broken gear End User phones

Day 3 without a phone #broken #SGS4

sgs4This is my third day without a phone. It isn’t completely true to say that as in Kid4’s Samsung Galaxy Mini I do have a means of making phone calls. It just isn’t much use for anything else and even as a mobile telephone it has limits – the battery life is totally pants. I’m sure I could buy a phone that was just used as a phone without needing to even think of charging it more than once a week.

Although I normally use social media channels for communications more than voice, funnily enough I did use the Galaxy Mini a fair bit yesterday. Kids needing to talk, me needing to phone accountants & Mrs Davies for who social media is something she just uses by proxy. ie asks me to do it.

The email from the menders with instructions on where to send the broken SGS4 arrived whilst I was in the office yesterday. It has some sort of voucher for me to include when sending the phone away for repair. Not having a printer in the office I emailed it to the one at home and the voucher was waiting for me when I got home together with the form for the school trip that had needed handing in that morning but had taken quite some time to get from Anne’s iPad onto the paper.

So this morning on my way in I am swinging by the Post Office to send the phone off by registered post. It should take another week or so, if they hold to the SLA. That’s one phone charge for a phone or seven for a Samsung Galaxy Mini. It’s no wonder Kid4 wants an iPhone! My brain tells me to hold back on that one though I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do it.

Today is supposed to be the launch date of the Samsung Galaxy K – the version of the S5 with an optical zoom camera. I may yet be tempted but will wait and see. Votch zis space.

Related posts:

First night without a phone
Mobile phone insurance claims
This iPhone is dead

chromebook End User google phones

First night without a phone

Yesterday I smashed the screen on my S4. Correction. I accidentally dropped it and the screen smashed. This wasn’t a wanton act of vandalism by a man frustrated with the inadequacies of his communicator.

Although I’ve stuck my SIM in Kid4’s Galaxy Mini i’ve decided that to use that device is too much of a hassle. It wouldn’t let me delete his Google account as to do so would render some of the apps unusable. I did add my personal and business accounts to the device but deleted them before they had managed to synch. I decided I didn’t want my credentials on someone else’s device if deleting them after the fact was going to be problematic.

Now I lie in bed typing on my Acer C720 Chromebook having used it to check Facebook, Twitter, respond to a comment on this blog, read the papers (the news is the same wherever you look), check mails, look at the weather forecast and no doubt do a few other things subconsciously that I’ve already forgotten about. Ordinarily I’d have done all that on the phone. The Chromebook form factor isn’t as convenient for a Sunday morning.

Two other things I’ve not done with my phone spring to mind. One is I haven’t taken a photo of the beech hedge in our back garden. It is just coming into leaf and I quite liked the way that one part of it is budding before the rest showing a little splash of green colour in an otherwise brown hedge. I use the phone a lot in this way, taking ad hoc pictures of things that catch my eye. Check out the photo of petals lying in the road at the end of the post.

The other thing left undone is that I didn’t wake up in the night and didn’t check the phone. Maybe I wasn’t destined to wake up last night or maybe it was because the phone wasn’t there. Why on earth do I need to use the phone at 3am anyway? I don’t.

There is a third “not done” thing. I went out to early doors at the Morning Star without a phone. I also left my wallet at home and just took cash. Normally before leaving the house I check that I have phone wallet and house keys. Yesterday I just checked the house keys. Very liberating. Conversation flowed in the pub and I was 20 minutes later than normal leaving. This was done with a modicum of guilt knowing that Anne couldn’t call me to remind me that tea would very shortly be on the table.

It mattered not. The initial experiment was a success and my first 24 hours without a phone has almost been completed. I’m feeling remarkably relaxed…

petals in the roadOther posts with with photos:

Mobile phone photo competition
Photographic evidence of a great night out
Poignant phonebox photo

End User phones

Mobile phone insurance claims

sgs4Just had to claim on my Lloyds Bank current account insurance for a repair to my mobile phone. Dropped it whilst getting into the car this morning. Doh!

Took me 3 minutes to get through the ivr tree only to end up with a person who could not answer my question and forwarded me to another ivr tree whereupon I eventually ended up in a queue to a third party insurance company partner who was  “currently experiencing extremely high levels of calls” and said would I mind awfully waiting. I made that last but up.

Sorted it quickly enough mind you, once I’d got through to a person. Sounded Scottish though the memory may be playing tricks with me. At least it wasn’t overseas somewhere.

Makes me thing if the Scots do go for independence, and as far as I am concerned it is entirely up to them, will we start complaining about outsourcing call centre jobs over the border?

“Aargh I’m not using that firm again. They use a non-domestic call centre. You speak to someone who has no idea where Lincoln is and think it is somewhere near London. Couldn’t understand a word they were saying!”

I was on the phone for 15 minutes 45 seconds. Anne and I dread it whenever we have to call an insurance company. The worst is motor insurance. You can write off a measurable portion of your life in call queuing and then answering all the security question and after all that they ask you questions you don’t know the answer to such as the fuel consumption of your 1956 Ford Popular1 or what were the three points from 1986 all about?

The S4 still functions as a phone but the screen is totally pooped. I was able to call it, hear incoming email alerts, “find” it online and then do a factory reset.  So now I’m going to be without a phone for around 10 days whilst I wait for the email with the appropriate approval to return voucher and then the 3 days to assess the damage once the phone has been received followed by the 3 days to fix/return.

I have temporarily moved my SIM to Kid4’s Galaxy Mini. The question will be whether it is worth doing this or should I experiment with not having a phone for the ten days? The hardest bit will be at night where the S4 is very handy for tweeting between the sheets, reading the papers first thing etc. Also the lack of a decent camera is going to be a nuisance.

I did consider just getting a new phone but it’s £50 insurance excess versus a few hundred quid and I want to wait for the new Nexus anyway. Be assured I will keep you updated on this most important of modern sociological issues. To have a phone or to have not.

Other insurance related posts:
This iPhone is dead
23 mins on phone to insurance company
PPI Insurance – are you eligible for £7,500 compensation?

1 No smart arse comments please – I have no idea when the Ford Popular was manufactured and I’m not interested enough to look it up.

Business chromebook End User phones

Mildly interesting Microsoft news on the wireless #Nokia

I know it’s the weekend but there was some mildly interesting technology news on the wireless (Home Programme) with the ratification of the sale of the Nokia mobile phone division to Microsoft.

Microsoft have an uphill battle to catch up with iOS and Android. Although commons sense suggests there has to be room for a third mobile market player my experience with the Nokia Lumia 920 suggests that Microsoft has a huge hill to climb. They lost me.

They also lost my daughter who bought a Chromebook when her windows laptop broke. It fits beautifully with her droid. My wife’s laptop has some adware on it. I suspect they are about to lose her too. It’s far cheaper and easier to buy a new Chromebook. All she needs it for is the occasional document, emails and iPlayer.

These big companies all too easily lose touch with the end user. A couple of years ago I tried to get in touch with someone at Microsoft. Left multiple voicemails and sent multiple emails inviting to person to speak at an industry bash. Not a peep. No acknowledgement. Nothing. These people spend all their time attending corporate meetings to discuss plans, strategies stock option price and bonuses. Useful and important things I guess.

Just spent a couple of nights at the DeVere Wokefield Park for UKNOF28. It was full of corporate types (no idea who they all worked for) wearing near identical suits and some of them, employees of the month no doubt, clutching bottles of cheap champagne. I suppose they could have been Microsoft staff.

Anyway Microsoft have a lot of cash, at the moment. They will spend a large fortune trying to catch up. This cash can easily disappear though especially if their Average Selling Prices have to plummet in an increasingly competitive commodity market.

I think I should stop here. I was only trying to tell you the mildly interesting news about the sale of the Nokia handset business sale to Microsoft. I heard it on the wireless set in the kitchen, on the Home Programme. In case you missed it…

End User phones

How to avoid twitter spam from O2

o2 tweet

O2 are encouraging you to sign up for spam tweets. The above promoted tweet might seem innocuous enough. Chance to win a super new HTC One M8. Good stuff.

However buyer beware. Once signed up I can't see how there can be an unsubscribe mechanism. O2 are hardly going to waste some of their 140 characters with a message on how to unsubscribe. Unless it's basically a simple unfollow. It's not clear. I'm not going to follow the link on the off chance of finding out.

There is also a basic problem with this whole concept. People don't regularly look for mobile deals and offers. They sign up for a contract and then forget it until the 18 or 24 months is up and then they look again. Am I wrong?

The way to avoid all this is to ignore the tweet.

PS Does win "an HTC" sound right? Win "a HTC" surely.

End User gadgets H/W internet media Mobile mobile apps phones

Gaining Focus

As readers of last week’s Conscious Uncoupling already know, I am making moves to unhitch myself from my iPhone 4 of the past 3 years and start anew at some point in the near future with an Android KitKat device. And as I am always looking to put the latest tech into my hands when the time comes to upgrade (or as my Apple-inebriated friends would likely put it in this case, “mistakenly change”), I have been looking quite fervently at both the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S5, both of which have just recenlty seen release and both of which are racking up impressively high numbers with regard to NRP (Number of Reviews Published…my statistic, my acronym, and no amount of search engine pounding will turn it up).

Two weeks ago (week of 31-March) HTC brought their blitz of HTC One M8 promotion to a crescendo that rolled over and straight through the technologically inclined and/or curious, and which resulted in a quantity of review inches more than adequate enough to ensure informed options would set in time to counter the Samsung Galaxy S5 wave that followed last week (week of 7-April). Now, of course, I cannot and will not make such an important relationship decision without first establishing a level playing field upon which I can hinge it, so I have resolved to wait a few weeks…a couple of weeks…at least a week to let all of the new information foster (fester?) within.*

So all of those reviews. Essentially, they boil down pretty straight across party lines (yes, that is a telephony joke…a groaner of a telephony joke but a telephony joke nonetheless).

HTC One M8
Pros: Gorgeous build and design (actually it is more accurate to go All-Caps on GORGEOUS, as this is the overwhelming first-notice feature cited in every one of the product reviews I have read or skimmed or found myself subjected to). The expected high level of display, speed, and functionality. GREAT speakers! “Motion Launch”, which allows the user to perform specific commands with the display off via tap, swipe, or gesture. Better than expected battery life (and a power-saving mode that can be configured to set energy amount parameters).
Cons: Lousy camera. Just awful. Won’t anyone say something nice about the camera? Or, at least, not be so enthusiastic in dinging it?

Samsung Galaxy S5
Pros: Waterproof! Yup, the Galaxy S5 is waterproof, up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. Terrific screen, camera kudos all around, noticeably great battery life (and the battery can be swapped out as needed, too), storage expandability up to 128GB, health features (a heart rate monitor as part of the on-board hardware won’t keep me from drinking a single Cola-Cola or eating a single chip) significant reduction in the amount of Samsung TouchWiz bloatware from its S4 predecessor, speed and functionality to beat the band, and light.
Cons: Perhaps TOO light, as every reviewer critisizes the S5’s “cheap” feel (at least in comparison to the heavy and shiny smartphones in the arena, all of which suffer phone reception for their metal-enwrapped goodness), the fingerprint scanner is not as smooth as Apple’s Rolls-Royce-aspiring iPhone 5S, and though the TouchWiz bloatware is less than it was on the S4 it is still a proverbial fish-in-a-barrel target for criticism.

So pushing cost/plan out of the equation, I find I am leaning hard towards the Samsung Galaxy S5. I cannot say that I have spent much time wishing I could use my phone in the sea, pool, or shower (and I haven’t found my phone doing a toilet tumble since the days of the Nokia 3310), but what I can say is that I cannot imagine spending ANY time with a smartphone that is camera-lacking. The (at the time) industry-leading camera is what put me in my iPhone 4 back in 2011 to begin with, and as criteria go that function is even more of a decision-maker for me in 2014.

Get the picture?

Yes, there are tens of other KitKat-able phones that warrant consideration along with thes two new goliaths now stomping around, however I did lead with my propensity for grabbing up the latest tech and it doesn’t come any “latest” than the new flagship products from HTC and Samsung. Of course, the fact is that “With Great Popularity Comes Not Only Great Punditry But Great Amounts of Shared Opinion and Technical Insight.” (humblest apologies to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, both of whom are thankfully still with us as of this writing), so there is that, too.

End User fun stuff gadgets mobile apps phones wearable

Cycle Gear

A long time ago I used to cycle everywhere; then I learned how to drive……. then I learned how to drink and how to hail (and afford) a taxi….. then I moved to the countryside with idiot drivers like me that didn’t really look out properly for cyclists….. then I moved to the Surrey / London border and the quack told me to stop abusing my joints.

But now, I have an all clear and the realisation that there is some epic cycling country around here. I write this, for example, after following National Cycle Route 4 pretty much from home to Tower Bridge this morning, through Richmond Park and substantially along the river (including past Craven Cottage, home of the mighty Fulham Football Club). I am now editing it a few days later after a 25 mile blast from home to Richmond Park to say hi to the deer.

Of course, being in telecoms means such a venture cannot be undertaken without some degree of geekist equipment. So, I have my bike, a Specialized Crosstrail. Hybrid, obviously, because (1) I don’t want to be associated with the LycraLouts that ride two abreast on main roads and (2) becasue there’s no way a roadbike can handle tow paths at speed.

There’s the Moon LED lights that charge from a microUSB socket, which is incredibly useful. They have a multitude of settings, which I cannot master despite them having only one button. Oh, and they’re bright, which I suppose is the main thing. There’s also the generic Chinese reverse engineered wireless speedometer, which is essential for knowing just how fast the idiot BMW driver that missed you with a nanometre clearance was going relative to you…. and, more importantly, how far it is to the pub for pie, chips and ale.

Which pretty much just leaves some form of mapping solution. And for that, I have two essential pieces of kit. The first is my iPhone; the second is something to put it in – for which I have this handle handlebar bag. It is importantly water resistent (to be fair it only gets mildly moist even in a monsoon downpoor). It’s large enough to hold a wallet and a battery pack (essential for mobile mapping, for reasons I have previously written about) and has a clear plastic cover on top and a pouch for your iPhone (apparently other devices are allegedly available). There’s also a neat slot for a headphone cable, though I for one would rather hear the idiot in the BMW coming than listen to my playlists.

End User gadgets Mobile mobile connectivity phones

Conscious Uncoupling

In early 2010 I gave up Windows Mobile and my HTC TyTN II and made the leap to an iOS-saddled iPhone 3G. Making the switch was not necessary — the TyTN II still had a good amount of life in it, and I know it kept its next owner happy enough for roughly two years following — but when My Missus’s company upgraded her to an iPhone 3GS I thought I’d take the opportunity to shake myself out of my mobile comfort zone and repurpose her leftover phone.

I can see you drifting, treasured reader, so let me take a moment here to put my fingers in your nose and pull you back towards your screen. I am not going to go down the gorged-so-deep path of the iPhone-converted here. Promise. Stick a needle, man.

Continuing…I enjoyed my early experience with the iPhone, but felt then that it was more a toy than a tool, and that has not changed (yes, four years gone by and I am still wielding an iPhone, though I upgraded that original 3G to a iPhone 4 three years back because at the time it offered what was unequivocally the best phone-based camera on the market).

ChainedNow don’t get me wrong.  Toys are great — anyone reading my stuff for any sustained period of time soon learns just how much I love my toys — and so long as the Internet-connected shiny in my pocket is able to provide pics, phone, text, email, and a wee spot of web browsing it really doesn’t need to be anything more. Thus I should be fat-n-happy with iPhoneKory, right? (If you haven’t caught on yet, yes, I sometimes name inanimate objects.) I shouldn’t be consumed with thoughts of moving into an Android phone, but should be content to remain comfortable and cared, warm and satisfied within iOS’s bright, colorful walls. I shouldn’t be…but I am.

broken gear End User gadgets H/W phones

SD card unexpectedly removed SGS4

It’s not looking good. Just had notification on Samsung Galaxy S4 that “SD card unexpectedly removed”. This is the same message I was getting before the last SD card was wiped.

If we recall, the SGS4 was launched on 26th April 2013.  This means that my SGS4 is less than 1 year old1 and it looks a if it is about to destroy a second SD card. Notwithstanding the fact that the phone is less than a year old and it is already my second SGS4. My first had a faulty USB socket.

Frankly this is totally unacceptable. These are very expensive devices. The reliability is atrocious. I am going to take this up with Samsung as a point of principle. Stay tuned…

1 in fact I got it on 13th May 2013.

End User gadgets phones storage backup & dr

Ooo my what a big SD card you’ve got sir – is that 128GB bulging out of your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

list of micro sd card sizesJust been to PC World to buy a new 32Gig SD card. As you know my old one was jiggered by my camera/phone/SGS4/intergalactic-slow-software-communicator (if not catch up with the story here and here)

Permit me to be flabbergasted but these things now come with up to 128GB of storage! FGHJOweroijhlkjhlklnnnggg1. Now I don’t think I need 128GB. I’ve only got about 50GB on my Drive athough that doesn’t include music and photos.

This is the point when someone usually chips in and says “that’s more storage than ever existed on the whole planet before 1983” or “that’s more storage than they had on board all the space shuttles and all the Apollo missions ever including Apollo 13!”

I think at this stage that storage tech would appear to be outpacing the media tech destined for storage and also the battery technology destined to power the mobile media players (ie c/p/S/i above). Mind you it is a fair bet, knowing the people I know that someone will come back and tell me that he has to carry several 128GB SD cards around in case some of his main storage runs out (Tom Bird? 🙂 ).

I bought a 32GB job for about £19. It’ll do me for now.

PS when will they be quoting how many UHD videos a card will store. I spoke to a guy in PC World who told me they weren’t selling many 4K TVs.

PPS I know some smart person will also tell me I could have bought the 32GB card for 25 pence online but I didn’t want to wait ok? 🙂

1 Sound of me being flabbergasted
2 Applicants for membership of the extreme abbreviators club should leave a comment. We meet evry mnth in gd pb cld rhdtfpt in htbrftp.

broken gear End User phones

Content of SD card appears to have been wiped on Samsung Galaxy S4

As an additional note to my previous post it would appear that all the content on my SD card has been wiped. I’ll have to check it when I get home in case it is just the phone not seeing it. It’s not just the music but around 1,200 photos and videos.

Is this a problem? Nooo. It is an irritation because I’ll have to reload the music from my NAS box backup. The photos will also be safe on the NAS box and also in Google+ (I’ve checked). Doesn’t engender confidence though.

At the same time I said yes to a Samsung software update and now some of the cookies have disappeared. I’m having to re-enter credentials on Twitter though not on Facebook or LinkedIn. Odd. Must be having a bad hair day. I need a haircut anyway. Perhaps I’ll nip out this pm and get it done:).

Apps End User Mobile mobile apps phones UC video voip

A Chatty Kory

Who among the teeming throng hasn’t at some point or another had the thought, “Instant Messaging sure is a marvelous thing…no idea what I’d do without it…but really, by this point shouldn’t I be able to seamlessly carry on an IM conversation via Yahoo! Messenger with a contact using Google Talk? Or AOL AIM? Skype? And vice-versa? And do I really need to subscribe to all of these services – and lest I forget to mention Windows Live Messenger, Facebook Chat, Twitter, and so many others — to ensure real-time IM reachability?”

Yes, that is one large mouthful of a thought, but it should be easy enough to chew and swallow.

Numerous times over the past 15+ years the effort has been made to establish a unified standard for Internet-based instant messaging, and all of these efforts have thus far come to naught. Entrenched proprietary protocols die hard, after all, and with such integrated services as IP telephony, video conferencing, desktop sharing, and file transfer thrown into the IM provider mix (to name but a few) the potential for absolute and utter world communication dominance is such that no one major player is ever likely to champion a true standardization. No, “the greater good” will never be enough of a reason to hasten such a sea change. Instead, it will require either (1) a scenario in which instigating such a protocol will benefit all parties, (2) an irresistible push/pull prompted by a powerful outside party (government?), or (3) good old-fashioned fish-eat-smaller-fish empire building.

A Chatty KoryNow to be fair, there is some light in the sky these days regarding inter-network IM capability. For instance, with Yahoo Messenger you can add and communicate with contacts using Windows Live™ Messenger, and you can add your AOL AIM contacts into Google Talk. Such functionalities, however, are the result of agreements reached between the networks, agreements in which a bridging of two (or more) proprietary protocols has been put in place not to open communication up but to simply extend one IM provider’s boundaries to include those within another’s.

Business mobile connectivity phones social networking spam

1951 exhibitors at #MWC2014

sgs5_thumbYesterday when I signed in for Cloud Expo Europe the guy handing out the badges pointed out a “win an iPhone 5s free draw” for visiting the Telehouse (might have been Telecity – I no longer have the card) stand. All I had to do was take a scratchcard along and see if I’d won.

I duly scratched off the silver scratchey off bit and found a number between 1 and 9,999. Looked like a pretty low chance of winning. In exchange for almost certainly not winning an iPad I was probably going to have to let them scan my badge and stick me on a spam list. Considering also I am not an iPhone fanboi I declined the offer and didn’t specifically head for their stand. It’s a problem, getting people interested in looking at your stuff as opposed to someone else’s.

This morning I wondered whether Mobile World Congress had finished. After the flurry of “exciting” product launches (the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the, erm…) things have gone quiet.

Today is the last day, apparently. At MWC2014 there are 1,951 exhibitors. One thousand nine hundred and fifty one!!! How on earth do you stand out amongst that lot? There must be a much easier way of getting seen.

The web is the only answer. These big shows have to be replaced by website interaction. Ok I hear the argument that says the benefit of going to a trade show is the networking. That can easily be done at specific networking events over a glass of lemonade and a canape. Not too many canapes of course – you will want to do your own fair share of talking:)

Trefor Davies,, not in Barcelona.

PS I hear that half the SGS5 RAM is taken up by its Android firmware load!

End User phones

Samsung Galaxy S5 feature list examined

sgs5They are getting excited, the easily excitable. Supposedly the Samsung Galaxy S5 is being launched tonight at MWC2014 (see previous post for acronym explanation).  The Telegraph 1 is calling it one of the most anticipated phone launches of the year and goes on to fuel the rumour mill with a description of expected features. The Telegraph is one of the many sites that gets excited but there again they seem to pander far more successfully to the desires of Joe Public than does this blog – they have quite a few more visitors.

In the interest of trying to get excited I’ve looked at the expected features to see which ones I like.

16Megapixel camera. The camera is one of the features I use the most.

End User phones

Exclusive images of new Samsung Galaxy S5 logo

sgs5Exclusive images of new Samsung Galaxy S5 logo leaked.

Just came across a link to a blog post with photos of the supposed casing to the iPhone 6. Whoopeedee. Don’t get me wrong here. This isn’t a rant about the presumably forthcoming iPhone 6. It’s an “I think we have overdosed on new phone introductions” rant.

It’s a bit like we have too many Ashes cricket series’. We must have because the Aussies won the last one, as I recall.

sgs5 logoI’ve got a Samsung Galaxy S4. I had the S3 and the S2. I assume there must have been an S as well – can’t remember that far back (3 years?!). Or it wasn’t on my radar at the time. The Samsung Galaxy S5 interests me not one little bit. The marketing machines have run out of ideas as far as I am concerned. They are firing blanks. Sack em all.

We can’t be that far off the time when phone hardware becomes the same for us all anyway. Look at cars. The all look the same, give or take a grill and light fitting. It’s now all about the software. The frills. I’m assuming here that one bit of faux leather interior is much the same as another bit of faux leather interior.

So there must come a time when the

Business phones

Contact databases – dontchalovem?

trefor_thumbYou may know that is a Google Apps account. The business is going to run on the Google ecosystem. It’s a no brainer for me.

All my contacts, and there would appear to be 3,103 of them, are in my personal Gmail account. Don’t ask me where they all came from. I can’t remember who some many of them are – not you of course – I know who you are1.

As part of the process of getting up and running in business I have the website development ongoing . The structure needs changing. I also need to know who my core stakeholders are. Contributors, prospective advertisers, people who might want to come to events such as the Xmas bash (that’s everyone then inc all my old rugby playing pals 🙂 ).

So last night was usefully spent

End User phones

Samsung Galaxy Gear – dummies on display – no test – time wasted trip

When my phone upgraded itself to Android 4.3 it told me it would now work with Samsung Galaxy Gear. Okaay. So I went to PC World where I had previously noted a quintet of the watches on display.

Malheureusement they were all dummy display versions. I asked whether they had any real ones in stock – after all who is going to buy something like that without kicking the tyres first. Testing it. Expensive tyres. Nope they didn’t carry stock. They thought there might be one available in the Mansfield branch. Fwiw.

Not worth driving to Mansfield to try one out. Anyone else got one? One wonders how many they have sold in the UK. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was in single figures. If Samsung were confident of the product they would be putting them into the stores. They don’t appear to be doing so. Innit?

Engineer phones

I dreamt last night I was upgrading to Android 4.3

android 4.3 upgradeThis is another musical post to be sung to the tune of Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat from Guys and Dolls. If you don’t know it look it up.

Whilst I was in bed I dreamt last night I was upgrading my Android, a great big download that took me quite a while. 730MB. Blimey. That’s more memory than they had on the Apollo space mission to the moon (etc). It took what seemed ages though I didn’t time it because I didn’t know when it started.

I quite like it when I see my phone upgrading itself. Makes me think I’m being looked after by the great Android god in the cloud. These upgrades aren’t without an element of fear though. The fear of the unknown. You hear stories about “how my phone has never been the same since”. Perhaps stupidly I trust the major global corporations that provide me with these services. I trust that at least they won’t get the upgrade wrong. They only need to step out of line once for them to lose that trust but so far so good. Not everyone’s experience.

Now I will say that a few thoughts have entered the bonce since capturing the screenshot of the upgrade. First of all I thought Oooh. I can use Samsung Galaxy Gear. Aside from the fact that I didn’t know I couldn’t use it already with my SGS4 my next thought is hmm, I haven’t heard good things about it. I did see some in PC World last weekend and they looked plasticky. Also I’m not going to pay two hundred odd quid to try it out and find I don’t like it, especially as I don’t wear a watch. And that is even though I happen to believe that the smart watch is the way forward. I bought my Samsung Chromebook for roughly the same price as the Gear.

The next thought I thunk was that I was looking forward to the improved graphics performance. Unfortunately this is not particularly noticeable. It seems as slow as ever though I ascribe that to Samsung software and not Android. What was instantly noticeable is the flickering screen when displaying multiple browser tabs. I’ve just checked and it is still there. A backward step. Definitely.

You can see from the screenshot all the other features that have been improved in this version of Android. I obviously welcome the security update. Who wouldn’t eh?

That’s all. I might pop down to PC World and see if they will let me have a play with a Gear.

Ciao bebe.

End User phones

Comparison of Samsung Galaxy S4 with Google Nexus5 phones – speed

nexus5 & galaxys4It’s handy working at Timico because people are always buying new gadgets to have a play with.  Jared from IT has just got himself a Google Nexus5 and we thought it would be a good idea to make some comparisons with my Samsung Galaxy S4.

The first thing I noticed about the Nexus5 was that it has a much nicer feel to it in the hand than the S4. S4 is shiny and slippery. The Nexus5 is more matt and doesn’t feel like it will drop out of your hand too easily which is a good thing when you take a look at the battered nature of my not so old S4.

We did a couple of experiments. This first video shows both Nexus5 and Galaxy S4 being switched on simultaneously. The S4 looks as if it is booting up faster but the Nexus5 comes up with the lock screen several seconds ahead of the Samsung. Not scientific but a good peformance indicator I think. In defence of the S4 it will also have a lot more applications loaded but I’m not sure how much affect that will have on the startup time.

The second vid shows a photo being transferred from the Nexus5 to the Galaxy S4. Android to Android but from different models/manufacturers. It is impressive. The file is 3.5MB.

For those of you who are interested here is a side by side picture taken with each camera:

galaxys4shoes nexus5shoes
And finally a video out take – click here (fwi really is w).

Apps End User mobile apps mobile connectivity phones Weekend

Lost phone phound

I normally keep my phone overnight on my bedside table – muted for obvious social reasons. It stems back to the days when I was at the top of the escalation ladder for network issues. Nowadays it’s there for a bit of surreptitious tweeting before Mrs Davies wakes up.

Well I woke up this morning and my phone it wasn’t there, oh no (sung to a blues tune). Yes I woke up this morning and like I said my phone it wasn’t there, oh no. I went downstairs and looked all around the house but still I couldn’t find that darned Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. Oh no.

At this point my imagination started to take hold. Did I leave it at the jazz gig last night? In the taxi? I rang it several times but no joy.

Fortunately technology comes to the rescue these days. I  logged on to my Samsung account and clicked “find my phone”. It was somewhere in our house. Hmm. Location info could be wrong though. I looked at the phone logs. Nobody had pinched it and was using it to call Senegal (random exotic destination that is probably expensive to call).

Then I rang the phone from the Samsung account. This overrides any volume settings on the phone. Wandering around the house I began to hear the faint strains of a Samsung Galaxy S4. It was calling to me. I’m here Tref, here I am.

I found my phone under my pillow, oh yea (followed by a riff on a Fender Stratocaster and a nifty bit of drumming to finish off.

Fat lady sings.


chromebook End User phones

Footnote to Samsung Chromebook free Galaxy phone offer

samsung chromebookYou may have read my Samsung Chromebook special offer not very customer friendly post. Well the free phone arrived yesterday. It was a Samsung Galaxy Mini. I’ve not seen it other than a quick glimpse as I got in from London at around 9pm. I bought the Samsung Chromebook on 30th September and the phone arrived on 14th November – six weeks later.

My 13year old lad took me by surprise by calling me whilst I was on the tube. Must have been an overground bit. The tone of the sporadic conversation was “is that phone for me?”. “Yes”.

When I got in I immediately received an IT support request which I promptly bounced back. I’m not going to touch the Galaxy Mini. Should all be self evident. I might see if I can persuade the lad to write a few words describing his experience once he has had time to play with it. Ve shall see…

PS anyone got the HP11 Chromebook – I’m sure we’d all like to hear more about the USB power supply overheating problem.

End User phones

Google Nexus5 lead times stretching out

Thought it worth mentioning that one of our IT guys, Jared,  has just ordered a Google Nexus5 handset. He’s been given a 4 week lead time. Should just about get it in time for Christmas, by which time, at the rate of new product introductions in this game, it will no longer be the latest and greatest.

I think we need to figure out a crowd sourced way of rating new handsets – as opposed to reading the boring reviews of professional journos who really just compare specs. It’s got to be about personal experience. Why one phone is easier to use than another.

I’ll give it some thought but comments welcome. In the meantime Jared must exercise patience – he currently has a BlackBerry.

Business chromebook Cloud phones

Samsung Chromebook special offer not very customer friendly

Samsung chromebook offerI bought my Samsung Chromebook via What particularly attracted me to the deal was the offer of a free Samsung Galaxy phone. The model of phone wasn’t specified so my expectations weren’t high.  The Chromebook was only £229 so it wasn’t going to be a high end phone but I figured it would be ok for one of the kids.

The Chromebook itself came very quickly – Anne collected it from our nearest store (400 yards from our house!). The phone however didn’t materialise. Hmm. The Tesco portal told me that the order was only part fulfilled so I assumed the phone would follow. It didn’t.

End User phones

Initial review of Google Nexus5

Hugo Pickering has been good enough to let us have his thoughts on the Google Nexus5. He did so in a comment on my unreview of the device but it is very much worth a post of its own so here it is. Thanks for the feedback Hugo:)

Hugo writes:

The N5 finally arrived after the Parcelforce driver failed to read the note on the garden gate telling him to walk through to my office, entailing a trip yesterday to pick it up from the post office in Chipping Norton. Setup and transfer of all apps and data was very easy, once I had taken advice from Adrian Wooster and used the excellent app SMS Backup+, which does exactly as it says on the tin.

The familiar Android interface hasn’t changed dramatically in KitKat, but I might have preferred more icons on screen at once with a bigger screen, rather than bigger icons than before. The screen itself is fantastic, with greater colour depth and clarity – photos look sharper and the detail is stunning. The camera is a huge improvement, with much better low light shooting capability. Auto Awesome looks good, enhancing photos as you go, and then backing them up to Google+.

I’m still not sure about Hangouts hijacking SMS so that all texts have to go through it, which seems a bit draconian, but understandable as it makes everything easier to backup for future migrations. I may experiment with some SMS apps to see if anything else works better, as I guess developers will want to cash in on this.

A few apps seem to struggle with KitKat, notably Movember (yes I am going hirsute for the month –, which seems to be an issue accessing the camera or gallery – maybe the app needs updating. Those apps that have been updated and optimised for KitKat work really well, such as Ookla’s Speedtest – a hugely improved interface and UX.

Speed is another big overall improvement, with apps loading faster and swapping between them with no lag. Hardware-wise, the phone is taller than the previous model, but the same width and thickness. The change to a rubberised back is very welcome and will help to reduce breakages of the old N4 Gorilla Glass back. The phone quality is excellent and the internal speaker seems louder than most phones which is great.

So overall I’m pretty pleased. Now to sell the old N4 on eBay – anyone?

End User phones

The Google Nexus5 unreview

social network sharing on the blogThe Google Nexus5 took me a bit by surprise. I don’t anally watch the space and nobody mentioned it when I visited Google in London on Wednesday. Maybe it caught them by surprise too.

It’s getting to the point where the devices are coming too thick and fast to review them all, notwithstanding the fact that unless you are a favoured globally read media star who gets a freebie (coming clean here, I’m not) it gets to be an expensive thing to do, changing your phone every few months.

Anyway I don’t need to have a physical Nexus5 device to do a review. I can tell without even looking. It will have a few software and hardware improvements on its predecessor. I happen to know it’s a bit cheaper as well, which is good and a sign of the way forward – the point is coming where it’s difficult to add any new sexy features because they have already all been implemented (the “beam me up Scotty”  teleporter app being the exception here. That one is still at the artist impression stage although it is the ultimate app.

Having said that if anyone has a Nexus5 and wants to  do a review then feel free to drop me a line. Also I just took a look and this month amazingly has readers from 147 countries though the majority are in blighty. Check out the whole list here > Readership distribution of blog.

PS the pic is a random image selected from my library of uploads. I’m clearly feeling bullish 🙂

Ciao baby.

Business phones

RIM – what is there to say?

RIM is being sold to one of its existing shareholders who will take it private and in theory reshape the business away from the public glare. The same is happening, or trying to happen, at Dell. Nokia is being bought by Microsoft. All three brands may well fade away into the distance.

Shed no tears. Shit happens. Move on. We live in a very fluid world where aside from technological advances that can in theory be forecast because of historical trends – Moores Law etc – nobody can really predict the future. It takes remarkable vision to be able to move with the times, especially if you are a huge company – it’s like trying to do a handbrake turn with an oil tanker.

I remember when I worked for Mitel I was in  pub in Kanata and one of the Execs had a Blackberry that he was constantly referring to – a bit like how I am these days with my droid. What went through my mind was “hmm I need one of those”. It was more of a status symbol thing than me wanting to be able to read my emails when in the pub.

Timico gave me a Blackberry in the early days. It didn’t last long. Devices like the Nokia E65 and E71 soon overshadowed it. The E71 was a good phone. Not as good as my SGS4, or the S3 or the S2. It’s all progress innit?

I used to think that the future was all about phones replacing PCs. PCs sales are in decline. Phones and tablets on the up. Maybe I was right. Easy really. However in trying to decide where on earth this thought process (and thus the blog post) is going I’ve realised that phones are probably not the way forward either, at least in the form factor we see today.

The screen on my SGS4 is cracked – happened when it was in my pocket. The casing is chipped and dented – it isn’t an old phone, just not a very robust one. I occasionally leave it places and have to go back looking for it. It has to have access security to stop others using it when they shouldn’t and to protect my personal data.

Surely this is a form of device ripe for obsolescence. Although I poo poo’d the Samsung Gear smart watch maybe that is the form factor that will be where all the action is in future. It won’t be long before technology is such that we will have better processing power in the watch than we have in the handset today. If we want to type we should be able to dig out cheap portable screens/keyboards that hook up with the watch. These could even be disposable or so cheap that they are everywhere and you just have to pick one up and hook your phone.

A phone is less likely to be left somewhere and won’t suffer the same knocks as a handset.

There you go. Maybe people running big brands just need to get back to the basics of what influences people to buy something. Play in the forecastable tech developments and hey presto, you are still in business. Not as easy as that I know but it’s all that’s on offer this morning:)


Engineer phones

Comparison of Samsung firmware load versus the base Android version

Bumped into Florian Jensen (@flosoft) whilst out and about in London doing some 4G speed testing. He has a Samsung Galaxy S3 which he had rooted with CarbonRom based on Android 4.3. He wanted to increase the phone’s performance and improve battery life.

I was surprised to see that there is a very noticeable improvement in speed. The SGS3 running CarbonRom was faster than the SGS4 which has a more powerful processor (s) running Samsung’s firmware. We did some videos yesterday that illustrate this. You can read Flo’s post on what he did here. Unless you are a serious geek (which I realise that quite a few of you are 🙂 )I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing it yourself.

Business mobile connectivity phones

I see Microsoft are going to buy the Nokia handset business

I found out about 5am this morning via Twitter (under the bedsheets!). Between 5am and the time I got up, around 7.30ish is was being retweeted by all and sundry and Rory CJ was talking about it on the BBC Radio4 Today programme.

By the time I left for work I felt it was old news and had already been done to death. The line of discussion was “Will Stephen Elop be the next Microsoft CEO?” Tbh that isn’t really news and the BBC was certainly unable to do any more than anyone else which was just pure speculation.

Whether Microsoft makes a go of the handset business is neither here nor there in my mind. I’m not really bothered. I’d say it will take them years to catch up with Apple and Samsung/Google if  they can do it at all.

What I think is worth a moment of reflection is the passing of Nokia as a mobile handset vendor. The brand must now inevitably fade away. In my business life I have had very few different vendors’ models of mobile phone (though that is starting to change with what feels to be an unsustainable pace of new product intros) and for most of that time my phone was a Nokia.

Nokia represented quality and had the best User Interface.  Although  I still own a Nokia, a Lumia 920 handset it is very much my secondary phone. I don’t like the UI or the weight of it. I only got it to try out Windows8. The last Nokia phone I can claim to have been happy with was the N97, a while ago now, it seems.

There are always examples around of major multinational companies with big market leads that fail to move with the times. Microsoft is in one of those periods now of trying to reinvent itself. It isn’t there yet.

In the meantime Nokia has failed to keep up and is now going through the mobile phone equivalent of the death roll. Stand back and watch from a safe distance.  RIP the Nokia mobile phone.

broken gear End User phones

50% of smartphones have broken screen

50% of smartphones have a broken screen. This is based on an extensive survey of the six phones in the Davies family.

The sceptics amongst you will say huh, what kind of sample size is that? My response is that we are just a normal family & I’d like to bet that pretty much most of you out there have had a screen go on their phone at some stage or other.

My kids use protective cases for their phones and despite this one of them has just had a crack in their screen. He hadn’t dropped the phone or bashed it in anyway to his knowledge. This isn’t good enough. Glass tech needs to improve.

It might be interesting to conduct a little survey here. How many of you have had a screen break on their phone at some stage? This isn’t a scientific survey but it will be interesting to see the results. I might also ask people to let me know if they have never had a screen break.

Let’s see what the results look like – answers as comments please.


broken gear End User phones

Samsung Galaxy S4 faulty USB socket #SGS4 problem

sgs4My Samsung Galaxy S4 has a faulty USB socket. I got this phone on 13th May 2013. Today is the 30th May 2013. The phone has lasted 17 days (I know, I’m sharp).

dead Samsung Galaxy S4 sgs4The picture of the phone is on the right. Looks dead doesn’t it. That’s because it’s switched off. It isn’t totally kaput yet but it was about to become so. I plugged in the charger but didn’t plug in the charger. It wouldn’t fit in the socket.  I tried three different cables. None of them would go. I tried them in another phone and they all fitted in as designed. Ergo something is wrong with the socket on the SGS4. The highly efficient gang in the Timico logistics department has taken control and are sending it back. I had to switch it off to conserve battery settings before making sure it was fully backed up (it now is) and reset to factory settings so my precious personal data was not accessible to whoever is going to fix it.

Ok I know what you’re saying. S*&t happens. You are right. However it seems to happen on a disappointingly regular basis with the Samsung Galaxy phones. The last one I had, a Galaxy S3 had a problem with the USB socket and separately with the headphone socket. Data transfer was dodgy and the actual charging was very intermittent, It was clearly about to go. I got it fixed. Before then I had a screen go dead on me and “water ingress” problems despite the fact that I know darn well there hadn’t been any water ingress.

I am a Samsung Galaxy fan but I have no hesitation in saying that the build quality on the Samsungs must stink. You’re not telling me I can have had all these problems and I’m the only one. In fact I know I’m not. Having written blog posts about each problem as it happen the “Samsung Galaxy S3 problem” search term in one guise or another has become one of the most popular reasons for people reaching this site. In fact there have been around 51,000 page views on the subject in the last 6 months.

In the meantime this morning I have reverted to my Nokia Lumia 920. It’s functionality is some way behind that of Samsung/Android and even, dare I say it Apple despite not being an Apple fan for unzombie-like reasons (good word structure there). What we need is the Android software running on Nokia build quality. I do accept that I haven’t been running the Nokia much but I did give it a chance for at least a month and in that time it didn’t stop charging, the headphone socket carried on working, oh and it didn’t have a dent in the casing which the SGS4 did after a few days despite, and you have to take my word for it here, me not banging it about or dropping it.

The Samsung build quality is not great. That’s all. Got it off my chest. tune in later for more mobile phone fun and frolics (though I have to get on and revise a guide to migrating to SIP trunks now so it will be a while)

Ciao amigos.

PS to make it easy for those who are interested I’ve pasted links to all the other posts that talk about Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3 problems: