Saturday, April 27, 2013

Farewell iPhone, Hello Phablet!

I moved my cell-phone service from an iPhone4 to a Samsung Galaxy Note II less than 24 hours ago.  I gave myself two weeks to decide if I wanted to do this for sure.  I am already sure.

Not that it has been a walk in the park.  Permit me to compare the experience of using a cell-phone to leisure travel.  There are two common approaches.  One is to book well-known and mainstream accommodations in large hospitality chains.  One is assured of a certain continuity of experience at that cost of some modicum of local flavor.  Another is to book local accommodations, taking some risk, figuring some things out as you go along.  One is assured an interaction with local flavor, and as one must also assume some risk, and it is necessary to have packed some tolerance for frustration as well, because, to settle in, from time to time, well, it might take a bit of doing.

Some people like to know they'll have a big screen TV and a fluffy bed at the end of their day, preferring to have their adventures during their waking hours and away from the hotel,  some prefer the accommodations also be part of the adventure.  I can be of either mind, I'm not judging here.

So, as you might imagine, the iPhone is the Four Season's, and using Android devices is Aunt Lulu's Hog Pen and B&B.  They both have their charms and it really is a matter of personal taste.  I love the Four Seasons, but I have a better vacation at Aunt Lulu's.

So, I have said it before I owned an iPhone, and after having used one now for twenty-two consecutive months, I am ready to say it again.  Android phones are better for me.  I am already happier with my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 than I ever was with the iPhone, even though the iPhone was super easy to use and required very little attention from day to day.

Another apt comparison comes from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  What is quality?  The two bikes, the BMW that marched in precise step like a well-trained soldier, which was only cracked open at the shop by a hired mechanic?  Or the other bike that required a little tinkering every day but fit like a comfortable shoe?  What's a higher quality bike?  It depends on who you are.

For lots of people, right now in 2013, the iPhone is a better choice.  Lots and lots of people.  Not me.

So, why do i like Android?  I'm in control.  It has the feel of a desktop PC in the way that I interact with it.  I can change the way it does a lot of things.  I can get rid of things I don't use or like.  I can find things that do everything I want a phone to do.  Like I said, it's less than 24 hours later, and the device is just about ready for the street.

I have had problems, one of them really surprising.  This thing doesn't just mount-up like a USB drive when you plug it into a MacBook like a Blackberry will out of the box, and an iPhone will after a quick setting change.  It takes special drivers, software, and it's a real pain on MacOSX, which I am not sure is an accident.  This is one of the many reasons why, and indications that, Apple is jumping the shark technically.  Really Apple?  You have to make your customer's lives harder who use a competitors product in a different category?  Really?  Remember XP and Internet Explorer?  You're going there?

But, it works now, and now that it does, it will be a snap to manage my digital media EXACTLY as I want to and without populating a database over which I have no ownership or control (cf: iTMS Genius data) with my perferences and tastes.  I like this change so much that it doesn't really matter that it was a frustrating mess to set-up.
If you're playing along at home, use the latest version of MacOSX and Android OS you can get your hands on, install Android File Transfer on the Mac AFTER any upgrades/changes to the OS and be sure to re-boot after every set-up change, both machines, the phone and the Mac. Read the help, and the threads on all this on MacOSXHints if you get stuck.
I did not, and will not, install the Facebook app on the device.  I don't trust Facebook.  I don't trust them to protect my privacy, and I don't trust them to program software competently.  I use Facebook via the Chrome browser I installed.  I enables everything I need there, which is mostly uploading pictures and reading the social media feeds from friends and organizations.

On other hand, I am Google's beeyotch.  This device is to some extent a client for my various and sundry Google services, which are considerable.  What a treat and breath of fresh air it is to use a client that speaks the same language and is on the same team.  Brilliant, guys, brilliant.

I still have some problems, it will take a while before this bike runs the way I want it to, but I can ride it now.

I'll post some more about the move later in the process.  Stay tuned.