Andy McKay

Aug 15, 2010

OSCON and Nexus one

Due to a two week holiday and a crazy week of work, this is a rather late post.

I haven't been to OSCON in quite a few years, so it was looking forward to going down there. It's normally got a broad array of talks and there's a few areas that I'm interested in. Trying to remember now what I went to is a bit of challenge, but here's a few impressions:

  • I went to a couple of cloud talks, but was disappointed. Of them all, there was an interesting one from Canonical which didn't spend the first 10 slides trying to define the cloud or tell us how hyped it all is at the moment and hence why we should be in the talk.
  • There was one that I hoped would be discussing bug trackers, but as it turned out - it was about Perl. I beat a hasty retreat.
  • There were a few Django talks which were put in a huge room, so although there were a few people so it seemed like there were hardly any.
  • The talk by Tom Croucher (@sh1mmer) on Node.js was great. Didn't cover much new for me, but I enjoyed it.
  • Overall OSCON seemed smaller than I remember. It could be just a faulty memory, but the numbers seemed smaller, perhaps people spend more time going to more specific conferences these days.
  • My talk on Friday went well, but by then the conference was in real wind down mode and so many had left. Further I hadn't really thought of a good talk name, something I only realised when seeing the talk in the program.

Of course, the main reason for going to OSCON in Portland where the friends and beer. On this I had a pretty good time hooking up with some old friends and also some new ones.

About 3 weeks before OSCON my home button on my iPhone 3G stopped working. This means to change apps I have to turn off the phone, turn it back on or jump from Twitter to Safari to Youtube (and that's a dead end). So imagine my joy when in the Android hands-on 3 hour seminar, I was given a Nexus One. Awesome. Since I was going to buy a new phone and choosing between a (contract free unlocked) iPhone and a Nexus One, this was great timing.

The part I feel bad about is that it was 7-10pm and wanted to go to the Django meetup at Urban Airship. But after getting a phone, I felt I should listen. However the first 45 minutes weren't really enlightening and since I've already got a basic PhoneGap app running on Android, I really wasn't sure of the value, but I was sure about beer, so left (sorry Google).

As it turns out, I really miss my iPhone and I'm not too impressed with the Nexus One.

First the good parts:

  • Freedom from Apple and that 30 pin connector, the iTunes store and all that. Yay!
  • Most of the basic functionality is there, sort of. Apps, phone and so on.
  • Gorgeous screen (not as good as an iPhone 4).

Sadly the bad parts (and I feel really bad saying this since I got it free):

  • Screen that scratches and smudges easily (it got 2 scratches within a day).
  • Abysmal battery, takes 4+ hours to charge in our car, compared to 1 hour for an iPhone. The battery doesn't last long, I could get to and from downtown Vancouver browsing the web both ways on an iPhone (thats about 3 hours for me) with normal usage rest of the day. Didn't happen on the Nexus One.
  • Bad ergonomics. Putting a soft home button directly below the space bar is just terrible. Almost every tweet or SMS I accidentally hit the home button, exiting the app. If I'm lucky I then end up clicking another app by accident, so have to find my way back.
  • No tethering, no MMS (that I've figured out yet),
  • Lots of time its unresponsive or slow to respond, I've had real problems browsing some web pages and rendering pages can make it really hot.
  • Rather quiet.

I'd buy and recommend an iPhone 4 or a 3G over the Nexus One any day. And in fact I probably will get one, going without an iPhone has made realise how damn good it is. Sure it's locked down by Apple, but that's a price I'm willing to pay for a good product.