Phone Storage Woes, Maybe

Read this article and then come back.

Nougat something or other, I don’t remember the article title.

Sorry… I used to be a teacher. Here, let me summarise for you:

Google is making Android updates go faster. This means less interruptions for updates. It also means more storage space is used on your phone.

“This will use more space on your phone’s internal storage.”

So, my thought? If phone manufacturers, and software developers are going to use more of our storage space, then I think they need to give us more storage space. Like, make a 64gb Nougat phone similarly priced as a 32gb Marshmallow phone. It’s not our fault the Android OS takes up so much space. Don’t tell me it’s a 32gb phone but the OS takes up half the storage space!

This has always irked me. But seeing as hard drives are generally cheap, it’s never been that big of a deal for me. Especially now with my 3TB hard drive!

The real problem with an OS taking up so much space comes into play mostly just with phones and tablets. SSD’s are still pretty expensive, so manufacturers put the smallest chips possible in their phones. The phones with more storage cost more primarily because of the storage increase. And this is a problem for two reasons:

One

Look at Apple. They have a 16gb iPhone… iOS literally takes up almost half of the storage space. It’s fairly similar for Android and Windows, but neither are so big as to render half of your storage unavailable to you. Until now. That is. Android will soon be so big (it’s going to have 2 system partitions) that a 16gb or even a 32gb storage chip will be left with only enough room for a few apps, some songs, and maybe 1 downloaded map (I’m not the only one who pre-downloads maps, right?). Bigger OS, less space for your stuff… on your phone.

Two

They’ve been playing this game for a while. There’s the technical aspect of system software needing storage space so of course it’s going to take up space on your SSD which means you won’t really have the amount of storage it says on the box because thats just how it works. But there’s also the side each one of these companies is exploiting. “The new and improved iDroid Phone, with 128gb of storage!” Only, you find out the OS, system files, recovery partitions, and backup storage takes up half of that so you only have 64gb of storage space available to you. You notice that you don’t have the amount of space you thought you were going to get and you complain. “C’mon! Every idiot knows the system files takes up storage space! Get with the program grandma!”

Three

Wait… I said there were only two. Oh well: THREE! another problem with all of this is that the industry doesn’t think of it as a problem. Microsoft got in deep water one year when a new Version of Windows was set to take up 10gb of hard drive space. With a 3TB hard drive, that’s not a problem. But with the 80-120gb hard drives of the time being normal (but quickly jumping to 320gb and beyond on newer PCs) 10gb of storage space lost to the system files was huge. Especially when mp3’s, video games, and other software quickly ate up storage. Microsoft made the next version “lighter” and has since kept the required system space as small as possible, for fear of backlash. Yet, Android is proposing a system that will take up more space on your phone. The benefit? You don’t have to wait 15 minutes for the phone to update. You know, because Android users don’t ever sleep, so the phone can’t update overnight or anything… It’s just strange that people don’t know, or they don’t seem to care about how much space Android takes up and how companies like Google just play off the ignorance of their customers. “That 16gb phone run out of space? You should upgrade to the newest phone with 64gb of storage. That’ll be $299.99. C’mon, it’s only 200 bucks. You can swing that every six months, right? 😉 

My plan has always been one that is very simple. I think what phone manufactress should do is put two SSD’s into their phones. One just big enough for the OS, system files, recovery partition, and maybe a little extra space for updates. Then the other SSD would be just for my stuff. A whole 64gb chip just for my apps, music, games, pictures, videos, and whatever else I want to put on my phone. We can already move many apps to an SD card shoved into our phone. And I can’t believe that having two “drives” in a phone would be any more difficult than doing it on a desktop. You’d just have to write the software to take advantage of the setup.

Ok. Rant over. I think that was a rant. It started out as a comment to the above article. But the app wouldn’t let me post the comment for some reason. So, WordPress to the rescue!

-Diggs out

Official Support Destroys Choice

I’m going to say something you will most likely vehemently disagree with. (look at me using big words… Hopefully correctly…)

I love Internet Explorer.

Ok, maybe “love” is a strong word. Lets say I prefer to use IE. I just do. Maybe it’s my rebellious nature. How can I rebel to the most widely used (and somehow the most widely hated) web browser? It’s simple really, but not obvious to the typical computer user.

I work in technology and education. Whatever you hear about corporations needing IE for legacy applications is most likely true. However, try and find one educational website which actively supports IE and you will quickly and sorely be out of luck. They say their web applications and websites “should” work in any modern web browser. IE has been a modern web browser since IE9, supporting the newest HTML 5 and CSS 3 standards… right? So, what’s the problem?

The problem is that some web developer drank the Google cool-aide and began writing code which utilized Google API’s and the special way that Google’s Chrome browser engine handles the different HTML and CSS web elements. Then, he tested his web apps and sites in Chrome and it all works great. He used standard code, so the website should work well in any modern web browser… right?

Here’s my biggest peeve with this:  if all these educational websites officially support Chrome, redirect you to Chrome, ask if you’re having the same problems in Chrome, wonder if your organization could possibly switch to another web browser, such as, oh, I don’t know, there are so many, say, maybe,… Chrome, then is there really choice here?

Of course there is! The developers get to choose what platforms and browsers they support. But the end user, the consumer, does not get to choose. Unless you call barely getting to use a website and all of it’s features because you chose a web browser you like – whereas the website only technically runs properly in another browser – a choice. That’s a choice, right?

In essence what I’m trying to say is that while people like to choose what browser they use (or more specifically they want to use something else besides IE), in reality the developers have chosen which browser you will (or won’t) use because they officially support certain browsers over others. Choosing to use IE puts me in a place where some websites (especially all these educational websites) don’t function properly, or some of their features are useless. This isn’t IE or Microsoft’s fault. It is the fault of the web developers who choose to only support one web browser. Official support of web browsers – something, like the Internet, which is supposed to be about user preference, open to everyone, and standardized so the WWW works across the globe – essentially destroys choice. You want to use regular websites that claim to be accessible to everyone across the web? Better make sure you use the browser they chose for you.

My Issues With Early Adopters

Here’s something I wrote a while back…

Today, I went browsing the Internet looking for the release date for Windows Phone 7.8 for my Nokia Lumia 900. While on my search, which turned up no useful information, I once again ran into posts by people blaming Nokia for letting them down (by not allowing them to update their current generation Nokia phones to WP8). As always the commentors were furious, unforgiving, and redundant. Obvious issues with updating current gen phones and the state of OS updates and rollout schedules aside, there seemed to be a missing component to the whole argument.

Lots of people like to remind these ardent commentors of the fact that technology changes very rapidly. As such, cell phones come out which use updated software and top of the line hardware, but are shortly outdated by a new version of software which requires newer hardware. Much like computers…

I can recall a day when you would purchase a computer with the best processor, highest RAM, biggest hard drive, and most powerful graphics engine. The next week a new computer would come out which had twice as good specs but still costs about the same. And I got to thinking about all the other things which run similar cycles.

You buy the newest vacuum cleaner, they come out with one that has better suction and more attachments. You buy a new car, the next model year gets better gas mileage and has more room. You buy a TV, video game system, blender, radio, or even furniture and the companies come out with new versions and models. That is how they make money. It is also coincidentally what happens as companies do research and development on their products. These companies aren’t trying to rip us off (mostly). They are trying to out-do their competitors by releasing better products. They are trying to give consumers more choice. They’re trying to provide us with more powerful devices that hog less energy and perform more tasks more efficiently. If they just did research and development forever without releasing a device, you wouldn’t have a device to complain about anyway.

So, that’s my grief today.

Bye.

Get over the Windows 8 release already!

There are too many people whining about the fact that the Nokia Lumia 900 has been out for about half a year, and they’re already coming out with the next handset. The Nokia Lumia 920 has better specs and will run the new, supposedly non-backward compatible Windows Phone 8 OS. And ya, its coming out soon. So, that means people like myself have to bare with the fact that my awesome Lumia 900 will soon be outdated. However, despite all the coolness which is the Lumia 920 you won’t see me crying like a little girl who got pushed down on the playground by her future ex-husband.

Let me give you all a history lesson: decades ago someone came out with a handheld computing device. I forget what it was called. Then Apple released the Newton. It was an atrocious device with laughable handwriting recognition, and very difficult input methods otherwise. It bombed hard. Then the company known as 3com developed handheld computers most people would confuse with Palm Pilots nowadays. Not surprising since 3com sold to US Robotics who would later turn their mobile department into Palm, Inc. Then, the PalmPilot and the PalmOS was born. For many years Palm and Microsoft (with their many mobile offerings including Windows CE and the phone OS based on it, Windows Mobile) both held dominance in the mobile category becoming known as smart phones. Palm, Dell, HP, and a handful of others were the only ones making smart phones. Nokia had Symbian, and they did very well (what, with, like 1,000% market share in the cell phone world), but then came Research in Motion, or RIM for short, along with the BlackBerry smart phone. They soon overtook the smartphone market since they were easier to use, at least without a stylus, and much adored by IT departments and the large corporations they worked for.

At this point, Apple had lost the smartphone battle. Also at this point, Google was beginning to work on a little project known as Android… That is, they began Android before Apple began working on the iPhone. If that’s true, then why was there (and why does there continue to be) such fanfare over the Apple iPhone? It has very little to do with Apple or the “innovations” of the iPhone, and more to do with the iPod. The iPod was probably the best thing to happen to music (at least from the consumers point of view). It was simple to use, simple to control, and simple to load with your favorite songs. The mere idea of an iPod phone was nothing short of fantasy, though. It was impractical for Apple to make a smartphone. However, as you well know, they did it anyway. It wasn’t the fact that it was an Apple device, though, that made it such a success. It did have intuitive navigation, and nice first party “apps” as they came to be called. But the thing that drove iPhone sales was the fact that this was the much anticipated iPod phone. The entire Internet community had envisioned every possible concept for an iPod phone. It was talked about before Apple began actually working on it (supposedly). This is a device people had been waiting for: an iPod that is also my phone. Not even a year later, the iPhone was no longer “my iPod that I can make phone calls with.” It was now THE go-to smartphone for everyone who wanted to latest, most coolest… app (ha, you thought I was going to say “technology”). Why no fanfare over Google’s offering?

Even though Google had many strong points in it’s Android operating system, besides beginning work on the OS before Apple did, Apple got their device to market first. Once the Google Nexus was finally released, on a small network known as T-Mobile no less, everyone wanted the “iPod phone.” Google also had to suffer from the envy of Apple lovers who wished for the open-ness of Android. Apple fan boys favorite retort was “Google stole that from the iPhone.” To this day, this argument makes no sense. Palm was using icons arranged in rows and columns for years before the iPod, much less the iPhone. They also allowed one to use the stylus to “slide” web pages up or down instead of using a scroll bar or arrow key. They also sold applications, played music and videos, browsed websites, synced e-mail, and had touch screens. Not to mention, Google began work on the Android operating system before Apple, and released the Nexus not long after. There was no time for Google to re-craft Android to mimic the iPhone. And why would they want to anyway. Android is running under a different philosophy.

If you don’t like the stock messaging app, you can replace it with a third-party app from the Marketplace (now Play store). You can do this with the browser, email, calendar, and even the home screen or the app market. You can also access root folders (the folders with all the system information in them) and change nearly anything! Of course, this comes at a price: you must be a Linux genius (or at least think you’re one) and if you mess anything up, you could ruin the whole phone. The iPhone, on the other hand, is locked down so neither you nor app developers can mess with system files. Android proponents will claim you lose functionality with this kind of software Nazi-ism. However, if you are unsure of what you are doing, and want something that is simple and just works, you should go with the iPhone.

Now, the whole reason for this post: the Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 device. It’s coming out soon; too soon for some Lumia 900 owners. Lots of people are whining and complaining about this apparent oversight on Nokia and Microsoft’s side of things. But the facts remain the facts:

  • Microsoft is playing catch-up, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Windows Phone 7 OS is butt-kicking awesome.
  • The Windows Phone 7 devices are a little short on the specs when compared to the top of the line Android devices, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Windows Phone 7 OS is sleek, and (unlike the desktop OS sometimes) it just works.
  • If Apple had done this before (you can’t tell, but I said that sarcastically) no one would be whining about it. Sure, they’d be a little upset, but not so upset as to write a letter to Nokia and AT&T telling them they’re going to drop them for eternity.
  • You can’t compare Windows Phone 7 (or 8 for that matter) to Android devices or the iPhone. You have to compare the WP7 OS to the Android OS and iOS. Why people keep saying the hardware sucks so they went with Android, and then call Android better belittles their own intelligence, apparently without them knowing. That’s like comparing a netbook to OSX. It’s not Windows fault the Netbook has low specs. (although, as I stated earlier, the lower specs don’t seem to make much of a difference)

The most important fact of all: my opinion. Not because I’m better than you, but because I have owned all three devices, and thus have used all three OSes. I love the Nokia Lumia because A.) it’s the lovely, snappy, simple, elegant Windows Phone 7.5 OS, and B.) because it merges with my Live, Bing, Xbox, Hotmail, Windows, Office, SkyDrive, and all around Microsoft-centered life. Here are some other things I have noticed:

  • Angry Birds runs great on my Lumia, and obviously ran great on my iPhone. However, not so great on my HTC Aria or my Samsung Galaxy Captivate, both Android phones.
  • I could make my ringtone whatever I wanted on my Android phones, along with messaging tones, alerts, alarms, etc. On my iPhone I found this very difficult, although I could do it. On my Lumia, it’s similar to what I had to go through for the iPhone,  but unlike the iPhone I have to use the stock alert sounds. Only custom ringtones for me.
  • I replaced my messaging app on my Android phones, along with my browser. That is, I changed the default app to a third-party app to handle all that kind of information. My messaging app (Handscent) also allowed me to set custom text tones for individual contacts. Neither iPhone nor my Lumia allow this.
  • I gotta say, the fact that I would sync the iPhone, and to some extent the Lumia, to my computer made me feel much better about my data. Sure, I could sync my HTC with my computer using their (very limited) software, but it just wasn’t the same. I never hooked up my Samsung… and that made me sad. However, I don’t really need to hook up my Lumia. The Lumia will start syncing after 10 minutes of being on battery, assuming I’m on my home network with my computer and the computer is on and the Zune software is running. But still. Yes, now the iPhone syncs some stuff with the iCloud, but my sister doesn’t use it because it doesn’t seem to work well. But that’s not first hand info, so we’ll just say “I guess they have that, too, tho…”

Really, in all honesty, neither phone OS is worse than the other. The only thing I can think of which is holding Microsoft back is the low (usable) app count in their marketplace and the apparent lack of any announced backward-compatibility. Putting Android on the Lumia hardware is not an answer to Nokia’s problems. This is all just head games where no one really wins. You are free to like any OS you choose, but you must keep two things in mind: 1.) technology changes faster than you can make up your mind about purchases, so stop whining about updates and upgrades and you’re lack of ability to get them for free; and 2.) quit shittin’ all over my favorite OS until you spend at least a week using it. I’ve read many reviews and blog posts from people who have tried Windows Phone 7 devices only to find out they don’t care about the other phones, because this phone does exactly what they need it to do, and it does it simply and beautifully. Just because you’re an expert on what WP7 lacks that Android or iOS contains, doesn’t make you an expert on WP7.

Now, if that didn’t work, I order you to stop whining about the Lumia 920!

Please.

Good day.