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Puckdropper
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Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 746
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I got a small "internet tablet" mainly to play MP3s on. I've been playing with the other features and the Android OS. It's a totally different experience than with Windows, and I'm not just talking about the UI changes. It's an entirely different philosophy.

The Windows platform is very mature, not just in stability but in design philosophy. Microsoft's UI has seen several revisions and generally gets better. Sure, they screw up things like how Explorer acts (auto-sort should not be on permanently), but they get the big things right.

Android, on the other hand, has another set of big things to worry about and they haven't gotten it right yet. The problem is most portable screens are small which makes pointing and selecting things difficult. Fitt's law states that the time to select an object is related to the object's size and distance to the object. Larger objects are easier to select, that's usability 101.

The UI uses a Mac-like "long press" to bring up a menu. The first thing on that menu should be the default action for a click/tap, as it's possible the menu was brought up by mistake. It's not clutter, it's allowing the user to fix an error. As a long-time Windows user, I'm not fond of the "long press" to bring up the context menu but understand its necessity. The digitizer on my tablet cannot handle multiple touches, so there's no way to detect a "right click."

Installing applications is intended to be simple and easy, and it is simple. However, knowing what you're getting in to before it installs is difficult. Many "free" programs are really ad supported, but many of the various sites and marketplace viewers I've seen fail to disclose this little detail. The only indication before installation is after the download completes and the program is ready to install. A list of permissions requested is displayed and the user has to use his best guess as to what the program would need the permissions for. Why would a sketch program need internet access, the ability to read your devices unique ID, and contact list? You can't deny any particular permission, but can refuse to install the program. Instead of a philosphy where the user is in control, it's a philosophy of "the user has been warned."

This needs to change, for the good of the user. Indicate the program's real classification rather than just how much it costs, and document what permissions it requests and why. If information is being sent to a third party, it should be disclosed before it's allowed. Don't hide it in privacy policies, put it out in the open so users can make an informed decision.

One of the most curious items that is missing is in-built Pathetic Document Format. A few companies put out decent PDFs, while others just scan printed manuals (or just print directly to PDF). The point is, however, that PDF is here to stay and an extremely popular format for some stupid reason. Why isn't PDF support included out of the box? There's several PDF programs available, but finding a good one is difficult. There's lots of choices on Windows, plenty on Mac, and a good selection for Linux. Even the Kindle can read PDFs without too much hassle.

The real reason I got the tablet was to play music. My music library is larger than most cheap players, and even many of the more expensive ones don't have SD card support to expand the space. They'd rather sell you a whole new player than sell you one that could grow with you. This tablet, however, includes a MicroSD card and should make expansion easy.

The tablet also has another neat feature. It can play music over bluetooth. All I have to do is turn the radio on, press the button to wake the player and it'll start playing music on the radio.

The Android OS has a lot of growing to do, application libraries and installers need to inform the user of what they're getting before they download the program, but the hardware creates a promising platform if the user's privacy is actually respected.

Postscript: I've found an Apple IIe emulator called "cAndy Apple". It allows you to play Apple IIe games on your Android device. It seems to work pretty well, but may be a bit slower than the original. Timing sensitive games might be difficult to play, but other games like Wheel of Fortune are a cinch.

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dw



Joined: 10 May 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I have only briefly played around with Android. My sister got a new Samsung smartphone with it loaded. I had problems having it connect to my wireless network. For some reason Android (or perhaps the phone itself?) doesn't like hidden SSIDs nor WPA2 encryption. I had to have my wireless router completely open to everyone and everything in the neighborhood in order to operate the phone.

If I ever get an android device of my own I will check out the cAndy Apple program. Now if I could only get Sweet16 to work properly on my iMac G3 Snow in OSX 10.4. I guess I can live with booting into Classic and using Bernie ][.
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Puckdropper
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 746
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I had trouble with the network using WPA2 dropping out. After turning off the power save for the network connection, it worked much better. I guess it was dropping the connection to save power and neglected to consider that connecting is an expensive task.

_________________
>say "Hello sailor"
Nothing happens here.

>score
Your score is 202 (total of 350 points), in 866 moves.
This gives you the rank of Adventurer.
View user's profileSend private messageVisit poster's websiteAIM AddressYahoo MessengerMSN MessengerICQ Number
dw



Joined: 10 May 2008
Posts: 62

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:15 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I finally got me an Android 7" wm8650 netbook. It runs Modroid v6.5 (Android 2.2). I got it at a steal at $15 at a garage sale. It came with the original box and power adapter. Android runs pretty good. The UI does take some getting used to as Android is geared for touch screens and this device doesn't have that. Unfortunately cAndy apple crashes upon start. Sad
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