Saturday, May 20, 2017

A tale of three phones

I gave up on the windows phone.  I’ve been faithful to it since the beginning, but my lumia icon was getting long in the tooth, and there didn’t seem to be any new phones on the horizon.  I think the windows phone has the superior operating system, the live tiles UI and the deep linking of app pinning was great. The seamless integration with the windows desktop (outlook, cortana, groove, calendar) made things easy. But the lack of apps and the lack of new hardware and software upgrades finally led me to throw in the towel.

I first experimented with an iPhone 7.  The iOS felt antiquated in comparison, but it had all the apps.  Those apps (outlook, cortana, groove, etc.) were usable, but afterthoughts on iOS.  I found the email, calendaring (keeping work separate from personal) frustrating.  It also lacked what seems like the most basic of features, one that the windows phone has always had. The ability to read and voice respond to text messages over bluetooth, a la cortana.  After a few days of frustration I returned the iPhone.

I settled on the Galaxy S8.  It has all the hardware quality of the iPhone, all of the apps, and more importantly the core apps have deeper integration with android. Not just a standalone afterthought, cortana can replace the default digital assistant.  Outlook and Groove are first class apps. LastPass actually integrates with OS. There are launchers the mimic some of the Live Tile/Metro UI of the windows phone.  In a lot of ways I get the best of both, the ubiquity of the android platform ecosystem with the convenience of the windows phone. It does take a lot of work to figure out how to get everything configured properly. But I think its the phone for windows phone holdouts.  As an added bonus my wireless charger (DT-900) from the lumia icon successfully charges the S8. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Technology never works episode 4

This week my directv dish had to be re-aligned.

Was unable to sync kids iPad mini Just Sing companion app with Just Sing on the Xbox, after countless attempts.

The iPad mini is horrible slow lately, and AirPrint only successfully finds the printer and prints about 20% of the time.

While publishing this post, my wifi adapter crapped out. Took uninstalling, re-installing several times and a few reboots to get it back.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Nostalgic indoctrination

I’m been introducing my kids to favorite movies and shows from my youth, and they’ve had some interesting reactions.  They weren’t given a choice about liking Star Wars, although the indoctrination didn’t work on my daughter. Nevertheless, here are some reviews:

  • E.T. – Liked it
  • Back to the Future – Really liked it.
  • Gremlins – Liked it, but didn’t think it was scary enough.
  • Jaws – loved it.
  • Raider of the lost ark – really liked it.
  • Aliens – it was ok, but long and dull.
  • Big Trouble in Little China – it was ok. “I know, there’s a problem with your face” stuck.
  • The Last Dragon – It was ok.
  • The Black hole – Not great. long and dull.
  • Ghostbusters – really liked it.
  • The Princess Bride – really liked it.
  • The Temple of Doom – really liked it. Ripping the heart out was memorable.
  • Rocky – really liked them all.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Best TV Shows Evah!

This is a list of mostly drama series, otherwise I’d have to include Seinfeld.  Listed in rough priority order.

Great shows:

  1. The Shield
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Six Feet Under
  4. Deadwood
  5. Spartacus
  6. Kingdom
  7. Farscape
  8. Battlestar Galactica
  9. The Walking Dead
  10. Vikings
  11. True Detective (the first one)
  12. Sons of Anarchy
  13. Rome
  14. The Sopranos
  15. Justified
  16. Rescue Me
  17. Babylon 5
  18. The Wire

Good shows:

  1. Lost
  2. Firefly
  3. House of Cards
  4. The Last Kingdom
  5. Marco Polo
  6. Lights Out
  7. Luke Cage
  8. Westworld
  9. Boardwalk Empire
  10. True Blood
  11. Oz
  12. Eastbound and Down
  13. Generation Kill
  14. Mr. Robot

Shows I managed to watch:

  1. Breaking Bad
  2. Jessica Jones
  3. Daredevil
  4. Band of Brothers

Shows I couldn’t stick with:

  1. Hell on wheels
  2. Mad Men
  3. Dexter
  4. Nurse Jackie
  5. Homeland
  6. The White Queen
  7. Newsroom
  8. Curb Your Enthusiasm
  9. Orange is the new Black
  10. American Horror Story

Technology never works chronicles episode 3

The bluetooth mouse connected to my laptop continues to drop connectivity. Sometimes it goes for a weeks working fine, then spends a few days on the fritz. Its on the fritz the last few days, and this leads to complaints from other members of my household.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Technology never works chronicle episode 2

Today the Chrome browser stopped working on my Windows 10 desktop. Uninstalling and re-installing didn’t help. Just hangs as a black box on launch and never opens. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The technology never works chronicle

Technology today is amazing, from smartphones you strap to your face to bring you VR, to drone deliveries, self-driving cars and digital assistants.  Despite the near ubiquity of sophisticated awe-inspiring devices and apps, I nevertheless encounter malfunctions, glitches and failures of technology at such a high rate that it often feels like it never works (when you need it to or expect it to). 

Selective attention

I figured I might start chronicling these failures and frustrations as they occur just to see what the anecdotal evidence suggests.

Day one

PauseCast

On my way home from work, the podcast I was listening to on podcast lounge over bluetooth in my car froze.  Stopping and starting the podcast didn’t work. Nor did switching to a different podcast.  I had to switch to Audible and listen to an audiobook instead.

GlitzoPlex

Today my kids asked to watch a recently recorded home video.  No problem.  I fired up my Vizio SmartTv, selected the Plex app, and viola!  Nothing. Plex hung there on the splash screen indefinitely.  That’s weird, never happened before, so I’ll just shut off the TV and try again.  Nope.  Still stuck on the Plex splash screen.  Eventually, I was able to traverse through some TV system menu’s and find a reset function.  After resetting Plex eventually loaded. But by then the kids had moved on.

ErrorCode771TV

Later, many of my DirectTV stations were either un-viewable, or the ones that were were constantly interrupted by the Searching for satellite error messages. This has been an intermittent problem for a few weeks, and DirectTv support is reluctant to send out a technician so I have to keep resetting the box.

Just to name a few…