Category Archives: Random musings

I cancelled my Google Pixel 2 XL pre-order

I was very excited to read about the new Google Pixel 2 XL and eagerly placed my pre-order for a black, 128 GB Pixel 2 XL. Work gave me a new iPhone 7 Plus to use shortly after buying the new house. But somehow in the move to the new house, I’ve misplaced my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, which I LOVED! I was ready after a few months on the iPhone to go back to Android and yearn for a pure experience with Android Oreo. After placing the order though and having had a chance to do more research, I concluded that the changes weren’t enough to merit me spending $1,000+ on a device, even at 0% financing over 24 months.

The important features for me is the camera and the unlimited Google Photos storage. However, while DXOMark gave the camera high marks, their ratings/methodologies are a bit suspect. Seeing real samples, I concluded that Google’s portrait mode just isn’t ready for prime time yet. For all the touting they’ve done about how smart the camera is, even without having some of the Pixel’s visual cores turned on, the end result pales in comparison to the iPhone’s two lens set up in the plus model or any other dual lens set up for that matter. The other benefits of the Pixel 2 camera just wasn’t enough to justify the HUGE capital outlay. As for unlimited Google Photos storage, that’s nice but it’s only good until 2020. In any case, I’ve found a way around that. I’m just going to buy a used 128 GB Pixel 1 phone and use it exclusively to upload photos and videos. No other apps and no upgrades ever that may compromise the phone. It’s just going to get me free photo storage. I don’t even care if the screen is cracked. Given that, I can afford to wait until after the Google Pixel 2 XL’s official release when the Pixel 1’s price will take a nosedive.

But what pushed me over the top? Reports that the LG P-OLED screen on the Pixel 2 XL is not all it’s cracked up to be. There’s a blue shift when you tilt the screen just a little bit away and graininess that’s going to be annoying. Plus, the natural color tuning of the Pixel 2 XL to the sRGB space doesn’t do anything for me. It may be realistic but it’s not pleasing. Combined all that with the over the top pricing, I’m happy to cancel and call it a day. After the hub bub dies down, I may re-order just to play with it live and then returning it in the 14 days or whatever the return policy is with Google just to see for myself. I suspect though that this is a sound decision I’ve made. I’m more than happy with the iPhone 7 Plus that was given to me so I’ll hold out… perhaps for the Samsung S9+. ūüôā

Check my out my update to this post here: http://www.phuoc.com/2017/10/19/update-cancelling-my-google-pixel-2-xl-pre-order/

A Better Google News

I’ve been using Google News for years.¬† It’s really good at what it does, which is to simply crawl the web and aggregate news stories from variety of sources around the world.¬† Based on the content, Google groups stories together that are about the same topic.¬† Google has been in court several times over the practice, with publishers arguing that what they’re doing is abusing fair use and that they should pay a royalty to do so.¬† So far, Google has prevailed in its argument that its simply doing no more than searching the web like it has always done.¬† I in particular agree with this stance.

However, Google News is not perfect and there are a number of ways to improve it.  Somehow, Google engineers either do not agree or are not farsighted enough to do.  I believe someone doing exact the same thing as Google News with these few additional features would have a great killer app on their hands.

So what are these features?¬† They’re pretty straight forward and in some instances Google has some implementation of them, but not all.

1. The ability to include & exclude sources with fine grain control.¬† Google allows you to specify a source that you want to see more of or less of and that’s great.¬† However the number of sources appear limited.¬† If this feature is expanded to allow an unlimited number of sources in the list as well as better controls of more, less or even never, this would be a huge addition.

2. Expanding on the above is the ability to limit topics.¬† This goes beyond saying you’re interested in news, world news, technology, entertainment, sports, money/finance, etc.¬† Those are sector based.¬† I think the ability to permanently not hear a single thing about Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian would be a killer feature.¬† For people who are really interested in reading the hard news, this would be a welcomed feature indeed.

3. The ability to include or exclude news stories that are purely video.¬† It’s irksome that some news stories are short video clips when I really want to read something more in depth.¬† It’s worse when the story has a video that always auto start.¬† I’m looking at you ABC News and CNN.¬† Whoever thought that having video auto start on page load should be shot.

4. The ability to show only longer articles on any topic.¬† I personally love to read longer, in depth articles and opinions.¬† The really short stuff isn’t for me but for the younger generation that has permanent attention deficit disorder.¬† The option to only read longer articles would be most welcome.

5. The ability to include to exclude paywall sites completely.¬† Right now Google marks those sites but I’m not interested in bringing them into the feed period.¬† I respect the rights of news sites to charge for their content.¬† If they think they have good enough content to warrant payment, kudos to them.¬† I just don’t want to pay and the culture of the Internet is such that most people expect information to be free (relatively).¬† I know most are already monetizing their sites with ads, etc. and that’s fine.¬† But when you want to monetize and charge, then I want to be able to skip over you completely.

That’s it really.¬† If anyone has something like what I’ve described above, I’ll be all over them in a heartbeat and I bet many, many others would as well.¬† Google doesn’t seem to care so there’s a niche market out there for someone that’s interested.

Leave of absence

I’ve been absent from the site for some time now. ¬†Part of it is just life and another is that I got lazy. ¬†There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. ¬†When you’re a one man operation and you’re trying to maintain a daily blog, it can get tough! ¬†I have a new found appreciation for those that can do it day in and day out. ¬†Or even multiple times a day! ¬†I know it’s supposed to get easier the more you do it, like all things. ¬†But for a poor writer like myself, getting started is hard enough.

One of the things I can do to get over this hump is just to force myself to write regularly. ¬†Maybe not everyday (although I’d love to), but regularly enough that it becomes a habit. ¬†Then we’ll take from there. ¬†So take this as a relaunch of me getting back on the wagon. ¬†I feel there should be more of my kind of blog… the individual writing about his own mundane life. ¬†If people read it, great! ¬†If not, that’s OK too. ¬†Blogs these days have become so commercialize. ¬†I long for the day when you really feel like you know the blogger personally. ¬†If I can do a small part to bring that part of the Internet back, then hooray! ¬†Stay tuned…

Short faucets

Like everyone, I have a few pet peeves.¬† One of the big ones on my list are faucets that are too short for the sinks they’re installed in.¬† I’ve seen them everywhere, from hotels to office buildings to homes.¬† Residential installations seem to have the most culprits.¬† I’m not entirely sure why since many of the residential types are installed directly on the edge of the sinks so they shouldn’t have a problem with clearance.¬† Yet I’ve run into enough of them to know that just 3″ from the back of the sink is not enough to prevent splashing when you’re washing your hands or doing the dishes.

In my recent remodel, I made sure that the faucets I selected for my bathrooms & kitchen were sufficiently long enough.¬† I even made sure that the kitchen faucet cleared large pots when they’re placed into the sink.¬† If enough people are annoyed with this and vote with their dollars appropriately, I would think the problem would solve itself in time.