Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Get the most from your HTC Sense enabled phone

So you have a shiny new HTC Sense enabled phone (or any other recent Android phone)? Now what? Out of the box, after setting up exchange etc you'll see that the battery life is pretty poor. 

What to do? The #1 thing to do is change the update frequency of your apps. The default for exchange is to update in real time - this absolutely kills the battery. Changing that to 10 or 15 minutes fixes this. Same for twitter, facebook, weather apps etc. Extending the time between updates is the best way to get more up time from your device.

Essential apps? I'm repeating myself somewhat here, but I recommend you get :

  • audio manager 
    • way better than going into settings->Sound & Display
    • Bonus: it is the only way to turn down the phone dialer volume (at least on the Incredible)
  • battery snap
    • great historical graphs of battery usage (how much did watching that video kill it?)
  • realcalc - a sci/eng calculator, even has RPN mode!
  • Listen - for podcasts etc
  • Pandora, or whatever you use for streaming music
  • y5 Battery Saver – remembers wifi spots you connect to, manages waking up wifi, looking for those spots and keeping wifi off when those hotspots aren’t available. 
  • Weather Channel. Disable the HTC sense weather widget (by removing it from your home screen) and get the weather channel's app - it uses less battery, and can monitor more places more intuitively. It also has many more choices for home screen widgets. 
    • Bonus: it has weather maps in motion and you can set alert levels (and the method that alert is signaled) for severe weather.
  • Skyfire - an alternative browser with a neat trick for streaming Flash that the phone doesn't yet support (like
  • Traffic! - I know google maps supports traffic, but last I checked it doesn't give very good details on why a place is congested and how long the travel time is through the congestion. This app does that.
  • If you listen to music on the phone - get the Cubed Music Player - visually the best one I've seen. Functionally good too.
  • For the best outlook experience, if you don't mind spending the money, get TouchDown.
Got one to add to this list - put it in the comments!

Update: I just got a travel app called Kayak. This app (and web site) make all the other travel sites I've used (orbitz, etc) look like junk.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The myth that President Clinton reduced the US deficit

I hear this a lot, "the deficit came down during the Clinton years." Not so.

The data below comes from us treasury web site. The total debt has gone up every year since 1980 (and before that too). The only time it has fallen was during a couple periods in the 1800s.

DateDollar Amount

09/30/1985* 1,823,103,000,000.00
09/30/1984* 1,572,266,000,000.00
09/30/1983* 1,377,210,000,000.00
09/30/1982* 1,142,034,000,000.00
09/30/1981* 997,855,000,000.00
09/30/1980* 907,701,000,000.00

Here is a link that talks about debt as a percent of GDP. Indeed during the Clinton years this did go down. But that is only natural when GDP is so high during boom times for Debt to GDP ratio to fall.

Here is some interesting history on US debt, including an important graph showing how much we spend on interest alone (again as a percent of GDP).

In any case, the deficit did NOT come down at any time during the Clinton years.