Plan B – find your phone AFTER you lose it!!

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

A friend of mine had his phone stolen yesterday.

No worries though, he got it back. He installed this Android program AFTER he lost his phone, and it told him exactly where it was, and where to find it.

He posted about it from his recovered phone. Nice……….

Plan B for Android

Plan B is a unique phone finder app. I have known some apps in the past, where if you had it previously installed – you can access it over the web or by text in order to locate it.

Plan B is different, you install it AFTER you lose your phone.

AppBrain.com and more recently the Android Market allow remote installations. And this program starts as soon as it is downloaded. Once downloaded, it starts sending GPS locations directly to you via email.

I have heard of these programs, but I was surprised at the accuracy – Plan B found me and my phone, right at my apartment. Right there. Not just general area – but my exact building. Mileage may vary, but my results were extremely accurate.


(from Plan B website)

The emails came in every couple minutes – so if I was tracking a moving object – I would have a good idea where to go.

After about 10 mins, I went to the phone to see what was happening on the phone end. I saw that something was downloaded – but no indication that it was under GPS tracking. I opened the app and there was a link to Lookout Security & Antivirus.

It looks like the point of Plan B is to get you to download the parent app – but I am OK with that. It demonstrates what the Lookout program can do with GPS location on a lost phone. And more importantly – it gives the same protection to people without the forethought to have such an app installed already.

Cell phone protection
(There are worse ways to protect your cell phone)

I recommend people download some sort of remote location app – just in case – but even if you don’t, remember that this Plan B app exists. It could save your bacon.

–Ryan

 

Wizard

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

Well, I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

I have a regular client who calls me out for various computer problems. He bought a new Blackberry over the holidays, but couldn’t get it to sync with his ACT! database system.

He called me in to help, and he wasn’t wrong to do so, the new phone was being exceptionally problematic.
Well, it wasn’t the phone itself, you see his version of Blackberry Desktop Manager was not compatible with his new phone model – and the newest version of BBDM would not launch after install.

I searched forums, worked on the registry, downloaded brand new drivers – and BBDM would crash crash crash.
The BB forums were filled with similar complaints – but nobody over at RIM knew what was causing the conflict and there was no solution.

I went home to do some research (in motion).

Today I got it all working in under an hour – using Google as a middle man and bypassing the stupid Desktop Manager altogether!!

Not only did it all work, but now my client is always synced, automatically and wirelessly (before he had to actually connect via USB and would sometimes leave his phone in the office overnight just to sync)

He was over the moon with my outside the box solution, and called me a computer WIZARD!

Gave me a fat check on the spot, and I am sure he will be recommending me to other people.

Yeah…….. feeling pretty good!

 

–Ryan

 

EVA personal voice assistant (Siri for android)

Author: Ryan Drewrey  |  Category: Blog

I got a wonderful Xmas gift for my Galaxy Fascinate, EVA personal voice assistant.

I have seen videos of Siri, and even seen it in the wild a few times. The possibilities of the software sound a lot better than what I have seen in practice, though. It is still new enough that many people are still figuring out how and why to use it.

I was interested in the android versions, and after a little bit of research, I picked out the EVA intern program (free version) . In order to make it work, I also downloaded a text to speech app, SVOX and a free trial voice package.

The voice interface is great – I turned on the ‘voice wake up’ setting, and adjusted it, so that when I say “Computer.” EVA comes to front and accepts verbal commands. It took a few days to learn the syntax to create documents and launch programs, but now I can launch any program with a phrase.

I liked the voice interface so much, I downloaded another app to turn custom phrases into ring tones. So now when I get an email, the EVA voice says “Ryan, you have a new email”; I have this set for pretty much all of my program alerts. It is pretty cool to know exactly what is coming in without looking at my phone display.

I find the reminders to be very useful. I can ask EVA to remind me to do things or set alarms based on ‘time from now’, ‘exact time’, or even ’location’. I wasn’t much for setting reminders for myself using the calendar feature of my phone – but once I got in the habit, it is a great way to stay on task or multitask without losing track of time or priorities.

The ‘Lists’ feature works pretty well. I have a continuous shopping list that I update when I run out of something and delete things when I buy them. I also made an ‘Xmas shopping list’ that I kept updated whenever I thought of a new person or gift. I know there are probably some better ways to use this feature, but that is what I have found useful so far.

EVA also has a special list designated as ‘expense report’ and I can have all my money in/money out transactions saved by category and get monthly or weekly summaries of how I am spending my money. Right now it is just a novelty, but I really like using it.

EVA is a fairly new program, and it is done by a single person – but I am amazed by how often new updates are available. The facebook feed keeps me updated with new features almost daily. The most recent one is integration with the Google Places API, so I can more easily search for businesses around where I am.

All-in-all, EVA has been a wonderful program and an excellent gift, I recommend that anyone still reading should at least download the free 30 day trial (contains all the features of the full version)  - and if you still like it, buy the $10 full version.

–Ryan