Settings Profiles uses

So, here are some of the ways I use Settings Profiles.

  • Control phone volume in certain places at certain times (work, church, etc.)
  • Control power consuming features in certain places and/or times (wifi off at work, wifi on at home, etc)
  • Nag reminders every X minutes for missed calls or text messages (replacing Missed Call app)
  • Turning on the ringer and ringing over and over on specific text message (replacing lost phone finding app)
  • Turning on media volume when I plug in headphones
  • Turning on power consuming features when the phone is charging
  • Turning off everything but the ringer at night when I am at home and I should be asleep
  • Turning on GPS for short periods of time when I know I'll actually need it
  • Turning off power consuming features when the battery is very low

Now, all of this can get a bit complicated. If you just wanted a simple time based set of profiles, something like Timerrific would suffice. Settings Profiles allows for multiple profiles to be applied in a stacked manner which allows for a lot more variation in complexity. A side effect is that it takes some thinking (like a programmer) to understand how things will interact. I'm going to try to deconstruct some of my configurations here.

First of all, I have four locations. Mostly because I'm boring. I have Work, Home, Home (wifi), and Church. Aside from the Home (wifi) one, these are all location based and, since I don't enable GPS very often, that means they are using the Google location API. This generally works fine, although it seems like there are issues sometimes. I think in part of my house the closest cell tower doesn't provide adequate coverage, so a different cell tower that shouldn't have the range to get here does and it makes it seem like the phone is about a mile further North than it actually is. I believe this is due to living on the side of a hill which faces away from the closest tower. Aside from that, it seems to work well.

I also have a ton of profiles, some of which exist for rules and some of which only exist for ad hoc activation.

Rules Sets:

  • Airplane - turns off all radios (for ad hoc use)
  • Audio On - turns on media and ringer volumes
  • Auto Sync - turns on auto sync (this was for a failed experiment, I might discuss it later)
  • Bluetooth On - duh (for ad hoc use)
  • Charging - turns on wifi, auto sync, and sets the screen timeout to 5 minutes
  • GPS on - duh (for ad hoc use)
  • High Power - turns on wifi, auto sync, sets the screen timeout to 1 minute (this is deprecated)
  • Loud - Sets the media and ringer volume to high (for ad hoc use)
  • Media On - turns on the media volume
  • Power Save - turns off bluetooth, wifi, gps, auto sync, sets the screen timeout to 15 sec, turns off vibrate
  • Ring Only - turns off the media and notification volumes, turns off vibrate
  • Silent - turns off volumes and turns off vibrate
  • Vibrate - turns off volumens and turns on vibrate
  • Wifi On - duh
  • Work Power Save - turns off bluetooth and wifi, sets the screen timeout to 30 seconds

Okay, so those are the configurations. Then things get all complicated with rules. Some of them are quite simple. When I'm at home, it turns on wifi. When I'm at home and it's night time and I don't have headphones plugged in, it goes to ring only and power save mode. When I'm at work during business hours, it turns on work power save and vibrate modes.

The complicated ones are triggering notify events on missed calls and missed texts, and doing loud notify events when I get specific information in a text. I don't really use some of the capabilities around texts received or incoming phone calls from specific numbers or groups. Let alone the calendar stuff.

I really just scratch the surface of what can be done, I just think it's unfortunate that it's probably daunting for most people to figure out the nuances to setting up things so they work the way they want. That's probably the biggest problem with an otherwise incredibly powerful tool.

Android capsule review show

I just wanted to go over the android apps that I have found useful lately.

I'm still a huge fan of Settings Profiles for managing my phone's behavior in different scenarios. I highly recommend it. It has more uses than it first appears to, but I plan to write more about that later.

Battery Detective is a cool little service that keeps track of how fast the battery discharges, when the signal is weak, and the phone's temperature. It has been very useful in tracking down what processes are taking up battery or keeping the phone awake just by making me aware of when the phone isn't behaving well. Oh, it also warns when the awake time is too large a percentage of the total uptime. That's probably the most useful, since some HTC service (flickr integration?) prevents the phone from ever sleeping which really eats the battery.

Now that I have things tweaked out, I can usually get a full day of normal use without getting below 30% battery, which is good. Of course, the more you do, the less time you get...

Listen from Google is a decent podcast program, the only major flaw is that it uses Google Reader to keep track of feeds, which sometimes means I mark items as "read" when I'm reading my feeds and then they don't appear as new things to listen to in Listen. I find that design decision a bit weird.

I'm still using Mileage for tracking my gas mileage. It's not great. I wish the options for entering data were a little more flexible... the program I had for Palm, pFuel, was better in that respect. But, it's functional. For the past 9 months or so, I have averaged 35.8mpg.

We're still using Our Groceries for a grocery list. It's simple and functional and the multi-phone synchronization is handy. It would be nice if it could track prices, though.

KeePassDroid keeps my life sane, since I need to keep track of about 50 different usernames and passwords. Without that, I wouldn't be able to use passwords with any real complexity or variation.

Astrid is pretty awesome for keeping a todo list, although I do hope they implement a couple of suggested changes for the widget. I need to have widgets that are tied to specific tags, not just all the tasks. I've begun using this to keep my life together. It's a little more efficient for me than trying to use email reminders to myself or using a full fledged calender entry to create a simple reminder.

I've been using Swift as a twitter client lately. It seems to have a weird bug about going back to the last-last place I was in the timeline. I assume that is due to an idiosyncrasy of the way I am using it. Also, the way that things have to be saved-then-shared is both counterintuitive and awkward since I usually just want to email one particular message to someone.

I'm still using Apps Organizer to do bulk organization of things. It performs much more smoothly on the Incredible, so it's not too bad.

I've been using fring a tiny bit when I need to contact someone on ICQ/AIM. It's not terrible, although it needs a couple of features, like groups, to be truly useful for me. It is not a replacement for GTalk for me right now.

I use the obvious stuff, like GTalk, GVoice, Gmail, Google Maps, and the default browser.

I'm still using MixZing for most of my music listening needs, since I like the way it creates suggestions. I also lean on Pandora a bit, although listening to music just doesn't play a big role in my life in general right now.

I have started using AudioManager Console because it has a handy widget that shows the state of all the different volume values: Alarm, Media, Alerts, Ringer, System, and Voice. This helps a lot with troubleshooting Settings Profiles rules.

I've also started using 3G Watchdog which has a widget that tracks data usage every month. This is more out of curiosity than anything else. I don't expect to hit the "unlimited" plan limit (supposedly 5GB), but it's nice to know how much I am using.

In a more esoteric vein, I use BGG Mobile because it makes it easy to record games played on BGG. I also sometimes use BoardGameGeek because it has some features that BGG Mobile lacks. I really wish either was improved, though. They both have plenty of room to grow but they don't seem to get much development love.

Speaking of which, I haven't had a lot of time lately to work on my app, but I did get around to rewriting the settings activity, which is good. It's not really additional features, though, just reworking what was already there to be easier to expand. I need to spend a bit more time and finish up some additional tasks. I have gotten feedback from about half a dozen users with suggestions and comments. The most heartwarming was the one who said that she was finally able to ditch her iPhone and get an android phone because of my app.

To date, I have 579 downloads of which 255 are "active". That's way more than I ever expected.

Oh, one last thing... or two. First of all, I'm currently using Swype since the beta was opened again recently. If you have an android phone you should go there now and check it out. I had also been using Shapewriter which is similar, but not quite as polished.

Three years

It is hard for me to believe, but I have had my dell laptop for three years now. It is still serving me well, but I do wonder when it is going to fail and leave me in the lurch.

I've had one major upgrade (RAM, for eclipse). One major failure. Three major OS upgrades. The hard drive is short on space, but I've got a decade of digital images on there, so I can't complain much.

I guess someday I should look into replacing it... but I'm cheap and lazy and it's still ticking... besides, I do a lot of stuff from my phone now anyway.

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I saw Cargo last week. It was pretty good if you like that kind of gritty future sci fi.

2010 movie found: 6

I also half watched When You're Strange while blessed_lunatic watched it... good soundtrack.

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I've been neglecting live journal due to Twitter and other distractions. Things have been crazy lately with the flood and whatnot.

I wanted to mention that today is the last day to name your own price for six cool crossplatform games (and donate to charity) at

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I hate Verizon.

My brand new HTC Droid Incredible is a very nice phone, but it has a small, cosmetic defect. I have contacted Verizon twice in person, at different stores and I have been told, in turn that:

a. It's a defect, but they are out of stock in store, so I should call customer service.
b. It's a defect and that they will ship me a replacement
c. Oops, in order to send you a replacement, you have to pay us $530 (the cost of the phone) which we'll credit you back after we get your return
d. It's only a cosmetic defect and not covered under warranty, that the best I could do is claim it under insurance ($50 deductible, if I have it) or try to contact HTC (whose website suggests they only provide direct warranty support for unlocked phones, not provider locked phones.

Tonight I have sent some feedback to both Verizon Wireless and HTC. My current plan, if I don't find some other resolution, is to return the phone I have and buy it from some other retailer.

verizon feedback

I just wanted to let you know that, yet again, Verizon Wireless has failed to adequately support the hardware I have purchased from you. Most recently, I purchased a Droid Incredible. After having it for less than a week, a crack developed in the plastic sheath around the USB charging port. Contrary to what your store representative accused me of, I did not force the charger into the port.

Yesterday I went to a Verizon Wireless store and a representative there told me that it was a defect and that they did not have any in stock so I would have better luck calling *611. I did so yesterday afternoon and, after much discussion with two of your representatives, I was told a replacement would be shipped out and that I would then need to ship this unit back.

Later I received a voicemail from the tech I talked to, David, saying that there was some issue, but I was unable to talk to him. I did not hear from him today, so I called back today and talked to someone else. He informed me that the problem was that I needed to pay $530 up front in order for the replacement to be shipped out. I find it unacceptable to loan your company $530 just to be able to replace a phone that I consider defective.

Today I went to a different Verizon Wireless store and was basically called a liar, considering that I did not force the charging cable, and that it would not be covered under warranty as it was only a cosmetic issue and not an actual problem.

I am going to contact HTC to see if they have anything to say about this issue, but I currently plan to return the phone and find a different retailer to purchase it from. I am stuck with your company due to my contract, but I am consistently disappointed with your customer service and I will go out of my way to avoid giving you any more business than necessary.

I will recommend my friends avoid Verizon Wireless and I will be in touch with the Better Business Bureau.


HTC feedback

I purchased an HTC Incredible a week ago. I have found it to be a very nice phone, but the build quality is somewhat lacking. The plastic sheath around the USB port has developed a crack with less than a week of normal use.

I have talked to Verizon and they suggested that the defect was only cosmetic and not covered by the warranty and that I should talk to your company. I do not expect that you will provide any better service, but I thought I would follow through so that when I return this phone I will have at least tried every reasonable avenue to resolve my problem.

I find it to be a shame that such otherwise nice hardware have such an obvious weakness in the engineering and that Verizon provides such lackluster support of the hardware they sell.


If you can avoid them, I would not recommend doing business with Verizon Wireless. This is not the first example of poor customer service and hardware support from Verizon, and I'm sure it wont' be the last.
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This hurts me more than it hurts you.

NUMMI shut down last week. This American Life did an interesting show about the plant the week before. It's an interesting case study in what went wrong with the American car industry. I find it interesting for a few reasons that are mostly particular to me, so they probably won't be as interesting to you.

First of all, the NUMMI facility had one of our systems installed. I had worked on fixing an issue at one point. It's somewhat sad that we won't get more calls from Lumi at NUMMI.

During part of the episode, the guy who was the first American Toyota ever hired was interviewed and it was mentioned that he was from East Tennessee, which I find fascinating for obvious reasons. Also, during that bit, they used a recording of Bela Fleck playing classical music as the background and interlude. I'm a big fan. I found it someone personally heavy, although it's not really.

Some interesting tidbits that were either in that episode or mention in the news. NUMMI is the first plant Toyota has ever closed in the 70 years the company has existed. It was also Toyota's only union shop. (A fact that almost certainly contributed to it's demise, in the long run.)

The other fascinating things about the story to me are the conditions described at the plan before the shutdown and transformation in the 1980's, and the epic fail of GM managers who tried to replicate the success of NUMMI by copying only the superficial details.
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2nd Annual Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival

Teaching origami at the Cherry Blossom Festival went very well today. The weather was great and there were lots of very interested people of all ages willing to try their hand at folding some basic models. It was a lot of fun and all of the regular Nashville Origami Club members were in attendance to help up. The only downside was the spring winds, but I brought several covers that could display models without letting them get blown away.

There were almost always three staff members from the Japanese Consulate who were also teaching origami throughout the day, which was quite helpful in managing the crowd which swelled to a frenzy at around 1pm. Oddly, I expected more activity in the afternoon, but it seemed to taper off quite a bit.

There was quite a bit of interest in the origami club. Hopefully we'll pick up a few more members from that, and hopefully we'll be able to participate again next year.

I did get to watch Alison Brown play for a couple of tunes, which was really cool. I probably could have talked to her before or after she played, but I didn't want to be that kind of person... it's not like I had anything constructive or substantive to say.

blessed_lunatic and OMB were able to come by for a bit in the afternoon, although OMB got a bit of sunscreen in her eye and was quite grumpy.

Oh, and for those keeping score at home, Rick showed up, complete with family, and let the rest of you off the hook. Thanks, Rick!
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I watched Alien vs Predator tonight. I had recorded it a few weeks ago, due to vague interest (even though I haven't actually watched the Predator movies before, I like the Alien stuff well enough), and I wanted to free up some space on the DVR for other things.

I wasn't really impressed. It seemed kind of pointless. For a race that prides itself on hunting for sport and, apparently, treats killing Aliens as a standard right of passage, they seemed to fall pretty easily. Yeah, I know they were supposed to go get hit shoulder cannons first, but wasn't that part of the test, too?

Anyway, I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it, and it did prompt fond recollection of Alien TC for Doom.

2010 Movie Count: 5