Saturday, December 26, 2009

Droid Fixes & Apps

Today I'm going to do a tech blog for Motorola Droid people.
I've had the Motorola Droid for over a month now.  I'm very happy with it.  We've just had an over the air update.  I was hoping it was going to fix some of the problems, but I didn't really notice any huge differences.  Here is my list of droid issues that I think should be addressed in the next update.  I'm hoping that someone who can actually do something about this will read this list.
1. Copy & Paste - This is by far the most irritating feature.  There needs to be an easier way to do this.  3rd party apps have it down, but the android OS doesn't.  The e-mail app and the browser app have different methods for copy & paste and both are cumbersome.  There needs to be a universal copy & paste method and it needs to be as simple as a long press and slide like every other touch screen device.
2. E-mail zoom - I have no trouble reading e-mails, but friends of mine who are droid users have complained that there is no zoom in the e-mail app.  In all honesty, there is no reason why there shouldn't be a zoom here.
3. Video zoom - As big and bright as the screen is, I would still like to see a feature to either zoom or stretch (or both) video.  My 5 year old ipod has this feature, why doesn't the droid have it?  On a hand held device, I don't want to see any black bars while watching video.
4.  Horizontal On Screen Keyboard Glitch - Sometimes the horizontal keyboard doesn't display text as your typing.
5. Auto Quit - I think a way to automatically quit apps should be added with user control.  I just think that sometimes apps run in the background when they don't need to and this drains the battery. I think it would be cool if you were able to tell the droid how long each app should idle for automatically quitting.
6. E-mail Glitch - My e-mail frequently stops auto refreshing.
7. Notifications - Notifications are a strong point on this phone, but I think it would be better if you could set individual ring tones for different types of notifications.  I think text messages, voice mails, updates, and other notifications should all have ringtone options.
8. Faster Load on Camera App - I think there should be an option to keep the camera app running in the background so you can load it faster.  I find myself missing a lot of good photo ops waiting for the camera to come up.
9.  Droid Market sorting options - For a relatively new OS, the android market has a large number of apps.  However, finding the app you want is an overwhelming task because there is no advanced search or sorting options on the droid market.  I think you should be able to sort by price, rating, release, etc...
10. Keyboard - The vertical on screen keyboard is very cramped and almost impossible to type on accurately.  I think they need to make the keys a little smaller and have dead spaces in between them to prevent typos.
11. Visual Voice Mail and WiFi - Visual Voicemail doesn't work while you're on a WiFi network.  This seems like a silly problem.
12.  Google Earth - There is no Google Earth app for this phone.  Let me rephrase that.  Google Earth doesn't work on the Google Phone.  Can we please fix this?
13.  Microphone - My biggest problem with the phone is the microphone's directionality.  Unless I'm talking directly into the phone, no one can hear me.  When I'm in the car on speaker phone, it works fine.  I can whisper in a noisy car and people can hear what I'm saying, but when I hold the phone up to my face, it sounds like I'm mumbling unless I can consistently hold the phone in the sweet spot.  I don't know if this can be fixed in the update, but it would be great if the microphone didn't have such hardcore off axis rejection.
14.  Multi-touch gestures - I have apps on my phone right now that use pinch zoom.  This should be a standard feature in the OS.  There is no satisfactory reason for it's absence.  I've heard rumors that Verizon crippled this feature to give customers a reason to buy the Eris, but that just sounds like bad business to me.  There is no good reason to cripple the best device that you offer.
So that's my list of suggested fixes.  Now here's a list of apps that droid users should download from the market.  Most of these are Free:
1. Xscope Browser - This is a basic browser, but it gives you a multi-touch pinch zoom.  It's slower than the regular browser, but it will satisfly your iphone jones.  Dolphin browser is also a good multitouch app.
2. Advanced Taskill - This tells you what programs are currently running and lets you quickly quit them.  This will save your battery life and free up memory.
3. Explorer by Speed Software - Since the droid has no file explorer, you're going to need this to view the contents of your internal memory and SD card.
4. To Do List by Makeraman - A simple to do list to replaced my task list from my old windows mobile phone.
5.  Notes by Yuli - This is also a simple app that is just a notepad.  I use it quite a bit.
6.  Talk to me Keyboard by pwn with your phone - This lets you speak into your phone and it converts your speech to text.  It's useful for doing verbal replies to text messages.
7. Droid LED Flashlight - This uses the droid's flash as a flash light.
8. Pandora - This is awesome.  It streams music to your phone and it sounds amazing and you can customize what you listen to.
9. Documents To Go by DataViz - This is basically MS Office for your phone.  Comes with a word program, excel, power point, and pdf.
10. Fandango - Check out movie times, buy tickets, and watch trailers

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big gig coming up

I know this is a last minute thing, but I'm playing a gig this friday (december 18th) with a killer line up.  On drums we have Jules Radino from Blue Oyster Cult.  Jules joined BOC around the same time that I joined.  He's a fantastic drummer with a great feel.  On bass will be Danny Miranda.  Danny was also a member of Blue Oyster Cult, but most recently he was the bass player for the hugely successful Queen + Paul Rodgers world tour. You heard freakin' favorite band!  Danny is one of the heaviest bass players I've ever heard.  We we will be joined by lovely and talented Ann Marie Nacchio on vocals, and the equally lovely and talented Andy Ascolese on keyboards.
I just got the call for this gig last week and I was lucky enough to be able to get Jules and Danny to play on it.  I'm also working on getting some more special guests to come up and jam with us.  I'm looking forward to playing this show and I think it will be a lot of fun.  It's at Rhythm & Brews (1674 Richmond Rd. Staten Island, NY) at 10:30 pm on Friday the 18th of December.  Make sure you come out to this show!
Here's some news about my thursday live karaoke gig.  Unfortunately, it's been cancelled.  We may try it again at a later date, but for now, there will be no more thursday night live karaoke with Sleeve of Wizard.
I'm also looking for other places to bring MorningStarlett.  Any ideas?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What a show tonight!

I just played a show with my cover band, Hit Me With It at a great bar/restaurant called the Dugout pub.  I wasn't really expecting the show to be anything special for various reasons, but the show ended up being extraordinary.  I thought the band sounded very good, but it was the audience who made the show great.  We had great guests come up and jam, plus a lot of dancers in the audience.  We also had a super cool group of people from Tokyo tear it up on some Stray Cats.  It was freakin' awesome.  I had so much fun tonight, I almost forgot that it was a gig!

Thanks to everyone who showed up!

Now on another note, these are my current favorite things:

Dragon Age Origins
Arizona Arnold Palmer Lite
Pandora Radio
Paul Gilbert Intense Rock
Ninja Assassin
John Woo's Red Cliff
The Big Bang Theory


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hit Me With It and Klingons.

We had Hit Me With It rehearsal today. As usual it was a marathon rehearsal where we went over 30+ songs. We're playing at the dugout pub on saturday night in Staten Island. If you haven't seen us recently, we're playing with Rob Kipp on keys and Phil Magallanes on bass. Phil is moving to Florida soon so this will be his last show with us. If you've never heard Phil play, make sure you get to hear this amazing musician live in person while you still can!

In other news, I must clear up something that my friend Damian brought up today while watching the new Star Trek movie. He made a comment about how all alien races in Star Trek look like humans with only minor variations. I feel the need to explain this for all the non- trekkies who are curious...

In Star Trek lore, all of the humanoid races are decendants of one race. This ancient race of people developed space travel long before the dawn of 'istory and populated various planets. Through evolution, each group adapted to its planet's conditions over the millenia. This is why all humanoid species look slightly different.

I hope that this clears up this very important matter for you.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Testing out the new blog

I'm trying to see how this works from the phone.


New Blog, New Calendar

In my onging effort to get better at the internet, I've been making a few changes on my site.  I hope these changes are for the better.

First, I switched to a google calendar.  This allows me to change all my dates from one place.  I can change gig information on my phone and it automatically changes on my website and on facebook.  This is a huge time saver and is far less tedious than the previous method I was using.

I'm also trying to find away to make blogging a little easier.  This is my first attempt, and hopefully it shows up in all the right places.