Phil in Tianamen Square

A little more than a week ago I was atop an ancient wall in an ancient land, just an hour or so outside a modern, bustling city. I don't speak a word of Chinese. Can't read a single symbol. And when I first took this job nearly six years ago with the prospect of a good bit of travel, I admittedly was worried by the prospect of being seen as the dumb American overseas. I've seen a lot more of the world than I ever dreamed of six years ago — but I've still barely scratched the surface.

I remember as a child getting postcards from my grandparents as they traveled. China. Egypt. Israel. Australia. More than a few places I doubt I'll ever see in person. I remember them returning home, getting pictures developed (ask your parents — or grandparents, I guess), and showing them off upon their return. (Or if we were lucky, maybe even a slide show!)

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But there I was, on a small sliver of the Great Wall, posting pictures in real time. And in Tianamen Square. And in the snow, at that. (Which for this Florida boy perhaps is still more foreign than all of Asia.) I shouldn't be amazed by the ability to share with friends and family at home so quickly, of course, and it's not like I'm special in the fact that I was there. But there's still very much something special about being there. To not take it for granted. (And there's also something extremely silly about seeing so many of us pecking at the little screens we pull from our pockets atop that wall.)

After events like Friday in Paris it's natural to be a little selfish. We temporarily change our Facebook pictures to show solidarity without having to actually do anything. We try to convince each other that vengeance is the only way. Or that there's a better, higher road that must be taken. We selfishly use space in this column to cleanse whatever guilt we think we have over all this. We've done it before, and we'll do it again, I fear.

Anyway ... Back to nerd stuff.

  • For the folks asking about whether the V10 should take the place of the LG G4 on our Best Android Phones list — I hear ya. And I'm not sure I have an answer for that. They're at the same time similar yet very different. I like the V10 a lot, though.
  • But I don't think the V10's fingerprint reader is as good as what's on the new Nexus phones, and maybe on what Samsung has, too.
  • And it still cracks me up that I mostly enjoy the G4 and the V10, while they drive others of us here to various states of crazy.
  • The chat we had with a few of the folks behind the Huawei Nexus 6P was excellent. Not included in our post was the 20 minutes or so when they listened to our critical feedback not just of the Nexus, but of Huawei phones in general.
  • (And, again, for full disclosure, Huawei paid for that trip. So you better believe that I took that opportunity to remind them of the things in EMUI that are flat-out broken.)
  • I've finally got a BlackBerry Priv here. Not sold on the keyboard, or some of the software stuff. But that's an otherwise solid phone. I get why folks are impressed by it.
  • Won't matter, though.
  • If fingerprints are this year's big API push, what's next?
  • Rousey. Wow. (How's that for no spoilers?)
  • And I said it on the podcast, but it deserves repeating here: Jerry and Russell and Andrew and Alex and Richard deserve all kinds of credit for picking up the slack while I'm away playing. Cheers, guys. (Now get back to work!)

That's it for this week. See y'all Monday.