Geeks in Phoenix

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Switching from one Android smartphone to another

I know that change is good, but sometimes I just fear it. Case in point is my smartphone. I really liked my original Droid; it was small enough to fit in my pocket and did everything I needed it to do. But it started to show its age and newer Android apps wouldn't run on it, so I decided it was time to get a new phone. And the move was really quite easy.

The biggest problem I was facing was the installation of my apps. Some of them were installed before Google created the Android Market, now known as Google Play. I had sync 'd my old Droid with my Google account, so some of my apps were shown as installed inside of Google Play. And there was a couple that was not and I would have to manually install them.

Both of my Droids appear in My Devices in Google Play
Both of my Droids appear in My Devices in Google Play

Since my Droid survived so long (over four years) I decided to go with a newer version, the Droid 4. First thing I did was to add the Droid 4 to my Google account and then go over to Google Play. It was now listed in my devices and I could install apps on it. I went to Apps > My apps and all of my apps showed up.

Apps show they are installed but not on what device
Apps show they are installed but not on what device

But when I selected one, it would show it as installed, but didn't show what device it was installed on. It was when I clicked on the 'Installed' button that I was given a list of my devices to choose from. From there it was pretty easy to get the apps I had on my Droid installed on my Droid 4.

When installing Google Play apps you have a choice of which device
When installing Google Play apps you have a choice of which device

Next thing I had to do was to get my photos, music, etc. off of my Droid and on to my Droid 4. Everything was on the micro SD card in my Droid and since the Droid 4 did not come with a micro SD card, I just powered off both devices and moved my existing 16 GB micro SD card from the Droid to the Droid 4. When I started up the Droid 4, all of my data was found. I simply connected my Droid 4 as a mass storage device to my computer via a USB cable and was able to move files in between the internal storage and the micro SD card.

List thing I did was manually install the apps that were not listed in Google Play. Once that was done I had to do some configuration on the apps I had just installed. This took the most time of all. But when it was all done, my Droid 4 was ready to go and working great.

Sync data between your PC and smartphone with CompanionLink

Like allot of people, I use Microsoft Outlook as a PIM (Personal Information Manager). And being in the computer repair industry, I need to keep all of my personal data (contacts, calendar, etc.) synchronized and up to date on both my PC and smartphone. I found I can do all of this quite easily with CompanionLink.

CompanionLink 5 for Outlook setup screen
CompanionLink 5 for Outlook setup screen

I wrote an article a while back about syncing Outlook with my Android phone using CompanionLink on my PC and DejaOffice on my Android. How it works is you install CompanionLink on your PC or Mac and install DejaOffice on your Android, iPhone / iPad, Blackberry, etc.. You then define what database (Outlook, ATC!, etc.) and what fields (contacts, calendar, etc.) you want to sync.

DejaOffice 2.2 main screen
DejaOffice 2.2 main screen

Recently they released a new version of both CompanionLink (V5) and DejaOffice (V2.2) with more capabilities and features. In fact, they have multiple versions for different applications (I use CompanionLink for Outlook). Here's a quote from their website on the products they offer:

Our products work with Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, HP webOS, Palm OS, and Windows devices. We also sync with Google, Gmail, Google Apps, and Windows Live (Hotmail) accounts

CompanionLink for Outlook
Sync Microsoft Outlook with Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink for Palm Desktop
Sync Palm Desktop or Pimlical with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and memos.

CompanionLink Express
Sync ACT!, Lotus Notes, HighRise, or GroupWise with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink Professional
Sync Salesforce CRM, Goldmine, or any other supported database with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Includes all the features of CompanionLink Express, plus the ability to sync to from multiple databases, sync with up to 5 devices, and advanced sync options.

CompanionLink for Google
Sync Microsoft Outlook contacts and calendar to Google Contacts,Google Calendar, and Google Tasks. Works with any Google, Gmail, or Google Apps account. Two-way sync is fully supported so you can make changes to data in Outlook or in Google.

CompanionLink for Outlook.com / Windows Live
Sync Outlook with your Windows Live Hotmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, and tasks.

CompanionLink for Time & Chaos
Sync Time & Chaos with smartphones, tablets, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink FA
Sync Wise Agent, Infusionsoft, SalesJunction, or Respond with smartphones, tablets, Outlook, or any Google/Gmail account. Supports two-way sync of contacts, calendar, tasks and notes.

CompanionLink for Mac
Sync Mac's Address Book and iCal with any Android device. You can also keep Outlook for Mac in sync with Android. Requires OS X Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8).

For more information on CompanionLink and DejaOffice, just follow the links below:

CompanionLink
CompanionLink FAQ's

Streaming music from the cloud for free with Google Music

Google recently introduced a new music service into their catalog of products called Google Music. With Google Music you can store all of your music to your account on Google's servers and stream it back to your favorite device. Google Music gives you space for 20,000 songs, which roughly comes out to around 100 gigabytes of storage for free!

My library on the Google Music website
My library on the Google Music website

You can access your music from any browser with an internet connection or you can use the Google Music android app. There are two ways of getting songs into Google Music. You can download free music or purchase music from the Android Market. Or you can use the Music Manager program from Google to download / upload music to / from your computer. A few of the cool features are Auto Playlists (any song you have Thumbs up'd), Instant Mixes (a quick mix of 25 songs) and Playlists. And with free / purchased music, you can share a listen with your circles on Google+.

The Google Music Manager interface
The Google Music Manager interface

Music Manager is available for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms. There is one restriction on types of music files, only MP3 format is allowed to be uploaded. And you will need to have the latest version of Flash for the Google Music website. Here's a quote from the website:

Google Music stores all of your music online so that you can save space on your computers and mobile devices and easily access your collection from anywhere you want to listen.

Use Google Music to browse and search your library, easily create playlists, rate your favorite songs, edit song information, and more. Since your music collection is online, you don’t need to worry about syncing these changes across your devices.

Storage

  • Android Market purchases - Free and purchased music is automatically saved to your Google Music library, and does not count towards your storage limit.
  • Your personal collection - You can add up to 20,000 songs to Google Music from your PC, Mac, or Linux computer, free of charge. All you need to do is download a simple desktop application called Music Manager to the computer where you keep your music. Music Manager can upload your iTunes and Windows Media Player library, playlists, playcounts, ratings, and more.

For more information on Google Music, just follow the links below:

Google Music
Google Music - Tips + Tricks

Learn to build and deploy Android apps with the Google App Inventor book

Do you want to build an Android app and don't know where to start? Overwhelmed by all of the information on Google App Inventor? Then look no further than the Google App Inventor book by Ralph Roberts and Packt Publishing Ltd..

Cover page for the Google App Inventor book
Cover page for the Google App Inventor book

From installing Google App Inventor on Mac, GNU/Linux and Windows to packaging apps for the Android Marketplace, this book makes it so easy. Ralph's step-by-step, hands-on approach to teaching is both entertaining and informative.

An excerpt from the Google App Inventor book
An excerpt from the Google App Inventor book

The Google App Inventor book covers in-depth blocks, components and the concepts behind them. The writing is simple and concise with learning aids like 'What just happened' and 'Pop quiz'. I found the 'Have a go here' sample projects outlined in the book to very educational and fun. Ralph also includes a free six-button template as a bonus. Here is a excerpt from the book itself:

As to prior knowledge and programming experience needed in creating apps and publishing them to places such as the Android market, you need practically none! This is the truly beautiful part of AI: its visual interface allows anyone from elementary school kids to us older people to make apps from the beginning without special knowledge.

Google App Inventor by Ralph Roberts is available in both print and e-book format from Packt Publishing Ltd.. For more information, just follow the links below:

Google App Inventor Book
Packt Publishing Technical & IT Book and eBook Store

Run Android OS on your netbook, laptop or personal computer with Android-x86

With all of the talk nowadays about moving from personal computers to smartphones and tablets, I was wondering if I could have the best of both worlds. I wanted to know is if I could run a version of the Android OS on my netbook. Having setup both multi-boot computers and virtual machines, I thought that it might be possible. And with the Android-x86 Project, it is.

Android-x86 opening screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox
Android-x86 opening screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox

The Android-x86 Project is an Apache open source project working to port the Android operating system to the x86 hardware architecture. It's the same hardware architecture that is in almost all netbooks / laptops and personal computers. They have several different builds for different types of systems (ASUS, HP, Lenovo, etc.), mainly netbooks, laptops and tablets.

Android-x86 main screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox
Android-x86 main screen running inside of a Oracle VirtualBox

Android-x86 can be run from a cd, installed into a virtual machine like Oracle's VirtualBox, a USB drive or your computer's hard drive as the primary operating system. You can even set it up to multi-boot with Windows. Here's a quote from the Android-x86 website:

This is a project to port Android open source project to x86 platform, formerly known as "patch hosting for android x86 support". The original plan is to host different patches for android x86 support from open source community. A few months after we created the project, we found out that we could do much more than just hosting patches. So we decide to create our code base to provide support on different x86 platforms, and set up a git server to host it.

For more information on the Android-x86 Project, just follow the links below:

Android-x86 Project - Run Android on Your PC
Installation - Android-x86 - Porting Android to x86

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4722 East Monte Vista Road
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(602) 795-1111

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Geeks in Phoenix is an IT consulting company specializing in all aspects of Computer Repair / PC Repair / Laptop Repair. Since 2008, our expert computer repair technicians have been providing outstanding Computer Repair, Virus Removal, Data Recovery, Photo Manipulation and Website Support.

Geeks in Phoenix have the best computer repair technicians providing computer repair and service in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe Arizona. We offer In-Shop, On-Site and Remote (with stable Internet connection) computer repair service.

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