MonthOctober 2016

Silo


My grandfather used to work in a missile silo. I know he never wanted to be the one to press that button and send death hurtling towards millions of people.
This is a chilling thing to think about and one powerful ad.

I don’t want these flying through the sky.
missile

From the Titan Missile Museum where my grandfather, Marvin Kelly was stationed. His hard hat is on display there. He was giving tours when they spent their winters out there. If you’re ever out there and want to put a human face and a reality to the threat of nuclear war, take a tour of the silo out there.

Android Switcher

Recently, my wife and I switched from AT&T to Google’s Project Fi. Part of the reason for the switch is AT&T’s signal has been terrible at home and at work lately. We also got tired of paying for data we weren’t using and high prices for a plan we didn’t need.

The last straw was when I went online to downgrade our data plan which appeared it would save us about $20 per month. Only to find out it actually increased our bill.

I called customer service and couldn’t understand how that was possible and neither the customer service rep nor the retention specialist could give me a good answer to that. But they offered to give me the extra data back at no additional cost. But I didn’t want to pay $170 for two iPhones and 20GB of data every month. We’re trying to save money. And there seemed to be no way to do that.

To drop below the plan we had would have been a 5GB plan which was slightly too small for what we needed. This is before reports of their new plans coming out, which apparently neither the customer service rep nor the retention specialist were aware of, or able to talk about when I called and spoke to them.

So we decided to try Google’s Project Fi which is a plan provided by Google where you can use a combination of T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular’s networks for unlimited talk and text. Data is $10 per 1GB. You can set a data budget a pre-pay for the data but if you need more, it’s $10/1GB. And if you use less, Fi will refund you the money.

With AT&T, if you have a 5GB plan and you go over, you’re paying $15 for that 6th GB whether you use the entire GB or just a portion of it. With Fi, you pay only for what you use. So if I use 5.2GB, I pay for 5.2GB.

I haven’t used Android since the Motorola Droid. So I was curious to see how Android had come since 2010. I’ve owned a series of iPhones (4, 5 and 6+) in the intervening years. So when a fresh Nexus 5X arrived at my door, I was ready.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about Android since the switch.

Unlock PIN

When I enter a 4-digit unlock code. Why do I then have to press the check mark? Granted with a fingerprint, this is mostly a non-issue. But with the iPhone, it wanted 4 numbers and when I entered them it accepted or rejected it.

Back Button

I like the back button. But I’m never sure if it’s going to take me back a screen in the app I’m using or back to the home screen.

No mute switch

I miss the mute switch. My phone was silent when I was at work or out in public. It vibrated to alert me, it didn’t make a sound. Android is not silent.

Android is chatty

Bing. Boop. Blip. Donk. Everything makes a sound. Everything makes the same sound. I’ve taken to saying every time the alert sound goes off, “Something is happening! What could it be?” As I look at phone to see if it’s Facebook Messenger, Email, SMS, Twitter, Tumblr or some other app notifying me of something.

Facebook Messenger’s Bubbles

Who ever thought it would be a good idea to let Facebook Messenger’s little bubble show up over every single app on the phone should be fired. From a cannon. I can’t stand it. It’s enough to make me want to quit using it altogether.

Notifications

Everything’s a bubble at the top of the screen now. Apps don’t have any visual identifiers that something is waiting for you. I really miss the little red badge on iPhone apps to let me know there’s a message waiting (SMS/Facebook Messenger/email). I forget to reply to people because I don’t remember there’s a new text waiting until I open the app.

Download speed

Audiobooks and song from Spotify fly down to the device. Audiobooks especially seemed to take longer on the iPhone. Even downloading from Spotify to the phone took more time. I assume it has to do with writing to a file system versus however the iPhone handled it, but it’s been a noticeable improvement.

Emoji

I love Apple’s emoji. They were big and beautiful. I texted them to my wife all the time and I loved using them in text. Google’s make me want to cry. They’re tiny and the people look like gelatinous Simpson characters.

Android is Linux

The phone requires tinkering. The phone slows way down sometimes. Pok√©mon Go fails to render animations without struggling at times. The scrolling is iffy. When I press the screen, I have to wait and see if the phone is struggling to fulfill my request or if it’s just sitting there like nothing happened.

Battery Life

The battery life of my Nexus 5X rivals that of my two-and-a-half year old iPhone 4. It’s terrible and I don’t believe in turning off every optional service to make a phone last through the day. A mobile device should have enough power to make it through the day.

Charger can’t keep up

When using Waze navigation in the car with a podcast or music playing, my phone’s battery still drains when connected to a charger. This reminds me of my original Droid from Verizon.