More important, as it is an immediate and noticeable advantage: reader mode. Reader mode, as seen in the screenshots on the right, allows me see articles on e.g. the chaotic, non-responsive dewereldmorgen.be in a non-crowded context which is optimal for reading the article.
Never mind my initial enthusiasm about SoundCloud on Android; I uninstalled the bugger after noticing extreme battery drain, which seems linked to its background synchronization. Before uninstalling, I tried to:
switch on “wifi only syncing”, which did not help
disable all 4 items (left part of image) being synced, which did not help
disable SoundCloud sync altogether, which did not seem to help either
remove the SoundCloud-item from the list of synchronization sources, which inconveniently also logged me out of the app rendering it pretty useless
I contacted SoundCloud support, who confirmed they are working on a fix (although the release notes mentions battery drain a couple of times, guess this is not an entirely new issue). But until then I guess I’ll have to download the individual tracks from the SoundCloud website to listen to “It is what it is” on my Galaxy SII, no?
The main differences with the previous (non-Aurora) versions: Firefox on Android doesn’t use XUL (the Mozilla cross platform UI toolkit) any more, but switched to native Android UI elements. This (and other less visible changes) results in faster startup time, lower memory usage and better overall performance. There’s Flash in it as well, but with ‘tap to play’ option so the impact, I’m happy to report, is pretty limited. And the start-page is pretty nifty, with “Top Sites”, “Tabs from last time” and “Tabs on other computers” on one nice screen.
I must admit I was slightly worried at first, as I couldn’t get Sync to work at all (“could not connect to server” and similar error messages), but after uninstalling Aurora, Firefox Mobile Beta can sync just fine. All in all Firefox Mobile is an even greater browser than it was before.
Every now and again you should go out of your comfort zone to get a new perspective on things. Or so they say. I love my comfort zone, it took me 43 years to build the damned thing after all, so please leave me be, will you?
But things break and in this particular case the screen of my trusty old Samsung Galaxy S2 went dark, literally. I brought the phone in for repairs and grabbed the only test-device left at work as a temporary replacement. It was a Samsung Omnia 7 with Windows Phone 7. Now look at this little droid-boy getting pushed out of his comfort zone!
I’ve been using it for 5 days now, so why not make a small list of what sucks and what’s great? Here goes:
No Internet connection sharing (not over USB, not over Bluetooth, not over WiFi)
The fact that the phone doesn’t present itself as a USB storage device when I connect it over USB with my Ubuntu netbook
The lack of an SD card slot
I can’t login with my Live ID (my ancient Hotmail address) on my phone (but it does work in Zune), which means I can’t install applications from the Marketplace (I’m asked to call support! Seriously?)
The fact that after installing Zune on my work PC and then waiting until I got home because Zune doesn’t do proxies, I still wasn’t able to upgrade to Windows Phone 7.5 (which does have Internet connection sharing and a more decent browser)
There’s no way to reliably fetch information from the Exchange servers at work. Every once in a while mail gets downloaded, but in general there’s error code 8501001D ruining my Exchange experience
What’s great? Just one bullet point actually;
Really, despite my grievances about how poorly the device integrates with the outside world, my general feeling about Windows Phone is positive, and that is because Metro really is that great! The screens are sober, with lots of space and a prominent place for content (text & typography). Applications scroll horizontally to display different views and it’s the typography that makes this pretty discoverable. The graphics effects and sound add to the great responsive “feel” of the UI. And tiles are a radical break form the icon-based approach that is typical of iOS (and Android, classic Mac OS, Windows 3.11 and …), you could compare them to widgets (as seen on Android), but without the anarchy and clutter.
So yeah, really, I ♥ Metro! I hope Google (Android), Mozilla (b2g) and Ubuntu (Unity) take clues from what is, in my view, a pretty radical break in graphical user interface design, because I would love the computing environments in my comfort zone to be more about content and less about chrome as well!
Three years ago, the [U.S.] Copyright Office agreed to create an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so that folks could jailbreak their smartphones. But that exemption is about to expire.
Given the fact that the U.S. jailbreaking-scene is an important contributor, I signed the EFF petition which asks the Copyright Office for continued support for jailbreakers;
Being an avid Android-user, jailbreaking permits me to replace heavily customized (and in some ways crippled, think CarrierIQ) vendor-specific versions of Android with clean, crisp, fast and secure after-market “mods” such as CyanogenMod.