Android Favorite apps – Part 1 – TV Shows Favs

I have been using Android for almost 2 years already, currently own a HTC Desire running Android 2.2.  This is a series of blogs that share my favorite Android apps which I use on a daily basis.  

Lets start off with TV Show Favs.  I love watching TV Series and this is the app I use to keep track of what is shown on a daily basis and what I have watched and what is still in my queue to be watched.

This is what the home screen look like:

TV Show Favs home screen

The Schedule menu option list what will be coming up on a daily basis and also what one has recently watched and what is still in the queue to be watched.  Here is what the schedule screen look like.

TV Show Favs - schedule screen

As can be seen from the above, I have a fair amount of TV shows I like to watch but to be honest, do not get the time to watch them all.  At least they pile up on my media centre for those cold and wet rainy weekends.  In a future post I will cover my ,media centre setup — yes all running on Open Source software.

So if you have Android and like to keep track of your TV Shows then get TV Shows Favs .. you will not be sorry.

TouchPal Android Keyboard

While browsing Twitter yesterday, I came accros a Swype like keyboard for Android called TouchPal.  It is free in the Android Market and I installed it and started using it.

I was immediately impressed with how it works.  It seems much more accurate and responsive than Swype and I just prefer the overall interaction with it. I like the little switch on the space bar to switch Prediction on and off.  English is not my home language so prediction can be a real pain.  The only drawback at the moment is that I could not find a Afrikaans (my home language) language pack for it. 

It even has Voice input and recognition but I have not really tried this so not sure how good this works.

It is fairly customizable and lots of settings that you can set.  The defaults works just great.

For the time being this will be my preferred and default keyboard.  Here is a screenshot of me using it in Tweetdeck (my other favourite app at the moment)

My handset details:

Handset:  HTC Desire (yes the original from a couple of years back)

Android:  Version 2.2 (Rooted ROM .. just did not had the need to upgrade)

Give it a try, you will not be sorry 🙂


2012 is here and only one wish — let it be better than 2011.

2012 have arrived very quietly in my household, not that I can say the same for the neighbourhood.  

I only have one wish for 2012 and that is that it is better than 2011.  It was a very tough 2011 and I do not want to have a year like that again.  

Wishing everyone a good and prosperous 2012, may all you dreams, goals and wished come true.

The year (2011) in review – hectic with more downs than ups.

What a year, one that I do not want to have over.  This must have been the busiest year in my 31 year working live.  I have never work this hard with the accompanied stress levels that goes with it.

The year started off for me starting a job at Old Mutual for the first 6 months of the year.  It was one of the most interesting projects that I have managed with a great team of developers.  However for some reason Old Mutual decided to treat us contractors not to well and it was time to move on.

I returned to a company that I worked for in the early 2000’s called Fundamo.  Originally I was employed to become the Software Development Manager for one of the Business Units.  For some reason this position was then canned and I was offered the Project Manager position which I accepted.  I still do not agree with the decision that the Dev Manager position was canned. It is leaving a gap in the governance around Software Development and the proper management of the Development processes.

I am Project Manager for 5 countries in the Southern part of Africa.  During Novemeber I spend a couple of days in Uganda to visit and meet the people in Uganda.  I must stay that the past 6 months was very hard and is starting to take it’s toll on me.  I am extremely tired and the frustration levels are very high.  Not sure how long I will be able to keep this up.

On the family side.  My daughter completed her second year at varsity and moves on to 3rd year next year.  My son has one little subject to complete at the beginning of 2012 and if everything goes according to plan, he will obtain his Chemical Engineering degree in March 2012.  Now the struggle starts for him to find a job, so if anybody knows of Chemical Engineering jobs, then please let me know.

To each and everybody, may you have a joyeous holiday season and a great 2012.  For me, 2012 can only be better than 2011.

Upgraded Ubuntu to Natty — 11.04 — eventually

Yes, I know that Oneiric (11.10) is also released but I am only getting around to upgrading my Ubuntu boxes now.  I have 2 Ubuntu desktops and decided to ugrade one of them yesterday from Maverick to Natty.  And I was pleasantly surprised how smooth the upgrade went.  It is not a new machine, in fact it is a couple of years old and run Intel graphics.

I did run in a couple of small issues:

  • After re-enabling 3rd party repositories and PPA’s, there was no Natty repository for XBMC.  After some Googling I found a solution to just use the Maverick repository.  A while ago I also bought a Samsung 32″ Full HD TV which I use as my monitor and the TV is also connected to my LAN.  I run a DLNA server (minidlna) on my Ubuntu Box and stream my media through minidlna to the Samsung TV so I do not really need XBMC anymore and decided to uninstall it.
  • For NZB dowmloads I used Klibido as my download client but that is not in the Natty repositories anymore and not supported at all anymore.  I did some research and went for LottaNzb which uses SABnzbd as a backend.  After some configuration and testing, I now have a working solution for all my NZB downloads.

For the time being, I have stuck to Unity but the jury is still out on whether I like it.  It is starting to grow on me but it has only been a day.  However I have seen that my old box seem to be performing a bit better than when I ran Maverick so I might just stick around with Unity.

I will be running Narry for a couple of months before upgrading to Oneiric.

My other desktop is even older and run a very old nVidia graphics card so I think that upgrade to Natty will be a bit more challenging.  But that is a task for another day.

Today 10 years ago .. remembering 9/11 – in the IOL newsroom.

I was working for Independent Online (IOL) at the time and around 3:30 decided that it was time to hit the road and go home.  As I was walking through the newsroom my eye caught one of the many TV’s in the newsroom that happened to be on CNN.  I could not believe what I was seeing.  For a minte or 2 we all just starred at one another in disbelief and though by ourselves, can this  be real.

Me going home came to an abrubt halt and the newsroom became a hive of activity.  I was in charge of technology at IOL and we started thinking of what this will mean to our servers and the kind of traffic we could expect.

IOL was the first news site that had the story up and we immediately saw a spike in traffic.  We kept a watchfull eye on the servers and at the same time needed to ensure that the journalists had an optimum system to keep the stories flowing and keeping the site updated.  That day I came to respect the open source stack that we ran to serve IOL.  It did not strain at all under the load and just kept on ticking.

At about 11pm that evening things started to quiet down a bit and we could go home for some sleep while the night shift kept things going.  Early the next morning we were all back in the office to keep the news flowing.

Although we were looking on from afar, it felt like we were right in New York and today my toughts go out to all in America and the rest of the world that lost loved ones and friends.  I know it is a day I will never forget.

Jelly Bean comes after Icecream — next version of Google’s Android

From the folks at Phandroid and AndroidandMe comes the news about the next pet name for Android .. I quote from Phandroid:

If you’re an Android fanboy (like me) there’s probably been a night or two where you kept up late wondering what Google’s name for the next version of Android would be. Well, toss and turn no more! According to a “trusted source” over at ThisIsMyNext, the next version of Android could be named — wait for it — JELLY BEAN. That’s right. Keeping true to Google’s alphabetical order, we’ve seen Android versions Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and now (possibly) Jelly Bean. Keep in mind it was long rumored that “F” would be Flan before later revealing itself to be Froyo.

and from the guys at AndroidandMe:

 Google has a tradition of naming Android versions after desserts. Ice Cream Sandwich is currently one of the hottest topics, as it’s the version we are all waiting for at the moment. It’s the Android version that will democratically unite tablet and smartphone software into one.

Due to the fact that ICS will be such a huge jump, we’ve not stopped to think about what Google will name the next Android version. If we follow the tradition, it should be a dessert starting with the letter J. We’ve heard a few assumptions, like “Jello,” but according to Thisismynext’s sources, it will be called “Jelly Bean.”

UPDATE: There is an update on this and apparently “Jelly Bean” is only one of the names in the mix.  Wonder how many food names are there which starts with a “J”, not many I can think of and do not think Google will just go with “Jam”.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress — good read for all WordPress users

I am a huge fan of WordPress and use is for all my websites, be it for blogging or any form of content management. Came across The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress and from what I have seen, it is well thought out and well written.

It is not technical but rather on how to make WordPress work for you. The book covers the basics, essentially explaining the significant difference between .org and .com versions of WordPress, as well as how categories, pages and tags are used. The book’s best guidance is a result of Gunelius’s (the author) reliance on Web designers’ experience. For example, she recommends the plugin All for One SEO by Joost de Valk, a Web designer favorite in the blogosphere.

What you will learn reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress

  • How to create policies regarding comments, privacy, and terms and conditions of usage
  • A few words about CSS and HTML
  • How to manage feeds and subscriptions
  • The subtle differences among categories, pages and posts, as well as managing hierarchy and navigation
  • How to use links and polls
  • How to insert advertising into your blog
To make sure you have a copy for your book rack .. get it at Amazon below.

Nvidia Tegra 3 based Asus Transformer probably called Asus Transformer 2

I think I am going to hold off a bit in getting my Android based tablet. The idea was to get a Asus Transformer which is a Nvidia Tegra 2 based tablet.

The Nvidia Tegra 3 is the new Quadcore processor from Nvidia in the Tegra series and the next Asus Transformer will be sporting this processor.

The AndroidGuys wrote about this and I quote

There has been constant speculation about which device will feature the new quad-core processor from Nvidia. The first device was suppose to launch in August although will now be pushed back until possibly early 2012. According to Fudzilla, a group of sources have stated that the quad-core 40nm Tegra processor (Kal El) will be seen in the Asus Transformer 2. Since the first Transformer shipped with the Tegra 2, its only obvious that the next would ship with the Kal El processor. The Transformer is already one of the most unique Android tablets and with the addition of Kal El it will become the most powerful.

Current speculation is that this new Asus Transformer 2 will come in at the same price point as the current Asus Transformer tablet.  So it looks like I have to wait a bit in getting that tablet.

How-to: Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread on HTC Desire – Stock

At the moment it is almost impossible to get Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread on your HTC Desire directly from HTC or any one of the operators.  In South Africa I would reckon that this will never happen.  

Now what to do if you want Gingerbread on your phone?  If you not interested in the stock HTC ROM which included Sense then you can install the CyanogenMod Rom and the easiest way to do that is via the ROM Manager which you can get in the Android Market.

Now if you want the stock HTC ROM with Sense then I have found only one worthwhile ROM and that is the one by XDA developer, teppic74.  I have been using his ROM for the past year (FROYO one) and have not had any issues with it.  The Gingerbread one is even beter than the Froyo one.

You can find everything about this ROM on the XDA forums at and all the downloads are also there.  

Note that to flash this ROM you will need ClockworkMod Recovery v and not the version 3 or later.  The scripts do not run in the never Recovery.  Also you will need to wipe your existing phone incuding apps and data.  So make a backup with something like Titanium Backup.

The one big advantage in this ROM is the better functioning of standard move to SD card.  I do not make use of a2sd so depend on this functionality.  In Froyo I ran out of memory soon and on Gingerbread it seems a lot better.

Happy flashing and hope you will like your new Gingerbread ROM.