Tag Archives: Android

I Went From 7″ To 8″

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The Overview
As recently reported, I had finally gotten the software on my tablet (a 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab3 Lite) more or less playing well together, and suddenly I’m faced with a hardware problem. That problem being it had died. Deader than Elvis.

Aarrrrgh!

So the tl;dr version is that I was able to upgrade to an 8″ Samsung Galaxy Tab A.

What’s that?

Of course that is what the title is all about! What did you think I meant?

And anyway, if you’re a tl;dr kind of person, what in the world are you doing following me?

So here’s the rest of the story, complete with extra bonus goodness.

The Rest Of The Story
I came home Monday night after dropping my sweetie off at the airport and fired up my tablet. I checked my email, played a couple rounds of a silly game I like, and then noticed I had 2 software updates available. I installed the first one and started installing the second (that silly game I just mentioned). It got to 100% downloaded and hung there.

I wasn’t immediately concerned as the tablet is a bit long in the tooth and would often take a few moments to think before starting the install process. But when I checked it several minutes later it was still stuck there. It wouldn’t respond to any input. I ended up doing a hard shutdown. At which point it completely bricked. It not only wouldn’t start back up, it wouldn’t even recognize that it was plugged into a charger.

I had some money set aside (for other purposes) and didn’t want to dip into it, but I do almost all of my computer work on the tablet nowadays and didn’t want to go without my mobility (on things like this sort of post, for instance). I am actually getting nearly regular about such stuff and wanted to keep the trend going. But I wasn’t going to just go out and grab the first tablet that I had the cash for. I set up some minimums. It had to…

  • have an 8″ screen. My eyes are getting no better.
  • not be some sort of off-brand.
  • be at least one step up in its Android version.
  • have more on device storage.
  • not cost too much more than I spent on the bricked one a couple years ago.

I had some other errands to run so I added three local places that carry tablets to do some price checking. The first one I visited had a tablet that fit all those parameters. It had all the features I required and, while the bricked tablet cost $159 plus tax, this one was on sale for only $10 more. I told the guy helping me, “sold!” and he said (whilst checking his little hand terminal) “let me go back and make sure we have that in stock.”

A few minutes later he’s back with a boxed unit, explaining to me how someone had raided it for its recharge cord, but he’s sure he can arrange a discount (from the already on sale price) if I still wanted it. A brief conversation with the manager later, and I’ve got 20% more taken off the price. The upshot being I spent just under $150 after tax.

But wait! That’s only the first bonus.

The Bonus Goodness

  • two apps that used to take way longer to launch than they should have are now firing right up.
  • the WordPress app is finally showing me my markup (bold, italic, etc.) in its preview screen.
  • the previous bonuses give me hope that the problems I was experiencing with the video app I’ve downloaded (which I blogged about here) might have been due to the android version and not the app itself. Testing that is on today’s agenda. I haven’t checked it out yet from a combination of being too busy and, of course, fear. I really want the app to not disappoint me.

In any event, I’m back up and flying with my portable internet. This gives me a happy!

Chord finder app for my ukulele friends

If you’re you’re the type of player who never strays from GCEA tuning there are any number of chord finder apps available, most of them free, that will do a fine job on those occasions when you run into an unfamiliar chord.

But what if you’re one of the Canadian or European folk who use ADF#B? Or maybe you’re like the fella I saw tearing up Blind Blake’s Police Dog Blues on his baritone, tuned to Open D (DF#AD)? Or even — horrors! — you’re like me with my sopranino tuned a 4th up from standard to CFAD?

I have the basics of the Circle of Fifths in my head, so I can, at worst, slowly transpose things and play the proper shapes (even if I do have to look up the shape in GCEA once I’ve figured out its name), but that can be a hella hassle.
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Ukulele Chord Cracker Pro to the rescue!

(I’m referring to the Android app here but I understand it’s also available for iOS.)

Chord Cracker Pro doesn’t just competently handle the basic job of finding chord shapes for you, it also has a number of features that allow you to explore how the chords are built, what the basic “chord scale” is in a given key, and other features I probably haven’t discovered yet. The interface and navigation don’t take too long to learn.

The chord scale is especially handy if you’re trying your hand at songwriting and want to escape the root, 4th and 5th rut that grips so much of the blues, rock, folk, old timey, and country. I touch on it briefly in my Cheater Music Theory doc (available here and it’s free) but it’s nice to have that info with me. In the scales mode you not only get the basic chord scale, you also get some extended chord suggestions and even some in the “others that will work in this key” category.

This app will:

  • do reverse look-ups by simply tapping the shape on the fretboard.
  • do standard look-ups by chord name. (They cover something like 70 different chord types.)
  • show you scales (about a half dozen modes so far).
  • show the chord in the standard box diagram, on a music staff, or as tablature.
  • allow you to enter any tuning and then show the chord shapes for that tuning. It also remembers up to 8 of your custom tunings so you can just tap on the list to switch between them.
  • allow you to choose what the “finger dots” on the fretboard diagram display. Your choices are note name, interval in relation to the root of the chord, and interval in relation to the scale of the song’s key.
  • play the notes or chords if you choose.

And all of this can be yours for just $0.99! (I just know you read that last line in Billy Mays’ voice.)

If this were a starred review I’d have to give it a 5. Seriously, check it out!