Three Hundred And Counting

Hundreds

I enjoy blogging for some weird reason, and I’m happy to report reaching a mile-marker along the journey: 300 followers!


More And Merrier

Let’s pretend none of my 300 followers are bots or foreign hackers – that’s a legit number! It’s over half-way to half a grand! Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but what if..? What if I could someday reach 1,000 followers? Why would that huge of a number be a worthy goal?

I’ll tell you why. It’s not because I would suddenly find fame and fortune. Nope, not that. It’s because I like writing and blogging my thoughts. I like sharing or conversing with folks online. I like authenticity. And if I have more readers, then I have more reasons to write even more! Having a huge audience would give me more incentive and encouragement to enjoy what I do – write/blog.

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Friendly Folk

Let’s put 300 followers in perspective. One year ago, I hit 100 followers. So I gained 200 in the past 365 days. And this is where I’m coming from. I’ve never had that big of a number anywhere. My Twitter follower count is small, my Facebook friend list is less, and you name it: Instagram, Flickr, Google+ back in the day… I’ve never had a number even close to 300.

Don’t worry. It’s not making my head swell. I figure half are bots and many are likely mercy follows or follow-for-a-follow types. Whatever. Also, I know that quality trumps quantity. It’s better to have a few close buddies online than a million ambiguous whoevers.

In my blogging time, I’ve met a few very friendly folks and connected on some level more than superficial. I value their time, attention, and dialogue. A good discussion with one person is greater than 100 follow-backs. Comments are nice!

So…raise a glass…here’s to more. More blogging, more followers. And greater friends.


Have a milestone you’d like to share? Don’t hold back! Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Defaulting To Android

Fewer Restrictions

Well, guess what? You might finally be able to automatically have your iPhone just open links in the Firefox or Chrome web browser – what a feature! The Verge published a great editorial about potential changes coming to iPhones; Apple may actually loosen their third-party app restrictions. Well, at least maybe a little bit. I’m already looking forward to enjoying any third-party app or feature by default. But it won’t be on Apple’s device. I’ve already decided to trade my iPhone for an Android phone.


Freedom Should Be Default

The Verge article linked above was a nice balanced piece, citing specific details as to what you, the user, can or cannot do on an iPhone. It also included examples of some of the freedom you have outside of Apple’s “walled garden.” That digital freedom is what I’m anticipating.

Veteran Apple writer at Daring Fireball, John Gruber, supports iOS becoming more flexible, which may suggest these changes, to some extent, are indeed in the works.

Although Google may be under much scrutiny for antitrust practices and the like, they at least have allowed Android to be open to third-party developers in ways far more flexible than Apple’s iOS platform. Even though the Chrome browser is pre-installed on Android, you can easily install Firefox, for example, and do the thing iOS has never allowed: make Firefox the default web browser.

There’s another example I’m eager to embrace. This one is far more personal to me. My chosen eReader and eBook supplier for years has been the de facto standard: kindle. And I’ve been shopping online at Amazon since at least 2004! But to this day, I can’t simply buy a kindle ebook in the kindle app on my iPhone. I can’t even buy it in the Amazon app! Instead, I must open the web browser, navigate to Amazon.com, login, and buy the ebook there.

Photo by Finn Hackshaw on Unsplash

And I’ve done this plenty of times. Apple’s restrictions or overbearing rules are not preventing me from buying an eBook outside of their own Apple Books app. And it’s not making me relent and switch to Apple Books for the sake of convenience. Instead, it causes me frustration. Whether Apple blocks eBook purchases in other apps or levies a tax that Amazon refuses to submit to, the result is the same. I, the average user, get dismayed (not delighted).


Future For Android

It may seem like a small thing to some. But it’s one of the little details that I’m very eager for. I can’t wait to open the kindle app on my future Android phone and just buy a book, right in the kindle app, without any roadblocks. Talk about delighting the user. So simple.

What else? How about having Google Assistant as default instead of Siri?! Seriously, there have been surveys or reports…Google Assistant is objectively better than Siri overall. And in my personal experience, I definitely find this to be consistent.

I could elaborate, but I think you get the idea. Maybe Apple opens up a bit, maybe they don’t. No worries. I’m movin on to Android where openness has been established. (Yeah, “open” to some triggers feelings of “insecure” or “not private”…maybe I’ll blog about that in another post.)


What do you think? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Facebook, Instagram, and Hunger Games

Reading Utopia

What do Facebook, Instagram, and the Hunger Games have in common? You might think about some kind of technological dystopia. Good guess, but no. They’re all books about to be released soon, and I’m planning to read them with gusto!


Three Big Ones

Here are the three books you’ve gotta check out, coming soon:

February 25th – First, Steven Levy’s new book will become widely available to devour. It’s a feast on the facts of Facebook: The Inside Story.

April 14th – Second, the social network that Facebook bought for a billion gets a tell-all book called No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, authored by Sarah Frier.

May 19th – Third, the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is getting a prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, covering the beginnings of Panem’s evil leader, Snow.

What a line-up! Two non-fictions, one fiction. The first two are like a one-two combo punch about Zuckerberg and Social Media. Is it a coincidence that they’re so connected, similar, and releasing so close together? I wouldn’t be surprised.

And a book delving into the world of Panem, which brought us Katniss, is salsa on the chips!

Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Future Is Written

I have anticipated new good books coming on the horizon before, but it’s always been one at a time. In the first half of 2020, I see three books heading straight at me. I can’t wait! My kindle paperwhite is ready!

These three books are sure to be popular among many, which just adds to the excitement. Who doesn’t love a good book to dive into? Reading is such a lovely experience as it engages your mind in a way that vegging out on Netflix or other forms of entertainment just can’t touch.

I have not read much lately; I must put down my Nintendo Switch for a short time in order to pick up each of these books and get lost in them. But it’ll be totally worth it.


Are you looking forward to these books this year or any others? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

Flat, Fold, Or Flip Phone

Flipping For Folding Phones

There’s been much ado lately about phones that fold or flip. So what’s the big deal, really? Is it just a novelty, some nostalgia, or a new paradigm in smartphoning?


Flat Is Where It’s At

I’ll come out and say it: long live the flat-phone.

Although I’m your average gadget geek and think this new flip-n-fold-tech stuff is cool, there are serious downsides. Chief among those is cost, which is coupled with complexity.

It’s a fact now that flat phones are crazy-costly. The $1,000+ smartphone is a thing! Folding phones take it to the next level, and I don’t think they’re worth it. At least not yet. Adding a fold mechanism increases cost and complexity. You must break the bank to buy a phone that’s more likely to break.

Folding phones: easy to break, not easy on the bank.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

So why even have folding or flipping phones in the first place? What problem do they solve? That depends on the type. First, a phone can unfold to a larger sized device (like a tablet). Second, a phone can fold (flip) to a smaller sized device (like an iPod).

While it would be cool to have a phone that folds open to a big tablet, I think the more practical use of folding tech is to have your gigantamaxed 6.5” phone fold down into a thing that can actually fit in your pocket. But why pay a premium for your phone to fit your pants? Wouldn’t bigger pockets be cheaper and less likely to break?

My point is that, as of now, the high expense and fragility of anti-flat phones and the lack of real new benefits do not justify their presence or the craze over them.

Granted, folding phones do offer a general sense of growth in the otherwise, ahem, flat smartphone market. But so do Dual-Screen phones, and they’re a bit more affordable and less prone to creaking and cracking screens.

Is ‘flat’ the feature of the future? If folding phones are not yet ready for the mass market, will the folding feature ever catch on? I think there could be a place for them. Years ago, I had what was called a “Feature Phone” that was sort of in-between a ‘dumb-phone’ and a smartphone. It was the LG Lotus: it had a full keyboard AND it flipped! In the past, there were many styles of phones besides the flat rectangle.


Simple Flat Rectangle

In 2007, Apple showed the world a flat rectangle of a phone. That design is tried and true 13 years later. Folding phones challenge that established trend, but to what end? Time will tell. ‘Till then, I’ll keep enjoying my simple and affordable phone with its flat feature.


Are you pro-flip or pro-flat or are you on the edge of the fold? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!

eReaders Are Not Dead

Say what?

An intriguing question popped up from the Good E Reader site this week. It asked if tablets (the iPad…) killed eReaders. This, of course, piqued my interest. The iPad was my primary computer, and I love my kindle. But there’s a bigger question begged here. Are eReaders dead?


Who Dunnit?

The first question, did iPad kill eReaders, seems to suggest eReaders are dead and that now we’re just wondering who or what to blame. It also suggests there’s only one factor involved. I don’t think it’s meant to suggest either of those; things are not that simple. But it got my brain’s gears turning.

The eReader, like the tablet itself, is not dead. Their initial growth has dwindled, and compared to tablets their market share is smaller. But eReaders are not extinct. Like the tablet market itself, some say the tablet is dead, except for the iPad. While fewer companies still make eReaders, Amazon cranks out the kindle in various versions regularly. The kindle is to the eReader market as the iPad is to the tablet market; they are the market! Also, eReaders are very simple devices, so they last for years, which slows sales or upgrades.

I agree that the growth of the eReader market was stunted by tablets like the iPad. But it’s obvious that the thriving smartphone, specifically the phablet, is the true culprit that squelched eReaders. The omnipresence of the smartphone means you always have a device in your pocket to read eBooks. Plus you can read eBooks from multiple vendors or stores by using their respective apps.


Read On

No, the iPad did not kill the eReader. Nothing did. The iPad was my computer for over a year. I enjoyed Apple Books and its latest advancements too. For a while, I experimented with ditching my kindle to read only on my iPad (or iPhone). But in the end, I sold my iPad, and I later re-embraced the superb eReading pleasure of my kindle paperwhite.


Have you switched from an eReader to a phone or tablet instead? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!