Yikes, I came to writing this up this evening and realised its been two months since our last app of the week piece! If you missed that one make sure to check it out here - it's a super-sized 50 apps edition.
Anyways, schedules permitting this should once again become a regular occurrence for AndroidNZ, starting with today's fresh batch of hot apps. Make the jump to see what the editors are enjoying right now...
Murray Winiata - MX Player (Free ad-supported, or Pro $6.82NZD)
By now readers will know that I'm a big fan of Dice Player, one of Android's best wide-codec video players. It just handles almost anything you can possibly throw at it, and also has some of the most complete support for things like dual-channel audio and subtitles that you'll find anywhere. Given I've been so happy with Dice Player its been a long time since I've bothered to look elsewhere for a video player, but I recently learned of a feature in MX Player that made decide to (finally!) give it a spin.
That feature? The ability to set how many cores can be utilised for software-decoding.
You see I'd added some 10-bit files to my gamut of video test files that I throw every new device through, and found Dice Player a bit wanting. If you're not familiar 10-bit video, also known as Hi-10p, it's a fairly new codec that has been heavily adopted by anime fans. It also happens to be a very demanding beast when you're dealing only with software-decoding.
With 4-core decoding MX Player was able to play 720p 10-bit files with aplomb, but it still fell short of producing watchable results for 1080p stuff. It also played everything else in my test batch well, but that isn't too surprising since I'm using a Galaxy S III which has very broad hardware-decoding support in any case. Furthermore subtitle support is rock solid, and the UI is functional and attractive in a minimalist kind of way.
So, while looks like it'll be a while before 10-bit playback is perfected on our mobiles, anime fans should nevertheless check out how MX Player does for their 10-bit collection (because, you know, transcoding is a drag).
You can grab the free ad-supported version here, if you're satisfied with MX Player then support the developer and grab the paid version here (after taking the screenshot you see there I grabbed the ad-free Pro version, I enjoy that nice clean feeling of giving back to developers). If you're reading this on your PC here's a QR-code that'll take you to the free version:
Anita Paling - Shush (Free)
I love the ease of using this application. Lately I’ve had quite a number of meetings offsite with clients. At the moment I’ve got 3 phones with me. Work provide a BlackBerry Curve (don’t get me started), a WP7 phone (for review purposes) and my beloved SGSII. By far my SGSII is the easiest to put into “silent” with this app. And the real benefit is I don’t have to change from Silent, the app will change this setting automatically after the period of time I set has passed.
This little app allows you to customise whether notifications are on and what colour you’d like. The options are pretty basic, tap your screen to turn on/off the notifications, and tap the colour to roll through all the colour options. I’m fond of orange.
Simply press the volume button on the phone all the way down. Then scroll the circle to set the length of time that the ringer is turned off, or pressing on the time displayed to increase the time in increments of 15 minutes. When you’ve set the length of time press the Shush! button, or Keep it off.
You can see from the image, Shush! has my original volume at 28%. The volume will be restored to this when the ringer turns back on.
If your meeting (or what have you ) finishes early, you can restore the ringer by pressing the volume up on your phone.
There’s a video on YouTube if you’re interested. Just click the link.
You can grab this app from the market or scan the QR code.
Andy Curruthers - Scanner Radio (Free)
Scanner Radio is a little app that connects to a streaming server dedicated to delivering up helpings of radio traffic generated by said constabulary and other public service organizations. You simply hit the “Browse” button which lets you scan the database of audio streams by area, genre or source and allows you to configure your genres by, say, Air, Ham Radio, marine, Public Safety, Rail, Weather and the mysterious Other.
Under Air, for instance, there are streams from Oz, Canada and the US, and under the US category, the data is broken down by state, then by county. Hitting Los Angeles gives you SoCal Air Traffic, which you select to snoop on the goings on in LA airspace with the chit-chat twixt controllers and pilots as they move tin about the smoggy skies.
It’s really great fun. Especially on those rainy nights when the other half is snoring herself to oblivion, and keeping you from enjoying the same peaceful level of unconsciousness. Lying in the dark, buds firmly inserted in the aural receptors, listening to “heavies” being shunted hither and yon and “that Cherokee on short finals, expedite – there’s an American seven six of finals for zero two one”… well it’s highly entertaining.
Or if crime-stopping’s your thing, there’s no end of esoteric codes being hurled through the ether, depicting all manner of naughtiness and humaan tragedy. A lot more entertaining than your spouse’s nocturnal noise nastiness, and it might even encourage you to doze off if that’s important.
That’s Scanner Radio – it’s free and frickin’ interesting. Now you must excuse me as I have some Las Vegas crime snooping to do.
Murray Winiata - Auto resize/DbD Wallpaper Set (Free)
A while back I recommended Wallbase as an excellent little app for finding lots of great high quality images to use as wallpapers. I'm still using it and enjoying it today, but I recently found that some launchers don't play as nicely with setting wallpapers and image resizing - your excellent high res image would lose something in translation and get cropped in ways you'd rather it hadn't. I had to find a fix. Being that we're talking about Android here this wasn't that difficult, and the solution I found - Auto Resize/DbD Wallpaper Set - is even free to boot!
As you can see in the screenshot it'll show you how the image is going to look onscreen, and gives you many options for resizing, cropping, adjusting colours or applying filters, or even excluding or including the status bar depending on whether your device/ROM supports transparent status bars.
Simple, straightforward, what you see is what you get goodness.
If you play around with your wallpapers at all I'd have no hesitation recommending Auto resize/DbD Wallpaper Set as a great free solution to help you get your homescreen set-up "just so".
Grab it at the Play Store here, or point yon barcode scanner hither toward the QR-code below.