Coffeecup Software's free HTML editor on my laptop, I revise the webpages as desired, then disconnect the Eris from my laptop. Using AndFTP, I then upload the changed webpages to my websites. No quirks or anything. My service plan has unlimited data usage.

I have pretty much abandoned using DroidFtp Ver 3.0.9 (by TheCrayonBox.org) because it it requires frequent force quits, I have to navigate back to the desired folder that I am uploading from, for every file transfer, and it does not handle multiple file selections.

If you are familar with using Fetch File Transfer for Mac OS X, by Fetch Softworks, then you will be very comfortable using AndFTP, by LyseSoft.

HTC Droid - Downloading microSD Card

One of the first things that I needed to be able to do was download the XD card. First, I tried using Bluetooth, but alas, it did not want to play nicely in large file transfers.

I decided to next utilize an FTP client. Nearly everyone, nowadays, has some webspace with their internet service providers (ISP), some more than others. I went to the Market on my HTC Droid and searched for FTP. The app that I first tried is also the one that I decided to utilize, DroidFTP, by Bratag. The FAQs for this app are located at http://thecrayonbox.org/files/DroidFtpFAQ.html and there is also a link to same in the app itself. I use this method when I have shot a long video clip, and do not have a computer handy, with which to transfer via the clip to the computer via USB. To configure your FTP app, log into your ISP's website and search for their FTP instructions. After you have uploaded the file that you are transferring, it should appear in the remote file listing. If the size looks right, then you can go ahead and delete the file from your Droid, knowing that you can download the file to your home computer at your leisure.

While I have only used this app a couple of times, I have had no problems configuring it or using it. This app is donationware, and worth every penny if you are in a need to get files from your Droid and do not have a computer handy.

HTC Droid - RSS Feed Viewer Apps

I am finding that the Droid is absolutely perfect for reading my favorite RSS feeds. There are two different RSS feed viewer clients that I have used on the Droid, the first (and my favorite) is PureRSS vr 1.3, by Pure Innovation; the second is RSS, by AndroApps.com.

The only downsides that I have to PureRSS is the requirement to manually type in the URL of the individual feeds and the inability email a link to somebody for a feed entry.

I have pretty much abandoned using RSS (by AndroApps.com) because it it requires frequent force quits.

HTC Droid - Aviation Apps

Google Search for Aviation Droid Apps for future investigation. Just for you, Dale!