Jun. 26th, 2017 11:29 pm
plonq: (Somewhat Pleased Mood)
I did a rage uninstall on my phone today, and left an indignant one-star review on Google Play. It is the first time I have been moved to post a review, but these developers are particularly sketchy.

The strange part of it is that this was in response to a game that I've had for a couple of years. This was one of those typical jewel games where you flip the positions of coloured stones to create rows or columns of the same colour in a race against the clock.

The game has always been an ad-supported, but I've avoided installing ad-blockers on my phone because I can tolerate a few ads to support developers. Originally the ads were pretty unobtrusive, consisting of a small banner at the bottom, and the occasional full-screen ad after clearing a few levels. Over time, the ads became more frequent - usually after clearing 2-3 levels. For a brief span they had ads that would automatically bounce you to the download page for one of their other apps on the Play store, and I came close to dumping the game there, but they reverted that quickly after user complaints.

I did not play the game very often - and usually when I played, it was on long plane trips where I did not have net access, so their ad service behaved itself. Even so, whenever I played the game more recently, I noticed that it was up to popping an ad between every level clear, and then interrupting game-play to display full-screen ads. Again, after users pushed back, they scaled it back to ads ever 2-3 levels, and stopped interrupting in the middle of a level clear.

Today their game hijacked my lock screen with an ad. My phone had got an OS update earlier in the day, and at first I thought that Google had finally gone off the deep end. I closed the ad, and moments later it appeared again. I quickly realized it was tied to the Jewels Star, and I jumped to the play store to see if there were any comments. Sure enough, there was a flood of 1-star reviews by angry people who had encountered the same shenanigans.

The really insulting thing about it is that the developers are responding to the reviewers with a boilerplate response:

"ITREEGAMER June 26, 2017
Hello dear customer, thanks for your feedback and sorry for causing you this problem. We designed this lock-screen in order to make your screen more beautiful and protect your battery while charging. You can close it any time by pressing the button on the top-right corner of the lock screen."

The developers know that they have stepped over a line with this move, but based on their responses, they don't appear to care. I have a niggling suspicion that the company that developed this game may have changed hands at some point, because in spite of their irritating ads earlier, they were at least moderately responsive to the user comments. Now they are nudging the line between irritating and outright malware.

I'd recommend avoiding anything produced by these developers.
plonq: (Fark Off)
Every time I have been involved in a work-related move, if I move the stuff myself it all arrives intact, but if I leave it in the hands of the company movers, something invariably ends up broken.

It's like they hire their movers by heading down to the nearest detox centre and grabbing whoever stumbles out first.

Uh Oh

[livejournal.com profile] atara and I went phone shopping on the weekend. We compared the phones and plans offered by our current carrier, and the independent provincial carrier. They both have pluses and minuses.

Rogers has a pretty competitive rate for a shared 10gb plan, and they have the visual voicemail system that we both like. They have the full selection of current phones, and they have a really shitty data plan for travelling to the US. Still, as shitty as their plan is, it also happens to be about the only one available.

MTS has ridiculously cheap data rates for up here (~$35/Mo would give us both unlimited, Canada-wide data). The three downsides are that they offer no data plan for travelers (the rep admitted that our best bet was to buy a burner when we travel to the US), their monthly rate is too low to qualify for a discount on any of the phones, and they only offer their visual voicemail for iPhones (ugh).

The last time our phones came up for renewal, tower coverage was one of our considerations, but when I checked the coverage map last night, it looks like the playing field is pretty even now. Working under the assumption that we would not get a discount on the phones from MTS, the overall cost difference of the two plans over 24 months would be ~$10.

I had a look at a number of the re-sellers (Koodo, Fido, etc), and while their rates are competitive, their phone selection is very limited, and mostly late models.

Finding a cell plan should not be this complicated.
plonq: (Kinda bleah mood)
I don't know how I should feel about learning that my phone is smarter than I am.

Back in mid October when I learned that we were going to have a flu clinic set up in our office, I put my name on the sign-up sheet and then pulled out my phone and carefully enunciated, "book an appointment for a flu shot on November 30th at 9:45 in the morning."

My phone displayed the details and presented me with a button to confirm the appointment. I wandered back to my desk, and on a whim I checked my desktop calendar. No appointment. It sometimes takes a few minutes for it to sync with my Google calendar, so I worked on something for a few minutes and then checked again. No luck.

I checked my phone's calendar, and the appointment wasn't there either. I sighed, pulled out my phone and booked the appointment again. It confirmed the details and assured me that it was booking the appointment for me. As before, nothing showed up on either of my calendars. I booked it again in slightly more terse tones, and it once again failed to actually populate it anywhere. I finally gave up and entered the appointment manually on my work computer. A few minutes later it showed up on my phone and home computers.

This morning I was looking at my work calendar, and I noticed an appointment on November 30th for a flu shot.

Wait ... what? But I got my shot on October 30th. Why is it on my calendar for November?



Don't you hate it when technology does exactly what you ask it to do?
plonq: (Bored Bored Bored)
As it has become apparent that MTS does not plan to bring in any Android phones, and our contracts come up in a couple of months, we have decided that we are most likely going to be changing carriers at the end of summer. Our choices are a bit limited (Wind is not available here yet), so we are stuck with Rogers, Virgin, MTS, Telus, and a bunch of smaller companies who are basically just resellers for Rogers.

Unless they have some super secret plans that we don't know about, Rogers data packages are downright insulting. For just 120% of the price of the competition, they will give you 60% of the same data. Actually, that is the one thing that we will miss from MTS - they have unlimited data up to 10gb, then they throttle you past that. Virgin and Telus both offer fixed, and flexible data plans. The flexible plans will save you money if you don't use a lot of data in a month, but will end up costing you more if you end up using what you would hit in one of the fixed plans.

I think we have several of our old phone bills kicking around - and I may be able to get them on-line. We may need to look through our usage profiles and decide which way we want to go. At the same time, if we get the new Galaxy S III phones that they are offering, and switching to 4G, we will inevitably end up using more data.

Although they both take different roads to get there, at first blush Virgin and Telus seem to offer very similar plans, with the difference being how forgiving they are on overages. Virgin, Rogers and Telus all offer roaming data packages for when we travel to the US - something else that MTS can't seem to get their act together on.

One of our concerns is coverage. Rogers has very good coverage, Telus is decent (though they are making a big deal about all of the new towers they are building to expand their coverage here), and MTS is pretty good. Virgin is an unknown, though I could probably stop in one of their kiosks while we are out sometime and ask.

It's not that we have been particularly unhappy with MTS - like I said, they have decent coverage, and we will lose some of the bundle discount on our Internet and land line - but after toying with the Android early on, they have decided to hang their flag on the iPhone and Blackberry. Neither of those interest us for various reasons, though in fairness either would be a significant upgrade from venerable HTC phones we both have right now.

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