Friday, August 28, 2015

Of Storage and Stupidity

So, I talk to people a lot about their mobile devices. One of the things I hear quite often is "Apple only gives me 5 gigs of iCloud, and that's not enough." In the rumor news today, bloggers are complaining that the next iPhone (which, of course, hasn't been announced) will still come with a base configuration of 16 gigs (only four times the storage of the original iPhone!), and, again, Apple should give people more.

I use a lot of online and on-device storage. I know that, since I've been taking digital photos since the early days of this century, and was a user of flickr.com back in the days when you'd post a photo and could see it on the home screen of the site for an hour or so. I usually buy the largest amount of storage for devices, be they iPhones, iPads, or Macs, because I know at some point, I'm going to hit that limit, and I'd rather it be later than sooner. I pay for this, and have been since the iPhone 4 days.

What I don't understand about this is that there is a huge number of people out there who think this is a limit they can do nothing about, like Apple is cutting off their options to get more iCloud storage or to buy devices with more onboard storage. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Now, my mother uses her iPhone and iPad with iCloud, and is perfectly happy with 8 GB on her phone and 5 GB on her iCloud account. Of all the things she'll call me about, a storage overrun is not one. Same with my wife, and half of my kids. So, why don't users get more storage on their devices? Or why doesn't Apple have a larger minimum package?

I think the reason is sticker shock. Here in the USA, we're just now getting used to paying full price for phones, and moving up another C-note to quadruple storage is not something people want to do. Carrier reps, of course, want you to buy an Android device with a storage slot, since they get a spiff for the phone, as well as the add-on sale of the storage card and the reader you'll need for your computer. As a comparison, however, let's take a look at two things people pay a lot for on a regular basis: vehicles and living quarters.

Everyone lives somewhere. When you're deciding where to live, you consider several things: how much stuff do I have, how am I going to use my home, and where is it located? The first two also apply to your mobile communication devices: how much data do you want to have available on the device itself, and what all will you be doing with it? If you want to take photos constantly, or if you love having six different huge graphic-packed games, or you like to watch videos when you travel without having to stream them, my mother's phone is not going to be a good fit. You need one more like mine, with larger storage, because this is what you choose to do with your device. My mother should not have to pay more for her phone, just so you can have the phone storage you need.

Same with vehicles. I love small, manual transmission cars. My current car, however, is not this type, because occasionally one of the other members of the family have to drive it, and we need four doors, in case all of us go in the same car. I made that decision at purchase, and picked out a car that would do what I wanted it to, not the cheapest one on the lot. One day, I might be able to get the little Smart Car I want, but not now. With the larger car, I have to have a larger parking spot, pay more for gas, and deal with all the other issues of a larger car, but it fits how I use my car. If I didn't like squeezing into a smaller car with my Lovely Bride, the dog and two other kids, this is not the fault of the dealer. I'd just have to purchase or lease a larger vehicle. If the 5 GB that Apple gives you is not enough, it's very cheap and easy to add to that amount of storage. For a buck a month, you can get ten times the storage. And, you don't have to sign a long-term contract. You can drop it after a month, if you find you don't need the space. Try getting out of an auto lease after 30 days!


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Location:Memory Ln,Durham,United States

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I just don't understand some folks

I guess I should expect this. I know my folks kept a hard wired phone in their house for about 15 years until we finally embarrassed them out of it. They had been paying "rent" on it each month, so $1x12x15 means that in that time, they paid $180 for a basic desk phone, which could have been purchased for about $35. But, it was easy, and they already had it, and they knew how it worked, and if they ever had any problems, they knew who to call. And everyone else in their peer group had the same phone in their den, bedroom, and hallway. The wall phone in the kitchen was identical to their peers' as well.

So, now let's switch the thought to computers. Once the idea of a computer became obvious, everyone bought the same one their office had, and that their friends used - unless they had some radical artist friend with a Mac. But now, 15 years and three PCs later, why are they still going through the horror and irritation of software update and viruses to just surf, email, and play some games? 

I do phone support, and the new problem I'm having is people calling with upgrade issues with Windows 10. They all hated Windows 8, so either bypassed it, or couldn't get it off their computers fast enough. But now, they can't run apps they used to, their email is broken, they are getting security and privacy messages. Soon, I'm sure, they'll just go out and get a new PC, instead of using the updated one, and it'll work OK until the next major update. But there is a better way, and we do a disservice to anyone we don't encourage in this direction: they should move to an iPad-only world.

Forget the desktop or laptop experience, and use your iPad for everything! What do they do that needs a computer? This guy I just talked with has been working on his Windows 10 update for five days, and has already lost all his data, since he trusted the Windows 7 backup would be usable. In 2015. So I asked what he was using it for, other than syncing contacts and calendars to his iPhone. It's the list of usual suspects:

 • Email
 • Web surfing
 • Solitaire
 • Looking at photos
 • Watching streaming video (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.)
 • Write the occasional letter
 • Connect to bank/credit card companies

I do all of this on my iPad, all the time. I never have downtime due to viruses, and almost never have upgrade problems. On the rare occasions when the update is too large, I can either use a friend's computer, go to an Apple Store, or delete the largest of my apps until the install is done, then I can re-download them.

Of course, the other thing that I do is purchase online storage and devices that are appropriately sized for my usage. I don't have a 16 GB iPad, or an 8 or 16 GB iPhone. (See related post "Of Storage and Stupidity") This would be silly for me, because I like to have more stuff on my devices. But when I tell folks this, they act surprised, like I called up Tim Cook and Joni Ive and had them make a special one just for me. The iPhone I have currently I bought at Best Buy, for crying out loud!

I guess eventually (maybe after workplaces have moved to iPads fully) people will stop getting far more complicated machines than they need. Like those old rented landlines, they will become museum pieces. Can't wait.

from dusty archives - Largo Lodge

[ed. This piece was written some time ago, but I found it recently while moving hard drives on a computer. I thought some folks may find it ...