8.01.2017

Is the current state of Mobile tech stale?

A few days ago I read an article about the Essential Phone, which I did get on the waiting pre-order list, basically outlining what we are all thinking.  An Editorial from Alex Dobie of Android Central about Essential's potential release timing.  In it he goes on to explain that the product itself has some interesting hardware components and ideas, however the timing due to delays is putting it in a difficult place.  My take on it was similar but at the same time I felt that I was a little more hopeful.  With all the delays the Essential PH-1 is going to go up against the iPhone 8 and the Samsung Note 8, two phones that almost every other manufacture tries to not release phones against.  I'm still waiting to get my invite to pay but let's be honest here the Pixel XL 2 is right around the corner as well and my budget only allows for maybe a flagship and possibly another phone... if I'm lucky.

My job has me constantly looking at the Enterprise state of mobile, which I have to tell you only private corporate enterprises can afford the newest tech.  Not to mention all the other red tape surrounding legal matters and finance.  The consumer side of me, is constantly looking for ways to make that mobile device make sense in my life.  Which is why I dropped Samsung years ago.  Yes I do have a Samsung tablet but it fills a gap by being one of the last true phablets, yup it's the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 phone variant.  Yes I do talk on it occasionally but paired with a keyboard and mouse it's a quick, easy to carry, gap filling piece of tech for what I need it for.  Otherwise I think Samsung devices have too many "helpful" features of which I very seldomly used.  Then there is Apple...

At one time I loved Apple, so much so that everything tech  had was Apple... Newton's, G3/4's desktop and laptops, etc.  Then the love stopped because I felt like I was getting screwed.  The old saying you get what you pay for was true with Apple up to a point.  That "point" was not being able to afford them anymore.  As a self proclaimed tech geek I always want the latest and greatest but you practically have to be a bazillionaire to afford all of Apple's tech.  So I made the eventual change back to PC and then additionally Android.  I could write a whole other blog about the stigma of being an Apple user outside of the digital arts community in the early 2000's but let's just say all of the people who gave me shit for being an Apple user back then are now part of the conglomerated mass of "Sheepple".  I don't regret leaving Apple I just wish there had been a mid-tier/low-cost area that would have kept me buying Apple Products.

As I scan all the daily tech sites about the new and upcoming mobile technologies, I've come to the conclusion that innovation has long since left and now we are sitting here being spoon fed what the industry wants us to.  It's a little depressing, I used to be very excited about the Microsoft, Apple, and Google conferences and couldn't wait to hear about that next start up... that time is pretty much over.  I understand that this or that company has patents or there is the Apple v Google v Samsung v Microsoft debate.  Which BTW I have no idea why Samsung is even in this line, they are a manufacturer not like the other big 3... then again there is Tizen which isn't wholly Samsung but close enough.  I'm tired of stuff I should have had years ago coming to me now like this possible Bluetooth feature for Android.  Or the debate on who's camera is better for what, F**** You!  I've know photographers both professional and casual and everyone seems to have their brand or style.  I don't care if my camera is better than yours, I care that the pictures I take are to my liking and don't look like a pile of poop.

People often ask me why I have so many devices and my response is always cause I can.  Well that's the point of this article, as I'm tired of writing you're probably wondering what's the point of this rant.  Well in a nutshell, I used to be jaded and think the world was open to possibilities and that leaving Apple no longer meant I was stuck to "their world".  What I found was we are all stuck with whatever these corporations are willing to give us.  So getting back to why I was excited for Essential and Andy Rubin's vision.  He's offering the purple pill, not the blue pill that makes us forget and just be drones, not the red pill that makes you see the "truth" about mobile tech's state.  The purple pill is that idea that he's aware of the issues and see what he has helped to build but also is aware that the industry serves itself now so what can we do to bring it back to the consumer.

That is how the mobile tech industry is stale, the industry stopped listening when they realized "there is an app for that" and they could integrate that app eventually.  Some call it evolution, I just take issue with companies not getting the idea that we as consumers want what we want.  Granted if we got everything the device would probably be messed up but where is the balance?  Where is the innovation that used to come in huge monster tsunami's... now we get these little waves that someone else already did.  Apple is the King of doing this and even they are starting to get stale in that respect.

5.03.2017

Ever wonder why things happen?

It seems to me that the last few years have been difficult but not without some happiness sprinkled in.

My mom passed, I got married, I have a little girl due in a week or two, etc.  I'm not sure if I should be depressed, happy, or I don't know.

With my mom passing the family dynamic is completely changed and not for the good.  I'm not going to get into it but let's just say I am not very happy with certain members in the family.

My wife has been the best... I knew what I was getting into and I got to say my wife is the greatest thing ever. :D  My wife being pregnant is kinda funny... well not really most of the time I'm just worried about all the things that come along with being an expectant father.  The down side, kids are expensive so I won't be able to buy new gadgets... but I think it's worth it. ;)

Among my new gadgets:

  1. Shanling M1 Digital Audio Player (DAP)
    1. Amazon link
  2. Trinity Audio Engineering - Phantom Masters and Phantom Master 4's
    1. TAE Masters
    2. Phantom Master 4's have been discontinues
  3. Kickstarted the GPD Pocket on Indigogo
    1. Indiegogo site for the GPD Pocket

I have an appointment to go see a doctor in a few minutes... another one of those things to be not so happy about. So I'll post some pictures soon of everything.

Until then be good!

11.02.2016

New tech on the way and a quick Google Pixel update

So I'm a week out from receiving my Google Pixel.  First impressions, well I was fairly disappointed with the design but usability I'm stoked on.  The phone moves, faster and better than almost anything I've had before it says my One Plus X.  The one Plus X was beautiful and moved great and it wasn't even highly spec'd out.  If you are looking for a sub $300 phone, I say pick it up.

Anyway, I'm sure you like me read everything you could about the Pixel and Pixel XL.  I agree with most of the reviews minus one or two Apple/Samsung fanboy articles I read.  I really use my main phone line for text, phone calls, web reading, and music.  So when it comes to the usual how good is the camera or how does it play games I can only tell you a combination of what I read and my first impressions.

What are my first impressions, well let's start with gaming.  I literally have two other Android device devoted to that.  My Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (LTE Malaysian edition) and my Nexus 6 on Project Fi. I have to be honest here and say that I haven't tried to play any games.  I suppose from what I read it's not a show stopper but it's not a Nvidia Shield device either.  Camera is a whole other topic.  I took a few snaps and this camera is faster than any other device I have even in HDR+ mode.  I can just snap away and go crazy and still be able to get to my pictures fast.  I mean FAST.  I was using a BB Priv and One Plus X before I got on my Pixel XL and the difference in speed is crazy.  As far a picture quality, when the conditions are decent the Pixel XL is taking some great photos but in low light or less than decent situations the camera pictures produced are all over the place.  I think my Priv actually took more consistent photos in low light.  I didn't say better just consistant.  I'm sure that has to do with the software and Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) versus the usual Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).  On that note, I found that video quality suffered the same draw backs as photos in less than decent conditions.  However the stabilization was crazy good, albeit a little weird. You know when you are playing a first person shooter and something explodes near you and you get sick because the camera angle is way too smooth.  Well that was the impression I first got when my new sofa was delivered and I did a walk around so I could show my wife.  Overall I'm very impressed with Google's attempt as none of my Nexus devices (no I did not have a Nexus 6P or 5X) came even close to the quality.

My main grip right now is that I feel that the phone while being speedy in all factors has nothing to offer the normal consumer outside of what was already mentioned.  The upload to Google Photo in full resolution for free is great and so is the support app but what about people like me who don't use their phone as a camera or really don't need support.  This is the same argument I get in with Samsung Fan boys, so I think come on Google give me something more!  What was that, "What about Google Assitant?" Well what about it?

Google Assistant feels like they ran out of time, just like why it was explained in other articles that the phone is not waterproof.  I mean I've pretty much given Google access to just about everything and yet the Assistant can't even read a text message to me?  Seriously, I feel like this is Google Now 1.1 not even 1.5.  Now don't let me let you think that it sucks all together.  There are some highlights like how it'll read the agenda/news (once configured) or how quick Assistant is when I ask it a question.  Big G has got that down great, pending your connectivity of course.  Offline interaction is hampered of course but still works as expected.

What's next?  Well I'm hoping for something big in the next quarterly release from Google but I'm not holding my breath.

That's enough about the Pixel, let me tell you about my new fascination with HI Resolution audio.  Actually let me preface this with the fact that my brain is constantly on the move.  Last year was all about Playing cards and Android Head units for my car.  This year seems to be Balisong (Butterfly knives) and more recently Hi Resolution audio.  I'm still doing research and learning about this as the days go one so I cannot claim to be an expert but I've always been into quality.  From my first set of Sennhieser Hi Fi circum-aural headphones to my newly acquired Harmon Kardon In ear Noise Cancellation headphones (HKIENC).  On the HKIENC, if I hadn't paid $30 for $150 headphones I'd be severely pissed off... I'm not going to recommend them unless you can get them for the $30.  Anyway, I've ordered a Shanling M1 and Trinity Phantom Master 4's.  Hopefully I get them before I go on vacation. 

You can Google the devices but the Shanling M1 is basically a super powered with screen iPad Nano.  I'm excited because while I loved the iPad Classic I had I hate iTunes with a passion.  While there is no touch screen there is a jog wheel and a Digital Audio Converter (DAC) which is nice for a Digital Audio Player (DAP).  I didn't want to use one of my phones just due to the size and the fact that I'm carrying close to 5-6 devices at any given time.  Plus I wanted a DAP with a DAC because well I miss listening to my music.  Non of which is Hi Resolution... Ha ha ha... but whatever I like tech.

The Trinity Phantom Master 4's will be my return to quality audio since my last big headphone purchase of Ludacris' Soul SL99.  While not a huge performance upgrade or even audiophile level I liked them a lot minus the fit.  I still use them but I figured if I'm going to pic up a DAP I'd do myself the solid and get something nice.  I got lucky after doing some research on In Ear Monitors (IEM) and stumbled across a company called Trinity Audio Engineering based out of the UK.  What I found out is they are relatively new and seem to be good for the price.  Once again though can Google them.  I'm hoping I'll get to do a mini review from a non-audiophile stand point and since I got in on the last day of their pre-order sale I didn't pay full price.  So if I hate them I'll pass them along to my brother or use them for computer gaming.

Anyhow after another long winded blog I hope you get to this part so I can say thanks for keeping up.

10.21.2016

It is what it is... I hate that saying...

There has been a lot going on in the tech world and in my life.

Some of the fun stuff in the tech world:

  • Apple released the iPhone 7 
  • Google is now making their own phones (through and Original Device Manufacturer (ODM) via HTC) and the Nexus line is dead 
  • Microsoft is still messing with Windows 10 albeit gets better then worse then better then worse then....you get the idea
  • BlackBerry officially announced the exit from hardware design/manufacturing to go to an ODM process and focus on software
  • Samsung is feeling the literal heat from their Note 7 debacle
  • BlizzCon is coming up
  • and so much more that I don't care to mention
Some fun stuff in my life:
  • Got married
  • moved, not too far from where I was
  • waiting for my Google Pixel XL phone... lol
  • Stopped smoking analog cigarettes in favor of the PAX Juul for about three going on four weeks now
  • finally got my hands on a phone variant of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
  • haven't drank any alcohol in weeks
  • and so much more that I would like to tell you but don't want to bore you with
In any case I'm writing this post because of the idea of balance.  When I was younger searching for myself.  Everything and I mean EVERYTHING was unbalanced.  Drank too much, smoked too much, gamed too much, drove to fast, drove to slow, got lost all the time, eat McDonald's as one meal everyday, etc.  It was a proverbial poo show.

Now that I'm getting older I look back and I think WTF was I thinking?  In the years up to now, I've met a wonderful woman I call my wife who balances me or matches me in so many ways.  I guess around the time I met her all the philosophical thoughts and reading I did started to make sense.  Almost everything that I thought I understood wasn't necessarily wrong but skewed.  I've come to realize that it's all about balance.

Religion and philosophy always speak of balances.  Good and evil, light and dark, left versus right.  In each instance there is never a point in which the balance corrects itself.  I'm not a Taoist by religion, in fact I'm agnostic, but I tend to believe in the philosophy behind Taoism.  The underlying philosophy is that you cannot have one without the other.  If you read the Tao Te Ching, you'll be confused but if you read into what it is saying you get that it really is saying what Western culture has turned into a symbol for the martial arts and Eastern hippies, I refer to the Yin Tang symbol.

I bet you're thinking WTF is this guy going on about?  Well think about this for a second, you're in the USA and the election for president is coming up... who are you going to vote for?  Or how about, it's time for your phone upgrade... iPhone 7 or Google Pixel or LG V20 or A Samsung device that is still on the market? Or as my coworker always asks "What's for lunch?"  
What do you do in these instances?  Personally my rant here about balance should at least help to explain some of my choices and no I'm telling you who I'm voting for because I've learned some important things recently.
  1. I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to politics
  2. The Election system is messed up in the US
  3. The person I usually vote for loses, always...
  4. I'm not in the business of pissing people off over politics, electronics maybe but not politics.
On to bigger brighter things, why'd I choose the Google Pixel over the Apple iPhone 7?  First you need to understand I've been using Google product since day one and I'm so 90% of my work flows are based on the understanding of the Google Cloud and all it means, good and bad.  Second, if and when I do go back to Apple it'll be a big jump.  By big jump I mean I'll be buying the phone, the computers, the iPad, the Apple TV.  For those who have an iPhone and say that it's usable you are correct but to really get the full experience you need all that Apple has to offer.  I was once there and honestly as I got older I couldn't justify what I was getting for the money.  Now who knows, it's been close to 9 years since my last Apple anything.  Third I've got multiple devices on me at any given time I need them all and I need to be able to switch on the fly as the situations demand.

So back to the original question why the Google Pixel.  I'm an idiot that loves tech.  I like the new and shiny and my $800+ BlackBerry Priv pissed me off so bad that after spending a little less than 3 months with it I went back to my standby $250 OnePlus X.  Why? User experience.  I have been using Android 7.0 for a while now on my Project Fi Nexus 6 (the Motorola one no the 6P by Huawei) and it's fantastic.  All the little irks I had with 6 magically went poof and I was happy again.  Aside from that the Nexus 6 is end of life this year so that when I upgrade to the shiniest and newest next year I'll have a decent phone for my Project Fi phone line.  Finally, I got to play with my coworkers brand spanking new iPhone 7 Plus and while it is a great piece of hardware, that taptic engine is sweet but no headphone jack is enough for me to say no.  

I worry that other manufacturers will follow suit.  What pisses me off is that the fanboys I deal with all the time say things like Apple invented this.  All I can say is that there were multiple phones before the iPhone 7 that had no headphone jack and used a similar lighting to 3.5mm adaptor.  Then on top of that now I have to carry an extra cable around?  People say things like well at least they put a set of headphones and adaptor in with the iPhone.  Well la dee da, why didn't Apple put in an adaptor that allows for you to charge your phone and use it as a headphone jack?  I get it the phone is waterproof, personally I've never had issue with it but having that extra bit of protection is great.  Also like I said before the Taptic engine is SWEET!  

On the Google side of the house, I'm so used to switching phones that honestly I'm just too lazy to have to go learn another OS.  After spending time with BBOS10.x+ and Windows 10 mobile I really don't feel like having to relearn iOS.  Yes it's been that long that I have no idea WTF is going on.  Will I stick with Google sure but that doesn't mean that I will always be on their hardware.  And this folks is where I explain something that everyone else seems to understand but never fully gets it.

You can use BBMessenger or Exchange/Outlook or GMail on any of the multitudes of devices but I can get Google apps/Services on any device.  this goes beyond the argument of "there's an app for that" or the fact that O365 has similar services.  Google just hands down works, yes it has it's problems but less so than any of the other major tech giants.  I use GApps on a daily basis for personal and work and use O365 for work related duties.  Between the two it's always GApps that I prefer.  O365 is a good product but it's like the Apple's iOS and Google's Android comparison.  There is quite a bit of polish that GApps has over O365, so much so that when collaborating I'm very frequently cussing out O365 because it's such a clunky hassle to use over the less clunky hassle that is GApps.  Why not use a different service you ask? Well let's be honest here, I spend the majority of my resources (see Time and Money) on tech and I don't have the time to figure things out like I did.  

Time - I'm not young or patient, I need instant gratification.  Don't make me read a bunch of crap just to figure out how to fix my issue.  Every used a Microsoft technet article?  I might be in IT but I'm of the generation that Googles everything and only looks for the answer.  And then when I Google O365 related information all I get is a ton of articles that are written by smart people for smart people.  I'm a dumbass, "speak to me like a four year old" is what I say to all my colleagues at work.  If I have to use Yahoo or some other search engine to get good results sorry, I just don't have the time for that.

Money - I'm not paying for a service for something that I can get for free.  Downside Google has my tech persona and my digital information.  Am I happy about it no but I've made my peace with that long ago.  Most paid services require other people I frequently collaborate with pay too.  Or they have some crazy ad scheme or some other insane way to get things done.  Who has the time for that?  I know this is the Money portion of this rant but TIME =MONEY

So here I am all fired up about my Google Pixel XL which is in Chicago.  I've got the weekend to burn and the phone is 3 days ahead of the proposed shipping timeframe. I'm excited and have my fingers crossed that I don't have the lemon issue I did with the BB Priv or knock the phone off my dresser and break it a week after I get it (RIP NEXUS 1).  I'm off to go back to staring at spreadsheets for work all day now.  

Have a nice day.










2.09.2016

Holy crap it's been like 2 years...

No one follows me so who the hell cares?  I do... I had high hopes of me just typing away about everything and nothing really to say.  YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, Twitter, etc. seems to be where it's at.  Call me old fashion but there is just something about typing on a keyboard and spilling the diarrhea of my brain.
My high school English teacher used to say, "You've got constipation of the brain and diarrhea of the mouth."  that just came to mind from the last line typed.

It's been a while, lots has changed.  Maybe I could even say evolved.  I now have three mobile phone lines.  My main personal do everything line, my secondary whatever I feel like popping the SIM into line, and my Google Project Fi line.  Hopefully soon I'll have some choice words to spout.  For now I'm just going to leave off with I won't and can't let another two years go by without typing in here.

Geez, so many random things and nothing really to say. :D

10.27.2013

Bunch of new hardware...

I recently realized that I buy hardware that I need then I gripe about it... So what I say?  No one visits this site anyway so I throw it al out to the ether and maybe I help someone or not.

So over the last year I've amassed two smart watches, a Galaxy note 2, and my most recent purchase a Surface Pro 2.  If you didn't know I went to art school and now work in the IT industry.  I've been moving my way up the ranks.  So now I need a machine that was a tablet and a Windows PC... enter the Surface.

I'll have a review later but let's just say that the 1.5 days I've had the thing I'm pretty stoked.  Like my old Mac's I expect to get a few years out of this piece and maybe pull out a few pieces of artwork too.

The sad thing about this is that I wish someone would just give me this stuff so I can spend my money on other things like... Bulleit Whiskey, Girls, and more car parts.  The nice thing about this all is that once I get past this little hump of mine I'm in a good position.  I wished I was here four years ago but hey at least I'm making progress.

BTW,  if you're interested in a Surface see if you can pick up the 1st gen and save some money.  Unless you got money to burn. 

This thing puts all my Android tablets to shame.  It's a little bigger and heavier but it also does a whole lot more.  Think of it as a well priced laptop without the frills.

Review coming soon,  I promise it'll be from a angry Asian that doesn't give a crap about half the stuff the normal consumer doesn't. :D  Till then!

7.07.2013

Smartwatches and what it really means to the average person... or at least what I think.

In the past few months I have completely forgotten what it means to be the average smartphone user.  It means nothing... Most people don't give a rat's ass about being able to write a design document or finish out that excel sheet on their phone.  What they really want to do is play games and stay up on the social media.  They don't care that they can really ditch their computers if they are willing to put up with the small screen and strange looks.

People just want something convenient.  I always wondered why something so lack luster as the newer iPhones still sell so well.  Then it dawned on me that people want ease of use.  As phones become smarter the users  stay the same.  I bust my ass day in day out at a IT job that makes around me miserable.  All I want my phone to do is work.  But I carry a Samsung Galaxy Note II with a ZeroLemon battery, which BTW is fantastic, but it's like carrying around a brick in my pocket. Being Asian I always get, "Wonder why your phone is so big..."  My reply is that I have to make up for my small eyes.  It gets laughs and diffuses any potential anger issues that I have seething inside of me.

That's where the two preceding paragraphs come in... enter the smartwatch.  I've been lucky enough to be able to afford gadgets and the smartwatch is currently far from being able to really affordable.

I currently own a:
MotoACTV 8GB
http://www.motorola.com/us/consumers/8GB-or-16GB-MOTOACTV/79070,en_US,pd.html
and a
MetaWatch  (Hardware REV F)
http://www.metawatch.com/
and
This is on the way around NOVEMBER:
KREYOS
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kreyos-the-only-smartwatch-with-voice-gesture-control

The fun thing is that I no longer have to pull out my phone for any calls or texts.  Using applications like Augmented Smartwatch Pro:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alk.k9
I get the most out of the limited hardware.

Functionally all the watches work the same I can get my notifications on my wrist. I never have to pull my phone out on that date or annoy my best friends by being on the phone all the time.  Some watches even offer sensors and monitors to help with staying fit.  Not that I use those features but it's nice.

Most people will see the novelty in the smartwatch, some might find benefit, some will hate it.  However it is another option that most people don't even think about.  Make you're own decisions but don't knock it until you try it and don't scoff at people when they do have one.