Some may know I am a little bit of a gadget whore. I used to be able to have more gadgets before Samantha and the boys, but I still get my toys every now and then. Lately, most of my gadgets have centered around mobile phones or tablets. My latest toy is a Google Nexus 7 tablet. It is really just a larger version of my cell phone (Evo 4G LTE on Sprint), but without all the Sprint and HTC stuff on it. My phone has a huge, 4.7 inch screen – but when I use my tablet for a while and then switch to the phone – it seems like I am trying to text message on a postage stamp.
Both my phone and tablet are running the latest Android OS, nicknamed “Jelly Bean”. You see, the folks out in Mountain View thought it would be cool if they would name their OS versions alphabetically after sweet treats. Let me see, I think it started with Cupcake. Donut followed. Then Eclair (my first Android phone was a HTC Hero running Eclair). Froyo. Gingerbread. Honeycomb (which I think was more for tablets than phones). ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich). For now, the current or latest version is Jelly Bean. But soon another OS will be released from Google, nicknamed Key Lime Pie. I am getting hungry just thinking about it.
Anyway, the fun thing about each new OS release is all the fun new items they include to snazz up your device. With Jelly Bean, Google introduced Google Now. An interface that almost tells you what you want to know before you ask for it. It is a simple set of “cards” with different information on each. Weather on one. Traffic on another… and so on.
Anyway, one cool feature that I have found within Google Now is SONG RECOGNITION. Google Now contains a “Siri-like” voice recognition component that works pretty good. You can either say “Google..” or tap on the microphone and ask it questions. It will then do it’s best to answer you. But, if you do not say anything and it hears music.. it will give you a music note button. And, if you press it – Google Now will tell you what song it hears. I tried it with several songs, and it works VERY quickly. Quicker than Shazam. Quicker than Soundhound. Complete with cover art and a link to purchase the song in the Google Play store. It is fantastic – and caused me to delete Shazam off my phone immediately. If you have an Android device running Jelly Bean – try it out. Pictured to the left is what I saw when I asked my phone “When is Reggie Jackson’s birthday?”.
I am almost done with the nerdy Andorid talk. But, one other thing Google Now does is predict things you may ask it. For instance, over the weekend, my family went to Costco for some milk. We buy alot of milk. While we were there, I looked down at Google Now on my phone. Under the weather forecast and a traffic report for the way home, there was the option to “Research items at Costco”. Excuse me? How in the hell did it know I was at Costco? So cool. Depending on the time of day, Google Now will also give me traffic for my drive to work (in the AM) and home (in the PM). It is quite well done. I am impressed.
While I was listening to Smooth Jazz (.com) while putting the boys down, I heard a song I haven’t heard in at least 20 years. Then, as I listened to it for the first time seemingly in my adult life – it hit me. This song was the reason I bought my 2nd ever album back in 1979. I loved this song and album so much, and I think it led to my love of smooth jazz today. Turns out I can still hum and/or whistle every note of “Give It All You Got” by Chuck Mangione. Fantastic song, and the official theme of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. “Do you believe in miracles??”