Things That Just Work

We made it through January with one post a week! Hi-five, [Reader2]! I’m slightly concerned I’m writing these blog posts more because I said I would rather than because I have something to say, and it’s clear quality is suffering as a result, but I shall soldier on regardless.

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’m now the proud owner of a shiny new Nexus 4. Despite the very odd decision to make a phone people are going to inevitably frequently drop out of glass, I’ve so far been very happy with it.

The main reason I’ve thus far been happy with my shiny new bit of kit is that it just works. I’ve got everything set up the way I want it, and when I want it to do something, it does it without thinking too hard about it.

With apps like Tasker I’ve even streamlined and automated some of the more annoying problems that come with owning a smartphone; at night when I’m at home, it dims the screen and sticks the device in portrait when I’m using the browser, Twitter or Bacon Reader.

The default install of Android isn’t absolutely perfect, and I may one day switch over to CyanogenMod, but it’s not bad going. I’m a pretty happy and can see this phone lasting for at least two and a half years. Which is fortunate, because it was expensive!

This sleek, oh it just works is in stark contrast to my PC, which just passed its two-year anniversary. There’s nothing wrong with the PC itself, per se; when I bought it I thought I was making a future-proof choice and thus far, it’s not done too badly. It’s needed the odd hardware upgrade (see: more HDD space; more RAM), but it still runs pretty quickly.

The trouble, then, is in the software department. Unlike on my lovely shiny phone, where everything just works, my PC is a little more troublesome. There are the usual crashes-every-now-and-then, but what’s increasingly annoying me is the lack of flexibility. Whereas on my phone I’m able to auto-pause my music is I start watching a YouTube video, on my PC — when I do that a lot more often — there’s no chance of being able to do that.

Windows is, increasingly, an over-complicated and inflexible system designed for machines that are fast losing their relevance. At the moment, though, there’s no real alternative.

And this brings me to the video at the top of this post. When I first saw news about Ubuntu on Android-powered devices, I thought it looked ridiculous. Plugging your phone into a screen so it becomes a “computer” seemed like an odd concept.

But now when I’ve got a phone that’s virtually as powerful as my PC — and a damn slight nicer to use — it starts to make some sense. I can see myself using one in the future, with a PC just for specialist tasks such as photo or video editing.

Until then, though, excuse me whilst Windows crashes.

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