From the Tips Box: Desktop-based TXT Messaging, Indexing Offline Volumes, and Android Homescreen Folders
Once a week we dip into the reader mailbag and share some helpful tips. Today we’re looking at Android TXT messaging from your desktop, indexing offline storage volumes, and adding iOS-style folders to your Android homescreen.
Desktop-based Text Messaging
Nick writes in with a favorite time saving tip:
I loved the article you guys shared earlier this year about remote controlling your Android phone. It was a bit overkill for me though, all I need to do is text from my desktop. I found a perfect solution: Texty for Android. It’s a combination Android app and Chrome extension that allows me to read, reply to, and send text messages from Chrome. Since the biggest thing that distracts me away from my computer screen is replying to text message (but I have to reply to them for my job) this is a perfect solution for me. The website says it’s still in beta and you have to get on a list to try it… but I wouldn’t worry about that. I signed up and got an invite within minutes.
If you’re only looking to work with text messages and not control other apps and features on your Android phone it certainly looks like a solid solution. Thanks for sharing Nick!
Indexing Offline Volumes
Matthew writes in with a solution to his storage indexing problems:
I recently started doing lots of offline backups but I ran into a problem. Once something was archived off my machine I had no way to search it. This wasn’t a problem I’d run into before but it was one that was shaping up to be a real pain. I came across an application that builds indexes of your offline storage (while it’s still attached to your computer) so that later (when it’s in the fire safe or wherever you’ve put it) you can still search the file names like it was mounted on the machine. The program is called Basenji and is available for Windows and Linux.
Sounds like a solid solution to your problem Matthew. If you’re archiving lots of small and diverse files an application like this would prove invaluable when it came time to figure out which external hard drive or DVD the file was stashed on.
Adding iOS-style Application Folders to Android
Marcus wanted the kind of iOS folder experience he had on his iPad on his Android phone. He writes:
You’ve been able to create folders on Android for ages but they’ve always been kind of dull. Recently I started using Application Folder to spice things up. It’s a widget that has an iOS like folder system (just like I’ve gotten used to on my iPad). You create the widget, add in the apps you want, and then when you tap it on your homescreen you get a little pop-up bar just like you do on iOS.
We took Application Folder for a test spin and it does give a nice iOS folder feel to Android’s homescreen folders. Nice find Marcus!
Have a great tip to share? Fire off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then keep an eye out for your top on the front page.
Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 05/19/11