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     I Screwed Up

Never shop when you’re sick, especially with a respiratory illness, because your brain doesn’t work very well when it’s deprived of oxygen. This goes double if you’re shopping for something expensive. Of course, when your brain doesn’t work well, that’s not an easy thing to remember.
My TV had been trying to die for months. It was a fourteen year old Sony Trinitron. Huge heavy thing, forty two inch flat CRT. Two hundred fifteen pounds. Early last summer, the degausser went out on it. Before the degausser died, when you turned it on it would click, then the degausser would go WOOOMMMMPH and a few seconds later the sound and picture would come on.
When it stopped going WOOOMMMMPH, that was the sign the degausser was dead. I thought the TV was dead, but it lit up in a few seconds. Then it started taking longer and longer to come on. When it got to where it took ten minutes to start, I stopped turning it off and just muted it at night.
I knew I was going to need a new TV.
Then I woke up last Saturday morning sneezing and coughing. Damn, how did I catch cold? I hadn’t left the house since Tuesday when I picked up groceries at Humphrey’s and Walgreen’s.
By noon I knew it wasn’t just a cold, I had the flu. I was sick as a miserable dog. Fever, chills, I was coughing my lungs out and sneezing my head off. Just going to the kitchen for a glass of water drained me horribly, as if I’d just ran ten miles.
Sunday was a tiny bit better, but not much. Monday was quite a bit better, and Tuesday I started to feel like I was starting to get over it, and in the evening started out to Walgreen’s.
The door knob came off when I closed the door. I tried to fix it, but didn’t have enough light. So I locked the deadbolt and used the back door.
When I got up Wednesday morning both the kitchen and the TV were dark (the TV usually said “WEB” because I had the computer plugged in it). I hit the power button on the remote and it clicked. I turned on the kitchen light, and the one over the sink had burned out.
I started the Bunn and got dressed.
Still no picture. I pushed the power button on the TV itself. The tiny red LED started flashing after it clicked, so I had turned it off when I had thought I was turning it on.
By ten, it was apparent that my TV was dead. It wasn’t apparent that my brain was, as well. I called a locally-owned place, Sundown One, and asked if I bought a TV would they deliver it and take the old one away? They would.
As soon as I hung up, the TV finally came on. It had taken three hours.
I should have waited until I was completely well to shop. I felt better, but when you’re coughing, you’re short of oxygen, and oxygen deprivation makes it so you don’t realize how stupid you’ve become. Kind of like drinking.
So I drove over there through the thick fog. WAY over on the FAR west side of town, way past Veteran’s, even. I thought I’d passed it in the heavy fog a couple of times, and pulled over to look at Google Maps again.
I finally got there, and a guy asked if he could help me.
“Yeah. I’m looking for the biggest TV you have for a thousand bucks.” That was straight from when I bought the last TV from Circuit City, which I’d been happy with.
Now, if I wasn’t recovering from influenza and was in my right mind, I’d have looked at brand and whether or not it was a smart TV. The old tube TV was also used as a computer monitor. I didn’t want a smart TV! I already have computers I can plug into it, and I didn’t want a TV that could be hacked. Hackable telephones are bad enough, and I’ve been hacked before (just computers, not the phone—yet). Once by a giant corporation. Sony. Someone should have gone to prison over that.
As to brand, I did NOT want an LG. Ten years or so ago I had an LG phone, and it was the worst, buggiest piece of crap I ever bought. Sometimes the screen was upside down, sometimes reversed, sometimes solid black. Few days went by without a reboot, and I sent it back under warranty after a week.
The replacement was even worse.
I didn’t even ask about brand. Stupid. But what’s worse, it wasn’t LG.
It was a Sony, I realized after they took the old TV away and I paid attention to the box. I had sworn years ago to never buy from Sony, after they ruined my PC with their XCP trojan. My then seventeen year old daughter (too young to enter into a contract) bought a BMG-Sony CD from the record store she worked at, and played it on my computer. She probably clicked an “I agree”; computer stuff seldom works if you don’t (unless you use open source computer things) despite the fact that she could not be legally bound to any contract.
Their evil software disabled my CD burner and all of my sound recording and ripping software, which I had legal need for. It was the ugliest, most malicious trojan I ever heard of, and I read a lot. It was obviously targeting independent musicians, their competetion. I’d lost sound and video card driver CDs in a move, so Sony’s hack cost me a couple hundred bucks and several hours in the end.
I didn’t get as much as an “oops, sorry, my bad” from the evil sons of Satan, let alone any kind of restitution whatever.
Never shop sick! It’s a Sony Bravia Android TV. Now I’m afraid my TV will hack my laptops and phone and tablet. I mean, Sony did it before, and nothing bad happened to any of the evil perpetrators for doing it, so why wouldn’t they?
Oh, well, screw it. I back up everything on a drive that’s only plugged in and used when I do backups, and the TV isn’t getting plugged in to my network. I’m still pissed off at myself for giving money to the evil damned Sony. If the assholes hack me again, I’m suing them for the worth of their company, the evil sons of bitches.
And I am certainly NOT connecting it to my network. Putting digital electronics made by a company that has willfully vandalized your devices on your network is like playing Russian Roulette.
The setup guide was more of those damned multinational hieroglyphics. It was hard as hell to figure out how to get the damned thing out of the box and installed on its base.
But I’m getting more channels than I was with the old TV and external digital tuner, as many as I got when I first got cable back in 1980. Forty nine had added two more channels, and I’m picking up channel eight, a snowy analog PBS channel. I thought they had outlawed analog TV? I found that eight and the digital 14.1 were identical, and mostly play kids’ educational cartoons.
It’s a 4K HD and the picture is incredibly sharp, even though all the content tops out at 1080p. Old shows from the analog era are really fuzzy and look out of focus, but back in the last century TVs were much smaller and the sets lacked much definition. But the colors on the new TV are amazing.
At least I have a working TV now, bigger than the old forty two inch tube and far higher resolution than its 720i, which it would only do while playing a DVD. Also, to make it 720i you had to wade through a bunch of menu items, and it would reset as soon as you switched to another input source.
So after I get it all put together and turned on, I find the documentation, part of which tells me that using MY OWN TV that I bought and paid for meant I agreed to the evil Sony’s and Google’s privacy policies!
I have news for the corporate morons: that “agreement” isn’t legally binding. I cannot be held to a contract that I did not agree to before handing over my money! Had they offered the contract before accepting my money, they would not have made a sale. I would have done without television first.
What in the holy hell is wrong with these God damned stupid rich bastards these days? No morals, ethics, or logic whatever.
At any rate, the next Saturday my flu had faded to a mild cold, and I hooked up the DVD player. I’m going to have to buy a Blu-Ray now, I thought. The primary reason is HDMI.
Besides composite video and RGB video and the associated sound ports, there are no RCA jacks on the TV at all. There’s no sound output port except the headphone jack. There are five HDMI ports, and nothing I own except the television has HDMI. So I’ll buy a Blu-Ray and give the DVD player away, because Blu-Ray has HDMI and it’s 1080p. That will free up the composite video for a VCR or laptop, the RGB will be unused because nothing I own has an RGB output.
So after I connected the DVD player I turned on The Fifth Element, and man, the broadcast networks have a clearer picture than a DVD player. One more reason for Blu-Ray.
I’m trying to decide what to do with the packaging. I can let the trash hauler take it away, or keep it for protecting the set when it needs to be moved. I finally stuck it in the garage in case I move; it will be good protection.
I’m also considering the fact that it’s safe to shut off the computers, shut off my phone’s wi-fi, plug the TV into the router (It’s not getting my wi-fi password!) and watch Hulu or YouTube, as long as I unplug the TV from the network before turning a laptop or tablet or my phone’s wi-fi on.
I’d probably do that anyway, I’m paranoid; I’ve been hacked before.
I’d still not been a hundred percent when hooking up the VCR, and studied the manuals and stuff some more. Sunday I’d plugged the computer’s sound output to the TV sound inputs associated with the RGB inputs. When listening to KSHE like that (through the TV speakers; I still hadn’t gotten it to feed the stereo), the TV shut itself off every half hour after informing me that there was no picture input!
I hate smart devices. The old dumb TV didn’t care if there was an input.
Then I noticed more RCA jacks on the DVD player. Great! I’d hook it to RGB video and the VCR to the composite video, and plug the computer’s sound to the VCR. But the VCR came without a remote.
Figuring I’d tackle that later, I plugged the DVD into the RGB. The colors were terrible! One of the plugs was bad. I went to replace the cable—and discovered that my DVD player had an HDMI port! So I drove down to Walgreen’s and bought an HDMI cable.
That cable made a hell of a difference, the picture was way clearer, although not as good as broadcast. But broadcast is 1080p and DVDs are only 720p. I’m putting off buying a Blu-Ray, because the picture is now acceptable.
Tuesday I tackled the VCR after going through the TV’s dumb menus and getting the sound to come out of the stereo. My first converter box’s remote went out after a year or so, so I’d replaced it with a universal remote and put the rest of the remotes in a drawer. I reprogrammed the remote so it would operate the VCR, and now have sound through it. Since it transmits a blank blue screen when it has no input, the TV no longer shuts itself off.
I have a very old sound amplifier, and it must have been designed for small speakers, because it has WAY too much bass. With the old TV, I had the bass almost all the way down on both the TV and stereo, but the new TV will only let you adjust tone going to its own speakers.
Damned dumb smart stuff! So I guess I’m going to need an equalizer.
Then I discovered that the stereo’s “bass boost” button had been pushed. No equalizer needed.
There is a Google Play and a Netflix button on the TV’s remote. The Google Play’s use is obvious, since it’s an Android you can install apps on it, but Netflix?
I was amused that I have a 4K ultra-HD TV, and the TV stations and Blu-ray are 1080p, four times less resolution. Then I discovered why there was a Netflix button: Netflix is the only place to get 4k content! Too bad I don’t have Netflix… (I do now, my daughter entered her login info to my TV)
With the HDMI, the DVDs aren’t quite as sharp as TV (DVDs are 720p) but they’re acceptable, and with my luck, as soon as I bought a Blu-ray they would come out with a 4k disk or start selling movies in 4k on thumb drives. Why aren’t they already?
I’ve actually gotten to like this TV, despite its evil manufacturer. The menus make sense once you’re used to them. There’s a USB port, and it will play MP3s, and WAVs, and video files (I’ve forgotten which ones), and JPGs from a thumb drive. I watched The Trouble with Tribbles and Trials and Tribble-ations played from a thumb drive on it last night.
I hope Sony didn’t purposely infect my thumb drive with anything.
It’s now two weeks later, and I’ve discovered that the damned TV write-protects thumb drives you use in it! It’s quite annoying. I had to do a bit of googling to find out how, and most of the answers didn’t work; they had to do with changing a registry item that doesn’t exist on this computer. What finally worked was copying all the files from the thumb drive to the hard drive, opening a command prompt in administrator mode, running “fsutil dirty query d:”, then running “chkntfs /x d:” and then “format d:”, which takes quite a while to format. I have no idea how checking if the dirty bit is set or looking at the file system makes it possible to format it, but it works; I’ve done it twice.
It’s a pain in the ass, especially since the TV often won’t read the read the files, or plays half then stops. When it does this, I have to run the files through a video converter program I bought last year, often converting it to the same format it was originally in, after which it will play.
I’m trying to figure out a logical reason that my TV would be making a thumb drive read-only. I’m even more suspicious now. If it was Microsoft or Adobe I’d figure “software bugs” and not worry about it, but they’ve never deliberately vandalized my equipment like Sony has.



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