You Want to Text from your Computer? Sure you do.

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Even with all the great Android keyboard replacements out there (Swype, Swiftkey, a pen and paper), it’s way easier to write a text message from an actual keyboard, especially if you’re sitting at one all day. And there’s a way you can do this, you ask? Of course… otherwise this would all be just a big tease.

Enter MightyText. First, install the Android app and sync it to your Google account. Then head to the web app and log in with your Google credentials – most browsers are supported, but I use Chrome and its handy extension. When you get a text message on your phone, a little notification will pop up and the message and your recent conversation history with that contact will be shown, and you can then respond directly from your computer. You can also write a new message to any of your contacts, and any message you write from your phone while the web app is running will appear there as well. You can even initiate a phone call from the app… although you still need to pick up your phone to talk. Don’t be so lazy.

The web app is a little buggy at times and sometimes you need to manually refresh to see the most recent message, but most of the time it works like a charm.  It’s a handy app that’s great at work or if you’re sitting at a computer all day. It’s currently free, check it out.


The Ultimate in Self-Indulgence

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I spend a lot of time tinkering with my phone, so I thought I’d fulfil all of your wildest dreams and give you a glimpse of how I’ve set it up.  First off, the (nerdy) specs: I have a Samsung Galaxy S2, which I’ve rooted and am running a milestone build of CM10, based off Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.  I’m running Nova Launcher Prime, which is still the best alternative launcher I’ve used (there’s also a free version here).

The clock widget up top I created with Ultimate Custom Clock Widget.  That app is amazing, it pretty much lets you create any sort of widget you can think of to place on a homescreen.  It’s a bit hard to figure out at first, but there’s a lot of help over at the xda forums if you get stuck.  I tried to get as much info as I could in there, time, date, battery %, etc.  Pressing on the battery percentage on the widget opens up more detailed battery stats, and pressing on the temperature opens up the Weather Network app.

I’ve disabled the dock and replaced it with the widget along the bottom, also created with UCCW.  It lists how many unread text messages or emails I have, as well as how many calls I’ve missed.  Pressing on either of the 3 icons opens my text messages, emails or the dialer respectively.

In the middle I’ve organized all my apps into 8 folders, most of which are self explanatory… but here’s the explanation anyway, because if you’ve come this far, I feel I owe it to you to bore you even more.

Apps: opens up the app drawer.
Google: contains the Play Store, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, etc.
Photo: all my camera apps and the gallery
Traffic: Google map shortcuts which show how long I’ll be sitting in traffic when I’m heading home, to (where I used to) work, my folks place, etc.
Music: music player, podcast apps, etc. For podcasts I use PocketCasts, which I can’t recommend enough.
Profiles: houses shortcuts to activate 3 Llama profiles I’ve created. Llama is a really impressive tool to automate actions on your phone, such as set the phone to silent when you arrive get to work.  It’s way too complicated to explain here, I’m planning on dedicating a whole other post to it’s awesomeness.
Utilities: All my favourite apps I use on a (somewhat) daily basis.

Games: I like games, and here are my favourites:

As I mentioned when I rambled on about the virtues of Flow Free, I like games that don’t stress me out.  Most of these are pretty popular, but a lesser known gem is Refraction.  It’s another puzzle game where you bend laser beams to hit coloured targets.  Well worth the $1.99, but there’s also a free version to try it out.

So yeah, that’s my set up.  For more (and for ones that are much more impressive than mine), check out

Butters to Boston. Ugh.

Well this is annoying.  According to various published reports, Brian Butterfield has left the Blue Jays to become the third base coach for the Boston Red Sox.  By all accounts, Butterfield was extremely well-liked and respected in the organization, and is regarded as one of the better infield instructors in baseball.

I would argue his departure is more of a blow than Farrell’s.  Farrell had been with the team 2 years, guided them to a 154-170 record, is still cutting his teeth as a manager and was publicly ridiculed by Omar Vizquel at the end of the season.  Butterfield had been with the team since 2003, was reportedly behind the aggressive infield shifts the Jays were employing this season, and countless players raved about his teachings and how he helped them improve their defensive abilities.

I refuse to read any of the local Boston reports on this one, as they’ll no doubt drill on about how this is Butterfield’s “dream job”, how he lives only a 2 hour drive away from Boston and no doubt ponder the question of why anyone would want to work for a second-rate organization (Toronto) when they could work for a legendary one (Boston).  Actually, I’m pretty sure some members of the Toronto media will write the same thing.  Most insufferable hashtag ever.

This just makes me hate the Red Sox even more.


You should download this game right now.


I really like games, and I really like my phone.  So naturally putting the two together makes Phil happy.  Not just any game though – I don’t like anything with a timer, seizure-inducing graphics, or anything in general that’s going to stress me out.  That mostly leaves puzzle games, such as Words with Friends, Angry Birds, Refraction, etc.  My favourite however?  Definitely Flow Free.

It’s really simple.  There are a bunch of coloured dots, and you need to connect each of the dots of the same colour.  It starts out really easy, like this:

And soon becomes mindwarpingly (come on Chrome, that’s a word) difficult, like this:

There’s 600 levels to complete, and as the name cleverly suggests, it’s free for both Android and iOS.  I’ve recommended it to a bunch of friends and they’ve all thanked me for it – though I doubt they’ll be thanking me when they become so addicted that their lives turn to ruin and they end up living on the streets wearing a barrel.  But you’ve been warned.

Farewell Farrell


The past 3 months have not been kind to the Toronto baseball fan.

Not because John Farrell has left to go manage the insufferable Boston Red Sox.  Not because he apparently called that gig his “dream job”.  Not even because the hoards of pessimistic Jays fans who feel the Jays are just a feeder organization for the Yankees and Red Sox now feel vindicated.  It’s mostly because the team just seems as if they’re in a state of disarray.

In case you hadn’t heard, the Blue Jays current former manager John Farrell has been traded to the Red Sox, along with soon-to-be-DFAd David Carpenter for 2B/SS Mike Aviles.  Farrell was then immediately signed to an extension to serve as the team’s bench boss through 2015.  This followed months (and months, and months) of speculation that he was the Sox’ first choice to take over after the Bobby Valentine experiment failed hilariously.

What was so annoying about the whole thing was the air of superiority and arrogance coming from the Boston fans and media – they acted as if they were entitled to Farrell, regardless of the fact he was under contract to another team.  Throughout all of it, I chose to believe Farrell was committed to Toronto and wasn’t swayed by the Boston’s reported interest.  Reading that he felt otherwise was kind of lame.  If I was Alex Anthopolous, I’d be pissed.

The news broke early Sunday morning while I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday.  The other guests probably thought I was rude as hell as I had my eyes glued to the TV and my phone, trying to get any sort of verification of the rumour, and to see who would be coming back.  I knew the reports of Daniel Bard or Clay Bucholz were somewhat laughable, but initially I was underwhelmed when I heard it was Mike Aviles.  Upon further reflection, I’m ok with it.  There’s no way Kelly Johnson will be back, which means we wouldn’t have a second baseman.  Now we do.  Aviles has both a 4.4WAR and 2.0WAR season under his belt and is an above-average hitter against LHP.  And generally speaking, I think any time you can get an actual baseball player for a manager, it’s a good deal.

With all the injuries, the implosion of the pitching staff, the regression of many of the younger players, the baserunning gaffes, the reports of clubhouse unprofessionalism, Omar Vizquel’s bitching to the media, the fact that Omar Vizquel was even on the team – the 2012 season is one that’s best to forget.  And that’s what’s so frustrating, as the optimism for 2012 was through the somewhat-functional Skydome roof.  Right now, it feels like we’re heading into another off season of uncertainty.  It’s not because Farrell is the saviour of the organization, or even a good manager for that matter.  It just encompasses the feeling that the work that’s been done over the past 3 years has been undone, and this organization has taken a step back, not forward.

I’ve always been an optimistic fan and consider myself to be an enlightened one as well, but sadly I find myself being consumed by all the negativity that comes naturally to most Jays (and Toronto sports) fans.  And that bums me out.  Here’s hoping that AA has another ninja-move in him to make me feel better.