Goodbye, Windows Phone

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
My last windows phone - Lumia 640 XL

My last windows phone – Lumia 640 XL

Well, yesterday I ordered my Google Pixel XL, meaning that for me it’s the end of the Windows Phone era, at least for the time being, and on to the Android phone. My ‘smart’ phone history has essentially gone like this: Palm Pilot ==> BlackBerry ==> Windows Phone ==> Android. You’ll notice one fruit-based name missing from that list, and there are not enough pixels on the web for me to describe how clearly I plan to never own any Apple devices.

I have no great love for any phone platform, actually, and am moving to Android by default by virtue of Google introducing the Pixel. The issue with Android, to me, is that the market is fractured and fraught with incompatibilities and divergent ‘standards’, whereas Apple suffers from an exact opposite, but even more deadly (to me) flaw, which is full compatibility that happens to be based on completely proprietary and closed ‘standards’.

There hasn’t been a ‘standard bearer’ for the Android platform, from my perspective, until now, where Google has the potential to become exactly that. That may or may not happen, but I had to make a move – the Windows Phone platform has essentially been abandoned by Microsoft and app developers and I could no longer bide my time waiting for the ‘Surface Phone’ announcement that might never come, and which might also simply be the latest in Microsoft’s long line of disappointing mobile phone initiatives.

The primary reason I’m writing this post about a stupid phone is that I truly lament how badly Microsoft screwed up their mobile offerings. The Windows phone has always been highly functional (for me), and the advances in Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile showed flashes of potential brilliance, but Microsoft couldn’t stop tripping over their own stupidity/incompetence/tone-deafness to get things right.

As just one example, the Windows Phone had a feature called “Kid’s Corner”, which was a setup you could configure with specific apps and games for your kid. Then, if you wanted to hand your phone to your kid you simply did a swipe gesture to put it into Kid’s Corner (didn’t even have to unlock the phone) and hand the phone over. Your kid (or friend or co-worker) could only see and open the approved apps with no access to any of your other data – no way to see an inappropriate pop-up notification, no way to accidentally reply-all to a work thread, no way to scroll through your potentially inappropriate picture gallery, etc.

It took about 5 seconds for Kid’s Corner to switch on when requested, and returning to normal operation was simply hitting the power off then on button and entering your phone password, which also took about 5 seconds. Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, unceremoniously dropped Kid’s Corner from Windows 10 Mobile and pointed parents to something call “App Corner”, which although it has a similar

Darth Vader’s helmet found on Mars!?

Posted on November 3rd, 2016 in Commentary by EngineerBoy
Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!

Search your feelings, you *know* it to be true!

So it turns out that “galaxy far, far away” was just across the Solar System – the Mars Curiosity rover has spotted the melted remains of Vader’s helmet (pictured from The Force Awakens) and are using talk of meteors and nickel-iron to hide its origins. However, I think it’s obvious – don’t you??