Android

My Freeware Lists

FreewareIf you’re looking for suggestions for software to use on your computer, your Android Phone or your Windows Phone.  I have maintained a list of free software I use on all my devices for years now.  It’s a great way to keep your costs low.

I check the lists frequently and change things if something no longer works or I find something new.  Also on the occasion when something goes sideways.  An example of this, is when I let my Kingsoft Office update to their new WPS Office structure.  However, after their 30 day trial, they disabled my ability to edit and save files I had been using for years.  They wanted to railroad me into either a monthly or yearly payment plan to restore my abilities.  Thankfully places like Filehippo and Majorgeeks keep older versions so I could go back to my good version 😉

Just look around my website.  As you can see, I do amazing things with free software.  From web design, to graphics, entertainment, tech support and loads more!

Freeware Short URL: http://gden.net/free

Android Short URL: http://gden.net/android

Windows Phone Short URL: http://gden.net/wp

I realize not all my phone apps are free.  Can’t have it all I suppose.  I try hard to steer clear of “in-app purchases”.  That’s about the same thing as Free2Play video games.  Or micropayments as they are sometimes called.  It’s a quick way for those who are competitive to get screwed fast financially.  I absolutely refuse to play those on my computer.  So my phone games are generally free with ads that don’t drive you crazy, or paid in full with no in-app purchase nonsense.  I think Earth and Legend and The Bard’s Tale are the only exceptions to that rule so far.  Even then, you don’t have to buy anything in game to play them.  You can get everything with a little effort.

Someday I hope to get another Mac.  Then I’ll make another list for that as well.  Though, right now I’m in no rush.  I really only use them as an overpriced reference tool anyway.  I was going to go for a Mac Mini, but after reading how they neutered them to death to the point of merely being fat tablet with no screen and runs OS X…  Maybe I’ll go for another Macbook Pro.  Though I’m still pissed they removed the DVD drive.  Doesn’t really matter.  I’m perfectly happy with my setup.  Still, would be nice to have.

Cars, Swords and Technology

1970 ChevelleI love muscle cars.  Never owned one.  Unless you count that 78 Olds Cutlas I once had.  More of a clunker than a mean street machine.  Still, I want my 70 Chevelle.  I love medieval stuff.  Castles, swords, horses and the seemingly tranquil life it could offer.  But I also love my computers, tech toys, video games and more.  I sometimes wonder how can I like so many things that have little to nothing to do with one another?  Damn I’m weird.  Not like any of you didn’t already know that.  I guess we all have a variety of tastes and likes.  Just seems I choose everything opposite of each other.

So right off, I want to pimp my skills for repairing and building computers and web site designs.  Need to make a little scratch to pay for my car getting fixed.  The downfalls of buying used.  Certified Pre-owned merely means I have proof someone before me beat the snot out of my car before I got it.  Sure for a 20 year old car it has unusually low mileage.  Engine starts and runs like a much newer car.  So I like that.  But the bearings, struts and such tell a different story.  That and the amount of rust and dirt I’ve taken off the car suggests it was previously at home down a really crappy dirt road.  My car needs work to the tune of about $850.  This means I’ll work extra cheap if it gets me some business 😉

My Moto GI’m starting to warm up to my new Android Phone.  Took me a while.  Still has quirks I’m annoyed with and there are things my Windows Phone can do so much better.  It seems that eventually I will get the Lollipop Android update.  Even though it has nearly identical hardware to my Windows Phone, it has better battery life and once I whittled down the bloatware (either by removing it or disabling it – still annoyed I can’t remove many things)…  I have it to where I want it.

It is nice having apps that are made right and work like they are supposed too.  That was one huge drawback to Windows Phone.  So many apps were made by other folks to make up for apps that should be available but aren’t.  Seems they may struggle with that for another few years before either Microsoft throws in the towel or businesses realize it’s a sweet phone.

Having a quad-core processor, good memory and memory management as well as generous storage space, makes a huge difference.  My previous Android phones had next to nothing and they wanted way too much for them.  Music would skip.  Phone would lock up in the middle of a call.  It was a nightmare.  Which is why I was so hesitant to try Android again.

TARDISI did have to change my live wallpaper from the TARDIS though.  Was accidentally setting it off when trying to open apps.  Don’t need anyone running up to me thinking I’m the Doctor.  As they would probably look at me and ask, “What the hell happened to you?”.  Would be embarrassing and depressing.  Although I would gladly trade in my car for a time-traveling blue box any day!

Now if I could only also have David Tennant‘s looks and talents.

Anyway, my experience with my Moto G has been overall, so far so good 🙂

Other than that life is pretty much as it has been.  I’m still heavily considering a career change.  But it’s so hard when you have good things you’d be giving up.  I like what I do and I like who I work for.  To just walk away from that and head into the unknown is frightening.  So I’m still going through the newspapers, craigslist and online job sites trying to find something more.. me.  Rather than jumping to the first paycheck offered to me.  Some folks like to jump into the unknown and embrace the adventure.  I’ve had just about all the adventures I can stand for one lifetime.  Possibly two lifetimes.  Most ending in disappointment.  I think it’s high time I found my happy ending.  Screw what everyone else thinks I should do.

Oh yeah… I did title this post with the word swords.  So…

Sword

Android Again?

Moto G AndroidSometimes I wonder about myself.  Despite not having found a replacement job yet, I’ve been able to keep the bills paid, eat, keep clothing on me and keep fairly warm.  Thank you Bob for the extra hours!  Though tax returns helped putting new rubber on my car and that has made a world of difference alone.  Was even able to stash some cash away in savings finally.  Seemed like forever I’d log into my bank and see $18 sitting all alone in my saving account since I spent it all on a car.  The car starts and drives great despite not being a looker.  Everything that needs to work, does 🙂

Then I go an do something completely compulsive.  Why, I don’t exactly know.  I’ve had my Windows Phone for a year now.  It has never once given me any problems.  It ran fast and smooth.  Yet it always felt like something was missing.  Even though it cured all the woes I had with my low cost Android phones.  I found a good deal on the Motorola Moto G Android phone, and bought it.  😯

I’ve had my new phone only a couple of days now, and I’m not sure going back to Android was the best idea.  Sure it has a lot of support from all the major businesses.  Something Windows Phone very much lacks still.  Like an official Starbucks app.  Sure that seems frivolous.  But when you hate carrying around plastic cards, being able to pay by phone is nice.  I also like to take payments with my phone.  Couldn’t do that with Windows Phone because PayPal barely supported it for just PayPal.  PayPal Here?  No way!  Android has that.

But…  And this is a big but.  Windows Phone never forced me to keep any bloatware.   I could uninstall it.  Free up the space and resources.  Android I can only disable some of it.  It still is there and taking up precious space.

Windows Phone never put a bunch of junk I don’t need on my SD card.  Android littered my SD card with folders and files.  It was so clean and organized with folders of Pictures, Videos, Music and Ringtones.  Now there are 30+ other folders of junk on it.  Thanks Android 😐

Love this one.  My Windows Phone started with Windows Phone 8, then got the upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free.  And Windows 10 preview which looked pretty sweet.  Though for stability, I put it back to 8.1.  My Moto G advertised it would get Android 5 (Lollipop).   The phone came with 4.4 KitKat.  Yeah… I find out that it’s pending on partner support.  As of yet, no update from AT&T 😐

As much as I hate Facebook, both platforms Facebook apps suck. But not being able to sort by most recent by default on Android makes the app on Windows Phone the winner.  And I seriously could do with out the goofy faces popped on my screen of my Android every time one of my Facebook bound friends messages me.  /facepalm

Lets talk integration.

  • Contacts – Windows Phone has a superior way of integrating all my contacts for Google, Outlook, Skype and Facebook (Twitter if I had it) into one nice and clean contact list.  Android makes a pathetic attempt at it and unless you are a Google disciple and worship Google Plus, your picture doesn’t get automatically added to your contact info.
  • Photo Gallery – Windows Phone integrates it into the social media and contacts.  Android has two photo galleries.  One for the phone, one for Google Plus.  Who needs that?  Who uses Google Plus?  Well I have one friend who does.  I bet he feels very alone on it.
  • Calendar – Windows Phone integrates your Google, Facebook and Outlook calendar info into one handy calendar and this gives you reminders of things coming up.  I don’t use Google Calender but I do have dates in my Google Contacts.  Birthdays and such.  Can’t find a way to pull Facebook into it.  Making the calendar app pretty much useless.

Things that run like the Energizer Bunny.  Yeah just about any smartphone has the issue of “If you open it, it will run forever.”.  When I had my first 5 Android phones I would use apps like Task Killer to kill the apps every few minutes so that I could keep my resources.  Though it was futile.  The phones resources would eventually run critical and I’d have to reboot the phone or they would just lock it up.  Low cost Android phones are generally crap with only 1 core processors and very low memory and storage.  Biggest reason I left Android in the first place.  When I jumped on the Windows Phone band wagon, there was always a way to close an app when you were finished, but even if you let it run, the phone never slowed down or gave me issues.  Plus I could set rules in the battery saver app to not allow apps to run in the background on Windows Phone.  So even left open, they wouldn’t run.  I see Android has a way to turn off apps, but it’s kind of dorky.  The menu button has been replaced with a recent apps button and you can swipe them closed.  I don’t see any way to keep apps from running or starting up on their own in any of the back end settings.

Windows Phone Cortana is a dream!  I can pretty much voice control everything.  It’s so simple and she understands almost everything I say.  Most of the time it’s background noise when she messes up a text message.  Car noises and music.  OK Google I am pretty sure is mentally handicapped.  Either that or I’m just too used to Cortana.  She treated me good.  Great… Now I have a guilty conscience over a phone app.  🙄

Though my new Moto G seems pretty stable with everything I have on it.  Has a 1.2GB Quad-Core processor.  Gigabyte of Ram and 8 Gigs of storage with my SD card adding 32GB more storage.  I’m still not thrilled with the non-removable bloatware issue.  Of course I could always root the phone and void the warranty.  Not real interested in doing that.  It was always a gamble rooting a phone.  Just never had to worry about that with my Windows Phone.  I’m not sure if getting app support was worth this.  But I must give it time.  The Moto G is not some sub $100 phone.  Though it’s twice as expensive as my Lumia 635 Windows Phone.  Which begs the question, since both have nearly identical hardware and specs (Compare Lumia 635 vs Moto G XT1045), why is the Android phone twice the price?

By the way, I have a spare Windows Phone Lumia 520.  It’s got a chip in the glass but works great if anyone wants it.  I’ll hang on to my Lumia 635 just in case I change my mind or drop kick (accidentally of course 😉 ) my Moto G.

I’ve re-added my list of apps for Android to my Freeware Page.  Though, the Windows Apps will remain 😉

30 Days with my Windows Phone 8

I Miss ChaseFirstly, I can’t put blame on the phone itself for the initial trials I had to withstand activating service on my new phone.  I blame AT&T for being boneheads.

I wanted to transfer my existing phone number to my new phone, but there’s no way to do it online and the first customer rep just dumped me on an automated activation system.  That got me pissed.  So I fought with the computer until I got a human who was willing to try.  She got me a temporary number and of course got my money.  Then came time to transfer the number.  I was calling on my office phone, which meant I still had my old phone working and my new phone with a temporary number.  Three phones at my disposal for use, but she kept fussing about my office phone not being loud enough.  She could’ve called me back on one of the other phones so we could continue that way, but instead she just kept bitching about not being able to hear me.  So, after 20 minutes of futility, I gave up and said I’d just keep my new number.  Not sure how long it will last, as the account she setup for me doesn’t have my name on it.  But I guess as long as the payments go through, it should work.

So yeah, AT&T are boneheads.

Now on to reviewing the phone itself!

Apps – Functionality & Availability

I’ve had the phone for 30 days now and contrary to what others have told me, I am finding that I get plenty of satisfaction from my Windows Phone 8 Apps.  Sure I’m still missing a small handful that I’d really like to have, but I have faith they are coming soon.  Although, Microsoft isn’t scouring the app store strongly enough.  There are a good handful of apps I’ve found that serve little to no purpose or cause users issues.  Still it’s not nearly as run away as the Android store is.  You can find all sorts of apps laden with malware and poor coding.  While I’d like to say the Apple Store is crap free, it’s not either.  Some of the apps I found when I owned a MacBook Pro that were complete crap as well.

A side note about an app that is going away.  MetroTalk: I was going to use it for Google Voice.  Google doesn’t have but one official app for Windows Phone 8 and that’s just for search.  Not for Gmail, not for Google Voice, or maps, or any of their other products.  It’s not that they can’t, they just don’t.  However, it’s not necessary to use an app to receive Google Voice calls or voicemails.  Only to make out going calls using your Google Voice number.  I can do that from the Google Voice website.  So it’s only a few extra, not too painful steps.  I’m so glad I didn’t buy the MetroTalk app.  It handles Google Voice, but after I installed the trial version, it informed me that as of May 1, it was going away due to a request by Google.  So it kind of sucks that Google is not providing software but also not allowing it by someone else.  This makes me a bit annoyed at the third party developer now.  As they are still trying to sell an app that will be useless soon.  That seems a bit underhanded in my opinion.

Photo Gallery

This thing integrates your cameras pictures with your Facebook photos along with all your friends Facebook photos.  You an view, share, like and comment directly on photos right from your photo gallery.  It is very handy and super easy to navigate.

Live Tiles (Metro)

As I said on Facebook when I posted about Windows XP going away:

Metro can kiss my ass. It’s brilliant on my Windows 8 Phone, but has no place on a desktop or laptop PC. Especially in a work environment. Should only be on tablets and phones.

Start Live TilesAnd that is very true.  Metro as far as I’m concerned should’ve never been part of the desktop OS.  But on Tablets and the Windows Phone 8?  It’s flippin’ brilliant!  They keep me informed and I can arrange them any way I see fit at any given time.

On my desktop, I don’t have a touchscreen.  I don’t want one, as I wouldn’t want to reach over my desk to touch the screen that I yell at others for putting fingerprints all over on it.  I don’t want that in my desktop or laptop computer.  I prefer a mouse.  Millions of other dissatisfied Windows 8 desktop and laptop customers agree with me completely.  I’ve lost count on how many people I’ve turned on to Classic Shell to bypass Metro and get back to a working computer.

But hell yes, I love the tiles on my mobile and would love it on a tablet.  If Microsoft would just get that through their pointy heads.  Keep the two separate.  Let me multitask in “windows”.  You know those things you can have 50 open and all over your screen?  Yeah those, they make life productive and gee, seems that’s how the OS got it’s name in the first place.

People and Groups

One of the best features is that when you put in all your accounts for example: Windows Live, Google, Facebook, Skype and Twitter.  The phone then combines them all under People.  From there you can see all your friends and family’s updates, it pulls in pictures to your Photos area.  You can post updates to all your social networks from one simple place.  You can create groups and then text, message, email and share on all the different methods you’ve added.  It’s a very handy way to keep certain groups of people in the know and they can share back with you.  You can even do it with the various calendars (i.e. Google, Live, etc..) and everyone can keep track of all events and gatherings.

Social Networking

For all you social networking and text junkies, you just can’t deny Windows Phone 8 is a great social tool. It combines your SMS and Facebook in the message center you use for texting. You can set your online availability, message and view who’s where.  Plus as mentioned already, you get a constant feed in your photos of things on Facebook as well.  You can comment and share without having to log into the Facebook app.  One interface and you can post to all your social networks at once.  No need to open the various apps.

Not just status updates but faster at taking and sharing photos as well.

Office  Mobile and OneNote

OneNoteHaving these included, make my phone incredibly useful.  No more specialized or purchased apps to handle my financial files or keep track of my medications.  I can quickly make a note to remember things later and no more need for forgetting my shopping list as it’s on my phone with me.  Also handy for when I think of something but may forget to write it down.  Just open the phone and pop it on my list.

What makes it even handier, is that MS Office file formats are much more common than Open Document Format.  This way I can keep things in MS file formats and not have to remember to convert files from one to another if I want to share the files for whatever reason.

Turns out I’m more of a Microsoft fan than I had realized before.  I’m a PC, even on my phone 😉

There’s a rant for another day.  The whole “I’m a PC”, “I’m a Mac” thing.  PC stands for personal computer regardless of the operating system software on it.  Therefore, everyone is a PC unless they don’t have one.  So take that you Mac bastards!!  😈

Overall

The phone is still very zippy quick and incredibly comfortable to use.  Hope it stays that way.  I think Microsoft did it right this time.  Just need some developers to jump on board.  While Android still runs about 80% of the market, perhaps Windows can put the squeeze on iPhone.

Need to find useful and good Windows Phone 8 Apps?  Click this link and you can see the ones I’m currently using and am happy with.  (List may change on occasion.)

Point of Interest: I haven’t had to reboot this phone once since I did my last write up.

Android vs Windows Phone 8

Android vs Windows Phone 8This is not a comparison based on the latest and greatest version of Android Phone and Windows Phone 8 with the best hardware and latest OS.  This is a comparison of pre-paid phones loaded with similar apps based on the MSRP of $99.  My Android is a Samsung Galaxy Centura that still retails for $99.  My Windows Phone 8 is a Nokia Lumia 520 also retailing for $99.

I received my new Nokia on February 3rd.  I haven’t yet activated the phone service as my month for my Samsung ends on the 14th.  I was considering actually re-assigning the Nokia to my current service of Straight Talk.  Which is incredibly doable.  Though, after reading several successful and unsuccessful stories about doing it, I chose to stick with moving to AT&T’s GoPhone service.  So for the first comparison, it won’t be with data, service or phone call quality.  Only apps and hardware performance over Wi-Fi.  I’ll do another review around the 30 day mark as I have done in the past for Windows 7, Windows 8 and my Mac experiences.  I’ll tell you now, it’s like night and day.  They are just that different.

A $99 Samsung Android Centura offers you:

  • Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS
  • 800MHz Single Core Qualcomm CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 4GB Internal Storage (with expansion slot for another 32GB via Micro SD Card)
  • 3.0MP Camera (Rear Only – No Focus Features)
  • 3.5″ 320 x 480 Display
  • b/g Wi-Fi
  • 3G Data

A $99 Nokia Lumia 520 offers you:

  • Windows Phone 8 OS
  • 1GHz Dual Core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 8GB Internal Storage (with expansion slot for another 64GB via Micro SDHC Card)
  • 5.0MP Camera (Rear Only)
  • 4″ 480 x 800 Display
  • b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • 4G Data

Already you can see that you don’t aren’t getting much from Samsung by comparison.  But the hardware isn’t the only differences.  I did a clean install of my Android and along with the new Windows Phone 8, I loaded equal software items on both devices.  Both with Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Angry Birds, My Bank Software, VIP, Notepad, Lotto Results, Bible, Craigslist, Cardmobili, iHeart Radio, Netflix, Waze, PayPal, Adobe PDF Reader, Skype, Speedtest.net and Teamviewer.

About Android

Issues with Android:

  • MP3 music skips and lags.
  • The phone needs frequent reboots from locking up.
  • Free RAM consistently below 50MB.
  • Playing simple games like Angry Birds, caused the phone to lock within minutes.
  • DVD rips had to be recoded and resized to play on Android.
  • Not real keen on Google keeping records of my wireless passwords.  (Found that out after the fresh reload of my device and I didn’t have to enter in my complicated Wi-Fi password.)

Impressive Features of Android:

  • Lots of apps to choose from on their store.
  • Notification Bar is incredibly handy.
  • Native screen capture capability.

Android Side Notes:

  • Having so many different phone makers.  It’s a lot like Linux.  There are so many flavors of phone hardware and only so many can use the same software due to differences.  Makes it complicated to get working apps across the board on all Android devices.
  • Apps that are bundled with many Android devices that I didn’t want couldn’t be removed.  Some could be disabled, but they still took up space.

About Windows Phone 8

Issues with Windows Phone 8:

  • Missing apps that are important to me, such as SugarSync and Open Document Reader.
  • Firefox browser is unlikely to ever grace a Windows Phone due to restrictions on open source software.  Thanks to Cloudfox, this isn’t a huge problem 🙂

Impressive Features of the Windows Phone 8:

  • Initial setup was easy. Signed into my Google, Microsoft and Facebook accounts.  The phone integrated them all seamlessly and imported my contacts, emails and was ready to go in minutes.
  • I was able to watch High Quality DVD rips without a single issue.  No need to recode or resize just for the phone.
  • Built-in FM tuner (I’m fairly sure not all Windows Phones have this.) that provides music without eating up a data plan while not on Wi-Fi.
  • The phone is fast as hell no matter what you open or run.
  • Outside of doing an OS update to GDR3, I didn’t need to reboot the phone for any reason.  Never slowed down.
  • Free RAM consistently around 350MB to 395MB.
  • Angry Birds ran like a champ.  Shame I can’t stand the game.
  • Love having a dedicated camera button that not only takes pictures and helps focus, but it also launches the default camera app if it’s closed when pressed.
  • Videos load and play quickly and smoothly.  (Netflix, MP4, AVI, YouTube, Vimeo, Flixster/UltraViolet are just some I’ve tried so far.)
  • Live Tiles.  Need I say more?  Some better than others, but the better ones are awesome 🙂
  • Native screen capture capability.
  • All Windows Phone’s come with Microsoft Office Mobile.  How freakin’ cool is that?  Android and iPhone?  Pft, gotta buy an app for that.  Hell, you can’t even get that with a $2000 MacBook Pro

Windows Phone 8 Side Notes:

  • Wish the camera lens was just a hair recessed.  It’s flat with the body and it’s easy to get fingerprints on and possibly scratch when setting the phone on other surfaces.
  • Apps that came bundled that I didn’t want I was able to remove without issue.

Some Comparisons

Camera Indoor Shots

Camera Outdoor Shots


I wanted a nice picture for the outdoor comparison, but couldn’t bring myself to ask the pretty girl I was hanging out with on Saturday to be my subject.  Plus I didn’t want to get punched in the face.  Long story.  On the upside, I fixed her laptop 🙂  Better clarity, better color, wide format…  The Windows Phone 8 camera, while only 5MP still puts out more impressive pics than the Crapdroids I’ve had at that same price range.  Not too mention, the lens apps that you can get for Windows Phone 8 are also impressive.

Web browser on Wi-Fi loading castlerain.com from a cleared cache.

(I know my website is large and was not expecting any world record load times.)

Battery Time

I tried my best to use the phones equally for the tasks, but it was hard. I found myself playing with the Windows Phone 8 more.  Though if I had to try and guess at it, I would say the battery time on both was just about equal.  Plus, considering my Android has been in use for a few months now.  I would say on my average use, I could go 48 hours on a single charge.  Maybe less as now my live tiles keep me informed of Social Media events, where as I had to turn off notifications for Facebook on my Android as it sucked the life right out of the battery if I didn’t.  Plus, the sound of it going off every five minutes was driving me bat-shit crazy.  The Windows Phone just puts a quiet number count on the tile (and lock screen).

My One Week Summary

I’m very thoroughly impressed so far.  Sure I’ll miss my Swype Keyboard, Starbucks, Square Register and a YOURLS shortener apps, but I’ll live without them just fine.  I’m sure at one point or another those companies will get on board with Windows Phones as they get more popular.  With all the photo junkies out there, and Windows Phones boasting superior cameras to iPhones, you know they will.  You already get more for your money when compared to an equally priced Android phone.  You get more value for less money compared to an iPhone.  Honestly, even though I’ve only had the phone a week, I would say folks should take the Windows Phone Challenge.  (Watch the Videos from that link.)

And while my Lumia 520 only has a 5MP camera that won’t be winning any photo contests anytime soon…  It is, after all, a $99 phone.  Can’t expect miracles for so little cash.  However, I’m still enjoying it far more than any other low cost Android I’ve ever owned.

Time To Give Windows Phone 8 A Try

Nokia Lumia 520After finally getting a smartphone 3 years ago, I’ve been through one agonizingly disappointing experience after another.  I’ve been told I expect too much from a smartphone.  Perhaps that’s true.  Though when you boast a phone with an App Store with hundreds of thousands of apps, you tend to think it should be able to do a lot of things.  So far all I’ve ever owned are Android phones.  All low cost, no contract phones.  I’m single and whether or not I make enough money to afford a contract phone, I go with the idea that no contract phones are better.  Here’s why…

For one, I’m not under any delusion that I would be getting a low cost or free phone of high quality with a contract.  Sure the phones are nice, but are they really low cost or free?  No they aren’t.  Just look at the numbers.  A plan with unlimited calls, and unlimited text and 2 or 2.5 GB of data per month for only $45 to $60, and a low cost phone that you purchase outright.  Versus unlimited nights and weekends, but limited minutes outside of that, unlimited texts and a 2 GB plan from many providers with a contract is between $75 and $100 per month.  Plus, on average you still throw down between $100 to $200 for a phone.  Retail cost of said phone is likely between $400 and $600.  So all in all, it would seem you are getting screwed on service contract that is essentially just a payment plan for the phone and less minutes.

Secondly, I could buy a more expensive phone for my pre-paid plan, but why?  An iPhone at retail, costs between $550 and $800.  WTF mate?  Is it made out of gold and platinum?  I just built a gaming PC for around $650.  Show me an iPhone that can do a third of what I can do with my PC.  Not gonna happen.  Period.  And it certainly doesn’t have the screen real estate for watching my Blu-ray movies.  Or the power to play any of the latest video games.  That’s a of a lot of money to text, surf the net, use Facebook and take pictures of over priced food.  No thanks.  My cheapo phone and low cost unlimited plan can do all of that and more.

Samsung Galaxy CenturaThe reason I’m leaving Android, is because their low cost phones aren’t as “bang for your buck” as they should be in my opinion.  At least not in comparison to what I just got for a Windows Phone 8.  Most are single core processors and low storage space.  Even with expansion slots, many run out of space even if you move your apps to the expansion card.  I’ve owned 4 Androids in the past 3 years.

  • LG Optimus V – Single Core – Under 1GB of space.
  • LG Optimus Elite – Single Core – Under 1GB of space
  • Samsung Galaxy Proclaim – Single Core – 2GB of space
  • Samsung Galaxy Centura – Single Core – 2GB of space

Neither of the Samsung phones could play my MP3’s without skipping and lagging.  That’s just sad and if I was playing MP3’s, they hated to pick up an incoming call.  When they did, it would either hang up or reboot the phone.  Both had that problem.  Not sure if it’s a Google Android thing (two different versions) or if Samsung did that.

Applications are another nightmare.  You have to find what apps work and what ones don’t work by a lot of trial and error.  You can’t depend on any app developer to be sure their apps work with your particular phone.  Just too many phones to chase down to find out.  Many apps that I use, say they work with my phone but cause it to lock up or go slow.  Plus, it seems I can’t use my Android for long without using Task Killer to free up memory.  Seems that Androids have poor memory management.  Apps that you close, constantly reopen and run on their own.

Androids have become notorious for apps with malware downloaded right from the App Store.  So on top of everything, it’s smart to have an Antivirus on your phone.  It’s not required if you don’t do a lot with your phone.  But for a geek who does remote support, banking and more with my phone, I think it’s a smarter move.

My new Windows Phone 8 has dual core processor and things I’ve started learning, makes me think that Windows Phones will soon be something of a competitor to be reckoned with.  Mine is a Nokia Lumia 520 and retails for around $99.  However, I caught it on sale on Amazon for $50 new.  But check this out.  Reading up on Windows Phone 8, it uses sandboxing.  So apps run independent of one another.  Negating the need for any kind of antivirus.  You can close apps.  No need for task killers.  Memory management doesn’t seem to be an issue.  Even the high end Windows Phones aren’t nearly as expensive as some Androids and no where near the cost of iPhones.  It comes with 8GB of space, expandable with a card for an extra 64GB of space.  Windows Phone 8 comes with Microsoft Office Mobile.  This and a lot more.  Sounds delightful.  I’ll let you all know when I start really playing with it.  I’ve just ordered it, so I don’t have “hands on” as of yet.  I learn so much more from doing than I do reading.

I’ve been told, I won’t like it because the App Store for Windows Phones is limited.  With their tighter standards, should be a whole lot less of crap apps and hopefully none with malware.  Although it’s growing and I’ve already found pretty much all I need.  See the bottom of my Freeware Page.  I’m excited, hopefully I’m rightfully so.  I’ll write more when I get it and have had some time with it.

Stress Relief Comes to the Android Finally

Carmageddon for AndroidToday Carmageddon (the 1997 original) was released on the Android phone and tablets.  Months after the iCrap version was released.  Sadly it’s missing the ability to upload videos directly to YouTube, but it’s not missing the gore and mayhem of the game itself!  It plays and looks better than ever!

Yes, this is an actual screenshot from my own Android Phone.  And yes, those are dead cows on the road.  The dead people are behind me 😈

Finally a game I can play when people piss me off and I’m not near my computer to play Grand Theft Auto.  I can just race, kill peds and blow up other drivers at my leisure 🙂

Just in time, as moving, especially a thousand miles.  Can be incredibly stressful.  Considering my traveling companion, it will be nearly miraculous if I don’t end up stressed along the way.  So at the hotels along our journey, this will come in really handy.  {laughs maniacally}

Download on Google Play Crap Store

Goodbye Virgin! Hello Verizon!

Samsung Galaxy ProclaimThat’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!  So said Popeye anyways.  I’ve been with Virgin Mobile for a number of years now.  I did like their customer service and low cost phones.  However, when I got my first Android about 2 years ago, I learned that their 3G service in my area just sucks eggs.  It rides on the Sprint network and around Hampton Roads, it’s so over sold that a person is lucky if they get 0.1MB download speeds on average currently.  It was around 0.5MB at first, but as time went on, it got much worse.  To the point it was completely unusable.  My Waze app would always have a hard time keeping up to date.

That and with my up coming move, Sprint’s network barely covers Gaylord.  Most of the county is not covered at all.  Upon doing some research, Verizon and AT&T have the best to offer in my home town.  There was only one thing left to do.  Switch.

Although I couldn’t go for the phone I wanted because I wanted to keep most of my money in the bank, I did get this nifty little number.  It’s not super powerful or flashy, but it’s pretty solid.  A Samsung Galaxy Proclaim (a.k.a. Illusion clone).

I do like this version of the unlock and notification screen 🙂 Handy to be able to swipe directly to a text message (orange circles) or missed call (red circles).

According to the coverage map for Verizon, I shouldn’t have too much trouble in Northern Michigan for service.  As well as it certainly is nice to get some decent 3G speeds while I’m still stuck for the next month.  There is no point in going to a 4G or 4G LTE phone, since there isn’t any 4G yet in my small home town.  There is in Traverse City, but I’m not going to live there.  Just visit…  Frequently…

Got to readjust to small town life.  Now I just need find an affordable place to live up there that has high speed internet.  So I can telecommute to my job here in Virginia.

App Madness Continues!

App MadnessSeems that the need for apps on different platforms is just going out of control from where I sit.  I talked about this before.  Apps being on all different flavors of smartphones from Android, to iPhone, to Crackberry.  With tablet versions of each for the respective mobile OS.  Then the need to support old and new versions of each OS as they update every few months unlike a computer OS.  Although, that seems to be changing as well with Windows and OS X doing more frequent updates than they used too.

With all the different OS options a developer has to deal with, it’s amazing they have time to make improvements.  It seems they would end up spending all their time patching issues rather than developing new software.

If this type of thing hasn’t already proven itself a bad idea with the load of different Linux flavors out on the market today; with their different install methods and variations of how they present things to the end user… It’s a wonder they gain ground at all.  To the average Joe, that’s just confusing.

Granted, installing apps on a mobile device is just tap and done usually.  Thus the wide spread popularity.  It’s easy to use.  (knock, knock, knock Mr. Penguin)

And speaking of Linux, the boys and girls at Ubuntu have decided to throw their hat in the ring.  Making their own Mobile OS.  Also, the folks at the Mozilla camp are poising to release Firefox OS.  Both will of course have app stores.  So developers will have to learn the new OS’s if they want to grab a slice of that audience for their wares.

Oh and of course we can’t forget that great new Operating System all my customers hate… Windows 8…  Now you have desktop programs and Metro apps!!  Yippee!  You can have Internet Exploiter as an app, and Skype as an app.   I guess having the desktop programs wasn’t enough.  Now we have 2 of each installed on the same PC.  You know Ma and Pa kettle haven’t a clue they only need the one.  And it’s likely they won’t share info between two.  Did you know favorites in Internet Exploiter Desktop are not available in Internet Exploiter for Metro?  So I’m told anyways.  I don’t use it.  Still not a Metro fan.

Oh and let’s not forget your TV, Media device and Blu-Ray player has apps too!

Question that I see is…. When do app developers finally say enough of this nonsense!?!??  There are so many platforms they have to write the same software for over and over.  It’s freaking delusional that they have to put up with this so their fans can have their software.  How about a little cross platform love?  Or a few less damned platforms…  I’m glad I’m not an app developer.  As a Web Designer, it’s hard enough to make sure that my sites look good on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Exploiter, Opera and Safari web browsers.  Although I’ve considered developing for Android apps, but then my audience would only get the one platform.  I don’t have the time, patients or money to learn iPhone, Crackberry, Metro, Chrome, Ubuntu, Firefox OS and all the others…

It’s Nuckin’ Futs!!

Carmageddon is coming to Android and iPhone!!

Oh hell YES!!

CarMOBgeddon! It’s Carma1 on your MOBILE THINGS!!

We’ve had a couple of talented Stainless guys beavering away in a cupboard for just a few months. They’ve been assigned the task of converting the original Carmageddon to run on the iOS and Android platforms. And a day or two ago they staggered out, to announce that they’ve NEARLY FINISHED! And so, we’re able to announce today that Carmageddon will be coming to your iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and a variety of Android devices THIS SUMMER!

~ Full story @ Carmageddon.com

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