One man's view of theology, sports, politics, and whatever else in life that happens to interest me. A little bit about me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Mutineer's Tech Tips: Three Apps You Should Try

I don't claim to be an expert, but I do have a lot of amateur experience. I'm not a latest-and-greatest tech person. I'm more of a tinkerer, someone who makes the best of what he has. For example, I'm writing this on a Windows Vista laptop. My phone is a two-year-old middle-of-the-road Android running Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0x. Not exactly high-powered stuff.

But I seem to have a knack for making stuff work. And when I find stuff that works I enjoy telling other people about it, so I'm going to share a few things with you here on my blog. Please understand that anything I recommend is genuine: I'm not getting anything for mentioning these services.

1. Pocket

Have you ever found something online you really liked, but when you wanted to show a friend you did a Google search and couldn't find it? Or maybe you bookmarked something, but when you came back to it the page had been moved? Pocket solves this problem. Pocket is available through any web browser and on both Android and Apple phones and tablets. All you have to do is sign up for a free account on the web site or when you download the free app. It works best on your computer when you download the extension (my next article in this series will probably be about browser extensions.)

When you save a web page to Pocket, it downloads the text and keeps it for you permanently. It is possible to save videos, pictures, etc., to Pocket as well. You can set the phone or tablet app to download the info you save directly to your device so you can view it offline. It's wonderfully easy to use, it provides a valuable resource, and it's free!

2. Key Ring

Seems like every store you go to has a loyalty card. I understand that some people don't want to use them, and I totally respect that. But if you do choose to use them, they can be overwhelming. They can fill up your key chain or your wallet in a hurry. Then you have to dig through your cards when you get to the check out line.

Key Ring is the solution. It's a free app that stores all your cards in one app. All you have to do is snap a picture of your card and it will create an image of the bar code on your phone that you can call up instantly on your phone. Some stores' scanners won't scan bar codes that display on a phone screen, and that can be a problem. But at the very least the number is there on the screen and the cashier can enter the number. That might take a little bit of time, but they're taking advantage of our information anyway, so a couple of seconds to enter a number is not too bad a trade-off.

3. Snap Pea

The first two were available for all phone platforms. This one is exclusively for Android. If you have an Android phone and a Windows computer, you need this free app. When you download both the Android app and the Windows app, you can connect them either by USB or over the same Wi-Fi connection. So yeah, you have to have the phone nearby when you use it on your computer, but when are you not nearby your phone?

With Snap Pea you can instantly swap any files between your devices. If you're like me and you have lots of music on your computer, all you have to do is drag and drop your mp3s from your computer to your phone. Transfer is as fast as your Wi-Fi or USB cable will allow. And Snap Pea does so much more. You don't need to install a special app just to manage your files on your phone. You can easily take care of it with your computer. The Windows app will save your contacts, text messages and pictures on your computer for easy, simple backup. With Snap Pea open on your computer you can also send and receive text messages on your computer.

Hope these are some help. If you have any suggestions, mention them below.

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