Blog entries from July, 2010

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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Really decimating the collection

Monday, July 12th, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Over the weekend I made what I had thought would be some hard decisions, but they turned out to be pretty easy.

The decision was to let go of my Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh and the SGI O2. While I was at it I also let go of two Macintosh Pluses, a Macintosh Classic, some speakers, and some other bits and pieces. I haven’t actualy let go of them, but they are now listed on eBay and I will be selling them, even for a pittance.

I made this an easier decision than I thought it would be by re-reading what I said when I first announced that I would decimate the collection: the only item that I have a real emotional attachment to is the computer I grew up with, the Apple IIgs.

The first Macintosh that I actually used on a regular basis was my 12″ PowerBook. I never used any Macintosh computers, let alone any PowerMacs. I also never used any SGI machines, so why did I need the O2?

However, I will still keep some old computers with the centrepiece being the Apple IIgs, followed by other Apple II computers. This means that the Apple IIc computers will also stay. My cousins had a IIc, and at primary school and the first few years of high school we used Apple IIe computers (but I don’t have any of those, and probably won’t).

None of this is saying I will not have any Macintosh computers. I will keep one or two around in a supporting role for the Apple II computers. In fact I have an Apple IIe Card that puts a IIe inside an LC. I will probably keep an LC 475 or Quadra 605 for that purpose.

I will also be reducing the spare parts and peripherals down to those that can be used with or can support the Apple II computers. I have no need for a peripheral from the Power Macintosh era.

But what about the few remaining non Apple items in the collection?

While the Dauphin DTR-1 is quite unusual (it runs Windows 3.11 for Pen), I think it is time for it to go. The same can be said about the IBM PC Convertible, it is a piece of history, but I need someone else to take on the responsibility. These will all be listed on eBay in the coming weeks.

Lastly I come to the IBM JX. Unlike SGI, the Dauphin or the IBM PC Convertible, this is a computer that I did use. But not much, and that was only at school for word processing type activities. I don’t need it.

That actually sums up a lot of stuff that I have: “I don’t need it”. So coupled with my attempts to find a house

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I want my Saturdays back

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Since late last year I have been looking for a house to buy and then live in. I ramped this up a few months ago which means that on almost every Saturday I have driving around to various open for inspections and watching a couple of auctions.

On two occasions I placed offers. In one case the successful offer was $70k above my offer and in the other the successful offers was $45k above. Ouch.

So what am I looking for, where am I looking, and how much can I afford?

Money

Of the above three factors, the money is the easiest to sort out as it boils down to two factors: my savings, and the most of my take home pay that I am comfortable committing to loan repayments.

Working backwards from a loan repayment figure gives me the loan about. Adding my savings and then allowing for other costs (stamp duty, etc) gives me my maximum figure.

Location

Where to buy is the hardest of the three factors to work out as it has a number of sub factors:

  • I don’t want to be too close to work, but I also don’t want to be too far to make commuting by bicycle impractical.
  • Some areas are clearly out of my league, but I don’t want to be in what I have come to think of as a rental area, especially in a block of units where all the other units are rented.
  • I would like to be close to public transport, including making it easy to get to and from the city.

Based on these I have been looking in the Mount Waverley/Chadstone/Ashwood area. Less than 10km from work, has a fair number of units and is near the Glen Waverley railway line.

What

My budget and location have led me to look for a two bedroom unit, preferably with its own street frontage (ie no common driveway). A two bedroom house in my price range would need too much work, as would a three bedroom unit.

When I started this I had no idea how much of my time would be consumed by it. May an evening has been spent reviewing listings online and my Saturdays have been taken up by going to as many as six open for inspections. In two weeks I am intending to bid at an auction and hopefully that brings the hunting phase to an end and I will be a home owner.

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