Kubuntu Linux guy looking for first smartphone

Discussion in 'Android OS' started by Luke Drillbrain, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Luke Drillbrain

    Luke Drillbrain Newbie

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    I use Linux-based laptops. I have a full-sized one and a netbook, both with with Kubuntu 13.10. I have no smartphone. I use a prepaid basic LG Tracfone. I hardly make any calls or texts on it. For most of my calls I use a MagicJack Internet-based phone. I have a Windows netbook devoted exclusively to that. I have no interest in spending all day on Facebook or in texting people all day. I don't need a zillion different apps on my phone. I don't need to use it for GPS. I have a Garmin. I don't need to listen to music on it. I have a Sandisk MP3 player.

    However, there are some things that might make it worth finally making the jump to a smartphone. I keep my schedule on my laptop in a program named KOrganizer and my contacts in one named KAddressBook. It would be great to be able to take that info with me like I used to back when I used a Palm Pilot syncing with Windows XP. However, I understand that syncing has since gone out of fashion in favor of somehow getting the data over via Google. First question:

    1. Is this secure? I don't want anyone else to be able to pull up my schedule or contacts.

    I did find a site where someone talks about getting her data over without Google. This is my first post and so I can't post links, but the following search terms should get you there:
    Andreas' website
    Synchronising your Android contacts and calendar with KDE and/or Thunderbird without Google

    2. Do many people synchronize in this way and is it very hard?

    I don't talk or text on my cell much. I intend to put my schedule and my contacts on it, as well as some kind of program that can show LibreOffice Writer and Calc files. I'm going to use the Anki flash card program on it to help me learn French. I might want to use that app that lets you check if an item in a store is cheaper elsewhere. I may use it some with wifi, but I don't feel the need to be able to access the Internet wherever I am. I'm content to use somewhat older technology if it's cheaper. Next questions:

    3. Where should I look for a somewhat older and less expensive Android-based phone that will do what I describe?
    4. Where should I look to find a cheap month-to-month cell phone plan?

    I know a lot about PCs and Linux. Because of this, I don't need to buy the latest expensive laptop at Best Buy with Windows 8, which I don't like. I can find an inexpensive used laptop at a pawn shop and slap Kubuntu Linux and my favorite applications on it and have all my needs met. However, I'm not so knowledgeable about Android or smartphones, leading to my final question:

    5. Is there a beginners web site you recommend that can get me up to speed about Androids?

    Armed with knowledge, I want to be able to get a somewhat older Android and a cheap month-to-month plan while still meeting my needs. I very much appreciate any help anyone has. Smartphones, like PCs, are very much a case of what's great for one person is not necessarily so great for someone else. Most of the members of my family have gone with Macintosh and iPhones, which have turned out to be perfect choices for them, but not for me. Kubuntu has worked great for me, as I suspect Android will too.
     
  2. Hook

    Hook Cat and Mouse and Linux

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    Welcome to Brighthand, Luke. :)

    Here is the link you wanted to post.

    Synchronising your Android contacts and calendar with KDE and/or Thunderbird without Google | Andreas' website

    There aren't a lot of Linux users here (at least, that I am aware of) and one of the users who really is a very experienced Linux user here uses Google. I've used Linux off and on and just recently converted an XP Thinkpad to Ubuntu, but have never played with syncing, so I'm not much help.

    1. Is Google secure? In most important ways, yes, actually, but your data is out there and Google does hang on to it and use it to target their not terribly intrusive advertising. Since the data is out there, it is not impossible for large scale crackers (cracker groups, China, the NSA) to grab it, but they are usually grabbing wholesale and not looking at your data specifically unless they are already interested in you. ;-) If you use cloud stuff (I mostly only use DropBox), just make sure that isn't your only copy of the data.

    2. As I said, don't personally know much about people syncing with Linux without cloud. I can do it on Windows.

    3. & 4. I would suggest looking at a Nexus model. They are created to be unlocked and sold for much cheaper for the hardware you get than a carier phone. They are well supported by devs and trivially easy to unlock the bootloader, root and even flash new ROMs. The Nexus 5 has radios for AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, so you can take it to almost any MVNO.

    5. I think one of the best sites to learn about Android from a large number of helpful people is androidforums.com. Don't wander off and not come back. ;) We are a smaller site, but you won't find any group more friendly and helpful (and we freely admit when we don't have the answer). Also, I'd be interested in your posting anything you do find out here.

    Good luck! Keep us updated on your progress. :newpalm:
     
  3. jigwashere

    jigwashere Life is a circus!

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    Welcome to Brighthand, Luke

    Having lived in Florida for a few years, I was initially confused by this term. ;) :rolleyes:
     
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  4. lelisa13p

    lelisa13p Your Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I live in Georgia. You can just imagine what I thought. :D (Yep, we have bubbas. :p )
     
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  5. Luke Drillbrain

    Luke Drillbrain Newbie

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    Hi, Hook, many thanks for your detailed response. I'm making progress. I found a site titled "Best Cheap Android Phones (December 2013)". I can't link to it since I can't do links yet, but googling it should get you there. Believe me, I understand why they don't instantly permit linking. It's to stave off the idiots peddling herbal viagra, love potions, foreign brides, and get super-duper rich via a Nigerian prince or some oil dude scams.

    One of its suggestions was a LG Nexus 5, but that one was a bit too pricey for me at around $350 to $400. I was able to look up all the suggested models on Amazon and found many of them affordable and already unlocked. The Sony Xperia L caught my eye. At around $200 it's in my price range. I like that it includes a slot for a micro SD card. That was invaluable for my MP3 player. When I didn't have enough room for my music and French lessons, I just bought myself a micro SD. I might not have to buy such an old phone after all.

    In one of the Amazon reviews of one of the phones, someone suggested 35orless for service. I looked it up and it seems pretty good. At 35 bucks a month I might loosen up and call and text more than I do now if I go with them. Their coverage in Idaho (where I live now) was good, but it wasn't as good in Nebraska, where I'm from and where I might move back to. So if there's someone like 35orless who covers Nebraska better, I might go with them. It would also be nice to be able to turn on a temporary plan in Europe if I visit there, which 35orless does not do.

    My other thought is to see if it's possible to transfer my current Tracfone service to the new smartphone and just stick to my current habits of not talking or texting much and buying minutes when I need them. I'm also not going to rush into anything. My current Tracfone does run, so it's not like I have to rush out and buy something immediately. I'm going to take my time and educate myself so that I can make a smart choice.

    A couple more questions, if I may:

    1. I've heard both the terms "jailbroken" and "unlocked." Do they mean the same thing?
    2. My avatar doesn't show up. Will it show up once I've made enough posts?

    I will also be searching for a French/English dictionary app. I'm sure there's one out there. I was disappointed that Ultralingua, which I've used for years, doesn't make an Android version, only an iPhone one. They don't make a Linux version either, but the Windows version runs really well under Linux if you've installed WINE. I guess I have one more question:

    3. Is there such a thing as running an iPhone app under Android via something like WINE?
     

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