Thought I would throw this out there for you Android users. It is called “FastKey” and it is a launcher for your phone or tablet. I installed this and was super impressed on how fast it was; however, I wish it had an option where I could solely use it as an app (and not so much as a default launcher). Anyhow, this launcher keeps a keyboard on your screen and when you need to find something, such as an app, contact, etc…, this launcher is right on top of it.
On Black Friday I took advantage of the $25 Chromecast and installed it on my TV in my garage. My wife hasn’t seen me since. You can still take advantage of the $25 Chromecast at the official Google site (click here), until December 24th. After getting the Chromecast I was like a kid with a new toy and it wasn’t long before I was looking for Chromecast ready apps (that you install on your Android phone or tablet then cast or display on the TV).
One of my favorites so far, is Haystack TV… In a nutshell it is like a high-def visual feed reader that specializes mostly in news; however, I found that you can customize (search for and save sources & topics) that can be quite entertaining (like late night TV segments). Even if you do not have a Chromecast, Haystack TV is worth downloading on your smartphone or tablet.
Haystack TV is a free and Google Cast™ Ready app, a great alternative to cable news. Haystack has featured repeatedly for Chromecast and Android TV the latest politics, local, national and world news from top news organizations such as CNN, AP, MSNBC, NYTimes and the BBC.
Google Keep is a note-taking app (like an electronic version of sticky notes) that was developed by Google (in 2013) that is available as an Android and iOS app; AND, also available on the web. It is, by far, one of my favorite “go to” apps. You can Create lists, transcribe recordings, doodle, collaborate on to-do lists, and so much more with Google Keep.
To get you started with Google Keep, Android Central has compiled the following guide to get you started:
- How to install and log in to Keep
- How to create and edit your first note in Keep
- How to create and manage lists in Keep
- How to share notes and add collaborators in Keep
- How to set reminders in Keep
- How to dictate audio notes in Keep
- How to add images to notes in Keep
- How to doodle in Keep
- How to use Keep as a bookmark tool
- How to export notes to Google Docs
- How to archive or delete older notes in Keep
- How to sort and organize notes with labels in Keep
- How to color code notes in Keep
Microsoft introduced the computer version of Solitaire back in 1990, with the intention “to soothe people intimidated by the operating system,” and at a time where many users were still unfamiliar with graphical user interfaces, it proved useful in familiarizing them with the use of a mouse, such as the drag-and-drop technique required for moving cards” [Source: Wikipedia]…
I encourage you to click the link below to learn about Microsoft’s NEW Solitaire (collection) app for the Android and iOS platforms…
Google Play Newsstand, typically known as a mobile app (on Android and iOS platforms), is now available on the web (click here). Google Play Newsstand is a personalized news reader that provides a single destination for browsing the topics, news sources, and magazines you care about.
Two years ago Android Auto was launched and was available only in certain model cars. Soon, through the Google Play Store, you will be able to get Android Auto for your Smartphone (Android 5.0 and later) as an app. Android Auto provides a “driver friendly interface to access the key stuff you need on the road ― directions, music, communications ― without the distraction of things that aren’t essential while driving”. You can read more about this HERE and when it will become available.
How-To Geek caught my attention with the Android App called, SMS Backup +, that will automatically backup SMS, MMS and call log entries using a separate label in Gmail / Google Calendar. It is also possible to restore SMS and call log entries back to the phone with this app.
To learn more about how to (step-by-step) configure this app to work with your Gmail, be sure to visit How-To Geek…
You will see numerous articles out there on how to go about using an old smartphone as a home security monitoring device. Two Android Apps to take a look at for this purpose is SalientEye Home Security Alarm and Alfred. Both are FREE…
SalientEye Home Security Alarm – Salient Eye turns any android device into a full home camera security system. The Salient Eye application uses your phone’s camera to sense motion and makes alarm sounds when a break-in occurs. Salient Eye home security app catches intruders red-handed and immediately sends you pictures via email and SMS.
Alfred – Alfred is a video monitor that allows you to check on your home from your smartphone or tablet, wherever you are, thanks to a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G connection. It’s very simple to use Alfred, you just need to install the app on your devices and select one of them to be the Camera and another to be the Viewer.
If you think you are immune from malware in Android Apps; “Think Again”…
“Researchers from Check Point discovered malware they’re calling DressCode in 40 Google Play store apps and more than 400 apps listed in third-party app stores”…
“Once installed on the device, DressCode initiates communication with its command and control server,”
The following video also explains how DressCode works:
Here is a pretty cool Android App, called DeskDock, that allows you to share your computer’s mouse (and keyboard) with your Android device via a USB cable.
• Use your computer’s mouse with your Android devices
• Share clipboard between computer and Android devices
• Supports Windows, Linux and macOS
• Works on all Android versions starting from 4.1
• NO rooted device required
• Shortcut for simulating multitouch
• Connect multiple Android devices to one computer
• Flexible arrangement of devices
• Customizable mouse button actions
• Customizable mouse pointer speed
• Ready for Android Nougat
Voice Notify is a excellent Android App, that is useful when driving, that will announce (via Text To Speech) your status bar notification messages. This allows you to keep your eyes on the road and not the screen. You can easily turn the service on and off via an included widget.
- Optionally read toast notifications (Android 3.0+)
- Widget to suspend VN
- Customizable TTS message
- Ignore specific apps or notifications containing defined text
- Choice of TTS audio stream
- Choice of speaking when screen or headset is on or off, or while in silent/vibrate mode
- Quiet Time
- Custom delay of TTS after notification
- Repeat notifications at custom interval while screen off
- Notification log
- Post a test notification
Small Android Utility To Reduce Harmful Effects of Blue Light (that is emitted from Smartphones and Tablets)July 5, 2016
I have been playing around with the various Android utilities that are designed to reduce the harmful effects of blue light (that is emitted from Smartphones and Tablets) and settled with the utility called Bluelight Filter.
If you use your smartphone or tablet at night, this utility will help you protect your eyes; and, help you with getting a good nights sleep. Bluelight Filter is very small in size (84kb) FREE app that has no ads and requires no special permissions (to install).
Have not had a chance to play with this yet; but Opera has released a NEW Android App in the Google Play Store called “News and Search“. I am big into the news aggregator (feed) apps and will be definitely checking this out.
ADDENDUM (6/9/16) – Ok, had some time to install and play around with Opera’s News and Search. At this point, is going to be a keeper on my phone (and tablet). In summary, it is a news aggregator (that you can customize channels to meet your interests) that is built on top of a flavor of the Opera browser designed for the dual purpose of setting up channels (of your interests) and for surfing the internet (as you would with any browser). It took me a bit of time to navigate around; but, once I learned, I really like where all of the controls are located. Very impressive at this point…
Browse hot topics, trending & breaking news per category and even connect your Twitter account to get an overview of all the news stories shared by your friends’ networks. Stories you want to keep or share can easily be added to the built-in reading list.
Here’s how this works… Install Yappy on your Android phone; then, install Yappy on computer (and/or tablet). Another option, if you use Google Chrome or Firefox, is to install their browser extensions for Yappy. The key here is to make sure you have the app installed on your phone to make sure your texts sync between your phone and computer (and vice versa). If you are confused with my instructions, then visit the Yappy web site to learn more. I have been using Yappy and it has worked quite well for me.
I am not going to get into all of the in’s and out’s of EAS (Easy App Switcher); but, if you want to increase your productivity on your Android devices, I highly recommend this app. It is a little tricky to set up, but once you do, you will not regret it. This app, of any that I have tested, gives you true multi-tasking capabilities; allowing to switch back and forth between apps, launching apps, and visiting most recent apps.