The Android Doctor

Category: Tech Today

The only doctors I like are named Venkman (that's Dr. Peter Venkman from 1984's Ghostbusters) and Jones (and he's actually a Professor of archeology). I'm not a huge fan of medical facilities either though I found myself in one of Shanghai's expatriate hospitals after being laid low by the flu.

The gangly expatriate family medicine doctor who greeted me behaved like Goofy but was blessed with an excellent bedside manner. After learning about my work and my penchant for spending too much time with my Linux machines, he quickly started raving about his oversized Huawei phone equipped with the Taptu offline newsreader, which he downloaded from the unofficial Chinese Android app repository

Note: Google search will not allow you to find this dubious web site.

I'm no Sherlock Holmes but the minute I was in the consultation room it was obvious my new GP was a dilettante. He had an Antec laptop cooler, an old ASUS EEEPC (which he said he used for Ethernet access), a non-branded Wi-Fi extender to access breakable WEP-secured public hotspots (which he later admitted he did regularly) and a fairly well-maintained HP workstation (which is obvious by the clean fans and the neatly organized color-coded and clean rear cables). 

The gentleman was in his early 40s and hardly remarked on my recurring migraines, preferring instead to give me advice on Android apps, VPN services, cheap Chinese phones, customizing Android languages and visiting Baoshan Road's electronic stores instead of Xijahui's more expensive stalls. This doctor was obviously unimpressed with iOS and subtly disregarded Windows 8 as a platform (though he was a fan of Windows 7). He grinned often, telling me stories about his time repairing laptops and Windows machines - an unusual hobby for a practicing physician specializing in Family Medicine.

The Android doctor showed off his smartphone and I shyly browsed through the features and his choice of apps for a few minutes. Generally, I wouldn't recommend anyone handing their phone to play with - there's a lot you can tell from a user based on his wallpaper, settings, choice of apps and browsing history. Still, it was an incredibly generous gesture.

The Shanghai physician who spoke eloquently about the advantages of Android cheered me up quite a bit. I was discouraged and feeling down about my work the last few weeks and listening to someone share his enthusiasm for today's tech made me remember my own interests. More importantly, the Android doctor cheerfully told me in no uncertain terms to "Get a life" . . . and while I'm at it get around to buying a new smartphone.


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