the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Tag Archives: Google

google nexus 4

T-Mobile recently came out with the "un-plan" – no contract and unlimited talk/text and data (up to 500MB at 4G) for only $50 a month. Considering I was paying $49.99 for considerably less service, it was a very good "upgrade" for me. It also coincided with my two year anniversary with my old LG Optimus-T. A good phone, it was getting a little long in the tooth, especially once I started using my Google Nexus 7 tablet, which features Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

I purchased the Nexus 4 from Google direct, and the number one reason for my choice was price: $299 for the 8GB model (which was really $341 by the time it got to my door). No contract, no monthly payment, no waiting for an anniversary, I straight up bought the phone. It's comparable in features to the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and probably even iPhone 5, but make no mistake, price was the deciding factor. The phone is made by LG, and known as their LG E960. You can read all about it's features at the link below.

And after two years with the Optimus-T, yes, I did have a change of heart with "cheap phones". So, yes, I did pay a fair amount for the Nexus 4. Maybe it's because of the Nexus 7, or maybe the maturity of the Android operating system, but cheap phones don't cut it anymore. I wanted a phone that can do everything, quickly, and I want the full-features of a top-of-the-line phone. Nexus 4 fit the bill.

Ordered over the weekend, it arrived to my door by Wednesday. I was eager to set it up, but that quickly was dashed when I realized that I needs a micro-sim card, and not the regular sim (Subscriber Identity Module) card from my old phone. I called T-Mobile and they assured me that I could go to a local T-Mobile store and they'd replace mine, without charge. Good thing he put a note in my account record, as the guy at the store first quoted me $30 for one (which was more than the $22 the guy on the phone quoted!).

Okay, got the new micro-sim card, used the tool to stick it in the Nexus 4, and then had to call T-Mobile to get it activated. Was a little disappointed when the rep asked for the sim number, as the guy at the store didn't give me the card the sim was mounted to (requiring me to take it out of the phone and squint like crazy to read the numbers).

When I started the phone, it immediately asked me if I wanted to sign into my Google account, and have Google manage my phone backup. I happily did, and after downloading a ton of stuff (yes, I was on Wi-Fi), most every app that was installed on my Nexus 7 tablet was now installed on my phone! I suppose you can argue whether that's a good thing or not, or about privacy concerns with having everything linked to the big G, but what's the point? It's just too easy.

I had a favorite ringtone (Neu's Euphoria) on my old phone, but when I plugged the Nexus 4 into my computer running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to copy the mp3 file, it didn't mount. That's because the Nexus 4 uses MTP (Media Transfer Protocol). Fortunately, it was an easy fix, I just installed the Gnome virtual file system and rebooted.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:langdalepl/gvfs-mtp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now, if I would have only known to copy the file to the Ringtones folder on the Nexus 4…

On the web:
Nexus 4 Tech Specs


nexus 7 tablet review

Tablet arrived yesterday. After getting it out of the box, (yes, no small feat), I started it up. First up was logging on to Wifi, and with that accomplished, the tablet knew who I was. I then entered my Gmail password and it was all ready to go. Easy, right.

Before I could poke around too much, I was notified that a System Update was available, Android 4.1.1. After rebooting, I immediately downloaded Amazon's Kindle and MP3 apps from the Google Play Store. It's significant: with these apps on board, why buy the Kindle Fire (which restricts what apps can be downloaded and doesn't offer Google's Play Store)?

The user experience is fantastic. It's sharp, it's fast, there's little to nothing to complain about. Asus did a bang up job and it only cost $199 plus tax and shipping, but with a $25 Play credit. Wifi is the limitation, but for a device that won't leave the house or office, there's no issue.

One thing I have to mention is that this tablet – any tablet for that matter – is it's kid glue. My daughters were chomping at the bit to get their hands on it, and within a few minutes of first possession, they had downloaded four games, along with some annoying shortcuts that appeared on the desktop. As a single user device, it needs to allow some protection from little meddling hands. Do I want my kids to access my Gmail? Spending with my Google Wallet? What prevents them from doing so?

A few oddities: There is no camera app, and I'm just not quite sure how the screen rotation works – I found it. In the notification drop-down at the top of the screen, there is a "lock" with two arrows. Simply "unlock". Also, arranging the icons on the desktop will always seems to be cumbersome to me.

Some cool apps:
Banshee Remote – control Banshee (linux music program) on local network
Squeezebox – app for controlling Logitech's Squeezebox
QuickDic – foreign language dictionairies

I'll update this as I use it….

google nexus 7 tablet

On order. I'd been contemplating one of the $100 Chinese tablets that run ICS, but considering the price of Google's own tablet, with the fact that it's got great hardware (Quad core TEGRA proc, 1280×800 graphics) and some seriously engineering on the firmware (Jelly Bean), AND despite its lack of i/o (no HDMI, no microSD), I sprang. Watch this space.

On the web:
Goolge Nexus 7

lg optimus t

I got a new phone today, finally replaced the G-1 (that's "ghetto") with the LG Optimus T. Of all the phones that I looked at, none really did it for me; the G-2 was end-of-life, the Nexus S was really expensive, but the Optimus T was free (okay, $0.01 plus $35 T-mobile "One-time activation" fee), and it had most everything but a physical keyboard. I can live with that, right?

In fact, the big revelation for me is that smart phones are truly disposable electronic devices. Cellphones are another story. We still have a Nokia 3390 that we keep around for emergencies and it still provides the same (albeit limited in comparison) functions that it originally was designed to do, with exactly the same performance. The G-1 on the other hand suffered from a crack-screen, worthless camera, an overpriced data plan (that I could not downgrade), and worst of all, Android 1.6. Plus no Angry Birds! How do I explain that to my kids?

So for me, it's all about free phones. Yeah, I took a new contract, so hopefully the LG Optimus T will last two years. Until then, I'm happy with Android 2.2, a decent (enough) camera and saving $180 a year in plan fees. Thank you Amazon-Wireless.

t-mobile g2

big upgrade to the g1, not only faster, but this supports the 2.2 Android OS, MUCH better camera, SD card, std headset jack, HD video, all around Google goodness.

EXCEPT the hinge issue…
T-Mobile G2 Trouble at Engadget

Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ MSM7230 mobile processor 
Slide-out QWERTY keyboard, unique Z-hinge design 
Android 2.2 OS 
3.7” S-TFT WVGA display 
512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of internal memory 
8-GB SD card, expandable to 32 GB 
5-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus 
720p HD video capture
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR + A2DP 
stereo 3.5-mm stereo headset 
4.68” (L) x 2.38” (W) x .58” (H) 
Weight: 6.5 ounces 
Included battery: 1300 mAh Li-ion 
Talk time: up to 6.5 hours 
Standby time: up to 17.5 days

On the web:
G2 with Google Phone

webmail and the death of the email client

I know this isn't a great revelation, but it's become quite obvious that web-based email is the way to go. Of course, when I first got email a long time ago, I usually checked it from just one (1) computer. The email client was a good proposition, if not the only one. But now there's so many more places to check email: home, laptop, work, smartphone, etc. that I'm making the switch to webmail for all my email needs. And web-based clients, thanks in part to the rise of Gmail, are refined to the point where they outshine the software clients. So with portability, unlimited capacity, and the ability to check multiple accounts, there's little reason to use a computer-bound POP or IMAP client. I'll miss my little Thunderbird, but not that much.

I've also realized that the number of email accounts I have is far too many. How many do I really need? 1) A primary personal account, 2) one for my website, and perhaps 3) a throwaway account, for those I don't want to give out my name/email address to (though this could be done with an alias). BTW, my work email is an island unto itself. I only use it at work and for work. My wife doesn't even know it.

I've also decided to switch my primary email from the Ameritech/SBC Global/Yahoo!/AT&T account I've had for nearly 10 years to Gmail. Why? It's such a major annoyance to log into Yahoo! EVERY time I open a browser. One really has to wonder what the (not so) good folks at Yahoo! were thinking when they implemented that feature.

Goodbye Yahoo!, hello Gmail.

t-mobile g1: the android

How’s this for an early adopter? I ordered T-Moble G1, the first mobile device to use Google’s Android platform. It’s actually an HTC Dream, but more about that when I get it. As I already was a T-Mobile customer (vintage Nokia 3390), the signup was painless… or was it? The total bill of $210 included a $19 “upgrade fee”, plus a two (2) year contract. I chose the unlimited web/limited text plan for $25/mo.

I have to admit, $200 for a mobile computer is relatively inexpensive, considering the price of the Nokia Internet Tablet, or something like a Treo or Blackberry. And who wants to have Apple’s iPhone when you can have your very own ANDROID? Actually, what really tipped it for me was the low cost data plan, and a recent visit to Microcenter. Yes, my wife did make me cancel my order to Dell for the Inspiron Mini 9 before I ordered the phone, but that was no biggie. I put my hands on Acer’s netbook, and realized it may be too small for comfort and – compared to the Android – too big to lug around.

BTW, I ordered the brown one, but don’t expect to see it on eBay for at least two years!

More at the end of October.

On the web: