The Heap: Now LIVE!

Yes, you can now literally see what happens at The Heap, thanks to Qik! A video streaming/sharing online medium! The observant readers might have already noticed a difference up top in the tabs. Gone in the stagnant “Notre Dame” page, because let’s face it… they took care of defeating any interest anyone would have in me updating that page with scores and records. Just tune in to any major collegiate sport to watch them play underwhelmingly!

Added is the “Qik” tab. After you click, you will see an embedded area for video. Most of the time, it will have a clip of the last recorded clip I made with the Android application from my phone. But if you are lucky enough (or can read when I schedule a streaming event!), you might catch me LIVE!

So yes, it has been a rather technologically advancing day, and I am excited to enhance The Heap experience using mobile posting capabilities as well as prospective video blogs and capturing live events!

Suggestions are always welcome! Email or tweet us!

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The Heap: Now Mobile!

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There is officially no reason for your Heapmaster to go long periods of time without some sort of post! I finally discovered an app for the Android OS! There can now be posts from where ever I am at, complete with pictures and brief commentary!

This is a great advance in technology for this blog, after implementing a twitter and email account, as well as post synching to Facebook! There have been many times that I had wished I could have posted a mobile picture to The Heap, and now I have the capability!

Thanks to all the heapsters out there, and thanks for your patience. A more regular posting schedule is coming soon!

Also testing the picture posting capability. That was me on St. Patrick’s day with my super awesome tie from Flora!

The Heap Presents: Review of the Motorola Droid Part 1- Overview and Apps

“In a World of Doesn’t, Droid Does,” was the Verizon Wireless advertising moniker for perhaps one of the most awaited smartphones since the revolutionary iPhone. In fact, little was known about the phone, only quick glimpses due to a seemingly secretive yet intriguing marketing ploy used by VZW. The brief TV spots had to have been influenced by the similar secretive approach used by the promoters of the film Cloverfield. Here’s a sample TV commercial clip:

And of course the infamous iDon’t commercial:

Nevertheless, the real question after all of the advertising hype and hoopla still remains: Can the Droid be the first successful “iPhone killer?” Or at the very least, begin the end for Apple’s reign at the top of the smartphone market.

One of the most glorified selling points of the iPhone is the simplicity of its OS. Everything is only a few slides of the finger and a press of the finger away. While I never did have an iPhone, I did have an iPod touch. The interface was extremely navigable immediately. There wasn’t much to learn when t came to general functions or where something may be hidden. Everything had an icon, and you just scrolled to where the icon was located. The most recent update to the iPhone OS even allowed you to group apps on different “pages” of the sliding menu.

Droid’s interface is generally simple, though a first time user does have to learn the functions of certain buttons as well as the extensive settings menu.  Also, the initial clutter that is all of the application icons is a bit daunting as well initially. But the burgeoning Android user will know how convenient it is to have icons to ALL installed apps listed alphabetically in a slide out menu. This allows the user two place all sorts of widgets and the icons of the most used apps on one of 3 main screens.

Motorola Droid

I have yet to become too “app” savvy, and am in need of tips for useful apps! I do use two widgets, The Weather Channel and CNN widgets. TWC widget is a quick and convenient way to immediately check weather and temperature, with forecasts only a click away. CNN seems to be a good news widget, bt to be honest, I don’t look at it too much. I have heard that USA today might be the way to go with regards to a news ticker. I might have to give it a shot.

Don’t forget the “Social” apps! Dont worry. Facebook for Android already comes pre-loaded. So you can check that one off of your list. If you are into Twitter, I recommend Twidroid Free edition. The app allows you to update Twitter, while receiving tweets for those you follow instantly. AIM and Myspace apps are also available.

Droid requires you to have a Gmail account. Thus, your account’s email is synced to the device! It is possible to sync more than one gmail account (like my personal one and the account for The Heap!) and email addresses from other domains. In addition to email, your user name serves as your GChat name as well! Your buddies can chat with you on your phone as well!

The main free sports app for the Android OS is SportsTap. The app itself is very good, as scores from sports around the world, as well as surprisingly detailed box scores/ stats are readily available. The widget was disappointing because it didn’t seem to work most of the time. The favorite teams customization is pretty useful, as you are alerted when your team is playing and of changes in score. (Another Overtime loss for the Lightning tonight, by the way)

Then, like iPhone, there are an endless amount of created apps for just about anything! Some fun ones are the Coin Flip and Magic 8 Ball apps, that use the phone’s accelerometer to roughly simulate the physics of an actual coin flip or the shaking of the 8 ball. Google Sky Map is by far one of my favorites, as it uses the phone’s position and orientation to accurately tell you what constellations celestial bodies are visible by the user! It is absolutely amazing! And lastly, I have some other practical apps, like Flixster movies for times/reviews, Kayak for travel plans and Phoneflicks for organizing my Netflix queue.

As we can see, this has gone for far too long! I’ve decided to cut the review into parts. Part 2 will be about Music Apps, music playback and other media/ entertainment apps/ capabilities! Part 3 will most likely be about functionality, messaging, what I like and don’t like, and what makes Droid a serious contender in the smart phone battle! I might even make my own review video, showing off my Droid and showing you heapsters how it works! Stay tuned!

smallheap.jpg image by jmooser