Saturday, November 17, 2012

Caveat Emptor

This past June, I decided the time had come for me to consolidate all the junk in my purse.  I have been known to carry my 2nd generation iPod, my old Nikon Coolpix camera, and the Chuck Norris of cell phones all at the same time.  All three were pretty necessary.  I used Giancarlo (my iPod) for just about everything - music, ebooks, taking notes, checking the weather, the internet.  I've even been known to use Skype on it.  But it wasn't a phone, and I never cared enough to buy the Chinese solution to this (a gadget you clip around it that takes a sim card and turns it into a phone).  And my cheap Nokia didn't have a camera on it, which might not seem that important but when you miss taking a photo of a man dangling a turtle he'd caught in the canal from a pole for the SECOND time, simply because you didn't care enough to throw your camera in your purse, it becomes much more important.  After my Dark Lord and Master showed me the Galaxy Note last Christmas, I decided that it was the phone for me.  It was not some "trendy" phone like the iPhone, yet it could do everything the iPhone could.  And more.  It has a better camera, it has a bigger screen for reading on, and it comes with a pen for the touch screen.  I bought it after getting my June salary and fell instantly, irrevocably, in love.

And then I tried installing Barnes and Noble's Nook for Android.  Turns out I made a mistake when I purchased the UK model from the dealer in Shanghai; due to copyright issues you can only install Nook on American devices.  I've been looking for a solution to that for five months and I still haven't managed to find one.  I came really close by going through Digital Editions, but it won't recognize Samsung devices as being compatible.  So for now I am using a different e-reader, which will open other ePub books.  It's not my favorite solution, because it doesn't allow me to easily get all my books by legal means, but it's all I've got.

For the most part, I was okay with that.  I'd accepted the limitations with the understanding that I would NEVER EVER buy non-American technology again.  I don't like Kies as much as iTunes, but I can deal with it, and the other apps which have been incompatible with my Note have not been nearly as annoying.  But in September I started noticing my battery was running out too fast.  I tried ignoring it, and it seemed to go away, but then the problem returned.  And got worse.  Let me explain: over the summer I was using it full-time as my camera, taking photos seemingly non-stop, and after two days, I would still have power left in my batteries.  One week ago, the battery was draining on a daily basis - even when I never used it.

So I finally contacted Samsung.  They told me the solution - it needed the firmware upgraded.  Great, I could handle that.  So I went into Kies, and it told me that before I could update the firmware I needed to update Kies, which I dutifully did.  And when I tried to reconnect my phone, it no longer had the device drivers to do so.  I contacted Samsung again, and they told me to take it into a service center with the receipt.  I told them that while I had a UK model phone, I lived in Mongolia, and was told that I needed to take it to the country where it was purchased.  Which was one of the dumber things I'd heard in a long time.  I told them I wouldn't be back in China til April and asked if they had any other bright ideas.  Maybe that was trying their patience a little too far, because I never got a response to that message.  Which was kind of annoying.  When you spend $600 on a phone, you expect to get good customer service.  I have to say that their lack of customer service has to be my least favorite thing about my phone (maybe it's because I'm stuck looking to the guys in the UK for it - surely Koreans or Americans would be more helpful???)

Fortunately, I'm not an idiot.  I had a stroke of inspiration, and downloaded the device driver I needed, which Kies no longer had.  Liam Crayden saved the day - he was kind enough to put it on his blog - and once my computer had it I was able to connect my phone and update it.  It was appallingly simple, and made me even madder that someone in Samsung's customer service department couldn't have saved me days of worry that I would have to use my old Nokia until April and after getting it fixed try to sell it off and buy an iPhone with the profit.  I'm glad it didn't come to that, because - as you can see - my phone can kick your phone's ass up one side and down the other.


  1. Hi.

    If you have a problem with your samsung phone in the future, you should go to the TEDY center. On 4 th floor you can find lots of guys sitting and fixing all the problems related to smart phones, including samsung. They sure can take care of your problem in no time.

    I need a little help from you, if you dont mind. Do you know someone who is native english speaker and willing to teach english 2 or 3 times in a week to 2 young kids? Salary will be good.


    1. Hi Chinges,
      I just saw this comment for the first time. Sorry I didn't respond before. I will see if I know anyone who could tutor a couple times a week, but the teachers I work with have contracts that say we can't do any outside teaching. Anyways, I will keep an ear open if you are still looking and let you know. Sorry this is so late.