the itjerk

my adventures with technology

Tag Archives: smartphone

pixel 5

Santa brought me a Pixel 5 for Xmas. The old Pixel 2 was a venerable phone, but “typing” had become more than troublesome, and knowing I had just performed the last Android update, I got the bug to upgrade. Didn’t get much of a deal, $50 off an unlocked model, plus I traded in my daughter’s Pixel 3a (more on that later). I had thought about a Pixel 4a, but the cheaper glass and plastic case made me think otherwise – and no, I don’t care about a headphone jack.

To be honest, the two phones are incredibly similar. In fact, I prefer how the Pixel 2 felt in my hand – the slightly rectangular bezel made it easier to grip. Sure, the Pixel 5 has 5G, another camera, etc, but what I notice the most is that the screen bleeds to the very edge of the phone case. Whoopdedoo. It’s uncomfortable to reach my fingers down to the bottom edge. Thankfully I found out how to restore the three-button navigation at the bottom (Settings>System>Gestures), I sure was not up for “swipey-swipey-hold” all the time. Switching between phones was nearly perfect – only my VPN and SSH clients need to be setup from scratch again.

The $649 question: Was it worth it? Not really. I probably should have held off until next year to upgrade. If you really ting about it, the smartphones are a mature product. The hand is only so big, and there’s really not much to add to improve the experience. Another camera? More storage? 6G network? Better screen? These are all incremental at best. In the future let’s hope that phones are more about longevity – having the ability to keep getting software updates – rather than just replacing hardware every few years. Ho-hum.

no phone

I was at a Xmas party the other afternoon, and after taking my just-over-two-year-old phone out of my front breast pocket, noticed that it was not on. I tried to turn it on, but nothing. No battery? When I got home a few hours later, I plugged it into multiple chargers, went into recovery mode, cleared the cache, tried a factory reset, but same result: wouldn’t start. I chatted Google Fi (my carrier), was transferred twice, then eventually talked to LG, the manufacturer of the LGH790, aka Nexus 5X.

Long story short, it stopped working, stuck in some kind of infinite reboot. LG offered to repair the phone for free (cross-fingers). I then went to their specific website for repairs, filled out everything (including IMEI), went back to Google to get a proof-of-purchase, printed out that and the Fedex label, and have been slowly watching it traverse its way to Texas via ground service. Estimated 8-10 business days for the repair. Over the Xmas holiday, too.

No phone and no camera. Only a computer at home and a computer at work. How do I check my Fitbit? How do I get text messages? What about that ongoing thread about the next “sniding” (record listening event)? What about my Facebook friends? How do I show off my kids’ pix?

Oh first world problems. Sure, it’s liberating not getting work email 24/7 or habitually checking my phone for… well, because that’s what we now do.

I feel anxious, though, like something’s missing. How long can this go on? Evidently much longer…

UPDATE: I received the phone back on Friday 12/22 (using Fedex’s Ship Manager to have it delivered to a local Fedex/Kinko’s). No cost to me and a perfectly new-looking phone.

LG

ubuntu edge

It's a tall order to crowdfund a very high-end smartphone, especially when the goal is $32,000,000 – yes, that's 32 million dollars. But why expect anything less than stunning from Ubuntu? The idea is "to provide a low-volume, high-technology platform" device, namely the Ubuntu Edge. It will run (the very latest?) Android OS out of the box, but soon after launch (and through a planned update) the phone will provide the so-called integrated Ubuntu experience, "seamlessly between the two environments" of your desktop and smartphone. Here's Mark Shuttleworth:

The fun begins in mid-2014, but funding must be met by August 22nd 2013. I'm in! Please visit:

On the web:
Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo

Update 08/22/12 – Funding, while achieving $12,814,196, did not reach the intended goal. Next…

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.