Geeks in Phoenix

Geek Blog


Get scanned with a QR Code

Recently, one of my clients asked me what the square barcode looking graphic was in the back window of my car. I told him that it was a Quick Response (QR) code for Geeks in Phoenix on Google Places. The blank look on his face told me I needed to tell him more about them.

QR Code for Geeks in Phoenix on Google Places
QR code for Geeks in Phoenix on Google Places

QR code for Geeks in Phoenix contact information
QR code for Geeks in Phoenix contact information

A QR code is a two-dimensional matrix barcode that is readable by barcode scanners in smartphones (Android, iPhone, etc.). It's a square pattern of black modules on a white back ground. It can be encoded with contact information, text, url, etc.. Here's a quote from Wikipedia on QR codes:

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a URI or to compose an email or text message. Users can also generate and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR code generating sites.

QR codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or on just about any object about which users might need information. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone's browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks.

Google's mobile Android operating system supports QR codes by natively including the barcode scanner (ZXing) on some models, and the browser supports URI redirection, which allows QR Codes to send metadata to existing applications on the device. Nokia's Symbian operating system is also provided with a barcode scanner, which is able to read QR codes,[3] while mbarcode [4] is a QR code reader for the Maemo operating system. In the Apple iOS, a QR code reader is not natively included, but over 50 free Apps are available with reader and metadata browser URI redirection capability.

For more information about QR codes, just follow the links below.

QR code - Wikipedia
Google ZXing QR Code Generator

Play your music anywhere with the Amazon Cloud Player for Web and Android

The folks at Amazon are at it again. Amazon just introduced the Amazon Cloud Player for Web & Android. Using the Amazon Cloud Player for Web and Android, you can stream the music contained in your Amazon Cloud Drive using the Amazon MP3 Android app or a web browser.

Part of the introduction e-mail I received
Part of the introduction e-mail I received.

The Amazon MP3 app for Android page at the Google Android Market
The Amazon MP3 app for Android page at the Google Android Market.

With the Amazon Cloud Drive, you get 5 Gb of space for free, if you already have an Amazon account. You can also store documents, pictures and videos along with music. If you don't have an Amazon account, create one (it's free too).

A default Amazon Cloud Drive page
A default Amazon Cloud Drive page.

Any new MP3's you purchase from the Amazon MP3 Store will automatically go to your Cloud Drive. And if you purchase an MP3 album from Amazon, they will increase your storage tier to the 20 Gb level for a year. Here's a quote from Amazon's website:

Amazon allows you to securely store your entire digital music collection using Amazon Cloud Drive and play it on any Mac, PC, or Android device using Amazon Cloud Player. Any new Amazon MP3 Store purchases can be saved directly to your Amazon Cloud Drive for free. You can also upload your existing music library to Amazon Cloud Drive so you have all your music in one place, accessible from anywhere.

All new Amazon Cloud Drive accounts are given 5GB of free storage for uploading content. Additional storage is available for an annual fee. See the Amazon Cloud Drive settings page for more information on special offers and pricing for larger storage solutions. All Amazon MP3 purchases saved directly to your Cloud Drive are stored for free and don't count against your storage limits.

System Requirements

Amazon Cloud Player is a browser based application that supports both Mac and PC computers. Cloud Player is not optimized to run on mobile phones or tablets including: iPhones, Blackberrys, Windows Mobile devices, and iPads. For Android phones and tablets, we recommend installing the Amazon MP3 app for Android which includes Amazon Cloud Player for Android.

For more information on the Amazon Cloud Player for Web and Android, just click on the following links.

Amazon Cloud Player for Web & Android
Amazon Cloud Drive
Amazon MP3 Android app

    Geek Note:
  • Amazon Cloud Player for Web & Android is currently only available in the United States.

Shop for Android apps with Amazon Appstore for Android

Amazon.com recently released it's latest Android application, the Amazon Appstore for Android. Along with Amazon's other free Android apps (Shopping, MP3, Kindle, IMDb Movies & TV and Audible) you can now download / purchase Android apps right from Amazon's website. And you can get a paid app every day for free!

The Amazon's Appstore for Android website
The Amazon's Appstore for Android website

Here's a quote from Amazon's site about the Amazon Appstore for Android:

"The Amazon Appstore for Android is a place where you can get a paid app for free every day, view app recommendations based on your past purchases from Amazon, and shop using Amazon's trusted payment technology. You can also test apps on a simulated Android phone using a feature called "Test Drive." You can shop from your computer, or directly on your phone or internet tablet."

To get started, you will need to download the Amazon Appstore for Android app and have an account on Amazon.com. For more information on the Amazon.com Appstore for Android app, just click on the following links.

Appstore for Android
Detailed instructions for installing the Amazon Appstore for Android app

    Geek Note:
  • Amazon Appstore apps are currently only available in the United States.
  • Some apps require root-level permissions on your Android device to work. Download these apps only if you know your Android device is rooted (allowing root access to the Android operating system).

Google opens web based Android Market

The one thing I love about my Android based smartphone, is the availability of applications for it. And finding and installing Android applications just got easier. Google has recently opened a web based version of the Android Market.

The Google Android Market website homepage
The Google Android Market website homepage

The website is clean and easy to navigate, with clearly marked tabs. I found amount of applications to be the most available for Android based hardware anywhere. I found quite a few that I had never seen on the Verizon version of the Android Market application.

A typical application category list
A typical application category list

I browsed through a few categories and found an application to download. Remember that you have to be signed into your g-mail account associated with your phone to install any applications. I clicked on install and got the following prompt asking for the installation location. I selected my phone and clicked install.

Android Market application installation screen
Android Market application installation screen

Got a confirmation that the app would be downloaded to my Android.

Android Market download confirmation screen
Android Market download confirmation screen

I checked my phone and sure enough, on the status bar on top, was an icon indicating an app had be installed. A quick check confirmed the installation of the application.

This is, by far, the easiest away to find and install Android applications I have found to date. Hands down the best! If you have a Android powered device, I highly recommend you go over to Google Play and take a look around.

Android 2.2 (Froyo) OS Update

I got a notice on my Motorola Android phone the other day telling me that the Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) update was ready for download. I backed up my Android, disconnected the USB cord from my pc and started the update.

Android 2.2 OS Update
Home Screens for both Android 2.1 and Android 2.2

The first noticeable change is in the Home screen. The Home screen now has dedicated shortcuts for Phone, Launcher and Browser. On either side of the Shortcuts are Home Screen tabs, which make switching between the five different panels and knowing which one you're viewing a breeze.

The Browser has been enhanced using a new rendering engine, V8, which enables faster loading of JavaScript heavy pages. The ability to play Flash videos is apparently on it's way.

The Camera and Gallery got a make over too. There are now onscreen buttons for controlling zoom, flash, focus, exposure, white balance and geo-tagging. The Camcorder now uses the LED flash to record video in low light or at night.

A new feature is the ability to tether the 3G connection using the USB cable. On some Android models, like the Nexus One, you can also create a portable WlFi hotspot. There maybe additional fees for these services, so it's best to contact your service provider for more details.

The support for Exchange has also been upgraded. Remote wipe, Auto-discovery and improved security are just a few of the changes.

There are changes under the hood too. Using Dalvik JIT, performance has been increased up 2x-5x for CPU heavy code. And Kernel Memory Management Boost improved memory reclaim performance by 20% for faster switching between applications.

Note:
I did have a couple of issues with existing applications on my phone. One I had to remove completely. Another, DejaOffice, had to be reinstalled, as it had a updated version for this platform (Android 2.2).

From what I have seen, this update was well worth the wait.
Scott

Update 8/20/2010: I recently had my Bluetooth headset die and since writing this article have replaced it. I am happy to report that the voice-enabled dialing feature in this update does work.

Customer service is #1

Here at Geeks in Phoenix, we take pride in providing excellent customer service. From computer repair, virus removal and data recovery, we aim to give the highest quality of service.

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Our in-shop computer repair service  is based on the time we work on your computer, not the time it takes your computer to work!

Contact us

Geeks in Phoenix
4722 East Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
(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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