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Comment Definitely not bad for the money (Score 2) 28

FireOS does not include access to the Play Store, but adding it is really just a matter of installing three APKs and signing in to your Google account if you feel like you really need it. The Amazon App store does have some pretty big holes in it; Firefox isn't available in it, for example.
Amazon devices have nice, bright screens and good battery life in their favor. They also have a fairly straightforward launcher. I'd also put forth that Amazon FreeTime is a pretty good sandbox kid mode, but Amazon did finally make it available outside its own devices as of a few weeks ago. No, these things aren't $400 super-premium tablets. But for the money, it's hard to complain about what Amazon is selling. These guys are worlds nicer than $50 No-name Chinese knock off devices.

Down side is that they're hard to root. The default launcher doesn't support widgets (not that I miss them) and has a somewhat limited subset of configurable options compared to Android + the Play Framework. But I've bought these for my nieces and since they do Youtube and Minecraft for cheap, all is well.

Comment Re: MS pushing more into older OS or Linux/Mac (Score 1) 238

A few off the top of my head: laptop touchpads lacking full functionality, keyboards with Fn key functions not working, poor power management support. Some laptops still ship with WLAN hardware that doesn't work out of the box.

None of this stuff represents a complete dealbreaker, but it's a combination of factors that wears down the likelihood that I could adopt Linux on a personal PC. As a VM? Something I remotely manage? No problem. But when power management is so bad I only get half the battery life I get on Windows AND the screen brightness keys don't work AND I have to go make my own gesture to get the touchpad to middle click or something, it's pretty hard to say it's worth it.

Comment Re:Sandy Bridge (Score 1) 121

I repurposed six 6C/12T LGA1366 Xeon workstations into mid-range gaming rigs last year. I paired them with GTX1060s and 240GB SSDs. For 1080p gaming, there's really no subjective difference between those machines and a latter-day Kaby Lake i5 PC with the same GPU, at least among the games I tried on them. Even lacking amenities like USB 3 and updated PCI-e slots, those ~6 year old machines could keep up just fine with Mechwarrior Online and X-Com 2. The contemporary i5 is assuredly faster, but I got those complete Xeon systems for about what I paid for the i5 CPU, so I'm not going to complain.

Comment Re: Could have mentioned the other two (Score 2) 228

The Indiana exception isn't about DST but that some parts are on Central rather than Eastern time. As somebody who lives about 15 minutes from that border, it's pretty aggravating and causes way too many problems for us but we still forget and assume everyone is the same time we are.

Comment Re: Non-removable battery (Score 1) 111

The G3, G4 and G5 are also supremely easy to repair. It's not just the loss of the removable battery, although that's also a huge issue. The G-series was a huge favorite for me because I could fix one in just seconds with nothing more than a precision Philips head screwdriver.

But yeah, since I don't want a phone any larger than a G4 or G5 and I can't get both removable battery and SD reader, I guess I'm done upgrading my personal phone.

Comment Re:Offer, Not Bring (Score 1) 94

Here, I'll make it easier:


Never actually tried it myself, but it makes a nice GUI with boxes you can un-check.

Is it really too much to ask to dig up the Android SDK and the relevant drivers for USB connection in your OS of choice? Do we complain about needing to get Python or .NET runtimes if we're using platforms that occasionally need those as well? Is a USB cable that much of an ask?

Comment Re:Offer, Not Bring (Score 2) 94

Hours? I'm talking about minutes here. Not even very many of them.
The practice *I* want to continue is the ability to purchase phones that have removable batteries and card readers that I can repair with no tools other than a screwdriver. The only contemporary phones that still have those features are made by LG. I'm willing to accept five minutes of inconvenience in plugging in my phone and typing a few commands to kill a few apps I object to so that I can continue to get proper hardware, rather than accept a lame device with hardware that I'll NEVER be able to modify.

Comment Re:Offer, Not Bring (Score 2) 94

If you know how to use adb, you can disable all the stuff you want on your Android device. Literally everything is modular, so if you like the dialer on your Asus phone better than the one Samsung gave you, go ahead and switch.
There's no reason to do anything but buy the right fit of hardware. Everything about the software load is adjustable even if you don't feel like dealing with root access.

Even the Pixel has what I'd call annoying bloat, but since it only takes about five minutes to clean all of it up on a device I'll probably use for a few years, this isn't much of an inconvenience.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 1) 196

Among US Cell carriers, Sprint and some of its associated MVNOs are still offering fully unlimited data plans. It's definitely possible to get Unlimited LTE service in the USA, just not from Verizon, ATT or Tmobile.

Of course, then you're going to be on Sprint's weirdo CDMA network, but if you're in a a reasonably urban area, it's probably fine.

Comment Re:Who cares? (Score 5, Interesting) 196

I know several people who have gone through any number of calisthenics to maintain their "unlimited" data plans on Verizon's network. This generally involves sticking with an updated phone or paying retail to buy a phone outright. Verizon really does have the largest network with the best overall coverage within the United States and there are plenty of places that there really isn't a better option.

For example, Verizon LTE service is often a better and more attractive internet option than marginally-available DSL or laggy, data-capped satellite internet for rural homeowners.

Granted, I'm not using 200GB/month through my phone either, but I certainly do recognize that this is a real problem for a lot of people, especially who aren't necessarily close to any other sort of fat data pipe.

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