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Meet the VIPs – GS88

13th February 2013

At SwiftKey, the VIP community is a big deal and we value everyone who spends time sharing their feedback and suggestions. Sometimes, members give that bit extra and their commitment attracts the attention of the wider team at SwiftKey. Graham, better known to others on the forum as GS88, is definitely one of those people. Everyone – from Community Manager Evan to the co-founders Ben and Jon – has noticed that Graham is a rockstar.

We wanted to thank Graham and showcase who’s behind one of the user handles you might’ve seen on the vip.swiftkey.net site. For new readers, the VIP community is a forum for users to give feedback, share ideas and get their hands on betas. VIPs are a hugely important part of the SwiftKey story, so thank you to Graham and all of those who give their time and effort to making SwiftKey even better.

Over to GS88…

1. What’s your name? (real and VIP handle)
My real name is Graham and my VIP handle is GS88.

2. Where are you from?
I have lived in Texas for my entire life.

3. What’s your day job?
I am a field engineer for a large oil field service company.

4. How did you first hear of SwiftKey?
If I remember correctly, I first heard about SwiftKey from an Engadget article. I have been using it since 2009 when it was just a Beta product. I fell in love with the app and purchased it the day it was released as a full app in the (then) Android Market.

5. What do you think makes SwiftKey different?
Of course, the prediction quality is second to none. The way it is able to learn from a variety of sources to help better predict words is very impressive. Smart Space is a fantastic feature. The smart punctuation key is also innovative and efficient.

The entire SwiftKey team has done a phenomenal job with the creation and continuous improvement of the app. I must also credit the VIP Community with helping along the way with testing and giving feedback on beta releases.

6. How many keystrokes have you saved using SwiftKey?
Honestly, I haven’t the slightest clue for an exact number. Since I started using SwiftKey I have had two phones and two tablets. All of them have been rooted, and I flash new ROMs regularly. Between that and SwiftKey betas, I cannot give a precise number. I can say with confidence that I have saved hundreds of thousands of keystrokes (at least).

7. What’s it like to be part of the SwiftKey VIP Community?
I love being involved in the VIP Community. It is a great group and it is nice being able to help and give back to SwiftKey. I know I’m helping improve the quality and future product that will be released to the masses.

8. What are your three favorite apps? (apart from SwiftKey)
This is such a tough question. To only pick three apps is difficult because I could choose three top apps for a root user and three top apps for a non-root user. To keep this open to everyone, I’ll list three  non-root apps. In alphabetical order:

  • Agenda Widget for Android [free] – I love this widget. It is a super customizable agenda widget. I found it a couple of years ago and have been using it since. Having a list of my upcoming events on my home screen keeps me aware of my own life (it gets pretty busy). The widget is also scrollable which is a great feature. I like tweaking the appearance of my phone regularly, and this is the perfect widget for color and style adjustment. I’d even say that for a novice there may be too many options.
  • Battery Widget? Reborn! [free] – This is another highly customizable widget. It’s relatively new. I just found it and started using it a few months ago. It is still a ‘beta’ app, but I put beta in quotes because nothing about the app implies a beta product. It is very functional with a variety of information and features available within the app (including eta for dead battery, toggles, notification icon and more). The widget can also be color customized and can be resized. This is perfect for any user who has a battery widget.
  • BeautifulWidgets [paid] – Again, another highly customizable widget. The recent redesign is wonderful. It really is a “beautiful” app now. The UI looks great. There are so many themes available as well as other options for tweaking the appearance of the widget. The large clock format combined with the date and visual weather animations is fantastic to have on my home screen. Tapping the clock opens alarms. Tapping the weather opens a more detailed forecast. Tapping the date opens my calendar.

9. What are your three favorite websites or blogs?
I visit a number of websites and blogs on a daily basis. For Android related info I hit up Droid Life (droid-life.com), as well as many others. I love cars, so I visit Autoblog (autoblog.com) pretty obsessively. Recently I started reading a web comic called JL8 (previously “Little League” jl8comic.tumblr.com) that follows the lives of the Justice League during their childhood. There have not been an exceptionally large number of strips posted, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to catch up if you are interested.

10. Tell us something unusual about yourself!
I guess an unusual fact is that on my mom’s side of the family I am a 4th generation Houstonian. On my dad’s side of the family I am only a second generation American (my grandfather was born in Poland).

Graham’s post is the second in a blog series about our VIPs following our profile of James – also known as “driftinganomaly”.

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