Top 50 Android Apps for the HTC Evo 4G

Posted by matt on July 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm

HTC Evo 4G Top Android AppsAfter having the HTC Evo 4G for just over a month, thought I would spill the beans on all the Apps I’ve been using (afterall, Apps is my name…)  While these will likely work on most Android phones, they are all ones I use on the HTC Evo.  Since there are so many good apps, I’m also going to skip the super-obvious ones, like the Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, etc. apps. If you use those, just get the official one.  (I do use Peep for Twitter though).

First off, i’m a big believer in the ‘teach a man to fish’ philosophy, so one of the first Apps you should get is the AppBrain App Market. I typically use this in place of the ‘Market’ app, as it has what is popular in the last 24 hours, week, etc., and is a nice way to see what good new Apps are available.

Best part about all these apps?  They are all FREE, (unless where noted).  Many do have ads, so if that drives you nuts or you simply want to support the author, grab the paid version (usually just a couple of bucks).  The easiest way to get them is to simply look up the name below in either Market or in AppBrain and then download from there or click the name to get more info on each one.

Also, the ‘Showoff’ column is useful if you want to show someone the power of what your phone can do.

Finally, if you have the EVO, you should do yourself a favor and GET YOURSELF THE EXTENDED BATTERY.  I’ve had this for awhile, and you can heavily use your phone without worrying about it dying at the end of each day!  It’s the best ~$50 you’ll spend.

Note, this is dated 7/23/2010 and are my favorites from around that time.  Without further ado, the list sorted alphabetically:

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Posted under Android, HTC Evo, reviews, tech gadgets, top 10 lists

PopBox Quick Review. Verdict? It’s a Poopbox

Posted by matt on July 20, 2010 at 12:31 am

Popbox opened upNote: The following is a review and unboxing done on 7/19/2010, with basically ‘launch’ firmware of the Popbox Media Player.  In it’s current state, it justly deserves my moniker, “Poopbox”.

As a fan of the oddly named Popcorn Hour A-100 media tank (which I did a number of reviews), I had high hopes for the new ‘Popbox’ when I saw it released during CES.  The Popcorn hour, purchased over 2 years ago, played most anything you threw at it.  While the interface speed and usability wasn’t that great, it got the job done quite effectively, and in 1080p.

Fast forward a couple years… since then, the excellent XBMC with robust media metadata support has matured on the PC, Boxee has also shown us network streaming done right and tons of media boxes (like the WDTV Live) have all launched providing many ways to bring computer media to the TV.  Thinking what 2 years of development could do to benefit Syabas (company who makes the device), I figured the power of the PCH mixed with metadata would provide quite a nice experience.  Thus, my reason for pre-ordering for the PopBox back in April.  Fast forward to July 19, 2010, I finally got it…

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Posted under popbox, Popcorn Hour, reviews, tech gadgets, Unbox

Gadget Review: EOS Canon 7D

Posted by matt on November 11, 2009 at 11:11 pm

canon-eos-7d-small.jpgAfter spending a few weeks with the Canon 7D, I decided to put together my mini-review of the camera.  I was able to take it to a few events, and also on a 5-day vacation to Athens, Greece where it got quite a workout.  For perspective of this review, prior to using the 7D I’ve shot 4 different versions of the Canon Rebel series, (original, XT, XTi and XSi).  My Pro’s / Con’s are mostly related to moving from the Canon Rebel XSi.

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Posted under reviews, tech gadgets

The Lost Art of Creating a Mix Tape

Posted by matt on August 12, 2009 at 12:29 am

mixtape3.jpgIn the land of multi-terrabyte hard drives, iPods, MP3′s and ‘infinite playlists’, the art of actually using some restrain and editing to create a cohesive, interesting representation of your musical self is an art form long lost.

On my continual quest for quality and fresh music, about twice a year I create an 80-minute mix CD of my ‘favorites’ that I’m rocking at the moment.

While I haven’t made a ‘mix tape’ since college (yes, that is an actual one of mine above), I still have a CD player in my car which is where 90% of the mix is consumed.  Some rules I follow when creating my mix:

  1. A majority of the music must be < 1 year old – While I might create a ‘best of grunge’ mix or something like that, for the most part, I want to hear new music.  The life of the CD is usually around 3-6 months until I am ready to make a new one.
  2. Genre variety – I want to hit 2-3 genres at least, but no hard and fast rules.  Just not 80 minutes of metal–the mix needs some contrast (not so true of “Ultra Mosh II” above…)
  3. No more than 3 songs from the same artist/album – If you really like an album, it forces you to pick your favorite 3.  Also, mix them up throughout the mix
  4. Fill the 80 minutes as best you can – For my mix below, it clocks in at 79:59.11.  Yes, less than 1 second to spare! (with 0 second breaks between tracks as well)
  5. Try to make the tracks ‘flow’ – This can be tough… I don’t spend hours doing this, but you typically want some contrast without abruptness
  6. Don’t repeat a song from one mix CD to the next – Yeah, that song may be your favorite, but if that’s true, try and find a re-mix.  I did that below w/ the 2 Bloc Party tracks.

While you could, of course, do this exercise with an MP3 playlist, often you wouldn’t use any harsh editing because you usually don’t have constraints (after all, an 80 min. mix encoded at 256K is only about 160MB, which most every MP3 player has at least 10-100 times that much room…)

So without further ado, here is my Summer 2009 Mix.  The first thing you might notice when reading the below is that YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF ANY OF THESE SONGS OR BANDS.  Well, the mix is mine, so that’s your problem…  I typically try to put some indie, punk, alternative, electronica, so while you may not know them, the songs work for me (and they are good, trust me).  Own your mix, it is something that is probably truly unique to you.

Matt’s 80-minute 2009 Summer Mix: (with links to either the video or a streamable version of the song)

  1. Bloc Party – Ares (Villains Remix)
  2. Julian Plenti  – Games For Days (Paul Banks of Interpol, solo album)
  3. Röyksopp ft Robyn – The Girl & The Robot
  4. Future Of The Left – Stand By Your Manatee
  5. Flight of the Conchords – Sugalumps
  6. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – With a Heavy Heart(I Regret to Inform You)
  7. Silversun Pickups – Growing Old is Getting Old
  8. Late of The Pier – Space and The Woods
  9. The Bird and the Bee – Diamond Dave
  10. Flight of the Conchords – You don’t have to be a Prostitute
  11. The Mars Volta – Cotopaxi
  12. Sunspot – Grand Guignol
  13. Bloc Party – One Month Off (Filthy Dukes Remix)
  14. The Bird and the Bee – My Love
  15. Future of the Left – Arming Eritrea
  16. Does it Offend you, Yeah? – Attack of the 60ft Lesbian Octopus
  17. Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
  18. Flight of the Conchords – Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor
  19. The Bird and the Bee – Polite Dance Song (this video is soooo David Lynch)
  20. Sunspot – Sweet Relief
  21. Silversun Pickups – Catch and Release

That clocks 79:59.11.  Do you still make mixes?  Favorite ones you’ve made?  Comments, baby.

Posted under how to, music, reviews

Palm Pre vs. Treo 700p with SERO Plan

Posted by matt on July 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm

palmpre3.jpgWhile there have been countless comparisons of the Palm Pre to the Apple iPhone, I haven’t seen many comparing the Palm Pre to the Treo line of products (Treo 650, Treo 700p, Treo 755p, Treo Centro). There are still tens of thousands of old Sprint SERO customers on a Treo 700p (or similar) that like me, are looking to upgrade to something. The old Sprint SERO plan was at it’s peak around 2-3 years ago, so many Sprint customers are either rolling off their plans, or at a minimum, definitely ready for a new phone.

I was a Treo 700p user for 3 years with heavy use on a $30 SERO plan (upgraded later to $45 with unlim. text). For over a year of that, I also extensively used email, RSS, web, Twitter, Twitpic, Facebook, etc. I made the move from the Treo 700p to the Palm Pre in early June 2009, and decided to put together the comparison of what you have to look forward to (or what you have to give up): NOTE: this comparison was written on 7/27/09 and is based on Palm Pre WebOS v1.1

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Posted under how to, reviews, tech gadgets