I think I'd rather have another Austin Powers more than another James Bond film...
First off... I’m still using Project Fi.
This post originally started as a response to a comment about people quitting Project Fi too early and not letting the Project grow and improve... but it got long, so now it's a blog post. Boom.
I agree with many that Project Fi is still in its early stages, in “Project” mode, and has not been around long enough to work out all the kinks. The things some people say it offers that other services don’t (cross device calls and texts) can be achieved for free with Google Voice and there is very little difference to the end users. The biggest things Project Fi has going for it are these two things:
1. WiFi Assistant
This could/should be huge… like really super duper huge. Free high speed WiFi all over the place. Stream and browse at will! That said I’ve been on Project Fi for 4 months and have only had 3 or 4 keys. This needs to improve drastically in order to mitigate the large price increase people coming from far more data friendly plans would be hit with.
2. Use of the routing number as the actual mobile number
With Google Voice I still had a cellular number that would occasionally “slip” out from a text or call that I forgot to send through Google Voice. Things like “OK Google send a message” would not use my Google Voice number without a bit of sorcery. Same goes for in car infotainment systems, Bluetooth devices, etc. Project Fi has completely solved that problem for me and allows me to use other services (like Switch.co for work) in conjunction with Project Fi whereas it was not possible with Google Voice.
The absolute worst part of Project Fi is how much I worry about data. For a company that wants me to use the internet and their services, I’ve really had to cut back on my usage in order to keep a reasonable bill. I use less Google Music (at a lower quality), I make less video calls via Hangouts to the wife and child, I don’t back up photos as regularly (which scares the shit out of me), and I worry about pre loading maps and stuff while on WiFi before I travel. I feel like I have this awesome device I’m not allowed to use away from home or work. Having come from T-Mobile (and I still have a line there) worrying about data is a foreign concept to me, and I hate it.
Right now (as I mentioned in another public post about the service) the pros of my Project Fi number being the actual cell number outweigh the cons of my constant data worrying… but how long can I use a service that solves a problem while annoying me? I don’t have that answer yet.
The Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B and Why I can no Longer be Bothered to Flip Light Switches...
I recently bought a Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS740B 7-Day Solar Time Table Programmable Switch for Lights and Motors to address the simple yet infuriating issue of forgetting to turn our front porch lights either on or off. Far too often I was coming home and finding I forgot tho turn on the front lights or that I had left them on all day. Maddening... especially since it's 2014 and things such as outdoor or security lights should be completely automated. If I can open my garage and adjust my thermostat from any where in the world why the hell can't I adjust my lights the same way?
So that's where I started, looking for a way to simply give myself mobile control of my lights. I initially began my search with Chamberlain's MyQ offerings since my garage runs on that and I always prefer to keep things in the same ecosystem if it meets the needs. They have a switch for about $40 that would allow me to turn lights on and off over the internet... not bad... but I got to thinking about it more and decided I don't even want to have do that. I just want those lights to handle their business with zero effort on my end.
I looked at timers and solar sensors and all kinds of purely automated systems when I stumbled across this switch from Honeywell. Not only does it have a programmable timer with multiple schedules and a random mode, but you can enter your longitude and latitude so it will adjust throughout the year to the correct sunrise and sunset times... basically eliminating the need for me to even touch this light switch ever again. Perfect.
For only $30 or so it was an easy install that looks great, has great features, and saves me from ever thinking about those freaking lights!
Number 4I have got to stop buying Chromebooks. I've said that before, then I go and buy a new one when it comes out and find myself impressed all over again. That's where I am find myself again.
Quick BackgroundAfter my Cr48 I picked up a Samsung Series 5 in October 2011. That is when my daily driver became Chrome OS. I've been very satisfied with it, although admittedly the Cr48 and Series 5 seemed a bit under powered. Significant performance improvements were made with the Series 3. As a result (and the sweet $250 price tag) they were sold out just about everywhere when they launched. I finally made the Series 3 my daily driver in January 2013 when a hot tip from +Louis Gray helped me find one while it was in stock. h/t to +Melissa Daniels for the emotional support while I searched for it ;)
That brings us back to now. I've been very pleased with the Series 3. It's fast and reliable with good battery life and a nice light weight. Occasionally it will bog on me if I get a bit tab happy, video especially, and it struggles with the Google+ Photos Chrome app (known issue). All in all solid device, meets my needs marvelously. ... but that new Chromebook #toosexy
Why Did I buy
Things that made me think an upgrade was in order:
- charging port
- modest spec differential
- speaker position
- low cost
All in all not super big deals, heck one of them is simply a color... but, it has a sweet low price tag and they announced it on my birthday (seriously Google quit making me buy my own birthday presents)... so why not? Ordered on launch day. Arrived 1 week later.
Thoughts So Far
A full week in and I'm very glad I went ahead and picked up the Chromebook 11. For me, the speed improvements between it and my Series 3 are noticeable. The OS has a very fluid feel that I did not always get on the Series 3. Speakers under the keyboard are great for video and music. I can pull up a video to share with people and everyone can hear it easily, but maybe most importantly, everyone can SEE it too. The screen's wide viewing angle is clutch. If Chromebooks are "for everyone" then a screen like this is the way to go. Easily seen from multiple angles.
The track pad feels like an upgrade too. Multi-tap and scroll interactions seem to be more easily detected on this new hardware. Video playback will sometimes start with a chop or two when playing back HD content, but it appears to hold all the frames well after it buffers up. I am really enjoying the charging port too, being able to use one charger on all my devices is something many of us have only ever dreamed about. With my current use I'm getting just about 6 hours of continual use out of the battery.
Tests with the webcam show it being about average for a Chromebook at this price point. Good for Hangouts or other some inferior video chatting service, but not much else. I do miss having an SD card slot, but luckily I have a handful of Eye-Fi USB adapters. Still a bit annoying to have to carry that too, but I find I usually just plug my camera in via its USB cable. Which brings me to the Google+ Photos app... it runs smoothly on the Chromebook 11.
Overall I feel like it is a worthy upgrade from a Series 3. It sports a better keyboard, display, speakers, and track pad... and the mini USB charging port is very win.
Questions? Shoot 'em off below!