Spring cleaning

Whilst porting Jules’ stuff from her iPhone 5 to my old 5s I took the opportunity to try and spruce up the iMac – it’s been running reeeeaaaaallllllllyyyyyyyy slowly recently.

After a load of to-ing and fro-ing I spotted that, despite running the BB Desktop uninstaller a few months back, there were a load of random BB daemons still running – a couple “unresponsive”, but all persistent.

Trying to remove the BB folder from the user/library didn’t get me very far. It simply reinstalled itself every time.

Instead, I nipped down to /library and removed the Blackberry folder. As the daemons are persistent, this means that you have to use the Activity Monitor to Force Quit each process as the delete complains that the file is locked. A bit of a pain but, ultimately, worth it.

A quick reboot and …… wow! The speed is back, the screen artefacts are gone, the boot time is decimated. What a truly awful piece of software the BB stuff is.

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What’s been going on then?

All change – that’s what.

Gone – is the Macbook Air
Gone – is the iPad
Gone – is the iPhone

…… What?!!!!!!

Yes, me – the original Apple Fanboi – has fallen out of love with the world of Apple. (Although, at the moment, I have retained the iMac).

And why? Well, there are a couple of reasons for this – three actually;

  1. Jules and Gina went to visit Charlie, Yves and our new grand-daughter Tiare in November last year. Jenny stayed in Blighty with me as she wasn’t allowed to take time out of school (despite one of her main project that term being Aborigines, and Tennant Creek being populated mainly by Aborigines – go figure, well done Gillotts).
    I had an iPhone, Jules has an iPhone and Jenny has an iPhone. As Jules and I are both on Three mobile, she gets free calls and texts in Australia, as though she were in the UK. Handy. Except it’s not.
    Apple uses iMessage as the default txting protocol – using data rather than your SMS quota. This, is some circumstances, may make sense. However, because Three (for obvious reasons) don’t allow you to use your data allowance abroad, you have to manually set iMessage to use SMS not data in the iPhone settings. We discovered this after a couple of days of txts not apparently appearing on either phone.
    That shouldn’t be a problem – Jules and I both disabled data for txts and now the messages flowed back and forth freely. Wonderful. Except …….. now I can’t receive messages from Jenny as her iPhone is set to the default of using data for iMessage. Superb.
    I could have asked her to switch the setting to SMS too, except that would mean that neither she or I could communicate with any of our respective friends using iPhones. So I had to spend the days switching the settings every couple of hours to see if any inbound messages were there from either protocol.
    This, IMHO, is an absolute farce – which leads me on to ……
  2. Being totally tied in to the Apple eco-system. If you’ve got an Apple device, then Cupertino own you and the way in which you do everything. Full. Stop. From the above scenario to the non-apple devices that you can interface with (read, “none”). There are a whole bunch of programs and “apps” out there that I would love to use on a day-to-day basis but can’t – because no-one will port them to OSX. In today’s connected world, I’m not prepared to pay an Apple premium to do an everyday task for twice the price in a way that …….
  3. Hasn’t been innovated since they began. The iPhone 6 plus, is a larger iPhone 6. Which is a larger iPhone 5s, which is a quicker iPhone 5 with an added finger-print reader, which is a quicker iPhone 4s …… get where I’m going here? A total lack of innovation across the iOS and OSX range is, frankly, depressing.

I could probably go on here, but I did say only three items, so won’t turn this into a rant, Yes, Apple’s devices are undeniably well built and lovely to use. This “We refuse to deal with anything that we don’t own” attitude though has finally turned me away from them. You pay a premium for the devices, a premium for the software and don’t even get me on the amount that they charge for a paltry amount of iCloud storage that often doesn’t sync correctly anyway.

It was a big bullet to take – having invested heavily in Apple software over the years that (of course) largely doesn’t have a version that works on other OS, but I am so glad I did. And, of course, the burning question? What did I replace it all with?

Goodbye Macbook and iPad. Hello Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (i5, 256Gig SSD, 8Gig RAM). And hello indeed! You will have seen the ads “The tablet that can replace your laptop” and – by and large – it does. Not only that, but it does it very well indeed. I have all the apps and functionality that I had on my iPad – but with an incredible screen – and a full windows desktop that performs at least as well as the Macbook Air did (but with programs that are compatible with the rest of the world). Microsoft Office finally looks like Microsoft Office. My phone (more about that in a moment) is supported by the operating system and everything syncs across the two devices as God intended.

Yes, there is a slight hit in battery life. I could ecke about ten or so hours out of the two Apple devices if I was really careful. This translates to eight-to-nine hours with the Surface. This is still more than enough to get me through a working day though. Yes, the trackpad on the Macbook is in a league of it’s own – but the trackpad on the new Surface Keyboard is more than adequate and the “lapability” of the Surface knocks the Macbook into touch.

I now take one device with me where-ever I go and can seamlessly move from reading the Times or Kindle to doing some work on a Windows desktop without drawing breath.

Of course, that doesn’t even consider the piece-de-resistance …… the pen. Yes, I can write on the Surface. Whether it be jotting down stuff in Onenote (which it will then OCR and make searchable – even with my hand-writing), annotate documents and diagrams. Scribble a quick mind-map or just sign documents without needing to print them off. Absolutely superb and something that I love. Try that with a stubby inch-wide stylus on your iPad. (I did, and I know how frustrating it is)

Nice. Very nice indeed.

Goodbye iPhone. Hello Samsung Galaxy Note 4. (And hello to the world of Android).

After having has an iPhone in one form or another for so long, there was a real learning curve to Android once I booted the phone up. That said and done though, it was relatively short. I am still discovering new things (this is two months in) but that is because there is just so much that this device can do;

  • The same or equivalent apps (that talk to the ones on the Surface) that I had on the iphone. Check.
  • Fingerprint reader. Check.
  • Heart-rate monitor. Check.
  • SpO2 monitor. Check.
  • Massive battery life (try that on an iPhone). Check.
  • Health monitoring natively including pedometer. Check.
  • Staggering screen with enormous pixel density. Check.
  • S-Pen so that I can write on it and use it as a notepad. Check.
  • Have multiple windows open at the same time on the same screen. Check.
  • Full multi-tasking. Check.
  • (Did I mention that you can write on it as though it were a notepad?)

In a “Phablet” size – that I was initially leery of – the feature set of this device negates the need for an iPad (certainly the mini) all by itself. Coupled with the Samsung S-Cover – which replaces the back of the phone, with a window that displays sufficient information that you don’t have to open it up every time it beeps or rings – then I really do have (for me, at least) as close as I can imagine to the perfect mobile set up. Galaxy in my pocket, Surface in my bag, compatibility with anything non-Apple, no lock-ins, no walled gardens, both fast, both a joy to use, both able to use up to 128Gig micro SD card, Galaxy with replaceable battery – sorry Apple, you won’t be seeing me back any time soon.

The love affair is over.

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