Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Transitioning from iPhone 3GS to HTC Evo 4G (Part 1)

I know. Long time, no blog, right? I'm on "vacation," I've got some spare time, and I just got the HTC Evo 4G yesterday afternoon. I figured I'm overdue, so here it goes.

Hi. Longtime iPhone user, first time Android ponderer. Love your show...

My contract has been up with AT&T for some time now, and I had been debating "the next phone." I had been using the iPhone 3G and 3GS for some time (gave my wife the 3G when she joined AT&T and took her new phone. I know, shame on me), but I wasn't ready for the iPhone 4. I've been growing tired of the New Wave Apple Fandom. You know what I'm talking about. All the people that want Mac Book Pro's, but then end up "needing" to run a Windows Virtual Machine to do work. Not to mention, like some of your luxury cars, you pay extra for the fancy Apple badge on the computer. Never mind the irony that I'm typing this on my home iMac, but don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Don't get me wrong, Apple makes slick looking products. They are generally easy to use or figure out, and generally work well within their own universe. Shiny, pretty fast... and your user experience is controlled by Steve Stalin... I mean Jobs. That's what turned me off. I was already growing tired of those using Macs just because it was shiny, but wouldn't try to figure out how to let go of their Microsoft world. I've been annoyed by all the "Area 51" secrecy at Cupertino, creating overinflated hype and wild expectations for Apple Announcements that lead to a media frenzy, and the mild letdown when some of the rumors weren't true. I was aggravated that Apple wouldn't allow some useful mobile apps in their iTunes store, such as Google Voice. And then came the iPhone 4. With its issues, and the snarkiness of Steve Jobs when people were angry their expensive devices wouldn't work right, it was the last straw.

All that negative technical energy lead me to, "What's the alternative?" There was no way I was going to use Windows Mobile (Remember their aptly named WinCE... or Wince?). WebOS is kind of nostalgic, but sadly I think "Palm is dead." And don't get me started on Blackberry (hello "bland"). A few months ago, I wasn't sure about Android, but now I've taken the plunge. Their Android Market doesn't seem so restrictive and their OS is backed by Google. Even though Google is probably the next "Evil Big Company," I like their products. So yesterday, I went to the Sprint store (boy was it crowded) and got myself the HTC Evo 4G.

My, that's a big screen you have, Evo...

Today, I'll go through the hardware portion of the Evo 4G, and compare it to my old iPhone 3GS. I know it's comparing apples to oranges (pun not intended), but this is more intended for those that are in my boat of iPhone users that don't want iPhone users anymore.

First off, the size of the phone itself. Noticeably, the screen is bigger. The Evo has a 4.3" screen, compared to the 3GS 3.5" screen. However, the Evo (4.8 x 2.6 x .5) really isn't that much bigger than the 3GS (4.5 x 2.4 x .48). I know some people say the Evo is too big, but when you put it in that perspective, is it?

The camera(s) (8 megapixel camera with flash and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera) on the Evo is much better than the one 3 megapixel, no flash, camera on the 3GS. Granted, you'd hope so since the Evo is much newer.

I will say Apple did one thing arguably right with the iPhone. I do like the buttons and controls on my iPhone better than the Evo. The iPhone has the one magic button to return you to the main screens, as opposed to Evo's web browser-ish four buttons for navigation. Although I'm starting to get the handle of how navigation is supposed to work with the Evo/Android, I don't see my 2 year old son figuring out my Evo like he did with my iPhone. No more just handing him the cell phone to play his games when he gets fussy and not having to help him.

Also, I like the overall volume buttons on the iPhone as well. They both have the up and down volume button, but the iPhone also had the useful "change to vibrate mode" button as well. Speaking of volume, I'm disappointed that the Evo didn't come with a corded, hands-free accessory. I liked that the iPhone 3GS came with one, and it had a volume and rudimentary music/voice control on the wire.

Now comes the real unpleasant fact about the Evo. Its battery life does not compare to the iPhone. I will definitely have to keep a car charger and the USB charging cable with me at all times. It also brings me to another gripe that I also have with the iPhone. The Evo uses YAPC (Yet Another Proprietary Cable). At first glance, it looks like it uses a micro-USB cable, which would've been GREAT (hey, Blackberry uses one!). It's not. It has about the same width and shape, yet just not as "tall".

When will this diatribe end???

So far, I'm not blown away by Evo if I think about it from a pragmatic approach. The buttons, the battery life are a bit disappointing. Not to forget the fact I'm now using Sprint/Nextel, my least favorite of the wireless providers I've used in the past, doesn't get me very enthused. However, the look and feel, and the freedom from Apple's Iron Curtain is exciting and pretty cool. It's sort of like the feeling you have when you're getting into a new relationship with someone you're been really interested in from afar. Unlike most of those kinds of relationships, I hope this one will last through its annoyances and flaws.

In the next few days, I will try to post more about my experiences with Sprint service quality, usability, the main apps that I use, and if I decide to run back to AT&T before my 30 days are up.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quick and Dirty NetBackup Reporting

I needed a quick way to get the statuses of my NetBackup runs on a daily basis. This works for me, but maybe because there aren't that many servers (~30) that we are backing up. I'm sure there's nicer ways to do this, but if you want something quick and dirty, I have this line in my crontab.

/usr/openv/netbackup/bin/admincmd/bperror -U -backstat -s info -hoursago 24 | mail -s "Netbackup Report for `date +%D`" backup-admins@example.com