“Just leave everything to me”

Samsung 32"/81cm LCD TV

After a very slow start, I ended up having quite productive afternoon and early evening sorting out a load of issues for my dear friend, Yoda.

It all started last weekend actually when I’d given his PC a much needed spruce up. It was running like a dead dog and needed some drastic action. Hundreds of megabytes of crap files, starter programs that didn’t actually need to start and so on. And I took around a working external DVD drive since his has been acting like it has Tourette’s syndrome for months.

Mid-week, his Norton Internet Security program had offered to automatically download and install Norton Internet Security 2010. Well that turned out to be a shit of a program. It cut him off the internet completely and wouldn’t initialise itself properly. It also wouldn’t let you stop its process in Task Manager either. Never seen anything like that before. Although it seems quite a few others have had problems with it.

My advice was to jettison the whole thing, initially recommending replacing it with Norton 360. However, upon reflection, I decided Yoda had already had a little too much of Norton’s nightmares. I’ve got Zone Alarm Internet Security so that seemed a logical replacement. I researched all the others but they’ve all got their own pros and cons. Luckily for Yoda there was an unbelievable price for it on the Australian Zone Alarm website. 50% cheaper than buying it in a retail store.

Installation was very straight forward and it only required one reboot. Lovely. I got him to click the update button to download the latest anti-virus/anti-spyware definitions and he’s now fully protected 😉 I told him it might be a little intrusive for the first couple of weeks as it learnt his PC habits – but he said it’s been a dream so far – not hassling him with warnings, just working quietly in the background. So that’s good news.

On Thursday night I bought him a lamp for his 2nd bedroom which is now his office. His light fittings are all nuts and keep blowing out – so a standing lamp was a much better option. At night it’s so dark in that room at night that I’m worried he’s gonna go arse over tit one day. Happily, K-Mart came to the rescue. He now has a 6 foot lamp with an energy saving bulb equivalent to 95 watts of clear white light. Gorgeous!

While I scrubbed the inside of his PC last weekend, today I took around screen cleaning wipes for his PC today and scrubbed his 17″ LCD’s outside within an inch of its life. The screen had all sorts of crappy marks on it and needed quite bit of elbow grease to get all the marks off. The image now looks clean and gorgeous again.

Next issue to address: his broken down 68cm CRT Teac television. We lifted the monstrous broken 68cm TV down the stairs and into the back lane for council pick-up. That thing weighed a ton. Hurt my fingers like hell trying to carry it. But it’s gone now and we cut the cord off to prevent some dickhead from taking it and trying to use it. It was still in the back lane at 8.10pm tonight when I headed home so that’s a good sign (people scavenge just about anything around this neighbourhood).

Yoda *hated* that TV, absolutely hated it. He bought it on my recommendation at NAPF HiFi about a squillion years ago. From early days it decided to just go black & white for hours on a random basis. Drove him nuts. So it finally breaking down completely came as a blessing.

After sorting out his PC screen and his lamp, I ventured forth to Marrickville to do some stuff for myself. However I ended up at Bing Lee and indulged in a bit of window shopping 😉 While looking at bits and pieces there, I suddenly realised ‘they have a shitload of TVs here.’ Then I started to put two and two together: we got rid of his old TV, if I could get a new TV today, we could set it up and Yoda wouldn’t have it on his list of worries and dramas anymore. I like fast, clean solutions.

There was a gorgeous Palsonic Plasma – 42″for $849. It was simply divine. But it was so bloody big that it would have dominated or probably overwhelmed Yoda’s lounge room. He might have had to move out to accommodate it! I would have loved it – had I been able to afford it and had I actually needed a new TV. 😉

They had lots of 81cm LCDs in stock and I saw 3 from Samsung all in a row. Old model, current model, fabsational new model. Yet the picture looked the same on all of them. And who needs the ‘latest model’ when it costs $300 more? Samsung is a good brand and, even though this one only had a 1 year warranty, it seemed like a good solution. (They tried to ”upsell” me a 4 year warranty but what’s the point when you had to take the TV in to a repair centre if it broke down. Who the hell is going to try and carry a bloody 81cm TV out of their house to some inconvenient repair centre location?)

I rang Yoda and he (finally) agreed it would be ‘bloody minded’ not to solve the whole problem today when it was looking so convenient and easy. I asked if he wanted to catch a cab down and see the TV in person, but he asked me to take care of it. I used my cc and he’ll pay me back. The box was large, awkward but surprisingly light-weight. Considering we’d just taken a smaller TV down that had weighed 10 times as much, it seemed a dream in comparison!

Frigging Taxi Combined cab took forever to arrive due to the base screwing up the address. But finally I had it loaded in the back of a station wagon cab and rang Yoda to say I was on my way! I gave the cab driver a $3 tip. I rarely do that. Must have been euphoria at the TV purchase 😉

Yoda and I had some interesting “fun” putting it together. Trying to attach the base and not realising until we’d already done it that the instructions were on page 24 of the manual. Thanks for nothing Samsung!

Anyway, we eventually got it set up and getting it working was quite simple. It tuned itself, Yoda’s Foxtel worked easily as did his DVD player. The picture is super clear. There are some artifacts and such but with low-end LCDs you always get that. All the LCDs I looked at had the same thing. And as Yoda isn’t as hypercritical about such things as me, he just enjoyed the uber-clarity of the picture. It’s bright, crisp and clean – and glossy black of the frame of the set is gorgeous.

The price was $699. Was it a bargain? No, not really. Not, now that I’ve done my research. Bing Lee where everything is ‘negotiable’, wouldn’t negotiate. Pricks. But the thing is…it was a good brand, an okay price, it was in stock, I could see what the picture looked like and it was at a shop that is 5 minutes away in a cab. And it was all done with the minimum of drama.

I probably wouldn’t use or recommend Bing Lee on the basis of my experience today but it’s all a learning experience, isn’t it? Life’s a constant series of fuck-ups and fix-ups, really 😉

Earlier tonight Yoda and I watched a tad of the new ‘Star Trek’ on DVD and also Dr. Who ‘The Waters of Mars’ which I hadn’t seen before. It looked great – although a bit too great in high definition. Every line and mark on every actor’s face could be seen. It ‘de-glamorised” them a bit. Still, the story was terrific and the Samsung TV acquitted itself well. It’s a Samsung 32LB350 – whatever that means!

Anyway, by the end of the day I felt I’d achieved a lot and that my best friend had a lot less crap to worry about. At the moment I’m relaxing with a couple of light beers and just about ready to hit the sack.

Christmas is just around the corner.


1 Comment

  1. Hi Graeme

    Yeah don’t spend too much on me this year…..times are tough I understand…anyway have a great christmas to you and Grant.
    I’m off now for 4 weeks just doing nothing…favourite pastime = doing nothing….anyway take care and may 2010 be full of hot men & a little slap & tickle from time to time….

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