Peter Lyons

Feb 18, 2011

Going all in on Google Calendar and Android

So I bought an LG Optimus V Android phone this weekend. I said if I finished the redesigns for peterlyons.com and linkzie.com I would treat myself. I've been a fairly die-hard PalmOS fan since the early days of the PalmPilot Personal. I think I got my first palm while still in high school probably in 1997 or so. I learned the Palm Graffiti input method. I soaked it right up. I continued on with a Kyocera cell phone/PDA based on PalmOS which I loved passionately and then onto the Treo for work and finally the Centro which I bought in March 2008 and have been using for the past 3 years. Throughout this whole time I maintained the same contact database and calendar. I had phone numbers in there of high school friends from before 10-digit dialing with area code was required. I had 4-digit on-campus extensions for random people I met in college filed under their first name only. It was amusing to go and look through the archives. I was pretty anal-retentive about putting everything in there. Guy who conducted my Region Band in high school: in there. That girl who cut my hair for $5 one time in college: in there. The number for the King 101 CS lab: in there. The same goes for Calendar. I think during one of the numerous computer data migrations I did over the years, I abandoned the early years of calendar data, but I still have data going back to as early as September 1999. I can tell you that I had a saxophone quartet rehearsal at 6:30pm on Wednesday September 22, 1999. Some 7000+ calendar records have all been migrated into my google calendar. And now they're all synced to my phone. w00t!

So anyway for the contact list I had to go through and trim down the people I hadn't been in contact with for a decade and then I hired someone on odesk.com to figure out how to migrate it into my gmail contacts list. The whole keeping track of people's email addresses and phone numbers is pretty much moot at this point since tracking folks down by name online is usually straightforward, but we all have those handful of folks that still have little or no online presence. So at this point keeping my contact book maintained basically makes sure I can easily call the people in my immediate network and perhaps more importantly the caller ID works properly when they call. But clearly we're close to the point where any manual address book maintenance will be a thing of the past.

So far the Optimus V seems like an awesome deal, especially for mobile-phobes like me who are late late adopters. The phone costs $150 and you get a prepaid $25 plan with no contract that includes unlimited data and TXT plus 300 voice minutes. That's saving me $15/month over my already pretty cheap AT&T plan which has no data at all. The savings on the plan will pay for the phone in 10 months. Plus now that I'm already done with my AT&T contract I don't have to start a new one. We'll see how the coverage is: Virgin Mobile uses a subset of the Sprint towers, I'm told. So far no issues and AT&T is not great in this area anyway.

LG Optimus V

Perhaps the best part is how much functionality I get for my $150. I get a full GPS device with updated maps. No thanks, Garmin, I won't be paying you $75 to update the maps on my Nuvi. I get a new Sonos controller. No thanks, Sonos, I won't be buying a $300 dedicated extra controller. I get another Rhapsody/Pandora streaming music endpoint. Nope, don't need another Ibiza Rhapsody MP3 player for $160. Plus now I can develop and test Android apps, which I just might do. Plus since I can get a 32 GB microSD card for $100, I can _finally_ have an MP3 player that can hold pretty much all of my music. I bought and loved a Creative Nomad Xen Xtra around 2005 probably. It's the size of an old cassette tape player, and on the rare occasions when I bring it out into public, people think I'm a hipster listening to 80s cassettes or something. But it was cheap and good and it took years and years for Apple and other mainstream mp3 players to hit 64GB. If there was a 64GB microSD card I could fit all my ripped MP3s from my CD collection (30GB or so) plus a ton of Rhapsody stuff and still have room for some photos and videos. It seems microSD is topping out at 32GB though, so next year I'll probably buy another cheap Android phone with microSDHXC and then achieve portable device Nirvana.

On Tuesday I spent all day in Boulder working at Coffee shops in between my three (3!) meetups in one day. Thus I had to move my car about three or four times during the day to park for free and not get a ticket. What this meant is that when my last meetup concluded around 8:30pm I had forgotten which of the locations was the most recent one and spent about 20 minutes walking a grid in the dark looking for my car. Yesterday I downloaded the parked car locator app. Never again will I have to wonder around! (Assuming I remember to actually tag my car's location during the parking process).

Any other Optimus-V users out there? Let me hear from ya!