Tag: Nexus 6

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My Personal Tech Kit 2018

I am a big believer in change, as being beneficial, and I will occassionally switch computing platforms to shake up habits and my digital lifestyle. Watching Google’s advances with Assistant, and anticipating release of a new Pixel Chromebook, I expected to swap out my Apple gear before end of the year. But that isn’t the case. I start 2018 pretty much as I did 2017—looking at that bitten-fruit logo on my major personal devices.

There is the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar that I purchased during the last week of November 2016. The other three gadgets released last year and replace like gear: Apple Watch Series 3 LTE (Stainless Steel); iPad Pro 10.5 LTE; iPhone X. Additionally, there is an Apple TV 4K in the living room. 

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Reconsidering Facebook

I spent little time online the past week following the unexpected passing of my sister Annette exactly seven days ago. The reaction is strange, seeing how much Facebook, texting, and other connected activities and services enriched and changed her life during the last six months or so she walked this Earth. I was clueless.

Last year, I added Annette to my cellular account; she used Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone to start. This opened a new world of connection to children, other relatives, and friends by texting. In November, when switching the family to T-Mobile from Verizon and upgrading to Nexus 6P, I sent her my Nexus 6. Soon after, her fraternal twin, Nanette, helped set up Facebook. Annette’s first post was Nov. 22, 2015—a family photo with our brother-in-law Michael Bellerieve, before his death from cancer. 🙁 

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The 5 Smartphones of Christmas

If you’re smartphone shopping this holiday and wondering what to buy, my primer can assist—with caveats. I focus solely on Androids that are higher end but affordable, and I ignore iPhones. No slight against Apple devices is intended. I figure that people who want an iPhone won’t likely consider an alternative. Also: The differences aren’t as pronounced. For example, the major benefit choosing 6s or 6s Plus over the two previous models is slightly lower price (3D Touch is an unnecessary gimmick). The major benefit picking 5s over the 6 or 6 Plus is again price but also smaller size.

Among Androids, differences abound—and many, such as older OS versions or custom UI skins, are carrier or manufacturer imposed. That’s without considering the bloatware that either or both parties might impose. I intentionally focus on devices that offer the most value for price paid, which includes upfront or payment-plan purchased unlocked. 

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What’s Next for Project Fi?

As September 29th approaches, and Google’s annual autumn launch event, rumors increase in frequency, and a few in absurdity, about what will be revealed. The gadget-obsessed shouldn’t forget what else might arrive with one, or even two, rumored new Nexus smartphones: Expanded support for Project Fi. I am surprised how little buzz there is among the fan base. Where are the rumor-wagging tongues?

The search and information giant introduced the invite-only cellular service in April 2015, piggybacking Sprint and T-Mobile networks for a cool $20 a month, plus 10 bucks more for each gigabyte of data (refunding for portion unused). The gotcha: Project Fi only supports one device: Nexus 6. You buy one or you bring your own. Otherwise it’s fee-Fi-fo-dumb for you. 

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Nexus 6 Returns

Contemplation turns to action. I had been looking for Nexus 6 to test Google’s Project Fi. My sister bought my phablet two months ago, when I got iPhone 6 Plus to test iOS 9, but N6 is the only device currently supported on the cellular service.

Last night, I oogled at Nexus 6 for $499.99 on Amazon, which already was a hefty discount. This AM, I rolled out of bed to see $349.99. Both prices are for the 32GB model. Double the memory and pay $399.99. Yesterday: $549.99. Surely the price and supply can’t last. That’s helluva good deal—and for both colors: Cloud White and Midnight Blue. What the hell. I ordered the bigger capacity dark one for free same-day delivery. 

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Whatever the Future, a Bigger Screen in Your Pocket isn’t It

I love my Nexus 6. This morning, while waking to the rush of caffeine from steaming coffee, I read headlines on the device. “I’m Phed Up With Phablets: They’re too big to prevail” caught my attention. The short commentary, by Brian Rubin for ReadWrite, rails against the bigger-is-better-smartphone trend. Screen on my cellular is massive: 6 inches, and I forever promised myself to never use a phone so large—until I did and converted. Much as I enjoy using the N6, for which I can still manage many operations one-handed, smaller would be my preference. Perhaps yours, too.

Big isn’t necessarily better and reverses a longstanding trend in the other direction. Does no one recall when using a smaller phone was chic? Consider the StarTAC, which was a huge hit for Motorola going into the late 1990s. I remember when seemingly everyone used one of the diminutive cell phones. Smaller was better—and if there was real innovation in mobile device design shrinking size would be again. 

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Nexus 6 is Ready, Now I Just Need a Project Fi Invite

The waiting begins. This afternoon I asked the great Google god to bless me with an invite. If my homage is accepted, someday soon I can pay for the privilege of using the company’s new piggyback cellular phone service. The thing is so exclusive, only one smartphone is supported. It’s Nexus 6, or nothing, baby. I own one, so happens.

Project Fi switches between Sprint and T-Mobile cellular networks for core connectivity alongside wireless hotspots. That’s why I call it a piggyback service; Google is not building out its own infrastructure. Fi is contextually conceived and consumed. Nexus 6 switches networks based on location and availability. Your phone number traverses devices, providing access on laptops and tablets, too. Context is what differentiates this service from every other

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Google, Love You, Love You Not, Love…

As a working journalist, I am conflicted about Google. In my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, I call the company a “leech that feeds off the intellectual property of legitimate content producers” and rail on the Google free economy’s negative impact on the Fourth Estate. That said, I am a huge consumer of the company’s products and services, which enable me to better do my job and that empower my life.

Something else: A decade ago (yes, 2005), I identified “Search as the New User Interface“—and it has proved to be for a generation of computer users. The UI, particularly from Google, helps to democratize content, and so doing empowers (there’s that “e” word again) everyone. But search also encourages content piracy. Philosophically, I strongly believe in information for all. Economically, I want to earn a living from writing, which is much more difficult in 2015 than 2005.