Saturday, December 17, 2011

What Phone should I buy?

Ok, I just made a post about why I don't like Apple.  But that's not really the post I wanted to make today, I mostly really wanted it there as a reference for later when people ask me,  but hey if any of you find it a good read then that's good. 

I just finished reading a post in one of my favorite Tech Blogs about what phone people should get, I thought it was going to be a nice informative post but turned out to be crap.  The guy basically says he recommends people the iPhone because there is a chance of having less questions with it. 

So I figured I'd make a post with my own views since Christmas is almost here and some of you probably still want to get new phones.  I will say this however, all my experience is with iOS and Android, I don't know anything about the Windows phones other than the fact that being called "Windows" is probably hurting them. I'm also not that familiar with Blackberry phones.  But the right phone for you may very well be a Windows phone or a blackberry.

That's actually the first thing you need to understand, there is Apple with iOS, there is Google with Android, there is Research in Motion (RIM) and Blackberry OS and there is Microsoft with Windows Phones.  Windows Phone is just the name of their mobile operating system, it is NOT phones running the windows you see on your desktop.  There is others but I'm not going to sit here and mention all the others because honestly they don't matter right now.

Apple makes the iPhone which is the only phone using iOS. 
Research in Motion makes the Blackberry phones and they are the only ones running the Blackberry OS.
There is a lot of manufacturers making either Android or Windows phones. 

So right away we need to understand that if I make the phone and the software, then everything is going to work better because I had full control.  If I just make the software but others make the phones, then things might get more difficult.  That's certainly the problem with Android, too many phones out there running it so it can be more problematic.

So once again, which one is the right phone for you?

If you are the kind of person who just wants to make phone calls and nothing else, then by all means stay away from any smart phones.  I have yet to see a smart phone that worked for making phone calls as good as the old flip phones.  Seriously, too many times the touch screen opens up and you start clicking on things with your cheeks.  Also during the winter unless you have special gloves you wont be able to do much with your phone using regular gloves.  So I'd save myself the frustration and just get a regular flip phone or something like it.

If you are the kind of person who wants to make phone calls but wants to do the occasional web browsing maybe to check on your teams scores.  Or you want to be able to play some games while you wait for something, or you are a big iTunes fan but you are just not that much into technology and you don't care to do anything out of the ordinary with your phone, then by all means get an iPhone. 

If you are the kind of person who is really into music and really into games and is not afraid to do anything with the word "hack" in it, then I still recommend an iPhone.  Android has come a long way with games but I still think the iPhone has the best games. 

If you are the kind of person who just loves to push your limits, you love to learn more about how things work, you like to web browse a lot and you like to completely customize your phone, you like having a lot of options for whatever you are going to do, then Android would certainly be good for you. 

If you are the kind of person who is always on the go and needs to be able to do a lot more from your phone, then Android may also be the best thing for you.  With services like Google Voice being so integrated with Android and having the ability to so easily access files it's easy to kind of run your little office from the phone. 

If all you want is your work Email on your phone, then by all means I'd say go with Iphone again.  I would have said Blackberry but honestly there is nothing I can think of that blackberry would be better for.  I should mention that Android also does handle Enterprise email just fine, but if that's all you want then why bother with any of the other Android issues? 

So there you have it.  Think about what you want and then if an iPhone can satisfy all those needs then I certainly would recommend one.  However, I always have to strongly recommend you check out what an Android phone can use, because too many times I see people who got an iPhone because it was great for them but then later on realized Android did things they never even though about, but now that they know about them, they seriously want them. 

As much as people HATE hearing this, because they usually want a simple answer, my best recommendation is go to store with someone who is familiar with phones and try out the phones, see which one you like best.  But make a list of what you MUST be able to do first. 


Why I dislike Apple

So a lot of people think I hate Apple and the fact that a lot of times I've said "I hate apple" probably has something to do with it.  But the truth is I don't HATE them, I just really dislike some of the things they do, while at the same time knowing that they have every right to run their business however they want.

But, a lot of times people want to know why I feel about them the way I do so I figured I'd make a post about it, so that in the future I can just copy and paste.

The dislike really started back in the Personal Computer world.  Apple computers were always so expensive and I just couldn't understand why people wanted to buy them when they could buy a much cheaper much better PC.  Better in my opinion anyway.  A lot of people were always under the belief that if you want to do work in things like Photoshop or video editing then getting an Apple computer was a must and that's simply just not true, Photoshop works perfectly fine in Windows and there are many very good video editing programs out there. 

A lot of times I'd hear talk about how when you get a computer with Mac OS you get so many things for free like Garage Band and iPhoto and a video editing program.  But when you are paying hundreds of dollars more for the computer, it's not exactly free. 

My biggest issue with Apple came with the smartphone and tablet world. 

Imagine you buy a new computer.  You paid good money for that computer, but now the company you bought it from is telling you that you can only install programs that they approve of and you can only buy them in their store.  So if you find something that's interesting outside of their store, too bad, you can't have it. 

This is the case of the iPhone.  I used to have an iPhone and I hated the idea that I could not load anything outside of the App Store.  True there are ways around that and I sure as hell did it, but normal users shouldn't have to go doing all that. 

Then there is all the bullshit that comes with Apple, here are a couple of examples:

Example 1: When I had my iPhone 3G I could take pictures but I could not record video.  But later I did jailbreak the phone and found out that the phone could certainly handle video.  Apple just wouldn't allow that application in their market because they felt it didn't work good enough.  I didn't care if it didn't work 100%, it still allowed me to take some pretty good videos. 

Then when the iPhone 3GS came out, they advertised the crap out of the fact that it could do video.  And I had to listen to all these people talk about how great this new phone because now you could record video.  And yes, it recorded video better than the 3G did but again using it on the 3G should have been my choice. 

Example 2: Good old Flash.  Steve Jobs didn't like flash content on websites, therefore you couldn't use Flash at all on the iPhone, still can't.  Steve felt that HTML5 would be replacing flash.  And he was right, HTML 5 will indeed replace Flash as the standard people use for videos and other things online, but at the time flash was still the most used method.  It still is today, it will be dead in a few years but it is still very widely used. 

Now, I'll agree with Steve on the fact that flash uses too many resources and would just slow down the phone.  It's true, my Android phones have been able to do flash and it always slows them down.  Now they are fast enough that they can play most of it fine but it used to be slow.  But at least I had the option of using flash on a website if I wanted. 

Example 3: Siri, yes, Siri. This is nothing but just another App, a pretty cool one if I may say so myself, but they make it seem like phones could never do any of this stuff before, Android has been doing voice commands for ever, but I'll admit that Androids voice command don't come close to what Siri can do, yet.  However, that's not my point here, my point is the fact that Siri can work on previous generation phones just fine.  We've seen siri run on an iPhone 4 and we've seen it run on an iPod Touch 4th generation and I do believe I've seen it run on older stuff.  However up until recently Apple had been blocking these hacked versions of Siri from using their servers.  They finally recently opened up their servers, although we still don't know if that was just a mistake. 

Point is, they have made it look like Siri could only be powered by the iPhone 4S (Even though the iPad 2 is more powerful) when it could run on older hardware just fine if they wanted to allow it.  It's not even an issue of it being too  much work to let it happen, it's an issue of they just plain don't want other people using the service.  Like their old customers are not worthy of using their new thing. 

Basically: To put it in very basic terms, in my opinion, Apple treats their customers like dumb idiots who MUST be protected because their are too stupid to figure things out on their own.  Like their customers just bother them.  Lets not let them use their cameras to record because they are  just going to complain about it being laggy under low lights, lets not let them use flash because they are just going to complain that it's running slow, lets not let them use siri because otherwise who's going to buy our new phone?

And you know what?  This is both good and bad.  Obviously when you make sure that you only put things that work good on your phone, then things will mostly work good on your phone.  It provides a good experience for the user and that's a great thing.  But in return there is so much that people are giving up on.  The iPhone has an amazing little screen, something like a live wallpaper would look amazing there.  Having an App Tray and being able to organize all your icons however you want shouldn't be so difficult to do, but they just don't do it. 

Some of us are fine with just being able to do a few things.  But obviously a lot of us feel like if we paid for the phone then let me just do whatever the hell I want to do with it.  Give me the options. 

This is why I like Android, even though carriers and Phone makers keep trying to mess it up.  Android is supposed to be open, a do whatever you want kind of thing.  But the carriers and phone makers always want to impose their own regulations, which I dislike as well.  But at least I still get to do a lot more than I ever could on an iPhone. 

For the most part:

If I want to switch the battery I use, I can do that.
If I want to switch the desktop (Launcher) that I use, I can do that.
If I want to copy files directly from a computer to the device, I can do that.
If I want to change the keyboard I use on the device, I can do that.
If I want to view flash content, I can do that.
If I want to try out a file from a website that may or may not be safe, I can do that.
If I want to install a different application store, I can do that.
If I want to have different SD cards for different things. . . . well I used to be able to do that, my new phone doesn't have an SD card :( 
If I want to drain my battery by downloading stuff on a blazing fast internet connection like 4G, I can do that.
If I want to set a live wallpaper that may also drain my battery if it's made wrong, I can do that.
If I want to have cheap micro usb cables all over the place so that i can always keep it charging, I can do that.
If I want to get turn by turn directions on how to get somewhere, I can do that.
If I want to organize the files in the device, I can do that.
If I want to download things right in the device and move them later to my computer, I can do that.
If I want to completely change the lock screen of my phone, I can do that.
If I want to be dumb enough to use a pattern to unlock my phone, I can do that (seriously though, don't do that, smudges on your screen give your pattern away). 
If I want to switch my Images application or camera or text messaging or so many others, I can do that.
If I want to browse the files in my phone from my phone, I can do that.

Basically, if I want to modify just about anything on my device I can do it.  But I can also completely screw up my device, although to completely screw it up, you'd have to actually try to be screwing it up or be very very dumb installing things from places that don't look legit at all.  But if that's the case then you probably mess up plenty of computers as well.  

I've recommended Apple products to plenty of people for plenty of things.  If you know exactly what you want to do and an iPhone or iPad can certainly handle those needs, then I have no problem recommending those.  And there are certainly people that ask me what I think they should get and if I know these are not computer savvy people at all, then I'll gladly recommend an iPhone or iPad.  What I really hate is when I see very smart people buying those simply because they are not aware of just how far Android has come. 

Of course there is always very tech capable people out there that prefer an iPhone or iPad, again, this becomes a personal preference and I'm cool with that, at least they know of the options. 


Monday, December 12, 2011

More Google 10 cent apps!

Ok so I'm still keeping an eye on the Google 10 for 10 for 10 deal where for 10 days they would be offering 10 premium apps for 10 cents. 

The last couple of days have been kind of dissapointing since all I see are games that I don't really care about.

But I did want to let it be known that today Beautiful Widgets and Sound Hound are up for 10 cents again.  They were 10 cents a couple of days ago and if you missed them then this is your chance now.   Along with those I'd also pick up the Flight control game and maybe Doodle jump or Block Breaker 3.   The rest are other games and that i'm not that familiar with, but hell for 10 cents why not?


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Best Ribs in Milwaukee!!

Ok so I've never written about restaurants here, as much as I love food, I'm certainly not a food critic.  I'm not a very picky eater, I either like what I'm eating or I don't.  I certainly never talk about much in my local area either, but I felt like not talking about this place would be wrong!

The Place: Ashley's Barbecue
The Location: 1501 W. Center Street, Milwaukee, WI 53206
Contact: (414) 372-7666

The Ribs?


Again, I'm no food critic, but I do like to eat BBQ from time to time and I've gone to plenty of good places, and this is certainly one of the best places I've been to if not the best.  The flavor is not really something I can describe, it's this tangy, smokey flavor, it's just really good.  The ribs although not as soft as you find them in some other places, they are still very soft.  I think if you make your ribs in some other way and then throw bbq sauce on them you can certainly get the falling off the bone experience so many people like, but when you slow smoke them this is really as good as it gets!


For the birthday party we were having we decided to get 2 family meals which are around $35-$40 each.  We did this because we had NO idea how big or small the portions were.  They say it's for around 7 people but you know how so many places say something is for X people and it's really not.  So we wanted to be safe.  Well, we ordered WAY too much, these pans are actually pretty darn big and 1 pan of ribs can certainly easily feed 10 people, 7 really hungry ones.  So seriously, $40 may sound like a lot, but when I order pizza or chicken for a few friends it usually ends up being around $30-$35 anyway.  For $5 more you are getting the damn best ribs you can get in Wisconsin and many other states.  The family meals do come with a side of coleslaw and baked beans, if you like either of these things, you may want to order extra, those portions are NOT very big.


The Location is the one thing that may scare a lot of people.  Ashley's is a small place in the middle of a not so nice area. The parking lot is not very big and I had to park on the street next to some shattered glass.  Inside it is a carry out only place, there are absolutely no tables, just some chairs for waiting and a couple of really old arcade machines, and Mrs Pac Man was out of order which pissed me off! Inside you will also find that all the workers are behind bullet proof glass.  You pay through a little door kind of like at some banks or doctors offices and they have a rotating bulletproof glass to give the food to you.

With all that said, the time I was sitting there waiting all I saw was some nice local people come in.  They all seemed to be regulars who knew exactly what they were coming for.  So all the bulletproof stuff is a little intimidating at first but they've just been there for a very long time and sadly reality is that they need the protection because in that area stuff could happen.  But honestly I wouldn't be afraid of going in there during the day.  At night when there are more drunks out there I'd be more weary, but than again that's just a rule you should follow anywhere.


Knowing that this is a small place that has been there for ever and that probably gets really busy, I was a bit worried making my first phone call.  Because I had some questions about what I wanted to order and honestly I was expecting some rude jack ass one the phone who just seems to be in a hurry and makes me feel like I'm wasting his time.  But to my surprise, when I called the guy sounded super nice, he was very professional answering all my questions and he was very honest with me, I told him I wanted to pick up my order at around 3:30 and he told me I'd most probably have to wait a few minutes, which I did but not too much more.

When I got there the guy remembered my order without problems.  Since my sister wanted to pay for half of it and I wanted to pay for the other half we asked if they could split the bill and the guy did it without any problems.  At the end, once my orders were done, two of the guys actually came out of their protected environment to bring the orders to my car for me.  I thought that was so extremely nice of them!


My conclusion is that we had a very fun birthday party for my brother in law, and we had some seriously good food and I was afraid of ordering from here because I had never done it before but the service was so great that at the end I felt like I had always been a regular at this place.

They sell a LOT more than just ribs by the way, some day I'll have to check out their cat fish, but they have ribs, tips, shoulder, outside, and a ton of other stuff.

If you live in the Milwaukee area and you like good food, I'd certainly say check out this place if you haven't.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Android Apps for 10 Cents!

This Week Google's Android Market passed the 10 BILLION Downloads mark, and to celebrate Google has been having quite the deal!

For 10 days (which already started on Tuesday) they would sell 10 paid apps for only 10 cents each.

On Day 1 they had some very good apps like Swift keyboard X which is my personal favorite keyboard App.  They also had the Sound hound program which is amazing and finding the music you are listening to for all those times you know a song but can't remember who sings it.  The Mine craft game and a few other games were also in there.

On Day 2 they had Beautiful Widgets which basically has a lot of very good useful weather and clock widgets. Also has some very nice toggle widgets to change things like sound or WiFi or Bluetooth.  They had Airsync which is an application that allows you to sync your iTunes library with your Android phone via WiFi.  They had games like Fruit Ninja and NFL Rivals and even a very neat and beautiful Christmas Live Wallpaper!

Today on Day 3 they have the ADW Launcher EX  which is a very good Launcher Replacement for phones or tablets and they also have a bunch of games.  Tetris, Can Knockdown 2, Reckless Getaway, Space Physics and more.

Most of these are applications that normally sell for a lot more than 10 cents.  I've already purchased a lot of these but I'm taking advantage of getting all the ones that I haven't.  Remember also that even if you don't need a specific program now, once you buy it, it's yours for good so paying 10 cents for it now may be better than paying who knows how much for it later.

I do have to mention the fact that the Amazon App Store does give away 1 paid app for free every day all year.  And while usually whatever they give out for free tends to be crap, every once in a while you get something really good.  I am pretty sure that most of these apps, if not all, have at some point been the free app of the day at Amazon.  So even if you can't enjoy these deals  now, you should still install the Amazon App Store for Android on your phone and check it daily.

I will try to keep you all updated on the deal for the next 7 days :)