Archive for April, 2011

SD Increase & SD Tools

A quick warning, this is going to be a short review… and it may not even apply to many of you due to the fact that this app can only be used with rooted handsets.
SD Increase claims to alter a parameter in your Android file system that handles how quick your memory card is accessed by your handset. By default your handset is set to access it at 128kb a second but by using SD Increase you can easily increase that amount to 2048kb a second (and beyond if you wish but 2048 is the recommended amount).
As I’ve already mentioned, the caveat is that you can only run this app on a rooted handset. It’s also important to note that not every memory card and file system can support this tweak so don’t blame the app if it doesn’t work.
In order to check the difference (if any) made by SD Increase it’s worth grabbing the free app SD Tools for a before / after comparison. Here’s how my card and phone stacked up.

 

Before

After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So after applying SD Increase my memory card write speed has increased by over 2MB, this is an excellent result. The read figure has also gone up by 2MB but what is worth noting that this is the best of a number of tests. In most cases the increase would be about 0.5MB but before using SD Increase it would take around 20 – 30 seconds to get that result. Post SD Increase the result would come back much quicker, so in effect even though the top speed may not have changed much but the acceleration is greatly improved.

In terms of practical use ‘post SD Increase’, the standard Android Gallery app is loading noticeably quicker and outdoor 720p videos recorded on my HTC Desire now playback with excellent quality. If you’re in a position to try out this tweak then do so, it may be of a great benefit to you.

Links : SD Increase, SD Tools

Feedly – Easy to use, not too Feedly.

Feedly (Beta)

Since getting my first Android handset I’ve gone through my fair share of RSS feed readers. I’ve tried the official Google Reader app, Pulse News Reader, GReader and NewsRob amongst others. All were very good but still not the 100% perfect RSS reader that I was looking for (although I do love the interface on Pulse). Now a new app, Feedly, has stepped forward to be added to this ever-growing list and in the process offers up a unique new UI.
Rather than going for the standard ‘news listing’ layout Feedly goes for what it calls a ‘magazine-like overlay’. This involves a large front page for the latest news post with further posts becoming available as your scroll through them like you would turn a page. This ‘magazine’ aspect is very clean but also pleasing to look at making it a worthy download for those who want an alternative to Pulse Reader. On my HTC Desire it looked great, on an Android tablet it could possibly look excellent. Away from the front-end there’s also a built in browser in which to read posts with an option to open them up in your standard browser.
Setting up Feedly is utterly painless, it has a selection of default feeds to read and thanks to the way it integrates with the Android Account Manager it can import your Google Reader account with a simple button press.
Speaking of integration, Feedly also keeps your desktop based Google Reader account in sync with what you’ve already read on your phone therefore avoiding repetition when you transition between the two. Feedly really does a great job of allowing you to stay on top of your feeds, an aspect that I have found lacking in other RRS feed readers.
For those who like to share what they come across, Feedly also packs the standard share options so you can forward stories to Tweetdeck, Facebook or whatever you use to frequent your online social circles.

The pull out side menu provides easy access to all your feeds.

Another advantage is that Feedly also seems to happily take care of any number of unread posts making all your material available. This is an advantage over similar apps that only load up a limited amount of posts which can leave older unread items out of reach.
Sadly it’s not all sunshine & lollipops, whilst being used on 3G I found myself occasionally booted out of my Google Reader account but it was nothing a few key presses couldn’t fix.
There’s also a learning curve to navigating your way around your feeds. If you rely on the main screen to get around it’s possible to not find yourself in an unexpected place. In most cases it’s best to stick to the slide out menu to access a specific feed. Also, those people rocking a handset with a larger screen may also lament the lack of a landscape view. For sharing purposes there is a built in ‘Twitter share’ client but so far it seems unfinished as I couldn’t find a way to log into it.
The important thing to remember here is the ‘Beta’ tag, Feedly isn’t in its final stages so this is all stuff that’s ripe for a clean up when the app gets a proper release. When it does go official this app could well be one of the best of its ilk on the Marketplace.

About This App – Version Reviewed : 0.9.4
Requires Android : 2.2 and up , Category : News , Size : 2.6M , Price : Free

Links : Android Marketplace, Install via AppBrain, Official Page (check the guided tour on here for some Android based tips)

Bottom Line : It’s still not the 100% RSS app that I’m looking for but it’s very much on it’s way to getting there. Great stuff.

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