My Favorite Android Apps 2015

These Apps also run on iPads and iPhones.

Here are my top five apps

  • Pocket:  Previously known as Read It Later, is an application and service for managing a reading list of articles from the Internet. It runs on my Android Phone, iPad Mini and Macbook Pro. I now subscribe to the Pro Version and can search from a list that has 2 years worth of entries

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  • Google Photos – Do you want an easy 1-2-3 photo editing program as well as unlimited storage and the ability to create movies and stories from your photos – then run don’t walk and download the app

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  • WhatsApp – Facebook acquired this super texting and VOIP program. You can send free texts to individuals or groups all around the world. A skype type video conferencing will be introduced within the next year

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  • Moves – A great app to record your steps, walking, cycling etc. You also get a map of your travels and you can save and share in miles or kilometers.

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  • PocketCasts: Live in Ecuador but want to listen to Terry Gross on NPR- No problem with the Pocketcasts App. You can stream or download your favorite Podcast or TV Show and automatically have them queued for playback

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Tablet, Phablet, Smartphone 2015

Last year at this time I wrote an extensive post on this topic. As expected there are big changes. Prices have dropped.

  • Nexus 6 smartphone $349
  • Amazon 7 ” Fire Tablet  – $50

More importantly apps have become more productive and entertaining.

  • Amazon Photo – Unlimited photo and video storage
  • Amazon Music – Tens of  thousands of popular songs
  • HBO Now – Latest series and movies
  • Medium –  A new publishing forum from the creators of Twitter
  • What’s App – Free texting and phone calls
  • Pocket Casts – Listen to public radio and podcasts all over the world
  • OK Google / Siri – Search assistants to explore the web
  • 4K Video – Broadcast quality movies

Summary:

The smartphone has now become your computer, camera and messaging appliance that fits in your pocket or purse.

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Siri vs.Ok Google vs.Cortana

Cortana the new voice assistant for Microsoft smartphones is now available on Android phones and will be available for IOS devices later this year. In Feb. of this year I compared Siri with Google Now

Although Cortana gets high marks on Windows phones, the interface is still in Beta on my Nexus and it was slow and not as accurate as Siri or OK Google. Here are my new findings:

  • Different Voices – Siri is the winner
  • Immediate  Voice Activation – OK Google
  • Sense of Humor – Siri for sure –
  • Faster and more accurate findings – Google Now

You can see a good video on he 3 voice assistants here

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Google Now Voice Commands

This morning I had an interesting conversation with my tech savvy neighbor. She owns a Google Nexus 5 Smartphone but was unaware of the voice commands that save time and key strokes.

Android phone users can initiate the voice command “Ok Google” and have their phone initiate the following:

  • General Searches (find chicken recipes)
  • Who invented (the telegraph)
  • Post to (twitter, facebook)
  • Open an app
  • Note to self
  • Take a photo
  • Call a contact
  • Create an appointment
  • Show me a nearby Swiss Restaurant in Cuenca
  • Flight status of (AA #1120)

Drippler has an extensive list of Goole Now voice commands here

What are your favorite Google Now Voice commands?

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Rock Faces On The Wall

Pop Quiz CTL subscribers. What is the name of the street where the buses go up the hill from 3 de Noviembre and turn on Tarqui. Go to the head of the class if you said “La Condamine”.

I travel on this route 4-5 times a week and look out at the rock wall and see faces in the rocks. Well today I took my cell phone and recorded some of those faces. I edited the photos and uploaded them to Youtube. Enjoy!

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New Smartphone Photography/Video Course

In late July I am going to offer a course on how to take great photos and videos on your smartphone or tablet. The course will offer the following

  • Framing better photos and videos
  • Editing on your smartphone
  • Presenting and Storing your media

I will announce dates, and costs the first week in July. Comment or email me with any questions. Below is a sample of what you can do on your smartphone.

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App Of The Month – Yahoo News Digest

I did a brief review of Yahoo Digest last year

Yahoo News Digest is my go to news source. I automatically receive updates at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. The Digest is delivered in 9 easily digestible news categories i.e. (U.S., World, Sports, Technology etc). The real value for me is that if I want to explore the topic further Yahoo New Digest supplies and easy to use infrastructure. For example the devastating earthquake in Nepal had the following extra features for me.

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  •  Quick fact- 6,204+ dead, 13,924 + injured
  •  Videos -Nepal Prime Minister and rescue attempts by the Nepalese Army
  •  Nepal – Government and Geography – Nepal is the 93rd largest country and the 41st most populous
  •  Nepal Maps
  • Relevant Tweets

Yahoo News Digest is available for both  IOS and Android. One of my top 5 apps for my phone.

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