Mobile Devices


MobileViews Podcast 285: iPad mini 5 & AirPod 2 rumors, Just Press Record app pick, & more


In this podcast Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. Follow-up to Microsoft Outlook.com support issue
  2. More iPad mini 5 and AirPod 2 rumors. Very few details
  3. Chrome OS Instant Tethering reportedly arriving for more Android devices
  4. Jon did a bit of python programming this week – first time – pretty impressed, although some things just seem too simple!
  5. Jon’s App Review: “Just Press Record” on iOS ($4.99). Kudos for it being exactly what it claims to be.
  6. Jon’s Pixel a Day has been going really well so far. (Discussed in Podcast 282). Also enjoying have a iPad with cellular data.

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

Mobile Devices

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MobileViews Podcast 284: Rants about cloud services’ customer support

In this Podcast, Jon Westfall and I discuss:

  1. Outlook Premium (product no longer offered) subscription needs to be renewed next month. But, I need to change the credit card and the web UI won’t let me. Only online help available is a useless virtual assistant. Will try phone number.

    UPDATE 1: I’m on hold with Microsoft Store customer service as I post this blog item.
    UPDATE 2: I spoke with Microsoft Store Support who transferred me to Accounts and Billings. The total elapsed time was about 28 minutes. However, the customer service person was able to change the billing to use the correct credit card.

  2. Google to pay $40 million for Fossil’s secret smartwatch tech – new products incoming
  3. Microsoft shutting down Windows Phone over the next year or so
    Is there a clear path to Android or iPhone?
  4. Jon’s Walmart Pay experience. Seamless.
  5. CBS All Access: No Star Trek Short Treks when purchased through Amazon Prime?

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 282: Happy 2019

In this podcast Jon Westfall and I discuss:

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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MobileViews Podcast 269: New Amazon Echo products announcements & iPhone Xs first impressions

Jon Westfall and I discuss just two topics in this podcast. But, there’s a lot to discuss.

  1. CNET video of Amazon announcements
    Amazon Echo announcements
    Updated Echo Dot
    Updated Echo Plus (Zigbee radio, thermometer)
    Updated Echo Show
    New Echo Subwoofer
    New Echo Smartplug
    New Alexa Guard
    New Echo Auto
    New Echo enabled clock
    New Echo enabled microwave
    New Echo Input (like a Chromecast)
    New FireTV Recast (DVR & antenna)
    Echo Link Amp
    Echo Link
  2. iPhone Xs first impressions
    Moved from 7+ to Xs
    If you want a bag for the box, that costs 18 cents (seriously)
    Old phone service shut off even before I opened the box and turned on the Xs. Was told this would not happen by the sales person
    Serious problem pairing Apple Watch 3 to the Xs
    Chose smaller device/display on purpose
    Xs cannot display battery percentage in top right status area. Not enough screen space at top due to the notch. Xs Max can though

Available via Google Music Podcasts and Apple iTunes.

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Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Tablet downloads movies without asking: On Deck “feature”

I bought an Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black – with Special Offers(that’s the full name!) on Prime Day for $50. I was curious to see what a $50 tablet could do and how intrusive (or not) the Special Offers (advertisements) are. It’s unfair to compare it to a $300 or $400 iPad mini so I won’t. Performance is good. It hasn’t shown the kind of overall slowness I noticed in the various Google Android tablets I’ve owned and used over the years. The display is fine although its contrast is low if you use it in a shaded area outdoors during the day. With the exception of Google apps and most Microsoft apps (except for Outlook), many popular Android apps appear to be available from Amazon’s app store.

The only issue I have with the device is its feature of downloading things without asking. It started with a game download. I first thought I may have accidentally tapped an ad to install it. It didn’t show up as an Amazon purchase. So, I deleted it and didn’t think much about it. However, a day or two later, I noticed the Fire HD 8 was downloading movies. In fact, it downloaded three movies: Baywatch, Star Trek Beyond, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The three downloads take up 1.5GB on a tablet that only has 16GB total and, I would guess, about 8 to 10GB available for use. Even worse, I have no interest in any watching any of these three movies. If have a metered broadband service (I do not), it would mean the feature will eat up your bandwidth without asking. Its documentation also indicates it automatically refreshes these on deck movies without asking permission. You can manually delete any or all of the videos. But, I don’t see a way to turn off the On Deck feature itself.

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Blast from the past: The 2009 podcast with the designer of the 1st #1 iPhone app – Koi Pond

The first number on iPhone app in the Apple app store was a graphical entertainment app named “Koi Pond” which simulated the physics of touch water that had a koi fish swimming around in it. In January 2009, I was fortunate to speak with Bill Trost, the designer for Blimp Pilots which developed the app. The group was a bunch (five people) who formerly worked at Sony Online at EverQuest.

I was especially interested to learn that the app had been used in therapeutic ways that the app builders did not anticipate.

You hear my discussion with Bill in the 20 minute discussion I had with him.

Mobile Devices

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