Android and Apple Get Along

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Android phone or iPhone? Many ask themselves that very question. For a little backstory, I had two Android phones before I switched to the iPhone and that was because Sprint didn’t have the iPhone for a long while. I never thought I’d have an android device again, until I got my Kindle Fire HD for Christmas last year.

Recently I found a sweet deal on Amazon for a special edition of the Moto E4, a new version by Motorola (yes that company still exists!). It seemed like a great deal for just $99, as an Amazon Prime member. “But Scott,” you may ask, “don’t you have an iPhone? Why would you want an Android phone?”

It’s been suggested on Reddit that it’s a good idea to have a second phone just for driving with Lyft. And since I tend to get annoying telemarketer calls on my iPhone, which I block, getting a second phone made since. It’s also good for tax purposes. Plus, I wanted to use Android Auto since Lyft uses Google Maps and it would be nice using the Ford Escape’s in-dash screen. It’s possible somehow telemarketers will get my number. I’ve already had a few wrong numbers so far and I’ve only had the phone for a few days lol!

The first phone I was looking at was the LG Tribute from Sprint. At $120, it seemed like a good budge phone. Plus, it would be “free” after a Visa gift card. Then Amazon gave me that great deal, so I thought I’d go for the Moto e4 instead (plus the Moto is a newer phone with more features). So now I have both Android and iOS phones, which means I’m a double agent! But who am I working for? 😉

The main perk of having both an iPhone and Android phone means I can work on my Hello Scott app on both platforms! As I have announced recently on my social media accounts, “Hello Scott” is under review by Apple. It should take a couple of days or so. Hopefully it passes, but if not, they should give me the reasons why and then I can try to fix the app. Now with my new Moto E4, I can start learning how to make an Android version of “Hello Scott.” I’ve taken a tutorial and so far I don’t think its going to be a huge leap to learn how to do it even though I’m more familiar with Xcode.

So far, the Moto feels like a nice phone. It’s light, nice screen (a little larger than my iPhone 7), and the OS seems to be running well (We will see how that goes, cuz in the past Android OS hasn’t’ been the best experience for me). It’s not as fast or as nice as my iPhone, but I think it’s going to work well for what I’ll use it for.  My favorite feature so far is the home button, which works as both a fingerprint scanner and can be used as the three bottom buttons on Android. I can use one finger to go back, see all my open apps, and go home.

The camera’s aren’t bad, I believe its 8mp back and 5mp front camera. Again not as good as the iPhone 7 camera, but the Moto E4 is a budget phone. It can’t do the fun things the Moto Z can, like use the accessories that hook on the back, which I’m a bit disappointing with. But since this is a work phone that’s not much of an issue. I think the main advantage the Moto has over the iPhone is battery life. At a full charge, based on the battery app, the Moto claims to have about a day and twenty hours of battery life (but that’s probably just when it’s idle). I’d guess it will last longer than the iPhone, but I’m not sure by how much.

My version of the Moto requires an account with Amazon and I get little ads on the lock screen. Simluar to what Amazon does with some of their Kindles. Having the ads means paying less for the device. The ads aren’t annoying. Other than that, my google account is also built into the OS. So, most of the Google apps are native to the phone. Kind of like how my Apple ID is built into my iPhone. It’s seamless and works great.

Another neat thing about this version of the Moto E4 is that it comes unlocked. That means I could choose what service provider I wanted. I have Sprint, so I get a special deal for my phone. As in, I don’t have to pay anything for the service! No additional monthly fee on the Sprint bill, I guess because of the family plan I’m on. Getting the phone activated was kind of a pain though, since Sprint is kind of new to SIM cards. It took some time for the guy to find the right SIM card, but thankfully he found one.

So, when I got the phone, all I needed to do was take off the back of the phone and get the SIM card and install the battery. There is a slot near the SIM slot for a micro SD card up to 128gb. The phone comes with internal 16gb which get’s used up fast. In fact, when I set up the phone before getting the SIM card, the phone said I was using just shy of 8gbs. That’s with downloading a few apps. I could free up a lot of that space by deleting some of the apps that come with the phone. Most of the Amazon apps and some Google apps are pre-installed.

For me, 16gbs is plenty of storage, so I won’t be expanding it. However, if you are thinking about buying this phone, you probably want to buy at least a 32gb card or go crazy and get a 128gb card. The Moto E4 is pretty snappy, only laggy with Pokemon Go so far. Most of my favorite apps work on in it too, like the Lyft driver app, the app for my garage door, and my Shell Fuel Rewards app.

The fingerprint scanner seems to work as well as the iPhone 7 and I like having one button access to see my open apps or to “go back.” The volume and lock button is on the right side of the device, the mini-usb port on the bottom, and on the top is a 3.5 headphone jack. It’s also the thinnest phone I’ve ever owned too. So, if you want a cheap phone that doesn’t feel “cheap,” the Moto E4 might be the right phone for you. Uses the latest version of Android and a quad-core processor. Now please excuse me while I annoy my family by saying, “Hello Moto” all the time, lol! 3-22

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Switching Cars

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Lyft is a fun experiment. How much can I actually make with it? How much taxes will I end up paying and will I end up getting that money back in write-offs? How long can I drive before I get bored and want to go home?

These are some of the questions I’ve been asking myself since I started driving with Lyft. While taxi companies aren’t thrilled with the competition, in my area it’s much too expensive to call a cab to come over and take you somewhere. I imagine you have to pay to have the driver come to your house including the fare. With Lyft, you don’t have to do that!

Lyft is not only convenient for riders, it’s also pretty nice for drivers too. Yesterday the “schedule pickup” feature finally became available in my area, yay! Thanks to the new driver only app, I can now see if there are any pre-determined routes to snatch up. Riders have been able to pre-schedules routes, but now I have access to them ahead of time too!

Normally you have to “go online” and drive around waiting for someone to pop up on your screen needing a ride. Now you can start your shift by looking at a list of scheduled rides. I got to try it out yesterday and it worked out great in my electric car since I knew what range I was going to need. Of course, I didn’t tap to go offline after that ride so I ended up getting another route during my first trip, waiting for me when I was done with my scheduled ride. I drove my LEAF until I was at about 44% battery power and made it home at about 33%. I definitely was fine starting with only a 80%.

It’s the first time that reality set in, making me think that this could actually work out pretty well.  I don’t see myself driving 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, though it’s possible I could do that. Here’s the busy times in my area:

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If I just drive mornings and afternoons M-F, I could see some decent profits. However, in my electric car, I would have to charge in between shifts. It’s doable, if I started with 100% charge I should be able to drive 7-9am. Still, what if someone wants to go farther than 10-20 miles? I might have to charge after, which would mean finding a quick charge station or sitting for an hour or so at a slower charging station. Then there is always the small chance of getting a ride that goes farther than my range would allow.

So, to solve these issues, I’m going to start driving my brother’s 2016 Ford Escape instead of my Nissan LEAF. My EV will stay home and be my off duty car, so the Ford will be my company car! Mom helped me fill it up today, putting in 11 gallons of gas for about $32. Less than I was expecting. According to the car, it has a 266 mile range. Of course this is just an estimation, but still it seems like it won’t be as costly as I thought.

I’ve driven the car a couple of times now. It’s a bit of an adjustment. The car has a lot of power, so it’s a bit tricky to get used to the acceleration. And of course there’s the fact that I’ll be driving with gas instead of electricity. It’s just a different experience. However, the interior of the Ford is nice and I think not having the range anxiety is going to make driving with Lyft much easier. The Escape get’s about 22 miles per gallon, which isn’t great, so I don’t know how much that will cut into my profits. I’d really prefer to drive a hybrid.

So the Lyft experiment is changing drastically. I think this will help me feel more comfortable driving longer, once I’m ready to do so. I’m going to work towards driving a couple of hours a day, 5 days a week, hopefully in the morning hours during prime time hours. I also may buy a phone just for Lyft driving. It’s ironic that I’m trying this out as a job since I’ve never been a fan of driving. I’d rather be the passenger! However, making my own hours, driving a car I’m familiar, help make it easier.

Need a Lyft?

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Clever title eh? Okay, probably not, haha. However, yesterday I gave Lyft another shot, but not as a rider, as a driver. Back in February, I signed up to be a driver for the ride share company. The process was pretty painless, though the inspection mistaken a warning light in my car as a problem, I’m guessing it was regarding the parking brake. My car runs fine, so it was probably just someone not familiar with the Nissan LEAF.

The first time I started driving, it was a good experience. I had a friendly passenger who say in the front seat. The next two didn’t go quite as well. My second rider wasn’t terribly happy when I missed a turn, totally my bad, but wasn’t upset. My third ride was really short and went okay, but I forgot to unlock the doors!

Still, my little mistakes weren’t too bad, obviously. With Lyft and Uber, drivers use the app to get their rides and to see where to take them. Lyft doesn’t allow you to use their app for navigation, instead opting for a third-party app. Right when I got started with Lyft, they dropped Apple Maps support, which was disappointing, but I still had the choice between Waze and Google Maps. I’ve tried both, but I feel more comfortable with Google.

After my third ride, I let my anxiety get the best of me and gave up on Lyft. I’ve been out of work for several years (excluding my freelance writing job I had last year) and so the idea of having a regular job is kind of scary. However, I’ve still been looking at my options, applying to several jobs over the past few weeks.

Why go back to Lyft? When I make a mistake, I take it hard, so sometimes I need some distance from it. I think that was the case with Lyft. I also am working on handling my mistakes rationally, which doesn’t always work. I think it’s worth testing my fears of messing up and at least yesterday I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong. I did forget to unlock the doors with my first ride and I joked that I didn’t want him to leave! We had quite the rapport and represents the friendliness that I think a lot of Lyft riders have.

I don’t know if Lyft will become a steady job for me, but I do think I can do more with it than I originally thought in my electric car. For now, this is just going to be a way to deal with social anxiety and make a little spending money. I’m still going to look for a part-time job.

A new exciting feature coming for drivers is the ability to pick rides. Soon, drivers may get a list of rides that are scheduled in advance. I could then see what routes are available and what distance I would be traveling. Yesterday I gave two rides one after the other, and they were both local. I was happy that I didn’t have to drive far to get my riders.