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Thursday, June 29, 2017

An Open Letter to Samsung & Phone Manufacturers Concerning the Note Platform

Just got a letter from Samsung...

It was about the S8, and with the Note8 release looming, I decided to respond and tell them what I still expect in a creative platform smart phone...

Samsung, I know I am on your marketing list, I had been an avid and enthusiastic Samsung product user in the past.  I have bought poorly designed and implemented smart TVs & refrigerators based on your previous well demonstrated success with cell phones and smart phones.  But, you betrayed me as a customer, as well as the whole point of the Note platform.
Because of your failure with the Note7, I had to send mine back, twice.  the second time I didn't get it back. 

My Samsung Galaxy Note7, as denoted by the green battery icon.
Picture taken with a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime (Tracfone).

It had problems.  The curvy edges became a difficulty when using it with the pen.  It was supposed to be a creative tool, and you took that away.  All I had left was a pretty phone, but that's not what I bought it for, I bought it to do more with less.  Instead, I wound-up with a doodle toy.  That would be OK if I didn't specifically buy it to enhance my creativity with sketching, drawing, painting and brainstorming.
Anyone can do a doodle.  This was suppose to be a creative platform, and you messed it up.  And there is NOTHING like the Note platform, but you screwed with it.  The Note 5 didn't even support miniSDCards, or removable media of ANY kind.  The Note 4 had its issue with no battery replacement.
The only two great Notes were the Note 2 and the Note 3.  But the Note 2 had real video recording issues and a slow, unreliable camera
The Note 3 was a step-up in the camera department, but still video recording couldn't keep up with the action.
The Note 4 might have been good if the battery was replaceable, but it wouldn't go a whole day under heavy use.
The Note 5 was a photographer's & videographer's nightmare.  No bloody storage, at all, ever.  A total rip-off.
No Note 6, which brings us to the very pretty but generally pointless curved screen Note 7.  This road you have taken leaves creatives without what we looked forward to as a great creative tool.  But it doesn't just fall short, it actively intrudes on our creativity by providing a barrier to how we can interact with it.  It becomes a burden to our creativity and limits us.
The Note is dead.  It's just a phone with doodling possibilities, now.
I just don't understand why no one has come along and stolen that platform away from Samsung.

But all is not lost.  You could still fulfill that niche yourself, Samsung.  The Note platform can just go ahead and be a pretty, large, gimmick device for the masses with a pointless stylus for handwriting conversion and notes.

Samsung, create a new platform, then.  Introduce a real artist's phablet.  A phone that can be incorporated as the real essential tool that the Note 2 & 3 were, only better, with an artist's heaping amount of RAM so that it can be docked with or as a personal computer, give it a decent battery life under heavy creativity demands (to last at least 8 hours of constant use), the best photography camera, the best video recorder, the best removable storage capabilities to utilize that creativity, the best stereo capabilities, and above all, a flat touchscreen to enhance a creative's solid creative motion with an uninterrupted stream of ideas using unobstructed rock solid unbreakable FLAT gorilla screen input platform that is neither too small for big hands, nor too large for normal pockets.

Until someone comes up with something decent, I'll just use a "smart" phone.  And I will boycott ALL your products now, until someone shows me the answer.  And then, they will receive my rather critical but hopeless loyalty.

But until then, for now, the Samsung Galaxy Note platform is dead to me for the betrayals I have endured.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Samsung Series 5 Model 5203 32" Smart TV Revisited

I grabbed a 2014 Samsung Series 5 Model 5203 one black Friday week a couple of years ago.  It's a 32 inch LED backlit LCD screen High-Definition Smart TV.  I thought I was lucky, Best Buy was selling this TV at a great price all week long.

Now, I know that you might not care, but some people who might run into this model might want to understand that it is a big steaming pile of cow pie.  In no uncertain terms, if you run across this cheap, weak do nothing dumb TV, do not purchase it from anyone, it is a deep migraine in the making.

My original review of this television was somewhat favorable despite its initial hiccups as performing double duty as both a television and a computer monitor.  Some of the most glaring issues were that the TV isn't very smart at all, it is painfully slow and hard to use in terms of responsiveness both using the remote control, as well as a screen to display a video signal from my cable box.

Furthermore, the remote is a complete dumb system without any bluetooth supports and can't identify even simple basic cable boxes, while the remote buries often used functions 12 to 14 clicks away in order to access simple tasks such as PIP (completely forgetting that there is an easily accessible, sparsely populated Tools menu button on the remote that these functions should have been included in), and the smart television functions themselves are amongst the most idiotic interface I have ever seen, requiring multiple remote button presses just to access the quick menu and even more to access an extremely archaic and clumsy main menu that acts like a puzzle in itself.

In the meantime, even though this 2014 Samsung LED HDTV has app support, you won't find anything of any value there.  I am constantly accessing Amazon, as we have Prime available to us, but that is because there just aren't many options.  This is primarily because there is no access to Google Play to download decent apps, and Samsung stopped updating and supporting the television as well as the software some 6 months after my purchase.

The only decent app choices are Amazon (previously mentioned), NetFlix (which gets real old real fast once you have cherry picked the content available there), YouTube, which will show you an advertisement, then often freeze within 1 or 2 minutes of the desired video,  There is Hulu, if you see anything from CBS that you would actually pay for, HBO Now (I don't have access), FoxNow, is lame, FXNOW never works (even though our subscription includes both FX and FXX) and most of the rest of it is such useless spammy crap chock full of ads, or just absolutely poor quality that it's useless for viewing enjoyment.  You don't even get Google Play (not Movies and Video, not even Music) support with it, so I can't watch my own digital movie and video library.  Vudu is available, but despite my impressive Blu-ray and DVD library, Vudu doesn't acknowledge my login (from anywhere).  There are some paid subscription sports services for the MLB, NBA, UFC & WWE, but not much else (no Hockey, no Football, no Futbol, no Formula 1, no Indycar, no SCCA, not even NASCAR or even any car clubs).

Additionally, the main apps drawer (menu) functions with a retarded page system.  You do not advance by scrolling to a new page, you have to select a page.  Unless, of course, you are trying to clean-up the apps and group them on page according to what they do and where you want them. But, when you move an app, then you scroll the page to get to the next page on the left or right.  The menu allows you to delete crap you don't want on there anymore, but the "Deleting..." dialog box will sit there for hours not deleting a damn thing and NOT getting anything done other than wasting your time.

The menus suck and are useless.  The apps suck and are useless.  The PIP is so buried in the menu it takes forever to activate it.  The response to remote buttons is ancient.  Once I have used all the features, I can tell you flat-out, "This Samsung model 5203 just plain sucks."

I bought a 7" Samsung Tab 4 which was equipped with the IR blaster to use as a dedicated remote control for it so that I could check my email during commercials.  That remote control app did not support my cable box, either.  And in Samsung's underwhelming lack of wisdom, the IR support also ceased within 6 months.

Trying to find apps for the 2014 Samsung line of HDTVs is a nightmare.  Eventually, the Peel TV Remote worked on my Note 3, but refuses to run on my 7" Samsung Tab 4 tablet.

Simply, you are much better off getting a good (non-Samsung) HDTV with as many inputs as possible and upgrading it with a Roku.  Samsung is notorious for support.

This and a twice recalled Note 7 has soured me on Samsung, quite possibly forever.  We even ordered a french door stainless fridge with an external meat & cheese drawer and it came without the external access meat & cheese drawer,

Clearly, Samsung has lost it since we bought a righteous Note 2 and three Galaxy S3s.  It just plain sucks now, and it refuses to deliver on any of its promises.  Sort of the Trump of the electronics world.