Saturday, May 23, 2015

FlickrTab for Chrome

How about an extension for the Chrome Browser that does nothing for your productivity, almost the opposite: Flickr Tab



All it does: it will show a photo from flickr every-time you open a new (empty) tab on Chrome. That's it.
No productivity value at all. But you get to see truly awesome pictures.
I installed it a couple of weeks ago when it first was released, and enjoyed it ever since.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Moto 360 first experience

A couple of weeks ago, I got a Moto360 Android watch/wear, and by now I have been trying it out in daily life, Here's how that works / worked:

One disclaimer, though: A couple of days after I got it, I went on a short London vacation/trip (with the family), and I deliberately decided to leave my Moto360 at home... On the second day in London I started to regret this...


1. In the morning I start wearing it just before I leave home and start my commute (a couple of minutes walking, traind and underground).
Here I mainly use it for reading (and dismissing) notifications, like incoming emails and sms/text.
Responding to a text is really not an option, or do you want to talk to your watch while on the underground (unless you are Dick Tracy)

Podcast player control (BeyondPod in my case) works like a charm.

2. Then a full office day with internal and external meetings and coffee breaks. Again, mostly reading and dismissing. Also, the reminders about upcoming meetings are nice.

During the coffee breaks, the most important use case is showing it to co-workers... I hope that wears off.

Regarding calls (regardless when), the watch of course only helps, to see who's calling, and more smoothely reject the call. When you want to take it, you still need the phone.

3. Commute back - see above,
Swarm/Foursquare check-ins - if you are really still into that, like I am - work quite fine with Wear for Swarm.
The Minimal & Elegant watch face I started using today 

4. Once I get home, the battery is usually still around 40%.

5. In front of the telly ... yeah, that's the only time I really dare talk to the device. Works quite well, as long as you stick to English.

Even though Google (on the phone) has no problem with switching between German and English dication, on the Moto360 I only got it to work with English. 

So some text/chat replies do still not work (when I'm in a German conversation), or I start responding with "Thanks" instead of "Danke" :)

I did manage to have quite complete chat conversations just using dictation through the watch. More than just "Thanks".


6. In the evening, I put it in the charging station on my nightstand and the watch now doubles as an alarm clock, and gets charged at the same time.


The biggest problem so far interestingly occured during the night: a couple of days ago, the Wear app on the Moto 360 itself crashed, and kept crashing, even after rebooting the watch [1]. Which was indeed annoying because my newly enthroned alarm clock kept flashing bright wite every 3 minutes (while it kept crashing and restarting). So I just switched it off, tried to re-synch all apps in the morning. That still did not fix it, so I did a full reset and re-paired the watch. Works fine now.


Impression and experience so far: Totally nice piece of art (and technology), which works extremely well. Battery is a lot better than expected. Proper use-case worth 200+EUR: none so far

--
[1] There, I said it "Rebooting the watch"... How dorky/nerdy is that. Just shoot me.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

LastPass - a must

It's really that simple:

Using the same password for each and every site or webservice is just not an option:
a) because of different and incompatibly password rules and policies
b) for simple security reasons.
If one site gets hacked and passwords leak (and it will and they will) then those nasty nasty people will have access to all (or many) of your accounts.

Creating (much less remembering) 100 separate and secure passwords in your head simply wont work.
So you need a service to do this for you.

I choose LastPass some time ago, and it works great, especially the random password generator, and the auto-fill feature on web-sites and Android apps.

I know, some will say, that LastPass can get hacked and then all my accounts (incl online banking and all) are revealed. True. But still more unlikely than all the other scenarios.

As of today this is the most secure choice for me.

There are others like 1Password, or Apple's key chain... (here's a list).  If you don't yet have any of those, get LastPass now.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Bluetooth beats Wifi

The other day - when  I was on the train to Prague - I needed to get some work done on my iPad, but the WiFi on the train was dead. Usually then, I enable the hotspot on my Android phone, but this time I decided to finally try this over Blueooth.

I wanted to do this a long time ago already, but the Wifi was too easy.

So, what can I say... it is almost as easy (of course), but uses a lot less energy, both on the iPad and more importantly on the Nexus 5.

I guess, I'll keep it like that. Bluetooth tethering definitely beats Wifi tethering.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Public Ads for the Amazon Store

In Android-Land the amazon app store is this mythical creature... romoured to exist, but not a lot of people have actually seen it ... except - of course - if you are a Fire user. An even rarer and more mythical creature then :)

So I was quite surprised last week on the London tube to see Amazon being advertised for an app right next to the Apple App Store and Google play.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Moto 360

I've been playing with the idea of getting an Android Wear smart watch for some time now. Specifically I had set my mind on the Moto 360, and luckily a dear friend of mine (and fellow geek) owns one. So after a brief intro (over some beers) I was even more inclined to get one. Then one of our local discount retailers (Hofer) had it on offer, and more or less at the same time it has been offered at quite a reasonable price on eBay (including some additional watch bands).

So I got it from ebay. Yesterday it arrived.
Ok, the unboxing is less spectacular with a pre-owned device, but still nice.
Charge the watch, install the Android Wear app from the play store and follow the instructions.

First thing I did, was send a text to my son (who was clogging the DSL line again) via the voice dictation on the watch. Boy, did I triple check this before sending :) But it worked flawlessly.

Half an hour later I was conducting a Facebook Messenger chat partially from the watch...
Why? Because I could.... (and I needed to test it).

And then, just for the fun of it, I told my watch to play some music on the phone. Soooo cool.


So, over the next couple of days I hope to find some more meaningful use cases.
One thing I really hope for, is that I can keep my phone in my pocket when I receive a text or any other notificaiton while I'm on the train/commute... Let's see how that works out.

And, oh,  thanks, Max, for making me do this.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Android Automatic WiFi Login - no more

One of the most useful Android apps - Wifi Web Login - stopped working with Android 5.0/Lollipop. The reasons seems to be that Lollipop now continues to use the mobile data (3G, ...) connection if fails to connect to the internet through wifi.

So whenever you are connected to a (public/free) hotspot, which requires a web login (or just acceptance of their terms of service). Android will ignore the Wifi, until you login/accept.

Actually, a good move.
But it seems to break Wifi Web Login, which automated this for me anyway...
Now I'm back to logging in manually...
Still easier than before, because I only have to drag down the Wifi notification, and accept the ToS for some standard hotspots.
But sort of a step back.
Hopefully this will get fixed, but neither the webpage nor the play store hint towards a fix.