I have just got a shiny new phone and I spent most of my evening last night going through the Android marketplace installing some of the apps I had on my previous phone, and finding some new ones to try out. Here are some that I find useful which you may not have come across.
Open Picasa Wallpaper is a new one for me, but it might just be my favourite. I have a folder on my computer where I save images that I would like to use as my desktop background, and I have a program running that chooses a random one every so often. I thought it would be cool to have a similar set up on my phone too, using the same photos if possible so I only have to add images to a single folder.
I use Picasa to manage my photos, and I have it automatically sync my albums to Picasa Web Albums, so I set up this backgrounds folder as a Picasa album with auto sync. Every time I open Picasa to do anything photo related, it will sync up the folder to the web album for me. I just needed something to link that album to my phone.
A few google searches showed me a range of apps which claimed to automatically switch your phone wallpaper, but the first couple of apps I tried wouldn’t allow me to use a Picasa album as the source for the photos, even if I told the phone to make the album available offline. Finally, I came across Open Picasa Wallpaper which does just what I wanted. It lets me choose which of my public albums I wish to use, set the required interval, and offers an option to update the image only when on a wifi connection. It picks a random image for me, pops up a little notice that it’s downloading it, then changes my background for me.
Tallybee is an app I have been using for a while now to help me remember how many rows I have done when I’m knitting. Every time you tap the screen it increments the counter by one. You can also set a starting number and have it count down instead. I find it very useful especially as I’m usually chatting to someone on messenger or watching tv while I’m knitting, which makes it very easy to lose count.
I rarely delete text messages as I read them, so I ended up with a huge number of them piling up on my phone. I didn’t want to delete them all because I was part way through a conversation or had a message containing information I needed. Delete Old Messages came to my rescue. It allows you batch delete messages that are older than a configurable length of time. I use it every time I notice the icon, and it trims my messages back to a reasonable number. They also offer a premium version which allows you to trim to a total number of messages, or to a certain number per conversation, and which automatically deletes them without you having to open the app. The free version is sufficient for my needs.
The mileage calculator in our car seems to be quite inaccurate sometimes, so I wanted a way to work it out on the go. I headed straight for the Android market where I found Fuel Use, just what I needed. It allows you to calculate your fuel economy by entering the number of miles travelled, litres consumed and price paid. It tells you your miles per gallon, pence per mile and various other facts. You can also compare your MPG to the running average. As it is using actual figures for input it is more accurate than the car’s estimate.
Another app I recently discovered that I have found useful is called Drinking Water. I don’t drink enough water, and I’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past to get into the habit of drinking more. This app has come to my rescue. When you install it, you tell it how many glasses you want to drink and what time you want to start and finish each day. It pops up a notification when it’s time for you to have a glass of water. Each time you have a drink you launch the app and tap one of the glasses. It spreads your remaining glasses evenly throughout the rest of the day for you.