Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A few Honest Opinions

Right, this is a bit different from most of my usual blogging material. Someone in my year in school asked me to give an honest opinion about everyone in the year. So, that's what I'm going to do, although I'll name no one.

One thing I can honestly say about everyone in the year, is that they're always up for the craic, and they're all sound. So, always add that to whatever I say below.

There's this really loud one, who seems to really enjoy being the life and soul of any group.

Another one is always happy, with, as far as I can see, a really active social life.

There's one who's amazing at art, and a nice person to boot.

This one is a really hard worker, who's always good fun to be around.

One is probably one of the most genuine and generous people you'll ever meet, who also works really hard.

Naturally there's one who is slightly odd, but, I find, in a good way.

Another one is really practical, and he's also, to use the colloquial, "dead-on".

There's one who's really old-at-heart.

If you want something done, there's someone for that too. He's also really practical.

There's a quiet one, who's gotten a lot more outgoing over the past few years.

This one isn't always around, but when he is, certain classes are usually entertaining.

This one's always on about a specific subject, but he'd do anything for you.

There's one who is really good-natured. She's a real heart person.

This guy is hard-working, and he gets on great with the girls.

So, they're the personalities of my year. Really, I can't really think of many negatives about my year. There are so many different personalities that it just sort of works.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Quick App Review: Google Play Music (All Access)

There are plenty of good music players for Android. PowerAmp and MX Player spring to mind straight away. But how about Google's own offering? Is that good enough for the job?

Google's Play Music is available for all Android devices running Android 2.2+. An iOS version is, reportedly, coming sometime this month (probably around the 28th-29th).

The app plays music files stored on your phone, songs you've uploaded to Google Play, and, if you're subscribed to Google Play All Access, tracks stored on Google's servers too.

One of the big pulls for this app is the ability to upload up to 20,000 of your own songs to Google Play, and download or stream them to any of your devices. Google provides a Music Manager to install on your computer and will upload your songs bit by bit until they're all up. This can take quite a long time, based on your Internet speeds. It took me the best part of two weeks to upload ~7000 songs, although my internet isn't the fastest around.

All Access is Google's equivalent of Spotify. Unlike Spotify though, there's no free option, apart from your own Library. All Access costs €9.99 per month, and, for that, you get unlimited streaming.

So, how does this service work in practice? I've found it to be really quite stable. It's never Force Closed on me, on any of 3 Android devices, and the Web player is also pretty good.

Google updated the app in the last day or two, with an "I'm Feeling Lucky" option. What this does is analyse your listening history, and gives you a Radio station based on that. My music taste isn't quite typical for someone my age, and, so far, I've heard nothing I don't like.

You should try it out, even the free part of the service is well worth checking out.

Google Play Music: https://play.google.com/about/music/

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The High Life

Or, maybe more accurately, the advantages of Cloud Storage.

You've probably heard of Cloud Storage before now. Maybe you didn't have a clue what it was, or why it was important, but you've probably heard of it anyway.

In a nutshell, Cloud Storage is where, rather than you having your files on your laptop, or a memory stick, you have it on an account on the Internet.

Why do this?

Imagine if your computer got damaged, or your memory stick with all your precious work and photos got stolen. You'd have only a very slim chance of recovering your data. Now, what if you put your photos, documents and other important files in the cloud? You wouldn't have any need of a memory stick, because all your files are right there in the Cloud, safe.

Which service should I use?

A quick Google of "cloud storage" will give you any amount of results, between sites offering the service, and news sites discussing it. The best ones to use, which offer the best combination of free storage and sharing functionality, are Google Drive and Dropbox.

Personally I use Drive, because you get more storage for free (15 GigaBytes in Drive vs. 2GB in Dropbox), and it integrates perfectly with Google's other services, such as Google+ and Gmail. It's also far more difficult to overload Google's servers, especially compared to Dropbox.

Another viable alternative is Microsoft's Skydrive. You get 7GB free, although you can pay an annual fee for more. Personally, however, Drive has been the best of these, simply because it's never failed me.

It's up to you, which one you decide to use, but, it's probably for the best if you move your important stuff to the Cloud sooner rather than later.


Google Drive: drive.google.com
Dropbox: dropbox.com
Microsoft Skydrive: skydrive.live.com

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Quick App Review: Sliding Messaging Pro

There are any number of texting apps for Android, even without going into the alternative messaging services such as Viber, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc. There are so many, that it's difficult to know where to start.

I've found the Sliding Messaging Pro app to be pretty damn close to ideal, for what I want in a texting app.

The User Interface (UI) is smooth, and there's a huge amount of customisation. Don't let the customisation freak you out though, it's great even with the default settings.

The developers are really helpful, and respond very quickly to any complaints or comments you may have. They're a great example of good devs.

There's one tiny issue with this app though. It's not free. On the other hand, you get a free 15 minute trial when you buy it, and if you don't like it, you can get your refund.

Well, that's my opinion on it. Feel free to comment.

Here's the link for the app, in case you're curious: