Farewell to Arms - Good bye to my old phone

I have had a new phone for about a week. And I have a useless mechanically sound phone that software updates have made obsolete.

My Motorola Spice (XT300) was about four years old. A brief slip into slide phones for Motorola, the Spice never was supported well. Sold only in Canada and Brasil. Updated once from Andriod 2.1 to 2.2 it finally let me down.  I got the phone with the idea that when I worked on job sites without an Internet connection it would let me tether so that I could continue working.

Initially I tethered with an app called PDAnet. It required a USB cable and once I got it setup was pretty reliable and very useful. I paired it all with an unlimited data plan from Mobilicity. Working in remote areas after a brutal crash with a windows update I moved to Ubuntu and running a local development server right on the the machine. I haven't looked back. In time I rooted the phone with much fear and trembling. Primarily done so that I could install Titanium Backup to not loose my apps and data on the phone, rooting had other benefits. I lost some of the clunky Motorola apps that slowed the phone down as well with rooting. I never did use the scroll button - Backflip. And I could never browse easily on the phone itself. The processor just didn't have the horsepower to display webpages. But I moved to Barnacle Wifi and became cordless. I could hardly tell the difference between my phone wifi connection and the cable connection wifi in my apartment. Smoking.

Occasionally I used my wife's HTC Rise and had a bit of Andriod-app-envy, things that the Rise and Andriod Jellybean had access to that I didn't. And once in awhile when I paid my phone bill I would look at other phones. I couldn't imagine moving away from the slide keyboard though. That was the direction of all the phones though. It's rounded edges and small form factor made the Spice an easy phone to carry. I never even came close to breaking it despite the numerous drops and bumps. I replaced the battery every year or so even though I was told that when the battery went I would need a new phone.  I did have to be careful charging it toward the end as at least one of my multiple adapters didn't always seat well.

And then it gave up the ghost. Who knows exactly which upgrade it was. Phone or computer. I spent a day fighting with it. Barnacle used an adhoc wireless connection and most devices prefer an infrastructure connection. I suspect something in the way the adhoc connection was working broke things. And I needed to get work done.

So hello to the new phone. Motorola again. Moto e. Couldn't bring myself to pay another $50 for a slightly faster processor and another 2gb of onboard memory in the Moto g. All I can say is "Wow" Running Andriod KitKat it can do all sorts of things. I can actually click on a link in Twitter and see the web page that is being linked to. And stream Netflix to the phone and, more importantly, control Chromecast on the TV while it is streaming Netflix. And then there is the amazing Google Now. Knowing that I am driving and routing my incoming calls to voicemail. Reading incoming texts to me while I'm driving and allowing me to voice respond to texts. I'm still getting used to the onscreen keyboard but it works way better than I expected with excellent word completion and other little perks. I can use weather apps again that don't bring my phone to its electronic knees.

But most importantly it has the Andriod portable wifi hotspot built in. With strong encryption WPA2 instead of wimpy WEP.  Multiple devices handled. The phone came unlocked but I have had no inclination to root it yet.

This has been a long post about old technology but an article this morning got me thinking again about the way we build technology. The article was from the Apple iPad world but the Andriod world is not so different. I still have a mechanically sound device. Well engineered. But the software moved on. Obsolete soon after I bought the phone from that perspective. Nevertheless it gave me four years of good service. I recently read that the glut of old Andriod phones presents Google with a very real set of security risks. Manufacturers are simply unwilling to update the entire operating system for their hardware products. To that end Google is unbundling parts of Andriod to allow them to keep it updated through the Google store.

Reminds me of how we build with Drupal. Many small modules and components that fit together in specific ways that only unusual circumstances break each other. Good practice and one that I am proud to be a part of.