©2010 Rena Katinas
Took a photo of Palmer Square and thought I’d have a little fun with it in Photoshop. I’m fairly happy with the results. This is my dog’s favorite spot in Logan Square, a favorite among babies and friendly dogs alike. I would love to get a game of Zombie Run! going here, as Palmer Square is a good 2 blocks long. Plus there’s just enough people stranger than us hanging about, that no one would notice myself and a group of friends running from invisible zombies. Anyone?
When I first heard about the arrival of Android phones, I was overjoyed. As a long time Mac user and not quite so long iPhone wanter, I was happy to see that finally there was competition for Apple’s iPhone. I and many non AT&T customers could not figure out why Apple gave AT&T exclusive rights to the iPhone in the first place. Anyone whose ever had AT&T cellphone service, and hated their treatment of their customers, knows what I mean. I would rather start a fire and use smoke signals to communicate, than be taken on that AT&T hell ride ever again.
Eight long months after Sprint released their first Android phone, the HTC Hero, I finally bought one for $99. No longer am I envious of my friends with iPhones and iPod Touches, and I never, and I mean NEVER will have to consider going back to AT&T. My distaste for AT&T is stronger than my love for Macintosh products, so I’m quite happy I did not have to compromise my anti-AT&T principles.
I’m never going to carry a phone and a separate mp3 player, it’s not practical for me, which is the only reason I wanted an iPhone in the first place. The discovery that my friends could control my iTunes library through their iPhone/iPod using Remote (free at the Apple Store) made me twinge slightly, as I had to physically walk within range of my Mac even to use my cute little Apple Remote, how unfair! I had even considered setting up some small mirrors throughout the house, to avoid having to run to the computer in my bedroom, every time I wanted to skip a track or hear a particular track in my library. Imagine my happiness when I discovered Tunes Remote (free at the Android Marketplace) which allows me access to my entire iTunes library and all my playlists, including the Smart Playlists. Now when I’m painting or chilling in the living room or cooking a meal and listening to music, I can stay right where I am and control iTunes.
Another immediate favorite is the app A Online Radio (also free at Android Marketplace) which allows me to listen to whatever my iTunes library is playing, when I’m nowhere near home, while using the Mac application Nicecast, to stream my music online. This gives me the benefit of not having to add 20,000 songs to my phone’s SD card (which would never fit anyway) in order to listen to whatever I’m in the mood for.
What if I left the house without leaving iTunes playing and Nicecast streaming? No problem, because LogMeIn (again, free at Android Marketplace) allows me to access my Mac where ever I am, and turn on iTunes and Nicecast. It’s no more difficult to use than Screen Sharing, where I can use any Mac on my network, from my Mini. The nice thing about LogMeIn, is I can use my phone’s internet connection to access my computer, and am not limited to only using an available WiFi signal (if there’s one available.)
What is really helpful, is the ability to continue to scrobble my music to Last.fm, which is a very important feature for me. It always irritated me that my mp3 player did not scrobble my music, neither during the actual listening nor after the fact, once my mp3 player was plugged into my Mac. Last.fm’s Android app scrobbles my music as I’m listening from my phone. Plus I can use the Last.fm app to listen to my Last.fm library, playlists and recommendations.
If I thought things couldn’t get any better, I soon found iSyncr, which syncs my iTunes playlists with my phone’s music player and syncs my phones music play count with my iTunes Smart Playlists (eg: Top 25 Most Played, etc.) There is a free version of iSyncr, but $3.00 for the paid version is money well spent, for the ability to create playlists larger than 20 songs.
Now, I can honestly say to Apple, you can keep your iPhone, I don’t want one, and really mean it. All that’s left for me to complete my Android joy, is to find some awesome sounding headphones or earbuds for less than $40.
One other note, all these apps mentioned worked fine on Android 1.5 and continue to work on Android 2.1 Eclair, yay!