Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cannot login to Verizon website.

Message just sent to Verizon:


For two days repeatedly getting this message when I try to login: "Not Supported Method"

Fix your website and let me know when that's done.  This is unacceptable.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Amazon sucks!

Feedback to Amazon on my just completed phone conversation with Amazon:

Amazon invaded my home and deleted a book from my Kindle Fire without any notice.  I will never buy from Amazon again and will post this on my blog.

If I borrow a paper book from a real library and it's overdue, the library does not come into my home and remove the book.  Amazon did exactly that without any warning or notice.  The Amazon person told me that even if I had its Prime service the free book from the Amazon lending library would have been removed from MY device without notice after one month.  I guess I could get it back but good luck finding the last page read.

Am I the only one outraged about this unwarranted invasion of my privacy?  I am not a big privacy person and think we need fewer secrets, not more, but I really resent Amazon thinking it has the right to remove something from MY property, especially without common sense, good business practice notice.

Jeff Bezos, wake the heck up!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire sucks!

It's as proprietary as Apple's stuff.  It came with one month free Prime service, which includes borrowing books for free for the one month.

I had to call Amazon support to get my Roku box to work with Amazon.

I downloaded a free book and read about half.  Why didn't I finish?  Amazon removed the book from MY device in MY home!  How did I find out?  Read on.

I tried to order something on Amazon and was going to be charged for shipping, which is supposed to be  free for Prime service members (actually I learned that's only if Amazon actually does the shipping).  I stopped the order and asked Amazon some questions.  That's how I learned that my Prime service had been cancelled.  No e-mail follow-ups.  No reminders.  No final warning.  Zippo.

Amazon cancelled my Prime service, I guess after one month.  I received one e-mail message reminding me that my one month was coming due.  What company sends just one such message?  Only Amazon as far as I know.

I lost my book and my Roku setup.  Amazon was completely clueless about my outrage and did nothing to placate me.  It's two days before Christmas and I'm looking for a buyer.  Failing that I will see if someone has posted actual instructions on how to install Android 4.0 ice cream including WiFi.

I will not order anything from Amazon again with or without the Kindke Fire.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

HP makes returning a PC as difficult as possible

Hewlett and Packard, the founders, must be turning over in their graves.  I sent six e-mail messages to HP requesting a Return Authorization Number and never received one.  All I got was a run around.  Finally I called and got one, which must be used within five days including weekends, holidays and natural disasters.  The 21 day return policy applies only to requesting.  I dropped it off at FedEx this morning.  Let's see how long HP holds on to my money after receiving their PC.

One of the obfuscation responses that HP sent tired to pay me a $30 bribe to keep the PC, which I had tried to cancel before HP had shipped it.  HP insisted that shipment could not be stopped and even expedited shipment in an attempt to placate me after I learned that HP has the very unusual policy of charging on the order date, not the ship date as other companies do.

Shame on HP.  I'm very disappointed.

Emery v. Acer

from: Ken Matinale
sender-time: Sent at 9:57 AM (GMT-05:00). Current time there: 10:08 AM. 
to: Anita_Bock@cand.uscourts.gov,
 ECFHELPDESK@cand.uscourts.gov,
 Chris_Wolpert@cand.uscourts.gov,
 Lynn_Fuller@cand.uscourts.gov
date: Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 9:57 AM
subject: Fwd: Notice of Class Action and Proposed Settlement
mailed-by: gmail.com


This  means of dealing with the judgement is a joke.

1. The form requires both the serial number and proof of purchase, both of which the defendant, Acer, already had or I would not have received this e-mail message in the first place.

2. Paper response only is clearly used to minimize the number of successful responses.  Who the heck still has paper receipts after all this time?  I do, however, still have the e-mail confirmation from Acer, which is probably very unusual.

3. Note the very small font size in the e-mail message, also intended to reduce the number of successful responses.

Here is a link to my tech blog, which obviously indicates that I had the type of problem this case is attempting to remedy.


This approach negates whatever good the court may have intended.  Please refer this to the judge and plaintiff.  Thanks.

Kenneth Matinale

___________________________________

Notice of Class Action and Proposed Settlement



You are receiving this notice because, according to our records, you purchased an Acer AOA110 computer, bearing serial number LUS030B0438482A2972536.
If you purchased an Acer computer in the United States between March 24, 2005 and May 1, 2011, read this notice.
You may be affected by a class action settlement. In the settlement, purchasers of Acer computers who file a claim form may receive free recovery utilities, computer equipment, repair services, or cash refunds. Class members also can choose to be excluded from the settlement, or object to it.
Am I included?
You are a class member if you purchased an Acer computer with Microsoft Windows between March 24, 2005 and May 1, 2011.
What's this about?
A lawsuit claims that Acer recovery disks do not provide access to all recovery utilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system. It argues that many Acer users will only be able to recover their computers to a "factory default" setting, losing their data and applications, or may not be able to recover at all. The lawsuit claims that Acer should have disclosed these limitations when it advertised that its computers included Microsoft Windows.
Acer denies the claims and contends that Plaintiff's assertions are factually incorrect. Acer contends that its computers have the complete version of Microsoft Windows, including all recovery features, identical to the version sold by Microsoft and by Acer's competitors. Acer also contends that Acer's marketing was not deficient and was consistent with Microsoft's marketing guidelines for Windows, which Acer was required to follow and which were applied across the computer industry.
The Court has not determined who is correct. To avoid the costs and risks of continued litigation, the parties have agreed to a settlement. The settlement releases all class members╩╝ claims against Acer regarding inadequate system or recovery disks and missing features of Windows.
What can I receive?
Class members can choose make a claim in the settlement for benefits under Group A, B or C. Group A will receive a free CD-rom of Windows recovery utilities that can be used with their Acer computers.
Group A claimants also can get Acer to reinstall the Windows operating system on their hard drive, at no charge, if they previously (1) replaced their Acer computer's hard drive, (2) were unable to recover using Acer recovery disks, and (3) contacted the Acer service center for assistance on or before June 3, 2011.
Group B can choose to receive a free USB drive, optical mouse, or webcam if, on or before June 3, 2011, they contacted Acer, an Acer retailer, or a third-party repair technician about recovery problems on their Acer computer or about missing recovery utilities.
Group C will receive reimbursement of the amount they paid (up to $50) for service on their Acer computer related to a recovery issue, if they previously attempted to recover using Acer recovery disks but were not successful and contacted Acer customer service for assistance.
All claims require a valid Acer serial number. Certain claims require additional documentation, such as proof of purchase. For further details, visit the Settlement Website at: http://www.acerrecoverysettlement.com.
How do I make a claim?
To make a claim, you must download the Claim Form from the Settlement Website, fill it out, and mail it with any required documentation to the address shown on the form. Claim Forms are due by March 14, 2012.
What are my other options?
You can exclude yourself from the class if you want to be able to sue Acer separately for the claims released by the settlement. If you exclude yourself, you cannot file a claim or object to the settlement.
Alternatively, you can object to the settlement by filing papers in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, California (Embry v Acer America Corp., N.D. Cal. 09-cv-01808-JW). If you object to the settlement, you also can ask to appear at the hearing or can hire your own attorney to appear.
You must submit your exclusion or objection by January 23, 2012 by following the instructions at the Settlement Website at:www.acerrecoverysettlement.com.
The Court will hold a hearing on February 13, 2012 to consider whether to approve the settlement. If the settlement is approved, the attorneys for the class will ask the Court to award them $1,200,000.00 in fees and expenses, and to award $15,000.00 as an incentive to the Acer customer who started the lawsuit. These amounts would be paid by Acer separately from and in addition to the amounts paid for class members╩╝ claims.
For more information, please visit the Settlement Website at http://www.acerrecoverysettlement.com or write to the lawyers for the class at: Acer Settlement, Gutride Safier LLP, P.O. Box 460823, San Francisco, CA 94146.
Please DO NOT RESPOND to this email because the mail box is unattended.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

HP is ready to ship my cancelled order.

Cancellation e-mail messages from HP describe this PC as custom.  I ordered a default configuration, which could/should have been sitting on a shelf.  There was nothing custom about it.


HP has yet to indicate whether it can control itself and simply cancel my order rather than continue a tense situation precipitated by HP's silly policy of charging a customer on order date, not ship date.


No resolution yet,

HP suddenly ready tp ship the PC ... 15 days early!

See previous post.


I received an e-mail message at 11:54PM last night: "ORDER READY TO SHIP".


It's clear that HP expedited the shipment of the PC I ordered on Oct. 27 and shipped it the same day that called their reps in the Philippines (I asked their location) in order to save the transaction.

So why did HP originally set the ship date for Nov. 17 and more importantly, why did HP charge me the day of the order rather than the day the PC shipped?  Obviously, HP decided to expedite when it faced complete loss of the sale.  As long as HP was holding my money there was no incentive to hurry.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

HP charged me at order date, not shipping date. The nerve.

I asked a friend about his experience ordering PCs:


If it's going to be built first (like from Dell) then they bill at ship date. If it's from stock, then usually it is billed when ordered, but then shipped relatively soon after. That's what NewEgg and TigerDirect do.


HP billed me on order date, which only realized today, six days later.
 I called and cancelled, which may or may not be in time.  HP wanted
to finish building (I ordered a PC with no changes), ship and have me
ship it back, with both shippings paid by HP.  I pointed out that
would cost HP more money than simply putting it in their inventory and
not shipping.  HP does not know if it can do that, another thing that
does not inspire confidence.  I may still receive the PC.

I cannot remember being charged other than on ship date.  I was really
annoyed, which is why I cancelled the $399 all-in-one.



Ordered: Oct. 27

Due to ship: Nov. 17

HP wants to hold my money three weeks.  The nerve.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Access to Windows: a curious development.

I recently paid $139 ($150 with tax and tip) to use the latest version of Microsoft Access (2010).  I had used Access for heavy baseball research for many years.  My older version was copyright 1992-1999.  I intentionally stopped using it about five years ago because I wanted to be free of any particular PC or OS.  I tried to rely on http://www.baseball-reference.com/ and google docs spreadsheets, both of which are very good but nothing beats Access for a single user DBMS.

Now I'm re-committed to Windows and will probably upgrade my PC.  Still running WinXP.  My netbook is running Chromium OS.  Check out my baseball blog:

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Amazon Kindle Fire

I pre-ordered the Amazon Kindle Fire today.  It should arrive in late November.  There don't appear to be any hands on reviews but most of the comments seem to miss the boat.


Most of the whining is about techie junk that precludes some anal jerk from carrying around all the books he stupidly paid for.  Just get me to the net!


I think the Amazon Kindle Fire during the Christmas season will beat the Apple iPad.  Here is why: a family of five can either buy two iPads or five Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.


PRICE!  It costs less than my new Motorola Droid Bionic smartphone.  All the stupid Android tablets cost as much as the least expensive iPad.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Netflix problem: not what you think.

Netflix increased its price.

Netflix split in two.

The real problem is that after jerking around with mailing stupid DVDs, which never appealed to me, Netflix finally distributed movies via the Internet.  At that point I bought a Roku box and subscribed for $8 per month.  I cancelled after two months for the most basic of reasons: the Netflix selection of streaming movies was substantially different from the movies available on DVD, which did not directly compete with service providers like cable and phone companies who had long standing arrangements with content providers.  Netflix was messing with the primal forces as mentioned in the 1975 movie Network.

The joke description of Netflix streaming movies was that the recognizable ones  were made during the Carter administration.  Anything newer was junk.

Too bad.  The concept is good but those primal forces were too much.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Droid Bionic: thank you Motorola and Verizon Wireless.

I ordered is as soon as it was available and it arrived the next day.  There was a problem with activation (Verizon Wireless had a disconnect between my account and its registry) but that was resolved fairly quickly.

Google Android OS brought my data onto the new smart phone immediately and has kept that data in sync with the google servers as it had done previously with the original Droid.  Why anyone would jerk around with the mess that Apple imposes on its sucker customers is beyond me.

I have not tried some of the enhancements yet, such as HD quality video, but the comparable functions to the original Droid work at least as well.

I like the fact that Motorola did not clutter it with a proprietary shell but left the native Android interface with which I was already familiar.  That was a factor that contributed to my buying the Bionic.

Great screen.  I like this device and will keep it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

How big a deal was Steve Jobs?

Not nearly as big as some media knuckleheads are saying immediately after Jobs retired for health reasons.


David Pogue mentions these products:
- iMac: What's its market share?
- iPod: Was it really that different from a Sony of my owny?
- iPhone: smartphone; so what?
- iPad: big iPhone without the phone.


Pogue also mentions these industries:
- music: I'll give you that one.
- TV: what?  Apple TV?  Is this a joke?
- movies: Pixar Animation - OK a little
- software: Safari?  
- cellphones: Did Jobs invent them?  I didn't think so.
- cloud computing: late, old fashioned and not free; so far only MobileMe; See Google Docs.


Jim Kramer said Jobs may have been the greatest industrialist in history.  Say What?  How about Bell or whomever you want to credit with inventing the telephone?  How about Henry Ford or your favorite fill in the blank for starting the auto industry?  Blah, blah, blah.


Jobs created hula hoops for people with too much disposable income who flattered themselves for making him filthy rich by overpaying in the extreme.


Plus, what process is at Apple Computers for continuing its recent success without Jobs instinct and his personal cult following?


Closed proprietary systems are dead.  Long live open systems.  Apple will sink on its next failure. Power to the people!  Down with the tyrants of industry ... like Jobs!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Verizon, Motorola, Google: please improve my mobility.

- Verizon workers are on strike.


- Google is buying Motorola Mobility.


- Can these three companies improve my personal mobile computing?


Verizon workers are striking primarily because Verizon appears to have blundered in spending gazillions of dollars on fiber optic infrastructure to millions of homes for its FIOS, which is not generating enough revenue to justify the capital investment.  Verizon Wireless is now subsidizing the Verizon land line business, rather than the other way around, and Verizon is seeking givebacks from its land line workers.  Verizon should have let the land line business wither away and migrated to wireless.


I hope Verizon gets this worked out.  I have Verizon FIOS at home for video and Internet and Verizon Wireless for voice service.


I have the original Motorola Droid running the Google Android OS.


Now that my brief and massively disappointing flirtation with Virgin Mobile crashed, I had started to again lament the disappointing aspects of good old Verizon Wireless:
- high monthly service charges
- unimaginative billing options
- unimaginative smart phones.


I have received e-mail messages from Sprint and ATT Wireless offering newer Motorola smart phones: Photon 4G and Atrix 4G.  My two year commitment to Verizon Wireless expires in November 2011 and I can upgrade now but there's no Motorola smart phone offered by Verizon Wireless that I want, just newer versions of the original Droids.


Maybe the Google acquisition of Motorola's smart phone division will help.  My initial reaction was to approve but the more I think about it I wonder how Google can leverage this into an advantage.  Tight integration between the Android OS and Motorola would be great but Google must at least pretend that it will keep Motorola at arms length so as not to alienate Google's other business partners such as HTC, LG and Samsung.  This arms length thing does not seem to work.  See Palm, Inc.  Or Microsoft with Office and Windows.


Tight integration between hardware and software is Apple's biggest advantage.  That and customers who are mesmerized into buying outrageously overpriced products that have made Apple more flush with cash than the federal government.  Instead of finally being outraged Apple customers just admire Apple all the more.  What saps.


Google won't take over Motorola smart phones until early 2012 so it's unlikely any big announcements will be made at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


Argh!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Virgin Mobile cancelled!

And its Motorola Triumph Android smartphone returned.

VM activated my Motorola Triumph thinking it had finally charged my credit card after four days even though my bank had that transaction pending.  Unfortunately, only voice service worked, no Internet.  I called last night and got the usual treatment: give me your secret password so that I can access your account.  I said, just make the phone work.  VM never could so I cancelled.

What a joke.  Good old Verizon Wireless never looked so good.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Virgin Mobile finally figured out how to charge a credit card,

I guess VM has been dealing for too long with old ladies and criminals, topping up their accounts with cash cards.


My Virgin Mobile Motorola Triumph Android smart phone is charging so I have not been able to activate it. It won't let me use it during the charging operation, which is different from my Motorola Droid.  I'm also a bit concerned that the battery had drained even though I have hardly used it for days.


If Virgin Mobile through the Sprint network functions well, I'll make the switch from Verizon Wireless.  VW to VM.  Could be cool.  I hope so.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Returning Dell laptop

I'm on hold waiting for RMA for a Dell 17 inch Inspiron laptop 64 bit Windows7 PC.

Dell tried to bribe into keeping it.  The guy in India offered $35.  When I turned it down he offered $40.  I rejected that.  Then he offered $45.  I was incredulous.  I insisted that I wanted to return it.

Dell is charging me 15% restocking fee.  The PC cost $750, so it will come to about $112 but Dell pays for shipping.  I asked why it was a percentage because the $500 version of this PC won't cause Dell to do any more work than reloading the image of the $750 PC.  The guy didn't know.

He then told me that there's also a 15% restocking fee for returning my extra the battery, which shipped separately.  I asked why since the battery is dead and merely needs to be placed back on the shelf.  He didn't know.

The PC arrived unable to connect via WiFi.  I spent over an hour on the phone the other day with Dell support getting it to work.  I did not get paid for that.  The next day Windows7, a huge mess, needed to add 32 updates.  In other words I'm returning the PC in better shape than I received it.

Dell also adds tons of its own mess to the Win7 mess.  Next time I'll check Acer, Asus, etc.  At least they won't load up unneeded software.

I'm very disappointed in Dell, although it doesn't compare to the ongoing nonsense with Virgin Mobile.

25 minutes: still waiting for the guy to come back from break.  Maybe these companies hope that the customer will give up.  At the Dell web site I filled out a form to return.  I thought: hey, pretty easy.  A couple of hours later I received e-mail stating that I that I would get another e-mail.  The second e-mail stated that I had to call to return the laptop.  Companies cannot be that incompetent.  It must be a way to get the customer to give up.  I had to provide the order number three times.

I'm still on hold.  It's 30 minutes.

35 minutes: the guy came back to ask for the order number for the extra battery.  Can't he see all that on my account?  I'm back on hold.  I'm not getting paid for this time.

50 minutes: he came back.  I mentioned that dell.com states that the customer should accept the delivery even if he intends to return it because not accepting would delay.  The Dell guy said that dell would charge me a 15% restocking penalty either way.  I expressed my displeasure and he said he would note that.  I told him to tell Dell to read my blog as I was documenting these events.

55 minutes.  The call is over.  That's about two hours of my time dealing with Dell after receiving the PC.

Virgin Mobile is run by clowns and/or 15 year olds.

I tried the Virgin Mobile Motorola Triumph Android smart phone using WiFi.  I had read about 5 reviews, two of which stated that the screen was sometimes not responsive.  I have noticed the same thing.  My Verizon Wireless Motorola Droid Android smart phone also has that problem and the right side of the portrait touch keypad has become unusable.  Maybe Mobile has a problem.  Maybe all phones do.


Even though both my Motorola Android phones are running the same version of the Android operating system with no extra shell the settings are only about 80% the same.  This came as a surprise.


I finally decided to try the Sprint network via Virgin Mobile.  The Motorola Triumph has an app to activate service.  I tried it several times and it could not connect to the network.


I went to the Virgin Mobile web site and filled in all the info to activate, including credit card to make monthly payments.  I was assigned a phone number and instructed to turn on the phone to complete activation.  Again it failed to connect to the network.


I called Virgin Mobile and managed to plow through its awful call prompting system.  I was told that Virgin Mobile could only access my account with my secret PIN.  I refused to provide it.  I then said just cancel my account.  My PIN was required to access my account in order to cancel it. I asked to speak to a supervisor who told me all this same nonsense.


The supervisor said that the problem was that my credit card did not "top off" my Virgin Mobile account.  This is further confirmation that Virgin Mobile has a corporate culture geared to old ladies and criminals who do not want to pay a fixed monthly fee.


The supervisor asked for my permission to again attempt to charge my credit card.  I agreed just to see what would happen.  The supervisor said it failed again and that she would refer it to another group that would take 24-72 hours to resolve the matter.  She provided a reference number which I was required to write down because Virgin Mobile would not send it by e-mail.  She told me to call Virgin Mobile in a couple of days to find out what happened.


Maybe Virgin Mobile was designed by high school kids who saw how their parents did stuff like this but never really did it themselves and only got it partly right.  What a joke.


Apparently Sprint does not give Virgin Mobile direct access to its billing system.  That's probably why Virgin Mobile needs a customer's individual PIN to access the customer's account.  Virgin Mobile is accessing it as though Virgin Mobile was the customer.  Obviously this is a huge security breach.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ordered Motorola Triumph from Virgin Mobile.

From the Virgin Mobile web site:

How it works:


First, buy the phone you want. 
Then, relax for a few days (or obsessively check the tracking info), while your phone is shipped to you.


When your phone arrives, hug the mailman, bust open the packaging and run through the streets cheering. After that, you should come back here to activate your phone, add money to your account, and at that point you'll set-up your customized talk/text/mobile web plan.
____________________

Virgin Mobile is still in the mode of dealing with old folks and criminals even with it's first real entry into mainstream smartphone competition.  At least I didn't have to jeopardize my current Verizon Wireless phone number and I can check out the Motorola Triumph Android phone.  It should be able to connect to the web via WiFi.

Cool.

Chromium OS on Acer netbook: no sound and no phone.

Overall I'm very pleased with Chromium OS on Acer netbook, which had been a brick due to several failed attempts to install stupid Ubuntu Linux.

However, Chromium OS on Acer netbook does not play sound.  I have not figured out how to check the camera but I'm guessing that it will not work either.

Google Talk and/or Phone: I installed it from the Google Chromium OS Web Store but it does not integrate into my address book as it does in WindowsXP.  I had to enter the phone number myself and dial (connect).  The call went through but I heard nothing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thinking the unthinkable: switching from Verizon Wireless to Virgin Mobile!

Wow!  The Virgin Mobile prices are amazing.

For unlimited data and unlimited voice:

Verizon Wireless: $30 + $70 = $100

Virgin Mobile: $55 no contract, no penalty on the Sprint 3G network.

Save $45 per month!

I would need to payoff about $70 remaining on my two year penalty to Verizon Wireless for early termination.  That's out of $175.  I learned that if I got a new Verizon Wireless Android phone with a two year commitment the penalty would double to $350.  Verizon Wireless has gotten carried away.

I could payoff the $70 in two months of savings.

I would have to buy a new Android phone, the Motorola Triumph for $300, which is at least as good as my Motorola Droid, which has developed some screen anomalies.

I'd be about even in about in about 8 months ... with a new better phone.

The only drawback is that Virgin Mobile is limited to Sprint's 3G; no 4G.

I'd like to buy the Motorola Triumph with an option to return and cancel to try it in parallel for a couple of weeks.  Then if I like it, switch my Verizon phone number to
Virgin Mobile and cancel Verizon.

I sent an e-mail to Virgin Mobile asking about this.  Let's see how its customer service responds, if at all.

Chromium installed!

Success!

Where stupid Ubuntu failed, Chromium succeeded.  Yesterday I installed Chromium on my dead Acer notebook.  It's working well.  I followed the lifehacker instructions, which were bizarre not difficult.

Instead of wasting that $500 I spent on the Samsung Chromebook (refunded) I have basically the same thing for free.

Cool.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chromium OS locks up.

Well, that didn't last long.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chromium OS running on my dead Acer netbook.

I had cooked the Acer netbook trying to load stupid Ubuntu Linux.

I just got Chromium OS to run on the Acer netbook.  It does not appear to be installed but runs from the thumb drive.

I followed instructions on lifehacker.com and downloaded a vanilla build from Hexxah.  I have no idea what I'm talking about.

This included running Image Writer for Windows.  This utility supposedly writes the unzipped image of the vanilla build onto a thumb drive.  Unfortunately, it gives the impression that it has killed the thumb drive, which does a very convincing job of playing dead by making Windows think it needs to be formatted.

As you can imagine I repeated these steps many times with several different types of failures before I finally decided with no real expectation for success to simply put the dead thumb drive into the Acer and turn it on.  To my amazement Chromium OS came alive.  However, it gave no indication that I could choose to install it.

This is further than I got with stupid Ubuntu.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Samsung Chromebook returned.

I'm really disappointed in google.  How difficult can it be for a world class techie company to create a stripped down operating system (OS)?  All the damn thing had to do was connect to the Internet efficiently.

Instead it took longer and longer to fetch e-mail: 2-3 minutes.

Interrupted itself with of all colors a blue background and that adolescent pseudo techie language that tells you nothing except the pizza boxes and soda cans must be piling up in googleland creating massive cases of acid reflux in the miscreants who failed on the ChromeOS project.

The irony is that google's mobile OS, Android, works well and does 100 times more stuff.

All google had to was create a simple OS.  It failed.  I felt more and more foolish hoping that I could keep my  Samsung Chromebook.  I couldn't.  Too bad.  It was a nice piece of hardware but the OS sucked.

Chromebook crashes ... often.

Maybe crash is a bit extreme but many times I get:

He's dead, Jim.


Either Chrome ran out of memory or the process for the webpage was terminated for some other reason ...

It's happening repeatedly while I write this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Samsung Chromebook is often SLOW!

Speed is the primary benefit according to a video by google.

If my Samsung Chromebook has its lid down and I open it and click refresh in gmail it can take two minutes to finish "loading".  This happens often but is not the only time when my Samsung Chromebook is slow.

I have until July 14 to return the Samsung Chromebook.

The lack of speed and quirks with the Apple-like touch pad are issues.

Is there a home key or equivalent?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chromebook connected to Verizon Wireless!

After several more aggravating conversations with Samsung I decided to simply try to register my Samsung Chromebook with Verizon Wireless.  It worked!

Samsung had no clue what the heck was going on.

OK, now let's see how this thing performs.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I just wrote to google.


fromdo-not-reply@google.com
sender-timeSent at 9:03 AM (UTC). Current time there: 1:03 PM. 
reply-todo-not-reply@google.com
token@matinale.net
dateSun, Jul 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM
subjectGoogle confirmation - Share Success
signed-bygoogle.com
Important mainly because it was sent directly to you.
hide details 9:03 AM (0 minutes ago)
Thank you for writing in to tell us your story. While we can't guarantee that we'll respond to each and every message, we do read every note and really appreciate your taking the time to share your experience with us. If we're interested in exploring your story further, we'll get in touch.

If you're looking for help, need an answer to a question, or would like to send us feedback, please visit Google Help at http://www.google.com/support/. We aren't able to respond to requests submitted through our testimonials contact form.

Regards,
The Google Team

---

Google product your story is about:: Other
If "Other" is selected above, please enter the name of the product your story is about:: Chromebook
Please tell us your story about this product:: http://techthoughtsmatinale.blogspot.com/

You might want to read my blog about the problems with my Samsung Chromebook.
What do you like best about this product?: The idea. However, Google has work to do. I have used google docs exclusively for years. If you lose me, your Chromebook efforts are doomed. I'm google's biggest fan.
Name:: Kenneth Matinale
Email address:: ken@matinale.net
Can we ask you a few more questions about yourself?: Yes
Phone number:: XXXXXXXXXX
City:: White Plains
State:: NY
Country:: USA
Age:: 63
Job title:: retired

Talking to Samsung about Chromebook.

Samsung never heard about the 3G problem but has an open ticket because I called July 1 because my PC arrived with no OS.  Samsung did nothing about that and it's been two days.

A Samsung supervisor is being consulted ... I'm waiting ...

I'm using Google Phone to make this call on my Samsung Chromebook while I write this post.  Cool.

The rep came back and said I had to talk to a Samsung cell phone person because it's a carrier (Verizon) issue.  The transfer resulted in a voice message stating that they are closed and that I should use live chat online.  I had already checked that ... it's closed, too.

I had also tried to send a-mail through a Samsung online form but the drop down for the model is frozen: nothing drops down even though I had selected the preceding info.

You can't make up stuff like this.

Samsung apparently never got the word from Verizon.  I spoke to Verizon last night but Verizon only communicated with Google.

From the play 1776:
Is anybody there?
Does anybody care?

Samsung shipped an unregistered Chromebook to me.

That explains  why:

1. there was no OS
2. Verizon Wireless did not have my Chromebook in its database for free 3G service.

I hope Verizon Wireless, Samsung and Google get this straightened out.  I'm starting to like my Chromebook.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Chromebook probably going back.

Verizon FIOS support got my wireless router working.  Good job.

However, I could not get the 3G account.  I called Verizon Wireless again and this guy did as much as could be expected.  Result: my Samsung Chromebook is not in a database.  That's why I could not get the 3G service.

MASSIVE disconnect among Google, Samsung and Verizon Wireless.  The Verizon Wireless guy sent messages on my behalf to Google and even included the fact that I had to load the OS.  The Verizon Wireless guy will monitor but advised me that unless my Samsung Chromebook gets into that database I will not get the 3G service and that I should return the Samsung Chromebook.

Amazing!  You can't make this up.

Chromebook unchained.

My Samsung Chromebook won't connect to my Verizon FIOS wireless router, which works fine with both my Dell WindowsXP laptop and my Motorola Droid.  Another reason that it should have an Ethernet port.  How much can that cost?  Samsung could not have excluded it for weight considerations.  Considering it's dimensions the damn thing must be made of lead.  It's heavy.

A friend loaned me a Verizon Wireless MiFi hotspot device.  I connected the Samsung Chromebook to it via WiFi and then to the Internet.  It worked well.  However, I did not want to use up too much of my friend's transmission bytes.

I breached Chromebook security and found the Settings under the menu and found an application for the two years of free 100M per month Verizon Wireless 3G service. The only way you can get the free service is to open an account and supply a credit card so that Verizon Wireless can charge for exceeding the limit.  Verizon Wireless does not even have the sense to ask if you are an existing customer.  You must open another account.

I filled out the application and submitted it  It was rejected without reason and I was told to call Verizon Wireless, which I did.  I switched off my friend's MiFi hotspot device.  The Verizon guy who finally answered told me to fill out the form again.  I explained that I did not have an Internet connection and that was why I wanted the 3G service.  He insisted.  The guy wouldn't open the account by phone.  You can't make up stuff like this.

In fact the real problem that media reviewers miss is that the Chromebook requires an Internet connection to do ANYTHING, not just work.  I cannot find help on the Chromebook itself. There are no definitions for options in Settings.  What the heck are some of those things?

If my Chromebook won't work with my Verizon FIOS wireless router it's going back.  After having to load the OS myself I should send a bill to both Google and Samsung.

Those snotty reviewers who wrote that the Chromebook is something for their mothers should actually try that.  Give a Chromebook to your mother and see if she can do what Google says in its insert: "Plug in the power.  Open the lid.  And you're all set."  Good luck with that.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Samsung Chromebook finally arrived. It won't boot.

You cannot make up stuff like this.

I had read that it came with no written documentation.  Actually it comes with lots of written stuff, just in really tiny font size and with no useful information.  Written items include Safety Instructions, which includes stuff like don't set the battery on fire or smash it with a hatchet.  The Samsung Quick Start Guide does not even indicate what color the LED should be when the battery is charged; it remained a reddish orange after a couple of hours of charging.

There is one piece of paper from google, which cheerfully states: "Plug in the power.  Open the lid.  And you're all set.".  Unfortunately, that no more useful than the tiny diagram of the proprietary function keys with their explanations in super tiny font size.

I decided to remove the charger and open the lid even though I did not know if the battery was fully charged. The lid appears to be backward because Samsung its name on it upside down.

I pushed the power button and the screen came to life.  There was a frowny face on a laptop screen with a thumb drive pointed towards it.  Underneath was this:

Chrome OS is missing or damaged
Please connect a recovery device.
http://google.com/support/chromeos/recovery
Model: SAMS ALEX EPSILON-US 4507

I was aghast.  What the heck?  Who the heck ships a PC, especially one with a new experimental operating system, and does not bother to turn it on to see it if boots?  Samsung.

I called Samsung and after long delays concluded that the people with whom I had spoken were well-intentioned but not entirely familiar with the fact that Samsung does not have a direct sales channel but instead directs a buyer to either amazon.com or bestbuy.com.  I had chosen bestbuy.com and will call them next.

I am not inclined to try to download a version of Chrome OS to a thumb drive and install it, especially after my failed attempt to do this with Ubuntu Linux onto my SLOW Acer netbook, which is currently a brick.

Ah, progress!  While I was writing this the LED finally changed color to green, perhaps indicating that the battery is charged.  Just to check I closed the lid, re-opened and pushed power: the vulgar mask of failure re-appeared.

I decided to try the recovery URL and was re-directed here:

http://www.google.com/support/chromeos/bin/answer.py?answer=1080595

I learned something that Samsung could not tell me: that these Chromebooks come with an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) version of the operating system (OS):

First choose the model of your Chromebook:


Acer
Cr-48
Samsung Chromebook Series 5

After choosing Samsung I saw this:

Before starting this process, you'll need the following:


A Windows, Mac, or Linux computer with administrative rights.
A 4 GB or larger USB flash drive that you don't mind clearing.

This is another reason I do not want to do this.  Why should I need another computer and why should I waste a USB flash drive?  The only USB flash drive I have is that stupid SanDisk that I had to re-furbish just to get it to load stupid Ubuntu Linux, which of course, failed to load on my Acer netbook. What the heck.  It's not doing me any good.

By the way: why doesn't my Chromebook come with an Ethernet port?

OK, I'm foolishly trying this recovery procedure.  Google wants me to download and run the recovery program on my semi-trusty old WindowsXP Dell laptop.  Again I must choose Samsung.

I plug it in and the "SanDisk Cruzer USB Device" is recognized.  I am warned: "All files on SanDisk Cruzer USB Device will be erased.".  Here goes ...

It's downloading.

It worked.  I managed to demolish my worthless stupid Ubuntu Linux boot devise.

I started the Samsung and then inserted the boot SanDisk Cruzer USB Device.  On screen messages that it validated the official recovery image, reset security, about to copy system image.  It will "take some time".  Hey, it's already further than stupid Ubuntu Linux from those snot nosed techies who only care about themselves and their snot nosed techie friends.  It's clear that some profit motive is necessary, not phony baloney save the world fake altruism.

System is about to reboot.  Cool.

Yikes!  I think it worked!  It wouldn't take the password for my Verizon FIOS router but it took it from a friend's Verizon Wireless MiFi 3G portable hotspot.  I seem to be online.  No idea how to make it work with the free Verizon Wireless 3G  that is supposed to come with it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You think the Chromebook is expensive?

I just noticed that the new 11 inch MacBook Air starts at just $999.

And that's worth the price ... because it runs Apple apps that people don't need?  It's twice the price of my pre-ordered 12 inch Samsung Chromebook!  TWICE!!  What the heck?  How does Apple get away with this?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ode to David Pogue: love the Chromebook, you shnook.

See David's New York Times June 15, 2011 article:

A Laptop, Its Head in the Cloud

David, what happened to you?  You used to be so imaginative, so cool ... OK, not cool, but an OK mainstream media tech critic.  What the heck?

You have the advantage in having actually used the Samsung Chromebook that I have only pre-ordered but as mentioned in my June 9, 2011 post:


I cannot remember the last time I used my PC without the Internet.  Probably years.  And years since I used a PC program other than the browser and notepad (for copy and paste)...  In recent years I have created ALL my files using free google docs.

And from my previous post:

The wiseguy in of all places the New York Times who questioned why someone would buy a Chromebook for the same money as a low end laptop never wondered why someone would buy an iPad, or any tablet, for the same money as either.

The wiseguy was not Pogue, although I cannot remember who he/she was.

David, you wrote"

I tried valiantly to use the Samsung as my main machine, but by the end of a week, I was about ready to toss it like a Frisbee...


Is "the cloud" really where you want to keep the only copies of your most private, most important files?


(I) wonder why it’s as big, heavy and expensive as it is. 

1. It's got a 12 inch screen!  Who the heck uses such a small screen as his/her "main machine"?

2. The cloud is exactly where I want my files, almost all of which, I want people to read.  I often wonder what top secret documents people are producing.  Plus, the conventional paradigm is to keep their precious documents on a PC and back up the files to junk like a thumb drive for easy loss in transit and/or some clunky medium, which is stored beside the PC so that when the roof leaks both are destroyed simultaneously.

3. I agree: a Chromebook should be lighter, and much less expensive.  I'm hoping that future Chromebooks, including larger laptops and desktops, are priced lower as sales increase.

On June 10 I was notified by Best Buy that my Samsung Chromebook's "new release date is 06/19/2011".  Is that because so many people are pre-ordering it?  From my previous post:

I think this will catch on much more quickly than many pundits think.  They are comparing Chromebooks to laptops.  Try comparing Chromebooks to tablets, which sell for about the same as Chromebooks but are not as functional or practical.  Media types missed the boat on tablets and will miss another boat on Chromebooks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chromebook v.iPad2

Pre order Toshiba THRiVE tablet: no thanks.  I just got an e-mail message encouraging this.  I had signed up to be notified.  Thank goodness the Chromebook pre order opportunity preceded this or I might have been tempted.

This device, like the Apple iPad, makes my point.  The wiseguy in of all places the New York Times who questioned why someone would buy a Chromebook for the same money as a low end laptop never wondered why someone would buy an iPad, or any tablet, for the same money as either.

Since I don't like Apple, I'll compare my soon to arrive Samsung Chromebook to the iPad2, 3G versions.

Chromebook                        iPad2
screen 12.1" (1280x800, non-gloss, 16:10 apect ratio)           9.7" (1024x768, LED-backlit glossy widescreen)

full 74 key keyboard yes        none, only on screen
stays upright yes                   only with flimsy magic cover
weight: 3.3                            1.33 pounds
battery: 8.5                            9 hours
chip Intel ATOM N570 1.66Ghz    1GHz dual-core
ports VGA out, 2 USB           one USB for charging
camera 1MP HD webcam           Back HD recording (720p); front VGA

Except for the extra two pounds but still light, and the camera thing, which could be added, why would I prefer a tablet over a Chromebook?  Especially since the Chromebook should integrate nicely with my google account and free google docs, which is the smart way to do cloud computing, not like that pathetic proprietary imitation that Apple announced a few days ago.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chromebook: yes!

I pre-ordered the Samsung Series 5 3G version of the Chromebook today.  I've been waiting for the google OS for a while.

I've read the unimaginative and repetitive comments like:

So, what are you going to do without Internet?


No internet = brick

I cannot remember the last time I used my PC without the Internet.  Probably years.  And years since I used a PC program other than the browser and notepad (for copy and paste).  Oh, and Microsoft Security Essentials, which I won't miss.

In recent years I have created ALL my files using free google docs.  Programs run from the google servers and my files are stored on the google servers.  No backup issues.  No sync issues.  That Apple announcement the other day about its cloud service to sync among the many over-priced Apple products was pathetic: late, meaningless, old tech.

Yes, I could continue to do cloud computing with a "real" PC.  Why should  I?  Why continue to use a bloated OS with legacy issues up the wazoo.  Let's see how well google does it.

I'm sure about the cloud computing model.  I'm not sure about this particular implementation but I'm willing to try it. I hope much bigger PCs are introduced with Chrome OS. How about a 17 inch laptop or 21 inch one piece desktop?

I think this will catch on much more quickly than many pundits think.  They are comparing Chromebooks to laptops.  Try comparing Chromebooks to tablets, which sell for about the same as Chromebooks but are not as functional or practical.  Media types missed the boat on tablets and will miss another boat on Chromebooks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Verizon Wireless: waiting for 4G LTE smartphone or Godot.

Verizon Wireless is up to its old tricks: late to market, overpriced. confusing.  The only thing it has is the best network.  If ATT and T-Mobile merge and wipe out that network advantage Verizon Wireless is in big trouble.

Yesterday I received an e-mail message from Verizon Wireless announcing its second 4G LTE smartphone: Samsung Droid Charge.

The first 4G LTE smartphone was the HTC Thunderbolt for $250, which I considered shockingly expensive enough for me to pass.  Also, it does not have a dual core processor.  Thunderbolt has bad battery life.

The Samsung Droid Charge has all that and costs $50 more: THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!

What the heck?  Is Verizon Wireless nuts?  I'll pass again even though my Motorola Droid continues to do very odd stuff: screen goes wild and unresponsive, on the soft portrait keyboard the keys on the right edge do not work properly, freezes.  I really need to update except:

1. While Verizon Wireless indicates that I may upgrade now, Verizon Wireless will give a better unspecified deal if I wait until early July.  I purchased my Motorola Droid in November 2009.

2. The Motorola Bionic seems to have been cancelled and replaced by something called the Targa, which may go on sale in late summer ... 2011, I think.  There's also the idea of a Verizon Wireless version of the Motorola Atrix, which was released a few months ago by ATT Wireless.

And there are rumors that a new iPhone5 4G LTE will arrive, maybe in October,

Waiting for Godot is much simpler than waiting for Verizon Wireless.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why are some HD sports programs not shown in HD?

I have Verizon FIOS.  The MLB Extra Innings package provides about 80 out of town games per week for $179 for the season.  However, no more than 10 of the 80 are in HD, about 12%.  I'm sure that the originating broadcasts are in HD.  Why doesn't Verizon carry them in HD?  It's my understanding is that Cablevision has the same limitations but that DirectTV does not.

It would be easy to blame this on the pathetic MLB commissioner Bud Selig but the NBA League Pass has the same problem.  NFL Red Zone does not; everything is in HD; don't know about the NFL Sunday package.

Anybody know?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ubuntu Linux: installation complete ... again.

This is the second time today that installation appears to have been successful.  Here is the complete message:

"Installation is complete.  You need to restart the computer in order to use the new installation."

The button reads" "Restart Now".  It does not reference the flash drive used for installation.  This time I'll leave the flash drive in.

Here goes.

Hey, another blank screen.    Way to go Ubuntu.  You still suck.

I think it's safe to remove the flash drive.  Power off.  Remove flash drive.  Bye.

Ubuntu Linux: failure forever!

My previous post was not explicit.  I achieved success in installing Ubuntu Linux on my Acer netbook.  Ubuntu told me so.  However, when I followed the instruction to restart, well, that was another matter.  Sure you can install Ubuntu but do you now expect that it will boot up?  This is Ubuntu, where failure is constant, perpetual, eternal.

Upon restarting I pulled out the Sandisk flash drive, lest the Acer try to boot from that.  Silly me.  After many varied attempts, I could not get the Acer to boot from anything, no matter how many variations I tried on boot sequence that should not matter.  My Acer appears to be, if not brain dead, then at least in a coma.

Ah, Ubuntu.  What's the deal?  Obviously, I am not a system person.  However, Ubuntu is supposed to be the operating system of the masses, the downtrodden, the poor, the ignorant.  Hey, I must be ignorant if for no other reason I keep trying it.  It's like an abusive relationship.  I am battered.

Could Ubuntu suck more?  If so, please explain.

Ah, F12 let me boot from the flash.  I'll try installing Ubuntu again.  What the heck.  It can't get worse.

Ubuntu: no, not again!

Ii recently tried to create a flash boot disk for my hideous three year old Acer netbook, which currently does a terrible job of running WindowsXP.

My 2008 Sandisk failed; it was not recognized as a boot disk by either my Acer or my Dell laptop also rrunning WindowsXP.

I looked at the Sandisk label.  It mentioned u3 and u3.com.  For some bizarre reason u3.com redirects to:

http://www.writethescoop.com/

Googling I found evil things about the Sandisk.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U3#Issues_with_older_versions

Maybe this is why I could not boot Ububtu from my 2008 Sandisk flash drive.

Apparently Sandisk stopped supporting u3 because of the problems.  Who knew?

I ran this:

http://u3.sandisk.com/launchpadremoval.htm

It seems to have removed the defunct u3 junk.  Will Ubuntu install now that the Sandisk flash drive has been cleansed?

I'll once again run:


Universal-USB-Installer-1.8.3.6

Which will load up:

ubuntu-10.10-netbook-i386

Cool, heh?

Universal-USB-Installer says that it was successful.

I can view files on the flash drive.  Is it bootable now?  Beats me.  Let's try it on the Acer netbook.

In Windows on my Dell I clicked eject.  The drive is still lit but I'm going to remove it and insert into the Acer and power up.

Acer seems to have found Ubuntu!  This is further than I got before cleansing the Sandisk flash drive.  Ubuntu is coming alive!  It found my wireless network.  I has two options: try or install.  I chose install.  What the heck.  I might never get this far again.

It asked for 2.5 gig.  It has 4 gig but I don't know if Ubuntu intends to wipr out WindowsXP.  I hope so.  AH, I have an option to keep the old OS or use the entire disk.  I chose use the entire disk.

It's happening.  Files are being copied.  Stuff is happening.

It worked.  To be continued.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HTC Thunderbolt: I'll pass.

Today I read several reviews, the ones done after the Thunderbolt was actually released on March 17.  They were all positive to varying degrees.

1. It's really fast, at least as far as can be determined since the Verizon 4G network has almost no traffic.

2. It's a worthy addition to the current HTC line, which has its proprietary shell (Sense) covering the native Android interface.  Since I already have the original Motorola Droid I know and like the Android interface and don't need and probably would not like the HTC shell.

3. The processor, while fast, is not of the newer dual processor type.

4. It's a bit hefty.

5. $250 is too much.  I had expected it to be $200 like most new high end smart phones in recent years.

6. Battery life is an issue.

July 9 my current commitment to Verizon reaches a point at which I should get more consideration from Verizon to re-up.  Plus, by then the Motorola Bionic should be out and possibly a Verizon version of the Motorola Atrix.  Verizon's 4G network should be better tested by then with considerably more devices attached.  If I go Motorola again, maybe I can use my current peripherals: car charger, AC adaptor.

And maybe by then we'll start to see some Chrome OS PCs.  I read that a Sony Vaio with solid state memory may come out with Chrome OS.  That was startling.  I would not have expected Sony, much less a Vaio, to run Chrome OS.  This suggests that Chrome OS may be more mainstream than expected.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Apple asked me for feedback on its tech support.

E-mail message from Apple:


We're very interested in getting your feedback regarding the last Advisor you spoke with, XXXXXX, on your recent call to Apple support. 


I clicked the link:


Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to bibz05.apple.com:8080


I did a copy and paste of the link into Chrome:


Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to bibz05.apple.com:8080


I did a copy and paste of the link into IE:


Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage


You cannot make up stuff like this.