Hi. My name is Adam Saunders and I live in the world of 1's and 0's. This is my tiny contribution the vastness of internet information. It's just an opinion and should you have your own, please comment it!
So this is a difficult one. It's been a year since I bought my current "daily driver", the Samsung Galaxy Note, which I have loved. Though I still can't settle on a ROM, and I'm not too happy about Samsung and their Jelly Bean update, or lack thereof. (Another story perhaps).
Now I've had a chance to have a play with the successor for the Note.. the aptly names Note 2, and the changes are very apparent. I have to say that there is one really good thing that Samsung does and one really bad. They are great at bringing out successors, the S2 to S3 for example was a massive leap forward, and this Note to Note 2 is the same. They are still bad at software though. I STILL don't like the look and feel of their TouchWiz software, although it is far faster and smoother, the usability is still lacking.
The Note 2 is by far a greate leap forward. The faster processor and more memory along with Jelly Bean and its butter programme makes for a compelling device. I still think the fundemental applications of Samsungs devices are terrible. The dialer doesn't solve real world needs and the overall TouchWiz look is just... ugly. It's no MIUI. It frustrates me that these people have a lot of potential and just blow it at what I would say is the most important aspect of a smartphone. But I suppose I would say that being a software designer.
With the Note 2, the basics are still not at the level I think they could be, but they have added plenty of bells and whistles. Split screen applications, more integrated pen capabilities and much more, are all really good and perhaps in some cases a little bit of a gimick, but I still wish they brought in someone with a greater idea of UI like Apple and HTC etc have done. It's like they are playing wth half the formula.
So, the smoother, faster use of the Note 2 is a good reason to upgrade, but I'm not actually very interested in that as the Note isn't exactly slow. It is also bigger than the original too which I was very surprised about. I was hoping that they would reduce the size of the phone whilst keeping the size of the screen the same or perhaps a little bigger. But the resolution has changed to 720px wide from 800px, which means it is 16:9 and not 16:10. It is thinner and longer which I'm not sure felt better.. perhaps a little worse to be perfectly honest. What I really want to find out is whether the battery life is as good as the reviews and rumours are saying, Heavy use will still give you 2 days use... For any smartphone, that is MASSIVE.
Will I upgrade? It's a really difficult question. Have you?
I was reading an article today about a very serious patent claim currently being made in Texas. You can read the whole things here, but to summarise a patent troll called Eolas is trying to sue all the major internet players in claim over a patent that essentially covers the internet and how it works.
I had to post about it because one part of my work is to come up with new ideas and better ways for people to run their businesses. These types of patent trolls are a massive threat to the way everyone has come to rely on technology in their lives.
The problem is that software patents are vague, open to interpretation and can be completely misused. In theory, every innovator has to check through all patent offices around to world to see if their idea has already been though it. This simply isn't realistic and patent trolls know this.
Surely it would be better if the patent holder has to prove that their idea was actually stolen rather than someone else just thinking of the same idea. This is the weakness. Just because you patent an idea, doesn't mean someone hasn't already thought of it, used it, or may think of it on their own later. Even the biggest companies can't check everything they do.. it would overbear the patent office, stifle new ideas, plus some of these companies buy in from smaller firms that simply couldn't afford this process. This idea would be something like the well known legal term of "innocent until proven guilty".
I don't want you to get me wrong about patents themselves. I think patents do have their place. Western worlds can't manufacture any more, not like the East can, so innovate and license has become a massive contribution to the overall GDP. But if these people were really serious about just protecting their ideas, they wouldn't have waited years for the fish to fatten on it before coming in to destroy it for everyone, which is precisely what patent trolls are doing, and the Eolas case is no exception. There is absolutely no way that they wouldn't have known these companies had innovations covered in their patents.
Perhaps then this alternative idea would be fair. If someone has been publicly producing products or services that have innovations that could be argued are covered by a patent, then if no infringements have been claimed within X years, then they can't sue. That should stop the trolls and get patent holders to actually check what they own, not everyone else trying to see what everyone else might have, and it would therefore still allow people to protect their ideas. That is the purpose after all, not to allow people to mince millions for their own means and "sod the rest of the world".
Once again, I've not posted in a while, and that's mainly because it's been so busy. I've decided to make a post mainly to try and convince myself either way whether getting the new Google/Samsung Galaxy Nexus would be a good idea, or whether I would just go for the cheaper option of the Samsung Galaxy S2.
One thing for sure is that I want to upgrade. I still LOVE my Nexus One but some of the more recently hardware changes, such as the screen technologies really appeal to me considering the type of usage I have.
I think the Nexus series is a great idea, and I'd love to follow on from my current Nexus with a new one. The Galaxy Nexus is a very attractive device. The large screen, but not considerably larger phone (than the S2) makes a hit with the increasing amount of web browsing I do on my phone. The Nexus One is a pretty quick phone, but its not the fastest for browsing and the screen is reasonable for periodic use. The extra horse-power of either the S2 or Galaxy Nexus will improve the experience, but that larger and much higher resolution screen on the Galaxy Nexus would change the amount of browsing I'd like to do.
Along with those key updates the Galaxy Nexus also has NFC support (though its a growing technology for now, so would be an early adoption), barometer which can aid the GPS satellite lock-on considerably (in many cases can make lock-on almost instantaneous, which is a real plus when using the phone a fair amount for navigation like I do. These are all great arguments for getting the Galaxy Nexus and I wouldn't hesitate pre-ordering one already if it wasn't for my reservations.
I love the form factor of the Galaxy Nexus over the S2. The more roundness and curved screen is a real plus with the Nexus S, and the weight difference could be really key. The S2 is just too light, and a number of owners have mentioned this. It's so incredibly light that its a problem with holding the phone steady or even noticing its in a pocket. Most have had to get a case just to add some weight to it, and personally the additional weight should give a feeling of sturdiness. I'm not saying the Nexus is heavy, just that it should have the right weight to make the phone "feel right".
So what are my reservations? I'm certainly not alone, when I look at the Galaxy Nexus and consider the price tag compared to the rest of the market, I find some aspects that seem to have been dismissed but not for the price. The most prominent or should I say, surprising feature was that there is no removable SD card. All the other Galaxy phones have this along with considerable built in memory, and I've always had it in Nexus One too.
So should you and I consider the Galaxy S2 or the Galaxy Nexus? The answer to this would It really depends on your key usage of the device. If its mostly comms (phone, text, email) then it doesn't really matter too much which device you will have, but if you are a web site user and use it for navigation a fair amount, those extra pixels and large display will really do the browsing justice, the improved browser and generally getting everything first the Nexus is very attractive, plus the barometer for very rapid GPS lock on should be noticeable for your navigation.
I'm in the same boat as others regarding the No SD card. I think it's a major oversight, though the Nexus S didn't have one either and I have to say, I've not heard any complaining. I suppose the question you need to ask yourself is, how much space is enough for you? As I have said before, I have a Nexus One currently with 16GB SD, and I simply do not fill it. I could, but then I'd be filling it with crap that certainly wouldn't be necessary and I do have plenty of that already on this one. The other thing that I've come to notice is the number of times I remove the removable SD card... Hardly ever and the rare times I have, I had other options. So I suppose I should next ask, would I want a 16 GB SD card? or 16 GB built in where the built in memory is generally much faster? or would I want the 16GB built-in and an additional 16GB SD card? I'd obviously want the 16GB 16GB SD.. that the S2 offers. Therefore the real questions for you and I would be.. Do you REALLY NEED it?
Should you wait? I can confidently tell you, or remind you that every technology will improve in time and if you wait for the next thing, you'll just be constantly waiting and will end up with nothing. If you have the Galaxy S2 already, stick with it.. it's a VERY good phone and I simply can not see any benefit of upgrading to the Galaxy Nexus. You'll get your Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich at the start of 2012. Better late than never!
I have to say that I'm absolutely LOVING MIUI (miuiandroid.com/) on my Nexus One. It's a really slick interface where I just haven't had to download and install replacements components such as dialers and contact managers (even browsers) because it all works together so well. It's a very productive ROM, and looks so slick too.
Android 4.0 - Ice Cream Sandwich has now been announced and the one of the key features is the unification (finally) of the interface. I.e. the way the device works should be far more consistent than it ever was before. Though this isn't exactly hard. Android has always felt quite segregated in the past.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the Android 4.0 and seeing if the move away from MIUI is going to leave me home sick. Watch this space!
I thought I'd try and post a blog via my new transformer. Managed to get the one with the keyboard and have to say its VERY good indeed. There still needs to be some better support for Tablets with the existing applications in the market. I'm sure that will change a lot over the coming year.
I've been waiting for ages for version 7 of the incredibly brilliant CyanogenMod (a community built version of Android mobile platform with plenty of extra bells and whistles that you love your phone to have).
Around 3 weeks ago I started to download the nightly version of CM7 just so that I could have a feel of what gingerbread (version 2.3 of Android) would be like. I really like it, but the stability of the builds were not great in specific areas. Generally it was sound and was immediately using is as part of my daily mobile phone, but the dialer and few other parts would be problematic. The thing is, it wasn't really the fault of CM7 (ish). They were trying to get gingerbread out very early using the same Android build that the Nexus S (first phone to officially support gingerbread, made by samsung) and fit that on older devices.
Every update I'd be hoping that someone would have figured out the issues, but it wasn't the case, and there was even an application called Dewonkificator that was created by someone in the community to continually restart a service to patch the issue. That worked, but its certianly no final fixture.
Well a few days ago Google finally released Andoird 2.3.3 which had Nexus One support which the CM team promptly included in their Release Candidate build. I installed that today and what a difference it has made. Completely stable, super fast, tons of options and the phone once again feels like a brand new device.
I think the Nexus One has been the best investment in mobile technology I've ever made. Over the last 2 years I've had it, it feels like I've recieved about 5 new devices. And this is all down to the strong community side of Android, and especially the CyanogenMod team!
Now I have to start to contemplate whether I should invest in a Xoom tablet. It's still not a tablet like I have as my PC tablet, but I'll certianly be looking closely at the device. The IPad 2 does look and sound good, but I don't have any Apple technologies and it simply couldn't fit into the way I work... totally untethered. I've noticed that Apple are trying to defend their ground with the only real strength the ipad has, which is how many apps they have for the iPad than the totally new honeycomb has, but look how that has quickly gone ahush with the mobile phone versions of each platform. I doubt I'm the only one seeing that this will be a short lived fact, and these devices are large longer term investments. Whats most to note here is that the fact that Apple are trying to highlight these things means their are very concerned.
I'm VERY much looking forward to April the 16th and 17th as it's the first Chillax LAN party. I've been wanting to set up a LAN party for ages and has been a hot topic for months, perhaps even years with friends.
What I wasn't expecting was to be able to find the perfect location to host one. Chillax is being held in a data center which means that it has direct connectivity to the gaming servers which won't have to be moved about as per a normal LAN event. The networking infrastructure is already in place with Gigs of bandwidth, and there not just a back up power unit but three different ones.
The difference between this LAN event and others is that Chillax is all about the social aspects of gaming rather than the competitive tournament nature that many have. It's a time to chill out with gaming, beers, pizzas, BBQs and great friends, new and old!
Some more info: www.chillax.org.uk
I'm hoping this will attract a much wider audience where people would usually feel somewhat out of their depth at a typical LAN event. So it's open to everyone of all ages and runs the entire weekend including through the night.
Should be a weekend to remember!!
I'm only writing this because I've been asked about tablets a fair bit recently, and people always ask, "do you have an iPad?"
Quite simply, they are a touch screen media device that doesn't behave like a tablet in my opinion. One of the most important aspects of a tablet is the way it can become digital paper. This means it needs more precise tools such as a digital pen to make it a worthy tablet.
I've been contemplating these new tablets and even being a huge fan and advocate of the Android platform, I'm struggling to see a reason to get one except for a slightly nicer web experience than my phone, and that isn't problematic on the Nexus One anyway. With all the hullabaloo about the Tablet PC experience not being finger friendly I think the main point is missed.. For business, I need to draw stuff like this...
I do like the idea that these new tablets are sleek, have long battery life and handle media well, but without any real practical purpose beyond all the devices I already have around me, any contemplation of getting one would be simply be a total waste of money that could be spent one something that actually does the job.
So what does the job? In my case the HP convertable tablet notepad has been a prized tool for the type of work I do.. It does all the things the iPad's and other "tablets" do, but so much more!
You never know with these things if its just a rumour of if its something real, but there does seem to be some pretty positive talk about Samsung showing off the next "Nexus Two" that will have Gingerbread on it on the 8th November. That isn't long away, and Samsung do have a conference on that day, and they have sent invites out saying that they will be unveiling a new device. What is more is that Google have also added the Gingerbread man to their front lawn to sit aside the previous desert based sculptures that represent each of the main Android versions. They only do this when the version is imminent. Gingerbread is looking likely to be version 2.3 with Honeycomb (probably something to expect at the first or second quarter of next year) will be version 3.0.
What I like about this is that Google have managed to keep all the details regarding Gingerbread behind closed doors much like Apple do with their software. Why I like this is that it stirs more interest as speculations come around which in turn should drive interest in the platform in general. I want Android interest to grow as I'm much more interested in Android development than I am iOS development.
I currently own a Nexus One, and have to say it's absolutely brilliant! Because it is a "Nexus" and has the core Android platform direct from the kitchens of Google, it has become the most widely supported device amongst the Android communities. For example every iteration of Cyanogen Mod that gets released, such as the recent version 6.1, it feels like I have a brand new phone. Quite simply, the Nexus One was the best investment in a mobile phone I have EVER made by a LONG LONG way.
This incredible support by the trio of platform provider (Google), hardware provider (HTC) and the open source community has proven they are a recipe for total success. Everyone wins, especially the consumer!
And for this reason I have a huge amount of interest in this new phone. It's based on Samsungs current Galaxy S phone, but the fact that it wouldn't have all the Samsung branded Android components (if the rumours ARE true), that it comes with an awesome super AMOLED screen, and the design looks insanely thin as well as the processing capability being outstanding, means this could be one hell of a tasty device.
The other rumour is that it would be available at Car Phone Warehouse here in the UK almost immediately. This means that it will be available across all the mobile providers and it won't get any of the provider crapware installed on it!
But like with all things like this, its a matter of "wait and see". It might just be another new Android mobile by Samsung that is just like the others in their line of Android devices. Here's to hoping for a "Nexus Two"!
UPDATE: It seems that the rumours are indeed all rubbish. Samsung have denied they are announcing a Nexus Two or "Nexus S" and are in face going to announce a dual screen phone. A concept where a smaller screen below the base of the main display can show the clock, notification icons and weather using less power than switching on the full display.
UPDATE2: Nexus S it is then! Beautiful phone too!
I while ago I posted a list of apps that I had installed on my Nexus One to give an idea of the sorts of apps that I like or I thought were very cool.
Well, a lot has changed since then, and there are loads of amazing applications that you can get on the Android that simply aren't on any other platform thanks to it's openness.
Here is my current list thanks to AppBrain:
I've not done paintballing in a while. I've sided on air-soft instead for some time, but an opportunity came up and seemed a fantastic way to catch up with my paintballing skills.. I lack thereof perhaps :-)
I'm entering into the Tippmann Challenge (http://www.tippmannchallengeuk.com/) on the weekend of the 28th and 29th August. It only cost £55 and included the kit! Thanks to Mick Beeby for the tip!! So now I'm getting really excited about going as I read more and more about all the events going on over the two days. The great thing is that it all sounds like it will run at what ever pace you choose. Its a 6 hour game, so you just come on and off when you feel like it.
So I've been shopping at Millets to buy a tent and dusting off my old kit which seems to be in reasonable order for once. The tent is slightly over sized but planning to reuse some other time, probably next summer..
What can I say... Been very naughty and not written a blog post in a while. It's probably more for good reasons than bad as Neetrix is starting to take off and the feedback has been brilliant. Still loads to do, but have a number of small businesses using Neetrix to run their businesses. We're are currently going through the second phase where the interface is having an overhaul now that the core is stable. The recent completion of the Trial Balance report for Neetrix Accounting has been a significant milestone that has proven the accuracy and stability of the system. These new enhancements will provide a far faster administration area, reduce our code-base for quicker implementations of new features, and hugely improve the ease of use of the system. In every respect, its very exciting.
I've also been trying to get the 2nd and 3rd piano pieces down on paper. That's been on the back burner for ages, but has recently had a bit of a burst of progress. I'm looking forward to publishing them up on this site as soon as they are done so I can put them to the side and work on my next stuff with the piano. (my reading speed has taken a small blow because of the focus on writing theory).
One thing I have managed to do recently is sort out a twitter background for my personal twitter account.. It's been long overdue! Check it out http://www.twitter.com/_AdamSaunders.
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These are the declassified opinions of Adam Saunders. I take no responsibility for the effect these opinions may have on you. Do not read with care...