Friday, August 7, 2015

Samsung and the dryer

I am getting used to two new pieces of equipment in my house. Both, as it happens, are by Samsung.

While I was off in Nebraska and Kansas and such places, our washing machine died. I got a distressed call from B. while I was browsing the exhibits at the Eisenhower museum. A repairman told her that the electronics were fried, so repair was not worth the cards. He gave her the names of two retailers known for reliable customer service. I phoned one from the road, the one that opened earlier in the morning. But when I got home to go shopping, it proved to be closed on Monday, so I went to the other one. (Lesson in how to get my business.) This was one of those Men Shopping experiences: took about 20 minutes, including filling out the paperwork.

We're used to top-loading washers, but the salesman convinced me to go for a front-loader. Not only are they more efficient, but machines these days have such large drums that a smaller person would have trouble reaching in a top-loader to get the clothes out. Now we have this thing with a huge bulbous glass eye in front looking out on our garage, not that there's anything to see. When I'm out there I feel like I'm being spied on by the gang from The Prisoner, or by a squat white alien. As a machine, it's proving good, except that I have to get used to using a higher-than-suggested spin cycle to get more water out.

At about the same time, B. insisted on replacing, or more accurately supplementing, my Nook Color with a Samsung Galaxy tablet. The Nook is optimized for reading book files, and it also web browses but it's not very good at it. I'd been using it for my travel computer but with some frustration. The Galaxy is better. In particular it comes installed with the Google Maps app. I could never get Google Maps to display properly on the Nook.

There are, however, some problems with the Galaxy. I spent 3 hours on the phone with their representatives on some of these. For instance, I wanted to turn auto-rotate off, because I like to read in bed and don't want the screen turning 90 degrees on me. Unfortunately I did not know the term "auto-rotate", and my attempt to describe it baffled the guy on the phone, who had no idea what I was talking about. That's part of why it took so long. It turned out that the command is in a second, hidden, settings menu that's totally separate from the menu that comes with an icon on the screen labeled "Settings." Who knew?

The other problem with the Galaxy is that, unlike the Nook, websites recognize it as a mobile device. Southwest Airlines redirects it to their mobile website, which doesn't work. Yelp asked me if I wanted to download the Yelp app. OK, I thought, until I got to the page informing me that the app sought access to the following functions on my computer, including the microphone and the camera. There was no option on that page for saying "No fricking way" or "Are you crazy?" so I terminated it with extreme prejudice. However, when I visit the Yelp page, it asks again.

Nevertheless, it's been very useful and I'm glad to have both now.

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