The lesson I learned from Samsung

I have an Android phone and an Android tablet, both made by Samsung. I like Android as an OS. It has progressed and functionality has improved with every update. Because Verizon is the provider for my cell phone, they put pressure on Samsung to keep the OS current, so I have a much more recent OS on my phone.

But, the WIFI tablet that I purchased has not had an OS update since I bought it a little over a year ago. I am running Android 4.1.2 on my Galaxy Note 10.1 where the current version of Android is 4.4.4.

On one level this is not a huge deal because the tablet still works and is fairly stable. But on the other hand, there is no reason why Samsung could not invest just a little bit of money into rolling out an update for my device. Some of the apps that I use have functionality that only works with more recent Android updates. While having an update is not the end of the world, it is annoying considering that Samsung has the wherewithal to produce the update.

The fact that Samsung has abandoned my device leads me to think that they are only concerned about selling new tablets and not concerned at all about supporting older hardware. When any of us have contacted Samsung support, the only response is a canned response saying that they cannot speculate on when updates will be released.

It is too bad, because their lack of concern will push me to look harder at an Apple device the next time I’m in the market for one.

Samsung’s lack of response is like a football team who squanders a big lead through careless play in the second half. The lack of response by Samsung might be the fumble that gives Apple the opportunity to go ahead.

So, if you are thinking about buying a Samsung Tablet, look very hard at the iPad or just know that you will have to live without OS updates or learn to root your tablet.

None of these options is very appealing to me.

5 reasons why I will likely never buy another premium theme for WordPress

September 2013 Update:  I did indeed buy a premium WP theme. I went with Genesis Framework. I found that the free themes did not provide sufficient flexibility to tweak the theme.

Early last year, I decided to buy a premium theme for my blog. I did my homework which resulted in my purchase of Standard Theme by 8Bit. Along with the theme, I bought the support license which would allow my to upgrade as they added improvements and fixed bugs in the theme. I was a happy camper.

Then, earlier this month, 8Bit announced that the partners are parting ways and that Standard Theme will no longer be supported. So much for my support license! I will continue running Standard until it breaks or another, better option presents itself. But, based on my experience with 8Bit, I’m unlikely to plunk down cash for another premium theme. Here are the main reasons why:

  1. My blog is mostly about the text, so while I want it to be attractive, I’m not relying on eye candy to attract visitors. There are many free themes that are attractive and user friendly.
  2. The main reason I purchased a premium theme is that I wanted my site to be responsive so that it would be attractive and readable on any device. There are now several good free themes that provide a responsive format.
  3. While it is nice to be able to upgrade with the same theme, WordPress makes it easy to change themes without reconfiguring the whole blog. Therefore if the theme I’m currently using does not provide a feature that I need, I can switch to another very easily. I don’t need to be locked into the same theme.
  4. While the offer of support seems like a valuable thing and I did sometimes read the support forums for Standard Theme, I find that since I really don’t have a desire to learn CSS or do any coding, I don’t get much value out of the support forums and can live without them.
  5. Did I mention that there are many really good FREE themes available?

I’m not drawing a line in the sand about buying a premium WordPress theme. But, the ease with which 8Bit abandoned its userbase will certainly make me wary of plunking down cash for something that I can get for free from another supplier. I remember Scotty on Star Trek saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Besides, free is my favorite price.

Using an off-line editor

As with most lessons in life, I just learned one the hard way. The lesson I learned is the importance of using an off-line post editor. I spent 45 minutes putting the finishing touches on a post only to have it lost when I clicked the “Save Draft” button.

Since I am Windows based, I normally use Windows Live Writer (WLW) for my post compositions. In this case, I had a draft of a post saved in WordPress and decided to edit it within the WordPress editor rather than using WLW.

My bad, won’t happen again. I will use WLW exclusively.

Whose bright idea was this?

Bright ideaI recently saw an advertisement for unique furniture that looked interesting. I clicked on the link to their site and was greeted by an annoying pop-up that invited me to join their daily mailing list. The pop-up is an annoying but normal part of the internet, but in this case I could not close the pop-up and get to their site without giving them an email address. They demanded my email address as the cost of entrance into their site.

I hope that I do not live in a universe where this type of bully marketing tactic actually works.

Even though I really don’t like pop-ups, I am OK with them asking me to join the mailing list. But the fact that there was no way of closing the pop up to get to their site only served to tick me off and leave the site immediately. It is one thing to ask; it is entirely another thing to demand. I, as the consumer, may be asked, but do not think that you can make demands of me. I don’t need your product that badly.

In addition, how can I know if I want to be on your mailing list if I cannot get to your site to see if I’m even interested in your stuff?

So, if anyone who reads this is in charge of a web site, think carefully about using such bully tactics. Feel free to be bold in asking, but you cannot demand. If you make my email address the cost of getting to your site then you won’t get a visit from me.

But, now that I think about it, I could have just made up an email address . . .

Why I won’t pay for satellite radio

SiriusXMI have a car that has XM Satellite Radio integrated into the sound system. I bought the car used and until recently never had a subscription to the service. .

Recently, SiriusXM decided to grant a trial subscription to attract new customers for their service. I activated the trial subscription to give it a try. After a week or so of having the service, I am convinced that I will not pay to continue the service. There are two reasons why I will not continue with the service after the trial period:

  1. One word – TREES. There is little to no buffering of the service, so when I pass under trees (a common occurrence in Pennsylvania) I lose signal and the audio pops in and out and is quite annoying. Imagine listening to a comedy routine (there is a clean “family” comedy channel) and in the middle of a joke the comedian disappears so that I miss the punch line only to have the signal return for the laughter. It is like being the only one in the room who did not get the joke.
  2. Lack of financial options – Last time I checked, there was no option for a partial subscription, it was all or nothing. I could count the number of stations that I would regularly listen to on one hand. If they would allow a la carte purchase of the stations that I want for a small fee month each, then perhaps I would subscribe. For $10 per month, I would not get enough out of it to justify the subscription fee.

I think that like cell phones in the early days, satellite radio is a good idea which has not been properly implemented to date. My care is a 2007 model, so I acknowledge that newer cars might have better equipment which overcomes the problem of the trees (and buildings and other obstructions).

I am grateful to XM for the free trial but . . .

The only place that I would benefit from satellite radio would be in my car. With free streaming internet audio, there is not much need for satellite radio at home. So with the reception problems and the cost, it is not attractive to me at this time. If they ever improve reception in my area and lower the cost of the service, I might be enticed to subscribe, but as it is, there is little to tempt me.

Which of these are true for you with regard to Google+?

Google+I’m curious about what you are thinking about Google +. Please respond to the poll below. Also, please invite your friends to respond.

Disqus wins again

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I moved from Disqus to Livefyre for comments on Attempts at Honesty. That decision has been reversed and I switched back to Disqus.

The main reason for the switch is that while Livefyre would give me a comment count on a mobile device, it would not let me actually write or respond to a comment while using in the mobile version. So it looked pretty but didn’t work.

Disqus, on the other hand, will not render the comment count but will allow me to respond to the comments. Having to choose between the count and the ability to write, writing takes precedence and Disqus gets the nod.