Monday, January 26, 2015

Finally switched to Android

I took the afternoon off on the 16th because we had to go to the immigration office to extend my wife's VISA. It didn't take too long and we didn't have much to do on that evening. By the way, I had received the call from BicCamera informing that the gift vouchers we were supposed to receive when we switched from Softbank to AU were ready for pickup. So we went to Kawasaki and there we decided to switch to Y-Mobile at the same time.

We received the gift vouchers, 40 of them each worth JPY 1000. Now I have to find a way to use them or even better, cash them.

So I went to a Y-Mobile staff person and told him that we were planning to switch to their network. Well, it would be Softbank again as Y-Mobile uses Softbank's network. And we decided to go with the Nexus 5 even though I was drooling for the 6-incher. We decided to go with the black one for me and the white one for my wife.


We spent many hours at BicCamera but we were met with a failure. For some reason, registration on the Softbank network failed. The reason given to us was that the number of lines that I own on the Softbank network have exceeded the maximum allowed. That's outrageous because I don't have any Softbank lines under my name. Of course I had two lines a month ago and for one of them I still have to pay the remaining balance of the iPhone 5S. Could it be that? Everything will be settled by next month, so all I have to do is to wait another month. However, I don't want to wait another month because it would incur an additional JPY 4000 because I will have to pay the higher monthly bill of AU one extra month.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Decided to make the switch from iOS to Android

Android-versus-iOS

Background

Even though at first I whole heartily welcomed Apple adding a lot of features to iOS 8, I soon realized how much of a blow that was to the reliability of iOS. Despite Apple releasing many updates to fix the issues, there are many issues that haven't been addressed.

I experience

  • app crashes,
  • apps being unable to connect to the Internet without turning Wi-Fi off and back on,
  • SwiftKey keyboard popping up really slowly or not popping up at all and
  • the copy/paste dialog not popping up when tapping on a text box

almost everyday..

Those are only the ones that I can remember. I have never encountered this many problems in iOS before. Unfortunately with the iPhone you cannot downgrade so I'm stuck with these issues until Apple does something about it. However they are late...intolerably late and I cannot wait any longer.

Thus I've decided to take things in to my hands. That means switching camps. I am finally going to switch to Android. I'm not completely sure that this would improve the situation as Android might have larger issues, but with the release of Lollipop or Android 5.0, it appears that Android is finally good enough. That's not to say that there is no learning curve and it probably would be quite steep for my wife but she is willing to adapt.

So switch already!

While switching to Android isn't that difficult, I am after the best possible Android experience in a carrier unlocked phone. That means getting a Google Nexus Phone with Android Lollipop. However, Softbank, my current carrier doesn't offer Nexus devices. Luckily there is one carrier, Y-mobile, that does. So I have to switch carriers to become a Nexus owner.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Lower the YouTube video quality on a mobile data connection

When I bought the iPhone 5S a little more than a year ago, I was quite pleased with the LTE performance. Previously with 3G on the iPhone 3GS and 4S, I could hardly stream YouTube videos without frequent buffering. A 5 minute long video would take more than 15 minutes  to playback due to these pauses. Thus the speed boost enjoyed by LTE was a very welcome upgrade for me.

But the situation didn't completely improve with LTE. Softbank was artificially limiting my streaming capabilities. They used to offer unlimited data with 3G probably because they knew it would total up only a couple of GBs even for heavy users. With LTE, I only could go up to 7.5GB before throttling. It’s actually only 7GB, and the extra 500MB was because I signed up for tethering, which was free of charge in the first two years. While 7.5GB was probably a lot, with the speeds observed with LTE, it was hardly adequate. But the biggest pull back was caused by the next limitation: you could only use 1GB in 3 consecutive days before throttling occurred.

Curse you, Softbank!

The YouTube app itself wasn’t helpful either.

Since the LTE speeds were great, it was “intelligently” playing back at HD Quality, which was 720pon the iPhone 5S. That’s would be hundreds of MB for one LinusTechTips video. You could change the resolution only if you were on Wi-Fi. What kind of retarded decision is that? I guess they don't have caps in the US. :-/

Unable to change quality setting

(Click the image to see a higher resolution image)

Needless to say that this was really driving me crazy. Why aren't we allowed to use a lower resolution to save packets? I can understand it if it would adversely affect the streaming performance as people might stupidly select the highest resolution, thinking they knew better. If that's the reason behind it, giving the permission to reduce the resolution would not have affected streaming performance.