Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 6th 2015 Contents A33
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Some things will strike you imme-
diately with Samsung s new S6 Edge+.
First is the feel of the device.
The screen s wrap right to the edge
may make for particularly sensual pho-
tos, but the effect in your hand is of a
phone that s all screen.
And, as with the S6, you re looking
at a bright screen with a remarkably
accurate colour range.
For my 2015365 photography project
(http://ow.ly/SZp03), I ve been moving
from the phone screen to calibrated
computer screens all year long and there
have been no surprises among images
captured under wildly divergent light
That might suggest that someone
obsessed with capturing photos on their
phone might be as well served by the
earlier S6 and for the most part, that s
But for users with more niche require-
ments, the S6 adds a live broadcast fea-
ture, which streams to a YouTube page
(think Periscope) and RAW still photo
capture, a whole new way to fill your
phone s storage space.
The RAW support is largely theoretical
for now, though. I downloaded Manual
Camera Compatibility test, a free soft-
ware tool that tests whether an S6 device
has enabled RAW capture in the latest
combination of hardware and software.
While the S6 Edge+ I was testing
should capture RAW files, I couldn t
seem to create one on the camera, even
using the app Manual Camera, which
supports the new feature.
I did, however, manage to produce a
couple of 22MB JPEG files. Oh well, I m
sure the Android OS will improve access
to this feature over time.
While I really like the feel of the
curved screen edges, I can t see how a
truly protective case won t conflict with
Samsung s increasing use of that edge
for UI features.
Features like an app launcher that
lurks on the curve of the screen and
edge lighting, which flashes the curved
edge of the screen in colours you can
assign to contacts are likely to be com-
promised by any seriously protective
The cases I ve seen for the device are
so minimalist that they don t seem to
offer anything more than scratch pro-
Setting up the phone has become
much easier, and you now definitely
have a very good reason to set up a
Samsung account on your device.
Once you sign in on a new phone, you
can restore a backup from a previous
Samsung phone and even choose which
items you want to restore.
To test a new phone for even a couple
of days, there are some things I need.
Being able to choose them from check-
boxes and having the phone set itself
up via WiFi is a truly valuable feature.
I d love to see Samsung use their pro-
prietary software embellishments for
more of this kind of enabling technology
and leave the free crapware to app stores.
Between this feature and Google s
elegant synchronisation of information
Taking it to the Edge (+)
across all the platforms it touches
and particularly Android-based
phones, setting up a new phone
from a proper backup has become
a remarkably simple process.
It would be nice if this new
phone was blunder-free, but I really
don t understand why the new
TouchWiz interface veers from
Google s Material guidelines for
onscreen graphics arbitrarily to
make the flat square icons flat
This isn t unique to the Edge+,
a recent update to my S6 brought
the same needless revision to that
device, turning the Samsung apps
into little colourful shirt buttons.
Not a good look for an OS.
Since third-party software
remains the same, it makes for a
pointlessly scrappy launcher layout
when you start to customize the
And for reasons that defy any
commonsense or real world econ-
omy, the Edge+ dispenses with the
all-metal carrier for the SIM card
and replaces it with a gray plastic
thing that looks like it was just
twisted off the plastic tree of an
Aurora model kit.
Still, this is a classy, well-engi-
neered device which manages to
make a virtue out of a large
screen. The Edge+ has all the
advantages of the S6 with a
Note-sized screen and a seduc-
tively tactile finish.
A multigenerational hit:
Student debt traps parents, kids
A college degree practically stamped Andres
Aguirre s ticket to the middle class. Yet at age 40,
he s still paying the price of admission.
After a decade of repayments, Aguirre still diverts
US$512 a month to loans and owes US$20,000.
The expense requires his family to rent an apart-
ment in Campbell, California, because buying a
home in a decent school district would cost too
much. His daughter has excelled in high school,
but Aguirre has urged her to attend community
college to avoid the debt that ensnared him.
"I didn t get the warmest reception on that," he
said. "But she understands the choice."
America s crushing surge of student debt, now
at US$1.2 trillion, has bred a disturbing new phe-
nomenon: School loans that span multiple gener-
ations within families. Weighed down by their own
loans, many parents lack the means to fund their
children s educations without sinking even deeper
Data analysed exclusively by The Associated Press,
along with surveys about families and rising student
debt loads, show that:
• School loans increasingly belong to Americans
over 40. This group accounts for 35 per cent of
education debt, up from 25 per cent in 2004, accord-
ing to the New York Federal Reserve. Contributing
to this surge: Longer repayment schedules, more
midcareer workers returning to school and additional
borrowing for children s education.
• Generation X adults---those from 35 to 50 years
old---owe about as much as people fresh out of col-
lege do. Student loan balances average US$20,000
for Generation X. Millennials, who are 34 and
younger, have roughly the same average debt, accord-
ing to a report by Pew Charitable Trusts.
• Gen-X parents who carry student debt and
have teenage children have struggled to save for
their children s educations. The average they have
in college savings plans is just US$4,000, compared
with a US$20,000 average for teenagers parents
who aren t still repaying their own school loans,
Pew found. A result is that many of their children
will need to borrow heavily for college, thereby per-
petuating a cycle of family debt.
• Student debt is surpassing groceries as a primary
expense, with the gap widening most for younger
families. The average college-educated head of
household under 40 owes US$404 a month in stu-
dent debt payments, according to an AP analysis
of Fed data. That s slightly more than what the gov-
ernment says the average college-educated family
spends at the supermarket.
The multigenerational debt cycle reflects a rush
to pursue college as a path to middle class security.
Roughly 25 years ago, federal policies began encour-
aging borrowing on a mass scale to cover soaring
college costs. Policymakers figured borrowers could
afford the debt because college degrees would all
but guarantee comfortable incomes.
The reality played out somewhat differently.
Roughly six million Gen-X households still owe
student debt. Some, like Aguirre, are forgoing home
ownership. Others have moved to remote stretches
of the country to qualify for loan forgiveness pro-
grams. At no point before, experts say, has such a
large share of the US population begun their careers
Nathan Anderson received his first student loan
in 1991. His time at Johns Hopkins University over-
lapped with the start of the lending boom: The
government was raising borrowing limits, introducing
unsubsidised Stafford loans and incentivising private
Majoring in psychology, Anderson hoped to
become a child psychologist. But after suffering a
shoulder injury while playing soccer, he found relief
only from an acupuncturist. The treatment led him
to study Chinese medicine and become a licensed
acupuncturist himself in 2004. He had already
racked up US$45,000 in college debt; acupuncture
school required more.
Now 42 with a blended family of five, he runs
an acupuncture clinic in Tucson, Arizona, with his
wife, Julie, also an acupuncturist. Combined, their
monthly student loans bills approach US$1,700.
"More than we spend on groceries and kind of
like having a second mortgage," Anderson said.
The student lending boom never fully appreciated
how many students might switch major or careers,
nor that incomes would stagnate as debt levels rose.
No choice but debt
Part of the problem is that job opportunities can
require workers to return to school and borrow at
a time in life when savings traditionally became a
In Kansas, the Bigler family lives in the remote
town of Ashland as part of a government-backed
programme to forgive the debt for the father,
Jonathan, 54, who in a mid-career switch became
a physician assistant.
With a population of 853, Ashland is 50 miles
from the nearest Wal-Mart and an hour from ham-
burgers at the closest Sonic Drive-In. Including the
college debts for their three daughters, ages 22 to
27, the Biglers write cheques totalling US$2,531 each
month to repay student debts.
The family is on track to be debt-free when
Jonathan turns 72. (AP)
Links Archive October 5th 2015 October 7th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page