TYLT FLYP-DUO Reversible USB Cable Hardware Review

TYLT FLYP-DUO Reversible USB Cable Hardware Review

Sep 10, 2015

We are a mobile society.

Or, to be fair, we are getting there. In any case, some thing seem to be becoming more commonplace, such as households with multiple mobile devices, and households with devices from multiple platforms.

Hey, I should know… this one has units from all major platforms, and then some.

Still, now, with the joy of multiple devices comes the challenge of keeping them charged. Since Apple uses proprietary cables, it does add an extra cable to be carried when an iDevice. Since I like to be prepared, it pays to have a lightning cable, and even if not for me, I do get a weird sense of accomplishment when I can provide a cable to a needy friend or colleague.

Ah, enter the TYLT FLYP-DUO Reversible USB Cable.

It sports a flat cable, but one that is noticeably less wide than the XXXXXXX; it retains the durable feel, with a covering fairly giving rubber and hard plastic. As expected, it comes in a host of colors, and the stately black option TYLT sent us reflects the unit well.

flyp3

On the one end, there’s is the obvious USB end, and on the other, one gets a micro-USB end, and, interestingly enough, an attached micro-USB-to-lightning cable adapter, which kind of hints at the proposed functionality.

It looks to solve a couple of the first-world problems mentioned above, plus one more. First, it creates an intuitive hybrid accessory that can be used to charge and sync both Android (or other micro-USB sourced devices) and newer iOS devices. This is great on the go and even permanently.

As an added plus, the USB end has a nifty trick up its sleeve: it can be used in “upside down” position; to be more accurate, there is no wrong way to plug it in width-wise. This is great for folks like me who like to bumble around plugging things in the dark.

In practice, the piece works as expected. It can be transported easily, in bag or even in pocket, and it becomes close to indispensable very quickly.

Adobe Revel Editing App Now Available For Android

Adobe Revel Editing App Now Available For Android

Mar 11, 2014

Adobe Revel 2

Adobe Revel,an app that is less a photo editor and more of an organizer, is now available on Android. It can crop and filter photos and videos, but its main use is synchronization between different devices and users that lets them share photos, or make them private, using a handy interface. It’s available for free from here: Adobe Revel on Google Play.

KickStarter Spotlight: Cube Sync

Music is one of the best ways to convey specific emotions and is the easiest way to add suspense, drama, comedy, or action to any movie scene or video game. Games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band became popular because of the then-innovative way they blended music and addictive gameplay. Inherently these games remained restrictive to the kinds of games that the developers decided to implement, and often, by their nature, did not include recent releases or more unknown songs or artists.

So, I guess the solution is to allow players to create their own gameplay from their favorite songs. I used to play a fairly popular mobile Guitar Hero-esque game that allowed the user to import their own songs and create the note patterns which would then be available for playback in the future. This was a step in the right direction, but the hassle of keying up every song was too much. Well here to break the mold and introduce a game that organically forms to any currently playing song is Amir England. Amir has created a stunning game called Cube Sync that works like familar endless runners of the past, but creates those oncoming obstacles in accordance to the beat of my music.

Now every level is different and they are enhanced by the song of my choosing. Slap on some hectic EDM music and watch the screen fill a cascade of glowing red cubes hurtling toward our blue protagonist. The visuals here are pulled straight out of Tron and are quite amazing to look at. Another thing that impressed me is the subtle animation quirks when I would switch between the 5 separate rails or jump over an oncoming cube. These are the little things that help set apps apart from one another, and Cube Sync is full of these little details. Another example is the thrilling sense of speed upon getting a green power up cube. The subtle cube blocks that spray out upon obliterating block after block for those fleeting seconds is quite enjoyable.

Like all KickStarter projects this one will never see the light of day unless they are properly funded by the community. So if this game sounds interesting please do not hesitate to swing over to their KickStarter page and help make this project a reality.

mSecure Password Manager Review

mSecure Password Manager Review

Jul 5, 2012

A digital world demands digital solutions. As we become more entwined with the information highway, we need to focus more on portable security. Having one password isn’t gonna cut it, either.

So, if you do what the experts from you, and have a hundred different passwords for the hundred sites you frequent, how do you keep track?

This is where mSecure from mSeven Software comes in. It serves as a handheld-based password receptacle that has the ability to sync to an optional desktop companion or the cloud. It boasts 256-bit Blowfish encryption to protect data. The software boasts 17 custom templates, with the ability to make more custom ones. In addition, it supports auto-login and search.

It weighs in at 8.3 MB, and costs $9.99 in the Google Play Store. And the developer is not willing to allow lack of access to Google’s app environment prevent potential customers from getting it. It is available for Nook devices, the Amazon Appstore and even the Verizon Media Store, among other places.

The Android port has a clean look, prompting me to set up a master password at initial launch. Just in case I did the unthinkable and forgot that master password, I got to put in a hint as well. After that, the menu is fairly straight-laced. One great benefit was the ability to store data on SD card or Dropbox. I was also able to email a backup to my Gmail (I was not able to send to another webmail address).

For this review, I combined the Android app with the optional Windows desktop software ($19.99). Syncing was a breeze, and was easier than I expected. Both ports had to be open, share the same password and had to be on the same wi-fi network. I had it up and running in under two minutes.

The developer does well to make it easy for folks to move their data over to mSecure; I found I could import csv files, as well as data from competing software from SplashID, Dataviz, Handy Safe Pro, TurboPaswords and KeePass. I figured that if your current password program can export a CSV file, mSecure can sort it out. As noted, its Dropbox compatibility allows it to be used as a standalone app.

The software also comes with a password generator, auto-backup functionality and a lot of icons to aid personalization and sorting. I found I could change fonts too, thus giving the whole program an enviable degree of customization. It is also reassuring to know that mSecure is available on Mac and iOS in addition to Android and Windows, so I can take mSecure with me across platforms, or sync with others in my household on those platforms.

The peripheral features (like auto-lock and data destruction after failed logins) were the cherry on top.

I was impressed by mSecure, and for the busy individual with tons of web portals, it can be a lifesaver. The fact that it is a cross-platform app is definitely a plus, and cloud compatibility a bonus.

DoubleTwist AirSync Review

DoubleTwist AirSync Review

Nov 1, 2011

This review is one part of my two part look at Mac compatible/WinAmp alternatives for wirelessly syncing music to your phone. Because doubleTwist is one of the more highly used programs, I figured that a full Rundown would be appropriate.

DoubleTwist comes in with a lot of hype. There are three parts to the full package: one iTunes-like desktop app, a free media player app, and a $4.99 AirSync app that’s basically an add-on to the media player. The aim for doubleTwist is to be the Android version of Apple’s iTunes and iCloud service. It comes close, but there’s no way for Android to replicate the success and simplicity of their Macintosh counterpart.

Starting with the desktop application, I’ll say this first: I am an iTunes slave. I’ve tried multiple other media players but I always end up reverting back to iTunes eventually. I admit that iTunes is bloated and needs a rewrite, and I thought that any new media player would have to be faster and smaller. Shockingly, I was proven wrong with the doubleTwist media player. I’ve uninstalled/reinstalled this program a few times on my MacBook Pro but it doesn’t seem to alleviate the sluggishness through the menus, and the program will frequently lock up for 30 seconds before working again. The program also takes longer to load than iTunes, which I wasn’t even aware was possible. Without the Android AirSync app, however, doubleTwist does do a good job of wired syncing; it organizes your files accurately within the Music folder on your phones SD card. But a means to easily put music on your phone is the only thing this application should be used for. This is not an iTunes replacement, even though it tries to be. It also hijacks the play and next/previous buttons when closed but not fully quit which can be very frustrating.

Fortunately, the mobile app fares better. The mobile media player is very capable, and has a very elegant lock screen widget. There isn’t much to set this app apart from other mobile media players like WinAmp, but like I said in my review for UberMusic, if you want a basic media player to replace an iPod, this will do the job handedly. There are many complaints of sluggishness and “glitchiness” on the Android market, but in my experiences with it I have not found any problems on my HTC EVO 4G. There is an add-on to the media player that adds Gracenote album art automatically and allows for an advanced equalizer. But for $5.99 it kind of seems like a raw deal.

Finally, the last part of this package is the separate $4.99 AirSync application. This application basically allows you to wirelessly sync music, photos, and videos to your Android phone over a home network. Setting up AirSync with doubleTwist is easy enough, but I would like to see it simplified down a little bit more. I can easily see less experienced users having a hard time getting doubleTwist to recognize their phone. I was impressed with the speed that my files were synced over to my phone. It took less then a minute to sync a 19 song album to my phone, which is faster then it takes to do the same thing wired. I had no problem is having other media players recognize the files, which means that even if you do not like the mobile player or the desktop app, you only have to use them to transfer your files.

The final aspect of this app is its integration with the Xbox 360, PS3, and Apple TV. Surely, the Apple TV feature can’t be true. Streaming music from your Android phone onto an Apple TV? No way. Well yeah, it’s true. DoubleTwist easily streams your videos, photos, and music to Apple TV. It’s not perfect; when a song is playing, no info appears, displaying just a black screen, but come on. Close enough. Even better is the streaming to the Xbox 360. Your phone appears under the list of drives when you open the music tab and the songs start playing instantly after selecting them. This actually surprised me. One problem is that the AirPlay feature will stay on even when DoubleTwist is closed which will drain your battery, so just make sure to turn it off when done.

Overall, DoubleTwist is a good Winamp alternative if you can deal with some fairly noticeable problems, even though I’d recommend TuneSync if simply wirelessly syncing music is what you’re after.

Syncing Without Wires on a Mac

Syncing Without Wires on a Mac

Oct 31, 2011

With Apple’s iOS 5 comes wireless iTunes synchronization. This allows a user’s iOS device to wirelessly sync their movies, pictures, and music from their home computer and vice versa. This eliminates the need for cords and all the syncing goes on in the background, hiding it from the user. While there is no iCloud counterpart on Android quite yet, there are a few apps that come close. The most popular and probably the best is Winamp, but seeing that it’s only for Windows, this post looks at a few wireless media syncing software for the Mac/Winamp alternatives. 
The three apps being looked at are the popular DoubleTwist, simple TuneSync, and ambitious AudioGalaxy. All three of these apps offer different services but they all aim to basically do the same thing, offer a wireless way for you to sync or listen to the music on your computer on your phone. Seeing that all three require an application to be installed onto your Mac, that will be our jumping off point.

There couldn’t exist a bigger difference between the applications needed by DoubleTwist, TuneSync, and AudioGalaxy. The latter two offer small, menu bar applications that run in the background and one, TuneSync, only has two options in its drop down menu. This is a total contrast to the behemoth of a program that DoubleTwist requires. The DoubleTwist app aims to be an Android version of iTunes, and is just as bloated and somehow slower. The program lags and frequently locks up for 30 seconds at a time. If you want an application to solely sync music over to your phone using a cable, DoubleTwist is not the best option. A plus for DoubleTwist is its ability to AirPlay music to an Apple TV, Xbox 360, and PS3.

That said, DoubleTwist’s desktop app does serve its purpose and will get the job done. The paid AirSync add-on allows for your phone to appear on the list of devices even when not plugged into your computer. This lets you just drag and drop the files into your phone no matter where it is as long as its on the same network. It’s Android app is also a media player, which I found very impressive. Unlike DoubleTwist, TuneSync does not come with a media player, which is not really much of a problem because most Android users already have a media player of choice. TuneSync lets you sync specific playlists from iTunes wirelessly to your phone. This may seem restrictive but it is really the opposite. Simply make a playlist in iTunes then add and delete songs freely and TuneSync will update your phone accordingly. By doing this you bypass the middle man and do everything in a program you already use. If you are an Amazon MP3 user, this app also has the ability to put your purchases onto your computer as well.

Doesn't look pretty, but it doesn't have to.

Being a whole other monster, AudioGalaxy has no desktop media player but a decent web app. Instead of merely syncing files to your phone, AudioGalaxy uses your computer as a media hub, scanning your library and putting the information online for you to access at any time. The media streams off your computer over the internet to either your phone or another computer. The advantage here is you don’t need to pick and choose which songs to sync your whole library is available. The downside, obviously, is that your computer must be on and connected to the internet for this to work, and, if on 3G it will consume data. Songs can also be pegged for offline mode, which downloads the file to your phone. This process isn’t as efficient as either TuneSync or DoubleTwist but that’s not the main objective of this app. Still in the beta phase this web app shows a lot of promise once a few bugs are fixed.

When it comes to sync speed DoubleTwist is the fastest, with TuneSync coming in a close second, and AudioGalaxy obviously bringing up the rear. Even though downloading songs is not AudioGalaxy’s main feature, the fact that you are unable to check on a songs download progress is a head scratcher. Both DoubleTwist and TuneSync show download progress with TuneSync shown song by song progress while DoubleTwist just gives brief overview.

In conclusion, as usual, it just depends what you are looking for. My personal recommendation if I had to choose one is TuneSync because of its simplicity. I have a media player that I love (UberMusic, shameless plug I know) and doing everything through iTunes is much easier than using DoubleTwist’s problematic desktop app. Another point for TuneSync is that it can automatically sync when your phone is plugged into your computer. All three of these apps can work in great harmony by paying the 6 bucks and using TuneSync for syncing music, getting the free DoubleTwist mobile app for interacting with an Apple TV, PS3, or X-Box 360, and since AudioGalaxy is free, there’s no risk in trying it out, especially if the computer you use is a desktop.

Music WithMe Available For Android

Music WithMe Available For Android

Nov 2, 2010

I know a lot of Android adopters came over from the Blackberry world, and if you are one of them, you may recognize this app. “Music WithMe” started as Parkvu’s answer to what seemed to be the number one question on smartphone (non apple) users’ minds; “How do we sync our iTunes playlists?” This app has been available on other smartphone operating systems for a while now but has just made the jump over to the Android world. This move makes sense given Android’s incredible growth and popularity.

“Music WithMe” is an application that allows you to sync your iTunes playlists using a cellular network or Wi-Fi connection. Unlike streaming solutions, you only use your connection for the download and after that you are free to drain your battery as you see fit. “Music WithMe” also features automatic updating. Just choose which playlists you would like to automatically update and “Music WithMe” will sense any new changes to your playlist and automatically update them. You can pretty much “set it and forget it” since it runs in the background and can automatically sync and update without you ever having to open the app. For this to work you must purchase the app and download their desktop client which is (oddly) only available for Windows operating systems.

“Music WithMe” is available on the Android Market for $14.99. This price seems extremely high considering the numerous alternatives. Maybe the developers just aren’t used to working with more open systems like Android and think users have no other way to sync their music. I really hope that this price is a typo because I don’t see anyone paying that price. It’s a shame because I’m sure there are many users who would love to have the convenience this app offers. Let’s hope Parkvu realizes this quickly and does something about that outrageous price.

Download: Music WithMe