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Country: Europe, LV, Latvia
Bring Up the Bodies is the second in a three book series set in the reign of Henry VIII with Thomas Cromwell as the central character and protagonist, but not in a Flashman way. Cromwell is portrayed as an effective administrator and self made and educated man, polyglot with wide international experience with an appreciation for culture and a considerable benevolent bent to those not his political enemies. Ms Mantel does not portray him as a saint, in contrast to the characterization of Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons most famously but pretty much most fictional and indeed historical accounts which tend to gloss over his willingness to burn heretics.
A particularly enjoyable aspect of her writing is the very adept usage of the historical present tense, telling the story in a kind of Augustinian eternal present that has the effect of conveying a sense that someone is telling you the story of the day's events over a drink that evening. You do not have to read the first book first, but it is much better if you do.
I am writing this review to share my experiences with fellow tech lovers.
Starting in November 2011, I read about the Prime. I had the opportunity to try out two weeks each of Toshiba Thrive, Acer Aconia A500, Transformer TF101 16GB without docking, Transformer 32GB with docking and Lenovo K1 32GB. To be honest, before the Prime, Asus Transformer did already stand out ahead of the rests. All these tablets are based on HC 3.0+. Likely, they all shared similar hardware suppliers. Feature wise, very similar too. The Transformer with docking was a mile ahead and, Asus was the only manufacturer updated firmware immediately to HC 3.2 rightafter I set up.
Acer I contacted them with a brand new unit set at HC 3.0 ( new unit, old stock). Acer had upgraded all north America to HC 3.1 in September, 2011. I contacted the online Acer tech. He advised that there was nothing they could do as firmware upgrade was OTA, following serial number. I had the unit in middle of October, and waited two weeks, no sign of firmware upgrade "OTA", I returned the unit. Toshiba was on HC 3.1, no sign of upgrade to 3.2. Lenovo was the worst. Online tech support first advised OTA, I must wait for my turn. Second time I got online again requesting upgrade, I was told by someone in India that all I had to do was to reset, it would automatically upgrade to HC 3.2. I was stupid enough to try and guess what? All BS!
I can generalize that all manufacturers purposely delay or advoid the firmware upgrade for the reason of bringing new models. This is evident by the CES news releases, including Samsung, the leading Android manufacturer with update schedule for 1st and sec quarter 2012! They all had sufficient time to trick their software and move their users to the next level. However, selling new models are more important than upgrading, as you are stuck with what you bought, buy a new one!
I odered the Prime 64GB from Amazon.ca on November 30, 2011. With indication of delay shipment on news, I ordered a 32GB unit from Future Shop (a Canadian Sub of Bestbuy). At the same time, I also ordered the docking keyboard from FutureShop. In the middle of December, Futurshop notified me of the delay on shipment scheduled for December and, they also gave me a promo coupon of $25. In the mean time, Amazon.ca not only kept me inform as to the delivery status (due December 16, 2011), they even took the Prime listing off from their website!!
I finally took delivery from Futureshop on January 9, 2012 with HC 3.2 onboard. Very nice unit and just after I spent 4 hours to setup with all my apps, OTA firmware upgrade came on the 10th of January. Excited and came the great disappoitment. Right after the upgrade download and reboot, I ended up with a dead duck! The screen was full of lines and things may move occassionally. After two factory resets, the Prime was still useless.
I spent the next few days to scramble all Bestbuy and Futureshop in Calgary, found out the retail shipment to Futureshop retail stores was scheduled for Thursday 12 of January. On the 11th, I went to one of the store to reserve one with a deposit. Next day, I found out they sold all 4 units in 20 minutes and forgot the one I had reserved. Unfortunately, I could not determine if there would be more units available in the city for the next couple of weeks. Wth a brand new docking keyboard, a dead tablet was very devastating.
Luckily, I found out that there was a smaller Futureshop on the out skirt of the city with a "open box" and a $60.00 reduction in price. Without hesitation (Futureshop has price protection and return policy of 14 days), I took the unit and spent another 5 hours. Its running.
Reporting all hardware are working properly, smooth and fast. No "forced closures" as with Honeycomb. Wi-fi connections is no worse than the Transformer TF101 or all other tablets I had used (I am using an old D-Link). GPS on wi-fi is never meant to be accurate. It is off by about 25 meters but no lock-on problems. One minor glitch, I could not connect Bluetooth with one remote device. It connected with my Acer notebook and SonyEricson M600 earphone. I have downloaded the Asus Sync but needed USB cable to fit the tablet as well as the notebook. Wished Asus would provide the cable as Futureshop maybe selling it for $26.
I am very satisfied with the purchase, ignoring the hassels I encountered. Getting a piece of new technology is well worthwhile. The lesson I learnt:
*Do not pre-order with Amazon, there were numerous complaints on their websites (both U.S. and Canada), including me today! Amazon is very reliable on "stock" inventory, but needed a better Purchasing Officer. (Can I apply for the job?) With Amazon's purchasing power, they could not even secure a delivery date!
*Do not buy computer online, unless the seller has retail stores to process returns and refunds. I do have faith with Futureshop (maybe also Bestbuy).
*May consider to order 2 units for each unit you needed. If nothing is wrong, you always can return the extra unit. If something is wrong, you wouldn't be holding a docking keyboard without the workable tablet - like me.
If the Prime keep up with the performances, I would not need the TF700 this spring unless some newer and more innovative tablets surface. No Apple, no thanks.