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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Android is Pretty Bad

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 22:43:10 -0300

I got a Nexus 7 last week.  A 7" Android device - not a particularly new
model, but something like the "standard" (it's the one Google promotes).

If this is the future of computing, it's pretty depressing.

 * First, it had an awful bug - wifi drops if it hibernates.  There's an
   issue open somewhere that's years old.  It seems the fix is to install 
   "an App" that monitors and fixes your wifi as needed.

 * Second, it's full of Google crapware.  It's built around Google apps
   for everything.  And it's very hard to do anything without using them.
   For example, even to install other, free software, you need to enter
   a Google user ID (and I can't work out how to delete it afterwards).

 * It's so locked down that installing something as basic as Adblock is
   a complete pain (it's not even available in the App Store).

 * Everything is accomplished by GUIs.  And the interface is inconsistent.
   For example, to delete in some places you swipe to one side.  In others
   you hold, and eventually a red X appears that you drag to.  In others
   there's a menu option to delete.

 * Even if you install an app to access the system shell, it's so minimal
   it's useless (no ssh - you need to install an "ssh app").

 * Getting data onto the device from another computer is hard (unless 
   you use Google Drive, I guess).  The file system is poorly supported 
   on Linux, so I ended up configuring a Samba server and installing a
   Samba app(!).  Which is slow as molasses.

 * It's unclear what runs in the background and what simply stores state
   and dies / restarts.

 * You can't delete the pre-installed Google apps to get more space.

 * The screen is surrounded by a large black border - either the screen
   should be bigger, or the case smaller.

 * It comes with instructions saying that it should not be left connected
   to a charger.  So you are supposed to use battery again and again, even
   when at home.  So the thing has a limited life.

 * Using the "keyboard" is slow and frustrating.  The "-" sign requires
   switching to an alternate numeric view, for example.

The best thing I have found is an ssh app that lets you log in to a real
computer and then use the shell there.  So I can read email with mutt.

Andrew

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