Android Auto

I’m only a little late to the game here, but I’ve been trying out the Android Auto phone app, and it’s pretty great. Just what I need when I’m driving with my phone dash mounted, nothing more. Also some major improvements in voice control for texts and reading of texts when on the road. Finally puts Android up to par with Cortana for driver friendly notification and response. Very pleased so far!

Bing

I’m a sucker for points and experiments, so I’m going to try Bing instead of Google for the next 30 days. Bonus – Microsoft is giving people who use Bing rewards points that can be redeemed for actual money at Amazon and the like. You can too, sign up here.

USA Today had a little write-up on how MS is trying to catch up with G. 20% market share for March 2015 is more than I expected.

Oneplus One

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Not really sure why you’d buy a Nexus 6 with this thing on the market. The reviews look pretty good – better battery life than Nexus, 64GB for $349… camera kinda sucks, but still… $349 – compared to $649 for the Nexus 6. That’s a no-brainer. I also personally really like Cyanogenmod – I use the latest version on my rooted Kindle Fire HD 7. Once they got the auto-update thing working, it’s just as good as stock Android IMO. If anyone has OnePlus One invites to share, let me know! It looks like I just missed the open sale.

UPDATE: Android Central is doing a giveaway – enter to win.

Google Spreadsheets / Forms tip

I love the form feature, but it’s still very simple and can be difficult to work with. But I did find a good trick to updating a sheet with a form attached (which is surprisingly not a standard feature):

To edit a form and columns so that they continue to match-up:
First make a backup if you are not sure about the following:
1. Make receiving sheet the left-most sheet (according to ahab above)
2. Open the form in the form editor
3. Make changes to the form and do not save or close yet.
4. On the receiving SS do Form > Delete
5. In form editor do Save: The SS columns will change to reflect the new form questions.
6. Test the form
7. Move the earlier data on the SS left to match the appropriate columns

Cuil (pronounced ‘cool’)

Some ex-Googlers have started a new search engine that seems promising. It’s hard to beat the big G, but I’m all for alternatives – a little more diversity in the search engine market can only be a good thing, especially when it seems the big only get bigger and tend to gobble each other up.

Cuil – The World’s Biggest Search Engine
Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else—three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft.

Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.

Though oddly, searching for ‘cuil’ in Cuil returns no results relevant to the site itself:

– as opposed to the Google results. Kinda weird. Their servers also seem to be hiccupping a bit right now.

Gmail introduces Custom Time

http://mail.google.com/mail/help/customtime/index.html

Gmail introduces Custom Time

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“I used to be an honest person; but now I don’t have to be. It’s just so much easier this way. I’ve gained a lot of productivity by not having to think about doing the ‘right’ thing.”Todd J., Investment Banker

(Protip: April Fools!)

UPDATE: Blogoscoped has all of the Google April Fool’s jokes listed. There are some good ones!

 The Google Talk blog reports wants to help lower CO2 emissions and starts reducing the characters you send… by converting them to instant-messenger-speak. For instance, the sentence “As far as I’m concerned, you can give me the twenty dollars you owe me when I see you later.” will be automatically translated to “AFAIC, U can gve me the 20 $$ YOM whn I CUL8R.” before it reaches the other person. You can already see how your texts will translate thanks to the working en2im@bot.talk.google.com bot.

Add Page Numbers to Google Docs

This is a pretty cool trick:

goslogogif.png Google finally realized that the headers and footers from Google Docs have almost no real use, as you can’t add dynamic information like page numbers or the current date. Until Google adds these options in the interface, you can edit the document’s HTML code to use them.

Note: these headers and footers will only be visible on an exported PDF.