Archive for March 6, 2013

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Andy Switched to Android

Andy Ihnatko:

The microphone button is crowded right next to the spacebar, and iOS speech-to-text activates with a single careless tap instead of with a deliberate tap-and-hold. When I’m typing fast, I’m accidentally triggering speech-to-text All. The. Freaking. Time.

This affects me in every app except OmniFocus, in which the microphone button is for some reason always disabled. Since I rarely use Siri, I’m considering turning it off to avoid these accidental taps.

And if you don’t like any of the keyboards that ship with Android, you can install one of your own. My add-on keyboard of choice is SwiftKey. It’s doubleplus-brilliant and costs just four damn dollars. […] A three-slot rack of “next word” predictions appears above the keys…and SwiftKey is a very good guesser. […] I find that typing on an Android device is faster and much less annoying than typing on my iPhone. It’s not even close.

I remember liking these sorts of utilities when I was a Palm user. It’s understandable that Apple’s built-in keyboard is simpler, but unfortunately third-party developers aren’t allowed to fill this niche. If I did more mobile typing I could see this as a deal-breaker.

The screen of the iPhone 5 sometimes makes me feel like I’m reading a grocery receipt, not a book. And I never used to read from my phone in bed. Now, if my (still quite beloved) iPad is downstairs and the Galaxy S III is on the nightstand, I’ll spend an hour reading from the Samsung rather than risk cold feet.

This is interesting. I’ve never felt that the iPhone 4S was too small, and in fact I’ve wondered whether I would even like the taller iPhone 5. Yet there have been lots of times when I didn’t have my Kindle with me and would have liked to read from my phone, except that doing so isn’t very comfortable. Is the Galaxy S III just big enough?

Sidenote: It’s sad how much grief Ihnatko is getting in the Macworld comments for what is only his personal tale.

Update (2013-03-14): Part 2:

Almost anything I do that involves one app working with another app is much, much easier on an Android device than on an iPhone, thanks to a deep-rooted mechanism for interapp collaboration.


In many of my Android reader apps, I can use the volume keys to turn pages, or flip between articles. It’s not the least bit confusing. The volume keys work normally within the app until I look inside the app’s Settings page and click the checkbox to activate the feature. Again: normal behavior until the user deliberately chooses to modify it.

Part 3:

Android is less stable and reliable than iOS, but that doesn’t make it “unstable and unreliable.” I need to force-reboot my iPhone about ten times a year. On Android, it’s… mmmmaybe twenty five? So yes, it’s a higher number on Android, but no, both devices need a kick in the head so infrequently that I can never recall the last time I administered one.


Most of the time, I could find feature-equal Android versions of the same apps I had been using in iOS. When I couldn’t, I found Android substitutes that I liked just as much or even more.


The iPhone is still the only phone that has what I consider “a real camera” as opposed to “an excellent smartphone camera.” Both Nokia and HTC have made solid first steps towards bringing their cameras up to that standard. But while they're pointing to their cameras as a signature feature and an object of pride, only Apple is backing up those claims with camera that's truly great from wall to wall and floor to ceiling.

An Embarrassing Bug in Mac App Sandboxing

Jonathan Deutsch:

The technology has caused us and our users grief, cost significant development time, and likely lost our business users. […] The bug appears erroneously as a permissions error when exporting as HTML5. It is caused when there is simply a space (or other escapable character) in the application path.