Android Marshmallow Deliciousness

image00Google has FINALLY fixed all of the issues with Lollipop.  Too bad it did take a whole system update to a new version of Android to get there, but alas, WE ARE THERE!  The awful memory management issues I originally complained about are completely resolved at last.  In addition, the new Doze feature which puts the phone in to a super deep sleep when idle for a while has made a tremendous impact on standby battery life.  I’ve picked up my phone 6 hours after setting it down and seen maybe 1-2% battery loss.  This is a stark improvement as any previous version of android would’ve easily given a 5-10% loss in the same time period.  The added little tweaks like FINALLY being able to show battery percentage in the pull down shade is nice, and the new permissions system will eventually be nice too.  I say eventually because no app can really use it until the devs release an update for their app targeting the new Marshmallow API level.  But it’s finally here, and as more and more apps incorporate it, things will just be better and better.  Now if Google could just pull its head out of its ass and put Qi charging back in the 2016 Nexus phone(s)…

Android Lollipop Bullshit

Android 5.0 Lollipop came out back in mid November 2014.  So, it has been out a couple months as of the writing of this.  There are a lot of really annoying bugs in Lollipop like caller ID pictures just refusing to show up, silent mode completely broken, horrible navigation icons, and lock screen no longer locking the phone.

But the worst thing about Lollipop is the CONSTANT memory leakage.  I have a Nexus 5 and this shit is out of control and Google hasn’t done shit all to fix it yet.  Pre-Lolliflop, my Android devices could quite easily obtain MONTHS of uptime, and reboots were usually just to due something like updating the recovery image or something.  In Lolliflop, something is leaking memory at the system level so severely that the phone can’t even make it 2 weeks with out getting so low on useable ram that even the damn keyboard will open, so you have to restart your phone if you even want to just be able to text people again.

Check this out:

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Why I Love Android

It is open.  You are given simple tools to manage your device how you want, straight from Google.  There are no back door hacks, no monkeying around.  You get to use your device how you want it.  That is what makes Android so powerful; its open nature and ability to do what you want.

The inspiration of this post… tonight I decided to flash the latest point release from Google with out waiting for the OTA update (hey, I’m impatient).

I downloaded the rom, extracted the boot and system partition images, and flashed them straight to my phone using fastboot.

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Photo Project 52. Week 16 – Invasion

Back to the real world with me.  I wasn’t sure what to shoot this week, plus it has been a very busy week since we just got back from our wedding and honeymoon.  On Friday I decided to build a do-it-yourself lightbox, or macro studio.  I had the box and plastic bags to use as a diffuser, but I needed some high power lights to light up the box.  I picked up a couple 500 watt halogen work lights for around $20 from Walmart.  I was worried at first that 1000 total watts of lighting power would be way too much, but it wasn’t a problem at all and it worked out for the better.  After a half hour of construction I tested out my rig and it worked great!  I was psyched!  Getting the camera set up properly required full manual mode shooting.  So, that would make this photo my first 100% manual shot!  For past shots I would typically shoot in one of the priority modes, like Shutter priority or Aperture priority, or Sports mode, etc… but for this set up, using any of the single priority modes didn’t work out.  The camera would try and over-compensate for the high amount of light I had coming in and the pictures wouldn’t come out right… so I put on my big boy pants and went for full manual mode.  I set the aperture as low as it would go, iso at 100, and then played around with the shutter speed.  I also learned that with the flash on in manual mode, your fastest shutter speed was 1/200th.  I’m not sure the reasoning on this and I’d imagine I could have over-ridden it some how, but after previewing the flash shots, I didn’t like them anyway and abandoned the use of the flash.  The shot I ended up going with was a 1/60th second exposure, f4 aperture (lens was slightly zoomed, and it was the kit lens, so I had to go with f4 even though I wouldn’t have minded going lower), and iso 100.  It came out quite beautifully, and I get to showcase another of my hobbies.  Android collectibles from the amazing Andrew Bell.  Yes, I am a nerd… but you’re here reading this article, so I’m sure you already knew that.  I think I’ve gone on long enough for now…  Here it is:

“Invasion”

Why Windows Phone 7 Will Fail

Two years ago I wrote about what Microsoft needed to do to turn their platform around.  Now with Windows Phone 7 only months away, it would appear Microsoft has failed in every way imaginable.

Windows Phone 7 will be a miserable failure.  There are many countless reasons why it is going to epic fail, but here are some of the most important:

1) Microsoft doesn’t know mobile phones from a hole in the ground.  Just look at the current state of Windows Mobile.  It’s built on the Windows CE platform, created in 1996.  Yes.  Let me repeat.  Windows Mobile is based on a platform created in 1996.  Sure, the platform has seen updates, but it’s still based on a world created 13 years ago.  Back when Windows 98 was nothing but a dream.   Windows Phone 7 is based on Windows CE.  Yup.  Microsoft’s newest “cutting edge” Phone OS is STILL based on Windows CE.  They just couldn’t get rid of it.  Thanks Microsoft.  The same bullshit you’ve been jamming down our throats for the past how many years that has NEVER worked right is your platform for the next Windows Phone?  EPIC FAIL.

2) The Kin is a disgusting failure.  The Kin is running a hacked down version of Windows Phone 7.  Don’t believe me it sucks?  Here are a few quotes regarding the Kin and it’s abilities:

“…Lofty goals indeed for a product like this, and unfortunately for everyone, Microsoft misses the mark by a long shot. It’s not even close.”

“…we also take issue with the browser, which is abysmally slow and buggy (it consistently crashed while trying to load any complex web pages like Engadget), and the email client, which seemed to have trouble displaying even the most rudimentary HTML messages”

“While using the One and Two we found ourselves consistently confused or surprised by how many bad little interface problems there are. Not only does the phone make it hard to do simple tasks — and not only are the social networking features poorly implemented — but the handsets are often sluggish, hiccupy, and downright crash-prone. We were told by the devices on more than one occasion that we needed to restart (while performing basic tasks), and often it would just throw us a blank screen while we waited for the device to come back from whatever tragic internal situation was occurring”

That’s enough of that.  If you want to read more though, you can head over to Engadget’s review of the Kin One and Two.

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Android Contact’s Birthdays In Your Calendar

I’ve had my Android phone a week and a half now and I love it.  It brings everything together in to one phone.  Perhaps that is why they called it the Nexus One?

But there was one “link” missing.  If you spent time entering birthday information for as many of your contacts as possible, they don’t show up in your calendar.  Even my girlfriend’s Blackberry does this, surely Android can.  I had downloaded an App from the market call EboBirthday.  While the app worked, it still had a flaw.  The birthdays didn’t show up in you calendar.  If you wanted to see what birthdays were coming up, you had to actually open up the EboBirthday app.  And on top of that, if you added in any new birthday information, you had to manually resync the EboBirthday app.  Rats… this isn’t the best solution.

Well, last night I was playing around and Google Calendar, and there is actually an option tucked away, built right in to Google Calendar, that lets you show your contact birthday infromation right on the Calendar!

Here is how you add it on:

Go to the Google Calendar web interface on your computer (google.com/calendar).

1) Click the settings button in the upper right

2) Click the “Calendars” settings tab

3) In the Other Calendars section click “Browse Interesting Calendars”

4) Click the More tab here

5)  You should see an item labeled “Contacts’ birthdays and events”, click the Subscribe link. (While you’re in here, you might want to poke around.  There may be some other calendars you’re interested in adding in to your own as well, such as holidays and stuff!)

That’s it!  In a couple minutes, all your contact birthdays will show up on the Calendar in your phone.  How cool is that?

While this is a nice feature to have available, it highlights one of the issues with Android and Google integration right now.  When you’re looking for a setting, it’s not always in the most obvious place, and some times you can only change it on the web.  However, I do expect as Android matures, we will see a lot more features and options added directly in to the Android OS.  I love Android and I suspect will be sticking with it for a long time to come!