Installing Non-Market Apps

So you found a cool app you want to try out, but when you click on the download link it doesn’t take you to the familiar grounds of the Android Market.  A great example of this is the Amazon App Store application.  It makes sense that you wouldn’t find a link to this great application on the Android Market, because it is a direct competitor.  Another great example is the large number of apps that are available on http://code.google.com.

The first thing you are going to need to know is that out-of-the-box the Android system won’t let you install anything non-market.  BUT, there is an incredibly easy workaround to this problem. All you have to do is select the little “Settings” icon from your main menu, and choose the “Applications” menu.  Once you are there you will see a little icon that looks like the below image.  Along with a little checkbox labeled “Unknown Sources”.  This would be that quick fix. 
Just check the box and you are all set.  
Next, simply load up your browser to one of the above mentioned sites and click download.  You will notice that the file being downloaded ends in .APK.  This is the standard format for an android application.  If you find that it is a zip your best bet is to hook up to a computer and unzip the file.  You can also do this with a few different programs, right on your phone. Just fire up Android Market and search for unzip.  If you decide to go that route you will also want to look into a File Manager app, so you can view your memory card – especially the “Downloads” folder.
This is a great trick that doesn’t force you into hacking/rooting your phone at all, and a relatively safe trick too.  Post up a comment if you have any questions.
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Root – The “What?” “Why?” “How?” Article

(Me in my younger days.)

So you bought yourself a nice little android phone and are wondering what more you can do with it?  I mean you are probably already bored with the hundreds of thousands of apps that are available to it, let alone the amazing built-in capabilities it already has, like the calendar and email and browser.  So what more can you do with it?

Before I get ahead of myself and jump into the “Why?” portion of the article, I want to tell you a little about what rooting your phone actually is. The wonderful humans that put together Wikipedia define Rooting as:

Rooting is a process that allows users of cellphones and other devices running the Android operating system to attain privileged control (known as “root access”) within Android’s Linux subsystem, similar to jailbreaking on Apple devices running the iOS operating system, overcoming limitations that the carriers and manufacturers put on such phones.

Therefore Rooting would be the equivalent of that little popup you get in Windows 7 (Or Ubuntu/Linux) when you want to make a change to something.  The difference is that in the world of cell phones you can’t just accept a change and be done with it, because it is blocked by the manufacture. I don’t think that it is blocked to take away you humanly freedoms, or to take away the fun of it.  It’s there because people are dumb by nature and if phones came out without any sort of security on them they would all get messed up by the end user…

So now onto the “Why?”.  Although it seems like I have a million reasons, I have it narrowed down to the 5 greatest things you can do with a rooted phone.  I will look at each of these in more details over the next few days.

1. The ability to use your phone’s internet on your laptop. (for FREE)
2. Enhanced Apps to SD.
3. Over/UnderClocking
4. Custom Roms.
5. Get apps not “approved” for your phone.

Sounds pretty cool, huh?  You are probably asking yourself, “How can I do this to my new shiny Android phone.  Well before you just jump right in, keep in mind.  Doing this may void your warranty, and/or disable your device – and by disable I mean brick your device.  And yes, the name means just what you would think. Turn your phone into a brick.  Also keep in mind that I have seen a lot of you humans attempt to root your phones successfully. As long as you follow the specified directions for your make and model you will probably be fine, but either way I am not liable for any damage – besides… I am a robot anyway. Who takes advice from a robot…

So the moral of this article is that you will need to do a little research on directions for you specific make and model.  A great place to search is the XDA site. There is a section for a majority of all phones released in the US, and around the world. So do up the research and post any questions you might have.

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Amazon Free App of the Day – Convertr

Convertr – Normally $.99, today FREE.
From Amazon.com:
Convertr

Length: inches to yards
Convertr

Adjust result precision
Convertr

Configure unit categories
The Only Unit Converter You’ll Ever Need
If it’s convertable, Convertr can calculate it, instantly and accurately.
From angles, to energy, to mass, to torque, and many more, find exact conversion of units in precision that you can set to 12 decimal places.
A Wide Range of Conversion Units
For example, in the Angle category, you can convert units of degree, radian, grad, mil, and revolution from one to another. For Area, you can convert units of square inch, square foot, square yard, square mile, square millimeter, square centimeter, square meter, square kilometer, acre, and hectare from one to another. Length has 26 conversion units, Mass has 16, Volume has 48, etc.
Convert Units in These Categories:
  • Angle
  • Area
  • Currency
  • Data Rate
  • Data Size
  • Density
  • Energy
  • Force
  • Frequency (disabled by default)
  • Fuel
  • Length
  • Mass and Weight
  • Power
  • Pressure
  • Speed
  • Temperature
  • Time
  • Torque
  • Typography
  • Volume
Elegant Function with No Clutter
Convertr is designed for fast, efficient, and visual unit conversion on your smartphone. Its uncluttered layout won’t get in the way when you want to make conversions quickly.
Currency Converter Par Excellence
Do you need to make multiple currency conversions? Perhaps as many as 61 different currencies? No problem for Convertr.
With the Currency Updates feature, you won’t have to wonder if today’s rates are different than those the app is using. With data connection, Convertr automatically keeps its currency values up to date.
Favorites
Do you like the idea of having so many categories of units available, but can’t imagine yourself scrolling endlessly through the categories list for units you use often? You can mark categories of units you use a lot as favorites. Then, whenever you want to make a quick calculation, just tap the Favorites button and only those categories you’ve marked come up in the list. Did we mention uncluttered and quick?
Rate and Follow
This app is well supported by Vervv, the developer, and you are welcome to follow its progress on Twitter. You can also rate the app on the Amazon Appstore using a handy link in the app.

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Welcome Post

Starting today I decided to share some Android info. As an old bot I have spent my life as an android, so you can expect to see the best and most accurate info in the world posted right here on this site.

I plan to cover everything from how to use your Android device to how to hack your Android device, plus all things in between.  I will share with you some apps that might help you be more productive, or just have a little fun.

So be ready for a lot more, and if you like what you see click the “RSS Feed” link at the top, or copy and paste the link into your favorite RSS reader (like Google Reader).

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Bunch of New Stuff for Sale

I loaded up the Cragslist with a bunch of new stuff I would like to get rid of.  I decided this time to make is a “name your own price” sort of thing in the hopes of getting some more interest in the stuff.  I have to say that the deeper and deeper I dig into storage, the more interesting the stuff is becoming…

For Sale:
Gameboy Advance – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/vgm/2397518416.html
Palm OS PDA – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/ele/2397822087.html
Pet Cage – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/for/2401032706.html
Snappy – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/sys/2401038327.html
Gamegear Games – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/vgm/2401046160.html
Palm Treo 700WX – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/mob/2401058976.html
Bed Rail – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/bab/2401067246.html
Media Duplication Boards – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/sys/2401083403.html
PowerMac Processor – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/sys/2401102324.html
Motorola Droid a855 – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/mob/2419500498.html
Palm Treo 700P – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/mob/2419530774.html
Comic Books – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/clt/2440068027.html
1991 Topps Baseball – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/clt/2440113568.html
1991 MusiCards – http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/csw/clt/2440143489.html

Well that is it for now.  I need to find more of my sports cards and get them up for sale.  Maybe an ebay sale too…  Have to see what I find…

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Past Car Troubles

On my way into work today I saw a car that had broken down on the shoulder of the road, and behind it, stopped to help was a full tractor trailer. It reminded me of my issues I had a few weeks ago, and that I hadn’t taken the time to post about it.

It was the week that I started my new hire training with Sprint and was commuting into the twin cities, which is between an hour to an hour and a half commute. I had known that my tires were in need replacements because one just kept losing air. 

I had given myself an hour and 45 minutes to get there that morning, just to make sure I could find the place and get myself settled in for the week. I was driving along, like normal, going 5 to 8 miles per hour over the speed limit, which would make my speed 75 to 78, and I felt a vibration in the steering wheel. My initial reaction was to take my foot off the gas and slow down. A second later I felt the tire blow, and the car started to shake really bad. I hit the brakes hard, looked over my shoulded and made an instant lane change from the center lane to the shoulder.

So there I sit, on the shoulder, with no idea of what happened.  I peeked out and saw that it was the tire that was giving me issues before. The front drivers tire had blown out.  In order to change it I was going to have to get further off the road, so I inched over so that I was way off the road, then proceeded to change the tire.

As I was fighting with getting the lug nuts I glanced up and saw that an SUV had stopped in front of me.  Between the 2 of us we got the lug nuts loosened and started jacking.  We soon realized that the jack was too short.  The guy who had stopped went and got his jack and we got the spare tire on. I couldn’t thank him enough.  He said that he thought that 2 cars were safer by the side of the road than 1, especially in  rush hour traffic. I don’t remember his name (Brandon?) but I remember that he was the General Manager of Papa John’s Pizza in Maple Grove.  Without him stopping I wouldn’t have been able to get back on the road.

So I started off again.  I called my manager to update him that I was back on the road and the GPS said I still may make it in time.  I fought through the traffic and arrived at the office with a few minutes to spare.  Made it up to the classroom 4 minutes before class started.  It all worked out in the end, aside from the $500 price tag on the new set of tires, but the car drives great now…

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OpenSourcePalm.com

OpenSourcePalm.com is now fully up and running.  Check it out and let me know what you think.  I designed the logo all by myself (with a little bit of help from google images).

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Rereleased opensourcepalm.com (With some issues)

I recently discovered that I still owned OpenSourcePalm.com because I received an email to renew it.

I went to their login page and couldn’t log in.  I ended up putting in a trouble ticket to get it resolved, so hopefully I will be up and running by this weekend.

As far as I know the regular view is working, but the mobile site isn’t working. Probably my fault. I might switch addons to another one or double check my settings. 

The moral of the post is that if you are reading this you should go check out opensourcepalm.com and let me know what you think!

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Excellent Customer Service

Back in the day when I had a handful of websites that I was running I always used ipower.com to purchase the .com domain name.  Any time I have had a question I have had amazing luck with their service. If I submit a ticket I get a quick
response, or if I do the live chat they take care of it on the spot.

For example: I had forgotten that I owned the domain name opensourcepalm.com up until I received the alert that it was going to expire. The only issue was that I didn’t know my username or password. Within 5 minutes of going to ipower.com my password was reset and the rep was checking everything out to make sure their were no issues.

I am just impressed that the rep would go above and beyond to make sure everything was right. That’s what is missing in most companies customer service model. it’s making sure the customer doesn’t have to come back again and again when it could have been fixed on the first visit.

In short, if you are looking for a domain name check out ipower.com.

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Training Week 3 Day 2

Training went well for day one, now onto day 2. Just a bunch of independent work and a 60 minute check in. On a side note: It looks like today is going to be a nice day out. Maybe it’s good I’ll be in a windowless room…

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