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  For some bizarre reason redirects to:

Googling I found evil things about the Sandisk.

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:

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:


Which will load up:


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

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

Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to

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

Internet Explorer cannot display the webpage

You cannot make up stuff like this.

Returned tablets: Motorola XOOM v. Apple iPad1. And the $600 Dell 17" laptop.

Yesterday I returned my Apple iPad1 to Apple.  A couple of weeks ago I returned my Motorola XOOM to Verizon Wireless.  It didn't help that Apple just reduced the cost of the iPad1 3G by $100 making it only $30 more than I paid for the WiFi only version.

Both the XOOM and iPad1 were fairly slow compared with my five year old Dell laptop running WindowsXP.  I found the tablets very limited when used for common PC type activities like bouncing among multiple browser tabs.  The iPad created cute images of recent web pages.  However, to get to the them as a group, not individually, I had to click a small icon in the Apple browser, Safari, and then click the individual  image.  Worse was that, the page had to be fetched again.  It was not stored in memory and that activity was unacceptably slow.  This quickly became tedious.

I never got the iPad to create e-mail accounts, even with extensive phone support from Apple.  Do mainstream reviewers like Pogue and Mossberg try this?  Do they try using multiple browser pages?

A basic common sense problem with a tablet is what do you do with your hands?  I found myself holding the tablet with my left and using my right to tap, scroll, etc.  This got old fast.  I never found a comfortable position.  I thought I was clever, especially during my longs phone conversations with Apple tech support, to prop up the iPad using an old metal book support.  Then the obvious occurred to me: a laptop has this built in.  It's called a keyboard, a nice physical keyboard, which also serves as a base.  The tablet makers did not even have the common sense to include a fold out kickstand as did HTC with it's new Thunderbolt smartphone.  Neither Pogue and Mossberg thought about this either.

I don't like tablets.  I'm now interested in a new 17 inch Dell laptop for $600.  OK, it's 7.14 pounds but compare that to the XOOM 3G at $600 and the original WiFi only iPad at $400 or the new WiFi only iPad2  at $500 or the new iPad2 3G at $600.  What the heck?  Are we nuts?  I'm going to use a WiFi only computer almost exclusively around my home, so what's the difference how much it weighs?  I'd much prefer a nice BIG 17 inch screen, including a keyboard base.  And that base also serves as a screen cover.  How clever.

That new line of Dell 17 inch laptops (17R) range from $600 for a more than acceptable e-mail/browser PC to $800 for a little more oomph.  Yes, Dell has more expensive multimedia type 17 inch laptops but I do everything on the web with free google products so I don't need that.  Juxtapose the Dell prices with the starting price of a 17 inch laptop from Apple: $2,500.

How does Apple have the nerve to over price by so much?  Apple charges what the market will bare.  Apple customers are suckers and there's one born every minute.

Monday, March 21, 2011

iPad: cannot edit free google online spreadsheet doc ...

This shocked me.  iPad was totally inadequate.

Plus, I noticed that those cute mini views of Safari interrations past are just that: past.  When I click on one the page appears to be re-loaded from scratch.  It's not held in memory.  For e-mail, which I did in the browser in part because I cannot create e-mail accounts that work with Apple's iPad software (see previous post), this results in VERY slow e-mail functionality.

iPad: cannot create e-mail accounts

Day two of having the original iPad I spent two hours trying to create e-mail accounts.  I tried two yahoo accounts and one gmail.  I tried what was suggested by Apple online, including powering down.  Every effort failed.

Day three I spoke to Apple tech support twice: 52 minutes in the morning, 71 minutes in the afternoon.  Total failure and a desperate suggestion that maybe my WiFi was the problem and maybe I should take my iPad into an Apple retail store to try Apple WiFi and have someone at the Apple genius bar try it.  I thought I had been talking to geniuses.  For home WiFi I use my five year old Verizon FIOS combination modem and wireless router, which has worked with everything I've tried, including two Windows laptops, a Skype WiFi phone and multiple hand held devices: Palm TX, Palm Treo (did it have WiFi?) and Motorola Droid.

To run salt into the wound Apple has apparently lowered the price for the original iPad 3G by $100.  It's now only $30 more than the WiFi only version that I bought.  What, Apple thought I wouldn't notice?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I hate Apple more than ever.

I bought the original Apple iPad WiFi only for $399 as a gift.

1. As with my one day experience with the iPod Touch, you need a Windows or Mac PC to which the iPad must be attached so that evil Apple can suck the life forces out of you through its insidious iTunes.  Why must I own a PC to get to the opening screen of a stand alone device?  I stared at iTunes for quite a while before stumbling onto the hidden entry point to register my iPad with the all seeing, all knowing Apple monster.

2. No documentation included, except a card telling me to download iTunes to the PC I should not need.  You must successfully get online first to access documentation.  Online I found the 23 meg user guide dated 11/22/2010, four months ago.  It's a dead 181 page pdf file, i.e., no internal links.  Couldn't Apple have loaded this onto the iPad?  I added it to the iPad home screen.

3. I registered my iPad with to be able to find it if lost.  When I log in to it says "Find My iPhone", not iPad, and "No Devices registered".

4. I tried two Yahoo accounts and both failed to register in the iPad.  Error message in short: IMAP server "" not responding.  Check network connection and that you entered the correct information in the "Incoming Mail Server" field.  OK.  No, it's not OK.  There is no  "Incoming Mail Server" field.  When I click OK it takes me back to the original input screen where the only options are: cancel or next.  Next produces: "This account may not be able to send or receive emails.  Are you sure you want to save?"  Options: save or edit.

I tried gmail: "Cannot Connect Using SSL.  Do you want to try setting up the account without SSL?"  Yes or No.  Say what?  No results in back to the original input screen.  I get out and check the mail and contacts apps: nothing.  Delete.  Try again.  Click Yes this time for SSL.  Ah, now the IMAP server "" is not responding.  Check network connection and that you entered the correct information in the "Incoming Mail Server" field.  OK.

HELP!  I'm in Apple hell!

5. Browsing is SLOW.  Now I know why those jerks were so anxious to upgrade to the iPad2.

6. Last but not least: the ever popular Apple PROPRIETARY connector!  Yes, along with a set of steak knives, you need to buy Apple PROPRIETARY cables to connect ANYTHING, such as a camera, which Apple intentionally omitted so that it could get the eternally gullible to buy a new iPad after only one year.

If I had bought this for myself, it would already be on its way back to Apple, which didn't tell me that delivery time would be impacted by the fact that it was coming to New York from CHINA.  It took two days to leave Asia and get to Anchorage Alaska.  I wondered if UPS was sending it by boat.

I'll try to wait to see if the intended recipient likes it before returning, for which Apple, unlike Verizon with the Motorola XOOM, makes ZERO provision.  Apparently, it never occurred to Apple that anyone would ever want to return one of its products.  For me, iPad would make it three strikes and you're out, having already returned after one day each the iPhone and the aforementioned iPod Touch.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Verizon Wireless is a tower of babble.

You can't make up stuff like this.

I re-considered getting the new HTC Thunderbolt, overpriced at $249, because Verizon Wireless has a trade-in program that valued my current Motorola Droid at $55.  The $55 is guaranteed for 30 days.  I applied for the trade-in online.  I did get the return envelope and a submission ID#, which allows me to log in and see the $55 value but no date; the enclosing envelope is post marked 3/7/11, ten days ago.  I finally found the trade-in e-mail ... in my SPAM folder.

I called Verizon Wireless and asked that my return be contingent on my getting the new Thunderbolt.  Verizon Wireless cannot it.  Why?  Because it's a different department!  Regular Verizon Wireless can only see the public trade-in information, not anything specific to my account, not even with submission ID#, which was assigned to me by ... Verizon Wireless.

I'm on hold now with the different trade-in department, which cannot access my Verizon Wireless account.  This may be nature's way of telling me to wait for the Motorola Bionic.

Mercifully the phone call with the trade-in person has finally ended.  No resolution, of course, bu at least it's over.  It will be escalated ... at my request.  ZERO indication that Verizon Wireless will give me what I requested in the first place: assurance that the trade-in value will be honored if I order the new Thunderbolt even if  the return of my current phone is a little later than the end date, whatever that may be.

Argh!  Could Verizon Wireless make this more difficult or aggravating?  I'm asking to buy a new smartphone and lock into Verizon Wireless for another TWO years.  Verizon Wireless, what the heck?

Note: e-mailed to, which had sent me the e-mail and which accounts for it going onto my SPAM folder: it did not come from Verizon Wireless.  It also suggests that the trade-in person with whom I spoke was not an employee of Verizon Wireless, something that crossed my mind during our conversation.  I thought of asking her but decided against it.  I should have asked.

HTC Thunderbolt finally arrived. OK, now what? PRICE WAR!

I bought my Motorola Droid for $150 because it was more than two years since my last upgrade and Verizon must have been nervous that I'd churn to another service provider.  I was expecting the Thunderbolt to cost $200.  $250!  What the heck?

You always need more speed and power but $250!?

Waiting for Godot and Chromium OS.  A rare breach in security:

And it's not a stinking netbook!  Yippie!  If you'll pardon the expression: Yahoo!  Acer is planning a 24 inch all-in-one Chromium OS desktop?  Alright.  Cost: €299.  Let's see, using my secret google decoder ring ( that's 299 EUR = 415.7326 USD.  $416.  Wow.  WOW!  Wait.  It's just the Chrome browser, not the Chrome OS?  Acer will work it out.

If Google's Chromium OS PCs and Google's Android tablets don't do better we may be overwhelmed by Apple junk.  Oh, the humanity!

I'm hoping that Asus, Acer, some company will have the sense to introduce an Android tablet that is half the price of the Apple iPad.  Yes, HALF!  That's the only way to break the Apple juggernaut.  PRICE WAR!  Let's go to the mattresses.  When Acer introduces that $416 24 inch all-in-one Chromium OS desktop the price war is on!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chrome OS PC: when?

Chrome OS PC ... coming Friday from Dell?


No sign of it.

XOOM sucked even more than I realized.

the promised upgrade to support Verizon's 4G network: Although that will be free, you'll have to ship the thing back to Motorola for the upgrade.

Glad I returned mine.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Intel chips and Windows v. Apple.

This is a pretty cool tool.  At least it gives an idea of what chip is old, which may account for a "bargain" from Dell, HP, etc.

Core i7 looks good.  I had never heard of it before this.  I did not know that quad had come and gone, following duo.  One day you don't read the papers ...

I compared 17" laptops.  Same processor and otherwise comparable:

Sony Viao $1,100
Apple starts at $2,500.

Yet another reason I hate Apple.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Use the Intel website to evaluate PCs.

It's surprisingly good.

Verizon FIOS and Wireless Speeds

Verizon website is again crapping out so I had to use other sources to supplement.  Many times I clicked a Verizon link and got this URL with an empty page:

You can't make up stuff like this.

Verizon chat:

You(08:28:03): FIOS Internet speed?
Leslie(08:28:33): I am happy to help you learn more about Verizon's
FiOS Internet.
Leslie(08:28:58): Verizon's FiOS Internet provides speeds from 15 Mbps
to 50 Mbps!
You(08:29:38): Is that theoretical or actual?
Leslie(08:30:08): Actual download and upload speeds will vary based on
numerous factors, such as the condition of wiring at your location,
computer configuration, Internet and network congestion, and the speed
of website servers you access, among other factors. Speed and
uninterrupted use of the service are not guaranteed.
You(08:30:53): How about realistic?
Leslie(08:32:23): You will be able to view the available plans and
prices for you, after you enter in your address on Verizon's website
to determine if FiOS Internet is available for you.
You(08:32:38): Verizon Wireless speeds: 3G and 4G?
You(08:32:38): Verizon Wireless speeds: 3G and 4G?
Leslie(08:33:53): I do apologize, but I do not have information
available on Verizon's Wireless services. You may visit for further information.
You(08:34:23): Thanks. Bye.


Actual speeds and service availability vary. HSI provisioned based on
VZ line qualification requirements at .5 Mbps to 1 Mbps service tier**

10 to 15 MBPS (Ultimate Plan). Availability subject to final
confirmation by Verizon.

Hong Kong has 100 gig service for $26 per month from one company.

Plans with MBPS: 15, 25, 50.

- The lowest bandwidth tier was originally 5 Mbit/s down and 2 Mbit/s
up and is now 15 Mbit/s down and 5 Mbit/s up in most areas. (bundled
with FiOS TV Prime HD)
- A second tier is available with 25 Mbit/s download speed and 25
Mbit/s upload speed. (bundled with FiOS TV Extreme HD)
- A third (or higher) service tier, when available for residential
service, provides higher still bandwidth, in some areas reaching
30/15, 35/35 or 50/20 Mbit/s download and upload. (bundled with FiOS
TV Ultimate HD)
- The fourth and highest service tier is 150Mbit/s down and 35Mbit/s
up for $199/month


How would WiFi 811n 120 MBPS be better than 811g  56MBPS if Verizon FIOS max speeds are 15/25/50 MBPS?  Both are faster than the theoretical max for Verizon FIOS.  Only that $199 per month service even rises to 150 MBPS.

Verizon Wireless 4G is supposed to be 12-13 MBPS; 4G standard max is 100 MBPS.

"I have a Bold that I connect to WiFi on a Comcast home network.  It
is a lot faster than the 3G connection."

"On June 30, 2007, Verizon Wireless had completed the overhaul of the
entire EV-DO network to EV-DO Rev. A. This enables PC Cards and
certain phones to obtain theoretical peak download speeds of 3.1
Mbit/s and upload speeds of up to 1.8 Mbit/s. [9] The actual download
and upload speeds vary due to a number of factors, and users will
typically see speeds close to 1 Mbit/s down, and 500 kbit/s up."

WiFi tethering even at the "theoretical peak download speeds of 3.1 Mbit/s" would seem to be pretty slow.

I am currently trying their 5gb version but I must say I am thoroughly dissappointed with the advertized vs real speeds of this service. They advertize 3 to 4mb but the best I could measure using several different services is about .6 download and .5 upload

 WiFi speeds:
          811g 56 MBPS 
          811n 120 MBPS 

WiFi does not seem to close reaching its max speed because Verizon tops out at:

- Verizon Wireless:
           3G theoretically 3.1 MBPS
           4G 12-13 MBPS
- Verizon FIOS 15/25/50 MBPS.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chrome OS PC ... coming Friday from Dell?

A Dell chat person told me today that it might be available Friday March 11, 2011.

I was shocked because I've trying to find information that is not one or two years old.  Wikipedia comments:

most of Chrome OS's advantages "can be found in other software environments without having to sacrifice native applications"

a useless brick when you are dealing with no or ancient Internet connections

Have they ever heard of the iPad?  Wouldn't those objections apply to tablets?

I'm interested in a Chrome OS PC but disappointed that it continues to be relegated to netbooks.  I tried an HP netbook with Linux but returned it because I could not load the the first application that I tried to install: Skype.  HP support sucked.

I then bought an Acer netbook running WindowsXP.  Many problems and Acer support sucked beyond belief.

Both the HP and Acer netbooks had a problem with the trackpad going out of control often.  I'm guessing that it's a hardware problem with small screens since they ran different operating systems.

The Acer had an unconventional screen aspect ratio, which caused problems occasionally.

How about a 17 inch laptop running Chrome OS?  Restricting Chrome OS to those stupid netbooks really limits the market.  I use google docs online exclusively.  I do not need applications on my PC.  Just the browser.

I'm anxious to see what is introduced.  I really don't to buy yet another laptop running bloated Windows when all I need is access to a browser, exactly what a Chrome OS PC would be.  I also do not want to buy another netbook.


Monday, March 7, 2011

To gig or not to gig?

I sent an article to a friend.  It dealt with Hong Kong, which is very densely populated, having companies that provide one gig of download throughput for residential Internet service.  One of those companies charges only $26 per month ... for ONE GIG!

Here are the costs for Verizon FIOS Internet:

15 meg $50
25 meg $65
50 meg $140

And you need to check availability.  Of course, you can bundle this with other services but the speeds and pricing indicate the large disconnect between Hong Kong and good old USA.  The duopoly service providers in my area, Verizon and Cablevision, are not inclined to engage in anything approaching serious price competition but are content to basically share the pie evenly.  Cablevision refused to provide Internet only pricing on its website, I'm sure to have a sales person try to convince you to subscribe to its triple play services (Internet, Voice and Video).  Better to lock you in and make you dependent on Cablevision for all these services.  Verizon has this same approach, just less insidious.

My friend and I both have Verizon FIOS, he in the outland of rural Massachusetts, I in more densely populated Westchester county New York.  In other words, my friend is in no danger of getting one gig Internet speed.  My friend's reaction was that he could not imagine needing the one gig.  My thought is: if you build it they will fill it.

But he has a point.  The biggest current download would probably be streaming HD video, i.e., watching HDTV in real time over the Internet on an HDTV, not on a computer.  Even allowing for a family of four all doing this concurrently, it probably would not approach one gig.  Somebody do the math.  Current 3D TV takes the same bandwidth as HD, so that is not yet more of a factor.

I still want one gig at a reasonable price.  That's not likely since conventional residential U.S. Internet service providers are fat, dumb and happy and the FCC is not pushing it.

I'm confident that the gig would be filled.  For instance, it would make viable getting ALL video over the Internet and not paying for video service separately to say Cablevision.  In fact, within five years of introduction, one gig would not be enough.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Motorola XOOM: service cancelled and returned.

I called and cancelled before 9AM this morning to stay within the three day window for not being charged $35 activation fee.

Just received e-mail from Verizon Wireless over an hour later:

We are very pleased you have selected Verizon Wireless. We would like to welcome you to the nation's most reliable wireless network. This e-mail confirms the activation of your wireless phone service on 3/3/2011

You can't make up stuff like this.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Motorola XOOM; this dog is going back.

installatiin of XOOM google body is still jerking around after almost an hour, just like Skype.

This has been frusrating and disappointing from ordering to simple basic use.  Verizon compounds this every step.

Unless the Xoom makes an unexpexted ralley over the weekend, I will return it early next week.

Motorola XOOM: Skype app never installed after two hours.

I finally gave up and cancelled.  I started the Google Body app.  It appears to be in the same stalled mode.  It's now 6:45PM.

Motorola XOOM: apps are nuts and so are tablets.

Have any of the mainstream reviewers actually installed any XOOM apps?

Wow, it's weird.

I tried Skype.  I was lost for hours.  When I finally found it I still had to install it.  Installation, I think, is happening yet again but is taking a REALLY long time.

I'm beginning to think that I don't like tablets.

1. copy/paste sucks
2. I find myself using it like a netbook, propped up on that stupid "case", except there's no keyboard to save me.
3. I don't want to use even the GMail and contacts apps that I cannot quiesce without un-installing them, I guess.
4. It may be impossible to install XOOM apps.  Few exist and, so far, none have been installed.  In addition to Skype, I selected google body, which looks interesting.  It's awaiting the fate of Skype for its attempt at installation.

The on screen keyboard is painfully slow, with a very annoying lag between hitting a key and the symbol that appears, which includes a following space that does not count, as a real space must be entered.

Maybe this tablet thing sucks.

So where the heck are those damn Chrome OS PCs with their charming keyboards?

To 4G or not 4G. That is the question.

Verizon's latest incompetence described in the previous post may have been of value.  While waiting for multiple Verizon employees to jerk me around and pass me from one to another, I did some quick research.

HTC Thunderbolt v. Motorola Bionic seem to be the 4G or pseudo 4G phones of choice when/if they ever actually arrive.  Today was the most recent slipped date for the HTC Thunderbolt and Motorola Bionic is just a twinkle in someone's eye.  I wonder if the phones are ready but the network is not.

Verizon e-mail to me: $100 off any Droid

Yeah, right!

Message to Verizon:

I clicked and selected the Motorola Pro for $79.99.  When I click on continue in the shopping cart your stupid website just sits there.  I tried this many times.

So, ...

I logged in to my Verizon account and clicked on upgrade my phone.  The same phone, Motorola Pro, is $179.99.  What happened to the $100 off?

This is typical of the Verizon website.

Motorola XOOM: issues for a new user.

Since it just came out, we're all new users.

One thing I did not notice in the reviews is that the HDMI port is mini on the XOOM.  And it is OUT.  Most reviewers did not note that either, nor do the specs.

Note: the power port on the XOOM is NOT USB, but a small round sucker.  Groan!  Also, the USB port may NOT be used to charge the battery, which during the the first charged lit the LED as described but thereafter, does not even though the battery charge percentage increases so I guess that it's chargeing but not not indicating that through the LED.  Argh!

Setup was a whiz and, like my Motorola Droid smart phone, it seamlessly downloaded my contacts and calendar data.  When I opened the gmail app I was presented with an unfamiliar interface.

I then tried accessing my e-mail through the browser.  That same unfamiliar interface appeared.  Finally I noticed something at the bottom of the browser screen that does not appear in the google Chrome browser for Windows: options for either the default mobile interface or the desktop interface.  When I switched to the desktop interface I saw most of what I see on my Windows PC, except for the Priority Inbox.

My vision for modern computing is to keep my data on servers, not on individual computers.  Currently my data is synced between google servers and my Motorola Droid.  Now with the Motorola XOOM I would be syncing with yet another computer.  I don't like that and considered using my google functions through the XOOM browser, not through the XOOM apps.

I finally bit the bullet and reset my XOOM, erasing all the data that had been downloaded from the google servers.  Upon re-initializing my XOOM I skipped providing my google account info.

Now when I open the XOOM gmail app I am prompted to provide my google account info, so the re-set worked erasing my data.  Good.  Same with the contacts app.  I don't see anyway around syncing between google servers and my Motorola Droid smart phone because the screen is so small but the XOOM screen size seems large enough that I can use google online functions pretty comfortably in the browser and not be concerned that if my much more valuable XOOM were to be lost I would not also be losing all my data too.

For Calendar and Docs I had to individually select Desktop view.  Docs warned me that my browser might not support all Docs stuff but stayed with Desktop.  I don't expect to create or edit Docs much onn the XOOM anyway but we'll see.  Hope the XOOM browser remembers my Desktop choices.

By erasing the data I also lost my WiFi passwords.  Rats.  Cannot seem to get stuff like that after fiddling with setting my google account for backup but not sync.

Let's see how this goes during the 14 day trial period.

The extra package of stuff that I ordered for $80 is a bit weird.  The package includes:
- Display Portfolio protective cover/stand
- Standard Doc
- Display Protectors 3-Pack

The Display Portfolio is flimsier than I had expected and I do not see how the XOOM can remain in it and also be inserted into the Standard Doc even with switching the adapter, which itself seems impossible.  The Display Portfolio has no holes on the bottom to provide access between the charger and the charging port so I don't know if I'll:

1. remove the XOOM from the Display Portfolio and drop it into the Standard Doc or
2. leave the XOOM in the Display Portfolio and plug it into the AC adapter, which renders the Standard Doc unnecessary.

All the Motorola documentation has a font size that is much too small, while wasting the obligatory white space.  Hey, Motorola, not all of your customers have great eye sight.  Even with a magnifying glass it's difficult to read.  And as David Pogue noted, what's with those cryptic mini icons on the XOOM screen.  There's plenty of screen real estate.

On the Windows PC I noticed that when I was logged in on the XOOM using the gmail app, Windows gmail indicated that I was logged in on a second computer, providing the IP address.  That's not the case now that I'm accessing gmail on the XOOM through its browser.

I have not actually tried it yet but copy and paste appears to be the same junk, maybe worse, as that on my Motorola Droid.  Computer finger painting has its limits.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ordered Motorola XOOM ... sort of.

I watched the David Pogue video again and realized that there's practically no chance that by waiting I would select any of these:

1. Apple iPad2
2. HP with its Palm OS, whatever it's called
3. Research in Motion's blackberry tablet thing.

So I ordered Motorola XOOM.  Verizon hasn't changed much from its total monopoly days.  It succeeds in spite of it's billing department.

I ordered online because the two Verizon retail I checked three days ago, which was two days after Verizon announced the XOOM, did not have the XOOM and provided only a vague sense as to when it might arrive, displaying minimal interest in having me buy from them.

I logged in to my Verizon account.  There was no way to order the damn thing.

Next I opened the Verizon promotional e-mail, which provided a link to buy it.  Fine but that was not associated with the fact that I had already logged in.  I went through the ordering process, which made it clear that even existing customers (it did not ask for identification as such) had to supply driver's license ID and social security number so that Verizon could do a credit check.  Verizon also assigned a new phone number even though I was ordering a computer, with no explanation about this stupidity.  I had gone through this when I ordered MiFi hot spot service about 18 months ago.

I received an e-mail message confirming my order but, again, giving no indication that Verizon realized that I was an existing customer.

I called Verizon because I could see trouble.  While waiting for some intelligent response by the Verizon human being I received a second e-mail message stating:

Unfortunately, we are unable to process your request for the following reason:

Our Credit Review Department has requested further information from you.

Say what?

Against my better judgement I called and was told that Verizon wanted to know if I wanted the new service to be in a new account or on my existing account.  You cannot make up stuff like this.

I told Verizon, yes, I want the new service on my existing account!  Geez!  All this agita could have been avoided with a website that functioned like it had been designed by people on THIS planet.

I also asked both Verizon people I spoke to the rhetorical question of whether Verizon had a discount plan for the many and varied Internet services that a customer could have.  No.  This after my having to explain the concept of bundled service discount.  The default reaction is for FIOS people to direct you to Wireless people and for Wireless people to direct you to FIOS people.  I have a bundled discount between FIOS and Wireless but I also want one for what will now be three Verizon Internet services (something I had been determined to avoid), maybe analogous to a family plan for voice service.  Note: Verizon does not have a family plan for data service among smart phones.

My three Verizon Internet services will now be:

1. FIOS at home
2. data plan for my Motorola Droid smart phone
3. data plan for my Motorola XOOM, which, despite being a computer, will have its own phone number so that the archaic Verizon computer systems can crawl through the information the manner of a monopoly.

Hot off the e-mail, one hour after I finished my conversation with the second Verizon person, the one who told me that I would receive the XOOM tomorrow:

Your order is currently in queue to be processed. In most cases orders are processed within 3 business days.

You can't make up stuff like this.