What’s Your Favorite App (2016)

I have 209 apps on my Nexus 6 smartphone but according to my memory stats I only use on average about 35 of these apps daily. So here is a quick list of my 7 favorite apps. I have intentionally skipped apps like email, facebook, maps, photos, calendar etc. because they are in everyone’s daily usage. All these apps run on the iPhone too.

  • Pocket – a fantastic “read later” way of saving important data
  • Feedly – a superb “News Feed” App.
  • Merlin – Daily Esoteric news
  • Moves – a great pedometer
  • Prisma – My absolute favorite photo editing app
  • IMDB – great info on movies and tv shows
  • Flickr – Connecting with my photo buddies around the world

What are your favorite apps?

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Watching TV in Cuenca 2016

Last year at this time I wrote on article on this subject. So what has changed in a year? There are now 4 main legal streaming boxes:

  • Apple TV – Now in its 4th edition with voice control
  • Roku – Now in its 4th edition also with voice control
  • Amazon Fire TV – Now in its second edition with Alexa voice control
  • Android TV – The Google version with limited apps

There is a 5th alternative and its called KODI . First let me say that I don’t object to the non legal status of KODI since I often purchase bootleg DVD’s in Cuenca. Let me also state that I have limited knowledge of KODI. I do know in Cuenca there are KODI groups and some individuals that will handle the installation and support.  There are some safety concerns using KODI and this article does a good job of explaining it

The following are some paid subscriptions that are available to stream on the above boxes.

  • Netflix – Note the North American version is not longer available
  • Amazon Prime – No available on Apple TV
  • HBO Now
  • STARZ
  • Showtime
  • HULU

There is also DirecTV. 5 years ago I tried the service for 6 months. My experience was that it was expensive $40 + per month was limited in the quality of English programming.

My costs:

  • Puntonet 50 mb fiber optic service $60 per month +
  • Amazon Prime – $8 per month *
  • HBO – $15 per month
  • Strong VPN  $7 per month*

Note: * denotes other uses besides watching TV

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The Best Features Of Your Android Phone

The quintessential question among Smartphone Users :”Is the iPhone platform superior to that of the Android system? Having used both platforms I can say I prefer the Android operating system. I find it easier to customize and Android has some features the iPhone is lacking. Below are some of them.

  • Better Battery Stats And More Efficient Battery Saver
  • More information from the home button. – Marshmallow’s Now on Tap tries to solve this issue by offering related information and links, based on its understanding of your texts.
  • Back up unlimited photos using Google Photos – My favorite option
  • Voice search without unlocking your phone
  • Lost your phone – Google it
  • Access your phone on a friend’s phone

A very good article and these hidden features and more at this link

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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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Google Photos App Part One

The Google Photos App just received a major upgrade. The App runs on both Android and IOS. The Android version is extremely easy to use and after taking a picture there are6 steps to edit.

  • Crop including an angle version
  • Auto Adjust
  • Light Adjustment
  • Color
  • Pop
  • Vignette

You can use all, some or none of the edits. After the edit you can save the photo and then share to popular sites like

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Email

Or you share the photo to another editing app. Below is a a movie of a collection of Google Photos Edited samples

 

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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Podcasts – Learning And Entertainment

I’ve never liked the term Podcasts or Blog. Both terms produce confused looks. I would say it’s an audio or video file that you can listen on your favorite mobile device (i.e. smartphone, iPad). But podcast is the accepted term so I will use it throughout the article.

Listening to podcasts are a significant part of my day both for entertainment and learning. I use a paid app called “Pocket Casts” that runs on my Android smartphone but it’s also available for the iPhone and iPad.  Everyday I listen to the following podcasts

  • Marketplace – Business
  • Marketplace Tech – Duh
  • Fresh Air – Terry Gross – Interviews with world personalities
  • Ted Radio Hour – Talks by Interesting people on business and tech

The following podcasts are on once a week and are mostly to keep on my tech knowledge.

  • iPad Today
  • Android App Addicts
  • The Podcast Report

What are your favorite podcasts?

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