Friday, August 27, 2010

phone-evil, pt.2: she don't want no smart-phone?

ahh, the power of double-negatives (and poor grammar). like the double negativity of these 2 posts-as-fists in the face of the evil phone-industrial complex! WHAK! POW! 

phone manufacturers are evil (as explained in two parts) 

PART 2: she don't want no smart-phone? 

smart phones aren't for everyone. i (begrudgingly) get that. though the real icing on the cake was when my mom (and subsequently, my dad) got iPhones last year. i went thru a lot of phases (of grief) to accept this. for the longest time i was upset that they were spending quite a bit of $ (monthly data plans) on something they were hardly going to learn to use, but i eventually got over it. who was i to stop their adoption of new technologies? 

so first, thanks to Steve Jobs - for convincing my parents to hand over their hard-earned money for something they don't need (now i get my dad's objection to me getting Reebok Pumps in 5th grade). 

but this post isn't about my #1 reader (hi mom!), it's about my #0 reader, my fiance...who takes pride in NOT reading my bloog (since it's pretty much a distillation of all the other noise she gets from me on a daily basis =), so we can talk about her all we want here.

my fiance (to protect the innocent, let's simply call her "Katie") needed a new phone. the Motorola KRZR she'd been using for the past 3-4 years was finally breaking down. while i've had a smart-phone of some sort in recent years, she resisted, and i'm OK with that. 

her rationale? her phone was great, and worked fine (a battery that lasted for DAYS - remember that?). beyond that, she rarely texts, and doesn't feel the need to be online 24/7. why bother looking up random internet stuff when i'm always around (not because of my fake-omnipotence/know-it-all nature, but rather the always- on gadget in my pocket)? "Katie" is not too crazy about the Facebook or Twitter, because she recognizes the practical inanity of it all (one of the influencing factors of my "social media blackout" - which is more of a frequent brownout these days). among many other reasons, this practical, no-nonsense nature is why i love her (why she reciprocates still escapes me, but that's another post). 

and let's be clear - Katie's not a luddite. she's gets the interwebs. we chat all day at work, we're both users of the cloud (Google maps, mail, calendar, docs), she's an avid user of TripAdvisor, and she likes to her recipes online (so she can cook with cool is that?). beyond that, she tinkers/takes apart her car + electronics when she has to (probably because her dad's an oldschool car-guy, her 2 older bros are electrical engineers, and i'm useless). oh, AND she's a chemical-freaking-engineer who formulates secret formulas in a lab all day (sadly, she has yet to concoct a concoction that will grant me super powers, though i am still hoping). bottom line?  she's way smarter than you + i mere mortals (and i'm pretty sure she knows kung-fu). 

but i digress. it's time for "Katie" to get a new phone. she still doesn't want a smartphone. she just doesn't see the point. it's just another way to spend money we don't need to. as with the acceptance of my parents unnecessarily wanting one, i've come to grips with the fact that my better half does NOT necessarily want a piece of tech she doesn't need (you should see the running iPod debate in our household). one day i'll convince her otherwise, but that day is not today

so it's time to go phone-shopping in 2010. as you may recall from Part 1, i recently made the smartphone switch from Apple to Google for a # of reasons (and believe you me, i did my research). since the smartphone market has advanced so much in recent years, i would expect just as much, if not more innovation on the lower end of the phone spectrum (no pun intended nerd-readers). at at least a common adherence to good/simple design principles. boy was i ever wrong.

pretty much all non-smartphones are total crap these days. remember the Motorola Razr (the predecessor to Katie's KRZR)? that thing was heralded as THE hallmark in phone design. beyond making calls - it didn't do much. it didn't have to. it was a great looking phone that fulfilled it's primary function. nothing more, nothing less. it was a great phone used by everyone, their mother and Jack Bauer/Michael Westen.  but good phone design was restricted to Moto - there were some solid phones by Nokia and Sony-Ericsson (even Spidey had one). 

fast forward back to today and take a look at again at the non-smartphone market (via the major wireless carriers in the US). they're all non-intuitive clunkers with far too many buttons, bells and whistles - VS simply being excellent at making calls. it is shockingly appalling.

what's the reasoning here? simple. by having an inferior offering in the non-smartphone market, the wireless carriers make smartphones (with their profitable data plans/contracts) more appealing and aspirational to the masses - even though they may not need it.


so on both the high AND low end of the spectrum, i have firmly illustrated why phone manufacturers are evil. 

believe it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

phone-evil, pt.1: goodbye Apple, hello Google.

a legitimate, long-overdue post (i always say that). but i feel compelled to write to tell you...

phone manufacturers are evil (as explained in two parts) 

PART 1: goodbye Apple, hello Google. 

so i (finally?) got rid of my iPhone, and traded (up) to Android. why'd i make the switch? allow me to elaborate, in order of easiest to most dramatic: 

1. my fiance was on Verizon. 
even though we're still living in sin, we're eventually going to be a family unit, which gives us all the more reason for a family plan (on a related note, see Pt.2). besides my 2-year contract with AT&T was up. 

2. i wanted to try something new. 
in 2007, my love-affair with smartphones began with Blackberry. i soon moved to Asia in 2008 and switched to Windows Mobile. and in 2009, after a tragic bike/phone-smashing accident (i ran into a pole, phone-pocket first), i switched to the Nokia N95. but this was just a stopgap measure. on the Jun'09 release date of the new iPhone 3G, i was first in line to get one. what began as a painful activation experience (i blame AT&T, as the folks at the Apple store were GREAT), soon led into my obsession/fascination with arguably the most advanced phone of the time. Apple made, and continues to make great devices (i recently switched to a Mac), and i mostly LOVED my iPhone (maximizing it's use for a music/media player, work/personal email, GPS, camera, etc). they changed the game for smartphones (sadly, i eventually had to cede my work email, and now also carry a Blackberry). and then Google came along with their goofy idea to get into the computer-in-your-pocket. now the only (major) player left was Google's Android. but we'll get to that later.

3. Apple screwed me (and many others).
unfortunately, like all marketers/manufacturers - Apple ultimately got too big (and partially evil) in the phone business, and stopped looking out for the little guy (me), prioritizing making a buck over optimal user experience. remember how i mentioned getting a Mac? well i finally got around to switching my iPhone over to my shiny new Mac, after which i soon received a friendly iTunes message asking me to upgrade my iPhone Operating System (OS) to iOS 4. now being a former ECE, i should have known better. new software is usually designed for new hardware. so 9 times out of 10, it's just going to slow your old hardware down. "but this is Apple," i thought, "they're smarter than that. besides, they're all about the seamless integration of hardware + software, so i should be OK." WRONG. upgrading to iOS 4 made my phone slow to a CRAWL. and could i go back to the previous version of the OS? not easily. were Apple really so obsessed with user experience, how/why would they make this happen to me? could they not have given me upgrade warnings, perhaps not even allowing me to do so (or better yet, creating an 3G-only OS "tweak"). i only found out the next day of this, and from a tech-blog, not some Apple press-release (tho i recently read this, but it's too little too late). i'm pretty sure Apple isn't this stupid (does that make them that evil? here's a similarly themed John Oliver/Wyatt Cenac bit). i'm pretty ure it's evil. they wanted me to trade up to a new phone (2 years later), even though i shouldn't HAVE to 

THAT was the final nail in the coffin. Apple got their way, and i di "trade up" my phone (and as you already know, it was NOT the iPhone 4). i got myself the sleekest (Google) Android-enabled phone, the HTC "Incredible." 

out of the box it took some getting used to, but my ability to customize and enable it how I want it (unlike the iPhone, for which you have to "jailbreak" to do so) is light-years better. not to mention i can "trade up" the memory (micro SD) and/or battery over time. and video is waaaay easier. i can simply plug-in, and drag+drop files to watch on my frequented planes and trains (whereas with iPhone i had to convert the file into an Apple-friendly format, import the file into iTunes, and THEN sync my phone. all in, a ~20/30 min process per video. bottom line, if you're REMOTELY geeky/computer savvy, go Android. if you're my parents with an iPhone 3G, hold onto it, but don't upgrade your OS (yet).

so that's that. i'm a GoogPhone guy now. 

coming up next:
      PART 2: Why does she have to get a smartphone?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

get ready to waste some time...

yea yea, my sister got married last weekend. more to come on that.

in the meantime, here's something that's taken up too much of my day already:
(NOTE - i removed the embedded ad bc the song was getting annoying everytime the bloog loaded with more recent posts - you can find + play the interactive ad here)

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