Friday, April 5, 2013

7 days turned to 20 days

This is my 2nd post and my last post on the issue, for now. Please read this first

For those that don't want to read anything :

All in all, by a small margin, I am back using iOS as my day to day device, but I will not put the Nexus into a drawer or try to pimp it to friends or not even to my wife. I will keep it, and will test it periodically when there are updates to Android, and who knows, I might not go back next time...


I used Android on the LG Nexus 4 for almost 3 weeks when I only set out to use it for 1 week. I liked it, I liked it a lot. The device itself is as close to perfect as you can get. I have heard people talk about very bad battery life but that was just not the case. I never ran out of battery, but I always had to charge it when I slept, which is similar to the iPhone, although the iPhone could run for almost full 2 days. The 16 GB storage is a shame for such a device. It is way to small. With a screen like the Nexus has, you want to watch videos, video podcasts, screencasts and so forth. But in order to do that, you have to have at least 32GB, and this is why I have 64GB iPhone 5, but I doubt I would buy a 128GB model if it became available. You could add that I would like to have a LTE connection on the phone but the case is moot as LTE in Norway are like trolls, people say they have seen one, but no one can offer any proof of its existence :) It is here, but you have to be in the right spot and not move an inch. Also people bitch about the camera being bad. I don't know if it is just me, but after digging through the phone and finding well hidden camera settings, my pictures became crisp and full of nice details, the images on the Nexus were very good, and comparable to Nokia Lumia 920, although in darker environments the Nokia beat it hands down, no contest, but in normal lighting, they were very good. The issue I think is that the default settings are all low quality and changing that wasn't obvious, and no camera phone is as good as the iPhone 5, it is the king of the hill.

There are a few things I didn't like, but they were all Android issues. Although it seems extremely trivial, having a browse to top is remarkably useful and missing from Android. On iOS you can click on the top of the screen and it will whisk you away to the top of twitter/facebook/intstragram or a browser to name a few. Using the volume buttons to go page up and down is just genius  I have no objections to physical buttons as long as they serve a purpose. On my older Android phone, there was a search button, I would have like to have one physical search button on the device. The facebook client was just extremely awful. Doing edits was just plain out horrible. When you type in a text, and you need to fix one letter f.ex. you typed s instead of a, it is horrible on Android, and on the Facebook client, it was just futile attempt and would hang the phone completely at random intervals, so it would actually save you time just to go back and type everything in again.

Unlike Andy Ihnatko, I did not see any improvement on the keyboard of Android or iPhone, and if anything the iOS keyboard was better. I didn't get used to the swipe typing, but the suggestion of words was very good on android. I must say that I have turned off any autocorrect on both phones as it was never ever helpful. Android did not allow me to type in all Icelandic characters which is a big failure. But I am sure my hands are much smaller than Andy's.

But one of the biggest failures must be that because there are no physical buttons, the phone will display buttons at the bottom of the screen to do away with keyboard, menu and search. For most apps this works as expected but it is quite easy to put your finger on it when typing f.ex.a space or a dot (.), but when playing games, this is just ridiculous. The buttons become stuck in ON state and when doing games that have touch on the right side, like all driving games, it becomes way to easy to accidentally click on the home button and voila, you are no longer driving at 200 mph but looking at your home screen and your game is lost, and why does the phone only support landscape left ?

Games like Angry birds was just great, although the game itself looked very good, all backdrops were in excellent quality, all controls and the birds themselves, became quite tiny, it didn't look good. EA Need for speed games were great, except for games that were more than 1 year old, they looked fuzzy, out of focus. Not grainy as expected, but all smeared, like the screen was very dirty.

There were excellent apps on Android. Kindle app for one was fantastic, same with Audible app. Both apps allow you to search and purchase items directly which is just great and one of the biggest failures of Apple to block that. I got a much better podcast app than the awful podcast app on the iOS. I got pretty good ebook reader. Putting stuff on the phone was very easy, although I needed to use some Android file transfer app since I use a Mac, it wasn't bad, and a way I prefer greatly above iTunes sync everything, which always ends up taking huge amount of time. On Android I could add that 1 song, that 1 podcast or that 1 video as easy as drinking water in less than 5 minutes before leaving the house, but when I need to have that file on an iPhone, it always ends up re-syncing my phone, taking a backup, refusing to move certain files, and picking those files from what looks like a webform is so slow that it is almost useless. Well I guess I have issues with iTunes after all :)

All in all, at the end of the day, I am back on iOS. But not because it is way better, but only because it is marginally better. I would probably rate iOS at 85% perfect, but Android only at 65-70%. The devices would have to score even, at 95% each, but because of the storage, it lowers the ratings of the Nexus, down 10% at least. Of course keep in mind that these numbers are made up here on the spot while I typed them, but I am back using iOS because it gives me less grief. If iOS 7 isn't something completely new, earth shattering new, when it comes out, and Android 5 will most likely fix all the issues I have with it, then there is very little keeping me from moving over to Android full time, and being an iOS developer, this isn't just saying.

iOS 7 must become better. Larger screen than iPhone 5 is a must! It is much better having larger screen than I would have thought. I do expect iOS 7 to come with full bindings support and a few more cool things like that, but Android is getting so close to iOS that it is scary.

On a lighter note, I think Samsung royally screwed up with Galaxy IV, and that it isn't better than Galaxy III, not in any way. They still haven't released Android 4.2.2 which I had on day 1 of the Nexus, and was one of the big reasons to buy the Nexus above Galaxy III, phone companies just don't understand the need for updates.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Android for 7 days

After Andy Ihnatko decided that the iPhone 4s didn't do enough for him, I started thinking which usually ends up making a dumb decision. He choose the Samsung Galaxy III, I ended up picking the LG Nexus 4, and for a very good reason.

Because I have tried before.

guist of this is : Andy Ihnatko bought an android phone. I thought they were awful, but he triggered a curiosity in me, I bought one, and I totally love this phone. I must go see a doctor.

A few years ago, I decided to test Android and instead of just buying some cheap phone, I laboured over this and ended up buying HTC Desire, back then a top of the line model (a few days later the Desire HD came). I hated it. The build quality was good, but everything the phone did, it did it badly. The battery didn't live through the day, and usually gave up at around 5, the time I came home from work. Everything onscreen was ugly, dark and hard to read. There was a constant battle with storage, my mail was filling up the onboard memory and I could not move my email to the sd card, I could move a few apps to the sd card but not enough, and the card kept unmounting itself for no apparent reason, and the upgrades, or the lack of them was infuriating to say the least. My phone got 1 update after I bought it, a point release which didn't do anything, and thats where it stayed. I felt betrayed, cheated, left out. But when I looked around, this was the case with every other Android phone out there, every single one.

After less than a week the phone went into a drawer for over a year and got used once in a while as a guest phone for guests who visited me from iceland, so when they got lost in oslo, they didn't have to call me using very expensive roaming.

I even tried to get my wife to use the phone, it was expensive and I was frustrated that this toy wasn't usable. My wife hated it even more than I did and didn't use it.

Then ca last christmas, I rooted the phone and installed Cyanogenmod (hope I typed it correctly), since I had to use the phone as a second phone on a trip to Iceland. I don't want to pay ridiculous roaming charges. And it became a totally new phone. It was actually a useful device. Battery life was good and everything about it was good, not iPhone quality, but a good. On that trip, I almost bought the Samsung Nexus phone and was tempted to buy Samsung Galaxy III, but decided against it, Android wasn't good.

Ever since, I have been 100% iOS, and pretty much ever since the iPhone 3G came out, I have been using an iPhone.

BUT, Andy Ihnatko isn't just any man, not only is he funny, he actually makes makes mutton chops look good and he is like the poster boy for apple products, he likes apple products and he knows them. So why did he change ? Before I even read his articles (linked below), I decided that I should try to find out why. Because Android wasn't any good after all, right ? Well, I decided to purchase the 5" Sony xperia Z, but once I came to the store I remembered one huge thing. I LIVED IN NORWAY, and that meant I would have to wait at least 1 month before a device becomes available after it is introduced, even longer. Well, I then thought, what about the Samsung Galaxy III phone. Nah, it wasn't totally updated, it was old, it was plasticky cheap. Then my eyes caught on a black slick device with a very bad name it seemed, on closer inspection the name the store called the phone was just weird, they called it LG E960. It did not ring any bells for me, I had never heard of that device. So I looked at it and realised this was the LG Google Nexus 4, which is a much better name. The phone looked great, awesome even. On just flicking the screen, testing web browsing and such, it surprised me, it was so fast at doing everything, and it was super smooth. All animations, scrolling and zooming was super smooth and fast, totally Apple quality, even better. On closer inspection, the phone was much cheaper than the Galaxy III, same screen size and a little higher resolution, and Quad 1.5 GHz processor, 2GB internal memory and although it only has 16 GB storage, not expandable (common google), I bought it.

Excited like a 6 year old with a new toy, I sat in my living room, opened the box, which didn't contain much, a pamphlet, charger and a phone. No stickers, no headphones, nothing (again, common google, no headphones ? really). Well I turned on the device, the colors were crisp, the phone booted quickly, asked me for my google account, I enter it, and that was it. The phone was usable, all my contacts where there, my gmail account, gtalk and more. Less than 2 minutes after unpacking, I was using the device. WHAT ? Thats unthinkable :) My kindle app on the Android allows me to purchase books, fantastic stuff. Audible app also allows direct purchases. The podcast app actually updates itself. This is just scary.

Went to the Play! store, got all my previously bought apps, added a few others for ebook reader, podcasts and such. A few hours later, I had spent a few hundred kroner on the store. Got Most Wanted and few more games.

This device behaves great. This device is awesome. After 3 days now, I haven't touched my iPhone 5, not even looked at it. WHAT ? This device has the promise to be updated for a few years, since it gets its updates directly from Google. This device lets me run Commodore 64 games, and even program in C64 basic on it. I have other emulators as well, which work fantastically. Even though the battery says it has 15% left and is showing red by the end of the day, it doesn't just go empty all of the sudden, it actually works this way, and continues on the slow decline to 0%, which it hasn't done once. The build quality on this device is totally Apple quality. It doesn't feel cheap like the Galaxy III. I wonder if I will switch back by the end of my 7 day trial. It sure doesn't look like it. But this might totally be this new thing, new toy factor. Lets see if I get tired of it.

Now, I have read all of Andy's articles, and heard his explanation on Macbreak Weekly. I don't envy him. He actually gets hate messages, common people!!, this is a phone. My taking of his reasons for the switch is that he wanted a bigger screen, and I agree, having a bigger screen is actually great. He talks about the onscreen keyboard being better, I don't know about that, could be because I am writing not only english, but norwegian and Icelandic as well, so that might be why I don't think the keyboard is much better. But then we start to have different opinions. The two above reasons are why he is switching, screen size and keyboard. He says, he is willing to use apps that are not the quality of iPhone apps. I would not settle like that. Either the apps are just as good or better. So far, I would say that the apps and games I use are just as good as the iPhone apps. Of course I still haven't got replacements for all the apps I use, but I am getting there.

I think Andy made a mistake by picking the Samsung Galaxy III phone. It is more than one year old, Samsung Galaxy IV (4) is around the corner so future operating system updates are questionable. He bought an inferior phone, a good phone for sure, but inferior to the Sony Z and the Nexus 4.

I am actually looking forward for the next Macbreak weekly, for an updated view on him using the Android. As one reporter said, don't remember who, it is scary how Google is getting to do Apple quality products and Apple failing to do Google quality web services.

Links :

The first article :
Second :
Third :

And Macbreak weekly.

The Nexus 4 :

Monday, January 21, 2013

Living off ad revenue

I have been testing ad sense from google. The way I do it is to provide a service that I myself have actually needed and was unable to find. Let me explain. If anyone knows of a better paying ad service, please leave a comment, but I don't want any blinking banner or crap ware.

My number 1 service is, which as the domain states, merges pdf files. Every month I need to give my accountant a bunch of receipts which I need to scan and then send her, by using mergepdfs I am able to upload a bunch of files, any number, and download a single file, which I then send to her. For me, I actually love my own service, I really do. I needed to use such a service and I googled it, like everything else I need and I found quite a few but most of them wanted me to pay for it, others were useless in the sense they were free for small files, but had an extremely difficult to use payment system for larger files. So I built my own, and it is free, completely free as it costs you no money and don't upsell anything. I could give you lower quality for free, but I don't.

This service has had thousands of people to check it out with many hundreds who actually use it. According to Google analytics, almost 50% of visits are recurring, which means people use the service again and again. I am happy.

But can you live off ad revenue with hundreds of active users every month, in short NO. So far, over 6 months I have made something less than $10. But this is one such thing where waiting and improving the service will benefit me. I don't think I can ever live off this, but it would be cool to get at least enough to purchase books from amazon. But hey, the service is fast, easy and free and will continue to be so.


My other service is which as the name implies adds watermarks on every page you upload. I made this service just for fun. This service is also free.

Use it, enjoy it.

Both services are made with Play! Framework and uses JQuery with backbone.js. All in all, pretty cool services, which I had fun making. I learnt a lot and totally fell for Backbone.js library. It is just so cool.
More on that later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why I can't quit stack overflow

I think stack overflow website has done more good than any other website out there, including facebook and anything google has done (the jury is still out on Wikipedia).

It has collected incredible amount of knowledge which is distributed for free, completely free, you don't even have to login and they play search engines in such a way that any problem I have with any programming project, the search gives me the answer on stack overflow.

It is pretty addictive to answer questions and watch as the points roll in, but it is also extremely demoralising to be awarded a negative point, which means you answer a question which someone, anonymous, don't like or agree with, he gives you negative points, so it actually hurts your high, and has damaging effects, no matter if your answer is actually correct.

I answered one question about which books and information someone should read to get better at Core Data. I listed the books that helped me, with Amazon links to follow, and I used amazon link shortener because amazon links are very long and very ugly. The results were that I raked in negative points and lost the important points that at the time pushed me above the very much sought after 1.000 points and left me at 997 points, like it was mocking me.

This has happened a few times and every time I vouch to quit answering questions on Stack overflow only to see a question lingering to which I know the answer and I say to myself, oh man, Stack overflow is actually so good, it is worth while even if you get punched in the stomach a few times, here and there.

I do understand why you could get negative points, lets say there is a C# question, and I would chime in and tell the person this problem did not exist in C++, which is totally trolling and unhelpful.

I suggest here inside my /dev/null nothingness, my empty wasteland of blog that if you vote down a question so that it gets a negative rating that you have to write a comment on why you did such heinous act, it could even be anonymous to the victim, but then the victim could fix the issue you have or even delete the post. You should at least know why your answer was so bad that it required you to be beaten up, why your score high was cut short and you would get a way to appeal this and the voter who voted you down would be forced to justify his deeds. You are not required to do so if you vote down, only when you vote down below zero.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I was going to name this why I left dropbox but the title did not tell the truth, I did not leave dropbox, they lost my account and don't answer support emails.

I have been a user of dropbox and a cheerleader for the service for many years, they truly do deliver a fantastic service. I got so many users to use them that I had many extra gigabytes of storage added as a thank you. Then without a notice, puff, my account wasn't available and when I tried to log in and change my password, the answer was simple, no such account. Their support site almost requires you to log in only mention it in a passing that

For me making my own dropbox or dropler service isn't that hard, and I am contemplating on doing so, but this teaches me a lesson, not to become dependant on 3rd party solutions. The worst of it is that dropbox actually is great.

I have now installed skydive from Microsoft, got 25 GB free space, works the same way and lets face it, Microsoft is not going to go bankrupt or end up being bought. They might though kill the service, but hey, they will not close my account without closing everyone else down as well.