Wednesday, August 29, 2012

FileDater Update

At the beginning of this year I launched a utility called FileDater that would scan a folder and copy or move files based on the dates in the file names. Today I announce version 2.0 that extends the original with a few new commands. All of these commands work on the current set of objects so if called after a FILTER will work on the filtered set.

Example: ONLY 10
This will take every 10th file

Example: SKIP 10
This will skip every 10th file so if you have 100 files to start you will end up with 90.

Undoes all filtering. This is useful if you want to move all the files on Sundays to one folder and Saturdays to another.

This inverts the selection for if you have selected all your weekend files to move someone you can invert it and grab all weekday file.

For more information see the original post on FileDater

Download FileDater

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to removed broken files "!" (Exclamation) from itunes (with iTunes match)

I needed some free hard drive space the other day and started deleting stuff. I backed up my photos to another drive and started deleting folders. My documents are all backed up on google drive so the only thing on my computer is video games and music. I bought iTunes match so all my music is in the cloud right? Well sort of.

I deleted a few folders that I thought where backed up and copied to my music when I imported them into iTunes but I was mistaken. 

Thankfully my second backup was in place I had the files in iTunes match. The problem is iTunes won't mark them as not downloaded it simply marks them as broken.

I had 9700 missing song.

I found this: as none of the other playlist hacks worked.

Near the bottom it references a script that will delete all the broken files. The problem is that with iTunes match it asks me every time if I want to delete it from iTunes match also (No I do not).  Animated popup, hitting enter to confirm , repeat 9700 times.  No thank you I'd need to buy a new keyboard by the time I was done.

So I got hacking. It turns out iTunes has a decent api that seems to be terribly if at all documented.

The best documentation I could find was a wonderful script for generating stats on your itunes library I from there I found I could locate and update the rating on a song in my iTunes library.

So I tweaked the apple provided script. to change the line currTrack.Delete();  To currTrack.Rating = 20;

This gives every broken song a rating of 1 star. It also took about 20 minutes.

Now I just have to go into iTunes. Sort by rating and select the 1 star songs and delete them all with a single button press.

Once you've deleted the songs you can select all and right click to re-download them. I was unable to download many of the songs (thank you iTunes match for sucking) and My ISP probably hates me for downloading 10,000 songs (I was missing a few for other reasons) but what's 40 GB between friends.

Of note I never rate songs 1 star. If I dislike a song that much I'll just delete the song completely.

The original source of the script is in the examples folder in the SDK download You might need to be a developer to download that but I like to share my sources.

Script starts here, copy this into a .js file and double click it in windows:

    File: RemoveDeadTracks.js
    Version: 1.0

    Disclaimer: IMPORTANT:  This Apple software is supplied to you by Apple Computer, Inc.
                ("Apple") in consideration of your agreement to the following terms, and your
                use, installation, modification or redistribution of this Apple software
                constitutes acceptance of these terms.  If you do not agree with these terms,
                please do not use, install, modify or redistribute this Apple software.

                In consideration of your agreement to abide by the following terms, and subject
                to these terms, Apple grants you a personal, non-exclusive license, under Appleƕs
                copyrights in this original Apple software (the "Apple Software"), to use,
                reproduce, modify and redistribute the Apple Software, with or without
                modifications, in source and/or binary forms; provided that if you redistribute
                the Apple Software in its entirety and without modifications, you must retain
                this notice and the following text and disclaimers in all such redistributions of
                the Apple Software.  Neither the name, trademarks, service marks or logos of
                Apple Computer, Inc. may be used to endorse or promote products derived from the
                Apple Software without specific prior written permission from Apple.  Except as
                expressly stated in this notice, no other rights or licenses, express or implied,
                are granted by Apple herein, including but not limited to any patent rights that
                may be infringed by your derivative works or by other works in which the Apple
                Software may be incorporated.

                The Apple Software is provided by Apple on an "AS IS" basis.  APPLE MAKES NO


    Copyright © 2004 Apple Computer, Inc., All Rights Reserved

var ITTrackKindFile = 1;
var iTunesApp = WScript.CreateObject("iTunes.Application");
var deletedTracks = 0;
var mainLibrary = iTunesApp.LibraryPlaylist;
var tracks = mainLibrary.Tracks;
var numTracks = tracks.Count;
var i;

while (numTracks != 0)
var currTrack = tracks.Item(numTracks);

// is this a file track?
if (currTrack.Kind == ITTrackKindFile)
// yes, does it have an empty location?
if (currTrack.Location == "")
// yes, delete it
currTrack.Rating = 20;


if (deletedTracks > 0)
if (deletedTracks == 1)
WScript.Echo("Removed 1 dead track.");
WScript.Echo("Removed " + deletedTracks + " dead tracks.");
WScript.Echo("No dead tracks were found.");

Friday, January 27, 2012


File Dater is a utility for working with files that have the date in the filename such as log files or images automatically captured by a camera. It can preform a copy, a move or just display lists.


FileDater commands.fd

comands.fd is a file dater command file like:
FORMAT 'QRTRYWAY2_'yyyy-MM-dd_HH-mm'.jpg'
AFTER 7:00
BEFORE 19:00
EXCLUDE dddd Saturday
EXCLUDE dddd Sunday
NEWER 70 days
OLDER 69 days
MOVE C:\temp\qtr4\ image Count

Each line of the file is processed one at a time to get the results you want. The first two lines are always FORMAT and FOLDER.

FORMAT FilenameFormat
This command establishes the format for the file you will be working with and example filename from above would have been QRTRYWAY2_2012-01-20_13-40.jpg

This is your source folder.

AFTER DateTime
This will include or exclude files after a Date or Time. if DateTime only includes a time then it will use that as time of day so in the example above I am grabbing files furring the day from 7 am to 7 pm.

EXCLUDE DateFormatString value
This will exclude any files where the date formatted as per DateFormatString == value. In the above eexample this will exclude weekends but this could almost be used to exclude every file marked with the 3rd of  the month.

INCLUDE DateFormatString value
Similar to exclude but will exclude all files that don't match so this could be used to say only grab the file dates 5 minutes after the hour. Having more that one INCLUDE will return very few results you can't include Sunday and Saturday to get the weekend you need to EXCLUDE the entire work week.

NEWER TimeSpan
OLDER TimeSpan
This will exclude any files that are not dated newer than or older than a given date. In my example I'm looking for NEWER 70 days and OLDER 69 so I want all new files in the last 70 days that are atleast 69 days old. This gives me 24 hours worth of files. A use for this is to find the newest files and copy them somewhere or find old files like log files over a month old and move them somewhere. You could setup a script to move old log files to a folder then zip it up.

This will preform all the above operations on every found file.

SHOW Optional Format String
This will show the files found. It will show the new filename, so if you call this before a copy you get the original file name, after you get the new file names. A format string is separated by spaces and can contain the following keywords "Count",  the number for the file in the result set, OriginalFilename, NewFilename. You can also include a % followed immediately by and date format string.  The above file names could be recreated as "QRTRYWAY2_ yyyy-MM-dd_HH-mm .jpg to print the file name, almost. All options are spaced apart so you would get QRTRYWAY2_ 2012-01-20_13-40 .jpg.

COPY DestinationFolder format
MOVE DestinationFolder format
Copies or moves the resulting files to a destination folder. This could be the same folder with a different file name structure. This way you can use Move like a copy. Warning: Copy and move will replace any files in the target location that have matching names without warning you. The example line "MOVE C:\temp\qtr4\ image Count" will move all the matched filed to a new folder and rename then to image0001.jpg for example. The number of digits in Count is based on how big the result set is but is always fixed length. This is useful if you later want to sort the file by name. File extensions are preserved.

Please note the application does very little error checking and might just crash. If you have questions or requested feature please let me know.


Monday, December 12, 2011

City of Nanaimo's new online calendar

The City of Nanaimo has been making many changes to their online services to help inform the citizens of Nanaimo about whats going on in their fine city. The feature I want to talk about today is the new calendar feature.

This is a very powerful and very customizable calendar that you can access many ways.

1. On the homepage is a link on the right side
Right Side Menu
2. From the Municipal Hall Menu
Easy link from any page on the site
3. Directly at

When you first arrive you will be able to see the Public Meetings. These are the council meetings and other public meetings that the council members are attending. If you want to see politics in action these are great meetings to attend.
Not much to see yet

By default you will be shown a monthly view but you can change this by choosing one of the four views at the top. I like the list view for items that don't happen to often because I can see more than one month at a time.

List View

Now although the council is a lot of fun it's not really what I want to do on a Monday night. Also I can watch it on my iPhone or Computer on Tuesday at Council Agendas and Minutes. What I really want to do is get some exercise. So I go via the menus to I want to > View > Public Schedules (Arenas/Aquatics) .To see the online pool and arena schedule.
Online Pool Schedules
I choose my favorite facility or activity and click on it. Today I'm feeling like the wave pool.

Schedule for Waves
On this page is a very important icon nanaimo that links back to the calendar. So I can see the waves times in the calendar.
Waves in Calendar
I can now easily see that they are running every week day at 11 AM and 7 PM and once on weekends. This is great but I don't want to swim alone so I invite a friend.

At the top right of the page, hidden under the switcher for font sizes and mobile versions is link that reads "Get Link".

Top Right Corner

Popup Dialog

This url contains all the information needed to show the calendar the way you are looking at it.

I email that link to my friend and he can suggest a time.

Maybe you want to see some more information like what is going on at Oliver Woods Community Centre and Frank Crane Arena. That's very easy to do as the major recreation facilities have been setup as standard calendars for you to choose from. Click on " + Add a calendar" above the calendar and you will be given a drop down list.
Choose a calendar

I've added the two calendars.
Three calendars selected
Now I can see all the calendars on the same monthly view
More to see
Now would be a great time to check out weekly and day view
Daily View
Looks like if I go swimming tonight I will miss adult drop in volleyball. I haven't played volleyball since junior high. Much like most things I haven't done since junior high there is probably a good reason for that but I'm not going to let that stop me. I click on Adult Volleyball.
Adult Volleyball
In this popup I can see all the information I need and add this event to my Outlook, iPhone, google or yahoo calendar but I want to know more about the cool events going on at Oliver Woods so I click the nanaimo icon under where it says "Subscribe to this calendar"

Please Login
The City of Nanaimo does not make you sign up for an account. Any existing account you have might work. No one wants to have a new password to remember and it's actually more secure to use a secure third party site to remember your password than it is to give a password to every site you visit. I've decided to use my Google account so I click Google. If it was my first time I would have been asked for permission from Google then I'm directed back to the calendar with a message thanking me for subscribing.
You have subscribed

I can check my subscription by clicking the manage your subscriptions link.

Looks like I will need to enter an email and save my settings (if I had applied for a job or used one of the many future services that want emails addresses Nanaimo would have it on file). I will receive an email asking me to click a link and verify my email before I get any more emails but after that I will receive a daily email around 5:15 PM of all Oliver Woods events for the next day. I can also click the Dashboard link at the top of the page to see a central readout of all my profile information including calendar events.

My Dashboard

And that covers everything you should know about Nanaimo's new online calendar. There are a few hidden features I have not covered here but I'll leave those for the adventurous to discover. If you have any feedback feel free to let me know in comments, via email or via my social networks.

Disclaimer: I work for the City of Nanaimo and wrote this application but the the opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not represent the opinions or policy of the City of Nanaimo.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Android versus iOS

Nexus S versus iPhone 4

I came into possession of a Google Nexus S by Samsung ( and I’ve always been told that android is better than iPhone so I decided to evaluate the Nexus S for a week versus the iPhone 4.

A few caveats

First I would like to state that these are both my personal devices for both phone and data plan. I happen to have a data plan that was not iPhone only. I am a huge Google fan, most services I use online are powered by Google. I decided that as this is an evaluation out of my pocket I would not be purchasing any apps for the android but I have not purchased many apps for my iPhone. Unless stated otherwise assume the all android and iPhone functionality is free.

Secondly this review is based on my usage and a few assumptions I am making. I did not do a huge amount of customization because I don’t think most people are going to replace their email client or lock screen or launcher. Some will and I will try to cover these options.

Phone choice

I picked the Nexus S because I owned one, it was very similar in specs to the iPhone and was base android. Most android phones are customized by the manufacture such as Samsung or HTC. Some of my issues are fixed by the carriers but I wanted to test the stock OS. Also because this is the core OS it gets updates right away when google releases a new OS. Apple devices are all managed by apple and get updates when apple releases them (with the exception of the Verizon iPhone). If you really insist on a slide out keyboard or a flip style or some odd feature you have that option with android. Android wins for choice, Apple wins for constant updates and standardization. The Nexus is one phone and is similar to the iPhone if I was talking about the entire android lineup in this review I would say that android has more choice but I’m reviewing one phone so it’s a Tie.


The cost of the device is hard to measure. I am reviewing a 16 GB Nexus but I own a 32 GB iPhone 4.  The iPhone is most often bought on contract and is locked to a carrier so I do give up a bit of freedom by going iPhone.

$99.99 on 3 year
$499.99 no term
$49.99 on 3 year
$499.99 no term
$275 with tab
$425 no term

$159 on 3 year
$649 No term (still carrier locked)
Telus: Same as rogers
$500 with tab
$650 without.

Telus seems to be the cheapest carrier and in all cases the Nexus was cheaper then the iPhone 16GB. The price difference is $110. Over a 2 year life cycle (both major carrier offer new handsets after 2 years) that works out to a saving of $4.58 per month for the nexus. The fact that the nexus is unlocked might give it a higher resell value so I would say if you are looking at initial investment the Nexus wins.


The initial investment is a very small part of what you will be paying for a cell phone. After taxes and fees and every thing else my bill with rogers comes to $78 a month. My wife’s bill for her iPhone with Telus, which she was only able to get because she was a university student and does not include visual voice mail is around the same cost. both our plans include unlimited nation wide to 10 people, unlimited texting, free evenings and weekends, call display, and 1GB of data. Mine includes early 6pm evenings, visual voice mail, ring backs (useless but free) and tethering.

Both plans are generic smart phone plans so can be used on the iPhone or the Nexus. Over a 2 year period my plan will cost me $1872. When you think about it the initial cost of the device is less significant to the cost of ownership.

Because visual voice mail is only available for the iPhone I will not include it cost with Telus in the evaluation. It’s included with my call display on rogers. For plan I will declare a tie.

Technical specs

As these are small computers the tech specs are important and are another reason I choose the Nexus S.

Size123.9x63x10.88115.2x58.6x9.3the iPhone is actually smaller but the case I keep it in makes it almost identical in size. Tie
NFCYesNoIn a test with another nexus S I was unable to get the NFC to work. I’m going to give it to the Nexus but in reality this won’t matter for a couple years.
Battery (quoted) Talk6.7 hours on 3g7 Hours on 3gTie
Display4 inches
3.5 inches
Both displays look better than my iPhone 3g but even though it is smaller the iPhone has a much crisper display

The following specs where close enough to not matter
  • Radio frequencies
  • Gps
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Digital Compass
  • Accelerometer
  • Proximity Sensor
  • 5 Mega pixel camera
  • Front facing camera
  • 1 ghz processor

I was actually surprised that even though the Nexus was only 8 grams lighter it felt lighter. I think this is mostly because it’s made of plastic not glass and metal. The glass and metal makes the iPhone feel industrial outside of it’s case. The iPhone I keep in a case because it feels very breakable, the Nexus felt like it had a case built in.

The battery life was pretty much identical. I had the Nexus for a new weeks before I got to use it because I was waiting on a sim card adapter. With wi-fi on and no cell reception I got around 14 days of batter life.

When I took my sim and switched I left the iPhone for a week without a charge and watched several Netflix movies on it (more on this later). I would say that both phones in similar usage situations will have the same battery life.


I tested the camera on the Nexus and was originally very impressed. I had been using the iPhone as my standard point and shoot as I found it took good photos in bad light. First impression was that the Nexus took a better photo in terrible light. But after doing some side by side shots. I found them to be on par. The Nexus does a bit more jpeg compression so you loose a little detail when you zoom in but I think it did color a bit better. The iPhone 4 has built in HDR the Nexus required an additional app. A friend was able to use their Nexus S and HDR app for comparison and the results where inconclusive one had more details but looked a bit white washed, the other had better color but lost things in the dark. I would say that both are better than my $250 point and shoot camera. Tie

Sim card differences

The iPhone uses a micro Sim. This is a standard in theory but only the iPhone uses it. In order for me to get the Nexus to work I had to buy a $1 adapter that was just a piece of plastic and a sticker. If you plan on swapping sim cards between phones the standard sim is easier but I feel the smaller format will catch on in years to come. Most people will never use the same sim in two devices as both phones support data tethering. So I won’t review this feature.


Now that I’ve gone over the details from the websites I’d like to delve into my actual experiences using it. Everything from here on is very much based on my usage model and I leave it up to you to raise your own verdict.


I will go through this in the order of my day. First thing I do is wake up, most of the time to my alarm. In the week I was using the Nexus S I missed the alarm several times. I found the volume even at max on the alarm is much quieter than that of the iPhone. I’m sure there are alarm clock apps that fix this problem but I’m going to only be comparing the built in apps. Winner iPhone


To the amazement of some people I know I manage to get through the rest of my morning without the aid of my smart phone. Until I get on my bike and leave for work I use a wonderful app called RunKeeper. The iPhone and android app are almost identical except a handy button that swaps you to map view when you are running. In the iPhone you have to swipe left for how ever long your trip is. If you are out on a 3 hour ride and you want to see your map it’s not easy on the iPhone. Winner Nexus


On my way to work I stay up to date with the news I care about by listening to a lot of podcasts. Podcasts provide me with a lot of information, some even work related. I currently have 10 different podcasts on my iPhone, some of them update every day and some are video. With the iPhone I simply subscribe to them in iTunes and when I get home I plug in my phone to charge at the computer and “magically” they all sync to my iPhone. It deletes the ones I’ve listened to and even remembers my place so if I’m 78 minutes into a 2 hour podcast It will pick up where I left off. Even if I play something else. A two hour podcast can take me 2 days to get through in 30 minute trips and I listen to music at work. If I want to grab a new podcast from the iPhone I can click an easy “get more episodes” button to look for more episodes of the same podcast or go into iTunes on the phone and search and browse. It will even make sure I don’t get a duplicate if my computer grabs the same podcast.

On the Nexus I looked for a podcast grabber. Turns out google made one called google listen, it sucks. It added some feeds to my google reader but was unable to download any podcasts. I found an app I could get for my computer that would sync podcasts from iTunes but they sync as songs with no played tracking and no place remembering and no auto deletion.  I grabbed some one off podcasts and I’m still trying to catch up from my week of Nexus. The podcasting was a major reason I got my iPhone 3G and it still a very valid to stay iPhone. Winner iPhone

Media Playback

The iPhone is an iPod with a phone attached you kind of expect a phone from a company that makes millions each year off music and video to be good at music and video and it is. It does volume normalization, it creates smart play lists, it has great sound quality, it has play pause, next track , previous track and volume controls on the headphones. It’s instantly responsive to my pressing the play button on my headphones. you can fast forward a song or movie quickly or fine tuned down to a second at a time. You can see the song that’s playing and adjust volume and change tracks from the lock screen. You can search for just media without any other results and it will search albums and songs and video and display them nicely broken down. You can even ask it “Whats playing” and it will use text to speech to read you back the song information.

The Nexus has a really neat widget for showing what is playing.The controls where often non responsive to the fact that I eventually started taking my headphones out and leaving my music running because pausing music failed more then it worked. Playlist support seemed to be lacking or at least no ability to create them on the device. Smart play lists don’t seem to exist in Canada. Music search was okay as was browsing. It reminded me a bit of windows 7 phone with it’s need to keep swiping left or right.

The sound quality of the exact same files was better on the iPhone. I’m not sure what it was, maybe the random changes in volume, maybe something else but listening to music all day on the Nexus gave me a headache. I’m going to go as far as to say if you want a Nexus and you want to listen to music buy a Nexus S and an iPod touch. Winner iPhone.


I tried out two browsers on the Nexus. The build in browser if based on webkit and firefox.

Firefox was very nice because it had ad block plus so I got to browse without banner adds but it didn’t multitask and the 5-10 second load time every time I switched apps made it unusable.

Neither android browser zoomed as smoothly as the iPhone and panning around a page was much faster on the iPhone.  When you double tap a zone the iPhone zooms into that text so you can read it. The android does this also just not as well. If I’m zoomed into a page on the iPhone and I want to zoom into a menu the double tap brings me there. On both android browsers the double tap got me all the way out. I also found that the double tap zoom was not as accurate on android and I often had to fine tune the zoom to read a page.

I do have to mention that both android browsers support flash. There are ways to do flash on the iPhone either with a proxy or remote browser but honestly I don’t miss it. Most flash doesn’t work well on the small screen. On the tablet I would probably say it’s more important but for now I’m happy just enjoying html 5. Winner iPhone

As a side note I was playing with a blackberry phone OS 7 recently and from my 5 minute test I’m going to say that it’s browser is as good or better than the iPhone. There that’s my Canadian responsibility to say something nice about Blackberry, it won’t happen again.


The iPhone has a great built in email application that supports gmail via imap and google sync with push email notifications. IT also support pop3 , and exchange and as many accounts as I want. I use an app called boxcar to give me better alerts when I get an email to my gmail but I’m going to disregard it as it’s a customization made by a free app.

On the android I get two not so good email apps. Yes there are other ones out there and I even tried a couple out but could not get any of them to work with exchange. The reason android has two apps is one is gmail and the other is email. I need to use the email app for my work exchange account. Learning two apps to do email because I have two email addresses does nto strike me as intuitive.

Layout is a big thing and when viewing emails the Nexus is not consistent across apps. The 3 layouts used

First name Last name
100 ish characters of the email

First name Last name
30 characters of the subject

First 30 letters of the subject -- start of email if there is room
list of people in the conversation

On neither android email client was i able to see the beginning of the message and if you happen to belong to a mailing list that puts it’s title in the subject like “Mailing list [Nanaimo Android User Group] Real subject here.” you don’t get any usable subject. The iPhone automatically loads the images in emails. I know why this is bad but considering how many newsletters I get I prefer it this way. I get a newsletter from some computer stores every day and without fail everytime I hit “show pictures” on the Nexus I accidentally clicked the email and launched my slow (firefox) browser.

I keep my folders organized like
  • Projects
    • 2009
      • Project A
    • 2008
      • Project A

On the Nexus I was unable to browse a folder tree and I could not tell the two Project A folders apart this made it very difficult for me to find emails. In some cases I had filters that placed emails into these folders and it was very hard to monitor my email. I could rename my folders to “2008 Project A” and “2009 Project A” but this makes my folder names longer and I don’t want to adapt my behaviour to a match software.

On the iPhone I will sit at my computer and answer email on my phone. On the android device I found myself putting off answering emails until I got to a computer. If a devices email client is bad enough that I stop doing email on my phones I can’t even consider it as working. iPhone Wins

Media Purchasing

On my iPhone if I suddenly need to have that new album by Dan Mangan, an indie artist from Vancouver, I can just go into the iTunes app on the phone and with one search, two clicks and a password it’s downloading to my device, even over 3G. I can’t buy music from any other site from my phone but them again I’m in Canada and I can’t buy music from any other site anyways (I’m looking at amazon when I say this). If I do buy a digital album from an artists site as I did with Arcade Fire it was easy to transfer it in at home by adding it to itunes and syncing it over.

On the Android device I was unable to find a way to buy music or movies on the device. It does support iTunes non DRM songs and most of the songs I put on it where bought on itunes but I had to purchase them on itunes and copy the files by hand. That brings me to my next topic but first iPhone Wins.

Media Syncing

First off I would like to say that I hate iTunes. It is probably one of the worst pieces of software ever written for windows. It uses lots of ram, it does odd things with my files. It runs a lot better on modern PCs but it has issues with duplicate songs and can’t look for missing files and remove them. I once tried to import my 50gb music library and it locked up my computer for 2 days before I pulled the power. If you have an mp3 that was cut off due to partial download then importing it into iTunes will make you regret ever installing the software.

That being said it is the most popular music playing software in the world as far as I know and a lot of people love it. If you install it fresh and only ever add music by ripping a cd or buying from iTunes it’s great. I’m going into all of this because you will need to install it if you have an iPhone. iTunes lets you create playlists and easily manage applications, ringtones, music, movies and tv shows.

iPhone syncing issues only become really noticeable when you leave the house. Want to copy a file off you iPhone to your work computer, to bad you can’t that’s stealing.  Want to copy a new song you bought at work on your lunch break to your iPhone, to bad you can’t that’s stealing. Want to do anything but look at whats on the device from another PC then you are out of luck. Want to buy a new computer and copy your music back to it because your old one crashed and you don’t have backups, to bad you can’t that’s stealing. So after you re buy all your music you may not really like your iPhone.

The Nexus on the other hand takes a minimalist approach. You plug in the device and it asks you if you want it to act as a USB drive. You open up this drive and you find an empty (unless your apps have created folders) drive. There isn’t a music folder. I created a folder called music and copied all a few gigs of mp3 and AAC files to and it worked. I don’t know how I would create a playlist or if that’s even possible. If I want to see play counts of track length or any meta data that isn’t in the filename I’m out of luck. It’s just a USB drive and it works but feels very 2003. Software like winamp or windows media player may be able to sync it but I didn’t try them out.

Over all I prefer the extra features that iTunes gives me even at the cost but I can see people that know how to manage files preferring it the old method so I’m going to call it a tie.

Updating the OS

On the Nexus I had a minor software update, I click update and it installed, very smooth. Sadly the update broke my ability to fully charge my battery but at least it was easy to install.

The iPhone requires iTunes to update it and will wipe the device then copy everything back. On a full 32GB iPhone expect the updating to take a couple hours. Except for this past month updates are usually only about 2 a year so I don’t mind the long update time.  Because of the ability to do over the air updates I’m you to say that Nexus wins.

Updating apps

Apple puts a little red number on your apps store for updates when they are available. If you never go into your app store and never sync your phone you will not find out about updates. App updates will always download and update with a single click.

On the Nexus many apps will require permission changes and this means you have to go into and update each at individually in some cases. At first I didn’t like this system but i got used to it fast so I’m going to call it a tie.

Notifications / Alerts

For those of you who have not used the iOS it currently (changing this fall) only supports one type of notification, something I would like to call the blue box of ugly. For text messages it’s the name of the person and the message in a blue box in the middle of the screen for anything else it’s the name of the application and some short text. Using Boxcar the alert looks little like
email from : name
subject: goes here

It gets the point across but it’s ugly. If the screen was not locked at the time you also get an okay button. Get two emails at the same time or an email, a text,a  “your floor on tiny tower needs to be restocked” and “it’s your turn in words with friends” then be prepared to click okay a lot before you can make a call. In some cases such as replying to a text message you may not be alerted again about some item if you click the reply button. Each application can put a little red number over it’s icon to indicate that it has things for you to look at. For example the 19 over my email means I have 19 unread emails and the 2 on the phone app means I have a combination of 2 voicemail or missed called. It’s not great but it works.

The android did alerts in a much better way. It put all alerts as very small set of icons up at the top near the time and your signal level. This is great as the alerts don’t bother you when you are doing something else and you can drag down from this bar to get a nice list of alerts. Including ongoing alerts like the current playing song. My only problem with this system is that it didn’t block my progress. A text message makes the same sound as a email, a single beep. I missed text messages for up to 6 hours until I noticed the extra icon (there are a lot of icons up there) and a missed call that I didn’t hear ring got ignored for the better part of a day. Maybe I would get used to this but I personally like it that if someone texts me I have to read it.

The android alert system made me worried for the new iPhone system as it is going to be very similar to the android. That being said I know how annoying an alert about a game can be while I’m watching Netflix as it causes the Netflix app to pause and have to rebuffer. I don’t like it but I’m willing to admit it’s a better system so Nexus Wins


If you’ve used voice mail on any non iPhone you’ve used the android voicemail. You call a number and press numbers to hear your messages. It’s worked for years but it sucks. The iPhone has visual voicemail. This means if you get a voice mail it gets downloaded to your phone so you can see the name and just click it to play it. If you want to delete your third message without playing it then just do the standard swipe to delete. Want to hear a message from 3 days ago then call the person back, play it and click call back. You can even fast forward and rewind you voice mail. That is a great feature when you can’t make out something someone said.

The only thing that sucks is the carriers. As I mentioned the voicemail is downloaded to the phone so that you can even listen to your voice mail when you have no cell signal.  Regardless of this rogers can and has issued a delete command to delete messages from my phone. They used to do it after 30 days but I just noticed I have a voice mail from 5 months ago so maybe they finally learned. Telus on the other hand ,unless you get an iPhone plan, costs $7 to add visual voicemail so my wife has to use old school voice mail on her iPhone.  Yes, Telus is a carrier that would rather use their own server space to store voice mail than let users take that off their hands. It’s almost like they charge per minute to listen to voice mail, oh wait they do. Winner iPhone


Quick and to the point, there are more games for the iPhone and the games are marketed more. A lot of the same games come out for android but I’ve never heard of a great android game that didn’t go for the iPhone as well. Some games like angry birds have more features on the iPhone, others like words with friends have annoying advertisements on android but on the iPhone you can pay $3 to save yourself from a 5 second add every turn or stay free to be annoyed.  I’m going to say iPhone because you’ll have more to choose from and it has a built in game center to compare high scores with your friends. Winner iPhone

3D Performance

I am amazed at the 3D that the iPhone does in infinity blade. I was unable to find a similar quality game on the Nexus but I’ve seen really nice screenshots so I’m just going to say they can both do good 3D. Tie

Video out

The iPhone has video out with a special cable (sold seperatly) it does composite and component HD. It can also stream video to an apple TV. The Nexus does not do video out no matter how many cables or addons you buy. Winner iPhone.


I love Netflix and I want it every night for a bit before bed on my phone so as not to wake my wife. I had to use my iPhone for this as the Nexus does not support netflix. Winner iPhone

Update: Looks like Netflix now works on the nexus. This has changed sense I used the phone.

Find my iPhone/ Prey

One great feature of the iPhone 4 is that is includes something called find my phone that lets me get real time GPS updates on my phone’s location from any other iPhone or from a web site. This runs in the background and is not an extra application. If someone takes my phone they would need to remove all of my email accounts to prevent me from finding it. If I have a pass-code on my phone they would have to get to a computer and restore it. I can also send a message to the phone ,similar to texting it; lock it, if I had a pass-code setup; or even remotely wipe it. I can restore it from a nightly backup if I ever get it back.

The Nexus has no such feature so I should just stop here but I decided to go out and get some software I had heard about called prey . It required an application to be installed and the application can be easily removed. It was only able to give me GPS updates every 20 minutes. When I attempted to lock the phone or display a message on the screen via their website the website said it had done it but the phone did nothing. To get the GPS reporting to start I either had to launch the app or send a text message to the phone. I have a computer and one phone, if I loose it I can’t send a text message to turn on my tracking I would have to borrow a friends phone and not all my friends have text messaging on their phones.

If you think you might loose your phone don’t buy a Nexus or at least don’t use Prey. Winner iPhone.


Phone choice: Tie
Camera: Tie
Cost: Nexus by $4.58 per month, The Nexus is 94% the cost of the iPhone
Technical : Nexus due to weight and NFC
Alarm: iPhone
RunKeeper: Nexus
Podcasts: iPhone
Media playback: iPhone
Browser: iPhone
Email: iPhone
Media Purchasing: iPhone
Media Syncing: tie
Updating the OS: Nexus
Updating apps: tie
Notifications / Alert: Nexus
Voicemail: iPhone
Games: iPhone
Video out: iPhone
Netflix: iPhone
Lost or stolen phone: iPhone

Tie: 4
Nexus: 5
iPhone: 11

So even if I gave every tie to the Nexus it still does not win on a point by point comparison.
Again I ignored the fact that the android is really customizable because I’ve never met a non geek that did any customization.

All this being said I would recommend the Nexus if
  • You travel out of the country a lot and want an unlocked smart phone
  • You don’t want a case on your phone. The phone pretty much requires one.
  • You don’t ever want to watch a movie or listen to music on your phone.
  • You’re really cheap and the 6% price difference makes a difference.
  • You run Linux, are likely already a geek and want  something to play with that may or may not work.

I recommend the iPhone if
  • You like music, movies or games or think you might like them in the future, a lot of people don’t realize how nice it is to have these features until you have them.
  • You like browsing the web quickly and find flash advertisements annoying. Yes Youtube works fine on either device.
  • You use google and/or gmail. Yes the iPhone does this better.
  • You own a computer. Don’t get an iPhone without one.
  • You want to answer email on the go.
  • You want to make phone calls.

And I guess that brings me to my last point because I realize I just reviewed two phones but never actually mentioned that they can make phone calls. This is partly due to the fact I rarely talk on the phone. I occasionally use my phone to make Skype calls. The few times I did use both phones the iPhone was a better phone. Yes I said it, The iPhone makes better phone calls. The sound quality on the headset is good, the volume control on the headphones is very handy and having the sound in both ears makes it easier to hear the person you are talking to. This is all assuming you use the included headphones and put your iPhone in a case. It won’t work without one.

Winner iPhone.

Now don’t go run out and buy an iPhone 4 as a new one might be coming in a few months.