Geek Tech: Don’t Fix It if it Ain’t Broken!

PlayItGrand August 26, 2010 No Comments »

Imagine this: you’re sitting working on your computer/smartphone/internet connected device. Everything is right with the world. Your device is set up just how you want it and everything you have on it works just as it should. Then suddenly your work is interrupted. Your device informs you that it needs to update it’s software. You think to yourself, “Ok, fine. It will just take a few minutes, it will restart, and then I can go right back to work.” Little do you know how wrong you could be.

I own an original Motorola Droid. You know. The one that was uber cool until the Droid Incredible came out and it started getting harder to find accessories for the original Droid. Recently, the Android 2.2 (a.k.a. Froyo) update came out for Google smartphones, starting with the Nexus One phone and then systematically going on to the Droid line. Apparently this update has been anticipated for a while. I am a geek but not so much a tech geek, so I tend not to pay much attention to these things before they actually happen.

Android, you have my attention.

On the morningof the 18th  my Droid received the signal to assimilate and update. I put it off for a little while, poking “Remind me later” a number of times because I was deep in chat conversation with GreenEggsNSamm. When I finally was ready for that notice to pop back up, I allowed my Droid to update. Then I patiently waited for it to download and install the new programing. I saw it download and then shutdown to restart, so I waited. And waited. Finally I decided that maybe it wasn’t going to power back on by itself, so I pushed and held the power button to turn it on. Nothing. I kept trying. Bupkis. I was starting to think I’d have to take it to a Verizon store! I left it on my desk for a bit, came back, and behold! It was on! Apparently with 2.2 a watched Droid never powers on!

After that I started looking for the changes and they are hard to miss. My home screen now has 5 frames where it used to have 3. You can now poke the corresponding corner to shift to the next left or right frame as well as dragging your finger across to slide. I don’t really need 5 frames, so having it slide to an empty frame accidentally is a bit annoying. However there doesn’t seem to be a way to reset the home screen back to 3 frames.

The app drawer button is no longer just a button that you can drag upward to open it. It is now a three in one button comprised of the phone function, your browser – for which you can set your favorite as a default – and a button that now, when poked, opens your app drawer. While it did let me free up home screen space by letting my dump my phone and browser shortcuts, really, is that necessary? It seems like it is merely designed to make the Droid look and act more like the iPhone.

You can now add new terms to your dictionary while typing instead of having to force the auto-complete to accept what you put in and then add it to your dictionary later. If you put in a new term and then select it as the correct word, you will be given the option to poke it again to add it to your dictionary. Honestly, that’s the best thing I have found about this update! 

After poking around a bit I tried to go back to work. I discovered quickly that 2.2 wasn’t jiving with everything properly. My eBuddy chat client will not play it’s sound for incoming messages anymore. I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I checked the volume. I can put it at maximum and then sit and watch a message come in and hear nothing. For people who receive IM’s as often as I do, this is a big problem.

The other big problem I discovered – well maybe not a big one for some people, but it’s huge for me! – is that 2.2 has messed up my video player. I’m a Stargate SG-1 nut. I have all 10 seasons in mpeg4 format. It took me forever to find a player app that could play the mp4s and also provide a resume so I could stop an episode and pick it back up where I left off. That is important to me because I’m rarely able to sit and watch an episode off of my DVD’s without getting interrupted at least once, let alone watch them on my phone without having to stop. The only app that could do it all was called Plays Video. I say “was” because it no longer plays video. All it does now is say, “Sorry, This video cannot be played.” After spending hours trying to find an app – any app! – that would play the videos, I have had to give up. Everyone one of them either has never worked or they don’t work now because of whatever 2.2 did. I couple days agoI started browing though entertainment apps and I found RockPlayer. It’s not perfect and often looses my resume point, but it works. Considering that I’m trying to watch as much Stargate as possible before the Chicago Creation convention in a week so I can kick butt on the trivia panel, this has been extremely annoying.

Very late that night I discovered that the alarm clock app that came built into my phone was gone. Just gone. I was about to turn it on. It was simplistic, but exactly what I needed. I could make multiple alarms and assign them to specific days of the week. I downloaded a free alarm app that does pretty much the same thing, but I can’t assign the alarms to days of the week without buying the “pro” version. Really? Android, gimme a break! It took me a couple days to realize that the alarm was now a part of a built in clock app. Maybe Android needs to send out an app like the “home screen tips” widget to explain where they hid things after an update!

Checking out twitter, I see I’m not the only one having issues. “@droid_life Froyo Is Confusing Those Who Vibrate And Silent Their Devices – http://goo.gl/1Qhi#froyo #android #droid”. Before you could set your phone to silent or vibrate. Not any more. Now you can either tell it to never vibrate, or to only vibrate in silent mode, but you cannot have it completely silent with no vibrate if you want it to vibrate with the volume on. Don’t believe this article, because the commenters are right, you can’t change it so it will work how it used to before 2.2. People hate it. Way to go Android.

So here’s my question. If 2.2 was intended to fix problems and not cause them, why then is it causing so many issues? If people knew it was coming, why weren’t app makers given the information they needed to provide patches and updates so their apps would work after 2.2 went out? Why weren’t Android users informed about more of these changes so we could give them our two cents before they go and mess up our all important tech?

Seriously Android. It’s an old adage. Don’t fix if it ain’t broken!

Do you have a Droid? Tell us what you think about 2.2!

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