There's an app for that

I’ll do some more research on phone brands-- I like Samsung, but I’ve used other phones, and as long as I can do what I want to with them, it’s all good. I’ve been checking BackMarket and Swappa to see what’s available, and I successfully got my tablet through VIPMarket (though some of their user reviews were scary.)

The one place I won’t get refurbished phones from is my carrier (Verizon.) I’ve tried that, and had to cycle through several before I got one that worked for any length of time. That was years ago, so maybe it’s better now… but I’m not doing that again.


I should have mentioned above-- though you probably already know-- I’m in the EU, specifically Belgium. Carriers and phones are more separate here.


It’s cool, I remembered! :smiley: Costs and phone networks probably vary from here to there, so I’ll keep that in mind as I go.


I got a Kindle Fire 10 HD for Christmas. It was one of those presents that didn’t seem terribly useful. While I do use Amazon, I am much more heavily invested in the Android infrastructure, which is locked out of the Kindle by design. Access to my thousands of ebooks (all de-DRMed EPUB) is my primary use. Today I learned that the thing can be hacked into allowing sideloading, which can then load the Google Play store and much of the Google infrastructure. Surprise, it worked! At least well enough to run Paprika (cookbook) and Moon Reader Pro (ebook reader.) It’s a very lightweight device (no GPS, no compass, only 3 gig internal memory) but it works and is quite fast. These are the directions I used:


@Nightflyer’s post above got me thinking about apps I use on Android, so I thought I’d do a quick rundown:

The order of these is largely determined by where they fall in my app drawer, which should be mostly alphabetical. Every single one of these apps is currently installed on my phone, although this is far from an exhaustive list of every app I have installed, despite the length. I’m trying to highlight things that are a little less mainstream in general.

This list is long, and it has many links. I apologize in advance. I’ve wrapped it in a details block to spare some of you. Several of the descriptions read like Zippy the Pinhead strips. That probably wasn’t intentional.

You've Been Warned...
  • aCar: I used to use this more frequently back when I had a car that took gasoline, but I still occaisionally use it for tracking maintenance and storing some values like VIN, insurance, etc.
  • AccuBattery: This provides better statistics on battery usage that the OS provides natively, and encourages you to charge more intelligently to reduce wear on the battery.
  • Tools & Amazfit: I have an Amazfit Bip watch, and I previously had Xiaomi Mi Bands ( 2 & 3) (See Also Tools & Mi Band) These apps let me unlock features that aren’t available through the stock companion app.
  • Calculator: This is an otherwise unremarkable calculator with one killer feature: A floating calculator mode that you can access from a quick tile or a long press on the icon. It makes it super simple to do a quick calculation over the top of another app. I see that the last update was in 2017, so I may need to look for a replacement, not that there’s much innovation going on in the calculator space.
  • Calibre Companion: If you use Calibre for e-book management, this helps connect your Android device to that library.
  • Cinnamon: This is a nice shopping list manager. I don’t use it as much as I used to, but it does what I need it to do. It also hasn’t been updated since 2017, so take that into account.
  • Congress: This is something I should probably use more. It gives details on bills in the house and senate, as well as information about senators and representatives. Although the app hasn’t been updated in just over a year, the data is up to date.
  • Discourse: As web pages in a box go, it’s…fine.
  • Jiffy: If you track your time for any reason, I can’t recommend this one enough.
  • Join: If you used PushBullet to easily transfer links between computers and mobile devices, this gives you that functionality with less compromises.
  • JuiceSSH: I use this as my primary SSH client. It also hasn’t been updated in a while, and is probably the one on this list so far that needs frequent updates.
  • KeePass2Android: I use KeePass for managing my passwords. This is the best Android version that I’m aware of.
  • Mattermost:I run a Mattermost server because I got tired of changing apps every time Google changing their mind about their messaging strategy. It’s a pretty good Slack/Teams/Discord-alike and it’s open source. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten all of the people I frequently message to switch over, so I continue using around four messaging apps to talk to them all. :frowning:
  • Movie Mate: I primarily use this as a front end to When I just launched it, I discovered that there are at least three Dragonheart movies that I haven’t seen, which is about four too many.
  • Notion: I’ve been looking for a replacement for Evernote for a while since they raised their prices, and Notion is the one that I’ve landed on at the moment. It lets me take notes in a way that suits me, although the desktop app is generally better than the mobile one, in my opinion.
  • Nova Launcher: I’ve actually been using the Pixel Launcher since Android 10, but only because Nova doesn’t yet support gestures, which isn’t their fault since there’s no API for them. As soon as they can implement them, I’m switching back.
  • OpenHab: I’m really just looking for an excuse to link to OpenHAB. This app lets me control my various IoT devices through a single interface. The previous sentence is a gross oversimplification.
  • OpenVPN: I use this to connect to the VPN I have running through my pfSense router to access my home network remotely.
  • Pocket: This is where I save articles that I never get around to reading.
  • Pocket Casts: This is a pretty good podcast app. If you don’t have a favorite already, try this one out. I think they might be owned by NPR now. I just wish I could figure out a way to get it to auto-download only certain episodes from a feed instead of all or nothing.
  • Pushover: If you used PushBullet for notifications from certain apps, websites, etc. This offers some of that same functionality with fewer compromises. I’d like to move these notifications entirely into mattermost, but I haven’t managed to do that yet.
  • Series Mate: It’s a client that focuses on TV series instead of movies.
  • Sleep as Android: I do not understand the name of this app, but if you’re looking for a sleep tracker that pretty much everything you could imagine and more, this is it. It integrates with my watch as well, which is nice.
  • Smart AudioBook Player: I don’t listen to audio books because my podcast backlog is ridiculous, but I have this installed in case I ever do. It seems to be actively maintained, and it has Android Auto support.
  • Solid Explorer: There are a lot of shady file explorer apps out there for android. This one comes up any time someone is looking for a replacement for one of those shady ones. It has great support for managing files both locally and remotely.
  • Stereogram: This is a neat cardboard compatible stereo image viewer with access to a large historical archive.
  • Tasker: If you’re looking to automate something on your phone like setting it to DND when you go to a movie, this can do that and a whole lot more. It’s under very active development by a relatively new maintainer that was/is one of the most prolific add-on developers for the platform.
  • tinyCam Pro: If you have IP cameras that you want to view from a single interface, this does a remarkable job with support for many different manufacturers.
  • VLC: Do you have a video that you want to watch? VLC is as useful on Android as it is on Windows.