My Favorite Android Apps

I’ve used this site to publish lists of all sorts of favorite things: TV shows, albums, radio stations, Firefox extensions… Yet it occurred to me the other day that, despite having an Android phone for almost two years now, I  haven’t done a “Best Android Apps” post yet. So let’s fix that!

Below are some of my most favoritest Android apps. I’ve tried to keep the list as general as possible: I have several sports apps I love, but not everyone loves sports, so I’ve left them off the list. All apps listed below are free, although many have “Pro” or “Ad-Free” flavors, too. Some require root access, but these will be noted as such. All links are to the app’s page on Google Play.

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Shush! – This app silences the ringer on your phone for a given amount of time. But the best part is that there’s no “app”. You just use the volume buttons on the side of your phone to silence the ringer, and a window pops up asking when you’d like the ringer to come back on. There’s also an option to choose the volume level when the ringer comes back:

shush

I use this app every single day: I charge my phone on my nightstand, but don’t want the various notification sounds to wake up me or the missus. So I set it silence the phone until 08:30 or so the next morning. I say “or so” because there’s no way to have Shush! resume the ringer at a specific time. As you can see from the screen cap above, there’s an awkward rotary menu, and it selects time in 15 minute chunks. So if I use Shush! at 23:07, my only options will be to restore the ringer at 08:07, 08:17, 08:37, or 08:47. I kind of wish Shush! also had a whitelist feature, where calls from people I choose could override the settings. I know such apps exist, and I’ve used them before, but I keep coming back to Shush! ‘cos it’s simple and it “just works”!

Alarm Clock Xtreme Free – If there’s one thing Google Play has tons of, it’s alarm clock apps. I should know: I’ve tried a hundred of them. And Alarm Clock Xtreme is my alarm of choice. You can use the app as a traditional alarm clock (choose the time, set the mp3 you want as the alarm), but the reason I like it is that it has math CAPTCHAs. Yes, you have to solve math problems to turn this alarm clock off. And, because of that, I’ve almost never overslept with this. You can choose how many math problems you want, and how complex you want them to be (“11 + 4” or “227 / 6”?). It also has a “graduwake” feature, where the alarm starts softly but gets louder as it goes on. There’s even an option to have “decreasing snooze duration” (i.e. the first time you hit snooze, you get 10 minutes; the second time you get 8 minutes). Despite so many options, the app is simple, and most importantly, the app is reliable. I’ve tried other alarm clocks in the past, and believe it or not, many had problems waking the phone from deep sleep. Like Shush!, Alarm Clock Xtreme “just works”!

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SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 14

SimonHey, y’all! Simon here! Well, I went 11-5 last week, and am 126-65 for the season. I guess I shoulda listened to my daddy about the Steelers, huh? I got a stern “talking to” from him about it, and will pick the Steelers the rest of the way! So anyway, enjoy my picks for week 14!

 

Denver at Oakland: Y’all, Oakland is just terrible, while The Forehead and that sexy Demaryius Thomas are on FIRE! Pick the Broncos to win this game, and win it big!

St. Louis at Buffalo: Yawn. My daddy has a soft spot for Chan Gailey because he once coached for Georgia Tech. So I’ll take the Bills to win at home, although I don’t really care either way. And neither will millions of football fans!

Dallas at Cincinnati: Hoo boy! Now here’s a game! Head doofus Tony Romo heads to the City of Weird Chili to take on the Bungles. My daddy would love for Romo and his Band of Handsome Mens – Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, and especially Miles Austin – to come in and get a win. The return of that hawt fox DeMarco Murray will certainly help them out, too. As much as I’d like the Cowboys to win for my daddy, I think the Bengals will take the win here.

Kansas City at Cleveland: Oh Gawd! This game is even worse than the Rams\Bills game. I shouldn’t be too hard on the Chiefs after the Javon Belcher tragedy. But while they played an inspired game over the better-than-everyone-thinks Panthers, I’m not sure that the inspiration will carry over to this week. Take the Browns to win at home here. Gosh, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to say that… and I lick my own butt!

Tennessee at Indianapolis: Yawn. Take the Colts. I guess. Watching the cute lil’ Andrew Luck is better than watching paint dry… isn’t it?

Chicago at Minnesota: heh. People from MinnahSODA talk funny. “MinnahSODA”. hehehehe. Won’t matter for them, though. The Bears will come in and beat some Viking ass on Sunday!

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Removing Apps from Google Play

In keeping with this site’s long tradition of being the LAST SITE ON THE INTERNET to bring you important news, enjoy this Android-related article!

If you have an Android device, you probably already know that every app you download is saved in your account at the Google Play store. There are several “official” reasons why this is, the most obvious being that if you upgrade to a newer phone (or your current phone is lost or stolen and replaced), you can simply log in to your Play account and download your apps all over again. It’s also helpful to have a single Play account with all your apps if you have more than one Android device.

Removing apps from your phone is easy: just go to Settings > Applications, find the app you want to uninstall and click on it, then click the “Uninstall” button. But removing apps from your Google Play account used to be impossible. Cynics say that Google did this so that it could inflate the numbers of downloaded apps for PR purposes. Google said it was just trying to help users keep track of their apps.

For most people, the whole thing was a giant pain in the ass. Many went on downloading sprees when they first got their device(s) and now their accounts are clogged with dozens of apps they no longer use. Some apps are only good for a certain time, like the London 2012 Olympics app or the Euro 2012 soccer tournament app. Maybe a user thought they had malware once, and they downloaded several antivirus apps to try and fix it.

The point is, most Google Play accounts are littered with apps users no longer want or need. They’re not really “hurting” anything by remaining in Play accounts, but some of us despise clutter. Why won’t Google give us some way to delete apps we’re absolutely, positively sure we don’t want any more?

Well now they have. Open Google Play on your device and scroll left to the “All” category. You’ll see all the apps in your Google Play account. You may press on any app not currently installed on your device to install it if you wish. But you’ll also see the international “No” sign by any apps not currently installed on any of your devices:

Google Play

Just click the “No” sign and then click OK to acknowledge that you wish to permanently remove the app from your Google Play account. Wait a few minutes for the Play app to sync with the store, and the app will be gone forever! According to some things I’ve read at other sites, users of newer Android versions (ICS? Jellybean?) can long-press on the “No” symbol to select multiple apps for deletion at once; however this doesn’t seem to work on my Gingerbread phone. Regardless, I’m overjoyed to FINALLY get rid of all those useless apps I never, ever use!

SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 13

SimonHey, ya’ll! Simon here! Well, the Football Feline went 10-6 last week… good, but not great. I’m now 115-60 for the season, which is pretty good for a kitty! hehehehe! OK, pour yourself a Bloody Mary or a MANmosa and enjoy my picks for week 13!

 

New Orleans at Atlanta: Oh my! The folks from New Orleans might not think of the Falcons as much of a rival these says – and why not? The Aints are 17-8 in Atlanta since 2003 and have won 11 of the past 13 meetings overall – but I assure you that the Dirty Birds will take this game very seriously! My new crush Julio Jones will be catching balls all over the place, while that handsome Tony Gonzalez will keep rackin’ up the yards. The Simon thinks Matt Ryan and the Falcons will win at home this time, although it will keep to this season’s tradition and be a squeaker.

Jacksonville at Buffalo: Oh Lord! Please don’t tell me we’re getting this game! [checks TVguide.com…] Whew! We don’t! No, this week we get the thriller that is Carolina at Kansas City! What is it that my Uncle Scott always says? “$10 a seat, but you’ll only use the edge??” hehehehehe! Oh yes, back to Jacksonville at Buffalo, Ya know, Simon’s just gonna go ahead and pick the Bills to win the game, although he really doesn’t care WHO wins.

Seattle at Chicago: Man, have y’all seen those Chicago hot dogs? They’re giant beef franks served on a poppy seed bun and covered with mustard, onions, this crazy, neon green relish, a pickle spear, tomato slices and peppers! Simon doesn’t know what to think about that. Y’all know Simon’s an East Coast boy at heart, and when I think of hot dogs, I think of New York style, with onions (and maybe kraut) and mustard. Or I think about slaw dogs, my momma’s favorite way to eat a dog. Have y’all seen my momma? She’s so pretty! I love her so much! Yeah, I’m a momma’s boy… and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that! She understands my fabulousness! OhMyGawd! Speaking of fabulous! Did y’all see Kate Middleton’s new haircut? NOT fabulous! Girl needed to call Simon before doing that to her hair! And another thing… what? Picks? Football? Oh yes! Hehehehehe… Simon gets distracted so easily! This should be a good game… especially with that gorgeous Russell Wilson on the field for Seattle! And with a name like Wilson, he HAS to be good, right? But it’s so hard to beat the Bears at home. I think Jay Quitter will lead the Bears through to victory

Indianapolis at Detroit: Well, I just don’t know what to do here! Calvin Johnson is obviously my main man (next to Tom Terrific!), but the Colts bring a lot to the table: Andrew Luck… Reggie Wayne… Austin Collie… Dwight Freeney… MAN, that’s a lot of sexy on one football team! I suppose Simon should be using some kind of statistical analysis to pick the winner of this game… but instead Simon’s just gonna pick whichever team has the most handsome mens! And I think the Colts win here! Ride ’em, cowboy! RAWR!

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Top 10 Tunes

From the home office in London, here’s the Top 10 song chart for the week ending November 24, 2012:

1) Marsheaux – “Empire State Human”
2) Kate Nash – “Do Wah Doo”
3) Japan – “Cantonese Boy”
4) Virginia Astley – “Some Small Hope”
5) Jessica Bailiff – “Helpless”
6) Ambra Red – “Beauty 606”
7) Asobi Seksu – “Thursday”
8) Ladyhawke – “Magic”
9) Katy Perry – “The One That Got Away”
10) Blouse – “Videotapes”

Cigarettes and Candy

If you’re not from North Carolina, you might not have heard the name Richard Reynolds before. But if you’ve ever smoked a cigarette, you’ve probably seen the words “R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company” on the side of the pack. And there’s a lot about the Reynolds story that’s interesting.

Richard Joshua Reynolds was born on July 20, 1850 in Patrick County, Virginia. I don’t know how wealthy the Reynolds family was, but they were prosperous enough to own several slaves and send their son to nearby Emory and Henry College in 1868. Reynolds returned to the family farm after graduating, but Richard, always restless and ambitious, sold his share of the family farm back to his father and struck out on his own.

One of the fundamental problems with his family’s farm was that it was nowhere near a railroad depot. So tobacco had to be put on horse-drawn carts and sent far away for sale. Richard knew he’d get better prices at a better location, so he set out for the nearest town that did have a depot: Winston, North Carolina. So the story goes, Reynolds rode in to town on horseback, reading a copy of The New York Times and dreaming of one day building a golf course somewhere in the area.

If you know anything about North Carolina, you probably know how huge tobacco was for most of the state’s history. And even though there were already fifteen other tobacco companies in Winston, Reynolds managed to sell 150,000 pounds of tobacco in his first year. Reynolds was a savvy businessman, always open to new ideas. One of these ideas – adding saccharin to chewing tobacco – made his products insanely popular. By the 1890s, the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was selling millions of pounds of tobacco a year.

But Reynolds’ most famous – or infamous – invention came in 1912. Before this, almost everyone who smoked cigarettes rolled their own. The idea of buying pre-rolled, packaged cigarettes was just… weird to most people. Reynolds tinkered: tinkered with machinery that could make cigarettes by the millions, and tinkered with several tobacco blends to create the one with the best flavor. The result was Camel cigarettes, the first pre-packaged cigarette brand in the United States. Sales were slow for the first few weeks, but Reynolds cut the price to near cost and ended up selling 425 million packs of cigarettes that year. Not bad for a product that didn’t even exist a year before!

One of the people who made Camels such a success was Richard S. Reynolds, Sr., nephew of Richard Joshua Reynolds. He’d dropped out of the University of Virginia in 1903 to go to work for his uncle, and much of the research and development of Camels was done by him. When the product appeared to be a complete success he, like his uncle, felt the need to strike out on his own. So, only a few months after Camels hit the market, Reynolds, Sr. left the company.

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Quote of the Day

“Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God. That fact is written all across human history; but it is written most plainly across that recent history of Russia; which was created by Lenin. There the Government is the God, and all the more the God, because it proclaims aloud in accents of thunder, like every other God worth worshipping, the one essential commandment: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods but Me.’ ”

 – G.K. Chesterton
“Christendom in Dublin”

SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 12

SimonHey, ya’ll! Simon here! Guess what? I went 13-1 last week! SUCK IT Les Carpenter! hehehehe! That makes me 105-54 for the season, which is almost as good as the “pros” on Yahoo! Watch out guys – you can’t stop the fabulousness! So pour yourself a cold one and enjoy my picks for week 12!

 

Houston at Detroit: Hoo-boy! I still haven’t seen Calvin Johnson’s johnson, and I get the feeling he’ll be running away from this game with his johnson between his legs! Houston will run all over poor Detroit… who, by the way, are 33-37-2 on Thanksgiving Day and have lost their last 8 Thanksgiving games. Why should the Texans eat turkey when they can FEAST on Lion instead?

Washington at Dallas: I’ll say this for Tony Romo: he’s like a Chumbawumba song… he gets knocked down, and he gets up again… you’re never gonna keep him down! Once again, the Cowboys found themselves down big last week, and came away with the win in Cleveland. So while I’d normally point and laugh at Dallas, I think the Cowboys come away with the win this week. I love me some sexy RG3 action, but I think the ‘Boys have it together enough to win this one.

New York Jets at New England: Oh my! Simon needs to call his BDSM friends, ‘cos this is gonna be a beatdown like no other! Tom Terrific – even without that sexy hunk’a white meat, the Gronk – will get it done, girls! Does Simon have a Blowout of the Week™ award? ‘Cos if not, this one needs it! Take the Patriots by two TDs! Continue reading “SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 12”

Quote of the Day

“Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident that they are acting on their own free will.”

– Attributed to Joseph Goebbels

SIMON’S PICKS – WEEK 11

SimonHey, ya’ll! Simon here! I went 9-4 last week… not as good as week nine’s 13-1, but not too bad. I’m 92-53 for the year, which makes me better than a few of the “pros” out there! Maybe it’s because I am sooo fabulous! So sit back, relax, pour a Bloody Mary and enjoy my picks for week 11!

 

Miami at Buffalo: Yawn. Watching these two duke it out is like watching two ugly girls in last year’s Charlotte Dellals catfighting over the last homely guy left in a bar! It’s just tragic, people! Simon’s going with the Bills, but your best bet is to call DirectTV and hope they can get the NFL Sunday Ticket installed at your house before Sunday so you can watch some other game!

Arizona at Atlanta: Face it, Falcons fans: the Durty Birds were gonna lose at some point. I know it hurts that it was to the Aints, but you guys can easily bounce back against that handsome Larry Fitz and the Cards. My main man Matt Ryan is hard to beat at home, and I just don’t think Arizona is up to the challenge. Take the Falcons here, ladies!

Cleveland at Dallas: Dallas: overrated. Cleveland: underrated. Upset? Sadly, no. It’s hard to win in Jerry’s House, even with goofballs Tony Romo and Jason Garrett coming up with ever wackier ways to lose games. Given all the bizarre endings to their games, Simon is expecting that the Browns will have a lead late in the game, and Romo will throw up a bomb… which will be intercepted by Prester John riding a dragon, who will then abscond to Atlantis with the ball. Completely baffled, Ed “Old Guns” Hochuli will call the game in the Browns favor. Hey, is that any less likely than something silly from the Cowboys’ crack clock management team? And, by the way, I didn’t see you guys at the free Clock Management seminar I held this week. Herm Edwards, Mike Holgren and Marvin Lewis showed up… where were you guys? Take the Cowboys to win at home, although I don’t think it’ll be the “season-changing win” fans are hoping for.

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