December 06, 2017

A New Addition To The Stable

With recent talk about cars, basset hounds available for re-home, getting up in the middle of the night and staying up, freezing temperatures just around the next corner and a short mention about iPhones ... you are probably asking yourself "what has he done now"? What addition? What stable? WTH???With my history and this blog documenting my instances of trading cars, one RV within 7 months and never making my mind up on what to do when it came to traveling over a 4 year period of indecision ... I can understand your wonderment.

I'll warn those that like to read in addition to looking at the hound photos, there is going to be some rambling today. Some of it will not match the photos taken during our morning walk and besides I have to ramble a little to justify what took place mid afternoon yesterday. It wasn't an impulse decision. It was a decision that was based on my normal over analysis and it would not have been a correct decision without me changing my mind in the last 18 hours.

For those of you that can't make up your mind on which Apple phone to use ... hang on.

All of these images are untouched. Not one was edited in anyway. Some look great while others are questionable because I was checking out different amounts of zoom. So that gives you a hint ... a new camera or a new iPhone? No plans to buy either so what is going on here and why?

Well when you are single by choice and all of your hounds love you unconditionally, the question "why" never applies here and the question is either unanswered or never asked.

It was two weeks ago when I was visiting my long time friend from my college days back in the 70's that this ball of research started. I could blame him I guess for all of this but even though I am not a 'professional geek' I do like the latest technology and some things I can resist, other things I cannot.

I remember it was less than two months ago on a Sunday, when during my conversation with a shocking visit, my friend Paula handed me her new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus. I can't remember which it was nor does it matter because my instant answer to her was something like "it's a great phone, I've read all about it but .... I'm sticking with my 6s, that will be the last phone I ever buy". Where have I heard that before?

I recall saying the same thing years ago when I shut down my top of the line Sony Erickson flip phone with the color screen for one of Apples first smart phones ... I waited long enough then to buy the 3s. That was it ... the improvements over my flip phone were so drastic that I knew then I'd never have to buy another one EVER ... the 3s was it!!

Like all technology, changes are in nano seconds and they never stop. Somewhere in those spaceship buildings at Apple some engineers are holding something they are developing in their hands even today, laughing amongst themselves and saying "this will send the sheep over the edge ... they'll love this better than what they just bought minutes ago".

Besides the competition between the major phone service providers, they have also noted the speed of technology change, along with the consumer addiction to buy the best no matter how old it is. So it was not a surprise when the Verizon rep was offering me a program where I could trade in my 'new' smartphone in on an ANNUAL BASIS without penalty. Of course that decision still locks you into some kind of contract doesn't it ?  I can't remember what he answered.

So to get back on point here, two weeks ago standing in my friends driveway all afternoon talking while he is building a new rooftop rack so he can carry his two canoes on top of the car instead of towing them .... I have his new iPhone 8 Plus in my hands and instantly notice the improved quality of the screen compared to my retina display on my 6s. I took a selfie of myself (hate selfies) with his phone and then the same selfie with my 6s.

The difference in picture quality was so astounding, I thought to myself "well s**t, here I go again" ... I could hear that little voice on my shoulder saying "Hi my name is Steve and I am a technoholic". I knew at that time I was buying that 8 Plus but I needed two weeks to investigate reviews on CNET, or ask some friends that already had the phone, or look at the dynamic display on Apple's website. I would finally call a live voice at Verizon to find out what those emails I had ignored months earlier were all about and if it was true I could turn in my phone for a new one without penalty.

I didn't do the normal mental haggling like I always do before I trade a car, an FJ, a Mini Cooper, or buy a new computer (needed or not), get Stella, or decide not to travel full time. That included taking a day off and not reading anything about them or looking at phones or videos on what that monster could do.

I had a clear mind after that day off and KNEW I was going to buy that new iPhone X, what Apple calls a Ten. Larger screen, better camera of all Apple phone cameras, just millimeters wider than my 6s and the latest technology ... that would last me a lifetime wouldn't ?????? or maybe just 12 - 14 months before I trade it in for the best of the best.

32° and a windchill of 21°
So it sounded like the only decision I needed to make was to either buy it online and send them my 6s after they sent me their packaging to return the phone OR .. make that nice 25 mile trip over to Bloomington (one of my all-time favorite towns) to trade in the phone right there and walk out with a brand new X. Long time readers will know that nothing is that simple in my brain full of active cells and not all of them destroyed yet. Nothing is ....

So during the final sprint to the finish line I jumped on CNET again and read their reviews about both iPhones .. the 8 Plus and the X. While reading those updated two page reviews for the comparison and then a separate review per camera ... I ran into other links that had reviews of each camera by professional photographers. You can read that here. After looking at the photographer review and comparing photos of each camera ... I decided sometime Monday night that I was going to change my mind and buy the iPhone 8 Plus instead. This review helped in my decision.

That wasn't all though ... I printed this photo from their website and had it near my keyboard so I could look at it different times and sort through just what shape I wanted that screen to be. I was 99% certain by the time I went to bed on Monday night was wanting the 'wider' screen of the 8 Plus more than I wanted the 'longer' screen of the X.

I mean when you know that you are going to keep this phone for the rest of your life, just like you planned to with the 3s in June 2009 you have to consider 'aging', what's best for the eyes? I thought I was doing fine with the smaller font and an extremely retina sharp view on the 6s ... until I saw my friend's 8 Plus.

I don't have a lot of shirts if any at all with pockets anymore. Since retired I rarely wear sport shirts anymore and even when I did wear them at work I never had a smartphone tucked inside the shirt pocket. So the 'narrow' size of the 8 and 8s was not a factor. To see if holding a wider phone would bother me, I tested my hands and grip on my iPad Mini that is 1.76 inches taller and 2.23 inches wider. No problems.

But .... would the 3.07" wide 8 Plus fit in my cup older on the FJ console, where every phone I have ever owned is stored while I drive. Even the old Sony Erickson flip phone fit in the dashboard ashtray on my 1965 VW Bus.

So with a tape measure, then slipping the rubber insert out ... I had room to spare for the new 8 Plus, with a 2nd cup holder on the console just to the right of my seat for anything I would be drinking.

By Tuesday morning I was ready ... online or drive to Verizon? With a strong desire to have lunch at Mother Bear's Pizza I decided a nice drive to the Verizon store in Bloomington was the thing to do. With one slight variation .... I'd get the phone first and then stop to have pizza on the way home. It was well worth the trip for both things I bought.

The trip wasn't over yet thought. There were more surprises and one not so good. I couldn't do much with the new phone until I got home and plugged it into my computer to update to the iOS 11.2 system. It would also synchronize with my Notes, Contacts, and hopefully the few Apps that I use. The update ran smooth and very fast. Since it has a chip 2 numbers higher (A9 - A11) than my 6s, everything is processed at the speed of light.

Luckily I am not a big number of apps fan. With the recent changes to iOS, apps are handled differently than they were for years in iTunes. Since I had few of them, it was faster to just download those I remembered instead of reading different websites to learn how to deal with them and where they were.

I had not been home longer than a few hours while I made all the updates and changed security settings from the default settings when I realized this is a really great phone AND computer. Yes, computer.

With the bigger screen and one bump in adjusting the font just a hair bigger ... it was so much easier on my eyes when I did things on the 8 Plus. I don't find the larger size too hard to hold, and much easier to type when sending emails or texts. Of course with the new design with the case being surgical quality glass on the front and back, I didn't hesitate to by a new case for it. I've had the OtterBox before but I like the cases made by Speck.

They are built for impact with military grade material and pass the 10' drop test. At the same time with short bezel around the edge to protect the screen it still gives you that smaller feel of a phone without a case. It looks like I need to clear out my drawers with all my past Apple cases I have laying around for different models of phones and iPads. Let me know if you are looking for one in particular. I'll have mine listed soon online for sale somewhere, at rock bottom prices and free Priority Shipping.

I did mention something bad ... so what was it ????

Well it was somewhat disappointing but understandable. Stella's separation anxiety that she came with, will most likely never go away. After a streak of 363 days and nights straight of no damage of any kind while I am gone and she is left with Sadie in the bedroom ... I slowly opened the bedroom door to let them out when I got home and was shocked.

It looked like Day 1 in her file of damages. Yet ... she was thrilled I was home, giving me her bloodhound howls and a wagging tail that is strong enough to break wood. While they moved to the other rooms, drinking some water, I quietly cleaned up the mess and acted like nothing had happened.

I had been gone a little more than 3 hours where she was able to strip the bed of all the blankets and sheets, move that bed from under the east window to the window on the north side. Then open the third drawer (her eye level) of my chest of drawers and pull out every pair of cargo shorts, jean shorts, insulated long sleeve shorts, wool socks, gym shorts, ski underwear that I own ... just to show me she knew where I was keeping everything.

I could tell by the fresh new smudges on my clean windows were looking too familiar to the shape of her nose, that she had been poking at each window to see if they would open and she could escape like she did her first summer here. Luckily none of the windows were broken. After all if you can't get a good strong nose poke by standing on your back legs ... the only other option is to slide the bed over to that window so you can stand on the bed and have a much better angle to open the window.

Those rubber sliders under each corner wheel of the bed frame don't work really well even on hardwood floors when a bloodhound is determined to rearrange furniture while you're gone.

But as they say in the game of basketball "no harm no foul" ... so things are still good with her and I.

I think I have rambled about all I can today about the phone and the comparisons to my 6s. This post has gone on longer than I had planned. Some of my early readers are probably wondering if I am ever going to post anything today ... so I should probably start wrapping this up. As I use the phone more I will write a different post as my own review for those readers that are interest. In the meantime feel free to send me any questions you have.

I will say again ... I am not a huge fan of windchill factor at 21°

Until I learn more about this phone .. so far the Nikon is still better at zoom distances although this 8 Plus has a new 10x zoom capability.

I am going to shoot pictures the rest of the day with the iPhone. By the end of the day in different lighting I will have a better comparison and will post those photos either later tonight or add them to my post tomorrow.

I do know the camera in low light works fantastic.

The last of my three sycamore trees along the driveway bank. Even with five different trunks we still count this as one tree. Lucky the new neighbor told me he liked that tree because I was close to have it cut down. Two of those five trunks are on my property and three are on his. Or really they all are on the property of the old railroad that went through there in the 1940's but is labeled on the survey as "center of the right away".

Any buyer's remorse this morning or today?  No.

Although it's freezing cold and will be all day today for the next few days, with little wind it might be a good time while the hounds are taking their after lunch break, that I walk around and collect the small tree limbs scatter in the yard and add them to my burn pile.

Normally before I post I go into the HTML settings of the post and change each image size to s1600 to bring back the original sharpness of the photo to combat against Google's system of compressing everything to a smaller size, s600, after I add the photos to the blog. Today I'll leave them at Google's settings.

So all of these pictures are 'as is', taken at different zoom settings ranging from 1x - 10x.

You have to admit, buying phones are much cheaper than trading cars every year or few months and/or buying new computers or iPads. Yet it might not be cheaper than feeding two bloodhounds and a basset ... at least my spreadsheet says it isn't ... LOL

99% of the day will be spent indoors today here in 'the tropics' of freezing Southern Indiana.

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