One year later: Two reviews
Last January, my television died. I wrote about the replacement in a piece titled I Screwed Up. I had been a victim of Sonyís XCP trojan that my then teenaged daughter had inadvertently infected the computer with by playing a CD she bought at the record store where she worked a long time ago. I wound up with a Sony 4K ultra high definition smart TV.
I hadnít wanted a smart TV, either. I hadnít asked, the flu had turned my brain to jello.
A few weeks later my big Samsung tablet quit; I have two to make sure my web sites donít suck too much on any screen, a big one and a small one. Iíd only bought it a few months earlier, at a pawn shop. So I went to Best Buy.
It seemed to be Samsung City where they were selling tablets. I had to ask a sales guy where the other brands were. There were maybe a half dozen, as opposed to the dozens of Samsungs that werenít so hidden.
This was right when Samsung phones and washing machines were exploding. I suspect Best Buy got some great deals in return. But one of the other brands was an Acer.
Iíd had good luck with them. I bought a little Acer laptop seven or eight years ago, replaced Windows with Linux and loved it. So of course it got stolen a month after I bought it.
I bought another one. I had only had one complaint about the stolen one, and that was the positioning of the power key, right above the [Esc] key and too often Iíd accidentally kill what I was working on.
They had fixed that problem when I bought the new one a week later. Iím typing on it now, although it may be about worn out. I bought two more for my adult kids shortly after buying this one. Theirs are already worn out.
Iím not so happy with the tablet. Itís an Acer Iconia. I have a few gripes about it, very big gripes.
First, I canít update the damned thing! It insists itís not on the internet, when it is in fact on the internet and KSHE is streaming. I thought it might be that my ISP had blocked a useful port, so I took it to Felberís and had the owner, who Iíve known since before the bar opened over a decade ago, enter the Wi-fi password. Theyíre on the only other ISP in town, and when I tried to get it to update on their connection, it still refused to connect. The damned tabletís a year old and hasnít had an update. So I wonít even check email on that one, itís probably mining Bitcoin for some hacker by now.
This bug should have been spotted; itís a show stopper.
The second gripe is Firefox on it. The big Samsung rendered my sites correctly on all the browsers (except Safari; I have no Apple to test it on), as does the little Samsung, as does my old Kyocera phone and both laptops in Windows or Linux.
On the Acer tablet in Firefox (but not the other two browsers) everything in my sites display in a sans serif font (This is serif, This is sans serif). The books are written in Gentium Book Basic, so that is the default font, followed by Times, or Times New Roman. I havenít seen a device in twenty years that didnít have at least one of those fonts. I havenít figured out yet how Time and a few others manage to display a serif font.
Again, Firefox works fine on everything else, including the now-dead Samsung (of course it doesnít work on it now, nothing does). This is a big annoyance to me.
The TV was basically a dumb TV for months, because I was afraid of what Sony would do to my network. I didnít plug in the network cable and still wonít give it my Wi-fi password.
Then Patty visited from Cincinnati and wanted to give me Netflix. So I shut off Wi-fi on my phone and shut the other devices down, and plugged it into the network, which was then only it and the router since everything else was shut off. She added my TV as one of her devices.
I unplugged the network cable for a couple of months, until I read somewhere that the Star Wars movie that was out last summer was on Netflix, and I hadnít seen it.
So I bought another network cable, thinking ďwhat the hell, I keep my data backed up.Ē Iím careful to unplug the TVís network cable when I back up to the big network drive; that one stays offline and unplugged and in a plastic bag when Iím not using it.
Netflix is better than cable! I didnít need cable anyway, since I get more channels over the air now that itís digital than I got with cable in the early eighties. Iím really impressed.
Except, well, itís a 4K TV and the best itís reported is 1080. None of the Netflix shows that advertise 4K have I ever gotten better than 1080, and then rarely. Sometimes itís all the way down to VCR quality. But the amount of really good shows would make it worth paying for. Pattyís really smart.
Then my multi-device nemesis bit me, one that now spans all of tech: no manual. About a month ago while surfing through the TVís menus I discovered ďmirroringĒ, which is what Sony called it, if I remember correctly. So I got the Acer tablet and followed the menu steps the TV said, and was stumped at ďdisplayĒ. There was no ďmirroringĒ. There was one cryptically labeled ďcastĒ, so I tried it. I clicked on what it found, and the tablet showed up on the TV, sound and all.
Why did I not know about this really handy feature a year ago? Because there was no FM to R! They could at least put a PDF on the web. The TVís lack of documentation was really pathetic. Yes, thirty years ago a TV needed no manual. You had an on/off-volume knob, a channel changing knob, and some screw slots on the back you shouldnít touch. Today? Your new TV is a computer. It needs a manual. Thereís a doohickey that came with it that I have no idea what it is or does, two half spheres with wires going to a USB plug. I have no clue whatever.
The tablet is also a computer. It needs a manual!
I spent a thousand bucks on that TV. I should have gotten a manual with it.
But I did find a lot of shows that stream for free. I also found a pared down Google Play thatís missing most of whatís on the tablets and phone, including any kind of web browser. But it did have TuneIn Radio, so now I donít have to have the big laptop or the tablet to hear KSHE.
Because of its stupid lack of a manual, thereís probably a lot more I havenít discovered.
And I still havenít seen better than 1080. Weíll see what happens when Amazon sends me a 4K version of the latest Star Wars movie that will be out in April.