So tonight, my wife got a Chrome OS notebook. It came via UPS out of the blue, as it apparently does for everyone.
The thing about it is this: we both really, really wanted one of these. We applied to the beta testing program repeatedly and she even made a video reply to the Chrome Youtube channel. This was all in December.
And we waited.
And we waited some more.
This past weekend, my wife got paid for some freelance work she’s been doing, and we both bought brand new computers. Yes, really. Two days ago. And now the Cr-48 is here.
I was reading today about a really cute website, I Can’t Find My Phone. The idea is a simple one: you go to the site, type in your phone number, and it calls you so that you can follow the sound of your ringtone and find where you left your phone.
It’s a nice looking, simple site, and it’s a great shortcut for those who don’t have a landline or another phone close to hand. As long as you’ve simply misplaced your phone somewhere in your house, this is great!
But what if you lose your phone when you’re out somewhere? You pull in your driveway, gather your things from your car, and realize your phone is gone. You look everywhere, but no luck.
What happens next? You call your carrier and have them turn off the service, right? Maybe you have insurance through the carrier which covers loss and theft, so they will ship you a replacement for $50 or $100 instead of full price, which can be $500-$700 for a smartphone. That’s a great idea, though I think the insurance programs could be better. But what about all your information? Today’s smartphones are basically pocket-sized computers that also happen to make phone calls, which means they have a LOT of personal information on them.
I know mine has all of my logins to social networking sites saved, as well as bookmarks to my favorite sites, not to mention pictures, videos and contacts. The Android Market has my card information saved in Google Checkout for paid apps. I don’t have to save any of these things, but I do it for convenience - as most of us do.
I also have an app called Lookout. Right now it’s free for a whole host of features, but soon it will be switching to a free/paid model which will reserve some features for only the paid version. If you download it before that happens, you get to keep the full features for free, so if you have an Android, Blackberry, or WinMo phone, go get it now! Lookout scans apps for viruses, but that is not why I have it.
The most important features for me are the options if your phone is lost or stolen. If your phone disappears, simply go to the Lookout website and log in, and you have three incredibly useful options: you can locate your phone, and track it on a map; you can set off a loud alarm on your phone (even if it’s on silent); and you can remotely wipe your information from the phone.
I haven’t found an equivalent for iphone in a few searches, but I’ve never had an iphone, and I imagine there must be something out there. Can anyone fill me in?
In a pinch, there is always this neat little site: Phonewipe. I haven’t tried it because I don’t want to wipe my phone, but it has some good feedback.
How scary is it to you to consider losing your phone? Do you make regular backup of your information?
I’m interested to hear stories about aging and technology. It could be your own struggles, teaching someone else such as a relative or a customer, any insights or thoughts on the intersections between getting older and learning to use gadgets.
For anyone who might read here who doesn’t have my personal facebook, etc:
Please pray, chant, send love, good vibes, or whatever you believe in, for my friend Toni in LA, who was in a terrible accident a few days ago and is in ICU. She’s an amazing, vibrant person, and we need more like her in the world.
As I may have mentioned once or twice to some of you, I have a Droid X and I love it a lot. I’ve done a lot of reading about it and about Android in general since I first started looking for a new phone back in May or June, and I feel like I made a really informed decision (which I haven’t always, in the past).
My wife had a Samsung Omnia, ostensibly a smartphone, but what turned out to be a terrible one. At the time she bought it, her choices were really that or the Blackberry Storm, which by all accounts is also a terrible phone. I feel like she made the best choice available then and there, but the fact remains that for most of the last year she has despised her phone.
We had talked about her early upgrade option and she’s been looking at phones. She decided on Android and thought that perhaps she would get an X as well, since she wanted a top-of-the-line phone and didn’t want a physical keyboard, but she didn’t actually like it much. It’s interesting to note that some of the things I like about it are the things she felt unsure about - the size and weight. To me, it makes it feel solid and sturdy. To her, it makes it bulky and difficult to deal with.
As it turns out, this past Friday, Best Buy offered the Samsung Fascinate for free as part of their October promotion. She did the research and decided to try it, since she would have 30 days to change her mind and exchange it for another phone. And, as it turns out, she loves it - with good reason. It’s a slightly smaller, definitely thinner, lighter and sleeker phone. One of the first things she did was root it and get rid of Bing as the search engine, which I would definitely recommend for anyone who is capable of following the directions step by step (it’s really easy).
There are things I feel jealous of. I feel like the colors on her screen are definitely superior (as would be expected with the Super AMOLED screen) and she found a lag fix online that has bumped her Quadrant benchmarks (a series of tests that determine cpu and graphics speed) up into the stratosphere. Her phone isn’t locked down in any way, which means full custom ROMs will be available (if they’re not already), and also means that purchasing the phone encourages companies to continue not to lock their phones down.
Even with all that, I love my X. I feel like the pixels are less visible on my screen (I think this is pure conjecture, or a difference in the way we actually see, because my wife disagrees), I love that it’s heavier and I even love the camera hump, as it makes it feel safer in my hand. I prefer the physical buttons for the Menu, Home, Back and Search functions and the physical camera button. I have HDMI out, but I don’t expect to use it much, as we don’t even have HD TVs at home.
I’ve just gone and done a few searches, because initially I read that the Fascinate would not have a Gorilla Glass screen, that the AMOLED didn’t allow for it somehow, but now the majority of reviews, etc are saying that it does have Corning’s Gorilla Glass, so that becomes moot. The X’s camera is 8 MP to the Fascinate’s 5 MP, but in practice, both cameras took really nice pictures and I don’t expect we’d see the difference unless we blew them up to giant posters.
So, ultimately, we both got the best phone on the market for us. It’s important to remember that preference doesn’t equal right and wrong. I’m excited that there are so many options in Android phones, so that we could both find what we wanted!