Author Archives: JC Heerdt

Cool Google Now Feature: Song Recognition

Thinking this will put a hurtin’ on Shazaam and SoundHound.

(Google Now is a Jelly Bean feature.  Android 4.1 is available for the Galaxy SII.)

JELLY BEAN SOFTWARE UPDATE: Samsung Galaxy SII

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It’s here.  Update your Samsung Galaxy SII from Android 2.3 to Android 4.1.

How to update:

You’ll need a USB cable and a computer to do the update.  Software needs to be downloaded onto a computer.  Depending on your connection, the update may take anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes on a standard DSL/Cable internet connection.

DOWNLOAD PC/MAC SOFTWARE HERE DO NOT DOWNLOAD ON PHONE, THIS WILL NOT WORK. NEED COMPUTER.

NOTE: Software is over 500 MB (half a gig) could take a while to download depending on your internet connection. If the computer will not recognize your Galaxy S2, try plugging into a USB port in the back of your PC.  If that doesn’t work, download drivers from Samsung.

What’s different?  A lot.

Improvements:

  • New lock screen actions
  • Improved text input and spell-checking
  • Control over network data
  • Email app supports EAS v14
  • WI-FI direct
  • BlueTooth Health Device Profile
  • UI use Hardware acceleration
  • Better voice recognition (dictating/Voice typing)
  • Web browser, allows up to 16 tabs
  • Updated launcher (customizable)
  • Social stream API in Contacts provider to show updates associated to your contacts
  • Video stabilization and QVGA video resolution API access
  • Accessibility API refinements for screen readers
  • Calendar provider updates
  • stability improvements
  • better camera performance
  • smoother screen rotation
  • Google Now ( http://youtu.be/pPqliPzHYyc )
  • Voice Search
  • Speed enhancements
  • Camera app improvements
  • Accessibility: gesture mode, enable braille external keyboards.

ASK R&D: Facetime for Android?

New Blog Feature ASK R&D… You ask, we answer!  Got a question?  Email RD@ivcel.com

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I have a flip phone, but I would go to Android Phone if there is an app that lets me communicate with my grandkids face to face through the phone.  Over Christmas, my son was able to have his in laws watch the grandkids opening their gifts over the phone with his iPhone.  Does the Play Store have anything like that?

Thanks for your help!  

– Mary (Sheridan)

 

Mary, thanks for your question!  Google’s Play Store has a couple different options.

First, an explanation why Apple’s products are not the answer.  They’re native applications are not compatible with devices that are not Apple.  FaceTime is an Apple only product, you have to have an Apple product (Mac, iPad, iPhone, and/or iTouch) to make it work.

Apple locks everything down. You pay for more applications and many of their applications can only be used with their products… Like FaceTime. (Heck, they made everyone buy new connector cables with their last iPhone release. Another $25 for a power/connector cable.  Wo Hoo!)

Android is open source, which means…

We created Android in response to our own experiences launching mobile apps. We wanted to make sure that there would always be an open platform available for carriers, OEMs, and developers to use to make their innovative ideas a reality. We wanted to make sure that there was no central point of failure, where one industry player could restrict or control the innovations of any other. The solution we chose was an open and open-source platform.

The goal of the Android Open Source Project is to create a successful real-world product that improves the mobile experience for end users.

ANDROID Philosophy

On to video conferencing solutions!!

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Google +

Google + is Google’s social network with “facetime-like” additions. You can use on a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone and/or Android tablet/phone. It’s powered by your “Google” account.  I use hangouts frequently… mainly on the laptop.  I found a hangout plug-in called “A Story Before Bed” which allows my mother to read to the grandkids while they follow along with the words and pictures.  Again, this works with the desktop/laptop version… The mobile version of hangouts will just show video (hopefully they will allow plugins in the future releases.)  Additionally, you can add multiple people to your hangout (including people via a phonecall for free!)

http://plus.google.com

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Skype for Android

Skype, now a Microsoft product, is a program you can download on your computer and/or smartphone/tablet. You would need both the iPhone and Android to have Skype installed and a Skype username. This is probably the most popular video communication application.  You can do one on one video conferencing for free, if you want to add more people (on video) you will need to pay for this service (you can conference in several people using ‘voice only.’)  It is a VOIP service, meaning they compete with Vonage, Magic Jack, and other “voice over IP (internet)” services.

http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-computer/

 

Make sure the device you purchase has a “front facing” camera.  This will allow you to video conference easily.

Good luck Mary!

Have a device or technical questions for the Product Development team at Illinois Valley Cellular?

 Email RD@ivcel.com

 

See Travel Times and Road Conditions [APP]

So, the big snow finally hit northern Illinois… You can use your smart phone to see road conditions and travel times.

For people in Bureau County, sign up for BCR Alerts (powered by Illinois Valley Cellular) and receive weather information and cancellations.  For the latest travel information on your phone, you should check out these sites and applications.

Getting Around Illinois:

Great website run by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Google Maps: Layers

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Click the layers button on the bottom right hand of the map screen and select “traffic.”

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You’ll be able to see congestion on main routes.

Waze

A social GPS application.  With your Waze account, other drivers report conditions in your area.

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BIG FONTS [APP]

Thanks to Angie at the Ottawa Wireless Solution Center for finding this App!!

Does the default system font look too small or too large? Do you want to globally change text size?
This app allows you to scale system font size from 50% (smaller) to 180% (bigger).

FEATURES
★ working for Android 2.3 or above devices
★ scale system font size from 50% to 180%
★ preview the scaled text before applying
★ show a notification icon describing the current font size. An option is also provided to hide it
★ switch system font size via tapping the notification
★ customized the scaling value
★ Android 4.x (Ice cream sandwich) only provides 3 scaling values, we provide more
★ for Android v2.3~3.x users. You can add “not working” apps into the ignored apps list
***It may not work for all devices.

Big Font (change font size) - Android Apps on Google Play

Missed Call Reminder [APP]

Did you ever miss important calls while you left your phone outside the meeting room?

This is the must-have app for you.  Whenever you have a missed call or unread message,
this app will remind you by sound, vibration, LED, or lighting up your screen, for every 10 minutes, or other interval you set.

Reminder continue to work until:
(a) you open the call log screen or message box
(b) you turn reminder off manually
(c) exceed the max reminding time you set
Features:
* any combination of reminder target: call, sms, or mms.
* any combination of reminder type: sound, vibration, LED, or screen on.
* preference options include: reminder interval, reminder duration, max reminding time, reminder tone.
* Auto silent when you set your phone in silent mode. (It’s an option)
* Using ringer volume or media volume as your choice.
* This app does not show up any visible message while working.
So check the ‘Screen On’ is helpful to see what event occurs on system bar.
This is an add-on to system function, not replacement.
* Support app2sd

Missed Call Reminder - Android Apps on Google Play

Motorola RAZR™ MAXX XT908 [ANDROID]


With the Slim, light and KEVLAR® strong Motorola RAZR™ MAXX, you finally get battery life that keeps up with your life. RAZR MAXX is packed with power. On a single charge, you can talk up to 21 hours, watch 15 hours of movies or listen to music for 2.5 days straight. Plus with awesome extras like Dual cameras, HD video capture (with Image stabilization) and Android 4.0 OS help make this quite possibly the smartest smartphone ever.

Specifications

Dimensions 5.15″ x 2.71″ x 0.35″ (HxWxD)
Weight 5.11 oz
Display 4.30″ Super AMOLED Display
Talk Time* Up to *21.50 Hours
Standby Time* Up to *15.8 Days
Band (frequency) CDMA 850/1900 MHz
Wireless Emergency Alerts (CMAS) Capable
Hearing Aid Compatibility M3/T3*

VIEW ON IVCEL.COM

Temple Run 2 for Android [GAME APPS]

“Wait! I just searched the Play Store and I couldn’t find it… ”

Heh heh… I don’t think it’s listed yet… (Will be soon.)  And we have a link to Temple Run 2 here!

Watch our first impressions of the new game, below.  It’s a lot more exciting than the first… and just as addicting.

TechCrunch reported iOS devices downloaded the new Temple Run 6 MILLION times in the first week… Let’s see if Android can snap that record!

Restricting Questionable YouTube Content [VIDEO]

It started so innocently…  You let your 8 year old watch a Barbie video someone made on YouTube…  Ten minutes later…

“Mommy, I don’t think I’m supposed to be looking at this.”

As your young daughter hands you the phone, displayed on the screen is a couple fully engaged in some simulated NC 17 action.

What the… Seriously?  How did we go from Barbie and Ken making cookies to a reenactment of Kim Kardashian’s most popular film?!

This is what I refer to as…

THE YOUTUBE RABBIT HOLE.

I first discovered it when my oldest son wanted to watch Monster Trucks on YouTube.  I walked over after 5 minutes, and he was watching videos about the Dubai Airport.  THE YOUTUBE RABBIT HOLE. 

Let’s work on this… We can start by filtering search.

Step 1: Click on settings

Step 1: Click on settings

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Step 2: Click on Search

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Step 3: Safe Search Filtering

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Step 4: Click “Strict” settings… This will reduce even the slightest offensive tags from appearing.

For more on parenting apps, and preventing the insane world of the internet from sneaking into your kids stuff, check out KidMode, and to block and restrict texting for older kids check out TextGuardian… Reward your kids with the parenting rewards chart app.

Track Santa’s Journey [APPS]

Merry Christmas from all of us at IV Cellular!!

(BTW — last minute shoppers… you can’t go wrong with a Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Razr Maxx!  Save up to $350 now!)

Let’s track Santa’s journey together.  You can do it right on your smartphone.

Google Santa

GOOGLE SANTA TRACKER

Google has gotten into the Santa Tracking this year, offering an app that utilizes their maps application and search functions.  It’s live now.  Start tracking!

Celebrate the holiday season with the Google Santa Tracker app for Android. Santa’s developer elves have created this app to follow Santa on his December 24th journey as he delivers gifts to children all over the world. To learn more, visit http://g.co/santatracker Happy Holidays!

NORAD Tracks Santa

NORAD Tracks Santa

NORAD has been tracking Santa for quite some time now… and even offers up North Pole games for the kiddies with their Santa Tracker.

The NORAD Tracks Santa App is the official mobile app of the NORAD Tracks Santa program. Watch the days countdown to Santa’s flight, follow Santa’s progress on December 24, play “Thin Ice” to help Santa’s elves deliver presents, and learn about NORAD and its mission.
Please note that the countdown in the app is NOT a countdown to December 25. It is a countdown to when the app begins tracking Santa’s flight.

Santa Tracker

Santa Tracker

BlackBerry App World has a Santa Tracker for $1.99.  What do you get for your two bucks?

-Enter and send letters to Santa

-View current and old letters to Santa

-Custom responses to the letters

-Track Santa’s progress all year round

-Use your phone’s GPS to get your current location or save a location for faster tracking

-Enter a custom bedtime. Santa will fly closer to your location according to the bedtime.

NORAD Tracks Santa

NORAD Tracks Santa Website

Or, just go to the NORAD website and watch on your BlackBerry browser for free.

HTTP://NORADSANTA.ORG

HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!

READ — IVC Favorite Christmas Apps