Guestblogger week : How I “Survived” on Android : The app list.

Feb 13

Its guestblogger week on and today Cody Cooper , Co-host of the “Linux for the rest of us” podcast and all around nice guy, tells us how he ditched his desktop and survived on Android Only.

How I survived on Android.

Would you consider using ONLY your mobile device for a whole day? For all of your computing needs? How about a week? Or a month? With the right amount of preparation and gear most of us COULD do, but would we want to? Wouldn’t that be HARD?

 Imagine this: a snow storm hits and you’re forced to stay in the town you work because all of the roads leading home are closed. For four days. That was the situation I found myself in. I realise that this is far from the worst situation that one could find themselves in, but here is how I “survived” with my trusty HTC One. The Android in my pocket.

 I was lucky enough to have a sister that lived nearby that agreed to let me stay with her family during the storm. This gave me relief in the fact that when I wasn’t running a downtown business during the day I would have a place to go to at night. More importantly a place with internet access, a computer and beer.

Nowadays I’m a little more cautious about using open WiFi and just any computer for my day to day needs, my attempt to be a more responsible and careful technology user. The only machine at her house that I was available to me was her Toshiba laptop… running Windows Vista. I would post a photo of her desktop for fun, but I want you to finish this article and not pass out.

As Knightwise reads this, he says to himself, “But Cody, you’re a Linux user! Just use a Live CD or bootable USB stick to make that technology work for you!”

No optical media in the house and the only USB stick was an old Memorex 128mb… which only read as a 34mb drive! It was used for “backing up over the years”. The nearest store was stripped bare of these devices as well, because we all know that in case of a storm the very first thing you should do is run to the local store and buy up all of the storage media you can. To this day I don’t think I’ve screamed the F-word in a public place as I did that day.

So, here is a list of Android applications that helped me keep my sanity during this “rough” situation.

Screenshot 2014-02-13 08.16.13

1) Writer

This is a very nice minimalist word processor that I hadn’t used before. It was a pleasure to use this app as a means of taking notes throughout the day, keeping up on my writing and creating this blogpost.

NOTE – The one extra piece of “tech” that I had in my car aside from my phone charger was an OTG cable, which allowed me hook up a full-sized keyboard to my phone.

2) Pocket

For those of you who seem to want to bookmark everything yet find it hard to read anything you have to try Pocket. With an extension available for just about every browser (desktop and mobile) you don’t have worry about bookmarking that article, just put in your Pocket and “read it later” anywhere you want. Having all of these articles that I had saved over the past months helped pass the time and I’m very happy I had these available.

 3) Firefox Mobile + HTTPS Everywhere

 The safe browser plug-in HTTPS Everywhere was made available for my favorite mobile browser on the day I got stuck in the snow. Coincidence of the EFF coming to my rescue and providing me a safer browsing experience? You decide?

 4) Pomodroido 

This Pomodoro timer is essential for me to get anything done. A great way to keep you on track with tasks and make sure you take your breaks.

 5) Camscanner Pro + Docusign Ink

I always like get my taxes done ASAP. It was during this time that I had collected all of my financial documents to take to my tax preparer and then I got stuck in the snow. Using these two apps (and PGP encryted e-mail) I was able to digitally scan my documents and send them to my tax preparer, then sign the digital documents and send them back. Who needs a fax machine? This is the 21st century!

6) Doggcatcher

My mobile entertainment source for years. Many podcatchers come and go, but this one holds a special place in my heart with it’s simple and clean interface. I’ve tried all the rest, but I still go back to “DC” when I need to get caught up on my podcasts.

7) Voxer

This is the one app that I can honestly say I use everyday. Think of it as a digital walkie-talkie that you can use to have a conversation througout the day with someone, or a large group of people. This app has single handedly kept me in touch with my friends around the world whether it be collaboration on projects or just to keep in touch. You can also send text and photos during Voxer chat.

8) Flappy Bird

Just kidding!

9) Aldiko

My ebook of choice. This very versatile app will read a variety of formats and provide you with a nice interface with which to navigate your digital library.

 10) Archos Video

This app gave me a great interface to watch video that I had saved in the cloud. Very clean interface that gets better with every release. I knew stockpiling those Hak5 episodes in my Dropbox account would pay off someday!

One would assume I would have had a camera app, or a weather app but I tend to treat the outdoors like my ex-girlfriends: Avoid contact at all cost!

 In a future post I would like to share with you my new EDC Bag filled with all my tech goodies that will help me “survive” a bit longer next time as well as some other Android tools that you can use away from home.

About Cody.

Cody Cooper is a tech enthusiast, advocate for The Accessible Computing Foundation ( and podcaster who co-hosts “Linux for the Rest of Us” on the Podnutz Network ( He enjoys food, beer and preparing for his childrens future with technology. Please contact him on Google+ or by sending an e-mail to

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