Ask NerdGirl: Backups, Cleanups, and Stylus Inputs
May 7, 2010 3:39 PM –
It’s great to see that this column is going to help so many people. I’ve already gotten a ton of emails and such great questions! Let’s jump right in!
Hello, Nerdgirl! As a recent convert to android from winmo, I am in search of a good app that will let me back up all of my stuff on my Hero. When, or if , we get the 2.1 bump it will wipe my phone. I really don’t want to have to put all of my contacts back in. I have my pics saved on my sd card, so I’ll just pull that before I update. What app do you recommend to back up everything else? Thanks!
Well, Shon, this is a really common question so I’m glad you asked. In my experience anything on the SD card, stays on the SD card but it is a great idea to always back it up! There are a lot of useful programs to back up what is on your phone so you can do the 2.1 upgrade without worry!
Contacts is the easiest one. By default, your phone should be backing up the contacts to your Google account. The easiest way to check if it is doing this successfully is to get on a computer. Log into your Gmail. Click on Contacts on the right side and right there should be a list of all the contacts you have in your phone and in Gmail. I go on here often to make changes, merge duplicates, and erase contacts I no longer need. I like the interface better than on my phone. If it isn’t backing up, you can set the phone to sync to your Google. Go to Menu » Settings » Accounts & Sync » Google. There you can tell it to sync your contacts, gmail, and calendar.
Now if there are other things you want to back up there are apps for that! WaveSecure backs up your SMS messages, Contacts, and Call logs as well as providing security to your phone. Once you reinstall it after your upgrade, it knows your phone number and you have to enter your PIN and you can easily restore your information once you’re logged in. AppManager can back up all the apps you have now to your SD card so you can restore them and their settings after the upgrade.
Congrats on your conversion! I’m sure your enjoying your new found freedoms from WinMo!
Im wondering if there is an app or a procedure for cleaning up my droid. Ive downloaded and deleted lots of apps and would like any residual files to be cleared to free up memory and speed the droid back up
Well Dan, this is great question. It’s something computer users have to be aware of and it makes sense that people would think the same needs to be done on your phone. That’s not 100% true. Let me explain.
Everything in your Android phone is a SSD (Solid State Drive) or a chip. This means there are no moving parts. SSD and memory chips aren’t fragmented the same way that a standard hard drive in your computer would be. Since there are no moving parts in the phone, the phone doesn’t loose any time spinning a disk around and moving a reading head to find fragmented data. It’s all just pulled from where ever it is. It uses something called virtually addressed memory, which basically means it’s immune to fragmentation.
I’m sure there are memories of apps left behind in some cases, despite what I’ve heard. However, at this time, there isn’t an app to look for these things and pull them out. You can go onto your SD card and make sure there wasn’t a folder left behind with some save data. I have seen this happen.
To speed the phone up, of course use an app like Advanced Task Killer. This will stop all those annoying background apps from running. You can also clean out the cache for apps you still have installed. Go to Menu » Settings » Applications » Manage Applications. When you click on the application it gives you the options to Clear Data, Clear Cache, Clear Defaults, etc. If you clear the cache you will free up space and you will notice a marked improvement in speed.
Love your post, and I can so relate. Do you know of a stylus I could use on the Droid? I’ve tried several handwritten note apps, but would like more precise input than my thumb. If I do get an android tablet, as I hope to do soon, I want something that I can take handwritten notes with in meetings, etc.
David J West, Sr
… just another seeker
I just found the coolest thing and it was exactly what you’re talking about! Ten One Designs has made a stylus called the Pogo Sketch. The screens on Android phones are capacitive touch displays. This means that your finger has to be touching the screen, not your nail, not the back end of a pen, not a glove, your actual skin. The screen sends little, tiny electronic pulses that create a circuit when your skin touches it allowing your phone to know where you’re touching and that its not just a nickel in your pocket. Living in Cleveland, I hate that I have to take my gloves off in 19 degree before wind chill weather to send a text on my Eris. I wish I had found this during the winter! This stylus magically makes the phone think it’s a finger, therefore allowing it to be your new best friend. It’s about $15.00 when I looked on Ten One Designs website and ThinkGeek.
So that’s about it for this first Q&A session. Keep those questions coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
! I can’t wait to hear from you!