iOS updates vs Android updates

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Updating iOS

Get excited that new version is coming out on set date

Jump on download the moment it comes out

Wait 6 hours for download to arrive while your eyes dry out and crust over

Re-download when download fails at 99%

Wait for reboot

Keep waiting for reboot

Try hard reset

Pack phone in box and go to Apple Store

Come back with working phone and extra goods you were up-sold while you were at Apple Store

Hate new version of iOS

See new iOS release date


Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Updating Android

See new version being touted

Wonder when they’ll give a release date

Several months later, get release date

Wonder when they’ll release it for your actual handset

Find out your manufacturer/vendor isn’t going to release it for your handset

Find out that they’ve given in to backlash and will release it

Wonder when they’ll give a release date

Keep checking for release date

Give up

Find out that they released it a month ago without making an announcement

Download update

Install update

Reboot handset

Enjoy new version, except for the functions they had to miss out because your handset can’t run them


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Lower mobile data usage

Wi-Fi Signal logo
Wi-Fi is the answer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m with GiffGaff and have gone for the cheapie £10 package which limits me to 1Gb of data per month. Regularly I was hitting 700-900Mb per month, which is fine – but I noticed I was gradually using more. No real reason other than I was out and about and getting more and more reliant on apps, etc.

A simple change to my settings saved me a huge amount of data and I’m now hitting around 300Mb per month. Simply ensure that your app updates are set to run automatically only when you’re on wi-fi.

Aside from things like streaming media, this is probably one of the biggest data downloads you do on a regular basis. There’s usually very little need to have an app update *right now* (and if there is, you can force an update manually very easily), so just leave them till the next time you’re in the house when they should kick in automatically.

This is easy enough to do on Android – not sure about Blackberry or Apple.

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Gmail for Android v4.5

English: Gmail logo
English: Gmail logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t post on here very often any more so I’m going to try and replace any lengthy facebook posts with blog posts. Just because.

So, the new Gmail update on Android – WTF? Complete nonsense. They’ve removed the checkboxes next to messages for multiple select in mailbox view, instead replacing them with “sender images” which seem to default to randomly coloured squares with the first letter of the sender’s name in it. Clicking on these is the same as clicking a check-box, but is completely non-intuitive. Would you expect to click on a picture to select an item?

There is an option to remove these images. Great. Only it doesn’t restore the checkbox. Instead you have to long-press to select multiple items individually.

So. Wow.

Taking a perfectly standard and well-recognised interface feature and replacing it with something counter-intuitive and unlike anything else. Google are becoming Microsoft.

P.S. There’s supposed to be an option to either reply or delete from the notification screen as well, which is great as I’m generally a deleter, not an archiver. I’ve set the option (“show delete and archive”) – I just checked it. And yet I’m still getting archive and reply as my options.

P.P.S Got it – just went for “Delete only” and it appears. I guess there’s not enough space on portrait for Archive and Delete as well as Reply at the same time.

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Laptop Alchemy

[links for all programs at the end of this post]

There’s a really popular game for Android called Alchemy which Gillian’s eldest took quite a shine to on my phone. It’s a really simple game, involving dropping icons of the basic four elements onto each other to create newer items. These can then be used as blocks to make more complex ones and so on.

For example, mixing fire and water gives you alcohol, earth and air gives dust, dust and water gives mud… and so on. This version currently has 370 items to develop and discover. There is a “competing” program going by the name of Alchemy Classic which is the same but different. The programmers of this have also developed a PC version, but it’s a pain in the backside to install. There is also a new version from another developer called Alchemy ~ Genetics which does much the same thing with genetic traits of various creatures (wonderful gift to send to your Creationist friends – assuming Creationists have friends).

And, finally, there’s an excellent version for the PC (sorry Mac users). It’s programmed by Marius Bancila and the most recent version (2.0) can be downloaded from his blog (link below). It’s a small install and this new release has been re-jigged so that it works better on netbook screens. The old one kept expanding so that controls dropped off the bottom.

I’m giving this a plug partly as it’s such a good game and also because Marius has proven to be an excellent supporter of his own product. He happily listens to feedback both for bug fixes and new combinations of items. His Alchemy currently sports 444 different creations!

POINT TO NOTE – the game downloads as a single file within a ZIP archive. Just drag the file out of the archive and pop it somewhere to run it. For those who like things near and tidy, you can’t put the game into your Program Files folder where you’d normally store executables. For some reason it won’t then have permission to create and update the separate progress file so you’ll lose all your work each time to leave the game. Store it pretty much anywhere else! This may only be an issue under Windows 7/Vista, though.

A quick list of links for all four versions listed in this post:

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