Monday, April 24, 2017

New My Apps Changes in Google Play

A nice optical and functional tweak has come to the Google Play Store.


The list-like appearance is much more convenient. It also tells you now when the app got the last update. Plus it seems like that now you'll see how big the download is, instead of how big the app is overall. So you can exactly see at a glance what, and how much you will download on an update.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Google Assistant Shopping List is Moving Away From Keep

Again, Google is shuffling features around its services.

The useful Google Assistant shopping list is no longer usable on Google Keep starting today, April 10th.

It's now located within the Google Home app, which seems to be like the central for the Assistant in the future.
Just recently Google added support for different smart home devices within the former Chromecast app.

While I personally think device support belongs to the new Home app, I'm not sure about the list. I find it very convenient having that list on Google Keep.
You could easily share it, or using the widget to have it present on your phone's screen all the time.

We'll have to wait to see what's left of this convenience after the full switch.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pixel Security Update Fixes Sound Problem for Most Users

The last security update from February 2017 for the Gooogle Pixel fixed the distorted sound problem on high volume and more.

There were some users with that sound issue in different apps. One of these was especially annoying since it didn't help much to lower the volume. That was Google Maps. A great feature is to play the volume even louder on your phone, even when it set to medium level. That made sure you hear the turn-by-turn instructions while driving. The sound distortion on some Pixel devices were heavy and you had to turn this at least to normal. Now it's history.

With the latest update you can set it back on "louder" and having no distortion at all. On other apps the sound is now clear, too. Great!
But that's not all. The "BEEP" on the Google Assistant is back. Some users, including me, had the beep disappeared and there was only a slight vibration instead. This made the assistant almost useless for me, because the sense of it is imho to use it handsfree. So I need an accoustic confirmation and notice when to speak.
Glad that the security update sometimes fixes urgent bugs, too. That's exactly why I shove out so much money. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fire Emblem for Android is now available in the Play Store

Here we go. The 2nd big title directly from Nintendo. Fire Emblem is out as of today as scheduled.
First impressions are very good overall. Very nice graphics, a high fps intro (on the Google Pixel XL), and epic music (not suitable for underway).

The game itself is a classic strategy RPG game with will get a bit skillful pretty fast after start playing.


You do need a stable internet connection. I got this message on the right screenshot several times during the game.

Very nice is the integration of Google Play Games as you can see in the left photo bottom right. That will keep motivation up for many players.
There are some options in the settings to automate some things, which is quite handy on a mobile device, but still give you the choice to play it a bit deeper in terms of controlling.

So the first impression is quite good, and I'm eager to see how this game evolves while playing in terms of fairness and balance the free vs. in-app purchases game play.

It's available now in some countries, including Europe. If you're pre-registered the game, you should get a notification very soon.

Play Store Link: Fire Emblem Heroes

Monday, January 30, 2017

Short review: Whitelines vs. Google Docs

Sometimes we need to jot down things by hand. It's effective and works everywhere. You can bring a pen and paper in almost everywhere. So some people thought about how to get the analog notebook page into the digital world.

Left: Whitelines App       |      Right: Google Docs

Whitelines is a great idea. It's a combination of an app and special paper to write on. Google Docs on the other hand just scan any documents. Which one is better for what purpose?

Whitelines
You need special paper. If you have this marked sheets the recognition is quick and hassle free. The problem with scanning a document is elegantly solved. You don't need to align the sheet perfectly. The app detects the angle and corrects it to the right size and perspective. The resolution is not as high as it could be, but usable for most tasks. You can share your documents quickly via mail or many other apps. On Android it's easy to share it as a picture or pdf (you can chose in the settings) and use it with whatever app you want.
The paper has fine white lines and marks instead of black lines. You can write on it just like normal. If you scan your document, they disappear completely. That is a great improvement because this black lines on scans are just horrible.
Great for people who keep their notes in books by purpose and want a link to the digital world for sharing and archiving. You can get Whitelines compatible paper in many forms, diaries, notebooks etc. in various sizes. It's gonna cost you.

Google Docs Scan
Chances are you have Google Drive installed on your Android phone. Congratulations, you have a document scanner already on your phone.
You don't need any special paper, you can share it everywhere or archiving it in Google Docs. The recognition is not as good as in Whiteline. But if you put the sheet on a background with a high contrast to the document, you're also having a fluent and quick experience. Something you can't do in Whitelines: You can choose if you want Black & White, Grey and Color Drawing or just the original photo. And the most important part, you can crop the part as you wish. E.g. you want only a part of a document. Just crop that area and you're good.
Like Whitelines the perspective is also corrected. So no downturn here. But there is one thing: The black lines. Yes you will have that black ugly lines in your scanned document unless you write on blank paper. That however is not always perfect. By the way, you could use Whitelines paper with Google Docs if you don#t want to see black lines. Or you can use the good old method of laying a sheet of lined paper under a sheet of blank paper. Normally you can see the lines shine through the paper for an orientation. After you're finished take away that lined or squared sheet and there you have your brilliant, non-lines writing aligned perfectly. Just print the sheet you want with a high contrast on your printer and use it in any size.
Oh and by the way: You can use Google Docs on the web to do a full OCR (optical character recognition) to get the document accessible as much as possible, like searching for a portion in the text.

Conclusion
If you take your notes by hand on purpose and want a link to the digital world and willing to buy a premium notebook with that special paper you need, you're better off Whitelines. It's quick and easy.
If you want to scan many different documents and notes on all kind of paper, Google Docs will keep you with its integrated Scanner feature in the Google Drive app. It's probably the best if you normally take notes on digital device, but having to archive or manage analog documents within your workflow.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Android-Update for the Pixel

First update coming in right now. Updating while blogging on the same device thanks to the new update feature on the Pixel.