Posted on July 26, 2010
Posted by John Scalzi
My Droid X just arrived.
I may be occupied for some time.
Sucks your mind:
Can’t resist, must do it:
“This is not the Droid you are looking for.”
Ok, got that outta my system.
Let me know if you figure out how to make the mobile WiFi hotspot work, okay? It’s baffling me.
Also any other user tips gratefully accepted
(Giving me a Droid X is like giving my 9 year-old a Ferrari. I can make it work, but am nowhere near utilizing it to its full potential.)
I have an Android-based phone, the EVO 4G. My advice: If your phone didn’t come with the Swype keyboard, get it as soon as it’s out of beta. (I *think* I read somewhere that the Droid X comes with it, so you should be golden).
Definitely take the time to go through the Swype tutorial – some features you’d never figure out on your own, and are very useful to learn.
There’s an app called Shazam – you let it listen to some song playing, and it does its best to identify the song for you, with links to go purchase it. Very handy!
Took me a week, or thereabouts, to feel like I actually understood and could use my HTC Hero (Sprint Android phone)… But in a good way. ;-)
That’s a funny way to spell iPhone.
Nick @#3 — you need to root it, then you can install the wifi tether app.
Extremely useful apps:
Wifi Analyzer: get information about wifi networks
GPS Status: true north compass, location information
ConnectBot: great SSH client
Barcode Scanner: scans all those fancy barcodes you’ve been seeing (QR codes)
My Tracks: log and upload tracks of where you’ve been to Google Maps
Doggcatcher: great podcatching app
Shawn @ 3 —
Thanks. I understood you. After all, you were typing in English, right?
I know how to “root” for a team … but otherwise not so much.
(Apparently I need to hire a Droid consultant….)
I just installed Pandora. Free music internet radio. You put in an artist you like, it starts playing music like that. You can give songs a thumbs up or down to help it learn what music you want. You can skip six songs an hour. Every once in a blue moon it stops and plays a commercial.
Seems pretty good. Not sure how much data it’ll use. I’ve got “unlimited” data but, I’m pretty sure “unlimited” actually means “some arbitrary, rather large amount of data that most normal users won’t exceed, but if you do exceed it, we’ll take your first born”.
Damn thing won’t just sync to outlook, so had to jump through some hoops to get my contacts over to my phone. maybe there’s an outlook app, dunno.
Turn by turn directions seems a bit flaky. I updated googlemaps app, but it hung on me twice on the only trip I tried usign it for. Can’t figure how to program in a waypoint so I can just say “goto BobsHouse”.
Camera and video seems pretty good. I need to upload some more photos to the PC and see how they looked blown up on a really big monitor. But at least it seems to just work.
Was googling stuff at the bar the other night. That’s kind of cool. haveing a conversation, someone says “Hey, who was the guy in that movie about the thing?” and no one knows and usually it just nags at you for the night. But nag no more.
I still haven’t figured out how to do arrow keys when I don’t see a dpad on the touchscreen anywhere.
Wondering if I could create a bookmark or something so I could quickly and easily check the balances on my bank accounts. Or maybe find an app that is like a checkbook and I can keep track of what I’ve spent.
Ah well, yes, a huge time sink.
I’m glad you decided to switch to the good side with Android.
I hope the Jawas gave you a good deal on it.
Other cool apps: Waze (crowdsourced road mapping and traffic information), EverNote (notepad that syncs to web server and integrates with lots of other apps in the “EverNote Trunk”), Remember the Milk (to-do list that syncs to web server), Aldiko (e-book reader), Google Sky Map (planetarium). If you want to say you were there for the wax cylinder equivalent of augmented reality, try Layar. Gesture Search is handy if you have a lot of contacts in your phone.
We hates the scalzi! Haaaaaates it!
I tweeted you the one thing that might drag you away from that… a long deconstruction on how to make your own In-N-Out Double Double Animal style. Now… which to do… Droid or burger? Hmm…
(The answer, obviously, is both!)
Anyone have a good Twitter app?
Don’t forget to get the Dropbox App, good way to share items from Desktop/Laptop to your Droid.
Droplets 2.0 is a good puzzle game.
And for you Geeks out there the Tricorder App is fun too.
Hey, everybody! This is me nerding out on the Droid!
Yeah, but can you make a phone call with it?
A what now?
I’m thinking about getting one myself, so I’d love to see your thoughts, if you’re game for reviewing it.
Awaiting review with bated breath…
Neglecting everything else in life to geek-out on a cell phone… is this why your wife gets your collar measurerment with her fingers, John?
We wantsss it, precioussss. My phone works just fine and I don’t need a new one but…
Oh, the envy.
It turns out you really can’t make a phone call on the droid phone.
While you’re surfing the web, that is.
You also can’t download stuff while you’re on the phone.
I haven’t yet found a point where that was really a problem.
Oooooh, hold on a sec, Pandora just started playing the first Daft Punk song for me. Thumbs UP!
If you want to say you were there for the wax cylinder equivalent of augmented reality
I… I don’t even know what that means.
Planetarium, I knew there was an app I wanted that I keep forgetting to get.
Now, if I can get an app that will plug the professor into the hyperdrive, I’ll be all set.
I was considering buying one, but I didn’t want to pay the extra money for the data plan.
An app that is both awesomely dorky and actually useful in some since is the “Tricorder” app.
Also check out “PdaNet” which will let you tether to a PC. (Request a PC program, though.)
“Winds of War” is a surprisingly good flight sim.
Oh, and you haven’t lived in the future until you’ve spoken “directions to nearest Frys” (Or whatever) into the search box and had the phone go directly to navigation.
Just out of curiosity, does the Droid/Android have have the default tag in emails like the iPhone has, “sent from my iPhone”?
Augmented reality is the technology of overlaying information from the digital world on the analog one we live in. Eventually (the compact disk version), this would allow you to do things like have the ratings of good restaurants hovering above the actual shops as you drive by, letting you know if that unassuming hole-in-the-wall place is actually superb. Layar is an early version of that, letting you peer around with a tiny window with jerky animation, like recorded music on wax cylinders instead of compact disks. There are lots of different layers you can load up— one of them lets you see where federal stimulus money is being spent in your neighborhood, for instance.
Congratulations. Let me know if you need any recommendations on apps.
@28: That sounds suspiciously like detective mode in Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Except real. Sweet.
Not the Droid I’m looking for. I’m waiting for the Droid 2, most likely being released next month and with my beloved physical QWERTY slide-out.
Let’s hear how the Droid X works, though! I’m sure I’ll be totally lost (have the Motorola Hint right now which is not a smartphone) so any training through your exploration is good!
My favorite way to describe ‘Augmented Reality’ to someone:
Remember in The Terminator, when you see through the eyes of the T-101 (Arnold) and what you see is what’s in front of him, overlaid with description, targeting reticle, and scrolling dialog? That’s AR, baby, and I for one can’t wait. For me to use, not a Terminator. Just to be clear.
Love my Evo! FBReader Webscriptions=staff mtg survival kit. Got my gmail, Outlook, and personal mail-order accounts all hooked in, and really like the Sprint nav app. Pandora rocks. Only prob: can’t stop messing with it; battery only lasts about 6 hours of continuous use/browsing…
@31… I respectfully disagree with the QWERTY slide out. I believe the idea is to get away from that. Also, more moving parts=more stuff to break, damage or stop working properly.
I have the original Droid and wish I had at least waited for the Incredible. #1 reason: slide out keyboard.
Android tricks! Tapping will get one result, a long press will often get a different result, so don’t be shy about stabbing around on the apps/screen. Explore!
Before downloading all your apps, be sure to switch to wifi so you don’t get dinged with data usage.
The app you have to get: the Wilhelm Scream. OMG, I am so easily amused. Also a vote for Tricorder; the Kindle book reader; all the shopping apps (Google Goggles etc); Hypnotic Spiral; Zombie, Run!; Engadget widget; WikiMobile; Skyfire browser (and/or Opera mini browser); Fandango; Onion News video app; Google Sky, Google Earth, Google Translate; My Verizon Mobile App (now with data usage widget!); NASA Images; and of course, how could you have a Droid without a Flashlight app?! Game apps: Blocked Stone, Paper Toss, Classic Simon, Flood-it!
Check out your local TV station webpage, they’ll probably have news apps available.
Oh, and “Better Keyboard” is another app that I find indispensable. (Unless you use Swype I suppose.)
@33 Then the X is for you, because it’s the one without. Some of us like them, though, and have had multiple instances of cussing at both the iPhone and the Incredible with their stupid fiddly little touch keyboards. :) And I have small fingers!
Julia @ 31 – I was a rabid qwerty-user, too, until I tried Swype. Give it a shot. I think using Swype on a screen keyboard is better than a physical qwerty keyboard. Then again, some people have smaller fingers, and/or a better keyboard than I’ve used on a smartphone, so to each their own. But I’d definitely recommend at least trying Swype.
Arthur @27: My Droid (not Droid X, just Droid) does not add any such tag to my emails I send with it.
Pandora is love. I have basically entirely gone over to listening music via Pandora, away from every previous avenue of music listening.
Greg @24: The wax cylinders comment explained:
One of the earliest forms of audio recording was something similar to vinyl records (that is to say, a mechanical analogue process of pushing down on a medium), but on wax cylinders. His concept is that Layar is the very, very, very early technology on what will become a long progression of things eventually ending up looking like augmented reality, where, for example, if you glanced at a person, a computer would capture what you were looking at, query that person’s identity in any number of ways, and then create in your field of view an informative virtual frame that said things like, “This is Melissa Hoffman. She is 27 years old and her facebook page says she’s single. She works in HR. You have met her two previous times, once at Mei Lin’s wedding (9/30/2027) and once at a party at Gary Stewart’s house (6/21/2027). Her hobbies are…”
I have Layar installed and, frankly, don’t find myself using it.
I’m guessing you’ll be right back as soon as you’ve discovered the period/comma thing. Canadian Club and sours?
I have a Droid (no X) and I don’t like Swype that much. I’m not smooth with it and it deactivated the voice recognition – which I found much more useful.
I’m on a Nexus One and quite like Swype, though it does require a lot of dictionary training when I’m jotting down notes for use in role-playing games…
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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