I’m Sorry Lifehacker, but you’re wrong

48 Comments | This entry was posted on Jun 11 2010

I was thinking the other day, you know what my site needs? More rants. That is exactly what I bring you today cause I am finally fed up with something in the technology industry. What exactly am I fed up with? Well, a lot of things, but this particular post is about the complete disregard for what I argue is the best mobile operating system available, webOS.
I understand that the iPhone is the king of the hill (well technically RIM is but they suck anyway and are only ahead because of the giant corporate following) and Android is the new buzz word, but how can so many comparisons just ignore the most intuitive, productive, and flexible platform? Honestly I really am sick of the fact that webOS is left out of most mobile device comparisons simply because the “tech industry” doesn’t use it because it isn’t cool enough to get headlines. The only thing that gets webOS into the headlines is when one of their amazing and thought provoking creators leaves Palm to work for another company. Why is this big news if webOS sucks? The truth is, webOS is fantastic and these other mobile operating systems will benefit from the talent behind webOS. But that doesn’t mean webOS is going to lose out because webOS is already ahead of all the competition.
The thing that has held webOS back is the fact that it was only on 2 phones and one of those phones had questionable build quality. But lets face it, there will be a new webOS phone in the future and I think we can all assume that Palm/HP aren’t stupid about what hardware they need to use for the next webOS phone. The thing that finally made me write this rant was lifehacker’s article comparing iPhone to Android. I mean really, I understand that both platforms just announced major updates, (iOS 4 and Android 2.2) but I think that webOS, which hasn’t seen a major update for at least 4 months, is still ahead of the game and I think it is about time that people start to recognize it.
I took the liberty to fix Lifehacker’s article to actually take into account all three competing mobile operating systems in the consumer market.

Ease of use; Winner: 2-way tie
This one we can call a tie between iOS 4 and webOS because both interfaces are just as easy to launch and run apps and both have little things that you need to get used to. Double tapping the home screen to switch apps isn’t super intuitive and neither is forward/back gestures in webOS. In either case, Android is the loser.

Openness; Winner: webOS
Obviously iOS loses here, Android is open source for its core OS and allows installing apps from outside of the marketplace but so does webOS. Where webOS takes the cake is the fact that there is no rooting of your phone to get access to parts that are supposed to be locked down. How to root the phone is FREAKING IN THE DOCUMENTATION!!! It doesn’t get any more open then that. And lets not forget the open nature of the platform to allow apps to be written in HTML, CSS, Javascript, or C/C++ if you want. Due to this wide open nature, amazing things like Preware has been made available to tweak every last “kernel” of your phone.
Google also loses by making their “default” apps (Gmail, Maps, etc.) completely closed source and even takes down anyone who tries to share them. Palm on the other hand has written every built in app according to the standards they hold their developers to and made the apps all open source so you could see exactly how they built the app. Android and webOS are both fairly open, but webOS is more open and is the winner here.

Battery Life; Winner: Bogus Category
WTF is this doing here?!? This has everything to do with hardware and almost nothing to do with software. In any case, I think we can agree that Android loses this category with almost zero battery conserving settings and complaints on almost every Android device. This is a bogus comparison when trying to compare mobile operating systems. If this were a debate between the iPhone 4, Evo 4G, and Palm Pre Plus this would be a perfectly valid comparison.

Multitasking; Winner: webOS
This is a no brainer. WebOS does multitasking better than any other mobile OS available period. Android is the only other one that even can run apps in the background but there is a reason that a task killer is the first thing every Android phone needs. And lets not even get into the difference between running apps and using approved services and fast app switching.

Software Keyboard; Winner: 2-way tie
iOS has evolved into the best software keyboard and Android actually gives you options for keyboards, I would call this a tie because if you want to use swype on Android, you can. A software keyboard is only good if you are used to its idiosyncrasies and can use it. Personally, I rarely have to get used to a hardware keyboard, but webOS doesn’t even have a proper soft keyboard option.

System-Wide Search; Winner: 3-way tie
They all have it, they all work about the same with the same oddities and features. It is a tie. But just for the record, Android and webOS did it first.

Notification System; Winner: webOS
Once again iOS is the clear loser here, and while I liked the idea of Android’s curtain at first it just plain sucks after using it for a few months. I can’t clear a single notification without clearing all of the notifications and I can’t have extended controls in a notification. I know it is possible, but in all the apps I have installed, I have never seen actual controls inside the notification, just an icon that always stays there and opens the app when pressed.

Voice-to-text; Winner: Android
This works really well 80% of the time in Android and is the clear winner without a doubt. The bad thing is, I only use it 5% of the time I am inputting any text. So it is great 4% of the time I input text but really wouldn’t be a missed function and I still would prefer a proper physical keyboard.

Syncing; Winner: 2-way tie
Who the hell wants to plug their phone into their computer anyway? iOS loses here because you need iTunes for updates and setup. Android is great as long as you use Gmail and have a Google account. WebOS creates an account for you and stores all of your settings AND apps installed. So with webOS, if you break/lose your phone, you can log in with your Palm account and not only do all your settings from every service (sans Facebook) come back, but the apps you had installed come too.

Non-Google Syncing; Winner: webOS
Ever heard of Synergy? You probably haven’t, but it wins. Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and Exchange are all there, out of the box. There is not contest here.

Tethering; Winner: webOS
iOS is just now putting this feature in but because it has the typical Apple restrictions, (no teather in to the iPad, really?) and Android still costs money on any carrier that will allow it, webOS wins because it is available on the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus and is completely free on Verizon. Yes I know if you root your Android phone you can do it for free, guess what, you can do the same thing in iOS and webOS so no one cares. Heck, Windows Mobile 6.1 had this feature and it worked great and was always free, doesn’t mean WM is any good.

Release/Update Consistancy; Winner: Bogus Category
HUH?!? really? What does this have to do with how good a mobile OS is? because you know you will get an update every year? Is Windows better because you get patches every first Tuesday of the month? Or the fact that a new and improved Windows will come out every 3-5 years? NO it makes it worse. This shouldn’t even be on this list.

Customizable; Winner: 2-way tie
If we are talking about user customizations, Android wins hands down. Widgets are great, icons can be placed almost anywhere, and you can set anything you want as a background image. But if we want to talk about the underlying OS, that is a win for webOS. Just go look up Preware and kernel patches and then come back and see why I picked this as a tie for Android and webOS. Oh and I agree, webOS needs to allow more home/lock screen customizations. Widgets sure would be nice but not at the cost of slowing my phone down like it does in Android.

Apps; Winner: 2-way tie
WebOS cannot complete here. Both Android and iOS have >50,000 apps and at that point it just doesn’t matter. There will probably be an app for just about everything. I would actually call this one a slight win for Android just because you can still install apps outside of the marketplace and the web store they have announced should be a huge success. Oh ya, and that whole Apple approval process is a joke.

Web Browsing; Winner: 3-way tie
They are all based on webKit so what does it matter. Some will scroll faster than others and some have better resolutions, but that all depends on the phone and doesn’t matter for rendering. Android and webOS may have slight wins over iOS because they have embraced Adobe flash but once again, that is a phone specific thing because the device has to be up-to-snuff for playing flash content. A three way tie.

Gaming; Winner: 2-way tie
Android doesn’t even have a language that enables the rich games that iOS and webOS allow. And besides the quantity, webOS has every bit of the quality as iOS so it is a tie.

Music Player; Winner: 2-way tie
Android’s built in music player is terrible, iOS’ is as good as any iPod’s (which doesn’t really say much), and webOS’ is just OK. The fact that webOS’ player is open source makes the player really stand out from the crowd when you install simple things like lyrics, and wikipedia searches straight from the player. I know there are better 3rd party players on all the platforms but that is not what we are comparing here. So it is a tie between stock iOS and stock webOS.

Free Turn-by-Turn Navigation; Winner: Android
This is a killer feature, but lets be honest, this will probably come to iOS and webOS simply because Google can sell more ads if it exists on all the platforms. For right now though, it is a win for Android.

Google Apps Integration; Winner: Android
This is like saying iOS has the best iTunes integration. OF COURSE ANDROID IS INTEGRATED WITH GOOGLE APPS. If Android did not have the best app for Gmail I think we would all be very worried. This is one of those arguments that fluffs Androids numbers IMO, but I will leave it in just for the sake of argument. Every mobile OS will integrate with their own offerings, the problem is, Apple and Palm don’t have email or web app offerings. This is more a win for Google and less of a win for Android.

Google Voice; Winner: 2-way tie
Yes this is a cool feature, I have it (and have had it since it was Grand Central) but I never use it because it is iffy and I don’t think the service is quite there yet. In any case, both Android and webOS have native apps for Google Voice and iOS is stuck using a web page. Android integrates deeper into the system, but all of the basic features/settings can be set on either platform so it is a tie.It has come to my attention that webOS no longer has a native GV dialer since some of the recent webOS API changes. I was unaware that a recent update broke this compatibility. In any case, it is somewhat of a bogus category seeing as accounts are still invite only and I am sure only 1-2% of people who have GV even use it for their daily calls.

So what is that total again? This time taking out the stupid frivolous comparisons.
iOS = 7
Android = 10
webOS = 13

Do I own a iPhone, Android phone, or Palm device? No. I have a 4 year old Windows Mobile device (HTC Vogue) running Android 2.1. I have use plenty of iPhones and have convinced quite a few people to buy webOS devices. I just needed to let the few people who read this site know webOS is the best mobile operating system currently available on the market. I just hope other technology sites can finally recognize how great webOS is, and maybe stop focusing on flaws with a phone that came out when the original iPhone was still big news.

Take one down, pass it around…

3 Comments | This entry was posted on Apr 14 2009

In my recent trip to Capri Deli I decided to be adventurous and try a couple more root beers. And of course, with my bad memory, I need to write them down or I would have no idea I ever knew they existed.
First up is Route 66 Beer. It had such a clever name I just had to try it. route_66_beer This Root Beer tasted very smooth with hardly any fizz to it. It tasted like some kind of syrup candy and was fairly thick while drinking. It reminded me a bit of Henry Weinhard’s but with more of a caramel after taste. It was very pleasant but a little bit heavy. I don’t think it was nearly as sweet as Boylan root beer but more of a subtle candy undertone to the root beer itself.
The second root beer was Frostie Root Beer. This was actually Beth’s choice for dinner but I drank my fair share. It was a little bit weird how similar these two root beers were. Frostie had a very similar after taste but there was so much fizz to this root beer it tasted more like drinking caramel Nerds or root beer Pop Rocks.frostie_root_beer I think out of these two I would pick frostie because it had the candy taste without the heaviness. One weird thing with Frostie was the after feel in your mouth. It wasn’t so much the taste this root beer left in your mouth as much as it was the feeling on your tongue. It kind of felt like after you eat a few Altoids mints. When your tongue feels a little bit raw but kind of good, like your mouth got a good cleaning or something. I know it is strange but that is what I thought of after taking a drink.
Sorry for the lack of updates in my root beer log but I really go through phases trying new root beers and this will probably end up being one of my “projects” that lasts a long time. And the big pictures make it easier for you to see them and gives me an excuse to write a little bit more and then you don’t feel like the log is all text. Let me know what new root beers you have tried in the comments, or root beers you recommend I try next time I am out.

Some more root beers

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Oct 09 2008

I had the chance to have a few more root beers this week and I thoroughly enjoyed them. The first root beer I tried was Red Ribbon. I must say it tasted pretty plain. Nothing really stood out about it and it had a very generic IBC/Barq’s root taste. If I hadn’t taken a picture I probably would have completely forgotten about it. Beth pointed out that Red Ribbon had almost zero aftertaste. It was almost like you forgot you took a drink of anything. Then I had the Americana root beer.
This one was fantastic. It wasn’t too sweet, had a very good aftertaste and actually tasted like I was drinking something. It wasn’t quite as sweet as Virgil’s but with the food I was having that was a very good thing.I would have to say at this point this is my second favorite root beer, and depending on what I am eating at the time I would probably go for one of these over a Virgil’s.
Finally, I had Boylan Bottleworks. This was probably the sweetest tasting root beer I have ever had but that made it taste a bit more like liquid candy than a drink of bitter, brewed root. The label said it is sweetened with pure cane sugar and it was very tasty. I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it, but when drinking it the sweetness got in the way of the taste. Beth on the other hand loved this one and kept asking for more.
Overall Boylan Bottleworks was a great change from traditional root beers and I will keep it in mind when I want something to sip on while watching a movie. But I probably wouldn’t drink this one on a regular basis while eating my dinner. Unless of course my dinner is licorice.

Dog n Suds root beer

0 Comments | This entry was posted on Oct 01 2008

So first of all I want to say thank you Ken and Jeanne for my birthday gift. Second, I wanted to start a series of posts reviewing some of the root beers I have tried. I’m not as big of a fan of root beer as I used to be, mainly because of a bad experience my freshman year at college, but I do enjoy the occasional break from Dr. Pepper, Cherry Coke, and Vitamin waters. And when that break calls, it is nice to have a good cold root beer at hand. On top of that I love trying new things.
I have tried just about every big brand root beer I can think of (IBC, Stewart’s, Henry Winehard’s, Virgil’s) and I would have to say so far Virgil’s in my favorite. I don’t plan this root beer log to get fancy with reviews or even have a rating system like this awesome site. But I just want to keep track of what I have tried and what I thought of it as I go.
So first up is Dog n Suds. I tried it last night with a Italian sub and it reminded me a lot of Stewart’s root beer. It had a bit of a creamy taste at first and then dulled away with almost 0 after taste. It was kind of strange because I was waiting for the after taste blow that would make me not like it but it just went right into my stomach making me forget that I took a drink of anything. This is not a bad thing but at the same time it is not a good thing. It is just a dull existence for a root beer to go into your mouth and right through your body without so much as a flavorful burp.
Overall I would say it was good but you can probably do better with something that will leave a more lasting impression.
Please let me know in the comments if you have a root beer you think I should try.