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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Rotten Android OS Upgrade

Lately I had no choice but to update My Droid X with a Mandatory Android OS upgrade.  I'm not sure whether this is a Google, Motorola or a Verizon required update thing,  but it sucks.

Although The interface looks better at first glance, it completely fails to impress.  I wish I could downgrade and return to the old system, since all the prettying-up now drains the battery much faster, with stupid stuttering animations for effect that slow down the system and black text on white menus.

I am actually ticked off.  I used to be able to send calls directly to Voicemail in the contacts section (harassment calls, telemarketing spammers and scammers, etc, when I am listed on the National Do Not Call List).

Although there are now rudimentary cursor controls, they still suck and I miss having easy-to-use cursor keys.

Needless to say, I am not happy.  The camera no longer works right on either my Droid X, or on My wife's Droid X.  This is an extremely rudimentary function that I expect to work all the time and it never did, but the camera is totally screwed-up now.

I'm planning on going down to Verizon to complain and see if there is anyway to get back to the old version.

I mean, this is crap, neither My wife nor I have a functional camera, and with these big screens these Droid X's already drain the stupid battery way too fast, why speed up the process?  And now I have no way to avoid spam/scam and harassing phone calls?!

Argh!  This OS upgrade SUCKS.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

BApps.com Sold at Auction

The original domain name for this blog, BApps.com, has been sold at Sedo.com auction for a mere $510.00.  I was very surprised to see it go for so little in a booming apps market, especially when the domain was so short, easy to remember, and incredibly easy to brand as a business applications site.

I verified payment of the funds into my account on May 12th, 2011.

As the domain name no longer points to this blog, I am using a blogger address for the domain, which is currently http://business-apps.blogspot.com/.  If I wind-up getting a domain name that is more appropriate for the blog I will use that in the future.  Right now I think this will do fine.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

BApps up for Auction

BApps.com is available for sale to the highest bidder at Sedo.

BApps.com Listing @ Sedo

This domain WILL BE SOLD at auction as the reserve price has been met. 

The auction for BApps.com will conclude on May/05/11 @ 05:51 AM Eastern Standard Time.

When the nameservers are reset by the new owner (or the transfer authority @ Sedo), this blog will expire. 

I have moved a couple posts to blog.widgetdroid.com and most of the rest I will move to domainating.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Google Voice Takes Over

The other day my friend showed me how he had setup Google Voice on his Droid Incredible.  He even had a widget that displayed what was transcribed after voice recognition tried to interpret his voice mail messages.

Eventually, I thought that it was a good idea and I thought I'd give it a try, thinking that I could always revert to my Verizon Voicemail if Google Voice didn't work out for me. 

To my surprise, I was getting a great deal more hang-ups and fewer voice mail messages with Voice than when using Verizon's voicemail.  On top of this, it appears that Google's voice recognition technology, which works well on my DroidX for short sentences, is often fooled or stumped when interpreting any other message left me, probably due to its longer length.

That said, the voice recognition for Voice is at least attempting to do something when it comes to those longer messages which would stump the android 2 device, but it does seem that the longer the message left, the more silly that the Google Voice transcript became.

However, because of all of these extra hang-ups, I decided to to revert back to the Verizon default voice mail system.  Unfortunately, Google Voice seems to have hijacked the answering system.  Although I have used the Settings menu to set my Call Settings  for Voicemail Service to "My carrier" and I am using the *86 number which is the default for Verizon's Voicemail Settings.  And Google Voice is still answering every single call that I miss.

I can't find any other Voicemail settings in my DroidX.  I even went down to my local Verizon store where I bought the phone and they can't tell me what's wrong.  So now I have to call Verizon's support line (which is what they were going to do at the Verizon store, but I didn't have enough time to hang around at the time). 

Verizon Support:  Uninstall Google Voice.
I uninstalled Voice.
Verizon Support: It still goes straight to Google Voice. 
Me: "I didn't know it was going straight to voice."
Transfered to a new Verizon tech support guy who took off call forwarding. 
Me: "I had call forwarding?"

OK, now my voicemail is working again.  If you are a business, you might want to stay away from Google Voice, but if you don't like it, stop the call forwarding.  That might require a call to a tech.  I was told that I can always put call forwarding back on if I want it. 

I'm glad this Verizon tech knew what was going on.  Glad its over with, as well.  ;)  I'm not so sure that Google Voice is a good idea for business after all this.  At least you know what to do after reading this should you not like it.  But taking some calls straight to voicemail without ringing?  That indicates a problem in the business world.  Not so sure I would like it doing anything like that for a personal phone, either.

Always something.  I'm glad this little dilemma is over.  ;)

You know, I thought this was over for a moment, but it never was.  Google Voice has NEVER given up the ghost and is still taking over my voice mail settings despite the fact that they all point to my default carrier, despite the fact that Google's crappy Voice program has been uninstalled on this device.

I am begining to realize that nothing beats an iPhone.  The crappy spam you have to deal with on an Amdroid based system is enough of a reason to switch.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Busines Card Reader

If you have ever wanted a Business Card Reader (BCR), I just bet that it would have to be something handy.  This is one of those cases where, if you were offered a program that you would install on your computer that would scan in business cards, you probably wouldn't even bother with it unless it was free, am I right?

Well, the reason is simple, it just isn't convenient.  Having to take a business card home and scan it in just to have it available with all its contact information is actually more like a huge chore.  But now-a-days we are all walking around with smartphones and finally, the convenience we require is available as a little app for our Android or iPhone!

Check out my article which covers the Android based version of the CamCard - BCR (western) which I absolutely love on My DroidX.  But note that there is also a version for the asian market (Chinese/Japanese/Korean characters), another version for business, and that there are also alternate versions of each for the iPhone market as well.

With the convenience of hand held devices, the Business Card Reader has finally become a reliable and useful reality.

Business Apps: Password Safe

Although I have already reviewed Kuff's Password safe on my android apps & widgets blog called Widget Droid, most readers here probably don't realize that Kuff's Password Safe is also the very best Password Safe/Vault application on Windows machines, as well.

So here is a link to my article on the very best Password organizer and encrypted safety app on the market...

What's the Very Best Password Safe?

Just remember the master password that gets you into the program.  ;)

Outlook 2010

Well, my wife has had a little time to get used to how Outlook 2010 does things now.  So this is a brief update on our impression of it...

My wife likes it, but has some issues.  The same issues cause me to think that it is a worthless piece of crap.

  1. Old contacts from Windows Vista Mail were never imported.  Not doing this automatically is just pure stupidity.  What was the sense in transferring everything over from Vista in the first place?  To have the old files, yes, but also to have the very same application data and configuration.  Outlook 2010 is pathetic because it craps on the whole idea of maintaining a so-called "seamless" upgrade path.  This is absolutely inexcusable and stands a testament to the absolute thoughtlessness and complete lack of vision of the entire Outlook development team.
  2. Multiple accounts?:  Multiple Inboxes!  This in itself is completely void of intelligence.  The fact that Outlook has to have multiple inboxes for multiple email addresses and never incorporates them all into a streamlined universal inbox is beyond the realm of stupidity.  This is yet another stupid task that should have been done completely automatically.
  3. Adding contacts is pretty awkward as well. You don't get access to this function unless you have an email previewed.  THEN you can add its contact and have access to the contacts.  But not until you have an email cued-up somehow.    Really?  I mean, maybe the only reason I ran the damn program was to change Aunt Len's address because she moved.  And the social contacts is just in the way.  My wife doesn't participate in any social networking sites, so it is just in the way and confusing her.
Really Microsoft? With the release of Windows 7 I was finally ready to take you seriously, and more than just a necessary business toy that I was required to have and support.  But Outlook 2010 can't incorporate the simple email functionality that we have come to expect from every other email program in the world?  C'MON, MAN!  C'MON YOU MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION!  Get with it!

I already started taking Microsoft seriously when I found that their hardware products were so damn good (XBOX, mice and keyboards).  But I have still been waiting a very long time for them to develop any usable software products.  With Windows 7 I thought that Microsoft had started producing software that actually worked, but they have completely dropped the ball with any other software packages they produce (Expression, Publisher and IE8/9 are direct examples of this ineptness). With Outlook 2010's pathetic featureless release I don't really expect Microsoft to ever get what users expect out of their computing experience.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Windows 7 Mail Issues, Outlook and Office 2010 Purchase Woes

Recently, my wife Maria's HP laptop battery went bad, and we think that toasted some chip when it got hot and the computer refused to boot properly.  And of course you try everything to get the dang thing running again, so we invested a great deal of time just checking to make sure it was dead.  Of course, the results were definite, and she had to replace that laptop, which was running Windows Vista. Although we originally went shopping for a cheap replacement, I think that despite the fact that her Vista based HP machine was actually a pretty expensive model, she couldn't seem to get the features she needed with spending a few extra bucks by avoiding HP products in the hopes that her new Dell would be much more reliable (to say the very least, the dang HP didn't even last a couple years).

As you know, when you buy a new computer it's always a huge hassle reloading it with all the applications that you have used routinely over the last few years.  Email is, of course, detrimental to business, and the Live Mail that had come with her new Windows 7 based laptop was apparently no longer downloading her mail to the server.  On top of that, the simple spam detection, protection and deletion system which had previously worked so extremely well in Windows Vista Mail was apparently not working at all in the new Windows 7 laptop.  Maria was spending all sorts of time deleting mail that the computer simply trashed for her, previously.  And the mail server kept sending out warning messages about the size of her email box even though I finally got fed up with increasing her mailbox size and set it to infinite (we are talking about GBs of spam, here).

And spammers wonder why we hate them?

Maria had used the version of Outlook from Office for her email when she owned desktop computers previously, and Vista had come with a really nice "Mail" program for email that worked for her when she was on Vista. So, by the time all this trouble with her email started resurfacing every couple weeks we had no idea where her legal copy of Office 2007 went. 

Now, of course we decided to buy a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 for Home and Student.  Everywhere that I looked for this program online just showed the price and no write-up or package details.  There weren't even any reviews that I noticed.  We had used other versions of Works and Office before, as well.  So, when I went out shopping at the stores for the best price (as we were in a hurry to get this working and we didn't have to wait for a package to arrive from Timbuktu), I was quite surprised to find that apparently Microsoft had changed the Office Home and Student edition and weren't including Outlook in the package anymore.  This was a pretty big deal because the reason she was buying it was to get Outlook and have Word, but without Outlook, that Home and Student bundle was pretty much worthless to her.

Now this was quite interesting, since I had some familiarity with the package.  Although I don't use it, Maria has almost always used it.   And I had checked all sorts of sites, read descriptions, even visited the Microsoft Office website and read as much as I could about the package.  So it was strange to me that when I arrived at Staples to start shopping for it, it was only then (right when I was staring at the actual product packaging) when I finally realized that Outlook didn't even come with the Home & Student edition of Office 2007.  Huh?  We were only really buying it for email and it didn't have it?  Whoa.  I guess Microsoft got smart about it and gave everyone a (really, really) crappy email client figuring that a business wouldn't be able to handle such a pathetic program and they would all most certainly have to upgrade to a paid email client.  Pretty smart, when you think of it.  But I consider this type of smarts evil genius, you know what I am talking about?  I mean, don't give consumers who purchase a new Windows 7 based computer even a half-assed good email client?  Win 7's Mail Live client is absolutely pathetic.  But that is what I am talking about, it's evil genius.

Doesn't Microsoft know that the car companies were sued for purposely engineering-in breakdowns on car parts?  What ever happened to that suit, anyway?  Oh yeah, we never heard anything about it after a while, did we?  See?  Evil genius.  HP did the same thing with printer ink.  I had to opt-out of that class action suit.  Maybe the battery overheating and killing my wife's Vista laptop was also an engineered issue.  Absolute evil genius.  I stand in awe of these fault-engineered computer time-bombs that can't even last a couple years (but will always make it past the one-year warranty).  A bow to the genius of these evil engineers.

Anyway, there was no way we were going to solve our email problem with the Office 2010 Home & Student edition.  And Outlook, all by its lonesome, cost the same as the Home & Student: $120.00!  We had to upgrade to the Home & Business version of Office 2010.  I wound-up buying it at Staples for $180.00.  It was the first place I looked, but I didn't actually buy it until after searching the whole city for the best price because my DroidX's Savvy Shopper app had just upgraded and wasn't working.

I grabbed the product key from Staples since she already had Office 2010 preinstalled on her new Windows 7 Dell.  I thought that the install would be a breeze because of this, and because I had already copied all of her email contacts from her Vista machine hard drive.  But apparently, Outlook 2010 doesn't even look to see if there are any contacts to import from Vista Mail?  LOL... and of course, that lead to more confusion!

Then we go into the issue of the Outlook upgrade.  As it has been updated for social media and community networks, just getting the dang contacts in there is apparently a chore because everything has changed.  I'm hoping I can fix it by importing her contacts from the old Vista Mail program somehow, but she seems to be making do anyway now that she has spent a terrific amount of time on the computer figuring everything out.  She keeps showing me the computer when I don't have any glasses on, and I already hate Outlook so I can't make heads or tails of anything, yet.

She should slow down so that I can jump-in to take a look soon, though.

But all this really makes you think about how badly these companies are gouging us.  All this hassle just for a convenient, reliable email client for business?  But when do we stop getting reamed in the butt for it?  We really are dependent on technology these days, aren't we?  It is because of email that Maria needs to communicate with her students that she had to run out and buy a new computer in the first place.  Otherwise she could have gone without.  Computers were supposed to help us and ease our work process, not make everything more complicated, expensive and laborious.  Lately these hardware and software companies have just been cramming it up our boots and I am getting pretty sore about it.  Damn evil geniuses.

Welcome to BApps, for Business Applications of All Kinds, on Any Platform

I have been playing with my DroidX for a couple of months now and notice that there are lots of apps (I've downloaded so many android apps that I can't believe I'm not swimming around in digital media), but there aren't many resources for application reviews and such.  Since I am a businessman that is particularly interested in the best applications for his business, I've decided to start this blog site in an effort to fill that need.

I already have done this before for the android platform, at http://blog.widgetdroid.com/, but that blog is specific to the droid market.  In my home business, I have 2 Windows based desktops that I try to use as private servers (1 is XP, the other is Windows 7), another 3 desktop computers all running different OSes (Mac, Linux & Amiga) for compatibility reasons, my work laptop, an EeePC I use for email, an older laptop for Linux experimentation, and then there's a basic Trakfone LG camera phone, and my wife and I each have a DroidX smartphone.  Maria has a computer for her business as well.  Plus, there is even an iPad in the house, if we need it.  All these things run apps and connect to the internet.

In fact, we recently had a strange dilemma where she was having all kinds of trouble with the Windows 7 "Live Mail" program, which is apparently a huge piece of crap.  And as she had previously loved Outlook, I went out to get her a copy of Outlook which became a whole new problem.  In fact, this story will probably be my very next entry in the blog.  ;)

But as you know, home business or not, we can't screw-around with applications trying to learn them or just to get them to work according to our expectations, business requires working people and when you are self-employed you cannot rely on anyone else.

Which is the reason I've decided to start this blog.   Although I will have fun reviewing the apps I use on the android platform, even our familiar computer software distributions and packaged bundles are changing so fast and radically to keep up with the fast pace of technology that there just isn't enough good reliable information out there.

Hopefully I can not only review some of the apps I use on the computer as well as on our smartphones and iPad, but also offer some tips on how to use them better, easier or smarter.  It certainly does become a struggle when an application you have used and counted on for years suddenly changes its entire format to incorporate a new technology such as social media and everything about it suddenly looks like Greek when you install the new update.


That's what this blog is all about, I hope you will find it useful.


Thanks... -Doug