Blog entries tagged with "iphone"

Three months with Android

Sunday, October 17th, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Three months ago I switched away from an iPhone to an Android based device. About a week after it arriving by courier the iPhone 4 was released in Australia and I began writing a post about my first week and a bit with the Samsung Galaxy S (SGS).

I didn’t get very far as the week turned into a month, then into two and now into three. Part of my excuse is that the official release of Froyo (Android 2.2) for the phone was imminent. That is still to happen, but of course it will be released for Australia tomorrow now that I have written this post.

So what is the phone like?

To be honest it is nothing special, because it does exactly what I expect from a device of its kind. It does phone calls, text messages and most importantly it has a web browser. Of course it has other features, which have been occasionally useful. These include a camera, playing videos, viewing photos, listening to music and downloadable apps. But these are all expected.

One thing that did surprise me was the Gmail client. At first I still had my email hosted at home so I tried out a few IMAP clients. None of them worked as well as I wanted them to.

However, once I moved my mail up into Gmail I was able to use the Gmail app, which, unlike the IMAP apps I tried, just worked. Actually, no. It didn’t just work, it worked extremely well. It works so well that I am happy to state that anyone reading email on an Android device that isn’t Gmail is doing it wrong.

I would also take that statement the other way, that anyone using IMAP to access Gmail is also doing it wrong. The Gmail model of messages is different enough that IMAP has to make compromises to work at all. I assume there are some people that can make Gmail over IMAP work reliably, but the majority of people don’t and that just seems to cause problems.

But back to the phone…

During the three months I have played around with other aspects of the phone (including SL4A, the Scripting Layer for Android, which allowed me to control the phone using perl) but none have progressed from playing to regular use.

What I have realised from this is that I am too lazy to care about shiny things, I need them to be practical. The SGS has proved to be that, practical.

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Changing to Android

Friday, July 16th, 2010 at 5:37 pm

A week ago I began writing a blog post with the self-explanatory title of “Should I get an iPhone 4?” That post is no longer needed, as in the course of writing it I made the decision to replace my aging iPhone 3G with an Android based device. Specifically the Samsung Galaxy S.

So what has prompted me to change? In order to answer that I took a step back and analysed how I have actually been using my iPhone in the (almost) two years that I have had it.

The easiest way to categorise my usage is to break it down into what icons I have in what areas of the iPhone.

The four icons I have in the dock are:

  • Mail – Checking email is my most common action, this is against my home IMAP server, but I am again considering trying Gmail.
  • Messages – I don’t send many text messages a month, but still an order of magnitude more than voice calls.
  • Safari – Looking up an arbitrary page is also something I do often.
  • Calendar – Follows behind email in regard to usage, this is synced with my Google Calendar.

Many of the icons I have on the various home screens are never used, this is across all of the screens. However, which screen an icon is on does relate somewhat to how much I use it.

Home screen 1:

  • Phone – Mostly to view missed calls, and very occasionally to make a direct call.
  • Photos and Camera – I will take a photo as a reminder (eg of a price tag or similar) and then forget to look at the photos. I also keep a copy of my camera club competition entries as a reminder of what my entries were.
  • Contacts – Occasional lookup in order to make a phone call. It is more useful for caller id of incoming calls.
  • Maps – For looking up maps when I am going somewhere unfamiliar.
  • Clock – To set alarms that fail to wake me up
  • Settings – Should be obvious…
  • LibraryThing – Web link to my book catalog. Has prevented me from getting duplicate books at book sales.
  • iPod – Very rarely I listen to the music I have on the phone.

Home screen 2:

  • eBay – Used more often recently as I decimate the collection.
  • WordPress – Very occasional input of blog post ideas.
  • Metlink – Very occasional use when needing to catch public transport to get somewhere.
  • OZ Weather – Although there now appears to be a full app, I still use the web app version to check the forecast.
  • LaTwit (paid app) – About half of my posts to identica/twitter/facebook are made from here.
  • HOYTS – Link to mobile version of Hoyts site for movie session time. (I also use the mobile version on the desktop as it is much more usable that the full site)

Home screen 3:

  • Facebook – If I am really bored and reading status updates through email isn’t enough, very rare.
  • IMDb – Before or after a movie to check details or look up trivia.

Home screen 4:

  • TouchTerm – Used once or twice to remotely change mail filtering when at a conference.
  • Flickr – Occasional use to search for photos.

From my research so far I haven’t found anything that I use my phone for on a regular basis that Android will not do out of the box. I expect that I will try out a variety of alternate apps, and in a few months I intend to write a followup post.

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A year with the iPhone

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 at 9:26 pm

It has now been over a year since I joined the iPhone bandwagon. It hasn’t changed my life, but it has changed how I read email and use calendar.

While I still host my mail on my home Linux box and mainly access it using Thunderbird, I do find myself checking mail if I am out somewhere and have some spare time.

The more significant change involves Google and is how I use calendar.

Up to a few months ago the remaining reason for me to keep using my PowerBook was to sync my phone with iCal and Address Book. This changed when I decided to move my calendar and contacts into Google.

This has proven to have at least two advantages:

  • From any computer with access to the internet I can access a full interface which is easier for entering events than through the phone.
  • As it syncs over the air I have a constant backup, instead of the occasional sync with my PowerBook.

It has proven to be the right decision to get an iPhone, but unlike some other people I know, I have no need to upgrade to the 3GS.

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I don’t do voicemail

Monday, January 12th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

The situation is simple: I don’t do voicemail.

If I am away from my phone (eg it’s in another room) and it urgent that someone talks to me right now, then they can keep ringing until I hear it. If whatever it is can wait, then they can send me a text message. This serves the same purposes as a voicemail, yet it is in a much easier to use format. People (myself included) seem to take ages to get to the point in a voicemail.

At work (because I am at work, doing work stuff) it is not uncommon for me to decline an incoming call. Especially if I am working with someone else. If the caller were to leave a voicemail it takes a lot longer to listen to it than it takes to read a text message.

Before I got my iPhone I was with Vodafone for quite a few years.. With them it was really easy to change the diversion and voicemail settings through their website.

My iPhone is with Optus. So far their customer service sucks. Aside from the waste of time when I tried to call them (the amount I am getting billed is still different each month) their website is crap. The most obvious flaws (to me) are the poor navigation and the agonisingly inconsistent page load times, sluggish through to network timeouts.

Shortly after getting the iPhone I created an account on the my.optus site so I could view my bills and other things online. Through this I found a page to change my services. I unchecked voicemail and clicked submit. I can’t remember the exact terminology but this appears to trigger a job/order and a few days later I found that if I declined a call it didn’t go to voicemail. Exactly what I wanted.

But then it broke. A few months later I was told by someone who tried to call me that they got a voicemail setup message when they called my phone. Calling my own number confirmed that the voicemail divert was back and because I hadn’t setup voicemail it was giving a message that wouldn’t make sense to the caller.

I ignored it.

Until today when I was reminded that it was still happening. This prompted me to search to see if anyone else had problems turning off the Optus voicemail. There were a few results, but a recent blog post caught my eye as it gave different instructions than what I had done before.

I cancelled the diverts using ##21#, and then disabled both voicemail and the missed call SMS service through the mobile.optuszoo site. This seems to have worked and I hope it stays that way.

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Don’t call Optus on a Saturday

Saturday, November 15th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I just made a fundamental mistake: I tried to call a company outside of business hours.

When i received my phone bill earlier in the week it was significantly less than it should have been because of a “Customer Service Adjustment”. I have only been with Optus for a few months (because of my iPhone) and I can definitely say that I have not contacted them about anything. So where did the adjustment come from?

I didn’t have any spare time during the week so I tried calling today:

  • the IVR system was annoying
  • there was the delay of an international call
  • the horrible american accent would have been (partly) acceptable if it had been consistent
  • the operator took a few minutes to bring up my account

And then they couldn’t answer my question because “there are no notes in your file.”

That’s twenty minutes that I want back.

In future I will make sure I call during business hours in the hope that I can get someone located in Australia that should have better access and/or might know more about the accounts. If I don’t have time for the call I have in the past received decent responses from a support form on the company’s site or via email, even if those methods can take a few days until I get a response.

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Where is the eBay iPhone app?

Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 7:32 pm

This afternoon something, I can’t remember what, reminded me of an official iPhone app for eBay. I have been using the mobile interface, but a native app should be a big improvement.

So where is it?

A search for ‘ebay’ in the app store (both on the phone and through iTunes) returns four results. None of them the offical app.

A google search for ‘ebay iphone app‘ finds, currently as the third result, the official eBay on iPhone page. This looks promising, but it says “available exclusively via the Apple App Store” in the fine print.

Wasn’t I just there and didn’t find it? Yes.

Then I realise that the words “Available Now” is a link to the App Store. Following that link on my PowerBook starts up iTunes, which is promising until I get the following message:

“The item you’ve requested is not currently available in the Australian Store.”

Huh?

I go back to the eBay page to double check the fine print. There is nothing I can see about any region restrictions and I now remember seeing the eBay logo on one of the Apple pages, which I would consistenly be redirected to the Australian versions of.

And there it is. On right hand side of the Australian page for the iPhone 3G page, at the top of the Top Apps section on the right is a link to the eBay app. Again with an iTunes link that gives me the same not available message.

I’m confused.

The eBay page I can sort of understand as there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent page on the Australian eBay site. But the Australian iPhone page? I would consider it reasonable for the regional page to only list apps that are available in that region’s store.

Grumble.

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iPhone arrives after 19 days

Thursday, August 7th, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Today, after 19 days of waiting, I got The Call. My iPhone was in! So I went home a different way and picked it up.

It is nice. Really nice.

So far I have checked out the browser, the maps, setup email from my home IMAP server and synced over the calendar and address book from my PowerBook. Right now I am applying the 2.0.1 update.

Checking my mail was quite nice and I’m really liking how RSS items appear, courtesy of rss2email that runs from my linux box. It is also clear that an Inbox Zero approach will be a requirement.

My quick attempt at accessing my home wireless was a failure, but I think the issue is with the router as I have had problems connecting my PowerBook before.

I shall continue to explore the device and in a week or so will post an update like Wes did.

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14 days and still no bandwagon

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008 at 4:10 pm

It has now been two weeks since I signed up for an iPhone, and I don’t have one. Which is very frustrating. Talk on the forums (MacTalk and others) is that a large amount of stock will be getting to stores on Monday. That would be good, but I’m not holding my breath.

Although I don’t have the phone, I do have an additional charger and two docks, one for home and one for work. I ordered these online from the Apple Store and they arrived a few days later. That’s how things should be done.

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Jumping on the bandwagon … in 7-14 days

Saturday, July 19th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

After thinking about it for a week I finally decided that I would get an iPhone. So, after hearing that some people who signed up last weekend had received their phone, this afternoon I went up to the shops and signed up at an Optus reseller.

While I wait I’m going to start researching cases and docks…

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Skipping the iPhone bandwagon … for now

Monday, July 14th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

The release date for the iPhone 3G has passed, and I didn’t get one. Even though a couple of people I know lined up in the early morning to get one.

Do I still want one? Maybe.

As I had the day off work (using up annual leave before I lose it) I went up to the shops to have a look at one in person. It was nice.

So now the question comes back to money. How much do I want to pay and do I want to sign up to a contract? I am only on my second mobile phone and I bought that outright through eBay. I just hate the thought of a two year contract.

Of the three phone carriers, Optus has the best pricing and, by announcing their pricing well in advance of the release date, screwed people around the least. So that is who I am looking at.

Of their plans (including buying it outright from them) I’m leaning towards a 16GB iPhone on a $39 plan (just a plan, not a cap plan) for 12 months. The big draw for me is the 500MB of data and 18c per SMS message which is where I anticiate most of my usage to be.

So, do I sign a ‘raincheck contract’ with Optus that has a 10-21 day delivery time (who knows how realistic that is), or do I simply wait until the end of the month to see what actually happens with stock levels?

(I will be calling around some of the Optus resellers to see what they have to say)

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Maybe it is time for a new phone

Friday, June 13th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

I have had my current mobile phone, a Sony Ericsson T610, for well over four years now. While it has served me well with syncing with iCal and Address Book on my PowerBook, I have needed to look up sites when away from a computer.

Although that would be possible with this phone, is isn’t practical, nor has it been cost effective.

The 3G iPhone that was announced earlier in the week changes this, as I would happily pay $199 for the 8GB model. The sticking point would be the contract options, both duration and monthly costs.

Assuming that the cost is acceptable (I currently average less than $20 so I don’t know what I would accept), could I just switch?

I think so as I could simply sync with my PowerBook where I currently have my contacts stored in Address Book and I (sort of) use iCal as my calendar. It seems that I could simply point the phone at my IMAP server and browse web sites. Photos, songs and music I don’t really care about as I would be using it as a smart phone, not a media player with phone function.

But what would that mean for the future of my PowerBook? Earlier in the year I realised that I didn’t really use it anymore, let alone need to lug it back and forth to work every day. In the situation above I would need to keep using it, purely as a place to store my calendar and address book.

As July 11 approaches more information about the costs should become available and I will, in the background, keep investigating my options.

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