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  • 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.

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    • 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.

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