Wednesday 20 March 2013

Android and Sony 'Mobile', 'dislike' the lot of them...

So time to whinge again, the focus of my current ire, Sony and Android.

One day at the dinner table, over a month ago, my wife's phone, a Sony Xperia T, makes a jingle. It's a notification, a new software update has arrived, jelly bean, or as Sony rather un-snazzily call it, version 9.1.A.0.489. OK let it roll. My son checks for updates on his phones, and voila, he's offered one too and accepts. I check on mine, no, no new update, my phone is up-to-date, apparently. After dinner is over we give the new OS a spin, and it's actually quite speedy, it's noticeably quicker. Compare it with mine side to side, and it's obviously quicker, going from home screen to the dialer etc. Not sure I like the switch to black on white (again, the same happened when my Motorola Atrix upgraded from foryo to gingerbread).

So when will I get the update we all thought, probably a few days. So I waited, and waited, whilst using my wife's phone everyday thinking isn't it nice?

Apple owners please stop laughing and, also read no further!

I decided to look at the IMEI numbers, apparently my wife's was less and my son's more. So if they are rolling out by IMEI number, then mine should have been done by now. Sony put a list of IMEI number ranges with dates of IMEI's being updated when they updated the Xperia S late last year.

So I asked them:-

Sent: 2/19/2013 11:57:33 PM
Subject: Phones Question to support
Phone model: Xperia T

My phone has yet to receive the latest update, i.e.

Latest available software: 9.1.A.0.489
Release date: 2013-02-07

I am still on 7.0.A.3.195.

Worse still my wife and son who both own Xperia T too, one with an IMEI number less than mine, the other with a later one, 17th, i.e. 2 days ago.

Is there an issue with mine? Or am I going to receive it, eventually, and if the latter, when?

They replied...

From : []
Sent: 20 February 2013 9:39 AM
Subject: Sony Xperia Contact Center, Service Request:
Dear "Furbian",

Thank you for contacting the Sony Xperia support centre.
We can confirm that the Sony Xperia T is planned to receive an update to the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean version.
This is currently going to plan and is expected to start rolling out globally during the February and March. Any further announcements regarding this roll out will be posted on our Product Blog page. Please find below a link to our Product Blog:
We hope this helps you.
For the latest news, information and product support please visit

If you require any further assistance then please do not hesitate to respond to this email or call our customer support on 08705 237 237. Should you choose to contact us via an alternative channel, one of our agents will request a unique field from you and would suggest providing your Email address.

Please be aware that should you not respond within 5 days of this email your query will be automatically closed. Any further communications will not reach our support and a new query will need to be raised.

Kind Regards,
Fiona Murphy

Sony Xperia UK Customer Services

But that didn't really answer my questions, so I resumed my 'wait mode'. In the mean time they released their 'new', huge, Xperia Z and the Samsung's S4 was due soon.

So I went on with life, and I sent them a 'not nice' e-mail, making a few observations I wished to share with them (read: an expression of my frustration!). They sent a more detailed reply this time:-

Sent: 27/02/2013 21:36:58
To: <>
Subject: RE: Sony Xperia Contact Center, Service Request:

Thanks for your reply. As such there is nothing on your blog that answers my question, i.e. when, and why my wife and son who have the SAME phone have been given the update and I’m meant to wait for some indeterminate amount of time before, hopefully before the end of March, I am allowed an upgrade. If I go on-line to your web site, the result is even more nonsensical,

What does it say?

“Latest available software: 9.1.A.0.489

Release date: 2013-02-07
How to find your device’s current software version:
Settings -> About phone -> Build number / version”
Mine is 7.0.A.3.195

Run the Java app

“Your Xperia device is already up to date.”

So Apple can do an iOS roll out in one day across the world for all iPhones, and you can’t manage one model phone, over what is now three weeks? Maybe I should just sell this phone and stick with an Apple device, or I should check out how Samsung manage their updates and see if they are managed better than yours.


Their reply:- []
Sent: 01 March 2013 12:56 PM
Subject: Sony Xperia Contact Center, Service Request:   

Dear "Furbian",

Thank you for contacting the Sony Xperia support centre in regards to your Sony Xperia T not yet receiving Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
We can advise that this is being released as we speak but we do not release it to every handset all at once, it is a gradual roll out were more and more handsets will be able to receive this everyday. We do apologise if your handset has not yet received a notification notifying you that your handset is available to be updated.This update will be coming available to your very soon but we are unable to give an exact date.
We do apologise for any inconvenience caused by this.
For the latest news, information and product support please visit

If you require any further assistance then please do not hesitate to respond to this email or call our customer support on 08705 237 237. Should you choose to contact us via an alternative channel, one of our agents will request a unique field from you and would suggest providing your Email address.

Please be aware that should you not respond within 5 days of this email your query will be automatically closed. Any further communications will not reach our support and a new query will need to be raised.

Kind Regards,
Luke Prior

Sony Xperia UK Customer Services


... and this was three weeks ago, the update that I will get 'very soon', there's still no sign of.

It wouldn't be so bad if others at home didn't have it, but they do, and have had for a month. This is just plain downright sloppy. I have a working theory, this maybe because even though all ours are unlocked, maybe it's something to do with the original phone provider it used to be locked to, in this case T-Mobile (part of Everything Everywhere). I asked another tech-head what he thought of it, he just said that EE are the worst for updates. As I have no contract with EE, I can't even ask them directly, so I tried to sign up to their forums, but it rejected my credentials for no good reason. Life's too short, so I left that 'avenue', i.e. ask T-Foible.

I used to think reviewers complaining that some phones were being shipped with older firmware that was about to be updated was a non-issue. I can now see why it is, and should be, a factor to take into consideration when purchasing.

Witnessing my frustration, my wife suggested selling it and buying another phone.

As I am not tied to any contract, I tend to 'upgrade' when I feel I should. I've had a feel of an Xperia Z, it really is just too big, as a large six footer, I don't have small hands, but even then it was just way to bulky, so I'm not interested in it. The same would go for the S4, that leaves just waiting for a larger iPhone; goodbye some apps, calendar  widget, nice koi-fish wallpaper, and occasional use of file access, welcome syncing bliss and timely updates.

Or, HTC could get their 'One' on the market, that could be worth look. Then again Sony can update my phone and I won't need to update for quite some time.

Oh did I mention  that I am now 'partly' Sony locked? Their backup program is slow, but carries over game save data etc. that would otherwise need the use of backup program with root access to backup. One can migrate to a Sony phone, but not another company's phones. So unless whoevers phone I end up with can import data from a Sony backup, I'd have to root my phone, (then restore if the 'rooting' was destructive and needed a backup), then root the new phone install the backup program, and import into it. Great, just when I thought that days of jailbreaking were over having come over to the wonderful open world of Android, I now have to 'root', which is quite often harder than jailbreaking.

So my verdict? Apple and Android, both have issues, it's the one with less 'issues' that wins. Most issues appear to cancel each other out, with just the screen size and price keeping me firmly away from Apple, for now. A third viable alternative would be nice, but they are even worse, Windows 8 phone, Ubuntu phone, Firefox etc. 'Issues', I said, how polite, I wanted to say steaming piles of...

Thursday 7 March 2013

So google Play are having a 'birthday'...

I thought I might be missing out on something, so I had a look, and it turned out there was only one thing that looked mildly interesting, and even that was free, so I downloaded it anyway.

I doubt that mentioning this would be 'breaking the law', but someone I know was asked for such details (not by Google), and they decided to send them a scan of 'a' passport, i.e. not theirs, but edited with MS paint to have their name on it. It was accepted. Mainly because common sense rules, walk into a bank with £20k of cash, and they'll want to see some original ID. Fail a check with Google over an 80p app, I think we can safely assume that Google will not be able to convince the IPS (Identity and Passport Service, UK) to validate the passport for them, not for free, or even a small fee for that matter if it is a paid for service that they offer. It might be free if they could make the case for a crime about to be committed.
Their e-mail would probably look something like this:-

"Dear IPS, 

Please be informed, we are having the difficulty in confirming of the details Mr. Fat Twonky, we are being thinking he is doing the fraud big time with our system of purchasing, Google Play. He send us a picture of his Pastport, can you be please cheking this for us and be kindly reverting back to us with the resultant report off this passport."

Putting a picture of a monkey might not work, but I suspect that one of just about anyone else will. I've been tempted, but thought, nah, can't be bothered, Amazon store's working fine for me.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Windows 7 Aero Crashes, for no reason, a solution.

I had this long running problem for over a year, and it drove me NUTS.

Aero would stop working if I hibernated my PC, or switched user.

I Googled, a lot, learnt a lot, WDM (Windows Desktop Manager) service, etc. but nothing worked. Microsoft’s own tool said there was nothing wrong. Stop the WDM service, re-start it, nothing.
Log out, log back in all fine. But very occasionally, I’d just be using the PC, and Aero would stop. Yet I could run any game, no problems.

So I installed Windows 7 again to a different partition, and then tried that installation of Windows 7, again same problem!
Obviously all service pack and updates applied, no solution.

The graphics card was upgraded, from an ATI Radeon HD5750 to HD6850, STILL no change.

Then I tired one of my children’s NVidia cards, still no change.

Then I upgraded my hard drive, still no change.

Then I upgraded mother CPU and RAM, still no change!

I gave up.

And then, almost a year later, my EZ Cool PSU died (diagnosing THAT is another painful story).

I fished out an old 550W PSU, nice and noisy, and guess what, the Aero crashing problem is gone!

It was The PSU! I did think for few fleeting moments that it maybe sometime ago, and then thought, don’t be ridiculous.

But there you go, if your Aero crashes a lot, it maybe the PSU, as it was in my case.

But alas, for all my love of Aero, Microsoft has removed it in Windows 8. I am not grateful or happy at that. Then again, my thoughts on Windows 8, after trying it out for a few weeks are, well, quite negative. I have no intention of going for it, unless sometime in the future I end up with a laptop for which no Windows 7 drivers are available. Then again if the laptop won’t run the odd game (I play about 2 to completion in a year, Skyrim is the most recent) I want to play, I’d happily stick Linux on it (Mint, not Ubuntu, as its Unity UI is as sucky as Windows 8 IMHO, well NOT so IMHO).

Friday 11 January 2013

Stuff that died, recently.

So here a list of stuff that's not worked as it should, recently.

1. EZ Cool PC PSU - Dead, pain caused, significant wastage of time.

2. Corsair Force 3 SSD - Dead, pain caused, minor catastrophe, loss of last blog entry.

3. iPhone 4 - Son's sticky phone button, pain caused, considerable worry and a good few hours wasted.

4. Motorola Atrix(s) - dead ear pieces, pain caused, massive by Everything Everywhere and some time wasted fixing it.

5. Nintendo 3DS - Region coding issues, pain caused, time wasted browsing web trying to pin this down, only partially resolved.

So there we are, WHY I spend (waste?) time writing this, because all this stuff that should work,  dies.

Of course I have lots of stuff that is ancient and still works, an over 10 year old Hitachi 17" monitor, now used as our home CCTV monitor, maybe one or two failed pixels, but otherwise fine, though obsolete.

Then there are the Panasonic Plasmas, a 42", pre 1080p display, works fine, now about eight years old, and a 58" one that is now about 4 years old, and going strong.

Oh but then there's the rubbishy Hitachi 42" plasma, just about clinging to life, and my 3D Samsung 59" PS59D550, which has had its 'issues' shall we say, and still has one.

However the stuff that has died, well it shouldn't have if it was better built, and the time wasted on fixing and/or replacing these things, I would rather not waste. Anyway, gory details to follow, starting with the 3DS, in short I love the 3D, good product, but the 'Nintendo political region coding' is unforgivable. There are perils related to someone buying one as gift for your children, from abroad. Their regions are 'custom', not old the PAL, NTSC etc. one could live with, but wired, apparently undocumented, 'sub-regions'. More on that in the next entry.