About Ed Hands

 I have been working in the IT field for over twenty years.  

In addition to spending time with my beautiful wife and two lovely daughters,  I enjoy practicing the guitar, Tae Kwon Do, reading, and grilling out  I am always trying to plan the perfect road-trip with my family.  Hopefully there will be coffee.

The purpose of this blog is to journal my experience in the IT field and hopefully provide a useful guide to those doing likewise.  And to journal my random musings on technology, computers, or whatever else strikes my fancy.  Adult ADD FTW!!!!  Ohhh...look...something shiny....

 

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Entries in Apps (3)

Monday
Jan162012

Top Ten (Free) Touchpad Apps

I have been playing with the HP Touchpad for a few months now and there are quite a few good (free) Touchpad apps that I thought I would share with you folks.  So here they are in no particular order:

1)  USA Today- The iconic newspaper has done a fine job exporting their site/app to the Touchpad.  Easy to navigate with a clean, crisp look.  A very nice job.

2)  Zite Personal Magazine- The "Flipbook" of the HP Touchpad, this app aggregates many other sites and puts it into a "personalized" magazine.  Sadly it does not allow the user to select which sources it pulls the RSS feeds from.  But still a nice job all the same.

3) Zinio - The magazine app makes an appearance on the Touchpad.  It is version 1.0 and missing some fairly obvious functions (like being able to delete a magazine is one that comes to mind) but I am hopefully they will get the bugs worked out soon.

4)  Rev3 webOS - All the Rev3video podcast in one single location.  Now I can watch Cali Lewis, Veronica Belmont, Patrick Norton and the rest of the Rev3 kingdom in one easy location.  Nice Job, folks!

5) TechTV - Being a fan of the old TechTV, I was very excited when I saw this app.  Like the Rev3 app, it has a bunch of tech video from various source and present them very well.

6) VPN - Holy Cow!!!  HP created the app that allows me to VPN into my network on the Touchpad.  I was simply amazed that this worked after having little to no success getting my Cisco 3005 to connect with any android product.  Works very well.

7) NPR Reader- Being a fan (and supporter) of NPR, I am always impressed with the quality of apps that NPR puts out across all platforms, and they did not disappoint with the Touchpad's NPR reader.  Clear, concise, and easy to navigate.  Well done!

8) Robotek HD - Just a cool little game.  You have a robot and you must battle another robot using various weapons, shield, and effects.  Simple yet addicting.

9) TuneIn Radio - Like NPR, the folks at TuneIn don't disappoint.  Navigate local radio stations or listen to radio from half way around the world.

10) AccuWeather - A very nice weather app.  Not much more to say other that it is simple to read and use.  Live radar, weather alerts, allergy information, and more, it is an "all-in-one" weather stop.

If you have any more free apps that you would like to recommend for the touch pad, please let me know.

 

**Edit**  Late Entry:  Facebook now has an app for the Touchpad.  Very nice export but lacking one fundamental thing:  you cannot logout, allowing anyone that picks up the touchpad be able to post as you.  Not good.  Major oversight.  But still, it is functional and looks great.

Wednesday
Feb022011

The Daily

Today, in addition to a massive snowstorm that covered most of the U.S., “The Daily” was finally released via the Apple iTunes store.  For those following this App, this has been a long time coming.  The app was originally slated to be released in November, but was delayed until today.

In the cloud of mystery that has surrounded The Daily in the preceding months, many have asked if it was just another “Early Edition” or “Flipboard” or other RSS aggregator.  I can assure you, it is not.

The goal of Rupert Murdoch is to have the first daily “newspaper” available on the iPad.  Apple and News Corp, Mr. Murdoch’s news company, worked many months together to get this right.  And by and large I would have to say they did.  The Daily has an “all-star” line up of reporters and editors.  It is quite apparent that Mr. Murdoch was determined to do this endeavor correctly.

The Daily contains six sections, much like a normal newspaper.  These sections are News, Gossip, Opinion, Arts & Life, Apps & Games, and Sports.  But unlike a normal newspaper, The Daily takes advantage of the multimedia capabilities of the iPad.  For example, in one story discussing the issues with Venice and the problems with canal levels rising, a multimedia 360 degree panoramic view of the city.  In the sports section a Steelers’s offensive play is detailed with Madden-like explanation.  Stories contain videos where appropriate and hyperlinks abound.  Additionally there are daily Suduko and crossword puzzles. 

Frequently I found myself going “Wow” to this app.  One moment in particular was in a story about the protest in Egypt, there was a picture of the demonstrators gathered in a city square.  For a second the picture was there to show you what was occurring.  And then, slowly and flawlessly as if for dramatic effect, the picture panned out to show the wider area and show the size of the demonstration.  In a moment, my eyes were opened a bit more because of this news story and how it was presented.

The general feel of The Daily is very much like a news magazine more than newspaper. I was not expecting this from an on-line daily publication.  Frankly I was expecting a much less coherent package, more along the lines of a bunch of stories pulled from a variety of sources (like the aforementioned RSS feed aggregators), rather than the smooth unit that is The Daily.

And  of course no app would be complete on the iPad without the embedded social media components.  The stories can also be Twittered, posted to Facebook, and emailed.  They can also be saved for future reference.

On the downside, the load times are long, even on wi-fi.  Perhaps that will change as The Daily gets better and tweaks the app.  The price point, however, is great.  Currently priced at $0.99 per week (for seven issues a week) or $39.99 per year, it seems like a great value for me.  But I cannot attest to how they are going to implement this pricing structure yet, because right now The Daily is free for the next two weeks thanks to Verizon.

 

I have a few complaints about The Daily, but nothing that will prevent me from subscribing to it.  Overall, it is an outstanding effort and all involved with it can be proud of the job they have done.  I highly recommend this app.

Update: 3/3/11:  After further reading I have found most of the writing subpar, woefully lacking in analysis and in some cases quite bigoted.  In short, "The Daily" is a hideous, hate-filled little app.  I’m sorry Apple had anything to do with it.  *app deleted*

Wednesday
Jan122011

Android App Review: Scanner Radio and Scanner Radio Pro

Do you like watching "Cops"?  I have to admit it is one of my personal guilty pleasures.  I think that's why I like listening to police scanners.

Scanner Radio and Scanner Radio Pro are apps  for Android by Gordon Edwards.  The app allow you to listen to over 2,300 live audio streams of police and fire department communications as well as some other government agencies (and railroad, and weather, etc.) radio streams where available.  The scanner has a "favorites" to keep track of the most commonly listened to streams and can leverage the GPS in android device to quickly find the closest radio streams near you.

The app also has the top 50 scanners so there is always something interesting to hear. (My personal recommendations are Chicago and L.A. Police departments.  There is some crazy stuff going on in those towns all the time.)

There is also a "New Additions" section where the latest scanners are added.  Right now as I write this, I am listening to a scanner in Queensland Australia where they are having major flooding.  There are scanners from about 25 countries available, but just to list a few there is Germany, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, and Chile.

Scanner Radio can also be configured to notify you when a large amount of people start listening to a stream, which can be indicative that something big is going on. 

The Pro version is ad-free and allows you to archived audio streams but a subscription to RadioReference.com is required.  The Pro version is $2.99.