Posts Tagged ‘EPIC’

Froyo Killed My Phone

Friday, March 25th, 2011

I can't guarantee my phone will look like this much longer, you know, all in one piece and everything

Ever since I got my Samsung Epic back in November, I’ve had something of a love-hate relationship with it. Up until the day I started using it, I was a hard-core Blackberry fan and I’m fairly sure I always will be. The Epic appealed to the hardcore nerd in me with the glow of its AMOLED screen and the processing power under the hood.

And when Blackberry released the substandard specs for their next phone, well, I couldn’t defend them any more.

I’ve gone through the growing pains of adapting to a touch screen device. The initial switch was eased by the pull out QWERTY keypad but I found myself using it less and less often and began to adapt to the touchscreen keypad and actually found myself typing faster than I had with my Blackberry.

I quickly found and began using apps that made my phone more of a workhorse than it was out of the box. I began to rely on the Epic as much as I had on my Blackberry for appointment reminders, on the go edits of documents, and the various other things I could do without being at my PC.

I’m using the “stock” Android OS that came with the phone. Two attempts to upgrade to an unofficial release of 2.2 ended in abysmal failure and I preferred to have a device that functioned correctly and performed what I needed it to do without issue and so, I simply nodded my head when friends told me I could upgrade without waiting for Samsung to push the software update.

Then, this morning, my phone shut off for no apparent reason. (more…)

How I Pick Apps And Portable Games

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Sometimes a screenshot doesn't do an app justice... other times, it doesn't tell the full story.

Between my iPod Touch and my Epic, I have pretty much every cool app and/or game I could care to have.

That isnít to say I wonít be downloading more. Iíve been pretty fortunate on my choices of apps and I have yet to purchase one that isnít something I use on a semi-regular basis. Iíd like to say that itís because Iím awesome (which I am) but in this case, Iíve actually had a little help.

Iím not the type to be taken in by a pretty screenshot or to make impulse purchases online. I typically go in armed with some form of information before I make a purchase. If youíve had a few digital lemons in your purchase history, let me give you a few hints on how to avoid them in the future.

Your first source of information for app or game purchases for your portable device is most likely your friends and that isnít necessarily a bad thing. However, you have to consider the friend youíre talking to before making a purchase. Are they the type who like more flash in their apps than substance? Do they have 20 different soundboards that they use to torment you on long trips? If their taste is different from yours in another entertainment media (like TV or movies), you might want to think twice before taking their advice on an app they say is a ďmust download???.

The second place you might find advice on apps would be tech or gaming sites (*ahem* Like this one) which again isnít a bad thing. Many of the sites I visit have entire articles dedicated to specific apps or might only mention something in passing in an article about a device. Again, you have to consider the source. Is the site youíre reading geared towards casual gamers and you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? Are you reading about a game on a site that typically reviews hardware? Have you ever purchased a game or app based on the advice of the site and had it be a flop for you? Make sure the opinions youíre reading match up with yours more often than not before acting on it.

Many people quote the reviews of the apps as the deciding point. But when I ask, they never go past the initial three or four reviews and typically donít even read the reviews, instead choosing to rely on how many stars an app has been awarded by reviewers. This is what I like to refer to as a mistakeÖ

There are, unfortunately, app creators who are not above using false accounts to promote and recommend their own apps. This can come in the form of using the accounts to push a sub-par review off of the front page or last three reviews in order to make their product look better. If you want the skinny on a particular app, take the time to fully read a few randomly chosen reviews from *all* of the reviews, not just the first three or four.

Lite and beta versions can often be downloaded to try out before you decide to purchase...

Keep in mind that a large majority of the apps out there have a ďlite??? version, something you can download before you decide to purchase and see if you like it or not. Itís worth the few extra minutes to try on a pair of shoes before you just go and buy them, right? Same principle applies here.

Finally, I recommend a quick search on the company or persons that produce the app youíre looking at. If thereís any potential foul play or if the company has a track record of producing crappy, buggy apps, youíre going to find out pretty quick just by typing in their name in the search bar.

Remember, it might only be a buck here or a buck there but it adds upÖ and crap is crap no matter how pretty the bow on the package itís presented in.

Gritskrieg Ė End of Line

Privacy Group Harshes Google’s Buzz

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

It would appear that privacy watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center took a bit of offense with Google creating “circles of friends” via the addition of the “Buzz” feature in their Gmail services… Ya know, without anyone’s permission.

At least that’s what EPIC is claiming. And based on the way the feature worked when it launched last week, I have a hard time disagreeing. Here’s how it works: Buzz is essentially Google’s attempt at a new social networking tool. It creates “circles of friends” based on your most frequently used contacts in Gmail. Don’t see the problem? BAM! Your mother and the girl/guy you’re seeing that you haven’t quite told moms about yet in the same “circle of friends”. Oops.

The privacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission yesterday claiming Buzz violates federal consumer protection law. These charges have been challenged by Google after it made changes to the way Buzz works, essentially making mere suggestions to users rather than throwing them into groups automatically, but not before Google had already been blasted by users and other groups for the initial problem.

The issue here is that we’re already to the point of damage done, the infamous leap before looking. It was, in theory, a good idea for those who may want their social networking a bit more automated but it bordered on negligent by providing personal information to individuals whom users may not have wished to have that information.

The changes made would appear to have calmed some fears on the part of the users but it does raise the question of what checks and balances are in place to prevent future abuse from occurring. While the Buzz tool now merely suggests new “friends”, the ability to use Gmail without having Buzz “looking over your shoulder”, as it were, is not an option. If you use Gmail, you are using Buzz.

And this is EPIC’s argument, that the Buzz feature should allow users to choose to “opt in” before it becomes active or at least offer users the opportunity to opt out before being added to a social network of any kind. And again I would agree.

While it falls in the purview of the user to protect their data when sending and receiving emails, how are they allowed to do the same when their data is made available to a database that is intended to match people based solely on how often they communicate with one another.

I see EPIC’s point and tend to agree with it. I see what Google was attempting to do and applaud them for their enthusiasm but was there no focus group or some form of user testing to see where the public stood on having their private information made available to other users, regardless of how often they were in contact with one another?

If the reverse had been done, a social networking site providing email addresses to people we contacted through their site, the uproar would perhaps be considerably more. It would not only be irresponsible but unethical. In many cases, people prefer to receive messages from people they’ve met on social networking sites through said sites, not through their personal email addresses. That’s what those alerts are for, after all.

Let’s just hope nobody gets any bright ideas…


Gritskrieg – End of Line