Kate’s Diary – Saturday 25th August – I flat out refuse to die in a log cabin or a big forest

I feel fucking great today. I bought an outfit last week while I was on holiday that is very fifteen-year-old-me. And I realise that sounds a little bit creepy and also a little bit like I’m clinging onto the past (which is probably because I am) but I used to love the way I dressed back then and I felt really comfortable in myself. I feel like that today, even though this outfit is like “acceptable thirty year old dressing as fifteen year old”. So I can kind of get away with it.

Guess what? I bought a NEW Chromebook! I’m using it right.now.

Last weekend I was hungover after a late night, alcohol-fuelled mini golf session with my friends. Online obviously. I hate real life mini golf, although my skills seem to be equally as bad at real life mini golf and Golf With Your Friends. Meh, I suck at games. Anyway, I digress. SO. I was hungover last weekend (really bad, like I had sick down my face and stuff – please form an orderly queue guys) and I was talking to my friends on Discord on my Chromebook and I just thought to myself, “I really want a new Chromebook. One with a touchscreen and stuff”. And this of course was me trying to cheer myself up because I was hungover. So I went on my catalogue online and bought one. Then about twenty minutes later I realised what a terrible fucking expensive hangover decision it was and cancelled the order. I returned from holiday to find that it had been delivered anyway so I figured it’d be rude not to keep it. Although I do keep forgetting it has a touchscreen (the entire reason for buying it) and I keep using the mouse anyway. I’m such a moron.

My boyfriend had a new phone delivered today by the nicest DPD guy, he was really lovely. He was like a thirty year old guy who couldn’t let go of his fifteen year old skater self so I instantly decided he was getting a good customer service Tweet. We had quite a long conversation about how bad my passport photo was but how his was even worse (not that I got to see it) and when I gave my boyfriend his phone he said, “you made quite a friend with Craig from DPD didn’t you lol”. Good times. I feel like Craig probably has an N64 and drinks chocolate milkshake a lot and I’d like to keep him but that’s just weird right? I’m such a sucker for clinging onto the past.

So anyway, Scotland was kind of rainy all week. And I didn’t bring a coat. Like, I know it’s Scotland and all, but it’s August. It’s supposed to be sunny in August. But it rained a lot. And I ate a lot. And walked a lot. And worried a lot cos it was quite remote and I’ve seen too many horror movies where a group of people stay in a log cabin and it’s all fun and games til the guy in the hockey mask starts dismembering everybody.

We went for a hike in Duke’s Forest (I think that’s what it was called anyway, I CBA to Google it right now) and we were the only people I could see for miles and all I kept thinking was, “if we lose the trail, we’re gonna die in here because, inevitably, none of us will have any signal”. I asked the others and they didn’t have any signal so I checked my own phone and OH MY GOD, not only did I have full signal but I only had full fucking 4g as well. I was like, EE, you guys are missing out on a great Kevin Bacon advert here about a spoof horror movie where it’s in a dark forest and everyone is lost and no one else has signal except for Kevin Bacon and they think they’re gonna die, but they don’t cos he’s got full 4g and just uses Google Maps to get them all out. Also, if EE release that advert I want commission.

We stayed near a place called ‘Drymen’ and my boyfriend and my sister’s husband got a taxi there for a few pints in the local pub. Their taxi driver was called “Mad Dog” and apparently he ran over one of the guys in the pub (this guy was telling the boys) when he was angry. They were also told that everyone else called him Mad Dog, but he didn’t call himself that and got really angry if anyone called him it. I think my sister’s husband called him it anyway when he was drunk in the taxi on the ride home but they came back in one piece so Mad Dog mustn’t have heard him. Mad Dog also very adamantly kept correcting them that “Drymen” wasn’t pronounced “dry men”, but “drimmen”. So the rest of the week focused heavily on my sister and the boys yelling “DRIMMEN” everywhere they went.

Anyway I’ve rattled on enough now, I’m gonna go start my little car up to drop my boyfriend and my dad off on their drinking and football escapade so I can get back and cosy up and chill out.

Can’t wait.

Omg, I’m in love with Android Pie!

The excitement in my belly when my phone alerted me to the fact that Android Pie was being dished out to the Pixel phones was unreal. I’ve been waiting a while for this latest Android instalment because I was told not only would the UI be different but that I would find I’d be using my phone less, which naturally, I love the idea of because I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows for sure that they’re glued to their phone all day every day.

At first appearances, the UI wasn’t strikingly different. The edges seemed more round, which was nice. However, when swiping between apps and screens, I found the transitions to be much smoother and more fluid and it felt and looked miles better. The recent apps screen now displays in a card format which is easy to navigate, although I’m not loving the fact that I have to scroll through alllll my recent apps to get to the “Clear All” function.

I’m currently running Android Pie on a Pixel XL and it’s fast. A noticeable difference from version 8, which froze a little and on occasion juddered its way through opening apps, version 9 is a walk in the park and actually a genuine joy to use. The notifications which pop up at the top of the phone also look better and smarter which is a nice touch and thankfully, my phone now also asks me if I want it to stop displaying notifications from some apps. I still can’t seem to get to grips with the clock now being on the opposite side of the top of the phone though… BUT, I do love that they’ve brought the instant silent mode back. No more keeping your finger on the volume down key to put your phone into vibrate or silent, you can change it again, like before, with the press of a button.

I was told that Google had worked very hard on the AI which was built into the latest firmware and so far I’ve found that (and I’m not sure whether it’s just coincidence or not) but when I mentioned at work about having to put my Google Playlist on because the radio was awful, I opened my phone and my Google Music app was ready and waiting in the shortcuts list. Aside from this, and the fact that my phone is slowly remembering which apps I tend to open at certain times of the day and which apps have messages or updates waiting for me, so show up in my shortcuts in the apps screens, I haven’t actually noticed any “AI” to speak of.
When first announced, one of Pie’s updated features was its battery saving tech. Whilst I’m not overly sure how it manages this, I have noticed that my phone has lasted ever so slightly longer than usual.
With regards to “using my phone less”, Google has introduced something called “Digital Wellbeing”. I looked all over my phone’s settings for this and it turns out that because it’s currently in Beta testing, you have to sign up for it. So I’ve signed up and checked it out. You can set timers on apps so that they lock out after a certain time and I’m not sure that this is a feature I would use, like my mum used to unplug the landline to disconnect the dial-up modem when I was younger and she wanted me to come off MSN Messenger and go to bed. I do however really like the idea of the “greyscale” mode, helping you to wind down at night.

All in all, bearing in mind I haven’t managed to test the Digital Wellbeing mode yet, I am absolutely in LOVE with this new version of Android. Best. Android. Yet.