Pensacola Beach

Important life lesson: Take a little time away every now and then, even from the things you love to do. Do something else. Or do nothing. Just be sure to do something different. For me the past few weeks, taking a little break from this column meant a few things after three consecutive weeks traveling. It meant less time worrying about phones, and worrying about work. It meant spending Sunday morning wrestling with the kids instead of spending an hour or so in front of the computer. It meant going to Pensacola Beach, something we're making more of an effort to do this year. ("Why bother living here if we don't go?" my nearly (she's make me say) 8-year-old Mia asked as we waded through ridiculously clear water.)

And it meant seeing Jerry take the initiative to write up his own thoughts on Google I/O. If there's one thing I love as an editor, its seeing a fire lit under writers. For Jerry, that's developer conferences, among other things.

But we're back, and we're as busy as ever. We've got the Android L Developer Preview to play with. (More on that in a minute.) We've got Android Wear to, erm, wear. We've got the LG G3 finally on sale here in the U.S. (And I've got some thoughts on that, too.)

So let's play catch-up with some random thoughts this fine summer morning.

  • I buy more phones than a rational person should. So you think'd I'd be used to the usually pitiful out-of-box experience you get when you purchase a phone from a carrier store in the U.S. That's not a reflection on the people who work there — I've found most of them to be pleasant and helpful. It's the process that's broken.
  • Imagine going into a store with absolutely no knowledge of this stuff. No idea which phone to buy — or why you might want one phone instead of another.
  • Here in my town, I think Verizon has things laid out the best. You get a sense of what phones you need to look at first. It's still a little industrial, and really overwhelming with the push for more non-phone accessories, but a better experience, overall.
  • I really shouldn't be surprised at this point, but I'd forgotten how bad the out-of-box experience can be for some phones. Thinking back to the past year of devices I've used, I've been spoiled by an unlocked HTC One M8, Verizon Galaxy S5 (which while still full of bloat didn't give me the same "ick" feeling as this AT&T LG G3 I just picked up), Nexus 5 and Moto X.
  • So if the carriers won't shut up and get out of the way, I'm going to continue to go out of my way to avoid them, I think.
  • Motorola and HTC have made this pretty easy for us here in the states. Google, too, with Nexus and Google Play edition phones.
  • We've made a pretty conscious decision to treat the Android L Developer Preview as what it is — a developer preview. There will be plenty of time for exploring the features once they've reached a final(ish) state. No sense in confusing folks in the meantime if and when things change.
  • Repeat: Things will change.
  • That's why it's especially dangerous to read too much into the LDP "Issues" tracker, which has been (predictably) clunked up by folks who have no business being in there. ("Someone from Google 'Accepted' the issue. Blog blog blog!")
  • Patience is hard, I know. Fortunately we have more than enough actual devices and features to explore in the meantime.
  • Alex did a great job with this Android Wear Software Walkthough, I thought. Can't wait to see where this space goes. It won't happen next week, or next month. But the next couple years should be a lot of (expensive) fun.
  • Can the Moto 360 possibly live up to the hype? On one hand, it'll be Android Wear on a slightly different (but way cooler) watch. But I have a feeling Moto will have a trick or two up its sleeve.
  • (And it's pretty incredible that the secretive charging functionality — and whatever else lurks back there — hasn't really leaked out or anything.)
  • Listen to more Van Halen. (Van Hagar is also acceptable.) + Drink more water.
  • Read more books. (I've been enjoying Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's Guide to Living on Earth")
  • Are books on tablets still "books"?
  • I'm strategizing how to lose the next 10 pounds. I'm lying to myself, though, when I keep saying it's hard to find an extra hour during the day to exercise. (Funny, though, is that those three weeks on the road made it easy, especially with gyms in hotels.)

That's it for this week. Time to wrestle some kids. Or maybe go to the beach. Anything but work.

Be back Monday.