Like a Phoenix…

Welcome to the re-birth!  I know its been awhile.  Frankly for a bit there I didnt know if I even wanted to continue this blog.  After some serious introspective, I realized that I did, just not the way I had been doing it.  So here’s the skinny –

Instead of only reporting on devices that I actually own, I am expanding my topics to any technology that interests me.  I was feeling a trifle stifled (did i just say that?) by limiting myself to my Evo and iPad.  By expanding the blogs scope, there is so much more that I delve into!  Now before you think things are going to get all willy nilly in here, I will tell you that for the realm of this blog, i will keep the topics to Android, iPod, Ipad, Windows 7, Windows Phone 7, OS, and similar areas.

That being said, you can be sure this will always be your information spot for Android.  I will always be an Android fan.  Just now it will be more than just info about my current phone LOL  So thanks those of you that have patiently waited for my return, and thanks those of you that were bored and clicked the link for the hell of it.  Stay tuned for some good stuff!

Ciao!

I’m FREE! … Well kinda…

I jail broke my iPad. Seriously. Well actually a friend of mine did, as he has done it before successfully, and he offered. The first time ended in a frozen iPad as we had both neglected to insure that I had updated to the latest iOS version (3.2.2). So a lengthy restore and several hours later (overnight), he tried it again. This time it was a definite success.

Wow. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal as I was perfectly happy with my iPad as it was. I had come to grips with it's limitations and learned to work within their boundaries. But I have to admit, I was getting more and more curious as why to more and more people were jailbreaking, and were very happy with the choice. So when my friend offered, I had the precut excuse to do it. I am so glad I did...

First of all, it was ridiculously easy. I could have/should have done it myself. I didn't even have to restore when it was done. Went right in to playing with it lol

Cydia is amazing. For those that don't know, Cydia is the "alternative" app store for jail broken iPhones, iPods, ipads. 100% legal and legit. Although I'm sure Jobs wishes otherwise. The breadth of categories of apps in Cydia is worth it alone. Way to many to go into in this post, but I'll cover a few that I have installed so far.

SBSettings - must have. Gives you nearly complete control over your iPad. Also adds some useful features that quickly become "can't live withouters".

Backgrounder - multitasking! Of a sort... Forces an active app to the background, still active. Works great! I can truly surf the web, or look through Flipbook, and listen to iheartradio at the same time! This alone was worth jail breaking for me.

Winterboard - gives you even more control over how iOS acts. Not 100% converted for the iPad yet, so not everything works quite yet, but still worth the download.

Activator - adds all kind of gesture control. Swipes, pinches, scrolls, can all be assigned.

I'll delve deeper into Cydia and jail breaking as I learn more. For now my consensus is DO IT! Of course, nothing is without risk and YOU assume the risk if you try jail breaking. Don't make me say I told you so...

Ciao!

My Time is Valuable…

I’ve had my HTC EVO now a few weeks.  Ive done about everything I can think to do with it, really put it through the “paces”.  Tried out several apps and widgets on it.  Took a gazillion pics with it.  I would say that qualifies me to have an “educated” opinion about the device, wouldn’t you agree? [of course you would! c’mon!]

Well my honest opinion is this:  this phone is freaking awesome!  Absolutely the best phone I have ever owned hands down!  I love this phone!.. I know, I sound like a fan boy.  I am aware of that.  Dosent change the fact that this is arguably [only by people who dont have the EVO lol] the best phone on the market today.  But… it does have a fault.  And its a big enough one to be a deal breaker for some folks.

Battery life.  The battery life on the HTC EVO, to put it plainly, sucks.  If I turn off ALL of the cool features, and only use 3G [which isnt a problem since 4G hasnt come to my city as of yet], i still only get about 6, maybe 7 hours with MODERATE use.   Moderate meaning some texting, light net usage, email, some twitter and some Facebook checking.  No video, no streaming music, no gps, no live wallpaper, etc.  Isnt that the reason I got the phone?  To be able to use all that stuff?  Whats up with that HTC?

So I’d been doing some research about extended batteries as that seemed like the most efficient solution. There are several out there, most notably Seidio and Mugen, but seemed overly pricey and huge.  Yes I know you get what you pay for.  I wanted cheap.  This was mostly an experiment.  So anyway I kept searching and found a few more names I’d never heard of.  Some of them seemed kind of obscure or had questionable feedback.  About to get frustrated, I stumbled upon [obvious pun lol] this one by Accessory One on Amazon.  The feedback looked decent, the battery size looked good (2200mAh, the original battery is 1500mAh), and the price was great!  So I ordered it.

Got it last night.  Delivery was fast.  When I unpacked it, the first thing I noticed was that the included battery door looked pretty good.  Even has that soft touch material on it like the original door.  That was a concern of mine.  The EVO is a damn sexy phone and I didnt want to muck it up with a jacked up battery door. [the new battery door is necessary as extended batteries are physically larger than the original battery]  The second thing I noticed was when I installed the new battery, it registered as nearly a full charge on my phone. *Dont let that fool you!  The Evo is setup to read 1500mAh as a full charge so you have to let the new battery charge up to 2 hrs longer to fully charge it* After letting charge at least 10 hours over night, I was eager to see the difference today.  Leaving the settings as I had them with the old battery, with approximately the same amount of activity, I can say its been nearly 12 hours and I still have a smidgen of battery life left.  I assume with further discharging cycles, the battery life will improve… theoretically.

So bottom line is so far, Im getting improved battery life with the extended battery.  If this continues to be the case, I may invest in one of the 3500mAh ones from Seidio.  On a side note, for those thinking of purchasing this battery from AccessoryOne, my battery door did arrive with some minor damage.  A couple of the connector tabs were damaged/snapped off, which prevents the door from connecting securely with the phone, leaving a couple of noticeable gaps on opposite corners of the phone.  Nothing dangerous to the phone or anything, just annoying.  I sent them an email this morning, and received a canned response saying they received it and will be contacting me soon.  Still waiting… more to come.

Ciao!

It’s so…. EVOcative!

So I finally upgraded! I know, I know you’re probably saying “about friggin time!” and you’re right. I probably took the longest time I ever have to decide on a new phone. As you may know from my previous post [Its a Quandry it is – 8/31/2010], I was twisted over my top choices: the HTC EVO or the Samsung Epic. Both are top notch, feature packed phones. Both get high marks from the pundits. Both are priced decently. So which did I choose? Well if you couldn’t tell from my ever so witty title (you know you smiled when you read it lol), I picked the iPhone slayer (yeah i said it) known as the HTC EVO.

Let me tell you why. The EVO just had more features and arguably more tech for the buck than the Epic. The EVO comes with 16gb internal and an 8gb card. It has better cameras, BOTH of them. It looks sharper. The Epic looks like a larger Moment. The EVO hotspot can support 8 devices. Not the Epic. I mean I don’t plan on ever connecting that many, but if for the same money, I can… Why not? Finally, I really like HTC Sense. I know there are a lot of you out there who swear by the “pure” android experience, but I love Sense. It just makes Android flow smoother. Oh and the EVO was $50 cheaper than the Epic. I just couldn’t justify paying that much more for a phone that was less tech wise, and was a slider. I don’t need a physical keyboard and every slider ive ever had eventually developed issues with the slide mechanism. Even with the awesome screen on the Epic (which I have to admit is freaking amazing!), it wasn’t enough to swing me away from the EVO. Did I mention the kickstand? My phone has a kickstand like my old Schwinn did! How cool is that?

So ive had the EVO for about a week. First impressions have been pretty much as expected. The only slight disappointment has been the battery life. Now having been around Android phones since the beginning I knew not to expect stellar usage times. And I’m the type of person that keeps my phone on charge when ever I’m in the car. Still it barely makes it through the day with moderate use. The good news is that is so far the ONLY negative I have found with this phone! Its way fast compared to my retired HTC Hero. even on 3G it’s much faster than the Hero. Next to my friends iPhone 4, web pages seemed to start to load faster on the EVO, but finished loading about the same time. Haven’t tested it on 4g yet as it’s not in my area yet (what’s up with that Sprint?). The cam is very responsive and takes great pics. Love the improvements of v2.2. Live wallpapers is neat for about the first day or so, till you realize it’s a battery killer lol

I am very happy with the upgrade and would recommend the EVO to anyone wanting the latest in Android. Don’t get me wrong, the Samsung is also an awesome phone, if you want a physical keyboard and a crazy clear screen. That’s the beauty of choice right?

Ciao!

Ps. Oh yeah, I made the “iPhone slayer” comment just to rile some of you up lol if you’ve been reading my posts, you know my stance on any one phone being the “best” phone out there 😉

Its a Quandry it is…

So the time has come for me to upgrade my phone to a newer model. Nothing is particularly wrong with the old phone (HTC Hero running v.2.1). It still does the job, although it has developed some annoying little quirks as of late, which i attribute to being underpowered to run v.2.1. That aside, my initial choice for the replacement was going to be the HTC EVO as I am a Sprint customer. It was a given, hands down. First 4G phone, fastest processor, huge screen, and HTC product, hotspot creation! It was the god phone! The choice was a no-brainer. Now not so much…

[image via Android Trek]

Enter the Samsung Epic
It is everything the Evo is, PLUS a brighter screen AND a slider keyboard. Or is it? From the average consumers point of view, yes. But if you dig a little deeper, the differences magically appear. First of all, and probably the most important, lets examine the screen. EVO has a 4.3 screen, Epic a 4.0. Both at 480×800. You have hot to see them side by side. The Epic screen is amazing! Dont get me wrong, the EVO screen is incredible also, but next to the Epics screen, it is clearly in second place.

The processor speed on both phones is comparable, but I’d have to give the edge to the Epic. Is it enough of a difference to matter to the average Joe? I dont think so. So web pages load in 5 seconds instead of 8. The next difference is in the cameras. EVO sports a 8mp main cam and a 1.3mp front cam. Epic is rocking a 5mp main cam and a VGA front cam.[VGA? seriously?] Again, probably wont make that big of an issue for the average user.

The final difference worth noting is the hotspot ability. HTC says the EVO can maintain up to 8 separate devices on its hotspot. Samsung says the Epic can do 5. Again I say not a deal breaker as I dont plan on providing the neighborhood with access. There are several other minor differences that I feel are a matter of aesthetic preference more than anything else. For a good visual comparison check out this video…

Im going to try to get some more hands on with both phones before I make my decision. I have to admit, the EVO isnt the clear choice anymore. Like I said, its a quandry…

Ciao!

Does it really matter?

[Warning: Opinionated rant follows.  People with narrow minds or tunnel vision should probably stop here. No, seriously.  You guys should probably go read a Dilbert cartoon or something.]

Why must everything be so divisive?  Why must the Apple fanboys dislike the Android geeks who mock the Crackberry addicts?  I mean really, does it matter?

[image via Networkworld]

Personally, I think diversity is not only good for competition and consumer choice, but also good for the technology!  Without the intense rivalries, mobile innovations would not be occurring nearly as fast and as prolifically as they have been the last few years.  As a consumer, I love having several comparable choices, dont you?

What I can do without is the fanatical, quasi-religious, chest thumping rhetoric extreme that some smartphones fans go to.  The lengths that some folks reach for to defend their phone of choice is frankly, both hilarious and frightening.  I love my phone, which happens to be a HTC Hero; an Android phone.  I personally think that Android is the best mobile OS available currently.  If you happen to disagree (which im sure many of you do), thats FINE.  I dont hate you.  I dont question your intelligence, or assume the lack of.  I’m not going to jump on a soapbox and shout Android love to the heavens.  If you make inaccurate statements, I may correct you.  Thats about it.

All the rest of that nonsense is unnecessary, childish, and pedantic.  There I said it.  Why?  Simple.  No one company has it 100% right.  Most likely no one ever will.  The will always be one manufacturer that does something better than a rival.  Thats just the nature of the business.  Embrace it.  Release the stress and add a year or two to your life.

Ciao!

The Experience part 2

Well. I’ve had my iPad for roughly 30 days now. Time enough for all of the hoopla to die down some (I did say some), and for me to use the device on a daily basis in a real work setting. So here’s my thoughts…

I am still of the mind that the iPad is not a laptop or even a net book replacement. It is most definitely a media consumption device. Meaning it excels at delivering media: audio, video, Internet. Apple knew what they were doing when they dropped this one on us. That’s why it appeals to the masses so, it makes media into eye candy!

That being said, I must admit, I hardly use my laptop anymore. I definitely never take it with me anymore. There are plenty of critics that say the iPad isn’t productive enough for real work. I beg to differ. I have found there are very few tasks that I can’t fulfill on my device. I can’t modify the appearance of my WordPress blog due to the limitations of Safari (the apple browser), I can’t really upload/download, and of course I can interact with sites that are mostly flash based. I haven’t found those to be deal breakers as of yet. I do nearly all of my blogging on it now. I purchased Pages (The iPad word-processing program) and have written several articles of moderate length with ease. I know I sound like a commercial but I’m just keeping it real. I am decently impressed with the device. Can’t wait for the 4.0 update to see if it improves the experience much.

The iPad has also replaced my beloved iPod Touch. Aft a couple of weeks, I was like “what’s the point?”. The iPad duplicates the Touch in every way and function. Come to think of it, so does my phone (my Hero). I’m never without one of them, so I sold my Touch. Then I held z small memorial service lol

Of course my favorite situation is sitting in a Biggby Coffee, with a super sugar free frozen Mocha mocha, surfing the web and watching CNN on the huge flat screens. The iPad was made for that one hundred percent. As a matter of fact, that sounds good right now!

Ciao!