Another Windows Phone Hatchet Job? – Lumia 1020

I’m using this phone for 3 weeks.  Camera: excellent.  Social experience: excellent.  Apps: need some work but improving.  Only issue I’m having is when I’m listening to something in the car on the phone, I get a text, and the audio stops until I acknowledge the text – that’s a little unsafe.

Best thing I can say: this is the longest I’ve used Windows Phone as my personal handset without once getting annoyed at it :D  I’ve no plans to switch off of it for now.

I think that counts as high praise!?!?!?

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Geez, Buying a Smart Phone is … Complicated

Forgetting plans and contracts, just picking a device is a royal pain in the behind.  I’m looking at a bunch of devices, one of which I’d buy next week in New Orleans (factory unlocked):

Apple iPhone 5

I’ve been using the iPhone 4 for 2.5 years (with a 2 week fling with a Nokia Lumia 820).  I fancy … a change.  Maybe IOS7 will bring change, and maybe not.  I’m not that invested in the platform.

Samsung Galaxy S4

It’s probably the best handset on the market.  It’s a pity Samsung put so many cr-apps into the OS that can’t be removed.  To make it worse, you can’t move apps to the SD card.  Only 16 GB models are available, and only 9 GB of that space is usable.  This would be my handset of choice … but this storage space thing is a concern.

HTC One M7 32 GB

This handset has some very good reviews.  There’s plenty of capacity.  The camera, although low MP, also gets good reviews … but I use a DSLR for those occasions when I want a good photo Smile  The UI has some issues apparently.

Sony Xperia Z

Some of the guys in the office have and love this one.  My concern are the reviews that say the screen doesn’t behave well in bright light or from a slight angle.

Nokia Lumia 920

I can’t get an unlocked 925 or 928, so that leaves the 920.  I had an 820 for 2 weeks before giving it to a friend.  The battery in the 820 was … poor.  The 920 is heavy, but solid.  The screen is super.  The OS … is WP8.  Hmm. 

Basically, I am torn.  The safe and boring choice is the iPhone 5.  The follow-the-crowd choice is to get the S4.  The daring choice is a Lumia 920 or the HTC One M7.

Or … do I wait until later in the year when Google releases a Samsung S4 with the base Android OS and no cr-apps?

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Podcasts on my iPhone & Smart Playlists

Music and talk radio bore me to death.  I’ve been commuting to work on the train and tram.  For a while I worked on last year’s books.  That all wrapped up and then I needed something else.  I got an iPad a few months ago and started syncing TV shows onto it via the VLC app.  On the tram (which is crammed) I switch to audio … mainly podcasts.  In the car, I hook up my iPhone FM transmitter which also charges the phone.  And there I play podcasts which are relayed via the car radio.

What am I listening to?  It’s a wide variety including:

  • Paul Thurrot/TWIT Windows Weekly
  • Guardian Tech Weekly
  • BBC Radio 4 Comedy of the Week and Friday Night Comedy
  • Newstalk 106-108 Talking History and Michael Graham (a right wing nut job that makes me laugh) highlights
  • The Photography Show
  • And I recently added ESPN Mike & Mike and Football Today (but things are quiet there with the labour dispute on).  I’m also looking for anything more work related in an audio format but the pickings are slim.

That’s just a small sample.  Some are updated several times a week, some weekly, and some randomly.  But all these audio podcasts keep me entertained while I’m on the move.  My time on the road will be increasing fairly soon so I’m adding more podcasts.

One difficult thing to deal with is a 2 hour trip where I’m listening to different 30 minute long podcasts.  I don’t want to be fumbling with the iPod app to switch podcasts.  That’s why I decided to look at creating a playlist.  A standard playlist in iTunes is easy to set up.  But it is static; in other words, you have to add podcasts to it after they download.  My iTunes automatically downloads anything it finds so I would have to remember to set up the playlist.  And that led me to Smart Playlists.

A smart playlist dynamically adds podcasts by running a query on your collection’s metadata.  It took me a little while to figure out the settings I needed but here’s what I used today:


This searches for Podcasts (excluding other media such as music which I also have on the iPhone/iTunes) and specifies that the podcasts must be audio (excluding other video podcasts which I have for some photography/Photoshop stuff). 

Zap: and all my podcasts were ready.  After a phone sync, the podcast was ready, and I was able to listen to one podcast after another in the car without having to touch the phone.