Recently I posted a list of my 10 favorite Android apps for farm productivity. Since then I have come across a couple others that I can not live without. Here they are:
Droid Light by Motorola – Free – (search android market) This is probably the most useful app in my tool box. This app simply turns on the super bright LED light on the back of the Motorola Droid so you can use it as a flashlight. It is surprisingly bright. If you don’t have a Motorola Droid you can download many other “flashlight” apps that turn all the screen pixels white. I’ve used this type of light since I got the Droid, but they pale in comparison to the LED flashlight.
Current Commodities – Free – (search android market) Current Commodities gives you prices and charts for some key commodity markets. It is not a full featured app by any means, it uses data provided by Yahoo! finance and Bloomberg which is fairly limited. But for a quick look at what the Corn market is doing, it works fine. For more indepth market information I use Futuresource.com. Future Source allows you to customize pages with charts & news. I use this on my home & office computers and use the droid web browser to check it from the phone. I have a shortcut on my phone desktop to get to the site with minimum effort.
Direct Dial Shortcuts – Free – (built in to Android) This is not an app, but it is important to productivity and worth mentioning here. One major benefit of Android over iPhone is the ability to create shortcuts and widgets on the desktop. Another is making folders. I make probably 100 phone calls a day on the dairy. I am constantly in communication with my employees, feed salesmen, parts stores, repair services, etc. I find it time consuming to always search for a contact and scrolling the list is even worse since I have 3000+ phone numbers in there. So here is a set by step guide to the most important sanitiy saving feature of Android.
1. Create a folder on your desktop by tapping your finger on a blank space and holding it there until the menu appears. Select Folders.
2. Click New Folder
3. Open the folder then click and hold on the word “folder” until the “rename folder” option appears. Rename something like “employees” or “Emergency #’s” etc. I have 3 folders, Family, Employee’s, and Dairy. Dairy contains all the numbers for frequently called vendors like feed salesmen & dairy supply companies.
4. In another blank space on the screen click and hold until the menu appears again. This time select “Shortcuts”
5. Now select Direct Dial if you want to select a phone number or Select Direct Message if you want a shortcut to send someone a text message. You can also select Contact which will allow you to select all the info from a single contact. For this example I am using Direct Dial
6. Once you have selected “direct dial” scroll the list until you find the number for the person you want to dial. Example, your spouse’s cell number.
7. After you select the number you want, an icon will appear on the desktop. Click and hold the icon until you feel the screen vibrate a little, then drag the icon into the folder you made in previous steps.
8. Repeat these steps until you have all the number you need.
Another way of getting address shortcuts to your desktop is by “Staring” contacts in your address book then place the “Starred Contacts” folder on your desktop. I have it both ways. People I want to have all their info available to me I “Star”. People whom I call regularly and use the same number, I use a direct dial link.
There you have it. Three more tools to help with on-farm productivity courtesy of google and the many people willing to volunteer their programming skills. I would like to suggest that if you find an app that is useful to you and they offer a paid version as well as a free version, use the paid version. This will ensure the continued advancement of the apps and guarantee you more productivity in the future.