My desk is a chaotic rat’s nest; computer cables, pens, pencils, binoculars, earplugs, hard drives, papers, books, calculators, coffee cups, spent ammunition (I don’t even have that caliber do I?), screwdrivers, a wrench (why the hell is there a wrench under the keyboard?), etc. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to clean that shit up.
A first step is to eliminate a 15-year-old speaker system that has outlasted a half dozen computers since it’s initial purchase. It sports an octopus-like network of wires that go from the laptop’s headphone jack to a powered subwoofer from there to a manual volume control dial from there to a left speaker and from there to right speaker and eventually to an AC plug… and probably elsewhere too. No speaker’s wires should form a run on sentence. It doesn’t like Skype, the cables are usually wrapped around my USB hub, and the subwoofer is perpetually underfoot.
Time for something more svelte. I don’t care about high fidelity so why am I allowing an old speaker set to monopolize valuable desk space? I bought this (image is a link):
It’s small, battery-operated, and supposedly works on Bluetooth. No more wires! Charge it every now and then and fuhgeddaboudit. All hail the marketplace for it provides our deepest desires. This is exactly what I want!
So happy Curmudgeon drops 25 bucks to fulfill part of his New Year’s resolution. It arrived yesterday and I was psyched. Fuck yeah! What’s to worry?
Here’s where the promise of modern technology turns in to a circular firing squad of overcomplicated/underflexible suck. I plugged it in, charged up, pressed the on button and…
Goddamnit! This is why I hate buying new stuff. I want problems solved, not problems created! I’m plenty good at creating problems all by myself. It’s supposed to turn on and announce itself the invisible Bluetooth ecosystem that surrounds us. Did that happen? No!
My laptop is supposed to detect this amazing new device that is supposed to improve my life. It’s looking. “Hello, is there anybody out there?” But the speaker’s not turning on. Thus my laptop is just listening to nothing; like a small scale SETI praying for a remote speaker to announce itself.
Here’s the part that really burns my biscuit; there’s not a goddamn thing I can do about it.
In the old days of coal-fired computers and cars with carburetors you could do something when shit didn’t work. Open the hood and poke around there with the screwdriver, tweak settings, hit the fucker the mallet, reverse the polarity on the tricorder, you name it; there was always something you could do.
Not so with modern devices. There are five rubberized buttons. I may press the buttons. I may refrain from pressing the buttons. That’s the sum total of my influence over the situation.
Therefore my official stance is the following:
The Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker with 24-Hour Playtime, 66-Foot Bluetooth Range & Built-in Mic, Dual-Driver Portable Wireless Speaker with Low Harmonic Distortion and Superior Sound – Black is a raging piece of shit that should be set on fire then buried in a swamp.
Yes, I deliberately used those search terms in hopes that someone at Anker (ideally a marketer) loses their wings and/or has to go to bed without supper.
I also called their helpline, was put on hold, and was prompted to give a callback number. I was told I’d be called when my number in the queue came up. If that happened and if the tech support solved the problem: “All you need to do is press the button while hopping on one foot and humming Greensleeves” then all would be forgiven.
They haven’t called back. I’m still pissed. I hope I’m shaving 0.0001% off their global sales.
Update: I called their tech support a second time. (They never called back like they said they would.) I got an actual human being. The diagnostic process was a bit insulting but understandable and it was quick:
“Did you charge it?”
“Yes, overnight on a powered USB hub.”
“Did you press the ‘on’ button?”
“What’s the blue light doing?”
“There is no blue light. I have never seen this device emit a blue light.”
“You got a dud. We’re sending a replacement. You’ll get it in 5 days or so.”
So that’s that. The Amazon reviews say it’s a great device. Who knows? At least the company is trying to make it right. I’m updating my review:
I purchased an Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker. Straight out of the box it was missing the magic blue light of functionality. A replacement is on the way. The replacement will determine whether my customer experience is mildly peeved followed by mollification or I spend the next month ranting about the good old days when a man could fix a broken speaker with a soldering iron.