Why is it that I need to force close Microsoft Outlook on a Samsung Galaxy S9+ running Android 9 Pie and then relaunch it to send any email messages? This had worked a long time ago… but it’s been broken for quite sometime now.. probably prior to the upgrade from Android 8 Oreo to Android 9 Pie. And I know I’m not the only Android user that’s having this issue… maddening.
I rolled out of bed this morning to find a system update waiting on my Samsung Galaxy S9+. The long awaited Android Pie update was finally here. The update itself took about 10-15 minutes so make sure you have some free time before you start the upgrade.
There’s been a lot of angst around the net regarding the UI changes between Android 8.0 Oreo and Android 9.0 Pie. There are quite a few visual changes, which most users will almost immediately notice.
I personally like the new gestures, swipe up and down… all the visual changes aren’t that alarming… and I’m sure folks will get used to it eventually. I’m curious to see how the notifications will work – I wasn’t a big fan of getting a blitzed with audible alerts every morning at 7AM when my nightly ‘Do Not Disturb’ period expired.
Feel free to let me know what you think, I’ll probably post an update after a week or two.
Update: Sunday February 24, 2019 – I really liking the dark theme available in Android Pie, I noticed that I had to reset some of my application notifications – I’m not sure what happened there. So far no big complaints.
In December 2015 I posted that I had left Verizon Wireless for T-Mobile. It’s now December 2016 and almost a year later. In short I’m still pretty happy with the switch. The big concern in switching to T-Mobile was cellular coverage, thankfully I don’t travel too much but in the first two months of 2016 I definitely got around, more than I usually would in six months or a year. In that short time I’ve traveled to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark Delaware, Reno Nevada, San Jose, Santa Clara and Dallas Fort Worth. While some of those cities were just stopovers for connecting flights I didn’t have any problems with coverage in any of those locations. I did end up needing to enable data roaming while I was in Santa Clara for Networking Field Day 11. The family is generally happy with their devices. Interestingly enough the oldest has become somewhat of a critic of Apple now that she has an iPhone 6, apparently she’s found a few software bugs and related issues and occasionally misses her Motorola Moto G. I was originally excited about T-Mobile’s Binge On program only later to learn the disappointing facts behind the program. I’m really happy for two reasons;
- I’m essentially paying the same monthly fee I was paying for two smartphones on Verizon with five smartphones on T-Mobile [Note: I purchased all the smartphones up front],
- I don’t have to worry about the girls going over data or text messaging limits and ending up with some crazy overage billing.
Interestingly a lot has changed in the past year – Verizon and AT&T have gotten much more competitive with their plans and fees, not so much that I would entertain switching back… but if you really like Verizon or AT&T you can likely make the numbers work much easier than you could have a year ago.
I also recently returned my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to Samsung for repair under the manufacturer’s warranty and was really pleased with the whole process. Samsung repaired the phone and returned it to me within 6 calendar days. That was an awesome customer experience!
If you’re looking to shave a few $$$ off your monthly mobile bill then you might want to give T-Mobile a call.
Now what to-do with my exploding cable bill? Is it time to cut the cord? That’s my next hurdle with Verizon FiOS and Comcast.
Last week my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 started mysteriously rebooting itself throughout the day and evening. Eventually it booted up to what appeared to be the Android bootloader with the message, “Could not do normal boot ddi : mmc_read failed”. I reached out to T-Mobile and Samsung support and was advised to perform a factory reset. Unfortunately the factory reset didn’t help the problem much, the phone would still reboot a couple of times a day without warning. I suspected the eMMC flash on the phones motherboard was starting to fail. Apparently it’s a known issue with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4. Thankfully the phone was just under a year old so I arranged with Samsung support to return the smartphone for warranty/repair service. With the shipping and warranty service it would probably take between 7-10 business days after I shipped the smartphone before it would return. So what was I going to use in the interim. At a minimum I needed voice, texting, and email service from the device. I was just looking for something to hold me over until my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was returned. I quickly found the BLU Advance 5.0 which was retailing for $59.99 on Amazon. I removed the SIM from my Galaxy Note 4, installed it into the BLU Advance 5.0 and I was up and running without issue. Almost one week later I must say that I’m genuinely impressed with the relatively inexpensive Android smartphone. The smartphone only has 4GB of space so you’ll need to be selective regarding the apps that you install. I’m primarily using the handset for voice, texting, email (Microsoft Outlook) and occasionally Audible and Google Maps for those long commutes. This is a great alternate Android smartphone if you are traveling or even for a teenager. It’s much easier on the pocket to lose a $60 smartphone than a $500 smartphone.
I was recently shopping for a new wireless carrier, one that could provide 5 lines for the entire family without bankrupting me every month. It doesn’t help that I have three teenagers, the oldest of which is occasionally known to blow through her current pre-paid plan only a few days into the billing cycle. I had been a Verizon Wireless customer for the past 7 years but I just couldn’t make the budget fit with any of the Verizon plans. I looked at Ting, Sprint, AT&T and finally T-Mobile. Ting looked like a great option at first but after thinking about how to micro-manage the data and texting habits of three teenage girls I decided there had to be better option.
After running all the numbers time and time again I landed on T-Mobile.
I purchased a pair of Samsung Galaxy Note 4s for myself and my wife and then I ordered a pair of Motorola Moto Es for my twin girls. My oldest daughter has been using a Motorola Moto G for the past two years and had been asking for an Apple iPhone, not wanting to be the tech father that pushed his kids to non-Apple solutions I ordered an Apple iPhone 6 for her from T-Mobile. I had looked around at various refurbs/second-hand from sites like Amazon and Gazelle but choose to purchase new seeing how she’s taken pretty good care of her Motorola Moto G.
My experience with T-Mobile has been fairly good to date. I will call out David the sales order representative that I spoke to while placing the order with T-Mobile. David initially tried to tell me that the 2GB plan was for “flip phones”. I politely told David that I wasn’t in need of an upsell and my daughters would be fine with 2GB data plan. After that point David was very helpful and successfully placed the order.
With Verizon I was paying ~ $130/monthly for 2 lines with 2GB of data each, 500 SMS text messages and 700 minutes shared between the phones in the plan. That equates to about $3,120 over the course of the two year contract plus the $299 I paid for the Motorola Moto X when I first purchased it (buy one get one free). So all total I paid Verizon just over $3,400 for 2 lines. With T-Mobile I’ll be paying ~ $110/monthly for 5 lines with 2GB of data each, unlimited SMS text messaging and unlimited minutes. That will equate to about $2,880 over the course of two years plus the ~ $2,100 I paid for all 5 phones (2 Samsung Galaxy Note 4s, the Apple iPhone 6 and the 2 Motorola Moto Es). The benefit here is that I have my entire family on a single plan (no more pre-paid phones) and I’m free to jump ship (to any GSM capable provider) since I purchased the phones outright.
Update: I just received my first bill.. $144/monthly with all the taxes included… that’s $34/monthly in taxes and fees, 23% of the bill.