5 Minute Micro-Post

I only have about 12 minutes before my work day is over, and I can leave the office here at school. So I thought I would take a few (five or less) minutes to write a quick micro-post about recent developments in my life. There have been few.

One purchase I made on Taobao this week has made me temporarily quite happy has been a new phone case. The first case I bought for my S9+ was just OK. Although it felt good in my hand, I found that it restricted the use of the health sensor on the back of my phone because it had a plastic bar located between the camera and the sensor. In order to measure my blood pressure or to take an accurate heart rate measurement, I needed to remove the case first. With this new Spigen case, such measurements are no trouble whatsoever. In fact, I like this case so much that I ordered another one of the same model only black and bronze instead of dark blue and silver.  It’s nice to have options.

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New Phone Who Dis?

I’m not an unboxer. I don’t typically buy things for the purpose of producing unbox porn. With that said, my new phone definitely could easily star in a viral video that teenagers all over the world would huddle under the covers to re-watch. I’m just not the one to shoot that video. I wish I were.

You can probably guess (if you look very closely) from the photo that my new phone is none other than the Samsung Galaxy S9+. I’ve had it for over a week and a half now, and I’m very happy to report that it just might be the perfect phone. It’s super fast. It has the best-rated camera among all smartphones. And it fits my hand perfectly. Samsung has decided (at least for now) to keep the 3.5mm analog headphone jack, so I really couldn’t be more pleased with my new phone. Will it change my life or make me happier? Probably not, but if only the weather would improve, I’d be outside taking more photos with it, and that might improve my disposition, slightly.

Apple Journalists Are Lame

I’m not a fanboy of any particular company or operating system, but I’m super critical of headlines that are clearly in service of fanboyism. Here is a prime example of the lameness I’m referring to:

Phone Makers Are Embarrassing Themselves By Copying Apple’s Ideas

Come on. This is hyperbole at best, and rubbish click-bate at worst. The phones that are iPhone’s strongest competition are not copying Apple in any meaningful way. Samsung and Google’s phones are ahead of the iPhone and IOS in many ways, and consumers know it. That’s why iPhone’s market share is flat while Google and Samsung’s are increasing.  Both the Pixel2 XL and Galaxy S9+ can boast of better cameras than the iPhone X has. THAT is a headline. The fact that an Asus (yes, Asus makes phones) has copied Apple’s ridiculous screen notch is NOT worthy of a blog post.

The fact that other phone manufacturers also have face-unlock is NOT an example of copying Apple. iPhone was not the first phone with face-unlock. Apple copied Samsung. Who was first with face-based emoji? Google’s Allo messenger began turning selfies into emoji’s first. As for the “vanishing headphone jack” (which pisses off most new phone buyers to no end), Samsung, Apple’s biggest rival, is NOT copying Apple’s terrible decision to replace excellent, proven analog tech with sketchy, low-quality Bluetooth audio and dongle-life. Apple copied Android phone makers by making phones with larger screens. Toshiba was first with the fingerprint to unlock technology, also used by Motorola in 2011, which Apple copied on the iPhone 5 more than a year later. Apple also copied Samsung by using AMOLED screens (which they buy from Samsung).

Do you know who is embarrassing themselves? Journalists who write ridiculous non-stories to pump up Apple products and services when competing products and services are obviously more advanced, superior, and less expensive.

Phone Thoughts +

Way back in 2012, my very first smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy Nexus. By today’s standards, it was slow and tiny with 64 GB of storage, but at the time, it satisfied my meager mobile phone needs. I almost didn’t notice how poor its camera was because I was supplementing  my photography needs using a Canon point-and-shoot S95. While in China in 2015, I upgraded to a Oneplus One with a much better camera. I instantly gravitated to the custom ROM scene and installed CyanogenMod.

In April of 2017, I was forced to buy a new phone after my Oneplus One was stolen, and without the time nor the ability to research my phone purchase, I settled on a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. It is a beautiful phone that made me very happy for almost a year, but I have a couple of reasons for deciding to ditch it in favor of a newer,  faster phone with a much bigger screen. The first reason I’m planning to upgrade is that buying my S7 Edge was not my choice. It was a decision forced upon me due to circumstances beyond my control in a moment of desperation. If given the chance, I would have held onto my Oneplus One for at least another year. Reason number two: the camera on my S7 Edge suffers from some pretty bad distortion. Perhaps it’s not noticeable to others, but I always notice it, especially in photos of buildings or other things that should appear perpendicular to the ground, but due to barrel distortion. Of course, the Samsung camera app which ships with the phone has a setting to reduce lens distortion, but that app on my phone does not allow the saving of RAW photos, so I usually choose not to use that camera.

Therefore, after reading all of the leaked information about the Samsung Galaxy S9+ I could get my hands on, I’ve decided to pull the trigger and buy one. In fact, shortly after rolling out of bed this morning, I parked myself on Samsung’s  website, invested the time and effort in creating an account with my new address, and ordered myself a black 256 GB Galaxy S9+. I realize that it won’t ship for another week, but I feel very good, so good that I also ordered a phone case to fit it.

Will this new phone change my life? Yes! Yes, it will.

Goodbye Twitter

Twitter is the worst of the “important” social networks in the western world. I say this not only because their new anti-auto-post policy locked my account, but for the more obvious reasons: they haven’t fixed their trolling problems, they haven’t blocked racist hate-tweeters (I’m looking at you grandpa Trump), and they haven’t solved the rampant bot problems. Other than that, Twitter must be perfect, right?

Nope. First, let me explain how I unknowingly ran afoul of their new(?) anti-auto-post rule. I blog on WordPress. WordPress allows me to cross-post a link to new blog posts using a Twitter API. Apparently, Twitter has decided (in its infinite wisdom) to lock the accounts of users who do this. How did I find out about this policy? By email to my account based on my previous behavior of auto-posting? Nope. Twitter just locked my account, THEN sent me an email. Lazy idiots that they are, they probably think this is an effective way to inform their userbase. One auto-post per day using a Twitter API from WordPress, without regard to the content or any other circumstances = locked account. That’s a bad policy. It’s almost as if they don’t know what their service is used for.

Now that my account is locked, you’d think it would be a simple matter to get it unlocked, wouldn’t you? But if you thought that, you don’t know how dysfunctional social networks such as Twitter work. I had to click “I am not a bot” then choose the frames of an image that contained street signs. SUCCESS…right? Nope. My account remained locked until I “associate a phone number” with Twitter to be confirmed by SMS. Guess what. I’m never going to do that. I’m not going to give Twitter, that broken down old has-been of a social network yet one more piece of information about me that no one else has to hand over, as payment for my having broken a new Twitter policy that they never informed me of.

So…that’s why I’m done with Twitter. It’s not for the obvious reasons that they don’t apply their own rules equally to all users. It’s because they continue to break the accounts of the type of users who they should be encouraging to use their service more.

What’s New Tuesday?

For the Love of the Game
Let’s see, what’s new? That’s really not a rhetorical question. I got bashed in the right eye by an errant elbow this afternoon in the school gymnasium while playing basketball with some hyper-aggressive (and slightly uncoordinated) teachers who visit from other schools every Tuesday to play basketball. This wasn’t my first basketball-related injury this group has inflicted upon my face. Last Tuesday a teacher went all viper-style on me, springing from his coiled position straight up into the bridge of my nose giving me a swollen schnoz and a black right eye. I’m sure I’ll have another shiner come tomorrow morning despite my early exit from the gym to ice down my face. Many of the players messaged me on WeChat to check if I’m OK, so that was nice. The sad thing is that I’ve already begun to change my playing style; becoming less aggressive on defense. Now it’s time to stop being such a ball-hawk on the boards as well.

The Taobao of Pooh
I recently joined the zillions of Chinese shopaholic in properly setting up a Taobao account, complete with online debit card payment (please don’t hack it!) and a correctly entered shipping address. Not only that, I successfully ordered a few things, and already received my first package, a replacement USB type-C power cable for my notebook computer. I know that doesn’t sound very impressive, but it’s going to save me from packing and unpacking a power cable every single working day. Now I’ll just leave one of the cables on my desk in the office. Yeah!