Monthly Archives: November 2011

Ending My Relationship With a Smartphone

Where to start? Where to start?

The end, maybe?  I’ve finally given up on the Betamax™ of smartphones. For those not paying attention, that would be the Palm and HP Pre phones running webOS (Sprint’s Pre “minus,” Verizon’s Pre 2, and the scarcer-than-hen’s-teeth Pre 3, which I don’t think was released by any U.S. carrier).

In this old post, I wrote about my introduction to the Palm Pre. It was a good ride – very good, in fact – while it lasted.  Unfortunately it didn’t last. After I dropped my Pre “minus” on a hard floor and totally hosed the display, I needed a new smartphone. And I wanted to keep my contract with Sprint; so that meant a replacement Pre “minus” to run on the Sprint network.  I bought one online; but it had a problem with the volume control. Some system sounds worked; but I couldn’t control the sound level.  I sent it in for repair (and no, even though I had just purchased it, it wasn’t considered new so I paid dearly to have it fixed).

Above I compared the Pre Phones (and webOS) to Betamax™ for at least one reason: it is probably the best smartphone operating system; but it never got the market share to make it viable.  Blame a lackluster product-launch advertising campaign (remember this lady?) for part of the low market share; but the timing of the sale of Palm (and webOS) to HP meant that there was a long interval between hardware and software releases.

And, just as video content providers did in the “tape wars,” application developers go where the money paying customers are.  And, in something of a vicious circle, the customers go where the apps are.  And they (the apps) weren’t with the webOS devices.

All these factors didn’t do much to lure potential webOS users; they got tired of waiting and went elsewhere. It didn’t do much to bolster the confidence of current users (like me), either.  Many of us early adopters had Sprint contracts that were coming to an end and had nowhere viable to go. This blog states it well.

And we won’t even mention the fact that at the same time I was looking to “hang on” with my original webOS device, HP up and pulled the rug out from under all of us webOS users with this announcement.

So, after my Pre bit the dust (literally?), I needed to find a replacement phone, and it probably wasn’t going to be an iPhone.  Only two ways to go then: Windows phone or Android. The Windows phone was distinctly underwhelming. The HTC EVO 3D was the way I went.  I had a 14-day trial, and in the end I decided to stay with the EVO.

My trusty Pre and all its accessories are now packed up, tucked away, waiting for the time when I’ll need to activate it if the EVO craps out. But it’s an old Pre (almost 2 ½ years old, which is ancient by smartphone standards).  I could try to sell it (and the Touchstone I have, plus 4 batteries, 2 wall chargers and a car charger); but the going rate for a Pre on eBay is abut $25. I exaggerate; but it’s probably not worth the time and trouble to sell it.

In any case, I do have another webOS device (an HP TouchPad), so I can keep my webOS chops tuned up while I’m “slumming” on Android.

And no, iOS and Android do not do multitasking as well as webOS.  And I truly miss swiping to close apps.  And flipping between open & running apps.

And I miss that Touchstone.

Let’s Not Become Stupid Again

“We’re pretty creditworthy, and we can’t borrow. There is nothing to borrow. Long-term lenders are not lending. There is no bond issuance…Nobody trusts anybody.”

This quote is from an old issue of The New Yorker (Oct. 20, 2008; “The Talk of the Town” article Freeze!). A coworker of my husband’s gives us her old issues; and for reasons great and small, I’m just getting around to reading the ones from 2008.

I began with some issues from pre-election 2008. These were fun to read; but as I reached issues from the Autumn of 2008, the country’s sense of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and dread) was reawakened, albeit vicariously (and across the 3 intervening years’ time).

Remember those days? When fortunes were lost in one New York Stock Exchange trading day?  When retirement savings were obliterated  as the stock ticker showed nearly every equity down, down, and further down?

When I read this quote I recalled how pit-of-the-stomach scary these days were.   Yes, there has been a “recovery” (of sorts), and people are beginning to move on.  But this shock to the system has left a nagging sense of FUD that tints nearly all of our civic life: commerce, politics, education, immigration, even our interactions with each other near and far.

But we shouldn’t forget those days or the feelings they unleashed. If we forget, we will be tempted to behave as it It Could Never Happen Again.

Another quote from the article:

“After 9/11, it took people only six months to get stupid. This time, it will take ten years for people to become stupid again.”

What the author means by that (I think) is that we returned to business as usual about six months after 9/11. But after the economic collapse, it will take much longer for people to recover enough, to get “bored with doom and gloom,” and resume the economic ways — the business as usual — that contributed to the crash.

Lets hope that in the years that follow we make an effort to not become stupid again and thereby avert another entirely preventable economic crash.