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.

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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 mycolorscreen.com.

You should download this game right now.

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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:

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

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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.