Let’s talk iPhone prices!

It’s no secret that iPhones and Apple products in general are expensive. But you often get what you pay for. The higher prices, the durability, the stability etc were many of those selling points I had that made me switch over to iOS and the Apple ecosystem in 2018. I have not regretted it since. Like I written in my last post, the obsession of getting more Apple products instead keeps getting bigger and bigger. It won’t stop sometimes until I have every last product available to me with the  logo on it, or at least it’s starting to feel like that. But what’s keeping me from buying more stuff from Apple? Well, money and the general idea that I actually (and really) already have whatever it is that I need from them. I have a pretty big collection today of Apple products and I love them and the feeling of having them.

If I could decide 100% about everything we own in this household, basically all technological stuff would be an Apple product wherever possible. The reason? Well, stability, durability and longevity. But those prices… The only thing I’d consider cheap in the Apple product line is the Apple TV. The reason for that is because our crappy collection of Android TV’s (Nvidia Shield) are really crappy and more expensive than an Apple TV. We have three of them, and one just died and we had to swop it out for a new one. Another one, has started to lag, glitch, it keeps restarting and crashing and it has always – from the beginning crashed whenever we watch a movie on it. At least 9 of 10 times that happens. It’s considered a miracle when it does not happen, or something. The third one we barely use, but the few times I’ve tried it’s been basically unusable, so I am not impressed and I’m pretty tired of bad products. I only want stuff that works, reliably, and Apple has a bigger tendency (from rumors and experience) to build stuff that lasts without issues and that’s one of the main reasons I switched from Android and Windows to the Apple ecosystem.

Then there’s the epic story of me always wanting a new phone. Or at least a phone that does what it should that I can rely on no matter what. A phone that lasts and keeps me satisfied for years. Since the Google Nexus line vanished, that’s been a true obsession, because I haven’t really had it. For the past years, that’s been hard, and my reasons for “hating” on the iPhone SE are so tiny, that it’s almost hilarious. I stand by loving my phone, but like I mentioned in the last post, it’s just to tiny in every way, but the iPhone prices are a huge deal for me as of now, and that’s the main thing keeping me from getting a new one. Also I do not want to get one on contract, even though it is “oh, so tempting” these days. But no. The reason for that is that I’ve made my financial mistakes in the past and whenever I stopped making them, I have money. Go figure?! If you don’t spend it on unnecessary shit, you have money… Who could’ve thought? If you don’t spend it on crap, you can actually pay rent. You can have food on the table and live a good life. Just don’t spend it on shit you don’t need. So I’ve stopped. Also I’ve had many phones on contract, and sooner rather than later, I’d like to get a new phone and then I’m still locked in with no way to pay it off without losing my left arm or something. Surely, it’s not that bad today. That’s why it’s sort of tempting to buy on contract because I can pay it off whenever I want. Like I wrote in my last post, I’m just extremely cautious with my money these days and I don’t like having anxiety over what I’ve spent it on. I do spend money, mostly on food, but that’s more important to me today than just getting a new phone every year or something. And now on to the actual post topic. The iPhone prices…

If you’ve hidden under a rock since this blog started, or just don’t read my stuff very well or perhaps you’re here for the first time – you might have missed that I am a Swedish person living in Sweden. My home country is a huge fan of iPhones. Almost 60% or so of all the smartphones sold here are iPhones. Still, we as many other countries such as Canada pay the so called “Apple tax” so the Apple products here are more expensive than in the U.S and some other countries that do not pay this specific tax. In the U.S, many of the Apple products in my book are considered cheap, or at least cheap enough to not break the bank. The iPhone X that came out in 2017 was priced in Sweden about $1300 with today’s money value (jan 2019). That was really expensive, but this year, it’s even worse. Now the cheapest option for getting an iPhone Xs 64 GB is priced at $1400 in the Apple store. If you’re lucky you can save about $100 at other places, but let’s go with the Apple Store prices for now. The “cheaper” iPhone Xr costs about $1070 at the Apple store, and for that phone it’s really expensive as well. These prices are ridiculous, but I personally do not blame Apple for these huge prices. I know it’s because our Swedish crown is worse against the dollar today. Adding to the U.S and those tariffs or whatever, also hikes the prices a whole lot for many countries. But it still sucks.

In a more “normal” world, the correct prices should be at least $150 less. As Swedes buying a lot of Apple products, we’re happy to pay the price for those amazing phones. If the iPhone Xs cost around $1100 that would be a whole lot better. Even $1200 with today’s money would be an ok price, even though it’s “holy-shit-that’s-expensive” price, it would be better. If the iPhone Xr actually cost what what it should, about $899, it would sell out faster than I don’t know what. It’s this year’s price hikes that have failed customers a lot. There are still many people at the Apple Store, and many are buying iPhones still, but I have yet to see an iPhone Xr on the train. All I see are mainly older iPhones or iPhone X’s from 2017. Those sold a lot!

If I should mentioned, like I said before – it is possible to save about $100 if you buy the latest phones from other stores than the Apple Store, and that’s good. The cheapest available for the Xr is just above $1000, but for me, it’s still a bit too steep for a phone of that kind. I at least thought so before I played around with it and realized that the phone is awesome, so now I’m not so sure. The real differences are minuscule, really so if you’re not as obsessive about black backgrounds as I am, you’d be stupid almost not to get the Xr and save a few in the process.

Also I do not know for how much longer I’ll be able to keep my iPhone SE, but I shall try and try and try until I go blue in the face to not buy a new one because of everything and more that I wrote about in my last post. It is driving me nuts, but I should also point out that everything in my head goes in like Speedy Gonzales speed or something, so I can make up my mind fast, and if I generally “take some time to think about it” it mostly means that I’ve made a decision in like 2 hours where many think about it for days or months. The biggest enemy I’m fighting is time, really because everything goes so slowly outside my stupid brain. I feel like I do think about stuff for a long time, but all I do after I’ve come to a conclusion is repeat myself until the problem is solved, and that’s my current situation with all Apple products, but mainly iPhones. And that can go on for years!

It’s like a current loop. I’ve come to the conclusion a while back that I want a new phone, for stupid reasons. Still, I want one. The things I’m contemplating until I’ve actually bought one are:

  • Is the iPhone Xr camera enough? It sure is in every other way…
  • Is the Xr too big? I want a bigger screen, yes, but I hesitate with the phablet aspect.
  • Will the Xs battery life be too small, even though it has all the camera features? No matter what it’s almost guaranteed to be better than the iPhone SE… Anything would be better than the SE’s battery life!
  • Can the Xr take cat selfies with Portrait Lighting using the TrueDepth camera? If so, it’s a given winner – but nothing online says so 🤔
  • How fast can I get myself a custom case made after I’ve actually bought the new device?
  • Will I hate myself if I buy a new phone too early? (probably not, I’d most likely be relieved.)
  • Will the $340 price difference (in Sweden) between the Xr and Xs matter if I really can keep my next phone for like 3 years? Probably not…

After I played around with the Xr and the Xs at the Apple Store the other day, I thought of the amazing idea that I could actually put my cat, Maja (pronounced [Mah-ya]) against an even background, put the Xr on a stand on the floor, set a timer for portrait photos and just go to town with burst mode. Hopefully that way I’ll get a couple of nice photos of her when I need too, and for rear portrait mode photos, there’s an app called Halide or something, and I’d easily get that one if possible. If this plan works, aka that the iPhone Xr actually can take selfies with pets using those portrait lighting and studio effects, my biggest problem is solved. I tried the camera in the store, photographing my hand and another phone and I’ve got some great results, and there is an easy way to get bokeh effects with a normal camera as well, just get the subject close enough and you’re done or something. Below you can se what I mean, all photos are taken with my iPhone SE.

The only thing I’d really think I’d want for those rear camera photos are portrait lightning of my cat Maja and perhaps other people in my life, because they can be so full of expressions, with that amazing background. But I don’t know if I’m being too greedy or something with the choice between the Xr and the Xs. The battery life of the Xs and the bigger price tag is what will decide it for sure, but I’m pretty sure I’d be more than satisfied with the Xr after the last post and experience at the Apple Store. I just wanna make sure that I’m 100% satisfied with the purchase of my next phone – no matter what. That way I won’t be that easily persuaded to upgrade yet again when the new iPhones come out next year etc. No, the next one must absolutely be the phone of choice. The phone to master them all. The phone that is the best of the bunch in all different ways that could easily have or get enough camera features that I would not care that much about newer models. Like I felt when I bought the latest Nexus phones. I’d love to have that feeling again. A phone I’m so extremely satisfied with that I won’t budge, even if I’m a little bit curious… I wonder. Is that the iPhone Xr, the Xs or some other phone?

I can say right now that with the rumors of the iPhone X1 getting 3 cameras on the back seems a lot like overkill, so that’s why I sort of feel like upgrading now. I am not interested in a phone with 3 cameras on the back, no matter what that extra lens could do…

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Vertical Videos are the worst🙄🤦🏻‍♀️, but IGTV might be the solution…

For those who know me personally, or have read my blog posts for years know that I really dislike Vertical Videos (VV or VVS for short). It might, in my opinion be the worst thing about having smartphones and every “Idiot” having a camera in their pocket. It’s also only getting worse. I remember when VV started to become a thing, back in like 2012 or something. Then people screamed like crazy and wondered what the fudge was wrong with people. YouTube channels made videos after video, asking people to turn their phone 90 degrees and that kept going for years. And then I guess it all went silent. Instead of 8 people out of 10 screaming their heads off about recording videos vertically, 9 out of 10 people now gladly or preferably record vertical videos instead. It’s horrible!

I’ve always said, that if I ever got an iPhone, I’d be like one (of the other 10 or so) out of thousands, or millions of people using iOS that would ALWAYS record in landscape mode, and I am keeping this promise. If not for everybody else, then at least for my own sanity. I find that hilarious and of course I know I’m exaggerating. Its at least a thousand people with iPhones who think like I do in this matter 😂. Ok, jokes aside, but vertical videos are no joke for me. I really fricking hate it! Ok, I’ve calmed down a bit these past years. Instead of nagging and complaining to people to stop record vertically, I’ve instead tried my best to avoid watching videos that are recorded in that horrible manner. Unfortunately the problem is getting bigger everyday and I’ve actually had to force myself to accept that my friends, family members and even my BF records a lot of vertical video. The reason as to why I’ve stopped complaining to them is because it’s useless and I’m sick and tired of turning my arguments into a meaningless fight or something. People still just doesn’t get it!

They say, that’s it’s easier to hold that way. We always use our phones like that, so why not record that way? “Isn’t that the way you’re supposed to record videos on smartphones?”. And the list goes on and on. Well, if it’s so hard for you to hold your phone in landscape mode – get a gimble! Buy a selfie stick! Problem solved! It also doesn’t help when I watch movies or TV series where people record vertically and the video still comes out in landscape mode. That’s not good at all… It’s a straight out lie when I see that in movies etc. I get that it might be meaningless to complain if the video is only meant to be shared locally on your phone, or at least mainly to be watched on your phone if the video is shared on other platforms, but I still see a huge problem with vertical videos. The only time I might accept it (but not really) is maybe if somebody records a close-up video of the Eiffel Tower or something, but then it’s probably possible to record in a different angle and still get the whole view. Buy a wide lense or something! Problem solved. There’s just so much you’re missing when watching a video if it is recorded vertically. Now, for photos I do not complain, because photos are… well, photos! You can and we have watched photos in “portrait” mode or whatever since forever. Portrait photos in vertical ways or whatever are still a problem sometimes, especially if used in blog posts. That’s because then the image is cropped, or just looks weird when a blog post is shared to Facebook, G+ or some other platform. At least for now, so I try to avoid using portrait photos in my blog posts. They’re fine to watch however on whatever platform there is, but videos recorded vertically really freaks me out, even if I do not say anything about it. I’ve simply just stopped bothering people about it, but we, the rebels have lost the battle. Hopefully we haven’t lost the war on vertical videos!

Personally, and for good reason – I do not use any platform that provide vertical videos. By that I mean I do not use that service on Facebook, called stories. I do not use the Instagram version. I have a Snapchat account, but I only got that because a friend of mine told me that it was possible to record landscape videos, but that turned out to be a lie or something. I do not blame my friend for that, I blame SnapChat! Now, Instagram has come out with IGTV, short for Instagram TV. It’s a platform made for vertical videos. To this I say both “Great” as well as “Oh noes!”. Its great in the way that now we have a video platform for all those who love vertical videos. Its great, because then we might see a whole lot less of that crap on YouTube or other video platforms. It is a bad thing because it means that vertical video recording is growing and won’t stop, and that is a thing I really dislike. I shall personally try and avoid using that service at all cost!

Now, if you’ve ever watched the linked video above from Glove and Boots, and you’ve seen the presentation from Instagram, there is a hilarious clip in there that is just too funny not to comment on. In the video from Glove and Boots, they have a character with vertical eyes. He says he loves vertical video, and why wouldn’t he? He’s got vertical eyes FFS! Instagram stole that clip, but the point made from Glove and Boots is like the total opposite of what Instagram is trying to achieve here. That’s how I see it, at least…

Vertical videos look horrible. Always! When they are shared on Facebook for example, they’re often pixelated and never in HD. You miss like 66% of all the action when you record or watch it, even if it’s just for a few seconds. That goes even if it’s your pet you’re trying to record. I wanna see it all! Not just the nose on your dog… I don’t care if the phone is easier to hold like that! When you record video, you do it in landscape mode. Please. Just please. FFS!

Even if you do not care, there might be others who feel awful and can’t enjoy the video fully if it’s been recorded in such an awful way. I don’t even understand how it’s even possible to record vertically. I never have! It should have been banned by the phone makers from the start! In the beginning, however Android phones within the camera app, told people to record in landscape mode, but that only lasted for like 6 months or something and nobody cared. Now I even think Google themselves promotes vertical videos whenever possible. I’ve seen special TV’s at train stations with vertical commercials on them, as the screen is also vertical. It is such a mess! But I guess I have to learn to live with this awfulness.

Maybe someday people will wake up and realise that VV is absolutely horrible and does not belong in any situation, but that’s just utopia or something… I know it will never happen. It is far more likely that we will go to the movies and watch vertical films instead within 10 years. With huge black bars on the side, or a 300 feet high ceiling where everybody gets a stiff neck at the end of the movie. Soon Netflix and other streaming platforms will make TV series in vertical video format. Soon, it might be impossible to even record or do anything in landscape and there we will be. Watching, missing 66% of everything, just because that’s life or some shit like that.

I am not looking forward to that. Are you?

My thoughts about Android… (as a new iPhone user)

In one of my recent posts I wrote that I really dislike Android. That is not really true and I felt after writing that post that I need to clarify my statement a bit further. Hopefully this won’t be a really long 2000 word post, but I can’t promise anything here. Ok, here we go!

I’ve been an android user since 2010 or so. After having an iPhone 3GS I sort of left and never looked back and I’ve been a happy android user for many years. While that might not be the case as of now, it has been a fun ride and I am sad that I feel the way I do about android these days. I wish I could just ignore these feelings and continue being a happy customer, but I can’t. Not any more, and all of my readers that actually care about my posts know all about it by now.

To sum it up, I like (or rather love) Android for what it is in itself. It’s a mobile Operating System that is open source, flexible and very customisable. With Android you can go naked, or Vanilla (aka pure Android) or with a bazillion other features if you go with Samsung for example. Or just Android with the double amounts of apps for the same thing. No matter what, you have a lot of choices and that’s a good thing. There’s a phone for every wallet. Maybe even a perfect phone for everybody? Android as an OS is awesome and I’d probably prefer to keep using it, but here’s the catch:

From all of you who’ve read all my posts about Apple, privacy concerns, Google I/O and also all the fuckups from Google that’s been done for the past years etc. you know what I mean. Android is not what it used to be and I think that’s sad. Although, even though it was not mentioned at all in the Keynote for Google I/O, Android P will enhance many features regarding security and privacy, but from what I’ve learned – I do not trust Google anymore, and therefor I can’t trust Android either. Yeah, Android P might enhance your privacy, and that’s great, but Google as a company still thrives and lives off of your personal data and with all the AI and Machine Learning (ML) they’ve started focusing on, I do not believe that the Android experience will be a lot better, probably only worse. However, if iOS does this better than Android is for me hard to tell, because I haven’t used my iPhone SE for that long. I use a mac mini (late 2012 version) as of now and I play around with a 5+ year old iPad mini 2, and that alone has not taught me the differences regarding privacy and AI/ML stuff. All I know from that is that I really like macOS and that iOS might be limiting, but it’s reliable and have a bunch of nifty features I wish Android would have. The only thing that feels weird when it comes to iOS vs Android is I now have to use the home button and the apps are not placed like they were in my last Android phones, so that makes it a tiny bit harder to find the apps faster, but I’ll get used to that! There are also a lot of hacks and workarounds to get iOS more pleasant, but I’ve figured out most of them for my personal use. Most of them have to do with custom ringtones.

There is also the whole thing about stability that also makes me wanna sway away from Android. The Nexus line from Google is no more. The Pixel phones do not sell officially in Sweden. Samsung puts mainly garbage on their phones and other have their skin on top of Android. If I would have stayed an Android user I’d firstly try out the One Plus 6, since that seem to be the closest reliable phone you could get in the Android world. It would be awesome to have the best of both worlds, a reliable Android phone that lasts like it’s new for like 3+ years, instead of me feeling like the phone needs an upgrade after like a year. The reason why I say that is because of experience. And because I love technology 😉.

Android phones lag, stutters, slows down, crashes, become unresponsive etc and that’s something that usually happens within the first year of purchase. Usually as well, there are no updates to fix the issues. No, its better to just buy a new phone! Not all customers might experience this, but it’s really common. Or they do, but learn to live with it and accept it, or do not realise that it’s a problem. From what I’ve come to learn about iOS devices, that does not really happen, until many years more and then Apple slows down the devices in order to save the batteries. With iOS 12, they’ll probably fix that problem as well and older devices will become a lot snappier again. Also my iPhone SE works a whole lot better than my Lenovo P2, but the battery life sucks when I use it. It’s great on stand-by, but otherwise I’d probably have to charge it twice a day with my usage. That’s also due to me normally starting to panic when I get closer to 50% battery during the day and there’s like 6+ hours until bedtime. I know I don’t have to charge the phone, probably but I most likely do that anyways since I really don’t like it when the battery status is too low.

That brings us to updates and manufacturers of Android devices care of their consumers. Only 6% of android devices have the latest upgraded version of the OS, which is Android Oreo 8. That version was released last fall. That’s mind boggling and I find it absurd that it’s like that low if you go with a more open platform. For iOS devices, it’s basically always been at least 75% of all users within a few months of the release. As of may 31st, 81% of devices run iOS 11. That’s amazing!

And now for the main part – customisation. iOS is known for being limited, hard to customise, but I see it a bit differently from what I’ve learned and tried out for the past week or so. Yes, some things with iOS is really limiting, like how hard it is to change ringtones for certain apps, but in general I have come to believe that the way you customise iOS are in many ways a lot more cooler than the way you can do it with Android. Yes, in Android, you can put the icons where ever you want on the home screen, put them in folders etc. You choose backgrounds and it’s easy to get a custom ringtone for basically every app on your phone. But, where it could matter more is how your phone looks on the outside. Now, unless you have a Samsung phone, your phone is most likely black and boring and looks like every other android device out there. For Samsung phones, it’s easy to get great looking accessories to make your phone shine and look cool. My last android was a “never-even-heard-of” Lenovo P2 phone, so finding a case I liked was really hard. I had to buy one on eBay and wait for weeks to get it and it was not even available in the colour I wanted. That’s because I live in Sweden, and eBay is not available here officially. I also haven’t found a single website online where I could safely create a custom case with a photo or image of my own choice. No, you need a way more popular android phone for that. At least d-brand offers skins for the OP6, but that’s not enough, at least not for me. However, I’m fully aware that there were so called wallet cases for my Lenovo P2, but my sister in law bought one for her phone (she has the same android as my last one). I tried to put that gigantic wallet case in my pocket and found it to be very uncomfortable. Also I am not that interested of replacing a real wallet with a wallet case that also contains my phone. If I’d drop it, I’d also lose my phone in the process. That would not be a good thing.

There’s also the learning curve. iOS is really simple and intuitive, and I’m blown away by the  ecosystem. It’s absolutely amazing how seamless everything is! Before I started to play around with the iPad during the fall of 2017, I thought that the simplicity made iOS also way more complicated than it needs to be. From what I’ve learned and now know, I’ve almost come to prefer iOS over Android, because no matter what device – I know where to find all the settings. For every Android device, it’s always different. I feel sorry for all those non-techy people that have no clue on where to handle their phones. With iOS it’s a simple process and switching to a new iPhone is almost too easy. Especially if you keep a backup in iCloud, because then you could get the exact same setup on the new device as you had on your old one. That’s cool! Not to mention useful. That’s why I prefer to use the Google Now launcher, even though I’ve been using the Evie Launcher for a month or so. when I was still using Android, that is. I prefer Google Now, over Evie, but it’s a little bit better for privacy at least. It was also extremely easy to switch from Android to iOS with the special app, that Apple provides for Android users.

All and all, I like Android for what it is, but I am now an iOS user and I have no plans whatsoever to ever go back willingly. I hope that my iPhone SE will last me at least two years as well.

Also, you should know that I wrote this post several days before posting it, and then I saw this video on YouTube, which basically sums up all my current thoughts about Android in a few minutes. Please watch!

What are your thoughts on Android vs iOS? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

The Blackberry KeyOne makes me want an iPhone. Seriously.

This is a post about Android vs. iOS. And how much I have come to realize that I may want to try the dark side once more. First a bit of history.

iPhone 3GS and following nightmares of smartphones…

Back in 2009, me and the BF ordered ourselves an iPhone 3GS. It was our first real smartphone. My boyfriend, Henrik got it first. I had to wait for another couple of months until I could afford it. Until I got mine, I played around a lot with his and I think I liked it. I mainly used it to record videos and I started my first YouTube channel. At least until I got my own. Then I got bored so fast I don’t even remember what hit me. I remember the typing experience most, and how ridiculous it was that it was impossible to create custom ringtones for calls and texts. So we jailbreaked them. To type on the phone was the worst. Basically every word was misspelled. It was a huge nightmare. Back then, Android was simply the best operating system for smartphones. Maybe it still is? And Android phones also had physical keyboards. Just a couple of months later, after I got my iPhone 3GS, we bought the Milestone 2, I think it was called. That one sucked balls! I could type. Yes. That worked wonders, but the camera was crap (as pretty much all smartphone cameras was back then), but it really was not a good camera. Henrik’s Milestone worked ok. My was in the shop more than I had it in my hands. It was really awful.

I don’t remember as of now what phone we got next, but we sometime later got the HTC Desire Z. That one was absolutely amazing! It also lasted a pretty long time for a phone. After that, we bought into the Google Nexus line, and we started with the Nexus 4. That was even more amazing! Things had really changed with that phone, and typing on a non-physical keyboard was great. Of course words were misspelled, but it was not as horrible as the iPhone 3GS. I think we kept that phone for over 2 years. When Nexus 6 came out and it turned out to be a phablet, be bought the previous years model, the Nexus 5. I first thought I’d regret that, since it was an older phone, but it turned out to be an even better phone than the Nexus 4. I was amazed at everything. That phone worked for almost 2 years as well I think and then we bought the Nexus 6P. Yeah. We actually bought a phablet. But it worked.

The end of a beatiful Nexus era…

My 6P worked so beautifully, that I had planned to keep it for as long as possible. It was a bit of a challenge, getting such a huge phone to fit comfortably in pockets and in the hands, but for the most part it worked. During this time, I gained some more weight and for a time during spring of 2017 I had huge troubles finding pants to wear which resulted in destroyed pockets and me buying pants at least once a month, because my huge phone was simply to big for those pockets and badly sewn pants from H&M. At that time, those were the only type of pants I could wear, since my butt was to big for men’s pants, but finally I could fit into a pair and the pant problems have been gone ever since. I’ve even lost weight since then and I’m down a size in pants as well.

Also during that time, the rumors of the Blackberry Keyone started to emerge, and my BF was really keen on getting a phone again with a physical keyboard. I was not that interested, for good reasons, but then something happened with my 6P. All of a sudden it started to act weird and typing was a mess. Maybe this was something unconscious that I did, knowing that I might be able to type on a physical keyboard again, but none the less – my 6P started showing off many other types of problems as well. The battery life on that phone was ok. Not great and amazing. Especially not while traveling, but luckily Androids often have fast charging and I got pretty used to carrying my charger with me if I was gonna travel by train for a day.

During the fall of 2016, the Nexus era had officially ended and Google came up with their own kind of iPhone. The Google Pixel. At first I was sort of excited, but when I started to realize that this phone was NOT gonna be released globally (I live in Sweden), I was horrified and that set of something I probably still have not settled with, or something. Can’t really find the correct words for my feelings here. I hated the fact that it was not gonna be released globally and also that the price had risen from pretty cheap to “holy-crap-that’s-expensive!” price. iPhones are expensive, but now Android phones are that expensive too? What’s happening with the world?! That year, Google also became boring when they spent all of I/O with releasing a gaziliion messaging apps, when they could just upgrade Hangouts and make sure more people would use that platform more. I am still disappointed with Google for all their crap they keep doing. If Gmail wasn’t so amazing and I did not have a YouTube channel, I’d probably delete my Google accounts, because I’m getting so bored with Google these days. Ok, I admit – Google Drive and Google Photos are still amazing, but you get the point. I am not that huge of a Google fan that I used to be. And that is so sad. And boring. And no, I will never delete my Google accounts, because that would be stupid.

The physical keyboard experience was not what I expected.

In may I got the Blackberry Keyone as a birthday gift from my BF. At first I loved it, but it was a bit of a hassle of typing on it. Due to my fibromyalgia, my fingers really don’t like to type on hard surfaces. The keys on the Keyone are pretty soft, but my fingers hate it. I haven’t had this much issues with my fingers since I started using the Keyone. During the summer it also started having several bugs with push notifications and other problems emerged as well. I don’t remember all of them, but let’s say that this reminds me a lot of when I had the Milestone 2. This phone I do not like and I now regret deeply of getting one. I’d rather have kept my 6P. I still have it, but due to the battery life being better on the BB, I’ve chosen to keep it anyways. For now. The only thing that I genuinely like with the BB is the camera. It has the same camera as the Google Pixel, and it shows. The image quality is amazing! Just look at the sushi photo below

Closeup of sushi. I love the blurry effect with the Blackberry Keyone. And that’s basically all I like with this phone.

Every fall I temporarily turn into a somewhat of an iSheep…

When Apple releases a new iPhone, at least ever since they finally changed the look of the phone with the iPhone 6 lineup with bigger screens – I get so curious about iPhone that I basically decide to switch over again. But, a few weeks later I get the latest Nexus phone and problem is solved and last year, my 6P was still so amazing that Apple really couldn’t sway me that much over to the dark side. Except for the 7 plus and portrait mode! But I got over it. The 6P rocked! And kicked ass!

This year, everything is different. This year I might actually switch over to the dark side. And perhaps stay there.

This is due to several reasons. This year has officially been the year of emotions or something like that. I have moved two times in less than 8 months. I have said goodbye to several of my “friends” and I’ve been generally alone a lot of the time this year as well. I almost hit the wall, working my ass off with crappy crap stuff at work and I was really close to getting burned out. I have decided to be a programmer and I have spent pretty much every waking hour (when I do not think of Great Danes, Apple products or like when I’m doing the dishes) looking for educations and how I best can be a developer of some sorts in the future. All this with a stupid Blackberry phone that does not work properly. Not to mention the really frickin’ awful reception we have in our new apartment! It is truly horrifying!!! We can only use it for calls if we’re on the balcony. Fucking crap! Switching over to the dark side might not help with reception, but our building is lots of concrete and metal, and the phone is basically just all metal. The iPhone has a glass back that will probably help a lot with reception is my guess.

I have spent a lot of time recently looking for information on Apple products. I also have an old iPad Mini 2 that I’ve been playing around with, to explore iOS more and I’ve found that I actually can live with the “limitations” of that OS. The iPhone 8 plus (or X if I could afford it) has really caught my eye, and if I could get one – I definitely would. Problem is even though I technically can afford it (I have the money to buy it), I also made the decision that every bit of money I can spend – will go to our new apartment. Getting new appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dish washer, stove and freezer a fridge. Also we are planning on changing the floors and perhaps to a little bit of painting as well. All my money will go to that, and that’s fine and dandy. Really! Also I will lose maybe half of my current income for the upcoming years due to me going back to school. This is if worse comes to worse. It might not be that bad. Therefor I can’t afford an iPhone as of now. Not unless a miracle happens and get a lot of money from nowhere or my BF says it’s okay to spend my money on a new phone (even though he hates iOS!).  And I refuse buying one with a payment plan of some sorts either way, just so you know.

iOS is really not that bad. At least not on an iPad…

I have discovered that iOS is really more customizable than one might think.  For starters – just think of all the cases you can have!!! You can have custom ringtones for calls, texts (iMessage), mail, reminders, calendars and a few more. You can have a custom background for your homescreen. You can put apps in folders and place them in the dock if you want, and clear up your homescreen if you want. You can have like one app on your homescreen and 25 or something on the 2nd screen and so forth. You don’t have to have Apples default apps installed. You can delete them. The only downside I’ve noticed is that with iOS 11, you’re not able to customize ringtones (alerts) for all apps. If the app itself, like Viber have builtin alert tones, you can change those, but Facebook, Messenger and Twitter do not (at least that I’ve found out) have the option as of now to customize the alerts for push notifications. And you also can’t set the “do not disturb” feature to be different on weekdays and weekends. It’s the same for all days. However, there’s a physical mute button that silence your phone if you’d like not to be disturbed, so I guess that’s something you’d get used to.

The Apple ecosystem.

iOS works a whole lot better if you have more Apple products to sync your stuff with. If you have a Mac, either laptop or PC you could use AirDrop to send videos to easily edit videos for YouTube without loosing image quality or waiting for cloud services to upload and sync stuff for you. The list goes on and on, and from what I have learned I hope that I’ll be able to work with Apple products when I get my first real job as a programmer/developer. I think it would be good to be able to work and use multiple platforms and be flexible.

The conclusion.

I could basically say; Give me an iPhone 8 plus, and I’d could move on. I’m getting pretty sick and tired of me getting obsessed with tiny crap, just because of logic stuff that has happened to me lately.

Basically it comes down to me wanting a phone that works. That does what it should and would last for a long time if I want it to. Every person I know that has an iPhone uses them for like 3-4 years without any problems. If you have an Android, you’re basically forced to buy a new phone almost every year, because of lag and other issues. Only really “poorly technical” people keep their android phones for longer than they should, and I’m sick of that. I want something that works perfectly.

Yes. Iphones are more expensive, but people also have told me, if you pay more for a phone and it lasts at least 1 or 2 years longer, doesn’t that make it better, or perhaps even cheaper? Also the resell value of an iPhone is a lot higher than for Androids. My Blackberry Keyone is only worth a fifth of the price – 6 months later, if I’d use it to get a discount on an iPhone 8 plus. That is ridiculous! I bought it for ~$780 from the UK and now it’s worth like $140. Blargh! An iPhone 7 plus from last year is worth at least $530 if you’d use it in Apple’s renew program. That makes me angry! And hopeful. If I hate the iOS experience if I decide to get an iOS device, I could easily sell it or use it to buy another phone a lot cheaper.

My brain decided a few months back that I should learn about Apple, instead of reading manga, books or learn C# at a slow pace which would be a lot better, but no. Let’s focus on expensive stuff I probably do not need anyways. Yeah. That’s how my brain works. Isn’t it wonderful?

I am seriously thinking of switching over, and if I could get a green light for this – I’d walk over to the Apple store now and buy one. I live 10 minutes away from one! And then I’d hopefully brag and teach people that iOS is not that bad (or perhaps it is?) and make people become more open about different platforms. There are cons with iOS and there are cons with Android. If I would buy a new Android phone, or like get one as a gift, I’d probably also “forget” a lot of my thoughts I currently have about Apple, but I do not see why that would happen. Therefor I really do think that within a couple of months, weeks or even days – I might sit here with an iPhone 8 plus in my hands and I will then have joined the dark side. Until then. I’ll sit happily and continue to be displeased with a phone I do not like and dream of the days when I can afford everything I want and use both platforms in some way and be happy about that.

Sometimes I just feel really, frickin’ stupid… 💩

I’ve kept a tiny secret from my boyfriend, and basically everybody else as well, but I had to change hosts. Again. I said I was going to a while back, because the web host I chose during the early spring sucked balls and I got really so annoyed with them that I started looking for another one practically immediately. I found a new one, they’re called “Egensajt” which basically means “Your own site” or “your website” cramped into one word. They are also very cheap, they provide SSL easily with let’s encrypt and also provide a bunch of other useful stuff I plan on starting using later, WP-cli, SSH and git.

WTF is going on in my mind lately? Well, (not)learning to code and shitty web hosts and the struggles to find the energy to focus on the right thing!

However, my trip over here hasn’t been the greatest either, due to me being an idiot, but I guess everything is fine now at least. I’ve spammed the support a gazillion times for the past weeks since I started my account there, because I’ve struggled a bit with the move of other domains, the obligate down time while moving a website, installations of Drupal, WordPress Multisite and Limesurvey and a few other things.

The good things are though that, except for the Drupal problems(I’ll get to that one later), all the other issues are fixed and were basically down to two things; Me, having a brain that requires that everything should happen in an instant and me being (yet again) a complete, uneducated n00b regarding techie stuff.

All of this have just taught me that I really need to learn how to code, so I can understand all of this fun stuff for real, but I haven’t been able to find the energy for that all spring, basically. I’ll explain a bit more below, but I have my reasons for doing all this, even though it’s practically unnecessary…

I realized that you can’t have folder listing or anti-hotlink (or whatever it’s called) activated if you want to install php applications with your web host. I had no idea about that! Folder listings make php apps to not activate, and anti hotlink makes you get broken images if you’ve got SSL activated.

I also had the problem with WordPress. Like I’ve mentioned before my setup is basically this:

  • I have a multisite install where all my public blogs and websites live, except for this one at the moment.
  • I have another WP multisite on a separate subdomain where I do all the testing for the main site.
  • I have this install for this single domain, that has moved around a bit, but will probably stay as a single install and separate from the others just because it’s for the best. I think.
  • I create other various subdomains and use other domains from other web hosts I’ve registered that I use for testing purposes. Most of them are WP related, but some are for other PHP clients, like Drupal and Limesurvey.

Since moving to yet another host, I’ve tried to have my normal setup and I finally got everything to work, but Drupal did not work like it should for some strange reason. The reason I wanted to play around with Drupal is due to a thing at work. I got an idea and figured out that Drupal can basically solve everything, but sadly my proposal was denied for now which basically just made me more upset 😦 . I did most of the Drupal testing at my previous host (Inleed) while I was waiting for the main domain to move over to the new host. Then, as I got to the new host, Drupal did not work. It was practically impossible to install it, because I fell into the classic Drupal trap where I got access denied, even though I was the admin and everything. In the end I had to ask the web host to install it for me, but it was to no avail.

During all of this I had also installed Limesurvey and the test sites, but no matter what I did the templates from the clients, aka the text inside the php files where showing when I visited the url and I could not install, or login. Turned out, like I mentioned above that this was due to the folder listing being activated. When I turned it off I could install the applications. Then the other issues came up…

First of all I noticed that the clients had broken images when I viewed the sites with SSL. After a bit of googling again, I discovered that it was due to the anti-hotlinking was activated. Also I had problems with wildcard…

Yesterday I noticed that my testing site did not have an .htaccess any longer and the network settings had vanished. This I have no idea why it happens, but as I’ll explain what happened below, maybe these two are related?

In order to use WordPress Multisite you have to setup a wildcard A record in your dns setting. The thing is, I’ve done that like a billion times and I know what it is. The difference is that with this new host, I thought I’d done that correctly, but I had not. I did not set the wildcard as a dns record. Instead my web host turned the wildcard as an alias for my main domain. I also had no idea there was a difference! When I changed it from an alias to a proper A record wildcard dns, I could access my sites again. The old problem of the redirect thing happened again until this was changed and I felt depressed and like a total idiot while I couldn’t figure this out. I also decided I did not want to bother the support again either, even though they get paid to help me out. I just want stuff to work!

The only problem I have now is that WordpPress – all of my installs are incredibly slow when it comes to updating plugins, the core and saving post and other changes. Otherwise it’s pretty fast and works well. I upgraded the PHP memory to 256 MB, and I’ve also activated the Memcached that this web host has. I also turned on Varnish Cache that’s also an option here. So far it has helped a little, but it’s still extremely slow when I want to install or upgrade something. I just hope that this post will publish as usual to social media as well. Maybe it’ll work properly in a day or two…

An important note!

The reason for me switching host once again is due to several reasons. I said that I’d probably do this in a couple of months and that was the truth. I’ve had a really painful spring at work and also in my private life and playing around with php clients, like WordPress and my newly found interest in learning code really helps with not feeling bored and/or restless as fuck.

I still should point out, that me wanting to learn code has turned into crap, basically which is not surprising due to all my illnesses and how my mind works. I have made up my mind that I’m gonna finish the C# class I started a while back, but I’ve been way to tired to focus on that, due to a gazillion other stuff going on that steals my thunder. I really hate it, because I’m so into this. It feels like the right time is now to start a new beginning, but I guess I won’t be able to until I’m not this tired anymore and there are no other problems lurking around the corner… I can’t really explain this tiredness either. I just feel it and the only thing that helps are shitty crap-stuff with the usual stuff. Aka, playing around with code and knowing nothing with WP, Drupal and Limesurvey being the test subjects as of today.

I’d like to learn as much as possible, but everywhere I turn – there’s trouble for some reason – because I don’t understand code! I’ll probably blog a bit more about it later, and for those who understand Swedish, I’ll make a post soon as well to explain myself a bit more. Basically, I’m stuck in a circle and I’m doing what I can to keep up and not lose my mind, but no matter what I do, I feel bored, lost or angry and disappointed.

In less than a few weeks, me and the BF will move to another apartment that’s closer to everything and I bet that after having a long vacation from work, I’ll find my strength somehow. I think living right where we live now is one small contributing factor to why I feel like i have these past months. I really thought it was gonna be a life changer, but all the move to this exact place was, was nothing but meh. Besides living more to the south in Sweden and having the luxuries of living so close to Malmö, it’s not been that great. After the move I hope I’ll learn to code a bit more and hopefully I can focus more on blogging instead of struggling like I have AND need to in order to feel a little like myself these days.

Thanks for reading this far!

Solving a redirect login issue with WordPress can take months…

And still it doesn’t mean that it has been solved or is about to. With this post I’m writing today, with nearly two whole months of being absent from my awesome blog in English, I’m keeping my hopes up that I have for once solved this crap and never have to bother with multisite issues (MS rocks otherwise!), cookies, redirects and not getting access or getting angry or upset.

Ze background…

I’m using WordPress to do my blogging. No secret there. I have currently 4 blogs, and three of them are active. It’s this one, my Swedish one and the Swedish one about Great Danes. My website is just a basic website with my CV, and career updates and I also have created an archive of my old blog in Swedish, which contains of posts written since January of 2009 and has been made and moved through out basically all blogging platforms out there. Now it serves as an archive because here on WordPress, I’ve made the decision two years ago to never, ever change blogging platforms again. Tumblr is not an active platform either…

Caring for multiple blogs in a great way…

Ever since Multisite became a reality in 2010 with the 3.0 update, I’ve been using it pretty steadily whenever I’ve used WordPress as my platform. Now, it’s really useful because I have 3 active blogs that I like to update as often as possible. No matter what, I regularly login to my Swedish personal blog almost daily and with that I also check in on my other blogs to see stats, look for spam or other issues so I basically hop around a lot. Until I started this blog (again) which is on a whole ‘nother domain, this was not a problem at all. But, when I got this domain back, I thought that I’d of course would like to have my blog together with all the others in my multisite install. And then came the cookie issues…

Cookies, logins and redirects, oh my…

WordPress is awesome. It can handle multiple domains without a plugin, so no domain mapping is necessary. That’s indeed great! So far so good. Well. Not for long. It’s pretty simple to setup, just change the site_url and you’re good to go. The issue is with cookies. Half-Elf has written a post on how to solve this and so have many others. I’ve tried basically everything, because since I seem to hop from blog to blog whenever I login to one of them, it’s a real frickin’ hassle to keep logging in to every, goddamn blog. I know it’s safer this way, but still. I’m like this close to ripping my hair out and throwing my computer out of the window due to sticky stuff like this. Me not like problems.

What I’ve tried in order to solve this mess…

  1.  Everything in Half-Elfs’s post that I mentioned before.
  2. Created multiple networks with the WP Multi Networks plugin and moved this blog over there.
  3. Moved the blog to a separate WP install, once with separate database, another time with separate tables in the same WP install (with shared users table).
  4. Tested with other domains on a test install to change from subdomains to subdirectory and with that I also changed the home_url, but kept a subdirectory url for backend purposes. This seems like the best way, but I hate the look of subdirectories…
  5. Trying as we write to only have this in my wp-config.php file regarding cookies, with the blog being part of multisite and on the correct url everywhere (aka both home and site url are the same and everything else is as it should be for MS setup).
    define( 'COOKIE_DOMAIN', $_SERVER[ 'HTTP_HOST' ]);

As of now, nothing has worked. It always has worked “for a while”. But after a few hours, days etc. it stops working. After the update to 4.6 my whole multisite install seemed to totally bug out. No matter what I did I had to login all the frickin’ time to even my subdomains! That was really annoying. And then I hadn’t changed a thing, except for the solution from Tom McFarlin! That solution, however, worked “somewhat”. It was a solution I could settle with. It meant that I could sign in to one of my subdomains once – and always be logged in to all my other subdomains, but whenever I had to access this blog on a separate domain, that’s when I had to login again. After the update to 4.6 this did not work so I had to start looking yet again for another solution.

With the plugin, I also added this to my wp-config.php file:
// Cookies
define( 'COOKIEHASH', md5( 'yourdomain.com' ) );
define( 'COOKIE_DOMAIN', 'yourdomain.com' );
define( 'ADMIN_COOKIE_PATH', '/' );
define( 'COOKIEPATH', '/' );
define( 'SITECOOKIEPATH', '/' );
define( 'TEST_COOKIE', 'thing_test_cookie' );
define( 'AUTH_COOKIE', 'thing_' . COOKIEHASH );
define( 'USER_COOKIE', 'thing_user_' . COOKIEHASH );
define( 'PASS_COOKIE', 'thing_pass_' . COOKIEHASH );
define( 'SECURE_AUTH_COOKIE', 'thing_sec_' . COOKIEHASH );
define( 'LOGGED_IN_COOKIE', 'thing_logged_in' . COOKIEHASH );

And I also added/changed this:
// Multisite
define( 'MULTISITE', true );
define( 'SUBDOMAIN_INSTALL', false );
define( 'PATH_CURRENT_SITE', '/' );
define( 'DOMAIN_CURRENT_SITE', $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] );
// Likely not needed anymore (your config may vary)
//define( 'SITE_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );
//define( 'BLOG_ID_CURRENT_SITE', 1 );
// Uncomment and change to a URL to funnel no-site-found requests to
//define( 'NOBLOGREDIRECT', '/404/' );
/**
* These are purposely set for maximum compliance with multisite and
* multinetwork. Your config may vary.
*/
define( 'WP_HOME', 'https://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] );
define( 'WP_SITEURL', 'https://' . $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] );

Now I’m just hoping that this setting has solved it. I do not believe so. Not in the long run at least. If it stays the same until tomorrow, I might be able to let this one go. When I think it is solved it means that I can continue to hop around to and from every blog without the hassle of logging in every time. If it works the way it usually does, it means that I can do this for a couple of hours, days or maybe just until I close my browser and try to login again to one of my blogs. Often, however I’m getting the redirect loop where it’s impossible to even access any dashboard and that happened earlier today. I just hope it was due to another mistake I made, regarding changing the site or home url. Everything at the moment is the way it should be, and that’s good. This blog doesn’t get any viewers anyways. 4 in one day is like totally amazing stats! But I’ve stopped caring about that. Or at least I try to…

I just really hope it stays this way now. The only dislike I have about every blogging platform out there (yes, even WordPress) are those tiny, little things that makes it difficult to get everything I want out of a platform. It’s all due to me of course being a noob, who hasn’t learned how to code. All I do is copy and paste. I have not learned the terminology and I have no idea what the Frick I’m talking about. All I know when I’m creating the snippets for my WP blogs is what I want the result to be. I’ve solved many issues and a lot of them are baked right into WordPress itself (i.e. Custom Fields, categories and tags). I’ve managed to create single posts whenever I post something on Instagram and shipping them over here, thanks to If This Then That and a simple trick using Jetpack’s Post by Email module. Amongst other things. Fingers crossed that this shit works now. Otherwise I’ll lose my mind a little bit more…