Saturday, August 25, 2018

Odd tech trials #1

I use a lot of tech. And more often that not, I use them in ways that a typical user may not really use the tech. Nor it is the way tech companies design their products to be used. Here are some odd experiments I am currently running:

1) Using a Windows desktop PC with out a mouse. I have almost a decade old machine, of which internals have been upgraded over time. About 5 years ago (around the time Windows 8 was released), I had also bought a touch screen monitor, but seldom use the "touch" part of it. Few weeks ago, I decided to give up on my old wired mouse and keyboard in leu of a wireless keyboard I had got for an iPad (but which I found no use of). Now, I didn't have wireless mouse, so I decided to just rely on using the touch screen. So far the experiment has been going great. But these days, I use my desktop PC a lot less as I am away from home most of the time. (PS: this post is being written on my desktop PC).

2) Using an Android phone without Google account. I have been using Oppo A3s as my secondary phone for a while now. A week ago, however, I was getting increasingly upset over the way Google was tracking my movements. Yes, I could shutoff the tracking options, but then I decided to nuke the phone and use it without any Google account. But without a Google account on the phone there is no way to download apps from the Play Store. Being an Oppo phone, however, there was a "Oppo Store" where you could install most of the popular apps on the "Play Store", and the Oppo store didn't need you to setup an account or anything, but it indicated that it would constantly send "usage information" to "improve user experience". Something I have ZERO interest in, and of-course something that raises my inner eyebrows. So I nuked the phone again and set it up with out anything, disabling and removing everything possible to the bare minimum. But I needed two apps (one a popular messaging app and another an apartment security app) - for both of these I found a trusted source to get the APK and side load them on to the phone. As of now things are going fine. I don't recommend people doing this, but one can pretty much have a locked down phone (android), if one really wants it that way.

3) Using an Android phone just to take photos. I had been reviewing the so called phone called "Kodak Ektra". Now even though you can make phone calls using this "phone", it is very much a camera in all ergonomics sense. I tried to use it as my secondary phone but I just couldn't. So next I nuked this phone and removed all the apps (including phone and messages) except the camera app, the Google Photos app and Snapseed. Now I have a "smart camera" - that has only one function : take photos, on device editing (using the fantastic Snapseed), and backup to Google Photos over a Wi-Fi connection. Coming to think of it sounds pretty cool. I am just wondering, why have companies not yet come up with camera products that would offer this very limited and focused function: take photos, offer on device editing, and backup on cloud storage. I definitely think there is a sizeable marker for this device - and I already have a neat prototype of this ;)

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