Fractured Facade

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Even an iPhone Is Really Just a Phone

Ok, here's the follow up from the last, how do I feel about my I love it? Basically I still feel the same way, a phone is a phone is a phone, unless it's an iPhone in which case it's an expensive phone that could do more than just call people. I'm not gaga googoo like some people get over phones, but I will say this, it has made me more productive and life a wee bit easier. I am totally not addicted to it. I don't carry it around with me from room to room, and unlike what I've witnessed with other folks who have smartphones, it has not become an additional appendage.

A couple of positive points...I was worried about typing on the touch screen. That is not a worry because mainly when I want to send someone a text I speak into the phone and most times, not all times, but most times, the phone will get what I am saying correctly. Now, this is a big deal for someone who has rheumatoid arthritis, so I am very happy with that feature. I also use the microphone to record "notes," like where I parked my car, or whatever. So I like having a "notes" feature on the homescreen. Same thing with email...very easy to check and respond. I like how quickly I connect to the internet, pretty amazing to me after my forever loading Envy. I am now able to check my book sales from my phone and that is cool. It would be cooler if they were larger, but that's not the phone's fault. I can also check Facebook. I did not link to Facebook as I do not want to be notified of everyone's posts, nor have them clog up my contact list as I understand that is what happens when one does sync a smartphone to Facebook. Also my "friends" do not need to know every song I listen to, game I play, or article or read, etc. Haven't even bothered checking Twitter yet. I do like how I can take a picture and post it to Facebook now when I'm out and about which brings me to the camera.

I am not impressed wtih the iPhone camera at all. I thought I would be able to shed my digital one once I got this phone, but nope, not gonna happen. It's okay as long as you don't zoom in, as it only has a digital zoom feature. I like to zoom in. With the recent system upgrade there are a couple more features now with the camera, but nothing to write home about. I do like the video camera, but again I think the quality is lacking. For instance I took these videos the other night at a show...I uploaded the first one regular holding the camera vertical, and the other was shot horizontally and uploaded in hi-def.

The audio is pretty good, but under low light conditions the video is not so great. What I don't like is that since I don't have an Apple computer I cannot see these videos directly on my laptop. I have to upload them to Youtube to see them. I figure it's all part of the Apple plan to will get an iMac, you will get an iMac!

Some things I'm not crazy about...if I miss a call and hit the screen it automatically dials that number. Not a fan of Face Time either. You have to be "made up" to use a phone? Yeah, no. Battery usage is pathetic. You must charge your phone up every single day, sometimes more than once a day. I'm not used to that. Sometimes I went four days without charging my Envy.

Straight Talk refill is a pain in the ass. You have to go to WalMart and get a card and scrape off the number and enter it on the website. That grew old after one month so I opted in for auto-refill using a credit card. So far, so good. My daughter however, after months of scraping the cards, also opted in using a debit card two weeks ago. Well, just yesterday morning she realized her phone was deactivated! Talk about panic mode. When she went on-line she saw she was no longer in auto-refill, apparently it never took. She tried again, but got denied. When she finally got someone on the phone she could barely understand them, Indian, and they said the bank would not allow the charge. It's Sunday, so no one at the bank. She was freaking out because they never sent her an email or text telling her this, and with Straight Talk if you let your service expire chances are you lose your number rather quickly. Oh, I've gotten many a wrong number and so has my husband and based on all the "hit me up" texts, or "high" texts and barely cohesive speech from the callers when we answer the phone, we think both people who had our phone nubmers before were drug dealers! I also get a recorded call from CVS every other day looking for "Danielle D." I even tracked down the CVS to the one on Main in Salem and explained to them five, yes five freaking times that my number is no longer Danielle D's! They said they would adjust their records, but they haven't. Luckily, I can now block their number and I will if I get one more call from them. Anyway, back to the girl in panic mode who was already late for work after the Indian call. I had to run, literally run to Walmart to pick up a card for her so she could reactivate her phone as the woman said there was a good possibility she would lose her number unless it was reactivated immediately. Now that sucks, maybe not for me so much, as I haven't even given my new number out to many people, but to a young girl who might be waiting for a fellow to call, or whatever, that can be a hardship. Oh, and the funny thing is when you called her number there was a recording from Verizon Wireless saying the number was disconnected. So Straight Talk is Verizon Wireless for less than half the price and twice the inconvenience.

What I really love about this phone are the apps. Of course I'm too cheap to buy any yet, so here is my list of my favorite free apps:

Pandora - Best music app ever. I have the free service one which means about every fourth song or so there is a quick commercial which is fine by me. I love that they not only have stations of music that I like but that I was able to create my own station by plugging in artists. They take that info and then add artists and songs they thing I might like based on my taste. If I do I can give it a "thumbs up" or not, a "thumbs down" and it skips the song and will no longer play it. I've found new artists already such as The Dresden Girls, and how cool is it to hear Tom Verlaine's voice out of nowhere. It amazes me that Pandora really does know my taste.

Scan app -you hold your phone up to a barcode and it scans it and then tells you what the going prices and where you can find the items. This has been a life-saver for me regarding the books. It actually scans the ISBN numbers and tells me where and who are selling the books. When I first used it up in Brooklyn I was naive and freaking out that some of my dad's books were "worth" so much money! Ha! There are folks selling books on Amazon that I swear just make up outrageous prices as every description of the book, no matter what book it is, is the same from certain sellers. I've since learned to disregard those sellers.

Google Maps - way better than the map that comes with the iPhone.

Flashlight - yes, not only does the iPhone serve as a flashlight with this app, but you can increase and decrease the illumination.

Weather Channel - came in very handy driving home during a storm. I was able to see actual real-time radar to determine if we should wait it out at a rest stop. We did and it was correct. Very handy stuff!

Lumosity - it's a smaller version of the brain training game. Every morning I "train" for a couple of minutes and I actually have gotten better. I'm still too cheap to upgrade so I will only get as smart as this version will allow me.

Translator - if you're travelling out of the country or walking on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn you can now read the signs on the shops. Many languages available.

Quick Tip - just what it says, you can set the percentage and even divide the bill up according to how many folks are paying. Since my husband always pays I don't use that.

Solitaire - for when I'm waiting for someone.

News 360 - great news source. Around the world news, and you can choose what type of articles you're interested in.

Sleep Bot - this app monitors your sleep by recording movement and noise. It then creates a chart that shows you where the noise peaked and perhaps can tell you why you are waking up in the middle of the night. If you live in a haunted house this is scary to use. I also think it would be a little better if you could hear the entire recording instead of just a couple of seconds at a time.

Knowledge - another brain game to test my knowledge.

Fruit Ninja - a game where one needs no knowledge.

I check the app store every once in a while to see if there's another free one out that sounds good. If you know of any cool ones, let me know.

So, the bottom line is yes, I like my phone and it's probably worth the cost, but what is definitely worth the cost is the Otter Box. You need to protect a phone that costs more than a laptop, and thus far the $59 investment seems to be worth it. Oh, one strange thing did happen with my phone. On Friday I noticed the time of my phone was 20:00 off. Now that is odd and I have no explanation for that. After I shut it off and started it back up it was right, but that 20:00 defect did make me late for a party...tsk tsk iPhone, you failed.


  1. That voice typing feature might make that worth the money. Thank you very much for your analysis!

  2. Yes, the microphone is definitely a big plus and it should not be confused with Siri, which frankly, has not impressed me...she doesn't know as much as I think she should ha!