Maybe I am being too hard on my OS of choice, and everyone gets to experience the joys of resetting their phone on a regular basis. But because I am a stubborn, and somewhat dedicated ass, it’s all I know.
Last night, my wonderful Lumia 950 informed me that I had an update scheduled to restart my phone. Being at only 49%, I did the proper thing and put her down on the wireless charger for a while. An hour or so later, the cheerful voice of my battery app proclaimed, battery charged. So I pulled the phone off the charger, laid it on the armrest besides me, navigated to Settings/Update and directed the phone to restart. The little gears started doing their thing. A while later I glanced over and saw the Windows logo on-screen. I don’t think I was distracted for very long, although I was enjoying my vodka/diet tonic. But when I glanced over again, I was at my Start screen. I had expected to see those 8, or 10, or 15, steps required to complete the update. But I don’t think that ever happened. Watched another hour of Fox News, checked a few emails, and read a few tweets using Tweetium. Then it was back on the wireless charger and off to bed.
This morning, I noticed a few emails and one notification from Package Tracker on my Lock Screen. By the time I made my first cup of java, Package Tracker was up to two notifications. Unlocked and tapped my Package Tracker icon. Crash! App wouldn’t open. That seemed odd, so I tried again. Same thing. After a couple more tries, I figured there might be something wrong with the app and decided to wait till I got to the office and check tracking with the Package Tracker app on my desktop. Read a few emails, no problem, and then proceeded to open Nextgen Reader. The next step in my morning ritual. Crash! Huh, two apps in a row. I then started to try some other third party apps; Hurricane Tracker, TaskCrunch, TextNow, IMDB, Netflix. Crash, crash, crash, crash, CRASH!!! WTF. I powered off the phone and powered back up, hoping it would help. It didn’t.
My next thought was, “ok, crappy update last night. Somebody must be talking about it”. So I navigated to WMPowerUser and WindowsCentral with Edge, looking for answers. But there were none. As usual, I was the only one in the World, this lucky guy, to receive a crappy install of whatever this stupid update was for. Note that the phone has been performing perfectly for several months. Except for the lock screen notifications that randomly appear and disappear. It’s so common now, that I assume it’s some kind of feature.
Not knowing if anyone else was sharing my pain this morning, I did what I know I had to do. I reset. And then restored a backup that was dated, 1/26/17, but appeared to be at least a month old. Based on the Start screen layout and the apps it installed and didn’t install. Like Breaking News that I removed on 12/31/16, the day it stopped working. Took me about six hours to reinstall and setup my nine email accounts. Some were easier than others. But they all needed to have their preferences, settings and signatures reset. And then onto all the other apps, some with backups to OneDrive or Dropbox, some without (actually I deleted any app that stores data and does not have an auto backup feature). More logins, more security texts, more two-step authentication. You know, all that fun stuff. Purged about 20 more third party apps off my device that I hadn’t used in 6+ months. Microsoft even killed six, that apparently are no longer available in the Store. Still searching for replacements. While getting through this ordeal, I thought maybe this is Microsoft’s way of purging all the remaining Windows Mobile devices from the world. Then in late 2017, or maybe late 2018, they could launch the Surface Imbedded Multi-Function Enterprise Flexible Communication Device. You know, one of Microsoft’s catchy labels. SIMFEFCD for short.
So what’s my beef? Well, first. There is no good reason that my $500 phone should have crashed this morning. I didn’t drop it. I didn’t get it wet after midnight. This is not what I signed up for. Second, why in 2017, does it still take me six continuous hours (thank you, boss) to reorganize my phone. And you know there are more hidden things that I won’t discover for days or weeks. Why can’t a backup be a BACKUP. I have 1.2TB of space on OneDrive. Using less than 100GB today. I am connected to high speed, 100+Mbps WiFi, about 23 hours per day/night. Why? Give me one good reason, every single one of my apps, settings, passwords, data, etc., can’t be copied to the Cloud. I already have to offer my first born to download the backup. Isn’t that secure enough. Here’s the thing. I’m 60 years old. When you get to my age, you stop thinking of how many years have gone by. And start thinking of how many days you have left. I DON’T WANT TO SPEND ANY MORE DAYS RESTORING MY PHONE. I have already lost the equivalent of several months in my lifetime doing that. Times that I could have done almost anything, which would have certainly been more productive.
Oh, and btw. Here’s a little trick I thought up about 25 years ago. Put “all” of a programs or apps preferences into an INI file, and all of the stored data into a DAT file. That goes for Microsoft and third party programs/apps alike. Then all you have to back up are the INI and DAT files. Chump change. On a restore, you can download the apps from the Store, or disk, or web link. Then you just add/sync the INI and DAT files, and voila, back in business in a couple hours. And all you have to do is wait. That’s not so hard. Works for PCs, tablets, etc. as well. No reason anyone ever has to change a setting on a program or app more than once in their life. We all have better things to do than tweak. Hell, I was able to pull this off with standalone Access applications that I developed fifteen years ago. Download a whole new MDB file, and then restore preferences and data from a backup with a single button. How hard can this be?
The last time I posted one of these rants, I got an “R” rating, and pushback for being uncivil. So this time I am trying to keep it “PG” for all the cupcakes out there. But I still need to make a point, so here goes;
To: Mr. Satya Nadella.
Hello. My name is Jim Szymanski. I have been an avid fan of Microsoft products since 1992. As such, I DEMAND A PHONE CALL from you with an apology and explanation as to why I had to reset my Microsoft Lumia 950 this morning. You know my number and have my email addresses. They are plastered all over my, hopefully secure, multiple Microsoft accounts. Furthermore, let this message serve as an Invoice in the amount of $450, to cover the six hours that I needlessly had to spend rebuilding my phone today. Every action deserves a reaction. And you can’t learn from your mistakes, unless you are made to pay a price. You can donate the funds to any number of Children’s charities in my name, but the terms are non-negotiable. Looking forward to hearing from you.