Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"I don't recall owning a droid"

I was going to post the You Tube video of Obi Wan Kenobi saying that, but could not find it.  I mean, everyone else has used "This is the droid I've been looking for..."

Anyway.  Last week Mrs. Drang and I joined the ranks of Droid owners.  We went with Motorola Droids from Verizon, partially because we've been happy with Verizon's service, and partially because renewing your contract with Verizon is about as beneficial as starting a new one with another carrier.  And I wanted a Droid; we both wanted a hardware keyboard as well as the option of the touchscreen.

First impressions:  Gonna take getting used to the keyboards.  The hardware keyboard will be more accurate to type on than the touchscreen, but the touchscreen might be faster.

Do like the interface, although there might be a learning curve.  Interestingly, Mrs. Drang, who is usually not quite as tech-savvy as me, has showed me several things I couldn't figure out.  One of the youngsters who works for me has had a Droid for several months, and he tipped me off about a few things right away.  "When you're back in such-and-such a section of the salt mines, turn on Plane Mode, 'cuz' you won't get a signal, and it'll save your battery."  From that I realized I needed to turn GPS Mode off unless I actually need it...  And installed my first two "widgets", to turn Plane Mode off and on, and ditto for GPS mode.

Apps:  Sure there are more apps for the iPhone, the iPhone has been out longer.  And (I am told by iPhone addicts) there is quite a lot of overlap amongst them.  Plus, they have to be approved by His Royal Highness Steve Jobs, or no go.

As for the Android Marketplace, yeah, still a lot of overlap.  Lots of free apps.  Most of the apps are $10.00 or less.

So far I have installed the following:  Mil Dot Calc and Shooter (Ballistics) by Sean Kennedy.  MDC is free, Shooter is $10.  There is an ongoing thread on AR15.com about Shooter, in which Sean is an active participant.  He has updated the app 3 or 4 times since I downloaded it... There are also a couple of shot timers, for gun gamers.

I've downloaded several amateur-radio related apps as well, including Smerty Software's Ham, which gives the status of a variety of current propagation/band/solar activity reports; APK Labs' Signals, a reference about a variety of signal and codes systems, and Tango 11's Ham Radio Study, to prepare for the Elements 2, 3, and 4 Amateur Radio exams.  (That's Technician, General, and Amateur Extra.)  I also downloaded dev1033's Resister ID and  Imagitronics' Schematic Reference, since I may have passed the General exam, but am still a little weak on that stuff.

There are several CW ("Morse Code") tutors, as well as apps that will send signals in Morse Code using either text messaging  or by flashing lights on the screen.  I have not yet installed any of these.  I figure learning CW can wait until after I pass the Amateur Extra exam...

I have also installed Snaptic's Compass.  The Droid has an integral GPS, but the compass works even with then GPS turned off.  In "digital GPS" display mode, not only do you get the compass and GPS data, but you also get a pitch and roll indicator!

I installed two different references on the US Constitution:  United States Constitution by Ken Hunt, and We The People, by Robert Bushman.  We The People is pretty straight forward, the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, while United States Constitution has a lot of additional material, including cross references and such goodies as the French Revolutionary Declaration of the Rights of Man, the Mayflower Compact, and the original Articles of Confederation.

I also installed Qik, inc.'s, Qik Video Camera.  This lets you live-stream video from you smart phone to the 'net.  Handy in case the SEIU is after you...

This is running long, so I'll post further impressions of using the phone separately.

No comments: