Tag Archives: android

Fun with technology

In these days of rapidly advancing tech I’ll bet we’re not the only people who upgrade their equipment and then have a perfectly good, not particularly out of date piece of equipment that they might as well sell. I had a Samsung Tab A which was now superfluous to requirements, so we listed it for sale on Gumtree.

Naturally, I checked on the net to find out how to remove my data and restore the device to factory settings. It’s not hard, just requires a bit of dexterity because you have to hold down the home key (on the front) while also holding down the power key and the volume up button (both on the side). [1] That all worked. People came, paid us money, and left with the tablet – and, as it happens, a second tablet which we hadn’t yet listed – also in good condition, but a little older.

These folks live in Maryborough, about 40k from us. Not long after they would have reached home we received a message that while Pete’s old machine worked just fine, my ex was asking for a google sign-in from the owner. Me.  The message says “This device was reset. To continue, sign in with a Google Account that was previously synced on this device.” They’d set up Pete’s old machine without any problems. WTF?

I was nonplussed, to say the least, and started digging around on the net. The lockout is an anti-theft approach developed by Google for units running its Android OS. I had used the tablet to check my mail on Gmail, and to make purchases from Google’s Playstore. Naturally, that required a username and password, so the device was registered as mine. Without my username and password, the device was rendered useless.

Well, that’s pretty nifty. But I’ll bet I’m not the only one who ever wanted to sell a phone or tablet.  Eventually, I tracked down a site which explained the situation. BEFORE I reset the tablet to factory settings I should have removed my user account. Samsung’s own site says nothing at about a Google account – which I think is pretty ordinary. However, (armed with a print out of instructions) we took a drive to Maryborough to fix the machine.

But it was one of those days. We were a kilometre up the road when I asked Pete to go home so I could write down my Google password. Then the Merc’s useless navigation system failed us again, trying to send us down what was left of the road after that part was blocked off. Then, when I logged into the device it sent a confirmation code to my mobile phone. Which was… at home. So we took the tablet home. BTW, Pete’s old unit didn’t have that problem because he didn’t have a user account on the machine.

I had intended to cook a whole chook for dinner, but by the time we got home, it was too late, so we went to the golf club’s restaurant for dinner, and wasted a few bucks on the pokies. (I’m over it, really. There’s no skill involved, just dumb luck – and we didn’t have any.) We ate a nice meal and went home. As soon as we turned into our driveway, I said, “Oh fuck, I left my bag at the restaurant.” I don’t take my bag anywhere much, unless I’m on my own. But for this trip to the golf club it was a bit like the old lady and the fly. I took the bag to carry the purse, I carried the purse to carry the membership card… So Pete turned the car around and headed back the way we’d come. It was going on for nine, but the place had been virtually empty except for us and maybe two other tables, one of which left before us. While we were there we asked if Sunday night was always that busy. They said it was hit-and-miss, but they thought all the regulars might have been all partied out after Saturday’s John Farnham et al concert. On the way back we thought they might shut up shop early. But we were in luck. The nice lass who’d looked after our needs all evening had found the bag. She tried calling us, which was possible because we’d signed in with our club membership. No, I didn’t have my mobile with me – I rarely carry it since I’ve retired. And anyhow, the number on our membership was wrong. The nice lass returned my bag, and fixed up the phone number while she was at it.

So there you go. You’re allowed to laugh. Here’s the link to the article about removing your account from a Samsung device. We’ll deliver the device back to the new owners today. And I’ll take my bag, and my phone – just in case.

Bye bye Apple. Wish I could say it’s been nice

canstockphoto16214523You know, I was working on PCs before the IBM PC was released. Yeah, programming, that sort of geeky stuff. So I’ve seen machines come and go. For the record, the first IBM PC was a heap of rubbish. Four colour graphics? 360Kb floppy drive? It was horrible – but it was IBM, so many much better built, better performing computers, went extinct.

But IBM improved. The 286 was a leap ahead of the 186, then the 386, 486… But they all had that clutzy press-the-keys-in-the-right-order interface, and the operating system restrictions on memory.

And then Apple released the very first Macintosh.

Its operating system was the forerunner of what we now call Windows, albeit with a dinky little black and white screen. What it did so much better than Microsoft was graphics. And that has remained its major strength. There was a reason why most advertising agencies used Macs.

But Apple nearly went bust. Why? Because they insisted on the integrity of their product. You couldn’t buy a cheapy printer to output your wonderful diagrams. It had to be an (expensive) Apple printer, which didn’t work with your non-Apple machines. And if you wanted to share your great Mac spreadsheet with the rest of the Microsoft users in the office? Um…

It has always seemed deliciously ironic to me that Microsoft ended up rescuing Apple. There’s no doubt the MS users gained a great deal from the exchange, but Apple was also forced to recognise that forcing their ‘standards’ on folk isn’t a great marketing ploy; not when you’re competing with a company that will interface with anything.

I’ve always admired the Apple operating system. Easy, intuitive, no background tweaking necessary. Not like MS with its constant updates to its operating systems. Remember Vista? And Windows 4? Not to mention its non-standard program interfaces. You’d expect the programs in the MS Office suite to work in the same way. That was a silly expectation, wasn’t it?

So after my last desktop computer died, I took the plunge and went Mac. This will be my last Mac, and I will never buy another iPhone.

  • Apple does not seem to have learned that restricting peoples’ use of their devices is a major turn-off. To use iTunes for music, you have to have one library on a computer. From there, you synch to your mobile devices. But you can’t copy from the ipod to the computer. You can only do a backup, which isn’t the same thing. My hard drive failed, I didn’t have a backup of my iTunes library, so I wanted to restore from the ipod to the new hard drive. Nope.

  • Apple seems to have picked up a few bad habits from Microsoft. I updated the Mac’s OS from Snow Leopard (who makes up these stupid names? Still, it’s better than Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich) to Mavericks. I’ve already blogged about that. Why do they fix things that aren’t broken?

  • A few days ago my iPhone’s battery died. I couldn’t get a new battery (phone is too old), so I bought a new phone – a Samsung. I wanted to retain the contacts from my iPhone so (with the phone plugged in via the charger) I looked for the control to save my contacts on the SIM card. Uh-uh. Can’t be done (yes, I know I could have downloaded a third party app – I shouldn’t f***ing have to). It’s possible on other phones, like Android.

The fiasco with the phone was the final straw.

I’m sick of jumping through hoops to make the Mac talk to the various MS machines in my home. Yes, I know Microsoft has its own three ring circus – but it’s a circus I know, where I know what I can tweak, where I can lift up the hood and fiddle with the carburettor. (How’s that for mixing metaphors?)

So… goodbye, Apple. Good luck with your projects. I wish I could say it’s been nice.