Why You Should Stop Using Gmail On Your iPhone

To me this is more an indication of whether or not you should use Gmail as a service rather than the application. Google has always been fairly open in that you should have no allusion to privacy between their services.
Applications like Apple Mail and Windows Mail have the virtue that we tend to think of them as Mail clients, from companies who also offer email services. Gmail we tend to think as both, and using any given client doesn’t change where your messages are stored and exposed; in fact it might even broaden them depending on the client and services used.

Google’s solution to the end of Hangouts is Messages. My solution to this problem has been, “Screw that”.

For the majority of my use case my SMS roll through my tablet. A process that Hangouts, as meh as a chat app is it has always been: handled well. In the years prior, I had relied on a Bluetooth connection between my Android phone and tablet to make the magic happen. In the post Hangouts world, I pretty much just relied on its integration.

Google Fi and Hangouts started the GTFO and use Messages push a week or two ago. Since Hangouts ends in January, I decided to give it a go and see how good the results would be. Well, an iPhone SE is how well that experiment went.

Using the web version on my tablet shifts from how Meh the current iteration of Hangouts is to “And why the frak am I using this?”. I figured, at least, it had to be worth while on my phone. Whether it’s the natural way it works, or an aspect of Google Fi: Messages sucks ass on my Moto X4. I dislike using the web version; I despise using the Android version. Even more so where the combination of web + phone often leads me to to using multiple profanities when the phone eventually catches up.

Originally, I had assumed that I would be using android messages when I upgraded from my old Galaxy S5 to the Moto X4. But most messages arriving through Hangouts rather than that, pretty much lead to me ignoring it. Not broke, don’t care. Well, at least for a few more years at that time.

My primary computer when I’m not doing real work is a tablet. Many of the Android tablets I’ve used ended up full blown keyboard/mouse/monitor driven workstations on top of being my general purpose tablet. Thus my phone doesn’t really see a lot of use.

Typically I use my phone when:

  • Checking off my shopping list at the grocery store.
  • I’ve gone to bed, and it’s easier to reach for my phone than my tablet to answer messages or read Wikipedia with one eye open.
  • I’m standing in the checkout line at the grocery store.
  • Waiting on food at the microwave at work.
  • Suddenly need a calculator or a stop watch, and other things that were cool on a wristwatch when I was a kid.
  • The rare times I actually want a one hand device more than a better device.
  • The few times I rely on Maps to make sure I don’t take a wrong turn.
  • The every few years I’m driving out of range of my favorite radio tower, and choose to jack a playlist into my car’s head unit.
In effect this means my phone represents 10 – 15 % of my non-productivity minded computing, and aside from answering messages in the middle of the night: I’m usually found on my tablet or I’m occupied and not available. Since I’m usually using a tablet, my phone’s data use represents an average of up to a hundred megabytes of cellular data. Drastically down from the years where I averaged several gigabytes.
Apple’s iMessage doesn’t really interest me. But it does two things for me. It fixes the suck-ass experience of using my iPad Pro with Google’s new plan for my Messages, and it makes me not want to flip my phone out a window whenever I wait for messages to sync back up 🤣.
Thus Bean Sprout has been retired in favor of Benimaru. So named because the Project (RED) design reminds me of Rimiru’s commander in chief in TenSura.

 Someday, computer shit will actually just work.

I’m pretty sure that will be the day the first Terminator rolls off SkyNet’s assembly line.

That I sit here fucking with Google and Apple things, both those sentences give my sense of humour a perverse tickle to the funny bone.

I Tried to Live Without the Tech Giants. It Was Impossible.

Most people don’t go to such an extent to avoid the big tech companies, even for an experiment it is a bit super thorough. But makes a solid point.
Critics of the big tech companies are often told, “If you don’t like the company, don’t use its products.” My takeaway from the experiment was that it’s not possible to do that. It’s not just the products and services branded with the big tech giant’s name. It’s that these companies control a thicket of more obscure products and services that are hard to untangle from tools we rely on for everything we do, from work to getting from point A to point B.”
Perhaps the question we really should be asking ourselves is whether or not these companies are a necessary evil.
Would such services exist, or be anywhere near as good without the help of such companies? Miss Hill points out the dominance of Google Maps and the interaction with things like Uber, and I think that’s kind of key. We had GPS navigation long before we had Google Maps and smart phones, but which would you rather use? Part of what made Google Maps what it is today is the insane investment: sending people and hardware off into the wild blue yonder to build a better dataset than simply importing maps and satellite photos could. Who the hell has that much money? Well, Google did. Some clown in their parents garage might be able to kick start the next Apple or Amazon, but they’re not going to be able to afford to run Google Streetview without monopolistic funding.
As things worked out, I’d say Amazon turned out to be a pretty great idea. But twenty six years ago: we’d probably forgive you for thinking Bezos was crazy instead of anticipating he would become several times richer than God, building one of the world’s most well known enterprises along the way.
See, we build our success upon the success of others—and our success is often in enabling others to succeed. The question is can we do that without the ginormous bankrolls and the infrastructure that entails.
I’d like to think we have yet to see the last great American tech company. But without a governmental strongarm, I don’t think we will ever see these empires displaced. Not until landmark paradigm shifts cause them to exit a market, or for profitability sake they choose to exit or destroy one. You’re not going to beat Google Maps unless they’re incompetent and you’re hyper lucky and clever at just the right time: or they choose to shutter the entire operation. That’s just how it works at scale.
Yes, I’m pretty sure that we should refer to them as monopolies. But are they ones we need, or are they ones we can ill afford? As someone who long resisted Google and Facebook, I find that a very intriguing question.

Step one: phone hijacks SMS sending to Android Messages, and disables function in Hangouts.
Step two: tablet can only sync my sent messages. Not getting incoming at all.
Step three: re-enable SMS / set default on my phone.
Step four: archive threads because now they’re two on my phone , and the other only gets a copy of mine.
Step five: send a new message from tablet.

Step six: remember that over the past decade, Google has gone from being one of my favorite tech companies to quite possibly the one that pisses me off the absolute most often. I really miss the days when their betas were more reliable than what the rest of us called release quality. Sigh.

Annoying differences in culture, or slow points of progress.

Android land:

  1. Copy files over network to Pictures/Wall Papers
  2. Launch set wall paper thingy.
iOS land:
  1. Copy files over…fuck that’s slow.
  2. Copy files over USB…gah still slow.
  3. Well fuck.
  4. Okay, Photos has no idea of how to import from my USB drive.
  5. Jack in to desktop.
  6. Launch iTunes.
  7. How the fuck do you make this music player push files to applications again?
  8. Clicks little iPad icon that’s not the obvious one.
  9. Where the heck is it?
  10. Google it and find directions that are out of date.
  11. Screw it. *click Photos*, *drag and drop shit*. Nope that don’t work either.
  12. Files -> On My iPad -> Wall Papers/…. -> share -> save image.
  13. Yeah, fuck if I’m doing that ~1,700 more times!
  14. Launch set wall paper thingy.
That’s just the short version of things I tried, being a stranger in a foreign land. Of my various attempts it’s hard to decide if I feel more trapped by the ’90s or the ’00s. So let’s just say it’s unlikely I will bother to change my iPad’s wall papers very often ™.
Also while I give kudos for being able to select multiple files and actually share them, *cough* save to the photos app, I would not recommend trying to select several hundred at a time and then tap share. You’ll just end up swiping the process away a few times.
Android’s nature of making defined shared places to stuff shit, and API hooks for Applications to resolve those is pretty intuitive to a nerd like me. Likewise the idea of making an application’s private files not usable dickable, rather attractive for many reasons.
iTunes, if you can find the right screen, pretty much lets you explore an what private files an application choose to allow or means of importing/exporting things they (probably) think of as a database. Which owes to the tradition of not having any real concept of shared storage that multiple applications can monitor. But it’s better than not being able to touch anything at all.
The only real forgiveness I have for these concepts, is once upon a time the bane of my existence was the amount of people that couldn’t double click a file after downloading it from a web page. Countless games were held up for hours because of the challenge of launching a map installer. I had kind of came to grips with the concept of a file somewhere between DOS 3 and Windows 98. So as counter intuitive as something like iTunes feels to me versus a file system, I do recognize if you can’t tell the difference between a mouse and a floppy disk, it’s probably easier to use iTunes’ model.
Or as I like to remember, remove choices, because most of us give up faster than I do 8=).

Google Play Pass bundles 350 Android games and apps for $4.99 per month.

I find it kinda interesting how the trends have been leaning with the subscription concept. The real need for folks to make a profit is usually what drives decisions; most on the other side of the coin want a decent experience, and if you’re lucky would actually pay something.

Right now, we have a reasonably successful subscription model offered on Xbox. Google and Apple are both launching game subscriptions for their platforms. I’d sign up in a heartbeat if Valve offered a good one for Steam.

To me, personally I think its a great idea.

Over in more serious gaming land, most of the revenue model seems to be focused on sales early in the game release cycle. After a while, being in a subscription package is probably a way for publishers to gain more revenue not less. How well that translates into mobile, I do wonder.

Generally I’ve long since stopped caring about Android gaming. There’s good potential there but short of something Android powered and as universally successful as a PlayStation or Xbox, it’ll never become the gaming platform I’d like to see; read enough it to keep a Window license laying around. But more than a few people play games on their phones and tablets, whether or not the games are crappy or spectacular, there’s plenty of players.

Pie sucks at multitasking

Things that Pie has wrought: Google’s curse.

Overview now has a more useful grid like view. Aside from the nauseating effect that happens when closing an app makes them all resort but at least it is really fast on the Tab S3’s hardware. on the downside multitasking is now chunky and fundamentally broken.

In the previous version the overview screen was a chunky phone centric sliding flipper but apps had a button on the side of their card, so you could open them in the current side of the screen. Now each app has its icon on the top of the card, and you get a menu when you tap the icon. Containing app info (used to be long touch/hold), open in split view, open in pop up (floating window) view, or lock the app. Which is a lot slower but at least flexible.

So instead of very, very quick access to snapping an app to either side of the screen: you get very slow access to deciding if you want it split or floating. The ability to just turn the currently running application into a floating window has been removed. Which is both good and bad: the gesture was easy to trip when you didn’t mean to but was also extremely convenient if you wanted something like a calculator floating over a web page. I’m not sure if the UI the device used on Oreo was a Sammy thing or a Google thing, but it was pretty nice.

Now here’s why I say fundamentally broken in Pie.

Splitting the screen and hitting overview used to place the overview in the currently active side of the screen. So if you wanted to replace one of the applications, you just tapped it and hit overview. Vola, really fast and simple and obvious. And good if you decided both apps needed to change before you were done.

After updating to pie: the overview ALWAYS opens in the bottom or the right side of the screen, based on whether you’re in portrait or landscape orientation. I have yet to find any way to invert the split apps–you used to tap the resize bar in between and have a UI to switch them. ‘Cuz that is useful. Now you’re stuck with the first app chosen being in the top/left side until you’re done. You might think the first app would show up and you could just select it again? Nope, its card gets removed from the overview.

Likewise you can only stuff in apps from the overview grid that were running. I used to be able to hit a button and select apps from a launcher instead of requiring them to be already opened in the background.

But really, whose fault is it for destroying the multitasking functions? Google’s. It’s Google’s fault. Why do I say this? Because my Google Fi phone running Android One and its pure Googely experience has virtually the same broken multitasking UI. The only real difference is my Samsung changes the string “Split view” to “Open in split view” and adds the popup and lock entries to the menu. Likewise on the phone sized screen it’s a sliding view of the exact same cards rather than a grid view of them.

Suddenly I realize why DeX became so popular among users of newer model Tab S’s that shipped with it. It’s not because DeX mode is that more PC like: it’s because Google fucked Android’s multitasking experience. And I fear, if I was to dig up the CDD for Pie, it would say OEMs aren’t allowed to fix it anymore, lol.

Of course my model being older, DeX is not a feature that was integrated into it. Much like how my model was the first to get USB-C charging but alt modes for driving a monitor didn’t show up until the Tab S4, which does have DeX. Reasons to buy an iPad, += 1.

I find it a great shame. Samsung has done multitasking for so many years, I first used it on my Galaxy SIII phone a very long time ago.  In recent years it became a standard piece of Android, which was a really good thing until Google pissed down the feature’s throat and crippled its utility for real multitasking.

Some moron at the big G might call this new layout tablet optimized if they’re not allowed to question orders from their marketing overlords.

Me? I’d say why the !@#$ are you wasting nearly 2″ of my screen real estate to highlight the sections for movies and books? I don’t even want to look at my phone’s layout after seeing this redesign on my tablet, for fear of what else might be found.

I was really on the wall when hamburger design took over the mobile world but quickly came to like it, when it was done well. Interfaces like this however are just wasteful(tm). But it gives you plenty of space to write out Games, Apps, Movies & TV, and Books in something like 120 languages.