I Came Crawling Back [What I Use]

I had been meaning to write a post for a few weeks now about how Verizon had been negligent in pushing updates to seemingly flagship devices.  After getting bait-n-switched as a Droid Bionic user, I went with the Galaxy S4 in large part that I wanted a flagship device that was seemly going to get some love when it came to system updates.  In all the time I waited for the Bionic updates, I blamed Motorola for their haste – but now I’m convinced that it’s really Verizon that’s the problem. They’re too busy loading all their crapware into these phones to be able to push out timely updates and ultimately were the last ones at the “Galaxy S4 KitKat” party.  However last Friday I finally got the update pushed to my phone and… it failed.

A support chat and a complete restore (from the software, not just a factory reset),my S4 was able to receive the KitKat update, but it appears that any semblance of my phone’s previous configuration was gone.  As far as the Play Store was concerned, my phone was a different device.

For most of my purchased apps that I restored; this wasn’t a problem. However, one app – EasyMoney – which I bought back in 2009 – wouldn’t work. I’ve used EasyMoney to track our expenses for the last five years, putting A LOT of data into it.  Back when I bought it, you would install the trial version and then buy an upgrade key on-line (which was $10 – lot in the early days of mainstream Android).  They serial number uses the phone’s ID to generate itself, which is how the key is tied to the phone. When I got my Bionic I got a new key from support, then got another one when I switched to my S4.  Now that I have my refreshed S4, I’ve exhausted the limit of only having 2 replacement keys. I’ll have to buy the app again.

I was pretty pissed. Any app you buy through the Play Store doesn’t have this problem.  I’m not sure whether Google implements a device limit on app purchases, but I’ve rebuilt my tablet so much and have never had a problem – yet HandyApps, EasyMoney’s developer has a draconian policy of 2 replacement keys?!?  My third replacement wasn’t even going to be a true replacement since it was on the same device.  I was pissed and while I should admit that I did not contact support (which I’m sure would have helped me) I wanted to protest the principle of the matter and take my expense tracking elsewhere.

I then went on a expense-tracking frenzy, downloading apps from the likes of AndroMoney, Expense Manager, CWMoney Expense Track, Coinkeeper, and easyBudget.  A lot of these apps packed some great features that EasyMoney didn’t have like cloud backup and sync, as well as having a nicer interface, which looks great until you start entering expenses into your expense-tracking app. A lot of these were a huge pain in the ass that would drive you nuts if you had to enter more than 3 expenses.  A lot of those apps wouldn’t have a field for a payee – which makes absolutely no sense for an expense-tracking app. Don’t you want to know where you spend your money?

Two hours and six apps later, with my tail between my legs, I was paying the $10 to buy the Play Store version of EasyMoney.  I’d like to think that I’m not too rigid to move away from an older app, but I can’t be the only one who wants some of these obvious things when using an expense-tracking app for your finances.

So yes, whether I’m happy about it or not, I’m using EasyMoney – which I liked so much that I bought it twice.

Two Drum Covers in Two Days

After a busy couple of weeks, I finally got the opportunity to sit down and do some meaningful drumming and recording some new covers.

I went back to the John Butler Trio well again and brought up my favorite JBT songs: I Used To Get High.

With this cover, I went ahead and played around with some new angles. I turned my kit around 180 degrees and moved the main camera to capture the view from the front. I took my second camera and placed it next to the floor tom looking up.  I then took my little web cam and placed it on one of the overhead mic stands to capture a view of the  hi-hat and snare.  After going through the whole recording process, I ended up only liking the angle that was on the lowest-quality camera (the overhead). I still had a lot of fun recording the cover and decided to go ahead and post it.

On Saturday I had some alone time after my daughter went to bed and did something that I had been wanting to do for sometime: drum while she was sleeping.  It turns out that she slept through the whole evening of my drumming, which made me happy – thus I decided to cover “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to celebrate my opportunity to drum some more:

I did some more tweaking of the camera angles and was a bit more satisfied with the result.  I’ll need to continue to adjust things for the next video a bit, as it looks like one of the cameras had a tough time focusing.

I’d love to get any feedback on the covers, the video, or anything else: I’d definitely love to hear from you.

Vacation Photos

Over Spring Break we took a trip back to Kansas to visit family and spend some time at the Miles Family Farm.  We had a wonderful trip, especially getting a lot of quality time with Clara and capturing some fun moments. Outside of that, I got to tag along and photograph a pasture burn.  I got a lot of practice and towards the end of the burn I felt like I really got things dialed in.  Despite a thorough cleaning, my camera still smells like smoke – but the pictures were definitely worth it.

Here are a few of my favorite ones:

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PastureBurn1

PastureBurn3

PastureBurn4

There are a lot more pictures over at Flickr. We also got some really fun pictures of Clara throughout the week as well, which are also on Flickr.

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