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Android Weather Apps on my Incredible S

Not a bad sunset ( HTC Incredible S photo )(another cross post from the HTC Diaries )

Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you.

No, not the Crowded House song, but a few apps for your HTC Incredible Sin Australia. Whilst, you can just use the weather widget clock, which is handy if you work in a dark basement to tell if it is cloudy or even day or night time, a few more details can come in handy.

I use a combination of two dedicated apps.

Firstly is the very good ( adware supported ) app from Weatherzone. This app, will not only give you a number of widgets that you can add to one of your 6 home screens, it will on opening give you a lot more information than just the temp.

With detailed weather warnings, the current temp, feels like temp, chance of rain on a given day it will really help to ensure you don’t get caught out. On the details section you’ll also see the rainfall for the day, current humidity etc. As this app can pull your location, either via mobile tower or GPS, you’ll get the current weather for your location, or you can just fix the location if you want.

Whilst the Weatherzone app does have a radar viewer, I find the dedicated app Aussie Weather Radar is much cleaner and more detailed. Not only, will it give you all the zoom levels for the radar for your current location, you can zoom out to state level or see the radar traces for all of the BOM’s radars around Australia.

Once you get used to using the radar app, you can time when to leave work, or to pick up the kids from the park with an incoming storm for example.

Now, if only there was a remember my umbrella app, I’d be home and dry.

(P.S, if I am missing a must have weather app for Australia, please let me know )

The Age goes to the dogs with conjecture over #OBL

In this story on The Age Team 6’s dog of war which states that there was a dog on the raid, I thought,hmm.. what facts to they have…

Original text ( unedited in Italics )

Move over Inspector Rex, the super secret SEAL Team 6 has a smart dog.

The mystery dog is likely to be a German shepherd or Belgian Malinois, the breeds trained by US military dog handlers, The New York Times reported.

Ok, so no facts in the opening par, but that is o.k because the NYT reported it, so the Age hasn’t done any journalism yet.

“There should be little reason to speculate about why there was a dog involved – man’s best friend is a pretty fearsome warrior,” said the deputy managing editor of ForeignPolicy.com Rebecca Frankel, who writes a weekly war dog column.

“They’re a central part of US efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan – as of early 2010 the US Army had 2800 active-duty dogs deployed (the largest canine contingent in the world),” she wrote on the National Public Radio website.

Whilst, the number of dogs is fact, the leap is made with the statement about “little reason to speculate”. That should be the first reason for pause, this wasn’t your standard raid, so there are LOTS of reasons to speculate. Further this nothing to do with the bin Laden raid, just a nice bit of fluff, that “leads” the reader to filling in some blanks about the raid.

Team 6’s dog would have been strapped to one of the SEALs and dropped into Osama bin Laden’s compound from a helicopter, The Guardian reported.

Sorry, someone else is reporting something, have we confirmed that the dog existed yet…. missed that I guess.

It was probably used to check for explosives or sniff out bin Laden himself, the commander of the US Defence Department’s Military Working Dog Centre, Major William Roberts, told the Times.

Excellent, more conjecture, still no facts in the above par.

“Dogs are very good at detecting people inside a building,” he said.

Correct a great fact, that has nothing to do with the actual raid.

“There is a cultural aversion to dogs in some of these countries, where few of them are used as pets. Dogs can be very intimidating in that situation.”

Sorry but this fact still doesn’t address the issue, that The Age is saying a dog was used.

A military dog was also believed to have been used in the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in December 2003.

Again, with the “believed”, so no actual facts to get in the way of the story.

Fay Stokes, the secretary of the German Shepherd Dog League of NSW, said she was not surprised a canine would have been involved in the secret mission.

Yeah for Fay, but what does she know about the raid, who was and wasn’t involved and what training the SEALS use and with what animals.Judging on the above, she may well be going with the “believed” version of the Hussein captured story.

“They’re highly intelligent – very discerning and very loyal dogs,” she said, adding that, while poodles were also smart dogs, they did not have the size and strength of German shepherds.

“It’s the soundness of their character … but it’s also about how well they are trained.”

Yep, great facts about German Shepard’s, but with no basis of grounding on the raid at all. More so when the initial conjecture included doubt on the breed anyway.

Last month, US dog trainers Cobra Canine was awarded a $US550,000 contract to train the animals at the US Special Operations Command’s Naval Special Warfare Group 2, where the SEAL team would have come from, Wired magazine reported.

A fact, at last. Whew, all those cute dog photos were going my head in. But wow, that must be some fast training program, or the dogs are really quick learners seeing as this contract only started a month ago.

The dog could have been decked out in a waterproof tactical vest worth more than $US21,000, the Times said. Last year, the SEALs bought four such kits worth more than $US86,000.

Whoops spoke to soon, back to conjecture…

Infrared and night-vision cameras would have been attached to the dog’s vest so its handler could see what it was seeing up to nearly a kilometre away using a remote monitor.

The vest would be either in camouflage or coyote tan and have a speaker on it so its handler could talk to the dog during the raid, the Times added.

What why is the word “would” used in these sentence. On what grounds did the could in the first sentence become a would in the next. Perhaps a sub-editor missed the would/could or something just got edited out which proved something.

Australia’s own hero dog, bomb-sniffing Sarbi, received the RSPCA’s highest award for animal bravery last month after going missing for more than a year in the tough terrain of Afghanistan in 2008.

Oh good, finish with a nice fact. Yeah for facts…. And of course, it wouldn’t be an article for Australian readers without the “local” connection.

The facts that were in this story boil down to German Shepard’s are smart, $US550,000 contract was signed last month, special vests for dogs cost $21,000 ( well maybe a lot more) and the SEALS brought 4 of them last year, and Australian dog got a medal last month.

Great to see quality journalism is alive and well in Australia.

Angry Birds and moving to the HTC Incredible S

The first app you will need….

Well, ok, not the first, but certainly has to be up there with must installs if you are a bit of an Angry Birds Fan ( or addict as some people say). So you have a new android phone and want to move your scores over… after all why waste all those hours you have wasted all over again.

Here is what you need to do in a few easy steps:

  1. On your old phone, go to the Android Market, search for Angry Birds Backup
  2. Download all three apps by Antbee for Angrybirds, Rio and Seasons
  3. Run each app, which consists of saying yes to create the backup
  4. Plug your phone into a computer, copy the AngryBirds Backup Folders to a temp location
  5. Install all the Angry Bird Games on your new phone
  6. Install the same Antbee backup applications on the new phone
  7. Copy the folders to the SD card on your new phone
  8. Open each app backup App, press restore backup
  9. Spend hours trying to get those last few levels with 3 stars that you haven’t quite done yet.
  10. I haven’t got past step 9 yet…..

Takes only a few minutes to do, costs nothing and saves you a fortune intime.

Of course if you don’t have Angry Birds already, well you won’t understand why this post is sooooo important.

There are a lot of other apps that are much more important and that I douse everyday, things like Google’s My Tracks, Seesmic, Foursquare, Google Skymap, Street View, WordPress, Googles, and Weatherzone to name a few. At least with the new Incredible S it should be a long time before the annoying “low on disk space” warning comes.

This first appeared on the HTCAu Book Page

Things Twitter didn’t do with Osama bin Laden’s death…

There are a number of things that are being credited to this thing called Twitter, but before it becomes the stuff of powerpoint presentations of #smegs around the world and snake oil sales men (note: terms are interchangeable), a few things need to be set straight.

Firstly, Twitter didn’t break the news. The news was broken, old fashioned style via a leak. A leak I am sure the Whitehouse was not uncomfortable with. Given how much they had kept everything under wraps down to the amazing poker faced Obama at the Correspondents Dinner, this leak was not without some level of purpose. The leak ensured that there was audience for the announcement. In the old days, Keith Urbahn would have phoned a reporter at a local radio station, these days he just put it on twitter.

“So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn” at 10:24EST.

Did Twitter break the story, no, Keith did. Please remember that when you are prepping those powerpoints. I’d also say that Twitter was not the first place that Keith spread the news to either.

Of course, once this happened, the “cat” was out of the bag, (or to coin a really bad turn of phrase ) the Osama was in the bag. Did CNN, NYT, ABC etc tell this, no, they did old fashioned journalism.They checked for sources, rechecked, cross checked etc.

I for example, didn’t rt that original link, why because I wanted “proof”, proof in the form of more than one source that can be verified. I know, showing my age, but hey.

Like all good stories, there was a build up. The tension, what was his “secret” press conf about that traditional media ( well in the form of websites ) had hinted about 30 minutes beforehand. Why was it taking so long for Obama to deliver the press conference, given that he is usually so punctual.

Twitter did help kill the time. The jokes were funny. Well they were the first time. Yet each joke was a variation on the iphone,foursquare, twitter, even Playstation hack location. Nothing original, all been done before. The sad thing is these jokes have lasted longer than the time it took to bury Osama, but should have been buried at sea with him.

Finally, traditional media had enough proof. Obama wasn’t on air yet, but the story had been confirmed. Did Twitter break this story,no, why because Twitter doesn’t generate content, it distributes content. NYT, ABC, CNN etc had enough evidence to pass the burden of proof.

The story was told, and then something interesting came out. Turns out the story had already been told. When Athar (@ReallyVirtual) tweeted the noise of helicopters, explosions et al near his home in Abbotabad it was unusual for the location. Very quickly though it would turn out to be a claim to “internet fame” (note: internet fame is measure in internet years, which is around 2 days ).

So of course Twitter jumps on the story, that the story was on Twitter. Funny thing was that no one talked about his tweets a few hours before hand. Why, because it wasn’t a big story then. Once traditional media and a president made an announcement it became a story. See, no Twitter, just a lot of luck.

People are now saying, that because he live tweeted the raid, the future for covert ops like this are in danger. A couple of points. Osama didn’t use twitter, remember the lack of phones in the compound attracted US interest. Secondly, possibly more importantly, by the time that the event was being “live tweeted”, the team of Navy Seals with weapons firing jumping out of low flying helicopters was most probably a bit of a give away to the bad guys as it were.

Now I am a big a fan of Twitter as everyone else, but it distributed the message, it didn’t create the message. Had I been watching ABCnews24 or even more old school listening to the radio I would have still heard the story, just 15 or so minutes later.