Another modern life problem

Spotify applicationHow many times these days do you have problems getting support for a product or service? Tons, I’d guess.

I joined Spotify Premium a week or two ago. The concept is great – being able to have access to more music than is in iTunes and be able to have whatever I want on my iPod (as long as I keep subscribed via the $10 a month subscription).

As I said, the concept is great. Reality? It doesn’t work. I was able to get only one album to sync to my iPod, and then no more music would sync.

Support? I tried every avenue: Google search, their help pages, email help – nothing.

So I’m calling you, Spotify – help or I’ll quit.

(Updates 1. Spotify did respond by email, though their response did not totally solve the problem. and 2. Thanks to a friend, I will maybe be able to get to the root of the problem; see comments.)

A huge contrast is 1and1 web hosting. They are great! Real humans answer the phone, 24/7. I’ve called in a ton of times and almost every time, I get satisfaction. Their rates are also among the best in the business. If you need to host your website or grab a web address of your very own, I’d highly recommend them. (Note that this is an affiliate link; if you click through and sign up, I’ll get a few cents out of the deal.)



MyLincoln Touch adLincoln is moving forward with their technology. The on-board MyLincoln Touch system has all kinds of things that your internet-connected home computer offers: the ability to upload photos, find music, and sync your contacts.

The problem is that many of those things should only be done when you are parked. And they would all be done much easier on an iPad. The $400 cost is not much less than an iPad, and you can use an iPad in far more places than your Touch system.

Park your car, queue up the songs you want, plug your iPad or iPod into your car stereo – and then drive. You don’t need photos or contacts in your car’s computer anyhow.

If you’re in the market for a new Lincoln MKX, maybe consider a used Acura MDX or Honda Pilot for a third of the price and an iPad for each member of your family (or for several of your friends).

This ad appeared on the back cover of the September 2011 Automobile magazine.


The beauty of zoom

Sidewalk cafe in Paris (copyright Paul Merrill)I could have never gotten this photo with my previous camera. This Sony has a 10x optical zoom. Great for getting closer than I would otherwise.

(Sidewalk cafes, during an evening in Paris.)


Samsung Laptop Review

Trust me, this is the coolest Windows laptop ever.

It’s the “Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A-A03 13.3-Inch Laptop.” (Just sort of rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?)

Anyhow, I visited the Microsoft Store with my wife & daughter a few weeks back… you know, just to check out the enemy. And I was seriously impressed with this Samsung laptop! Mind you, I would never think of buying one. (Regular readers know where my loyalties lie.)

The best I can tell is that Samsung is attempting to compete with the MacBook Air. About the only thing the Samsung has over the Apple is processor speed. The Mac’s hard drive is twice as big as the Samsung’s. They weigh exactly the same.

For a Windows laptop, the design is really not bad. They’re trying.


Cool new technology

At the Denver Auto Show, the Saab display was amazing. Not for the cars (though I do like the new 9-5) but rather for the giant screen at the end of their rectangle. It was one giant TV. (Sadly, the top photo does not do it justice.) It was made of LED panels that were assembled for the show. Think: one of those giant displays at a big-city football field, only one that the roadies can take apart and reassemble multiple times.

The lower photo shows a closeup of the backside of the display. Each panel section was about 2 x 3 feet and was made of lightweight white plastic.



Transmission overkill

merc-9spThe 2012 Mercedes S-Class sedans will have 9-speed transmissions. The idea is for them to have the smoothest and quietest shifts you can get.

To me, it’s overkill. Yes, refinement is great, but it is worth the extra expense? Our Honda minivan has a 5-speed transmission, which is wonderful. At highway speeds, it’s purring along at a very low rate of rpm’s. Our Toyota sedan makes do with just a 3-speed. That bothers me a bit, knowing that it would save some fuel if the engine spun at lower rpm’s in top gear.

I remember 10-speed bicycles being an innovation in the USA. My 1972 Gitane road bike came with a 10-speed. I upgraded it to a 12. Today most road bikes have 27 speeds. I’d be happy with 18. (Actually, I am happy with 12 – but I’d appreciate the difference 18 would add to my cycling experience.)


Amazing technology

red-moneyRachel, our 9-year old, wanted some play money. So I took some real money and put it on our all-in-one laser printer. I intended to copy it on just one side, so it could never be used for real money.

What comes out of the machine? Red money! The printer was sophisticated enough to run that automatic counterfeiting routine.

I thought, “Oh no! Everything will have red on it now!” So I copied something else. The result was normal as could be.


Quad processor laptop

quad-processor-cSo, I was cruising the Sunday newspaper ads, as I enjoy doing. I stumbled upon the fact that Intel has a quad processor in the most expensive laptop Staples was advertising. I knew those were in desktop and all-in-one computers, but that was the first time I had seen one in a laptop.

I did a little digging and found out that it runs at 2.0 ghz. At this point, it would be impossible to compare the actual speed of this laptop with a Mac, for example, short of buying it and testing it yourself. Unfortunate, that.

If you are a Windows person and appreciate HP, it may be a good value. If you are a Mac person, you can get a 2.26 ghz Core 2 Duo 13″ for roughly the same money. If you are a regular reader here, you know which one I would recommend.