Earlier this month Google added some more functionality to Android’s already impressive voice search. I have used the new features for over a week now and I have to say I am impressed. The voice search gets what I am saying about 95% of the time and is able to offer suggestions when it isn’t sure what I said. Some examples of things to say include:

  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • listen to [artist/song/album]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • send email to [contact] [message]
  • go to [website]
  • note to self [note]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]

In order to get these new features you need an Android phone running 2.2. Head to the app store and search for Voice Search. While you are in the Android Market check for an app called Chrome to Phone it allows you to send the current page you are on in Google Chrome directly to your phone’s browser. Very useful for when you want to finish reading a page and you have to leave your PC. Enjoy the new apps.

I recently had someone ask if I could take a screencap with my Droid, I said of course thinking “Droid Does” anything. I was right it does, but it isn’t easy for a non-rooted user. In order to do it you have to go through several steps. (Screencaps at bottom of post)

1. First you need to download the Android SDK.
2. Once it is downloaded extract the files into a place you can find them.
3. Open the folder and click on SDK Setup. You may need to force the program to find the correct packages by clicking settings and choosing “force https…”
4. Install those packages.
5. Download and install the JDK (Java Development Kit).
6. Download, extract and install Eclipse. I highly recommend downloading 3.5.1. It is the easiest to use.
7. Start Eclipse, then select Help > Install New Software.
8. In the Available Software dialog, click Add. In the Add Site dialog that appears, enter a name for the remote site (for example, “Android Plugin”) in the “Name” field. In the “Location” field, enter this URL:
https://dl-ssl.google.com/android/eclipse/ Click OK. Back in the Available Software view, you should now see “Developer Tools” added to the list. Select the checkbox next to Developer Tools, which will automatically select the nested tools Android DDMS and Android Development Tools. Click Next. In the resulting Install Details dialog, the Android DDMS and Android Development Tools features are listed.
9. Click Next to read and accept the license agreement and install any dependencies, then click Finish.
10. Restart Eclipse.
11. On your Android device select Menu>Settings>Applications>Development and check the box for USB Debugging.
12. Connect your Android device with the USB cable to the computer you installed and did all this work on.
13. Open your “android-sdk-OSNAMEHERE” folder and then open the “Tools” folder. Double click on DDMS (Dalvik Debug Monitor Server).
14. You should see a window that has your device located on the left side. Select your device and then select Device>Screen Capture on the program. You will see a window that has your current screen on your Android Device.
15. Navigate to the screen you want to take a picture of and click refresh and save.

Once you go through all this work you will be able to skip all of this and just connect your device and follow steps 13-15. It takes seconds. Of course if your phone is rooted then you can download an Android app called “drocap2” for free and press a button. So the next time someone asks me if something can be done on my Droid I will probably still say yes but I won’t say it without reservation.

Motorola Droid Gadget of the Year

February 22nd, 2010 | Posted by Gothamghost in Technology - (1 Comments)

Engadget recently had a reader poll for gadgets of all types on their website and the Motorola Droid won both gadget and smartphone of the year. Time Magazine also decided the Droid as their favorite of 2009. It is nice to see a couple of wins for open source software.

Last.fm Scrobbling for Movies

February 18th, 2010 | Posted by Gothamghost in Technology - (2 Comments)

I have been using Last.fm a lot more lately since I started using Songbird and my Android phone to play my music. Songbird and my Last.fm app scrobble immediately to the Last.fm service the current tracks I’m listening to. Scrobbling is how Last.fm builds a personalized library of music for you in a radio format. You listen to the music library you own and when you want to let Last.fm do the work for you it has a library built specifically for your tastes in music. I think there is an untapped market for a service similar to this for movies and television shows or websites even. If anybody knows of one already out there let me know.

Update: I think I may have found a solution.

This is a blog post I found with an interesting theory on the iPhone and where it is headed over the next couple years with the competition from Google heating up in the smartphone market. There are other articles on the web saying similar things. Regardless of whether you agree the iPhone is dying or will ever die (which it won’t) there are competitors in the market which is always a good thing for the consumer. The Death of the iPhone: An Android Story