Tag Archives: Android

You thought I was dead right?

Well not quite, although if North Korea have anything to say about that, I might be vaporised some time soon.

Firstly an apology.  In the 12 year history of this blog, I don’t think I have ever suffered a silence this long – almost two months !! So, as you might expect, I have plenty to rant about and as my connection is shit and I need to be quick, I need to type fast so don’t expect it in any kind of relevant order what so ever.

Skype – lets talk about them for a minute.  Couple of months ago, my Samsung auto updated overnight and gave me the all new Version 8 of Skype – what an abortion it turned out to be.  I also took the update on my iPhone to equal disappointment.  The android however, would let me roll back to V7 where it still comfortably sits until this day – making the android my extra special phone of choice again.

I would dearly like to hit the ‘New Skype’ team with a fully charged bolt of lightning – right up their ring holes.  They have turned what was a very unique and life saving application into some pre pubescent teenager dribble, forgetting that the majority of their user base is probably over the age of 30.  I keep checking in on the iTunes Store and also Google Play to see the hammering they are taking in the ratings but still they blindly plug on, forcing the shit that no-one wants on all of us.  What was once a 4*+ experience on the iTunes store has now dropped to just above 1*.

Of course, I have tried half a dozen other applications for communicating with friends and lovers but none of them do what Skype V7 does.  That got me thinking.  See those developers at New Skype must have thought ‘we need to do what everyone else is doing’ and that makes no sense.  If you have a product that is the same as 10 others , your market share is limited, people will choose which they use based on silly things, colour schemes, friends that use them etc.  If you have a product that is different and no-one else does anything to rival it – you have something that, I remember from my corporate days, is referred to as a USP or a unique selling point.  That alone will draw people in, away from those other 10 products in the market that don’t have your function. Sadly though, New Skype is giving its clients something they don’t want or didn’t ask for – a bit like ‘New Coke’ if you are old enough to remember that.  Sadly though, and unlike New Coke, I expect New Skype will not be withdrawn in favour of the old V7 masterpiece, even when customers leave in their hundreds of thousands to other platforms.

Either way, its a loss for the consumer – even more so when I asked Skype to refund me the credit that is on my Skype account and they said no.  For anyone like me who works away and likes to communicate long distance in relative simplicity – Skype was a godsend, now it is just a pile of shit.  All of this at a time where I was seriously considering a move away from apple completely and back to Microsoft – but now that’s on hold.  I hope I can eek out more life from my 7 year old mac.

The world is a changing place too, as I edge towards 50 I am feeling different.  I put some proper grunge on this morning, Soundgarden, no, I am not a fashionista that recently got into Soundgarden when their lead singer recently died – (quick divert here), why is it, that when someone dies, iTunes suddenly doubles the price of their music?  I can see it now, news breaks across the world and the iTunes admin staff go into overdrive to instantly hike up their prices, Chris Cornell was no exception, as were the Beastie Boys when Adam Yauch left us behind, even the mighty Bee Gees get the same treatment – it really pisses me off, these big fat corporations getting even bigger and fatter from other people’s misery.

I just mentioned to my second engineer, how about some real grunge?  I put on Screaming Life and jokingly said ‘this is probably older than you’ – turns out , it was. After the whole album was gone, I turned to a little bit of Green Day just to spice things up a bit.  then it hit me – these fuckers on here probably don’t even know Green Day, FFS.

The biggest frustration I have with the youngsters on board is their lack of caring and respect for the very vessel that keeps them safe and alive.  They crash around, bashing and slamming everything, leaving every electrical device turned on with no thought for their actions.  I have just had a frantic call from the chef about his freezers.  From the sound of his radio call, you would think his freezer was on fire when in fact all that had happened was he had shut something in the door and damaged the door seal.  Now call me a twat if you will but if you can close a walk in fridge door with two steel plates in the way that shouldn’t be there and NOT EVEN NOTICE – you shouldn’t be working at sea.  Go and join a Facebook group or something, complain all you like but please, fuck off and leave me alone.

The other week, one of the stewardesses came to me with a door handle in her hand.  She had slammed the handle down with such force that the shaft that runs through the door from one handle to the other had sheared completely.  That’s a lot of force.  Even better, I don’t think they know that door handles can also be used to close doors gently so that you don’t wake other people up.

Now of late, I have had more of a need to communicate while at sea than I have in recent years.  I am of an age where we didn’t have full time internet connections.  Transatlantic sailing was done from Mallorca to Antigua without any contact with the rest of the world, 16 or 17 days at a time. Now, everyone feels so privileged that they should have it all the time.  This in turn causes the boss to have internet anguish as I like to call it.  His speeds get so slow that he can hardly function.  In fairness to him, if I was paying 4 grand a month for an internet service, I would want all the bandwidth too but it is making my life extraordinarily hard.  On a work level, my boat computer gets shut down from the outside world.  That can be a real drag.  When the boss is on, I have to be very selective about what work I do, most of it is hugely invasive so it has to wait.  While it waits, I normally catch up with suppliers, theories, paper work or just hunt out solutions for current problems.  Cut me off from the outside world and it really hurts.  Most of my shopping is done with suppliers in America who are 12-18 hours behind.  Cut me off at the wrong time of day for a couple of hours and I can lose a whole day – not funny.

Then of course, there is the want and need to communicate with the squeeze. I am not talking about full on video conferencing here but just the need to send or receive simple messages or photos and that gets frustrating. Two days it took to download a recent video message the squeeze sent – as it happens it was a very important clip, a tearful squeeze explaining and sharing how she struggles with my absence – and it took me two days to see it.  Looking at it from her side, she has bared her soul, sent me a message and I haven’t even bothered to respond – or so it seems.  Knowing how things can spiral out of control, i get frustrated at the inability to communicate.  Let me put it into perspective.  When I am finished here today, I will click on the menu area at the top of my screen. i will then wait for around 30 seconds for the menu to appear with the ‘sign out option’.  Now imagine trying to load a whole page?  It ain’t pretty.

So change will come, change will happen, change is good – and if you oppose change there is always Facebook where you can say you protested your bit by joining a Facebook action group where once you have clicked ‘join’ no further action is taken.

So, change is good, unless you are the New Skype Team, in which case your product change was shit but nowhere near as shit as receiving your p45 when Bill Gates sees all the reviews people have left you.

 

Anyway – I want to leave you with a little grunge.  Not my all time fave track but one you are more likely to recognise.  As it happens, it’s not too bad either.  This song deserves your attention so stop what you are doing and take a moment to enjoy it.  Put your headphones in, turn up your speakers, lean back in your chair  – just take a moment.  Grunge is not dead – long live grunge

 


UK Mail & DHL

Ok, Here we go, just like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction – I want to unleash fury

Unleash fury on fuckwits !!

UK Mail – or to give them another name – DHL – you twats!

 

So I have a Samsung S8 currently lost in their ether – can I get help? No fucking chance.  Click on the phone icon on their support website – absolutely fuck all!  Talk to someone ?? forget it.  Get cut off by an automated service – most definitely.

OK, so I made a mistake.  A present for the squeeze, a new S8, delivered to my parents for security while I am out in Singapore – but I forgot the fuckwit factor ( a multiple of 100 apparently).  Parents away on holiday, a consignment in my name that they refuse to leave with a neighbour and I am three weeks away.

Under normal circumstances you might expect that I could divert the delivery to someone else – but not with these soapy tit wanks – it seems nothing is possible.

My only option is to delay delivery for another 3 days in the hope that when that one fails, I can delay it again until someone is at the delivery address.

Under conventional thinking, a call to a human being could sort this out, authorise the delivery somewhere else and the squeeze could, as a surprise, receive her new phone – but DHL – or Dick Head Losers as I will now refer to them, can´t seem to grasp that as a basic.  The horror is making me weep.

 

Almost as much as the new Skype update – W T F ???????  I just looked at the most recent reviews and Skype, you are getting more 1 star reviews than Apple OS releases used to get before Apple stopped letting people write reviews – Skype is now horrific.

I would change to Whatsapp – but their Facebook privacy issues piss me right off!

 

I am having an anti technology day (Those geek fuckers that were bullied at school deserve another good fucking kicking).


Smartphones – The choice of a New Generation.

The other day, I very nearly took a step into the unknown.  It would have been a momentous occasion too, no less spectacular than when Armstrong walked on the moon.

I almost wrote a blog from my phone.  It would have been a first for me, if I am honest I find those little screens a bit fiddly.  Can you imagine JK Rowling writing her next book on a smart phone? Aint gonna happen – genius needs comfort.

Anyway, not being a complete tech phobe – I did upload some photos from my phone to the blog.  It also happened to be very easy too. I liked it.  But there was method in my madness.

Around 6 months ago I finally took the plunge and bought an Android phone.  Spurned on by Apples continued push to constantly take away all the functionality in their products that I like and thus force me to pay for a cloud account that I do not need or want.  Better still, they take away functionality and then put it in an app that you have to buy.  That can’t be right.

So, slowly I began to use the Samsung S7 Edge. What a beautiful phone – if nothing else, looks wise it was like comparing Florence Welch to Vera Duckworth, Florence being the Samsung.  It sits in your hand with more ‘ooomph’ than an orphaned kitten, it really is something to behold.

The big drawback was something all Android/Mac users will tell you about – synchronizing.  See, when you plug your iPhone 6S into your Mac, it syncs everything for you, writing data in both directions between your phone and your laptop.  The Samsung has none of that, despite several apps claiming they will do it, I have yet to find one that really does work.  So manually, I pull out the expansion card and write all of my data, music, contacts across once or twice a month.

It really was a bit of a drag – or so I thought.  The more I used the phone the more I liked it.  Yes, dragging the data across was a bit of a pain but I am happy to do it now and have much preferred to stick with the Samsung over the iPhone.  In fact over the last couple of months, the 128gb iPhone 6 has become nothing more than a very expensive iPod.

Another nail in its coffin – I downloaded a music player to the Android the other day and have to say the sound is insanely good so the iPhone days are clearly numbered.  With a 7 year old Mac beginning to creak at the seams, there could easily be a 100% move away from Apple on the cards.

Apple have left me miffed for a long time, offering updates with many new things but they never – NEVER tell you what they have taken away, and they always take away something I am very used to using.  Now at this point I would normally push you over to the App store where you could read customers reviews of Apple software updates so you can see for yourselves – BUT – as their last 3 software releases got so badly slammed by the users, Apple decided to stop letting people leave reviews. That’s good logic right ?

Now, back to Samsung – technically, the phone is streets ahead.  I won’t bore you with blurb but instead stun you with a master piece of a practical experiment.

In the photos section of my blog you will find a folder entitled ‘Asia’.  In there are photos that have only been taken with a smart phone, my big camera hasn’t seen the light of day. If you click on one of the photos it will open it in full screen but also show you the source of the photo – i.e. iPhone 6s or Samsung (SM).

You will be stunned by the photos the Samsung has taken – stunned!  You will be certain I am telling porkies and I used my big camera – but no, they are all phone shots – the Samsung not streets ahead, but motorways/freeways/autobahn ahead.  The iPhone is an infinity away – it misses the mark by at least a Steve Jobs.

So there you are – Samsung over Apple every day of the week.

There is however, a sting in the tail.  A sad ‘Steve Urwin’ style of sting that threatens to diminish all that the Samsung has achieved. Even the waterproof phone that I can use to Skype the squeeze while I am in the shower has a serious, loyalty threatening flaw.

Customer Service.

I had the misfortune just over a week ago to be laying on the floor with the phone in my pocket. I heard that light and gentle crack that can only come from smart phone glass and knew instantly I had damaged my phone.  I took it out of my pocket to see the back of the phone was shattered.  I was pretty amazed if I am honest – I didn’t even realise the back was glass.

Anyway – it broke. I took it to the local Samsung shop here in Singapore.  They told me as it was a UK phone, they could not repair it as the parts were different.

I got in touch with Samsung customer services in the UK. I got in touch with then 6 times in as many days.  After 6 days of repetitive email it transpired that the Samsung ‘Experience’ store in Leicester couldn’t repair it for me, they could only sell me a new unit. It also came to light that there was not an approved Samsung repairer within a 50 mile radius so my only option was to have a courier collect the phone, have it repaired and returned to me.  This would take 7-10 days.

I am lucky.  I have a back up phone – the 6s.  Could you imagine not having a back up phone and being without your whole world for a week or more?

Now here’s the real sticking point for me.  If I broke my iPhone in the same way, I could walk into ANY Apple store worldwide, pay a small fee and take an exchange phone out of the store normally within 20 minutes or so of walking in. Samsung may just piss me off and direct me back to the Apple store.

Samsung please take note (but note a Galaxy note as they catch fire right ?)

Now, bug off over to the Asia photos section and see what I mean.

 


Chuckle Vision

It’s Sunday, so before I start the normal moan and groan, let’s have a little happiness shall we?  I saw these two cats the other day and they reminded me of the Chuckle Brothers.  I did watch all the way to the end and did even manage to chuckle to myself a few times.  I bet you a pound to a penny you can’t watch these two without having a laugh.

 

I told you so – to me to you to me to you to me to you

Now, let’s get started on the more serious stuff.   Scary Clowns.  I like this new craze but have yet to sight one for myself.  Why do I like it ?  well, when one of these fools stands in front of me, one of two things will happen.

If I am in my car, the suspension will be lowered so that when I drive over them, there is no space between the underside of my car, the road and their head.

The other option will be simply to thrash them to within an inch of their life with my bare hands.

I wonder how long it will be before one of these dick heads gets a good pasting or better still (In the land of the good old USA – shot to pieces).  I look forward to reading that story on the BBC.

 

Staying with the USA at the moment, I really can’t wait to see which candidate gets elected.  I have to admit that more of me would like to see Trump in power purely because he will shake the shit out of the establishment – god knows all political scenes would benefit from a good shake up.  I do feel for the yanks though – I mean really, it’s not much of a choice is it now?

The ideal political situation is to have two opposing parties that are both suitable enough to be in power, that keeps everyone honest – but America, holy shit – not a choice I would want to be faced with.

Lets moan about good old Apple again.  I see they have a new OS on release now, been out for a week or two.  Now historically, for the last three or four years, I have always waited before upgrading to read the reviews.  This stems from an old upgrade I did that was so shit, I actually uninstalled it and ran with Mountain Lion for the next three releases.  Anyway, as a matter of course, I look at the reviews in the app store.  Now normally the reviews are so bad – so unbelievably bad.  This has been the case for the last three OS releases where more than 50% of reviews were giving just one star, with many recommending that you don’t install it.

So I look again in the App store this morning to see what the last two weeks of reviews are saying about it.  What did I read?  Nothing. not one single review has been left.  Now normally that would suggest that no-one has taken the app but in this case I can’t believe that in the last two weeks, none of the apple lemmings have clicked on the download button.

That leads me to only one conclusion.  Rather than deal with the issues that users have openly complained about – remove the platform that allows them to comment about it.  Can that really be the case?  Apple, what is wrong with you? I predict grim things for your future.  I am one more step closer to a return to a Windows system and an android phone !

My next startling prediction will be that in the next iPhone, the earphone jack will be back!

 

Now, on a happier note – on Wednesday I am heading to Doha, Qatar for a 5 week assignment.  Never been there before and always been curious about it so a 5 week stint is perfect for me.  My only concern is the new Dreamliner I will be flying out of Birmingham on.  My concern is all about carbon fibre.

I have been sailing on boats made out of that stuff for years without concern. My issue is flying with it.  lets see, a failure at sea level in a boat is pretty easy to overcome – I can swim.  A failure at 35,000 feet is a little bit more tricky to deal with – I have still yet to perfect my gliding techniques, especially when I am unconscious due to lack of oxygen.  That said, lack of oxygen should make hitting the ground at 120mph fairly painless.

Anything else to moan about ?  No I don’t think so.

I would like to say hello to a few people though.  I did recently open a Facebook account again after a good 5 years without one.  My reasons where completely innocent – there were a couple of recruitment pages that I needed to access on there.  That said, people started noticing I was there again and sending requests.  I very quickly realised why I had stopped using it all those years ago.

So I decided to never send a request but always accept them if I was sent one. (see Shazza, that’s why I couldn’t look for you).  I even got requests from people I have no idea about – weird huh?


Terrible Love

January is over – a vicious month for Cancer.

As I plugged along on my very muddy 10k run this morning I had plently of time for thoughts.  If I am honest, the run itself was far from perfect.  The tow path was a mud bath and the woods at the back of Abbots Farm almost had me on my arse twice.

Time wise, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, not quite 2 minutes slower than my best on that route but it was muddy!

I slipped into thoughts.  Lets talk about Apple for a moment.  I read an article this week on the BBC that their latest iOS software for their phones has been permanently disabling phones that have been for repair by independent phone shops.  You send your new phone away for a screen replacement or a new home button and it comes back with ‘error 53′.  You might think this is not the end of the world but in iOS9 – this now means your phone is useless – it will never work again and any info on it is lost for good.

I have been experiencing similar bullish tactics with my Mac after recently upgrading to El Capitan.  You see , the biggest problem with computer updates is you are always told what they have added but they NEVER tell you what they have taken away. If you knew which functionailities were removed, updating would never be an option for most users.

So now, if I want to email you a photo, I can no longer use the attach button from my mail browser and then go into my photo library and find it – nope, Apple want you to buy into their Cloud product, that lets you share easily (or more easily than the way they force you into if you won’t pay), so instead now I have to open the photo app, drag a copy to the desk top and then attach it from there.  Hardly progress from what is one of silicone valleys’ giants now is it?  The last software was better.

It doesn’t stop there.  iPhone users that have the latest software will find that airdrop has changed too.  No longer can you open air drop and make your phone visible to only people in your contacts list as with the older software, no, privacy on airdrop is now only available if your contacts are in the cloud.

Of course, there is a price for using the cloud.

As my Mac gets older, slower and clunkier and needs some financial input I find myself questioning the rational for moving back to a windows based pc and an android phone. See, a pc of the same tech specs as the Mac will be around half the price and comes with the freedom to source ‘stuff’ from outside of the world of the manufacturer.  Its getting to be an easier choice to make. There was a time when I would have used that line of thought as a down side though.  Have you ever been on the end of a windows based problem where the hardware manufacturer blames the software and the software manufacturer blames the hardware?

It did make me think though – some time ago the EU ruled that car manufacturers had to make all of their car computer diagnostics plugs the same as each others.  The reason was to allow independent garages not to have to invest in different computers for all of the makes out there – or to put it in very basic terms, to allow more competition as to where you as a consumer can spend your money.  I can’t see that this is any different than that?

Hark back to better times, when Apple products were wanted because they were revolutionary.  Those days died with Mr. Jobs. Cancer affects more of us than you might believe.

Of course, a lot of Apples problems come from the ‘hipsters’ that just have to have the latest stuff.  I was looking on iTunes the other day for info about Birdys new album when I noticed that although the release is not due for another month, 11 people had left reviews for it.  The ‘I am so trendy crew’ had got there before the record company have even cut the final disc! Dont believe me?  look at the screen shot below.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 11.56.48

I got into a debate on the Apple help forums the other week with a guy called Terence Devlin.  Terence suggests that people should stop complaining about when things change for the worse or stop working completely with Apple products because people aren’t running the very latest software.  His solution was to ‘upgrade – its free’  As our debate raged on, I mentioned that over 50% of the product reviews on the Apple store for its last iOS release gave it 1 star out of 5 with the majority of those recommending that you don’t install it at all (more 1 star reviews than 2,3,4,&5 added together).  Terence then suggested that those negative reviews should be ignored because people like to complain.  At that point, I gave up with the fucktard and left him to his little world of what I suspect is a very wealthy family that pay for whatever his little hipster heart desires.  I also suspect that he doesn’t work for two reasons.

  1. He is always camped outside the Apple store to be the first to get whatever is new that week.
  2. Daddy pays him a jolly good allowance each month so the reality of earning a living is left to the serfs and peasants on street level

 

So back in the UK for 10 days.  It is cold and wet here. Sure, the South of France gets cold too but it is dry, the air is dry which makes for a different, almost warming kind of cold.  Add to that I have allowed myself to be bullied into going to Bike Park Wales on Wednesday with The King of Touching Cloth himself – Mr Yates.  The very next day I have my ships medical to give me the green light to set sail for the next 2 years and then early next week, a funeral – but more on that later.

I am expecting to sustain some physical damage on Wednesday, not only from being miserable from the cold and wet for hours but also because of the tricky or even treacherous conditions will lead to mishaps I am sure.  Fingers crossed, it will be Yates this time.  While he is in a bundle of pain on the floor, I will pull along side him and gleefully jib, ‘see you at the bottom dick wad’ as is the norm for our outings – I like to think of it as the ‘Top Gear’ style of caring for your chums. I have little choice though – it will now cost me as much to back out of it as it will to go – and I hate wasting money.

The world needs a bit more Birdy

 


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