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Since two of my friends have bought new Android phones in the past two weeks, I think it’d be helpful if I wrote up a quick guide and some app recommendations for those entering the Android world.

Quick Tips

Android version numbers went: 1.5, 1.6, then 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3, and now the latest 3.0 release. Starting with 1.5, releases get code-names that start with successive letters of the alphabet, and which are based on “sweet things” or desserts. 1.5 was Cupcake, then 1.6 was Donut. The “Eclair” code-name is applied to both 2.0 and 2.1.

Most modern Android phones should (hopefully) be using at least version 2.2, “Froyo” — or 2.3, “Gingerbread” if they’re nice and up-to-date. The 3.0 “Honeycomb” release is currently intended only for tablets.

Since there’s no way to right-click on things with a touchscreen, Android uses the long-tap, or tap-and-hold, method. This is probably familiar to Mac users already. Try long-tapping on things; you’ll find a lot of features that way.

The home screen is not just one screen; it’s anywhere from 3 to 7 of them, depending on what particular model of phone you’ve got. Just swipe left and right to access the other home screens.

Read the rest of this entry »

Originally published at Coyote Tracks. You can comment here or there.

kai_mactane: (Default)

I’ve actually made some progress on coding projects this weekend. My Palm Prē “Magic 8 Ball” application now responds to the Prē’s accelerometer: if you rotate the Prē, the app stays right-side up (including readjusting the position of the backdrop image). Even cooler, you no longer have to tap a button to trigger the fortune; now you shake the phone instead. (Last Saturday night, a friend expected to be able to shake the phone and have it “shake the magic 8-Ball”. But that wasn’t actually possible for third-party devs like me at the time; the accelerometer support only arrived in the webOS 1.1.0 update, which came out on Thursday.)

I’ve also got a reasonably good script for installing, updating, and uninstalling homebrew apps for the Prē. Instead of the annoying, six-step process for installing homebrew apps on a rooted Prē, I just shell in and type ./homebrew.sh my 8ball, and the homebrew.sh script does it all for me. I need to publish that thing, now that I’ve got it working fairly well.

Additionally, my Japanese sentence generator, called “J-Babble”, now does proper plain past tenses (the -ta and -nakatta forms), which will make it more useful for me as a tool to keep me from backsliding when I’m busy. I’d link to that, but it’s not really a general-use tool yet. It’s more just for me. Maybe some day, I’ll give it the option for people to customize what vocabulary and grammatical forms they know, so it can just generate stuff they have a chance of understanding. For now, though, its use is just for me: when my life gets too busy for me to read my Japanese textbook and try to make new progress, I can at least bring up J-Babble once a day and get 25 randomly-generated, but grammatically correct and semantically sensible, sentences in Japanese. It’s just enough to keep the neural pathways from atrophying; it allows me to hold my place instead of losing ground.

(I’ve gotten some housework done, too, but this isn’t the place to talk about that.)

Originally published at Coyote Tracks. You can comment here or there.

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July 2011

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