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The smartphone I am talking about is called Nokia 1. Introduced almost a year ago at MWC by HMD Global, it is a low-end budget smartphone, with mediocre hardware running Android (go edition) software. It is amazing how this plucky little smartphone is able to accomplish all my smartphone tasks. I’ve been using it daily for almost 8 months and here’s my overview.
The rationale why I like this smartphone so much and why it ticks off most boxes for my smartphone needsHardware:
I adore compact small phones. Never been allured by the big screen phones. According to me, a smartphone is a utilitarian tool that needs to be ergonomic and designed for one handed use. Nokia 1, although made of plastic is fairly built and fits great in my hand. There’s also an option to customise the look of the device with the interchangeable colourful back covers.Nokia 1 overview
At 218 PPI, the 4.5 inch 480p IPS LCD is average at best. You won’t be engulfed by it in any way. The colour quality of this panel is good enough to watch YouTube videos. Since I don’t consume that much video content on a small device, this display works for me.
The quad core 1.1 GHz MediaTek 6737 processor is powerful enough to run most basic apps. The apps run quite smoothly once they are loaded and I’ve played casual games and they run fine. You just have to be a little patient opening and while switching apps as it has only 1 GB of memory. So no multitasking as it hardly cache any application storage.
The front 2MP and a rear 5MP camera with flash take below average photos. If necessary one can take clear photos and viewable documents’ scans in a well-lit area. I don’t take photos that much so it isn’t a deal breaker.
Most people would definitely struggle with 8GB of internal storage but with this version of Android, the whole OS is much smaller in size, the applications are optimised to be lite-based hence they are smaller too. In addition, you can add an external SD card up to 128 GB which can be used as internal storage to download apps and not just the media files and documents.
This phone is a 4G dual-SIM VoLTE compatible. With 2150 mAh the phone gets 4–5 hour screen time with moderate use and it also gets amazing standby time. It has a 3.5 mm headphone jack and one can access FM radio by simply connecting the earphones which work as an antenna.Software:
This matters to me a lot. The software has always been more important to me than the hardware. It’s the soul of any computing device. The reason I bought this over similarly priced devices (just over an year old smartphones with better hardware in all categories) is that I wanted a phone that gets up-to-date software with the latest security patches. And at this price point, there were no phones satisfying that particular needs.
[The budget Android phones in the past years have always been a compromise as most Android phones would ship with an older version of software and no future prospects of getting the latest update or the security patches.]via Android https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDAc83ILXG4
The OS running on Nokia 1 is called Android Oreo 8.1 (Go Edition). It is envisioned as a lighter version of Android Oreo. The goal of it is to provide a fast and smooth Android experience on the entry-level smartphones that usually comes with low-end hardware. This phone will get guaranteed monthly security patches (currently has the January 5, 2019 patch) and will be updated to newest version, Android Pie (Go edition) in early Q2 2019.Application:
The hardware and the software doesn’t matter at all if they don’t employ the potential of an application running on them. The phone comes with pre-installed apps called Go Apps (Google Go, Gmail Go, YouTube Go et cetera).Pre-installed Google Apps optimised for ‘Go Edition’ smartphone
These are lite version of the standard apps and use much less data in term of overall size and in data usage and collection. They work just as well as standard one and for most individuals it gets the job done. Plus one would appreciate few features just catered for the Go apps i.e. data saver for Files, YouTube, Chrome and Google Go, build in spam filter for Phone and Messages, security protection in Google Play Store et cetera.Google Go, Files Go, YouTube Go, Maps Go
You can also install the full version applications on this device. It would just be a little laggy as the phone is not optimised for larger and much powerful apps. I have installed many standard apps like Outlook, OneDrive, OneNote and Microsoft Launcher. Few causal games such as Elevate and Lumosity and many more. All apps seem to run just as fluid as mid range phones.Microsoft Launcher, OneNote, Pocket Casts, Pocket Conclusion
Even though the phone is not running on powerful hardware and is not on the fully-fledged Operating System, using it is actually quite similar to the regular ones. One can easily be accustomed to the patience needed to operate in terms of performance and application usage. Using it over seven months I haven’t been annoyed once. One just has to respect the price point using this.
[If an above average smartphone is like a #00 Phillips iFixit screwdriver with an ergonomic aluminium handle, a magnetic tip, the Nokia 1 is like a mass manufactured plastic #00 Phillips screwdriver. You will never be wowed by it. It just gets the job done. Nothing fancy.]
And since I spend most of my screen time (over 10 hours) on my laptop, phones for me have always been secondary in nature. For me, it is often used as an extension when I am out an about, when the main device is not near me or when I am on the move doing chores. I am definitely a minority here as I do not rely upon the smartphone that heavily.
Unlike me, if you don’t require the need to get a laptop or a tablet and only use your smartphone as your main device, you should definitely own a decent phone that can last you 2–4 years. One that is well-built and equipped with the modern hardware that ensures latest software features.
Food for thought
And don’t you think it is amazing that a phone costing so little can be so rewarding, especially to a first-time smartphone user? Imagine people in the emerging markets able to access the internet for the first-time, enrich their lives using technology. A smartphone, a must-have utility in the modern era can now be accessible to millions. I have to applaud Google and Android. They have done a remarkable job.
Nowadays the high-end flagship smartphone isn’t as ground-breaking that it once used to. The smartphone market has peaked and companies are just selling gimmicks as features to justify these absurd price. Most people have seen the “magic” of a smartphone and have visualised and comprehended its future capabilities. The good thing is technologies from the vanguard product (better processors, overall hardware) will always trickle down and my notion is you might not be missing out on the latest and the greatest as long as you have a software up-to-date smartphone.
Thanks for reading. Have a great day. 🙂
‘Overview’ is the series where they review all aspects technology and converse how it impacts us in over day to day life.
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Feb. 6, 2019, 4:39 PM GMT
By Roger McNamee, early Facebook investor and author of "Zucked"
A dystopian technology future overran their lives before they were ready. As a result, they now face issues for which there are no easy answers without much time to act. They embraced the smartphone as a body part without understanding that there would be a downside. They trusted internet platforms to be benign. They reacted too slowly to warning signs. In the eighties and nineties, the philosopher Neil Postman warned us that television had ushered in Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World." Where Orwell worried about the burning of books, Huxley argued that the greater risk would be citizens no longer wanting to read. Postman predicted that television would entertain us to death. He did not live to see the smartphone prove his argument with an exclamation point.
We embraced the smartphone as a body part without understanding that there would be a downside.
Technology vendors have too many advantages over users. They cannot resist the allure of smartphones. Internet platforms apply their networks, design skills, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to capture their attention and hold it. They exploit the weakest links in human psychology to create dependence and behavioral addiction. Heavy doses of fun and dopamine keep us hooked and make us vulnerable. It happens to toddlers, grade schoolers, preteens, teens, and adults. Not everyone who is online is addicted. Not everyone has been manipulated. But no one can escape the consequences of these addictions and manipulations, as they affect enough people to undermine even the most successful countries. If they are to be a functioning democracy, they cannot allow the present situation to continue. If they want their kids to grow up to be functioning adults, they must force change. If they adults want to preserve agency over their lives, they have to stand up. Next- generation technology from the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence will compound the current problems if they do not take action now.
As users, they have more power than they realize. Internet platforms need us. They need their attention. When they give it, they have enormous — sometimes decisive — influence on their lives. Today the platforms’ reach is mostly limited to smartphones. Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home are expanding the footprint, followed by cars, TVs, refrigerators, toys, and other devices. They will increasingly be surrounded by devices that listen, watch, and record everything they do. The resulting data will then be processed by artificial intelligence and algorithms that will manipulate their attention and behavior in ways that create economic value for platform owners. Today they have some control over the degree to which IoT devices influence their life because most of us are not yet using them. Take the time to consider the dark side of any new technology before embracing its convenience. Their voice and their choices will be decisive. They can go along like sheep, or they can insist on a new model: human- driven technology. Individually, they struggle to resist, but collectively, they have great power. To exercise that power, they must leave their digital cocoon to interact with friends, neighbors, and total strangers.
Engaging with a wide range of opinions is essential for democracy. The U.S. has forgotten the essential value of compromise, which starts with listening to and acknowledging the legitimacy of different points of view. If they are to break out of filter bubbles and preference bubbles — whether online or off — they need to invest the time necessary to be better informed. They need to be appropriately skeptical about what they read, watch, and hear, applying critical thinking to content from all sources, seeking out different perspectives, and validating content before they share it. The bibliographic essay at the end of this book includes sources you can use to investigate the quality of publishers and validity of content.
Forcing Silicon Valley to embrace human-driven technology would offer giant benefits to society but may require an effort analogous to the long campaign against smoking. They hate to think about the harm internet platforms are inflicting on us. Making the changes necessary to stop internet addiction, election interference, and privacy invasions will be hard work. It would be so much more pleasant to play another round of Candy Crush or check Instagram. I get it. My own journey from cheerleader to activist has been a struggle. I have had to face unpleasant facts about platforms in which I have been an investor and advisor, as well as about my own usage of technology. It has not made me popular in Silicon Valley, but it had to be done. There are times that require each of us do the right thing, no matter the cost. For me, this is one of those times.
How about you? Are you concerned about children getting addicted to texting or video games? Do you worry about all the kids who cannot put down their smartphones or video games? Have you known a preteen girl who has been body shamed online or a teen who has suffered from fear of missing out? Do you worry about the consequences of foreign countries interfering in their elections? Do you wonder about the moral implications of American products being used to promote ethnic cleansing in other countries? Do you have trepidation about constant surveillance? Are you concerned about being manipulated by artificial intelligence? These are not hypothetical questions.
Here is some good news: internet platforms respond to pressure. They know this from recent experience. They collectively stimulated enough pressure that Facebook implemented much better rules for election advertising and Google announced humane design features in its new smartphone. These first steps never would have happened in the absence of public pressure. And each of us can exert at least two forms of pressure: they can change their behavior online and they can demand that politicians take action.
Consider your own usage patterns on Facebook and other platforms. What kinds of things do you post? How often? Is any of it inflammatory? Do you try to convince people? Have you joined Groups dedicated to political issues? Do you get into fights over ideas on social media? Are there people whose posts consistently provoke you? Have you ever blocked people with whom you disagree? Do not feel bad if the answer to any of these questions is yes. The evidence is that most users of Facebook have done these things at one time or another because the algorithms are designed to promote that kind of activity. Now that they know what is going on, what are they going to do about it?
Changing behavior starts with reconsidering your relationship to the internet platforms. That is what I did, especially for Facebook and Google. I still use Facebook and Twitter, but I have changed my behavior, especially on Facebook. I no longer allow Facebook to press my emotional buttons. I wish it were not necessary, but I no longer post anything political or react to any political posts. It took six months, but my feed is now dominated by the music side of my life, birthdays, and puppies. It might work for you, too. In addition, I erased most of my Facebook history. Facebook seems to have a built-in bias in favor of disinformation and fake news, so I am really careful about the sources of information on Facebook and elsewhere on the web. To protect my privacy, I do not use Facebook Connect to log in to other sites or press Like buttons I find around the web. I don’t use Instagram or WhatsApp because of my concern about what Facebook is doing to those platforms. I avoid using Google wherever possible because of its data-collection policies. Avoiding Google is inconvenient, so I have turned it into a game. I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine because it does not collect search data. I use Signal for texting. I don’t use Gmail or Google Maps. I use a tracking blocker called Ghostery so that Google, Facebook, and others cannot follow me around the web. I am far from invisible on the web, but my shadow is smaller.
I also have made changes relative to my devices. I use Apple products because that company respects the privacy of my data, while Android does not. I still check my phone way too often, but I have turned off notifications for practically everything. I only allow notifications for texts, and even then only vibrations. I read books on my iPad, so I keep it in Night Shift mode, which takes all the blues out of the display, reducing eye strain and making it much easier to fall asleep at night. I often put my iPhone in monochrome mode to reduce the visual intensity of the device and, therefore, the dopamine hit. I do not recharge my devices in the bedroom.
I bought an Amazon Alexa smart speaker on the first day. About an hour after I installed the device in the kitchen, an ad for Alexa came on the TV, and my Alexa responded. I realized immediately that Alexa would always be listening and that no one should trust it to respect privacy. My brand new Alexa went into a storage container, never to return. Unfortunately, the entire world of connected televisions, appliances, and other devices — the Internet of Things — shares Alexa’s snoopiness. Unscrupulous vendors can use IoT devices for surveillance. Incompetent vendors may leave customers vulnerable to hacking by bad actors. All vendors will collect masses of data; no one knows what they will do with it. My advice is to avoid IoT devices, or at least avoid putting them on your network, until vendors commit to strong protection.
My brand new Alexa went into a storage container, never to return. Unfortunately, the entire world of connected televisions, appliances, and other devices — the Internet of Things — shares Alexa’s snoopiness.
Data privacy is sufficiently abstract that few people take steps to protect it. I recommend using a password manager such as 1Password to ensure secure access to websites. Despite the many hacks of data from servers and the harvesting of friends data from Facebook, few of us have experienced much harm, at least not that they can perceive. Too few among us realize that their data is being used to build artificial intelligence systems that predict their behavior. When you combine that predictive AI with manipulative technology of internet platforms, bad things will happen. What starts out as creepy can easily become unhealthy, if not dangerous. Until the internet platforms and IoT hardware companies demonstrate a commitment to safeguarding users, it makes no sense to trust them with your data or anything else.
If you are a parent of a child eighteen or younger, think about whether you are a good digital role model. How often do you check your devices in the presence of your kids? How much do you know about your children’s online activity? What is the ratio of online activity to outdoor play in your family? How often do you go online together with your kids? To what degree does your children’s school employ computers and tablets? At what age did that start? How often do your children’s classes engage in traditional group learning, where the students are encouraged to participate with classmates, as opposed to one-on-one activity?
The medical profession has a message for parents: smartphones, tablets, and the apps that run on them are not good for children. When it comes to protecting children, there is mounting evidence that the only thing kids should do on smartphones is make calls. Just about everything else kids do on smartphones poses a threat of one kind or another. They used to think that kids were safer playing with technology than playing outdoors. They were wrong.
At the margin, research suggests that less exposure to devices and apps is better at all ages but essential for younger children. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents not allow any screen exposure for children under two. There is a growing body of research indicating that parents should limit the screen time of kids under twelve to much less than current averages. The rationale for early exposure — preparing kids for life in a digital world — has been negated by evidence that screen time impedes childhood development to a far greater degree.
Given how deeply smartphones, tablets, and PCs have penetrated everyday life, cutting screen time is much easier said than done. For example, many schools insist on using PCs or tablets in the classroom, despite evidence that computers and tablets may be counterproductive in that setting, both because of the negative effects of dopamine stimulation and a reduction in social interaction. It may not take much screen time to trigger an excess of dopamine in kids. Doctors have observed that kids with too much screen time suffer from a variety of developmental issues, including an inability to pay attention and depression. With preteens and teens, overproduction of dopamine remains an issue, but the exploitation of social media by bullies is also a problem. Even kids in their teens are unprepared to cope with the addictive powers of internet platforms on mobile devices.
Parents face a daunting challenge. Even if they control technology at home, how do they protect their children elsewhere? There are devices everywhere, and too many people willing to share them, unaware of the danger. One possible first step is to organize small groups of parents in a format equivalent to a book club. The goal would be to share ideas, organize device-free play dates, and provide mutual support towards a goal that requires collective action. Small groups can be an effective first step in a long campaign to change the cultural zeitgeist.
Adults are less vulnerable to technology than kids, but not enough so to be safe. Smartphones and internet platforms are designed to grab your attention and hold it.
Adults are less vulnerable to technology than kids, but not enough so to be safe. Smartphones and internet platforms are designed to grab your attention and hold it. Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms are filled with conspiracy theories, disinformation, and fake news disguised as fact. Facebook and YouTube profit from outrage, and their algorithms are good at promoting it. Even if the outrage triggers do not work on you, they work on tens of millions of people whose actions affect you. Elections are an example. Facebook in particular has profited from giving each user his or her own reality, which contributes to political polarization. Facebook has managed to connect 2.2 billion people and drive them apart at the same time.
One way they can defend ourselves is to change the way they use technology. There is evidence that internet platforms produce happiness for the first ten minutes or so of use, but beyond that, continued use leads to progressively greater dissatisfaction. The persuasive technologies embedded in the platforms keep users engaged. They cannot help but scroll down just a bit farther, in the hope of something really wonderful. They did not understand the dark side of internet platforms before they got hooked, but they can modify their behavior now. They can track their usage with apps like Moment and create device- free time periods or locations in their day. They can decide not to embrace new technologies that do not respect us. They can even delete some applications.
I would like to think that the people who make smartphones and internet platforms will devote themselves to eliminating the harmful aspects. They have taken steps, but they have a lot of hard work to do. Policy makers in Washington and the states can create incentives for the internet giants to do right by their users. Executives in Silicon Valley should reassess their business plans in light of what they now know. Unfortunately, Silicon Valley is like a club. It is hard for anyone, even the CEOs of major tech companies, to speak out against companies as powerful as the internet platforms.
The platforms act as though users will be too preoccupied to look out for their own self-interest, to insist on dramatic change. Let’s prove them wrong. Parents, users, and concerned citizens can make their voices heard. They live at a time when citizens are coming together to bring about change. The effective collective action by Black Lives Matter, the March for Their Lives, the Women’s March, and Indivisible should inspire us. All of them use Facebook to organize events, which would be poetic justice in this case. Bringing people together in the real world is the perfect remedy for addiction to internet platforms. If they can do that, the world will be a better place.
From "ZUCKED: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe," by Roger McNamee. Reprinted by arrangement of Penguin Press, part of the Penguin Random House company. Copyright (c) 2019 by Roger McNamee.
I was running late, and I hate running late. I especially hated to be late for a blind date.
OK, it wasn’t really a blind date. I had seen a picture of her before. But this wasn’t a romantic date. It was a mom date.
Mom dating is exactly what it sounds like – moms meeting other moms in the interest of starting a long-term relationship – albeit platonic. The term is often used in a joking manner, but in reality, it’s quite common.
Making friends as an adult can be hard, and so many things need to line up if you’re trying to make a new parent-friend.
Are you in the same life stage? Do you like being around their partner? Do you have similar parenting philosophies? Do your kids get along?
But most importantly, do your schedules line up?
A recent study found that it takes about 50 hours of time with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and about 200 hours to become close friends, according to Business Insider.
That’s a lot of time, and if you’re a parent, then your free time is already limited. Try striking up a friendship with a mom whose toddler’s nap schedule is the complete opposite of your kid’s.
How to find a good babysitter in New Orleans
I’m not saying parents can’t have friends without kids, but it is nice to have friends in the same life-stage; friends who can understand what you’re experiencing because they’re experiencing it as well.
Finding your village in New Orleans can be hard, though. This city isn’t exactly transient. Many people who live and work in this area grew up here, and their social circles have already formed.
I’ll never forget the time I went to get a haircut at a salon in Lakeview. I asked the stylist if she was from here. “Oh no, I’m not from here,” she responded. “I grew up in the Irish Channel.”
By “here,” of course, I meant New Orleans. It was my first lesson in how some New Orleanians associate the phrase “from here” more with neighborhoods than other cities.
So, when an email about an app branding itself as “the Tinder for moms” landed in my inbox, I was intrigued.
The app is called Peanut. Instead of swiping left or right on potential romantic partners, moms are asked to swipe up or down to be matched with potential mom friends. If both people swipe up, congratulations, you got a match!
At first, the concept struck me as strange. Sure, it’s no longer uncommon to hear about a couple meeting on Match.com. But a matchmaker app … for moms?
Peanut creator Michelle Kennedy asks, why not?
“Wouldn’t it be great if they used those same algorithms in dating and applied them to women and mothers?” Kennedy asked me on a recent call.
Kennedy began her career as a matchmaker, but of the romantic variety. After having a child, she realized there was a similar need in the parenting community, and she had just the right skillset to do something about it.
“I didn’t think that was where I was going in my career – mommy matchmaker. But each life stage they go through, there’s a change and there’s room for innovation.”
The app debuted in New York, then made its way to cities like Chicago and Dallas before recently landing in New Orleans. With over half a million active users, the app seems to have found its audience.
But could this app really help me tap into more mom friends in New Orleans?
I set up my profile, which mostly consisted of providing information like how many kids I have, what languages I speak, where I studied and what kind of person I am; I sorted through some descriptive badges and chose Mom Boss, Wine Time and Outdoorsy.
Then I started swiping. At first, it felt weird – judgmental, even – to swipe on a picture of another mom after only getting a glimpse of a photo and surface personality descriptions. So, I swiped up to match with everyone.
But the more time I spent on Peanut, the more my approach started changing. After all, if it takes so much time to establish a real friendship with someone, you might as well be selective and start with someone who really seems like a good fit.
I started swiping up on moms who lived in or near my neighborhood, with only one or two children around my daughter’s age. I also looked for working moms, who I thought could relate to my 9-5 lifestyle and issues.
“The more you interact with the product, the smarter it gets about who it’s showing you,” Kennedy says.
“Be authentic,” she said. “You have to remember, you’re all on the platform for the same purpose. You all want to find your community, your support, your crew, your people.”
In other words, be bold and get over that fear of rejection.
At what age do New Orleanians start hating potholes? I think I know.
I also started browsing through the app’s message boards, where moms ask each other questions and talk about way more things than their kids.
After a week or so of swiping and exchanging messages, I matched with another local mom, Jenni. Jenni has one child my daughter’s age, and they decided to skip the instant messaging and go straight to a face-to-face meetup.
And I was late. Thankfully, Jenni was as chill and relatable as her profile made her out to be. They had a glass of wine and discussed Hallmark Christmas movies for the next hour.
I started seeing moms that I already knew on the app, too. One day, a notification from one of my best friends popped on my screen through the app. “You seem so familiar…”
Funny enough, I met that friend through the internet last year, via a local moms Facebook group.
I haven’t met another mom from the app since Jenni, because ultimately, while I think it’s a great tool for the modern mom, it does take time. Like with most things, you get out what you put in.
If you’re a mom who’s new to the area, a new mom who wants some parent friends, or a mom who stays at home full time and wants to build a support network, then Peanut could be a great tool. Swipe away.
What I really took away from the experience is that there are a lot of mothers in the New Orleans community who want to connect with each other, and they’re willing to put themselves out there to do it.
Maybe instead of sitting on their phones while their kids run around the playground, they should sit down next to that other mom on the bench and strike up a conversation. They might walk away with a great new friendship.
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