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10 Reasons a Tactile Home Button is a Must

picture of upside down mobile phone
upside down phone – how can you tell? what if your life depended on it?
  1. Can wake the phone with one hand and one finger – even wearing gloves!
  2. Tap the screen to wake? Then: phone keeps waking up in your pocket!
  3. Ability to answer the incoming call even if your screen is cracked
  4. Phone is still useful if you are blind or disabled
  5. So you don’t have to keep flipping the phone around
    1. when you pull out of your pocket upside down
  6. So you don’t accidentally press it twice
    1. Sometimes your finger taps but misses a touch button, and it requires a second tap attempt. This ambiguity is not possible with hardware, and in software even the slightest delay could potentially perceived as a missed tap, causing the speedy user to tap again.
    2. Within about 40ms is the maximum delay before the brain registers (about 2 clicks during alpha brain state). Probably these decisions are made based on the old industry standard 700ms for a “frozen app” perception upon a virtual button click, but that is an old standard, and this is a high performance mission critical button.
  7. Ability to rapidly switch out of phone app to perform another task during phone-call or full-screen
    1. How do you get to home when in fullscreen mode?
  8. Reduced accidental taps when typing quickly
    1. It is so distracting when typing extremely fast to suddenly be shown the home screen!
  9. Some Android versions you can get a task manager by holding the home button down.
  10. Phantom touch screen blindness. I’ve missed calls due to this on slow phones.
  11. Easy to tell  visually if the phone is the right way up when screen is off.
    1. Look at this image, is the phone the right way up? You sure about that?
    2. What if your life depending on it? What if you needed to make an urgent call in a stressful environment? Or if you hand had been chopped off? I can answer my phone with my teeth if I wish.
  12. Snooze / Wake / Dismiss alarm with home
  13. Screen must be active to work. Capacitive touch requires charge. They must use more power!
  14. A place to rest your finger that won’t immediate do something unwanted!

no home button on samsung galaxy

That’s all for now. Here is a video of  a Nexus 4 sliding off a completely flat surface!



Ask yourself – are any of these downsides user centric? Or Is this list more of interest to manufacturers:

  • Mechanical breakages and reliability
  • Screen real estate
  • Motherboard space
  • Waterproofing
  • Requires more force to activate (this can be a benefit!)

Most people would like a reliable phone, but even for those who shop purely based on ruggedness and reliability, information on the subject is sparse, with no standards to measure reliability of buttons. A standard does exist for waterproofing.

Further Reading

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How to find your phone

Install these apps before you need them! And configure them as mentioned.


If you haven’t here is how to enable google location reporting.

Android Device Manager – If you haven’t previously installed the app, head over to the web interface at anyhow you might have location tracking enabled but not know it.

Google Location History – This site can make cool animated maps showing you were your stolen phone went.

Google Location History
Google Location History

Wheres My Droid – installed this on the phone before you loose it BUT also do the following:

  • slightly modify the attention words with [email protected]#$ type symbols
  • press the “Email me my attention words” so you can get at the when you most need them
  • create memorable attention words for Ring and GPS Location features
  • setup white noise siren, flash the flash light, and vibrate etc rings


Apple iOS

Login to Find My Phone section. Do this ahead of time before you need it! Make sure you can see and locate all your devices there and test it out a bit.

On your Macs you would need to have enabled the iCloud in your System Preferences beforehand also.

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 9.57.42 pm

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Why I’ll probably never buy a Nexus phone ever again

Reason: Because I’m fairly sure Google will never ever *ever* put the home button back now that they’ve put soft home button into the OS core. The ergonomics of this is related to the position of the front facing camera and thus, super dumb IMHO.

Photo by AnandTech

The Good Bits

Apart from the software and lack of home button this phone was one of the best phones I’ve ever owned in terms of hardware: beautiful camera and 3D image stitching software, the way it felt in your hand (except lack of home button), stunning cameras with bright LEDs, glorious screen, 768p videos (checkout The Triptonites preview of our first single not all shot on this, some was iPod Touch 4G and/or S3 Mini I forget), 2 GB RAM and of course the main thing I was after – the Quad-core 1.5 GHz Krait CPU!!

The Fucked If I Know How I Feel About It Bits


It had the smoothest surface not just of any phone ever but of anything I’ve ever touched ever!! It was totally amazing! Everyone who ever held it was struck by this especially once I started demonstrating it. Like I could put it on my leather couch with a rounded top in such a way – slightly off a perfect flat balance – that I knew it would fall off from sliding due to gravity about 2 minutes later. I should have made a video before it got all smashed up to prove this. In fact I notice this guy already has made a video.

Sounds like I can root the phone blind (with no screen – its cracked):

Shout outs to my mate at Google for scoring me a Cardboard – thanks Matt!

Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard

I say I don’t know how I feel because I accidentally smashed the entire screen one morning on my concrete floor. Hmmmmm…..

The Bad Bits

  • No Home Button
    • Essential for ergonomics
    • Helps to orient the phone/tablet without vision using tactile feedback
    • Would have been nice especially since once my volume buttons stopped working I could not answer the phone, nor get to home screen during calls
    • Can’t wake on flat surface if you only have one finger unlike device with home button
      • Ok So I’m not mono-fingered but you get the idea!
  • No “Restart” in power menu like S3 Mini
    • Needs it the amount of times I rebooted!!
    • Yes I’ve since rooted the phone you get the idea
    • I recently learnt I can reboot without root using adb – cool would have been nice to know 3 months ago!
  • Volume Up/Downs stopped working one day after a software upgrade
    • I thought this was due to me smashing the phone around
    • Until I saw these 2,660 pages with the make/model and bug in title of page!
    • That’s totally un-acceptable due to the next points:
  • Unable to disable speakerphone during call due to “Power button ends call” setting + no volume butts working anymore + screen locks
    • Only option is to hang up or muffle the call under a pillow (Seriously!? Fuck you telephone! This was the 2nd worst thing!)
  • Often unable to answer call due to phantom touch screen blindness
    • Usually the phantom isn’t an issue – just use power on/off
    • Can’t do that when its ringing tho can you?
    • This is seriously the worst thing about the phone
    • If you can call it that anymore
    • Skype would probably be more reliable for answering due to this
  • Finally I smashed the screen making the touchscreen part not work anymore
    • That’s when I wrote this post since I doubt I’ll be using it again 🙂
  • Some other small points:
    • I found Snapchat was able to reboot the phone – handy!!! Just start snapchat when I need to reboot good feature!! 🙂
    • Shit mic sound for high dB SPL gigs as always (Apple and Sony have best phone mics)

Nexus 4 Sliding Off A Completely Flat Surface

Youtube Video





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How to get data on iphone 2g with Vodafone NZ

Ever since I’ve had my iPhone (original 1st generation one from USA), I’ve been able to get phone and sms txting working, but never GPRS data. After many fruitless calls to Vodafone helpdesk, and instore people, and even speaking with one technician who reckoned I could get data on it if I just switched to a more expensive plan.

Then I discovered a hack on a website called and discovered that I too can get cellular data on my 1st gen iPhone 2G.

This is how to do it:

  1. Open settings…
  2. Touch General…
  3. Touch Network…
  4. Touch Cellular Data Network…
  5. Fill out the following fields:
  • APN:
  • Username: (i left mine blank!)
  • Password: (i left mine blank!)

A voila! Internet is working via my on-account plan (Mega).

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iPhone versus Treo 750v

I now have my own iPhone 1st Gen. Running software version 2.0 I notice the following problems with the iPhone:

  1. Like the Treo (Windows Mobile 6, Treo 750v), the iPhone doesn’t natively support group SMS texting, but the native messaging program of each phone can still compose a message to many people: you just have to keep adding them from contacts each time, which can get boring, and not feasable for really large event lists.
  2. On the Treo, I had to download a 3rd party app called Group SMS by Shailesh Ashar to make group txting easier. Group SMS integrates with the ‘categories’ feature of Outlook contacts allowing it to instantly pickup those. But its pretty buggy and slow and although you can paste, you can’t copy.
  3. Clipboard support: The iPhone lacks copy paste function! Lets say that again: the iPhone doesn’t have a clipboard or method to select text in a text box. This is super stupid. All Smart Phones for the past 5 years have had clipboard – pretty much that main point of having a smart phone in my opinion.
  4. SMS folders: on my Treo 750 and Treo 650 (PalmOS) both had the following: inbox / outbox / sent / draft, whcih seem very logical. You can go to a previously sent message, copy text from it, and paste into a new message. Can’t do this on the iPhone, heck it doesn’t even have an inbox / outbox. In fact, it would appear that it is possible to lose a half-composed txt by mistake somehow, something i will no doubt discover at some stage once i get used to it.
  5. Quick Text: similar to having a clipboard, this function on both the Palm and Windows smartphones allows the instant insertion of any number of pre-defined snippets of text. I have a bunch setup for common things, usually have a nice big one that describes my next gig in detail with the lineup and door prices etc, that i can send very qucikly to anyone who might txt me. This is impossible in the iPhone, but a great feature on both Treos!
  6. Treo can send and receive MMS messages – you know the ones with pics, videos, and sounds? Yep those. iPhone can’t use those.