Samsung A8

Samsung A8I have never adapted so quickly to a new smart phone. My Samsung S5 was getting slower and having storage problems. It was time for a new phone. I never want a top of the range really expensive one. I don’t see the point. I worked out the A8 was probably the one for me and it is. I have taken to it like a duck to water. Best thing was I shopped around and got a really good price.

It comes with a Smart Switch, phone cable, ear buds, plastic phone back and wall plug charger. It took no time at all , really , to get the data off my old phone using the Smart Switch. It took no time to get on the mobile network and it was my own phone once I put the SD card in. So a couple of hours or less and I was on my new phone and fully functional. That has never happened before.

I love the screen real estate, the intuitive gesturing, the helpful hints and the cruisy feel of it. Everything is instant and seamless. Photos are organised logically. Apps and contacts are easily found. Screenshots are slightly different. You have to use the start button on the side and the volume down button. The screenshots are fast compared with my S5.

Others who have used it have been very impressed. I am. It is so easy to customise, use and find out about. It is very similar to a J8 but has more ram and a slightly smaller screen. I went for the ram as it makes a difference in functionality.

I do not find this phone pushy and intrusive as other smartphones have been. It has got it right on information and notifications. Searches also bring up the help you actually need.

You can read the specifications on the Samsung site.

Samsung A8

All in all, this phone has been a really pleasant surprise and continues to be so.

Samsung Galaxy S5

Samsung Galaxy S5I always run behind with my mobile phone. I let everything sort itself out and then move slowly to another model, in my own time, when I feel like it. I have upgraded my Samsung Galaxy Express ,which I came to really appreciate, to a Samsung Galaxy S5. The Express was getting too slow and clunky for what I wanted to do. Having moved on, it’s nice being upgraded. However, there is no offline FM radio for the Samsung Galaxy S5 and that comes as a disappointment to me because I could use one now. I have a little one I can use independently but it would be good to have one I could use on the phone or which runs from the earplugs as they used to. I do not always have a wifi connection and I am not using mobile data to stream radio. Bit of FM flexibility would not go astray because we are supposed to be living in a personalised world. An offline FM tuner capability would be good for rural areas which don’t always have access to reliable wifi or mobile signal. They say offline FM tuners have been abandoned because no one used them. I use them and lots of people on the internet seem to want to use them because they are googling what I am googling. Please let us have the option. Other than that I find the S5 to be very reliable, smooth and helpful as a phone. It was chewing through the battery as it downloaded and updated apps and my phone but it set it up really well so all my apps were there from the play store and it only took about 10 minutes to be up and running. Now it has set itself up , the battery usage is good. The camera is superior to the Express and that is a feature I really want. It runs very quickly and smoothly on the Net and that is another feature I want. It’s tactile sounding keyboard is good for me because I have trouble with touch keyboards. This one is pretty good as touch keyboards go. I really like it and have adapted to it quickly because it is efficient and effective. I did embarrass myself when I rang someone accidentally instead of texting them because of how things are set out and I don’t find there is a good contrast onscreen between the orange and green colours they have used. I then couldn’t find out how to stop the call because it was different from the Express. The fun of learning a new phone. The power saving options are good, the information I am provided with is good and I really like the active apps deck you can bring up that I have shown in the picture. As you can see, I was trying everything to get offline FM Radio. Not to be. Now I know why the young man on the train had his phone AND a little MP3 player. Makes you look very retro.  Next week I shall be doing the same . Wake up Samsung! At least provide us with the option of a headset/earplugs with FM tuner. AndroidPit has a list of Android phones which do have an offline FM Tuner.

Linux Mint 15 – Olivia

Linux Mint 15That has to have been the buggiest install I have ever had with Linux Mint. It is not necessarily due to Linux Mint 15. I am working under duress here because there are broadband and mobile upgrades going on all around me and there are also faults in the area. Some of it may also be because of the extreme heat we have been having. It is one of the reasons I wanted to convert my Toshiba Satellite A500 laptop solely to Linux. Windows runs hard and uses a lot of system resources. When it is exceedingly hot and humid on a regular basis then you need to take the strain off the hardware. I had a copy of Linux 15 and decided to install it…and the package manager had a MergeList problem. This meant I could not select software, I could not install software and I could not get updates. My installation was broken! There is some code you can put into Terminal to rectify the situation and it worked like a charm. You type one line at a time:

sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/* -vf
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

It took over an hour on my gluey connection but my Linux 15 works perfectly now and I am currently installing Audacity. This would normally take a couple of minutes. Not today!!

Linux Mint 15 Phone

I was going to Bluetooth this

There are some nice touches to Olivia . Bottom left are settings and notifications which scroll up when you want them to. The system settings is very similar to my MacBook Pro and customising the display is much easier. The Blue tooth doesn’t want to discover my Samsung Galaxy Express but I don’t blame it. I didn’t want to know it when I first met it either. I obviously will have to go through formal introductions. Linux Mint 15 is running smoothly under a slow connection and is managing well. I shall have to come back and give it a proper write up when I have normal access. In the meantime, it is doing what I want – taking the strain off my nice laptop.

Thank you to the Ubuntu Forum for the code which helped.

Time to fix the cracked screens

cracked screens

Time to fix the cracks

Apparently the screen isn’t cracked, it’s “webbed”. There is a certain coolness factor associated with a cracked screen now, but what else can people do? This is a design fault. People use smart phones and tablets a lot. They hold them, they carry them in their bags, pencil cases and pockets. My phone screen just cracked by being in a not overly full bag – in fact in was in a padded pocket in a nearly empty bag and travelled to work in comfort in my car. Somehow it cracked. The solution for me was to buy a new phone because it was cheaper than having it repaired which they didn’t want to do anyway. Don’t you just love apathy? That’s partly the problem. People look at expedience and profit. Phones and tablets are not properly designed for the job they are expected to do. Were it a car screen , a TV screen or a window in your house ,watch, you’d be horrified. Tablet and phone screens crack far too easily. Yes, people are going to get knocked. Their bags are going to get squashed. They are going to just let the tablet slip off their lap or fall out of their hands. Silly people. So then you are looking at maybe 200 dollars or more for a new screen depending on the device. Easy money. Additional cost on top of what was probably a pretty high outlay in the first place. Maybe insurance will cover it. Maybe not. Doesn’t actually solve the design fault. The science behind shattering screens is here in this article from the Daily Mail. Science is a wonderful thing. The designers need to get onto it. Apparently Samsung is working on it but someone I know just cracked the screen on their beloved Samsung Galaxy III. We need stronger, more durable screens which are designed with people in mind and how they will use their product. It really is time to fix this issue.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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