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.

Help Me Get Back to Mac!!!!

It’s been some time since I last blogged. Don’t really have much of a reason for it. Just haven’t had the inclination or the compunction to blog. Not to mention that I didn’t know what to blog about.

That still hasn’t changed all that much, except that I did create a GoFundMe account to help me get a new computer. Specifically a new Apple computer. I’m done with my PC and Windows. I thought I’d give Windows 8 a shot and thought I’ve adapted to it I still rather go back to Mac. In the 2 years that I’ve had my computer I’ve had to do a software restore around 5 times and then re-install and customize everything to my liking. That’s many hours I’ve wasted on troubleshooting and maintenance. Time I could’ve used to blog or do some other endeavor¬†that’s more creative or fun.

Anyway, help me get funded! Who knows? Maybe with a new Mac I’ll be blogging like crazy again ūüėČ

Here is the link. Please help me out, if not by sending a few bucks my way then by spreading the word.

Another Crazy Week, More Fun To Be Had

Last week I had an interview with Tekserve, “New York’s premiere authorized Apple Reseller and Service provider”. They were the Apple store in New York City before Apple opened up their own flagship stores. They’re a great company and I even got my current MacBook Pro from them. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job. But as they say, when one door closes another window opens. That same night I was told of another job opportunity and hopefully that will yield better results.

Before I got my email regarding my job application rejection, I was of course recording another episode of “The Mundane Chatter Podcast” (available here) and spending most of that night editing it and getting the show ready to post. The following day, Thursday, I noticed that I was having RSS feed validation issues and spent most of that day tinkering with it and finally figured out the solution. If that wasn’t enough to keep me away from blogging this week, yesterday was the beginning of the annual Keith and The Girl Standup and meetup events (which I won a SuperPass for. Yay me!).

Every year on April 15, fans of this well-known podcast meet up around the birthday of the host, Keith Malley, and witness his once a year stand-up performance. He’s had 7 consecutive performances thus far (they’re recorded as albums which you can get at their online store).¬† Circling this night are other events that are set up to keep these fans entertained throughout the week. Last night was Karaoke night. I’ve never done Karaoke before and I attempted and mumbled through “A Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes. It was a hell of a blast.

Tonight is of course Keith Malley’s standup which I’m eagerly awaiting as I type up this entry. Saturday will be a rendition of Matchgame and Sunday caps of this year of events with the first ever Roast of Keith and the Girl. It’s going to be a hell of a weekend of events. But I couldn’t let this stop me from getting at least one more blog entry up this week for you guys.

I also promise to get another article done this weekend for the ezine I’m working on, for the next issue. If you haven’t subscribed to it yet you can do so at the KingDeems’s NoF Portal blog. Anyway, let me go get ready for tonight’s event!

Google Sites Isn’t For Me

I’m currently using WordPress.com for my blog as well as for my podcast but I was wondering if there were other free website options where I would have more control. The main thing I would like to do is to be able to add Google AdSense, Google Analytics and of course PayPal donation buttons. With this in my mind I thought I would try out Google Sites as a possible alternative.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to navigate around my options or add pages, etc. But once I got the hang of it I was able to make a decent page. Alas, there wasn’t a way to integrate a blog option into the site which is key for a blog or podcast. With this limitation that pretty much made Google Sites a non-option for me.

I then decided to fool around with Apple’s¬† iWeb. I have a Mac so the software is at the palm of my fingertips and of course I use MobileMe so why not. The problem with iWeb as I find with a lot of Apple products is it’s need to keep you insulated within the Apple ecosystem. In order to publish a page from iWeb, you need MobileMe and the only RSS feed you can use is the one that’s generated by iWeb which is of course linked to MobileMe. Forget the fact that I already have my own RSS feed via Feedburner or that I upload my audio files somewhere other than my MobileMe account. If I want to make a podcast website with iWeb it’s pretty much all or nothing. I opted for nothing.

So for now, WordPress.com is my free website builder of choice for all my creative needs. I was at least able to incorporate a PayPal option to my podcast’s site with a lone PayPal page via iWeb. I guess I did find some workaround to the “all or nothing” philosophy of the iLife group of products.

Embracing My Inner Mac Fanboy

I’ve spent quite a bit of money on Apple with my annual membership fees of MobileMe since the days of dot mac and after much time exerted on trying to resist using all of its functions I’ve decided to embrace it whole-heartedly.¬† Part of the reason of course is the money. If I spend $99/year for a service, I might as well use it to its fullest. The other reason is Google’s exponential growth these past few years.¬† It just seems that they are spreading their tendrils on every bit of technology available and with the fact that they’re in the business of selling information for ads and my¬† sudden urge to limit how much exposure I have on the grid, it just seemed like the right time to switch from Gmail to MobileMe.

Also, as it may not be all too clear, my constant fiddling with technology is all for a single-minded purpose and that’s of course convenience and minimizing functions. And since I have an iPhone and MobileMe works seamless with it vs. Gmail it was just much easier to make this decision. Why it took me this long to come to this decision? Various reasons of course. One was that I was trying to weed out of MobileMe initially. But now I’m embracing the fact that I’ll most likely never use a non-mac platform for personal use again, if I can help it.¬† It has been the simplest and most pain-free computer experience that I’ve had all my life and even though it comes at a premium, most conveniences are at a price.

Just look at cell phone services. The cheapest one is T-Mobile. But the best overall mobile phone and data service in New York City is Verizon. So do you save money and risk dropped calls and faulty internet connection on your cell or do you just pay for pain-free service? At the moment I have AT&T but that’s because of the iPhone (obviously). And with the rumors that the iPhone will be launched under the Verizon platform pretty soon, I’ll look forward to switching to even better service as soon as my contract expires.

So no more Windows and no more dreaming of the possibilities of Linux once I get around to learning how to use it.¬† Just Apple all the way, with it’s exclusive-all-encompassing yet simple to use service.¬† Now to bask in my convenience and ease of use.