Friday, December 16, 2011

My new toy

Warning: technogeekery ahead

I realize I haven’t been very chatty online lately, either here or elsewhere. It’s been a busy month, between work getting crazy and my own procrastination. I never seem to start Christmas shopping as early as I should, so I find myself going nuts in the last few weeks of the month, trying to get everything bought. We still haven’t even put up decorations! I think this is the latest I’ve ever waited to decorate. I love Christmas, and am usually wanting to put up the lights and trees right after Thanksgiving. This year I just… never seemed to get around to it. If I don’t do it later today, definitely tomorrow!

I might have decorated yesterday, except I ended up spending most of my afternoon getting a new toy: a Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone! It’s all new and shiny and I already love it. I was due for my 2-year renewal, so I’ve been waiting for this particular model to be released, but Verizon has been cagey about setting a date. They finally announced it Wednesday night, so I reserved one at my Verizon store and went in the next day after work to snatch it up.

Apologies for the crappy quality of that photo. I had to take it without flash to avoid glare, and the light in here isn’t that great. But you can see the difference: the one on the left is my old Drois Eris, on the right is the Nexus. So much bigger! (That’s my iPad underneath them.) Yes, I like technology. I think it’s partly due to being a Taurus. I don’t normally follow astrology much, but whenever I read personality descriptions of Taurus I find myself agreeing with most of them. This bit in particular:

"The key words that best describes Taurus is the phrase "I have" which basically means that you have a nature to own and possess whatever you think is yours; from relationships to material goods. How I have seen this trait in just about every Taurus is the quality of never liking to let go of anything that they have previously invested any time or energy and especially money."

To put it simply: I want All the Things. And once I have the Things, I rarely let them go, unless it’s to get a newer, better, faster Thing. Combine being a packrat with wanting to buy everything you see and you get very full closets. Sometimes I manage to control myself, but if it’s electronic and shiny, chances are I’m going to cave in sooner or later. Most of the time I’m at war with myself: my materalistic Taurus side is usually fighting my spendthrift Bohemian side, and it can get ugly. (Bohemian is what people nowadays would call Czech.) So while I always want these new, expensive Things, I also tend to take a long time reading reviews and price-checking before I finally go out and buy one, to be sure I’m getting the best deal possible. Case in point: the Galaxy Nexus.

I didn’t really need such a fancy smartphone. Hell, I probably don’t even need a smartphone at all. I have the iPad to use at home, and unless I’m at work (where there are computers), home is usually where I am. So it’s not that often that I need to check my email or a website on my phone. Need and want are two different things, however, so I’ve had a smartphone for 2 years now and couldn’t imagine going back down to a regular cell. So fine, there are plenty of smartphones out there that are free with contract renewal, why not one of them? Because they aren’t NEW. I like new, and I like having the latest Thing. My old phone, the Droid Eris, was great when I first got it (because it was new: Droids had only just come out), but it wasn’t long before they stopped selling it, then stopped updating it. It’s been a dinosaur for about 1 1/2 of those 2 years I’ve owned it. The Android OS was ancient (I’m not even sure it ever got an upgrade to 2.0, and if it did, not much past that), it was sloooooow and every time I tried to look something up online, the web browser would crash. I had come to hate it. So when it was time to get a new one, I had to be sure I picked a phone that wouldn’t fall into the same black hole of non-updates. I’ve been researching Verizon smartphones since early November, making sure when I finally bought one, it would be the best choice for me. And even though I was sure by Thanksgiving that I wanted the Nexus, it wasn’t out yet, and everyone was doing these great sales on the other new ones that was tempting me to stop waiting because that Bohemian side of me can’t resist a Good Deal.

I almost went with the Droid RAZR or the HTC Rezound back then, because both were being sold for almost nothing online in Black Fricay/Cyber Monday sales. I liked the HTC part of my Eris (the big clock with weather widget was nifty), but the fancy audio didn’t really matter to me, and without that it seemed like any other smartphone. The RAZR was cool-looking, but felt too wide in my hand, and I read some negative reviews about how bad Motorola is about updating their phones. The Galaxy Nexus had many things going for it: one, it was preloaded with Ice Cream Sandwich (aka Android 4.0, the latest version of the OS). Two, it has one of the biggest screens of a smartphone, which with my bad eyes, is a godsend. I hated my tiny Eris screen. I couldn’t read anything on the damn thing most of the time, which only added to the reasons I hardly ever used it. Also, the Nexus screen is HD and absolutely beautiful. Bonus! Three, it’s a “pure Google phone,” which means (so they say) it will be among the first to get updates in the future. Also, by being a “pure Google phone,” it didn’t come preloaded with all the crapware most smartphones have. Crapware being all those apps you didn’t want, won’t ever use, but can’t delete because the carrier won’t let you get rid of them. The only apps on the Nexus were the basic Google-centric apps and a couple of Verizon apps that I suspect all their phones have to have (one to view your account and I don’t know what the other is for). Nothing that bothers me. And four: it’s really pretty. And shiny. Have I mentioned shiny?

So that was my excitement for the week. A shiny new toy to play with. And it’s not even Christmas yet!

Enough with the geekery. I’m going to go play with my phone some more. I still haven’t tested out how the HD video works. Where are the cats?


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