Archive for May, 2010

Aww of the day…look! its a hotdog!

May 28, 2010 Leave a comment


haha haven’t done a random pic on here for a little while so I figured I would start with this…its a hotdog! get it? haha

Gizmodo : Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’ Review: It’s Sweet

May 27, 2010 1 comment

Found this awesome review of the new Android 2.2 firmware, codenamed “Froyo” over at, and decided to share it with everyone here.  Enjoy!


Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's Sweet

If you consider where Android was when it started versus how far it’s advanced in 18 monthswith Android 2.2, you might get brain freeze.

Android 2.2—aka Froyo—is the most usable, polished iteration of Android yet. But more importantly, it’s the first release that makes Android truly compelling for a broad consumer audience. Froyo’s updates aren’t that radical, but serious under-the-hood improvements and refinements throughout make it tangibly more pleasing to use.

Need for Speed

Without getting overly technical, Android executes its apps in a layer above its core Linux OS in a virtual machine called Dalvik. One of the major under-the-hood changes in 2.2 is a just-in-time compiler for Dalvik, which—here come the chocolate sprinkles—results in a 2x–5x performance boost for CPU-heavy code. That means faster apps—faster everything. (Google demoed it last week with the game Replica Island, which kept a higher framerate while doing more stuff in 2.2 compared to its performance on Android 2.1)


Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetIn everyday use, the new compiler combined with Android’s efficient memory management means that pretty much everything you do, in both the general OS as well as apps, feels more responsive. The speed increase itself isn’t staggering in and of itself, but the subconscious effects of a smoother, less draggy experience are real. The slowdowns and stutters I’ve come to just expect from Android (even with beefier processors) are mostly gone. And after a year-and-a-half of dealing with them, it’s kind of remarkable to no longer rage at Android’s persistent lagging.

According to Google, this speed boost incongruously comes with slightly better battery life. But any power improvements haven’t been dramatic enough for us to notice during tests on the Nexus One.

The other place you’ll subtly notice things are faster is web browsing. Again, Google’s promising 2x faster JavaScript rendering speeds thanks to the new V8 engine, and this is actually a pretty solid estimate.




Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's Sweet

I compared a Nexus One with 2.1 to one running 2.2 (both on Wi-Fi). Here’s what I saw on a handful of sites, some with Flash set to "on demand" (that’s essentially "off"); some with with Flash turned on completely. Plus we threw the Flash-less iPad in for comparison. As you can see, the boosts are non-trivial—extra speed that adds up to a far happier browsing experience.


Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's Sweet

The biggest feature in the browser is that it now supports Adobe Flash, an optional download from the Android Market. That might be more blessing than curse. If you leave Flash turned on, the purpose it will most often serve is to render Flash ads. Fortunately, you have the option to make plugins for the Android browser available "on demand," so it works more like ClicktoFlash—you click when you want a piece of Flash to render. The version of Flash available now is "pre-beta" so it doesn’t have common desktop features like hardware acceleration for h.264 video. It’s also not exactly perfect at rendering stuff, as you can see comparing this Flash-based infographic on the phone versus desktop, which limits its utility, as least given the way I browse on a phone. (I’m not a Farmville player, and Hulu blocks Android 2.2.)

It’s the Little Things

The speed boost in 2.2 is fantastic, but what makes Froyo a truly great update is that it tightens bolts all across the entire platform. Android has evolved into a real product, on a totally different level than its first year.

One of Android’s major shortcomings has been its interface, which has varied from wildly inconsistent to simply confusing. The UI is largely the same—it’s still more complex and less elegant than either the iPhone or Palm’s webOS—but it’s striking how much nicer it feels thanks to even a few tweaks.

Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's Sweet
• The messages app—for SMS and MMS—and Google Talk now share a mostly unified interface with the Gmail app: black-text-on-purpleish background, moving away from the incongruous white-text-on-black.

• Inside of Gmail, you can now quickly switch between accounts by tapping the name of the account in the top right hand corner.

• When you plug the phone into your computer and turn on USB storage, a fancy Android graphic now tells you what’s up, with clear instructions about mounting and unmounting your phone.

• The camera app’s controls are markedly improved, putting all of the settings like white balance and flash mode right up front, rather than sticking them behind a finicky slider that didn’t work half the time.

• Usefully and enjoyable—and with maybe just a little poking at Apple—galleries now have a pinch-to-peek gesture, so that you can see what photos are inside of a gallery before you open it.

Perhaps my favorite tweaks are on the home screen.

• Since smartphones have been shedding buttons like promise rings on prom night, a new center widget on the home screen puts the dialer, app menu and browser permanently at your fingertips.

• Pressing and holding the central apps button brings up thumbnail previews of every screen on your desktop. Update: Originally, these preview tabs popped up only when you pressed and held the left/right desktop buttons—which I never used, since I always swiped from one desktop to another.

Lingering Issues

Android’s still not all the way there. There are still too many buried features, hidden by menu button, and general complexities, like a separate email app for non-Gmail accounts, remain. Selecting text, while now possible in the Gmail app, is confusing. And the white-on-black interface for the dialer and contacts seems even more out of place now that messages and Gtalk use a lighter UI.

The interface could always stand to be sleeker and more graceful. It’s so strange, in a way, that Android has the most impressive voice controls and speech-to-text of any phone out there, but basic things like copy-and-paste can feel as slippery as brain surgery on a snail. The problem extends to the Android Market. Sure, one day we might be pushing apps to the phone from our desktop, but app discoverability, particularly on the phone itself, is a long way from optimal.

But you can see where things are going. And it feels more unified and complete than it ever has, which is a good thing. (Except the touch keyboard. It still feels like you’re typing with two fingers glued together, and Andy Rubin didn’t offer us much hope on that front.)

The App Scene

Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetMany other improvements involve apps. Like the Android Market, which finally has an "update all apps" button—or you can even allow apps to update themselves automatically, if you trust them.

Android now has a built-in, legit task manager, and while it’s a little too deep in the settings, you can kill unruly apps that gobble memory. (Thankfully, I haven’t had to do so in 2.2). You can move apps to the SD card, which is a big deal since you were previously limited to however many apps would fit within the puny internal storage in the phone. (This appears to be something developers have to allow, since only a couple of apps gave me the option to do so.)

And, while I haven’t tested this (since I’m using the same phone and I don’t think any apps support the API yet), apps can back up your data, so when you move to a new phone, all of your inner-app data will show up with the fresh install.

While it’s not too much use to anyone on AT&T in NY or SF, perhaps the biggest new feature is the portable hotspot, which works as perfectly as you’d hope. Check the box, and you’re sharing your 3G connection over Wi-Fi with any device you want. Security is limited to WPA2, unfortunately, making integration with older devices difficult. It also works while charging, so why even bother with tethering?

The official Twitter app is built-in, much like Facebook has been since Android 2.0, and it is deeply integrated with your contacts. The setup is automagical, though if it screws up the pairing—say if somebody’s Twitter handle gets assigned to the wrong person—good luck fixing it. Still, the effect is charming, especially if a contact is as deeply tied into Google as you are, since every avenue by which you could possibly want to contact them is at your fingertips. (On the flip side, Google’s contact management within Gmail is still pretty horrendous.)

Accounts are improved in a few ways. For me, the most important is that now you can see calendars from every Google account on the phone, whereas before only calendars from one primary account synced. But serious corporate users get some of the love too, since Exchange calendars work now as well. I didn’t test any of the Exchange administrator features, like remote wipe, but I’ll say being able to set a real alphanumeric passcode for the screenlock instead of a grease-trail-reside gesture sounds much, much improved.

Google’s Good Stuff…That’s Not In Froyo

Some of the most impressive stuff that Google showed off last week is still a ways off—features that we know are coming but won’t make it into Froyo.

The current built-in music app is as clunky and ugly as ever, and managing music on the phone is not nearly as easy as it should be. But Google’s Simply Media-powered streaming demo, which was demonstrated streaming an entire library from a home computer to a phone, wouldn’t just fix the sync issue, it would leapfrog what everybody else currently offers. (Though the unlimited streaming Zune Pass for Kin would be a close second.)

Also, no third-party apps are currently using the upcoming cloud-to-device messaging service Google showed off—it’s like push notifications on the iPhone, but super-powered, so you could send links and even begin app downloads on your phone from, say, your desktop browser. Update: The Chrome-to-Phone extension is live, and it works for the basic things Google showed, like sending links, maps, and YouTube videos from your browser to the phone. It was pretty instant, though I think I tried to send too much stuff to fast, and wound up building up a queue of links that got stuck, and then executed really fast, one after the other. Still, impressive. (No OTA app or music downloading yet, though.)


Hello, Android

Android 2.2 is the first version of Android that feels totally complete—it performs like it should and it has most of the features it should. It’s not quite at the point my mother could use it without a precarious learning curve, but you can see how it’s going to get better. It’s safe to say that with Froyo, Android has become something that most people really can use—and love.

Considering again where Android was 6, 12 and 18 months ago, I can believe the promises Google has made: that Android will blow your mind in another 6 months. The future of Android really has never looked brighter.

Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetFastest version of Android yet, in an actually noticeable way
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetInterface improved in small ways all around
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetFlash!
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetBuilt-in portable hotspot powers (though subject to your carrier’s evil whims)
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetAndroid Market is better in key ways, but needs more work
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetFlash!
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetThe keyboard still blows
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetThe music and videos situation is pretty sad
Android 2.2 'Froyo' Review: It's SweetThe overall complexity of Android remains

Send an email to matt buchanan, the author of this post, at



Watch a zombie apocalypse unfold on your Android wallpaper!

May 26, 2010 Leave a comment


     Live wallpapers are all the rage now days on Android phones, available to phones with firmware 2.1 and above, these awesome wallpapers actually let you interact with them and control them to a certain extent.  Whether its causing ripples in water, causing multicolor lines to shoot out from where you touch, to even launching a tactical nuke to wipe out the never-ending horde of zombies that will eventually feast on all of our brains.


     Pixel Zombies Live Wallpaper is now available in the android market for purchase for $1 and it will let you simulate your very own zombie apocalypse right on your android phone.  Red dots represent zombies (rawr), blue dots represent zombie hunters, and the green dots represent the puny citizens that the zombies nom-nom-nom on.  So head on over to the marketplace and look up Pixel Zombies and buy it!  Pure awesomeness





Never mess with a man scorned from the scorn of a woman…

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Does that title make sense?  No? ah well it does to me…Anyways, I found this blog and…it just amazed me.  Kevin (the author of the blog) is looking for 101 uses for his ex-wife’s old wedding dress that she left behind and he needs your help!  This is one of the coolest websites that I have found in a while, as we are taken through this man’s path of healing, we are also taught the value of recycling.



  • Wash Cloth
  • Ball Washer
  • Grill Apron
  • Placemat
  • Dog Bed
  • Dog Toy
  • Frost Cloth
  • Oil Pan
  • Gas Cap
  • Sporting Event Banner
  • Ice Pack
  • Oven Mitt
  • Hot Pad
  • Dust Cloth
  • Mop
  • Fly Tying Material
  • Drop Cloth (for painting)
  • Oil Rag
  • Pasta Strainer
  • Bib
  • Car Wash Towel


    And also here’s a video of Kevin using the wedding dress as a jump rope

Kevin’s website has even gained enough attention that Abc News did an interview with him! Check it out here


Definitely worth taking a stop over to Kevin’s blog awesome stuff!



Categories: Randomness, WTF Tags: , , , , ,

Halo : Reach gets a launch date

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment


Ok Halo fans launch up Halo 3 or ODST and start getting your training on again.  Halo: Reach now has an official launch date.  Set to release on 09/14/2010 worldwide except for Japan where it will release on 09/15/2010.  Set to be the biggest Xbox 360 launch for the fall, Reach will be the last Halo game developed by Bungie, future Halo projects are being developed under Microsoft’s in-house 343 Industries Group.


So dust off that copy of Halo 3 and start practicing!  The fight for Reach starts up again 09/14/2010

Looking for reader imput…Tryng to figure out a new name for this blog

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

As I continue to work on this never ending blog, I move closer day by day to my main goal of actually migrating this blog over to a paid webhost.  But before I do that, I actually need to come up with a good name for my blog!  Now, I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and each and every idea that i’ve come up with, I really haven’t cared too much for.  So now after letting the idea sit for a while now,  I’ve decided to step this up and get this most important step taken care of.  I may decide to turn this into a contest, but as for right now I’m just making this a discussion thread.  Im taking any and all ideas on as to what I could name this blog.  Please note that there is no real direction on where the blog goes, but I do like to focus on tech, cars, and just very random stuff.  So if you have any thoughts or ideas on what I can name this blog, post up a comment on this entry!

Categories: Randomness Tags: , , ,

Walmart cuts iPhone 3GS 16GB price to $97

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment



I’ve got news on an awesome deal! Walmart officially announced that starting Tuesday, they are officially dropping the price of the iPhone 3GS down to $97. (Assuming that this is with the price of a new activation or a 2 year extention)  With WWDC 2010 right around the corner on June 7th and rumors flying around that the next gen iPhone is to be announced when Steve Jobs gives the WWDC 2010 keynote speech on June 7th.  With the newly announced price drop, its looking like the 3GS is set to replace the iPhone 8GB which is currently going for $99.  So if you have been on the line to purchase an iPhone but the high price of the 3GS always turned you away, now seems like a great time to get into the iPhone game.  But remember, with WWDC right around the corner, its not long till a new iPhone will be released! Decisions, decisions…



Categories: Apple, iPhone Tags: , , , , , , ,

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