Brandon's Notepad

August 22, 2014

Android Games

Filed under: Android,Games — Brandon @ 3:50 pm
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Home > My Lists > Android Applications > Games

A tablet is a computer, and what would a computer be these days without games? Even an avid reader like me needs a mindless escape on occasion. Like portable games consoles, the tablet grants immediate access to great games any time and any where.

Evaluation Criteria

People like different kinds of games for various reasons. Since I don’t have the time to kill playing RPGs or first-person shooters like I used to, I prefer simple strategy games, like puzzles, board games, cards, dice, etc. I usually have five minutes here and ten minutes there, and I don’t want to get so involved in a game that I feel like I can’t put it down at a moment’s notice. And when I do, the ability to pick up right where I left off is a big plus.

Selected App Reviews

Triple Town. I had to put this one at the top of my list. It is by far my favorite game! You are given a 6×6 grid terrain that contains (mostly) bare ground and some randomly placed objects, such as grass, shrubs, trees, and rocks. The top left cell is a plate where you can temporarily hold an object. Each turn, you are given a new object to place onto the grid. When three like objects are placed adjacent to one another, they combine to form an object of a higher order in the cell where that last one was placed. Three patches of grass form a shrub, three shrubs form a tree, three trees for a hut, etc. The object is to earn points before completely running out of room. And then there are the bears that move a space each turn and get in the way of your progress. Besides building bigger and fancier objects (like floating castles), there are point-based goals to be met as well.

Angry Birds. For the longest time, tablet (and smartphone) ads showed devices bearing screenshots of this game, its popularity tapped by marketers in much the same way as Pac-Man was used to sell the Atari 2600 and Super Mario Brothers the NES. It put to rest the question on every buyer’s mind: rest assured, this device will let you play Angry Birds. Basically, the birds are upset with the pigs that bully them, and they need the player’s help to fight back. They are launched at the enemy using a large slingshot, and different kinds of birds wreak different kinds of ballistic havoc upon impact. Angry Birds has earned the right to be the most popular game on the Android platform in my opinion, even if it isn’t my favorite. It has a simple strategy, yet the levels get progressively harder and eventually require more planning than brute force. What’s more, the game proved to be quite extensible through a series of themed releases, eventually crossing into other fictional universes, such as Star Wars and Transformers.

Cut the Rope. Another one of my addictions. Review to come…

Drisk. Screenshots remind me of World Master. Review to come…

Frozen Bubble. One of my Linux favorites. Review to come…

Refraction. My buddy’s addiction. Review to come…

February 27, 2012

Android Applications

Home > My Lists > Technology > Android Applications

This page started off as a list of apps I wanted to try, become a set of reviews, and now contains a mixture of elements that I consider part of my Android experience.

Android & Me

A few years ago, I bought a tablet computer. It was a bit of a luxury, but it proved to be very convenient for things like casual browsing at the coffee shop and checking off shopping list items at the grocery store. I was using it more like a PDA than a browsing platform or ebook reader. I had already started compiling a long list of apps that I wanted to try, and after I started using the tablet on a regular basis, I started posting short reviews for many of them. At some point, it became impossible for me to keep up with the new offerings and all of the updates, and my work on this topic stopped. I continued to use the unit for some time, and then I was given an iPhone by my employer. My need for the tablet dissipated, and now I plan to repurpose the unit as a desktop MP3 player. I am now more interested in documenting my experiences with the Android tablet, retaining whatever remains useful from the reviews.


I’m slowly migrating the sections below into bite-sized posts.


Editing & Notetaking.

AK Notepad. [468K] By the makers of Catch (below). This appears to be a very simple notepad, but does allow tagging and export.
Catch. [size varies]
Evernote. [6.9M] I have started using Evernote online and love it! The app is great too!
Inkpad Notepad. [445K] I created an account and used this notepad online. It’s clean and simple, but I was hoping to see the same options as are shown on the screenshots for the Android app, namely the ability to create checkbox-laden to-do lists. All I get is blank notebook paper.
OneNote. [7M] Well, first of all, it’s made by Microsoft, which almost automatically disqualifies if from my list; however, I was impressed with it a few years ago when tablet PCs (read: laptops with swivel screens) first came out. It’s limited to a certain number of notes before you have to pay a license fee, and it does not appear that notes can be exported. I think I have better options.


DGT GTD + Toodledo. [1.3M + 233K] This app syncs with Toodledo (with extension), which I already use for GTD components. I need this, but I’m not holding my breath. It’s third-party and only in beta testing.
Pocket Informant. [2.4M] It syncs with Toodledo and I like the book layout interface! The User Guide is available in PDF format on the Market page. I need to read this before deciding. For $13, which is a lot for an Android app, I expect it to work well.


Laudate (Catholic One). [4.8M] This is one of the first apps I had to evaluate. Confession: I installed it on a tab in the store. It has a lot of good stuff! I wrote to the author who confirmed that the lectionary and divine office require an Internet connection, but smaller content, such as prayers, rosary, and stations do not. Interestingly, the NAB Bible relies on a connection, but the Douay Rheims does not — I wonder if this is due to copyright restrictions. I came to realize that I could download most, if not all, of the same content to an SD card in PDF or TXT format, and/or cache it with Read It Later (see above).


Skitch. [1.5M] I definitely want this app if for nothing but to annotate pictures to post on Facebook.
Measure & Sketch.
My Measures & Dimensions.

Utilities (was System/Toys)

Bump. [2.7M] Recommended by a friend, but it looks like it’s most useful for phones, and I’m not sure I’d use it for much of anything at all.
Graffiti. [free:4.1M pro:2M] Palm-style data input. From what I’ve read, it disables some browser zooming.
Sky Map. [2.2M] Great reviews, and it’s not critical for me, so I will probably use it. I can get back into astronomy again!
Swype. Similar to Graffiti (above). I don’t see it on the Market anymore.
Voxer. [3.2M] PTT/walkie talkie functionality. Probably not necessary on a tablet. Perhaps on a phone. Recommended by a friend.
Connectbot. [707K] Installed this at a store. All I could do was ‘cd’ and ‘ls’. No grep, sed, perl, etc. The good stuff (if it exists) probably requires rooting the tablet.
Juice Defender. [size varies] Comes in regular ($0), plus ($2), and ultimate ($5). Recommended by a friend. I will probably try it.
Lookout. [3.3M] Security and antivirus suite recommended by a friend.
App Organizer. Recommended by a friend to keep app icons organized and not cluttered.

Yet To Research

Milage Tracker. I’d like to capture the data once.
Mindmapping. I’ve used MindMeister in the past. I don’t use this type of tool often.
DOT Reader. I’ve used Graphviz in the past and can create the files with a text editor.
PicsArt – Photo Studio
Sketch Notes
Note Plus +

July 2, 2008

Linux Gaming

Filed under: Computer Software,Linux — Brandon @ 4:27 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’m not a big gamer, but here are some resources that have caught my eye:

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