Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE: Random Restarts. Part 3

...Part 2

21 June 2013:

Dear Ernst van Zyl

Thank you, I have notified the technician and the Product Specialist.

Name omitted

And then we asses again.

Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the assessment process

And again:

Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the quality assessment process

26 June 2013:

Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the assessment process

Ugh. This time with a different job number.

27 June 2013: 

Job Number nnnnnnn is currently in the assessment process at the Advanced Repair Centre

28 June 2013:

I get a call from Vodacare Hatfield telling me that Samsung had decided that the phone was an O.B.F.: out of box failure. Vodacare would contact me on 1 July 2013 with a reference number that would allow me to get a a replacement phone of equal value.

Why 1 July and not today? Because it falls in a new month? But then I got this email from Vodacare:

Dear Ernst van Zyl

I am on leave in next week.

The Advanced Repair Centre is still busy with the assessment. Their office will provide updates to the store who will in turn update you.




1 July 2013:

I get impatient and phoned Vodacare Hatfield. They are still waiting for an order number, so they say. So I send an email to Vodacare asking for clarification. No response. I do get some SMS’s:


Job Number nnnnnnn is currently in the assessment process at the Advanced Repair Centre


Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the quality assessment process

So it seems to me at this point they might send me back my f*cked phone and shrug their shoulders.

I get a call telling me that I can get a new phone! So I “rush” to the Vodastore. Well considering the trafic “rush” isn’t quite the right word. No, they have no gray phones but I don’t care about the colour. But there is problem: the store hasn’t received the credit from Vodacare. They won’t give me the phone.


2 July 2013:

Deadlock. Vodacare: “Go get your phone at Vodashop”. Vodashop: “We haven’t received the credit.”

I phone 0821944. Apparently Vodacare Hatfield didn’t follow the correct procedure. As I understand it there is an order number but no authorisation. The Vodashop needs authorisation which they haven’t received yet. The frustrating part is I don’t know what’s holding up the process. So I send some more emails. I have as yet received no feedback.

I complain again on

A month later and after three trips to Vodacare it seems I might get a replacement phone (OBF). I was asked to bring the box which I did. The manager at the Hatfield Vodashop says that he didn’t receive authorisation and has got no response to his emails to advanced repair and Werner Kruger Regional Manager. Why the wait? I cannot get any useful information from your friendly but unhelpful staff.

3 July 2013:

I get a canned response from Vodacom:

Hello ernstvanzyl,
We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Please note that we will make contact with you to assist with your query.
Consumer Website Team

I phone 0821944 again. Patience is a virtue they say. Then I’m not very virtuous. The credit has been approved! While speaking to the call centre I got a call from the manager at the Hatfield Vodastore. I return to the office with a brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE although it is white. I must say the white one looks better. I get the following email:

Good day Ernst van Zyl

We are sorry to hear of the circumstances under which your e-mail has reached us and we do apologise for the inconvenience caused.

As per the feedback received from our Regional office, your OBF (out of box failure) was approved this morning and the store (*name omitted*) will contact you shortly to arrange the collection of your new handset.

Once again, we do apologise for the delay in resolving this matter.


Hopefully this is the end of a long tale of pain and suffering.

Part 4…

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE: Random Restarts. Part 2

Part 1.

15 June 2013: “PHONE WAS TESTED, AND IT DOESNT RESTART, ITS FUNCTIONING PROPERLY. N.F.F” No amount of sarcasm or pure anger can express my frustration.

17 June 2013: Initially I thought that they had actually fixed the phone.

  • 10:14 Phone restarts in its holster.
  • 11:20 Phone restarts again in its holster.

18 June 2013:

“Dear Ernst van Zyl

The device was tested for an extended period by the Samsung Senior Technician and the fault could not be replicated. As no fault was found the technician could not proceed with any repair process.

When you tested the unit after collection, was the memory card inserted?

Name omitted”

So I reply:

“No it wasn’t. I’ve basically tried every permutation I can think of. I even
tried a new battery.
It does this even after a factory reset i.e. no installed apps, without SIM
and without memory card. I was even crazy enough to do a SIM swap. It did a
random restart two days after I got it back from you. It was in its belt
holster and then It did another restart an hour later.
So as far as I can tell:

– It’s not the battery. I got a new battery from a Vodacom store.
Problem persists.
– It’s not the SIM card. I did a SIM swap. Problem persists even with
the SIM removed.
– It’s not the memory card. Restarts occur even without a memory card.
– It’s not software related. After a factory reset no apps installed not
even GMail. Problem persists.

I cannot predict when it will happen. A restart is usually followed by
another within a few minutes. I have noticed that sometimes the “time on
battery” under Settings->Battery sometimes resets to zero when
this restart occurs. It hasn’t happened while I was using it.”

19 June:

I’m trying a new strategy: Every morning when I get up I’ll turn the phone off, take out the battery and put it back. Now I got this message from Vodacare:

“Dear Ernst van Zyl

I have liaised with the Samsung Senior Technician regarding your feedback below. He has requested that the unit be re-booked and sent for his attention. He will liaise with the Product Specialist on the assessment in order to resolve this issue.



Name omitted”

I’m not sure I want to go through this process again.

21 June 2013: The phone restarts again this morning. I’m tired of this crap. I rebook the phone.

Part 3

Movie Files From A DV Camcorder

I have some Hi8 and DV tapes that I wanted to copy to optical media before they became unusable. So lets start with the DV tapes. This blog entry is a follow up to  previous blog entry in which I described a procedure to get the date and time on the video.

I used a firewire cable and Vidi to import DV files of my DV tapes to my Mac. The video needs the time and date imprinted on the video. So start by extracting the individual frames of the video.

ffmpeg -threads 0 -i tape.dv -deinterlace frames/tape%06d.bmp

Obviously you need the sound track of the DV file as well. For some reason the sound track extracted by ffmpeg is distorted. So I used iMovie:

  • Import the DV file  into iMovie
  • Select “Share->Export using QuickTime”
  • Go to “Export:” and select “Sound to Wave”
  • The dialog should look like the picture below. Click OK and save the file.
Sound file options
Sound file options

Next I use dv2sub to extract the date and time info from the DV file

dv2sub -i tape.dv >tape.txt

The next part is a bit complicated since you need some programming. The file tape.txt contains the date and time info to be imprinted on the individual frames. I used the following python script:

import os
import time
import sys
import glob

ext = "xyz"
base = sys.argv[1]
frame_file = base + ".txt"

def get_ext():
  filename = "frames/%s%06d.*" % (base,1)
  filename = glob.glob(filename)[0]
  print filename
  (dummy,ext) = filename.split(".") 
  return ext

def wis(filename):
  if os.path.exists(filename):

def convert(date,tyd,frame):
  infile = "frames/%s%06d.%s" % (base,frame,ext)
  if not(os.path.exists(infile)):
  cmd = "mogrify -font \"Courier-New-Bold\" -fill white -gravity southwest -pointsize 24"
  cmd = cmd + " -undercolor \"#00000050\" -annotate \"+30+53\" \"" + tyd + "  \" -annotate +30+24 \"" + date + "\" " + infile

def annotate_frames():
  frame = -1 
  f = open(frame_file)
  while 1:
    line = f.readline();
    if not line:
    stuff = line.split(" ")
    first = stuff[0]
    if first[0] == '\t':
      first = first[1:]
    if first == "Frame":
      frame = int(stuff[2][:-2]) + 1
    if first == "timestamp:":
      tyd = stuff[8][:-1]
      datum = stuff[7]
      print "Frame %d" % frame + " on " + datum + " at " + tyd
ext = get_ext()


You need the imagemagick for this. The mogrify command modifies an image. The program above reads tape.txt and writes the time and date on individual frames. After this the frames and the original sound track are now combined in a new [PAL] DV file:

ffmpeg -r 25 -i frames/tape%06d.bmp -i tape.wav -threads 0 -target pal-dv tapehi.dv

This leaves me with a video file that I can edit in iMovie. I can cut out mistakes after which I can then use iMovie to export it to a final format.

Dropped frames

I encountered this issue while I was importing but disappeared when I repeated the import. I can’t be sure what caused the issue but it might be a good idea to check the following:

  • Remove all USB devices
  • Close all running programs except of course the one needed to do the importing.
  • Disable the screensaver.

I think in my case the dropped frames were caused by two hard disks that were connected via USB. The problem is I discovered the dropped frames by accident. No matter how fond I am of my past memories I don’t intend watching all my movies from beginning to end.

There does however seem to be a clue to the skipped frames in the tape.txt file mentioned above. Here is the one frame’s worth of data:

Frame # 0:
	video: pal normal interlaced
	audio: 2 channels, 32000 Hz, 1280 samples
	timestamp: 00:00:00.07  recording date & time: 2008-09-28 11:57:49

The important part is “timestamp: 00:00:00.07”, format is “timestamp HH:MM:SS.FF” where FF is the frame number in the range 0..24 for PAL video. This timestamp is supposed to increase by one for each consecutive frame. It may start at zero but should still increase by one for every frame. This isn’t always the case though. I’ve found that there  are sometimes issues at the beginning or end of clips where frames are repeated or skipped. This doesn’t bother me too much: these frames occur at the beginning or end of a clip and can be removed without anyone noticing this. Here is a simple script I used to show me when:

  • Frames repeat
  • Frames are skipped
  • Timecode resets to zero
import os
import time
import sys

frame_file = sys.argv[1] 
frames_seq = []
frames_clip = []
wanneer = []
idx = 1
frame_count = 0

def read_frames():
  frame = -1 
  f = open(frame_file)
  while 1:
    line = f.readline();
    if not line:
    stuff = line.split(" ")
    first = stuff[0]
    if first[0] == '\t':
      first = first[1:]
    if first == "Frame":
      frame = int(stuff[2][:-2])
    if first == "timestamp:":
      tyd = stuff[8][:-1]
      datum = stuff[7]

      timestamp = stuff[1]
      timestring = timestamp.split(":")
      hour = int(timestring[0])
      minute = int(timestring[1])
      second_frame = timestring[2];
      (second,frames) = second_frame.split(".")
      clip_frame = (hour * 3600 * 25) + (minute * 60 * 25) + (int(second) * 25) + int(frames)
      wanneer.append(datum + " " + tyd)
      #print "Frame %d" % frame + " on %d" % clip_frame 

sanity_check = len(frames_seq) == (frames_seq[len(frames_seq) - 1] + 1)
if sanity_check:
  print "We're OK"
  print "We're NOT OK"
frame_seq = []
frame_count = len(frames_clip)
while idx < frame_count:
  current_frame = frames_clip[idx]
  delta = current_frame - frames_clip[idx - 1] 
  nou = wanneer[idx]
  if delta < 0:     
    print "Likely start of clip at %s clip frame %d frame %d" % (nou,current_frame,idx)
  elif delta == 0:     
    print "Frame repeat at %s clip frame %d frame %d" % (nou,current_frame,idx)     
  elif delta > 1:
    print "Skipped %d frames at %s clip frame %d frame %d" % (delta - 1,nou,current_frame,idx)


Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE: Random Restarts. Part 1

I have the original Samsung Galaxy Note which I never really liked. I found the pen difficult to use: the button was tricky to locate and tricky to press. My hand tended to rest on the screen which caused unwanted interaction with the screen.

The Note 2 LTE is different. The pen is much easier to use, Airview is feature a particularly like. LTE flies. It eats through your data bundle but it is a pleasure to see your apps install in a matter of seconds.

28 May 2013: The trouble starts. The phone restarts by itself. It does that again a few times in a space of a few minutes. I go into debug mode. In the end the phone still restarts on its own even after removing the memory card, SIM card and doing a factory reset. I even tried a new battery.

30 May 2013: I get fed up, took the phone to Vodacare.

1 June 2013: I got the phone back. I was suspicious of the fact that they didn’t keep the phone for a very long time. According to the despatch note I had requested a firmware upgrade which wasn’t true. As far as I know there was no upgrade anyway. It would have been available OTA anyway. They had probably just reflashed the phone with the existing version of its firmware. There were no random restarts during the day so I was somewhat confident that the problem had been sorted out.

2 June 2013: No such luck. Random restarts. I complain online.

4 June 2013: Back to Vodacare with a promise that they would escalate my complaint. Is that a little pink elephant flying overhead?

6 June 2013: “Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the assessment process”. What the hell does that mean? Do they get a group of people to stand around the phone and say “mm…” for a few minutes. Later I got an e-mail stating that the phone was on its way to an Advanced Repair Centre.

7 June 2013: “Job Number nnnnnnn is currently in the assessment process at the Advanced Repair Centre”.

13 June 2013: “Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the quality assessment process”. What a lot of assessment. I hope they did some fixing as well.

“Job number nnnnnnn is currently in transit to VODACOM REPAIRS MENLYN”. Hopefully I can still get the phone back this afternoon.

14 June 2013: “Job number nnnnnnn is currently in the quality assessment process”. Say what?

“Job number nnnnnnn is ready for collection at VODACOM REPAIRS MENLYN 082-13516(T/F).”

I will collect it tomorrow. And the next chapter in this gripping saga will continue then.

Part 2….