Friday, January 29, 2010

Swype Keyboard for Motorola Droid

just installed swype on my phone. im typing this post from my motorola droid and it is amazingly faster than typing on the native droid keyboard. The only downside is... well, I cant think of a downside.

On second thought, here are four:
1. swype has trouble with contractions. cant wont and ill, for example.
2. swype doesn't auto-capitalize the first letter of a sentence.
3. tough to type words like pull, gal, pass.
4. might just be this instance but I have no idea where my cursor is

overall, this keyboard seems to be a major improvement over the pre-installed droid keyboard functionality.

1. A few minutes with the Swype tutorial and I've figured out contractions. Just swype the apostrophe as if it were a letter, generally.
2. Tutorial has also taught me how to (easily) capitalize any letter, by moving my finger up above the keyboard before the next letter.
3. A little loop-the-loop on top of the 'L' key tells Swype that you want two L's at the end of "gall"
4. The cursor problem seems to occur on some web forms. Generally, however, the cursor is easy to see and move - much easier than the native Droid system.

The Swype keyboard is fantastic, and I can't believe it's not standard on the phone. If you have a Motorola Droid, get the Swype keyboard. (A friend emailed me the file, but I think you can download it from as well.)

Switching to Google

In the last couple of months, I've made the following transitions:

MovableType to Blogger
Total success. MovableType was a pain in the ass and overkill in terms of features. Blogger allows me to do what I need fairly easily, which is just get stuff published online.

Firefox to Chrome
Mixed bag. I like the UI for Chrome, but it doesn't really seem like it's any faster than Firefox. I know others have complained about extensions/plugins, but as someone that never really got into FF extensions, it's no big deal. And it seems like that gap is closing.

Blackberry to Droid
Another mixed bag. I've spent the last two years in business school, so I haven't been using my phone for a whole lot of serious emailing. My data usage was almost entirely surfing the internet while I waited in line somewhere or catching up on my blog reading while my little girls were playing. The Droid is a much better phone for that type of "internetting," but it isn't as easy to use when I'm forced to write the occasional email that's longer than a sentence or two. I've also been a little disappointed with the battery life. I generally charge my phone each night, but I don't always remember. The Blackberry could absolutely survive a two-day jag before recharging. The Droid, however, cannot survive an every-other-night recharging schedule. It's only a minor complaint, but a complaint nonetheless.

One last comment on the Droid. Coming from an older BB curve, the Android Market (ie App Store) is an amazing improvement. It's fantastic to be able to download a stopwatch app or a new game. But in general, the apps seem like the kind of shareware crap you'd find on the windows platform 15 years ago: Crappy UI and marginal utility. I suppose it's early in the game, but this is one area where I envy iPhone owners. From what I've seen, the Apps approved by Apple tend to be much more polished.

Bloglines to Google Reader
Total Success. I started using bloglines to track my blogs back in 2005 or so. It was a big improvement over pulling RSS feeds into My Yahoo because the emphasis was on keeping things marked as "unread" until I had read them. In the last 18 months or so, they made a further improvement in their Beta product to mark things as read as you scrolled past them (rather than marking all articles as "read" as soon as you clicked into that blog). The downside for Bloglines was that they never moved that product out of beta, and they never ported that functionality over to their mobile site. Google Reader has been a big improvement, if only for their mobile version, which behaves almost exactly how I want it to.

And who doesn't love a little data? I get a kick out of these little charts they give you:

This particular chart shows that most of my blog-reading (orange bars) has been in the morning right after I've woken up, during the girls' naptime and after the girls have gone to bed. It doesn't get much cooler than that for a data nerd like me.

Switching to Google
On the whole, I'm pretty happy with my new-ish Google products, but I hope they continue to improve and innovate. They're not all the way there yet.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Japan-US World Series?

BaseballMusings reports that there might be a playoff between the World Series champion and the champion of the Japanese professional league as soon as 2012. Sounds interesting. Count me in.

Home Sweet Home

This blog can now be accessed from, and we're totally back in business. Next steps for this blog are now:

1. Set up Disqus for comments, as I've wanted to do for about 12 months.
2. Improve look/feel, or at least explore other designs.
3. Customize functionality/widgets around the perimeter of the main content.
4. Start writing.

5. Figure out traffic tracking options.

Export from MovableType and Import to Blogger

In my last post, I said "There doesn't seem an easy MT-to-Blogger port..."

Turns out, I hadn't looked very hard. With a quick Google search, I found the perfect MovableType to Blogger conversion tool. It couldn't have been easier, and now I've got all my old MT posts re-posted here.

Next step... Getting this blog moved from its current location to its rightful home at

A Return to Blogging

I first started blogging on in November of 2003, using MovableType installed on a friend's server. I was fairly active through 2004, but then my postings became sporadic as TheLadders became more and more consuming. My last real post was over a year ago, bidding farewell to 2008. Over the years, my blog has bounced around from server to server, somehow getting bundled up with a few other blogs on servers inside TheLadders.

My blog was something of a relic, however, and didn't tranistion well as TLC (our internal shorthand for TheLadders) upgraded through various versions of MT. In the last week, I've tried to revive my blog, but MovableType just isn't working for me. I can't edit my templates, change my css, add posts or do just about anything. It's time to move on.

Today, I'm calling it quits on MovableType and moving over to Blogger. Today, this blog resides at, but I'll hopefully be moving it back over to in the near future. I'm also hoping to import my old blog postings into Blogger, but I'm not terribly optimistic. There doesn't seem an easy MT-to-Blogger port, but I'll give it a shot.

So, welcome to yet another new Andrew Koch blog.