Alcatel ended my long, stupid smartphone search with the Idol Onetouch 3

My recent relationship with my smartphones the past year have been interesting, to say the least.  Between ruining my Android installation to the point I couldn’t update my HTC One M7, to the Nexus 6 which liked to shut off randomly, on to a phone too slow for me to use, to the Alcatel One Touch Idol 3… all the way back to my HTC One M7 (not for lack of want on the Alcatel, there’s more of an explanation below).

I’m going to briefly go over my history leading up to the Idol below, but you can skip that section if you just want to read about my experience with the Idol Onetouch 3 (from here on out, Idol). Continue reading

Feedly Users, Beware of the Corgi (Lock Screen Replacement)

unnamedI am not a stupid person, but sometimes I do stupid things.  Well, at least I don’t think I’m stupid.

I also don’t want to drag a dev of a small (and potentially great) Android app down, but there needs to be a slight warning with this one.

First off, Feedly is my personal favorite RSS reader and has been since I had to replace Google Reader.  At this point it’s better than Google Reader ever was, so I’m not as bitter as I first was once Google announced the retirement of Reader.

Corgi for Feedly is a newer app for Android which looks to take your feeds from Feedly and put them onto your lock screen, even with the ability to have an unlock pattern for security.  The app looks nice and I loved the idea so I gave it a try.

Upon setting up Corgi, you need to log-in to one of their various options to link Feedly to Corgi.  The setup was simple enough and I was scrolling through my new lock screen to see how it worked.  I’m not sure on the order of the items it pulls from Feedly, I think it’s just the most recent articles.  Swipe left to see another article and right to unlock the screen.

The only setting you have, other than the lock screen pattern, is an option to see all your feeds and, if you like, click “Unsubscribe”.

So I went through and clicked unsubscribe on the stuff I didn’t want to show on the lock screen, common sense told me this was fine.  Then I went into my Feedly app and saw that… clicking unsubscribe in Corgi didn’t just remove feeds from Corgi.  IT REMOVES THEM FROM FEEDLY.

My last ditch effort to immediately uninstall Feedly from my phone, thinking I was at least saving my desktop version (and thus, my feeds) proved to be fruitless.  Damn you, Feedly!  Why must you sync so quickly?

Now, I’d have no problem with this if the app told me this is what would happen.  I’ve used other apps and widgets that plugged into Feedly and they don’t remove (or add) anything to your Feedly if you’re doing something through whatever the 3rd party (to Feedly) app is.

Sadly, Corgi doesn’t tell you this, it just lets you ruin your Feedly settings without a warning.  I rarely write a review for an Android app, but this one I did.  Props to the dev as they (He?) responded and said this issue was going to be cleared up.  Quote is below.

Having to replace 90% of my Feedly feeds was maybe a blessing in disguise.  I found a few new ones and got rid of some I was passing over.  So, thanks for that.

This could be fixed by tomorrow for all I know, rendering this post immediately useless, but just check their update log on the Play Store to make sure this has been fixed before you go unsubscribing.

Hi Curtis. We are very sorry, for putting you in this situation. We are fixing this issue as we speak. After the next update, Corgi will copy all of your Feedly subscriptions once, and then when you unsubscribe, it will only unsubscribe from Corgi. Once again sorry for the inconvenience. Our team is working hard to fix this.

Cheap Crap from China: Zune 120/80 Crystal Clear Case

Often times there are sites for a certain products (take the iPod or Zune for instance) that have massive review sections of every accessory you can think of. They take a real serious look at things like cases, FM transmitters and other random things you never knew you need. Unforgettably, something always gets left out. The cheap crap from China. You know the stuff. You can find millions of pieces of cheap crap from China on eBay and even in same cases on Amazon. Here is one such piece of cheap crap, the Crystal Clear case for the Zune 120 or Zune 80.

I wanted a case after I got my Zune just because I always like having a little extra protection on my music player. From my days as an iPoder I always had to have a case because the iPod got scratched if you looked at it the wrong way. While the Zune is no where near as fragile as the iPod classic is, I still thought a case wasn’t a bad idea. So here was my first purchase. I got this off eBay for 8 dollars with shipping included. Compared to the $30 dollars I would waste on an iPod case (sorry, I just thought iSkin made great stuff) this seemed like a deal.

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Screenshot Tutorial: Using Zuse to scrobble Zune software plays to Last.fm

Zuse LogoA little while back, I did a screen shot tutorial on how to use Zenses.  Zenses is a program that will scan your Microsoft Zune (and other media players not named iPod) and scrobble listened tracks to your Last.fm profile.  Zuse all scrobbles tracks to your profile, but Zuse is used with the Zune 3.0 (or 3.1) software to scrobble software plays.  Just to clarify the difference so everyone can understand… Hardware plays are the plays that have taken place on your actual media player while not hooked up to a PC.  Software plays are plays counted from software that was used to play music on your PC.  Window’s Media Player and iTunes easily support the Last.fm plug-in so they scrobble plays very easily.  Unfortunately Microsoft has not opened the Zune software for use with plug-ins so the Zune software does not have an official Last.fm plug-in to use to scrobble plays that take place in the Zune software.

Thankfully, there are people smart enough and motivated enough to create software to get around these obstacles us non-iPoders face.  Zenses works flawlessly for most people, and in my short amount of time with Zuse I feel that we have a valid solution for both the software and hardware plays we want on our profiles.  All credit for creating the software goes to Zach Howe who has developed the software.  The best resource for the software is a tie between the Google Code page (that is where you should download the latest version) and the Last.fm group page.  I am doing this tutorial on my own, no one else has, so I figured someone should.

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Screenshot Tutorial: Using Zenses to Scrobble Zune Tracks to Last.fm

Since the Zune has become a more complete media player it has gained in popularity, though still not even close to competing with Apple’s line of personal media players.  Now that the Zune is finding its way into more people hands, more people want the thing to work with Last.fm.  For some reason Microsoft has no problem allowing plug-ins for Windows Media Player (which easily supports Last.fm) but has kept the Zune software closed.  Thankfully there are a lot of smart people out there who want to make this work no matter what the obstacles.  One such person is Last.fm member Machiventa who maintains the Zenses group at Last.fm (program developed by Daryl Rowland).  To download Zenses please go to the Last.fm group.  For the purpose of this tutorial I am using Zenses version 0.2 and Zune software 3.1.  If you follow this step by step you should be able to scrobble all tracks played on your Zune.  All credit for the program and instructions go to the original creator, I am merely adding screen shots for visual learners.  All images below can be clicked on so that you can see the full shot for easier viewing.  Click to read on…

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Fight To the Death: iPod Classic (6g) vs. Zune 120

This dude likes the Zune a bit too much

This dude likes the Zune a bit too much

So I am in the market for a new MP3 player and I have been using an Apple iPod for the past 6 years.  First I got a 40gb 4th generation right upon release and then upgraded it about a year ago to a 30gb 5.5 generation.  The 5g I have has had a battery problem and unfortunately was not under warranty (thanks to Amazon selling me a refurbished model without me knowing) so I have to constantly keep it on a charger as the battery drains in about 4 hours whether I am using it or not.  It’s probably a firmware problem and I’m not smart enough to backdate firmware.  So this means I am in the market for a new media player.

If this was 2 or 3 years ago, there would be no argument here.  It’d be the iPod all the way.  Zunedidn’t really show up as an honest competitor until September of last year, when it released the Zune 80, 2nd generation.  Now that the Zune is one year older it continues to bring the heat to Apple’s only large hard drive based player.  One other thing to keep in mind, if Apple would stick a 120gb HD in the Touch, there would be no argument.  It would be the Touch all the way.  But for users like me, with a large collection, these are the two best options.

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Thanks for showing up, Microsoft

It may have taken them a while, but Microsoft is finally going to the web with their office suite.  Starting sometime early in 2009 programs like Word, Excel and Exchange will all have web based entries into the world of computing.  Part of me wonders why Microsoft has taken so long to do this.  Google Docs has been doing it for years as a web based service and there have been viable desktop alternatives like OpenOffice.org, both of which have made a (small) dent in MS’s rather expensive office suite.  The bottom line is this can only be a good thing for computer users.  When Microsoft and Google do the same thing, other companies take notice and see how they can compete or join in.  The result should be some fantastic online office suites in the next few years.  Can’t wait to see what this looks like.

Via: BBC News