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Thread: Using the droid "Off the grid"? (New user)

  1. Junior Droid
    halkun's Avatar
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    #1

    Using the droid "Off the grid"? (New user)

    Hi all,
    In a few days I'm getting a Used Droid shipped to me form a friend of a friend. Now I'm super excited about replacing my old phone, and have just a few questions about it.

    I need to set a little context here...

    I don't plan on running the droid on Verizon's or anyone else's network. Until the FCC gets their act together and fixes America's wireless infrastructure, (Which won't be for a very long time), I have zero intrest on getting any kind of cell service.

    I'm replacing my Windows Mobile Motorola Qm9 that has served me well. When I got the Q, I purchased a WiFi card that allowed me to use the interenet without cell service. Almost everywhere I go I have Wifi so I could be "off the grid" and use the internet whenever I wanted. There is also a SIP program that I got (For free) that allowed me to use my home phone over WiFi patched through an Asterisk server. (Upshot: free phone calls too). Because cell phones without service still can call 911, I could also use the phone directly in case of emergency (Something I had to do twice).

    I came across the used droid for $200, a screaming deal. I went to the Verizon store and they told me the WiFi was built in (No card sticking out, YAY) and that you could develop/install apps yourself. I plan to use the droid the same way I used my Q. Pretty much grab a SIP client, and use the Wifi, and 911 emergency. I do have some questions.

    I assume I can plug in USB and drag/drop files. Do I need sync program like WiMo, or does it mount stright?

    If I wanted, I could plug my Q into the USB, charge my phone, and then "borrow" the internet from my computer. The driod does that too right? The Q required that sync program though. Kind of related. Strangly, I also needed the sync program to charge(!?). Something to do with the driver or something.

    Any other things I should be aware of? I've been using Linux for years now and really want to sink my teeth into a mobile version.

    Thanks.
  2. Droid Sensei
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    #2
    Yeah you don't need any kind of special program to sync to your computer....just drag and drop files however you wish....and unless your Droid could pick up wifi from your computer I don't think it can "borrow" the internet from the computer....

  3. Droid
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  4. Junior Droid
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    In all fairness, I think a smartphone "off" the grid is entirely the wrong type of device for your purposes. These EXPECT a continuous, always-on data connection. The newer cloud-based OSes such as Android and Palm's WebOS are designed to constantly poll servers, conduct 2-way data/usage pattern data etc. I can assure you that the Droid (as does any modern smartphone) loses much, much of its functionality when in "airplane" mode and/or when the radio is off and no wi-fi access is available nearby.

    I would recommend something like an older Palm OS or Windows Mobile handheld, an iPod Touch (the most popular modern "PDA" non-phone handheld device), a Nokia N-series tablet or one of the new Archos Android media/web tablets. If you can scratch up another $200, this is a superbly polished dev unit from Creative--4x the storage of the Droid, HD video output, 2x cameras, better formfactor (IMHO) and a full Plaszma SDK + Android capability:

    Zii.com

    You could probably resell the Droid for $300 or so easily and come within shouting distance of buying the Zii package.
  5. Master Droid
    ShowTime's Avatar
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    #5
    As Nate said, no special program to sync with your computer. Just plug in the USB, pull down the notification bar, and mount the SDcard. Then, it's just drag and drop. And to my knowledge there's no way to tap into your computer's internet connection, outside of wifi obviously ( I suppose there might be some app I'm not aware of...).
  6. Junior Droid
    halkun's Avatar
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    I respectfully disagree with the assertion the Droid will be worthless. I've been using my Q off the grid for about two years and have been more than happy. Truthfully, I can't wait for the upgrade.

    The iPod touch is cute, I have this "thing" about being locked out of things I own. I was ecstatic to find I could root the droid. It's also very unlikely I will be without a Wifi connection. The only time I'm not is when I'm in my car. On top of that, when you are driving, you shouldn't be using your phone anyway. irregardless, while on the road, I can still use the MP3 player and theoretically GPS if I have a map loaded.(No big deal if GPS doen't work. I could never get it to fire up on my Q either) If I need to use the phone in an emergency, 911 is still active.

    I also don't believe in "cloud computing" after that Danger disaster. I like my backups where I can see them. It's nice to remotely access something, but I enjoy the task of manually syncing with a local device. It's piece of mind knowing I have backups in a few places.

    I'm actually quite cutting edge with wireless devices, besides SIP/Asterisk I've been using other mobile technologies like QR-Codes and emoji for years. I'm looking forward to playing with some AR apps and just having a blast with the little device. The fact I can't place a call is not that much of a loss, In fact *because* I have so many other communication options, making a call, amusingly enough, one of the more archaic features of the device


    I was actually thinking about building my own Android device using a Gumstix. The problem is that are not portable out of the box and require wiring a charging circuit for a battery. If you do those wrong, you can blow up a battery. Since normal manufacturers have had problems with this. I was better off getting something pre-built. The Gumstix device would of set me back about $500 anyway, So I'm still making out better on the deal.


    Can anyone confirm how GPS works without a data link?
  7. Master Droid
    CorvetteAustin24's Avatar
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    #7
    You sound like an interesting character, halkun. Just so you know, cloud computing is the future. You made the right choice going with the droid over a custom gumstix, those things make it frustrating and they are too easy to break... not a good combo for frustrating things
  8. Droid Sensei
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by halkun View Post
    Can anyone confirm how GPS works without a data link?
    The receiver's just fine without data. It's the app that you need to look into.
  9. Master Droid
    crspang's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by hkklife View Post
    In all fairness, I think a smartphone "off" the grid is entirely the wrong type of device for your purposes. These EXPECT a continuous, always-on data connection. The newer cloud-based OSes such as Android and Palm's WebOS are designed to constantly poll servers, conduct 2-way data/usage pattern data etc. I can assure you that the Droid (as does any modern smartphone) loses much, much of its functionality when in "airplane" mode and/or when the radio is off and no wi-fi access is available nearby.

    I would recommend something like an older Palm OS or Windows Mobile handheld, an iPod Touch (the most popular modern "PDA" non-phone handheld device), a Nokia N-series tablet or one of the new Archos Android media/web tablets. If you can scratch up another $200, this is a superbly polished dev unit from Creative--4x the storage of the Droid, HD video output, 2x cameras, better formfactor (IMHO) and a full Plaszma SDK + Android capability:

    Zii.com

    You could probably resell the Droid for $300 or so easily and come within shouting distance of buying the Zii package.
    He paid $200 for a used droid, and now he basically has an equivalent to an iPod touch but with twice the memory of an equally priced iPod touch, not to mention the Droid is (IMO) much cooler than an iPod. Plus he can use his Droid for a couple of months and if he gets tired of it and wants to sell it to get a Tablet computer I'm sure he would be able to get at least $200 for it (assuming it doesn't get bricked).
  10. Droid
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by takeshi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by halkun View Post
    Can anyone confirm how GPS works without a data link?
    The receiver's just fine without data. It's the app that you need to look into.
    Whats a good GPS app anyone can recommend...? aside from google maps, which you have to be connected?
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