Day-one advantages of Android: how many remain today?

When I chose my first Android device over an iPhone in 2009, each plat­form had exact­ly one device avail­able and the deci­sion of which plat­form was for me was clear.

Even back then, to those who had been pay­ing atten­tion to the smart­phone world, the iPhone arrived as some­thing that was­n’t quite a smart­phone. It had an advanced web brows­er and slick Google Maps app that were both bet­ter than any­thing else avail­able, but lacked a lot of fea­tures that exist­ed in pre­vi­ous smart­phones — the biggest omis­sion being third-party app devel­op­ment. But the world very quick­ly for­got how anti-app Steve Jobs’ Apple was at launch, and how the ‘no, you can’t devel­op for iPhone’ atti­tude led to web app mon­strosi­ties skinned with brushed met­al and pin­stripes, which peo­ple quick­ly cooked up to look “iPhone native” in the ear­ly days.

Of course, the ear­ly days did­n’t last long. An SDK and the App Store showed up a year lat­er, but for a long time iPhone remained on my “still would­n’t even con­sid­er” list because it was still miss­ing things I con­sid­ered basic func­tion­al­i­ty, things that Android got right, right from the start.

But it’s not 2009 any­more! So where are we now? Let’s take a look back and see how many of these Android advan­tages are still applic­a­ble today, 12 years later.

    • Devices avail­able from mul­ti­ple manufacturers
    • Outside-of-app-store apps avail­able (not a walled-garden)
    • Almost entire­ly open-source OS
    • Third-party devel­op­ment possible
    • Mul­ti­task­ing
    • Cus­tom input methods/software keyboards
    • Selec­tion of devices with hard­ware keyboards
    • Cut and paste
    • Exten­si­ble, sys­temwide ‘share’ functionality
    • Not AT&T‑exclusive
    • SIM-unlocking actu­al­ly allowed
    • No desk­top client need­ed for setup
    • Filesys­tem
    • Casu­al­ly swap­pable battery

Things aren’t look­ing good! Apple (and Google them­selves!) has chipped away at Android advan­tages over the years, though the two that remain on my list remain huge.

But I some­times gaze jeal­ous­ly at the iOS world and its devices with com­pe­tent sup­port and five years of updates and won­der if the prin­ci­ples that led me to choose Android are still worth anything.

Wrong: a modest trumpposal

Some­thing occurred to me late in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race.1 Every­body was like “this guy lies and nev­er faces con­se­quences,” but was going about it in pret­ty much the least effec­tive way possible.

I’m sure folks who hold this opin­ion were well-meaning, but they seemed to be com­ing from a time where being caught lying is the worst thing a pub­lic offi­cial can do. Slimy politi­cians are sup­posed to, what, recoil with shame, mum­ble an apol­o­gy and exit the spotlight?

That’s obvi­ous­ly not the play­book now, and it should have been clear to any­one even a lit­tle awake in 2016. So can I just pro­pose some slick new lan­guage for describ­ing a case where a pub­lic state­ment does­n’t quite match up with reality?

You don’t call it “inac­cu­rate” or “unfac­tu­al.” We’re all very impressed that you went to college.

You don’t call it “lying” because that’s what 4D-chess-playing busi­ness­men do when they nego­ti­ate, I guess.

The word you’re look­ing for is “wrong.” They’re wrong, you say they’re wrong.

Wrong helps keep a record. It clas­si­fies the state­ment into a clear cat­e­go­ry, help­ing rein­force objec­tive real­i­ty in a time where it’s needed.

Wrong is, at the same time, a lit­tle soft and assumes the best inten­tions. Swing and a miss. Good hus­tle out there, lit­tle bud­dy — you can’t hit ’em all. 

Wrong is, most impor­tant­ly, uni­ver­sal. You could be a mid­dle school dropout and remem­ber the feel­ing from, I don’t know, mul­ti­pli­ca­tion tables or some­thing. Being wrong isn’t game-over, but each wrong stings a little.

At some point, if any­one’s actu­al­ly keep­ing score, con­sis­tent wrong­ness writ large in head­lines for years on end makes a case for mal­prac­tice. And who the fuck would tie up their iden­ti­ty sup­port­ing some­body who’s just so loud­ly and con­sis­tent­ly wrong, in pub­lic, all the time?

  1. I know, I’m sor­ry I kept this to myself.

I want you back in my life, colawars.83p

Do you know how things you trea­sure from your past prob­a­bly would­n’t hold up if you tried to enjoy them again years later?

That does­n’t apply here, buddy.

Because there aren’t more impor­tant things to think about these days, nope, my mind recent­ly start­ed wan­der­ing back to a game I played on my graph­ing cal­cu­la­tor back in high school.

I did a lot of that back then, most­ly dur­ing class­es not nec­es­sar­i­ly math. And while there were def­i­nite­ly bet­ter games, more atmos­pher­ic games, more fun games, more Tetrisy games — and dozens of oth­er games I spent more time on — I’m not sure any cap­tured my imag­i­na­tion quite like this one did.

It was called Cola Wars and this game was absurd. You would buy and sell cans of Coke, Sprite, Moun­tain Dew, RC Cola and — because it was the late 90s — Jolt. You’d buy them on the street from a deal­er and try to re-sell them. Prices would go up and down. For some rea­son you had to avoid the cops.

I was struck by the sheer… I guess the word would be “ran­dom­ness” of the idea. It did­n’t cross my unso­phis­ti­cat­ed mind that it could have been a metaphor, an alle­go­ry or some­thing. I sin­cere­ly believed that some­one in the world just one day decid­ed that they would make a game about the risks and rewards of illic­it­ly sell­ing soft drinks on the sec­ondary market.

So when I lat­er dis­cov­ered that there was a game called Drug­wars, and that TI-83 was def­i­nite­ly not the first plat­form it was avail­able on, and that the weird drinks game was a rip-off — if not a sim­ple find-and-replace — it explained how this mys­te­ri­ous, supreme­ly odd duck came into existence.

And I guess it took away some of the appeal. But just a lit­tle. I’d love to find a copy and play it again, but the places I would nor­mal­ly look have failed me. And I’ve done some seri­ous Way­back Machine spelunking.

Help me, the Internet.

U and I have a problem

Hi Auto­Cor­rect! How’s it going today? Got a sec? Can you do me a favor?

If you ever catch me typ­ing the let­ter “u” on its own it was def­i­nite­ly a typo, 100%, and could you just go ahead and make it a cap­i­tal “I” for me?

So if you catch me writ­ing, for example…

u don’t know

…could you toss me an…

I don’t know

We have the flip­pin’ tech­nol­o­gy to fix lit­er­al­ly my most com­mon typo, but cater­ing to those folks means Auto­Cor­rect has to stay bro­ken. These peo­ple — who in all like­li­hood are decent humans who don’t eat babies — are the rea­son that phone key­boards can’t fix this very obvi­ous typo for me.

Look, I’m not even try­ing to inflict my good-spellin’ lifestyle on every­body else, hon­est. Make it a tog­gle. “🗹 I grad­u­at­ed sec­ond grade.”

I eager­ly await this impor­tant innovation.

That time I sparked an international penis competition during the World Cup

Are you there, Inter­net? It’s me, Everett. Hey, so I actu­al­ly wrote this years ago, around World Cup 2014, and nev­er post­ed it. P.S. Warn­ing: there are car­toon dicks in this post. It is not rec­om­mend­ed for audi­ences of any kind.

There’s this Mia­mi park­ing garage I fre­quent, and in this garage recent­ly was this car that had­n’t been moved in a while.

At one point the car sim­ply bore an unimag­i­na­tive “wash me” traced into the dirt (but in Span­ish), and some for­mer finger-painting arteest lat­er added a penis to this. It had a pair of tes­ti­cles at the bot­tom and a shaft extend­ing upward — this is pret­ty much what you would expect if you asked any­one in the world to draw you the Pla­ton­ic ide­al car­toon dick.

Hel-lo, mid­dle school.1

I walked by it a few times — always cring­ing, not out of moral­i­ty but good taste — before it occurred to me that I could fix this; I’d not only make this total­ly safe-for-work, but I would make this awe­some. I start­ed by adding a few extra cir­cles to where the tes­ti­cles were at the bot­tom, cre­at­ing the appear­ance of a plume of smoke. And going up the side of the shaft, I sim­ply wrote “USA.”

I’d con­vert­ed this crude penis nobody wants to see into a total­ly sweet Space Shut­tle in the process of launch­ing. Or so I thought.

It turns out that at the time some­where in the world, some coun­tries were play­ing some soc­cer (foot­ball, what­ev­er, shut up) thing, and a small but ardent group of peo­ple were con­cerned with the out­come of this tournament.

International Penis Car

Crazy, right? Well, as it turns out, they all seemed to park in this garage. Over the course of a few weeks, in strange out­bursts of nation­al pride, new penis­es began fill­ing the wind­shield along­side the USA penis. Each of these bore the name of a coun­try that — I’m just assum­ing here — had teams that were com­pet­ing in that soc­cer (f.w.s.) thing. Some were big. Some were small. One was Belgium.

I’d sparked an inter­na­tion­al cartoon-dick-measuring contest.

So was it my fault that every­body com­plete­ly missed what I was going for? Should I have drawn a launch tow­er? Sol­id rock­et boost­ers? Or would they have just seen these as penile enhance­ments? That’s like­ly, since the oth­er par­tic­i­pants took my smoke plume to mean that this was a six-testicled mon­ster cock. (Something-something… ani­me.)

The next time this hap­pens, I think I’m writ­ing “NASA.”

  1. Speak­ing of which, oh man, I have this great sto­ry involv­ing my friends Chris and David in 6th grade.

Top two time-saving keyboard shortcuts for graphic designers

Ctrl + C / ⌘ + C — This will copy select­ed text

Ctrl + V / ⌘ + V — This will paste copied text

Knowl­edge of these two sim­ple com­mands will stream­line your work­flow, make you more pro­duc­tive and pre­vent the intro­duc­tion of unnec­es­sary typos.

If you ever find your­self think­ing “It’s okay — I’ll just type the copy again into Pho­to­shop,” it’s not okay. Just push the two but­tons not­ed above.

You can do this. You must do this. Please do this.

My greatest fear

Hi, clean guy here. My great­est fear is that when I vis­it the bath­room for the sole pur­pose of wash­ing my hands — like if I’m about to eat or some­thing — that some­one may think that the short amount of time I spent in the bath­room means that I did­n’t wash my hands.

I know — who cares what peo­ple think? And I would usu­al­ly agree. But not on this. This is important.

I’ve tried wip­ing my hands on my shirt as I leave the bath­room, pan­tomim­ing a sort of oh man, my hands are just still so wet because I just washed them! act. But then I wor­ry that peo­ple may think that I think that wip­ing my hands on my shirt is an accept­able sub­sti­tute for actu­al wash­ing. Not cool.

I know — who cares what peo­ple think? And I would usu­al­ly agree. But not on this. This is important.

So what do I do? Always walk out still hold­ing a paper tow­el? Leave the bath­room loud­ly going “oh man, my hands are just still so wet because I just washed them!” Should I always com­ment on what lux­u­ri­ous hand soap they’ve got in this McDon­ald’s bath­room? “You’ve real­ly got­ta try that stuff… I mean, obvi­ous­ly I did.”

I know — who cares what peo­ple think? And I would usu­al­ly agree. But not on this. This is important.

Or just wash my hands in slow-motion? I… I think I could do that.