Having been a long-time Symbian user (E70, E90, N97 - spot the QWERTY keyboard theme), I had a heavy investment in Symbian and apps that I was used to and had paid for.
However, I was also a heavy Google user (with a Google Apps account, and a significant investment in Gmail, Google Reader and Google Calendar, with a sprinkling of Picassa, Google docs, and a bit of Google Blogger thrown in for good measure), so it seemed reasonable that an Android phone would suit me well. In fact, when I got my N97, the G1 was available ... but at the time, Android and the marketplace just didn't have the tools I needed on my phone for day-to-day use. As well as getting used for the occasional phone call and text message, my smartphone also needed to be my podcatcher and player, occasional music player, camera, notepad, reference library for snippets of useful information, eBook reader, and a whole bunch of other things that Android and the G1 just couldn't do at the time.
A year on, things have changed ... a lot. I've really been holding out for a full Google Experience phone (i.e. one that will get updates directly from Google) with a QWERTY keyboard. And besides, I still have another year of a Vodafone contract left to run. However, with no sign of said mythical device on the horizon, and following a Twitter tip-off from Steve Litchfield, I decided the time had come to jump ship and try Android anyway. I bought a Motorola DEXT - a QWERTY slider Android phone available at a sensible price on an Orange PAYG contract. Within a day I had unlocked it for use with my Vodafone SIM card. It took me a little longer to find out how to configure it to use Vodafone's data network, but since then it's been working a treat.
Calendar was always going to be easy. I'd been using the paid version of GooSync for years to keep a dozen or more Google Calendars in sync with my phone (and HandyCalendar on the phone itself). Swim has finally come to 5th edition, so it was all automated. So, nothing at all to do here except tell my Android phone my email address and which calendars I wanted to sync (which was basically all of them).
Contacts would be more tricky. Although I'd previously been able to keep my E90 in sync, based on Steve and Tim's experiences with syncing between Symbian and Google contacts (as discussed in the Phones Show Chat) - and some of my own too, I'd given up on attempting to keep my N97 and Google contacts in sync at all. So, I took a brute force approach, and used PC Suite to hook up the phone to the PC. From there I exported all my phone's contacts, tweaked the columns to match Google contacts requirements, and imported to Google. Then I used Google's duplicate detection and merging to tidy up. The only issue that left me with was a bunch of contacts (visible on the phone, but not in Gmail contacts) that are shown as numbers, rather than names. (They're contacts for businesses that only have a business name, not a person's, which have no doubt been lurking undetected on a succession of phones for some years. Of course, as I presumably never missed them, I could probably just delete them and have done with it, but I can't help feeling I want to do a quick bit of spreadsheet wizardry sometime to make use of them.)
Podcasting was my next target. Listen wouldn't work at the time (although it's been fixed now) because my main email address is for a Google Apps account, and Listen uses a vanilla Gmail account to access Google Reader and there was a bug affecting users in that situation. I kept it installed, waiting for a fix, but went looking for something else in the meantime. Having tried a few alternative podcatchers and players, I eventually settled on ACast as my podcatcher for the time-being. It has an OPML importer, so I just needed to export from the Symbian Podcasting app and import into ACast. It also has hooks into Google Reader, so could act as a stepping stone to get my feeds into Listen too.
The major sticking point was a replacement for HandySafe Pro. There were plenty of apps in the MarketPlace that would store encrypted passwords, but none that would import HandySafe Pro's only output format of XML, and only a few that would sync with some sort of Desktop version. More on that in a separate post.
Data was easy. I just needed a bigger MicroSD card. I copied the data from the N97's mass storage and from my older (smaller) MicroSD card to the new card, removed the Symbian system folders, and put the card in the DEXT. Job done.
Next came the ongoing fun of finding Apps I want to install on Android.
I've been a bit of a geek for as long as I can remember. I love gadgets - I just wish I had the income to support my habit!
I have a BSc Hons in Computing (more years ago than I care to contemplate), and worked in software support for Hewlett Packard for 9 years after I graduated.
I had recurring back problems, and left HP to join Back in Action in 1993, having been impressed by the service they provided to me as a customer.
13 years later, in January 2006, I repeated the pattern of happy-customer-turned-employee when I joined The Veterinary Centre in Henley, having become a bit of a fixture during the last year of my dog Jazz's life while he was being treated there for canine lymphoma. I was originally the Office Manager there, looking after day-to-day admin and the computer systems, which gradually morphed into IT and Communications Systems Manager, until I was made redundant in October 2020 as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to this I had a part time job from June 2012 to March 2017, helping to support BeyondPod for Android - another job that came about because I was a happy user, and was already volunteering help to others on the BeyondPod forum.
I am also an ex-Toppy user (Topfield 5800 and 5810 PVRs) and now a considerably less-active member of the UK Toppy forum. We eventually bought an XTrend ET8500 Enigma2/Openvix PVR to replace the Toppy, which we've gradually been getting to grips with.
I was a big Google+user (now Google Currents - Google's Social Media product), and a member of Google's Product Expert team of tech help volunteers in the Google+ Help Community. Most of my contributions were in various Communities, and I miss those since the G+ consumer offering was withdrawn in April 2019.
I use and am fairly knowledgeable about a number of other Google products too, but I really emjoyed answering questions about a product using that product, as well as answering questions about a product that I used regularly. I met some wonderful people from around the world in my time as a volunteer Product Expert for Google.
I'll post here sporadically (and definitely not regularly) about things that interest me enough in to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard).
How to say thanks
If you've found any of my posts useful (or even just entertaining), there are a number of ways you can say "thank you" in practical terms. And they benefit you too.
GiffGaff offer PAYG SIM cards which can also be used as if they were contract SIMs ... but without being tied in for the long term. Call rates are generally pretty good as a PAYG.
However, if you buy their Goodybags you can get much better deals on data, from 500Mb to unlimited, with unlimited calls and SMS messages. You can set up a recurring Goodybag so you don't have to think about it. And if you run out of data, you can just buy your next Goodybag early.
Or if you use it without Goodybags, you can set up automatic top-ups from your credit card when you get below your set credit limit, but with limits on the number of top-ups per month to make sure it's not possible to rack up huge bills without knowing about it.
If you use my link, I get a £5 credit, and so do you.
Octopus have various different tariffs, from conventional variable bills (if you must), to regular monthly Direct Debit payments to smooth out your summer and winter consumption, plus innovative tariffs that vary according to the load on the grid (typically making electricity cheaper at night), or tariffs designed for users with solar panels or electric cars.
Octopus is recommended by Which and Money Saving Expert, and all electricity is from renewable sources.