Finally pulled my phone number over to my Nokia, one of my Nokias, the 1020. Now I need to learn how it works as a phone, not just as a camera and internet machine. Ringtones and contacts. Yesterday I accidentally phoned a Facebook contact I had no reason to call, and didn’t know who until I hung up and looked at the history. But time passes.

And I’m finally done with my one-time beautiful flip phone I’ve had for almost 10 years.
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It wasn’t my first mobile phone, but it was my second, and was so much more beautiful than the old one. Blue, almost glowing, compact. I often thought it would be good for throwing, though I didn’t. Dropped it a few times. Wore it in a small camera holster on my belt at my waist, so it was always with me when I was out of the house. Alas. One more down.

As for Twisty Passages, few seem to like that either. As I thought, it was more fun to write than to play. Part of it, in this case, I think, is the lack of scoring or reward, but even more the lack of transition when the view changes left or right. I’m leaving this one in the stores (it’s universal), but I’m thinking about Unity.

I tried my Homeopathic Pill Timer app, never mind why. It works, if not perfectly, but the UI confuses the developer. And, uncertain who needs it, I’ve not pulled it from the store but have hidden it. You can still get it from here, but that’s it, for now. One problem with it is the imprecise timing of notifications, at least in WP8. There’s a window of about a minute as I recall. That was almost enough to stop me from working on it in the first place, but I wanted to get something done, a DVLUP challenge, a free phone, fame, ignominy, no fortune.

There are all kinds of timers, stopwatches, etc., in the store. I haven’t tried any of them. I thought I’d do a special purpose one, a particular use case, and see what happened, go through the process, get it into the store. I’d never done something like that before, got something out where people I didn’t know could see it, try it out, etc. Anyway, I thought it was a simple thing, in concept if not execution.

But if you want a simple, practical, beautifully simple health-care device, you can’t beat the weekly pill box. It doesn’t alert you when you need it, but its presence is reminder enough. Can’t remember if you’ve taken your blood pressure pill today? Look at the box. Is today’s slot empty? Done. Of course you have to know what day it is. But between the time you need to take something every day, and the time you can’t keep track, it fills an important function, far better than any electronic device. (I use mine mostly for vitamins.)

Actually I have four smart phones, not just the 520, 920, and 1020. On Black Friday I walked to the corner Radio Shack (will it still be there this morning?) and bought a moto-e for $50. I was curious to see how it worked. So far it’s another phone not used as a phone, but it has one thing none of my Windows phones have, a Nook app. That’s it. It’s my Nook reader.

A year ago I’d not yet owned a smart phone. Cell phones, sure, a couple since a fire scared us a decade or so ago, but I was a bit slow to commit. I wanted a Windows phone (no need to explain why, it was just good sense)–later, more specifically, a Nokia–but my provider, Sprint, was also slow to commit. So I waited and studied and read up on the API etc. I went to Build twice, 2013 and 2014, expecting I might get one thrust upon me, no more decision dithering, but no luck there. I did get the Surface Pro I’m using to write this, and an Xbox One that looks cute on my desk upstairs, but no new phone. At the 2014 Build I used a paper printout of a barcode to get into the Xamarin after hours party, lugging my Xbox in a cloth bag I’d brought for the occasion.

Now I own three Nokia phones, a 520, a 1020, and a 920. Here’s how it happened. After Build I had to decide what to do with the $500 credit at the Microsoft store we’d been given to see if we could make our own decisions. I liked the extremism of the 41 megapixel camera in the 1020, but there were other possibilities, like a nice Asus 8″ with a Wacom pen, or the possibility of buying something for someone else. So I bought a 520 as a GoPhone at the corner Radio Shack (yes, really, I can see it from my porch).

I bought the 520 because I wanted to try developing something on it, and it was cheap and available, but it’s actually a nice device. I can’t say it either is or is not a nice phone, since I don’t use it that way–I don’t make or get calls much, and I haven’t yet given up my Sprint flip phone–but it’s light, cheap enough to assuage worry, plays 2048 quite nicely, and hooks up to my USB port to test stuff. This was in April, shortly after Build.

Towards the end of the month, just before I had finally to decide what to do with my Microsoft Store credit, I attended a DVLUP Day event at the Nokia San Diego office up the street from my day job. The date coincided with the Microsoft acquisition, which affect the tone slightly, but there was a lot to learn, and the promise of a free phone for all attendees who got an app into the Windows Phone store quickly enough (the ending date waffled a little, or my knowledge of it did). Anyway, the event convinced me to go with the 1020 instead of some other bauble, like that 8″ Asus.

The 1020 is a great device. I chose it for the camera, and use it that way, but it has a phone number, and I can get my email facebook and twitter when I’m not at home now, which may have changed my life a little. But, still, it’s mostly for development, I say here.

The Nokia event was a great challenge, because it got me to go through all the steps with my practice app, which, however simple and specialized, is now in the store. And, after a while (the turmoil of the acquisition?) another phone, a white 920, arrived in the mail, another nice phone, and more than I expected.

So that’s it. Later, development tales.

Here’s what happened. I started a blog, after Build 2014, moving forward. I went to Build expecting, of course, to learn something (Universal Apps) and to mill about with others of my ilk, whatever that is, but also, I thought, to get a phone. I’d never had one, unless you count an i-mate Jasjar from a previous conference, and at the previous Build we got two Windows 8 machines (Surface Pro and Acer 8-inch Iconia) so what was left? Apparently an Xbox One, with Kinect (good) but no bundled game.

Anyway, the Xbox was a source of some adventure while it and I were still in San Francisco (nothing exciting, but a bit of a lug-around), and when I got home I decided to keep it, at least for a while, to see what I could make of it. As it happened, not much. Here were my problems:

  1. it was unfamiliar. There was no keyboard. I’d never held a game controller before, so I had to experiment with the buttons.       There was help somewhere, but I’m not quite sure I found it.
  2. nothing came bundled with it, so there wasn’t really anything I could do, not right out of the box. At Build I watched Titanfall played on a movie theater screen, and that was exciting and impressive, but I couldn’t see spending $60 or so on a game like that when the Xbox itself was “free.” I’m not a shooter, but I would have played Titanfall or any of the others if I had it thrust upon me. I might have bought Forza, though I’m not really a road race fan either, but I couldn’t make up my mind.
  3. Xbox Live: everywhere I went I needed it, even for Netflix, to which I subscribe. Again, Xbox “free,” but a little like giving away the razor so you’ll buy the blades, or the drug dealer’s temptation. A month or so in the Xbox Live requirement was dropped for a few things, but by then I was focused on the phone I got with the “free” $500 Microsoft Store credit we also got, since apparently Microsoft couldn’t decide what to give us, or thought we were capable of deciding on our own.
  4. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole avatar thing.  I’m “Foolish Eel” something or other.

On the positive side, though, I liked the fact that I could log in by being recognized through Kinect. Though, since no one else in my house was interested, I don’t really know if it recognizes me or just a movable object about my size and shape. And, when Netflix without Xbox Gold became available, and I figured out how to operate it with the game controller, it did look pretty good.

This, of course, doesn’t really say what happened to my blog.  But more about that later.

So I trashed my blog.  Proof, if I needed it, that even with WordPress, Azure, and Web Matrix it’s possible to shoot your foot off.  At least mine.  So, time to start again.  Opportunity, or pain in the ass?