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Personal F-Droid Server

I have recently added a few Android devices to my household. The first one was a new phone for my daughter, which replaced the little pay-as-you-go phone that she did have. The second device was a Nabi tablet for the kids to share. (and as a bonus for me, the screen on my tablet stays much cleaner these days.) On my daughters phone, I don't want to tie a google account to the phone. Actually, I'd like to root it and leave the google crap off the phone. And the Nabi tablet doesn't have any google stuff on it at all. For the most part, this is all a great thing, except for a few specific apps that can only be gotten on the market. On both devices, I've installed the Amazon app store, the F-Droid client app and the Humble Bundle app. Between these three sources, I've installed plenty of games to keep them occupied. I've also side loaded a few apps/games off the market by downloading them onto my phone/tablet, backing them up and uploading the apks to my Owncloud. This has worked quite well but, it could be a lit…

Simple Editing of the Simple Last.fm Scrobbler

I recently installed a GNU FM instance to scrobble my listened tracks to. Over the past four years, I've mostly used last.fm just for the data collection to see what my listening habits are like. And considering I like to control my own data, GNU FM is a perfect fit for me. The only issue with running your own GNU FM server is that client support is really lacking. While you'll find quite a lot of last.fm clients, a few libre.fm (which is powered by GNU FM) clients, there aren't many that support a personal server. For the most part though, this isn't an issue for me. I use MPD for the majority of the time and the client that I use (mpdscribble) allows for personal servers. The other times that I listen to music, I generally use VLC or the native Android music player (Apollo on Cyanogenmod). If you dig into the settings in VLC, you can easily point it where ever you need to. However, with Android, I couldn't find anything that would work for me. The only option that I found was to add an entry to my hosts…

Google Music Beta Review

Here’s the #ToThePoint review: It works really damn well. And here’s the “Would he just get to the damn point” review: Yes, I know. This is a review of a beta product. Many things may change. Many people cannot access it yet. So sue me. Look at this as a point in time overview. Now that there is a proper Linux client for Google Music, I can finally properly use the service. Prior to the Linux client release, the only option to run it on Linux was under WINE. And I find that running anything under WINE to be quite #suboptimal.1 The complete service consists of a desktop client, a web-app and an Android app all designed to move your music collection to the cloud and be available anywhere you happen to find yourself. On the Desktop: The Linux version of the Music Manager comes in both .deb’s and .rpm’s, x86 and x86_64 flavors. My initial install was on my CrunchBang desktop machine, as this is where I’ll be doing the majority of the uploading from. I also installed it on my EeePC, both under CrunchBang…

ISS Sighting

I recently was able to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station as it flew overhead. Actually, not just once but twice within two nights with the potential of seeing it each of the next four evenings. It’s quite cool watching it blast across the sky considering it flies at 17,000+ mph with an average altitude of 173 mi.1 A few of the tools I use to catch a glimpse: The Sighting Opportunities feed is a good place to start as it will give you times, duration and location to see ISS. Stellarium is a fantastic piece of open source software that turns your computer into your own personal planetarium. With it, I can take my EeePC outside and have a nearly realtime view of the location of ISS. That way I can see when it’ll be above the horizon. The Android app Satellite AR uses the compass, GPS and camera on your device to show you locations of satellites by using augmented reality. And of course, my trusty Canon 40D to capture this image: The shots I took aren’t perfect but hey, I’ve got a few more oppo…

UberMusic

I just tried out a Alpha version 7 of UberMusic for Android. Aside from the fact that it has the word Uber in it. (Sorry, I just don’t find the use of ‘uber’ very cool). And the fact that this player is designed to mimic the look of WP7 and/or the Zune media player. It is a very slick looking music player. The transitions between the screens are very smooth, even on my somewhat underpowered HTC Aria (currently running CM7 nightly from 2011.06.05). A few of the options available include being able to choose which ‘tabs’ show on the main selection screen. (ie. Artists, Albums, Songs, etc.), disable the Android lockscreen when the Now Playing screen is visible and Last.fm scrobbling, among others. Navigation on this player is as easy as a swipe as you might expect and above all, it plays tunes. Grab the current Alpha while you can at http://www.ubermusic.com/. It has an expiration date of July 15th after which there may be a paid version on the Android market. Not certain what price will be asked but, give…