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I’m in the market for a new smartphone. Sorta.

I originally bought a Google Nexus 4 about two years ago because it represented a convenient (and relatively inexpensive) consolidation of devices – I was carrying around both an iPod Touch and basically a flip phone, and wanted to have a camera again. Win-win-win, right?

And it was. Until Android update 5.0.

I don’t know what the hell happened in 5.0, but ever since then, my Nexus will randomly shut off. As in, total shutdown without warning, regardless having a full charge and/or having no apps running. In the past eight months or so, this has caused me to be late to work four times, as the alarms on my phone would not go off. Around the internet, the issue seems to be called “Black Screen (of Death)” and is otherwise a known issue. Unfortunately, none of the “solutions” I have found have worked.

Even more frustrating however, is how my Nexus will sometimes go weeks and weeks working fine, but then start acting up again for no reason. If the phone did this constantly, that’d be one thing. But it precisely because it works fine 98% of the time that it achieves maximum anguish.

Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.
–Friedrich Nietzsche

I don’t want drop a ton of money on a brand new smartphone when I have one that works… most of the time. But if I get a similarly cheap replacement, how will I know the same thing won’t just happen again? And besides, this almost feels like one of those “expensive is cheaper in the long run” situations; a used, clunker car costs less upfront, but more over time.

In any case, I’m open to suggestions, and not just with specific models, but review sites too. My criteria is that it has to fit in my pocket (no phablets), have GSM capability, and ideally have at least the same specs as a Nexus 4 of two years ago while being sub-$300. Having a MicroSD would be gravy.


So I may or may not be writing this from a Nexus 4 (hint: I am). While these sort of updates aren’t going to be common, it’s worth mentioning because I barely know what I’m doing. In fact, this is my first smart phone. Prior to this I just had my “dumb” phone and iPod Touch.

So, basically, if you have any advice or recommendations for apps to get or things to do, let me know in the comments. So far, I just have SwiftKey and Reddit and obviously this somewhat annoying WordPress app.

P.S. I find it amusing that the swipe text feature refuses to recognise “iPod”.

Evil Genius of F2P

Saw this last week:

Unfortunately, Tobold actually already linked to this Demotivational poster before I could finish this post, thereby costing me street cred.

It is a fairly common statistic (if unofficial) that less than 10% of F2P gamers actually ever spend money in the cash shop. Most of the resulting commentary has focused on how this ~10% subsidizes the other 90%. This is not actually the case. The evil genius of F2P games is how the non-paying gamers subsidize the paying ones by simply being there. If you are playing LotRO “for free,” what you are actually doing is giving paying customers a reason to actually pay money.

Think about it. If 90% of F2P gamers don’t pay, then the game would presumably have only a tenth as many players if it were not F2P. Hell, the entire point of LotRO going F2P was how they would have shut down the servers otherwise. It did not matter that there were already paying customers; the problem was there was not enough paying customers. When the F2P switch is flipped, you suddenly get a huge influx of “freeloaders” who have a very compelling reason to buy items that make them stand out from each other. Meanwhile the already paying customers are happy because now they have the ability to keep paying for a game they enjoy, and a whole bunch of new people to do it with.

Facebook and Google aren’t doing you a favor by providing “free” social media services. As the Demotivational mentions, you are a product – in this case private demographic information, music tastes, favorite shows, etc, all freely updated by you on your own time –  to be sold. You may “get” some bit of value out of these services (else you presumably would not use them) but Facebook/Google/F2P MMO developers are obviously getting a lot more from the bargain. F2P and social media is honestly the biggest marketing coup since fashion apparal designers realized that people would actually give them money for the privledge of wearing advertisements, e.g. shirts with the company logo on them.