Android Applications I like…

It may not have escaped people’s notice that I am an Android phone user. I like its ‘geek’ appeal and by that I mean that I can customize it and add applications that I want and not have to connect it to a computer (I really don’t like iTunes that much).

It’s email integration (especially gmail) works really well, which means I don’t have to do as much typing any more or any silly syncing with my PC.

I have owned several mobile phones prior to this I can honestly say that the HTC Magic and then the one I have now the HTC Desire HD have been the easiest to use as well as the most functional.

With my latest phone I have settled on a small number of applications (integrated or otherwise) that I use on regular basis (i.e. at least a couple of times a month). I know the first three in this list aren’t really applications but they are there because, well, they’re pretty much essential.

Internet – That little world icon entices me to use it way too much…. watching TV and don’t know who that actor is IMDB (yes I know there is an app but the web means I can look at wiki, imdb and other sources!). Yes there alterantives Opera and Firefox.. but I honestly don’t need them.

Gmail (and Contacts I guess) – My personal account is accessed via this but the ease in which I can check email here and on a PC mean I’m hooked in. Combine that with contacts synchronisation, I never want a simple phone again and am willing to overlook battery life for it.

Mail – Work email is kept separate, no composing of email just early notifcation of things I might need to once at work are displayed here. This works very well with my work email host.

  1. KeePassDroid – A surprise one near the top for some I bet, but if you like me have a multitude of passwords and secret information this application is a godsend. Use it with the desktop version (portable or otherwise) and you only ever need to remember one password….
  2. Hootsuite – Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? This integrates very well into my ‘social media life’ and well, just works. I use the web version as well so this means I can maintain continuity!
  3. Barcode Scanner – A relative new one to my list but have you ever been in a record store (unlikely nowadays) and thought you could get it cheaper on the web? Well you can confirm this right away. I went Christmas shopping with this application in an HMV store and came out with nothing (just a reminder to go online and purchase them from Amazon (or another online store ahem)!).
  4. Adobe Flash – Its on the list because it means I can watch BBC video but honestly I don’t really use my phone for video viewing that much….
  5. SpeedTest – Wondering how fast that wifi network you’ve connected to is? Well this very simple app can tell you and email you an csv file too!
  6. LogMeIn – If you’re the ‘resident tech geek’ in your family or circle of friends then LogMeIn may well be one of your weapons. But what if you’ve not brought your laptop with you and need to help fix something on a family members PC?
  7. Sky+ – I don’t like Rupert Murdock, but lets face it Sky+ is incredibly easy to use at home. This little application lets you view programme listings and set your Sky+ box to record. Make sure you give it at least 30 minutes notice though!
  8. CoPilot Live – SatNav’s are great just use some common sense when following their directions! None are perfect but CoPilot is reasonably priced and has caused me few problems personally.
  9. Amazon Kindle – Working in conjunction with my Kindle 3G I can pick up where I left off and keep reading. Excellent for when I don’t want to take another gadget with me.
  10. Documents To Go – Word, Excel, editor and viewer as well as a PDF viewer. Excellent for when I am accessing my work email on the go.
  11. Google Earth – Not really a work thing but great for looking up places whilst on the sofa, oh and for impressing people.
  12. Wifi Analyzer – for working out those network issues (if like me you provide IT support to family as well!)
  13. Google Goggles – A bit of fun but has great potential.
  14. Google Sky Map – Ever wondered what that twinkling object in the sky was? With this you won’t need to wonder…
  15. TuneIn Radio – A fantastic little app for listening to most radio stations you can think of (I use it for BBC as well as Virgin999 in Toronto, Canada)

Only two games do I actually play with any regularity if I want real gaming I’ll use my PC thanks…

  1. Jewels –Addictive fun and easy to put down when you’ve got more important things to do.
  2. Robo Defence – A bit more of a challenge and but great and simple game play

So that’s all for now I hope you find it a useful starting point for choosing applications to install on your Android phone. If you have any questions or further suggestions just add a comment down below…

ArcGIS name changes… and the path of least resistance.

Just a quick post and some thoughts: ESRI has recently announced that they will be changing their ArcGIS product names.    As you can see (below) the names are more wordy, but crucially they make more sense.   Some will argue (I’ve seen the twitter threads!) that this cosmetic change is pointless, but I disagree.   Not everyone using ESRI’s products is a ‘power user’ and whilst there are those who would argue that ArcView (ArcGIS for Desktop Basic) is a pointless product which serves no ‘real’ (proper maps are done by ArcInfo and ArcEditor, apparently) purpose.    I would argue it is useful tool for many companies and for ESRI it serves as the ‘gateway drug’ to their product line.

I work in an office that uses ArcView (ArcGIS for Desktop Basic) extensively in it’s projects.   We’re not the ‘super-power’ users that some GIS professionals would like people who use ArcGIS to be.  However the product allows us to fit in with other industries/workflows (and some of those mythical power users too!) as well the other professional tools we use on the job.   We do not need the powerful features of ArcInfo and ArcEditor (not yet anyway!).   We are also often constrained to using certain products within our projects by the client.

 

Increasingly in our line of work and client list ArcGIS compatibility is a requirement not an optional extra.   Let me be clear about this though, we are not ‘cheap’ for wanting to use the ‘basic’ version of ArcGIS, we just have different requirements.

Personally I think what might happen next is that ESRI will look at the prices of all these products and do some price ‘adjustments’ (perhaps starting with a price reduction ArcGIS for Desktop Basic).  Why?

Well there are many products out there that do what ArcGIS for Desktop Basic do either for free or at a far cheaper price, and with more features.    ESRI I hope would like to keep those customers so that when they are ready and in need of more features the path of least resistance is up ESRI’s product line and not someone else’s.

Agree or disagree?  Or do you want to raise a further issue?  Use the comments below or drop me a message!