Sunday, October 17, 2010

Drew Carey, The Price Is Right (And The Price We Pay)

"Jeffrey Sass, from Myxer... come on down!" Yes! Drew Carey just picked my business card out of a bucket and called me onto the CNET Stage at CES for a round of Geek Trivia! I had just been admiring how down to earth and cool Drew was being with the gathered crowd, signing autographs and taking pictures and joking around warmly. Despite his celebrity he seemed like a regular guy, just as you would expect he would. Approachable, funny, someone you'd want to be friends with and who just might let you... I raised one hand in the air, half whooping, and half identifying myself as the person whose name Drew had just called.

Smile, We're All On Candid Camera...

As I "came on down" to the stage, I remembered that in my other hand I held a shiny new toy...a handheld HD video camera on loan from my friends at Sony. I had only had the camera in my possession for a few minutes and was wholly unfamiliar with it, but it had a familiar flip out LCD screen and a bunch of buttons that I assumed would turn it on and make it record. Perfect! They say the best camera is the camera you have with you, and here I was, about to go on stage with Drew Carey, camera in hand. I HAD to capture the moment on video...

As I pushed through the crowd I flipped open the LCD and heard a reassuring high pitched beep as the camera turned on. I fantasized about the tens of thousands of YouTube views I would get when I posted this uber cool video of me and the uber cool @DrewFromTV. I stepped up onto the stage and Drew shook my hand. I held up the camera and above the din of the crowd asked him if he minded if I recorded. He had barely said "sure, knock yourself out" and I had the camera up in front of my face and pointed at him.

The next few minutes were a blur, mostly because I spent them staring at a 3-inch LCD screen, living life at 720p and 30 frames per second, filtered through the lens of a borrowed video camera. As Drew slipped into his comfortable role as game show host and focused on emceeing the round of "Geek Trivia" I was focused on keeping Carey in focus in the LCD of the Sony. When he called on me to answer a ridiculously easy multiple choice question (something about Linus Torvalds and Linux) I was so caught up in being a citizen cinematographer that I lost all synaptic connections to my brain and though fully cognizant of the correct answer, from behind the camera my brain failed me. As I pointed the camera at Drew to capture his reaction I blurted out the wrong answer, knowing it was wrong the moment the words left my mouth. As the knowing crowd of geeks in the audience chuckled at my apparent ignorance, Drew too looked at me as the dunce I was.

Fleeting Fame...

My fifteen minutes of fame had lasted about fifteen seconds. Drew handed me a consolation tee shirt and whisked me off the stage. I pointed the video camera at him as I left the limelight, but he had already forgotten my poor performance and was on to the next contestant...

As embarrassed as I was at my geek trivia gaffe, I was still quite excited.  After all, I had this awesome video of "me and Drew Carey" ready to blast my YouTube cred to a new level. It was worth the shame of getting knocked out of the competition by the first softball question. Perhaps that would actually make my video funnier and thus more appealing and an even better magnet for views. As soon as I was a reasonable distance away from the stage I stopped in my tracks to examine the camera and replay my handiwork. I figured out which button set the camera into playback mode and eagerly pressed it.

Nothing. Panicked, I closed the LCD to shut the camera off, then opened it again to resurrect the recorder.  I put it into playback mode again. Again, nothing. No Drew. No me. No!!!  Sure, the camera had been on, and I watched my magical moments with Drew Carey through the lifelike images on the LCD, but alas, in my haste (and my unfamilarity with this particular camera model) I had not actually ever pressed "record." There was no video of "me and Drew." Worse, I had barely participated in the experience as I was focused the whole time on making the video and not at all on "living the moment." Not only had I lost the chance to capture it on "tape" I had lost the chance to capture it in my memory, as my only memory would be of the 3-inch LCD screen, and my desperate attempt to make a great video.

To add insult to injury, I looked in my hand and saw the "The Price Is Right" tee shirt Drew had given me. It was pink. It was a woman's size. I would have no video, and no tee shirt to wear to prove I had even been there with Drew...

A Digital Dilemma...

It is wonderful that we are all media producers, with cameras in our phones and literal recording studios in our pockets. The digital age of sharing has changed the way we approach our everyday experiences, viewing everything as an opportunity to tweet, and post, and capture and blog. These can all be great things and fun to do. But sometimes life is better left lived. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but good memories and real experiences can be worth a thousand pictures.

Drew, if we ever have the chance to meet again, I promise.. no pictures!!!
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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Android App Alphabet: Still in the "A's" with App 2 SD

I could not imagine going through the day without my trusted HTC EVO.  I rely on it for so many daily functions, from waking me up in the morning as an alarm clock, to acting as my mobile media center for my daily fix of podcasts, social network updates, news and information, and even for the occasional phone call.  With that in mind, when my EVO starts getting sluggish and begins to under perform, it becomes an instant source of unnecessary stress in my life (yeah, I know, I shouldn't be complaining if the "stress" I am worried about is related to the performance of my smartphone...but, hey, such is the life of a gadget geek!)

Thanks For The (Lack Of) Memory...

It seems the greatest contributor to my occasional Android angst is the lack of internal memory.  So, when I overload my phone with too many apps and too much data I am faced with a fatigued device, prone to frequent failures, from crashes to missed calls to cutting off my ability to add more apps.  What's a geek to do?  Of course, deleting data and memory gobbing apps is one way to free up space on your Android, but it can be frustrating if you like to have lots of apps at your fingertips.  The latest versions of Android do let you store and run apps from the SD card, which is a great solution except that not all apps are capable of being moved to the SD card.  It is a function developers must actively include in each individual app. As a result, you may have to go through the painful process of checking each app on your phone, one by one, to see if it can be moved to the SD card.  Not a happy way to spend the day.

Sam Lu To The Rescue!

The best answer I have found so far is a neat little free app from developer Sam Lu, App 2 SD.  As the name implies, App 2 SD scans the apps on your Android device and let's you know which internal apps are capable of being moved to the SD card, and then it lets you move them all with a single click.  Nice!  It even can move itself to the SD card, all in all providing a very simple, efficient way to free up as much internal memory hogged by apps as you can.  You can also use Apps 2 SD to move apps from the SD card back to the phone, if need be.

If you are aggravated by Android apps invading your internal memory then App 2 SD may be just the tool you have been looking for! 

Do you have other tips for freeing up Android internal memory?  Please add them in the comments, where there is no limit on space!

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