Pocketables Editor Spotlight is a weekly series that shines the spotlight on each of our editors. Last week, we got to know our associate editor of Pocketables, Aaron Orquia, and today we’ll get to know another associate editor of Pocketables, Paul E King.
A long time ago in a city far, far away (Nashville, TN), a young boy learned to program a language nobody’s heard of on the TRS-80 Color Computer II. After that he moved on to Turbo Pascal. It’s been all downhill ever since. There’s also some section here that should be devoted to pictures of cats saying funny things.
I am an IT manager at a commercial production company in Nashville that’s probably best known for bringing a bit of the movie industry to Nashville and also making TV commercials for radio stations. We just wrapped up work on 40+ city movie premiere, which may have been eclipsed by the second day of it randomly appearing on bit torrent sites everywhere. The job is interesting, I’ll say that.
I’ve been involved with building computers, programming, building websites, networking, repairing, part swapping, and pretty much anything else that can be done with computers for the past 28 years. I’ve been involved in/worked for two dotcom startups and shutdowns, was a network tech at an ISP, parts swapper at a Mac store, build and repair tech at computer parts shop in NY, IT manager at a film/commercial production company, provided a couple of hospital in-home-care mobile nurse solutions, and I also have a couple of non-tech jobs at the moment. I’m usually busy.
I started writing root guides shortly after getting my EVO. I was fed up with there being multiple incorrect guides out there and not being able to find answers to the common problems I kept running across ROM to ROM. I didn’t realize when I started that I was part of the problem of people starting to write root guides that would be left up for all eternity with no expiration date printed on them. I attempt now to remedy that.
In 2011 I started submitting random things I found cool that I could do with the HTC EVO 4G to GoodAndEVO.net. Jenn K. Lee would proofread, correct my crazy leaps of logic, and post them on G&E. I was later chosen to be a contributing editor and my first piece as such was in June. I came with G&E to Pocketables, and for me pretty much nothing has changed except occasionally I write something that’s not EVO-specific.
With the tech biography done and my pictures of my phone screens up above, here are the other editors’ questions for me:
Andreas Ødegård: What are your main reasons for rooting a device?
Because I can.
The physical device is mine unless I missed something in my 400 page long contract. Although rooting and using certain root apps may violate my terms of carrier contract, I don’t do anything that negatively impacts the network one way or another as I’m always on WiFi for data and running the carrier’s radio firmware.
I get tired of the operating system and limitations they put on the device, and I do not want to spend another $500 or so to purchase a new device that has a feature set I want. Right now I can download a ROM that contains the best of several different manufacturers. I can get HTC Beats, Sony Bravia’s photo and XLoud engine, Samsung S-Voice, etc all in one ROM.
I also like figuring out how to solve problems that the carriers will take forever to get around to even acknowledging, such as the old Carrier IQ fiasco or the WiFi disconnects with the stock EVO 4G LTE. A carrier’s job is to sell plans and phones, and unfortunately that means that once you’re sold, you’re no longer all that important to them as a lot of Sprint users are feeling right now with the continually delayed ICS release for the EVO 3D.
I have a two-year old phone running Android Jelly Bean right now. That two year old phone hasn’t seen an official OS upgrade for over a year now and will probably never see an official one ever. That’s why I root.
Jenn K. Lee: What is Android’s greatest weakness and iOS’s greatest strength?
Android’s greatest weakness is perhaps its greatest strength. Configurability, interoperability, cross-hardware compatibility.
The problem is you can make a great ROM and put it on an underpowered crappy phone and network and it will look like Android is to blame for the failings of phone, network, etc. You can also load it down with horrible launchers and the end-user will think it’s Android that’s to blame for the bad user experience and not the manufacturer of the phone that slapped bloat on it.
iOS’s greatest strength is what I consider their up and coming Achilles heel: end to end control of the user experience.
Steve Jobs did a great job in creating a completely controlled user experience. You buy that experience when you go iOS. You don’t get to diverge all that much from that experience. That works for a majority of the people who want the product as shown, and when shown in comparison to a company that’s put a shoddy launcher over a rigged version of Android pushed onto a bad piece of hardware, it shines brilliantly in comparison.
Unfortunately a lot of manufacturers in the Android market are putting a bad user experience on bad hardware and that’s what Android is thought of if you haven’t seen good examples.
I’ll skip why I think the strict control is a bad thing. That just gets down to conjecture and preference.
William Devereux: You mentioned that you own three EVOs. Do you carry them with you at all times? If not, are there any particular situations where you prefer one device over the others?
I decided a while back that if I was going to write about a product and try and help people with said product it probably was best to actually own the product. As such I have my original HTC EVO 4G that has survived since launch month, I have my HTC EVO 3D, and I have my HTC EVO 4G LTE. Additionally my wife has her original EVO 4G and I’m in possession of Jenn K. Lee’s EVO 3D that will be going to my wife as soon as sprint.com is not down and we’ve got time to transfer everything over.
The only one of my phones I have service on is the HTC EVO 4G LTE. The OG and EVO 3D have been known to run GrooveIP to function as house phones while my EVO 4G LTE is flashing a new ROM or doing something that takes it out of service. The only thing I cannot do with a phone that’s out of service is test WiMAX capabilities of a ROM or make phone calls outside of GrooveIP. I do have to take it on faith that if nobody has said “this ROM can’t make phone calls,” that it does.
I’ve been known to carry two phones with me on trips. Kim, my wife, has made fun of me because I’m the only person who packs spare phones for a vacation. I do not generally take more than my activated phone with me every day unless I am going to be doing something with it for work or I need a video or pictures of the phone I’m using.
John Freml: What’s your biggest criticism regarding HTC/Android/Google?
During the Carrier IQ debacle, I think HTC flat out lied about their involvement. I know they were caught in between a rock and a hard place with their confidentiality agreements, but they made statements just on the edge of saying they had nothing to do with it when their programmers were putting Carrier IQ into the kernel at the direction of Sprint who was the customer of Carrier IQ. About that time is when I was contacted by their PR firm with a very flat statement that it wasn’t them. I asked “then who’s putting code into the kernel module that’s doing this since you provide it to Sprint?” and never heard back. So yeah, I think when push comes to shove they lie.
Secondly the absurd delays in releasing kernel source, the partial locking of unlocked phones, the failure to release workaround procedures for these half-unlocked phones, etc.
Google is a wall. We’ve learned when something goes wrong we’re not going to get any answers. Google Wallet was the most recent long-running issue we’ve seen where the random statements didn’t make a bit of sense and there were conflicting stories from Money Networks, Wallet, etc. I don’t understand how they can be this big proponent of open-source, unlocked phones, free information, and then not just say “we’re experiencing issues with this particular thing here that in rare instances is causing hardware to lock up.”
As for Android, I think if you’re going to allow this level of modification and customization to your operating system and then you keep updating the OS on a regular basis you need some sort of hardware abstraction layer so things such as proprietary WiMAX, LTE, 3D, etc. drivers can be plugged in in a compatibility mode in future releases.
As an example, we just got WiMAX on the 3D in AOSP for ICS, and that took eight months. There hasn’t been any major change to the WiMAX code since it came out, but as it’s closed-source and discontinued, you reinvent the wheel every major upgrade.
Aaron Orquia: How many mobile devices are within reach right now, and what are they?
I have an HTC EVO 4G, an HTC EVO 3D, an HTC EVO 4G LTE, a Treo 600 or 650, a Windows Mobile HTC Touch Pro, a Nook color, an iPod Touch, wife’s HP laptop. I might be able to reach another EVO 3D but that would be pushing it. So nine.
Calob Horton: What was your first smartphone, and what did you like/hate about it?
My first sort-of-smartphone was a Kyocera of some sort (lost in a motorcycle breakdown). The first thing I consider a smartphone was my Treo 550.
Back then having the internet on a phone was a new and fun thing. I just liked being able to look up things. Also since it had a keyboard I could text without T9, which I never really learned. I hated how slow it was and how web pages might never load but it wouldn’t tell you it had quit trying.
Bryan Faulkner: How do you see mobile devices working into the film making industry?
I’m a bit more on the “keep the office computers, servers, websites, and network running” at my job as opposed to on the front-lines of commercials and films we’ve done. I’ve been called in a few times to consult on computer setups for PSA-style shoots but I’m not quite in the full game. All I can comment on is what’s emerged recently and how the producers and editors have used it.
What we can now do that’s neat is to set up mobile hotspots and transmit video of what’s going on to a client or remote director. While the video isn’t particularly high quality, you can get a great feel for what it’s going to look like. Clients in another state can get shot a higher-quality non-mastered video before the shoot is even done and have a say in real time what’s going on as opposed to seeing it later and perhaps not liking what they see.
Actors have paired iPad-controlled teleprompters now. The script is on the remote iPad and the display is mirrored on the other for the actors. The teleprompter operator doesn’t even have to be in the same room any more; they just have to hear them. The script can be updated, loaded, and there for the actors instantly now from another room with no wires.
There’s no more wondering where someone is on set if you just GPS track them; a lot of time is saved when you don’t have to look over half a block for where someone is. More juice, but less time wasted. You’d be amazed how much time is wasted just looking for people on a set.
You can use mobile devices to track storm clouds to estimate how much longer you have to shoot or how long to take for lunch.
If you have questions for Paul, feel free to ask them here, or drop him an email.
All of Paul’s posts can be found on his author page, so check them out. Next week Andreas Ødegård takes the spotlight.