App of the Week: Email Me Pro [Android]

Email me pro

There are any number of reasons why you might want to send yourself an email message. You may want to email yourself a reminder, or send yourself a link from a website. Perhaps you frequently send items into Evernote via your Evernote email address, or maybe you send tasks into your task manager via a dedicated email address. If you want to streamline the process of sending messages to yourself, or to any frequent recipient, check out Email Me Pro, or its free version, Email Me.

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App of the Week: Paper Camera [iOS, Android]

Paper camera iphone

Both the iOS App Store and the Android Market offer an abundance of camera apps. There are so many, that it takes either great functionality or a unique twist for an app to stand out. One that does so is Paper Camera, available as both an Android and an iPhone/iPad app. Paper Camera lets you use your camera to output real time cartoon and painting effects that have to be seen to appreciated.

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Producteev Gets a Massive Upgrade: Android App, Windows Desktop App, and an All Around Makeover

Producteev Gets a Makeover | 40Tech

Producteev, one of our favourite  — and one of the best — to-do apps, has released a massive upgrade that includes some long-awaited features and platform updates. The web and iPhone apps have gotten a makeover, the much clamoured-for Android app has finally arrived, and there is now a Windows 7 desktop app to balance out the Mac version. Even the logo has been updated (bye bye Tasky the beaver)!

To top it all off, Producteev has added a few new features into the mix — and yes (drumroll), that does include sub-tasks…

Check out the video below for the overview of some of the new functionality in the multi-platform task manager.

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There have been usability and visual enhancements across all apps, improvements to some of the main Producteev feature-set (discussed in previous posts), and some brand new features such as integration with TaskRabbit (a service for crowdsourcing small tasks), the ability to print tasks and export them to CSV, as well as the aforementioned sub-tasks.

Now, I know many of you have been waiting patiently for sub-tasks, but don’t get too excited. At this time, sub-tasks are really nothing more than a checkable list added to the top of the main task’s detailed view. There is no way to interact with them outside of that view, or to add specific dates, labels, or anything else. Also, they don’t appear to work in the mobile apps yet, either. Hopefully, there will be improvements, and soon, especially in the case of the missing mobile integration.

The Android app is great. I can now use Producteev with my wife’s phone just as easily as my own, and with an interface that’s nearly identical to the iPhone’s. As Producteev mentions in this post, however, Android users should be aware that the new app is in beta. Don’t expect an error-free experience, just yet.

As always, Producteev is free to use for workspaces that have one or two people. If you want to collaborate with larger teams, unlimited people and storage space can be had for $20 USD per month (it gets cheaper the more workspaces you buy).

Update: Google Calendar integration has been temporarily disabled due to stability issues. It should be back up and running within the week — and it will be better than before. Two way task-sync with Gcal, folks!

NewsRob: The Best Google Reader Client for Android [App of the Week]

NewsRob

When it comes to buying apps, trust the hive mind. I should have learned that bit of wisdom long ago, but at times I need to learn from my own mistakes. My selection of a blogging editor was one mistake, where I could have just listened to the wisdom that I saw espoused all over the Internet. My selection of a Google Reader app for my Android phone was another. Shortly after getting my phone, I tried out the official Google Reader app, then dropped money on another app that I’ve long since forgotten. Finally, I surrendered and tried out NewsRob, the app that received everyone’s praises. I’ve been using it ever since.

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Are You Like Most People, and Stop Using Most Apps Soon After Installing Them?

Android ios app retention rate

Flurry posted the results of a recent study of app usage, taking a look not only at how Android stacks up against iOS, but also at app retention rate – the percentage of users that continue to use an app in the 12 months after acquiring it. The results are somewhat stunning, showing that the retention rate in the first month after acquisition is only 38%. That number then drops steadily, reaching 4% after 12 months. Do you find yourself discarding apps at such a fast rate?

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App of the Week: Track and Sync Your Baby’s Feedings, Diaper Changes, and More With Baby Connect [Android, iPad, iPhone]

Baby connect iphone ipad ios android web

As most of you will probably agree, 40 isn’t so old. In fact, nowadays 40 isn’t too old to raise a newborn. That’s what is going on in my household right now, as we raise a baby that is just a couple of weeks old. When Baby 40Tech was born, my wife and I knew that it was important to keep track of the baby’s feedings, diapers, and more. Naturally, I looked to tech for help with that. READ MORE

Google+ for iPhone and Android Sharing — Too Little Too Late?

Google+ for iPhone and Android Sharing -- Too Little Too Late? | 40Tech

Though the initial excitement of Google+ has worn off, millions of users are still using the service and more people connect every day. For its part, Google has been working hard at bringing the preview social network closer to a production offering, adding social gaming without annoying people, verified accounts for prominent users and famous folk, and ironing out their sign-up rules (the heavily debated real name only policy). They have also been paying attention to their mobile apps, finally adding post sharing into the Android app. iOS users had to wait a bit, as is per usual, but the much awaited update is now available in the app store.

But is development coming along too slowly to keep up interest?

Personally, I’m a huge fan of Google+. There are a lot of innovative uses that are cropping up — cooking classes via hangout, blog replacement, collaborative writing groups; Evan and I are even putting together a hangout-based pen and paper roleplaying game, cementing our geek status once and for all. Google+ is also a fantastic place to meet and converse with new people, focusing on like interests over general broadcasting, which makes for better conversation and better relationships.

The problem is, I’ve started to notice that my streams are starting to degrade. People appear to be less active, less conversant, or generally gone and gone. This could be due to the end of the summer — people are getting busier as the school season and work focus heat up — and it could be part of the overall ebb and flow of a new product. It could also be that Google is taking too long to get their service off the ground and into the hands of the general public.

Gmail was in beta for years, and to the point that it was really more of a long-standing joke than anything else, but the Internet back then was, if you can believe it, less fickle. With the world takeover of social networking and subsequent obsession with real-time streams, the attention span of your average user is practically gnat-sized. And let’s not forget that, in order to get noticed in the massive amounts of information flowing through the digital-verse, bloggers and people in general tend to gravitate toward sweeping sentiments of “wow this is awesome” build-up and “it’s never gonna make it, and here’s why!!!” doom and gloom statements. And yes, I realize that it wouldn’t take a stretch if the imagination to lump this post in with them, no matter what I say t the contrary. The point is, it makes it really hard to accurately gauge if a service will live or die.

To top things off, Facebook hasn’t been sitting about with thumbs in nethers, either. They’ve been paying attention to what people like about G+ over Facebook and have been making changes to how their own streams work, attempting to make it easier to share with those you want to share with, and even (finally) updating their mobile apps for new sharing and privacy options.

I say again, I’m digging Google+ — but I dug Google Wave, too. I think that Google’s push to integrate Plus into their overall offerings will help keep things moving, but I have to wonder: if users as a whole notice their streams downgrading in quality and movement, will it start one of those slow spirals into web oblivion?

It’s been a few months now, what are your thoughts?

Nexus S and Android in Space

Nexus S and Android in Space | 40Tech

Back in October, I wrote a short post about a father-son DIY project that sent an iPhone into the upper stratosphere. In December, the geeks at Google did the same thing, but with more of a mind toward data (and cool picture) collecting. Well, NASA one-upped them all by taking not one, but two Android Nexus S smartphones into orbit with the final space shuttle mission. They weren’t used to phone home or anything quite so cliché (but cool!) — nope, these little robot-bearing phones were actually used to control other, more sophisticated robots: SPHERE satellites.

SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) are small, “volleyball-sized” robots that are used to capture video footage and record sensor data. Normally, the astronauts do this manually, but with the satellites and their fancy Android-powered phone-brains, these things can be controlled from the ground — via WiFi.

According to the Google blog, NASA decided that Android was perfect for them due to its configurable open source nature, as well as the handy app that some Google engineers built for logging sensor data (you can download the app yourself from the Android Market). Apparently, the multiple sensors and low-powered/high performance processor of the Nexus S was also a selling point.

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Google’s been making a lot of big moves this past year, what with Plus, the redesign, the Chromebook, Chrome Web Store, and the purchase of a major cell-phone company (Motorola Mobility). Why shouldn’t they get some representation in space too? It only makes sense. And it’s only a matter of time until either Google or Apple carve their logo into the face of the moon for all to see. Am I right or am I right?

Android in Spaaaace Part 2 [Google Blog]