Tag Archives: technology

When You Need a Dry Phone

I accidentally submerged my phone in a small tub of water Tuesday evening. Not in a toilet bowl or kitchen sink, my phone fell into a mosquito trap, which I have been in dire need of. Everyone knows that water and electronics don’t mix. Google says to shut down your device, if you can, remove the power source completely, and submerge the phone in rice to absorb every H2O molecule possible. I was in a rush. My rush, and subsequent patience by force, explain the following shortcuts.

Like any other elementary school student, I wicked away all the water I could see with my naked eye, powered on the device, watched the screen light up with the correct loading images, then remain static despite my harried finger swiping to and fro. Okay, time to graduate to Junior High School. There must have been water trapped inside of the phone! So I made long flailing motions to coerce water out from the speaker and headphone jack; the following is a reenactment:

Droplets eventually stopped squirting against my face, leaving only air and hope to be expected. Again I powered on the device and was met by a picture of my home screen, instead of an interactive operating system. Hello High School, time to put those complicated evaporation lessons to use! Here’s where my real genius shined through. Blow dryers are a bad idea, because extreme heat can damage circuits without any assistance from water; even low settings can singe more than the eye can see. What source of heat could I use, knowing well in advance that the upper temperature was safe for sensitive electronics? Well, you see, I have this 13-inch laptop that I love; it’s equipped with an i3 Core processor and made of plastic, making it light and fast enough for media production on the go. A mild drawback includes the whirring fan that erupts whenever Adobe Dreamweaver launches, and there I found the perfect heat vent, simultaneously proven hot enough to burn a lap without detrimentally affecting a motherboard. Adobe Dreamweaver, Lightroom, Premiere, and YouTube videos warmed the phone innards hot to the touch, just like I remember my Earth Science teacher called for. You can guess what happened next, nothing happened next, besides the sound of text message alerts.

There went my plans for the evening, and as luck would have it, the following day also. I’m pleased to report from my phone after another 24 hours in a zip lock bag full of dry rice. Two pluses from the experience: not having a phone sure helps make decisions that much easier, and provides great material about irresponsible behavior. The lesson is, when you need a dry phone, use patience first.

Say NO to Kred

Tomorrow’s post was scheduled to be published today. Unfortunately, I endured an experience so traumatic, that venting couldn’t possibly wait for my blog queue to catch up. Last night, I decided to sign up for Kred and PeerIndex to contrast their analysis of social influence from Klout. Without Klout’s publicity, each markets itself as a mature competitor with custom algorithms to better quantify social relevance. PeerIndex, being competent at first glance, will avoid the scathing report that follows: Kred is the worst web service I have ever had the displeasure of using.

Between the rudimentary Pinterest layout, tabs, dialog boxes, and micro-sized Vimeo embed, the brazen lack of polish was appalling for a web service meant to judge me. Alas, sign in with a social network? Sure! Except, what is this PeopleBrowsr the permissions keep referencing? Suspicious eye aside, why does Kred employ the only Authorization Request to EVER disconnect me from Facebook in the process? I double and triple checked my address bar before re-entering my password; and even after committing every security sin known to phishing, one of the previously mentioned tacky dialog boxes pops up to request my name and email address, Kred just accessed my twitter account, what is Kred doing with my information if not acquiring my name and email address?! Then there’s the ultra-secure privacy controls, see the PHP code above that actually leaked into my dashboard? Why is Kred not the laughing stock of social influence? The deeper I delved, the more John McAfee references I felt compelled to make.

Do not be mistaken, I’m a pretty computer literate guy, and I still can’t find an exit. I haven’t felt this exposed since browsing Chat Roulette with my webcam on. I mentioned Kred in a tweet explaining my mistake – my mistake was using their service at all – and am yet to receive any help towards deleting my account. Kred, please scrub any remnants of my participation from your jail broken experiment.

Mom’s Android

Mom’s Android is an Amazon Kindle Fire, purchased before the Apple iPad Mini, or the Kindle Fire HD were available. To better understand my mother’s computer skill-set, please understand that her first text message prompted a family meeting. Her Android was intended for listening to music, introducing her to email, and reading; at the time the price justified the lack of a camera and microphone. I should have known that handing her an impersonal stock tablet was callous of me. If she never got a grasp of the iPod Mini I bought and pre-loaded music on, then it was inevitable that she lose the Android *charger* and neglect the tablet entirely.

With her interests in mind, I began the customization process by setting her Pandora stations to her favorite singers: Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Josh Groban, and Michael Buble. Because she is fond of interior design, I installed Pinterest, created her account, and followed Oprah, Martha Stewart, Victorian furniture, and wedding decor on her behalf. Although the official Gmail app was nowhere to be found, the stock email app was operable. Finally, steering this family towards Google Apps for its ease of use and omnipotence, Amazon’s omission of Google Plus presented the problem to cement my disdain for this tablet!

After an hour researching solutions to this prominent issue, the XDA forums convinced me that rooting the Kindle was my best option. This excellent guide from Make Use Of illustrated the process in a straightforward manner, and even accounted for the expected hiccups. Although the DOS console, no matter how color coordinated, will disconcert some novice users, patience and discretion guarantee a simple resolution. Remember to finalize the setup with a firewall app to prevent updates from circumventing root access.

My mother was ecstatic to rediscover her tablet, and blushed about photos of her youth I scanned and privately shared on Google Plus. My next tablet purchase will most likely be a Nexus 7; I definitely cannot recommend the Kindle Fire to ANYONE ANYWHERE AT ANYTIME! Happy Holidays!