So its been about a month in which I’ve owned my Motorola/Google/Verizon Droid phone. And I have to say that I am just loving this phone. But I don’t even think it can be called a phone, because the phone function is just one of many applications and features that the device runs. I’ve found the Android OS very easy and intuitive. The applications that I use are very well engineered and designed. There is deep and intuitive integration with social sites like Facebook and Twitter. When I first got the phone from Verizon, I didn’t have to deal with transferring information or setting up my contacts. I simply logged in with my Google Username and password and instantly, all my information was there ready to go. One of the slickest features is that whenever I see someone’s “icon”, I just long press on it and all the different ways I can connect with them slides into the screen – wether its email, IM, Facebook, or where their address is. Its pretty cool. And the Droid’s much publicized killer app is its GPS Navigation application. It is just fantastic and just as good as any TomTom, or Garmin product (Note to each of them: be afraid, be very afraid). The Navigation app is fully integrated with Google Maps and Google Street View. I’ve used it several times and I have been nothing short of impressed. Since its open source, I’m hoping some enterprising soul adds an app so you can choose different voices for the Navigation’s audio.

With all the positives, there are a few items that I’d love to see them address:

  • With the Audio player, they should not allow two audio based applications to run at the same time. A few times I’ve had podcasts running and have hit music songs by accident and then had two things playing at once. If Podcasts are playing, you should not be able to play music and vice versa
  • The camera could be improved a bit. And the button to take pictures is on the screen, not on the hardware itself. So if you are taking a photo and you can’t see the screen/button, its not the easiest thing in the world to do.
  • Whenever I connect it to my computer, you always have to click on a button to enable it to sync with your machine. There should be a setting to just do that automatically.
  • The Keyboard is just ok. It could be improved, especially with its alternate characters and numbers.

I’m not going to go out and call this an iPhone killer…yet. But the Droid does everything I need, its easy to use, and its on the Verizon Network where you can actually make phone calls. In fact, the other day I left my iPod at home by mistake and I did not miss it at all.

Tweets of the Week

  • Lets go Syracuse vs. Fla tonight! Show everyone that we're legit #
  • This is a riot. RT @mags Heh – if Star Wars had Facebook: #
  • You know your a Dad when 6 year old tells you all the tips and tricks of Mario Cart and then crushes you in a race. #
  • Google Launching Chrome Extensions #
  • My First Posterous Post #
  • – anotther year (the 5th) of the cool advent calendar that gives web dev tips and tricks to help your site impress. #
  • – connect with twitter friends via your phone. #

Google Goggles

So yesterday I downloaded onto my wonderful new Googomotozion Android phone Google Goggles. No, its not an application to optimize drunken hookups. It is visual search. Basically, you fire up the application, take a photo with your phone’s camera, and Google will scan the photo and look up information on that item. I gave it a quick test run yesterday and I have to say I was blown away. But its Google, I would expect as much. I took a quick photo of my work Laptop, which is a Lenovo, and ran it through Goggles. Not only did it spit out information on lap top computers, it actually delivered results specific to Lenovo!! Impressive to say the least. So similar to the Barcode Scanning applications for Android and iPhone, this app has a wide variety of possibilities from commerce and product comparison, to just looking up something that you encounter in your travels. I look forward to trying this out on other things to see how it performs.

Three straight posts on Google, but they appear to be in product release mode these days.

New Google Calendar Features

I was adding a few appointments to Google Calendar this morning and saw that they have released some new and very slick features to their Calendar product. Now, when you set up an appointment, there is a mini calendar view that enables you to quickly, visually, see your calendar and what times you have available. You can then add the other people you want to invite to this view and see their availabilities, to find the best time that works for all people attending the event. It appears that the “attendee” has to have their calendar synced with Google Calendar in order for you to view their calendar, but this is ideal for Small Businesses or groups that are using Google Calendar and everyone in the organization uses the application. As you move the translucent “event preview” area (the blue striped area in the screen grab below), it changes from striped to a clear display depending on if there are any conflicts for the meeting time. Very slick. Here is a screen grab of it:


Google Launching Chrome Extensions

From Techcrunch, it appears that Google will be launching extensions for the Google Chrome browser.  I am a huge Firefox fan however from a web development perspective, Chrome is amazingly fast.  I can edit an area of my site and while it takes Firefox a few minutes for it to pull the update from the server, Chrome does it instantly.  Its a significant difference and much faster.  If the Extensions for Chrome as as good and useful as they are for Firefox, this could get very interesting.  Google is taking over the online world!

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Tweets of the Week

  • World Cup draw announced. US in a great group. Match vs. England could be a classic! Is it Summer 2010 yet!?! #
  • Oh Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. #
  • Pats are cooked. Makes the Indy loss and decision look that much worse. #
  • OK, strap on the seat belts for the MNF game tonite – Pats vs. Saints. The Saints are the 'aints no more! #
  • Some Cool Keyboard Tricks That Few People Know About #
  • I just generated my #TweetCloud out of 3 months of my tweets. Top three words: weekend, football, orange – #
  • I just generated my #TweetCloud out of 3 months of my tweets. Top three words: weekend, football, orange – #
  • RT @FreelanceFolder 25 Blogs To Help You Stay Current With Social Media | FreelanceFolder #

Tweets of the Week

  • Say Hi (band name – aka "Say Hi To Your Mom") – Album: Ferocious Mopes. Love the album + sound. Plan to buy more. #MusicMonday #mm #
  • Got an invite to Google Wave! Pretty cool. Unfortunately, have to wait to get home since its blocked at work. #googlewave #
  • Great weekend for Syracuse sports. Hoops with big win vs UNC on Friday and football team with really good win vs Rutgers! Go Orange! #

Pinball Wizards

A very interesting and insightful article about pinball machines and the economic drivers that led to their demise.

In 1980, pinball went digital, multi-ball, and multi-media starting with the game Black Knight. Black Knight brought pinball to a new level, literally speaking because it was among the first games with ramps and elevated flippers, but even more importantly because it brought a new challenge that drew in and solidified a pinball crowd. In doing so it also set the pinball market on a path that would eventually lead to its demise.

The article goes on to describe how the algorithms of the machines and the physical limitations of the machines themselves became the barrier to entry for new players, while at the same time video games were on the rise and they gave its users the ability to practice at the lower levels and get better as they advanced.

Every year I go to the Pinball Wizards Convention in Allentown, PA and marvel at the enthusiasm of the people playing the pinball machines, as well as the “chewing gum and paperclip” appearance of how the machines are wired and constructed. The irony is that the advanced (for the time) calculations and logic baked into these machines (not to mention the artwork and design that made up the visual and physical presentation of the machines themselves…there was one guy who said he spent over 500 hours drawing a design for a game!) may have done more damage than good.

Tweets of the Week

  • outta Bkyn. Lets you connect and curate conversations around live events. #
  • photos of how LA would look completly empty of people #
  • The Irish were robbed by the French in the World Cup qualifying. FIFA needs to have the match replayed – #
  • Say it aint so! Ken Ober, host of MTV's Remote Control show back in the day died. "Dead or Alive" ? Dead – #
  • s #
  • I can't believe the Patriots blew that game. 4th down call not the brightest move but the fumble and int at the goal line did not help #
  • Patriots are looking sharp so far tonite! #
  • I need to go Paul b #