Friday, December 16, 2016

Samsung Executive-Level Support - WTF?

This is silly. It's almost like double-secret probation.

So, here's the issue:
1. I bought this Samsung Chromebook from Best Buy.
2. It was a replacement for this a previous generation Samsung model, which worked great. The kids eventually fucked that one up, but we had it for like two years and everybody loved it.
3. When I went into Best Buy, they had the newer Samsung model, with better/updated specs, for the same price as the previous-gen model, which they were still selling. I said to the sales associate, "Why wouldn't I buy the newer model?" He shook his head and said he didn't know.
4. The store was out of stock of the model I wanted, so I had it shipped to my house. Received the computer in a few days, started running it, and immediately started receiving complaints that it was slower than other model.
5. Then about three weeks later, the cursor stopped working.
6. Spent about an hour on the phone with Samsung support, and tried everything including reloading OS. Nothing worked. They e-mailed me a shipping ticket. I put the computer back in its box, which thankfully I had saved, and sent it in for them to fix.
7. It was returned relatively promptly, I think within a week. Worked fine for a couple weeks and then cursor disappeared again. Called Samsung support, and they were very obliging. Skipped whole software reload thing and just sent me ticket to send computer back in.
8. It was returned in another week, except now every time I launched Chrome or another application, the computer  crashed and reset itself. Maddening.
9. I called Samsung and they sent me another return-for-support ticket. These tickets cover shipping. I just have to box up the computer and run it down to UPS store, whose clerks I am now becoming familiar with. I send my wife in this time, and UPS guy tries to sell her expensive extra packaging. I had to go in myself.
10. There is a bit of a hassle as Samsung sends me an e-mail saying they didn't receive unit. On top of that, UPS store screwed up its record keeping. This gets sorted out, and I get my unit back.
11. Problem not fixed. Everything still crashing.
12. Now things get fucked up. I'm pissed. I call and support offers to send me another ticket, if that's okay. I say, that's not okay. So they offer to escalate my case to "executive-level" support. Executive-level support will be calling me directly.
13. I don't hear from "executive-level" support for like five days, so I call back regular support. I'm told I need to be ready for call from executive support, and I shouldn't miss it. There is no number I can contact them at directly.
14. A bit later, a woman from executive level support calls me and tells me that they are considering my request for a refund or a new unit, but that they need my receipt. She gives me an e-fax number to send it to.
15. At same time, I get an e-mail requesting my receipt and one of the options for sending it is that e-fax number. I e-fax the receipt. This is Tuesday, Dec. 13. I am told that they will be back in touch.
16. By Friday, Dec. 16, I have not heard anything. I call regular support. They tell me if I don't hear from executive support in three hours to call them back.
17. I don't hear from executive support and call back and am transferred to someone in executive support. (It sounds like a regular support person except that he is breathing heavily into the phone as he talks, which sound less "executive" if anything, but what do I know?) He says the receipt has not been transferred yet from the dept. that was supposed to receive it. He then said he has escalated the case, and that someone from executive support will be calling me back later today or Monday. If not, I am supposed to call back the general support number and give them the new service ticket number-which he issues me.

On a positive note, all the people I've talked to at Samsung have been nice and accommodating. Based on my phone number, they also are automatically provided with a record of my support history. This is nice touch compared to previous customer support experiences. As for actually getting a computer that works....stay tuned!

Monday, October 03, 2016

Baseball playoff predictions, Part 1

Wild Card games:

Baltimore over Toronto
San Fran over the Mets

We'll see.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Is Sam Bradford today's Jim Plunkett?

Is anyone else on board with the Sam Bradford is the next Jim Plunkett narrative?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Does Rex Get It?

This kills me, from an ESPN report on what the big story is for all 32 NFL teams: "Ryan has already dropped hints that he wants the ball in wide receiver Sammy Watkins' hands more often." I'm not sure what good it does for him to advertise this. Also, it seems like a bit of a clueless strategy. Have you ever heard Bill Belichick, for instance, talk about basing his gameplan around the talents of a single player? I'm sure he does that, but part of professional football also has to do with planning to exploit you opponents weaknesses. Basically, I don't think you can win in today's NFL with a star-focused mentality. I think it requires more of a systematic approach - and Ryan and the Bills just fired the guy who developed their whole offensive system.

We'll see how this all works out, I did read somewhere that new OC Anthony Lynn is "highly regarded" but I thought the deposed Greg Roman was too - if not a bit unconventional. Lynn certainly has his work cut out for him, especially now that Rex seems to be taking an interest in the offense, because obviously the defense, which he is so well known for, is running so smoothly.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Amazing Work by U.S. Swim Team

First off, let's congratulate them for winning 33 medals at these 2016 Rio Olympics 16 of them Gold. Michael Phelps himself, of course, after coming out of retirement no less, has one five golds and one sliver, bringing his career total to 28 medals over four Olympics, including 23 golds. Yes, the results in the pool for the U.S. swimmers are pretty awesome.

But, let's talk for a minute about the results out of the pool. Did you realize Phelps had two DUIs? Even though he doesn't seem to be hiding it, I guess I didn't. I did know about the infamous bong photo. And when people expressed disbelief, I always harkened back to the swimmers I knew in high school, who we used to joke had "swimmers lung" and thus could take the biggest hits. I other words it was no real surprise to me that Phelps was smoking pot. It obviously doesn't seem to have negatively affected his ability to swim really fast.

Of course, this whole Ryan Lochte posse thing at the Rio Games sheds new light on the US Swim Team's partying. Unfortunately, it really makes the guys involved come off like assholes. In their defense, it seems they were truly drunk after attending a part at the French Olympic house. Yes, those damn French. Who could expect a bunch of naive American swimmers to keep up with them? Then again, Lochte seems to have a bit of a party history: There is this Las Vegas race with Prince Harry. Then, there was this failed reality show, ominously titled, "What would Ryan Lochte Do?" Apparently just about anything.

Then, there is this guy: 35-year old Anthony Ervin who won gold at the 2000 Olympics and then again this year. In between he apparently smoked cigarettes, took acid, and rode a motorcycle really fast in an apparent attempt to kill himself.

So, there you have it - what could possibly be the most successful swim team in Olympic history, punctuated by a least a few individuals who are not afraid to color outside the lines at times. Not sure what this says. Does partying and being an elite swimmer go hand in hand? Are the U.S. training methods so great that our swimmers can win despite their out-of-the-pool forays? Is all this irrelevant? I don't know, but I know I like to swim, especially in open water and it's been a great summer for that. And that Usain Bolt can really run - and he's from Jamaica...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Make A-Rod the Yankees Manager

If the scene between A-Rod and Sterling Castro really played out like this piece on Deadspin says it did, why not fire Girardi and hire A-Rod to manage the Yankees? I have been a big Girardi defender for the past few years, as he seems like a pretty good guy who tries hard at his job and isn't totally incompetent. By all accounts, he did a great job before getting fired by the Marlins, due to an apparent rift with the owners. And, stuck with multiple aging players and bad contracts, I think Girari has done a  decent job coaxing the Yankees into the playoffs most years and even winning a World Series.

That said, there seems to be something missing in his managerial style. I think this blog post by Wallace Matthews sums it up pretty well. In criticizing Girardi for not playing A-Rod down this veritable home stretch (okay, maybe "tail end" is better) of his career, he calls the manager "the rigid, joyless man who writes out the Yankees' lineup card each day." Right there is Girardi's problem: he's joyless. Perhaps his dour personality is what has dragged the strength out of our luckless veterans. (Apparently there was no love lost between Ichiro and Girardi.)

So, what about offering A-Rod the ultimate comeuppance on his current adversary and firing Girardi to make A-Rod the manager? Look, everyone says A-Rod has a very high baseball I-Q. And he certainly will bring more joy, at least on the exterior, to the Yankees dugout. And, then there is the aforementioned Castro story from yesterday:

"I asked [A-Rod] about the pitcher and he said, ‘Be ready for a curveball on the first pitch,’” Castro said. “He was so happy in the dugout when I looked in there after the double. He told me to be ready for the first-pitch curve and I was. If he didn’t tell me that, I would have taken that pitch because I would have been looking for something harder.”

Okay, maybe A-Rod would be better suited to be a batting coach, like Barry Bonds, but, fuck it, the opportunity to turn the tables on Girardi seems too good here. I know A-Rod said emphatically during his press conference that he would not be a coach, but could he really turn down this opportunity?

I am currently reading a book about baseball in the 1920s called "Big Sticks" (insert favorite porno joke here) and during that time, it was very common for star players like Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker to manage. (Babe Ruth apparently thought he was qualified as well, but the Yankees did not.) I think A-Rod ranks right up there with those guys - in terms of baseball acumen, as well as being a jerk, so why not give him a chance? Kind of a throwback choice if you will. What's the worst that could happen? And, what if he did manage to lead them to a World Series win at some point? What a redemption story that would be!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Fix Is In

I came across this website the other day and I wondered what you thought of the premise, Ralph. It's called The Fix Is In and it's written by Brian Tuohy.

The author essentially claims that five major sports are fixed (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NASCAR). I think he's mostly trying to sell books, and conspiracy theories can generate big money, and even though, from time to time, critics are able to point to individual instances of shady dealings in sports, such as the Black Sox Scandal and the Tim Donaghy fiasco, overall, the outcomes of these sports are not regularly manipulated by a few select parties.

Here's my take: Like most conspiracy theories, much needs to be ignored for the assertion of "the fix" to work. In other words, Tuohy's position essentially ignores the fact that a lot of money (billions) can be generated by having the greatest athletes in the world complete against one another.

In that fact alone there is not much need to manipulate outcomes. Set up a system where the athletes compete for a championship and sell the rights to television. Not a complicated scenario.

I certainly don't believe that Roger Goodell is telling NFL referees to manipulate outcomes. Do you know how many eyes are on the NFL each week? Millions. We collectively review every single play from six different angles in slow motion. If there was a pattern of manipulation, we would surely have seen it by now.

As it stands, the refs get most calls right. You may believe that they could have let an action stand or that they should have called it differently, but the pattern, in my nearly 50 years of watching football, has been that they do a pretty good job and that there is no widespread pattern of game manipulation.

Further, I do not believe players are manipulating outcomes. Most players have performance bonuses built into their contracts, so they're not going to "take a dive" in order to win a bet from a Las Vegas bookie. Those days are long gone. Peyton Manning, for example, had a $2 million bonus for winning the AFC Championship game and another $2 million for winning the Super Bowl. He's trying to win. And what bookie is ever going to pay out that kind of money? They'd sooner kill you and bury you in the desert than pay out that kind of bet. So the rules are mostly "fixed" to promote the players to strive for excellence.

Finally, I'm a big believer in Occam's Razor. Essentially, that means that the simplest explanation is typically the best explanation. So, we can choose to believe that there is a grand manipulation of the outcomes of these various sports by very powerful men in order to make money for themselves and hold the rest of us as gullible dupes while only writers like Brian Tuohy know about it...or it could be that the sports are essentially above board and limited to only occasional manipulation which is almost always discovered in the long run.

I'll go with the latter.