$199 FirePhone

If this was the at-launch price with some enhanced usability, it might have worked out.

Functional Programming with JavaScript

When I learned Scheme a few years, I told my friends that it was similar to JavaScript. I never had a problem with it. Now I am working with SML and it features a lot (if not all) of the concepts shown in Scott’s slides here.

Functional Programming, turns out, is pretty neat.

Nexus 6 Encryption Kerfuffle

You might have heard the Nexus 6 is sort of slow in many benchmarks. By default, it ships with an encrypted file system which while is secure and all, slows things way down.

Android Police:

Denver uses the ARMv8 architecture, which has native AES and SHA support as part of its instruction set. The Snapdragon 805, meanwhile, achieves its own hardware-level AES support using a proprietary cryptographic module developed by Qualcomm.

My strong suspicion is that these two solutions were not created equally. Qualcomm’s processor roadmap has struggled to make the leap to ARMv8-based chips at the high end of the market, with the company having shifted much of its current release schedule to push 64-bit mid-range and low-end chips in Asia and Europe. Though those chips are using the ARMv8 instruction set, their cores are based on standard ARM reference designs. Meanwhile, the top-tier Krait core still uses ARMv7, thus pushing Qualcomm into offering some form of hardware encrypt/decrypt while its next-gen 64-bit core is still in development.

The behemoth of the mobile processor industry is to blame. Don’t worry, I’ll hold it against them for you.

Snapchat + Square = Snapcash

What is Snapchat primarily used for? What is money used for in that context?

Well then. This will work out great.

Podcasts on Spotify

Alongside that, code for a whole new feature: podcasts. “A few files point that it is a feature ready to go,” he says. There’s also an image that supports it — pictured here. “My take is that they are releasing it as a response to users’ requests and to become a full-blown iTunes competitor on more than the music front,” Lee says.

Podcasts are great on commutes.

Windows 10 – Improved but not Stable

Paul Thurrott on build 9879:

Obviously, there are some nice improvements here—and the seismic shift that’s happening with OneDrive—but the big news here, perhaps, is that this is the first build that isn’t stable or reliable enough to use regularly. And unless this is fixed soon, I may have to take the unusual step of moving back to a previous build, or to Windows 8.1.

Developer builds have bugs and certain instabilities. That’s expected and totally fine.

Microsoft has announced that it will not be issuing another build until 2015.

Not releasing any updates for about two months? That is almost entirely not fine.

Nexus 6: Battery Life

The embargo on the Nexus 6 has been lifted and I took the liberty of reading at least three reviews, numerous reddit threads and countless tweets. The most important concern of mine with the new Nexus 6 is the battery life. After all of that reading, I wanted to collate the once again strange battery life discrepancies these reviews have revealed.

AnandTech portrays the Nexus 6 battery life as a let down:

Compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 which has essentially the same specifications on paper, the Nexus 6 lasts 4.27 hours shorter. It is likely that this can be attributed to the display, which may not be as efficient as the latest and greatest AMOLED panel used in the Note 4.

This beautiful graph, specifies the Nexus 6 below the Nexus 5 in “web browsing on wifi”: Nexus 6 scored 7.7 hours while the Nexus 5 scored 8.99 hours, which is a 14% difference. I have no idea what makes the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 score 11.97 hours in the wifi test, but that difference is kind of spooky, especially in considerations of stock Android, the lack of TouchWiz and the refinements to the OS that were alleged to boost battery life. There are other graphs in the review that show the Nexus 5, 6, Note 4, iPhones and others doing better than the Nexus 6 in a variety of “tests”.

Update: Brandon, the author of AnandTech’s review on the Nexus 6, continued on Twitter a few days later after rerunning his tests on the Nexus 6 with the “late firmware update“. He says it made no difference.

Android Police offer a less stinging opinion of the battery, but their charts show some numbing results.

That said, I have found the Nexus 6 to have respectable battery life. Here’s a look at an average day with the N6. While using the Nexus 6, my brightness was almost always at maximum, and I was connected to mobile data exclusively.

Their charts are not as organized as AnandTech’s, but plainly: ~1pm to ~10pm reaching down to 9% (which would result at 54 minutes at the current usage rate), and by the way, they say this was their “light day of use”. The heavier day usage is more akin to my usage so: ~11am to 5pm reaching down to 7%.

Even after all that, Liam Spradlin defends it:

On the whole, the first set of shots is what I experienced most days, which comfortably got me through an entire day and evening. The phone definitely still needs to be charged every single day…

The Verge offers the most optimistic description in my opinion:

The Nexus 6 has a 3220 mAh battery, which in my week or so with the device initially lasted a solid day and a half. Very heavy use did make it die out after 14 hours or so, while lighter use let me push it to two days.

The Verge did not provide graphs of any kind (because it’s too hard for their readers to parse, perhaps), but there is no reason to disregard Dieter Bohn’s usage here so far. Despite the criticism The Verge recieves over their Apple affinity, this review and Dieter’s earlier sneak peak preview are fair. It is worth noting that The Verge scored the Nexus 6, 8.6 overall and 8 in battery life while the iPhone 6 Plus scored, 8.7 overall and 9 in battery life. The Note 4 scored an identical overall score to the Nexus 6 while its battery life score was 9 just like the iPhone 6 Plus.

Three reviews of varying angles detailing the good enough or lackluster battery life of the Nexus 6. These are the battery life discrepancies that plagued the Moto 360 reviews as well, at least initially. The common opinion now seems to be the Moto 360 has “okay” battery life. To get any sensible result in these tests, it is clear that the reviewing needs to happen over a long time, and perhaps with the actual OS installed (because, in the Nexus 6’s case, there was a late update that could have changed something).

It’s a shame that Google and their OEM provider struggle to make their products stand out in some of the most important factors. It is clear that nobody knows the true battery life expectations for the Nexus 6 yet. Which is fine, because right now, there is no stock – anywhere.

We’ll see.

Google and Ebola

Right now, if you perform a search with Google, you will likely see a black bar on the top of the results that asks you for a donation. This black bar approach reminds me heavily of the Wikipedia approach during their donation campaigns.

Nexus 6 Pushed Back Further

While the Play Store does not have stock (except on Wednesdays for about two minutes), T-Mobile is also struggling to find even their own allotment of units.

It’s incredible how poorly Google mismanaged stock and this rollout.

Busy Bragger

Similar to The Expert yesterday.

Thinking about this, I feel like I fall into the busy bragger feedback loop occasionally, especially this semester.

Video: The Expert

Nothing matters, except that you are an expert and you can do absolutely anything, because you are an expert.

PHP: Return Type RFC Canceled

I liked this idea. It would enforce the types of returned values from functions and methods, just like the parameter checking they added a few versions ago.

A bug was found during the voting period that will require enough changes to how the RFC works that voting has been cancelled.

Apparently the problem lies in that the PHP compiler only uses a single pass and allegedly, the compiler does not know about classes (i.e. new types) before they have been defined, which means it’s tricky to type check. Since there was so much support with this RFC, I am sure the next one will work just fine too.

Marco: Matias Duarte on Google’s non-standard share icon in its iOS apps

I am biased here – I use Android so I know what the sharing icon looks like. I have no idea what the sharing icon looks like on iOS, or BlackBerry or Windows.

Out of the context of an app on a screen I am holding somehow, I don’t know of I would immediately suggest the sharing icon Android uses is “universal”.

PushBullet: Send Texts Right From Your Computer

PushBullet has had reply from computer for a while now, but this more than replies now.

Google has needed to integrate this feature into their stack for years. I don’t know what they’re waiting for.