Posted by: Frank | December 1, 2008

One Reason Why I Am Excited With Android

Here is a reason why I am excited about Android. I wrote a post detailing a number of problems that I have been having with Doggcatcher, and on the same day the program authors respond via comments. With a new platform such as this, it is very important that software authors listen to users, and with the two-way-web being what it is, it is also important that those authors let users know they are listening. Today when I started Doggcatcher I was notified of another update, which improves on one of the issues I wrote about.

The issue that is improved is subscription to podcasts. The program has always provided a way to browse through the top 50 podcasts on Podcast Alley, which is a big podcast directory, but it didn’t provide a way to directly subscribe to those podcasts. Now you can tap one button to subscribe to a podcast. This feature also has a search function that will return podcasts that are not currently in the top 50. For some reason though it doesn’t find John C. Dvorak’s Tech5 Report podcast even though the search finds it on the web site.

The comment that Eric added to my earlier post suggests that the updating problem I am seeing on Wi-Fi may have something to do with an issue several are reporting about not being able to access the Internet via Wi-Fi since the latest Android update. It is possible, even though the symptoms that I am seeing are not the same as reported on AndroidGuys, which suggests not being able to access anything on the Internet via Wi-Fi. I my case when I see the problem on Doggcatcher I can still do everything else on the Internet.

However, as I mentioned, I installed the update to Doggcatcher today and since then I have been successfully updating via Wi-Fi. Now, one thing unique about today is that because I have been home all day, my G1 has only been connected to the Wi-Fi network and it has not been on either the T-Mobile 3G or Edge networks. Could there be some glitch switching between 3G/Edge to Wi-Fi being exhibited? I’ll find out tomorrow because I plan to be in the office. Or perhaps for whatever reason installing the new version of Doggcatcher fixed the probloem on my G1.

There is definitely something flaky about the radio software on the G1. When I have the G1 in the Cave, which is in the basement of my condo, it rarely, if ever, can connect to the T-Mobile network. This is normal, though a pain. T-Mobile’s network isn’t strong enough to reach the Cave. In fact, coverage on the main floor can be iffy which is why I purchased and use a cellular network extender upstairs.

I’ve noticed that at some point the G1 gives up trying to connect because when I move the G1 upstairs or take it out of the house it never connects to T-Mobile. The only way I have made it connect to the network is to turn the radio off and turn it back on by switching to flight mode and back. (I can also use the Wi-Fi settings applet that Anycut provides.)

Now, I can see how this might actually be a feature because if the G1 constantly tried connecting to the network it would quickly drain the battery. That happens on my Windows Mobile phones, and it happens quickly because whenever a connection is attempted the radio consumes a greater amount of juice than normal. So, in a way, the G1 timing out when it can’t connect is good when you are in a radio silent area for a long period of time, and I can see how this might even be intentional. However, if that is the case then Android should actually show that the phone radio has been turned off via the notification and possibly provide a button to turn it back on. I could live with a one-tap way to turn the radio back on in this case, and if there was a notification that what I am seeing is normal, it would in fact be a good thing.


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