Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 8

A week with the Nexus One, and the only thing I miss my iPhone for is the address book. In fact, when I turned on the iPhone today, I noticed that it needs to recharge again.

I've finally figured out the whole podcast thing. But first I'll make an observation about Android vs. iPhone. Pretty much all the built in stuff on Android is somewhere between 80% and 120% as good as the built in stuff on iPhone. So if you're just about the built-in stuff, you'd probably be fine with either platform. For someone like my Mom, there is no compelling ease of use reason today to switch a phone contract to AT&T just for an iPhone. The iTunes approach to music is different than that of Android, as I explained in a previous post. Syncing is a little easier with iTunes. Playlists are way easier with Android.

The big observation, though, is with a little research, you can come up with some interesting solutions with Android, even/especially with the built-in stuff. On iPhone, the built in stuff, like the music player, has been mostly if not wholly off-limits. This gets me to podcasts. I found an app called MyPod that can download my Jim Rome show podcasts, which Google Listen won't do because they are password protected. However, the interface for MyPod is quite cluttered and confusing. The controls are just a little too small. I've figure out how to make it download podcasts, but for the life of me, can't get the player to work quite right. I can't get the repeat play to turn off, which is a bit of a buzzkill for falling asleep.

I discovered that after mounting my Nexus One's SD card on my MacBook Pro that the podcasts appeared in the Music app after I unmounted. Looking around on the SD card, I saw where MyPod downloads them and noticed that it named them as the files were named on the server originally. Google Listen, by contrast, uses a mangled filename and no extension, so Music doesn't pick it up. But I couldn't figure out how to make Music app rescan the drive. It only picked up new stuff when I mounted the SD card on my MBP. So I looked through the Google Code forums and found a few people who'd asked about how to program that rescan. I learned that there is a process called MediaScanner that handles that. Finally, I searched the Marketplace and found a free app called SDrescan. If I use MyPod to download the podcasts, then fire up SDrescan, my podcasts appear in Music, where I can easily make a playlist or just play them.

The Apple way, if you have a problem, there is an app for that. Well, maybe, and probably not if it involves core iPhone functionality that doesn't meet your needs. The Android way, there might be an app that does what you need. Or there might be a set of apps that can work together to solve your particular problem. Things are tinkerable. You don't have to tinker, but you can.

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