Smaller but harder

I’m going to address the history of music portability. There will be a quiz at the end. 

At one time, music was only as portable as how easy and convenient it was to carry your instrument.

If you were going to party with friends, you could bring your french horn, trombone, or viola to entertain them, but if you had a bass cello or sousaphone, probably not. That harpsicord, however, was right out.

Of course, you could always bring your wind-up music box, but hearing the same tinny musical passage over and over got old fast.

Then recorded music came and you could carry your windup gramaphone to the park to play your jams.

Cranking out the jams!

A hundred years or so later, technology has made impressive strides in the area of recorded music portability and now you can carry your entire music collection around in your pocket.

We’ve gone from boomboxes to the Sony Walkman to the MP3 players to smartphones.

Great, right?

Yes, except as the technology shrank the devices for some reason the engineers also made the tranference more difficult.

With the Sony Walkman you could easily make party tapes at home on a cassette recirder then insert the tape into the Walkman.

When CDs came out, you would have to take your pre-recorded commercial CD and play that. It wasn’t until years later when the home computer became more common that people were able to record to CD and make mix tapes, um, CDs to take with them.

Somewhere in that process the MP3 was created along with MP3 players. It was easy to load music onto your MP3 player, you just plugged it into your computer and transferred the songs you wanted. Easy peasy. My first MPe player stored all of 128kb, so if I wanted a variety, I’d have to download different songs to it. It became a little tedius.

Then I got an iPod, which held more songs. Unfortunately, the ease of transfering songs started to decline. To transfer music, you couldn’t just plug it in and drag and drop. No, you needed Apple specific software as well as needing to convert your current library of MP3s (or WMA, WAV, or whatever) to an Apple proprietary file format.

Soon, smartphones came on the scene. Great, we could now carry our music on a device that also worked as a phone and a computer. Things were much simpler, right?

Wrong. Not only did each device have it’s own way of transfering music, so did each cellphone carrier.

I’ve been through several smartphones, cellphone carriers, and platforms over the years. 

With each update, upgrade, or so-called “improvement” things became harder, not easier. For me, only one smartphone was ever relatively painless in its transfer process, the Windows 8 Nokia. It was truly drag-and-drop.

With every other device or carrier you needed to jump through hoops and finally Google the instructions to figure out how to sync up and transfer. 

The iPhone had the same issues as my iPod. In fact, it was worse, for whatever reason, and I often had to restart my computer and the iPhone several times just to get them to recognize each other.

My Samsungs were a pain in the ass as well, especially early on because Verizon forced you to download their proprietary software to transfer music. Thankfully, they abandoned that, but the Samsung was never drag-and-drop. The computer never recognized it until I sacrificed a chicken at midnight while singing Mother Goose nursery rhymes wearing a Brown derby and dancing a jig on one leg.

And every time I wanted to transfer songs, I had to Google the instructions again because I couldn’t remember the exact sequence. And even then it wouldn’t always work.

And my LG is just as bad. The computer wouldn’t recognize it when I plugged it in, even when I changed the phone’s “What to do when plugged into a computer” setting from “charge when plugged in” to “transfer files.” 

And does anyone think that is the stupidest feature? Why can’t it do all those things, charge, transfer files, act as a midi device, et cetera? Why should we have to specify? They’re both computers. They should automatically know what it is you are trying to do.

I Googled what to do and found out I needed to download two (2!) programs to my computer, and once I started those, I still had to change some settings on the LG for the two to sync.

And then I could transfer music.

But not so fast! It wasn’t transfering via the USB cable! No. That would make too much sense. Instead, through those two programs, the transfer happened via Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi! WTF? What idiot thought transfering music via Wi-Fi was a good fucking idea? I’d like to meet them so I can punch them in the nose!

Transfering files via Wi-Fi is a bad fucking idea. It’s slow. It fucks with everyone else using the Wi-Fi. And did I mention, it’s slow?

Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know. It shouldn’t be, because everything else we do on our Wi-fi — Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, downloading Warez (kidding) — is fast, but this is sloooow.

…or someone is transfering files to their LG.

Transfering files via USB cable is fast! 

Transfering files via Wi-Fi is agonizingly slooooooow.

It reminded me of downloading music files with Napster via dial-up! It took forever for one song. Download an album? Might as well do it overnight. I mean, that’s what I’ve heard. I have never illegally downloaded music myself. That would be wrong.

So WTF? I appreciate that technology has made music so much more portable than it was when I was younger. My smartphone is much easier, and lighter, to carry on a morning run than the Walkman ever was.

But can’t we make file transfers easier? What is so hard about having our devices all be compatible and all you need to do is plug them together, they recognize each other, and away you go dragging and dropping music?

Is that too much to ask? For user-friendly, easy to use, cross-compatible technology?

I don’t fucking think so.

Here is the quiz I promised:

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie-Roll center of a Tootsie-Pop?

(I never said it would be related to my blogpost.)

3, according to Mr. Owl.

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Smartphones and Deals

eMail:

I received an email from Verizon Wireless letting me know one of my lines was eligible to upgrade. Their emails gave 3 reasons why Verizon is the place to be.

1) They’re the fastest 4G network. Which is fairly true.

2) They have award recognized customer service. “J.D. Power and Associates ‘Highest Ranked Customer Service Performance amoung Full Service Wireless Providers.'” Complete with typo. Their customer service isn’t bad, unless you’re trying to convince them your phone is for shit. Then it’s an uphill battle.

3) Cutting edge devices. To which I say “Bullshit!” I just posted entire rant about how Verizon is always months behind the other providers called “Verizon: Too Big for Sass.”

Upgrade:

So yes, Friday I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my Nokia Lumia 928 Windows 8 phone. I had several choices. Go to the store and get it instantly, but pay $50 and receive a $50 rebate card in the mail. This, a “free” phone. Sorry. I hate rebates. I want the free instantaneous. But it from Amazon for a penny and have guaranteed delivery on Tuesday. Or buy it from Verizon online and get the free right away, no rebate. So I took that route, thinking (because it kept saying it — free delivery to the store) I’d get it almost right away. Turns out, yes, it was free but it never gave me the option for store delivery. That kind of ticked me off. My son bought his phone online from Best Buy and was able to pick it up immediately. I finally received notification that the phone will arrive on Wednesday. Maybe I can have the delivery changed since no one will be home to sign for it.

I’m excited. Wednesday. Tuesday. It’s a horse apiece.

Provider Deals:

I just heard that AT&T is offering the new Nokia Lumia 1020, the one with the 41 megapixel camera, for NO DOWN PAYMENT. Does that means free? I don’t know. Maybe you have to pay it off during the term of the contract, but they were originally selling it for $300 WITH a 2-year contract. So if it is free, that’s a great deal.

Verizon Wireless, on the other hand, as I mentioned, is offering the Nokia Lumia 928 for free or for close to free with a mail-in rebate. And it looks like all their other Windows 8 phones are free now also. Either the Windows 8 phones aren’t the big sellers they hoped they’d be or Verizon just wants to push everything because they still aren’t keen on the iPhone and all its associates fees and are hoping people will choose something else.

Whatever. Meanwhile, my Nokia is somewhere in Memphis.

Happy. Happy.

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Obsolescence, planned or contrived with evil intent?

It has occurred to me that maybe I’m not having phone issues so much as planned obsolescence issues.

My Samsung Galaxy S was a great phone for well over a year but then started acting up toward the end of my contract. Since it was having so many issues, I started thinking Android phones were crap so I switched to the iPhone.

Well, for over a year my iPhone 4s was da bomb. Now that its contract end is nearing, it too is starting to act up.

I suspect now that the issue might not be with the phones, the hardware, but with the service provider, my cellphone carrier, Verizon Wireless.

It is quite possible, in a paranoid sort of way, that Verizon, in their desire for me to upgrade and lock me into another 2 year plan, is purposely making my phones misbehave. Maybe they’re constricting my data stream. Or even outright denying service. That would explain why I can’t make calls or even get a signal until I have to restart the phone. Right?

Maybe I should switch CARRIERS instead of phones. Since we already have AT&T Uverse for cable television and Internet, maybe they could offer us a cell phone bundle.

I think I’ll look into it and migrate each of our phones to AT&T as their contracts all expire and thereby avoid cancelation penalties.

Or maybe Sprint. We had them in the late 90s and they sucked (or it could have been the shitty free phone we got), and I see they offer the Samsung Galaxy S III for free instead of the $100 or $200 AT&T and Verizon charge. I see from one review that (and this surprises me) that they have better coverage than either Verizon or AT&T but it looks like they charge more. Almost $200 more for a similar 4G share plan! And they charge nearly twice what those two charge for each additional smartphone.

What other carriers are there? T-Mobile? Thats the 4th largest carrier. US Cellular is the 6th largest.

Too bad Cingular got absorbed. I really liked them. (And that was a really convoluted history. Cingular bought AT&T Wireless, but somehow AT&T itself owned 60% of Cingular and BellSouth owned 40% so when AT&T bought BellSouth, they owned all of Cingular and rebranded it AT&T and all the while SBC Communications had bought and absorbed AT&T then rebranded all SBC stuff AT&T. Got it? Neither do I.)

And then there’s CREDO mobile, a progressive activist company that helps battle the evil Right-wingers while supporting progressive causes (and they’ll help pay for your cancelation penalties). They use Sprint’s network, but have a different price plan.

So time to do some research. I love research.

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Of smartphones, sealing wax, and kings

I was at the Verizon store the other day just browsing. I’ve been thinking of changing my phone. I currently have an iPhone 4S, which I do enjoy and with which I have hardly any issues with. I have to hand it to Apple in that regard. Having everything proprietary is a good business model if your goal is reliability.

My first smartphone was an Android phone, a Samsung Galaxy S. when I first got it, I was amazed. Everything was fast and responsive. But as the months went by, little things started to happen. The phone would freeze up or it wouldn’t make phone calls and I’d have to not only shut it down, but pull the battery as well.

I took it in and the tech explained that some apps can cause that but they couldn’t pinpoint which ones. So the best fix was to reset back to the factory settings and start from scratch. Download an app, make sure it works by running it through its paces, then download the next one. He made it sound like this was a time-intensive task, not something that would take a few minutes, but probably days as you ensured each app functioned well within the OS. However, even if all those apps did work flawlessly when I first downloaded them, anyone of them could go wonky when the OS is updated. And if the phone started acting up, I’d have to start all over from a clean slate again.

Sorry, but that seems like a really shitty way of running things and I have better things to do then constantly flush my Android phone.

So I went to the dark side and picked up an iPhone. I, a confirmed Apple h8er. And I’ve had it for a year and a half with virtually no problems. As I said, since only Apple makes the hardware and the iOS and only Apple approves and stringently tests which apps get to be out in the market, this makes for a very stable system. Which I really do like.

But now we come to what I really don’t like. The teeny tiny screen. It’s something like 3×2 inches and because of that I find my eyes starting to blur after continuous use. Burning, itching eyes I do not find pleasant. So I’d like a larger screen and as far as I’m concerned Apple dropped the ball when they updated the iPhone 5. The phone is the same width and maybe a little taller. Not sure what the new screen size is, but I’ve played with it and there really isn’t much of a difference when you’re suffering eye strain issues. Yes, I’m going to see my eye doctor this Saturday, but I’d really like a bigger screen and not Coke bottle thick prescription lenses. Besides, that doesn’t really solve my fat thumbs on their tiny virtual keyboard issue. now does it? As someone who hates typos, I want a larger keyboard, too. And I won’t get that with an iPhone 5 that is the same width as my phone. The problem isn’t the horizontal distance between keys but the vertical distance between the rows. And that hasn’t changed.

So I’m looking at a new phone. Androids, supposedly, have improved a lot in nearly 2 years and some sources say their OS surpasses iOS in various ways. Plus, they have these phablets or whatever they’re calling these new devices that are a cross in size between a large smartphone and a small tablet.

In an age when Mankind has tried furiously to miniaturize everything (I had heard in Europe, cellphones had reached postage stamp size before the smartphone craze hit), phablets seem a step in the other direction.

So I’m looking at a few of the phablets, like the Samsung Note and the industry’s current competitive response with a wave of larger smartphones. They all seem to do the job: provide an easier to see screen and a larger virtual keyboard.

But then I played with a Windows 8 phone. I’ve been leery of Windows phones because, well, its Windows. They are the antithesis of Apple. Whereas everything Apple works well together and you can always expect predictable high performance between hardware and software, with Windows nothing is predictable and nothing is perfectly compatible. I have spent literally years of my life troubleshooting Windows related problems. Why won’t this print? Why can’t I see the network? Where’s my email? And so on and so forth.

In this day and age we shouldn’t have to put up with such unreliable shit. And yet we do. Complaining all the while.

So does it make sense for me to even consider a Windows phone? No. Especially when Windows 8, which is on my oldest son’s recent laptop acquisition completely baffled me to tears as I tried to set it up for him. I finally gave up and just told him he had to figure it out.

So why a Windows phone? I don’t know, but the little bit I played with it they seemed very responsive and the layout seemed clean. Plus, Nokia has a Windows phone and I’ve always heard good things about Nokia but Verizon hasn’t carried them in ages. Granted they aren’t phablets but they’re still comfortably larger than my itsy bitsy teeny weeny iPhone screen.

So I’ll be researching those phones as well as Android. I’ve already run across Windows reviews by h8ers, who just rip on the phones without any real justification.

One small issue is its voice recognition capability is primitive when compared to SIRI and what Android offer. Fine. I rarely use Siri anyway. It’s more of a novelty for me. I can live without it.

And then there are the strange reviewers who complain about a lack of apps — then mention Spotify and Instagram as examples. Wait, do people still use Instagram? Really? And I tried Spotify, but couldn’t figure out why I needed it.

As long as it has Evernote I’ll be happy.

So feel free to let me know what smartphone you use, if you’re happy with it, and why. I’m curious and I’ll add it to my pros and cons.

Plus, I’m easily influenced by peer pressure.

Not.

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Writing, editing, and the frustrations of being a writer with a smartphone

I had purchased an iPhone back in December 2011 to replace the Samsung Galaxy S that was giving me all sorts of problems — irreconcilable differences, so to speak. It was a 32 Gig 4s. I figured I’d be able to do all sorts of writing and editing and stuff like that there on it.

Well, over a year later and I still haven’t found a decent word processing app that is compatible with Libreoffice (or the defunct OpenOffice) .odt files, which is what I use on my laptop.

I’ve tried several programs. Dropbox is just for storage. It doesn’t recognize the .odt format when I try to open it. An app called Documents will download the file from Dropbox but it doesn’t open it. So basically, Documents turned out to be worthless.

I’ve tried to use Google Docs (now Google Drive) with Google’s Chrome browser. I can access the documents and do rudimentary editing, but its extremely slow and difficult to navigate around the document with just your finger. Sometimes it just has a mind of it’s own and goes back to the beginning and if its a long document, scrolling back to the place you were editing using tiny finger flicks on the tiny doc screen that shows above the keyboard is very frustrating and time consuming.

Then Google introduced a Google Drive app. Less twitchy than using Chrome to access my documents, but the screen won’t rotate so you’re stuck editing in a vertical position on a narrow 1-7/8ths inch keyboard. It is annoying as hell and this is also my biggest gripe about the Facebook app. FIX THE ROTATION, DICKHEADS! (That sudden outburst applies to Google Drive and Facebook, by the way.)

I just downloaded a pay app called Open Word that sounded promising, because it can do .odt files and it can also access Google Doc files, but it’s just as twitchy when working with G-Docs as Chrome is and actually appears to be the exact same interface.

As far as opening .odt docs through Dropbox, when I do it offers a few navigational tools that I didn’t get from Chrome or Google Drive, such as arrows to move the cursor up, down, left or right within the text in addition to the standard finger swipe. The main problem with this app is SEEING your text. There is a standard menu bar on top, like you’d get if you were using a Windows or iOS program, complete with “File,” “Edit,” “View,” “Insert,” “Format,” “Table,” and “Tools.” (I haven’t fully explored these yet.) The issue comes in when you click on the Keyboard icon and the keyboard appears for editing — you can’t SEE the text any more! It’s hidden because of the File Menu on top and the keyboard on the bottom, leaving only about three lines of text visible. WTF? Who can do any serious editing that way?

So, as far as being a valuable tool in my writing repertoire, the iPhone fails big time. At least in regards to the apps I’ve so far found and tried.

The main issue here is the size of the screen, which I don’t think any app, no matter how marvelous, can ever overcome. The iPhone’s screen is just too small for serious writing and editing. Sure, the iPhone 5 is slightly taller, but I doubt that will help any. My problems with the screen are two-fold. One, my eyes start burning from the strain of staring at the little itty-bitty screen and two, typing is a frustrating bitch — a complete aggravating pain in the ass. My thumbs are just too big and I’m constantly touching the wrong keys, most notably when I try to space and I end up with periods or Ns or what have you. And if you’re trying to type in the Open Word app I spoke of, and the text is hidden by the keyboard, you have no idea of the mess you’ve just caused.

That’s one point for my old Galaxy S. My typing mistakes are extreme on the iPhone 4S. And since I’m a writer, typing is very important to me. So for that reason alone I’m thinking of switching phones, however, now I hear Apple talking about releasing new iPhones, maybe even several different models for the first time ever — each with different qualities, such as a larger screen. I haven’t looked into this so don’t quote me, I only caught a blurb on the news. But if that’s the case, it could be just the thing Apple needs in light of all the big screen smartphones out there.

The things I like about the iPhone? It’s the very things many people hate about Apple — their propensity toward making everything proprietary — the fact that they control nearly every aspect of their product from the hardware to the software. Why do I like that? Because if you buy an Apple product you know it’ll work all the time. When you download apps that they vigorously tested, you know it’ll work all the time. When you buy an Apple accessory, when you hook it up, you know it’ll work all the time.

With my Samsung, I ran into so many problems with apps not functioning properly. And if I took it in, the Verizon people would say there was nothing they could do except refresh it back to factory standards. They had no way of knowing which app it was that was causing the problems so I’d have to blow everything away, then load each app, one at a time, to make sure each worked properly until I loaded the next. Except this didn’t guarantee anything because as soon as an app upgraded, the upgrade could cause problems and again — there was no way of knowing which one it was!

I can’t tell you how many times I had to refresh that stupid Galaxy S and start from scratch. I have NEVER had to do that with my iPhone.

And my iPhone is a much better PHONE than the Samsung ever was. Reception was fair with the Samsung, but it just didn’t get loud enough for me. When I was talking to someone, I couldn’t turn it up enough to hear them in crowded situations. The iPhone gets plenty loud and even better than that, I can turn it up with physical mechanical buttons that work! The Samsung didn’t have mechanical buttons, it used software, which always seemed glitchy. I’d have to hold the phone just right at this angle where it was perpendicular to the ground, while waiting for the phone’s touchpad to appear, and then, if the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars, I’d be able to raise the volume.

But still not enough to hear anything!

But those are all design flaws that maybe, just maybe, Samsung has addressed.

Because, as I said, I need a bigger screen. and I’m liking the looks of the larger Samsungs and that giant LG, although I heard that one performs like crap. I want something I can write on. I don’t take my laptop with me anywhere. And if I got a tablet, it would only have WiFi, not 3G or 4G or whatever G is there when I get around to buying one and I need connectivity to do my writing and I’m not always in a WiFi spot. Nor would I always have my table with me.

I always have my phone with me.

So now the research begins, to see who gets my business: Apple, Android, Windows 8, or … Blackberry. OK, you’re right. I couldn’t keep a straight face when I said that, but if I had said Palm, you’d have known for sure I was kidding. Blackberry at least still almost sounds reasonable.

Here’s hoping I find something I’ll be happy with longer than one year, which is how long I had the Galaxy S before getting so frustrated I got the iPhone and how long I’ve had the iPhone.

Anyone have any ideas of a good writer’s phone?

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A Convert

What is someone called who enjoys new tech? Seeks it out. Is the first to own it? I’m too lazy to look it up, but the opposite is a technophobe, someone who fears technology. So for this blog post, I’ll refer to myself as a techie.

I’ve always been fascinated with new technologies. In grade school in the 1960s, I had a transistor radio. AM only and it was about the size of a paperback book. Yes, I know, now you can get a iShuffle that holds how many gigabyte of data and it’s the size of a postage stamp. Who’s telling this story, anyway? Now sit down and shut up.

This was the beginning of miniaturization. The transistor was only 20 years old and we won’t go into the bitter details of how America focused on military uses leaving Japan to virtually create the home entertainment field with Sony leading the way with the first transistorized radio.

And I had one in grade school. Later, in high school, I was the first to have an LED watch. It had those red square numbers and glowed. Well, here’s a picture:

First LED watch

After that, I moved quickly to the LCD watch. Then I was the first to have a calculator watch, complete with this game where numbers would descend and you’d have to “shoot” them down by pushing the corresponding number on the keyboard. It even had some cool beeps.

Cascio calculator watch

OK. Enough with the watches already. I was also into music and aside from the transistor radio, later I had a handheld cassette player (sort of an early boombox) that I carried around in High School and blasted Hawkwind from. Later, when I could afford it, I started buying stereos. I had a Yamaha receiver and some of the first speakers from a start-up company called Polk Audio.

I was one of the first to have the Sony Walkman. This was 1979 and the world was never the same again. Sure, it was the same size as the transistor radio I had had back in grade school, but I could play cassettes! Through headphones! And get this, those headphones weren’t the huge Koss hardshell things that weighed 5 pounds and dented your head with continued use, these were tiny little headphones — the precursor to the earbud, believe it or not.

1979 Sony Walkman

I think we’ve established I’m a techie at this point. I had an Atari 400, one of the first game systems. I had a thermal print typewriter that had one line of text it held on a small display until it was ready to type. When I could afford it, I had one of the first 286 computers. It had a massive 20 megabyte hard drive. So big MS-DOS couldn’t support it and it had to be partitioned into two hard drives! Now, I have games on my smartphone that wouldn’t fit on that hard drive! But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

In college, I learned MS-DOS and how to use programs on it. the C:/ prompt was my friend and I knew all the special codes you needed to know to get your computer to do it’s work. And here’s the point I want to make, I was learning how to desktop publish using MS-DOS and the associated programs. Becoming skilled at it. And then Apple introduced the Macintosh. You didn’t need to know computers. It had this graphical user interface and now anyone without any knowledge could do what I did. You didn’t need to learn some archaic computer language to get it to work.

I hated it. Hated Apple and it was a hatred to last the next 27 years.

Anyway, I evolved (or stagnated, take your pick) with the MS-DOS computer. Windows 1! Windows 2! Windows 3! (Truth be told there were other, better examples of GUIs those days. I had a favorite, but forget it’s name now. Faster, more versatile, and hell, more stable than Windows ever would be. But it didn’t have Microsoft’s marketing muscle. Maybe it was GEOS.) Of course, everything Microsoft tried to do was merely a pale imitation of what Macintosh was already doing.

But I still hated Macintosh. I even worked at my job with Macintosh. Shared a desk with a Macintosh. But I preferred the PC.

And technology marched on. We were the first home in our neighborhood to be wired for cable. Then comes the cellphone. Each one more advanced then the previous. I had one of the first touchscreen phones. No, not the iPhone, an LG. But yes, it was the same year the iPhone had been released. I hated Apple, remember? Well, let me tell you. That touchscreen LG sucked! I mean, it was cool at first. Look! I touch the screen and it opens my music. Opens my camera. Opens my photo gallery. Oh, look. It’s slow. It’s not very sensitive. I’m touching you, dammit! Feel me!

So then I moved on to a smartphone. The iPhone you ask? NO! Dammit! What part of hate Apple don’t you get? No. Just last year I picked up an Android phone. One of the latest. Samsung’s hot new Galaxy S. It was amazing. Apps! It was responsive. It was a wonderful device. Until it started hanging. And I’d have to pull the battery to get it to work. Then I’d have to pull the battery to make a phone call. And I’d have to pull the battery to … no, that didn’t help.

So I went to the Verizon store. What’s wrong with my Android? It’s now running slow. It hangs. Freezes. Makes me pull the battery. “Oh,” he says. “Sometimes if the Android software updates, or an app updates, for whatever reason, they become incompatible and it causes those issues.” So, we just take out that one app, right? “No. We can’t know what app it is.” How do we fix it? “We’ll have to do a factory reset. You’ll lose all your apps and have to start again.” Oh. Great. Something about that just doesn’t seem right. But now I had to factory reset it. Some app was causing problems and no one knew which one. I could either delete them one at a time or just do the refresh. I’ve refreshed it 3 or 4 times now. So now, I just keep the basic apps on it. I used to have a ton of wonderful apps. A yoga app for bad backs. Arm exercises. Leg exercises. A walk/run app. Google maps. Google sky. Moon phases app. Along with Netflix. Uverse. Facebook. Twitter. All the social media apps. A cool Captain America shield background. And games for me, for the kids. Stupid zombies. Angry birds. Angry zombies. Stupid birds. Shooters. Puzzles. Fart sounds. Chess. On and on.

But now, I just have the basics. Facebook. Twitter. Because I’m afraid to add new apps. What’s the fun in having a cool smartphone that’s too stupid to know what app is causing problems?

In the meantime my wife had a Blackberry that sucked. Returned it. Got another Blackberry. It sucked. Returned it. Got a Droid 2. It was ok. But then it sucked. So she got a new one (read: refurbished). That sucked almost immediately, but then the kicker, one day it just wouldn’t turn on any more. It was a paperweight. So she needed a new phone, but what? She was sick of Crackberry. Sick of Android. And honestly, who would want a Windows phone? Really? So I can carry the Blue Screen of Death around in my pocket? What? So she went to the dark side. She got a … a … dammit. She went and got an iPhone 4.

And you know what? It hasn’t given her any trouble at all. Everything works smoothly. It’s responsive. Apps launch immediately. And I’ve played with it. It’s addicting. And I started to research it. Why was it so much more stable than my Android?

Why? Because of everything I hated about Apple, that’s why. Instead of being open-sourced, instead of letting anyone make a clone, instead of letting anyone make an app, they kept strong control over everything. Their proprietaryness (is that a word) was their strength! Only Apple created the hardware. Only Apple created the operating system. And the apps, they were stringently tested to make sure they’d work. And since, they only had one hardware manufacturer (whereas Android has Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG, and so on and so forth, so if an app works on Droid, it won’t necessarily work exactly the same on an HTC) they were assured of universal software/hardware happiness.

And that business model finally made sense. They were creating a smartphone, or tablet, or computer that worked predictably day in and day out, for you, for me, for everyone. No blue screen of death or red ring of death. No pulling your hair out trying to get a new printer to shake hands with the old computer. No more reading the fine print on the software box to see if it fits your memory requirements, your system requirements, your particular edition and iteration. Apple makes technology the way it should be: Easy to use. Easy to set-up. Always reliable.

And now, I’m looking to trade-up my Android for an iPhone. Because I want my technology to work. I want to have apps that are stable. I’ve grown tired of having to troubleshoot something every time I add a new program, a new accessory, or a new whatever. Technology should work first time, every time, predictably and reliably. And I can finally admit, I wasn’t getting that with Microsoft. I wasn’t getting that with my Android.

Now I no longer hate Apple. Say! I do like Apple, and I would use it in a box, and I would use it with a fox, and I would use it in a house, and I would use it with a mouse, and I would use it here or there, I would use Apple anywhere!

But I still hate Bose.

But that’s another blog post for another time.

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