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Google Now Launcher – Screen Rotation!

Screenshot_20170908-112111

Finally, Google’s Now Launcher – which is the launcher of all my Android devices finally supports screen rotation.

I’m honestly not sure if this feature has been around in the past…

My app was updated this morning and found this option inside settings.

Screenshot_20170908-112057

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Ampere (Android App)

I have written a few things about apps… There’s BBM, Sphere and Google’s Camera.

Honestly, I’ve stopped using BBM and Sphere, and I only use Google Camera when I need to take photo spheres.

Then I’ve read about Ampere!

Believe me, everyone should install this app… Only issue is that it requires Lollipop!

For the past year, I’ve needed almost half a day to charge my Nexus 7 and Note 2.

My Note II even discharges when connected to a 1000mAh car charger while using Waze and Hotspot at the same time!

Just this week I found out that the problem is NOT my device nor is it my charger.

All I needed to do was replace my USB Cable!

Ampere measures the power of your charger.

Since my Note 2 and tablets requires around 1,000mAh to charge, charging on an iPhone (or older) charger will take forever.

With the help of Ampere, I learned that charging on the USB cable I was using varies… The figures changed everytime I moved my device, but best output I got was 700mAh.

Now with my new cable, I’m getting a minimum of 980mAh and I only need 3 hours to fully charge my phone (using my external charger)!

BBM for Android and iOS… Now What?

Just installed BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) on my Note 2

After the long wait, it’s nice to see BlackBerry fulfill its promise of bringing BBM to a larger audience…

Now what…

After installing BBM, I noticed that I have 3-4 contacts left who still use the service.

Most of my contacts now use WhatsApp and Viber which are also cross platform and both does not require you to ask for another user’s PIN.

Problem I can see here is the PIN.

BBM was from a time when users of IMs needed a PIN (Personal Identification).

For Skype, you need to know the other person’s Skype ID. Yahoo/Gmail Address for Yahoo Messenger and Hangouts (formerly known as GTalk).

We don’t normally provide our personal email addresses and Skype IDs to strangers… We either use our company mobile phone number or company email addresses.

This is where WhatsApp and Viber have an edge. You only need to save your contact’s mobile phone number and you’ll immediately know if the person uses the service. It’s convenient and safe.

Some might argue that Apple’s iMessage is better and simpler compared to WhatsApp and Viber… My only issue with iMessage is that if the other person presently doesn’t have data coverage, an SMS is automatically sent which may cause additional costs if the other person is overseas… Another issue is that a user must use an Apple product to use iMessage.

Maybe it would have been better if BlackBerry released BBM earlier when all our PINs were still active…Maybe it would have been even better if they no longer required PINs for their users…

As of now, it’s too early to tell if BBM will be back to its good old days…

Sphere App (Android)

TourWrist to Sphere

Just received an email this morning saying that Sphere is replacing TourWrist.

Sphere for Android and for iOS

I normally use my TourWrist account to share my 360 Panoramas/Photospheres.

Google+ is a great option, but when my photos are not geo-tagged (taken indoors), I prefer to upload and share them using TourWrist.

So what’s different?

Strangely, I was still able to see the TourWrist app at the Play Store.

Other than the change in name and icon, I lost the option to create 360 Panoramas using the App…

The Camera on the upper right section is no longer there… It never graduated from Beta anyway and it’s almost useless!

Here’s how TourWrist looked like

TourWrist

 

And here’s Sphere.

Sphere

 

Did you notice the missing camera icon on the upper right side?

Here’s a sample photo I have taken using the TourWrist App.

And here’s a sample photo using Android 4.2’s stock camera.

TourWrist is a great and fun way to share your Photospheres.

Here are the only issues I have against it… (Please note that issues are there as of writing this post, I may not update this post for every improvement on the App and Website)

Sharing to Facebook, Twitter and Google+ is difficult using the TourWrist website.
Why do I want to use their website to share my Panoramas? The mobile app doesn’t have an upload option and as I mentioned earlier, the create option was also removed.

Once Panoramas are shared, clicking the link will not open the Sphere App even if it’s installed on your device (as tested with a Note II and S4). The Panoramas will be viewed using your browser which is not ideal especially on mobile devices.

Loading of Panoramas are slow… So slow that I can’t imagine opening a Panorama using 3G!

Would also be nice if Sphere/TourWrist allows us to add Tags/Hashtags to descriptions of photos!

For people like me who loves to take and share Panoramas, TourWrist is a good alternative to Google+, it just needs some polishing and maybe… more users!

Goodbye… Pebble Watch (Why the Pebble Smart Watch was NOT for me)

My decision to sell my Pebble Watch was a big surprise for people who knew me…

Officially sold it last Friday, 10 May 2013 and earning a hundred dollars was a “good (and easy) reason” for explaining my side.

Here’s a quick history… Made my pledge to Pebble’s Kickstarter last April 23, 2012 (USD 115.00 + USD 15.00 for shipping). My watch officially arrived last March 27, 2013!

Don’t get me wrong… My Pebble Watch performed really (surprisingly) well, used it once for testing and I cannot find any reason to sell it.

However, when I placed it beside my other watches, I suddenly felt that it came a little too late…

Here are the reasons why I decided to sell it and maybe reasons why the Pebble Watch is not for you…

1. I’m now a Samsung Galaxy Note II user, when I made my pledge a year ago; I was still using my iPhone 4. With the iPhone 4, I seldom used instant messengers like Whatsapp and Viber since my family primarily used iMessage. The Pebble Watch will not only show SMS/iMessage notifications, you can also read your message.

When switched to the Note II, I had to use Whatsapp and Viber since I did not want to use too much SMS. The Pebble App needs to be activated on my Note II’s accessibility settings so that Whatsapp notifications can be pushed to my watch. This will NOT allow you to read your Whatsapp messages from your watch; it will only notify you that you have a new Whatsapp message.

Viber is not yet supported by the Pebble App, you can install Pebble Notifier if you want additional ALL notifications pushed to you watch.

The Pebble Notifier also works as advertised… But I only saw notifications… I wasn’t able to read messages.

Another issue is that my phone runs on stock TouchWiz, I have no time to root or install third party launchers. TouchWiz has an issue where my phone speaks (Folder Open and Folder Close) when I activate the Pebble App/Notifier on my accessibility options.

2. The Pebble Watch uses a rechargeable battery! There were weekends when I just wanted to pickup my Pebble Watch and use it… Biggest problem is that once I pick it up, the battery is low and needs charging.

The CooKoo Watch and Casio’s GB6900 and GB5600 both use disposable batteries which means I will be able to pick it up and go.

3. The Pebble Watch’s battery cannot be replaced. Based on my experience with electronic devices… These things almost last forever… Just like my old iPod’s, they just keep working.

However, I (personally) collect watches… I do not own high end brands (like Rolexes and Omegas) but I do not want to let go of my watches. Other that my wedding ring, a watch is the only jewelry I wear… Yes, I think watches are a man’s jewelry…

Since the Pebble Watch will be a “part” of my collection, at the back of my head, I know a day will come when it will stop charging since the battery is dead and I will have to let it go…

2-3 years from now, using the first gen Pebble Watch will look strange compared to G-Shock’s GB6900/GB5600. I believe both watches from Casio will still be useable even if their not connected to my Smartphone.

4. The Screen has very low resolution! 114×168 to be exact. There are a lot of Watch Faces available but thanks to its screen, few looked good.

5. It’s plastic! I have nothing against plastic watches… If done correctly!

But the Pebble Watch attracts finger prints! Its also has a cheap feel that small accidental bumps might scratch it! The Pebble’s physical looks (and material) also made it almost impossible for me to wear it at the office. I have seen screen protectors for the Pebble and 22mm watch straps can fit perfectly to replace its rubber straps but I just didn’t want to spend on it anymore.

I love the idea of Smart Watches. Maybe I’ll just have to wait for future versions before I purchase one again.

The Pebble Watch may not be for me but it’s definitely a great watch! For those interested in buying a Pebble Watch, you can order here.

Shot Note (for iOS)

This is one of the most interesting Apps I have seen and tried.

Its for all those iPhone/iPad users who cannot let go of their pen and paper.

I myself use pen and paper for my meetings since my colleagues (and bosses) are not yet comfortable in seeing someone taking notes using an iPhone (or a BlackBerry).

After every meeting, I re-write important items on my PC using OneNote.

With Shot Note, I do not have to re-write my notes after every meeting, all I have to do is take a photo of the notes I have written using my iPhone.

Here’s sample so that you can see how it works, just install the App and take a photo of this note.

Click here for a larger photo

Once your Note is saved, you can send it by email or to Evernote.

I honestly started using Evernote because of Shot Note!

Here are a couple of comments I have which are against Shot Note.

1. It uses a special paper that are not easily available in stationary shops here in Singapore.

2. Notes are not uploaded in the cloud, you’ll really need Evernote to access your notes across devices.

3. Import “scanned notes” option is not available, if you have more than 10 pages of notes, it will be difficult to take photos of them individually. It would be better if you can just scan you documents and import .jpg files.

4. I haven’t installed/tried the iPad version of this App but I cannot imagine taking a photo of my Notes using the iPad’s camera.

5. Android version in English is not yet available.

Here’s how the sample note above will look like while a photo is being taken.

Here’s how it will look like in Shot Note

Note Number and Date will also be added automatically (as long as you write it in the paper).

For multiple notes (as mentioned in item #3 above) I have just decided not to use Shot Note and directly upload my Notes in Evernote, here’s how it will look like if the Notes are scanned in jpg format.

I really love Shot Note, I find it very convenient to use for organizing quick and short notes, its like a Post-it that you don’t have to stick on your phone. If you intend to write long notes and have an access to a good scanner, then Evernote can definitely do the job alone.

Shot Note cannot replace my notebook, but my Post-it’s days are numbered.

Fo more information about Shot Note, click here to visit their website.