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  • Andrew T Schwab 8:42 am on February 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Auto Chrome OS Update Breaks CAASPP (SBAC) Test Compatibility 

    We have a problem with Google Chromebooks and CAASPP testing. New Chromebooks auto update before we can enroll them which means we cannot lock their Chrome OS version to one officially supported by SBAC. Major problem for preparing for testing. Given that one of the big compelling reasons behind school adoption of Chromebooks over iPads is how well they handled the SBAC online assessments, this is kind of a big deal.

    From Google Support:

    “During the first configuration steps before the enrollment is completed, every Chrome device is checked for the latest updates, so that Google services provided are the latest and fully stable. This is due the Google’s security policy. Since auto-updates restriction policy are reflected after the enrollment, your Chromebooks C720 have all been updated to the latest version 48 of Chrome OS.

    “Unfortunately it is out of our hands that the state testing apps only support version 46, which we have moved on from since some months ago.”

    At this time, Google officially only supports the latest version 48 of Chrome and there is no way to downgrade managed and enrolled devices to a previous version. Unfortunately it is out of our hands that the state testing apps only support version 46, which we have moved on from since some months ago.

    Yet, I have checked on the internet and have found a “Known Issues” page from the “CAASPP” web page available athttp://www.caaspp.org/system-status/issues-log.html .
    It also seems like there is a help desk accessible by chat, e-mail or by phone on the right side of the web page. I truly hope this can help you solve your issue.”

    We haven’t moved on, Google, because we can’t. This is a Google process problem not a CAASPP problem and we need it resolved by Google ASAP.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 10:01 am on January 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Nexus 6P Call Volume Too Loud 

    Nexus 6P Volume Button

    I don’t often use my phone to make calls but when I do, I have a crazy expectation of being able to adjust the volume to an appropriate level. Yesterday I found out that when using my Nexus 6P with earbuds, the volume is really loud. When I tried to turn it down, I discovered that the OS call volume slider won’t let me adjust the call volume below a minimum threshold, which is still way too loud. The alarm, notification and media volume sliders all let me go down to zero, but strangely the call volume slider won’t go below 20%, as if Google is concerned I might accidentally set the volume to zero and not be able to hear people talking on the other end of a call.

    It turns out others have the same issue. I’m hoping this is a simple UI fix that will come out in an update because as of right now, my ears hurt after a long phone conversation with earbuds. I tried using the phone with no earbuds but the minimum handset volume is too loud too. Same issue, no volume control below that 20% hard stop. Not good Google, not good.

     
    • Anon 1:48 am on January 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Agreed. I am going to root and use what ever mod comes first just because of this. It’s so annoying! Who the heck though hmmm, they wont want volume control!

  • Andrew T Schwab 5:15 pm on January 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Corippo’s Voice In My Head – Rigor 

    Rigor

    Rigor came up in a conversation yesterday. Rigor is one of those words I have a hard time getting a solid grip on during a conversation. For some reason, my mental image of rigor in education has always been a bit slippery. My early experiences in education originally led me to frame rigor as meaning “More Harder” (i.e. let’s do more work and make it more difficult work too) which doesn’t square with what I now think people mean when they say more rigor. Having to actively overcome my ingrained misconception every time I hear the word is probably what the fuzzy mental construct thing is all about. So of course after percolating on the conversation last night, I woke up this morning with this on my mind:

    Reps = Mastery

    Project Based Learning = Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking

    Presenting = Communication

    Blogging = Authentic Audience

    Minecraft = Problem Solving

    All of the Above Better and Faster = Rigor

    I’d like to lock this in my brain so that it triggers when I hear the word rigor but instead when I think of the above, I go straight to, “this is what good instruction should look like”. I guess that’s what I get from hanging around #obiwancorippo too much…

    What’s your definition of Rigor?

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 7:00 am on January 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Tech or Textbooks? 

    This week, Eric Patnoudes posted a link to a list from the Harvard Business Review about being a change leader and pointed out that tech was nowhere to be found. In the education context it got me thinking about why #edTech.

    At a most basic level, Technology = Information Access. I think when we talk about edTech, we sometimes forget this simple truth. We are comfortable handing every student a textbook so that they can access information for learning and yet we still debate the value of handing every student an Internet connected device for accessing information for learning. We hold edtech to a higher standard, as if simply using it to access information is no better (and possibly quite a bit more cumbersome) then accessing information in a textbook.

    When was the last time a working professional or personally curious individual put down their smart phone and looked for a piece of information or an answer to a question in an encyclopedia or a textbook? (referencing the TE doesn’t count!) In the modern world, people simply don’t do it that way anymore and yet that’s how many think information access should continue to look in classrooms.

    And more telling, schools that have deployed technology into classrooms expect edTech to look like something more than just information access or tech integration is considered a failure. In fact, classrooms were kids are accessing information on the Internet using devices are often said to be doing the same thing, the same way, or labeled at Substitution, the lowest level of the SAMR model. But accessing information on the Internet via a connected device is not the same as accessing information from a textbook (or a worksheet). Not if we’ve replaced textbooks with the World Wide Web as the primary information source in the classroom. Not if we’ve taught kids how to find, assess and utilize information from the web. Not even if we’ve scaffolded that experience with curated resources and links. Accessing information on a device is only substitution if we’ve substituted an analog textbook (or worksheet) for a “digital” version. Otherwise, it’s embracing a new tool to access information in a new way. A way that was not possible before the device and the Internet were available in the classroom.

    Today, the World Wide Web is the textbook. Information is everywhere; in blog posts, youtube videos, scanned documents, websites, podcasts and personal learning networks (PLNs). The Web is an infinite, multi-media rich, multi-dimensional massively online textbook and it’s messy because it’s constantly evolving, updating and changing. The real challenge might just be that nobody has written a Teacher’s Edition (TE) for it yet.

    Getting back to Eric’s original tweet, change leaders in education should be moving the vision forward for what learning looks like in our classrooms. For me, at a foundational level, that includes using technology to access information.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 12:46 pm on January 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Return of The Android (Project Fi Edition) 

    If you’ve been following my conversion from iOS to Android, you may have picked up that it’s been a bumpy road. My wife and I have been on AT&T forever. We had a pretty good system going for a while. Every year, we would renew one of our Unlimited lines and I would get the new iPhone. My wife would get the one year old iPhone and everything was great. We never worried about data caps, never wondered if we’d go over or not. We used iMessage exclusively to message family and paid the odd $2-$3 per month for misc. text messages to non-iOS users when needed. And then my wife’s phone was stolen and the alternating year schedule went out the window. More people were sending more SMS and MMS messages to me at work and AT&T kept hinting that they would be doing away with the Unlimited plan eventually. I also was missing out on tethering, which would have come in handy a few times but was unavailable to me as an Unlimited data plan holder.

    So, enter the Nexus 5X, the Nexus 6P and a growing frustration with using Google Apps on iOS. It was time for a change in more ways than one. Rather than go the subsidized iPhone route and renew our AT&T unlimited plans for another 2 years (an option that looks to be going away as of Jan 8th), I decided we would make the switch to Android. Thankfully my wife was up for the adventure. One of the benefits of the decision was the freedom of having unlocked phones. The cost of both Nexus Android phones was about the same as if we had paid the subsidized cost for two iPhones plus the $45 “upgrade” fee. Not being locked to a carrier gave us options. Maybe too many options. Having been on AT&T my entire iPhone life, the thought of giving up my AT&T unlimited data plan was more traumatic than abandoning iOS in favor of Android.

    I did the research. We use a lot of data. The blue spikes on the left are my wife’s iPhone 5. Since there is no way she was using more data than me, she obviously had that wifi problem that caused her to use LTE while connected to Wifi. For a while, her iPhone wouldn’t even connect to Wifi. We didn’t think much of it at the time, being on the unlimited plan and all (she hit 11GB one month!). Figuring Aug-Nov represented a more typical data usage pattern, I did some quick back of the napkin calculations and figured we’d be ok if we switched from our unlimited plans to a metered data plan.

    Data Usage

    I looked at plan options. T-Mobile has decent plans and coverage looks like it should be good here in San Jose. I discounted Sprint and Verizon. Sprint because I had a 4G hokey puck that didn’t work very well at home and Verizon because then I might as well just stay with AT&T. Actually, staying with AT&T was an option too. In fact, it’s my fall back option if this thing goes sideways. The AT&T 15GB family plan looks like it would work for us. Averaging out my data usage over the past year, I used an average of 2.6GB per month. I heard the promise of Project Fi calling to me through the Nexus Android phones.

    Project Fi is google’s beta entry into Cell phone service. They are basically riding on top of T-Mobile and Sprint. In an interesting twist, they use both services and supposedly (although from forum posts, not really) are supposed to switch between networks based on which has the best signal. Project Fi is also supposed to heavily rely on “Open” Wifi hotspots. I’m not really sure how that’s supposed to work, given that most open wifi around here still requires a click through or OK on a splash page to access the net, which Project Fi doesn’t consider “Open”. Regardless, the pricing is attractive. A month to month (cancel anytime) $20 flat fee for Voice and Texting and $10 per month per Gig of data. I figure with my monthly average, I should come out ahead on Data costs over a year. Theoretically.

    My SIM arrived and I’ve been on Project Fi for a few days. Activation was straight forward. My AT&T number ported over the same day and apparently automatically cancelled my account. I must say it’s a nerve racking experience moving over to a metered data plan. I’ve been constantly checking my data usage, watching it creep up each day and consciously not streaming Songza in the car. The Project Fi app and web site are clean and provide a great summary of usage. Too good. I’ve got my eye on that Data graph.

    Google Fi

    My 6P started off on Project Fi at home with a weak LTE signal (and speed) and I immediately wondered if I was on Sprint or T-Mobile. I read about some similar issues and found the Signal Spy app which allowed me to see what network I was connected to and better yet manually switch networks. I forced the phone to GSM which put me on T-Mobile with full LTE and 30Mb downloads. Yay. Three hours later it was back on Sprint. I read something about the Project Fi app update and app caches. I ran the Repair command in Signal Spy (which apparently clears all that stuff out) and then we hit the road to Monterey.

    On the road I watched Signal Spy as my phone connected to Sprint and then T-Mobile (it was almost exclusively on T-Mobile the entire trip). Auto switching was apparently working. One of my biggest concerns with Fi was the T-Mobile coverage. Back in the day, I was on Verizon, then switched to AT&T when Verizon’s move to digital killed their coverage in the rural central valley. I’ve been used to coverage just about everywhere since I can remember owning a cell phone. Now, even at the top of mountains and in the valleys of Yosemite. The jury is still out on Project Fi but for the quick trip down to Monterey, it wasn’t bad.

    I did run into one oddity. While my wife was driving us home, I was uploading a photo post to twitter and the phone dropped all Data. It did the … searching for signal thing and then came up on T-Mobile. The Signal Spy log told me it was on Sprint before. My tweet died in transmission and I had to go back and re-compose and re-send it.

    When I got home, I was once again on Sprint (but home wifi made that a moot point). I did open a support ticket with Project Fi via the app and received instructions for reseting Project Fi on the phone. Not something I wanted to do at the time because it involved resting my phone. So I left it for the night and when I woke up the next morning, the phone was on 4 glorious bars of T-Mobile LTE again.

    My wife’s SIM is set to arrive on Tuesday. Then I’ll have two phones to compare service too. I wish they had a family plan, but the per Gig pricing seems ok for now. And they only bill for what’s used, which should keep my wife’s bill low. We’ll see how the metered data thing goes for me. I’ve set the data threshold alarms so I don’t accidentally go way over my plan on the first month.

    I guess I’m back in experimenting mode, downloading apps (Signal Spy is a must), troubleshooting issues. Trying out different settings and configurations. All stuff I love to do.

    Just not sure I really should be doing it with our primary phone service. I might need to actually fire up that Sonic.net home VoIP phone, just in case.

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 2:00 am on January 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    iOS Strikes Back 

    iOSOk, so I had a moment of weakness. The pull back to iOS was just too much. My wife and I were both having trouble adapting to the Android Keyboard (years of iOS had trained us to use the space bar and trust apple to complete the word correctly) and I missed the iMessage integration with the MacBook. I had been using Pushbullet successfully for a bit and then it stopped syncing two ways. It would only sync from my Browser to the phone. So I caved. I figured the Android experiment was over. I pulled the SIM cards and put them back in each of our iPhone 5 iOS phones and that was that (I also reset the Android phones in anticipation of returning them).

    Like coming back to a well worn pair of comfortable shoes where the sole is coming apart, I soon remembered why I had decided to give Android a try in the first place. I tried to use the default iOS mail app. I even took time setting up iOS notifications to be more Android like. While I appreciated the small, lightweight iPhone 5 that made me totally forget it was in my pocket and that fit perfectly in my car cup holder, I was constantly being reminded of how much better the Google Apps integration is under Android. And I use Google Apps a lot.

    A day and a half later, I pulled the SIM cards, fired up the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P and set the Android phones up all over again (in hind sight, I should have given myself a cool off period before reseting them). Thankfully this time, as soon as I logged into our gmail accounts, I was prompted with the option to restore from the last backup. It was magic, within a few minutes, the phones were right back to how they had been (something I was never able to do on iOS because we always ran out of iCloud storage while doing backups).

    It’s been a week now and I think I’ve made it past the iOS pull. The keyboard is still an issue but we both better understand the difference now. I’m even getting the hang of having numbers accessible on the main keyboard screen. We’re finding some of the Apps are less refined on Android then iOS (Word with Friends and the Kaiser Permanente App seem to crash every now and then) but overall, we’re back on Android and doing ok.

    Next up, the Project Fi SIM arrives.

     

     
    • anellop 12:27 pm on January 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s funny that you mention the keyboard being a factor in your family transition, as personally, i remember when I went from iOS to Android originally with my Nexus 5, the keyboard was one of the highlights for me. I loved the access of numbers by holding down the top row!
      When I went back to iOS this spring, I actually missed the Android keyboard but I guess with anything, you’re only used to what you know. Seeing both for some time, I actually prefer the Android keyboard, and I’ll throw this out there but once you both get used to it, you’ll think the same! ;)

    • Mark Allen 6:31 pm on January 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      One of the very few essential apps I have on my Android devices, and the only one which replaces a Google alternative, is the Swiftkey keyboard. The word-completion is great, and every now and then it’ll tell you how many thousands of characters or words it’s saved you. Whether you’re a hunt-and-peck one-finger prodder, a two-thumb ninja or a swiper, I’d highly recommend it. And no, I am not associated with them in any way – this is just something I like to tell people about.

    • Anonymous 2:27 am on January 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      As most everything is worth Android – the keyboard is completely customizable.. There’s probably even one that mimics iOS. I’d try the Play store first. Cheers!

    • Miguel Guhlin 11:12 am on January 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Why not use cloud magic or inbox apps on iOS?

      Both platforms have their similarities…I work on both and find it easy to move between them. Currently on iOS.

  • Andrew T Schwab 7:00 am on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    App Wars (Migrating from iOS to Android) 

    One of the bigMy Android Appsgest concerns for me with switching to Android from iOS was the Apps. Over the years I have invested a lot in iOS Apps (a lot). I easily have several hundred and I wasn’t sure if I’d miss any of them by moving to Android. What I discovered is that I was suffering from App bloat. I had dozens of Apps on my iPhone that I downloaded once and never used again. Thankfully, I’ve been able to find all of the iOS apps I (and more importantly, my wife) were using on a regular basis on Android. After the great app cleansing of 2015, we now have the apps we need and use and no more. It’s a rather liberating experience.

    While app compatibility is nearly complete, there have been a few apps that have been harder to replace than others.

    Twitter

    I tried to use the native twitter app. I really did. But the promoted tweets were just too annoying. And I really missed Echofon’s interface. I’d been using it as long as I’d been on twitter (essentially forever). On to Talon, it was ok but I couldn’t figure out the push notification thing. Then to Echofon for Android. I thought I had it, but it was just different enough on Android to be off putting. A quick Google Search got me to Tweetings. Tweetings has push notification and Material Design. With a week of use under my belt, it is by far my favorite Android twitter app. I’ll be keeping it.

    iMessage

    I was just getting used to the ability to sync SMS and iMessages between my iPhone and MacBook. Looking to replicate the experience, I installed Pushbullet and setup the sync. It worked for a while but at one point it stopped syncing from my phone to my computer and I basically gave up. I really miss this feature (so much so, I had a moment of weakness and was drawn back to the iOS side for a bit)

    Keyboard

    This one both my wife and I noticed. The Android keyboard is taking some getting used to for us. After over six years on iOS, we’ve both become accustomed to the keyboard layout and QuickType (all joking aside). The keyboard layout and figuring out Cut and Paste have probably been the two UI transitions that are proving the most difficult. And yes, we did try SwiftKey, but that’s more Blackberry than iOS like. We’ve taken a step back in typing speed and accuracy. I’m hoping that improves over time. Why can’t we have a universal keyboard across smartphones?

    What else? I’m still getting to know the Camera App. Off all the apps, Camera and iMessage were probably the two I used the most in iOS without thinking and Camera on Android is definitely different. I’ve barely begun to explore the native Nexus app but I have been told there are better Camera apps out there. I’m a big fan of native (ie. simple) unless there are a ton of promoted (ie Ad) messages popping up all over.

    Now that I have an Android phone, I really want to dig into the photosphere possibilities.

    Screenshots

    I figured it out! (well, Google helped) Odd how much I used this feature in iOS. It’s a bit clumsy in Android but supposedly it’s going to get easier soon. The point is, it can be done.

    Google Apps

    What can I say? They just work better on Android than in iOS (duh!). Under iOS, I felt hamstrung when using Google apps. The integration was almost there, but not quite. On Android, all my Google accounts work seamlessly (switching between two accounts in gmail, hangouts and keep is subtly better) and Google Now is on all the time. Add to that the fact that notifications in Android works much more straight forward than in iOS and the overall Google App experience is worth the price of admission.

    To sum up, in making the jump from iOS to Android, finding a Twitter app was the hardest challenge for me, otherwise, all the apps I want or need (so far) have been available on Android. Installation is straight forward, oh and the 2-hour return option for Apps in the Play Store is pretty awesome. Helps when trying to find the right twitter app :). A few more months on the keyboard and I think the keyboard thing will be a moot issue.

    If only there was a killer SMS/Message desktop integration option (Save me Project Fi, you’re my only hope…)

     

     
    • Kyle B 8:40 am on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      One of the best parts of Android is setting default apps and the ease of sharing content with other apps.

    • Josh B 6:53 pm on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Have you looked at SimplyText? It’s my default texting app and there is a a a Chrome extension that lets you recieve/send texts from your computer. There’s even a gmail extension so you can send/receive from within your gmail. Awesome app, works great,

    • Josh B 6:56 pm on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Have you tried SimplyText? It is my default texting app. It has a Chrome extension that lets you send/receive emails from your computer and a gmail extension that lets you do same from within gmail.

    • Roberta 9:28 am on December 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your update. Sounds like being a bilingual systems user has advantages for those using androids and iOS. I wonder if the same is true for the other systems out there available with Asian and other Cyrillic alphabets. As always you are a super excellent resource for neophytes like me. Thanks for sharing. Still appreciate my Google workshop attendance you encouraged. Happy 2016!

  • Andrew T Schwab 9:23 am on December 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    The Giant Phone Awakens 

    My Nexus 6P

    My conversion to the Android side continues…

    The Nexus 6P arrived last week. I’ve been using it (mostly) since the day I took it out of it’s very thoughtfully designed packaging. The first thing I noticed when comparing it to the Nexus 5X was how much more substantial the 6P felt. The reviews are right, the 5X feels toy like by comparison. The 6P is larger compared to the 5X, but deceptively so. Side by side, the 6P is only slightly stretched out on all sides. Initial setup was a breeze thanks to the ability to copy settings and apps from one Android phone to the other. I swapped the SIM card and then, the comparisons started:

    • The AMOLED screen on the 6P is gorgeous. The 6P’s 5.7″ screen hasn’t made anything better or easier to read however.
    • The 6P is noticeably snappier, where the 5X had a few instances of lag, the 6P has had none. It’s fast.
    • The weight, I definitely notice the weight difference. Where I can easily hold the 5X one handed for ever because it’s light as a feather, after a few minutes of one handed 6P use my wrist starts to feel it.
    • And it’s slightly top heavy, thanks to the camera.
    • It’s only slightly bigger but whereas I could just barely one hand the 5X, my thumb can’t get to the other side on the 6P. The 6P is also big enough to be noticeable in my pocket where the 5X blissfully disappeared to the point of me forgetting the phone was there.
    • The 6P won’t fit in my car’s cup holder, the 5X fit perfectly. Car manufacturers take note.
    • The speakers. The 5X on speaker phone was Ok, the 6P is awesome. Playing music or video on the 6P (sans headphones) is a delightfully loud experience.
    • The battery on the 6P is insane. Like “I will never worry about running out of battery at a conference again” insane.

    I’m a few weeks in with Android now and the journey has certainly been interesting. App Wars, a pull back to the iOS side and Google (Project Fi) Strikes Back to follow.

     
    • Ryan OD 11:40 pm on January 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Glad to see you’ve come over to join us Andrew!
      I’ve been an Android guy since my Motorola Droid and now on the Nexus 6. I dig the customizing and seamless integration with all the Google tools. Plus now with Google photos and Music, there’s is nothing “on ” my device anymore.. All on the Google cloud

  • Andrew T Schwab 9:05 am on December 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    My Thoughts On Star Wars The Force Awakens [Spoilers] 

    Ok, I saw the movie yesterday. We took the team to a 9am showing. Teambuilding! We saw it in IMAX 3D (or what I would call mini-IMAX). I’m not really a fan of 3D so I will be taking my kids to see it in good old fashioned 2D. If I could find a 70mm projector theater, that would be my preference too, but I digress.

    Now that I’ve seen the movie, people want to know what I thought. Before I answer here, some background. You see, I’m of the generation that saw Star Wars (none of this Episode IV New Hope nonsense) in the theater when I was 4. It was my first theater experience. I have probably seen Star Wars at least 100 times since, in various formats from Laser Disc to VHS to TV Movie of the week. I could watch it a hundred more times and never get tired of it. It’s that good.

    The Force Awakens, “It’s OK”. Certainly no where near as horrible as the Episode I-III disasters but not quite in the same league as the originals (at least Star Wars and Empire). What I’ve (sadly) come to realize is that somewhere along the way, Star Wars stopped being movies for adults and started to be movies for kids (the transition is subtle in Return of The Jedi, but it’s there). And there in lies the problem for me.

    In Star Wars, Han shoots first. problematic for kids, perfectly grey for adults. Empire is dark and depressing. Great for adults, a bit scary for kids. Jedi has Ewoks. As an adult, I so wish it had Wookies instead. But kids love Ewoks and kids buy toys (or get their parents to). Episodes I-III, Jar Jar for the kids.

    [SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT]

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Force Awakens is a more kid friendly mashup of Star Wars and Empire story lines. It has elements from both that fans will defiantly recognize. Rey is Luke, BB-8 is R2D2, Han is Obi-Wan, Po is Han, Finn is C3PO (think about it!), Kylo Ren is Vader, Snoke is the Emperor, and Luke is Yoda. There are lots of opportunities for Toys with secondary characters that didn’t add much to the movie and a less “official” tone to the battle planning scenes. In the Resistance command scenes, the good guys basically say, “been there, done that. We know how to fly x-wings at a big space station and blow it up. Let’s do this!”

    And what’s up with that name “The Resistance”? Didn’t the Rebels win? Did the Senate reform and decide to call their new Army, The Resistance? And “The First Order” too. They are the Empire! Who cares if the emperor is dead, the Empire lives on! Sorry, I was a huge fan of the Admiral Thrawn trilogy and would have loved to see that story line come to life on the big screen. Perhaps better that it lives on unadulterated in the books though, too many bad book to screen adaptations exist out there already.

    On a side note, what happened to Y-Wings? I mean, come on, budget cuts? Did the CGI guys lose the model? If you are going to bomb something, Y-Wings!

    Personally, I would have preferred it if they had ended Episode VII with R2D2 waking up from his deep thinking and saved the big reveal for Episode VIII. But fans would have probably revolted at that (and there would have been one less action figure to sell this christmas).

    Overall, The Force Awakens for me falls somewhere between the original trilogy and the trilogy which shall not be named. As a bridge to a new Star Wars generation and Universe, I am hopeful for the next two movies. As a father of two girls, I look forward to seeing Rey come into her own as a powerful Jedi (great role model for them) and wonder if Kylo Ren will ever become anything more than a tantrum spewing little Vader wanna be. I guess I will have to wait until 2017 to find out. For now, it’s back to the theater with the kids to see the movie as movies should be seen, in 2D!

     
  • Andrew T Schwab 8:39 am on December 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    To Android or not to Android 

    Nexus 5X

    Ever since I upgraded my iPhone 5 to iOS 9, I’ve been frustrated by my daily phone experience. The situation had been deteriorating for a while, with daily Google Account access becoming so frustrating, I actually installed Outlook on iOS in an attempt to make email work on my phone. For me, my phone is where I do the majority of my work and it had literally become painful to make it all play nice under iOS. My old iPhone 5 also took a performance hit with iOS 9 and the tiny 4″ screen was causing feelings of inadequacy at meetings where everyone was touting their 5.7″ monster phones.

    I’d seriously considered making the switch to Android when the Nexus 5 came out. With people like Mike Vollmert and Jim Klein egging me on, it seemed like a sensible thing to do. But family iMessage, battery life and the camera all held me back. All of that and the comfort of knowing iOS worked well for our family (with iPads and AppleTVs being abundant in the house). So for the past two years I made it work for me. But this time around I decided it was time to look at Android again.

    The three main sticking points last time are mostly gone with the camera being on par with the iPhone, the battery being better in Android (although I don’t think as good as in iOS) and iMessage no longer being an issue now that we have an SMS plan (yes, welcome us into the 21st century, thank you).

    On black friday, I took advantage of the $80 off deals at the Google store and bought a Nexus 5X 32GB. Of course it arrived while I was down at the CETPA2015 conference. As soon as I got back, I unboxed it, set it up and have been using it since. Yesterday, I took it to #edcampsalinas and put it through the paces. Using it for a solid 4 hours of active use, I made it home around 3pm with 5% battery left. Running Google Maps to and from and installing and updating apps while following the edcamp action on twitter all morning was a torture test and the Nexus 5X held up well. I’m a huge fan of the Finger Print sensor on the back and the notifications in Android have already simplified my work flow. What’s really apparent is the seamless integration of both my personal and work Google accounts into the OS. They both just work. I’m still working through possible twitter apps, being a long time Echofon user on the iPhone but the native app works well and Jim recommended Talon which I’m also trying out.

    The big win is Google Now. The Cards are really cool and I look forward to getting to know all the things it can do for me (or is that Google getting to know me more?). Google Keep is also something I need to explore, having lost the integrated Notes app in iOS and MacBook.

    Based on my 24 hours with the Nexus 5X, I have now ordered myself a Nexus 6P and as soon as it arrives, the 5X will be replacing my wife’s iPhone 5 . I really like the size and form factor of the Nexus 5X but I realize since the phone is my primary computing device, I’m going to need the extra battery and the extra CPU horsepower of the 6P.

    Things I thought I would miss but haven’t yet:

    • AirPlay mirroring. I realized that most of my mirroring happens from my iPad. What I share from my phone is YouTube videos and photos, which I use Chromecast to push to the TV, especially now that I’m storing our photos in Google Photo. Thankfully I never fully bought into iCloud and iPhoto on the iOS/Mac side. (Along with the Nexus 6P, I also bought two of the new Chromecast)
    • Apps. I have yet to miss an App on Android that I was using daily in iOS. In fact, after years on iOS and downloading every new free app on the market, my App life had become seriously cluttered. Now, I’m still early days on Android, but for my daily web browsing, social media, news and communication needs, Android has me covered.

    There are things I will miss:

    • I had just discovered the joy of AirDrop to move files between my MacBook and mine and my wife’s iPhones.
    • “Forever” Standby Battery Life. I don’t know if Android users realize this but with my iPhone, I could leave it uncharged overnight and barely lose a few percent in battery life through to the morning. I once left an iPad for a week and came back to find it still had over 1/3 of a charge left. With Android, I’m not seeing that kind of standby conservation. Maybe Doze is just too new to have that kind of effect yet. It just means I have to remember to charge every night. Luckily the Nexus 5X charges wicked fast.
    • Quick camera focus. The Nexus camera app feels a little sluggish on the 5X and what is most noticeable is how long it takes to focus before it will snap the picture. I think there is a setting I am missing that will force it to snap a pic even if it isn’t in focus, but by default, the delay between pressing the button and taking the picture is a bit jarring right out of the box. The iPhone seemed to snap the picture pretty much instantaneously (which might explain all mu blurry pics).

    More to follow…

     
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