It was bound to happen. When I upgraded from a FartPhone(tm) I was dead cert something would go south and drive me up a motherfracking wall: yet months went by and the little bugger performed like a trooper, storing way too many cat photos, occasionally allowing me to check blogs on the fly (on a crappy wet day the gym bike session can run forty minutes), supplying me with endless news-bites via Twitter, which in the era of global PTSD (Post-Trump Stress Disorder) has become a lifeline to events as they happen. So I was living with a false sense of security when I fired it up several evenings ago, ready to surf the news from my favorite after-dinner chair.
It’s an Android, by the way. I know people who have iPhones are loyalists for whatever reasons, but I just hate Apple; during the ghastly eight month interregnum when I opened my cellar guest room to a hapless millennial with a case of ADHD on steroids, there were constant panics about things like lost charging cables, which at Radio Shack cost twenty seven dollars. (A knockoff cable finally turned up at the Seven-Eleven for nine even.) Since you can get a basic USB-to-mini cable cheaper than a Starbucks sugar bomb, I decided I wasn’t letting the ghost of Steve Jobs jack me for more.
So it did its little Androidy thing, month in and month out, until the fateful moment when I powered it up, began shuffling through the Home screen and a popup suddenly appeared — it lacked only the black border of a death notice — announcing mournfully, even tragically: “Unfortunately, TouchWiz Home has stopped.”
The only other thing inside the white popup box was a live link reading: “OK.” Things did not seem OK at all, but I tapped it, only to find myself in an endless cycle of lather, rinse, repeat.
We consulted Dr. Internet. Dr. Internet advised us that the phone could be run in Safe Mode, which involves a simultaneous depression of various buttons that you need to be an octopus to do exactly right, though I sorted it eventually. This means that virtually no apps function. If you want to follow Twitter, etc., you have to log onto the phone’s dedicated Internet browser. Fine.
We hunted around a bit more. Various sources recommended a factory reset, in which you restore your phone to the condition it was in when you opened the box. Some hundreds of photos transferred to PC and a few days and drinks later, we held our noses and jumped (by now the Engineer was all over this project).
The phone whirred and screens succeeded other screens. Apps and programs updated at cumbersome length. At one point, the little green Android man
appeared on the screen, announced he was performing a system update, waggled his antennas several times, and then keeled over prone with his casing faded to a jaundiced yellow and his entrails exposed, followed by another tragic caption: “Unfortunately, Android could not update at this time.”
This did not bode well. However, somehow, the phone began to run again, I had my app logos back, I keyed up Instagram to see how many kitten photos I had missed, and then once again the blazon appeared:
Unfortunately, TouchWiz Home has stopped.
Did anyone ever tell the developers how fucking rude something called “TouchWiz” sounds? It sounds like someone trying to pound his pud and somehow wetting himself instead. Which was kind of what the phone had done.
I got back on the Net.
TouchWiz, as I had found out on my first surf, is the “launcher,” the software that kicks up the Home screen and determines its interface. And generations of Samsung users –apparently it is the pet launcher of Samsung — have reported this problem and hated it. Finally, I drilled down to a blog post that suggested a third party launcher, a thing called Nova, which I was able to install from my PC, at least the store said it was installed, but I had to restart the phone — NOT power it down and then back up, which didn’t help several times — before I got the option of selecting it.
Problem solved. So far. Everything is working. I feel like a smartphone stud, sort of.
There is nothing about this in the phone’s manual.
Sometimes I think we are all participating in an uncontrolled study of who will be allowed aboard the lifeships when Planet Earth finally roasts in its own effluvia. I’m working on it.