Archive for September, 2011

App of the Week – Bedside – reviewed (inc video)

September 24, 2011

android app of the weekHi guys, it’s been a while since I posted an app of the week but I just couldn’t wait any longer.

This time I have an amazing little app which will save you a lot of time, effort and just general bedtime bother.

App: Bedside
Cost: ~ £1.21
Developer: Daniel Velazco
Developer pagewww.danvelazco.com

Don’t you hate it when it’s time to put your head down and catch up on some sleep only to have to mess around with your phone before you do so? Playing around with your volume, turning off ringtones and setting your alarm is not only annoying but it can also make you feel less tired than you were – not good for insomniacs I’m sure (not that I am one).

The problem is, I’ve always wanted to be able to be contacted from by my family in case of emergencies but I don’t want drunken calls from my friends at 3am. This has always been a predicament. Also, who really wants to receive and hear an SMS notification when you’re trying to sleep? An SMS can surely wait til morning can’t it? If it was important they’d call right?

Well, however you look at it, Bedside is the perfect solution.

Not only does bedside take the hassle out of ‘setting your phone up’ at night but it also allows you to customise who (if anyone) can contact you – and by what means too (phone/SMS).

By default, when Bedside is started it’ll mute your phone completely. This means you won’t hear any calls or SMS messages (or even e-mails for that matter) coming through. No sounds at all. That’s a great start but like I said earlier I like to know that my family can always contact me if they need to. This is where the whitelists come in.

A whitelist is a set of ‘safe’ numbers who can bypass the rules Bedside sets and get through to you if you want them to. I don’t know, you may want to make sure your girlfriend/boyfriend can always get hold of you but you don’t want your drunken friends to disturb your slumber. Adding names to one of the two whitelists allows this.

There is one whitelist for phone calls AND one for SMS messages – this is where Bedsqide differs from some of the other ‘call manager’ apps.

The calls configuration allows you to allow or disallow calls completely, enable/disable vibration for calls, set a custom volume to use for allowed calls and of course allow a whitelist of numbers to get through if you wish.

The SMS configuration allows you to completely allow or disallow SMS notifications, enable/disable vibrate, set a specific tone for SMS notifications and again, allow a whitelist.

“Great!” you might be saying “This is a cool app” – but wait; there’s more.

Not only does Bedside do these handy things but it also acts as a “desk stand” or “night stand”. This basically means your phone will display a large clock on-screen whilst the app is running. This allows you to use the phone as a bedside clock. The settings on the night clock can be fully customised – from font to text size and colour to an automatically adjusting brightness depending on the time of day (or night in this case). You can of course have the night clock turned off if you just want your phone’s screen to be off whilst you sleep but I’m sure a lot of people will find this useful.

Before you head off and download the app – there’s even more. You can customise more settings for the app and also the night clock. For example, you can get the night clock to display SMS notification symbols, the battery life, the next alarm you have active and you can even get it to speak the time. There are also 4 customisable shortcuts which you can program to launch an app of your choice.

I think however, the best feature I have found is the “auto start” and “auto close” settings of the app. The app will detect when the phone is plugged into power and also when it is disconnected. This means when you pop your phone into it’s dock to charge (like me) or plug it into your standard charger cable, Bedside will load automatically and start up how you have set it to. This means no messing around. I know that when I dock my phone it will mute the ringer (except for my whitelist people), disable any other notifications (e-mail SMS etc) and even thought I don’t tell the night clock to stay on permanently, I can quickly double check my alarm is set for the next day before the phone’s screen time-out kicks in.

When the morning comes, simple un-dock (or disconnect from the power) and Bedside closes itself automatically and you’re ready to start your new day.

I think the reason I love this app so much is because once it’s set up you don’t need to think about it anymore. It just works when you want it to and closes itself when you’re not using it – absolute genius.

OnLive UK Android running on HTC Desire S [HD] (and MSI Wind U135 review and bandwidth usage)

September 24, 2011

Hi peeps, today I’ve got a little preview of OnLive running on the HTC Desire S. Originally an HTC Flyer only application someone has managed to retrieve the .apk and you can now run it on nearly every Android phone!

As the Android experience is currently “view only” you can’t play any games on it yet 😦 but hopefully soon they’ll enable the on-screen controls so you can play a spot of Unreal Tournament III on your phone!

To give you an example of what to expect I load up OnLive on my MSI Wind U135 DX Netbook to show you you don’t need a huge powerful computer to run the software on!

Take note of how much internet/bandwidth the OnLive service uses during the video of me playing.

Amazon Appstore UK still not available to download

September 20, 2011

Rumours on the grape vine were that Amazon quietly unleashed the Amazon Appstore for people who don’t happen to live in the US.

I can confirm however that this is just not true. Not for UK users anyway (see below)

Amazon App Store not available in the UK download

You can still access it via other means however but it may still be some time before we see it accept our hard-earned British pounds as Amazon haven’t announced anything yet 😦

N64oid – Android N64 Emulator review Zelda Ocarina of Time, GoldenEye 007, Banjo Kazooie and more

September 12, 2011

Hi everyone, in this video I’m taking a look at the fantastic n64oid N64 emulator for Android.

I’ll take you through 4 different games so you can get a feel as to how the emulator performs – to be honest – it’s pretty darn good!

The games include:

Banjo Kazooie
GoldenEye 007
Zelda: Ocarina of Time
and
Diddy Kong Racing

n64oid can be found in the SlideME Market for just 4.99

If you have any questions be sure to ask!

Worms Android App Full Review (HTC Desire S) HD

September 11, 2011

Hi guys and gals, today I’m looking at the brilliant Worms for Android. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

If you’re old like me then you may remember the first ever Worms game. Released fully in 1995  Team17 on the Commodore Amiga. Team17 are a British company which formed in 1990.

Due to its overwhelming popularity it then saw release on a strew of other consoles. In fact, I think Worms has probably been released on EVERY SINGLE PLATFORM EVER…oh apart from the 3DO of course.

worms android screenshot 4Worms is a turn-based game that sees you pit your wits against a number of computer (or human) controlled teams. This is as close to real war as you’re going to get. No wait I’m thinking of Battlefield 3…

Each player starts off with a group of worms and take it in turns to use whichever tools or weapons they have at their disposal to defeat the enemy teams. You move your worms around the randomly generated landscape to find the best position to attack from.

Each weapon has its plus and negative points. Some are affected by weather conditions and others are prone to that thing called gravity. Experienced players soon learn which weapon to use in which circumstance and the winner of the game is the person who has the last worm(s) standing.

I was pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the Android version of the game. The graphics are very crisp, clear and smooth and it has a real ‘solid’ feel to it.

worms android screenshot 2The wacky sound effects are back and the music reflects the type of landscape you are currently playing on. Some of the remarks the worms give you will make you chuckle but you’ll forget about all the laughing when someone unleashes a Granny on you. Yes, the Granny, Sheep and Banana bomb are all present here. In fact, all the main weapons are available in this pocket-sized version of the game.

I found the controls to be very good and responsive. There were quite a few complaints from users on the Market but I think they must just be doing something wrong. I can easily navigate my worms around the landscapes without any issues (other than my own stupidity).

For 59p you can’t really go wrong. It is a shame there is no online play but perhaps this is something Team17 could add in Worms 2…

worms android screenshot 3 worms android screenshot 5

worms android screenshot 1

worms android screenshot 6

Android app downloads to overtake iOS for the first time

September 9, 2011

Android salesWow this is good news. Techradar are reporting that the total number of Android downloads will be 8.1 billion – that’s 8100000000 downloads. Compared with 2010 which saw 1.4 billion, that’s quite a substantial jump.

Thanks to bigger named developers jumping on-board the open-source Android platform iOS users can no longer boast they have the best apps. I’ve certainly found myself playing more high quality games recently on my phone compared to say a year ago.

What was the last app you downloaded? Was it any good? My last app will soon become this weeks “App of the Week” which I haven’t done for a while so watch this space…


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