Thursday, November 27, 2014
Our move into Smart TV land has been nothing if not eventful. It has always been our practice to record one or other programme when confronted by a clash of timings, or simply an inconvenient programme timing, but more recently connecting tablet or laptop PC via HDMI to catch up on missed programmes.
More recently we started to think of a smart TV, although not many of them had the major terrestrial channels [BBC iPlayer, ITV player, 4 on Demand, Demand 5] on Catch-Up. Eventually we decided to audition the Panasonic Viera 32" Smart HDTV, which each of these services but, unfortunately the local Panasonic store was finding that model difficult to obtain. Meantime having viewed several tech reviews online it seemed that contrast and blacks weren't a strong point of this range.
Having initially been disappointed by the lack of local availability, and seen these reviews determined me to look elsewhere for a Smart TV. Samsung offered access to all the aforementioned catch up services as standard so we ordered one to be collected from our local Waitrose store on Saturday. The only minor difficulty was the assembly of the TV stand but setup of all programmes and wireless internet connection went without a hitch. Picture quality was sharply excellent on HD channels, with rich deep dark colours where black was truly black, and we felt happy with our purchase.
On Monday a blue logo appeared on the right hand (as viewed) top corner reading "Book Me" next to a green dot. Once it had appeared it remained on screen no matter what channel I switched too. A search online disclosed that this was an all too familiar problem with Samsung Smart TV's, the sign appearing alongside any of the sundry BBC trailers. They first seemed became aware of it around the time of Wimbledon (a good five months ago) and I discovered that some users had the problem resolved via 'Remote Support'. I duly obtained a PIN for this service only to discover that the support office, which I had to phone, was only open between 9.00am and 6.00pm, so I was too late on that evening.
Prior to this I had registered the purchase with Samsung, online, full rigmarole of name, age, full postal address, date of purchase, specific TV model etc; even though the set was covered by an extended guarantee+accidental damage cover from the retailer.
The following day, after listening to what seemed endless adverts for sundry domestic products, I managed to get through to the appropriate support person. On getting through, I was asked to repeat all the information re. purchase, home address and more as Samsung Support evidently have no access to Samsung Registrations - a promising start! When I quoted the current personal PIN, displayed on the set, I was informed that their remote server was down so, they'd have to talk me through a procedure for 'Factory Reset' which would sort out the problem.
With the set in standby mode I had to press three buttons (Info, Menu, Mute or something like that) and then switch on the TV. Twice this exercise failed in bringing up a panel on the left side of the screen and just displayed the normal picture. Third attempt was successful and the panel, from which I had to select 'Options', appeared. Next I entered 'Factory Reset' and had to repeat the whole set-up procedure.
By this time my beloved took over the 'phone as I was getting really stressed (verging on a full-blown panic attack), and she was given a personal support reference number which would speed up the process in the event of further problems.
Next day it seemed, at first, as if the problem was well and truly solved but the message did briefly flash up on two or three occasions but quickly disappeared. At lunchtime today the infamous "Book Me" logo re-appeared and stubbornly remained in situ, even when we changed channels. My darling OH decided to 'phone the support line again and quoted the personal reference number given, to speed up the process but, she was also asked name, full postal address, model of TV, when purchased etc. The person then suggested to input the same keys as we'd already applied two days earlier, which I'd fortunately written down in sequence, and ma belle quoted back at him. At this point he decided that it was a faulty set and we should return it to the retailer for refund or exchange.
Judging by the (apparently) common occurrence of this problem a refund seemed the obvious option as this rigmarole had exhausted both of us; at tea-time I disassembled the stand and repackaged the TV ready for return.Two further trips were made to the store as I realized, when setting up (once again) our old UnSmart HD ready Sony Bravia, that I'd still got the power cord for the Samsung. No sooner had my beloved set off with the power cord than I also discovered a smart card adapter and extended IR cable belonging to the offending not too smart Samsung product.
This evening, as I told a friend of these problems, the friend asked if it was a Samsung as their inlaws had a more expensive model pack up twice within about twelve months of purchase - a capacitor having blown on each occasion. At least I've forestalled such future problems.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
Strange how putting the clock back an hour can make one feel capable of regaining time; if only! To be honest though, it’s the very fleetingness of time that I’m still struggling to come to terms with.
As a child it feels as if the next summer holiday, Christmas Day, or even the weekend, can’t ever come soon enough. Confined to the schoolroom, the hours of each day hang leadenly as you watch real life going on at the other side of the window. Mind you this slower passage of time also provided greatly extended hours of play, leaving one exhausted long before the day was done.
These days, after a long night’s unrefreshing sleep and restlessness, that state of exhaustion seems to accompany almost any small task; perhaps it’s not really exhaustion but rather an aching void replacing that illusive space where stamina reserves should be accumulated.
When one’s sundry aches and pains are playing neurological havoc it’s easier to understand the lack of stamina but, this physically aching void doesn’t even seem to require these more tangible ailments. Mind you the IBS, diverticular disease, rhinitis etc; are always lurking just below the surface.
The lower my stamina reserves, the tetchier I become and, whatever reserves are there explode in bursts of angry expletives. I don’t deny that I’ve always had a bit of a temper, the outbursts often justifiable on socio-political grounds, but the frequency of expletives in my occasional outbursts seems to have grown exponentially. Anger stems from frustration, frustration from limitations on both physical and emotional stamina.The truly ridiculous thing is that these outbursts leave me feeling more drained.
Although these aching voids can sometimes feel like an eternal punishment, days (and even years) have passed by so swiftly, as if to emphasize the weight of spiritually / emotionally good days I must be having. Any day spent with my beloved is wonderfully worthwhile, even if I’m not always the best of company.
So little time, and so much I want or intend to do. I’ve put the clocks back but, sadly, I cannot put back time.
Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Well hello again! I’m not sure whether its weeks or months since I last proffered a “proper” blog post and, I must admit that the prospect seems rather daunting. No excuses, there’ve been good times and bad times, rough days and smooth days, since my last full offering and my stamina reserves have been used on other pursuits.
Upturns are represented by my casting aside the walking stick on several occasions, managing a moderately brisk walk of several hundred yards, whilst still lamenting an inability to manage a few miles. Some people are never satisfied!
I still enjoy our garden, no matter what the season, albeit from a passive observational perspective; what would we do without the professional services of our friend Martyn? Although I sometimes pride myself on my pacing, I still find myself suffering the payback penalty when enthusiasm for a modest task leads to even a modicum of over-exertion.
The usual problem is recognizing the exertion that may be demanded to fulfil an apparently simple undemanding task. One such example was a recent successful attempt at re-potting a contorted hazel shrub. Initial preparation of the new container went smoothly but, once I’d placed the plant in situ, the task of infilling turned out to be the proverbial straw. Brain fog, an amplification of all my familiar sundry aches and pains (muscular, joints, lymph nodes, abdominal spasms etc) and an inability to control my legs as I headed back to the house – a kind of conscious restless leg syndrome! The next couple of days passed in an achingly painful, mentally hazy, sense of being; it took a little more time before a tingling sensation of being trapped in an undersized skin receded.
It’s a few weeks now since my beloved retired from her salaried employment, at the doctors surgery, so I’m really enjoying more of her company. Mind you, she’s still meaningfully occupied as a local preacher, an assistant on computers at the Acorn Centre, Fair Trade issues and involvement with the local Labour Party.
Until recently it has been somewhat difficult to persuade her to take much needed recuperative rest. Having always pushed myself, working and playing hard, prior (and probably causally related) to succumbing to ME, I do worry that some people ill-advisedly over exert themselves rather than listening to their bodies and ensuring they always have some stamina in reserve.
Encountering ME - a selection of poems, reflecting my experience of living with moderate ME can be read online or available as a free download from Scribd.
Mal’s ME Jottings – a selection of blog posts are also available on Scribd – read online or available as a free download.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
I posted a couple of variant sketches, made using the basic TegraDraw programme on TegraNote 7" tablet, on my Mal's Picturebox blog. Further sketches made using my 70th birthday toy can be on my Facebook artist page in album Tegra Sketches and here's another to be going on with :