There's a reason why I tend to post stories on Google+ about the traditional journalism industry. For one, it's where I came from. There are days I miss it. But there are so many more days that I don't. Another reason is that what we do here is rooted in it. Not just us, but every tech blog, regardless of its background.
But really, for me, this job is fun. And we try to keep it that way. Make no mistake, we're writing about phones here. Hardly life-and-death stuff. But it's still important, and it's still challenging. Deciding what to write. Editing it into a cohesive story. Coming up with compelling illustrations. And that final moment where you hit the publish button and suddenly think "Oh, shit. What if I screwed something up?" It happens every time, no matter the story or review, no matter how much work we put into it. That feeling doesn't go away.
And you know what? We don't always get it right.
We did a good thing badly last week when news broke about the Nexus 4 picking up LTE on the AWS frequencies. The short version, if you did what most people do and spent the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends instead of worrying about smartphone news, is that the supposedly dormant LTE radio that's in the Nexus 4 actually isn't completely dormant. You can turn on LTE in the phone settings, and it's possible to pick up an LTE signal -- if your carrier is using Band 4. That's 1700/2100 MHz, commonly referred to as AWS. Right now, the only real-world example we've seen this working is on the Canadian carrier Telus.
Of course, that very much flies in face of Alex's "No, your Nexus 4 won't magically grow LTE support" story. Sort of.
Folks have been hashing it out for days now whether being able to pick up a single LTE band constitutes "support" or even true "capability." Alex was strong in his argument. His conclusion turned out to not be completely true. But neither is it completely false. I still don't have LTE on my Nexus 4. And I likely never will, running it on AT&T. Same goes for any carrier that's not using LTE on AWS. Plus, there's the fact none of this is documented with the FCC. That's no small thing. Somebody somewhere in a suit is going to have something to say about it.
But none of that is what I'm concerned with. If we called it wrong, we called it wrong. We're a pretty big target, and folks are gonna take their shots.
No, where we really messed up was in our updating of Alex's original story. Instead of a traditional update that left the original body intact, the meat of the story was changed a bit. That simply looks bad, like we were trying to cover our collective ass. Doesn't even matter if that wasn't our intention -- that's what it looks like, and it shouldn't have happened.
Making matters worse was that a few comments were deleted Friday, pointing out the changes. While it's not necessarily unusual for a troll or two to get squashed every now and then (Wheaton's Law is in effect at Android Central), deleting comments on a post pointing out something we screwed up also was a bad thing. It should not have happened. And the Internet rightly went a little apeshit. That said, I'm also confident my reaction and response would have been the same had I learned of all this through a polite e-mail. Welcome to the Internet, Phil.
Needless to say, we had a different sort of Black Friday.
One thing I've always loved about working in this industry is that you can always do better. You can always learn something. We screwed up good on Friday. We've learned from it. And we won't make that same mistake again. We're putting into place a clearer internal policy on how (and when) to update stories. We're also working on better internal controls for handling comments, and when they should be removed. (The short answer to that is "As infrequently as possible." But if your comment should happen to disappear, ask yourself: "Did I break Wheaton's Law?") We've also restored Alex's original article, and I've added an editor's note to the top.
We did a good thing badly on Friday. We'll take our lumps. We deserve them. We'll deal with the trolls, who are already doing their thing. And you know what? We'll do better in the future.
The Droid DNA - haters gonna hate
It's been interesting to read reactions to the Droid DNA now that Verizon's selling it. Especially since folks are coming to the same conclusion that we did -- battery life isn't anywhere near as bad as some had feared, and it's pretty much in line with what I wrote in our review. I'm still not convinced a 1080p display is necessary, even if it does look gorgeous -- and, yes, I can fawn over something while questioning its necessity.
I picked up an HTC 8X the other to mess around and get a better feel for Windows Phone. And I cannot wait to get Android on that smaller HTC design. For me, the DNA's just a little too tall. The 8X feels a little small at 4.3 inches. (And the way Windows Phone does UI doesn't do itself any favors in making the screen feel bigger.) But get Jelly Bean on something 4.7 inches or so? It's gonna be good. Here's to hoping we see that in 2013.
It's also interesting to be using wireless charging again. I'd had one of those Engergizer pads back with the HTC ThunderBolt, and I just picked up another one. It's not a looker, but it does the job. It (and the more stylish Nokia charging stand) is still pretty expensive, though, at around $70. But you pay for convenience, and it's a hell of a lot easier than dealing with that door over the microUSB port on the DNA.
No, thanks, I didn't want to open that app anyway
I'd been holding off on this in hopes that the latest update to Google Play was some sort of an unfinished version, but it turns out that's not the case. Above is what you see after installing a new application. You're invited to keep shopping. But if you want to actually open the app you just downloaded, you have to either pull down the notification bar, or go to the app drawer. Why no "open" button there, Google? It seems so simple, and so blatantly missing.
(Hat tip to Russell Holly for giving this one some attention, too.)
There's that Wifi issue, too, that some are seeing -- and some aren't. I'm in the latter category.
Something just seems a little off in Android 4.2 so far.
We're almost two weeks out from the launch of the Nexus 4. And I still can't buy one from Google Play. Christmas is coming, Google. Let's get this done. See y'all this week.