Tag Archives: Android Apps

How to cash in with Viggle: Earn money while watching TV

viggle logoFor those missing out on getting free stuff for watching TV, welcome to the world of Viggle. Open to all iOS and Android users, this app allows us to “check in” to live TV shows or movies, which earn points toward gifts and discounts. Free to download and working with our current tube-watching schedules, it’s an app that might change the way we indulge in entertainment.

How Viggle works

The next time you sit down to watch Bones or Who’s the Boss reruns, just click “check in” and point your mic toward the TV. Viggle then identifies the program (it’s usually right, but sometimes takes a few tries, or if the show can’t be located you can type it in) and rewards you that show’s respective points. The earlier you check in to the show, the more point will be rewarded. Ad points are also offered, and there’s a sign-up wall where points can be earned for signing up for credit cards, etc.

Of course this sounds too good to be true, but it works, I swear. In about 10 months, I earned $90 worth of gift cards to various stores. I checked in only when it was convenient and made no extra efforts to find a TV when I wasn’t already watching. BUT this was also during the glory days of Viggle. Shows were often rewarded at 300-400 points a pop, 75 and 100-point ads were given freely, and only 14,000 points were needed to earn a $10 iTunes card.

Living high and loose caught up with the brand, and now primetime shows are 50 points, most with trivia, and ads are few and far between. Earning $10 will now cost 20k points, or the equivalent in iTunes dollars (when available) costs a whopping 25k points.

Making it worthwhile

With these rapid inflation of points (and subsequent loss in what shows are worth), Viggle took a quick turn toward not being worth the effort. But, it’s still free money for watching TV, right? To earn the same amount of points, we simply have to get creative when using the app.

To earn more points:

  • Check in at the beginnings of shows. If you wait until the last half (even if you watched the whole show), points or prorated for the amount of minutes documented.
  • Watch sports. Sporting events offer more bang for your time. Check out local showtimes and cash in.
  • Play the games. Whether it be MyGuy, which allows players to earn based off players’ performances, or trivia, which gives points for right (and even wrong) answers, play along. These may drain your phone battery, but offer a significant swing in point totals. (Between check ins, ads, and trivia, I earned nearly 2k points during the Grammys.)
  • Watch the ads. Even if you don’t watch them, “watch” them (we can only stand the same commercial so many times). These can be anywhere from 5 to 150 points.
  • Check in at prime time. While these shows are listed at 50, Viggle is notorious for giving out check-in bonuses that often double or triple your points. We may never know what they’re going to be, but the surprise is definitely worth it.
  • For bulk points, check out Viggle’s wall. Many require shopping or company sign ups, but you can also find videos; the offers are always changing.

Who says you can’t get something for nothing? With Viggle, earn gift cards and merchandise just for watching TV. And with the tips above, you’re sure to earn as many points as possible.

Need a Taxi? There’s an App for That

Forgive me for sounding like a fanboy, but my iPhone is one gadget that has continued to wow me long beyond the initial honeymoon period.

I have come to take many features for granted – reliable email synchronization, decent Facebook and Twitter apps and a really good camera being just three. It’s the new apps I keep discovering that continue to piqué my interest.

On a recent trip to London I discovered one that impressed me so much that I began to bore my friends by going on about it.

Introducing Hailo for iPhone and Android

During my London business trip, I found myself in need of a taxi. Aware that there are plenty of apps for that, I Googled “London taxi app,” and ended up downloading a fairly new app called Hailo.

After quickly registering my details, the GPS found my location and told me that there were several cabs less than ten minutes away. Two taps and one was on its way.

My iPhone told me the registration number of the taxi and showed me a little photo of the driver. I was then able to follow the car’s progress through the London streets on a map, not needing to leave the comfort of the pub until it was right outside! The driver was similarly able to track my location from the other end of Hailo’s system.

Hailo
Hailo

Upon arrival at my hotel, I paid the driver. By the time the hotel’s automatic doors had welcomed me in, my iPhone’s vibration signified the arrival of an email, which turned out to be my receipt.

I was in London for about a week so had plenty of other opportunities to put Hailo through its paces. On all but one occasion, it had a taxi to me within 15 minutes. The only time it failed was during a busy Saturday night peak period. We were with a group of friends quite far out from the centre of town and needed two taxis. I persuaded a friend to download the Android version of the app. He did – but the immediately managed to snag the only free car in the area leaving me without transport!

The fact that you can see the taxi approaching on the map can be entertaining. One night I booked a car from a client office and the driver got lost in a one-way system. I was able to see him looping around in circles before finding his way to where I was waiting.

Hailo charges no fees other than the taxi meter price, which in London differs from some of the telephone services where the taxis clock up time on their way to you. So effectively, using Hailo is exactly the same as hailing a cab on the street – except you don’t have to set foot on the street until the car is there. This has obvious benefits for the safety of lone travelers and those moving through questionable areas late at night.

At the time of writing, Hailo is available in London, Toronto, Chicago and Dublin. Similar apps are available in other cities. Whether these work as flawlessly, I don’t know – but I would love to hear. If you’ve tried any, please tell me about them in the comment box.

8 Best Mobile Android Apps for Bloggers

If you are a blogger and cannot be bothered being tied to only laptops and desktops to do your writing, consider these eight, highly useful Android apps to get work done while really on the go.

WordPress

The WordPress Android app works a lot better on tablets than smartphones because of the larger display, but it still works beautifully just like its desktop counterpart. With the app, you can create and edit blog posts, view traffic statistics, and manage comments. The WordPress Android app works for both WordPress.com-hosted blogs and self-hosted blogs.

LiveJournal

If you are a travel blogger, the LiveJournal app is a great choice. Like its desktop counterpart, you can easily access your LiveJournal account, create new entries, manage previously published posts and manage comments right from your tablet or smartphone.

Posterous

Developed by Posterous Spaces, this app allows you to upload images, and share texts and videos with anyone. Posterous also allows users to create communities for group contributions. Like LiveJournal and WordPress, Posterous users can control with whom they share their content with.

Tumblr

Another micro-blogging platform, the Tumblr Android app offers all the features a blogger gets in the desktop version – post video links and images, create texts, share quotes, re-blog posts and more. You can manage more than one blog from the same app and follow people from your phone’s contacts. Other features include scheduling posts, saving drafts and customizing tweets. However, unlike the previous blogging platforms, Tumblr doesn’t let the user choose people with whom the user would like to share content.

Moby

Moby is a social content sharing application on which you can share images, videos, audio and text through syncing with social networking platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Blogger, LiveJournal and WordPress.

Blogger

The Blogger app is not rich in features like other blogging apps, but nonetheless, you can create, publish and share posts.

HootSuite

Like Moby, this is another favorite app for mobile bloggers. HootSuite’s Android app let’s you connect with Twitter and Facebook and share your blog posts seamlessly. Moreover, you can schedule tweets and start campaigns right from the app.

PayPal

We know how much PayPal is useful for any kind of online business. If you have a monetized blog, using the PayPal app on your smartphone or tablet is a good choice to monitor incoming payments and send money when necessary.

Transfer files and control your phone wirelessly with AirDroid for Android

Managing files and data on an Android device can be a chore at times. To move files back and forth you have to keep a micro USB cable handy. Not only that, in order to move files to your phone’s SD card it has to first be unmounted from your phone, which can take a while if you’re still using an ancient phone with limited internal memory (like me) and have tons of applications installed to the SD card.

Enter AirDroid.

AirDroid not only makes it easy to manage your files, but also do other managerial tasks on your phone, all wirelessly!

Setting up AirDroid is pretty painless. After connecting your Android device to the same wireless network as your computer, just open AirDroid on your phone. Hit the “Start” button (if it doesn’t start automatically) and type the displayed IP address into your favorite web browser on your computer. Then just enter the four digit password. You’re in!

Everything on the main AirDroid ‘desktop’ is pretty self-explanatory. From here you can browse text messages (and send new ones), uninstall apps from your phone, install new apps if you have the APK file handy on your computer, share clipboard contents between your computer and phone, and much more.

One of my favorite uses for AirDroid is to move files to and from my phone. File transfers are a bit slower over wireless than over USB, but if I’m feeling extra lazy the convenience of AirDroid wins out. Even better, through the magic of VNC I can start AirDroid, connect to my computer through a VNC client (I use android-vnc-viewer), connect from there back to my phone, and transfer files without ever physically needing to touch my computer. Theoretically you could take it a step further and set up a VPN to transfer files from your home computer even when you’re out of the house, but that isn’t something I’ve personally tried.

AirDroid might not completely revolutionize the Android experience, but it certainly makes managing your phone more convenient. Best of all, it’s free!

AirDroid can be downloaded free of charge from the Android Market.

Use Bubbles and Your Android Phone to Create Memorable Phone Calls

In a world filled with short attention spans and thinning short-term memories, it can sometimes be difficult to remember to mentioning  important topics while making a phone call. Heck, give a person 30 minutes of phone conversation to wander, and their mind will stray further than the island of Lilliput (hint: it’s a fictitious location from a book).

Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve struggled enough with trying to remember what to say during my phone calls. To fix this, I’m switching to Bubbles.

Bubbles?

And what pray tell is Bubbles, you ask? Well, Bubbles (the full name for all you searchers out there is “Bubble – Pop Up Bubble Notes” in case one is lost in all the bubble popping games the market has to offer; otherwise use the official Android Market link is here) is an app that allows one to link important to-do’s and reminders (now in “bubble” form) to Google contacts so that phone calls can stay productive, memorable, and on-task. Here’s the lowdown.

From left to right: contacts, contacts with bubbles, and past contacts called

Once installed on your Android phone, Bubbles automatically grabs all your Google contacts and makes them available on the main screen. Once a few bubbles are created for contacts, they will show up here on the right side. If it makes more sense to filter one’s contacts by bubble reminders only, the second (and appropriately named) “bubblers” tab will do just that. And finally if one wants to see if they have been successfully following up on the bubble reminders, they can check their phone’s call log on the third tab.

Select a contact, create a bubble, and color it appropriately

To actually create a bubble, one must first select a contact and then hit the “add bubble” button in the bottom left. From here all it takes is a some text and a suitable bubble color, and the bubble reminder is created for the contact.

Now when one accesses the person’s contact card from the main menu, the bubble reminders will appear in order of creation date on their profile. But wait, there’s more:

I can't believe I forgot to forget his birthday...Good work, bubbles

This is where Bubbles takes personal reminders to the next level. Whenever one makes a phone call to a contact with an attached bubble reminder, the mentioned bubbles will appear on the phone call screen. That way before you start talking, you know exactly what you need to mention in the conversation. When, where, and how long the bubbles show up during phone calls can all be changed in the “Settings” menu.

Shouldn't I be popping the bubble instead of deleting it?

When done with a bubble reminder, deleting it is as easy as going into the contact’s profile again and hitting the “X” on the bubble in question.

Conclusion

Regardless if you always remember what to say or never get around to saying what you want to, Bubbles is a solid app that can help keep contacts in order and phone conversations on task. You’ll be so contact task-oriented, the only place you’ll use the word “wandering” is a Scrabble board.

Launcher 7 Brings the Windows Phone 7 Experience To Android

Windows Phone 7 may not have caught on like Microsoft was hoping it would, but it does present some interesting ideas. One of those is its minimalist, tile-based homescreen. Thanks to the wonders of Android, you can now get that same experience on your Android phone with Launcher 7.

Windows Phone 7 (and by proxy Launcher 7) eschews the familiar rows and columns of icons used by stock Android and iOS in favor of two columns of tiles. You get less information on the screen at one time, but it certainly looks nice while still remaining usable.

Like most Android homescreen replacements, Launcher 7 is dead simple to start using. After installing, just hit the Home button on your phone. You’ll get a list of your installed homescreen replacements, and if you wish you can set a default at this time. If you end up trying out a bunch of homescreen replacements simultaneously, consider installing Home Switcher. It simplifies the process of launching your various homescreen replacements and changing which one to use by default.

Launcher 7 keeps things simple with only two “main” screens. The tiles screen is where you’ll find your most-used applications. You can also simulate Windows Phone 7’s active tiles by adding standard Android widgets through the Add Special Tile menu option (due to space limitations only 1×1 and 2×1 widgets can be added).

Swiping to the right brings you to a list of all your installed applications. If your list is as extensive as mine you can jump to any other letter by tapping a visible letter on the screen. Turning one of these applications into a tile on your main screen is as simple as dragging it over.

If the default color scheme isn’t to your liking it can be modified from the Launcher 7 Settings menu option, along with a host of other customizations. Individual tiles can be modified, rearranged, and deleted by long pressing on them.

Launcher 7 is available in the Android market in both a free ad-supported version and an ad-free version for $2.

Untappd: An Android App Every Beer Geek Should Have

If you’re into craft beer, chances are good that you spend a good deal of time bragging to your friends about different beers you’ve tried or have on tap. Take, for instance, my text message conversation with my good friend last weekend.

Friend: “At a place with Three Philosophers on tap.”
Me: “How about you go to Hell?”

As you might imagine, people with access to certain beers have some serious bragging rights, so it’s only natural that beer geeks want to keep track of their findings and reviews of particularly hard-to-find brews.

Untappd is the perfect app for any beer enthusiast. It reminds me a lot of Foursquare, with the ability to “check-in” to certain beers as you are enjoying them. You can easily view reviews for the beer and post/archive your own, as well as ratings. It’s surprisingly common in the craft beer world to discuss a wide range of beers you’ve tasted, and dang it, reviews are hard to remember. With Untappd, you can store details about each beer (IBU, SRM, malt bill, etc.) as well as a narrative review which can easily be recalled for reference later. Even better, Untappd will offer recommendations for similar beers that you can try.

Probably my favorite feature of Untappd is the ability to see where a particular beer is on tap. In the mood for the Saison your friend suggested you try last week? No problem, just do a pub search and you’ll be soaking in it faster than you can say “It’s OK, I didn’t want a good beer anyway.”

Bragging to your fellow beer geeks has never been easier, and I give Untappd two very sober thumbs up. Improve your beer geek credibility and keep track of your brewhalla history with this very well-made (and free) app — and never forget, life is too short for light beer. Prost!

Four Android Apps to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

Halloween is sneaking up quickly, and you need to get mentally prepared for the occasion — and I don’t mean going to Target to admire the vast array of candy. Start honing your Halloween spirit with these four Android apps that are sure to leave you entertained, if not ready for some ghost-busting on the 31st.

Zombie Booth

Curious how you’d look as a flesh-craving member of the walking dead? Zombie Booth will turn you into a mindless, blood-covered automaton with the option to show your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or email. While it’s not exactly terrifying stuff to us adults, the kids get a kick out of it and actually get pretty spooked by the 3D animation feature. Zombify your family cat for a 100% guaranteed-to-be-upset mom.

Contract Killer: Zombies

No better way to get in the spirit of Halloween than to surround yourself with a swarm of living dead. Contract Killer: Zombies is one of the most visually impressive games available for Android, and better yet, it’s free. Intuitive controls and engaging missions will keep you busy fighting this scourge of the Earth for hours…and I bet you’ll check your closets before you go to sleep.

Haunted Sights

Do you have an interest in history and a flair for self-inflicted pain? Haunted Sights is an app that tracks your GPS location and shows you real sites that are supposedly haunted. Tour through an old hotel or visit the scene of a century old murder as you read descriptions of each site and other user experiences. Plan to make a night of it? Haunted Sights lets you map your night’s route so you can hit the best rated attractions and avoid the dull ones. If you happen to live where I do (Bismarck, ND) head to the river and plan for a terrifying evening.

EVP Analyzer

The EVP Analyzer is a tool that would make Egon Spengler proud — it isn’t free, it is a $1.60 well spent. The EVP Analyzer records silence in everyday (or haunted) locations and searches the recording for Electronic Voice Phenomena. I picked this app on a whim, but I was surprised by how fun and eerie it is to use. Just check the user reviews — many will swear they are picking up signals from the undead. If nothing else, a fantastic way to freak out your nieces and nephews or your more gullible friends.

Don’t be one of those cynical buzzkills this Halloween that scoffs at the paranormal; suspend your disbelief, and have a bit of fun. You’re never too old to have an awesome Halloween, and these apps for your Android phone or tablet will have you in the right state of mind.

From all of us at Techerator, Happy Halloween!

Move Files Between Your Android Phone and Your Computer Without Wires

No! Not a USB cable!How do you transfer files between your Android-powered phone and your computer?

Maybe you use Dropbox or a similar service. Or, chances are you stick one end of a USB cable into your phone and the other into your computer.  Come on, we’re not talking about an iWhatever here. We’re talking about Android, and there’s a way to ditch the USB cable. All it takes is a wi-fi connection and an app called WebSharing.

WebSharing turns your phone into a web server, which you can access using a browser on your computer. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.

Getting Going

The first thing you’ll need to do is install the WebSharing app. You can find it in the App Market or by scanning one of the QR codes on this page. There are two versions of WebSharing: lite and full. The lite version lets you do basic file management. The full version, which costs $2.99, adds features like multiple file upload, WebDav access, and viewing multimedia files. Give the Lite version a try first — it might be enough for your needs.

Turn on your phone’s wi-fi, then start the WebSharing app. Before you do that, though, add a password.  While WebSharing generates a password for you (and displays it on the app’s home screen), it’s only four characters long and changes each time you start the app.

To add a password, tap the Menu button and then tap Settings to open the Owner Access screen. From there, tap Owner account password. Type a password, then tap OK.

Go back to the main screen and tap Start. WebSharing will display a URL. Just type that in your desktop web browser and, when you’re prompted, enter your password. Then you’re ready to go.

WebSharing home screen

Working with WebSharing

It’s pretty much like working with any desktop file manager. Right click anywhere to create a new folder on your phone, to delete files, or move files and folders around. Probably the most useful feature in WebSharing, and the one you’ll use the most, is uploading and downloading files.

WebSharing main window

To download a file, right click on it and select Download Selected. If you want to download multiple files, CTRL-click them. Then, from the File menu on the left side of the screen select Download Selected.

Uploading works in pretty much the same way. Just right click anywhere and select Upload Files. In the popup window, search for the files that you want to upload and then click OK. Depending on the size of the files, the upload can take a few seconds to a few minutes.

On top of that, you can view or listen to any photo, video, or audio file by double clicking on it. WebSharing also gives you at-a-glance access to your photos, music, and videos. Just click one of the tabs at the top of the window in your browser.

You don’t get mere thumbnails, but decent-sized previews. And when you click the Music tab, you can stream the songs on your device to your computer. Yes, it is great at parties!

WebSharing view media

WebSharing is a simple and useful app. It lets you escape the tyranny of the USB cable and efficiently move files between your Android-powered phone and your computer.

Photo credit: giggs from Morguefile.com

Getting Started with Android: Memos and Streaming Radio Stations

There’s a good chance that (like most people) when you wonder “Hey, I wonder if there’s an app for that on my phone…”, you immediately go to the app market and search for it.

Now if you are like me, instead of searching for an app, you will ask one of your friends who knows all about apps.  Except with this method, you have to be ready for a full lecture on whatever app you may be looking for and then some.

To save you from a full on lecture and some time searching, here are a few of my favorite Android apps:

Did you get the memo?

Android app Memo

When I need to take a note on anything (for example, what spark plug type to buy or a part number for something at work) Memo is my go-to app.  I have used this app multiple times and is super easy to use.

  1. Download Memo
  2. Press “Create memo” and start typing.

Simple as that!

As you can see, you can also color code the different notes you take. To change the color of the memo, press the return button on your menu bar and have at it.

To edit an existing memo, press the pencil shown on the left corner. Need to email yourself the memo or to someone else? Hit the Menu button on your phone. The memo will then be mailed  in the form of a .vnt file (Note: This file extension is standard for mobile memos and can be opened with any editor).

Turn up the tunes

Radio stations on Android
Finding radio stations

My next favorite application is TuneIn Radio.  You can use this application to listen to your favorite radio station (as long as they are streaming).  It works great for me because being from a small town is not easy for me to tune into a local station to get the news or listen to music.

To search for a radio station, type the name of the station in the “Search” window. Once you find a station, you can add it in your presets by pressing the “Add to Presets” button that appears on your screen. When you press “My Presets,” you will see a list of all the stations you have added.

You also have the option to search for station based on the other options available:

  • Local Radio
  • Music
  • Talk
  • Sports
  • By location
  • By Language
  • Podcasts

I found the streaming quality to be acceptable on this application. Once you place the app in the background, you have a small menu that allows you to pause or exit the application on the top menu.

Comments or questions on these apps? Let us know in the comments section below!