Having Fun with Your Asus Tablet--A Basic Step-by-Step Setup
Disclaimer: This is my personal setup, reflecting my personal biases and is not meant to represent this forum nor to present a balanced point-of-view. It is my hope that members will find parts or all of my setup useful. I also need to point out that I'm not a gamer, Backgammon Free being about as wild as I get. Stating it plainly, games are not part of my fun so you'll seek other members with more expertise for your gaming needs. I also have Windows7 desktop/laptop and a XP desktop and use them as well as tools to enhance my Android experience. Lastly, I'm also not a sports fan so while there surely are a lot of great sports apps, I couldn't give you any advice.
As you may or may not know, on your Android cell phone the sd card is an sd card while on your Asus tablet, internal memory is \mnt\sdcard while the sdcard is \removable\MicroSd or \removable\SD. Most developers are targeting their apps toward cell phones not tablets and given the glacial pace that Ice Cream Sandwich is rolling out to other devices, Google fragmentation is here to stay.
When I got my TF-101 in July of 2011 there were already a large number of apps that couldn't see my MicroSD card, not to mention apps that would see it in one version but not in the next. I didn't want to spread my data throughout internal memory based on the whims of this or that app. This setup is predicated on keeping your data in either the MicroSD card in the tablet and/or the SD card in the dock: docs, videos, pictures Ebooks, etc., selecting a file and choosing an application to open it. It is data centered rather than app centered. Apps store and associate your data according to their preferences so it becomes a quest to locate one's data, scattered here and there. In a data centered setup, data opens apps—not the other way around.
The following setup methods work with both the TF-101 the Prime. TF300 and TF700, Infinity
Getting Started – ES File Explorer
Go to the Play Store on your tablet or to https://play.google.com/store on your PC and download ES File Explorer or send it to your tablet:
- Download and install ES File Explorer.
- Open ES File Explorer. At the top it will say: Local /sdcard. Click on the List tab in the upper right-hand menu bar.
- Click the menu (four horizontal lines) button in the lower left-hand corner, settings and check the box for up to root.
- Press Up on the menu bar.
- Open Removable.
- Long-press on MicroSD and then press Shortcut. This will send a MicroSD shortcut folder to your home-screen.
- Go to your home-screen and open MicroSD. Hit the backarrow to get access to your Sd Card in the dock.
Getting Content on Your MicroSd and/or SD card
It's a lot easier to copy videos, images, photos, documents, ebooks and most content from your desktop/laptop computer. I use a sd card reader, available for between five and ten dollars, to copy data to and from my computer as well as backing up data from my tablet. Here's one I'm using for $6.99 that works with both SD and MicroSD cards without an adapter:
IOGEAR SD/MicroSD/MMC Card Reader/Writer GFR204SD (Green/Gray) $6.99
Amazon.com: IOGEAR SD/MicroSD/MMC Card Reader/Writer GFR204SD (Green/Gray): Electronics
Preparing MicroSD and SD Cards
- Safely eject your MicroSD and SD cards or shut down your tablet and remove them.
- Put each card in an sd card reader successively and put them in a desktop/laptop usb slot.
- You can use either a 16gb, 32gb or 64gb MicroSD to comfortably hold all of your data. It should be formatted to NTSF. If it is currently Fat32, copy your data to a folder on your computer and right-click on the card and format to NTSF on a Windows7 or Vista computer. If you don't have a Windows box, it shouldn't be hard to find one at work or at a friend's house. Copy your data back to the card and you should have a working NTSF MicroSd and SD cards. You might want to keep an extra small MicroSD formatted to Fat32 in case you need to recover with downloaded firmware as the recovery process will only see fat32. It's unlikely that you'll need it but that will cover all bases.
- Create the following folders: Music, Photos, Docs, Video, Ebooks, Spoken Word, Images etc. Take some time to organize your data and create as many folders/sub-folders as needed.
- Put your MicroSD and Sd card back in the tablet and turn it on.
- Open the Data shortcut and you'll have full access to all of your data. Press a doc file and open with the office suite of your choice. Click on a video and open with Dice or Mobo etc.
- After you install ES File Explorer, add a shortcut to ES Media Player by installing the following app in the play store. This should aid in streaming music: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...er.audio&hl=en
Go to your home-screen and press the MicroSD shortcut folder and open your docs folder. Press any existing doc file and you will see a list of word processors that can open the word file including Word to Go, not really a fan, but this is the only way you'll get Documents to Go on your MicroSD. Use the same method in your music folder or videos or images.
Fun by Category
A note on apps: Echoing Good Intentions, I urge you to support developers with creative apps. Most of these donation apps only ask for a buck or two. Most of them also have a free version which I will leave you to find on your own.
Finding Free, Inexpensive & Expensive Apps
- What's the best app for ….? Read and search the forum. Loads of talented and helpful folks: http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/forum.php
- Search in our sister forum Nexus 7. Lots of action, questions and answers. Keep in mind that it's all the same tablet running cell phone apps: Nexus Tablet Forum
- Search in the Play Store
- Allowing installation of non-Market Apps: Go to Settings, Security and check unknown sources.
- Go to Amazon.com and download the Amazon App store app at Appstore for Android. Make sure you allow unknown sources. Amazon has a free app daily.
- Getjar. Go to GetJar | Mobile | , once again making sure that the third party app option is checked. They have many free apps.
- Read the forum, checking the General and Transformer Apps section: Your fellow members have your back and will announce any sales, notable free apps etc.
- Check Android news apps: Engadget, Android Central, Phandroid et all will announce most sales.
Already, there is a dizzying variety of cases, screen protectors etc. The forum is your friend:
- Personally, I like the stock Email app, called Email. It works well with my Yahoo account with its many, many mail folders.
- Others like Kaiten, $4.99, a flexible app that's exchange friendly: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...com.kaitenmail
- Gmail seems to be improving slowly.
I exclusively use Firefox on my Desktop but it's just not very good on the Android platform. Firefox Beta is more tablet friendly.
You can sync your desktop bookmarks. For desktop browsing, go to Menu, three vertical squares, check Request Desktop Site. On the home page, press Browse all Firefox Beta add-ons and install Phony. Go to Menu, Add-ons, Phony, Select User Agent: Desktop Firefox. To sync: Go to your desktop, launch Firefox, go to tools, options, sync, pair a device, follow the pair a device prompts.
My favorite is still Opera Mobile:
It's reasonably fast and easy to make larger or smaller. Set desktop browser by pressing O, Settings, Advanced, User Agent: Change to Desktop to enable desktop as opposed to mobile browsing: Press the Red O at the top of screen, then press settings, then advanced and make sure User Agent is set to desktop.
The stock browser or ICS Browser + are also both good browsers. To enable desktop browsing: Press the three vertical squares in the top right-hand corner, press settings and then request desktop site.
Interesting Alternatives: OverSkreen (floating browser), a $2.84 browser that will open in a sizable window. You might also check out Stick it!, $2.13, an app by the same company that will play videos in a sizable window as well as the free AirCalc, a calculator in a window.
Go to the Play Store on your tablet or to https://play.google.com/store on your PC and download Music Folder Player Donate, 99 cents, or send it to your tablet: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...rplayer.donate.
Music Folder Player generates a playlist on the fly based on folders. Perfect for spoken word or music. It's a smart app that will automatically find your Microsd card. This is probably the only app you need to launch from its icon—it doesn't use the Microsd card shortcut. Just launch it, it will scan your MicroSd card, choose a folder and it will play all the music. If it's not in a folder, it won't see it. So even if you have a random group of mp3s, put them in your MicroSD in a folder called Random mp3s.It won't display all of the cover art streaming across the screen but you won't need to spend your life creating ID3 tags.
Internet Radio and Music
Go to the Play Store on your tablet or to https://play.google.com/store on your PC and download Tune jn Radio Pro, 99 cents, or send it to your tablet:
Listen to and record over 50,000 radio stations and 1.2 million on-demand streams from seven continents. Check out the podcasts and music by language.
If you want to catch some Hoosier Mojo, go to By Location, North America, United States, Indiana, Lafayette. 101.3 WBAA Classical. Stranger than strange, WBAA is much better than the classical station in San Francisco. Check it out and remember that the Internet was invented to bring Indiana media to you!
Honorable mention: 8tracks. Like Pandora but instead of choosing an artist and having a computer find similar artists, in 8tracks you choose mixes made by people.
Shazam: It'll name that tune for you.
BBC Radio: Catch local radio across the UK as well as Radio 4 without the BBC Player.
Google Play Music: You can download the music manager on your PC and upload up to 20,000 tunes to the Google Music Cloud (mp3, m4a, wma) that do not have DRM from folders, iTunes or Windows Media Player. Access them on your tablet using the Play Music app. You can make quick playlists and also make any amount of music available offline so long as you have space on your tablet to store it. Currently available in the US only.
News360 for Tablets: Hands down the best news app with full articles from a variety of sources—coverage from the LA Times, Al-Jazeera and 1003 more. Hit the local tab on top for local coverage even if you don't live in a famous location. It's fairly fast, attractive and fun.
Engadget & Phandroid Apps: Great for a quick scan through Android news and gossip.
World newspapers: It has digital feeds for local newspapers everywhere. Check up on your local newspapers, worldwide and your hometown. You can also check out Android Central, Engadget, Gizmodo, PC World, the Economist etc. https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...rld.newspapers
Huffington Post: There are two, Huffington Post for Android and Huffington Post (tablet). The later tablet edition is a real eyesore, with four columns of five rows assaulting your eyes and brain all the time. Stick with the Huffington Post for Android. Lots of categories and you can concentrate on one at a time: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...onpost.android
Google Currents: It's actually a fairly attractive way to keep up with a variety of Android news sources such as Lifehacker, Android Central, PBS, Gizmodo, the Christian Science Monitor, CNet, etc. I even have a feed from the news section of our forum.
Comic Reader: When you only have a short time to kill
Hundreds of comic strips to choose as favorites: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...id.comicreader
Surely one of the joys of owning a tablet is watching films in bed, on the sofa or on the run. The Android OS doesn't support plug and play drivers, so at this time you won't be able to use a usb dvd drive. You're going to need to convert your dvds to a digital format and use a video app to play them on your tablet.
I've converted my dvd collection using DVD Catalyst, a $10 piece of software that runs on a pc:
Home of DVD Catalyst 4 - convert fast and easy AVI DVD MKV to Bionic Droid iPad3 iPhone4 iPod Touch4 Iconica Innotab Galaxy Tab Nabi Playbook Transformer Prime Thrive Vita Xoom XyBoard and more
DVD Catalyst is a sponsor of this forum, giving excellent support to our members. I've converted dvds from many different regions, PAL, NTSC and enabled subtitles, even enlarging the subtitle space when it wouldn't fit. DVD Catalyst has conversion profiles for the Transformer and the Prime. Best ten bucks I've spent n a long time.
DVD Catalyst converts movies to mp4 and an average DVD ends up being 1.4gb or so. I don't have a Blu-Ray drive and couldn't tell you how they convert. I see lots of users reporting success.
I use both my MicroSD on the tablet and SD card on the dock to store my films. I use a sd card reader to copy my mp4 movies to a video folder on the sd or MicroSD card. When I want to watch a film, I go to the MicroSD shortcut on my homescreen. Go to the Video folder, select a film and a Open with screen will appear. Select the video player of your choice and enjoy the movie.
Rather than buying/downloading DRM movies, go to Ebay or Amazon and there are plenty of quality DVDs in the $5 range. Get them legally, convert them, store them on your pc or drive and copy them to your MicroSD for viewing.
My personal favorite player is DicePlayer, donation based:
It will play most formats including mkv. That being said, searching the forum will turn up a wide variety of players including BSPlayer, MoboPlayer, VLC Media Player and ES Explorer's own player, ES Media Player. Many Video apps have a free plugin, including Dice, Free DicePlayer plugin for tegra2.
- I've successfully streamed videos from both Amazon Prime and Netflix through the Browser. I've also successfully streamed videos from my Win7 desktop to my Nexus7 via ES File Explorer's LAN Connection. As of now, I can't steam via my XP desktop.
- Press Local in the upper right hand corner, it will open a Change View menu.
- Choose LAN, make sure to press the box under the clock in the upper right-hand corner so the menu appears, press new.
- Choose Sever and enter your user name, password, IP address etc.
- You might choose scan, to find your IP Address. Otherwise, on a pic, click start, type in cmd in the search bar, hit enter and the type in Ipconfig in the resulting dos box and hit enter.
- You might find the following TechRepublic article, Connect Android to Windows and Samba shared directories: Connect Android to Windows and Samba shared directories | TechRepublic
Make a Docs folder on your MicroSD card and/or your SD card. Go on your desktop, Mac or PC, and use Word to save a variety of template docs. One with the margins of your choice, one with columns and so on.
Don't have word on your desktop? Personally, I kicked the habit and use Open Office: There are free versions for both PC and Mac:
Apache OpenOffice - The Free and Open Productivity Suite
Just remember to save as Word 2003, .doc. Open Office will also open docx files and many doc files previously created in Microsoft Office that Microsoft Office will no longer recognize.
When I start a new document I open the appropriate template, write a few lines and then use save as to create a new document name.
Android applications are all a work-in-progress so there's no word processing hands-down winner. To draw from Good Intentions again, you might use one for its Excel strengths, another for spell checking and so on. Kingsoft Office is a good free alternative from an innovative company in China known for their mouse-over translation software.
Kingsoft Standard: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...ps.moffice_eng
Kingsoft International: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...s.moffice_i18n
Many users like Documents to Go, not me, a paid app, look for sales. Install the main app and then buy the key: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...taviz.docstogo
Personally, I like Office Suite Pro, a paid app s look for sales, for its easy access to formatting. They offer a fully functional seven-day trial:
Some programs support access to the MicroSD card while others don't, Documents to Go an example of the latter. If you keep all of your documents on your MicroSD or SD card, go to the shortcut to the MicroSD card on your homescreen, go to the Docs folder, select a document and then use the Open As screen to open the word processor of your choice, you can use any word processor whether or not it supports access to the MicroSd card. Using this method, you're always on the MicroSD card.
I enjoy reading books on the tablet and restrict my choices to four different formats: Epub, mobi, txt and pdf. I keep all of my ebooks in an Ebook folder on my MicroSd card, organized into categorized into subfolders such as fiction, history, literature, horror, etc.
I go to my shortcut to the MicroSD on my homescreen, go to the Ebook folder, select a book, go to the Open as Screen and choose an app. For pdfs, I use the free Adobe reader or EzPdf, a much loved pdf app with many useful features beyond the requirements of reading an ebook pdf. For text files, I use Jota Text Editor, a text app that will open large files. For mobi files, I use FBReader, an app that will open both mobi and epub files. Finally I use Cool Reader for Epub files: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...org.coolreader
- If you want to support the developer, after installing the app above, you can donate a buck here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...onation.bronze
- Cool Reader supports epub (non-DRM), fb2, doc, txt, rtf, html, chm, tcr, pdb, prc, mobi (non-DRM), pml formats.
Configuring Cool Reader for Two Column Paginated Viewing
Configuring Cool Reader 3or above for Two Column Paginated Viewing
The following warning appears upon updatng or installing Cool Reader 3 or above:
Warning: To support fullscreen mode and dimming of softkeys on Android 3 and 4, target Android version has been changed to Android 4. In this mode legacy menu soft button is not available anymore. Without reader toolbar in reading mode you can open menu by tapping at center of screen. Long tap at center of screen shows settings dialog.. Turn on toolbar in reading mode now? (You can always change this option in Settings/Page/Toolbar) Translation: Access the toolbar and settings in an open book by a short tap for the toolbar or a long tap for settings in the center of the screen.
- Open Cool Reader and then a book or the manual.
- Select settings by a long press in the center of the screen.
- Under the Font Menu, AA, change the Hyphenation dictionary from Russian to English US.
- Under the Folded-Page icon, change orientation from Portrait to Sensor, change Landscape pages from one page to two pages, change Background texture from Paper 1 to Fabric and change Page Animation from Slide (2 Pages) to Paperbook. By default the tootbar is hidden to make it visible uncheck Hide Toobar in fullscreen.
You might not be surprised to see this kind of two page formatting, with page turning animation on an epub book but try it on a text document or a Palm book. Go back to the Menu icon, (four horizontal lines), then More, options include Night Mode, Read aloud, Autoscroll and show manual. The devs update frequently, keeping the cool in Cool Reader. You can download it for free but I recommend the $3 Silver donation to support innovative apps.
Jota Text Editor:
- Both Cool Reader and FBReader will open epub books, FBReader in a larger single-page format and Cool Reader in a double paginated format. Some epub illustrated books and ones with photos might open better with Cool Reader, while others might be better formatted with FBReader. This could change back-and-forth as updated versions appear. You should be able to open most ebooks using either Cool Reader or FBReader.
Viewing Images and Photos with Quickpic
I use Quickpic for viewing images and Photos. It's one of the few smart apps that automatically scans your MicroSD card for graphics and gives many options to scroll though them in an attractive manner. Make a Photo folder on your MicroSD card with as many sub-folders as needed and fill 'er-up. Ditto for images and graphics.
MultiPicture Live Wallpaper as your wallpaper
- We have five screens to populate with wallpaper. You can make your own wallpaper from your own photos, images on line etc. Gathering the images is a task easier accomplished on a desktop:
- I made a California Screen Saver with 444 images, using 152mb. I put them in a CA folder on my MicroSD card. It took me five hours or so but I've passed it on to many friends for their desktop, laptop, tablet or phone.
- Use Google Images: https://www.google.com/imghp?hl=en&tab=wi or
- Use Google Search and then click on images at the side.
- I searched for the following, substitute search topics for your state/country/theme: Moon, lightning, fog, waves, mountains, rain, snow, hills, rivers, bridges, trains, waterfalls, redwoods, forests, desert, fireworks... matched with California, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento, Berkeley Hills, Los Angeles etc. I made a CA folder on my desktop computer, did a search, opened the photo, right-click save and on and on. Most photos are public domain and most photographers will allow you to download a lower resolution version of their photo—plenty good enough for a screen saver. Eliminate any images below 44k and resize any images above 1.5mb. You can use the free programs: Irfanview and Paint dot net to edit your photos. Send me a PM if you need Irfanview and Paint dot net help.
- When you're done, copy your screensaver (whatever name) folder to your Data/pics folder.
- Download Multipicture Live Wallpaper from the play store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...r.multipicture
- Open Multipicture Live Wallpaper, press the Multi-picture Live Wallpaper icon
- Under Common Setting, set crop size ratio to medium crop. Then hit the back button.
- Scroll to Transition type and select Random
- Scroll to Picture Change Selection, Picture Change interval and set to one hour
- Scroll to Advanced Settings, Workaround for some home application and set to Ignore vertical movement.
- Scroll to Other, Donation version, only a buck.
- Scroll to Add Individual settings and press the + icon and select screen 1, hit OK
- Scroll to Screen 1 settings, under Picture source and choose Picture Folder
- Under Folder Path: \Removable\MicroSD\your folder name
- Selection Settings: Check Search folder recursively, Rescan picture when modified and search from Gallery.
- Under Picture selection order, choose random.
- Repeat for other screens
Keeping it Organized
Under ICS, dragging an application icon onto an existing icon will allow you to make a folder.So you can do it yourself but I'll pass and use Folder Organizer, $1.44. It allows you to create folders with custom icons, keeping your favorite apps at hand.
- Open Folder Organizer
- Press the Bucket + New Label tab in landscape or the arrow in the upper left hand corner and do the same. Give your label a name: Internet, Ebooks, Android, News etc. or select labels to see named choices.
- Getting apps in your labeled folder: Select label, and hit the blue arrow at the right-hand side of the screen to add apps. Choose apps and check the boxes of the apps you'd like in that folder. Then press done in the upper right.
- Changing Icons: Hit the arrow in the upper left in portrait and select labels. Press the blue arrow on the right and then press icons. I get most of my icons from Default icons.
- Getting your label on the screen: Go to the Apps icon in the center of the bottom, six squares in a circle. Select widgets at the top and scroll until you see FO Folder Link – Folder Organizer. Drag the icon to the screen of your choice Then choose the appropriate label.
- You can backup and restore your settings: Open Folder Organizer, tap on the three squares and choose export. It will export an xml file. You can restore your settings by importing the file on the same tablet after reinstalling or on a new tablet.
App Dragon App Lister
- App Dragon App lister simply makes a list of all of your apps and sends it to the email address of your choice. Handy when wiping or changing tablets.
- Running out of space or want to trim down your tablet? Diskusage will tell you where your large apps/cache settings are taking up space.
Auto Airplane Mode by Don, make sure you get the app by Don. “Automatically enables airplane mode when the screen is turned off. It is useful to save battery when you are not using your device. “
You can use the same techniques and software applications on your Android cell phone. Most apps are written to recognize the MicroSD card on your cell phone so it's that much easier. The real estate on the tablet makes it much more enjoyable but most of the apps work on both.
I find myself less concerned about getting the latest and greatest cell phone, with their small screens and even smaller battery life.
Honorable Mention: Check out Geeky Feeds for tech news on your cell phone. It has feeds from NY Times Tech, PC Magazine, BBC Technology, Lifehacker etc. It works on the tablet as well but only in Portrait.