Brett Rants

Late Summer 2016

Apple's iPhone

... I am a fan ...

What I do on my iPhone

I don't make calls, as I have no service. And I don't text, for the very same reason. I do read (or at least preview) my emails on my iPhone. But, really, what I use my iPhone (or should I be calling it an iPod, at this point) for most is reading PDF's (books, research papers, and so on). These, I get from the Internet (so, Safari is the number two app that I use). I used to play a fair number of games (High School Story, Aurolax, and Geo Defense, which I mention because I feel the need to list my favourites), but I've cured myself of that addiction. And though I'd be happy to waste time on Reddit, someone decided to change the way the official app worked and it's just not as fun for me any more.

My Lockscreen, which includes my contact information overwritten on an image of my cat, or I suppose, at this point, of a cat that used to be mine

Welcome to my iPhone. In order to add contact information just in case my phone is ever lost (or Heaven forbid, stolen), I added text to the lock-screen image. On an Android, one just adds text to the lock-screen as a standard option.

I'm Not a Fanboy

First off, I'm not a Mac user. I like Microsoft's OS. I have been using Microsoft for a long time. And if I was going to switch operating systems, it would be to Linux (perhaps the Arch Linux install) instead of IOS. But since Windows now has (as of Win 10 or whatever they are calling it) Linux-like command line abilities, I can't see any reason to defect...

Reasons to Defect from Windows

  1. Windows ain't free, buddy.
    1. But the commodity hardware (you know, the type of low end rig that I buy) comes loaded with Windows. So, yeah. It is free... or might as well be from my point of view.
    2. And don't call me 'Buddy'.
  2. No, not that kind of free, you know, free as in speech (as apposed to the preceding, which related to free, as in beer).
    1. But is still doesn't matter. I can't code at that level. And System Administration hasn't managed to spark my interest (not yet, anyhow). So, it doesn't matter if the 'workings' are hidden from me.
    2. Oh, and thanks for not calling me 'Buddy' this time around.
  3. Are there any other reasons?
    1. Not that I can think of. As of Win 10, Microsoft is supposed to suport Linux Binaries, which was always the major reason to switch to Linux for me.
    1. And in the end, Air Gap is the only security that works.
Does any of this matter?


Except, that when I say I like the iPhone, what I mean is that I like the iPhone as a product, but could care less about the greater Apple ecosystem. Besides, everything that can be said about Microsoft above, can also be said about Apple... and on top of all that, it's more expensive (from head to toe, though I am sure there are those who would disagree, but, perhaps, the Microsoft guys can provide a spreadsheet that will show how their OS costs less in the long run... you know, just like the fine folks at Apple could do to prove the reverse).

iphone homescreen, showing all that apps I use

This is my home-screen. My Android (not shown) has cellular service, my iPhone does not. But even with that said, I carry both devices around: the Android so I can send and receive texts (and sometimes phone calls) and the iPhone to take photographs and to read previously downloaded documents.

Reason de Rant

After three years, my iPhone battery died. To replace the battery it took:
But, like I said, does any of this matter?
I don't know how I would have reacted long-term if Apple had simply told me how much replacing the battery was going to cost up-front. I went to the store expecting to pay around $100. Well, that's not entirely true. I went to the store with the idea I'd be better off buying a used iPhone second-hand for $250 (or so, memory fades) if the repair was going to cost more than a $100.

But being told it was going to be free (and I really did press the associate or whatever they are called on the issue); and then, to be presented with a bill (invoice, estimate for services to be rendered, or whatever you want to call it) an hour later, seemed... um, less than forthright.

So, it basically put me in a bad mood and I started making a list of things that went wrong with the phone exchange from there on out.

Safari shown with tabs open showing the different stubs on my webpage

My patterns in life change. But often, I have wanted to read various websites completely and in depth (say, the online documentation for Python, numpy, and/or some math tutorial all at the same time, while I have the need, simultaneously, to solve a specific technical problem that causes me to open another half dozen tabs with links to stackoverflow and the like). I find Safari very useful for this sort of thing and tend to keep my long-term reading list behind a tab to my personal website (you know, this place) with shorter term items stacked in front of it. And, yes. I always keep a tab to my personal website open. It helps to remind me what I am all about.

Problems Encountered Restoring My iPhone

The new iPhone was zeroed out to the factory install, so I had to reload it. And in the end, I was actually pretty impressed with the recovery process. But in the moment, I found certain aspects of bringing my phone up to speed to be very frustrating; which is to say, all's well that ends well, but it can be very stress inducing until one gets to that happy point in time.
Anyway, after doing the iTunes update, it was smooth sailing 'restoring from back up'. But as I had never done this before, I didn't know what this meant nor was there any clear indication what it meant even after 'restoring from back up'. And to be honest, at first blush (having never done a restore before), it looked like that meant almost nothing.

Great my iPhone remembers the tabs I had open in Safari, my email password, and the three contacts I had saved. I am not a sociable guy, maybe it has something to do with my propensity to rant, maybe it does not.

Bottom line, right out of the gate, this was the only noticeable effect of the restore.

Seriously? This is why I did a restore?

Documents by Readdle app showing Supreme court briefs as the highlighted documents

I use Documents by Readdle to read PDF's. I am guessing that I use it more than any other app (Safari, Weather, anything). The few times I've tried reading on my Android, the screen flickered, which is completely unacceptable to me (individual results may vary, the screen on my iPhone has acted up at times, as well). Enough, said. I prefer reading on my iPhone over my Android. And for me, that trumps almost any other concern when comparing the two.

What an iPhone Restore Buys You

Now, as they say, individual results may vary, but this is what I noted during my restore.
Of course, I could not begin to tell you why the apps themselves were not reloaded on restore.

After all, what I really expected out of restore was for an 'image' of the phone to be reloaded from my computer that preserved the 'state' of the phone at the time of my last back up. And after saving all the data, the additional memory footprint to log the installed apps (and/or auto-install on restore) would have been trivial.

But what do I know.

Now, Back in the Good Old Days

I like my iPhone. But my restore experience was less than stellar, which is a shame, because at one time, it seemed like everything about Apple was wonderful (eh, this may be an overstatement, but I'm willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt).

Here, this aside may give some insight. At one time (say way back in the Eighties or Nineties, so like, my entire life before then) I really liked Sears. I was a fan. If Sears sold it, I was going to buy it from them. I bought my first computer from Sears for this very reason. I didn't understand computers, but I trusted Sears, so who else would I turn to? Unfortunately, Sears failed to honour the warranty for a truck battery (to the degree I would have liked, I am sure they honoured the fine print, but let me assure you, it wasn't the 100% Satisfaction Guarantee I was expecting), so I stopped doing business with Sears (the only power a consumer has). But until that moment, never having actually requested much of Sears, I really liked them.

So, you know, maybe my recollections regarding Apple fall into the same boat.

But with little exaggeration (or only exaggerating in Apple's favour, so who really cares if I remember this wrong), at one time:
So, um, contrast this with my recent experience and I'm guessing times have changed.

Reddit folder showing various apps

Like I said, patterns in life change. A year ago, I likely spent one or two hours every day reading posts on Reddit. But on reload, the reader (I believe it was the default Reddit Client) was upgraded to a newer version. I did not find this newer version to be better; and instead, found it decidedly worse. Bottom line, I haven't been on Reddit for months now. Think about that. Reddit had a 5-10% share of my life. And they lost it all, because I don't like any of the readers I've tried. The little things do indeed matter... or at least, they do to me.

Does It Matter?


I like my iPhone better than my Android. It's what I'm going to keep on using. I mean, come on. I use my iPhone for hours (literally hours) every day. I don't care if it costs twice as much as the competition or if the in-store service was Poor to Midlin (which is still likely twice as good as the competition). I'm going to use (and therefore, buy) the device I prefer.

But then, market share is always in flux, so resting on one's laurels is a mistake.

Yet, that's stating the case wrong.

I use Microsoft's OS on my computer and Apple's IOS on my iPhone. But who's product am I going to use when it's time (and it will be time, right soon enough) to consolidate my digital experience across my house, car, laptop, and phone? Believe it or not, right now, Google is just as likely a choice as Apple or Microsoft. And that's (in many ways) a bloody shame. And that's (in every way) the only reason to have all these retail outlets in the first place: to secure one's place in the public's heart's and mind's as the Preferred Provider of the Coming Digital Age.

To be fair, I don't know if Apple was ever going to be my choice for the 'OS of My Life'. But my latest experience certainly didn't do anything to swing the tide in Apple's favour.

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I tried rating the experience from one to ten, deducting points here and there, but how many points does one subtract for being lied to? And does it even matter? My iPhone is still my device of choice.

© 2017 Brett Paufler