Rotten Apple.

Someday we’re going to look back on this era and…marvel, I guess, although “recoil in horror” may well be an option, too. I think often how long it’s been since I’ve done business with a larger outfit that didn’t make me seethe with anger or sneer with contempt. This weekend it was Apple’s fault.

My iPhone 6 is three years old and going strong, except that the battery is failing. How do I know this? Because the power falls from 75 percent to 20 percent in 10 minutes, that’s how. Sounds like a failing battery to me! Apple recently acknowledged it was slowing down the older model phones accordingly, and, chastened, offered replacement batteries for them for $30. How very convenient, because I need a battery.

I followed all the links, which led me to an appointment at the Genius Bar. I arrived on time: Hello, I need a battery. The nice lady plugged my phone into her iPad and ran all sorts of diagnostics. It turns out? I need a battery. I surpassed my impulse to eye-roll. So let’s get it done. It turned out there were none in stock, but when one arrived, they’d let me know.

So, one trip to the Apple store down.

The email came a few days later, and said, “come anytime.” I headed out in a gathering snowstorm on Friday. The nearest Apple store is about 15 miles away, I should mention. I arrived and handed over my phone. Give us 90 minutes, they said. So I went back out and shopped the clearance sales, got a French press at Nordstrom, then came back to the warm, bustling Apple store. Are those places ever not bustling? Just asking.

The tech greeted me like a mother who’d brought her child to the ER with suspicious bruises. He showed me a photograph of the phone’d innards. “We can see that this phone has had liquids inside it,” he said. Yep, that sounded right — I was caught in a drenching downpour last summer with the phone in my back pocket, ports facing up. I’m sure it got wet then, because the speaker and mic failed for a couple of days. But I dried it out in a bag of rice and it’s worked fine ever since. So fix the battery, OK?

“We can’t do that,” he said. “We don’t work on phones that have been penetrated by liquids.” Options: Buy a reconditioned iPhone 6 – a three-year-old phone, mind you – for three! Hundred! Dollars! Or just do the usual upgrade thing. Hundreds of dollars more. But to fix a “penetrated” phone in fine working order, only in need of a battery? Out of the question.

Well, it was nice to visit Nordstrom. Good coffee. And I got some tights at 40 percent off.

Why do we let tech companies treat us like this? Why do we happily help them run established businesses out of town for a slightly better price, and then scrape to them and beg them for the latest sacred object? I wish I knew.

I’m going to Office Depot. The hell with this.

And I’m sorry about that rant. It’s cold again, and I’m feeling cranky. Plus it’s the auto show this week, and I’m on my own. To whoever asked in the comments, the prom is this coming Friday, and I’ll have my usual report. From what I’m hearing, the tl;dr is: Trucks for days.

While Alan was working at the kitchen table, I took myself down to the DIA and saw “Bombshell,” the documentary about Hedy Lamarr, movie star and frustrated scientist. It’s very fine, and I recommend it. If you didn’t know that this legendary Hollywood beauty also had a restless, problem-solving intellect, then you should know now. The story is both triumph and tragedy, but what I found most interesting was what it had to say about the human imagination, and how ideas can come from anywhere. Engineering ideas don’t always come from engineers; Lamarr’s singular idea – a way to make radio communications secure via switching frequencies – came from who-knows-where, because she wasn’t even college-educated, and the man she worked with was inspired by player-piano scrolls. But their idea was sound, even as the military brass scoffed at it.

They didn’t get paid. (And she could have used the money.) But her reputation has made a comeback.

Tomorrow will be warmer, and it’ll be Monday. And we’ll await what fresh hell might be around the corner from Shithole-gate. Sigh. Bundle up.

Posted at 8:11 pm in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |
 

70 responses to “Rotten Apple.”

  1. Charlotte said on January 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    The phone conundrum. I’m using my iPhone 5 something until it dies and then? I don’t know — maybe I’ll go back to a dumbphone (except podcasts while commuting). At the very least I’ll probably jump ship from Apple — I use Google for everything these days (email, docs, teaching, tech writing) and now that Apple stuck my music in the cloud, which makes it useless when we’re say, driving back through the vast swathes of Wyoming and Montana where you’re out of range, really, my phone just pisses me off most of the time. Maybe I’ll go full old-school and revert to a land line.

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  2. Julie Robinson said on January 14, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    That kind of crap is why I washed my hands of Apple about 20 years ago. We bought a pricey MacBook with an iron-clad guarantee we could upgrade the memory they were temporarily out of. And then they said they weren’t making the memory anymore. And no, we couldn’t return the underpowered and un-upgradeable computer we’d paid too much for. More fool us.

    Hubby likes his iPad but I got a Samsung. Samsung phones for both of us, PCs at home. I can replace the battery on my phone any time I need to. I can load all my music onto a microSD card and play it without the need for wifi or data use. I’m happy with my choices.

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  3. basset said on January 14, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    I bought a refurbished iMac from Apple over Christmas and had it sent to one of our local Apple Stores so it wouldn’t get stolen off our porch. Frustration for us too, the place seemed populated by kids with attitudes and I couldn’t get anyone to help me till I stood in an aisle, spread out my arms, and blocked the path of the next one who came by. He brought the box out of the back, more attitude, take it and gtfo was the vibe I got.

    So… I got my $29 battery from a third-party supplier, no problems at all there. Thought about getting a backup drive, checked the Apple Store when I was over that way today, quite a bit cheaper there so I sucked it up and got one. Started to pay one of the kids walking around for it, she took my Visa card and began running it through her little carry-around reader when Mrs. B. asked her a question about iPad keyboards. So… she says she’s going to check and will be right back, sets my card down on a shelf and walks off! That’s it, I’m too old to go in there anyway and it’s gonna be years before I buy another Mac so they’ve seen the last of me.

    The reason I was even close to our largest local Mac Store, in the upscale mall right down from Nordstrom’s, was to see “Darkest Hour” in the big fancy mall theater with reclining seats and good sound. Bar in the lobby and senior discount, too. Go see it, that’s all I have to say. Just go.

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  4. Heather said on January 14, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    My iPhone 5 started going wonky about a month ago (interestingly, the guy at the Apple store asked if I’d looked into having it fixed, but I was ready to upgrade) and I had sticker shock when I priced new ones. I’m so entrenched in the Apple ecosphere though that to switch over to another system would just take too much time that I don’t have right now. So I bit the bullet and bought an 8 Plus. I really like it, although even amortizing the cost over the four-plus years I expect to use it, it’s still crazy expensive. So next time it’s time to buy a new phone, who knows. I still like Macs way better than PCs though.

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  5. David Curtis said on January 14, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    I switched from a working 6 to my brothers hand me up 7. It required a backup, install the sim and a restore. I check your blog almost every day, but I don’t comment or send cash or link to Amazon through your site. If you want the iPhone 7 w/battery but w/o the simm card. Tell me where to send it. it is the least I can do. A reply is not necessary and I’m reverting back to lurker status now.

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    • nancy said on January 15, 2018 at 6:57 am

      That’s very kind of you, David, but I’m good. As I said, the phone works just fine. All it needs is a battery. I just won’t be able to buy it from those hipster doofuses at Apple.

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  6. alex said on January 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    I remember buying my first Apple computer back in the mid-’90s before there was a glitzy store on Boul Mich. Got mine from an office supply company in the Loop and had ordered all the bells and whistles, but in particular I wanted the memory slots all filled to the max with SIMS or whatever they were. Came to find out years later that I’d paid for the SIMS but didn’t receive them. My computer had the bare minimum. I was pissed, but continued to buy Apple products, just not from that retailer.

    Chicago certainly lives up to its reputation as the City on the Take. I was just reminded today about another time I got ripped off. A friend and I were reminiscing about our old Hondas that we bought in the early 1990s. Her husband still commutes in hers and it has over 300K miles on it. She asked about mine. I gave it to my brother in 2002 when it had 205K miles on it. He abandoned it in Detroit when the timing belt broke and the engine went kaput. I had replaced the timing belt religiously every 90K miles as called for in the owner’s manual. I’d paid a garage in Chicago $600 and some to replace it at 180K and those fuckers took my money and obviously didn’t do shit.

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  7. Joe Kobiela said on January 14, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Basset,
    Just read where Dan Gurney died at 86, quite the driver back in the day.
    Picking up 2 at bna Monday won’t have time to chat but will wave as I go thru.
    Love my Motorola droid, had a problem a week ago, wouldn’t pick up y-fi, replaced with a new one free and credited my account $30.00 because I had to use my gigs. I do have a apple lap top, like it also.
    Looking forward to the car show Pictures, both vehicles and Mistress Nall.

    Pilot Joe

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  8. basset said on January 15, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Dan Gurney… one of the great ones, no doubt, and the few people I’ve talked with who had dealt with him in person all said he was a gentleman and a class act.

    I once tried to sit in a GT40 he’d driven, couldn’t wedge my fat butt down in there far enough to try out the “Gurney bubble” in the roof.

    Be careful coming into BNA tomorrow, supposed to snow at some point during the day.

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  9. Dexter said on January 15, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Android man here..Galaxy tablet is all I need, and for phone, basic plain phone, because my wife has an Apple phone and the screen is too fucking small. I have good eyes but the tablet has spoiled me. A laptop is too heavy and unnecessary for me, so that’s that. When I need phone batteries ( I have gotten a new one every few years) I use this outfit in SoCal, and I will swear by them as the most efficient, smartest, most fairly priced business I have ever encountered,and as old Dizzy Dean said, “and I ain’t just bumpin’ my gums!” They’re in Santa Ana, and they know their stuff. http://www.emtcompany.com/contact.html I suppose they are banned from selling anything to do with Apple. Go Android.

    I made a joking post on FB about how I am so far behind on car improvements, sort like Rip Van Winkle…and the point is I have never owned a van with autolifting tailgate. So when I pulled up to offload groceries from the back, I hit the fob and back-up warning beeps commenced then lights flashed and BOOM!—that gate sprung open to attention in about two seconds. Damn! Old men and new fangled options clash. Shee-itttt.

    And, sleep tight Hawaii residents and tourists…all is well, all is OK…it’s alright, it’s al-RIGHT!…just quit that whimpering or I’ll call Uncle Un to sing you a lullaby, got it? Srsly…was that a kingmaker of a fuck-up?

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  10. David C. said on January 15, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Apple operates the way they do because they can. Just look at the audiences for any Apple new product rollout. If it wasn’t 80% men you would think you were looking at a megachurch congregation mid-spiel. All the wild-eyed wonderment makes me want to puke. Whatever they do, the true believers will plunk down their first month’s salary to make their gods happy.

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  11. adrianne said on January 15, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Margaret Sullivan, now of the Washington Post, has a good read on how the shithole comments were reported by the media. She’s from Buffalo, and never forgets her roots.

    Here’s a link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-words-trump-uses-and-the-words-the-media-must-use-in-response/2018/01/14/089c8672-f7ae-11e7-a9e3-ab18ce41436a_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_sullivan-5pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.d1357843ae7b

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  12. alex said on January 15, 2018 at 8:43 am

    I read the Sullivan piece yesterday and agree that journalists fell down on the job when it came to questioning the partisans who claim to have no memory of what Trump said. From today’s headlines, however, it appears Cotton & Co. are now denying it completely and calling Dick Durbin a liar.

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  13. adrianne said on January 15, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I direct you to the New York Times for Donald Trump’s racism, the definitive list.

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  14. Suzanne said on January 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

    The fact that Cotton & Co first said they didn’t remember him saying shithole to saying those words were never uttered says LIE to me. The new tactic, apparently (sorry, don’t remember where I saw it) is to say there is a question of whether the word was “shithole” or some other “shit” word.

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  15. ROGirl said on January 15, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Shithole, shithouse. Trump was calling his friends after the meeting asking them if it would play ok with the media. Those calls have been confirmed. This whole thing is so fucking stupid, and it’s just a matter of time until an even worse thing blows this out of the water.

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  16. Sarah said on January 15, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Also a regular lurker here – as to I phone troubles, I’ve been using IPod Drop (several locations, I usually use the one in Frasier) to handle all my Iphone related issues – cause I can’t stand either the drive or the attitude from the Apple folks. THere’s always some adorable young man who fixes my phone problem quickly (less than an hour – I’ve never had to leave a phone), and charges what always seems to be a fair price.

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  17. Peter said on January 15, 2018 at 11:41 am

    As you probably have figured out by now, I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so I can’t tell for sure – is this for real or is this a really good joke?

    http://www.gettrumpybear.com

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  18. susan said on January 15, 2018 at 11:51 am

    peter – https://www.snopes.com/trumpy-bear/

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  19. Bitter Scribe said on January 15, 2018 at 11:56 am

    I am now officially an apostate from the Church of Apple. I got sick of how their desktops blow up every five years or so, wipe out everything on the hard drive, and apparently can never be repaired. I now have a refurbished HP ProBook laptop (bought from the guy who couldn’t fix my last Mac) hooked up to a big monitor. It works great and the whole shebang–laptop, monitor, speakers, mouse, keyboard–cost less than $700, about half what I would have paid for a new Mac.

    Basset @3: My sister and I saw “Darkest Hour” in exactly the kind of theater you describe. The seats were so comfy that my sis fell asleep and missed the “fight them on the beaches” speech that ends the movie. She was pissed.

    I like one of the disclaimers in that Trumpy Bear ad: “Sorry, we cannot accept returns of intentionally damaged bears.”

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  20. Peter said on January 15, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Susan – WHOA!!! HOLY SHITHOLE BATMAN!!!!!

    One reason I was wondering is that the bear costs $40.00 – if it was $400.00, you’d know it was a joke, if it was $20.00, you figure it’s legit, but $40.00 seems to be kind of a cash grab….

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  21. Scout said on January 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    My iPhone 6 is having the exact same battery issue. Spoose took it to the Apple store last week for the $29 battery replacement and of course they were out of stock. Est 3 weeks til they get more. I will keep this phone going for as long as I can and then I think I’m going to get a Samsung or something. I’m officially sick to death of Apple culture or whatever the hipsters call it.

    I just can’t even with the GOP anymore. They are obviously all compromised by Russian money, just like their Evil Orange Overlord. Now that they got the tax cuts that benefit themselves and their cronies, there is no reason to keep propping up Putin’s bitch unless they are also dirty.

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  22. Jakash said on January 15, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    The whole internet loves Milkshake Trumpy Bear, a stable bear that definitely doesn’t terrify the whole world with its subhuman behavior. *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the bear is racist

    And, hey, for a “recognizable image of our current president,” the tie is way too short…

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  23. ROGirl said on January 15, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    If he’s supposed to resemble trump, shouldn’t he be a polar bear?

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  24. Linda said on January 15, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Calling countries shitholes < calling people deplorables. Yeah, right.

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  25. tajalli said on January 15, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Ah, the old how-to-welch-out-of-repairs ploy. Nothing new there. There’s a whole movement for self-repair because this issue is so ridiculously out of hand.

    Fixit Clinic in the US (Repair Clinic in the UK) is a movement to empower regular folks with the confidence to do it ourselves. The upgrade/throw away business is just disgusting. I always feel wonderful after fixing something myself.

    iFixit.com has great manuals and parts for a vast range of repairs/devices.

    It’s pretty easy to replace the battery yourself, if you’re a bit handy or have a friend so inclined. Think STNG, going forth to discover new worlds, for the feeling/mindset.

    For the manual (and a kit if you wish):
    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPhone+6+Battery+Replacement/29363

    For the stuff elsewhere:
    Fry’s Electronics Battery Replacement Kits
    Amazon (24.95) https://preview.tinyurl.com/y6unsspr
    Fry’s website
    (a bit higher, including iFixit stuff) https://preview.tinyurl.com/yc8v5nk4

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  26. Peter said on January 15, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    RO Girl for the win!!!

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  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Tom Cotton obviously has his name in for the next Secretary of State opening.

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  28. basset said on January 15, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Bitter Scribe, that’s why you back up… as I’ve said on here before, “if you don’t have two copies of your digital data, you don’t really have one.”

    connection I mentioned to the movie… in May 1940 my mother was 9 years old and living in east London. her mother used to wave a butcher knife and say that if “Jerry” (the Germans) put his head around the corner she’d cut it off… that’s the British spirit for ya.

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  29. beb said on January 15, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Lily Tomplin’s first TV character was Erestine, the telephone operator. Her act was summed up with the line “We’re the phone company, we don’t have to care.” That totallysummed up the phone company at the time. Apple seems to have discovered their inner “phone Company.” So what if a phone had gotten wet once? They can still replace a battery. If fact, since batteries always decline they should be designed to be easily replaced.

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  30. Colleen said on January 15, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Husband has an iPhone, I have an android. He swears at his much more than I swear at mine. So I am good with my choice.

    Saw “The Post” this weekend. Loved it. Quite timely subject matter too, what with Dear Leader calling out the press as the enemy, offering fake news….. I actually got a lump in my throat at one point. And came home and dug out Katharine Graham’s book. Gonna have to find time to read it.

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  31. Deborah said on January 15, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Any problems I’ve ever had with any of my Apple products have been of my own making.

    I’m tired, tomorrow is our last day in Manhattan, our flight is tomorrow evening but it’s supposed to snow here and in Chicago, so I’m expecting delays. We walked 8 miles yesterday and 7 today starting with the Met again. I’m definitely Met-ed out, every day was a mob scene. Tomorrow we’re sleeping in and then going to the Strand bookstore. No museums. The play we saw last night was just so-so, the woman who played Lena Dunham’s character’s mother on Girls was in it, she was by far the best actress of the cast. We got upgraded by a kind usher to the third row which was very nice of him.

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  32. alex said on January 15, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    I curse at my iPhone only when Siri butts into conversations uninvited, I suspect prompted by the words serious or Sirius or seriously. And when I butt-dial loud music and can’t tell which app is the source, Siri’s of no help in turning it off, so I always have to power down.

    You can’t turn on an iPhone without a thumb print (which it doesn’t recognize three-quarters of the time anyway) or an access code, but put it in your pocket and there’s no telling what the hell it might do, including texting gobbledygook to people in your address book or giving your booty some face time with someone who didn’t ask for it.

    I’ve found Siri to be absolutely useless. If I ask her to call someone in my contacts list she never gets it right. If I ask her a question I get a bunch of search engine hits that aren’t pertinent in the least. But if I curse the phone, she scolds me for using bad language. Fuck her and fuck iPhones too. But since I just finished paying this one off it looks like I’ll just have to live with it for a while.

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  33. Scout said on January 15, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    We saw The Post over the weekend too. Loved it. Streep is magnificent, as always, and Hanks is great too. Our group gave it 8 thumbs up.

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  34. Dexter said on January 15, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Mostly I use desk tops…two Dell Inspirons lasted me an incredible 17 years, replaced recently with a low-end “all in one” HP with a 21″ screen. I have had this HP for months now and it has never even frozen one time…it’s perfect. intel Pentium, how I love thee, let me count the fucking calls I made to India to speak to Dell techs.

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  35. Icarus said on January 15, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I’m slowly making the move from the Apple ecosystem to the Samsung/Android one. I also have a HP desktop though I don’t use it much. I generally am able to use my work laptops for personal use like blogging and surfing.

    Interesting tidbit, when I bought my HP desktop 4 years ago, during the setup it noticed that I had an HP printer and asked if I wanted to make it the default printer. I’m okay with that level of self-aware AI.

    But what I really want is to be able to say “Alexa, put on Paw Patrol [or PJ Mask | Octonaughts | whatever my kids are into at the moment]” without having to deal with 3 remotes and any delays.

    Not quite there yet and I suspect once we are, my kids will be able to work the remotes themselves.

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  36. Julie Robinson said on January 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    We were planning on seeing The Post this last weekend but Mother has been pretty sick and she wants to go. Hopefully she’ll be healthy enough by this weekend.

    When Katherine Graham’s book came out I read it but that must have been eons ago. What I chiefly remember is her not being treated well by the men in her life and feeling insecure about making decisions as a result. Her father gave the editor position to her abusive, alcoholic, and mentally unstable husband, and when he committed suicide she had a big learning curve. She was a remarkable woman.

    I was a senior in high school when Watergate was going down. My government teacher said it would be a dull semester for her students to be following current events. (!)

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  37. Dorothy said on January 15, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    If you can see The Post while sitting next to your daughter who works for The Post now, I highly recommend it! We really enjoyed seeing it yesterday. It was a great feeling to see it with our girl; she saw it last month with colleagues at a special screening. But she wanted to see it with us when she was here for a weekend visit. I felt so proud to know she’s an employee there now. Getting a tour of the new Post building in late December was pretty great. One of the employees has the original front page typeset thing (what’s it called?!?) from when Nixon resigned leaning against the wall in her office. I read Kay Graham’s book years ago but now I want to re-read it.

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  38. Suzanne said on January 15, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Deborah, Strand is just about my favorite place in the world! Have fun!

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 15, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    A print plate?

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  40. Dave said on January 16, 2018 at 12:09 am

    We both have Iphone 6S and the batteries are declining on both. When Apple announced the $29 battery, we thought with a new battery, we’d be good for a couple of more years. So, made an appointment at the closest Apple store (International Plaza, Tampa), which had to be made a week in advance. I tried to find out in advance before going if they had these batteries in stock but you can’t just call a local Apple store. They may well have an local number but that doesn’t mean you’re going to talk to them. After an hour on the phone, I never got an answer, even though whomever I was talking to promised to call back or e-mail me.

    On appointment day, we drove over to Tampa and learned that they would have to test our batteries first before they could sell us a new one and oh, it would be two weeks before we could get new batteries. I complained about that and told how I’d try to find out if they were even in stock but they really didn’t want to hear my story. After testing, they did come to the conclusion that we are deserving of new batteries and we’re on the list. It’ll be one week Wednesday and I’m waiting to see if we’ll really have new batteries in two weeks.

    Yes, they do have an attitude in that store and yet the place is packed. It was a mid-afternoon Wednesday and the store was full of people. It’s always that way.

    I like my phone, we’re both on our second Iphones and we’ve had no problems to speak of. Also, we recently changed our plans to T-Mobile, only because we’re old and they offered a $60 a month unlimited senior plan. I’ve had one person tell me I’ll be disappointed in the coverage and since I’ve been on no road trips yet, that remains to be seen. I had another person tell me that T-Mobile video streaming off their network isn’t very good but I don’t see us doing that.

    We’re taking a semi-break from the news this week, visiting our son who gets no newspaper and watches little TV. It’s a week away from Trump, almost.

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    • nancy said on January 16, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Sounds like a warm-weather version of my story.

      I’d go for a Google Pixel in rebellion, but one thing I like about my Apple products — and I do like them, despite everything — is that they all talk to one another and play together more or less seamlessly. Trading Apple for Google just seems like a different version of the Borg.

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  41. Dexter said on January 16, 2018 at 2:12 am

    icarus…Dish TV has it…voice command TV. When I want Netflix, I have to change input selection, turn on the BluRay, navigate the screens for about 90 seconds (on a good day), and press play. Now people just tell Alexa to change the channel and look lively doing it. I am not getting Dish…I had and have had deep resentments toward DirecTV for over 20 years and I have not forgotten how they screwed me big time, selling me (back when you had to buy your own dish) an obsolete model and never told me the current model receiver received local network channels. For years I had to have cable basic to get network programming. I hate those lying bastards.

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  42. alex said on January 16, 2018 at 7:51 am

    Dex, I hear you about DirecTV and Dish both. When I first moved into this house, there was a Dish dish on the roof and I decided to sign up. They came out and put a new dish on the roof. Then I found we had no reception. The technicians came out and told me there was no way to get reception because the trees were too tall. So I called to cancel my contract and they tried to insist that I was bound to it for two years regardless. I told them if I’m not receiving service I’m not paying for it, so they continued to send out technicians who swore up and down they couldn’t make it work. So finally they cancelled the contract.

    DirecTV pitched their services some years later and I told them there was no way they could make it work. Yes they could, they insisted. Their technician came out and installed a dish quite a distance from the house beyond the trees. He unfurled a long coax cable but didn’t bury it, and to bring the cable into the house he half-assedly drilled a hole into the gutter and ran the cable through the gutter to get it around the house to the point where it needed to be. And then he had the gall to charge us a couple hundred bucks for his 20 minutes of effort.

    As with most cable and satellite services, the majority of channels were schlock we would never watch anyway, and when the price went through the ceiling after the first year, we cancelled all of the premium stuff just to bring the price back down and there was nothing worth watching anymore. Then they jacked the price again, and I got it back down by agreeing to a package that contained only the local channels. When the contract was finally up I cut the cord and got an HD antenna. We now have more local channels than we were paying for or than I even realized existed.

    I get my internet through the local cable company and they are forever raising the rates, then dropping them back down when I complain, so we’re holding steady at $89 a month right now.

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  43. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Our daughter has a Pixel and boy howdy does that thing have a great camera. We’ll both take pictures at the same time and hers are soooo much better than mine. It’s great at accurate colors and low light conditions. I have camera envy.

    Dorothy, what a proud mama moment for you!

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  44. Linda said on January 16, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Alex @32 – Siri is my new best friend. On New Year’s Eve eve (and that is not a typo) we had a continually falling snow in the Philadelphia area; by the time I was leaving my job it was covering the streets and sidewalks and not every sidewalk had been shoveled. I was walking home from my local train station when I tripped over something metal that had been completely hidden by the snow. I pitched forward and hit my head on the telephone pole in front of me. I wasn’t knocked out but I was a bit panicked and when I tried to use my iPhone it wouldn’t unlock. But I kept pressing the button and it apparently activated Siri. “Siri, call (my roommate).” “Home or cell?” (she asked). “Home.” Bingo! Call made and my roommate was on her way. So I’m very happy with this aspect of technology.

    And I’m with you, Nancy, on Apple and it’s OS and being a relatively easy update (sans the usual complications inherent in rolling them out). I had too many complications with Android; not every make and model that runs it gets the same update at the same time. Plus Apple at least vets its apps; it’s a free-for-all with Google Play.

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  45. Suzanne said on January 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

    I have had two iphones. One was a 4 that I got for next to nothing and the one I have now was a friend’s discarded iPhone 5S that I got for free. I like that they sync with my ipad (which I also got for free from a friend) so I am sticking with them. I do need a new phone. When I see pictures taken with the newer phones, mine pale in comparison.
    In other words, I’m looking for a friend to discard their newer than my phone so I can leech some more!

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  46. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I have a Samsung S5 that is about four years old. Have never had the slightest problem with it or with any app, but it seems to be running out of capacity to handle constantly updating apps. I keep getting “memory full” messages and have to clear the cache once or twice a day. It’s not a particular hardship, but it is an annoyance, so I will probably get a new phone sometime in the next few months, most likely another Samsung or the Google Pixel that Julie mentioned.

    Aside from my phone, I mainly use an iPad, but can’t say I’ve had any problems with Apple/Android compatibility. Whatever apps I’m using on my Samsung phone recognize and communicate with the analogous iPad app.

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  47. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 11:06 am

    For some reason, I am on the White House email list. I just received a message that begins:

    Today is the 25th federal observance of National Religious Freedom Day. “No American—whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner—should be forced to choose between the tenants of faith and law,” President Donald J. Trump’s proclamation reads.

    So glad to know this. I wonder which is the better landlord—faith or law?

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    • nancy said on January 16, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Did you cut and paste that? Did it actually say “tenants” and not “tenets?” God, these people.

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  48. Mark P said on January 16, 2018 at 11:11 am

    DirecTV has gotten even worse since AT&T bought them. Their customer service seems to be in India provided by people who do not speak intelligibly. And it’s not just me. Back in grad school I had an Indian roommate and his English was perfectly understandable. I would dump Directv in an instant if it were just me. And AT&T cell “service” too.

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  49. Connie said on January 16, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I have a Samsung Galaxy 3 mini.. They are currently up to 8, but hey mine was free. And honestly the only thing I ever use it for is as a phone. The mini is too small for me to see the screen, I certainly can’t use it for internet. At home I mostly use an ipad, also have a laptop.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on January 16, 2018 at 11:34 am

    Hilarious, Jolene!

    My Galaxy Note 4 has been starting to show some problems with the touchscreen, so I’ve been thinking of upgrading too. Probably not to a Pixel, despite its wonderful camera, because Sarah’s screen is too small for my poor vision. The Note 4 is huge, and I also like the stylus, because fumble fingers.

    But it’s paid for. So maybe I’ll wait until it dies.

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  51. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Yes, Nancy, it’s taken directly from the email message. These people, indeed.

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  52. Suzanne said on January 16, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    You say tenants, I say tenets. You say shithole, I say shithouse.
    Let’s call the whole thing off!

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  53. beb said on January 16, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I can not begin to understand why people would think “shithouse” is more acceptable than “shithole.” A shithole is the pit dug under the shithouse. One is full of shit and the other smells of shit. It’s a distinction without a difference.

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  54. Scout said on January 16, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Furthermore, what possible benefit to Cotton and Purdue for lying? President* Shithole Dotard is famous for throwing people who lie for him under the bus.
    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/lies-bad-lies-and-trump-lies

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  55. Jakash said on January 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    So, nobody’s gonna mention this Aziz Ansari thing? Gene Weingarten of WaPo just spent much of his weekly online chat talking about it. I first saw it referred to in Caitlin Flanagan’s online piece at the Atlantic, currently the “most popular” post there: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/01/the-humiliation-of-aziz-ansari/550541/

    I’m mainly mentioning it because it’s kinda like a real-life version of the “Cat Person” story that Nancy linked to a while back. Kinda… In the same way that “babe dot net” is kinda like an internet version of the New Yorker. ; ) I feel kinda gross for even having read the thing, and certainly for giving them the click, of which they must be getting a boatload.

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  56. Sherri said on January 16, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Arguing over shithouse vs shithole keeps the focus on the words rather than the racism behind the words. He could have said awful or terrible instead, and it would have been less vulgar, but just as racist.

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  57. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    At the Morgan Library, went for breakfast at the Mercer Kitchen where we sat next to two loud motor mouths try to outdo each other with their expertise in “net a Porte” which I guess is the internet version of pret a porter. We walked through Washington Square up to the library where we’re having a snack.

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  58. Dorothy said on January 16, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Jolene you should send that (what you got from the White House) to Rachel Maddow. One night last week she ran a laundry list of mistakes they’ve made internally. “Normay” instead of Norway, Trump’s inauguration poster/whatever had “too” spelled as ‘to’ – I can’t remember all of them but there were a bunch!

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  59. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I noticed that they had corrected it in a version of his proclamation that appeared on Facebook.

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  60. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Jakash, the NYT also had an op-ed piece on the Aziz Ansari case.

    I thought the discussion in Gene’s chat was very thorough, and I pretty much come out where he does. The article should not have been published.

    Gene’s view, by the way, is summarized at the top of the page I’ve linked to here. You don’t have to read the whole chat to get the story, though, of course, it’s interesting to see what the chatters have to say.

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  61. Jeff Borden said on January 16, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    I’ve been puzzling a bit over the stories about the Orange King hooking up with adult film stars. Certainly, he is a pig who wouldn’t think twice about cheating on the wife who just delivered his fifth child. But his germophobia appears to be real, so I’m wondering how a man who prefers Big Macs to fine dining because he worries about tainted food would be capable of intercourse with women who do it frequently and for cash money. BTW, it looks like Stormy Daniels is more than simply a porn star. She’s also a director for Wicked Films, which has safe-for-work previews on YouTube. She’s probably worked harder and done better as a businessperson than the Orange King. And the story she relates to a friend about being chased around the suite by the Orange King in “tight whities” somehow sounds just about right.

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  62. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    I tried to fix “net a porte” to “net a porter”, but I didn’t get it done fast enough. I also wanted to add that I bought 2 books at the Strand that I’ve been having a hard time finding elsewhere. In a taxi now on the way to LaGaurdia. Walked 5.8 miles today.

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  63. Jolene said on January 16, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    The Trump Administration has taken a further step into assholishness. If you’re keeping score, you know that Trump moved to end the DACA program on March 5 and ruled out renewals for anyone whose certification ended between the time of the announcement and that date. Subsequently, a federal judge issued an injunction requiring the Administration to continue issuing renewals while a legal challenge to Trump’s decision was pending.

    Now, the Trump Administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the injunction, thereby allowing it to dismantle the program as planned.

    They could, of course, simply pass the legislation needed to regularize the status of the Dreamers, but that would be too easy. Instead, they have to take another step that will scare people to show how tough they are.

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  64. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Oh and my husband saw Anthony Bourdain walk past us on the sidewalk, I just saw the back of his head.

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  65. Dorothy said on January 16, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Deborah my kids spotted Sean Connery in a parade in NYC back in 2002 I think. My son was visiting Penn State on a weekend to see my daughter. She already was going on a bus trip to NYC so he came along. They took pictures and I was so excited to see a shot of Mr. Connery on that roll of film. (FILM! Imagine!!) Alas, they only had portions of his face, like his nose and ear. That was such a disappointment, but we laughed about it too.

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  66. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Our hotel is a half block from CNN so Bourdain might have been doing some business there. I’m always looking for celebrities when I’m in NY and LA particularly but it was so cold everyone was so bundled up it was hard to tell. It was warmer today so people were less bundled and it was when we were going back to our hotel to get our checked bags to head out to the airport that my husband spotted Bourdain.

    There’s a guy in airport behind us who’s having an absolute hissy fit about something. It’s a good thing they don’t allow guns here or that guy would have shot someone. Honestly I’ve never heard someone go ballistic like that.

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  67. Deborah said on January 16, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    The ballistic guy got taken away by the cops, it took about 6 cops to get control of him. The guy was apparently screaming at a gate agent, was all up in the agents face, he was big and loud.

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