Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Windows Phone @ Nine Months

I've been calling my phone a retarded Windows Phone. Let's get the slander placed correctly, its the Samsung Focus Flash (SGH-i677 Windows Phone 7.5). It's the "7.5" that sticks in my craw as I cannot update it past Windows 7.1. Without 7.5, a number of appealing apps will not function: Pandora, Spotify, Jack of Tools (compass, altimeter, speedometer, etc.), this is just painful ... I've already bitched and moaned about this, so let's move on.

I have also mentioned how it has been a great help at work in dealing with mobile apps for our conference last November. I did look at iPhone and Android versions of our app with a good deal of envy, but I have hope that HTML 5-based mobile apps will level the playing field.

I have found some great apps:

Evernote. I wanted a "notepad" for remembering my library card number, being able to pull out favorite quotes, and the usual ad hoc note taking. Saved to the Cloud, I can upload notes from my PC to Evernote and have them available on my phone. Check out the website, it's a very nice free app.

I've already mentioned Klick and Accurate Tuner for use with my guitar, but needless to say, they've  made me appreciate the phone.

AmazonKindle has been another addic--useful app in getting (mostly) free e-books to read. It's a very interesting marketplace, to say the least. Another e-reader app that is very interesting, Legimi, appears to be a work of Polish developers as I see a lot of Polish links. Nonetheless, I found great downloads of Robert E. ("Conan the Barbarian") Howard works that my cousin says I must read. He would disapprove of me taking advantage of getting these works free but at least I am reading them as instructed.

Jessie bought me a Seattle Sports Dry Dock Landing Pad (see right, photo compliments of REI) that has two velcro bands that promise to allow me to mount it on my bike. I have a couple of free apps that will allow me to have a speedometer that I can look at while riding (BikeSpeedometer) and Cycle Log, a "cycle diary," which has allowed me to record average speeds, elevation changes and trip time and length. The latter worked without being mounted so I can look at it but it will be very nice to use these apps when biking season begins. (I notice that reviewers have kicked Cycle Log for less than stellar accuracy in handling altitude and distance. I may look into better apps when the season allows me to do comparisons.)

A good friend has me revisiting playing MechWarrior, which requires the use of 10-sided die. I immediately began a search of the apps, finding a half dozen of them that give you a wide variety of game dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20). The Dicebox RPG app from Bonehead Software was by far the best implementation of what I hoped for. Let the video tell my tale.

As you can see, one can roll the dice holding the phone and the dice
are visible to anyone playing. (In our game use, the total of the dice isn't important.)
None of the other apps came close to this one.