Walking all over that 'old and decrepit' bit…

It’s still a whole new Android world…

Sure, I may have had to drive over to the special AT&T store that will investigate, service and/or potentially replace your still-under-warranty device upon request.

And they may have had to go through their super-duper reinstall of the underlying Android OS to try and deal with the nagging annoyances I’d started to experience (phone constantly restarting, not maintaining a Bluetooth connection, horrific battery life, or worse – flipping off but not then back on).

And I may have gotten back my old phone – but now with no third-party apps at all on it! BONUS!

But I also got a new battery out of the deal – along with a fresh & sparkly phone that’s gone through the equivalent of what I imagine Dorothy & Co. went through upon arriving at Emerald City.

And yes, I’m still a fan of my Motorola Atrix.

That whole ‘re-install the apps’ process? Not as painful as I might have imagined. For starters, I’m not really *using* many apps – why do I need them when a browser will do? And my data’s already being pulled in from other places – calendars, contacts, phone numbers, photos, email – you name it, it already lives elsewhere as well.

Secondly, I’m not trying to make my phone do everything. While all of my books are eBooks these days and I love, love, love my Kindle app on my tablet (1st generation iPad – yes, I’m OS-double-dipping), for example – I have little to no desire to actually read a book on my phone these days.

(That goes ditto for any app that requires heavy reading – Instapaper-ish apps, GReader apps, etc. – yes, I’m talking about you.)

Finally – both the Android Market (now re-named Google Play – except not yet on this phone) and Amazon’s App center both remembered the apps I’d already downloaded & made it easy easy to get them back with a single click per app. (I only had to manually grab less than five apps I must have obtained elsewhere…)

So less than 2 hours after I started this process (while also working, checking email, eating lunch & doing my usual multitasking thing) – well, I’m done.

The apps that made the cut are as follows (some come as defaults):

  • Anything from Google – Gmail, Maps, Contacts, Calendar, Music, etc.
  • Evernote (it’s how I capture the handwritten whiteboard full of grocery items on my refrigerator, for starters)
  • Two other useful ‘toolbox’ apps: Dropbox and Tiny Flashlight (you may laugh at the latter – but I use it *all the time*)
  • Since my phone serves as my primary audio source in the car: Spotify, Pandora, Google Music, PocketCasts & Amazon MP3

What quickly gets replaced/upgraded:

  • Default ATT browser? Nope, it’s Dolphin instead.
  • Ditto keyboard – SwiftKey all the way

I still may have a bit of tweaking to do (why, oh why does EVERY notification want to include sound as a default? DO. NOT. LIKE.) – but I’m now good to give this 2.0 version another spin or two.

But I should ask you:

  • What Android phone apps do you consider essential – and why?
  • What apps do you rush to uninstall?
  • And what are the top settings to change/modify on your phone?

Or in other words – what am I missing?

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I’m *everywhere* – except for not really *here*

Finally back to writing, hooray. But where can you see the fruits of my efforts, you wonder?

  • I’m over on All Things Critical today, writing about why I buy from Amazon so much.
  • I updated the long-dormant Redoing Media site yesterday with a promise to do more (and praising Robert Wagner’s efforts resuscitating ATC while I was at it.)
  • What has kept me occupied? Well, stage managing my daughter’s budding musical career. Next up? Monterey!

And then there’s the whole ‘day job’ bit, the shower I’m throwing Sunday for @MillerLitePDX & his mama, @sabrinapdx, the wedding I’m attending Saturday evening, my lame attempts to have any kind of dating/social life, etc. etc. etc.

Is it any wonder this place has been barren for months?

Except – it hasn’t, really. Because over on the left and right hand sides, you can see links to recent blog posts. Or twitter streams from either @betsywhim (copiously updated) or @redoingmedia (not so much.) Down below? Yep, that’s the music I’m listening to.

See? It’s one-stop shopping for the Internet stalker I’m aspiring to lure in…

…’cause I’m efficient like that already.

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PDX’ers – how’s that whole compost vs. garbage thing working for you…?

I am as environmentally-friendly as the next person.

I am very much into the whole ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra – I save my vegetable scraps and make stock for soup each week, buy and sell back clothes for us all at resale shops instead of buying new, have drastically cut down the amount of waste and/or paper coming into the house, buy in bulk on a regular basis, and try (where possible) to eat fresh, local produce or meat – that I lovingly cook from scratch at least 4x a week, no less.

So you would have thought I’d be completely and totally on board with the City of Portland’s new mandate (supposedly thoroughly vetted via pilot program/surveys/citizen focus groups) to reduce garbage pickups from once per week to every other week. What do we get instead, you wonder? Well, your yard debris bin now also can be used to house the contents of your compost bin – that’s now where food scraps, leftovers, turkey carcasses, etc. now belong – and NOT your garbage bag.

To aid this effort, the city provided these really adorable little compost buckets, so you can take your food scraps outside regularly instead of letting them all fester inside. And oh-so-helpful city employees gave alternate tips to manage the outflow of food scraps (“freeze a bag of compost instead, then recycle the frozen bag on pickup day!”)

But the program’s not going over well, judging from the grumblings I hear about it on Twitter – from the very people you’d think would be enthusiastically on board. Why? In a nutshell: very little common sense was applied.

Think about it:

  • The ratios are all out-of-whack – our garbage can is full after a week and a half; while the green bin is barely 1/8th full each week – even with two households filling it! (Okay, we may have some leaves mixed in with this week’s batch. But what happens after the leaves are all gone…?)
  • Those adorable little buckets? Impractical as hell – even with the specially-purchased biodegradable liners that leak after a single drop of liquid hits the liner. (Coffee grounds? Instant sieve…) I now have another bucket to clean out 2-3 times a week, otherwise the fermentation kicks in in a less than olfactory-pleasing way. Another minus? They’re not locally produced, are they? Nope. And to those who’ve suggested using newspaper as a liner instead – um, I’m not reading/buying newspapers (see that whole ‘reduce/reuse/recycle’ mantra above) – not even to line a compost bin.
  • The larger green bin? Is now a lovely toxic waste breeding ground after a month. The city suggests baking soda, a soap/water rinse, or…more newspapers. (Is this how we keep the newspaper industry afloat, I wonder?)
  • How many families with children have room in their freezer, anyway – much less for bags of rotting compost?

Yes, I’m still using the system – for now. But how many Portlanders have already opted out – choosing instead to just cram more stuff in their now-overflowing trash cans?

Are you on board here with the new mandate to compost your food scraps? Why or why not?

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