Factory reset

The fact that my phone stopped crashing after removing the Uber app must have been a sheer coincidence because the frequency of crashes started to increase the following day.

I have since done a factory reset and the time stats show just over 10 hours, so we’ll see how it goes.

Also, I am only going to use the stock Android apps for at least 24 hours of uptime, then I’ll start introducing third party apps one at a time because I officially start working remotely tomorrow. The first app that I’ll have to install will be Slack, but for everything else I am going to use Chrome as much as possible (which is what I am using to type this post).

Updates! Updates! Updates!

This post will be short, but after going through the hassle of the Uber app I noticed that once again the Google app is asking to be updated. It seems to be the same update though because it still shows that it was last updated one week ago.

However, in addition to that there are three new updates waiting to be installed as well, so I am putting my foot down and will hold off from new updates for the time being.
Screenshot_20170512-073738

Is the Uber app causing Android to repeatedly crash?

I’m wondering if I am not the only person who has had this issue, but so far I have not found anything online describing the problems that I have been experiencing over the last two days. 

In the one week that I have been overseas I let my app updates stockpile to 22! That’s a heck of a lot of updates for one week, so finally I tapped “Update All” and let the Google Play Store work it’s magic. 

After doing this my phone would just randomly reboot. I witnessed it happen at least a dozen times, but it’s possible it could have rebooted more times whilst sitting in my pocket or back pack. 

I booted my phone into Safe Mode and the issue went away, so now my mind was in Sherlock Holmes mode and I started using the power of deduction to troubleshoot which of the 22 recent updates had royally screwed up my phone!

Luckily I didn’t have to do much!! After rebooting back into regular mode I noticed there were two pending app updates: Google & Uber.  

Under Google it said one week ago, but under Uber it said 13 hours ago. I figured that either a failed Google app update caused it or Uber has very quickly identified and resolved an issue with yet an even newer update. I installed both updates, but the issue continued, so I left my phone alone for the rest of the afternoon. I am on holiday after all!!!

When I started to settle down for the night I noticed that there was another pending update and sure enough it was from Uber. Under the entry it said “Last updated 6 hours ago” and so now I really started to question this app. Of course, I installed the update and unfortunately the issue persisted, so I uninstalled Uber and thus far I have not had any more issues!

Has anybody else experienced this issue on Android? If so, please leave a comment. 

This is the hardware and software that I am using: Google Pixel (5″) running Android 7.1.2. 

GTD Simplicity

I never thought of using it before, but now I am in love! Google Tasks within Gmail makes organizing my tasks super easy by simply just listing them! <BOOM> Mind blown!!!

I used to think I needed really sophisticated and featureful software to manage my todo’s and projects, but the reality is that putting all the work into managing the tasks takes away from the energy and the effort to actually get the task done!

One thing I am taking advantage of is the Google Tasks extension, which is pretty much an iFrame of the same Google Tasks list in the Gmail window. That keeps things simple, but much more accessible too.

The goal now is just to do tasks in the order that they come in without worrying too much about which task to do and delaying everything that is on my list! Unless of course something absolutely critical comes up, then I’ll have to re-prioritize, but on a typical day my new GTD strategy will just be “Start from the top”.

The Internet of Thingy Wotsits

Just as we started to heal from the overused term “cloud computing” we now have to deal with “IoT”, which if you didn’t already know stands for the Internet of Things. 

The blog fomotogo.wordpress.com outlines the way I have been feeling for the last 6 months or so, which is the feeling of being overly connected. 

I have been thinking about this so much that at the beginning of the year I was so sick and tired of owning a smartphone that I almost got one of these

However, I have to be more realistic and rather than shut myself completely out of this digital world I need to strengthen my willpower and work on the terrible habit of needlessly pulling out my phone and checking it every 5-10 minutes. 

I’ve already started to form a new habit of immediately plugging my phone into the charger on my nightstand when I get home and forgetting about it until the kids are in bed. It’s helped me shut off from work and wind down whilst we have dinner, then go through the bedtime routine of reading a story and talking what hammerhead sharks like to eat 😂 My eldest is really into sharks right now!

However, this window of time where I am not using my phone is typically only 3-3.5 hours out of the day, so I have started to wonder if I can extend it. One thing that FomoToGo has really helped me to consider is asking myself “Why?”. If it was typing up this blog post right now I would have been perusing articles online about the next Google Pixel and iPhone, so that I can start anticipating months in advance which phone I should get next… Why!? What else could I be doing in that time? Let’s think about this for a moment…

I already have ~3 hours off, but I usually stay up a further 3 hours on top of that, so what could I do in three hours?

  • Read a book
  • Learn a new language
  • Start an online class
  • Tackle some jobs around the house e.g. things that need fixing, as I already do the regular stuff (laundry, dishes, etc) once the kids are asleep 😀

You get the idea though. In the world that we live in the good side of technology enables us to do more than ever before, but without asking “Why?” It’s easy to let the Internet of Thingy Wotsits overrule our lives by becoming a big distraction to us. Things like social media, binge watching, the comments section etc. 

I need to take a more disciplined approach to this like I have done with my marathon training. My marathon is only 2 weeks away and I have been training since January 1st. It’s required a lot of focus and dedication and it has taught me a lot about myself. Once the marathon is over I’ll have even more time on my hands and the last thing I want to do is immediately slip back into old habits. 

One unintentional benefit of me switching to Android and using Google services in general is that once I have run this Pixel into the ground I don’t plan on getting the latest and greatest smartphone that money can buy. On the other hand I’m certainly not going to buy that LG Revere 3 either 😊 I’ll get a capable device that checks enough boxes to not leave me in the dark ages, but not so good that I feel the need to be attached to it all the time. 

Similarly to the phone I also have a desire to do the same with my computer. Work provides me with a laptop, but a part me wants a very basic device that, again, is capable, but not high end. It just needs to be good enough for a bit of browsing and have an SD card slot to upload pics from my SLR. I’m not sure what kind of laptop this is yet, so I’ll be doing some more research over the coming weeks. Part of that research will also involve asking “Why?”, especially when our household already has a 2013 MacBook Pro, two tablets, and three smartphones! 

This is going to be one of those ongoing things, so I’ll tag each post with “FomoToGo” if you’re interested in following my progress. 

The photo backup saga

For a so called rambling technologist I have been rather quiet lately, but I’m back now and have a few projects going on that I felt were worthy of a post. 

The first and most important project is the one I alluded to in the title of this post. I was the first victim of this particular problem, but now it’s affecting my wife, sister-in-law, and most recently my mother-in-law. It’s the problem that Google likes to make fun of in their Google Photos commercials against iPhone users with the infamous “Storage full” error. 

When it just affected me nobody seemed to care and so I quietly went off into the abyss in search for a solution for myself. After reading up on multiple solutions I decided that Google Photos was the best bet because not only does Google Photos work well across both iOS and Android, but it works swimmingly well in the browser too. From a PAT standpoint it received the golden stamp of approval. 

What’s doubly awesome is that the mobile apps on both platforms provide really awesome tools for managing and editing your photos and videos. It even automatically creates albums and mini videos containing photos and snippets of multiple videos into a single “show” like a highlight reel of a given day/event. It does this all by itself and 99% of the time the end product doesn’t even need editing, as it all fits together nicely. If you wanted to modify one of these auto-generated highlight reels it’s super simple and a joy to use, which is simply super!

Now, the real magic is the option to actually be able to wipe your phone clean of ALL local copies of your photos and videos to free up space. Apple claims to store everything in the cloud, but when I looked at my wife’s iPhone the manage storage section said she was still utilizing 3.5GB of disk space for iPhoto despite having ~80GB’s remaining on her iCloud storage plan. At first I thought it would be a case of identifying the photos & videos manually and deleting, but that is not the case. First of all it’s not 100% clear what is local and what is in the cloud. Second of all once you have positively identified a local file you can’t delete it without a message saying “This video will removed from all devices”. Why!? Why would you remove it from all devices when we are paying for cloud storage!? Apple should provide an option to delete the local copy and keep the backup version in iCloud or do what Google does and provide the same “Free up space” option which checks to see which photos and/or videos are stored locally, backs them up to the cloud, the proceeds to delete the local copy once it has verified that everything is safely in the cloud!

My conspiracy theory is that Apple would rather my wife ditch her 64GB iPhone 6s and buy a 128GB iPhone 7. However, it is most likely a shortcoming in their ecosystem, but from what I’ve read online there appears to be no fix in sight. 

So finally I said enough is enough and I have taken everything I have learned from my transition experience from iCloud Photo Library to Google Photos and will be applying it to my wife’s setup. 

This isn’t​ the end of the iPhone for my wife. By doing this we are in fact prolonging the life time of her existing iPhone as we can now free up space properly. It does, however, solve the photo sharing hassle between my Google Pixel and her iPhone as we now use the same photo backup provider. 

So that’s it for today. I’ll write up about some other things that I am doing later on. 

Ciao!