Saturday, May 03, 2014

Why I love and hate my Nexus 5

UPDATE JUNE 2016 - Getting the Induction Charger Going

I found the problem with my wireless Tesla induction charger, INSIDE the PHONE.  It seems that LG's Korean Engineers STUPIDLY made the back cover of the phone part of the induction charger circuitry of the phone.  They put spring-tension contact tangs on the phone and contact pads on the back cover.  That way, judging from the design, when you snap the back cover in place, the tangs touch the pads and complete the circuit.  But after a while of tension on the tangs, the connection weakens and eventually disconnects from the pad.

I removed the back cover and tried to bend the tangs upward (toward where the cover would be), and that made it work for a while. I worried that if I pried too assiduously a tang would break off and then I'd have ruined the phone. Within a few days, the phone stopped induction charging again.

I discovered that by mashing on the phone back cover about half way between the Nexus letter "S" and the volume control, I could thereby jimmy the contacts under the back cover there, and so I could get the induction charger to work for a while, but eventually it quit altogether and I tired of trying to jimmy it to get it to work.

The plug-in charger still works, but the induction charger no longer works.  So, back to the drawing board, LG.  I want my money back.

Or you can send me a Nexus 5x.


I find nothing to hate and nearly everything to love about my Google Nexus 5 these days.

Google released Android 5 in late 2014 and 6 back in October 2015.  Android 6 (Marshmallow) solved all the problems I had with KitKat.  And my phone receives updates very early compared to non-Google phones, so that pleases me.

My contact charger, or the circuitry inside the phone, died a couple of months ago, and I haven't replaced the charger.  Tech support at TILT, the charger maker, was very nice, but useless.  The light on the charger started flashing red when I set the phone on the cradle.  After a lightning storm caused a power outage, the charger stopped working altogether.  The phone charges by USB cable now.

Last night at the wee hours, someone from California called me and the phone started its ringing.  I pushed the volume down button and the sound died instantly.  Okay, I guess that makes sense.  But I wish I could stop it from ringing altogether by flipping the phone face down, and allow it to ring by flipping it face up.


Let's get this straight from the outset.  I absolutely LOVE the blinding, kick-butt speed of my Google/LG Nexus 5 smart phone.    It      handles with aplomb the gigantic contact list (over 4,000) that  makes my slower phone choke.  And, I love its user-friendly price.  But also... I don't like having a new user interface paradigm shoved up my ass... Unless it feels good of course.  And from my view no such shoving could possibly feel good.  And apparently Google has hired some inexperienced think-outside-the-box politically correct feminist free wheelers to design the user interface.  And shove it up my ass.  So, naturally I don't like it.

My first android experience came in the form of 2.3 on my Galaxy SII several years ago.  I enjoyed a shallow learning curve because it operated intuitively.  I touched the message icon to send a message, my contacts icon to mess with contacts, the phone icon to make a call, and the world icon to browse the web.

Google changed all that with KitKat (Android 4.4) on the snappy Nexus 5 I just bought to replace my sluggish SII.

Now I have no contacts icon and Google forced the hangouts icon and service on me in place of my simpler message icon and interface.  Now when I tap the phone, I get a screen that shows a confusing display of contacts.  I can't tell whether they are favorite contacts of my call log because Google designers have stupidly mixed them together while NOT making their usage intuitively obvious.  At the top I get the Google Now line with the search icon at one end and the microphone at the other.  When I say somebody's name from my contacts, Google Now might guess the contact correctly from my speech and it might not. If it does not find the contact, it displays that name from the web WITHOUT telling me or beeping me that it could not find the contact in my database.

With a 4.7" screen available, designers could and should have identified the sections of info and made context sensitive help for the clueless, timid, or confused.

Another big gripe.  When I click on the gray head that symbolizes a picture of a contact, I get a screen that shows he name of the contact, the photo, and the phone number, to the right of which it displays a little message icon.  It shows  menu at the top.

Designers did not make the purpose and function of this screen obvious.  The menu icon show some options like edit share delete set ringtone, calls to voice mail, and place on home screen.

Do you see the problem here?  I started by clicking the phone icon because I wanted to place a call, and now I'm trying to figure out what to do with the contact and related info.  When I tap the phone, I want to make a call, not diddle with contacts.  And this spells instant distraction for interrupt driven and inquisitive people like me.  Some of us get easily led on a rabbit hunt when we ventured into the woods to harvest logs.  THAT's a major problem with KitKat.

I liked my old android mapping of dialpad keys to favorite contacts.  I knew if pressed and held 2 the phone would call my wife.  But I have not found a means to that end in KitKat.  Grrr.  Now my wife will think I don't love her just because I don't want to face the nightmare user interface of KitKat.

The Nexus 5 does show me some nice alerts, which I love.  For example, it showed me that tomorrow is Donna Lee's birthday.  Okay, I want to send her a card tomorrow AND call her right now (interrupt driven, you know) to become one of the first to wish her happy birthday early.  Would you believe KitKat gives me know way to do either?  Now I have to slog through the contact search paradigm in order to find Donna Lee's number when the Calendar has already shown me her name.  Where's the paradigm when I need it?  Do you see how stupid this seems?

I absolutely love the visual voice mail feature.  For several years my answering machine greeting warned callers not to leave me a voice mail because I won't listen to it anyway.  Unfortunately when someone calls me from within a government agency or a big corporation switchboard, I have no idea who called UNLESS I listen to voice mail.  Grrrr.  So visual voice mail has made it easy to select which messages to hear and which to ignore.

This morning I listened to visual voice mail for some unknown caller and heard a telemarketing message from someone wanting to con me into a service or product I don't need or want.  I wanted to add that number to the call reject list, and I couldn't find a way to do it.  Why doesn't KitKat offer that option in the call log like Android Used to?

Oh, and WHERE IS the call log now?  I see no button for it.  Oh, I get it.  The clock, representing history.  Really.  A clock represents time, as in time of day, right now, not history. Does the designer hope to change the meaning of the clock icon by forcing users to accept it as "history" symbol?  Not on my watch. Why not use the word "Log?" This thing does speak English, doesn't it?  Or SHOW a symbol that looks like a log of wood?  Well I would suppose that when I tap my phone icon on the home screen, that mismash of contacts that appears IS the call log.  Or is it a list of most recently called? How would know? 

RTFM?  ROTFL!  Anyway, GTFOH!  I RAN a software corporation and I don't read user interface manuals.  I FIRE ding-dong, smart ass designers who make BAD user interfaces.

Anyway, I tap the clock and the "history" screen comes up showing the word "History" at the top.  Really.  Why didn't the designer put another clock face there?  Because the designer KNEW the user would not intuitively cognite to its meaning.   And at the history screen I should be able to see a dozen or more log entries at a glance.  I see only six.  I consider this an abusive waste of screen real estate.  White space sells in ads.  It annoys in data lists.

I hate the lack of a 64G micro-sd socket. I hate the lack of access to the battery so I can replace it with spares easily. And I hate the protective transparent plastic sheet the factory put over the screen.  It says NEXUS on it in translucent letters, and that distracts me.

I love the feel of my Nexus 5.  The volume and on/off buttons are PERFECT.  The screen size is perfect.  The black back has a classy look, and the camera functions PERFECTLY, taking PERFECT photos easily and intuitively.  I love Google Now's integration with the phone's function as a data finder and answer provider.  I love the way it calculates math and arithmetic when I talk equations to it, and finds places and people, and gives up simple facts from google search.  I love the new google earth function of google maps.  I love the integration of google drive and google docs.

I love the TYLTed wireless charger and cradle T-Mobile provided to me for the phone.  It charges my phone through proximity alone, without any physical contact.  I just lay the phone on the cradle and it charges.  The cradle lets me see, tap, and swipe phone screen without straining my neck.

I bought an edge protector rubberized case for the phone.  It came with a sticky-side-down plastic sheet to protect the glass on the Nexus 5 screen.  I replaced the factory installed protector with it.  But sadly, the screen or sticky side got little dust flecks on it and that created bubbles between the screen and sheet once laid in place.  I cannot get the bubbles out.  My Brighthouse support rep suggested putting a drop of dish detergent in a glass with some water, then dripping some drops of that solution on the on the screen and applying the screen protector.  Then, she said, I could use the edge of a credit card to squeegee  out the  bubbles.  I have yet to try that little trick.  Some LG and Samsung will make phone cases and circuitry of ultra-hard graphene that will make protective cases and covers unnecessary.  Meanwhile, I have dumped my screen protector altogether.  I cannot stand the annoyance of its bubbles.

And even though I haven't installed it yet, I love the way UBUNTU will run side by side with KitKat.  I love the idea of having my desktop computer in my shirt pocket.

And last but not least, I LOVE THE PRICE of the Nexus 5.  it has ALL the important features of a $600 phone, and the 16G version (also available in 32G) costs only $321 cash from T-Mobile.  I could have bought a used 32G version through Craigslist for $280, but Wifey didn't like the idea and reasoned that the few bucks better price didn't justify the potential heartache of purchasing from an unknown source.

Before you consider me just too critical to tolerate, I should admit a few truths.

I admit that most of the things I hate about the Nexus 5 have to do with Google's implementation of KitKat.  I understand Google's chintzy refusal to provide a memory card slot as a means of gouging worried customers out of another hundred bucks for the 32G version.  I also recognize that as a way to give bargain hunters like me a path to obtaining the 16G version of this snazzy phone for less than $350, and unheard-of value.  And who says I need more than that?  Nobody, yet.  I admit that my 32G Sandisk Ultra Micro-SD card doubled as a UBUNTU boot device if and when I needed to use someone else's computer without accessing their hard drive.  I could insert the card in a USB adapter, jam that into the computer's USB hole, and boot the world's most popular, pristine, virus-free desktop Lnux OS from it.  I can still do that, but I have to carry it on my keychain instead of in my phone.

My advice to Google's Android KitKat user experience designers:  learn some lessons from Google's smart phone marketers and price setters.  THEY know WTF they're doing.  You DON'T.

Whoever knows the email addresses of those fools in the User Interface department, please send them this message... if by some misfortunate miracle Google still employs them.

Bob Hurt            Blog 1 2    f  t
2460 Persian Drive #70
Clearwater, FL 33763
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Shalu said...

Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u.

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Style Baby said...

Extraordinary information about Nexus 5. If mobile don't have an external memory option it will difficult to keep that mobile and it is wast to buy that mobile also.

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