From iPhone to Android, Back to iPhone

I’ve been an iPhone user since 2014. Actually that’s not true. I dabbled with Android with an HTC M7 around 2013 and used iPhones before that (think my first iPhone was iPhone 3G). Regardless, I have been mostly an iPhone user and have been satisfied with my experience for the most part. iOS just works with no complications. And if your waist deep in the ecosystem, you appreciate the overall experience of all your Apple devices working with one another seamlessly. And yet, despite years of a hassle free experience with iOS, I still felt compelled to look over to see what I was missing on the Android side of things.

There’s an old adage: If it ain’t broke, dont’ fix it. And yet here I went and tried to “fix it”. I felt bored, and restless. I partly blame all the kdramas I have been consuming these past few years (all you see are Samsung phones being used in them). So I took the plunge and for 2 weeks or so, I was using a Samsung S22+. I did enjoy some of the customizations opportunities that one gets with Android (default keyboards, browsers, and arranging your apps to your liking are very well implemented). But that’s been the bulk of my Android use. I wasn’t using it as much, the way I would with an iPhone, to read my news blogs, listen to my podcasts or music, and play my casual games like sudoku or solitaire. No, at least 20 to 30% of my Android use was devoted to further tinkering settings and trying to recreate some of the experiences I missed using the iPhone.

Two weeks in, and I decided I had my fun and now it’s back to what works best for me. Samsung S22+ is on it’s way back to Samsung, and an iPhone 13 is on its way to me (slight upgrade from my previous 12 pro). So what made me decide to bail on Android and go back to what I know best and with what I am most comfortable? There are a few things and I’ll list them here.

iMessage:

I won’t go into too much detail to explain iMessage. iPhone users know all about it. Android users don’t have the pleasure to use it. Needless to say, for SMS/iMessage conversations, it just looks nicer and has a boatload of features that the standard Android Messages app doesn’t provide. And how could it? It’s just SMS messaging. There are several cross-platform apps of course, but the people I most communicate are iPhone users and just love the ease of use of iMessage and don’t want to bother with Whatsapp, Signal, Telegram, etc. So yeah, this is definitely one of the reasons to go back to iPhone (that darn Apple ecosystem in play again).

Apple Pay:

For contactless payments, Apple Pay is an absolute pleasure. It just works and is simple to use. Just double-press your side-button, use Face ID/Touch ID or passcode, pick your payment method (unless you have a default one that you always use) and let the card reader scan your phone, and done. My experience with Samsung Pay and Google Wallet/Pay has been hit or miss. Plus the way to use Samsung Wallet is a little more cumbersome than just a double-press of the side button on an iPhone. The issue with Google Wallet is that there is also Google Pay. Google has a habit of trying to fix things that are already working (which this post shows I’m guilty of). Google Pay/Wallet is no exception. It has gone through many different brandings and iterations. They did the same with messaging apps. This uncertainty makes me want to stick with Samsung Pay for contactless payments but the execution isn’t the smooth experience I became accustomed to with iPhone. I can tolerate it and deal with it but why should I?

VLC:

This was my biggest disappointment on Android and made me finally decide on switching back. For those that don’t know, “VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols.” It has been my go for my video files on all my Apple devices. It’s great and just works. My favorite feature on iOS/Apple TV/iPad side of things, is the ability to send files to VLC via Wi-Fi. Just turn on “sharing via Wi-Fi”, you get a 192.168… url and you use a browser and drag and drop files over. That feature isn’t available on Android. So how do I drag files over? Connecting my Android to my Mac wasn’t enough to give me that option. Going to a VLC for Android support page didn’t give me any answers.

After struggling with different search queries I finally stumbled upon an answer. By simplifying my search to: transfer files from mac to android, I came across Android File Transfer. With this work around I moved media files to my phone. But wait, how is the video playback? Not good. If I stream video from streaming apps like Amazon, Crunchyroll, etc, those apps make good use of the screen, albeit with side bars but that’s fine. Not so with VLC. Either I get 16:9 ratio but it uses a fraction of the display, or fit screen but then it zooms in and crops out a good portion of the video making fit screen a non-option. Fill, 4:3, and Center are no better. Why can’t VLC on Android fill the screen the way the streaming apps can? This was never an issue for me on my iPhone or iPad.

Final Thoughts:

So yeah VLC was the final straw for me. I was able to make do with Feedly and Pocket Casts as alternatives to Reeder and Overcast for my news feeds and podcasts. But VLC for Android just paled in comparison to VLC on iOS. That along with other little nit picky things (aside from what I just mentioned), was enough for me to call it quits on my short-lived experimentation with Android. It’s just not for me. I’m an Apple user and I have to just accept it, come to terms with it, and not make this whimsical folly again.

The More Things Change The More They Remain The Same

Once again, I took a hiatus from blogging and once again I’m back to give this blogging/writing thing a chance. Also, I have backtracked from what I said I have done in the last blog post. I reactivated my Twitter account. I’m back on Reddit as well. I even did some podcasting again before finally pulling the plug on it today.

I keep going back and forth on decisions and actions with one stance or another and then do a complete 180 on said stance after some time. Blogging has definitely taken the bulk of being put on the back burner of all my hobbies. And yet, here we are again. Will it stick this time around? Guess time will tell.

My current reasoning is that I have been increasingly dissatisfied with my podcasting. Maybe it’s the self-islolation, but I feel like it’s hard for me to voice my thoughts and opinions like I have inthe past. Not having people to talk to on a regular (customers at work aside) has affected my talking skills for sure. This has resulted in painstakingly spending ridiculous amounts of time editing the audio recordings. And let’s not even bother talking about making transcripts with otter.ai. Just more time disappearing before my eyes. And the end result was a final product that I didn’t feel too satisfied with.

Writing/blogging is definitely less time consuming. I just have to make the effort to push myself to type words on a. blank page, reread to confirm all dots and commas are where they need to be and then publish. So far, so good for for 2022. We’ll see if I will keep this up.

Removed Social Networks From My Life

It’s been many moons since my last post and a lot had to do with my continued interest in podcasting again. Well as of October 7th, 2020, I decided to call it quits on podcasting, at least for now. I did a lot of hemming and hawing before coming to that conclusion but finally decided to pull the plug on my audio diary. I decided to focus on other things in my life that didn’t allow for much time for podcasting. I also decided that if I want to podcast again sometime later, it will be a different show altogether and the audio diary route, like all of my past attempts at journals and diaries, lost its appeal to me.

Also, sadly, as I looked over my last post where I stated that I was going to be all about the iPad life, hasn’t quite come to full fruition. If anyone has been listening to my podcast, they will know of the purchase of a 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch laptop and my plans of using it for my film major that got cut short abruptly. Consequently I just went back to using a computer for my podcasting needs and my iPad Pro became a media consumption device.

Maybe, with podcasting back on the back burner, I’ll start to blog more and try other creative things on my iPad. I’ve sadly have not done any drawing like I had initially thought I would. And now that I’m using a wireless mouse I only use the Pencil whenever the mouse isn’t able to interact with the screen the way my finger or the pencil will.

Anyways, enough of the recap, lets get to the subject of this blog post, social networks. I’ve had Facebook out of my life for 2-3 years now and I couldn’t be happier. But I was still doing the doom scrolling on Twitter and on Reddit. I also used WhatsApp b/c of others in my life that just have to use that messenger app for some reason or other. Well for almost a year, I had Twitter deleted from my device and almost never went to the website to keep up with my feed and, surprisingly, I didn’t miss it like I thought I might.

And then COVID-19 happened. I’ve become more isolated from the real world as I began to work from home. The first month I was living the sedentary life and just consuming media whenever I could. But then I finally started to exercise more regularly than I’ve had most of my life, and started doing meditation to improve my state of mind and calm any of the anxieties I was starting to feel from this forced social isolation.

I’m a social hermit and homebody by nature so being home away from the masses is nothing new to me. But I also had to interact with people at work and when I was in school and I did enjoy those moments of human interaction. I was starting to really missing those moments and tried to connect more on Reddit and Twitter but those interactions were making me feel more empty and a bit despondent. I removed the Reddit apps from my devices again and, along with meditation and exercising, I was feeling better again and noticed, like with FaceBook, I wasn’t missing those networks.

This revelation, led me to delete my Twitter account, of many many years, and my Reddit account and I haven’t felt any regret about my decision. It has been quite liberating and I’m further enjoying my completed isolated life from the world. I still have those close to me that I keep in contact with via messaging and video/audio calls. And that has sufficed.

I am now living the iPad Lifestyle

Back on December 27, 2015, I had purchased an iPad Air 2 with a wireless keyboard and was imaging a life using an iPad as my laptop replacement. Almost 3 years later (minus 21 days), that day has come. When I got the new iPad Pro (2018 3rd generation model), I was wondering if I could record a podcast and do all that entails to posting said podcast online without the aid of another device (laptop, chromebook, etc.). I found a video on YouTube by Christopher Lawley, about this possibility using an app called Ferrite. I tested it out and recorded a podcast episode for the first time on an iPad Pro and successfully completed the task with no other devices.

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Establishment Democrats, Progressive, Socialist, and Somewhere In Between

In recent months I’ve been discussing politics more and more with a few coworkers of mine and it was interesting seeing where our viewpoints were parallel and where they diverged. One coworker’s viewpoints leaned socialistic, the other one was more in line with the current Democratic Party and the Establishment Democrats. My viewpoints were somewhere in between those viewpoints. I definitely agreed with the Socialist that the system is corrupted and that money needs to be taken out of politics for the betterment of society. I even agreed with him that the global economic state of capitalism is the root of all the suffering because the business model is the pursuit of profit at the expense of everything else. All the wars and suffering and climate change can point towards capitalism as the cause and effect. I however, don’t have his optimism of belief that a global social consciousness will erupt out of all the economic disparity and turmoil that is currently happening. At least, not in our lifetime.

Continue reading “Establishment Democrats, Progressive, Socialist, and Somewhere In Between”