Less than five percent of Android phone owners have the new “Marshmallow” operating system. A third have the previous version, Lollipop. the rest are so far back the operating systems were written on stone tablets.
Online forums are full of complaints. “When are we getting an update?” they ask.
Unless they have a Google Nexus phone, the answer is vague. This was a big reason Joy pushed Bob to get the Google Nexus 6P. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve felt up to date since we started saying “Xerox” instead of “mimeograph.”
The current “Marshmallow” flavor is version 6. Our old Samsung Galaxy S3 was stuck on “Jelly Bean,” version 4.3. (Bob doesn’t care for jelly beans.) Expect some other flavor in October. We hope it’s pumpkin pie.
Everything about Marshmallow is more convenient. Your most frequently used apps are at the top of the list. Swipe down to see the whole thing at a glance, instead of looking for apps page by page. Swipe from the top of the screen to get notifications, then swipe a second time to get options, such as a flashlight, airplane mode, data usage statistics and “do not disturb.” When the phone goes idle, put your finger on the back to start it up again. (This doesn’t work every time. Cold fingers seem to confuse the fingerprint sensor.)
We were awed by the new “Now on Tap” feature. Suppose you mention a movie in a text message or email. If you hold down the home button on your phone, you’ll get little thumbnail images along the bottom of the screen. Tap one to see a trailer, read a review, get the cast list, watch the movie, see images of it, or find its location on a map, while you’re still in the message.
Any phone with the Marshmallow system will have terrific battery life. That’s because it knows when it’s been idle and enters hibernation mode. With earlier Android versions, a phone might lose 12 to 25 percent of battery life overnight if left on. A Marshmallow phone will lose just three to five percent. What’s more, individual apps will go into deep sleep if you left them open but aren’t using them, rather than run fully in the background as before.One Internut
Google those words or click here to find some outrageous cases. For instance, a North Carolina man was arrested for failing to return a video tape, “Freddy Got Fingered,” that he rented from a video store in 2002. There was a 14 year-old warrant on him, which was discovered when a cop pulled him over for a broken tail light when he was driving his daughter to school. A 90 year-old Florida priest was arrested for feeding the homeless from food he made in his own kitchen. The mayor’s comment: “We enforce the laws here in Ft. Lauderdale.”
Free Word Processors
A reader asked us what word processor he should get for his new Windows 10 computer. We like the free OpenOffice, from OpenOffice.org.
We used to recommend Kingsoft Free, but Windows 10 gives you a warning not to run it, so we’ll stop recommending it. OpenOffice, from Apache, is similar to an earlier version of Word and easy to use.
If you Google “free word processors” many choices will come up. Most are compatible with Microsoft Word in that whatever you save can be called up in Word and other compatible programs. Word itself is free if you use the online version at office.live.com.
Bob prefers what are called text editors, which are generally used by programmers. He is not a programmer but the beauty of them is they don’t have the features that make Word such a pain in the gluteus maximus to use. There’s just you and a blank screen. Scary, no?
We were on the verge of dropping our $15 a month subscription to audio books when Audible.com came up with “Channels.”
Follow whatever topics you like and you’ll have hundreds of choices from history to sci-fi to foreign affairs and music. Some programs are only ten minutes long, others take hours.
We listened to a half-hour sci-fi story, “The Hanging Stranger,” by Philip K. Dick. Joy is convinced it was the inspiration for the movie “Men in Black,” Bob thinks it fits “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” (Philip K. Dick, by the way, whose short stories have been turned into at least half a dozen hit movies, including “Total Recall,” lived in Berkeley, Calif., and was by repute a total paranoid. He thought he was being spied on constantly, and one of the methods was hidden microphones in the kitty litter box.)
We turned to history next and listened to “Gutenberg the Geek.” We learned about Gutenberg’s “Winklevoss moment.” Just like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Gutenberg had rivals claiming that they invented movable type. Actually, the Chinese had invented it centuries earlier, but because of their complex characters, about 2,500 of them, handwriting was still faster.
The Numbers Report
A few fun findings from Influence Central, a research and consulting firm:
- The average family owns 2.6 smart phones.
- Over half of respondents said they no longer have a landline phone — meaning an old fashioned phone. That’s up from 35 percent four years ago.
- Around 70 percent of women say they use their smartphone instead of a camera to take photos. In 2012 it was just the opposite, 30 percent used a phone, 70 percent used a camera.
- Around 81 percent of women say they keep the phone near their bed at night, up from 62 percent in 2012. Around 51 percent say they always connect to Facebook and other social media via their phone. Four years ago, it was only 29 percent.