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Dave Ducharme
General purpose geek. Hopeless gadget addict. Medical Lab Tech. AKA Charrion on Twitter.
General purpose geek. Hopeless gadget addict. Medical Lab Tech. AKA Charrion on Twitter.

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Damn, Lindbergh would have been right at home with today's "Conservatives".

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I'd like to post a little rant about an experience I've had and share it with other Canadians who are fond of mobile technology.

On April 28, I happily read the news right on the Mobile Syrup website that the LG Watch Style is now available in Canada. I rushed to the Google Store web site and placed my order, and by the next Tuesday I had the watch on my wrist. It's a stylish watch as the name suggests and Android Wear 2.0, while still somewhat in its infancy, looks ready to allow Android to once again dominate the smartwatch market, leaving Samsung's Tizen offerings in the dust and giving the Apple Watch a run for it's money.

You'll notice I said Android and specifically omitted LG's name from the potential market grab. Don't get me wrong, the Style is a nice looking watch and while it's still got an awful long way to challenge the most basic Apple Watch, it's a less expensive contender. Except for one huge, giant, horrible, very bad failing.

The battery life is not just lacklustre, or disappointing, it downright SUCKS. After some fun and aggravation Tuesday night setting up the watch and finding a watch face that meets my aesthetic interests, I plopped the watch on it's seemingly proprietary wireless charging pad and went to bed dreaming dreamy dreams about wearing and maybe showing off my bleeding edge tech (for Canada).

Wednesday morning at 7am I took the watch off the pad with 100% battery showing on the display and went to work. I'll admit, I probably looked at it a little more often than I usually would and I downloaded a couple more watch faces because my first choice wasn't my best, and there's an embarrassment of riches to choose from, even limiting one's self to Android Wear 2.0 supporting faces. I wouldn't call it heavy use though, above average maybe, but while I'm not so sure of that I'm willing to concede that possibility.

By 2pm, I raised my wrist to check the time only to see a flat, black screen with ominous orange text, Battery Saver, it said, 14% it also said. If I insisted, it would grudginly tell me the time briefly before it went dark again. However, even with this so-called battery saver mode and no more than say five glances at the watch, it was dead before I went home for the day at 4pm.

I knew battery life was an issue as mentioned on US reviews since they got the watch nearly three months before us. I know that sometimes people complain because these new, highly functional watches don't have that same one week battery life as the first generation Pebbles. I definitely wasn't expecting a week, in fact to be honest I would even put my Kickstarter edition Pebble on the charger at bedtime every night anyway. I always took my old analog and digital watches off at night anyway and their batteries usually lasted five years.

And that's just it, I would get a couple days from my Apple Watch, about a day and half from my Samsung Gear S2 (I know, I have a gadget addiction but I don't know about any Gadget Addicts Anonymous and I don't think I'd go anyway). I was hoping for something similar, say enough charge to last me with moderate use until bed time. Heck, I'd have been mildly disappointed but otherwise OK if I had to plop the watch on the charger when I got home from work. But no, my watch quit work before I did and became literally nothing more than a basic timepiece more than two hours before that.

So yeah, appearance and function notwithstanding, that battery life is a great big red mark against the watch. However, I've seen other electronic devices like phones with similarly dismal battery life shape up considerably after the manufacturers went back to the drawing board on the firmware and software and maybe plug up a couple leaks. Maybe the watch is checking Wi-Fi a little too often when it clearly has a nice, low power bluetooth connection. Maybe there's a process that's chewing up battery that can be refined or made to run less often. What I'm saying is there is hope that LG might be able to remedy this great big red mark and maybe at least make it an amber one. The Watch Style will never dominate the smartwatch market, and lets be frank it never was going to since it lacks functions even the cheapest Samsung watch has, like a heart rate monitor and no firmware update is going to add missing hardware. But it might have had a chance at being an economical smartwatch, a now empty playing field since the demise of Pebble. The price needs to come down a lot to compete on price with the Pebble, but it could have set the mark as an economical watch that doesn't have the bland looking e-ink display.

And you know what? I'd have been willing to wait for that dreamed up firmware update that makes a 12 hour day with moderate use possible. After all, the Gear S2 from Samsung is the same size and runs for over 15 hours of that same moderate use while flashing a green LED against my wrist at least once an hour. Granted, LG opted for a slightly smaller battery and a thinner profile. Between the LG's 240 mAh battery and Samsung's 250 mAh and the slightly greater drain of a heart rate monitor they should be neck and neck. Unless I'm missing something the LG shouldn't last only barely half as long as the Samsung. And if I was as parsimonious with my usage of the Samsung as I was with the LG, I could have easily gotten 24 hours if I wasn't habit bound to charge the watch at bed time already. So that's the LG clocking out at one third the range of the similarly equipped Samsung. Is Tizen really that much more efficient than second gen Android Wear? Is it the 1GHz Penta W processor in the Samsung better than the wearable optimized Snapdragon Wear 2100? Or did LG screw a whole litter full of puppies when they developed their firmware? I kind of hope it's the latter, because that can be fixed just as easily with firmware. Not easy as in easy to find and plug the leaks but easy as in no hardware replacement required.

And I was fully prepared to wait. Wednesday after work I was going to go online to the Google Store and order a spare charger from their Accessories...

as soon as I can find it...

hmm, that's odd...

There are no accessories for the LG Watch listed on the website. No matter, I'll check the LG website. There it is, but no price and I can't order it? Well there's a "Notify Me" button, it must be out of stock. I'll just click that button and get a notification for when it's ready. Oops, silly me, I went to the LG USA website. I can't buy it there because I'm not in the USA. No matter, I'll go to the LG Canada site and order one...

as soon as I can find it...

hmm, that's odd...

The LG Canada website doesn't even acknowledge the existence of LG Watches. Granted, they still have a product description of the OG LG G Watch (I've got one of those by the way and it ran for a damn site more than 6-8 hours) but nothing else. No G Watch R (was that ever sold in Canada?) and no LG Watch Style. Just an oversight, after all the watch just came out last Friday; they haven't updated their website with that info yet. I'll just click "Contact Us" and, there it is, email. I fill out their form with all my contact info and type in the description that I'm looking for a spare charger for the new watch. And submit. Oh wait, I need to fill in the model number for my product or select it from the drop down list to the right. Model number, model number, model number... Silly me, just go to About... that'll tell me. Hmm, it says LG Watch Style 5024. Nope, not found. Maybe on the back. There it is, better grab my magnifying glass, since it's small off-white print on a textured grey plastic surface and my eyes aren't what they once were... There it is, LG-W270. Type it in and... No, still not found. Fine, you made me go through all that and now I have to use the drop down. Product type... no watches, Mobile Devices? It specifies phones and tablets but... nope.

So I can't request help for an LG product I bought legally and officially from a Canadian reseller? OK, Google, but still I know for a fact I couldn't buy it from Google in Canada until Friday because I've tried before and it wasn't even listed on the Canadian Store site.

OK, I'll contact Google. Probably should have done that in the first place and saved some time and grief. I can submit feedback but there's no guarantee I'd get a reply since the feedback goes to developers, not customer support. Ah, chat in real time.

I chat with a pleasant fellow named Aldrin. He tries to help me but he can only tell me what is currently available on the website and since the charger (or any accessory for that matter) isn't listed, he can't help me. Can't even give me an ETA for availability or if Google will ever sell LG Watch accessories. He helpfully suggests I try the LG website...

You see where this is going, don't you? I can't order it online because LG USA won't sell me one and LG Canada seems to be unaware that there is such a thing as an LG Watch Style. OK, there's a toll-free number, I'll call that. The automated operator helpfully asks if I wish to speak au Francais or in English, press 1 for English... OK, now it wants to know how to direct my call. Mobile devices including phones and tablets, TV and home entertainment, Personal computing (LG still makes computers? Who knew), Home appliances,... no personal electronics or watches. Hmm, what number was mobile devices again? And I'm on hold for "two minutes", a minute later and my estimated hold time is, wait... three minutes? How is the queue increasing? I thought staying on line guarantees my place in the queue? OK, false alarm, someone just answered. Says his name is... Set? Seth? Can't quite tell with the accent, can't place the accent so I have no idea what nationality that name would be. I'll admit to a teeny bit of racism and think he doesn't sound like a "Seth" unless that's short for something with a whole lot more syllables. Never mind, I can understand everything else he says and that's what matters. I don't care what kind of accent you have if your English is understandable and you in turn understand what I'm saying.

I ask him if he can help me purchase or otherwise obtain a spare charger for my new LG Watch Style I purchased not more than five days ago. I even helpfully inform him that I was directed to call LG by the support representative I chatted with at Google.

I'm not told that the charger is available, or even that it's out of stock. I'm asked, "didn't the watch have a charger in the box?" Yeah, that's why I said "spare" charger. As in another one. I didn't say that out loud but a snarky inner voice was starting to make suggestions. I'll ignore that guy for now. I'm busy talking to someone else. I calmly explain that I'm looking for a spare that I can use at work because the battery dies before my work day ends. Again, snarky inner voice making unhelpful suggestions, polite voice gets to use the mouth.

He then tells me he can't find any information, what's the model number of the watch? I'm ready for that one after my experience with the web site. It's LG-W270. I hear, "Sir, that's an American model, you need to call LG USA. This is LG Canada and that watch isn't available in Canada."

Uh oh, Snarky got control of the mouth. "Uh, yes it is available in Canada. I'm a Canadian living in Canada and I bought it from a Canadian retailer." He asks me where, to which I answer, the Google Store web site. He tells me that's an American company. Snark takes over again, "You don't say. You do realize that just like with LG, there is an American Google Store and a Canadian Google Store and also like with LG, Google USA won't sell a US only product to a Canadian customer. The fact that I was able to order and purchase the watch, which shipped from Ontario which I'm pretty sure is in Canada if I remember my high school Geometry. Admittedly that was thirty years ago but if Ontario has seceded from Canada and became the fifty first state, I'm almost certain that would have been on the news." I'm accused of being rude. Snarky perhaps, but I didn't cast aspersions upon Set or Seth or whomever he is and I haven't used profanity... yet. I recompose myself and apologize for being snide but he must understand I'm getting rather frustrated and he did imply that I obtained my watch by less than honest means. "No sir, I didn't say that." He's right, he didn't "say" that but he sure did imply it, didn't he? He said the LG Watch Style isn't available in Canada and when I said I bought it he helpfully informed me that Google is an international company and by that implied that I couldn't have bought it from the Canadian arm of Google. Anyway, now that we've established that, can he help me order a charger?

"No sir. As I said, the watch isn't available in Canada and so the charger also isn't available in Canada." You guessed it, a four letter word slipped out. But really, who wouldn't? I actually have a great deal of patience for obstinate people, I work in IT Support after all. But like the battery on the watch on my wrist, the Patience gauge on my psyche has just reached "Empty". I recompose myself again, and apologize, again. Just for the record, that's two apologies from me, zero from Set or Seth, or... Sept? Even though there is rudeness enough from both sides. But I did curse, and I should know that that kind of language doesn't get help. I've even hung up on clients myself when language got blue because I am unable, not unwilling, to help. But, I'm getting a distinct vibe of unwilling now. Even if I couldn't provide a solution to a client, I'd try to direct them to a possible solution elsewhere. I've even sent clients to competitors. My boss didn't like it, but those customers came back and asked for me and even bought more things from me. Because I helped them, maybe not directly but I never once told them or even implied they should pound sand and stop bothering me. And I certainly never suggest they maybe bought their product on the black, or even grey market even if I suspect they did. S, did that very thing. Maybe not in so many words, but he implied it or inferred it or suggested it or however you wish to put it.

Let's get this back on track. I understand S, as a representative of LG Canada cannot sell me or give me or even put me on a waiting list for a charger. Apparently the LG Canada party line is to deny the very existence of LG Watches in Canada until... I don't know when. Can he suggest somewhere else I can get one? He can, he can put me through to his opposite number at LG USA. Why didn't he say that before the unpleasantness ensued? I don't know, maybe this guy gets off on winding potential customers up. I ask him for his full name, or employee number, or a reference number of some sort because he can bet I'm running this episode as far up the LG chain of command as possible. He has at the very least failed in his job of Customer Service Representative. "Sir, I don't have to give you any more than my first name and last initial." Right, I'm sure there's only one Set or Seth or Sept with that last initial in a company that probably employs thousands. In fact, I might not even be talking to someone at LG Canada, this could be a call centre literally anywhere else in the world. "Yes sir" I say, "that's why I asked also for a reference number." He then says, "Yes sir, in order to give you a reference number for this call may I please ask you for the ESN on your watch?"

I squint again at the back of the watch, no ESN and no serial number for that matter. No matter, I remember seeing the serial number on the About screen. "OK, the serial number is..." "No sir, not the serial number, the ESN" There is no ESN anywhere on or in the watch and I try, ever so hard, to explain that calmly but I'm just about at baby punching levels of frustration and giving a greater credence to my hypothesis that this guy is deliberately trying to wind me up. He asks me if I have the box on hand, the ESN is always on the box. I was so intent on keeping a lid on Snarky, that Outright Sarcastic jumped out of my mouth and all over Mr. S's business. "Why yes, I always carry boxes for new purchases with me to work. Just let me get it. Oh wait, that was sarcasm, I'm so very sorry." I'm quickly dispelling any myth that Canadians are unfailingly polite, because I just failed all over him. Before he can get a word in edgewise I ask, "Why would such a critical piece of information for the product not be in any way visible on the product itself?"

"Sir, every mobile product has an ESN or IMEI number on it." Shit. I bet that, like me, you forgot I ended up selecting Mobile Devices because there was no other option to get help. Although, if I hadn't been a little frustrated already at that point I would have tried the old "dial zero" trick to get to a human receptionist or operator. Who knows, that might not have worked anyway and I'm sure as hell not dialing that number again to find out, I might just end up going from rude to sarcastic, to cursing, to trying to climb through the phone to enact violence upon someone.

I try to calculate pi in my head to twenty places and take a deep, deep breath. "Never mind, just put me through to the LG USA number." "Yes sir, thank you for choosing LG, Life's Good."

Yep, he was fucking with me the entire damn time. Or he's pathologically incapable of empathy and doesn't actually understand what customer service means. The customer isn't always right, but the customer's satisfaction is always important. That's how you get more, after all.

The phone rings and I'm on hold again. However, the wait is short and after a bit a nice lady answers in clear, unaccented (to me) English. Yes, I know I'm getting dangerously close to bigotry but after the last twenty minutes even the sweetest Georgia drawl would have set me off.

I very calmly and very carefully explain my recent experience and that I'm looking for some way, really any way, to order and even pay for a spare charger for my brand new LG Watch Style. She helpfully suggests that my watch should have come with a charger, didn't it? No, don't assume it's LG company policy to wind people up. After all, she didn't hear your conversation with S. I explain that no, I'm looking for a second charger since the battery life on the watch at present is not enough to last a work day and I'm just looking for something to supplement that charge. She tells me she's sorry I'm having a problem and further that she unfortunately cannot sell me any product, she's only allowed to sell and ship to an American address. She suggests that perhaps I find one of a number of services that can order from the USA and then ship to Canada, I'd have no warranty, but I'd have a charger. In fact, she just found out that I can order a charger from the Amazon USA website and refers me to a model number to search for. I pop on to the Amazon site and punch in that number, nothing. Oh wait, my browser helpfully directed me to the Amazon Canada site. I force it to go to instead of and again try that model number. There it is for $39.95 US, plus $19.99 US for shipping to my location in Canada. Lets see, with exchange to Canadian dollars, plus roughly 7% for duty and customs although it might end up more than that, carry the two... over eighty dollars? No. And three to five weeks shipping since it has to go through customs? Hell no.

Before I explode, I very calmly and very politely thank her for the help she was able to give me but let her know that's not an acceptable solution. But then, she's not obligated to help me. As a Canadian, I'm not her company's customer.

I'm not calling LG Canada again until I've had a day or two to calm down and maybe some earnest Google searching for another, affordable and expedient solution. I might get Set or Seth or Sept again, or maybe someone who makes him sound like Employee of the Month. In fact, by now I'm considering just contacting Google so I can send the watch back for a refund and wait until some other company sells an Android Wear 2.0 in Canada without charging an arm AND a leg, not just the arm I paid for this wrist mounted albatross.

Wait, I can also just contact Google and explain my horrendous experience and ask, no, beg them to help me either obtain a charger or refund my money.

Again, I get a very nice and sincere fellow named Christopher. He apologizes for my experience and offers me some condolences and understanding for my frustration and asks me to give him a moment to find a solution. He does all but promise me there will be a solution if I can wait while he contacts a support specialist. Just as an FYI, during my conversation with S I asked more than once that if he cannot help me could he put me through to someone who can and he told me no one else could do any more than he could. Aren't they supposed to put you through to a supervisor, or at least pretend to, if asked?

Christopher is back. He apologizes again, but it's taking longer than expected to find someone who can help. But he'll keep trying, can he email me at my Gmail address?

Yes please, is there a reference number should I try to reach someone later? Yes sir, just use your order number, he's entered everything I've told him and everything he's done under that order reference.

By the next afternoon I haven't heard or seen anything from Christopher or his cohorts so I pop on to the store site and click the link to get someone there to give me a call. My phone rings about a minute later and rather than go on and on with a description of yesterday's woes I invite him to look up the information Christopher entered and ask if there's been any progress. I wait a moment and then hear a toneless whistle followed by an apology for my experience but there is no news yet and he advises me that Google can not likely help me. You see, he has access to the US store site and they don't even have a charger listed in the accessories, just a selection of watch bands. But then, Americans can easily order a charger from Amazon or LG directly.

He apologizes again and suggests that I have until May 23rd to return the watch, no questions asked, and get a full refund. He says that since it's already been a couple months since the watch has been on American wrists and LG hasn't fixed the problem, there's a distinct possibility they won't have it fixed by May 23rd. But if they do, great. Or, he suggests, return it now and look into some of the other Canadian available watches that have received the Android 2.0 update or wait for LG to fix the watch or release a version 2 or 1.1 that doesn't have the battery issue. I suggest that Google rethink their team up with LG and pull the watch from their store site.

I thanked him for his help and ended the call. I admit, I was feeling defeated. I liked the watch and if it didn't have that one glaring flaw I'd have really liked it. The heart rate sensor's not such a big deal to me anyway. I experience near chronic tachycardia and my heart rate that can often go above 120 beats per second tends to confuse the simpler monitors on smart watches.

I don't think I have the patience to wait until the 23rd but I might wait a week or two. And I've fired off a snail mail letter to LG Canada and of course I've broadcast this screed across the social media sphere and have received replies from LG Canada's social media accounts asking for contact info so they can escalate my problem. But I have little to no faith in LG Canada suddenly improving their customer service. According to the Facebook page for LG Canada, I'm apparently only one of many unhappy customers. But I'm a shit disturber, I'm not content to complain on their FB page...

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The writing's been on the wall for a long time and still nobody's reading it.

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I'll be honest, I wasn't feeling the whole "Tell America It's Great" thing myself. I have a number of friends south of the border I cherish and respect and I certainly don't hold the entire population responsible for the ongoing train wreck that is Trump 2016. But America as a concept of the best nation on earth and arbiters of freedom has been eroding for a long time and there's been some doubt that they ever deserved those titles in the first place. I can remember watching with horror as Ronnie Raygun ushered in the whole Moral Majority BS.

Granted, Canada has its own problems and we're hardly the best place on earth either. Yeah, we had 9 years of Stephen Harper, a man who would have been right at home with the GOP and might have given Bush et al a run for their money on the asshole graph. We had international joke Tom Ford (but you can't blame all Canadians for him, that was all Toronto), and we definitely having nothing to be proud of when it comes to institutionalized racism; just look at how we've treated and continue to treat our indigenous population.

But yeah, we've still got a lot to be smug about, especially when compared to our rowdy neighbours to the south. Like Robin Williams said, we're like the nice apartment located above a meth lab.

We do love you America, we just really hope you get your shit together and for the love of whatever you hold holy DON'T ELECT TRUMP!

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So much this

Use my personal bonus code when you sign up for Carrot and earn 50% more points on me! daved6518

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Is anyone having a problem with Futuristic where the time displayed doesn't match the phone despite being set to sync with the phone? Other faces are displaying the time correctly so it appears to be Futuristic itself.
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