Tag Archives: mobile

Swype on Samsung Galaxy Note

I’ve had my Note since Feb 2012, I think.  Love it.  However, even with the large screen I found using keyboard input tedious; I’m just not good with my thumbs like that. 

Finally I retried using the Swype keyboard.  It comes pre-installed on the Samsung Note. Swype is really good!  Takes just a few minutes to get comfortable with it.

The way to get good at it is to not try to be accurate. Coming from the standard keyboards, you always try to tap the correct key. Swype works on gestures, so you can even miss going over the correct keys, it will figure out what your wanted. Plus, it will show you a list of word options too.

The upcoming Swype is even better and available as a demo. The new Swype will have word prediction built in:

Next Word Prediction
Swype’s next word prediction is more intelligent than ever. Imagine your device figuring out what you will type based on the history of how you’ve used specific words in relationship to one another. A cutting edge Advanced Language Model, the latest XT9 algorithms and a robust Dynamic Language Model all work together with a preloaded baseline language database to be able to (almost) read your mind.

That reminds me of something I was working on years ago, Predictive Interface technology. I’ll have to blog about it one day.

iSwipe on iPhone and iPad
Looks like someone is making a Swype-ish app called iSwipe that runs on Apple products. Will require a jail broken phone though. There are other apps that provide Swype type of input. I wonder why the makers of Swype don’t provide an iOS version.

Links

Environment

  • Phone:  Samsung Galaxy Note i717
  • Swype version:  3.26.92….. etc.
  • Android version:  2.3.6

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Samsung Galaxy Note is not too big.

Just got the Note. The AT&T model differs from the prior European model, I believe. Previously I had an iPhone, probably could even be the original one. I think my iPhone was using cogs and gears, so slow. If I opened the map and started entering an address, by the time the screen would respond to the first character, I would stumble upon my destination or get there by stopping at every gas station along the way. Well, anyway.

Most reviews of the new Note carry on about the size. Yes, it is larger but not by that much. In fact, like monitors and flat screen TVs, its the trim (bevel) that makes them look larger. The Samsung Note’s screen size is just about right. If Apple came out with a five and a half inch smart phone all the pundits would be drooling and everyone buying; let’s see how cool this would look in the cafe!

If I put the phone in my shirt pocket only about half an inch sticks out at the top, and that part is the trim where the camera and AT&T logo are located. Highly nerdy looking, btw. It is not very pocketable. They could have made the Note even better by minimizing the top and bottom bevels.

So, since it is a cross between a phone and a pad, where and how do you carry the dam thing? Is it squinting into tiny little screens or “hey baby, I’m happy to see you in a square kind of way!”.

As to the phone’s worth? [After using it a few days? Great!]

Screen:
Of course, the screen is great. A Netflix movie looks awesome. But, what noob would really watch many movies on a phone; what about cinematography, sound, and all that? Better for shorter stuff like Youtube videos. At least, currently, for my tastes.

Stylus:
Meah. I tried it once, it did not keep up with my strokes. Perhaps, there is a setting for it. I will probably use it if I can adjust that. I think the old Palm Pilot’s pen kept up with the strokes, so a dual-core 1.5GHz system should do better. [update: Tried it a few times. I selected the eraser. If you stroke too fast, the eraser circle disappears. Come on, really?]. I read somewhere that this lag is due to the Note’s processor having to do it all; until Android 4.0 the graphics chip is not really used to its fullest. Don’t know if that is true.

Apps and OS:
It works and looks pretty much like a Galaxy SII Skyrocket. I think they changed a few things and the Skyrocket seems a little smoother and less error prone. Like the soft keys, volume rocker, and sleep switch are just too sensitive on the Note. Maybe it will take getting used to the new form factor so that the hands don’t trigger unwanted actions.

Active Apps app
I was testing the Navigator GPS app that has voice prompting and all that. Then I had to leave on an errand to a different location. The app just kept telling me “turn here, turn here you idiot; your going the wrong way!” Very annoying. I couldn’t stop it.

So, I clicked on the app for active apps, the navigator did not show in the list, huh? Its speaking, knows where I should be going, not where I want to go. So I just dragged the top of the home screen down (nice Android feature) to list the app, opened it, got to its menu, and exited it. In the meantime I almost went off the highway. Yea, don’t drink or mobile while driving, especially with a Note that needs two hands, and a Padma Mayurasana to manipulate. Maybe these things should except an overriding voice input: “shut up!”. Not you honey, this thing that is always so happy to see you.

Update
Feb 21, 2012:
Headphone does not mute speaker volume?
Was using the Note at work today. Had the headphones on. People looked at me like I’m a nut. Turns out the Note was ringing all over the place. I thought my tinkering with the ringtones was just in my earphones. What is up with that? I don’t remember if the iPhone automatically muted the speaker when the headphone was connected. In both, of course, the music, like Pandora was still going through the headphone. Someone told me I first have to reduce the volume so that the ringer is off, then plug in the headphone. Seems convoluted. [that did not work. If you mute the ringer, then only the media volume is working.]

When I Receive A Call, The Ringtone Is Not Heard Through The Hands Free Headset. Is There A Setting To Turn It On?

There are no configurable options or settings available to turn on the ability to hear the ringtones through the headset, they are heard through the handset itself, only. This is a matter of safety, as the decibel level for a normal call is much lower than that of a ringtone. Due to the decibel level of a ringtone being much louder than the human voice, the ringtones are not audible through the headset to protect against possible hearing loss.

That sounds like a lame excuse. If the handset can detect that a headphone plug was inserted or removed it can reduce the ringer volume to a subset of the media volume. Or should, but what do I know?
Blanking of the screen:
The “normal” settings for blanking don’t stop the screen from blanking so quickly. Turns out that is a setting in the custom power saving mode. Maybe it is elsewhere and I missed it.

Good reviews on youtube:

Further Reading

  1. On Wikipedia
  2. Samsung Galaxy Note Top Tips Collection
  3. Download Android app, give away your body, mind and soul?
  4. Samsung Galaxy Note page
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note: Unboxing, size comparison to Galaxy S II

  6. The Samsung Galaxy Note Vs Galaxy S II Vs Pockets Showdown / “Pocketability” demo!
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Download app, give away your body, mind and soul?

I was looking to download one of those flashlight apps for an Android phone. I have one on the iPhone.

Found some free ones. So, I hit the download or install button and then looked at the permissions that this app requires or is given. What! It wants to read my phone number, look in my contacts list, make internet connections, look at my school records, review my medical charts, do a rectal exam, interview my neighbors, cop a feel, practice root canal, withdraw from my meager savings, take out a second mortgage, and also, but not the last, peer into my soul and decide if I deserve Moksha or must burn for eternity in some exoteric religious hell.

Ah, no thanks. I’ll just go buy another real flashlight.

The Android market as a whole needs to address this. Or don’t. Just do what Microsoft, Apple, and every other company does, don’t talk about it; don’t even mention permissions. Shhhhh. All apps are dangerous. Secret, its between you and me.

What you expect the User to install VPN, Firewalls, Antivirus, Virtual Machines, etc. Ain’t gonna happen. Besides, security and privacy are partially a human behavior and marketing issue. Lack of privacy is profiting someone somewhere.

Updates
Funny I wrote this and later read about what Google is doing to combat malware. Synchronicity perhaps.

2012-Mar-9: My Samsung Note phablet came with a paltry set of ringtones, unlike the iPhone. Went to Android Market for some. Yup, a ringtone app wants access to everything! Just while viewing the reviews on one of the free ones, I felt a tug on my wallet. What gives? Its a ringtone, sounds, you need to access my contacts, phone, yada, yada, yada…….

2015-6-1: 10 best Android flashlight apps with no extra permissions

Further reading


Tony Bennett – Body and Soul


Coleman Hawkins – Body & Soul


Bill Evans trio + Toots Thielemans – Body & Soul

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Upload files from PC to Samsung Galaxy II Skyrocket

How do you transfer files from PC to the smart phone?

A family member got the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket. Awesome! I’m stuck with the original IPhone 3G. Time to save my pennies for a real phone.

Anyway, there is a web page with the info here (http://androidbeast.com/229/import-mp3-files-to-samsung-galaxy-s2-via-kies/). The manual as usual is useless in this topic.

Not to criticize that web page’s content, but the instructions are not too clear. My family member was stumped on the very first step. When I get time I will try to explain it for the non-tech user.

Basically though:

  1. The Skyrocket comes with a built-in app called KIES.
  2. You run that,
  3. connect your phone to the PC with the USB cable, or just wireless
  4. then on the PC you open a browser to a specific address that the KIES app is listening on. KIES will indicate the URL.
  5. After that, you get this user interface on the PC’s browser with a bunch of stuff so that you can pick what you want to transfer to the smartphone. KIES gives you access to much more, btw.

I guess it is ok. I’m an old school nerd, let me see the file system, and I’ll copy stuff, thank you, never mind with those straight jackets like iTunes, Microsoft Live, etc. Grumble, grumble. [Update: On my Samsung Galaxy Note, I just connected the USB cable and viola, had access to the Notes file system. Maybe this is possible on the Samsung Galaxy II, but it didn’t work for me.]

An alternative is to use the sync capabilities that most mobile devices have. Good luck with that. My problem with Sync on mobile devices is that they are too intrusive and invariably slow everything down.

A tall tale
I once had a USB stick who’s sync wanted to sync everything, and I mean everything; it was pulling my soul right out of my body, I could see the ectoplasm pouring out. Luckily it was to a Windows PC, that ran out of memory and crashed. If not I would not be typing this post.

references
* Kies Air Overview on a Samsung Galaxy Note™: AT&T How to Video Series
* Import MP3 Files To Samsung Galaxy S2 Via KIES


Give this work a listen. One the greatest works of electric guitar. Also the drummer is Billy Cobham. Keyboardist is Jan Hammer.

Santana & McLaughlin – Love Devotion Surrender – 03 – the life divine

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