Portcullis at the Fort Tryon Cloisters

Joining the Modern Era: Reflections on a Week in the Smartphone World

I decided to join the modern era and buy a smartphone.  Once I started looking I was overwhelmed with the choices. iphone or Android? and what number 3,4,5?

I mainly use gmail, gcalendar and gdrive and I’ve had enough experience with my wife Sandy’s  iphone and ipad to know that those google apps are generally lacking – either they don’t sync right or they are filled with adds or both.

Okay Android it was – but which one? There seemed to be so many choices – so I asked a couple Android using friends.

MJ replied: “i would wait for the new google phone- nexus 5 i believe. samsung uses android, but adds a lot of stuff on top of it – some cool features, but most of it’s kinda lame. because they customize it, it can take a while for them to get the newest version of android fully “samsung-ized” and you end up not getting the latest stuff for months. the google phones used to be built by samsung (now made by LG), but they’re made specifically for google, so when the newest, hottest android shit comes out, you always get it from the jump”. either way, i think you’re making the right move with android, assuming you live in a more google-y world than an apple-y world.

While SP had a slightly different take:  “These nerds are right. Battlestar Galactica is WAY better than Star Trek the Next Generation. And yes, get a regular Samsung Galaxy S 3 or 4. It does everything, and you don’t need to wait like a shnook for the latest coolest gadget. You’re dirty Phil. Embrace your lack of cutting edgery (that sounds like something Mike would say about me). ”

My Nexus 5

I waited and bought the Nexus 5.

 What’s changed? and Am I finally part of the modern era? 

My Location location map

Using my old Nokia only T-Mobile knew my location, now it seems like everyone can follow me as Google, the weather channel and the NSA keep track of my whereabouts(Even though I turned off ‘use my location’ I have a sneaking suspicion I’m still being followed).

Talking on the phone? Or just listening?

beyond pod Remember how people used to talk on the phone? Unless I locate the phone’s little speaker and place it directly on my eardrum – it’s nearly impossible to hear a phone conversation. To ameliorate this issue I just keep my headphones plugged in – all the time -which facilitates more talk radio and music listening. Unfortunately, every time I load up good ole’ NPR it hits me with three straight commercials and anyone who knows me – knows I hate commercials.

So I’ve mainly been bumping podcasts – anyone have any good recommendations?

Also streaming the radio chews up more battery power than it did no my old phone, though I should note that I’ve been impressed with some long lasting  battery life – almost 48 hours on one charge with moderate to low use.

A Travelling Dictionary
portcullis
Portcullis at the Fort Tryon Cloisters

The other day riding the train, plugs stuffed into my ears, and reading the New Yorker I came across a word I didn’t know, portcullis. 

So I tapped it into my dictionary app. Even years though I spent my tenderfoot years playing as knights in armor at the Cloisters, I never knew  there was a word for the “strong grating (especially in medieval castles. made to slide along vertical grooves at the sides of a gateway or fortified place”.

 

Finally…

Maybe I’ll learn more cool things to do with this phone in the next few weeks- but considering all the hype around these super phones- not much has changed.

Wait – you might say-  what about how I can watch movies, tv and live sports with my new smartphone. Well I don’t because if I wanted to do that I’d use the computer that I am always sitting at.

And Sandy quipped that when I’m lost I won’t have to call her for directions anymore – but that hasn’t happened yet (likely related to the sitting at computer phenomenon).

Just after I ordered the phone I shared my excitement about it with a few friends. My buddy PJ summed up the import of this shift best,   “Sweeeeeeet! Now Phil can gmail in real time!”.

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