Engineernerd’s 5 Favorite Android Apps

July 16, 2010 | By More

We resisted getting “smart” phones for a long time. Why? Probably because Mrs. Nerd and I are from the generation where you only used your cell phone sparingly and didn’t see the point. A phone is for talking right? “Nerdman, pick up eggs on your way home.”

With the combination of Sprint’s latest deal and cell phones that were 3 or 4 years old, we decided it was time to take the plunge. (Yes, I know that’s antique in terms of cell phones.) I did some research online, and my better half made hints for a month before we actually got around to getting them.

To make it easier, we both got the same phone, the Samsung Moment. This has the advantage of being able to share chargers. If you’re part of couple, you really should consider this. It’s especially handy for car chargers. To differentiate them we got different cases. Mrs. Nerd picked a shiny candy apple red number. I picked a rubberized heavy duty Body Glove case.

I need to digress here for a moment. This case is a bit bulky, but I really like the extra protection that it gives my phone. I’m an inadvertent abuser of technology, so it’s a must. I did have a problem with this case originally. The frame over the face kept falling off. I called the support team at Body Glove Mobile customer service. They let me know this was a known issue with this case and arranged to send me a new one when it was available. The new case arrived and fits, well, like a glove. I can’t say enough good things about their customer service.

Back to my phone. I have to say I’ve turned into one of those phone junkies that I never used to understand. Apparently, being able to connect to the web while mobile is influencing my life in ways I didn’t know I was missing. I will say, it’s great being able to check email my personal email when I want, instead of spending 20 minutes every night doing it.

The Moment is an Android operating system phone. As such, there are a number of different applications available for it. I thought I would take a look at my favorite “Apps” that are on my phone right now.

1. Pandora.

This is an extension of the online streaming music website. You enter your likes and the Pandora tailors a station to you. I’ve know about it for awhile, but recently downloaded the app to try while mowing the lawn. Now I’m hooked.

The IT department at work has reiterated several times over the past year not to listen to streaming music and video. Needless to say, I’ve been spinning CD’s. Now, thanks to my phone and desktop speakers, I’m using Pandora to give me my musical boost at work. My current favorite is a station started with surf music legend Dick Dale. Instrumental upbeat guitar music can’t be beat.

2. Seesmic.

Mrs. Nerd is prefers her social media in a longer form and loves Facebook. Me, I have a hard enough time spelling ATM and prefer Twitter. And out of the couple Apps I tried this is the one I prefer. The interface if fairly intuitive and has just about everything I use.

My two favorite features are the built in picture ability and Retweet. You can pick from some of the most popular Twitter picture services and post directly to them as part of a post. The thing I like about Retweet is it gives an option of using the regular Retweet function and one that is “quote” style. This let you edit it and send it as your own tweet.

3. Tricorder.

Alright, this one might seem a little strange at first. It is an App that mimics a Star Trek: The Next Generation Tricorder. For the less nerdy, tricorders are the little scientific scanners that everyone from Spock to Data has carried on Star Trek. This one is done in the LCARS style of the second version of Trek.

The application is cool in that it gives a graphical interface to the phones sensors. The accelerometer, GPS, magnetometer, they are all there. There is a power button for WiFi in there as well. The WiFi portion endeared itself to me when I was troubleshooting a wireless problem with our new printer. No wonder Scotty thought these things were so darn handy.

4. OI Shopping List.

Sometimes it’s the simple things that impress you the most. There are features in this application I haven’t tried, but in it’s basic form the program does exactly what you think. It creates a shopping list. The part I like is that it remembers what you have bought previously and creates drop a drop down to choose from. If you are like me you buy the same things for the most part. Soda, lunches, bread, etc.

The other thing is convenience. I don’t have to try to remember to carry a bunch of slips of paper. If I know we will need dog food later in the week, I’ll add it to my list. Then it’s there when I get to the store.

As you are shopping, a simple touch on item crosses it off. If you have it enabled, shaking the phone clears the crossed off items.

There are themes and addons available, but really the basic version is perfect just the way it is.

5. My Collection (Free Version).

Ever been searching through the $5 bin of DVD’s at Wal-Mart and can’t remember what movies you own? This little program is one solution. My Collection keeps track of your books, CDs, games and DVDs. Each one is in it’s own category. Pretty nifty.

I know, your thinking, I don’t want to type all that stuff in. Well, you don’t have to. If you have a barcode scanner installed, the program lets you scan the barcode then searches the net for the title and author. It also puts a little picture of it next to the title. Great stuff.

People always want to borrow movies and books from me. And I’m okay with it. However, I can never remember who I’ve lent what. This programs helps with that problem too. Simply click on an entry and choose “Loan Out” from the menu. It asks for which contact from your address book. This is cool as it makes sure you have their phone number to tell them they owe you dinner as a late fee.

I know the title is about my favorite five apps, but there’s one more that gets honorable mention. The Cylon Bobblehead App from the SyFy Channel. It is a small diversion that for some reason just makes me smile. You get to choose between modern and classic Toaster versions. The classic is my favorite, because when you tap him, you hear the famous, “By your command” line.

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  1. Tad says:

    AppBrain is a pretty great one, too– it catalogs your apps, compares them against those of people with a similar set of apps, and based on this info, recommends apps to you.

    Oh, and Shazam is pretty amazing– I use it the most to figure out what music people are playing in the background on Youtube videos, actually.

  2. Errex says:

    Neat gadget and cool apps. I am also considering a phone upgrade, but as of yet I’m undecided between an Android phone or an iPhone.

    I think I can wait a little more before deciding, though.

  3. Engineernerd says:

    I’ll have to try both of those. Mrs. Nerd would dig Shazam.

  4. Engineernerd says:

    Apple just seems to have a lot of “planned obsolecence” in their products to me.