Coming iHome: 5 iOS Functions I Missed Most During my Year in the Android Wilderness

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It’s Like Coming iHome

I’ve been a Mac user for over five years. Back when I was working for an employer I was forced to use the PC laptops and Blackberry cell phones they supplied. At the time my personal computer was (and remains today) a Macbook Air that weights slightly more than a feather. My cell phone was an iPhone 4S.

Then I started wearing contact lenses. Making the move full-time from eyeglasses to contacts was based on necessity as I started commuting on a motorcycle full-time. I liked the flexibility of not having to carry a pair of sunglasses and my glasses, even though they changed shade to accommodate changes in light.

With the moved from glasses to contacts, combined with age-related vision changes, my iPhone became impossible to read. When my Sprint contract came up for renewal, instead of upgrading to a 5S, I opted to upgrade to a much larger Android phone, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3. It was larger, more readable, and the photo/video viewing was fantastic. But I was missing something.

What I Missed Most

It was the seamless nature of Apple apps just working together that I missed the most. Although I could easily read most applications and obtain the third party apps I enjoyed the most (Spotify, Kindle Reader, Netflix, and Hulu) via Google Play, it wasn’t the same. From the perspective of a full-time Apple fanboy, with Apple TV, two Macs, and two additional iPhones all connected seamlessly in our home, using the Note 3 necessitated a patching-together of apps to mimic the same functions.

The iOS functions I missed the most

Airplay

This is the seamless ability to project my iPhone screen to my Macbook or to my TV. Android’s Screenshare is a substitute but one without the Mac seamlessness or the ability to share my Note with my Macbook.

Apple Mail

Finally, all my email account in one app. I have several Gmail accounts, an iCloud email account, and an Outlook.com email account. Apple Mail allows me to have all of these within one app. This was possible with Android via a third-party app, but again, it lacked the seamless interface with my other apps.

iTunes

When I left iOS, I left behind over 1,000 songs at my fingertips. Sure, I could have used DoubleTwist, an Android app designed to patch together iTunes (which isn’t Android friendly), but still, it wasn’t the purebred version of iTunes. I used both Spotify and Pandora subscriptions while in the wilderness. When my iPhone 6 Plus arrived last week, suddenly all my songs were back and the iTunes radio can now replace Pandora.I still maintain my Spotify subscription but we’ll see if Apple’s new Beasts Music can replace it for the same price and features.

Calendar

All my appointments on my phone and my Mac, seamlessly. Previously using the Note 3, iCalSync was another third-party app that would feed my Apple iCal to my Google calendar, but again…  needing to find more apps to make other apps work wasn’t what I wanted from my wireless system. Now it doesn’t matter if I make an appointment on the Macbook or the iPhone, both are seamless synced.

iCamera

The optics behind Apple’s iCamera still outperform the Note 3’s amazing camera. I loved the larger display and the rich colorful videos on the Note 3. However the intuitive user-friendly interface and again, seamless connection with other Apple apps, make it a better choice for me.

“You’re Completely Biased!”

Most Android fans will wave their flags with the little green Android logo at me and comment that I’m completely biased towards anything Apple.

But they’re wrong.

I thought the Newton was a flop.  8-)

Why I’ve Grown to Detest the Daylight Savings Time ‘Fall Back’ Adjustment

When I was a kid, the changes from Pacific Standard Time (PST) to Daylight Savings Time (DST) or ‘Spring Forward’ wasn’t a big deal. It translated to one main benefit:

The sun set later and this afforded us more playtime after dinner.

The reverse change from DST to PST (Fall Back) was equally absorbable without any deleterious effects. However, as I matured the seasonal time changes came to hold other implications for me:

  • In the fall and winter, the nights seems cozier and the holiday cheer felt tangible
  • In the spring and summer, outdoor activities, especially involving motorcycles, were extended
  • Since the sun also rose later, early morning sleep was extra luxurious

Those Days are Gone

Like a lot of people in my age bracket, I tend to require less sleep than I did in the heady decades of my 20s and 30s. The latter half of my 50s have rarely heard me utter the phrases, sleeping in or morning sleep.

At nearly 57, the phrases more frequently associated with sleep now seem to be “Is it nap time?”  and “Damn, why am I so tired when it’s only 7:30p!  It’s fair to say that my overall quality of sleep is generally shit. But it’s nearly always been this way.

An Early-Riser By Design

As a kid, I was always the first one up in our house. Even before my dad got up to got to work, mine were the footsteps heard trotting down the hallway to the bathroom and then into the kitchen.

I have a vidid memory of one of these mornings – I was very young and was unable able to reach the milk on the top shelf of the refrigerator. Improvisation resulted in using the kitchen faucet instead. I learned very quickly that Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and water do not make a tasty breakfast.  :-x

In my teen years, like most of my contemporaries, I was addicted to sleep. Time changes didn’t alter anything. I could take anything PST wanted to throw at me. Bring it on, dude!

It wasn’t uncommon for me to seep until 1p or 2p. As we males grow rapidly throughout our teen years, our bodies are extraordinarily taxed at the cellular level and the entire organism tires and needs additional rest and recovery. For me that usually came in the form of a total collapse each night.

As I entered my fourth decade, and even now well into my sixth, I once again became an early riser. I have learned to deal with the relatively scant amount of sleep that comes my way and translate it into more productivity.

Accommodating the Lack of Sleep 

Let’s take yesterday as an example. I got out of bed at 4:30a. By 7:30a I’d had three cups of coffee, cooked and enjoyed breakfast, and processed two loads of laundry, wrote most of this piece and checked my social media spaces.

I spent the rest of the morning running errands and getting the house in order. I’d planned to respond to emails in the afternoon and be ready for tea by 4pm. The emails didn’t get a response because my errands ran longer than anticipated.

My eyes were drooping and I couldn’t hold my head up by 10p so I went to bed only to wake up at 1:30a. At 2:30a I gave up on tossing and turning my way back to sleep -that never works anyway- and now I’m here at the keyboard writing the rest of this piece.

Sleep Researchers Agree

Dr. Yvonne Harrison, a senior lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University in England, concludes that a seemingly small one-hour shift in the sleep cycle can affect sleep for up to a week.

“The autumn transition is often popularised as a gain of 1 hour of sleep but there is little evidence of extra sleep on that night. The cumulative effect of five consecutive days of earlier rise times following the autumn change again suggests a net loss of sleep across the week.”

Ride It Out

That’s my only real choice. Yes, I can take a hot shower just before bed and avoid caffeine after dinner, or engage in sex. Regardless of the options employed, there is only one real solution.

Wait it out. My sleep cycle usually resets in about a week despite my attempts to manipulate it into a more rapid resolution. But that doesn’t make the week any less difficult.

Perhaps it’s related to aging. Perhaps I’m just a wimp. Whatever the etiology of this temporary maladjustment to the ‘Fall Back’ time change, I’m still sitting here at my keyboard at 3:16a.

:-?