Switching from Android to iPhone 6?

September 21, 2014

With this week’s release of the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there’s been a lot of online articles covering the topic of Android users switching over to the new iPhones. These articles seem to convey that the only reason keeping some people on the Android platform is the larger screen size, which the new iPhone 6 has now. I think this statement is partially true, but I don’t believe most Android users will jump ship so easily.

I do have to admit, that I was considering the possibility of moving back to an iPhone. The main reason being that I own and use a desktop Mac system and staying in the “Apple Ecosystem” would certainly reduce some headaches with syncing painlessly my calendar, contacts, etc. I have it working to some degree now with the Google Services, but I still have issues now and then getting data synced timely between my Mac and HTC One phone.

My wife just upgraded her iPhone 5 to the new iPhone 6, which is roughly the same size as my HTC One M7. Although the phone is bigger and has a nice screen, I’m still very hesitant to switching to iOS. The big reason, is that I really like and feel comfortable with the Android OS. I’ve been using it for 3 years now (and have written apps for it), and I feel it is superior to the Apple iOS in many ways.

The biggest benefit I see with Android, is the ability to customize the interface and how the phone works. I use an app called “Tasker” which allows me to fully automate lots of tasks, and I can’t see myself not having such automation on my phone. Sure, you might be able to do something similar with an “jailbroken” iPhone, but I’ve tried that in the past and it’s a pain maintaining a jailbroken state when you go through Apple’s update process.

So for now, I’m sticking with my Android HTC One, and will probably move on to a Moto X, LG, One Plus, or Nexus 5 in the near future. Lot of great choices in hardware, and I see the Android OS getting better and better by leaps and bounds.

The Anti-Smartwatch Approach

September 6, 2014

The big electronic trend now seems to be “Smart Watches”, which are usually running the Android operating system. These smart watches appear to be an extension of their smartphone counterparts, in fact, in most cases you NEED a smartphone to make full use of these smart watches. A whole slew of these new smart watches were revealed earlier this week by Motorola, Samsung, LG, and ASUS at a tech conference; all of them had one thing in common: they are really BIG!

From the photos I’ve seen, all of these watches are ridiculously large for even the largest man’s wrist. They look like miniature smartphones, which in fact they practically are. Being a geek I considered getting such a smart watch, but I came to the conclusion that such devices are too costly, unnecessary, and obtrusive. Also, they need to be charged at least once a day (in fact, the “Moto 360” watch has been noted by some early adopters needing to be charged twice a day!).

Because I was in the market for getting a new wrist watch, I decided to go in the opposite direction. Bucking the system, I opted to go with a watch that was not digital. In fact, the watch I chose didn’t even have a battery. I ended up purchasing the Seiko 5 Automatic Watch, which is a self winding watch. This means, the motion of my arm moves a small weighted pendulum in the watch which winds a coil spring. So long as I move the watch during the day, it will stay winded up and function.

Since there is no battery, there is no backlight for night-time viewing. The watch uses old-fashion luminous paint on the hour and minute hands which glow in the dark (just like the old days!). I think it’s really cool to have such a retro watch, when everyone is clamoring for the latest smart watch technology. Who knows, maybe I’ll dump my smartphone calendar app and go with an old DayTimer paper system!

Filtering Chinese Spam Emails

September 1, 2014

Lately, I’ve been getting lots of spam emails with Chinese text and an attached Excel file (ALERT: Phishing). I’ve been searching for a solution for my Mac OSX Mail app to automatically filter out these emails and dump them into my Junk folder, but there’s not an obvious solution. I tried filtering the “Content-Type” and “Content-Class” of the email, but no luck. I finally came across this web blog page where the blogger had a brilliant solution: His email filter searches for a few common Chinese characters in the message body to identify an email written in Chinese. Bingo! I’ve implemented the method below, and it seems to work. In the Apple Mail app, select “Preferences” and then click the “Rules” tab, and make a new filter. Add the following rule checks:

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 9.11.22 AM


Here are the Chinese characters that I search for:

的 OR 是 OR 否 OR 要 OR 不

Now, hopefully no more Chinese spam emails!