Fantastic application. Connect your mobile with the USB cable to your laptop, install driver and EasyTether program on your mobile and use your mobile as a mobile broadband internet connection while you are charging your phone!
This is a fantastic development, when I got my Android phone I missed that kind of application and there was some hacks that could be used but nothing that worked this good.
It does not require a root:ed phone, it just works. The software will soon cost a few bucks but it is well worth it if you want to be able to use your phone as a gateway to the internet.
It also uses the phones built-in firewalling capabilities protecting your laptop from attacks from the outside by filtering various protocols. You might even filter UDP ports (except DNS requests) if you like.
Now there is a spotify client both for the Android and for the iPhone. The client can also sync music for offline listening. This is such great news, I can bring my playlists from spotify where me wherever I go and listen anywhere as long as there is space on my memory card everything should be dandy.
The iPhone version apparently stops playing in the background something Apple demanded it should do, but on the Android background playing works GREAT so now I can strem music while I jog and can set up the playlist on my computer at home or pretty much everywhere and then just sync it with my phone.
So now the phone not only tracks my workout times and distance using the GPS, it also plays the music to my mood and this is something I have been waiting for some time now.
Time to become a premium member, the ad-financed version of spotify does not cover the mobile version but I don’t care. 99 SEK for a month is nothing compared to the joy it is bringing…
I need a good ebook reader. I love ebooks and the idea is great, I even bought several ebooks on fictionwise, a great site for ebooks and I used to read them on my Palm III, then my Palm IV and later my Palm Tungsten device when I got it. However the Palm is such an outdated platform today and I rather not carry the Palm around any more since my mobile can handle most of the functions of the palm but there is one thing it does not have yet, and that is a decent ebook reader.
There are several text file readers and it can also do PDF but the formats offered at sites like fictionwise usually means you need something more efficient than just an ordinary text file reader, you need something that can understand iSilo format and Mobipocket and several others preferably also Microsoft LIT files and so on. There aren’t many great options out there and dedicated ebook readers are expensive these days as well as they are proprietary, not open source, large and clumsy.
I want one for the Android platform. And I want it now.
Since I got my HTC Magic phone, the second generation Android operating system from Google and a lovely phone I have worked out using two different softwares that I would like to share.
These softwares are CardioTrainer and BuddyRunner, two wonderful applications to help you run well when doing exercise. Both offer similar features and are mainly aimed at runners that want to keep statistics on their exercise and perhaps also their competitions.
But what do they do? To make a long story short they are both personal trainers and logging instruments that can upload your running data to a web site where you can review what you have done and compare runs over time.
They are using the GPS in the phone to log your position periodically and thus can calculate your speed. They also measure the time and therefore knows at all times your speed and pace, the distance you have ran so far and in what time you did it. If you are using earphones and listening to music on your Android mobile as you run they will muffle the music or silence it completely and announce the running data periodically.
Feature-wise they are very similar, CT offers more settings to smooth out GPS positions during a run which can be good if you get bad measurements occasionally but won’t really help much in the long run, so to speak, but after testing the two producs side-by-side I can only conclude they are very similar in the distance they measure when running. The distance on both of them is perhaps a bit on the conservative side compared to distance measured on map or with a really good outdoor GPS (Magellan eXplorist XL) which shows a slightly longer track most of the time. Not certain why this is but they seem to be on the conservative side. My 2 km track registers as 1 850 meters roughly and that is 7.5% on the conservative side.
CT has a huge disadvantage for us Europeans, the tracks it records are shown in metric units on the handheld if you set it up to do so, but on the website everything is by imperial measurements which is really sad because it is otherwise a very good application. I have written them and they are looking into developing it. In fact there’s been two new versions of CardioTrainer released recently both with some small improvements.
BuddyRunner however has a really wonderful web site where you can see the run on a Google Maps interface, statistics on your run such as pace for each part of the run, and elevation. It is interesting to see the elevation go up and the pace time per km increase at the same time. You can compare several runs (up to three) download your running track and it keeps tracks of your records, longest, fastest and so on. Over all it is a much more developed web site than CardioTrainer has. However the application on the handheld is less sophisticated, it does not have the same filters and settings as CardioTrainer does and when it speaks to you it always abruptly pauses the music, the CardioTrainer can lower the volume but keep the music running which is better if you are trying to keep your pace to the music.
In the phone however both applications are very similar however and the settings screen also offers settings to change the announcer frequency and the contents of the announcing messages. BuddyRunner performs well int he background but CardioTrainer wants to run in the foreground, otherwise it pauses. CardioTrainer can also automatically play a certain playlist of music for you while BuddyRunner just leaves the music player alone.
Sharing your things with others is easy on the BuddyRunner, the application and webside can write RSS feeds to your Facebook, Twitter or Friendfeed site and so on, you may show your dashboard to anyone you like, they can’t manipulate it unless you log in but they can leave a comment on your run if they want to.
CardioTrainer has a secret passcode to the webside, you can not display it without this code and when you enter the code you may also remove runs and modify the content, so you would not want to post that publicly. There is also right now no integration with Facebook, Twitter and similar sites, no RSS feeds and the tracks can not be downloaded from the site.
In the end the factor that is the most deciding one for me is the website. BuddyRunner has a much better web site and I love the feature that you can download your runs in GPX format to have them displayed on Google Earth or some similar mapping software if you like. Great stuff!
En del har ogillat placeringen av de svenska tangenterna på HTC magic och att de inte ligger helt lättåtkomliga på det fullständiga QWERTY-bordet.
Det finns nu en uppdatering till applikationen Scandinavian Keyboard som kan laddas ned via Android Market och installeras.
När detta är installerat går man in i ”Settings” letar upp ”Locate & Text”, kryssar i ”Scandinavian Keyboard” där. Sedan under fliken ”Scandinavian Keyboard” väljer man svenskt tangentbord.
Det sista man behöver göra är sedan att man står vid ett inputfält och gör ett långt tryck. Då kommer en meny upp där man kan välja ”Input Method”. Välj detta alternativ och sedan ”Scandinavian Keyboard”.
Nu har du ett ersättningstangentbord som kanske fungerar bättre.
If you have like me used the HTC Magic built-in magnetic compass for a while you might have noticed that it is not always properly aligned. Here is a procedure to re-calibrate the compass and accelerometers in the mobile so that it should give you pretty accurate readings once more:
It does not matter if you are running any special software or not but I recommend you put the phone in the desktop home state.
Make sure you are standing in an open space, preferably out doors, away from power lines, rail roads, large magnetic objects.
Hold it flat with the display facing the sky. Hold it steady and make sure you do not drop it in the next moment!
move it in front of you in large figure-8 patterns in five complete rounds.
Hold the phone upright with the display facing your belly.
Repeat the figure-8 movement again for five complete rounds.
The calibration of the compass and accelerometers should now be pretty good.
If at any time you feel the compass is not showing you the right direction or seems ”stuck” even if you are turning, then repeat this calibration and it will come alive again. Certain applications such as the metal detector application may also screw the calibration and you might need to repeat this after using such software.
Om du som jag har använt dig av HTC Magics inbyggda kompass ett tag så har du kanske märkt att den inte alltid visar så rätt. Här nedan följer en procedur hur man kan få den kalibrerad enkelt och visa rätt igen:
Det spelar ingen roll om du kör någon sorts mjukvara eller inte men jag rekommenderar att du stänger av program och låter den vara på den vanliga desktopen.
Se till att du står bra i ett öppet område, helst utomhus och inte i närheten av kraftiga magnetiska fält eller objekt.
Håll telefonen platt i handen med displayen rakt upp mot himlen. Tappa den inte i nästa moment!
För telefonen i stora åttor framför dig i åtminstone fem hela varv.
Håll telefånen nu med högtalaren rakt upp och displayen mot din mage.
För telefonen återigen i åttor framför dig.
Accelerometrarna i telefonen skall nu ha hittat sin jämvikt och kompassen bör stämma relativt väl. Du behöver göra om denna kalibrering ca 1 gång om dagen i normalfallet.
So this is my new friend and toy. I have previously been an Ericsson fan until they released the ridiculous K600i telephone and then I switched to Nokia N95 for a short while and I detested the Symbian OS completely. So then I tried a Windows Mobile based HTC the Dual Touch model and my current work provides me with a HTC S740 which is also a windows mobile but with some nice features like GPS and so on. Last thursday however I went and bought myself the first big Android phone released in Sweden, the HTC Magic through the operator 3.
I can honestly tell you that this mobile has become one of the best gadgets and most useful tools I have ever possessed and in a very nice package. The mobile looks a little bit like an iPhone, slightly smaller display area and with a few more buttons on the front side. However when it is started it is obvious that it har borrowed even more from the iPhone in terms of the interface but also it is far from the special locked down feeling that I get from all Apple’s stuff.
First of all the multiconnector contact on the phone is a slightly modified USB connector. The modification is only there so that you won’t insert audio connectors into a normal USB but they will fit your phone. However normal USB cables will fit the phone so you can connect it to any laptop or desktop PC or mac just like that with any normal USB connector.
The phone charges over USB and syncs really well. This has been the standard for HTC phones for quite some time now and I hope that other makers of phones will abandon their special connector solutions and just use a normal USB plug or a lightly modified one like HTC does.
The battery is depleted quickly if you are surfing a lot, streaming music running the GPS and so on but if you are using it in stand-by mode it will keep you happy for a couple of days at normal use. In the beginning you will probably – like me – need to charge it nighly because it is just so fun to try all the features and bring up the GPS assisted maps, stream YouTube when you are bored and so on. Of course using heavy applications and lots of 3G and HSPA data networks will definitely use up the battery quickly.
But I have no complaints really, if you are conservative with you will probably not have to charge it more than every second or third day. It also recharges pretty quickly if you use the wall plug charger. Charging over USB from a computer that can only deliver 500 mA maximum takes of course much longer.
The software for syncing and backing up is included on the phone. Connect it to your computer using the USB cable, then mount the SD card that comes with it and the sync application, manual et cetera is showing up on a removable disk volume. Just install the software straight from the phone and you are ready. Or look something up in the manual.
Adding your MP3 music is just as easy, just drag them to the music folder on your phone, allow the copy to finish and then you are done. The copying is pretty fast as well, seems to be USB2 which is so much faster than my older HTC mobiles that was taking forever to store music.
Oh, and the mobile can be used like normal whilst connected to the PC with the USB.
Android OS and Interface
The Android OS is developed by Google and this is obvious from start when setting up the phone since it asks for your Google online username and password. Once given to the phone it syncs the calendar and mail account with the online GMail and Google Calendar and many other services you might be using such as GTalk and so on. Lovely stuff if you like the G approach to online life then this phone is definitely for you! It also have mail applications that can handle Exchange mail and normal POP/IMAP accounts as well of course though I have not had much use with these yet and gmail is doing the job rather nicely for me.
The interface is smart, sleek and very fast. I have not been able to make the phone slow down yet with the applications I have been running. The menus just slides out and back again really smooth and nice. The settings in the phone is very logically arranged and it just takes seconds to find something you don’t have to hunt around in an obscure menu system and most of the things just works out of the box.
The on-screen keyboards
There are several of on-screen keyboard to chose from and whenever you touch something to type the phone gives a tactile response by a very short vibration. This is really great because most touch keys are difficult to see if you hit or not because even if the key gives a visual response the finger usually blocks the view! Great thinking here.
Swedish keys are located on one of the keyboards directly and in the others you will have to press the A button or O button down to bring up a row of accented characters and then slide your finger off to the Å, Ä or Ö characers as desired.
The mobile features a GPS receiver, a magnetic compass and accelerometric sensors that can tell how you are holding the phone. And of course google has released a real killer app to go with that, the google stars. Go out on a starry night, give the GPS a few seconds to locate your position (or use the cell towers to triangulate your position down to a few hundred yards accuracy) and then start the Google Stars app and hold the mobile up to the part of the sky you are viewing. Instantly the mobile will show you the stars and their names, constellations, where the polar star is and show you the positions of the planets and so on. I can’t really tell you how fun this is – you just got to try this out yourself. Incredible!
Navigation for car and by foot
Oh I already mentioned the GPS. It loads information over the network where the satellites are so it aquires a position within seconds when outdoor. If it can not find a GPS fix it will still give you pretty accurate position based on information from the cell towers if your operator supports this. The magnetic compass shows where you are heading and the GPS plots your current position on Google Maps. Now just find where you want to go and it will take you there. Really good for finding addresses, stores, shops, people… searching on the map ties in to many other databases on the Internet and usually gives you really accurate information. I am a jogger as you might have come to know by now.
One of the more esoteric application is a metal detector that detects ferro-magnetic materials. It’s quite funny and uses the compass of course to do this but it is great fun. It may even be useful to locate stuff in walls…
The phone with GPS and magnetic compass also have applications for Geocaching through the Application Market (where most apps are free) and I have tried out the GeoBeagle application which is a really great app. Press a key and it will take you to the Geocaching online site listing the closest caches for you that you have not already found. Select one of them and then press view as a google map and GeoBeagle snatches it up, shows you a directional compass where to go, distance, accuracy of your position and you are ready to go.
When you find it you just press a key to log your find (or DNF, did not find, as it may be) and you have logged another cache. So simple
Cardio Trainer application
Yesterday I found another killer app that you can use that plots your running on a google map, keeps track on your progress in tempo (minutes per km or mile) and distance and time in km or miles and minutes. The application can also be set to regularly announce the tempo you are currently keeping and how many kilometers you have been doing so far and on what time. So, with the built in MP3-player and this application I sat off. One minute later the mp3 music fades slightly, then a voice announces that I am doing 6:30 minutes per km. Later on when I reach my first km running the voice tells me that I have now done 1 km in 6 minutes and 52 seconds and so on. Makes you really aware on how fast you are going, if you are keeping a good tempo or slacking off or if you are pushing harder than you wanted. When finished you can upload your track to the web to have more information about it there, share with people or just compare several runs with each other.