Phone Apps & Disasters

I’ve been home for the past few days, taking time off for the holiday before heading back out of town. Before I came home, my wife called and asked if we should purchase one of those systems where you can turn your lights on and off no matter where you are in the country. Seems you buy those things from your cellphone carrier, and ours is Verizon. It sounded good to me, so she bought it before I came home.

My apps with Todos
Nicholas Volodimer
via Compfight

As I talked about when I wrote about my Franklin Planner, I do well with lists. When I got home I put together a list of all the things I had to get done before I left town. This item wasn’t on my list, but luckily my wife had put it on her list. So, Monday night her alarm went off and it was time to load this sucker.

The first step involved deciding which 3 rooms we’d hook this thing up in. In 3 boxes were these big plug things (aren’t I descriptive?) that you put into the socket and then plugged a light into it. We decided to try 2 rooms first, since the other lamp she wanted to use needed a new bulb. That part went pretty smooth and the lights were turned on.

The next part involved downloading some software to our phones called WeMo by Belkin. The instructions in the box said to download the software, or app, and just follow the instructions.

The instructions were pretty simple. I downloaded the app, then went to my settings to see if each unit was showing under the WiFi area, and they were. All you do after that is open the app, put in your router password, and it would do the rest.

Unfortunately, the rest never came. My phone kept trying to find the server… actually that’s not quite accurate. It kept trying to load one of the things we’d plugged into the wall as the server. And it was failing miserably. I tried it on my wife’s phone; nothing doing. I thought maybe if I did one plug at a time that maybe it would work better, but not only didn’t that work, it still saw both units even after unplugging one.

And that’s not all. After trying to get this thing working for maybe 30 minutes I decided to take a break from it and, noticing that someone had sent me a message on Instagram, wanted to check that out. However, the phone was telling me I had no internet connection. When I went into my settings I saw that this WeMo thing had overridden my settings and made itself the primary router over my real primary router. When I tried to change it… I thought I heard an evil laugh as it refused to acquiesce to my demands.

Alachia Does Droid 2
alachia via Compfight

Eventually I remembered how to get into all apps, find that bad boy, and disable it so it wouldn’t bother me the rest of the night. Tuesday afternoon my wife and I trouped up to the Verizon store to see if we did anything wrong. The guy we got said that it can be tricky and that it had taken him almost an hour to figure out how to get it working; really? He said he couldn’t do anything in the store because it had to be activated where the lights were, and to try it one more time. We left unsatisfied, but what can you do?

We got back home and I decided to start from scratch and uninstalled the program. Before reloading it however, I finally looked at the ratings, only to see that it averaged less than 2 1/2 stars; that’s not good. After reading a few of the reviews I called my wife into my office and read many of them to her. We both decided it wasn’t worth the grief, I uninstalled it from her phone, and we took those plugs back Tuesday late afternoon for a full refund; just to let you know, the plugs were $50 each.

Of course the recommendation is to always look at the stars and read through reviews of things before you download them to your smartphone, just like you should before you download programs to your computer. In this case, since it went through Verizon, my wife and I thought it had to be legitimate because, after all, they’re a large company.

As we left the store last evening I remembered that probably half the apps in both the Google Play store and Apple’s store are bad and haven’t been checked by anyone because of the volume. Had I been with my wife when she bought the thing I’d have hoped I would have asked questions beforehand and checked it out online so we could have made a better decision earlier; it certainly would have saved a lot of time.

How many of you have made purchases of things that you should have checked out before you did so? What about bad apps on your phones that gave you grief? I know I’m not alone; go ahead, admit it. 😉

17 thoughts on “Phone Apps & Disasters”

  1. My mobile phone has a camera, and my son has installed bluetooth in it so that I can transfer photos taken with it to my computer. Other than that, I have no other application as I simply will not know what to do with any of them. I do get text messages and can respond or send but other than that one extra use, I use the mobile phone for phone calls only. Less complications that way! I do use the google facility in it once in a way to find something or the other but that is very rare.

    1. Rummuser, do you have a smartphone or one of the older types? I don’t have tons, and I check things out most of the time before I think about moving them to my phone. But I’d have thought I could trust the phone company; don’t ask me why.

      1. Ah, Mitch, you have forgotten! My son decided that I was not smart enough for the old 2G phones and gifted me with a Samsung Galaxy Ace smart phone. Frankly, I don’t know why it is supposed to be smarter than I am. If you can write a post on that topic I am sure that a lot of your readers will learn too.

      2. Rummuser, you probably don’t get around as much now as you did when you were younger, but for me the reason a smartphone is smarter than me, in at least one way, is that it always knows how to get places and then how to get back home. Even in the city I live in it seems I don’t know how to get to too many places, and as I’m traveling more these days I find that having the smartphone is better than a GPS because it always automatically updates. lol

  2. I’m assuming you want to be able to turn the light on and off for security reasons, to make believe someone is home? If so it’s a lot easier to just buy a timer. At least that way you don’t have to remember to ring home. lol

    I’ve never installed an app that gave me grief although I have installed some stupid games. Luckily it’s easy to get rid of dumb apps.

    1. Pete, the thing about a timer is that it comes on and off the same exact time every day, and if someone is watching the house they could easily figure out the pattern and at least know that no one’s home. Still, that was my original idea; my wife wanted something else, but now she doesn’t trust it.

      1. There you go. We now have something to market. An electronic time that switches lights on and off randomly. Be a lot less headache than that thingy you were playing with lol

  3. It’s not just phone apps that destroy your digital life. There are tons of SEO software and desktop applications which are being touted on the web, as the next big thing on the earth. But in reality they are either paid apps or screw your settings. Also the reviews for certain products are screwed up in Google.. Only a real person can give a clear view about an authority product.

    1. Good stuff Palla. I almost loaded an app today but decided to read the reviews first. Almost all of them were 1’s or 2’s but there were lots of 5’s. However, those comments were so weak it looked like they were either paid to leave them or they were fake. I add very things to my computer and laptop, and even fewer to my mobile technology because it’s hard to know what’s good and what’s not, and harder to recover also.

  4. Yeah, people always check the review after get burned, unfortunately. There might be workaround, but its it not always working and taking presious time. I don’t know where things are going, but it seems that many things aren’t working in the way it is expected recently.

  5. Seems like you really don’t like tech stuff or rather you prefer using simple things. Well there is a lot of advancement in tech and we could see lot of new things launched and even there are apps for every purpose. Though I’m also not a big fan of automated systems.

    1. I think that’s a misconception of my position Samir. What I don’t like is stuff that doesn’t work and stuff that alters the things that already work fine.

  6. Hi Mitch.
    I’m having the same problem with my Android device (I have 4.xx Android OS). I always lose signal and sometimes does not find a WiFi network although the WiFi modem is turn on in the house.

  7. i installed many game , tech , wifi and bluetooth apps in my mobile.After reading your article i felt something wrong. i have to reduce all usage of this app as much as possible. Thank you for your concern mitch

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