R. I. D. P. Samsung Note II

A few people (none I can think of, but it sounds better than saying “no one”) noticed my blogging absence. Well, I’ve suffered a digital loss. 

Sunday morning had me waking up to an unresponsive phone. Pretty much all morning and early afternoon were spent trying to revive it. I didn’t even eat, and my coffee got cold as it sat in the cup next to the computer. 

I worked the magic of soft boots, hard boots, factory resets, wiping cache, but at each step got errors that it could not find the system files or the backup cache. Tried to find the original firmware so that I could reload it and found firmware for just about every country on Earth except the US (Verizon).

Tried loading custom firmware but you need the phone to be able to boot for that. Tried a leaked Samsung program that is supposed to unfreeze bricked phones but it could not communicate with my phone. Tried an official Samsung program that’s supposed to fix this thing and nada.

Paraphrasing Jayne and Mal:
I found the patient unresponsive. I tried pulmonary resuscitation and applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from the patient.  

The phone is four-and-a-half years young . . . it should have lasted longer than this, although I read that it was incredible that it lasted this long. And yes, it’s not comforting hearing “it had a good run, but you now need to let it rest in digital peace.”

All in all, a pretty shitty day.

The Samsung Note II came to me in March of 2013. As I look at it sitting — dead — on my desk, I note that it has no scratches or dents, and it’s still housed in the case I bought for it way back then. It looks as amazing in death as it did in life. 

Readers can do a search of the Samsung tag and find photos and videos taken with the phone. Over the course of the four years, I’d gotten fairly good at coaxing decent photos from the limited lens and 8 MB camera. 

Truth be told, I’d been having problems with it. It was losing it’s digital mind, running sluggishly and occasionally freezing. Still, it was functioning at a higher level and was more pleasing to the eyes than, say, a sharp stick. But, the plan was to wait until the sales at the end of the year. 

But the Note had had it. It had fought the good fight, conquered e-mails, wrestled with unwanted calls and texts, buzzed when it needed to remind me of something — and on occasion when I didn’t want to be bothered — and in general, it’s been a faithful companion both at home and on the road. 

Normally I would have waited, but we no longer have a landline; my phone number is the phone number for utilities, accounts, customer service identification, and so on. Without thinking, I had gotten rid of all our old phones when we left Colorado. 

There was nothing to it; I needed a new phone and quick . . . so, off to Costco we went. 

Now, since we were planning to upgrade at the end of the year I’d done a lot of research on phones. Once I was assured I didn’t have to join a cult, I even contemplated switching to the iPhone . . . until I came across the same barrier I hit when researching PCs and laptops. Namely, you pay a lot for the name. 

Here’s the thing; it’s not that I don’t care about money because I do. There are those who speak of it as evil, but I learned early on that it’s a useful thing and that I should not waste it. But, I also learned that for some things it’s better to buy quality and hang on to it. Also, utility and functionality are important. 

With that in mind and because of a rebate, I decided I would replace the Note II with the latest model of the Note line, the Note 8. It was not an easy decision and based on the cost, it better last me at least as long as the Note II and preferably longer. 

Normally, when you switch phones, you get to transfer all of your stuff from the old phone to the new one . . . there’s an app for it; literally. 

When your phone dies, you give a quick thanks to Google (it remembered all of my information and contacts and stuff) but then you set about recreating your vast database of information. Financial, medical, insurance, household . . . account numbers, passwords, logins, if it’s a part of my life, it was stored on the Note II. 

Mind you, I’m not an idiot (contrary to the opinion of some). All that information is double encrypted with long and difficult passwords. In fact, it’s also encrypted in a couple of vaults on my PC. Even so, it takes time to load apps onto a new phone, load data, figure out that some of the apps you had won’t work on the new phone because they are not supported, research new apps, arrange everything for optimal use, and so on and on and on. 

In fact, I’m still not done with the setup . . . because the phone is friggin awesome. It’s blazing fast, yes, but it also has a lot of new tools and capabilities that I’m integrating into the way I do things. That means rethinking some of my organizational plans, how I interact with the phone, and adapt to what it can do. 

And, it can do a lot. If interested, there are many videos on YouTube that cover features, hidden stuff, and talk about ways you can use the phone. When I read or see something, I then research if the feature really is as good as the person(s) say it is. So far, yes. 

What about the camera?

Well, all of the photos on this post are from the phone. No adjustments, just as they came straight out of the camera. These have been shrunk down a bit, but THIS Smugmug Gallery has the originals. Some of the photos might not look all that good to you, but I was impressed. All of the above ones and most of the remaining were shot in the evening with a heavy overcast sky. I took no great care in framing and shooting (I didn’t have my glasses) and I’ve not set the camera app yet. It’s doing everything on its own. 

One thing to note with the foliage . . . those plants are under overhangs. They are in the dark. The camera “saw” a lot more than I could see with my eyes. 

Yes, some are soft . . . but some are amazing.

This next shot? It’s evening and while not dark yet, getting there (sorry, Dylan)  . . . but you’d never know it.

The background of that tree was in the dark. Now, you probably don’t always want that, but the low-light capability of this camera is surprising. It has a 12 MB, dual-lens camera. 

Again, I’ve not processed these. I also had the phone close to some of the subjects and didn’t know how to switch the focus around, so some of the stuff that is in focus is not what I was interested in. 

It also handled the difficult dynamic range of a sunset pretty well . . . 

It’s not too shabby with macros-type shots. 

Now, all of these were taken with the default camera. I normally use Open Camera for most of my shots because it gives me the best results . . . well, not so much here. 

Here’s Open Camera’s version of a low-light shot . . . 

. . . it’s not bad and some will prefer it, but here’s the default camera version . . . 

Another Open Camera shot . . . 

. . . and default camera (not exactly the same angle) . . . 

Now, those were taken at different times, but still, the colors are almost dead-on. In fairness to Open Camera, I did not do the full set-up I usually do, but still. 

These next photos were all taken today (a rainy day) . . . 

At the Magic Sands beach (which went away because of high surf) . . . 

I also shot video which is another thing to see in comparison to the Nikon P900 (future posts). 

More wet foliage . . . 

Again, I did not control the focus, so the flower is not in perfect focus.

Here’s a photo of the pool for the next building over . . . 

I look forward to play some more with the camera and see what it can do in various conditions, but so far I’m pleased. And yes, the stylus (S-pen) is also a big improvement from the Note II (which was already good). 

Last but not least, I downloaded a coloring app for when I’m waiting for stuff. These are my first two efforts . . . 

Here’s the gallery of all the photos plus a few more. 

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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31 Responses to R. I. D. P. Samsung Note II

  1. mvschulze says:

    Losing a phone is a nightmare. Mine is in over-time and ready to pass-away also, so I am considering something… the offerings are nothing less than technologically awesome…. and
    admittedly pretty intimidating. Thanks for the look. My search is a little easier as I do own a bit of Apple Stock, and rationalize that as long as it’s value keeps going up, their offerings are a little cheaper for me…. at least until the markets crash! M :-)


    • disperser says:

      Yeah, I own some stock as well . . . but I figure thus: I’ll buy the competition so as to spur creativity as opposed to complacency and ultimately help drive the stock price higher as Apple ups their game.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. sandra getgood says:

    Glad you saved your pictures and all the data you needed. Life is already too complicated. When a phone dies without leaving you a warning, things are getting tough.


  3. AnnMarie says:

    By your positive narrative and darn good photos (the Open Camera shots have an excellent “mood” to them), I’d say you’ve got yourself a great new phone. BTW, on those two fabulous Recolor shots, did you or the camera do the shading effect (meaning darker to lighter shades of a particular color)?


    • disperser says:

      So, those don’t have anything to do with the camera. That’s from an app (a coloring app called “recolor” and the way it works is that you choose colors and then poke the screen to fill areas of the drawing (all the areas are “closed” so that each is individual.)

      Some of the color choices are gradients, and you don’t control the way they go. So, for instance, you can pick Yellow, Yellow gradient, Yellow metallic, Yellow vivid, etc. etc.

      It’s a neat little app to pass the time and they have new drawings every day. You should be able to get it on your phone because it’s just an app and there’s nothing special about it that I know of.


      However, even though the description says “free”, it might start asking for money after a while. If it does, I’ll dump it.

      Here’s a review of it, but I don’t know if this is exactly the same one or not (it looks it). This reviewer says it only has a one-week free trial, but that’s not mentioned anywhere in the description for the one I got, so I don’t know. Some of the comments indicate that’s the case, but like I said, we’ll see. If it is a subscription app, that price mentioned in the comments is pretty high. I wouldn’t (and won’t) subscribe to it.

      Most apps offer upgrades you have to pay for but you can still use the basic version. There might be other apps out there that do the same thing but are free (or free with ads).

      Here’s a list and a few are completely free without any ads.



  4. oneowner says:

    Sorry for your loss. I know the feeling. However, I think the lifespan of the average phone is 2 years, so you were lucky with the Note. My $40 Moto is doing a perfectly adequate job but I think I will look into the Open Camera app you mentioned. Good luck with the new Note.


    • disperser says:

      I think we might have different requirements for our phones. As I mentioned below, the phone now substitutes for traveling with a laptop as well as augmenting my photo-taking — and editing — capabilities. Plus, of course, it’s integrated into managing the details of my life.

      I’ve considered just buying a phone to make calls and text (actually the Galaxy A5 would fit the bill for most essentials at half the price), but that would require replacing things I’ve gotten rid of and go back to a paper-driven management system.


  5. I noticed when it had been 4 days since you’d blogged. I figured you were just carrying your Sunday thinking over into the new week and were busy thinking. Well, that or all the bugs had overtaken and you were relocating to a bugless city. :-D I try not to bug people, so I didn’t leave a comment saying, “Where the heck are ya’?!” :-)

    Sorry to hear about what happened. UGH! Bummer! That would really upset me. :-(

    Enjoy your new phone! The photographs in this post are stunning! The greens especially jump out at me! So beautiful! And the coloring app pics are fun!

    HUGS and Happy Almost-Friday! :-)


  6. So you got rid of all your old phones along with your maps. Some would say you’re an idiot, but not me. Get rid of rubbish and stuff, why keep it? Only collects dirt and dust.
    I have a Samsung and I use it for telephone calls, and to send and get messages from my children and government departments who for some reason like to do this. Why I’m buggered if I know. Probably easier than pickig up a phone and ringing someone.
    I have nothing stored on it and never will. In fact I’d probably dump it except for the delightful phone number that I have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      We obviously have different requirements for our phones. I tend to embrace pretty much everything I buy, usually because I researched the crap out of it before I plop down money for it.

      As I said, in my case, the phone replaces a number of things, including the need for a laptop when traveling. Plus, of course, being able to blog, take photos, share them, and manage the necessities of modern life.

      What I do is not for everyone. In fact, the majority of people seem to know very little about their phones and what they can do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • a phones a phone as far as I’m concerned, I’ve got a Samsung and it seems to be owned and controlled by Google. I’m not able to get rid of Google, so it’s not my phone it’s Google and I don’t like that one little bit. I find it intrusive like facebook I want privacy and all I’ve bought is piracy


      • disperser says:

        So, like, you grew up with rotary phones, right? You must have looked at them thousands of times . . .

        . . . what two letters are missing from them?


  7. colonialist says:

    RIP Samsung. You have left a rich legacy!


  8. Emily Scott says:

    Sorry to hear that. It sounds like you use your phone as a replacement computer. I get that, though to be honest I prefer a bigger screen for things like blogging. We got rid of our land line a long time ago and didn’t miss it as the only people who ever rang it were sales callers. Everyone else has our mobiles. Enjoy your new phone!


    • disperser says:

      Only when I’m traveling and then the blog post will also include me complaining about how awful it is to compose posts on a phone. At home, I have a big machine and a 30″ monitor.

      This past year and change is the first time we’ve not had a land line, but wherever we eventually settle, I’ll go back to one because short of the cable being cut, they work even with the power out. The VOIP lines are subject to power going out and also interruptions in Internet service (which can happen whenever someone sneezes the wrong way).

      And, thanks; I will.


  9. oldpoet56 says:

    Whew, these type of issues make me glad that I still keep paper logs on basically every thing and I am still glad that I still use an old flip top analog phone, I have had it for at least 6 or 7 years now, still no problems. Those nice fancy phones seem to always be having problems, everyone else in my direct family have the high dollar phones that they usually have to replace about every two years. To me I have found that once they quit working they make good fodder for my 12 gauge. I do wish you the best of luck with what all you are having to go through.


  10. Pamela says:

    Hello. My phone–yes, an iPhone, because I am just comfortable with them, though they may cost more–died right after I moved in August. I had it for four years. I had always taken care of it and been careful. But it began coming apart. Just odd. The battery was going, and I was prepared to replace that. But the phone itself began splitting apart. Just…odd. So yes, moving into a new phone is a bit like moving houses. I’ve been doing both. Maybe I’ll research and get a different type of phone next time… well, I get it.

    If this is too personal, please disregard, but I am wondering where the snaps you displayed were taken. It looks a bit like a western state–Oregon came to mind. You inspired me though to get some bird houses up.


    • disperser says:

      Until last year, we lived in Colorado (lots of photos from my time there). Now, Hawaii as we try and figure out if this is for us and how long we might want to remain here.

      This is a new thing for us as in each of our previous moves we settled in fairly quickly. Now, not having a permanent home base is both liberating and distracting.

      Phones . . . in the past, changing phones was always prompted by technology advancing beyond the hardware I had at the time. This is the first time a phone died on me, but it has been over four years. I’m hoping that (for the money I spent) this new one will last at least as long if not longer.

      Nothing wrong with iPhones (or Android). I considered one this time around but I ended up staying with what was familiar if for no other reason that I’m integrated into the platform. My normal approach to buying phones is to buy a generation or two back (older phones that have been out for a while) so that I have a good idea how they will perform and what their pros and cons are.

      This is the first time I bought something that was just out, but there was a lot of information available about it. We’ll see if I made a mistake or not. Good luck with finding a good replacement. They are still selling the 6 and 7 models of the iPhones and they seem a decent deal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pamela says:

        Yes, I recently bought the smaller GB iPhone 7. For me, it’s a huge upgrade. I don’t need all that super-fancy techno stuff.

        Long live our phones… I salute your move to move stuff on and make a big shift. I’ve done that a couple of times, and it can offer perspective. Poet WS Merwin lived on Hawaii…

        Liked by 1 person

      • disperser says:

        He’s listed as currently living on Maui.

        I should mention that poetry and me are pretty much strangers. We’ve tried a few times to connect, but it’s never worked out.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Pamela says:

    Everyone connects in his or her own way…

    Liked by 1 person

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