Friday, October 05, 2012

That knocked the Shine off

Recently I have celebrated a significant birthday; significant in the sense that it is the last of a decade, but numerically it looks like the first of the next, a bit like the millennium beginning not in 2000 but in 2001.

I was overwhelmed by one special gift in particular, a tablet computer from The Wife. I have for sometime been thinking of buying an iPad or similar and have done some research on the various alternatives available. I am no follower of fashion and just because Apple has the market leader in this field is not in itself, to me, a reason to buy their product however good. There are many similar products "out there" with different operating systems much praised by the IT industry. Anyway, this gift took my breath away. Bright, shiny and waiting to be caressed it sat in its box patiently while I investigated other gifts, all of them special and gratefully received. Eventually I turned on the machine to be greeted with the Android logo and The Wife's declaration that it was a robot! From then on this machine became my Robot e-Pad.

File:Android robot.svg
Then the fun began. At first the machine performed well and I was able to read e-mails, record appointments, obtain weather forecasts, read Twitter and Facebook, and choose e-books from Amazon. Once or twice during the first couple of days I received notifications that some background app or other had stopped, but I paid little attention since I was getting used to my new toy and its idiosyncracies.
On day three, I think it was, my Robot e-Pad failed to boot up. No amount of holding down the on/ off switch would induce life into the thing, and I was forced to use a pin in the reset hole, after which it booted fine and worked well, for a while. Now the fun really started. The operating system would stop, then a background app, then that bit which allows the transfer of info from the device to the web, my link to Amazon (pre-installed) refused to put me in the e-book store, depositing me in the registration screen instead. Since I was already registered it refused to recognise a re-registration and so I was stuck. I sent an e-mail to the manufacturer's support website address and received a one line answer that was of no help. Two other e-mails have remained unanswered. Warnings appeared on the screen and I was unable to clear them, a factory re-set restored the status quo ante for a while, then it all went pear-shaped again.
Now don't get me wrong, in between times things worked fine, but over a few days matters became increasingly worse so that with a very heavy heart I had to ask The Wife to send it back. I was devastated. My Robot e-Pad had been in my possession for just over 2 weeks. Much thought had gone into the purchase of this present, which is something that I really (if I'm honest) coveted, and here I was rejecting it. I felt awful for The Wife, even though it wasn't my fault.
Sometime ago I posted a piece on Customer Service. To anyone who has read that it will come as no surprise that the monster raised its head above the parapet again this time.
Argument ensued between The Wife and the call centre who seemed to think that the machine not working as it should was
                                                   a) my fault
                                                   b) not their problem
Eventually they promised to collect the item (which they just have) and to refund the money. In the meantime The Wife is out of pocket, I have no tablet, and the company has no chance of a repeat customer. I hasten to add that this episode does not in any way reflect upon Android or their products, simply upon the particular company which supplied this machine. I am now actively continuing my research into the various tablets on the market, Apple, Android, Windows et al, but purchase will have to wait for the refund. Hopefully my next post on this subject will have a happier ending.

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