11 October 2015

seeking a missing mind (+ tech rants)

As I began to pack up the now-sold K-s1 camera this weekend, I felt it was going to be an easy process.  When the camera arrived I deliberately removed the camera and battery, and nothing else.  I had a charger and a spare battery from the K-r already available, and I hadn't read a Pentax manual in years.  How convenient to keep everything in its place where it would be easy to find, or re-pack!

.. and then, apparently, I blacked out.

So I pulled down the as-new K-S1 box, opened it and - it's pretty much empty.  No charger, no manual, not even the strap.  Why would this be?!?  Looking back on it I strongly suspect that the manual was packed with other tech gear for the Oregon Star Party.  So I toured the big garage, the travel trailer, and every known box with astronomy or photo gear I could find.  I even went to the other garage to look in the computer section, just in case.  Nothing, neither clue nor trail.  Inside the house I opened every camera bag, every sports bag, every suitcase - again, no sign at all.  The fact that we didn't make the star-party trip (for the sixth straight year) did not help, as everything sat in boxes for a while before being emptied; I don't even recall what I had packed my camera gear into (box, bag or camera pack) so the trail was old, and cold.  Even if the original Pentax charger was packed to come along (unlikely) and the manual added for light daytime reading: why is the strap missing?  Also curious is the missing Pentax original battery; all I have now is two generic ones.  I'm frustrated beyond words, and even gestures aren't helping.

And I shall barely mention the Android tablet, now missing for two weeks (cheap replacement coming), the 3-month-old Windows tabputer that suddenly cannot do WiFi, or the fact that Android phones that had such strong signals in the house now cannot reliably make a call from anywhere on our property!
Tech sucks.

So out the door goes my spare batteries, my best charger - and out the window go a few more brain cells which I won't even miss.  The K-s2 just got a bit more expensive since much of that will need replacing at some point.  Drat.

mind flash!  I suspect the K-s1 charger went out with the K-r that I sold last month!
this would not explain the strap or owners guide though..

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10/12 update
While my mind went blank on camera gear, other tech items have also been quite decisively frustrating in the recent two weeks.

Tablet #1: I've been using an ASUS 7HD for a year or two with fine success.  Until recently of course, when it began to reboot or lock up quite frequently.  That's too bad as for the most part I really like the little thing for the basics: web, e-reading, quick updates to small spreadsheets and e-mail.  Given all its hiccups I wiped and restored it, then set about re-adding most of the apps.  For a week or two it was happy, then for two weeks or so it was rebooting again.  And now, for the past 10 days it is AWOL.  I know it was going out to the car to provide data for something, but it's not in the car, or the house, or anywhere I can think of.  Sure it's vanished for a day or two before but this is frustrating..

Tablet #2: While the 7" screen of tablet #1 has been nice, there were times it wasn't quite nice enough.  I bought an early model ASUS TransformerBook on clearance in town and I wanted to see how it would do as replacement for both tablet and laptop .  It came with Windows 8.1 which I bumped up to Win 10, and added Office 2010 to it - and the thing performs just fine. 

Well, it did for a while.
First off it's too big as a tablet.  The back is too smooth to hold easily, and covers for the T100 model are almost impossible to find.  Once snapped on to its keyboard it's a viable option, but definitely not a clean exchange for the 7HD.
And now it's dead too.  Not literally, just the WiFi part - so indeed pretty much literally.  It wavered a time or two but rebooting would bring the connection back up.. but those days passed about the same time the 7HD disappeared.  
Clearly a tech dark cloud has descended on our household (more on that later).

Cell phones #1-4: We are now both running iPhone 4s bodies.  My wife really likes the concept but has not done much executing, so that's a clear victory.  For myself though I prefer the Android ways of doing things.  Yes I'm up to iOS 9.0.x on my copy and it does fine, but some features just bug me since I know how easy they are on the 'droids.  So over the past two weeks I've been popping between my 4s, the 4.5" Android I had bought (and liked) for myself, and even the 5" galaxy-clone that I'd picked up for my wife before we had the iTalk.
That should have resulted in two happy people, not in lock-step with our phones but each doing what they like a phone to do best.  Only mine doesn't actually make calls any more.  That's odd since our Androids had a very good signal a year ago when we moved here, and before the iInvasion I could make a call from any room but one or two.  Now they are all flaky, even the porch outside gives me no clear signal.  Yes, that tech cloud again - somehow wreaking havoc with cell signals and WiFi tablet signals.  Bizarre.

And so here's our status:

  • Two iPhone 4s are in action: for now I surrender on this front!
  • I'll be calling ASUS about the Transformer soon, to see what can be done there.  In the end though,
    from tabletmonkeys site - cool name!
    neither is quite the answer I had quite hoped for.  Like Goldilocks I have ordered the 'just right' middle option: a new/other Lenovo 8" Android tablet.  My mind apparently is more compatible with Android than Win 10 or iOS 9, and the extra bit of real estate will help with reading, the size of my virtual keyboard and general visiblilty - while still keeping battery life pretty high.  I still like ASUS products but one reboots and one broke down, so trying another company isn't a bad idea.  Furthermore ASUS now has their ZEN UI that is obviously amazing - another layer of stuff atop Android may not be me-compatible though so I shall just say no.  I had considered (even ordered) a lower-spec bargain but these are old enough to be a low price with decent screen and chipset, so it will arrive in a few days to try out.
As always, WSS about how this turns out.  Hopefully I'll like my porridge, bed and 8-inch tablet!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10/14 update
Yet another bizarre turn or two in my tech world! 
  • On Tuesday while dropping by my mailbox I encountered no mail - but my 7" tablet was resting atop the box in a large ziploc bag.  I know of no one in my neighborhood that knew this to be mine - but somehow it has returned.  However, it refuses to power up and removing the gel cover revealed plenty of water.  Something tells me it sat outside during our recent ¼-inch rainstorm.  It's been missing for over a week, so a heavy dew-fall or two would have done similar damage.  So the tablet is visible, but dead: long live the next tablet!  
  •  Closely related topic: USPS site says the 8" tablet arrives Thursday, but eBay says Monday - so I expect it will arrive neither day, and probably Saturday.*  Why have online ship estimates been getting worse recently?  It's been a while since a package reached me 'on time', but the disagreement is four USPS work days!  Yet another reason to wonder why I spend so much time at the computer pretending that I will learn something useful.
  • And now the iPhone is being stubborn about making calls in our home, just like the recent Androids!  the 4s is also more annoying when a call fails, beeping thrice loudly in my headset. It seems pretty clear that a cell tower has moved, or several trees have grown just enough to be troublesome.  And so I return to the 4.5" Android with all its little eccentricities that I prefer over Apple's little eccentricities..
Wonder of wonders - the USPS site was correct, and the 8" tablet is Out For Delivery.  Impressive 1-day flight from Florida to Portland, guess they weren't served drinks!

And then, this -

Clearly this ongoing chat about tech could happen to anyone, and a daily update on tech woes isn't my plan for this place.  I am therfore crushing the last three posts into one to avoid cluttering the blog with such talk.

Cameras are up next - honest!

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