Thursday, 18 June 2015

Technology is Great – Well When it Works!

My first book sold quite well when released and as a reward to myself for all the hard work that I put into it I decided to buy a tablet, a decision made all the easier when I saw a Google Nexus 7 on sale for less than £100! Now I see devices like tablets as essentially entertainment. It is great that I can download the Kindle app for free and read all kind of ebooks without having to buy a dedicated ereader like, well the Kindle. It is also great that I can connect to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. It did the job I expected it to do.

Did, in a past tense.

At some point I don’t know when Google released an update for Nexus and, quite frankly, the thing has become a bit of a Jeckyll and Hyde character. When it is Jeckyll it is still fun to use but when it switches to Hyde the thing becomes a beast.

I am not the only one to complain about this, plenty of other owners of this once wonderful device have done the same and Google, surprisingly, have done very little to put it right.

When my Nexus turns all Mr Hyde on me it basically becomes unusable. Programs start running slow and then freeze. Often they prompt a request from the operating system asking if I want to close the program, wait, or report it. Normally I don’t want to close it because I was using it for a reason. Sometimes I try waiting. Occasionally I attempt to report it but then even that has turned into a trial by combat with the program responsible for sending the feedback crashing itself. On more than one occasion the tablet has just turned itself off! Not so much as a by your leave, as Monty Python would put it. It doesn’t automatically restart either, you, the owner but definitely not the controller, have to do that.

Now I am reasonably comfortable with technology. I have a laptop, a smartphone, a smart television, a digital radio, an iPod, a digital camera – you get the picture! Having said that I do not consider myself an expert so when I googled my problems and found plenty of other sufferers out there I was dismayed at the majority of the answers. Mostly these were references to downloading Jellbaby 5.1 or Icelolly 2.4 or something.

Perhaps I am too old fashioned for the 21st century? I mean, when I buy something then I expect it to work as described on the box, tin, bottle, or whatever other package it comes in. Experience seems to support this assumption. My television worked from the moment I switched it on and subsequent updates seem to have only made it better. My Nexus, however, has not been so lucky and I, as its owner, feel even more aggrieved as it seems that although I have done nothing wrong it is I who have to figure out how to put it right again. The quickest way would be to reset it the factory settings, and lose all the data I’ve put onto the machine in the process. Nice.

I would like to see Google take responsibility for the machine that bears their name but that does not look likely. I liked my Nexus when it was Dr Jeckyll but not so much that I am willing to spend the time necessary to become au fait with rolling back operating system software so as not to damage my tablet further; I’ve got books to write for goodness sake!

I bought my wife an Asus Acer tablet, a device lauded as inferior to the Nexus 7 but it has one key advantage over its more prestigious rival; it works! Despite also having an Android operating system the Acer has not given her that much trouble. She spends plenty of time perusing eBay, playing Candy Crush, reading emails, and whatever else she wants and with nary a problem. It does what it said it would do on the box. My Nexus 7 did once but the people who branded it ‘Google’ don’t seem to care that much about it anymore. When I next have a little free money to spend I think that I am going to avoid placing any value on a brand name and just look at the reviews given by actual users. As Alanis Morissette once said; “you live, you learn.”

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