For several years, I’ve made heavy use of the Heytell walkie-talkie app on both iOS and Android devices. Heytell is functional, but it has its problems from time to time. I have continued to my eye out for worthy walkie-talkie app alternatives.
I originally tried out the Voxer app upwards of two years ago. At that time, I found that Voxer just wasn’t a worthy replacement for Heytell. For one thing, I found the Voxer audio quality to be fairly poor compared to Heytell’s audio quality. I left Voxer installed on my devices, but contined to make use of Heytell.
Recently my youngest brother contacted me via Voxer and I started noticing the app once again. I noticed that not only had the audio quality improved, but other useful features had been added and the overall performance of the app is now quite robust.
One of the key features that makes Voxer extremely useful to me is that I can easily pass through poor and changing mobile data performance areas, and Voxer is able to robustly adapt to the changing data connectivity conditions. Even in marginal connectivity areas all outgoing Voxer messages are eventually transmitted to the recipient as connectivity permits. All incoming Voxer messages likewise come in as connectivity permits.
Another really nice feature of Voxer is that it allows unlimited message length. It’s possible to talk and not arbitrarily get cut off after 20 seconds. Also, unlike Heytell there are never any “full” inboxes to contend with. It’s possible to leave plenty of messages for your recipient and they will be waiting for them on their device when they get time to listen to them. This is really a great feature if you are trying to give someone how-to instructions.
Voxer also has the ability to text chat as well as transmit photos back and forth. Additonally, Voxer puts a GPS stamp on each transmitted message, so it is possible to see a map of exactly where either you or your recipient was when a particular message was transmitted.
Walkie-talkie apps on mobile devices can be extremely useful. When you don’t have the time or the inclination to make a phone call, yet have need to communicate with someone, a walkie-talkie app is extremely useful. With both Android and iOS versions, Voxer is the best free walkie-talkie currently app available.
Thanks to the FCC you might be able to finally watch your Netflix from the plane.
Due to a proposal by the Federal Communications Commission, they are looking to take over a handful of newly acquired airwaves. The new spectrum could make your in-flight Wifi experience 30 times faster than what you experience now. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and several colleagues voted unanimously to move forward with this plan.
“The reality is that we expect and often need to be able to get online 24/7, at home, in an office, or on a plane,” said Genachowski.
Companies like gogo wireless will still be controlling in-flight Wifi and you will (for now) still have to pay a fee as you go. However, with a speed as good as a coffee shop, they expect more users pull out their smartphones and tablets to connect up and watch a movie, check email and surf the web while 30,000 feet in the air.
The new Wifi format will share 14.0-14.5 GHz of the spectrum. This will allow data transfer of up to 300 gigabits per second – shared by all aircrafts using Wifi at that moment.
Microsoft is looking at the Barnes & Noble Nook – and they are willing to pay $1 billion for them.
Barnes and Noble stock rose 16% as news flew about Microsoft wanting to purchase the Nook e-reader, tablet and e-book business. This, just days after an announcement that Nook was allowing users to download via Google Play. Barnes and Noble also considered spinning off the Nook to its own company.
According to a document obtained by TechCrunch, if Microsoft was to obtain Nook, the Android-based tablet would be discontinued and the e-reader would be phased out at a later time. The expectation would be to merge Nook e-reader into the Microsoft Windows 8 tablet.
Right now, 10 million Nook devices have been sold, with 7 million active subscribers.
Many of us play Angry Birds, but are frustrated by the issues that arise when we change devices. There are options for getting around this. In fact, there are at least two backup and restore apps available in the Play store, both of which I have used. There are also options for doing a complete backup using a service like Carbon.
Now Rovio aims to solve this issue with a new Account feature built into the games. This allows the customer to log in and save progress, then log in on another device and resume play from the same spot. “Rovio Account lets you store your game progress and continue playing on another device” the company tells us.
There is a good chance you have not seen this feature yet, as the Finnish game maker explains — “Rovio Account is currently available in The Croods game globally, and in the classic Angry Birds game on iOS in Finland and Poland. We will gradually introduce Rovio Account into more areas in the future and also add new features”.
This will be a much welcome addition to the popular game franchise and will eliminate the need for third-party solutions, which work, but can be a hassle.
Last week Rovio released its Angry Birds Friends tournament -style game to the mobile world, making the popular bird-slinging, pig-killing game available to a wider audience. The Friends version had previously only been available on Facebook, but has now moved to both iOS and Android.
Today, the first full tournament gets underway — new ones will begin each Monday. Today though, something special is involved in the game. According to Rovio “if you play today you’ll see the incredible in-game marriage proposal made by one of our biggest fans”. The Finnish game maker goes on to explain that “a while ago a guy named Ben got in touch with an unusual request. He wanted to pop the big question to his long-term girlfriend Mel through Angry Birds! We jumped at the chance to bring these lovebirds together, and started building a custom-made level that featured Ben’s marriage proposal”.
While there have been no download statistics released for this latest Rovio game, it does appear as a featured app on the Google Play store. Combining the popular mobile game with the Facebook name should bode well for both companies.
Microsoft is now seeking beta testers for a new and updated version of the Facebook app for Windows Phone. Version 4.2.1 is still the current iteration on the mobile platform, but a new one is on the way. “Today we’re launching a new program designed to help speed up delivery of new features in the official Facebook app for Windows Phone and need sharp-eyed, energetic volunteers to download a beta version of our next release and tell us how to make it better” announces Microsoft’s Michael Stroh.
Users will find that the app is undergoing a major redesign and now includes several much-requested features, including new support for high-res photos, post sharing, and Facebook Timeline.
Before you get too excited, Stroh cautions that if you “don’t like it when apps crash? This probably isn’t the program for you”. The good news is that you do not lose the current Facebook app if you decide to take the plunge then the beta will not replace the existing Facebook app, but instead run side-by-side with it.
As an over-the-road truck driver, I’ve been playing around with GPS various devices and mapping software for several years. Maps and GPS’s have radically improved over the years. Does the perfect GPS exist? Not yet. So what is the solution? The solution I’m currently using is multiple GPS’s running at once. “Isn’t that a bit extreme?” you ask. Not really. Let me explain my current setup. I have a special Garmin GPS that is aimed at commercial truck drivers as well as those driving around in large motorhomes and other recreational vehicles. It differs from a standard Garmin or other stand-alone GPS unit in at least a couple of important ways. First, the user inputs the overall dimensions of his or her vehicle. The Garmin attempts to calculate routes based on known truck routes. It attempts to calculate routes based on keeping to known truck routes, and avoiding roads and routes that trucks and large vehicles are prohibited from. Secondly the Garmin has a database of truck stops, truck washes, scales, rest areas, etc. These two elements are theoretically updated with each new periodic map update. The Garmin does a decent job, but it has its quirks. I also have a Google Nexus 7 which has the excellent built-in Google Maps and Google Navigation, which are actually two separate apps that are tied closely together. I have found the Google satellite view and Google Street View to be invaluable aids on a daily basis as I am constantly having to find and go to places such as warehouses I’ve never been before. I can usually get a great idea of the size of the place, how it is laid out, if there is truck parking either on the property or nearby, etc. I also have the TomTom for Android GPS app along with a subscription to TomTom’s excellent HD Traffic service. Since I have a full-time data connection via a WiFi hotspot, I often run the TomTom software in parallel with the Garmin since TomTom’s HD Traffic service is generally pretty accurate when it comes to major traffic tie-ups and slow-downs. But wait, there’s more. Let’s say I’ve got the same destination programmed in to both the Garmin and the TomTom software, but I want to know how far it is to a particular point of interest along the route, for example a particular truck stop. The TomTom software continues to run in the background as I go to the Nexus 7′s menu and start Google Maps and/or Google Navigation. Yes, it is easily possible to have TWO completely separate navigation programs running on the Nexus 7 at the same time, even in the background. Of course if one runs any GPS program it’s a good idea to have the Nexus 7 plugged in since it will drain the battery in just a few hours’ time especially if one keeps the screen turned on. Also, with both the TomTom app as well as the included Google Navigation app running simultaneously in the background, it is still possible to open the regular Google Maps app and search and browse the satellite views as normal. As an extra aside, I frequently also have an app such as Audible or DoubleTwist running in the background attached via Bluetooth to a Bluetooth stereo speaker setup. The Nexus 7 is easily able to handle all of these tasks in stride with no slowdowns or stutters. So I find that having multiple GPS apps available in front of me (stuck to my windshield on the Nexus 7 via an inexpensive windshield mount I found on Amazon) to be an invaluable extra navigational aid. I personally believe one of the Nexus 7′s biggest strengths to be the built-in GPS chip, a feature that the Amazon Kindle HD’s lack, as well as all iPads that lack a built-in data connection. A built-in GPS chip really adds tremendous amount of value to any tablet, regardless of what the intended use might be.
Just a quick question for all of the GNC audience out there, because I want a true geek opinion on this and we have a web site full of them here. You see, I was thinking of ways to charge my smartphone while on the go — hiking and camping and the like. I am looking for the best solution and am curious what others use.
I had originally planned on grabbing something solar, thanks to the fact that we spend considerable time in the back country. But recently I came across a battery backup with 11,000 mAh of power and feel it may have the juice I need to at least get between hiking destinations — my son and I have aspirations to hike the AT in the near future and we could be spending days at a time out of range from both coverage and locations with power.
So what is your go-to solution? What is best for someone heading to the middle of nowhere for days? Is solar or a battery pack the best option? Or should I consider taking both along? Perhaps the latter would be best for fail-safe purposes. I am also interested in knowing recommended brands and real-life usage by some of you. Post your thoughts in the comments below.
I have been a heavy player of Words With Friends for the past couple of years. Once in awhile I would notice that my opponent would play seemingly from a different set of letters then what I had been presented with.
For some reason I assumed that both players were playing from the same set of letters, thus fairly matching wits.
I wonder how many people are really familiar with Words With Friends rules, or the Scrabble game that it is based on for that matter? Do you know the rules?
As it turns out, the rules for Scrabble as well as Words With Friends state that each opponent pulls from a random set of letters. Knowing this changes the game strategy somewhat, and it explains why games often seen a bit unfair. There are times when games seems stacked toward one opponent or the other.
Something tells me that I’m not the only Words With Friends or online Scrabble player to make a wrong assumption of the rules of these games.
I will still continue to play both games but not quite in the same way as before.
A couple of weeks back I took a look at one of two Striker products that I had recently ordered. The Light Mine turned out to be a great little tool for around the house, as I used it during a power outage yesterday, but I primarily intend to use it hiking and camping. The other product I picked up was called the Simple Sucker, which is a universal phone mount.
I had been in the market for a universal car mount ever since I purchased my Galaxy Nexus last year. My previous mount was built exclusively for the Motorola Droid X and is now obsolete. I didn’t want to invest in one like that again, plus my wife sometimes has a need for these things and she has a Nokia Lumia 822.
For $6.99 Striker sold me what may be the simplest solution of all — a two-way suction cup mount. The product is small and simple and initially I was worried that such a device could not hold onto my 4.7-inch screen phone. Those worries were, thankfully, unfounded.
Last week my wife had a trip to take and needed GPS for the journey. The Simple Sucker stuck to her windshield like glue and did the same with the back of her 4.3-inch Lumia, despite the phone also being in a case. She reported no problems with it on her journey.
Striker’s Simple Sucker, for only $6.99, worked every bit as well as dedicated car mounts that cost many times the price. It is also completely flexible, allowing you to angle the phone in any way you wish. It was certainly the best deal I have got in some time.