Author Topic: Alternatives to Android ...  (Read 5369 times)

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Offline Mad Penguin

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #60 on: August 29, 2013, 09:10:06 am »
Quote
but they should be on the NHS and probably better made than the average smartphone.

Mmm, if you've seen the NHS in the news recently, in my experience, the issues have probably been understated!
- do it yourself first, then use the NHS if you have to, because otherwise, 9 times out of 10, they're not going give a s**t about you!

Quote
Nice soundbite .. but plainly not true ..  in the VAST majority of cases they've made people LESS productive (spending more time telling people what tey had for breakfast on twitter) .. I'm assuming you were alive when you bought one .. and I still think they are (currently) creating nothing more than  a "perceived" need, and more work.

Mmm, I think I used "I" rather than "everyone" (!)

By survive, I mean maintain my current meagre existence by earning a little money and eating.
If I had no phone I would be tied to a desk, unable to take a break, rest or Holiday - without risking the business.
Back in the good old days before phones, I had to employ people to sit in an office and field queries for when I wasn't available - now, not only can't I get or afford the expertise, the level of query they would need to field just makes it impractical.

Instead I would have to get a job or contract .. but then it would be sysadmin or devops and I would be on call .. and they wouldn't employ me if I didn't use a mobile if I wasn't available out of hours. Which means that to be realistic, I wouldn't be able to work without a phone, either for myself or anyone else .. so .. plainly "true" ??

- I worked a contact last summer (devops) , probably received ~ 100 messages per day between 6pm and 9am, maybe 3-4 a week were critical and needed immediate attention. If I had to power up a Laptop to see each message ... well ... "impractical".
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #61 on: August 29, 2013, 09:47:48 am »
OK, I'll concede there are a few specific usage cases where they may "make life easier", but dumb phones can receive/send SMS, phone calls, and some eeven email .. I wasn't suggesting people could/should get by entirely without comms.

"on call" doesn't "generally" require a "Smart" phone .. and there's still the netbook, which I contend kicks smartphone butt on the occasions it does.

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« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 09:55:38 am by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #62 on: August 29, 2013, 10:19:15 am »
On a slightly different, but connected note, can I add that the Android/iOS "app" ecosystems are IMHO harming real Linux and FOSS in general.

Explaining FOSS to people now immediately (because of the word "free") makes them think of all the "free" software for smartphones, where places like Google Play and the Apple store are ram packed full of apps that only do half a job, or only half work, or don't work at all .. they're reflecting badly on the "F" in FOSS (which is really all Joe Average sees).

It was just getting to the stage where it was accepted that "free" didn't necessarily equate to "crap" .. and suddenly it does again.

Now I'm not saying there aren't good free mobile apps out there, but they're lost in the deluge of purposeless farting machines, half working, half a job, malicious intent, and just plain broken/sh*t apps.

Not to mention the general rising idea that iif it's "free" there are probably security concerns .. "this farting machine app needs access to your address book" kinda stuff .. so the general perception is "if it's free, they're after something" :(

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« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 10:43:58 am by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #63 on: August 29, 2013, 12:34:24 pm »
Well, I guess there are degree of "smartness", in my mind, if it can be used to answer email, it's a smart phone. If it can't, it's pretty useless [to me].

Code: [Select]
if( "lack of smart phone" == "inability to work") (smartphone+1) != "make life easier";
Take a look at sourceforge and average the quality, then take a look at Google play (Android app store) and average the quality.
Whereas I'm all for increasing the quality of all software, my impression is that Android is well ahead of the "average" Linux application.

So whereas I agree with what you're saying re; people's perception of the quality of Free software, I think you just have to go with the fact that their perception is right that in many cases free == 'crap'. I think the thing to get across to people is that there is also a lot of good stuff out there, and in many such instances the free stuff is better than the commercial stuff.

What you seem to be implying is that the app store should somehow be regulated and there should be a Judge somewhere who approves the quality of a given application to determine whether it's "good enough" to go on the store .. however, I'm not sure this is where you were wanting to take your argument?

Generally, if it's free it's pushing ads at you, OR, it's functionality is limited and it's trying to sell you the PRO version. In 2.5 years of Android [multiple phones and tablets over multiple family members] I've installed many hundreds of apps and yes, some are rubbish - but I've not had any problems with malicious content. I know the stuff exists, but once it hits the store and someone sees it, it gets pulled. Easy rule of thumb is, if it's not showing 10,000 downloads or more, ignore it .. :)

"Three" have just announced parity between half a dozen European countries re; charges .. means I can now go to Italy (with my smart phone) and use OpenVPN/SSH (phone calls, text, etc etc) for maintenance at zero charge above my 16 a month contract rate. I can tell you from experience, if you go to Italy and have to lug a laptop (call it a "netbook" if you wish") "everywhere", it takes all the fun out of it!!

Incidentally I have a very small (and high spec'd multi-core) Atom netbook .. gets used for reading Windows CD's and that's about it.
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #64 on: August 29, 2013, 01:59:23 pm »
Quote
What you seem to be implying is that the app store should somehow be regulated and there should be a Judge somewhere who approves the quality of a given application to determine whether it's "good enough" to go on the store .. however, I'm not sure this is where you were wanting to take your argument?

Heh :) Nope, wasn't implying anything, just making an observation (granted through little experience) of the state of Google Play .. it's just full of rubbish.

I was talkiing about "perception" of free software .. sure there has always been crap, but the perception that it was ALL crap and couldn't be trusted was being fought and changed .. seems perception is swinging back to if it's free it MUST be crap (or worse, malicious) again.

In the (granted short) time I've looked at Google Play I can't find a single app that I'd find useful, does a good job, and would justify a smartphone over my netbook and dumb phone. Sure I could upgrade (?) my phone, but I'd still be carrying my netbook because I hate onscreem keyboards, tiny screens, and mickey mouse software.

I've said a number of times that if someone shows me a reason I need a smartphone over what I currently have I'd reconsider my position .. up to yet nobody has .. show me the killer app .. or does it simply come down to size where people are willing to use half-apps for the perceived convenience, in which case for me the smartphone will loose every time to my netbook.

Quote
Incidentally I have a very small (and high spec'd multi-core) Atom netbook .. gets used for reading Windows CD's and that's about it.

I have a phone .. gets used for phone calls ;)

My netbook goes everywhere with me, and can run worthwhile software that helps me do what I need to do, on a screen size I'm comfortable with, and a real keyboard.

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« Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 05:43:19 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Emegra

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #65 on: August 29, 2013, 08:14:49 pm »
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show me the killer app

Facebook ?
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Offline Melissa

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #66 on: August 29, 2013, 08:34:28 pm »
Quote from: Melissa
Make tea not war.

Love it :)

That is painted on the walls of an activist place I go to sometimes. A great slogan we humans would be better living by than the current one.
In a world without fences and walls, who needs Gates and Windows?

Using two computers- Peppermint on old HP laptop and Mint on new Dell netbook.

Offline Mad Penguin

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #67 on: August 29, 2013, 08:38:34 pm »
Mm, Ok, here are the "good" apps that I use;

  • Email (Zimbra)
  • GMail
  • Google+
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tapatalk (for these forums)
  • Network Discovery (WiFi scanner)
  • WiFi Analyzer (WiFi signal strength)
  • Mmonit app for server monitoring
  • IMDB
  • TheRegister
  • YouTube
  • MyTracks
  • WiFi File Transfer
  • JuiceSSH
  • OpenVPN
  • Chrome
  • cSIPSimple (to answer calls from Asterisk PABX)
  • Google Drive
  • Google Earth
  • Google Maps
  • EBay
  • Hangouts (video chat)
  • LoveFilm
  • National Rail (check train time/status while on the platform)
  • NetFlix
  • OfficeSuite
  • Pingdom (Server monitoring)
  • Google Play Music (sync's with all the Music on my Linux PC and streams it to me)
  • QR Droid (for reading QE codes)
  • Skype
  • Sky+
  • Trainline tickets (so I don't have to pay station prices)
  • Wordpress
  • Flashlight - for when the fuse blow and you forgot where the torch was

So, first, none of these are 'rubbish'.
Second, they are all useful to varying degrees in different situations.
The killer app isn't required for justification, it's a swiss army knife !!
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #68 on: August 29, 2013, 09:48:53 pm »
OK, nice list, but considering most are just web apps, and bearing in mind I use Peppermint on my netbook so can easily add them to the menu's and open them as SSB's, spread the windows across multiple desktops, have access to things like the full LO suite, GIMP, etc  .. I'm still missing the point ?

OK, to a certain extent I've been playing devils advocate as far as saying they're useless :)  .. they're not, the convenience of size, and the always ON/connected functionality is clearly an advantage in certain situations .. but I (personally) still have no use for one, my netbook in nearly all situation kicks their butt, and I find Android's UI frustrating and counter-intuitive to use (that may be just lack of experience, but I get the feeling I'll never really like it).

At the end of they day, if a smartphone fits your lifestyle, who the hell am I to say don't use one .. they're just not for me .. my opinion is, handy though they may be, for me they're too small, I'll NEVER like onscreen keyboards, I hate the UI, and I can find nothing in my life (or Google Play) that warrants me putting up with what "I" perceive as shortcomings.
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2013, 04:27:32 am »
Yup.
  • Can you go jogging with a Netbook? - No.
  • Can you use a Netbook on the Tube while standing up? - No.
  • Can you use a Netbook on the train when there are no seats left? - No.
  • Is the netbook still a recognised format? - No, nobody is making Netbooks anymore - everyone is buying tablets and phones.
  • Which would you rather carry, a Netbook + phone, or just a smartphone? - a Smartphone.
  • Could you take a Netbook out with you to the Pub and expect to bring it home? - No. (well, I couldn't, it'd get broken, lost or stood on)
  • Is a netbook more powerful or cost effective? - Not usually. My phone is a 1.2G Quad-Core and costs 159, my netbook cost 3x that for the same spec.
  • Is the screen better on a Netbook? - No. My netbook and phone have the same resolution, phone looks much better. (1280 x 768)
  • Does your netbook play HD video perfectly smoothly? - Mine doesn't, but my phone does.
  • Does your netbook have an Accelerometer? No.
  • Does your netbook have a Compass? No.
  • Can your netbook detect Ambient light? No.
  • Does your netbook have Gyroscope? No.
  • Does your netbook have a Barometer? No.
  • Does your netbook have GPS? No.
I could go on - but there is a reason why they've stopped making netbooks.

On-screen keyboard do suck, on smaller phones they suck badly.
On larger phones, they're passable.
To be honest, it's no worse than the old keyboard on my Nokia E51 .. I used to insist on phones with qwerty keyboards for email etc.
I hate the fact that it runs on Java - but I can't argue with the fact that it works well and does many jobs well.
I've a 200 Tom-Tom sat in the draw, it's not been used since I got my first smartphone, it's nowhere near as good as Google satnav. (IMHO)
My netbook is collecting dust .. if I need to take a computer, I have a 17" laptop, I figure if I'm going to carry a machine, make it worthwhile.

I'd be quite happy to try another Linux based OS (like SailFish or Ubuntu Phone) just to try to escape Java .. but there's absolutely nothing wrong with the UI .. not that any two branded mobiles UI's are either the same, or like raw Google Android. The HTC and Galaxy for example both have different / custom UI's to the Google UI and provide very different experiences.
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2013, 01:01:38 pm »
Pretty much non of those things are necessary to me (what the hell does anyone want a barometer for), and screens size with my eye sight DOES matter .. yes, I know I could zoom, but it's not the same .. and I'm just so damn comfortable with my netbook.

They are still making netbooks .. though they seem to be turning more into mini laptops .. who's idea was it to install WinLOL and bung a HDD in them all

Android Tablets (oddly, more what I had in mind when starting to play devils advocate than smartphones), are IMHO completely worthless junk.

So screen size (and failing eye sight) dictate a smartphone wouldn't be much use (or get used much), and tablets don't match the ease of use or functionality of my netbook.

Sticking with what I have as I really don't need a barometer, and "me, jogging" .. get serious ;)
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Offline Mad Penguin

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #71 on: August 30, 2013, 04:05:45 pm »
Quote
They are still making netbooks .. though they seem to be turning more into mini laptops

Mmm, without wishing to state the obvious, that would make them "mini laptops", not "netbooks"  (!)

Quote
Android Tablets (oddly, more what I had in mind when starting to play devils advocate than smartphones), are IMHO completely worthless junk.

Ok, I know how much I use them, let's take a non-IT household for example. My brother bought his kids Netbooks (each) , then more recently he's bought an iPad and a couple of Android tablets. Would you like to guess how often the Netbooks are used? I'll give you a clue, the kids describe the Netbooks with terminology that approaches "worthless junk" .. :)

But yes, I know what you mean about the barometer .. I wouldn't buy a Rolls Royce, it has coffee cup holders which are totally useless to me because I don't drink coffee!!
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Offline Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec)

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #72 on: August 30, 2013, 04:31:41 pm »
Quote
Mmm, without wishing to state the obvious, that would make them "mini laptops", not "netbooks"  (!)

You can still get true netbooks (just about) .. it was more of a damning statement on the effect mass market gimmick tablets are having on a useful devices market. ("turning", not yet fully "turned"). when they fully disappear, and you're right they will/are, it won't be though no longer being useful it will be because Joe Average's his touch screen fart machine sells better.

Market share (popularity) is NOT a good gauge of usefulness/functionality .. we all know that or this would be a Windows/iOS/Android forum.

By the "kids favourite" yardstick, iOS must be considered "better" than Linux ..... go on, convince me of that one ;)

There's a world of difference between what I use a computing device for and a kid .. kids love the latest gimmicks and fall for the hype nearly every time (buying fashion over quality), so you're kinda proving my point.

I didn't say the barometer was what puts me off .. it's just another useless addition to the swiss army knife approach .. but then I'm not a meteorologist or skydiver.

Surely an electric razor, or coffee stirrer would be a better addition .. or maybe an ear wax cleaner/nose hair clipper, or a..... fart machine ?

Whilst I can accept some of your arguments for the convenience of a smartphone, an Android tablet is without doubt useless junk and just a gimmick (and that's' not me playing devils advocate) .. take the ALWAYS CONNECTED away from a smartphone and it has no reason to exist other than as a plaything.

Touchscreen .. no thanks
Android .. no thanks, still convinced Disney had a hand in this.
Fart machine (style software) .. now let me think ;)

Now whilst I *may* consider a tablet running a *proper* Linux, I'd no doubt immediately want a real keyboard .. and .. BINGO, it's now a netbook (but with less useful external ports)  :o

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« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 05:31:31 pm by Mark Greaves (PCNetSpec) »
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Offline Emegra

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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #73 on: August 30, 2013, 05:43:15 pm »
I don't think you can fairly compare a netbook and a smartphone like for like they're 2 entirely different devices, I would class a netbook as a portable device and a Smartphone as a mobile device ie you would only take a netbook anywhere if you had a specific reason to do so whereas you would carry a smartphone around with you all the time whether you had a specific reason or not

Personally I would rather use a netbook to perform any function over a smartphone but then I'd also rather use a desktop PC over a netbook so although I don't think a smartphone can do anything better than a netbook I'll concede it can do things in circumstances where it wouldn't be practical with a netbook

The problem I have with smartphones is that other than the rare practical uses highlighted by Mad Penguin & Banko these devices are not being used for any real practical or useful purposes by the majority of users the majority of the time, particularly with young people, they're just fashion accessories used for text messaging, playing Angry Birds and browsing Facebook all at the expense of proper social interaction with real people, so to me it brings into question whether all that connectivity on the go is a good thing, personally I have my doubts
« Last Edit: August 30, 2013, 07:09:46 pm by Emegra »
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Re: Alternatives to Android ...
« Reply #74 on: August 30, 2013, 09:16:07 pm »
I think its hard to comment on something you haven't used seriously and for a fair while, I used to say the very same things  as most of you are saying.
Then I bought an 'I phone' for my son and on  trying it I found it to be not what I thought it would be, so over the next couple of months I looked at android phones (you didn't think i'd look at the I phone with the limited choices, did you? ;))
 A year last March I took the plunge and bought a Galaxy Note, I've never looked back,A big screen for MY tired old eyes,

we've discussed all the things such as sat navs, cameras that you don't have to carry, but the one thing that very rarely gets mentioned is that the phone can be used as a 'hot spot' and as long as you've a good data plan, mines unlimited with 'three' so you can share the phones mobile data connection with other devices , so does away with any dongles.

there are good speak to text apps that allow you to speak into the phone and it types it for you, my phone that has a waicon pen, so I can write and it will turn it into type. I don't yet use these by the way.

The source code when a new phone or new operating software comes out, is  freely given to devs to develop new roms etc, so is  similar to linux, you don't get that with the I phone.

As MP says there are no killer apps, but one I am using more and more is Evernote, it syncs with all your devices similar to dropbox, is free within a 60 mb limit a month, if you look on you tube, you will see what it can do.It is very impressive. The only drawback there is not a linux version for the computer, so i have to use the web version . there is a linux version which is nothing to do with evernote that used to be called nevernote and is now called nix note, but I cannot make it work correct.

Remember to check the permissions, I once looked at installing a compass, but the permissions wanted full access to my accounts, make phone calls, check phone log and loads more, needless to say I didn't proceed.

I think thats it from me on this subject, but it will be good to come back to it in the future and see if if anyone takes the plunge :)

 


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