Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Is there an App for Handling Ambivalence?

I've been wanting to write more about my Galaxy 3 Tab 7 but I wanted to provide screenshots and that seems to be a drawback. I have tried the various suggestions as well as read the comments about screen captures on Androids using the latest version of the OS. I am more likely to turn off my tab than capture a screen. This review will have to go without photos since it would be rather ironic to take pictures of the tab using my Windows Phone wouldn't it?

It has taken me longer than I'd like to admit to learn how to walk the Android tightrope on some key operations. A couple of months ago, I noticed I couldn't get my wifi to log into my home account after noticing it wouldn't log onto my work account. So I reset it and once it was running again, saw all of the downloaded apps were gone. I assumed there was some kind of backup going on. Google Play did acknowledge that I'd downloaded them but I had to re-install them. I'm feeling like Samsung has a deal with AT&T to try to get me to jump my data limit by forcing me to back up while unable to use wifi or to download everything again when it's restored. This is not a game I appreciate. I've learned to make sure when I'm in a Wifi environment that the tab is using Wifi or I restart it--I don't need to reset it, thank goodness. Sometimes a Widget won't respond and I just go, well, that was nice but it's not the end of my life.

Another annoying aspect was how my glasses thwarted it's Smart Screen application. If I'm reading an e-book, whether in Kindle or e-Pub mode, the screen goes dim or actually goes away. Kindle is a little more forgiving when I touch the screen to let it know I'm there, whereas e-Pub wants to start other functions. I turn off Smart Screen when I want to read, it got worse until I reset the display time to 30 minutes. I don't usually read longer than that at lunch or on the commute. Of course, now the screen will stay on longer than needed and could wear out the battery faster unless I turn it off.

So, I've become habituated to turning off the tab when I stop using it and to checking for the wifi icon to ensure it's on before doing anything that may require data. That's life with a tablet, I suppose. Those are two very big strikes against what otherwise has been a very useful alternative to my IQ-challenged Windows 7.1 smartphone. It goes without saying that reading books or viewing any app on a bigger screen is preferable to my phone. But I really am very interested in looking at a Nokia win8 phone with a bigger screen. Samsung seems very overrated to me. I'm looking forward to when I can drop the data line and just use the tablet when I am in a wifi situation.

The one failure that puts me off on future Samsung/Android purchases, however, is the inability of its Blue Tooth to play well with my SanteFe's bluetooth. Being able to access such a rich variety of media sources would be terrific. The car is 2010 and it connects very well with our older Samsung phones but I can't believe that newer BT wouldn't be able to reach back and work with our car. Unacceptable.

I have quite a few apps installed now, but very few I actually use that would score in favor of a Android v Windows 8 comparison since both OSs work with Pandora, Slacker, Netflix, YouTube and so on. What immediately comes to mind are the two Second Life apps, Lumiya and SLGo, that let me visit my virtual home on the road without lugging my laptop. The former has a very different interface that has kept me from using it more often. The latter involves either a subscription or pay-as-you-go service and I'm not sure I want to add that to my expenses.

Nothing is easy with apps. I have purchased movies and music through different stores, so of course, I can't access them from just one app, nor download them so I don't spend data to watch them. It's very likely true whether I have an Apple or Windows product, but there does seem to be a strange disconnect using Google apps in an Android environment that don't seem to want to play well together. This was not a Windows trait they needed to emulate.

I've let this post slide so long now, that I am going to post it rather than continue to polish and revise it as new things come up. I just can't get all that worked up about it.

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