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Sunday, May 1, 2011

BApps.com @ Auction Now

BApps.com is available for sale to the highest bidder at Sedo.

BApps.com Listing @ Sedo

This domain WILL BE SOLD at auction as the reserve price has been met. 

The auction for BApps.com will conclude on May/05/11 @ 05:51 AM Eastern Standard Time.

Update:
BApps.com sold for $510.00 at auction, I transferred the domain name upon Sedo's request that weekend and then verified that the funds had hit my account by May 12th, 2011.  Although I find the winning bid unusually low for such a valuable and trending domain name, I am glad to have the sale.  Sedo is a great place for quick domain name sales when both parties are on the ball.

The blogger blog address has been changed to http://business-apps.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life with a DroidX: Avoiding Spam

Life with a DroidX has been much richer, easier, more fun.  Ever since I got one I have been so much more organized that I can't actually believe that I ever got along without one.  But it is also a great deal more spammy  (I absolutely hate Ad Mob).

One thing that has always confounded me is that the Apple iPhone commercials declare that you can multitask as you use the phone as a phone to talk.  But I have been doing this with my Android device as well, so I fail to see why Apple makes it seem like they are the only smart phone to offer this, and why Google allows this misconception.  Is there something you can't do while using your phone as a phone on the Android platform?  If so, tell me what it is.  I'd like to know.  I'm confused, my DroidX multitasks well.

I have downloaded quite a few applications for the android.  Many of them I like.  Some I check out and delete. 

Because I have downloaded so many apps, it seems that I actually do have to reboot the phone once a day.  Otherwise, it may reboot itself.  I would think that this would be the result of a memory leak, so I have to review what is always running on my phone.  One of these background apps must be causing a problem.  The DroidX was very reliable before I started piling all the apps on.

The thing is, I now have so many apps that it's hard to tell which ones to get rid of first.  I do try and keep them all updated, but I am actually quite sick of free apps that originate as ad-free apps requiring a manual update because they now want to show advertising.  I hate spam.  I will pay for a good app because I like to support developers who do a good job as long as the price is reasonable.  But when free stuff starts showing ads I quite honestly get pissed at the developer for spamming me at all.

It's one thing to provide an ad supported version of a paid app for free, but it is totally another situation when you provide a free application that suddenly starts showing ads that are smashed against some often used button that you access a great deal within the program.  With touchscreen technology, my big clubby fingers are constantly just barely missing the nav button I need and seeing an advertisement for something I don't need.  Furthermore, some advertisements are downright sickening or even pornographic. 

This brings-up an interesting fact, that I would not dare give my son a DroidX (or any other Android device) because the advertising is often extremely offensive to me, and believe me, I can cuss like a drunken sailor if I can get away with it when my vim is riled up.

I am a graphic designer, web designer, brand expert, and online marketer.  I do a little bit of affiliate marketing as well (not much, but I do keep my hand in it in case anything ever takes off).  You would think that I understand everyone wanting to advertise, since I am essentially a glorified ad man.  But I find it intrusive and insulting.  I think the ads are deceptive and the PPC is accidental based on my own affinity for the spam.  So it's real hard for me to understand why anyone would advertise on a little smart phone.

Despite all the spam, I am finding great enjoyment with my DroidX since I am deleting all the ad supported crap as soon as I see it.  But I have downloaded so many apps that I haven't actually even run all of them once, either.  Life interupts.  Things happen and then it takes a while for me to get back to it.

My best time killers are paper toss and the angry bird games.  But I don't usually get the opportunity to play games, only when waiting for my son to get out of school or finish his sports or swimming lessons. 

Don't ever expect the advertising crap to stop anytime soon, though.  Google is an advertising company that invests in marketing platforms.  Blogger is a marketing platform for Google.  Google is a search engine only in disguise because actually it is just a platform to show ads.  In fact, this very means of ad delivery is what corrupts Google's search algorithm, because it needs to accommodate its ad network.  Even Google Groups, Google Sites, GMail, Blogger and YouTube, all Google properties, are just ad delivery platforms.

I honestly haven't seen this spam problem with the iPhone.  Maybe there is no such problem, as Apple isn't an advertising platform.  Yet, the Apple has a whole set of other issues due to the fact that the iOS on which it is based is a closed proprietary platform, and Apple takes a huge cut of everything which drives up costs significantly.  Although its interface is exceptional, the cost is prohibitive and the control that Apple excersizes over the platform is exclusive and absolute. 

So, I guess if anyone wants to avoid all the advertising, they will want to avoid the Android platform altogether.  And this then does disqualify the youth from having these devices because the ads are so offensive and devious.  Furthermore, even though advertising partners can block ads and advertisers can block the displaying of ads on specific sites, absolutely no one has the ability to block specific advertisers, which is actually extremely inappropriate oversight by Google considering that anyone with an android has to have a dang google account in the first place.

And yet, there is one exception.  You can root the phone and install an ad blocker.  The problem here is that rooting the phone will void your warranty.  But no more spam?  That might be a good trade.  Even though I delete almost all the adware apps I get and pay for or register the exceptional stuff that I find, I still loathe seeing any kind of spam, even as a glimpse by accident.  I know that I am going to consider it, for sure. 

I'll probably wait just a bit before I do it, though.  When you root an Android phone, you wind-up losing all your apps and data on it.  Which means I have to be absolutely sure that absolutely everything on it is backed-up before I go though that process.  And it may take a bit to research all that I need to do to make sure that's done (done completely and done right). 

I now depend on this little DroidX for almost everything having to do with my time, calendar, even the little tools I need to get through the day.  I couldn't bear to lose it.  I'm absolutely hooked.  I'm an android addict.  ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Getting a Deal on a DroidX

It's been some time since the last post.  That's because I wanted to know what I was talking about, so I wanted to have a Droid before I posted again.  Well, thanks to my beautiful wife Maria, I finally have a DroidX!

A week before Christmas (2010) my wife and I went down to the Verizon store to check out the DroidX and see how expensive it would be to set ourselves up with a couple of them (one for each of us, mine being my Christmas present).  I was pleasantly surprised when she decided to get them for us.

I'll tell you that we didn't pay what they were asking.  We didn't even pay what you could get them for online at Verizon.  It wasn't much of a discount, but we were able to get $20.00 off of the price of Verizon's then running Buy 1 get 1 Free promotion.  Plus they set us up with a life-long 20% discount on phone accessories.  But don't let that foll you, at 20% off I am still paying more than I would at Best Buy for retail priced Motorola factory accessories.  But it's only a penny or two and this way I know my wife won't get gouged if she goes in because she has a question and needs something.

However, it should be noted that we didn't just walk out of there with a couple of DroidX smartphones.  Because I am a little clumsy (the week before I dropped my EeePC and cracked the screen), we wound-up getting a full coverage protection plan on my DroidX.  That's a hefty price tag right there, but it's much cheaper than having to buy a new one.  And I knew I would (and do) use it absolutely all the time.  And this plan replaces the phone no matter how it gets damaged.  So that's a big deal, and because of the 20% discount on accessories, we did load up. We both got wrapsol screen protectors, clear plastic rubber covers, and I grabbed the last case they had that would fit the big screened DroidX.  So it wasn't like we didn't deserve getting a good deal.

I actually wanted to see if I could knock-off another $20.00 to $5.00, but Maria just agreed to their comeback after the sales guy called the manager.  After all, they weren't offering a buy 1 get 1 free deal, and they were already $20.00 more expensive than Verizon was offering them for online.  Originally, we asked for 2 for $150.00.  I still think we could have gotten a better deal by dickering more, but women get impatient when shopping for tech stuff (not shoes, though) and when it became a done deal I had a DroidX, so I kept my mouth shut.

There was another nice feature about getting 2 Droids.  And this deal has to do with the data plan.  We don't actually get a lot of phone calls.  So we did grab the lowest priced family plan.  But Maria doesn't surf much with hers, and she uses her new Dell for all her email.  Plus, I turned on the WiFi so she can always use that at the house when downloading new apps.  So with hers we just got the least expensive data plan.  In doing that, they offered us an unlimited data for about the same price on the second line.  Since I am constantly surfing the web and checking out new apps anytime that I take Max anywhere where he just does his own thing (which is often since I am the primary care provider), this promo works out nice for us.

We didn't tack on any SMS plans, though.  We don't know anyone who texts.  ;)

We are actually used to buy-as-you go phones and have used both Tracfone and Virgin before (take a Tracfone over a Virgin despite how it sounds if you can, they have a better network) and we know that we will be spending in a month for 2 contracts what we spent in a year on a pay-as-you-go phone.  But there are no smartphones available in pay-as-you-go flavors, yet.  I certainly hope that there will be soon, even if we are pigeon-holed into contracts for the next two years.  These Android, iPhone, BlueBerry and Palm smartphones are just simply too good to be exclusive to the privileged and the communication professionals that require them. 

But now that I have an actual "smart"phone, I can't believe that I actually traunted around through life without one.  It's always with me (rarely do I space off taking it along), and it's not just a phone, camera, web browser, calendar, timer, (alarm)clock, address book, calculator, tip calculator and unit converter like my old Tracfone LG, it's a much better one that is also a compass, a level, a flashlight, a little book reader, an emailer, doodler, simple image processor, gallery, 720P Hi-Def camcorder, video player, TV, TV Guide, movie times guide, Blu-ray compliant electronics device remote controller, an entertainment device, a radio, an MP3 player, a voice recorder, a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a gas mileage and expenses tracker, a business card reader, a document scanner, a bar code reader, a comparison shopping guide, a headlines updater, a news reader, a weather update, a recipe guide, a secret journal, a password safe, a jokes keeper, an inspirational quotes machine, a multiple reference guide, a voice to speech blog toy, a deer/turkey caller, a moon phase guide, a farmer's almanac, an air horn, a star map, a NASA image gallery, a hard drive, a file sharing tool, a file downloader, networking tool, an FTP server, a social networking tool, a synthesizer/piano/drums/xylophone toy, a ringtone maker, a morse code teacher and tool, a GPS with turn-by-turn instructions, a ski conditions reporter.... it's even an internet WiFi access point!

Just like the computer, everyone wants one and eventually everyone will have at least one.  You just can't beat these things.  I would be able to scan credit cards if Square would just send me the little attachment I need to do so.

The world is changing, and the smartphone is a good part of it.  I do recommend that kids only use the phone speaker and hold it away and in front of their head as a precaution, but these things are phenomenal!

Well, I hope that helps you get a deal.  You can probably wind-up with a better deal than I had if you are getting a couple of phones.  The same type of dickering should work with just about any smartphone.  Verizon and some of the other players are rumored to be working on cheaper contracts, too.  You might wait a bit for that, but if you can get one now and don't have a smartphone, you should.

The only extra accessories that I have grabbed since we bought these droids is a quick car charger from Best Buy and I am going to also grab a home dock.  A car dock is the only other thing you might need and that would take the place of the car charger.

Good luck getting a deal and happy Androiding!  ;)  -Doug

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grabbed another Widget Blog & Domain Name...

With the popularity of Google's AndroidTM 2 operating system for smart phones and handheld computing devices, and the upcoming release of Verizon's Droid on Friday which is creating quite a buzz due to the marketing that Verizon has thrown at the little device (check out the promo site they have up at http://www.droiddoes.com/), my own personal excited peaked in anticipation of these events and I went out and registered a domain name and another blog.

I have always been enamoured with the iPhone, but it just didn't seem practicle even if there was AT&T coverage available in my state (more bars in more places: My butt!). But I am more of an open source fan. Enter the Android 2 OS.

I have always wanted a good camera phone, but quite honestly the crap that is available nowadays isn't worthy of viewing on a computer or HDTV monitor. It all stinks, and as an artist and an amateur photographer, it just doesn't merit being called a camera.

As a graphic designer for the web I see all my old digital photographs look small and unimportant in the old 640x480 and 800x600 resolutions we were bound to in the days that technology was just emerging.

This is a typical problem with camera phones, they are not just poor quality with low resolutions, but are so highly compressed that the resulting images are mere mosaics of the image they represent. Still, I don't bring my good camera everywhere I go, and there are many times that I wish I had it, like after the Sioux Falls Storm won the United Indoor Football championship in 2008 and the whole team posed for photos afterwards. Or when my son was awarded his trophy for being the Defensive Rookie Player of the Year for his division champion Pee-Wee football team "The Warriors".

These are priceless moments, but it seems to be an insult to save them with a small resolution 1.2 megapixel camera that doesn't even come close to being serious about the images it takes.

After all, my cell phone does almost everything. It is my alarm clock and timer. My calendar and reminder. My phone book as well as my phone.

Heck, one of these days phones will become our wallets.

Anyway, I grabbed the domain name WidgetDroid.com. This should be a great name to recomend and sell AndroidTM 2 widget and application downloads. I then went and announced that I registered the domain name on my Domainating blog on WordPress. When I came back here to Blogger I also wound-up grabbing the WidgetDroid blog name on Blogger because I used the wrong name to access this blog.

Perhaps I will prefer to use the WidgetDroid.Blogspot.com address now that I have that domain name, too. Maybe I will even start a new blog at WordPress if the name is still available over there, as well.

Go AndroidTM!
-Doug

Monday, November 2, 2009

Android 2 Growing in Popularity

With the relase of Android 2 and all the great media exposure that Verizon is giving the Droid (to be released on Friday, 11/6/2009), the open source Android OS for smart phones and gadgets is growing in popularity.

The last time my best friend Bill and I got together he was still showing off his new Apple gizmo. It isn't an iPhone, but is a PDA with all sorts of extra features, including the ability to do same very cool games. However, as we discussed all of what is going on in the small device technology circle, he pointed out every single reason that he didn't like certain things about it. These are the very same reasons that Verizon has jumped on the wagon with their new Droid model, as pointed out very handily in their commercials...

iDon't...

...have a keyboard.
...run apps simultaneously (multitask).
...take 5 megapixel photos.
...take night shots.
...allow open development.
...allow customization.
...run widgets.
...have interchangeable batteries.

Droid Does


It's a very simple, matter-of-fact, tech-oriented commercial that hit on every one of Bill's complaints (although he was complaining that it didn't have a camera, not about the photo resolution or the inability to take night shots).

Of course, one has to remember that there is no AT&T access anywhere in our area. I don't think there are any bars available anywhere in our state of South Dakota. Which is why Bill chose the PDA. But Sprint, Verizon and Alltel are all available throughout the state. Which is why grabbing an iPhone will really be a huge hassle anywhere in this area until AT&T takes possesion of the Alltel cell towers (this is a whole 'nother story, but when Verison bout Alltel, AT&T won the cell towers by getting Verison declared a monopoly).

Funny as it is, the popularity of Google's Android powered gadgets, as well as the Blackberry, seem to be driven by the popularity of the iPhone we can't buy or even use if we had one. These things appear to be headed to take over the technology sector soon, just as I understand that they already have in Asia and Europe.

I have ben drooling since I saw the iPhone. The fact is, I can't buy one in this area, yet. But according to Bill, you would have to jail-break the unit in order to use different software for it. Apple acts as a clearing house for everything using the Apple App Store.

As I am really into using well programmed open source software, I find this appalling. Apple has to have their hand in the pocket of every single development, which only increases development costs.

Well, the Android apparently has over 100,000 software applications and utilities on it already. Comparatively, I just hear Apple claiming to have 85,000 applications available. There are plenty more, but they are awaiting licensing approval from Apple.

So even though Apple is making money hand over fist on the iPhone and all of its proprietary little gadgets, it is also creating its own little bottleneck so that the device can't be as versatile.

Apple engineered its little devices with a proprietary battery replacement system, too. They require that you bring the unit into the shop so that they can service it and charge a premium for the service. In a way, this is like that old tale about how industry used to engineer their components to break once off of warranty. It's just plain evil to not allow the consumer to change the battery on these things.

In the meantime, smart phones and PDAs are more popular than ever. Android, Blackberry and Palm are offering systems that seem to make the iPhone look old and dated, now.

So now I can't wait to get my own Android 2 based smartphone. I just love the fact that I might be able to write my own games or widgets for it, because its open source. I also just need it to design web stuff for phones.

Part of the problem I am running into though, is that I pay for internet access at home, and I have another little Redwood Wireless USB modem that I use for my laptop when I am out and about (possibly showing potential web design clients some of my work or taking photographs of Sioux Falls). I just can't see spending another couple hundred bucks on a smartphone and having to pay a ridiculous monthly contract to get it working with internet access. On top of that I won't not be able to access the internet through my computer by using the phone? And if I have to buy some other device to log onto the net wirelessly anywhere outside of Sioux Falls are they going to make me setup a separate account for each device (it appears so when you look at this stuff at Best Buy).

So yes, Android 2 and other smart phones are growing in popularity. But I have no idea when I might be able to get one of my own. It seems that my pay-as-you-go Tracfone is all I can afford, and that only costs me about $120.00/year.

I sure wish this economy would turn around, though. This is the time businesses need to advertise and market themselves. Unfortunately, no one seems to need me to put up a new website or design a new logo/ad for them.