January 18th, 2014

delete-hal

Obsolete

The Ongoing Problem

I've mentioned previously that Mrs. Dr. Phil's 1st gen early adopter opening day Amazon Kindle Fire has gotten squirrely. First the loose micro-USB charging port. Then it was complaining about not enough memory when in fact it wasn't out of memory.

So Thursday she asked me which of the two 7" Fire models to get new. Naturally the less expensive Kindle Fire HD, not to be confused with my 2nd gen Kindle Fire HD, didn't have the video camera and microphone to support Skype, so it was the Kindle Fire HDX 7" for her. Amazon promised delivery on Saturday...

Faster Than Fast

... and she got it the next day, today, Friday.

And with that, this summer's Kindle Fire HD is no longer the top dog in the house.

Sometimes I talk about OOBE -- the Out Of Box Experience. Amazon has worked hard for the Fire remodels to have good OOBE. We've been impressed that the machines arrive all set up and ready to go with simple, effective, elegant packaging.

For the 3rd gen Kindle Fire HDX 7", it looks like Amazon has taken a page from Apple's packaging. Much like our 3rd gen iPod Nanos, there is no wasted space. The box isn't much bigger than DVD packaging. Oh, and besides the USB cord, they included the compact charging unit hidden under a flap in the box. My Fire HD had a promotion to get the charging for cheap when I ordered the unit, so all told, the cost of the two 16 GB units was the same.

Huh, it says it's Mrs. Dr. Phil's 2nd Kindle. And the apps she'd bought for the first Fire? Ready to download again. There isn't an HDMI port now, but it's a quad core processor instead of a dual core. And the cool new cover she bought can be folded open in multiple ways. And with Bluetooth, she can borrow my Amazon Basics Bluetooth wireless keyboard, if needed.

I went off to take a nap before dinner, Mrs. Dr. Phil happily configuring things. When I came back 45 minutes later, I jokingly asked if she'd used up all the electrons already. Nope, plenty more.

Damn

The Woe Of Mrs. Dr. Phil... About three hours after starting to play with her new toy, the Kindle Fire HDX 7" blue screened. Why is it always blue? Since my Kindle was still working, I started Googling.

I quickly found an Amazon Kindle forum which included some discussion of this. The suggested treatment was press and hold the power button for thirty seconds, release, then tap the power button. Voila! Machine begins to boot.

Alas, it locked up again. And again. And again.

Next level was to click on the Help button on the Amazon Kindle page and select the Call Back option. I barely had time to tell Mrs. Dr. Phil what I was doing and the phone rang. Impressive.

Alas, again, much like the failure of the 1st gen and 3rd gen Fires, the setup was sweet, the implementation, not so much.

The call center was off-sourced somewhere, we were somewhat divided by a common language -- English -- and a sad devotion to the script. I'm sure it works fine when dealing with people clueless about technology, but my wife was prepared to explain in great detail what happened and in what order.. And NO the unit hadn't been dropped, mistreated, etc. There hadn't been time for that!

Eventually we moved up the food chain, tried some things, but it was still bricked and so the replacement merry-go-round began. Meanwhile, based on half a conversation, I began Googling for UPS drop boxes -- oh, there's still one next to the Admiral gas station in Allendale at 68th and M-45.

Meanwhile,I suggested leaving it to charge overnight and we'll test it in the morning.

We've had good luck with hardware. Used to be that computers were burned in for 24 hours -- anything that still works after 24 hours will probably last a couple of years. Not sure they had time to do that and after buying dozens of desktops, laptops, tablets, PDAs, etc., this is the first not-quite-a-DOA failure for us.

I'm optimistic that the Gen 3 Take 2 model will be fine. But man... can't my bunny have a new toy that works?

Three hours. Reminds me of when I bought the used 1985 4WD 2-door S-10 Blazer ... And I got it less than five minutes on the way home and the electrical system died. Thankfully I had a cell phone, as Mrs. Dr. Phil had driven on home already, and though it was just a few minutes after the dealership closed at noon, my used car guy was still there. I joked that if you took the money and the time, this was the most expensive hourly rate I had ever paid for a car. Dave said don't say that, and for a vehicle sold As Is without a warranty, they replaced the dead electrics for me.

I should never have joked about using up all the electrons -- who knew it could be true?

Dr. Phil
smirking-winslet

-7

Epic Fail

Last night I went to the Holland 7's website to check on Saturday's movies. But the Goodrich Theatre chain's website had an apologetic note saying it was down for maintenance. The weekend seemed like bad timing, but maybe a server broke.

No. This morning it turns out they were rolling out a whole new website. And it sucks. I finally had to find their contact form.
STRONGLY HATE NEW WEBSITE. (1) SHOWTIMES ARE SO FAR APART, THE NAME OF THE MOVIE HAS SCROLLED OFF THE DISPLAY ON MY KINDLE FIRE BY THE TIME I DISPLAY SHOWTIMES -- HARD TO COMPARE MOVIE TIMES. TOOK FIVE TIMES LONGER TO.PLOT OUR CHOICE AT OUR FAVORITE WEST MICHIGAN THEATRE -- HOLLAND 7. (2) RUNNING TIME NOT MENTIONED. (3) WHY AM I SCREAMING IN ALL CAPS? IT'S YOUR COMMENT FIELD, NOT ME.

THE OLD WEBSITE WAS CLEAN AND USEFUL. THIS IS DIFFICULT AND ANNOYING. SOMEONE THOUGHT THEY WERE CUTE AND CLEVER. ALAS, THEY ARE NEITHER.

DR. PHIL
which pretty much says it all.

Eventually we did get around to choosing a movie or even to see a movie at all. Hadn't heard any buzz about the new Jack Ryan movie, and thought about Lone Survivor. Decided on August Osage County. Have a Julia and Meryl Oscar nom fix.

Epic Fail Continues

WMU has honored MLK Day for many years. Although they have MLK Day activities, I am just not driving 154 miles if I don't have to. Especially on winter roads. And GVSU does a silent march on campus, but given my walking abilities, even before this summer, I have passed on that. I do have a doctor's appointment on Monday, though.

In years past I have taken the day off to catch up on the movies. To no one's surprise, there is rarely anything theme appropriate playing, so if I go to a movie, I become just another white guy treating a holiday without any respect. I rail about this at Memorial Day, so you can see my conflict.

So this year I figured I had a chance to see the Oscar nominated 12 Years A Slave. I think the last time there was a possibly appropriate theme movie was the year Amistad was out, January 1998? And I didn't do a movie that year.

But... I couldn't find a single theatre in West Michigan playing 12 Years A Slave. Not one.

Oh well, at least I haven't seen Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s memory be used for furniture sales. Yet.

Dr. Phil