Phil Nickinson

As is so often the case in life, the little things can make a big difference. I was worried that our little Valentines Day contest -- we're giving away a pair of Nexus 7s and Nexus 4s -- would come off as too cheesy. Sappy, even for me, a guy who grew up believing John Cusack's "Better Off Dead" was actually a preferred way for high school to pan out. (Sadly, I played trombone instead of the sax -- not quite the same romantic effect there. And no bitchin' Camaro, but my sun-faded 1985 BMW 325e with no air conditioning, speedometer and, occasionally, brakes, at least sounded cool on paper.)

But it's working. At the time of this writing, there are some 28 pages of entries. Somewhere around 600 pictures posted of all kinds of happy couples as I sit here Sunday morning finishing this column. Pictures of boys and girls. Boys and boys. Girls and girls. Dogs. Cats. Even saw someone with someone in a cow suit or something. (I don't judge.) In a job like this, it's both a blessing and a curse to not actually have to interact with people all the time. But every single time -- from the occasional reader meet-up (and we really need to do more of those) to events like Google I/O and CES -- getting to meet even just one of our reader is energizing in a way that's tough to describe.

So thank you for that. Each and every one of you. I can't wait to pack up the hardware and get it off to a couple happy couples. But we've got another couple weeks -- and hopefully many more inspiring pictures -- to go.

And now, a few more thoughts to keep things going ...

Four stories of incredulousness

  • All that mushiness aside, now, why are some folks just so damn angry? I know that they make up a minority of Android users, but the hatred that's spewed toward app developers needs to stop. Don't want to pay a few bucks for Action Launcher (which might not be your cup of tea but is still a very well-done app)? Then don't buy it. And don't be a dick about it. Yes, the Carbon Twitter app has taken way too long to come out. Do you think the developer doesn't know that? Being a dick about it ... just makes you a dick about it (especially since it'll be a free app). Those are just two developers we've seen attacked this week. It's beyond ridiculous.
  • By the way, we've got a release candidate for Carbon in house now. It still does a few things differently than other Twitter apps, but it's so smooth and so well-designed I don't see myself not using it. (Check out our preview from last week if you've yet to do so.)
  • Speaking of ridiculous, try this on for size: There's not a single piece of tangible evidence that tells what this "Motorola X Phone" is. (Let's not pretend that last week's blink-and-you-missed-it job listing was anything other than a plant for getting folks to talk about it.) Blind loyalty for a piece of hardware we know nothing about, while throwing rocks at applications that actually exist? It's a mad, mad world we live in.
  • When HTC announced last week that it didn't care about the RUUs and custom ROMs that the now-defunct HTCRUU.com was hosting, and instead it was the unapproved user of the HTC branding in the domain name and logos that brought the lawyers, folks -- including our own Jerry Hildenbrand -- met the explanation with skepticism. I'll agree that actions speak louder than words, and a follow-up by Rootzwiki shows that, low and behold, HTC meant what it said.

Other goings-on

  • A little bit of news on the Miracast front. I've still got the Netgear PTV3000 adapter laying around, and it finally got a firmware update a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, neither the changelog nor my testing (just in case they snuck something in there) have have it working with the Nexus 4. The interesting thing is that the new official firmware -- v 2.1.5 -- is lower than the leaked 2.2.2 that I've been running (and that somewhat works). There's also been a 2.4.1 floating around. So there's still work to be done, apparently.
  • Very cool to see Dave Grohl's "Sound City" music doc on Google Play at release. I'll admit I didn't expect to find it there at first. A poor assumption on my part, and I've now paid for it twice -- once as a direct download and once on Google Play. But it was an easy mistake as there's no mention of Google Play on the Sound City website. For iTunes, yes. Google Play, not so much.
  • House of Cards on Netflix -- pretty damn good. Moreover, it's another shot against the traditional studio-controlled entertainment model. That can't die soon enough. If you haven't yet, read GQ's profile with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. (But at the same time, why are folks acting as if Hastings himself is holding a camera for HoC? Still, very cool that Netflix got this done.)
  • So there's a question: Might Google one day get into the production side of the business?

So much good stuff going on. So much good stuff to come. We've got some exciting months ahead, folks. Thanks for riding with us.