Benny's Adventures

Using an Old Android Phone as a Musician’s Sidekick

With the popularity of smart phones with the Android Operating system it’s not uncommon for people to end up with an old phone sitting around collecting dust. Should you not care to donate the phone, sell it back, or otherwise relinquish ownership some people have come up with things you can do with your old phone:

Personally I have not found any of that very useful but as a musician I’ve used my phones for tuning and a metronome which has come in handy. My contribution to this list of uses for old smartphones is the following apps as ideas to turn your phone into a sidekick for your musical ambitions:

These are all for Android but I’m sure with a brief search iPhones can also find similar apps.

I’m a wind player but I can see a guitar player having an app that shows them unfamiliar chords (such as Chord! – this particular app’s free version is pretty restricted but at least you can see that apps like this exist). I even found one for ukulele! With a bit of searching you can customize your old phone into the perfect helper for your music.

26 June 2012 Posted by | Technology | , , , | Leave a comment

in Technology: Motorola Droid’s Android 2.2 Update

I’ve been looking forward to the Android 2.2 update to roll out for the Motorola Droid for a week now but finally got impatient and manually installed it. The process intimidated me at first but I found a very useful guide here:

The instructions there were clear and easy to follow. The one issue I had is figuring out what the “root” of an SD card is but it was just a brain fart on my part – the root of an SD card is just the SD card without going into any folders.

My experience with the update is pleasant. The most noticeable differences are more desktop screens, a dedicated phone button that’s accessible on all screens, and a speedier feel to the whole system. I love the smoother feel to my phone and I swear it’s ten times faster (not sure what the actual performance increase is though). There are also numerous small tweaks to the interface in the menus and whatnot.

I haven’t yet messed with the touted new Flash capabilities or tethering but even without that I’m content.

If you have a Motorola Droid, I’d highly recommend manually installing the update if you haven’t received it through Verizon already.

7 August 2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

in Technology: Using Google Voice as Voicemail Carrier on Motorola Droid

Verizon’s voicemail service is outdone by Google Voice‘s features in several ways. First and foremost Google Voice has a voice-to-text transcribing feature that comes in very handy. It’s not perfect but can come in handy in a pinch to figure out what a voice message contains without having to call. This could come in handy in a situation where you can’t make a call but can check text messages or the Google Voice app. For the times you can call the recording quality is on par with the default carrier’s voicemail. Another benefit of Google Voice is the ability to create groups of numbers and select individual recordings that will play to members of a certain group. This could be having a different voice mail greeting for your fraternity buddies and your interviewers or maybe creating a general greeting for numbers you know and numbers not in your list yet.

For these extra features and more the setup is simple. Here’s how to do it:

1) Download the Google Voice app for your phone.

2) Go to Settings -> Call Settings and select the Voicemail service drop down box. Here you can select Google Voice and will be given a prompt. In the prompt there is a number for you to call that you may call by touching the link.

3) You’re done! You can go to Google Voice and adjust your settings there.

Using Google Voice as the voice mail service on your Motorola Droid is not difficult. You can get the hang of it by giving your voice mail a call. The *86 number is a shortcut to voice mail for me and I suppose it’s the standard Verizon shortcut so I tried that after I completed this and instead of receiving a prompt to enter my password I got my voice mail recording. I left a test message and soon I received a notification on my Google Voice app and also a text message. The text message feature can be turned off because with the Google Voice app it’s a bit redundant. The app allows you to hear the recording as well as see a transcript of the voice message.

On top of the phone app the Google Voice inbox online works much like e-mail and provides a convenient way to organize and listen to messages. You can place calls from the browser interface as well where Google Voice connects you to the number via your phone (sorry, no Skype-like features… yet!).

For the benefits that Google Voice offers I think it’s worth what little effort it takes to set the system up.

6 August 2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

in Technology: Using an MP3 File for Motorola Droid’s Ringtone

Recently I decided to do some organizing of my Motorola Droid’s SD card and also add a few more tunes I could use as ringtones and alarm tones. However when I disconnected the phone to set the mp3’s as my ringtone and such, I found that they weren’t selectable!

What had gone wrong? Did I mess up my phone by accident?

Turns out I forgot that I previously had to flag and mp3 file as a ringtone for it to show up on the menu. So for all you people out there who might have forgotten or perhaps just don’t know, here’s how to set an mp3 file as a ringtone.

1) Load the mp3 file onto the phone’s memory.

This should be pretty straightforward. You can save the file anywhere, but I’d recommend keeping it organized.

2) Go to the default Music app.

Here you should be able to see the file and play it. This is a good check to make sure nothing went wrong.

3) Touch the song in the song list until the menu comes up and select “Use as phone ringtone”.

This flags the song as a ringtone tune. It doesn’t automatically make the mp3 your ringtone, mind you. You can also select multiple songs as ringtones such that you can have one when your phone rings and several others for various alarms.

Hopefully you can benefit from my mistake and not spend 30 minutes trying various futile things.

10 July 2010 Posted by | Technology | , , , , | Leave a comment


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