So perhaps I’m a little behind, but when I was in Australia a couple of weeks ago at the GTASYD someone mentioned something called Google Cloud Print.
On my home network, I have been having a problem getting my Win7 laptop to print over my wireless network. Not having read the FAQs for Google Cloud Print, I thought it might be an easy solution. The bad news is that after reading a post about it on the Google Mobile Blog, I learned that this application only works on mobile devices, so it will not work from my Win7 laptop.
Who needs the Win7 laptop at this point anyway? Really!
If you have a mobile device such as the ones listed above, or an iPhone, consider adding Google Cloud Print to your list of tools. All you will need to do is alter some settings, in Chrome, on the computer that is attached to your printer. Follow the directions here and you’ll be able to print form the Cloud.
So, where is a good place to go if you need answers to some of your Droid questions? My favorite forum is at http://androidforums.com. Here seems to be where I can get the answers to my questions about the operating system. But Mashable has been a great source for learning about the different apps that are available in the Marketplace. Check out some of these resource lists that they have compiled:
I like the ease in which you can contact via the phone your local district reps, keep up-to-date on what laws are bring introduced to Congress and search by “just introduced” as well as by the legislature name, state or zip code. The app developers list:
Read the latest bills, laws, and see what bills were recently voted on.
Find members of Congress by using your phone’s location, a zipcode, a last name, or a state.
Read tweets and watch videos from members’ Twitter and YouTube accounts.
Reply to a member of Congress on Twitter from within the app, using your own account.
There have been two things that I have wanted my Droid to be able to do in the last month or so that it hasn’t been able to. It’s not really my Droid though. See the cases in point:
ISTE released an app for the iPhone. As I went to the conference this year, I would have liked an app for my Android phone as well. I made due with the mobile app, but I am hoping that next year they play “equal time” as my grandfather used to call it.
I want to be able to tether my Droid to my iPad as I do to my laptop and my netbook for Internet access where there is no wifi. It’s physically impossible as there is no connection that will run from a Droid to an iPad. But I did see while I was at ISTE a link to this resource go by in the Twitter stream. I re-Tweeted How to: WiFi Tether a Motorola Droid to an iPad and was asked by Chris Craft whether I was willing to root my phone. I’ve read up on Rooting quite a bit and have not yet taken the plunge. When and if I do decide to root my Droid, I will then be able to use it as wifi for my iPad.
I looked back at the previous six posts I have written about what my Droid does for me and I have some updates to make on a few of the apps.
In addition to the standard Twitter functions, TweetCaster features:
Multiple Twitter account support
Integrated Twitter lists
Offline tweet caching
URL shortening (and previews)
Threaded direct messages
WordPress for Android made some major updates to their app earlier this month.
With the recent version 1.3 you can now:
see your page views
see your post views
see your referrers
check out your search terms
and view your number of clicks
I have also been happy that I can now moderate multiple comments at once using their new “bulk edit” feature
and should I choose to post from my phone, I can really format my text using their visual editor.
There are a few new things that I wanted to mention.
So over time, the concept behind Open Spot is pretty cool. To save time, gas, and to reduce pollution, Google released this app to help users find open parking spaces easily.
It will only find the open spaces of Open Spot users, so until lots of people are using it, the app is not going to be effective, but to make it work, all you so it place a pin on a map within the Android app to share the space you are abandoning. The pins are left color coded as empty to fellow users for 20 minutes until they expire.
I installed Barnes and Noble’s new Nook app for the Droid today. I received an e-mail from B&N yesterday and was easily able to browse for it in the Android Market and download and install the free app. Once launched, I logged in using the B&N credentials I signed up with for my free iPad books (but that expired a while ago) and there they were on my Droid. Awesome.
I’m waiting for Android 2.2
I’m talking about Froyo – the next update to the Android operating system. If you have one of the newer Droids, you already have it. I have one of the older ones (I bought it waaaaaay back in November 2009) so I have to wait until Verizon pushes the update down to me. I’ll be writing about that and my top 10 apps as well as my experience using my Droid in the UK in my next post.
One of the fantastic features of the Android phones is the ability to scan QR Codes. So, what’s a QR Code, you ask? My way of explaining it is that a QR Code is a symbol that stores a URL. When your camera phone scans it using a barcode scanner (link), it automatically launches its browser and goes to that web page. This is really convenient when shopping, viewing a website (this is the QR Code for this post is to the left), or even Geocaching.
Then there’s the recent release of Google Earth for the Android phone. It works really well on my Droid. I will say, though, that I would only use it in an areawith 3G. Of course I wanted to see my house, so I went to the menu and selected my location and went to my house – and then pinched my fingers to zoom in. I then went back to the menu and clicked on the Search menu and used the voice feature to search for Disney Land. Once there I tapped the “Look Around” button and changed my view so that I could get a good look around. I also went back to the main menu and explored the different layers to see what types of information were available.
Oh, and here’s the QR Code for Google Earth in the Android Apps Market:
Lastly, I’ve been using Seesmic on my Droid. I had been noticing that many were Tweeting from it, so I thought I would give it a try. The mobile version of Seesmic seems to be a full featured application. It has:
Easy access to Twitter Lists that I’ve created and that follow me
A tutorial built right into the application
You can manage your profile from within the app
Varied selection of external services (photos, URL shorteners, video hosts)
Options for notifications
Here’s the QR Code for Seesmic in the Android Apps Market:
Also, If you haven’t already, take a look at the Google for Android web page. Your Android powered phone most likely came with these applications already installed, but here you can find videos, more information or even the link to download the mobile app should you want it. Some of the applications listed here are:
Many of us have been waiting for Skype to come to the Android phone. Actually, I have blogged about using Skype Lite on my Droid to use the chat feature of Skype, but this is the full application – WITH ONE THING MISSING. Verizon has set the limitation that you can only use Skypemobile on the 3G network. So if you thought you were going to save on data charges by using your wifi to make Skype-to-Skype calls, it’s not going to happen.
Here are the Terms of Service that come up when you go to install it on your phone:
“Skype mobile is available within the National and Extended National Enhanced Services Coverage Areas, but not when using WiFi. Skype mobile features may vary from Skype on your PC. Domestic calls made from Skype mobile are carried by Verizon Wireless, not Skype, and are billed according to your Verizon Wireless plan. Skype calls to international numbers are billed by Skype at Skype international rates. Calls to 911 will be completed by Verizon Wireless. Skype mobile is not available when using per-line or per-call caller ID blocking. In the event of a conflict between these Verizon Wireless Skype mobile Terms and the Skype EULA, Skype TOS, or any other applicable terms, the provisions of the Verizon Wireless Skype mobile Terms shall apply.”
Yet, this is pretty cool as I communicate with many educators via Skype that I don’t have cell phone number for, and now I can talk to them without being tethered to a laptop/desktop.
I know from some Tweets I’ve seen that many Android users have been waiting for a version of Tweetdeck for the Android to be released. In the meantime, we have HootSuite. As listed on their site, here are some of the benefits of HootSuite that I would utilize when away from my laptop. (Actually, I frequently recommend Hootsuite to educators that use Twitter in school but don’t have the administrative rights to install Tweetdeck to their computers.)
Managing multiple identities and accounts
Creating custom views for tags and searches
Adding followers to lists and accounts
Sharing photos and shortening URLs
There’s a paid version for $2.99 and then the HootSuite for Android Lite for free.
ChaCha – this neat little app allows you to query by voice and returns the answers by text right on your screen. Some of us have used ChaCha in the past by calling their 1-800 number or using a text message to send our question in, but this bypasses that process and the bonus is you can query by voice. I tried a few with success. If you go to the ChaCha Droid for Android page, their is a QR Code you can scan and install the app on your phone.
If you were a user of wpToGo to edit your WordPress blog from your Android phone, you may want upgrade to the new and improved WordPress for Android app. I don’t typically post from my Droid, but I will approve and reply to comments right from the WordPress for Android application. wpToGo is going to be discontinued, so upgrade soon. Here’s their video:
Google Buzz for the Android used to be just a web shortcut. Now there’s a widget that can be added to your Android desktop one of two ways. The first way is you can find it in the Android Market. The second way is you can scan the QR Code. I scanned the code using my Barcode Scanner and then it brought me to the Google Buzz Widget.
I read the four points listed on the installation screen
Quickly post buzz publicly or privately
Add photos to your post from the camera or gallery
Share your location or place
Quickly access buzz.google.com
and realized that this widget was for posting to Buzz and not for staying connected to your Buzz contacts. So I went back to the site to read some of the comments. There was some concern about this as well as it not working on all Android phones and a desire for the QR Code (which had been added). Still, if you are using Buzz, this is a handy widget to have.