The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Nexus 4, AT&T, and youmail.com

April24

Point of reference: LG Nexus 4, AndroidYoumail, and AT&T, and Google (sort of).

I’m trying something a bit different and unusual for myself, today.

…actually I do unusual things almost daily. however, in this case I am absolutely focused on a vital mission. perhaps the unusual part is the effort means helping Android, kind of.

did you even know there is an “Android” website that is separate from Google?

in any event, as most of you know I am an tried-and-true Apple evangelist, but also diligent about keeping an open-mind and heart around technology. this includes mobile devices, and technology in general.

google nexus 4my current efforts entail the setting aside of my trusted and always reliable iPhone 5.8 and making a go of the Nexus 4.

of course, I was amongst the first to try the Nexus One. It was interesting, but too much work to maintain my standards around efficiency.

Since then I’ve experimented with several other Android device’s to include the Samsung Note and recently the Samsung Galaxy S4. The GS4 just pissed me off because it remains complicated. email is a chore for Gods’ sake. I’ve seen Android phones get better and more powerful over the years, as Google and phone manufacturers pack devices with more and more features.

because Google lets device makers customize Android to suit their needs, Samsung, LG, and others have been adding their own distinguishing features. however, there comes a time when less is more. I’m convinced we’ve reached that time. so, the differentiator comes down to utilization, functionality, simplicity, and possibly elegance.

as much as Apple can be criticized for exerting control over what goes on its iPhones, it wins on simplicity. there are no competing agendas — just Apple’s.

however, I maintained my commitment to being open-minded and got my hands on the Nexus 4. I love it. as least as much as any reasonable human bean can genuinely love a soulless piece of equipment. but, this mobile device is inspired. while this blog post is not meant to be a review – that is forthcoming – the stage was set for my on-going investigation around utilization that has generated adventures, if not hijinks. the Android operating system the Nexus 4 runs is excellent. in recent years the Google-made system has become a healthy competitor to Apple’s iOS system for iPhones.

and, that’s the source and thusly, the standard set-forth of the problem. most Android devices are over-packed with bags of tricks. phones, in general, have become way too complicated for many people to use. in some cases it’s because these custom features work only some of the time. in other cases, you’re confronted with too many ways to do similar things. or, quality control is not a priority, and they don’t play nice with the outside at all.

all of this brings me to my point.

Apple innovated visual voicemail. other companies perfected it. but, Apple remains the standard for simplicity and elegance. however, I wanted a bit more customization, so I researched and went with youmail. it was easy to set-up on an iPhone. I don’t know about phones in general, but, the hearty list of manufacturers (i.e. Apple, Samsung), Operating System (iOS and Android), and service provider (AT&T, Sprint, etc) are comprehensive. in any event, it just works great and I have been content with all of it for roughly four years now.

however, after firing-up my Nexus 4 on AT&T (that was simple and accomplished at the local AT&T Store), I downloaded the youmail App from Google’s ever-more-robust Play Store and tried to set that up. typically this means accessing the phone interface, entering a simple code, *004*3478966996#, and you are good to go. voice messages are routed from AT&T (in my case) to youmail. it has some cool custom features that serve well both personally and professionally that include emails sent to me that allow me to listen to my voice messages in almost any manner that I see fit.

however, all of this failed me with the Nexus 4 in-hand. After repeated attempts I was left with a discouraging error code that haplessly read, “call forwarding connection problem or invalid MMI code”.

believe it or not there is almost nothing about this dilemma recorded by Nexus 4 or youmail users once “googled”, “binged”, or “yahood”. so, I accessed the youmail trouble forum. but, still found nothing. I was, however, encouraged to upgrade my service to a more premium plan. I was skeptical about that, and began to match it with some growing frustration. I initiated a trouble-ticket and “Irish”, a youmail customer service engineer began a ponderous and pointless exchange with me that included instructing AT&T to manually change some settings under call forwarding. NOTE: as it turns out “Irish” can be found on several forums dismissing issues relative to youmail complaints. so, my contact with AT&T and my experiential journey involved two ominous terms – “conditional” and “unconditional” call forwarding. evidently, carrier voice mail is forwarded to youmail through the “conditional” protocol. so, while working with no less than three AT&T customer service representative, and also four technical support people, that was ultimately escalated to a tier-two representative (whom was ironically the least helpful and knowledgable, for that matter), it became clear that no one knew how to solve the problem.

have you ever had the feeling you were the first and only person to have a technical issue when you sought help from customer and/ or technical support?

for the record, I also called LG’s customer service. they manufacture the Nexus 4. a decidedly desultory fellow with a Mexican accent (that was a first for me) came on the line and fumbled around a bit (he could not understand ME). he tried to ask a few questions but lost interest (I kept hearing, “we don’t need no stinking customer services for you, here” in my head) and ended the call with LG taking the position of, “does not support third-party Apps”.

in our socially networked world, should not everyone actually try to work with third-party apps and operating systems? I am now going to try and pull together some engineers that can create a ubiquitous platform. just watch me.

so… at the moment I don’t know if youmail is a problem specifically for or related to Android devices, LG devices, AT&T as a carrier, or just the Nexus 4. I don’t know if the Nexus 4 being unlocked, unbranded, and unsubsidized by a carrier are issues, either. but, all of that might be relevant.

however, I now have the work-around answer for the Nexus 4, AT&T and youmail. I came across an exchange between yet another foreign dude (his avatar picture made him appear like a technical rep with ear phones, and all), that I decided was some foreign exchange student and “Irish”. he had apparently upgraded from an 8gb Nexus 4 to an 16 gb Nexus 4 and youmail was giving him fits (I’m going to speculate, here, that some software changes between the LG manufactured models were the most likely culprit). now… for me that just clouds the issue. however, the not-so-easy solution was evidently to simply access the Nexus 4 settings interface and update call forwarding manually with part of the aforementioned code. how Irish managed to be forgetful of all this during our own exchanges just blows me away. but, the simple fact that even AT&T reps don’t have access to historical and relevant trouble-shotting history, also astounds me. all they will say is, “the Nexus 4 is not supported by AT&T”.

in this case, we have an example of how Chuck Carey’s Collaborate would be VERY useful.

so, I suspect that answers the subsidization issue question.

as I finally wrap all of this up, I sent “Irish” an email attached to my growing trouble ticket with its ever-more cold solution and response trail with the following information:

“You might want to update your forums and FAQs.

I called AT&T again and had them manually update my call forwarding, “busy”, “uninsured”, and “unavailable” with the +13478966996 number.

youmail now appears to work. at least for the moment.

The mystery remains why this is not accomplished by the usual and simpler method of entering *004*3478966996# into your phone and simply hitting “call”. in any event, is this related to Android, LG, and/ or unlocked phones? are you even going to respond to me? or, do I need to upgrade to a premium service just to confirm what I did on my own?

I can’t believe youmail was unable to address all of this with more adeptness unless you are trying to push people to upgrade to the more expensive service. I’ll relate all of this on my blog today for the sake of posterity.”

now you all know what I know (not real… I am way ahead, and with a comfortable margin. but, at least I’m willing to share – and, possibly give you, collectively, a benefit of a doubt).

I do however, suspect that the elusive and shadowily pipe-smoking dog that probably leads the shadowy organization ultimately known as “they” are likely involved.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

 

I can phone in the future by dialing into the past

April11

I started this post with a disparate (no… not desperate) thought, and found myself astounded by where we ended-up.

here’s a provocative statement that won’t make sense until you read the entirety of this effort. so read on:

Google either doesn’t fully understand the situation or has trouble using the Nexus program to build clout for Android.

so… here is the punchline in advance…

as an Apple shareholder, I want Google, Android, Samsung – the whole motley lot of them to succeed in wild fashion. innovation creates success for everyone, the most hearty, in particular. that innovation and subsequent change is what creates opportunity for growth and improvement for the bold.

with that; all of that, with its implications, in-mind, ponder the following. do it! invest your time, passion, and money, accordingly.

Samsung Unveils Enormous 6.3-Inch Galaxy Mega Smartphone

 Samsung Unveils Enormous 6.3-Inch Galaxy Mega Smartphone – mashable.com

“If you liked the big screen of Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones, the company has something even more massive coming. The Samsung Galaxy Mega line, which will hit Europe in May, is led by a monstrous 6.3-inch phone – the…”

Brian Patrick CorkI dunno… 6.3 is pretty big to offer ease of use.

gianna messinaGianna Messina: They have some of the WORST reviews online bar none.

 

…whoa…

in any event, I thought the Samsung S4 (NOT pictured below) had promise but remained a bit awkward compared to the iPhone. texting is still wonky, for Gods sake. I still don’t understand why people are so smitten with the Galaxy S III. it’s a known battery hog, an eye sore (what was Samsung thinking when it mucked up Android this badly?) and a glitch bomb (ranging from missed text and calendar notifications to wonky headphone and Bluetooth connectivity). to top it off, it behaves jerkily, despite its 1.5GHz processor.

google nexus 4what can possibly be exciting about a hand-held device, other than what you use it for? it’s a genuinely esoteric questions.

what matters?

I believe the difference will come down to bio-morphics and voice recognition. then size won’t matter unless you want to vChat or watch a video.

I have a Nexus 7 that I like better than my iPad(s). so, it’s not that I’m pushing any particular platform, today.

in fact, we are continuing to test Android devices. the phone I’m most taken with at the moment isn’t the iPhone 5 (although I just picked-up Haley Anne another iP5) no, it’s the (re-imagined)  Nexus 4 – a collaboration of Google and LG, representing the pinnacle of Android hardware and software (Jelly Bean 4.2). it runs smooth as butter, with a vibrant screen that is second to none. when I first picked one up I kept thinking “perfect” – providing I can truly customize certain Apps like simple texting. okay…  I’ve set it up: impressive hardware, best Android software ever, definitely a threat to the iPhone (the 5, but not the 6) … except.

…brief intermission…

NOTE: I was among the first to buy two Nexus One phones when Google first released them almost exactly three years ago this month. I can prove it. go read, selfless acts of Commerce. I actually acquired them because they were part of history and Nicholas Johnson was so dang excited about “the Google phone”. that was fun to watch. …he earned that.

wait… go read another post of mine where I discuss the Nexus One.

the scales of justice don’t, often enough, balance out against evil

it’s a crazy and interesting sprint down memory lane. it demonstrates how the creative and innovative quickly transitions to the expected and mundane.

in the end (that being defined inside twenty months), all “smart” mobile phones will be very similar. thusly, it will come down to what do you use it for. then size matters.

meanwhile… end to the intermission…
you note that hesitation just before intermission? so what’s the catch? there are two that go hand in hand: availability and network compatibility.

the only carrier actively selling the Nexus One is T-Mobile. mind you, if you’re on T-Mobile, this is your next phone. you would be hard pressed to find anything remotely this good.

but if you’re on every other carrier, you’re basically out of luck. AT&T customers can buy the phone direct from Google, paying the contract-free price of roughly $350, but they can’t run it on their carrier’s 4G LTE network, because it’s not compatible with that technology. so no blistering speeds – which only matters if you care about DATA. and, as for Sprint and Verizon, it’s simply does not have the right innards.

this is a major timing blunder for Google and for LG – the latter in desperate need of a hit smart phone. Google has a genuine opportunity with the Nexus line to take a legitimate run at Apple and it’s iPhone. the Nexus is that good, but everyone is distracted by the Galaxy line. that’s marketing, but also an subsidization strategy. hopefully, once Android get real, Google goes Apple on the world and finds a way to get them on the Nexus platform. that’s when I believe Google gets it.

my takeaway is that Google either doesn’t fully understand the situation or has trouble using the Nexus program to build clout for Android.

Android is huge, but it’s huge by default. the phones are cheaper than Apple’s, the carriers make more money off of them, and the manufacturers license the operating system for little or nothing, and get to do whatever they want to their look and feel.

the result is that every single Android phone delivers a wildly different experience, and no two people who talk about Android are talking about the same thing.

come on Google… we can do this! lead Apple to unimaginable heights of glory!

more later.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

es·o·ter·ic

/ˌesəˈterik/

I think it’s ironic that synonyms for the word, esoteric, include: occult, private and mystic. esoteric means, “Intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest”. and, Christians don’t like anything related to the occult, or harry Potter. and, its easy and fun to watch Harry Potter on my Nexus 7.

what do you think? is this another blog post opportunity?

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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