Steve Jobs’ death pushed me to Android

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The Twitter Hashtag #firstworldproblems is very apt here. My two year contract with my mobile operator O2 ran out in the summer. I of course waited for the iPhone 5 to be launched to upgrade, like I have done for the last two times. However, something then threw a spanner in the works; I started to like Android.
When we got the Google Nexus 7, I was interested to see what Android OS was like, having never used it. After playing with it for a couple of weeks, I started to see the system for what it was: integrated, open and fast.
Having used iOS for the last four years, which in comparison is quite a closed system, I loved the freedom. But it wasn’t going to stop me from upgrading to the iPhone 5, as Apple have tended to make a big upgrade every two years (which is why I was always happy to sign a 2 year contract).
I was excited when Apple introduced their Keynote for the iPhone 5. I stayed away from twitter, the news and anything that would remotely tell me about the upgrade to the iPhone. I watched it the next day in the train on the way to Crewe for a friends wedding (looking very business like with my bluetooth headset and posh phone). I have to say, I wasn’t blown away, as I usually am. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice update, but nothing amazing (like the change from iPhone 3G to iPhone 4 was). Obviously the half inch of extra screen real-estate will make a nice difference, the addition (for me) of Siri will be a nice touch and there is a nice improvement to the camera, but that is really it. If my contract wasn’t up, or my phone wasn’t slow and had a sticky button, I wouldn’t really be bothered about upgrading.
I downloaded iOS this week, and again, I’m not amazed. The main feature I like is the “Don’t disturb” feature, which will stop all calls from ringing at night, unless it’s called back within 3 minutes. Passbooks won’t be much of addition to me, I don’t really go to concerts much, I don’t go to sports events or get on a plane all that often (that is if any company in UK/Europe decides to integrate it). The less said about Apple’s complete cock-up with their new maps app, the better. Yes, you can report errors, which is just as well, and every new major software has it’s hiccups, but to me this shows the loss of Steve Jobs. I can’t imagine Mr Jobs would let iOS maps see the light of day with satellite images of heavy cloud, directions that will take you off a bridge or locations of shops in the middle of a river. If this is how Apple is going to be with the loss of Steve Jobs, I’m not interested. Fingers crossed it’s just a blip.

So my geek-mind turned to alternatives. Windows phone? Stupid question. Next up was Android. There are so many phones out there with Android it’s no wonder they have the highest market share. But I still had issues with switching to Android. Other than the Nexus 7, I’d never tried Android. Sure it works on a tablet, but what about a phone? There was only one way to find out. I went in to the local shops and tried them out. I had my eye on the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II. One because it was the most popular and therefore most recommended. The other because I like the idea of the S-Pen and big screen. With my aching hands and possibility of the CRPS spreading, a bigger screen with big keyboard seemed like a good idea. Plus they are both ready for 4G.
I spoke to a previous colleague who had recently made the same jump from Apple to Android. Did he have any concerns, regrets, things he missed?
-“Best thing I’ve done!” came the answer. Promising, but only one friend’s answer.
My biggest concern is that I have everything tied up in my iMac like Photos, contacts, Music, Videos, Calendars. When we got the Nexus, I made an effort to swap from iCal to Google Cal. A couple of hiccups on the Mac, but they eventually played nice. But I never moved any music (other than one MP3 to test the speaker). Would I have to go back to phone and iPod situation? Another quick Google search and playing with a demo in the shop showed not. Samsung use an app called Easy Phone Sync which will transfer contacts, music, movies, photo’s and messages between Mac and Phone. I was quite happy to see this.

Pros for iPhone:
Already have everything set up (Apps, Music, Photos, Podcasts, Contacts).
Know how the OS works.
Lot’s of apps.

Cons:
Nothing major improved other than screen.
Maps broken (albeit at the moment).
Popular and a long wait.
Brand new connector making all accessories obsolete.

Pros for Android:
Rough idea how it works.
Feature rich and open.
Good apps, many free.
Still works with iMac.
Charges with Micro USB.
Expandable memory for reasonable prices with MicroSD.

Cons:
Completely different system.
Very strange way of releasing new OS updates.
Can be more susceptible to bugs

Hmm, the maths speaks for itself.

This MUST be stopped at all cost!

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I’m in a lot of pain and extremely tired, but I am so angry, I just had to write this now before I got reasonable.
If you are from the UK, you may know about all the cuts that are going on at the moment to try and stop us going into yet another recession. Many areas such as health, welfare, the NHS, Police and other public services are being dramatically slashed. All this before we host the Olympics.
One of the main areas that affects me personally is in the welfare area, where my benefits (along with millions of others) have been cut. I haven’t received my Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for nearly two years. Although I am lucky enough to still be able to work and earn a wage, many other disabled people can’t, so their main source of income is through benefits like the DLA. When I was getting it, it was paying for my aids I use everyday to get around and make life living with chronic pain easier (like walking sticks, perching stools, special clothes, etc). It also helped pay the loan on a automatic car so I could still get to work. When that benefit was cut, and I quote:

“As you are not at risk of fits, dizzy spells or blackouts and can walk”

I have had to put all the extra aids (such as a mobility scooter, walker and wheelchair) on an increasing number of credit cards, leading us further and further into debt.
What changed in 12 months? One moment I was ill enough to receive the benefit, then, as my condition got worse I was suddenly deemed well enough of no longer needing money for mobility and life aids.
I am not alone in this boat. Millions of other Disabled British have suddenly been told that they are now seen as fit to go to work and not “sapping the country dry”. The British government has almost lead a hate campaign against the disabled claiming benefits, tarring them all with the same brush: scroungers! How can I be classed a scrounger, when I work, pay my taxes and (struggle to) pay my bills? The main reason I have so many bills is because I’m now having to pay for my mobility aids myself.
Many others are suffering the same tarnishing and this has led to many seeking desperate measures. Today, a man set himself on fire outside the Birmingham JobCentre because he had previously been disabled and was now told he was fit for work and was being placed on the lower benefit of Job Seekers Allowance. This is clearly the desperate act of a desperate man, yet nothing is reported. As someone said on Twitter, had this been in China, it would make world news. But we were too interested in the Wimbledon score apparently.
One of my Twitter friends went for a DLA tribunal today. She has been fighting to get her benefit back for 2 years, and it finally had to be taken to court as the government stubbornly refused to budge. She has CRPS, like me and has roughly the same mobility as me, so I was interested to hear how it went. She finally updated us that they couldn’t reach a decision and would contact her by mail. Because of the stress of the whole affair, she is now in hospital suffering with a major CRPS flare up. Coincidence? I don’t think so! But what really boils my blood is the fact that the doctor who was there to make the decision was trying to make out it was all psychological and in her head. CRPS may be a disease where there are no concrete signs you can point out like cancer or MS, but it does not mean it is in our heads and we are “just faking it”!! CRPS sufferers deal with this enough as it is, especially at the beginning (I thought for months part of me was making it up) and this leads sufferers to push themselves and ‘walk it off’ often aggravating the situation.
I plead all my readers to spread the word of how people are being treated by the so-called “welfare state” and speak to your MP, councillor, the media and turn this tide of hate on the disabled against the true evil here: the so-called professionals who are making life changing (and sometimes life ending) decisions for seriously ill people.
Thank you for reading, normal service will resume.