Diary of a Lazy SysAdmin

Skip to: Content | Sidebar | Footer

Android App recommendations

19 March, 2014 (16:55) | Blog | By: ender

So over the years I’ve had more and more friends make the switch from iOS devices to Android. Obviously I’m a big fan of Android, so I’ve decided to provide a list of Android apps and why I recommend or use them, so that these new Android users have a good place to start. This list will not include super common apps like Netflix, but some of the less common apps I’ve found useful.

  • aCar – Free/Paid – I actually paid for this one. I use it to keep track of my fuel usage and gas mileage and maintenance schedules as well as ongoing costs for services and so on for my car. It can import/export to formats for a bunch of other apps [including iOS apps] .
  • Android Device Manager – this is actually built into the OS, and your Google account – but I think it needs to be set-up/activated. It allows you to go to your google account and locate your device, and/or wipe it if it is lost or stolen.
  • Bandsintown – Free – If you like live shows, this app can tell you who’s playing near you. Put in bands to watch for, and it will let you know when they’re coming to town – and can let you know when similar acts are coming.
  • Dropbox – Free – super common, SUPER useful [see KeepassDroid entry]
  • Flashlight HD LED – Free – [from smallte.ch] – super-bright and requires ONLY the bare minimum of permissions -there is NO reason a flashlight needs access to your contact list! But that’s what some other flashlight apps request.    ### I can no longer recommend this Flashlight app – it now requires more permissions than it really needs, plus the most recent versions of Android have a built-in flashlight which is accessible from the login screen or the home screen by swiping down from the top of the screen.
  • FolderSync – Free/Paid – I prefer to keep my photos on my own systems instead of auto-uploading them to cloud providers [Dropbox, Google+, Facebook etc] – so I use this app instead. It can sync any files [not just pics] and it can use FTP, SFTP, SMB/CIFS, WebDAV or one of a BUNCH of different cloud providers. It can sync in one or both directions, and can be scheduled. It can also be set [per connection] to limit *when* it will attempt to sync. For instance, I have mine set to only sync to my home server when the phone connects to my specific WiFi SSID. This app is very cool, and very flexible. If you want to sync any of your phone’s data this is the best way to do it.
  • GroceryIQ – Free – Grocery list – very useful. If you create an account [not required] you can sync the list across multiple devices – great for couples!
  • gStrings – Free – guitar and other stringed instrument tuner
  • HD Widgets – Paid – I use this to put a great clock and weather widget on my home screen, as well as some quick-toggle buttons for things like Bluetooth, Wifi, brightness etc. Very customizable on size, color, font and what you want to be on the widget.
  • KeepassDroid – Free – This is the android port of Keepass – which I use to store all of my many, many passwords securely. I keep my password database on Dropbox [WARNING: Keep a REALLY strong password both on your Dropbox account, and the Keepass database!!!!]  – In this way, I’m able to access and update my passwords from my phone, tablet, home computer or work computer! This enables me to keep a lot of much stronger passwords for various accounts than I would if I had to remember all of them. Now I just have to remember my Keepass password.
  • Light Flow – Free/Paid – I paid for this one too. This lets you customize and set recurring notifications [ie, if you get a text – keep beeping every X minutes until you acknowledge it]. This is great for work texts in case I miss them. If your phone supports it, you can also adjust the color and blinking of the notification LED depending on which type of unread messages you have [ie. Green for email, red for texts]
  • Quick Dice Roller – Free – If you play any games that require dice rolling – this is a great app. Can customize the look of the dice and set up custom dice with specific formulas.
  • RedLaser – Free – I use this to scan barcodes in stores and compare prices and find reviews.
  • Scanner Radio – Free/Paid – Access to thousands of internet streams of scanner radios – listen to police/fire/emt/weather radio from around the country and around the world.
  • Wi-Fi Analytics – Free – This app by Amped Wireless allows you to see what wifi networks there are around you, and see all kinds of detailed information on them. You can determine which channel is least crowded so you know what channel to use for your own network, and you can get information on signal strength, and so on.

Write a comment