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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

iPhone 5S/6 Fingerprint Scanner?

Samsung's newest innovations in the cell phone market has what has allowed them to be a direct competitor to Apple. With each new flagship device, Samsung makes the game more difficult to control with Apple having to keep up and add the same hardware and/or software.

Recently, Samsung gave Android users the ability to unlock their phones via their face which is much different than unlocking with a finger swipe. There have been Android apps that were capable of this already but Samsung nearly perfected it for their devices.

Apple now has to keep up by finding something similar to this. According to many recent news articles, Apple will be introducing fingerprint recognition to its next iPhone model. Whether that be the iPhone 5S or an iPhone 6, it is highly likely to have this feature.

While it seems like a really cool way to unlock your device and is certainly more accurate and secure than a face, it draws some valid concerns among consumers who worry about the probability that this could be used to track individuals who may want to remain anonymous especially when it comes to the various activities they engage in on their phone.

At this point, when it comes to a company like Apple, everything is pure speculation as the company will not necessarily confirm nor deny any rumors until they are fully ready to release the next model.

What do you think of this? Cool or scary or something else?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rogue Legacy - PC Review 8.7/10

Rogue Legacy is one of those games that ventures into the difficult side of gaming, looking to recapture the challenge that the games when the NES was king, so often sported. I've been playing it for some time and here's my few thoughts.

The Good:
I do like the music. Nothing too amazing but it gets the job done.
The graphics are nice. Same as how I feel about the music.
The story is unusual, but I like how different it is from most games.
The character you control controls well. The jump arc as well as the abilities you have at your disposal are predictable as well as the enemies you encounter. When you die (and you will), it will have been your own fault. Not some idiotic problem with the game out of your hands. And that's really an intelligent thing. When I die it shouldn't be because of some inane counter or percentage fault.
The way death is played is both bad and good. The good part is that you are understanding that you are going to die. Where that comes into play is to understand when to risk your life and when not to. There are two main parts to this game. The first is to amass as much gold as you possibly can on a single run. When you die, your ancestor is then chosen by you out of three. We'll get to that a bit later as well. Your ancestor now has the same amount of gold you had when you died. You use gold for only two things: to buy new items to upgrade your characters and to strengthen characters via more health or extra abilities as well as new vendors who have different items to purchase. The second goal is to make the strongest characters you can. As you die, the enemies don't get harder. They will be as tough as they have been when you first started the game. Where this comes into play is when you get stronger, you can get to new areas and kill bigger, more powerful enemies. Going to more powerful areas gets you more gold. Sometimes this is necessary due to the first objective of this game, and that some vendors increase the price of items as you buy such as the enchanter. Upgrades also cost more as you get to higher levels, as well as the better things you can buy. This roundabout way of playing is actually a benefit. Forcing you to think whether you should risk your life for gold or a chest, remembering how much gold you have because every time you die to reenter the castle costs you all your remaining money, so you need to understand if you can buy something and whether fighting another day is best or to sacrifice.

The Bad:
This game can get extremely frustrating at times. Bosses are insanely difficult at the level I am at and they kill me in just about one hit, obviously being able to take more hits and I do little damage as well as their moves encompass vast areas unable to dodge. Bosses aren't predictable always because they sometimes show up in random places, though there are simple visual prompts that elude you to thinking there may be one nearby. Though frustrating, this is just more reason to either scrap the game entirely or to show that boss who's... well, boss.
It is nigh impossible to get certain things near the beginning of the game. Again, this goes into frustrating. Certain chests have requirements to unlock them like Take no Damage or get to it at a certain time. Chests are really important because you'll always find something beneficial in them. Whether its schematics for a new piece of armor to be bought, runes or even large sums of gold. This is like the annoyance I feel when playing a game that forces me to come back at a certain time to get the best play possible or an MMO telling me I have to use real money to get the coolest gear. While I haven't seen a real money prompt, this forces me to play this game everyday and grind for gold to get the best play in the smallest time. Simply put, this game isn't best picked up every so often. Time has to be put in it to win it.

The Meh:
There is one really unusual thing about this game. Its Steam in general. Sure it's easy to buy, but whenever I play the game, like clockwork it always does the first time set up even though I've played it a bunch of times before. This isn't bad considering the first time setup takes about as long for me as any game that loads up (2 maybe 5 seconds).


Honestly this is a pretty good game. I'd recommend it for anyone who likes difficult games or an upgrade junkie like me. It's fairly priced so pick it up if you get the chance.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Two iPhone 5 Cases

These are the only two cases that I have for my iPhone because not only do they help it is to ever drop but they also have unique functions that help the iPhone perform in better ways.


One is called the Mophie and the other is a Bluetooth keyboard. Let's start off with the Bluetooth keyboard.

The one thing that detracts many from the iPhone is the lack of a physical keyboard. With this case, it brings something that these people have been missing. When attached to the iPhone, it looks like just another natural piece of it without any end.

It connects using the iPhone's Bluetooth feature and can do many different things. There are many versions of a wireless keyboard for the iPhone and this is just one of many. Here's a link to the exact one that I purchased on Amazon.

This model allows the user to type in letters as well as numbers. The downside to that is that it only has four rows of keys so inputting numbers can be a pain as they are towards the top of the keyboard where it's easy to bump your finger and you have to hold the FN (function) button to input each number. For someone typing in a password full of numbers or a phone number, this can get quite frustrating. The keyboard also allows the user to lock the iPhone and unlock it. Unlock only in the sense that it will spring the iPhone to the unlock screen where you will have to use your finger to swipe to unlock and/or input your security code. The keyboard also acts as a home button. This can be good for anyone who has an issue with their home button or just feels lazy. The keyboard can also bring up the normal iPhone keyboard on the interface in case a character can't be found or for whatever other reason may arise.

The keyboard has a backlight on it that allows for typing in a dark area. The keys on the keyboard are not the best that could have been chosen. They feel a bit clunky. While the keys are normal QWERTY, they are not sized appropriately like other keyboards are. All of the keys are exactly in rows and columns to make a perfect rectangle. This can be good for some and not good for others depending on your preference. I prefer keys not perfectly aligned when I type.

The shape is nice but it can feel bulky for some who are used to the sleek design of the iPhone. It's about the same size as two iPhones stacked on top of one another and feels a less in weight than two iPhones together. The keyboard folds out like any other phone that has a keyboard. It even has that click sound that most have. It feels durable as if it can be flipped back and forth again and again without breaking. It sort of keeps that nice look to the iPhone from the front where it doesn't detract from the sleekness. From the side, it looks fairly natural as if it belongs on the phone. It is a tight fit; however, possibly too tight as it can be a bit challenging to remove.

The internal battery is said to last on standby for over 45 days without being in use or powered on. I haven't used mine is quite some time and it charged fairly quickly signifying that the charge was kept all that time without decreasing.

This is nice for anyone who cannot live without the keyboard but wants an iPhone. For me, there are lots of problems that cause me to not use this as my daily case. Below are my biggest concerns besides what's mentioned above:
-Since it uses Bluetooth, it can drain the iPhone battery a bit faster than before. It hasn't been a huge issue for me because my iPhone is pretty good on battery usage.
-It can be a bit of a pain to keep turning on and off when not in use.
-It is a keyboard meant for landscape viewing, in other words, can only truly be used on its side. This can be problematic as it doesn't allow for easy typing on apps like Facebook or Instagram that don't tilt to the side when typing. It also feels odd using it on the homescreen. But I have seen Cydia apps for jailbroken iPhones that allow for custom orientation changes so it probably won't be an issue for jailbroken iPhones.
-It requires a separate charger than the iPhone does. It uses a Micro-USB charger while the iPhone requires the lightning charger (for the iPhone 5) so you'll need two outlets to charge at night if you want to charge both.
-It takes a while to connect via Bluetooth when first connecting.

Like I said, it's nice and can be used daily, but has a few issues that cause it to not be used everyday for someone like me.

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For the Mophie, this is my daily case.

At a first glance, you may think that it is just like any other iPhone 5 case. But it isn't. In the picture above, do you notice the lightning port inside of it? This connects into your iPhone from the bottom and becomes not only an external case but also an external battery. This battery is said, on the package, to give the iPhone 5 an additional 6 and a half hours of battery power.

The idea of this isn't to be on 24/7 giving your iPhone a secondary battery but to give it a charge when you need it. It is recommended on the packaging to not charge if the iPhone has 80% or more battery power. It says that the device will consume twice as much power which drains it quicker. It has been good and has given my iPhone a quick charge when I'm out and about. There has been a few times where I have been away from home and forgot my charger but was able to charge my phone because I had this case.

The case doesn't get too hot which is a good sign. It can get a little hot when charging but not like other phones do. It is a fairly quick charge and can bring your phone from the low 20%'s to 60% in about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the condition of the Mophie.

The packaging does say that there are only about 500 charges in the case so don't use it every time you need a charge.

One of the reasons that this is my daily case is that it also does something nice that Apple missed on. Apple decided to change from the 30 pin charger to the lightning despite many asking for a Micro-USB port instead. This was done for control and because the lightning charger supposedly charges quicker than Micro-USB can. This Mophie case allows the iPhone to charge using a Micro-USB charger. Simply connect it to the bottom of the case and it charges not only your Mophie but also your iPhone at the same time! The Mophie doesn't take long to charge from 0%. There is an LED indicator on the back of the case that will show the current charge of the Mophie. Clicking a button will show 1-4 LED lights flash to let you know approximately how much power is left.

The Mophie also corrects something that Apple failed on. I never noticed, but the iPhone 5 has speakers that point downward. Imagine listening to music through the speaker. If you are listening to it in your hand and not on a table, the sound goes down. But the Mophie directs the sound towards the listener which does give a significantly better sound.

The biggest downsides to the case are that it requires a little extra effort or an extension if you are hooking in headphones. The case not only comes with its own charging cable but also an extension for the headphone jack. I use this for my guitar jack as it can't fit in the Mophie hole. But for my Apple earpods, they fit just fine in the hole. The other downside is that the case makes the phone slightly more bulky which detracts from the beautiful design of the iPhone. The other downside is that you cannot hook the Micro-USB from the case into your computer and connect to iTunes. However, you can connect to iTunes wirelessly through WiFi or simply removing the case and using a lightning charger. Removing the case does take some extra effort at first but after a few times it becomes second nature to remove.

I use the Mophie case everyday. I have dropped it once or twice and it has still kept its sleek back and corners. It has kept my iPhone safe and me happy with its convenient charging on the go. While it may not be enough protection against someone throwing it against a wall, it can protect the shape of the iPhone from dinging against the edges or removing the shine to it. It does have rubber padding on the interior that does make some small marks on the back of the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 has a different back than the 4 and 4S do which may differ from the Mophies available for those models.


What cases do you use? Which have been your favorite?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

[Video] Grand Theft Auto V Gameplay



This is a release straight from Rockstar Games that shows, first ever, actual gameplay footage of the upcoming title. This is a must see for anyone anticipating the newest arrival!

Monday, July 8, 2013

DARK PC Review - 5.5/10

There is a sort of unspoken rule among gamers that every single vampire game is horribly flawed. Suffice it to say I haven't found a satisfying vampire game to date. You want to know what the best one I've found is? Vampire The Masquerade. So, an unfinished game is better than this? Yes, emphatically yes. This game is bad. At first I was into, after I played it I hated it, before this review I thought I should at least get to a further point in the game before I reviewed it, but I've finally had it.
It goes under the guise of (and I'm quoting Wikipedia so don't get any gripe) "a stealth action role-playing video game", to which I have to say we can break this up into four separate categories. The first is stealth, second action, third role-playing and finally video game. Easiest first is this is a video game. Second is stealth which is done very basic and sometimes poorly which I will focus on later. Third is action to which I have to say "I've had more action with Animal Crossing" (which is not a compliment). Last is perhaps the most infuriating which is role-playing to which I have to say you need to redefine what your vocabulary says about 'role-playing'.
You know, I actually wanted this game to be good. "Role-playing, vampire, stealth game" just makes me so happy. But then reality sets in and I remember the vampire games I've played and how they disappointed me in one way or another.

The Good:
I do like cell shading graphics. Nice on my PC and nice on the eyes.
I don't hate the writing. It's a bit cliche but when seeing the things this game does, I wish cliche was on the list of things they did.

The Bad:
The stealth is irrevocably flawed. Enemies walk around in a set path, save when they notice you and if you've picked up this game then you'll either know or know soon enough enemies will notice you often. It's easy to get into the pattern but it's flat out boring. I don't hate it, but where it goes into bad is the execution. You have basically two stealth attacks: feeding and 1-hit kill. Feeding takes longer and replenishes your blood level which is used for powers. The 1-hit kill is a lot more stupid. You have to be right up next to the enemy and wait about half a second for said ability to pop up and say "That's good, you can use it now", same for feeding. This is stealth. Quick, fast and sneaky. I don't want to wait.
Combat is a graceful way of saying "trodding around like a ninny, taking bullets like a sponge till you drop". That 1-hit kill I mentioned? Ya, people can actually block that if they notice you. Stupid right? So on top of being shot at, you also have to deal with this long as fuck little kill animation (which makes no sense at all; snap his neck or something you dolt, don't fuck around and do some acrobatic shit, you are being shot at), which, by the way, happens EVERY SINGLE TIME you try to kill someone. I've estimated the time and it takes about 2-3 seconds. That may not seem like much but like I said, this is stealth which is fast and quiet. Acrobats have no place here. Your walking animation is so damn slow by the time you reach one guy, hit him twice (because obviously he blocked) and finally he's dead, you're pretty much screwed because you've just been hit enough times to die. That is not combat in the slightest. To make matters worse: you have no weapons, whatsoever. Okay so you might considering that I never got too far in this game, but this is about the second mission (trust me that's about 5 hours of perfect gamers and 8 hours of annoyance for everyone else) and I have no weapon to either defend myself or use as a ranged weapon. My powers just barely fit any criteria of a weapon. Guns versus Fists, who will win? Guns obviously.
"It's okay to kill these people because they are all evil" is constantly used as far as I saw. The story goes that this guy was turned into a vampire and now he needs his creator's blood to fully make the transformation or else he will turn into a ghoul (zombie like vampire). But, plot convenience! Drinking the blood of a powerful vampire will stop him from turning into a ghoul. The first guy is a curator of a museum, murders his own guards to put more guards in (cause that makes sense), cuts up a few museum visitors and feeds them to his own personal ghouls. Oh don't worry! The guards he put in place are in league with him and use ghouls as well! So it's all good! The same can be said for the second 'boss' who picks people up and uses them as his own personal hunting game. Oh and his name is Vlad... ya, really original. Gone is the moral dilemma of the vampire, "To feed, or not to feed?" just to say, "Nah, it's cool." In the second mission, you can't, I repeat, CAN'T kill civilians. Oh not like a 'Mission Failed'. You just... can't. Oh and they will alert the guards to your position so double fuck you.
This game is horribly linear. You start off in a club (small as hell), go to a museum and as you progress are locked out of most previous areas. If they put 'adventure' in the description for this game I would throw my computer at the wall. I could understand for certain things like making the game run better but even that fucks itself over. In conversations, the camera does this horrible disorienting thing where when it cuts to another person talking, the camera looks like it actually cuts. This is horribly disorienting because... why do it? A small gripe but when you think about it I am playing on my computer which is close to my face. Oh, this doesn't happen that much, just every single time someone starts talking after another person.
The vampire powers are... basic. Imagine the same upgrade system in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but totally wrong. You know those abilities that branch out to give you different effects or allow you to do different things with said abilities? Well there's all of one of those. The cool down time for abilities is atrocious and only when you've gotten to at the very least second tier you can lessen the cool down. The blood power meter is awful as well. You get two bars to which two skills can be used before you have to feed on someone again. The max for this is four. To make matters worse, you get one point for every 'level-up' you get. So powers that cost 3 points are going to screw you over because you'll have to level up more than three times (three times is usually for the last level of a power so add the three on the previous initial points you had to spend to get to the final level) and you'll be stuck with your powers which are becoming stale and boring. On top of that, some of them are worthless. One is supposed to make you less noticeable, but there's little to no change when the power is active, other than you just wasted a blood point. Another one makes enemies stunned for all of 2-3 seconds. Upgrade it more and it can be five seconds! (sarcasm) I've never seen something so worthless, ever.

The Meh:
There was one really good stealth thing that was done poorly. Sometimes there will be certain items on the ground that if you step on them, enemies will know where you are. It goes into Meh because it's usually used in places like boss rooms simply to make things more tense I would think.
The voice acting isn't terrible but it goes sour when you see the animation on the character's mouths when they are talking: it doesn't match up, at all. This isn't bad because it's minor and passable. Then again, why didn't they just do a comic book style conversations where characters are completely still? It would have made it look artsy and added to the game's feel.
Is there any music in this game? I don't even remember. Then again, I'm not going to start it up again just to see because I get bad feelings when that game is even on.


Personally, this whole experience has soured me to vampire games in general. Needless to say I won't be buying any anytime soon. Buy this if you hate yourself and your wallet, or if you're hoping to make a good vampire game and need an example to say "Okay, this is what they did wrong and we should stay away from this."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Using iOS vs. Android

Recently, I switched from my Samsung Galaxy S III to an iPhone 5 for a few reasons. Ever since the iPhone's release in 2007, I wanted one. With Android's first release with the G1, I wanted one too but wasn't sure which one was better. It wasn't until a little while later that I switched.

So far, I have used Android 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2. I used all of these versions in their stock states that came from the manufacturers as well as rooted ROMs that the developers released. The phones that I had were the Samsung Moment, HTC Evo, a Chinese tablet, and the Samsung Galaxy S III.

My experience with iOS started with the 3rd Generation iPod Touch. What version it was running, I honestly cannot remember. Thereafter, I switched to a Zune and hadn't had another iOS device until my iPad Mini running iOS 6.1.2. I used both my iPod Touch and iPad Mini in stock as well as jailbroken states. I got an iPhone 5 shortly after selling my iPad Mini. My iPhone is on iOS 6.1.4 and was on 6.1.3 due to an accidental update I made. I wanted to jailbreak it, but missed my chance.

I loved the experience with Android as well as iOS. Both sides have their ups and downs over the past few years that I can't say that I'm a fanboy for either side. However, when I got my Galaxy S3, I was a bit mocking towards those who chose to wait for the iPhone 5. Apple and Google have lots of differences between them. In this blog, I hope to make comparisons that I have personally noticed and things that I liked over the other as well as the things that I despised. First, allow me to explain my history with the devices.

The Samsung Moment caught my eye as it was Sprint's second Android device following the beloved HTC Hero. One of my co-workers had the Hero and I loved it. I had the iPod Touch back then but I was infatuated with the Hero mostly because it had web wherever it went whereas I was confined to searching for hotspots wherever we went. Another one of my co-workers showed me his Moment and I was in love. So much so that I went and bought a used one since my contract wouldn't be over for another couple months and I was tired of my Samsung Instinct s30. I loved the physical keyboard and the overall look and feel of the Android user interface. Downloading applications on the go was fun and I was using it for everything. At this time, I joined the online community AndroidForums.com where I began to learn about this thing called "rooting".

I rooted my Moment and used it for tethering as well as trying out the cool ROMs that were available. My friends and family ooed and awed at the device and what it could do. After some time, the Moment lost its coolness and began getting on my nerves. I found myself continuously taking out the battery because it would jam up on me. My co-worker was just as frustrated as I was, if not more. His wasn't rooted while mine was so we knew it was the phone itself and not rooting. My co-worker went through a total of six replacements because he kept destroying them when they would mess up on him. I stayed with the same one the entire time until selling it after upgrading to the new HTC Evo 4G, the first 4G phone in America.

I loved this phone. It was huge and everyone wanted to see it. Some loved it because it was huge while others thought it was too big. I was loving the new Android 2.2 versus 2.1 that I had been stuck on. When Android 2.3 was released, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I was able to get some ROMs with it before its arrival. As time went on, the HTC Evo became outdated and old and no longer was able to use all of the new apps. It was time to upgrade and at this time, I had the choice between waiting for the iPhone 5 and seeing what features it had or upgrading to the HTC Evo 4G LTE, Sprint's first LTE device. I waited a while, trying to figure out which phone to get. Along with the new Evo, I was wondering about the Motorola Photon Q and the Samsung Galaxy S III that my friend was telling me about. My cousin insisted that I not get the Photon Q because, while it had a nice keyboard, the support community wouldn't be that big like it was for my Evo. I decided that the Photon Q was a definite no and that it was between the Evo and Galaxy S3. I went for the S3 because of its community and knowing that it had a bigger name than the Evo and would be easy to sell when that time came.

My Galaxy S III was very nice. So nice that even my cousin who was waiting for the iPhone 5 and a die-hard Apple fanboy began checking out my phone and loving what he saw. During the first few weeks of the iPhone 5's release, people still were checking out my phone and everyone was comparing the S3 to the iPhone 5. But then Samsung announced the S4 and my heart dropped. My contract wouldn't be up until another 2 years and I was going to be stuck with this phone all that time with two new Samsung devices being released. My Galaxy S3 started to lag and the battery performance was frustrating. I literally carried a USB wherever I went because the phone was so untrustworthy. The iPhone continued to gain in popularity while people's focus was now on the new Samsung Galaxy Note II that would be coming soon. I started noticing that people on Craigslist were no longer willing to trade their iPhone 5's for Galaxy S3's and anyone that was demanded lots of money. One guy even turned me down for an additional $200 on top of my Galaxy S3. I had gotten an iPad Mini for school purposes and loved the iOS look and feel. I began noticing the great battery performance that it and friends' iPhone 5's had.

After much frustration with the S3, I made the expensive switch early to an iPhone 5 after selling my iPad Mini. Ever since then, early June 2013, I have kept my iPhone 5.

During these times, I noticed the same was happening with Android devices. This is a plus and minus. Android is growing at an alarming rate with new features added every few months, it seems like. This is great but comes at two costs.
1. New devices constantly come which make older devices go obsolete much quicker.
2. Brand new features and innovations to technology come at the price of stability as developers work to work out the unknown kinks that arise.

On average, it seems like Android devices hold their value for a year or less. The only people who hold onto Android devices for any longer than that are those that are satisfied where they are. Usually older folks who don't mind and don't use the extra features of the phone like downloading and using apps. By comparison, I notice that iPhones keep their value for much longer.

The iPhone 4 was released in 2010. Some people, even tech-savvy people I personally know, still use their iPhone 4's.

The difference here not only being stability but also value. Do a quick search for Android phones, like my Evo, that came out in 2010 versus iPhone 4's. Evos are practically non-existent here or sell for next to nothing while iPhone 4's can still sell, even in fairly bad condition i.e. screen cracked, bad ESN, etc. for, at least, double digit dollars.

In terms of stability, I noticed a huge difference in stability. When I say stability, I also mean battery performance. I was disappointed to learn that you couldn't easily take off the back of an iOS device as I had been used to Android devices doing this since their first release. I loved this feature for many reasons but mostly so I could manually, or as they say, perform a "cold boot", in case the phone was ever frozen or needed to be turned back on. The iPhone never needed this because I have never nor ever heard of anyone ever needing to restart an iPhone manually. They don't freeze or at least not nearly as often as Android devices do. And here's where the argument becomes more about personal opinion.

Apple keeps a tight lock on all of their products, not just their iOS devices. Everyone should remember how active they were in going after Psystar for manufacturing computers pre-loaded with Macintosh. Apple has done the same with their iOS devices. Apple does not encourage hacking and will void warranties at the first sign of tampering. Apple, as I said before, doesn't allow easy access to the internals of their devices. Apple doesn't use the latest innovations and features but waits until a time to add them into new updates.

Google is almost exactly the opposite. Google is very friendly with the hacking community, actually encouraging people to hack their Android OS. Android devices are fairly open to all. Before, cell phone companies and operators were highly against any sort of hacking but have grown accustomed to it over the years and actually being not only more lenient but also encouraging themselves by providing tools to everyday users. Google gives the basics to manufacturers who then decide whether or not to add in new features.

To be fair, I should have really owned at least one Google Nexus device as I hear they are much superior than other Android devices. I was about to choose the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but the fact that it didn't have an external memory outlet was a deal breaker for me. Seeing the Nexus devices in action is awesome and there is one thing that Nexus devices do have in common with iOS but not other Android devices.

Most Android devices, as I said before, only last for maybe a year or less. But not just because they become outdated with hardware but also software. New Android versions are released at least once per year and since Google gives control over to manufacturers, those releases aren't always given to all devices. Each manufacturer puts their own twists into the updates to give it that extra vibe it needs so you can differentiate that this phone came from HTC because it has that huge clock everyone wants but this one is from Samsung because it uses the TouchWiz interface. With Google's Nexus program, Nexus devices are pure Google with nothing else added. It is the raw form that Google made for each release and is sent almost immediately to these devices first. This is good not only for updates but also because none of that bloatware comes with it. With my HTC Evo, HTC had some deals or something with Amazon and Blockbuster to have apps installed onto the phones. These apps couldn't be deleted either and it angered many of us to have them there and we couldn't do anything about it.

In direct comparison to iOS, Nexus devices do not carry these unnecessary bloatware apps. iOS does have apps that users wish they didn't have such as Stocks for some, Newsstand, a separate Contacts app, Passbook and more; however, these aren't necessarily the same as bloatware as they aren't ads that we don't want nor do they seem to be taking a whole lot of room on the device.

As soon as an Android update is available, they are sent to a Nexus device. The same is true for Apple iPhones. The iPhone 4, 4S, and 5 have all received the latest updates up to now even though the devices were released years ago. This was something that I wanted because it ties in with value. I wanted a phone that had the potential of lasting me years and not just for the first few months of owning it. I feel more appreciated as a customer with this than I did with Android. It felt cheap and like a ploy to get me to buy the newer devices.

When it comes to apps, I have to definitely take the side of the iPhone. iOS receives almost all of the newest apps before they come to Android. Vine and Whisper were two apps that I had while my Android friends kept waiting for an Android version to come around. I don't really understand why this is just because I understand that it costs money to make apps for the iPhone whereas with Google, I hear it's free to make apps for Android. But possibly it has to do with the tools that are needed as well as the time being that iOS has been around longer than Android and the developers there have had time put into iOS more so than with Android. It could also be the various Android models.

With iOS, you only build apps for three devices, and realistically, it's only two devices. The iPod Touch and iPhone, which are almost the exact same device minus the phone feature, and the iPad. While there are different variations such as a smaller screen for the iPad Mini and a larger screen for the iPhone 5, there's not too much else that changes. Especially in comparison to Android, there really aren't any changes. Apple purposefully made the iPhone 5 screen taller and not wider so that iPhone 4S, 4, 3GS, 3G, and 1st Gen apps could all fit somewhat naturally on the iPhone 5 screen with no gaps on the sides. There was some confusion as my cousin assumed that this was natural for Android to have big gaps all the way around screens for devices such as the Galaxy Note II. However, this wasn't the case. Most apps fit just fine or were made special.

But not all Android devices can get all app updates and it became a hassle. Lots of bugs would arise and app developers couldn't always help each and every person. Google got smarter about this and made sure that the Android Market, now Play Store, specifically stated what model someone was using when they would post a review for an app. This helps, but still, some devices are left in the cold with no changes. I remember with my Chinese tablet, this was the case for some apps. I would run into a problem and no update would ever be released to fix my problem because my device wasn't popular.

The advantage that Android has over iOS in terms of apps is that there are lots of the same types of apps and the store is not regulated as well. The latter can be a positive or negative depending on your personal preference. Personally, for me, I liked having root apps on the Android store. Whereas with iOS, once I jailbreak my device, I'll have to go to Cydia to get my jailbreak-only apps. I also liked it because it seemed like developers had their own choice of what they wanted to post.

Steve Jobs made a big deal over this at one of his conventions where he said that Google allowed porn apps onto their store but Apple would never allow such a thing onto iOS. This is good and bad. For parents, it's great because they don't have to worry so much about what their children are downloading from the store. For adults, like myself, it's great to have Android because I can get whatever it is that I want, in that case, maybe I would like an iPhone porn app. It really depends on personal preference there.

Sound boards and other copyright, questionable content is much more frequent on Android than on iOS. There were apps for downloading music, absolutely free on Android but not so many on iOS for obvious reasons. While there seems to be more choices on Android, apparently Apple has more apps in their AppStore than Android does in the Play Store. But it really didn't seem that way then or now. I find myself not downloading as many apps as I did before.

When I had an iPad Mini and a Galaxy S3, I said that it was a good combination because I had iOS and Android whenever I needed it. Now, I don't feel that way. I'm content with only iOS. I haven't used Android since leaving my S3 and I really don't miss the experience. The iPhone's UI caught on with me as well as its stability.

What I do miss from Android is the customization. That is the one thing that I miss. And I will never be able to truly get it back because Apple will never allow such things to happen on any of its mobile devices. The key to the iOS' great stability comes from the fact that it doesn't allow heavy customization. Everything that runs on the iPhone has been tested and used prior to release so little to no bugs are seen. iOS 7 is full of bugs because it's still in development and that is a beta. The only thing that I can say against this is the infamous Apple Maps fiasco. However, in Apple's defense, it was simply shortsightedness rather than a flaw. While Apple Maps was fairly bad, the cry was more about them ridding iOS of Google Maps rather than Apple Maps itself.

I miss the way that Google seemed to listen to us, users too. Apple listens but in a very creepy way. I remember when I had my iPod Touch and this was when copy and paste still wasn't a function of iOS nor was a customizable background (except the lock screen wallpaper). Eventually, Apple did "listen" to the users and implemented the features. But the hacking community had ported both of these and many other features way before Apple's official release. When Apple finally did release it, they acted as though it was something brand new that the iPhone had never seen before. Google, on the other hand, listens to the users and actively encourages them to implement new innovations to their platform.

In reality, neither is truly better than the other. Both are needed to keep the healthy continuation of competitiveness. If Android had never been developed nor anything like it, I don't think the iPhone would have ever seen changes like customizing the background image or Apple being so ready to add a copy and paste feature. The competition between the two companies is what helps us, as users, have the very best choices for our devices. I would never wish for either of them to fall because they are both needed to continue the ever-changing evolution of the mobile device race.

For me, personally, I enjoy my iOS experience more so over the Android experience. I believe it will always come to personal preference when choosing the best of the two. I think that fanboys from both sides need to try out the other device before trying to put them down. It's amazing what a difference it is to simply read or even witness someone using a device versus actually holding it and using it for a few days to a week.

Which one do you prefer and how long have you been with them?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lol @ Microsoft

I thought this was a pretty funny thing to see at the bottom of my Outlook account screen.


I use Google Chrome and I guess they can see that. Microsoft recommends that I "upgrade" from my super fast, nearly bug-free Google Chrome browser to their buggy, toolbar-infected browser that came with my computer.

Yeah...sure thing, Microsoft!

Firefox OS!

Move over Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile; a new player is coming soon!

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser for computers and other devices, have begun work on a new operating system for mobile devices to compete with the above existing OSes. This should be interesting to see as the development is currently ongoing.

Stay tuned! We're keeping our eye on this development too.
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