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Android Phones - The Black Hole of Valuable Time


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Well, I've now owned an Android Phone for about forty-five days now. I hoped it was going to be an invaluable resource and time management tool. Instead, I've finally come to the sobering realization that it's the absolute black hole of valuable time (Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!). Maybe, it's actually a plot - a way to mesmerize the masses into a stupor, (as they walk into light posts and oncoming traffic or drive off the road, while reading the little screen and punching the little keyboard) ripe for a hostile takeover. [}:)]

All joking aside, I've completely retreated from any notion that the Android phone can help me save time. To the contrary, in the time it takes to open a task list and punch in the task, one can write it down and be off doing something else. When a task is done one can DEFINITELY scratch it out faster than the whole drop-down menu exercise. Similarly, such things as mileage can also be documented with a pen in probably a third of the time it takes to enter it on a phone.

Yesterday I finally stopped by the local office supply store and bought the old trusty leather bound journal and a few various sizes of post it notes. On the today page of the journal, I write down incoming appointment info (rather than run off the road trying to type it in), return call phone numbers, mileage, and miscellaneous notes that I want a permanent record of.

On the opposite page, I put post it notes for "To Do List", etc., which can be easily removed and pitched at the end of the day. In the front and rear of the journal are large post its with such things as Missions for 2011, and Short term goals, outstanding client payments (to be scratched out, as they pay up), etc.

The only thing I use my Android for is: the calendar and contacts (which sync with Google and Outlook, via a great little desktop program called CompanionLink); necesssary emails from the field; and on the fly internet surfing. When possible I wait to do tasks, which I could fumble along to do on my Android, on my desktop at blazing speed. Even when it comes to entering stuff in my calendar, I merely "hold" the time on my phone calendar and enter the infor later on my desktop.

Sometimes it's easy to loose sight of what is an efficient use of our valuable time. Often, the true champion to speed, efficiency and permanent record keeping remains the gool old pen and paper - SHOCKER!!! [:-idea]

Obviously, there are business related tasks that we all must do. So, in the interest of reducing our mutual lost valuable time doing the mundane talks of operating a business, what's proved to be an ultimate time saver for you?

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Yup. It often takes me five button taps to hang up a phone call. That's not good.

There isn't a calendar app, IMO, that rivals the Palm calendar so inputting schedule is not as convenient as it used to be.

The stock email client that comes with the phone doesn't work that well and I have trouble getting my biz email account to function. I haven't taken the time to research another email program.

As I list all this stuff, I affirm my thinking that the Droid (and maybe the iphone?) are just expensive toys for the youth of the world; those that want to surf and play online, chat, do pictures, and boast about the cooles apps they downloaded, etc. etc.

As a productivity tool, the Droid falls short.

Why did I buy it? I was able to save about $20/month as the Droid phone allows me to tether my laptop to I can get online anywhere. Before I was paying for a separate data card and plan for the laptop.

Time savers in my biz? Hmmm. I need to think about that one. Nothing is coming to mind right now. . . .

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Yup. It often takes me five button taps to hang up a phone call. That's not good.

There isn't a calendar app, IMO, that rivals the Palm calendar so inputting schedule is not as convenient as it used to be.

The stock email client that comes with the phone doesn't work that well and I have trouble getting my biz email account to function. I haven't taken the time to research another email program.

As I list all this stuff, I affirm my thinking that the Droid (and maybe the phone?) are just expensive toys for the youth of the world; those that want to surf and play online, chat, do pictures, and boast about the cooles apps they downloaded, etc. etc.

As a productivity tool, the Droid falls short.

Why did I buy it? I was able to save about $20/month as the Droid phone allows me to tether my laptop to I can get online anywhere. Before I was paying for a separate data card and plan for the laptop.

Time savers in my biz? Hmmm. I need to think about that one. Nothing is coming to mind right now. . . .

It seems to me that the only redeeming values of an electronic calendar are ease of input (if one is a good typist) and the ease of moving an appointment (no erasing and re-writing).

I used to be pretty darn fast on my old SideKick thumb board, although as most here can attest, my spelling and typos were unforgivable. The Droid took me, from a keyboard reasonable similar to the real thing, to a three row keyboard with everything in the wrong place and a tiny space bar that is easy to miss - hitting a speed key instead. I'm already over the Droid...

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I have the Droid X and have no problem with e-mail and the calendar. I used the Google setup for the calendar and it automatically transfers from my MS Office calendar. The e-mail was simple. It was just the e-mail addy and password(I have comcast.net). I have actually started using the Droid as my GPS device as well. Far better than the unit that made it's way out of the window when the screen froze last week[:-banghea My main complaint with the Droid is the battery life which sucks. If you haven't tried it yet, check out the "Swiftkey" app for your typing(actually sliding), pretty cool.

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I still have the Daytimer with the camouflage cover that the Army issued to me in the late 1980's. It has a calander, I can input an appointment, replace an appointment, take notes, etc. very quickly without straining my eyes or worrying about whether I've accidentally deleted something. My cell phone is used for making telephone calls, checking voice mails and checking my email from the field. That's it.

Best of all; nobody wants to swipe it. I've forgotten it in restaurants, hotels, convention centers and on jobs at least a half a dozen times and it's always there when I go back or someone has dropped it in the mail to me. I doubt that would happen with one of those fancy new phones.

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ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I still have the Daytimer with the camouflage cover that the Army issued to me in the late 1980's. It has a calander, I can input an appointment, replace an appointment, take notes, etc. very quickly without straining my eyes or worrying about whether I've accidentally deleted something. My cell phone is used for making telephone calls, checking voice mails and checking my email from the field. That's it.

Best of all; nobody wants to swipe it. I've forgotten it in restaurants, hotels, convention centers and on jobs at least a half a dozen times and it's always there when I go back or someone has dropped it in the mail to me. I doubt that would happen with one of those fancy new phones.

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ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Daytimers have indeed always worked well.

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I still have the Daytimer with the camouflage cover that the Army issued to me in the late 1980's. It has a calander, I can input an appointment, replace an appointment, take notes, etc. very quickly without straining my eyes or worrying about whether I've accidentally deleted something. My cell phone is used for making telephone calls, checking voice mails and checking my email from the field. That's it.

Best of all; nobody wants to swipe it. I've forgotten it in restaurants, hotels, convention centers and on jobs at least a half a dozen times and it's always there when I go back or someone has dropped it in the mail to me. I doubt that would happen with one of those fancy new phones.

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ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

With nothing but love, Mikey, this doesn't surprise me. That camo notebook somehow . . . suits you.

I'm currently using a Samsung Convoy. It's *supposed* to be shockproof, dustproof, etc., but the biggest advantage is that its battery is twice the size of a normal one, and it lasts seemingly forever. I can also check e-mail, but can't really respond as the phone doesn't have any kind of keyboard.

I always have a laptop with me when I'm working, so I'm never without an internet connection, schedule, and all the rest. The downside is, like Randy mentioned, I still need an aircard for an on-the-go wireless connection. When it's time to renew, I'll probably look for a phone that my laptop can piggyback onto the internet.

I have an iPod touch that I use the aircard with when I'm traveling, so I'm familiar with how much fun an iPhone is, but because of the slowness with which keystrokes can be tapped, it wouldn't work well for my bidness.

The thing that I find truly amazing about all these gizmos, is that they're in their nascent stages of development. I wonder what we'll be talking about in ten years, and how we'll be handling the internet, phone calls, and all else.

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OK, my son did jsut show me one really cool application for my Android: You can download a program for $6.00 that makes your camera become a business card scanner. You snap the picture hit the import button, it reads the card and puts all the info in the right places and saves it to your contacts. That's a plus, but I'm still a leather notebook with to do post its guy.

WorldCard Mobile Randy.

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Went to get my eyes examined for the first time in my life this week. My arms are not long enough for me to be able to read. They said a pair of 1.25 readers should work. When I look at those tiny little screens, it seems like a lot of work just to answer the phone.

Still use a paper daytimer. During some free time I though it might be nice to make myself a new cover for my daytimer so I pulled out some of my old toys and tooled some leather for a new cover. Still needs some dye and finish. My tooling skills still need lots of improvement

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That's really spiffy, Bruce. What a great hobby. Did you once get paid for this kind of work?

I have an old friend who used to work leather in a shop called "The Scarlet Leather" in Greenwich Village back in the late '70s. His work was rather -- ahem -- exotic. As I recall, the locals couldn't get enough of it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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For the last few years, I've just given up and given my life to GOOGLE - used their e-mail, contact, calendar and to-do lists, backed up locally.

Each of the GOOGLE apps is unquestionably inferior to some other application I've used in terms of that module's individual functionality, and there are things about each GOOGLE app that are *really* annoying.

BUT....

In that time I've gone through a variety of phones running Palm, Blackberry and now Android, and moved from Verizon to Sprint.

1) All the information moves seamlessly between my desktop and my phone.

2) All the information has moved seamlessly between various phones and carriers when I upgrade .

3) I keep a spare phone, and WHEN (not if) my phone is lost or damaged I turn on the spare, move the number over, and everything is there.

For me, the key has been:

1) To keep existing e-mail addresses and forward them to a central GOOGLE mail account while never giving out that e-mail address. (G-Mail replies from my choice of personal and business addresses). GOOGLE serves as a sort of "communications hub" and I screw around with it as little as possible - any "experimentation" is with other apps (ex: visual voice mail) pointed toward GOOGLE.

2) Making use of a *limited number*of third-party add-ons to add critical functionality to the base GOOGLE applications (for example, a POP checker, so that G-Mail checks mail every three minutes), and then dropping them as GOOGLE adds functionality.

I'm pretty sure that in five years most all of my business communication and record keeping functions will be integrated into GOOGLE - that I'll set up a contact, insert it into the scheduler along with the inspection address, set the phone on the dashboard, and have the GPS guide me to the inspection while keeping track of the mileage and inserting it into GOOGLE's version of Quicken, etc.

And that I'll finally be able to concentrate almost entirely on inspection and reporting rather than fooling around with a half dozen vendors and applications trying to cobble up a reliable small-business communications and record keeping system.

Sure, it's only going to be "good enough", and I'm going to wish that it had the better ability to do this or that as some previous version of some software I used back in the Late-Neolithic "PDA" era.

But it's gonna' be good enough, and I'm gonna' love it compared to the previous alternatives.

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Leatherwork is really just a passing hobby. Had a handfull of tools leftover from when my Dad was Asst Scoutmaster decades ago. Pulled them out about 2 years ago and beat on some scrap leather for a week or so. Thought it was kinda fun so bought a few more stamps and other stuff. Read some books, surfed the web. I would say probably less than 100 hrs total time pounding on leather in the last couple years.

It is not terribly difficult. Like most crafts, when you see real artists, it makes you weep. I am just a hack hoping I can improve enough to feel good about my output.

Here are few pics from a real artist "BearMan"

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Oh, I think we old farts were pretty much done singing the praises of an old school daytimer, or reasonable facsimile there of.

That sure looks like a rewarding and beautiful form of work/hobby. It's always nice to have something that you can stand back and admire. That's why I used to love masonry.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It you own an Android phone, you can download a handy little gadge that is a compass and level, that comes in real handy on inspections. They both are quite accurate - operating apparently off solid state gyros. [:-thumbu]

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Well, here is my prediction for you old farts, by the way I'm 50 does that make me an old fart? My kids keep saying I'm old.

2 years from now, at least half of us will be writing their reports on the fly on their phones and tablets. Oh, and none of it will be windows based.

In less than 5 years from now, desk top computers and laptops as we know them today, will have gone the way of VCR's, CD & DVD players and the Yugo.

Chris, Oregon

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Well, here is my prediction for you old farts, by the way I'm 50 does that make me an old fart? My kids keep saying I'm old.

2 years from now, at least half of us will be writing their reports on the fly on their phones and tablets. Oh, and none of it will be windows based.

In less than 5 years from now, desk top computers and laptops as we know them today, will have gone the way of VCR's, CD & DVD players and the Yugo.

Chris, Oregon

It works for me, I've always been ahead of the curve, when it comes to phones, netbooks, etc. This Android, though, is REALLY hard to get used to. I've never had a touch-scrreen before and you must handle the thing so delicately or you accidentally touch the screen and go zooming off into some other program. It's a royal pain in the ASS. ;-)

I had gotten to the point on my SideKick that I could type with two thumbs in the dark pretty well. Now, the Android took me from four rows of keys to three and made the space bar about 1/3 the size of the one I'm used to, so it's like starting over... actually worse than starting over - total re-programming...

When they get it to the point that you can flat out dictate to your phone for every possible task, I'll be in heaven. [:-thumbu]

Oh, well. I'll get through it.

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It you own an Android phone, you can download a handy little gadge that is a compass and level, that comes in real handy on inspections. They both are quite accurate - operating apparently off solid state gyros. [:-thumbu]

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I have an app for that. I balance the barrel of my Maglite on the top of the pipe and see which way it rolls as I gently balance one end. Works perfectly every time and I don't have to lug anything extra around or fiddle with any digital gizmo.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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