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How Did My Stratosphere Ever Get Shipped?

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the satisfaction-is-not-guaranteed dept.

Bug 238

Bennett Haselton writes "How did a $400-billion company ship millions of units of a phone with a calendar app that displays the wrong date, a texting app that can't reply to group texts, a screen capture function that doesn't work, and a phone app that won't let me use the keypad unless the speakerphone is on? The answer, perhaps, suggests deeper questions about why market forces fix certain problems but not others, and what to do about it." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

I've been using either a Samsung Stratosphere or a Samsung Stratosphere 2 from September 2012 to the present. Where to begin?

  • If you open the calendar application on the Stratosphere 2, it usually highlights tomorrow's date as "Today," and lists tomorrow's calendar entries as your list of things to do "Today." Here is a picture of my phone's screen taken on June 2, with the calendar app displaying "Today, Mon, Jun 3 2013" — despite the phone knowing the correct time is 9:22 PM on June 2.

    Strangely, in the morning the calendar app would display the correct day as "Today," but would switch to the wrong day some time in the afternoon, and eventually I decided that the calendar app was probably using Coordinated Universal Time to decide what "Today" was, which is 9 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

  • You'll notice that these images are not screen captures, but photos taken with another phone. This is because some time between the Stratosphere 1 and 2, the screen capture function broke — every support site says you're supposed to be able to take a screen cap on a Stratosphere by pressing the Home and Power buttons at the same time, and that works on the 1, but not on the 2.

  • If someone else sends a text to multiple recipients including you, the Stratosphere gives you no indication that it's a group text, and there's no way for you to see the other recipients or reply to the whole group. (I had a lot of awkward "What, you were asking everybody, not just me?" moments before I realized what was going on.) Other users have been complaining about this for months, and it apparently affects more Android phones than just the Stratosphere.

  • The built-in camera refuses to take a picture if the battery is low — it just says "Warning: low battery" and exits. Yes, I know they think they're doing it for my own good since the camera is a battery hog, but a few times I've wanted to take a picture where it was well worth using up a half a percent of my remaining battery life or however much it would have taken, but the phone wouldn't let me. That should be the user's decision, dammit.

  • When I was in Canada last week, if I tried sending a text message longer than 160 characters, the phone would tell me that the message sent, but it would actually fail silently and never get delivered. I'm not sure whether to blame Verizon, Android, or Samsung for this one (or just, you know), but in the end someone has to take responsibility for the product, and the phone telling you that a message was sent when it actually got lost, is a complete fail. If it doesn't work, fine, give me an error message, but never tell the user a message got sent successfully if it didn't.

  • During a phone call, the on-screen keypad doesn't work unless the phone is on speakerphone. If the speakerphone is off, the screen goes dark after about 1 second of inactivity, making it impossible to enter an account number or anything else. I can avoid this bug by turning on a speakerphone (which is how I know it's a software bug, not a problem with the touchscreen), but this is a pain if I'm in a public place and don't want to annoy everyone around me who would have to listen to all the voice prompts. (The phone's software seems to be following a rule like: "If the speakerphone is not on, then when the phone moves away from the user's face, assume the user is not actively using the phone and let the screen go dark" — where the bug is that it doesn't make an exception and keep the screen on if the user is actively pressing keys on the keypad.)

At first, these and many, many other bugs produce a state of mind that transcends annoyance to reach a kind of genuine curiosity, where you're asking "How did this happen?" not rhetorically, but because you actually want to know. But eventually the surprise wears off, and you're just left with bugs that are disproportionately aggravating because they obviously would have been caught during even the most basic UI testing. They're aggravating to me not because of how much they get in the way (you eventually get used to them), but because the existence of those bugs conveys a certain lazy attitude towards finding and fixing bugs at all.

I realize this is not a logical reaction. The aggravation you feel towards a bug should depend on how much the bug actually interferes with the user experience, not on how easily the manufacturer should have found it. Rationally speaking, the biggest problem with the phone right now (and the reason I'm having to mail to back to the manufacturer for a replacement) is that the charging port spontaneously broke, so that unless the micro USB charger is plugged in exactly right, the phone can't charge (even if you get it right and form a connection successfully, the connection breaks if you move the phone half an inch). Needless to say, that's exasperating — but it's hard for me to get mad at Samsung over that, because it's not an easy defect to catch at the manufacturing stage. On the other hand, if the calendar app displays the wrong day, I would say that someone should be fired over that except that probably nobody was assigned to do that testing in the first place.

I also posted questions about each of these problems on AndroidForums.com and AndroidCentral.com (those links show all questions recently posted from my username on each site), which have so far received hundreds of "views" but no replies. I mention this because some people think that if you do run into problems like these, all you have to do is post a question and The Community will help you out with a workaround. Nope.

Also, lest you think you can do away with these bugs by downloading third-party replacements for all of these apps, I spent part of an afternoon downloading different texting apps to see if any of them would fix even part of the problems I had with the built-in one. None of them worked much better, although several of them displayed pop-up ads over every third incoming text message, and most of them did not play nicely with each other, giving me no way to disable them so that their notifications would double and triple up on top of each other for every received text. So I gave up. Even if I thought I might eventually find a better app for texting, I didn't have time to test multiple replacements for every built-in default app that didn't work.

Farhad Manjoo has a column up at Slate arguing that the reason many Android phones suck is that they're laden down with adware attempting to extract more personal information and money from the user. I'm sure that's part of the problem, but I can't see how the manufacturer is making any money off of the bugs I ran into; they were just being lazy.

The problem, I think, is that phone manufacturers know that phone reviewers (and users, when they're choosing between models in the store) will focus on easily quanitifiable attributes, such as size, weight, battery life, and the number of megapixels in the camera. The number of aggravating bugs in the user interface is not something that is easy to compare across phones (and in any case would not be printed on the box). Thus market forces simply don't favor the development of a hassle-free interface, because in most cases the phone manufacturers wouldn't be rewarded for it.

And — I don't consider this too much of a stretch — this is where it connects with larger issues for me, because I've been arguing for years that the free market will usually fail to fix certain types of problems, often in the context of threats to free speech and civil liberties, especially if the user lacks information they need to compare multiple options. A major argument in favor of Net Neutrality is that the typical user wouldn't realize it if their ISP were throttling access to certain sites; they would just think that the remote site was responding slowly. Since that information would be hidden from the user, "the marketplace" won't solve the problem on its own. Similarly, every time I say that my Circumventor mailing list keeps getting blocked as "spam" by Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL (despite being 100% verified-opt-in, natch), someone tells me that if the free market is blocking my emails as unwanted, it must be because the users don't want them. That the free market might make a mistake (in this case, because users don't have full information about what is getting blocked as spam), doesn't occur to them. I think the belief in the infallibility of the free market, is one of the most widespread fallacies of our era — people who would never make the mistake of confusing correlation with causation, have no problem thinking that if a product or service gets blocked by a third-party intermediary, it must be because the end user didn't want it.

And so when I'm staring at my Stratosphere's calendar telling me that tomorrow is actually today, it brings out my aggravation not just towards Samsung, Google, and Verizon, but towards all the people I've heard over the years claiming that the marketplace will automatically reward good products and punish bad ones. If there weren't so many people who believed that, maybe we could have collectively put more effort into rating phones according to their usability, knowing that the "invisible hand" of the marketplace was not likely to solve those problems on its own, and maybe these bugs would have gotten fixed. Instead, the "marketplace" focuses disproportionately on attributes like dimensions, weight, and processor speed that are easily quantifiable.

So perhaps the solution — seriously — would be for some third-party review company to rate each new phone on the Stupid S#!% Index. They test the phone under normal usage, and each time they run into an idiotic bug like the calendar application not knowing what day it is, they file it under Stupid S#!%, and after some fixed period of phone usage they count up all the problems and rate the phone under the Stupid S#!% Index. For greater precision, you could compile multiple scores from different users for each phone and take the average. Now you have a quantifiable rating that can be used to compare one phone to another, and could incentivize manufacturers to do more testing on their phones in order to get a better Stupid S#!% Index score.

The message that Apple keeps pushing about the iPhone, after all, is essentially that it would get a good Stupid S#!% Index rating. In his keynote address at the 2011 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Steve Jobs repeated the words "It just works" like a mantra — unlike, presumably, everyone else's stuff. iPhones don't score well on price, openness, or compatibility with other companies' products (I always have to tell people that my car charger is not an iPhone charger, it's a literally-every-other-smartphone-in-the-entire-world charger) — but all of that scarcely matters to some people as long as It Just Works.

Well, I couldn't tell you. I can't test an iPhone under normal usage because I'm too addicted to the Stratosphere's slide-out keyboard, which enables me to type much faster than a touchscreen but which only comes on a few Android and Windows phones, and not on any version of the iPhone. Maybe I'll try one more time to make the switch to a touchscreen while my Stratosphere is in the shop.

Yes, these most First-World of First World Problems — especially the bugs specific to the Stratosphere — only apply to a small fraction of the population. But it should be a lesson for anyone who thinks the "free market" would prevent this sort of thing from happening.

Meanwhile, every time I hear an ad talking about how "thin" some new phone is going to be, I just want to say to the phone the same thing that I want to tell all the anorexic girls in nightclubs: You're already thin enough. So stop worrying about being thin, and just try to work on not being so f@#$ing stupid.

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238 comments

You're holding it wrong (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#44456865)

The correct way is to hold it over a trashcan and unclasp your hand.

Re:You're holding it wrong (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457091)

I know you're joking but I can't help but see this in another light, and that he is holding it wrong (or at least having expectations/experiences that are down to his doing)

1. The calander MAY be set to work day, such that once the work day is finished it show's you tomorrow's tasks today.

2. I got nothing on this.

3. As for Group Text, I've never known any phone to say I'm not the only recipent. Does SMS even facilitate this? I think it's a case of the user not understanding this isn't a web based technology and wanting features he see's in the G+ and Facebook.

4. No pictures on low battery - this may well be to prevent the phone dying at a critical point which, were power to cease, would brick the phone. Should bricking the phone be the users descreation is another question.

5. I don't know enough about this, but, as admitted, could be down to other parties and not the phone. So sounds like adding it just to increase this list.

6. This actually sounds like a smart feature i.e. you want to still here the call even if you're typing digits in. But given the use case of being in public I agree that it's a pain. A case of being too friendly perhaps.

Please understand that I'm playing devil's advocate. Not being a fanboy or whatever.

I'm also not familiar with the particular device but that I can think of credible alternative explanations for 4-5 out of 6 of his claims doesn't help his cause.

Also, WARNING ANECDOTE, I've broken a number Micro USB connectors on various devices (of various manufactures) leading to the issue of losing connection unless held just so.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Re:Micro USB connectors (1)

klubar (591384) | about 9 months ago | (#44457319)

Somewhat OT, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of third-party sources to repair micro USB connectors. I don't know if it was a manufacturing issue, but the micro USB went on my Samsung & HTC at about the same time. For around $30 to $40 each, I was able to get them repaired.

Re:You're holding it wrong (1)

robmv (855035) | about 9 months ago | (#44457391)

3. As for Group Text, I've never known any phone to say I'm not the only recipent. Does SMS even facilitate this? I think it's a case of the user not understanding this isn't a web based technology and wanting features he see's in the G+ and Facebook.

Same here, never seen that, it could be some SMS extension added by the carrier that needs a special SMS client

4. No pictures on low battery - this may well be to prevent the phone dying at a critical point which, were power to cease, would brick the phone. Should bricking the phone be the users descreation is another question.

Or there is not enough power to turn on the sensor. Many circuits can behave badly or break if you don't supply the correct minimum power, so you may be right

Re:You're holding it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457477)

Posting AC at the office.

I bricked** my iPhone, but before I did, I did a lot of group texting, so I can probably answer 3. here.

The iPhone I had would send MMSs rather than regular text messages and seemed to include information about the other recipients in the metadata. You could see who was in the list and it kept everything sent to the group in a single thread, although replies to individuals were organized in their own message histories.

**(I didn't have any issues with anything not working until I decided to mess with resetting to a different version of iOS with hacking tools and ended up getting the phone stuck in a reset loop because I didn't follow the clearly written directions correctly. (mea culpa) --- disclaimer: I'm pretty sure that the phone isn't totally bricked, but I've been busy with projects in the office and other media/movie/social events (Pacific Rim was totally awesome) and started messing around with android devices since you can buy 3 or 4 of them for the same price as a new iPhone.)

Re:You're holding it wrong (0)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 9 months ago | (#44457671)

(1) Good theory, but I remember seeing the calendar tell me that "tomorrow" was "today" even if there were remaining tasks to do today. (3) All of the people I talked to who were using iPhones, said that they were able to see multiple recipients on texts and reply to the group. They must have been, because their replies were going to the group, including me. (4) Does that mean the phone would also brick if you happened to remove the battery while taking a picture? Then that's terrible design too. (5) I wasn't sure whether to "count" this one, but my feeling was that ultimately someone has to take responsibility for the whole product, regardless of where the fault lies. If it had been a more minor bug where I couldn't determine the underlying fault, I might not have included it, but claiming to have sent a message and then losing it is a really terrible bug, much worse than simply giving an error saying you couldn't send it. (6) I don't know why it would be useful to require the speakerphone to be on when typing in digits -- if the user *wants* to be able to hear the call, they can choose to turn the speakerphone on themselves, otherwise they can leave it off and then put the headset back up to their ear when they're done keying in account numbers (this is after all how every other phone works, including old land line phones).

Re:You're holding it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457989)

1. He said sometime in the afternoon. Sounds like before COB to me.
2.
3. iPhone says "Group Message" and lists everyone and replies to everyone when you reply (just as an example, I'm certain others do too)
4. If taking a picture bricks the phone, that's an even worse bug than not allowing the user to decide to use some of their low battery to take a photo. Many phones warn of low battery at 10-20%, so we aren't talking about the photo taking the last of the power, but some of a small quantity left. My phone runs for hours under 20%, so why shouldn't I be able to shave 5-10 minutes off that for a pic?
5. Failures are always failures and should always be reported as failures. Not knowing a message didn't get sent is a big problem.
6. Most people know you can't hear well in non-speakerphone mode. You take the phone away from your ear to respond to a voice prompt. Also known as the part you don't need to hear. I don't want to switch to speakerphone, enter a pin, switch back to normal and go back to my call. I just want to enter my pin.

Devil's advocate is fine, but there's no "other side" to a bug.

Re:You're holding it wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457205)

When you buy crap from samsung what do you expect? no, really? Plastic junk.

Re:You're holding it wrong (0)

khasim (1285) | about 9 months ago | (#44457229)

Can that be done with his whole "review" or whatever?

Similarly, every time I say that my Circumventor mailing list keeps getting blocked as "spam" by Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL (despite being 100% verified-opt-in, natch), someone tells me that if the free market is blocking my emails as unwanted, it must be because the users don't want them.

Three links in one sentence about his mailing list being blocked in what is supposedly a rant about a company's cell phone.

What The Fuck?

It reads like some conspiracy theorist's rant. Subject A is linked to unrelated subject B which is linked to unrelated subject C, then D, then E. Stream of consciousness doesn't even describe it.

Re:You're holding it wrong (4, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#44457361)

I think that part of the rant is more talking about the limitations of the 'free market will fix everything' concept, and is bringing in another example of where it can break down, specifically opt-in consumers not being aware that their upstream provider is filtering messages they requested and instead assuming no messages are being sent.

Re:You're holding it wrong (5, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | about 9 months ago | (#44457901)

If you want to see the free market fix things, you first have to have a free market.

The cellphone market in the US is just about the furthest thing from a free market imaginable.

Re:You're holding it wrong (1, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 9 months ago | (#44458025)

I think that part of the rant is more talking about the limitations of the 'free market will fix everything' concept, ...

Except he specifically mentions Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail as the services. Those are "free" email services.

In those situations, you are not the customer. You are the product. The advertisers and such are the customers.

The 'free market will fix everything' concept does not really apply the way the cattle at the cattle yard would like it to.

So in the phone example, he can enforce the 'free market' by spending his money elsewhere. In the email example, the best he can do is to make his emails less spammy and that might cost money. But it is not money that would affect each of those services.

Ding Ding Ding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457619)

We have a winner!!!

Company rushes to meet launch date (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44456869)

Next you'll tell me that sometimes budgets get cut while demands increase.

Re:Company rushes to meet launch date (4, Insightful)

kramer2718 (598033) | about 9 months ago | (#44457245)

I have been pulled aside by a very high level manager, told to put all of my development on hold and implement entirely new functionality for a large enterprise product

This functionality required three months of team effort to develop properly + another two weeks of due diligence, pre-release testing, and deployment. And then he told me to get it deployed in three weeks.

That's how this can happen.

Re:Company rushes to meet launch date (2)

boristdog (133725) | about 9 months ago | (#44457759)

And...any of us here who work for any company can pretty much tell a similar story.

"You say that project will take a minimum of 2 years and 4 people? You have 6 months and we might let some other people help you now and then. Oh, and you need to continue supporting all of our other software and hardware issues in the mean time. I'm putting these goals on your annual review, if you don't meet it you get no raise this year."

And people wonder why engineers burn out.

again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456911)

bennett again ? Nervals lobster again ?
do those guys give blowjobs to the editors or what ?

Market has fixed the problem (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44456933)

this is where it connects with larger issues for me, because I've been arguing for years that the free market will usually fail to fix certain types of problems

Sorry, but that is WAY too much of a stretch.

The free market has fixed this problem - there were bad glitchy phone UI's in the past, and eventually the iPhone arrived exactly because all phones had these "lazy" errors all over the place. The iPhone originally was built to be a device where the functions it supported as a smartphone were really thoroughly tested and refined.

Now of course we have Blackberry 10, and Windows Phone too - each of which offer very carefully tested environments in which to use a phone.

Market forces are not about fixing one model of a phone, they are about a phone eventually arriving that solves a problem competitors have not addressed. Your problem is that you are looking for stability in a system whose primary purpose is not stability - Android came about in part to address the issue of phones being more locked down than some people like.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457075)

Are you a troll or just dumb?

This is not an android issue, I have many android devices that do not have these issues.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (-1, Troll)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about 9 months ago | (#44457179)

Silence, neckbeard! He speaks the truth.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (-1, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457195)

Shut up moron, No he doesn't.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457333)

In all fairness...

I've had many Android devices too and I know where the OP is coming from. I've seen Android break on a series of devices in the same way that have not broken on others. That's what's he's talking about. It's actually about half of the reason I went to iPhone for my primary phone. The other half I feel is related because it was about a certain movie/TV streaming company not supporting my device because the OS wouldn't be upgraded by my carrier while my device was both less than 18 months old and still being sold by my cell provider.

For all the fandroids that go around claiming that the nature of fragmentation and forks isn't a problem I can say "yes it is" as a consumer. Meh.... doesn't matter anyway at this point. Keep living in fantasy land. I'll keep working with technology that Just Works(tm) out of the box.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457573)

Like the lock screen bug in IOS 6.1.3? Or how about the fake charger hack? Just to name a couple.

maxiPads.... Meh...

Re:Market has fixed the problem (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457675)

Just works until you want to do anything that they did not plan for.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (0)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about 9 months ago | (#44457911)

That's a lovely fanboid mantra.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44458019)

Not at all.
Go find a wifi scanning app for the iphone, I will wait.

I only found out about that silly limitation when we sent an employee out to do a preliminary wireless site survey. Since he had an iphone he could not.

I am actually hoping for something more open than android.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44458043)

I'd rather it work until I do something they didn't plan for than not work on very obvious things they did plan for.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457321)

He's not saying it's an android issue, or an apple issue or blackberry issue...

He's saying market forces don't work on the timescales the OP thinks they do.

Partially an Android issue (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44457433)

It's only an Android issue insofar as Android is open enough to let people ship a super cheap phone that is not well tested... you can (and some do) ship Android phones that are very carefully tested.

Basically I am just saying that the market has long ago fixed the problem of crappy phones in spades. There are tons of rock-solid reliable phones now. So to buy a poorly tested Android phone does not mean the market has failed, it means you suck as a buyer. I've never even heard of the phone he mentioned, he must be listening to sales people in phone stores...

Re:Partially an Android issue (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457751)

That is a phone targeted at teens that primarily just want to text each other. It is designed to be cheap enough that a parent might actually buy it. That is all.

Re:Market has fixed the problem (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | about 9 months ago | (#44457305)

Sorry, the problem with the declaration The free market has fixed this problem is that it only fixed it AFTER I spent my $500 on a really crappy phone...

Re:Market has fixed the problem (5, Insightful)

Mr.Intel (165870) | about 9 months ago | (#44457447)

Sorry, the problem with the declaration The free market has fixed this problem is that it only fixed it AFTER I spent my $500 on a really crappy phone...

No, the free market fixes the problem when no one else buys their phone after you spent your $500 and told the rest of us about it. That's the other part of a free market society that some people forget: risk. You weren't forced to but a new phone without researching it first and if you were the first to buy it you just took a risk and in your scenario, it was a bad one.

You are part of the market (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#44457707)

Sorry, the problem with the declaration The free market has fixed this problem is that it only fixed it AFTER I spent my $500 on a really crappy phone...

The free market fixed crappy phones long before you bought yours. There were phones that existed that addressed your problem before you made your purchase.

Your problem is that you were not using the information the market gives you to make choices based on the criteria important to you.

But you won't make that mistake again, right? Thus the market works over time exactly as it should. A free market does not fix a SPECIFIC problem. It fixes problems over time due to people's natural behavior in not wanting to be shafted, and companies seeing an opening in markets where consumers are being shafted...

Who thinks the free market "prevents" things? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44456941)

The free market doesn't "prevent" anything, it merely rewards success and punishes failure.

The free market can't prevent Microsoft from making a Kin or a Microsoft Bob, but the market will punish them for it by consumers not buying it. Fail too many times and the market punishes you with bankruptcy (unless you have cronies in Washington to bail you out with taxpayer money).

If government owned Microsoft, they'd be Too Big To Fail, and might still be making Microsoft Bob...

Re:Who thinks the free market "prevents" things? (1, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about 9 months ago | (#44457999)

The "free market" just means the corporations are "free" to do whatever the hell they want to. Usually, we expect them to be driven to maximize profit. That happens when the executives are smart enough to achieve it. In reality, they are often smart enough to get fairly close to what their maximum profit could be. But this does not include YOU. If you are going to refuse to buy their next $200 phone, they are not going to give a damn about retro-fixing the current phone, which would cost them millions to code it, test it, and deploy it, just to be sure they get your business the next time. Now if enough of you can make them believe they would lose more than it costs, that can get their attention. Go for that. if you want things to not be this way, then join me in promoting the concept of a "fair market", which places more regulations on big corporations so they realize a loss in the form of fines for doing things wrong.

Free market (4, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 9 months ago | (#44456969)

1) No one, not even the most "hard core" fiscal conservatives / libertarians, claim the free market is "infallable." The free market is individual human beings making individual economic decisions without coercive interference from others. Human beings are fallable, thus the free market is "fallable."

2) 3rd party reviews = free market. What is not free market is when government creates oversight organizations / watchdogs through taxation and uses them to enforce laws and regulations. Examples are the FCC, FDA etc.

3) As imperfect as it may be, at least when a company releases a major catastrophe of a buggy product they get penalized with support and replacement costs, bad PR and a market that will think long and hard before buying another product from that company.

4) There is nothing stopping anyone from implementing your suggestion for creating better cellphone reviews. That's the beauty of the free market. The fact that no one has done it (as far as we know) does not hint to the free market's imperfections, it means there is a business opportunity waiting to make someone some money.

Re:Free market (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 9 months ago | (#44457029)

On #1, most libertarians with economics backgrounds take the position you take, but there is also a sort of pop-economics style of libertarianism with market-Panglossian views that's fairly widespread. That view tends to believe that unfettered markets allocate resources with optimal efficiency, and any observed problems are traceable to a state-created distortion.

They are perhaps the libertarian analog of certain kinds of spiritual environmentalists, who believe that if we only left "nature" alone, all ecosystems would be optimal and perfectly balanced, and any observed problems are traceable to a human-created distortion.

Re:Free market (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457085)

without coercive interference from the government

FTFY. Two words make the difference between what libertarians say and what they really want.

Re:Free market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457169)

1) No one, not even the most "hard core" fiscal conservatives / libertarians, claim the free market is "infallable." The free market is individual human beings making individual economic decisions without coercive interference from others. Human beings are fallable, thus the free market is "fallable."

As far as I know, the discussion about the market being fallible or not never actually happens. The statement is put forth by many conservatives trying to sell books or speaking gigs. When pressed they will say that anything less than the trusting the free market system completely wholeheartedly is a slippery slope into socialism, communism, or some other -ism.

Re:Free market (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 9 months ago | (#44457659)

No one, not even the most "hard core" fiscal conservatives / libertarians, claim the free market is "infallable."

Too bad there are few if any actual free markets in existence, even though it gets invoked to support just about any argument. Might as well claim the free market is "magical" while you're at it, like unicorns.

Blackberry Q10 (2, Informative)

g8oz (144003) | about 9 months ago | (#44456971)

If you want a keyboard that badly try the Blackberry Q10. Its not terrible.

Re:Blackberry Q10 (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about 9 months ago | (#44457013)

If you want a keyboard that badly try the Blackberry Q10. Its not terrible.

I saw those new billboards just this morning. "Blackberry: It's Not Terrible".

They're a bit of a step up from last month's campaign, "Blackberry Q10: At Least It's Not The Playbook."

Re:Blackberry Q10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457349)

It's also not good.

If only someone made an iPhone keyboard case (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457015)

Oh wait, they do [amazon.com].

Any Software Review Resources? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457063)

From the OP,

The problem, I think, is that phone manufacturers know that phone reviewers (and users, when they're choosing between models in the store) will focus on easily quanitifiable attributes, such as size, weight, battery life, and the number of megapixels in the camera. The number of aggravating bugs in the user interface is not something that is easy to compare across phones (and in any case would not be printed on the box).

Ok, I can agree to that. So, are there any websites that provide comparisons or reviews of the UI problems of various phones? That is, a guide for shoppers to alert them to the pros and cons of various products.

Bennett Haselton is an idiot (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 9 months ago | (#44457073)

I've been using either a Samsung Stratosphere (S1) or a Samsung Stratosphere 2 (S2) from September 2012 to the present.

The v2 wasn't yet available in September 2012...

So there are several options:

  • Bennet is such a total tosser he doesn't know what version of a product he bought.
  • Bennet buys and hates a phone, then buys and hates its sequel.
  • He bought S1 seconds before the S2 came out, meaning he both ignored market rumors AND customer reviews (S1 did not review well, basically it only got some attention because it had a keyboard, otherwise, look elsewhere). Meaning he is an idiot which he could have known wasn't very good and then bought the sequel seconds later.

Bennet then complains market forces don't fix some things... indeed they do NOT. They do NOT fix stupid customers buying crap they hate with good money.

If I piss in your face and you hand me 50 bucks, then next day give me 50 bucks to piss in your face again... market forces tell me to piss in your face.

Does he even know what market forces are? Does he even grasp the concept of voting with your money?

Frankly his long list of complaints has to many "user is an idiot" elements so, having googled a few reviews, I am left to conclude the phone isn't perfect but the majority of his issues are imagined or over dramatized.

Similarly, every time I say that my Circumventor mailing list keeps getting blocked as "spam" by Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL (despite being 100% verified-opt-in, natch), someone tells me that if the free market is blocking my emails as unwanted, it must be because the users don't want them. That the free market might make a mistake (in this case, because users don't have full information about what is getting blocked as spam), doesn't occur to them. I think the belief in the infallibility of the free market, is one of the most widespread fallacies of our era — people who would never make the mistake of confusing correlation with causation, have no problem thinking that if a product or service gets blocked by a third-party intermediary, it must be because the end user didn't want it.

AH... it alls becomes so clear now... this guy is a spammer and can't grasp that the market does INDEED work. I do NOT want his spam, I want Google to filter my email and if I didn't want that, I wouldn't use gmail.

The market works, it just sucks when it doesn't work FOR you but against you. But that doesn't mean the market doesn't work, it just means the market doesn't like you. He doesn't want the market to fix things for everyone, he wants the market to fix things for HIM alone so HE can spam freely.

Well fuck him AND his crappy phone he bought a year after it had been reviewed as a crappy phone.

Buyer beware.

Re:Bennett Haselton is an idiot (4, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457109)

If you buy broken product rev 1 and broken product rev 2 then the market works great. You want a broken product and it provided it.

Submitard is either trolling too hard or just a "I can count to POTATO" type.

Re:Bennett Haselton is an idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457289)

Oh man, the pure harshness of your reaction is a breath of fresh air to me. +1 insightful.

Re:Bennett Haselton is an idiot (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 9 months ago | (#44457489)

Does he even know what market forces are? Does he even grasp the concept of voting with your money?

Nah. His failure to research the product he'll spend his hard earned money on just proves his point that the market doesn't fix problems for you. You see, there's a little bug in human firmware I like to call, "Shut up and take my money!" [youtu.be]

Re:Bennett Haselton is an idiot (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | about 9 months ago | (#44457507)

The moment where he assumes people want whatever sophistry he's peddling in his emails and then attributes it to failures of the "free market" when all major providers mark it as spam was especially precious.

More likely, he had people "opt-in", not realizing what they were getting, and then read a couple of them and hit "mark as spam" rather than bother to look for his unsubscribe link.

Re:Bennett Haselton is an idiot (4, Informative)

sessamoid (165542) | about 9 months ago | (#44457653)

I've been using either a Samsung Stratosphere (S1) or a Samsung Stratosphere 2 (S2) from September 2012 to the present.

The v2 wasn't yet available in September 2012...

You fail Sentence Parsing 101.

Date problems (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 9 months ago | (#44457077)

If you have an Apple developer account, have a look at the WWDC session video about dates. Handling dates is difficult. The simple difficulty is about the fact that you have absolute time and calendars - if we talk to each other on the phone, the absolute time is the same for both of us, but our watches may show totally different times if one is in the USA and the other in Australia; that's what the "calendar" is there fore. But not only the hour might be different, but also the day, depending what calendar you use. And that's just the easy things.

Re:Date problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457197)

If you have an Apple developer account, have a look at the WWDC session video about dates. Handling dates is difficult.

No need for a video. There's not a programmer alive that hasn't suffered with date/time bugs.

Re:Date problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457407)

Reminds me of the site I saw last year that details myths programmers believe about time. Good read.
http://infiniteundo.com/post/25326999628/falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-time
http://infiniteundo.com/post/25509354022/more-falsehoods-programmers-believe-about-time-wisdom

Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (5, Informative)

Mr Krinkle (112489) | about 9 months ago | (#44457081)

It's running a newer version of Android.
All the new android phones take a screenshot by placing the "blade" of your hand on the side of the screen and sliding it across the screen.

Calendar issue, Not sure, but I'd wager there is a setting like you said using the wrong timezone. there are 300 calendar apps. I use google's and have never had an issue.

Group texts are NOT BUILT INTO SMS. It's kind of a kludge and iMessage from apple makes it worse because group texts in iMessage are not even SMS. They use data and the apple servers, so you get all sorts of weirdness there.

When you were in Canada, using a foreign service, it maybe have been rogers, or whatever that blocked it as their roaming contract doesn't cover that. No telling why that failed. I wouldn't blame that on the phone.

Camera not working. there is a good chance that using the flash could kill it, also risking the battery going incredibly low and damaging it. This setting can be changed I believe without rooting, but definitely with rooting.

The display turning off IS a setting, also make sure when you go to type, you don't cover the light sensor on the front. It wants to turn the screen OFF when you put it to your head to talk to save battery and avoid your cheek pushing buttons by accident.

Overall score for your rant, Meh. Nice long rant, but you obviously didn't spend as much time googling as you did writing that.

Re:Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457159)

Screenshot is vol down and power on my phone running 4.2.2. What phone uses the method you are talking about?

Re:Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457343)

Typically, many Samsung models use this method, starting with the Galaxy Note.

Re:Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44457699)

This shit needs to end, google should put their foot down. You can add your own way but remove the android defaults is just confusing.

Re:Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457755)

I have a galaxy nexus, and I don't understand your "blade" instructions. I find the new touch interfaces very non-discoverable.

Re:Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (2)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 9 months ago | (#44457809)

You may be right about the screen shot; I'll try that if I get another Stratosphere II. But if there's no way for the user to discover it on their own, and Verizon tech support (who supports the phone) doesn't know how to do it, and all of the pages that come up on Google say to do it the old way (which doesn't work), and nobody knew how to do it in any of the forums that I posted in, then it doesn't do much good unfortunately.

Calendar -- I'm sure there *are* workarounds for a lot of these bugs, but the point is that the company should have tested their own product first.

I didn't know about group texts, thanks.

Canada -- well, my feeling is still that someone has to take responsibility for the entire product. I'm paying money to Verizon, and if they have a deal with a foreign carrier whose service fails silently when sending a long text, then Verizon's taking my money and not giving me a very good version of the service I'm paying for.

I understand why the screen should switch off when I'm holding it next to my cheek. Why would the screen switch off when I move the phone away from my cheek and I'm actively typing on the keypad? Usually it registers the first keypad press before the screen actually goes dark (so you can enter single digits, just not account numbers). If it knows I'm pressing the keypad, it should keep the screen lit up.

Re:Newer OS, means the shipping manual fails (4, Funny)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 9 months ago | (#44457943)

I'll try that if I get another Stratosphere II.

I'm not sure I'd do that if I were you. I read a rant by a guy on Slashdot who said his experience with the Stratosphere I and II had been awful.

Its the management (2)

RileyBryan (1475681) | about 9 months ago | (#44457083)

Its because management shoved a shitty product out the door without letting the engineers finish their job.

Not at all surprising. (2)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 9 months ago | (#44457103)

You should be thankful it wasn't PC-based software from Samsung. What I got with my last Samsung phone was bad enough that it made me wish I was still using Sony's MagicGate.

Tomorrow is today? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 9 months ago | (#44457111)

Your phone is from the future!

Well that, or it came from a very strict timezone; you can only live 30 years.

Seriously, why would you buy Samsung (-1, Flamebait)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about 9 months ago | (#44457119)

They let one company do their R&D for the platform (Google) and another company for hardware and software design (Apple). They spend all of their money on bribes and advertising. This is an extremely mediocre hardware and software company.

Mailing List Spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457133)

Your mailing list is being marked as spam because most people unsubscribe from anything by marking it as spam. It's a 1 click interface that solves their problem with consequences that don't affect them.

Answer is simple really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457141)

It was build this way using outsourced offshore contractors in India and China.

Sure they may have technically fulfilled the contract.. but was it a good business choice? I don't believe so.

Rating bugs is long. Market life of phones isn't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457181)

While your "Stupid S#!% Index " sure sounds good, the time required to get valuable data about a device on it would be roughly equals to the time needed for that device to be "obsolete" and "replaced by newer, better, faster, stronger" model (at least, that's what PR would say).

gimme some product, man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457239)

This is the obvious downside to the "release early, release often" development philosophy. Just get the product out the door and any bugs in it will be fixed by the next major release. It's the same sort of crap that makes me pull what's left of my hair out with some linux projects.

Almost everything you are describing... (2)

tlambert (566799) | about 9 months ago | (#44457243)

Almost everything you are describing is a productization issue. These types of issues exist, randomly, from phone to phone, because each phone is separately productized by the partner vendor. Generally, the productization, even between single letter/digit hardware versions from the same vendor, end up being handled by different teams, so there is typically not a lot of consistency here. There are vendors who are exceptions, but they are rather rare. Samsung is not one of those vendors.

Palm OS+ Desktop and the Sony Clie clusterfuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457299)

I used to be a big fan of Palm, and I used a Sony Clie which ran Palm OS.

Though Palm had licensed the hardware rights, Palm did not maintain rigorous
control over the Palm OS as used by companies which built hardware under license
from Palm. Due to the lack of OS control Sony ended up using an OS on the Clie which
would NOT sync with Palm desktop on OS X when an install of a newer version of OS X
necessitated an install of a newer version of Palm Desktop on the Mac laptop I used at the time.

Bottom line : the lack of rigorous control over the software resulted in a significant loss of
functionality on the Palm device, and the Palm instantly became a toy rather than a tool.

The lesson I took from this is that if you need stuff that works and you don't have the time
or desire to mess with stuff to keep it working, it is best to use a handheld which is built by the
same company which builds your mother ship computer. Since I use computers which are made
by Apple and which run OS X, this means that for me an iPhone is the best choice. I am aware of
many of the shortcomings of the iPhone, but the bottom line is that Apple's tight control over software
and hardware means I can be reasonably certain that my handheld and laptop will continue to work
well together. And that matters most, because I use devices to get work done, and I do not have time
to screw around with things in order to keep them working.

By the way, I could care less what you Android/Linux/WIndoz fanboys think of the iPhone or OS X. It's your time
and your life and if you want to waste it dicking around with stuff in a struggle to keep it working,
that is your right. But I have better things to do, and that's why I am happy to pay more for stuff that
works well.

-

It gets even worse, OP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457301)

On top of all that shit, the phone runs Android, too! Oh, the humanity!

A Possible Solution to the Texting Problem (0)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 9 months ago | (#44457327)

[...] a texting app that can't reply to group texts

Have you tried making your texts more concise? I find brevity sometimes facilitates communication.

Completely the opposite in fact (4, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 9 months ago | (#44457335)

The "Free Market" not only does not fix things, it ensures that broken things come out continuously

Int the free market, your phone problems are fixed by you buying a new phone. Maybe the new phone will work, maybe it won't. If not,you are free to continuing to buy phones until you find one that works. Then the bad phone maker are free to go out of business.

That is the ugly dark side of libertarianism. Your car explodes because of a defective gas tank? Acter enough people know about this, the car sales slow, and the manufacturer might go out of business.

You'll still be dead.

We need to strike a balance between over-regulation and the completely impractical wild west approach that might have worked in the early 1800's. I

Re:Completely the opposite in fact (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | about 9 months ago | (#44457679)

^This.

The Free Market, like Natural Selection, doesn't solve an individual's problems. The solve the (market's|species') problems, slowly, while leaving behind it a thick trail littered with the corpses of failed individuals.

Adam Smith may have identified the Invisible Hand, but it has Darwin's fingerprints.

Re:Completely the opposite in fact (2)

bennetthaselton (1016233) | about 9 months ago | (#44457939)

This has the ring of plausibility, but isn't this an unfalsifiable statement? Because then no matter what crappy products are produced, it can be written off the free market in action.

My hypothesis is more falsifiable -- it was that for attributes that are easily quantifiable (size, weight, battery life), phones in the same price range will stay more or less competitive with each other, while for attributes that are harder for the user to perceive right away (aggravating bugs in the UI), there will be outliers that are much worse than the others.

Three words (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 9 months ago | (#44457337)

Asian quality standards. That explains everything. Now every damn thing is outsourced from the image design to the market research to the engineering to the testing and asian companies' quality standards are a joke. If they want a good product, it has to be developed elsewhere.

Re:Three words (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 9 months ago | (#44457715)

What the hell are you talking about? Back in the 80s and 90s, Japanese products were world-leading in quality (and not just lack of manufacturing defects, but design quality too). There might be some quality problems with some Asian companies (and some Asian countries), but they're not all the same.

You are complaining about a lack of information. (2)

feepness (543479) | about 9 months ago | (#44457341)

Yet you used a completely new product from before the release, if I understand correctly from the release date of the Stratosphere 2 (Nov 2012).

For both video games and phones and indeed any complicated piece of hardware one must wait. This is a hard learned lesson for me as well. I played Skyrim without bugs... six months after it was released. I've skipped other games and phones entirely. Markets are not instant feedback devices that make every product perfect, they are feedback devices that tell us which products are best.

There are some problems that markets can't fix... monopoly, regulatory capture, etc... Buying complicated technology without waiting for early adopters to pay the break-in price is another one of them.

The Great God Samsung can do no wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457357)

Well, that's the opinion of many Fandroids who get their kicks talking about Apple Maps and holding things wrong.

No frigging Tech Maker is infallable. They ALL get things wrong from time to time.
As the calendar does not work, the owner should have got their money back from whatever dealer sold it to them.

For Reviews with "Stupid S#*t Index" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457363)

I strongly recommend Consumer Reports -- they basically do as you suggest, buy and use the products themselves (from the store, no complimentary review items), and give you the down-low as to if it work well or not. More emphasis on usability than specs. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/index.htm

AND THEY DON'T DO ADS! :)

Free market. (1, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about 9 months ago | (#44457369)

I don't think you understand free market.

Free Market doesn't prevent selling junk. It is a free market you can sell what you want, Junk or something great.

However if the product fails to meet customer expectation they may not buy the product, buy an other product from that company and give a negative recommendation about the product. So other people can choose not to buy the product. As it is a free market they don't need to buy it.

The problem isn't Free Market. But the biggest supporters of free market are also so anti-Education, they they try to stop research into the product, as someones normal course of action. Preventing Free Markets natural checks and balances.

A controlled market would probably prevent bad phones from being released. But also good ones, as it is near impossible to predict consumer demand.
Sure the iPhone was successful... However it could have failed. Even the all mighty Apple with its teams of Fan Boys has made flops, without having any major technical issues, it just wasn't what the market wanted.

I have never heard of the Stratosphere until today. Probably because it wasn't really a good phone. And you have no one to blame except for yourself for buying a phone you didn't know much about. The phone isn't dangerous, and for the most part it works, it just doesn't suit your needs... Sorry.

Free market solution (2)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about 9 months ago | (#44457723)

The irony is that the solution he proposes, "would be for some third-party review company to rate each new phone on the Stupid S#!% Index." In other words, he's proposing a market based solution that already exists. One thinks first, of course, of Consumer Reports, but there are countless publication which review products as a business. It looks rather like he didn't even bother checking reviews.

Re:Free market. (1)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 9 months ago | (#44458003)

Effective marketing is often cheaper, easier, and more profitable than good engineering. Nuff said.

thin enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457415)

lol! love the last paragraph.

Free Market (1)

Saethan (2725367) | about 9 months ago | (#44457459)

Here's the Free Market for you: The Stratosphere is probably not a huge $ maker for them, so they spend less $ on development and QA than, say, the Galaxy S phones.

BAD Business Process (2)

Bomarc (306716) | about 9 months ago | (#44457563)

For some reason, PM's (especially those at larger companies) think that developers create code that works. Frequently -- at best there is a "let the customer find it, well fix it on the next revision" attitude, however more frequently there is a "just bury the problem all together". Another one is -- hire QA form China (I've seen this fail time and time again). They (the PM's) think these actions will save money -- and it never does. Lost customers, lost business relations, lost faith in company, products that just don't work.
A recent example in Slashdot : Twitter - is hiring. Look at the number of job openings for QA -- just THREE, and all of those are developer based (technically SDET's). Number of "testers" is zero. Number of testers should be 3 or 4 developers to 1 QA (max). Any ratio with a testing staff less than this and you (your company/product) are asking for trouble. Twitter has an 85 to 3 ratio (Yes, they might have 20 testers sitting around waiting for work from development that will be hired, but I don't think so). Think about those numbers for a minute. How many companies have a "Quality, that doesn't even make it on our radar" attitude? Surprisingly, most of them. Frequently these same company's actually resent meaningful testing.

Free market? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457595)

Similarly, every time I say that my Circumventor mailing list keeps getting blocked as "spam" by Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, or AOL (despite being 100% verified-opt-in, natch), someone tells me that if the free market is blocking my emails as unwanted, it must be because the users don't want them. That the free market might make a mistake (in this case, because users don't have full information about what is getting blocked as spam), doesn't occur to them. I think the belief in the infallibility of the free market, is one of the most widespread fallacies of our era — people who would never make the mistake of confusing correlation with causation, have no problem thinking that if a product or service gets blocked by a third-party intermediary, it must be because the end user didn't want it.

So you run a mailing list that distributes proxy addresses to get around government interference... that's a truly admirable task... honestly...

But you're being blocked by mail providers... that sucks....

So your solution to your attempts to get by government interference being blocked by the free market is more government interference? Dude I think you forgot to take your lithium today.

I own a Stratosphere 2 and a Stratosphere and D1 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44457705)

I've owned both the phones the submitter refers to, for basically the same reason (slide out kebyoard). The Strat2 also edges out the Droid 4 for several reasons for me (slightly better performance, battery life especially on LTE, and removable batteries).

  - I just looked at my Strat 2 calendar app and today is circled Friday, August 2 just like I expected. I have NEVER noticed this bug.
  - I'm a Google Voice user for 100% of my texting. I neither know or care what VZ texting does and 99.99% of my texting is one to one. Can't really comment on this one.
  - Can confirm screen capture doesn't work as Home+power. However, if I -really- cared, I'm sure I could find a way around it. When my Droid 1 was custom ROMed, I got that feature, but I used it precisely once pretty much just for vanity/curiosity.
  - Sure, the built in camera thing is annoying, but all my phones have done it. I can't honestly remember if the iPhone 3G I had did it because I so rarely take photos with my phone. I might add that this is one reason to own a strat... just pop in a new battery (I carry 2 spares) and a minute later take the shot.
  - Both the Strat 1 and Strat 2 (and my wife's Samsung Captivate Glide) all have the sucky can't-decide-if-the-screen-should-be-on-or-off-when-on-a-call experience. I've NEVER had a problem with the keypad but when I pull the phone away from my face, it turns the screen on and then off. So I'm frantically hitting the power button to try to get it to a keypad so I can key something in. That is definitely annoying. Also related to this is the fact that the screen turns on with phone unlocked when a call ends even when on a headset. I've had numerous bad things happen with the phone in my pocket because of this situation.

My only real gripe with the Strat 1 and 2 has been how the keyboard Fn/Shift keys are no longer working reliably on an app-by-app basis. Sometimes, I can just press the key once for a single Fn/Shift action or twice for unlimited Fn/Shift actions or a third time to turn it off. Other times, I have to HOLD the button while pressing the key I want to do the action. And other times still, I have to open up the software keyboard to put in that bit of punctuation because the app just won't respond. This drives me nuts more than anything else combined... it's the #1 reason I have this phone -- for fast text control, and it's completely faceplanting. I'm currently debating about the newest VZ software update (only about 2 for 4 on updates from VZ not doing one or more really destructive things) and waiting for someone to respond... but they don't indicate my problem is fixed.

But I have a real bet about bugs and fixes. Manufacturers are focused on their best sellers. That's where they put the best and most developers and where they will give the most maintenance attention. The problems we deal with are largely because we have a third tier phone. Not only that, once you start complaining about this or that, it's "Buy a Nexus." Well, SSUUURREEE, I'd buy the Nexus if it had a good keyboard, a removable battery, and a micro SD slot. Then they say my problem is that I'm too picky. At this point, I know I have no real chance and probably in the long run I'll just have to accept I'm not going to have a physical keyboard because so few buyers care. If you own a Strat or similar phone, you are a "low end user who doesn't care." No, I just care about some things a little more.

The only real hope we have is for Android to be a little more like Windows... where you decouple the hardware and the software. I can run anything from XP to 8.1 on most of the PC hardware in the world. I can get the fixes I want. I'm not forced into anything. You're lucky to get ONE android version upgrade, especially if you don't run a hero phone. And if you complain about this... "Buy a Nexus" or "It's a phone... get a new one in a year." And that one android version upgrade will likely be forced on you; you can't say no, and it may well break a lot of stuff.

So basically, I love Android and wouldn't use anything else. I just don't want to have to use one of the top 5 smartphones (and pay top 5 prices) just because I want improved software.

Nice ending. (1)

avm (660) | about 9 months ago | (#44457767)

Seriously. The ending to this article is one of the best last words I've seen in awhile.

Easily found bugs should not happen. (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 9 months ago | (#44457891)

I realize this is not a logical reaction. The aggravation you feel towards a bug should depend on how much the bug actually interferes with the user experience, not on how easily the manufacturer should have found it.

No, quite the contrary, it's a very logical reaction. I find consistently that the care a company takes in the little things reflects the care a company takes in the big things. A company whose software has really obvious and easily caught bugs almost certainly did not do a great job at designing the hardware either, hence your broken charge port (which should always be the single most robust component of a phone, because it is the most heavily abused).

Case in point, I recently shipped back a Canon 28-135 lens (two copies) because of severe lens creep. I tend to assume that if the tolerances on such a user-visible component are that sloppy, the tolerances on other components that are less visible are probably equally sloppy, and such sloppy tolerances are likely to result in severely diminished life expectancy.

Well, I couldn't tell you. I can't test an iPhone under normal usage because I'm too addicted to the Stratosphere's slide-out keyboard, which enables me to type much faster than a touchscreen but which only comes on a few Android and Windows phones, and not on any version of the iPhone. Maybe I'll try one more time to make the switch to a touchscreen while my Stratosphere is in the shop.

Helpful tip: You can buy cases for iPhones that include slide-out keyboards. You do have to charge the keyboards separately, but IMO that's a small price to pay for a phone that knows today isn't tomorrow. :-D

Simple (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 9 months ago | (#44457929)

They were using the blackberry release model, force the release and then hurry up and release updates to often.

Fit, not fittest, get Darwin right (4, Interesting)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 9 months ago | (#44457967)

Like evolutionary forces, the free market ensures the survival of the fit (good enough to keep going), not the fittest as so many people have erroneously come to believe. Unless a product is bad enough to sink a company, the company will stumble on with the same folks making the next generation of products. Bad management almost assures that even if the company halves in size as the result of a string of bad products they will not actually fix their internal company problems, as management can hardly tell a good employee from a terrible one (heck they look on the mirror daily and fail to immediately quit for the good of the company...).

So the free market will never drive companies to perfection, only weed out the weakest serial non-performers at best. Even then, those weeded out are weeded out based on profit, not product excellence (see: Firefly). At worst bad companies will have other large operations that will let them subsidize terrible behaviors for decades in their badly run groups (see: Microsoft).

A lot of this boils down to the engineers often having neither a clue there is a problem, nor the power to do anything about it when they have a clue. A group of good engineers can be powerless in the face of an awful product roadmap managed by a pointy haired buffoon. See Putt's Law for many more details.

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