Monday, December 15, 2014

Moto G (1st Gen) vs Moto G (2nd Gen)

I recently purchased a Moto G (2nd Gen), so I thought I would share my thoughts about it from the perspective of having a Moto G (1st Gen) as well.




Initial Thoughts
The battery is the same size in 2nd Gen and in 1st Gen and the display is bigger.  Thus battery life is worse on the 2nd Gen.


The display is bigger, but it is not higher resolution.  If you need a screen that makes things bigger then this would work for you.  I was wanting to see more stuff on your screen, this isn't what you want.


The processor is the same in the 2nd Gen and in the 1st.  The amount of built in flash persistent storage is half the size in the 2nd Gen.  This caused me issues in upgrading.  It couldn't migrate my data, since there was less storage.


It does have a micro SD card slot, which is a big plus, but I feel like the next iteration of a product should not have less storage than the previous.  Also, 8 gig is way too little storage on a device today.  A device should be usable by the average user out of the box without having to buy extra stuff as soon as you buy it.  The argument that they were able to get the price of the device lower that way doesn't fly.  I don't believe that flash storage is that expensive to cut into their margin on this device.  I also don't find the device to be cheaper if I have to go buy more memory when I buy it.


On the same topic of needing to invest more money in the device, the device is somewhat slippery, just like the 1st Gen.  It should either come with a case or be designed to not slip out of my hand when using it.  It appears that they tried to put some sort of rubber coating on the back, but it has no grip to it.




The 2nd Gen has 32 gig SD card limit.  Perhaps this is a limitation of Android, but 32 Gig is tiny considering the device has video pictures and music capabilities in addition to installing apps.  Maybe it is a bit early to expect terabyte cards to be able to be used if you could find one, but I don't see why 128 gig is too hard.


One of the factors that drove me over the edge to get the next generation Moto G was that it had dual speakers instead of just the one.  I thought that would make it louder.  It is actually quieter.


The sound quality appears to be a bit better, but I really needed it louder more than I needed higher fidelity.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Divergent

Divergent (2014) Poster

I was not impressed by the trailer and plot description of Divergent.  It just seemed like more Hollywood cookie cutter stuff.  My wife was interested and I was willing to watch it to spend time with her.

The movie was very slow to start out and somewhat confusing.  Throughout the movie the the plot was slipping into not making sense or connecting.

I was expecting to see the different factions doing their jobs, but for the most part the protectors just trained and walked around town like a band of thugs.

For all of its problems I did end up enjoying Divergent.  With all of it holes, it kept me hanging with it and left me with a feeling of enjoyment at the end of it.

It was over two hours long, which I very much like putting the time into telling a story.

Many of the themes dealt with fear, so there were suspenseful things.  There was also a lot of fighting.  The extent of the sex was a little kissing and someone being a jerk saying "take it off" as a girl took off her coat.

Just to give perspective, there was far less foul language than in Back to the Future, which many consider a good family film.  The language in Back to the Future often takes me out of the movie when watching with my kids.  If you are comfortable with the language in Back to the Future, you will be comfortable in this movie.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dog Breath Book Review


In January I received an email from Jolene Fine asking if I would review her book, Dog Breath, on my blog.  She sent me an electronic copy of the book.  I was very excited that she had found my blogs and was asking for my opinion.

Disclaimers
I do not consider myself a skilled writer or literary expert, but I am happy to review this book from the perspective of a reader and I very much appreciated receiving the book whether my thoughts end up being favorable or not.

I found myself trying harder to keep an open mind about the book, since the author contacted me herself personally.  I could empathize with her publishing a part of herself and hoping other people will enjoy it, even though she did not express these things to me.  I hope that any negative or positive opinions I express are useful to her in developing future stories.

Super Sniffer
It was an interesting and at times funny concept that the main character had a talented sense of smell and internally created nick names for everyone he came in contact with based on how they smelled.

Latter-day Saints
The main character was a recently converted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The author used over used LDS cliches.  Not only are the cliches tired, but many people outside the Church won't understand them. This limits the audience of the book.  Including aspects of LDS life in stories I like, but there are many who might otherwise be drawn to this book, who just won't get the jokes.

Often TV shows and movies show Catholic or other religious characters and I think it is often very good.  I would like to see more of this with Latter-day Saint characters as a way to give a glimpse into LDS life and culture.  In many ways the author did some good things with this.

Some of the church stuff was interesting and humorous.  The dilemma of being in a complicated relationship with a girl not of his faith and pushing her away only to have her bump into the missionaries and show up at church was interesting.

Humor
I found the book humorous at times, the main character's quick wit to cover up embarrassing situations was enjoyable.

Foul
The humor often tried to dance the edge of and dip its toe into vulgarity without leaping all the way into it.

There are several pages dedicated to flatulence and that theme recurs in several places in the book.  It was excessive.

The author overused of the word for a female dog.  It was always used properly, but sometimes used properly and then hinted at meaning the profane.

At times the language and innuendo was crude.  For example, toward the end of the book was a line, “Smells like a Hollywood hooker after taking her sixth ride in a limo.”

Romance
I think there were supposed to be pieces of romance with the main character, but just when I would envision him to be attractive to a female character some aspect of him would be described that would make him revolting.  It just felt like the idea that he had let himself go and was not attractive made the situations where women would find themselves drawn to him a little unbelievable and kind of pulled me out of the story.

Infidelity
The story line of fantasizing about his friend's girlfriend and the two of them flirting is a story line I have felt uncomfortable about in other books and movies.  Yes the friend and girlfriend are not married but she is still being untrue to her boyfriend and he to his friend.  It was handled a little differently and was more enjoyable in this book, but still not a concept that I am comfortable with.

If your boyfriend is not the one then break it off, but if you are trying to make it work then don't let your eyes wonder.

Be a true friend and don't dwell on romantic thoughts about his girlfriend.

Summary
Overall the book was ok.  There were enjoyable parts and the story idea has potential.  I will be looking for other books by this author in the future to see how her writing style progresses and what other ideas she has.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Medication: Diclofenac and Methocarbam

I had some ribs out of place. The doctor sent me to a chiropractor and he put them back in place for me.

The doctor prescribed Diclofenac (generic for Voltaren ) 75mg as an anti-inflammatory and Methocarbam (generic for Robaxin) 750mg as a muscle relaxant.

I took two Methocarbam and One Diclofenac at bed time.  Mid morning the next day I began to have intense internal pressure.  Later in the day I started to have large amounts of gas.  In the evening I was very constipated.

When the symptoms started, I thought perhaps it was from having my ribs adjusted and being pushed on.

Later that evening we were reviewing the potential side effects of the medicine.  We found that the symptoms I was having were some of that can be caused by Diclofenac.

I had these symptoms after taking only one Diclofenac.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Moto G

December 21, 2013
USB Connector
At first I thought they had included a proprietary USB connector, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found that it was the same as our Nexus 7 and Galaxy Player.  That means if I forget a plug at work on in other room we can still use a plug from another device.

Screen Size in Landscape
One concern I had when looking at this phone was the 4.5 inch screen one of the problems I had with my previous device was it's 4 inch screen.  When typing in Google Drive documents in landscape I would get maybe one line of text, so I had no context for where I was typing.  The 4.5 inch screen gave me four maybe five lines.  That was much much better.

Although, as I was trying to write this blog post I used the Moto G for some of it.  As I turned it sideways all I could see was the Blogger utility bar and it wouldn't let me scroll up to the text entry part of the page, but that is likely due to the Blogger website or the browser on the phone and not the phone itself.

Shape and Thickness
Most smart phones I had seen people I knew with were square and bulky.  The was not much thicker than my Ipod 2nd generation and Galaxy Player.  For the most part it was rounded.  My daughter's Ipod Touch 5th generation was more block style (square) than the Moto G.

Technical Support
The Motorola tech support for the Moto G was somewhat lacking, as I described in other post.  http://youdeserverecognition.blogspot.com/2013/12/motorola-moto-g-technical-support.html

Perhaps it will get better as the Moto G has been out longer, since it was just barely released.

Camera
When I first got it I thought the Camera is fast.  When I took one picture it appeared it was immediately ready to take another.  When I used it at Christmas with a lot more photo use and quick kids it seemed much slower.

The zoom is very easy, once you understand it is not pinch and stretch. Just swipe up to zoom in and down to zoom out. It is a little tricky to zoom just a little. The last device I had with a camera was much more complicated to try to zoom while holding the frame. With the Moto G I just swipe and tap to take the picture.

The design of the back of the phone is designed in such a way to somewhat protect the camera face from being scratched. It is slightly inset and the body is slightly curved. The inset keeps it from contacting surfaces somewhat. The curve also lifts it further off surfaces.

Speaker
The Moto G only has one speaker, but it is louder than other devices I have with two speakers. It is not great for music, but my use is mostly voice only and not music.  It would be nice to have a speaker that had solid quality, but the Moto G is the best I have had so far and for my use volume is more important than quality.

Battery Life
I am getting about one and a half to two days on the battery when using it was audio, emails, and texting.  Only an occasional phone call.


Update Feb 1, 2014
Unsettling Behavior
I went to bed last night and the battery was at more than half.  When I woke up this morning, I went to turn the screen on and all I got was the little notification light blinking three times at me.  I tried the power button and the volume buttons, but just kept getting the blinking light.  I thought it was frozen up, so I was looking for one of those tiny pin hole reset buttons.

I finally decided to get out my charger and see if it behaved differently when plugged in.  When I plugged it in the screen came on and showed me a battery indicator of 0%.

I have been really happy with this device, but have run into a few really flaky things, like this, that concern me.

I have pulled it out of my pocket before and found that it shut itself off.

I'm a little worried at a time when I am really counting on it being there for me that it will not function.

If I go to pick someone up at the airport and they are anticipating calling my cell phone to tell me when they are on the ground and where there are when I get there, an cell phone that stops functioning without warning could make for a stressful end of a flight.

Motorola Purchased by Google/Motorola Purchased by Lenovo
I heard the other day that Google was considering selling Motorola to Lenovo.  Google just purchased Motorola for a lot of money not long ago.  The number that I have heard that they are considering selling to Lenovo for is a fraction of what they paid.

Google was likely just buying the patents, but it is unsettling to have purchased a Motorola product and to see the company being bought and sold in quick succession.  It can't make the employees feel secure about their jobs, which could impact quality and service.

One of the reasons I went with the Moto G, in addition to its lower price for a name brand product, was because of their affiliation with Google.  I have a perception of quality standards from Google that i assumed would be required of Motorola as well.  I also assumed that I would get updates more quickly, being owned by Google.  Being owned by someone else makes me wonder if updates will be slowed like with other manufacturers.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Player that I purchased a year and a half a go.  It came with Gingerbread and has never been updated to something more current.  I believe they still sell this device and it still comes with Gingerbread.

Before Google purchased Motorola I had a perception of Motorola that they were a typical low to mid range phone manufacturer.  With the Moto line and being affiliated with Google my perception was starting to change.  I hope I do not regret having purchased a Motorola product.

USB Storage on PC
We found shortly after getting the phones that my wife's phone would not connect as USB storage device.  If we switched it into camera storage mode it would work fine, but that only exposed a limited set of directories to the PC.  Motorola support could not get it working.  It finally fixed itself when the phone updated to Kit Kat.

The strange thing was that mine was also on Jelly Bean and worked fine.

Volume Went Soft
One day I was listening to an audio book on my phone and the volume was very low.  I had been listening to the book the day before and it was much louder.  I tried the volume buttons on the phone and it was at 100%.  I went into settings to make sure that the volume buttons were increasing the right volumes and they were all at 100%

I then noticed later in the day that it was very difficult to hear on a phone call.  A little while later the volume came back to normal on its own.

Volume Controls
I am having trouble getting use to having different adjustments for different volumes.  I like it in theory, but with only one set of volume buttons it is often not convenient.

I will go to start some music or an audio book and in an effort not to blast out those around me I try to decrease the volume.  The volume buttons control the phone volume because not audio is playing yet.  I end up having to drill into settings to change the volume for music and such.

While I agree that the phone volume is the one you often need to get to most quickly, there has got to be a way to make music volumes more convenient.

Update 3-9-2014
Slippery
The phone it more slippery than I initially thought.  I find that the shape and texture of the phone makes it often try to flip sideways out of my hand.

Battery
Frequently I find the battery lasting a rely short time, but the battery length is inconsistent.

Sometimes Buggy
Recently I am finding my Moto G to have flakey hardware. Most recently I am finding the camera often gives an error when an app tries to use it and I have to reboot to get it to work.

Update 3-26-2014
Battery
The major battery problem seems to have gone away with an update from Skype and Google.  For the moment the battery life is even better than what it was before the huge decline.  I am getting two days or more of casual use out of the battery.  I hope it stays consistent this time.

Durability
Although the Moto G is a bit slippery in the hand, it did see to hold up well when it slipped out of my hand and hit the pavement.  The two corners that hit are scratched up pretty good, but the phone functionality seems unaffected.  Might have been a different story had it landed on its face.  Hoping someone finds a good way to build a phone to make the screen more durable, since it is a huge, vulnerable surface.

Update 5-7-2014
Last night I was transferring audio books and talks to my Moto G.  After a while the transfers stopped progressing.  I canceled them and tried to get my phone to respond and it would not.  I disconnected the data/charging cable and eventually got a white screen with a green circle in the middle.  The circle had the Motorola logo in the middle of it.  The white screen had the word Android in black stylized text at the bottom.

I contacted Motorola.  The good news was that it was about 8:00 at night and customer support was available.  The bad new was that they only seemed to have a script to work from and quickly just offered to send me a new one.

It stinks to be without my phone for 3-5 days and to lose photos I haven't gotten off yet and other files I have on there, but it will be nice if they actually get it here quickly and with no hassle do this exchange.

The email I receive specifically said to not return the charging/data cable.  It will be nice to have an extra cable around.

I was not impressed with the knowledge of the customer support person I worked with initially, but a no hassle return could make up for it, especially if this phone somehow miraculously makes it here before the weekend.

My overall impression of the Moto G so far is that it is buggy.  My wife and I have had weird things with our Moto Gs all the way through this process.  When they work we love them, but often there are things that give us a bad experience with the Moto G.  Unfortunately quality issues seem to be rampant these days in most products we buy.  Quality seems to be the first thing to go to increase stock holder returns.

My hope is that they will have worked some of the kinks out in the manufacturing and design of the Moto G after many have been sold and they will have adjusted the newer ones.  My fear is that they set up the manufacturing process once and I will get the exact same thing I have now.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Walmart T-Mobile Family Plan


There was a $35 activation fee that I don't think was advertised as well as their month cost for the service.  That is something people should be aware of with this service.  It did not deter me from getting it, but it was something that surprised me and irritated me while we were signing up.

The coverage can be a bit spotty.  Going from Chicago, IL to South Bend, IN, which is a well populated area, we had disruptions of phone and text service.

Incoming texts didn't work right away,even though service switched almost instantly. We had to contact customer service and they had no answer for us, but in a few hours it started working.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Brick Oven

I went to Brick Oven for the first time today.  I wasn't impressed with the menu.

Waitress only kept half the drinks full.  She seemed to mostly give up on the table after food started coming to the table.

A coworker said that their root beer was great.  It did taste good, but I was assuming it would've had a head on it since it was their signature thing.

I got the Market Room Buffet, which includes the soup and salad buffets.  I wish I had gotten a sandwich and the salad bar.  The pasta part of the buffet, which was the extra onto the soup and salad when getting Market Room, was confusing.  It wasn't an open pasta bar.  You had to go put in an order and wait a few minutes.  They had you pick two servings of pasta or vegetable.  They had a bunch of different types of pasta and a broccoli or mixed vegetable it.  I didn't get the vegetables, so not sure exactly what it was.

After they heated up my pasta in some warm water they gave me a couple of pieces of sausage and a piece of garlic bread straight out of a brick oven.  I then took my bowl over to the soup bar where they had soup and also pasta sauces.

The soups were not exciting to me and I like a good soup.  I got the clam chowder and the chunks of clam and such were really small and not many of them.  I realize it is soup, but I prefer a more robust chowder.

The salad bar had several items on their, but the selection of dressings was limited.

A couple of people in my group got ten inch pizzas and they looked good and filling, but I think they were eleven dollars.  Seemed a little expensive.

A couple of people in the group got sandwiches and they came with a cookie and a bag of vending machine chips.  Seemed very chintzy for a sit down restaurant.  I guess it makes them more flexible for their take out customers.  Seems like the sit down experience should be better.

One member of our group customized his sandwich to swap mushrooms for jalapenos.  The down side was that they did not switch them as he asked.  The good news was that they offered to either redo it or give him jalapenos on the side or some other way he would choose to make it right.

It was a unique experience and nice atmosphere, but not a place I would choose to go, especially if I am paying.