Category Archives: mobile

sync files to your phone with bittorrent sync

Triple Sync

Syncing files with a phone is sometimes a cumbersome and tricky task. I blogged about a few solutions before like this one using FTP, but recently I found another gem.
Bittorrent Sync turns out is awesome to sync large amounts of files over WIFI to and from a mobile device without a lot of effort.

So what is it? Bittorrent Sync is, as you probably guessed, a product from the Bittorrent lads. You can use it to synchronize folders between machines in a distributed, non-centralized way. So you could think of it as Dropbox without having to use the central cloud server. There are
clients for all sorts of operating systems like Windows, Android, Mac and Linux.
The only “downside” here is that you need to have another machine online before the syncing happens as there is no central server that keeps a copy of your files in the cloud. You can also see this as an advantage if you don’t want copies to end up on third-party servers.

So to sync from your main machine to a mobile device, this works perfectly.

Basically you do the following to set up file syncing between your PC and your phone:

  • Install the BTSync application on your PC.
  • Install the BTSync app on your (android) phone.
  • Setup a sync folder on your PC.
  • Scan the QR barcode for this folder from your PC screen with your phone from the app to set up the sync folder on your phone.
  • Sit back and watch the magic happen.

Depending on your settings you can use this to sync in both directions, set up multiple sync-folders, sync with multiple machines etc.

It’s awesome, it’s free and it works like a charm.
I love it.

Addendum: if you upgrade from an older version to v2 of Sync your old sync folders might break. I ended up uninstalling and reinstalling Sync on my PC & phone + recreate the sync folders to have it all work flawlessly again.

Photo by Grant Hutchinson, cc-licensed.

mighty handy android apps

Marvin from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - not again

Well look at that. It’s been since 2010 that I actually reviewed the list of Android apps I often use. Can’t have that now can we? What awesome and fresh new apps would I be using these days? Which ones have I ditched for more shiny or slick ones? Let’s see!

  1. The stock browser. Yes. I’m still using it. The other ones, still too bulky imo and don’t seem to be adding any features I can’t live without.
  2. The stock energy manager had to go for a better one I’m afraid. So now I’m sporting Free Power Widget on my homescreen which also gives me access to Bluetooth & mobile data settings and has customizable colours. Ooh, pretty indeed.
  3. Catch Notes is still there. Kicking note-taking buttocks.
  4. FBReader also still there. Best eReader out there & open source.
  5. Advanced Task Killer Free has gone. The stock one is good enough really.
  6. Tweetdeck. You betcha. Best Twitter app for the phone. Ever. Love the tabs. The tabs make all the difference for me. Slide, slide, slide and you’ve seen everything you want. Awesome. From Twitter Inc nowadays. Makes sense.
  7. Zeam Launcher has now replaced the stock launcher because minimalistic goodness and features. It adds a nice customizable toolbar, double-tab multi-screen overview and the easiest way to uninstall apps ever. You just drop them from the app list onto the trashcan ét voila, you can uninstall that bugger without using the market or “Play” thing, nor having to go through the slow loading and tedious system applications menus.
  8. LittlePhoto is the only phone app besides the stock on I’ve kept around. It’s minimal but has lots of nice filters which you can combine in an endless number of ways until you have the perfect image… all messed up. Not locked into any online photo sharing thing either, so you can just save locally and share to whatever you like.
  9. iPaper is a must if you are already using instapaper.
  10. As photo viewer I’m using QuickPic now. Why? Because the stock one just isn’t fancy enough. It also has more features, but still, sometimes you just want things to look pretty dammit.
  11. Dropbox is worth mentioning too. If you don’t know about it, it’s for syncing your files in the cloud to all your devices, so in this case also your Android phone. Lately they’ve done a great job on the Android app, making it a breeze to upload photo’s (automatically even, which is a bit spooky) or other files to your global cloudy storage space. Beats hooking up that darn USB cable to your PC for sure.
  12. An old version of Acrobat Reader for PDF’s, because the new one is just plain worthless on Android imo. Sorry guys.

Photo by Adam Foster | Codefor, cc-licensed.

catch.com makes a darn good bookmarking service

clouds

Still looking for a good bookmarking service after the Delicious takeover by Avos with their fishy policy changes? And the Trunkly takeover by Avos? With equally fishy policy changes? Cause it’s the same company?

So was I.

I didn’t care for the social bit too much or whatever other fuss services throw in these days when it comes to bookmarking. I just wanted to be able to easily save links, tag and search them. Anywhere.  Yeah, not installing software to sync it over different browsers and platforms and stuff, just simple good old-fashioned web-based goodness which makes sure you can access it from anywhere, even from  your bleeding edge smart phone, at work, at home, at a friends place. I think they call that “in the cloud” these days.

As it turns out I’m already using something called Catch Notes to (wait for it…) catch quick notes on my phone, and keep them synced with their cloud service. Yeah. Cloud Service. How hip is that!?
Anyway, they added something new a while ago called streams, which basically lets you group related stuff together. Stuff like links for example.

Tadaaaa!!

Indeed. I simply created a “Links” stream (I’m so original), dump interesting sites and pages in there either manually, or by using the Firefox add-on which auto-includes the link with your selected text. Really handy if you hate the tedious operation of copy-pasting and then *gasp* typing some description to go with it. Go figure.
The data is synched with my phone thanks to the Android app, so I also have my links handy there. Even better. I can add bookmarks from my phone using the Share function common to most apps, and read them later on my PC.

Searching? Tagging?
Yep. Can do all that. So it’s pretty damn sweet innit?

Photo by AndyFitz, cc-licensed.