What is awesome is that I wrote this last spring and its my last post.. I will get better!!
I know that not very many people are reading this, but I am making a promise right now that starting in May, I will do a much better job blogging. I have a lot I would like to write about. I also need a lot of practice in order to raise the level of my writing. Stay tuned!
I recently spent some time overseas. It would have been imprudent for me to bring my iPads with me, due to the security nature of the region where I was working. So I left them at home. It has been a while since I have traveled without an iPad. It brought out some fairly interesting observations:
Apple and iOS
I am not a huge fan of the iPhone. It is a fantastic piece of machinery. It just doesn’t do what I want it to do, when I want it to do it. I love my old iPod. I love my iPads. I love having Internet available through iOS. I am learning to write iOS apps. I bought a Mac Mini (for writing apps). I just am not a huge fan of iOS on a phone. Spending some time away from my iPad did not really make my heart grow fonder either. Yes, its great to be able to use the ESPN Radio app again on my iPad (which does have larger speakers than my Galaxies). It is nice to be able to use Chrome on the iPad again. But, to be quite honest, I can do all of those things on Android. I used my laptop for laptop tasks while away on business. I used my phone(s) for phone tasks while away. I didn’t really miss the iPad. Its good to be back, its good to have access to them again, but the iPads were not a necessity for me. I was able to listen to music, listen to podcasts, and watch video from by brace of Androids.
Do you remember when the iPad first came out? I do. I was an early adopter. 64gb of wifi awesomeness. It was really not that great. The apps crashed constantly, forcing you to basically use Safari (a pretty crappy browser at that point in time) to log on to websites that had not remade themselves into the responsive, mobile first web that we experience today. It really was like carting around half a laptop that didn’t have a mouse or keyboard. Oh yeah – and it really wasn’t that fast. I work a lot, and type on a keyboard a lot, so the form factor was not really that great.
Microsoft, if you are listening out there, here is my opinion. Your lockscreen sucks. I have to type my password in every time I want to swipe in on the tablet. Windows Phone is great, but Windows 8 and 8.1 are really not that awesome for tablets. For the record, only revisionist fanboys will have forgotten that their apps and operating system were terrible for tablets in the first couple generations. Stay the course, it really would be great to have a tablet and laptop that share everything except for a user interface. Or a laptop that can truly turn into a legitimate tablet. Or whatever. But stick to it. Just make some of the stuff easier. And – for the love of monkeys, let us zoom in on the desktop or provide some sort of magnifying function that is easy to operate. I did some registry editing to my Dell Venue 8 Pro – in addition to the Windows 8 Speed Up stuff from earlier. I am starting to really enjoy this thing. There will be more details. It would be nice if it was a menu or app of some sort. Like Android
I am a huge fan of Android. Its a fantastic operating system for phones, and it is becoming a good tablet OS as well. There are some things that drive me up the wall about it though. One, which we cannot fix, is the incredible lag time between the release of a new version from Google and its eventual adoption by the manufacturers (who have to put their bloatware onboard) and then the phone companies (who also have to put their bloatware onboard). We cannot fix any of those problems. But there are some things you can do to make your handset dramatically faster.
A Secret Tweak to Speed Up Chrome on Your Android: In my opinion, Chrome is the undisputed champion of browsers. I use it religiously on all of the devices where it exists. This little gem from Wired magazine will let you dramatically speed up Chrome. It works. I noticed an incredible boost in browser speed, and let’s be honest – browsing the Internet is what you do more than anything else on mobile.
How to Speed Up Any Android Phone By Disabling Animations:How-To Geek is an amazing collection of tips and techniques for the Nerdery. This tweak is slightly more complex than speeding up Chrome, but not really. You learn how to get the Android developer options and then use them to speed up all the little animations that are eating your speed. On a fast device (like my Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3) you can just cut the animation time in half (set it to .5 – like the Millennium Falcon). On a slower device (like the old Galaxy S3 that I keep around), just get rid of the animations completely.
Clean up your Droid: This is not the oil bath the C-3PO is always after. This is mostly maintenance and cleaning of the file system. A couple good articles about this:
I also like to just install Clean Master or CCleaner – both are pretty good at cleaning your droid..
I am sure that there are more ways to speed up Android. As I find them, I will accumulate them here! Hopefully your Android is much faster than it was before. Slow Droids are not the Droids we are looking for.
I have always been a patriot. As many of you know, one of my few regrets in life is that I did not serve in our military. Although I am socially liberal, somewhat anti-establishment, and trend towards libertarian – it is my belief that my politics, or lack thereof, are precisely the reason that I am so patriotic. This grand nation of ours does not just pay lip service to the notion of freedom. Even in our modern era of dysfunctional governance, the United States believes in freedom. That I can express my concern for our future is a freedom that much of the world does not have. The ability to criticize our horrendously dysfunctional government is a freedom that much of the world does not have. We have freedom, our nation is freedom. Even if you disagree with your neighbors, that is the beauty of freedom – you both have an equal right to your opinion. Freedom is power. With great power comes great responsibility. Remember that we all love this nation and love freedom in our own American Way. Happy Birthday America!
The first sport I played was not football. When I got into sports as a kid, it was the game of soccer. We were pretty good. Our coach was from Bahrain, and he pushed us pretty hard for elementary school kids. We worked hard, practiced hard and played well. I was a huge basketball fan too (how could you not be, we were in the middle of the Celtics vs Lakers coast to coast rivalry..) – but as a little kid, the full size basketball was hard to play games with..
At the time, football in the US was on the rise. The 49ers were dominating, and my favorite team – the Broncos was going to Super Bowls and getting destroyed (worse than last winter of you can believe it..)
Soccer is a great sport for kids. My struggle with it as an adult is that much like hockey, it’s hard for me to watch in TV. I imagine that if I had stayed involved with it after middle school, I may enjoy it more, but I lost touch with it.
This most recent World Cup experience seems to have reignited our latent love of the world’s game. Soccer zealots need to be careful to be welcoming of the nouveau fans or they risk becoming the hockey fans of the nineties. When the Avalanche came to Colorado, it was an amazing ride. The most frustrating thing to deal with though (other than hockey games played in the summer) was the obnoxious hockey fan who considered himself a “true” fan and dismissed Avalanche fans as if they were somehow lesser in his eyes. Soccer fan would do well to remember that..
I have a large laptop that I use for work. I have always had a fascination with the ultra-portable computer, since I saw the original Libretto. When I read or played Shadowrun as a kid, I always liked the “decker” who used a portable computer to “jack-in” to hardwired computer sites.. Funny how our version of the future changed. But I digress.
I recently purchased an HP Envy X2 (off of eBay after a couple of adult beverages to overcome my normal inhibitions about snap purchases) after a couple weeks of research to replace my daily driver laptop (I don’t like to carry my big 17″ HP around on a daily basis.. It gets beat up and the music work I do with it is too valuable to have it be out of commission)
I love it.
I know some of you out there view me as a recent convert to the shameless Microsoft promoter club, but THIS is the device that Windows 8 is aiming at. I’m 36 years old. 18 years of people literally standing on my hands has made my desire for a comfortable keyboard incredibly important.
The keyboard is great. The performance is pretty snappy. When I’m not destroying my laptops running intensive music software on them, I’m mostly web surfing, checking email, updating websites, and other things like that. I don’t really play games (although I would love to, our business doesn’t really give me copious amounts of free time, and I would rather spend that with my wife or my baby girls..)
This is a great device. All of the problems I would attribute to it are software/operating system related. But I think we give Apple and Google a hall-pass on this particular aspect of Windows 8. The first iOS was incredibly buggy. Android has made it to version 4.22 and didn’t really become usable until the 3rd version..
Once Microsoft figures out the changes that are necessary, this computer will be even more useful!
I have always been a big fan of the Santa Fe Northerns. Gigantic beautiful machines. They practically ooze power from every stay bolt. Several of them survive, stuffed and mounted. Soon we will only have videos and institutional memory of these magnificent machines. They make a magnificent model. I have one, somewhere in our packed up house 🙂 – I hope I have a large enough layout to see one of these beasts run wild..