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iOS to Windows Phone to Android!

posted Mar 11, 2016, 11:57 AM by Samuel Warren

So as some of you may know, I was a long time iOS fanboy. I've been using smartphones since before it was cool, including Palm, HTC (Windows Mobile 5/6), iPhone (1, 3gs, 4s, and 5s), Motorola Droid (Android v2.2). Finally in 2014 I switched to Windows Phone 8 with a Lumia Icon. The switch was because I wrote a Windows Phone app, and was really impressed with the features in the testing device I bought (a Lumia 520). One of the biggest features, though it might sound silly, that I preferred in the Windows Phone was the back button. Why Apple still has no concept of this is mystifying. This one little feature improves the usability of a device immensely.

Now it's time for another leg of my journey. My experiences with Android have been limited and terrible. The Motorola Droid is the worst phone I've ever owned. In seven months it was plagued with problems, had poor reception (on Verizon which is hard to manage), and after three months the speaker went out. No more ringer! With that history I think it's understandable why I never looked back at Android. However, times they are a-changin' in the Android camp.

One of the nicest phones I've seen in a long time is the LG V10. I know most people don't think moving the buttons to the back of the phone is revolutionary, but it's a big change in the smartphone game. It's got impressive specs overall, and there's more innovation in Android right now than iOS for sure. Why am I leaving Windows though? Mainly because of my disappointment. I've been using a solid flagship phone for two years now in the Lumia Icon. It's specs are still very viable, and Miscrosoft phones seems to have a longer life than other smartphones. I could see myself using this phone for two more years easily without it being too slow. That being said, I'm sick of waiting for updated software. I had to jump through hoops to get the 8.1 release (Preview for Developers program specifically) in any decent timeline. There is also some disappointment that the latest flagships (Lumia 950/950 XL) aren't supported on Verizon. Where I live Verizon is the only network with coverage worth paying for. The final nail in the coffin for me was the lack of applications. Now I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here, because Microsoft has made great strides to add applications to the Windows Store.Specifically any kind of social media, game, utility, or media apps you want either have the top one or a similar one. The only remaining app stor problem is the small apps. Small banks for instance only support iOS and Android usually. Credit Card Companies (Except Citi who has a great Win Phone app) are missing too. It's these smaller utility apps that remove a lot of the functionality I was used to having with my iPhone before I switched. When I switched, I realized they weren't there, but I expected within a couple years to start seeing them filled in. Companies like Discover, Chase, and Capital One have no excuse.

So I'm switching back to Android this weekend. Specifically I've purchased a used Samsung Galaxy s5. While this isn't the newest, from what I've read it's a good solid Android phone. IT's supposed to get Marshmallow in May too, so this lets me experience a couple different iterations of Android. I won't be getting rid of my Windows Phone anytime soon. In fact a new flagship would likely drive me back in a heartbeat. Nevertheless, it's time I give this other platform some attention as a Mobile developer. I intend to port Offline Bible to the Android platform, so hopefully we'll see a new store addition soon. As far as going back to iOS, I don't foresee that anytime in the near future. I feel kind of like it's a been there, done that type of situation.

I'll be posting updates here on invalidpage.com as I work with the platform, and give you my thoughts.

Journey into Windows Live

posted Mar 7, 2014, 12:10 PM by Samuel Warren   [ updated Mar 7, 2014, 12:10 PM ]

Windows Live has a lot of features, and it's fairly obvious that they're aiming directly for Google lately. consider the following feature lists

 MSGoogle 
OfficeDocs 
OneDriveDrive 
 Outlook.comGmail 
Live Custom DomainsGoogle Apps For Domains 
Skype Google Talk 
 CalendarsCalendars 
 OneNoteGoogle Keep 
 BingGoogle 
 PeopleGoogle+ 

As you can see the direct market competition areas between the two are astounding. Not all of them are feature for feature identical either. I hesitate to use Google Keep since my Google notebooks were taken away from me years ago. At the same time the Live Custom Domains doesn't offer any Site-type functionality. This post is on a Google Site. Obviously, it's used often at least by me.

While I've been an Apps For Domains user since the beta days, there's some features on the other side I'd like to have. Outlook.com is a much better webmail client. People means I don't HAVE to go to facebook and can still stay in touch. OneDrive's local sync is well though out where the Google Drive local installation simply made links to access the files online. Nevertheless there are good reasons why the Google Apps platform work for me. I just wish there was an easy way to mesh my favorites from both.

I attempted to mesh them somewhat through things like forwarding my mail from one to the other, and while it sort of worked, it still wasn't polished enough to call a solution. I guess we'll have to wait an see which direction these two end up taking. Personally I like them both.



Asus Transformer T-100 without support

posted Mar 4, 2014, 12:10 PM by Samuel Warren   [ updated Mar 4, 2014, 12:11 PM ]

So I have an Asus Transformer T-100 with Windows 8.1

It's a great portable tablet/laptop hybrid. At the price of $379 new it's hard to beat.

Amazon has them for $475, but you can find them cheaper on other sites. the only problem is a lack of tech support. I contacted support with a question about an issue. The hinge is a bit loose. From what research I've done, this happens rarely and should be addressed by support. That being said the support queue is apparently terrible. After a live chat I learned the following:

  • If there's any physical damage they will have to call me to discuss me paying the shipping. No quote on how much that would be, but "we'll hold you device" kind of scared me
  • 11-15 days (3 day saver shipping) + (5-7 business days repair time) + (5 days ground shipping return). If this were your main device, could you go without it for 15 days?
  • If it can't be serviced and repaired I would have to take it back to the place I purchased it to get it replaced. the place I purchased it said contact Asus, sales are final.

this leads me to believe that Asus support is quite the flop. I've returned smartphones and tablets to other companies. It was Prepaid overnight to them 1-3 days repair, and overnight shipping back. None of which came out of my pocket. that's support. This is simply a bullet point on a sales sheet somewhere.





Pocket vs. ZDNet

posted Mar 3, 2014, 8:23 PM by Samuel Warren   [ updated Mar 3, 2014, 8:24 PM ]

I'm a big fan of Pocket. It let's me grab things I want to read during the day, organize them, then read them at my leisure during the off hours. It improves my productivity because I no longer have to read stories as I see them, I can "Pocket" them, and know I'll get to them later. This works well for most sites. Generally news sites and blogs have a format that slims the content down to make more pages. While this does possibly lend some good data (i.e. which people are simply clicking through, and who reads the whole article), it lends itself to annoyance for the pocket users. When I go to pocket and find the first piece of a ten part story it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Many sites do have a print layout link, which helps a lot. ZDNet on the other hand doesn't (or at least not that I can find). Perhaps they don't want those of us who prefer to read sans browser. Perhaps they just didn't realize that group was there.

Google Sites for a Blog?

posted Mar 3, 2014, 11:07 AM by Samuel Warren   [ updated Mar 3, 2014, 8:24 PM ]

This is a great venture into the territory of un-managing my website. For years I have handled hosting providers, wrangle a great deal of PHP/MySql and ASP.NET. Installed Wordpress. Cried. Tried other alternatives. Installed Wordpress again, and now I'm venturing into the Can Google Apps Sites work for a simple personal Blog? I'll be sure to let you know what I think as I go along. I hope you enjoy.

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