Intro & History

Welcome to my little corner of the dessert-themed world.

I’m a big fan of Android, as might be obvious from the fact that I even bothered to have this blog. The main purpose of this is to provide my friends–and anyone else who happens by–the benefit of my experience. I am by no means an expert. I only joined the ranks of the smartphone endowed two and a half years ago. Not that I wasn’t paying attention before–quite the contrary. I was waiting for a phone I could truly be happy with. I finally found that in the Droid Incredible. I’d been wanting a smartphone for years. Palm devices were obsolete. WinMo phones were clunky and underpowered. I watched with anticipation as the rumors swirled about the first iPhone. I was simultaneously excited and underwhelmed when the first iPhone was unveiled. As I began to realize the direction that Apple would take with the iPhone–locked down, curated, long bound to AT&T, and worst of all, subject to the whims of a brilliant but tyrannical and capricious dictator, my heart sank.

A huge fan of Google from the very beginning, I was cautiously optimistic when Android was announced. From the beginning, however, I could tell it would be a while before I could be really happy with an Android phone. The hardware would have to improve, the software would have to mature, and adoption would have to continue. As an east-coast denizen, technologist, and long-time Verizon subscriber, I wasn’t about to jump ship to any of the other networks, the issues with Verizon interference in devices notwithstanding. With the announcement of the Nexus One, I was excited. Here, finally, was a phone with top of the line-specs, Google branding, and the promise of CDMA versions–only to have my hopes dashed.

Then, the Droid Incredible was announced. A virtual copy of the Nexus One for CDMA, but with solutions to some of the problems that plagued the N1, and the addition of HTC’s Sens. You see, in those days, Android was still coming into its own. Some of the manufacturer skins had purpose and contributions, and Sense was widely regarded as the best option available. I was thrilled. I preordered the Incredible and never regretted it. I did, however, only sign on for a year contract. Android continued to mature, reaching a point where manufacturer skins were tipping the scales into the negative. After a year, I rooted my phone and installed CyanogenMod7 on it, and I never looked back.

I installed nightly builds, I watched gerrit instances and the commits that were going into CM7, I lurked the forums at XDA, and I flashed and flashed and flashed. My Incredible was a champ. It took to Gingerbread like a fish to water, and eventually, to AOKP’s build of ICS–well, more like a dog, but it was stable and beautiful. Even so, I was watching for a new phone that would fill my Incredible’s giant shoes. I wanted something top of the line.

The Galaxy Nexus held much promise, but, like its predecessor, the disinclusion of a microSD card slot was a problem. I really liked the look of HTC’s OneX, too, but again the lack of a microSD card was a dealbreaker–not to mention the fact that it didn’t come to Verizon. Finally, the Galaxy S3 came along. It was almost everything I wanted. LTE. A large 720p screen. MicroSD card slot. High end specs. ICS, and a strong enough and uniform enough front to ensure both updates and community development. I hated TouchWiz, but if I were rooting and installing a custom ROM, that would hardly matter, and likewise, the modularity of Android would allow me to customize the phone in the meantime. I’d’ve liked a SuperAMOLED+ screen or an IPS LCD, rather than a pentile display, and a slightly larger battery would’ve been nice, but those were acceptable concessions. I preordered. When I discovered that the Verizon S3 was going to have a locked bootloader, I almost returned it. Almost. I decided to have faith in the dev community, and eventually was rewarded with a kick in Verizon’s teeth and an unlocked bootloader. I’m grateful to the dev community. And now, I have CM10 (or JB AOKP, depending on the day) on my SGS3.

I don’t have the time and energy to really contribute to development in the programming sense, but I do what I can. I review code, I suggest changes, I debug, I read the threads; I flash nightlies, experimental builds, and kernels; I donate, I buy apps, I keep abreast of the goings-on, and I play. I help my friends and loved ones with their phones and computers. That brings me to this blog. I’m a technologist. It’s how I earn my living, and one of the ways I love to spend my time. In my few years as an Android phone owner, I’ve accumulated a decent amount of experience, and I want to share it. These entries will only be my experiences, my recommendations, my opinions. I’ve got plenty of all of them, so I’m sharing with anyone who cares to read.

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