July 29, 2010

Donated Extra Minutes in the Day Would Be Greatly Appreciated

Too much going on and not enough time to do it all.  As usual.  Nothing new here.  Since Erica asked, I did manage to upload my pics and pulled out three that are fun.  (also not a lot of work either). 

First I give you a rock wall. 



One day I shall find the time to do one of these in HDR.  If it's the right wall in the right place, it would be most excellent (as long as I don't blow it).  One day.

Watering the fields.  It was pretty dry here for a few weeks.  Need to keep the veggies happy.



Last of all we have a rose.  Because I love flower pics.



And that's all I've got in me tonight. 

Yes, I really do need to carve out some time to get more pictures up again.  I feel a bit more ambitious after seeing these.  So maybe this weekend I can work on some.

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 10:50 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
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July 26, 2010

Well Let's See

I'm still around, just haven't had much energy for blogging.  I have pictures sitting on memory cards that I haven't managed to get loaded up to the computer.  Lazy - that's me. 

Annoyance of the day - I received some mail that looked like "oh I'm an official state mailing - ignore me and the state will come to get you!".  When I opened the envelope it contained "checks" from my credit card company. 

BAH!

I hate that.  I will be calling them tomorrow to tell them to quit sending those out.  I never use them and never will - I have regular checks that work just fine and a credit card that works fine. 

***

In more exciting news we're shopping around for a minivan replacement.  It's been a terrific vehicle, but it has gotten to the age where we will have to start investing lots of money in it to keep it going and (the way our luck runs) it will still break down once we do.  Right now the instrument cluster would need replacing before the next inspection.  Whenever it rains, the entire dashboard goes flat. We've had it in, and replacement is the only option.  It needs shocks badly.  etc etc etc.

It's the third vehicle.  Living in the middle of nowhere means we need a third in case one of ours goes out for the count.  It's come in handy any number of times when we've had one of the other cars in for regular maintenance.  It means we can drop the car off the night before and one of us doesn't have to sit waiting for work to be done. 

So, we're out test driving stuff.  The big items on the list: 

1. My husband can sit in the driver's seat without problems (difficult for tall people).  I fit in most all seats as I'm the height of the average man, but my husband has to contend with his head hitting the ceiling and having to duck his head down to see stop lights overhead.

2. When the front seat is set for my husband, can he then sit in the rear seat without his knees being jammed into his chin.  (aka comfortable for 4 people). 

3. Reasonable size cargo area with rear seats folded down.  It won't be the size of the minivan, but we should be able to haul stuff like lumber, etc if we want to.

4. An aux jack for the ipod would be nice.  (I know - so lame - but I prefer listening to podcasts or audio books instead of radio most of the time).

5. 4 wheel drive is a must for where we live and winter conditions.

So far we've driven 3 vehicles:  A Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (that's the 4 door model).  I loved it because it's just damned fun.  Doesn't get good gas mileage - but it's the same engine we have in the minivan and that engine has performed spectacularly since 1998 - driving kids and their stuff everywhere.  My husband has some difficulty seeing stoplights out of it. It's definitely "rough and tumble" - but did I mention fun?  Yeah it is. Huge amount of cargo space.

Chevy Equinox - not bad.  It suffers from being driven after the Jeep. Certainly big enough - great rear seating and had the best driver seat for my husband.  Finished enough to be nice inside, not so finished we'd feel bad hauling stuff.  Not bad - but not quite as fun as the Jeep. We drove a model with the 6 cylinder engine - definitely noticeable lag time when accelerating.  That would take some getting used to.

Ford Edge - also big enough - a tad larger than the Chevy (neither has the cargo capacity of the Jeep). Nicely finished inside, drives like a car. Has an excellent drive train. Good seating... it's too nice for what we want.  It would be a terrific vehicle for a family who wanted  nice daily car.  For hauling anything - I'd feel bad.

That's where we are so far.  Ahead will be Toyota Rav4, Honda Element (I expect this will be fun too), Subaru Outback, then back to Ford to look at the Flex and the new Explorer.  Maybe more.  We have until November when the minivan will need inspection.  In the meantime it will be fun to drive the car sales guys nuts.  We'll have every dealership in Massachusetts trying to sell us a vehicle. 

Oh well, time to get off the computer for a bit. Maybe I can work up the energy to get pictures posted tomorrow. 

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 11:57 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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July 21, 2010

Party On

First of all - let me put in a plug for Chris Muir and Day by Day.  Chris is doing his annual fund raiser to keep Day by Day going.  I've been an avid fan for years now.  If you have a few extra dollars, consider donating a little bit to him. Help keep the laughter going.  Thanks.

Well I bit the bullet and called Charter today.  Got the new modem up and running.  Of course it was not without its little bit of drama. 

Remember the nice woman I told you about yesterday?  The one who went to all the trouble to check that my records were correct and to ensure my PIN was in place?  Well, she might as well not have bothered. 

The guy I talked to today - couldn't figure out the entire PIN thing.  He asked for the last four digits of my SSN.  I told him I had switched to a PIN.  He asked for the PIN.  When I told him, he said, "that's not what I have here". 

*sigh*

We ended up with me reading my account number to him. 

In any case - the modem is working. My husband, who rarely comments on the workings of the internet in the house said  he was glad it was back because it's MUCH faster than the old one.

Let's hope that's the last of the problems with equipment for a while.  Between Charter and some of the work stuff going on, I may have buy a heavy bag so I have something to hit. heh.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 10:46 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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July 20, 2010

New Modem Has Arrived

I have to say I'm delighted with Amazon's customer service.  I was a few days over the 30 day return time for the first modem - but they are still going to exchange it.  Fast courteous wonderful service.  Who knew it still existed.

The new modem came today.  I waited for it so I could be sure I had all the correct pieces from the first modem to send back.  Didn't want to send it back incomplete.

That's right, over night delivery! 

I'm almost afraid to call Charter to see if I can get the new modem up and going.  Of course if I get hold of someone like the very last woman I talked to yesterday - the one who was able to put my old modem back online, I will be good.  Out of everyone I dealt with during this entire ordeal, she was the most gracious and the only person who seemed to actually want to help.

She not only got the modem entered into their system, she checked my records to be sure they were all correct.  Then told me that Charter is moving to a system where every customer has a pin number rather than using any part of their SSN as an identifier - that made me happy.  It also explains why I suddenly started getting paper bills again after I had gone paperless (no point adding malicious joy to the day of the "mail lady who hates me" no paper bills means no deliveries to the wrong address).

She was also from this area.  I thought she deserved a bit of a post that was not part of the previous annoyed posts.  And a special thank you for doing a great job!

I bet the guy from India I talked to on Saturday was looking at the pin rather than the partial SSN and either didn't remember they changed it or didn't know.  That would be why the 2 numbers didn't match.

I'm waiting until tomorrow and regular business hours to call and switch to the new modem. I don't want to start it today since it's the end of the day.  I know that if I do, something that should take 5 minutes will end up taking several days.  

We shall see.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 04:47 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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July 19, 2010

I Forgot the Best Part

In all this jick-jacking around with my internet service, once I had an appointment set up, Charter said they would call me to confirm.

Their Caller ID...

did NOT say Charter... it said Nebraska!!!! 

Really?

Seriously?

I'm supposed to just answer the phone because I should be expecting a call from Charter marked Nebraska?  And I'm supposed to want to move my phone service to them when they don't even appropriately give out their own Caller ID?

Good Grief!

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 02:19 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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Stop The Day I'm Done

I'm back.  It was the modem.  The tech guy who arrived this morning figured that out. Unfortunately, once he did, he wouldn't just call them and have them add my old modem back onto their system... nooooo.... he made ME do it because it wasn't a Charter modem.

So, here's the deal...
--He knows the new modem isn't working.
--Knows the old modem did work as all I had done was upgrade.
--He is able to connect fine with his test modem.
--He then plugs the NONWORKING modem back in and says, you just need to return it and get a new one!    (yeah, bright boy plugged EVERYTHING back in to a NONWORKING modem!!!!)

I said... yeah but until then I'd be offline for quite a while because I did have it delivered instead of buying from a brick and mortar store. So, could you switch this out and have them add that old modem back to my account so I have internet access? 

He says... no I can't add it back in you'll have to call yourself.  I can't bill out.  Is there anything else I can do?

Me... (thinking what the hell does billing out have to do with you calling and getting my other modem into the system???) No thanks. 

Geeze. 

So I unhooked the NONWORKING modem, hooked up the old one, called Customer support and after 15 minutes or so of back and forth over the MAC address and getting things added to the correct place on their system, it's finally working.

Now I have an email in to the place I bought it to see if I can return the modem since it's only a month old. 

Can we call it a day yet?

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 11:56 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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July 18, 2010

Has Anyone Seen the Internet Around Here?

My internet is down.  It went down in a wide area outage on Friday night and never came back.  I have a mifi that is far enough away from the cell towers to give me sketchy service so I can get online, albeit with a slow connection.

I have called Charter multiple times.  At first I got the computer messages about the area having internet issues.  Then that message disappeared when I called, but my internet was still not back. At which point I was sent to computerized support hell.  Once the computer decided I was going to be a PITA and that I was not going to rethink whether or not I’d bent the pin on my cable connection, and I insisted I was all powered up and plugged in, and the modem lights WERE all on except for the online light which was blinking…  I was finally shunted to a person…

Of course I got  “Take Supporb”  - an Indian guy who I’m not sure even had my correct information.  I’ll be calling the offices tomorrow to be sure they have the actual correct data for my account.  Ho-hum.  He insisted on sticking with his script and going step by step through EVERY friggin’ thing I had just done with the computer support.  He even wanted to walk me through opening a Command prompt.  I think it annoyed him when I told him I already had a Command Prompt up and I had already done an ipconfig to check my IP address. (I didn’t tell him I was trying to ping things - it would’ve been too overwhelming for him)  I don’t think he wanted to hear that you don’t have to do an “ipconfig /all”  just to get an IP address a plain old ipconfig works just fine.  I also don’t think he wanted to hear that I had done a “/release and then /renew” to try and pull in a new IP address… from a connection that isn’t working.

As we got to the end of the call and I was mightily irritated, he had the utter gall to tell me, “I see you don’t have our full package of television, internet and phone.  You know you can save money with the entire package.”  At which point I rather lost my temper and said, “If I had your phone service, we would NOT be having this conversation because I would NOT have a phone right now.  I’d be 2 miles away calling you from a place where I could get a cell phone signal. I wouldn't be able to jump through all these stupid hoops to see if you could get my service back up because I'd have NO PHONE!  So NO I do NOT want your package, I just want to get my internet connection working again.”

It was at that point he decided he was done helping me. Then he asked me for the usual identifier of the last 4 digits of my SSN (why he wanted that when we had already established my account and address, I don’t know).  He said… “Are you sure?  This is not the number I have”.  OMG!!!!  I am betting 100% that he had the wrong account info up.  He then quickly  told me there was “still an area outage” and he would send me out to the voice mail hell system so it would call me back when the outage was fixed.  Of course what happened was - the computer system (which had no outage listed) told me “I’m sorry I can’t access your account right now - please call back later.  Good bye”. 

ARG!!!!!! 

I gave it up - I was too angry to call them back right then.  I waited until today when I was still angry, but not wanting to scream at them.

The chick I talked to today, a “Take Supporb” person with better English skilz, walked through a few things, but finally decided she had to send a technician… tomorrow.  It could possibly be my modem or it could be they screwed up the lines when they were “fixing” them yesterday or they screwed up my modem when they fixed things. Hard to say.  I saw the truck on the road doing repairs so I know they were out here messing about with the wires.  I asked if she could re-add my modem as a new modem and we could start again.   “No, we have to send a technician to get the modem back on the system”.  Since I didn’t need a technician to add the modem in the first place - this is demonstrably ridiculous and simply wreaks of a method to get more money out of me. But so it is. We’ll see what the morning brings.  He’s supposed to get here between 8 and 10am.  This means I’ll need to go get my Starbucks very early or I’ll end up not seeing him at my house until 5pm… it would be just my luck. 

Here’s a few hints for you people at Charter…

1.  If I’m having internet trouble, have no internet connection, AND you have not been able to immediately resolve the problem when I call without me having to jump through 100 hoops in your standard “let’s fix the internet for dummies” book - this would NOT be the time to try and up-sell me on your internet phone service. 

2.  If I call and your computer asks me “please tell me the problem” and I say “Internet trouble”, while I’m waiting for you to connect me to a person, it would not be a good time to run an ad telling me I can find the answers I want if I go to www.Charter.com… 

3.  Considering the amount of money I pay per month for television and internet, I should get superb customer service when I call with a problem.  Especially as I have only called 2 times in nearly 5 years for any actual service.

4.  I am seriously considering switching to Verizon FiOS.  

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 07:12 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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July 15, 2010

This And That Again

Well the week is nearly over - thank heaven!  What a week it's been. 

***

On Tuesday I had the annual very large meeting of the professional organization to which I belong.  Since I set the entire thing up, I couldn't relax until after lunch when I knew everyone had been fed and was at least marginally happy.  Other than the power outage in the middle of a panel discussion - it went off well. 

The woman who does events at the hotel was apologizing for the power going off.  I told her "Unless you cut the electric line to the hotel, it's not your fault.  Of course it could be my fault because these things seem to happen to me."

Heh.

****

In another episode of "The Mail Lady Who Hates Me".  Our mail carrier delivered a package today.  Nutsonline.com had messed up an order and they were sending me some chocolate covered gogi berries to make up. They were foolish enough to send it 2 day Priority Mail.  Had I known I would've put an immediate stop to it.  Had they delivered the box on Tuesday when I was gone all day, it would've been ruined.

My mail lady took a box that very clearly was marked "Nuts Online" and put it on the asphalt by the garage instead of walking the 15 feet to the covered and shaded, wood decking front porch.  Because y'know she saved walking an entire 15 ft and 3 steps by putting food on the asphalt next to the garage. I suppose she thought it would warm up nicely. 

Luckily I heard her truck, went to investigate. I saw her racing her truck down our driveway. When I didn't see any package, I ventured outside to find what she might have left behind.

I should be happy she didn't put it under one of the large hostas like she did on another occasion.  

Sheesh.

I begin to think she can't read and it's sheer luck that anything is delivered correctly.

****

Was watching the MLB channel tonight. Cardinals and Dodgers.  Bob Costas and Jim Kaat were nattering into the microphones.   Mind you they weren't watching the game, they could've cared less about the game.  They were droning on and on about George Steinbrenner. 

When they did tear themselves away from that fascinating topic and all their various encounters with the man... Jim Kaat was majorly concerned about the Cardinals pitcher (Chris Carpenter).  Now Carpenter was doing just fine, but Kaat (when he managed to take a breath from stories of how much Steinbrenner liked him), told us with every other sentence that "Carpenter had to be tired by this time of the game.  His legs you know... he has to be tired.  I think La Russa will take him out.  It's just so tiring after that many pitches". 

I want to get Kaat together with my mother.  My mother is the queen of "you must be so tired" and "you've had a long day, you should rest". 

I wonder which one would win and who would retire to bed because the conversation was too fatiguing.

Sheesh.

Most nights MLB will show a game with the local home team call.  I wouldn't have cared if it was the opposing team call - just get these national guys off the air - they are God awful!

***

In other news my cell phone sent a random empty text message out earlier today.  It went to one of the guys I work with.  Oddly enough I didn't have his cell phone in my contact list, but he had called me a few weeks ago so I guess he was in my Received Calls list. 

Good grief.

I guess I'll have to stop by the cell phone store and find out why that happened.  The phone was in my purse and locked.  But even if it wasn't locked - I can't imagine how it sent out a text message on its own.  I could see it random dialing... not random texting.

That's just bizarre!

***

Well that's all I have for now.  Must get off this darn computer for a while. 

Later Taters.

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 10:34 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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July 12, 2010

I Still Love the Original Best

I think maybe my favorite video evah. (turn up the volume and enjoy!)

 

I mean how can you miss when you've got Patton quotes?   (Well that and whole "shadow of death" thing... most excellent)

Now, they've released a second vid that's for the Marines.  And while I adore the Silent Drill Team and I think Chesty Puller was probably the most awesome Marine ever minted. AND it has a terrific opening... I still love the original.



Many Thanks to Blackfive for posting these when they are released.


Posted by: Teresa in Military at 01:54 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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July 09, 2010

Cursors - Foiled Again (UPDATED with new and exciting information!)

Many people have noticed a problem in the comment box... no visible cursor when they go to type.  This is very annoying when one is trying to comment.  First because we're all used to seeing a cursor - it's something for the eye to follow.  Second, if you have to go back and fix a typo (something I do all the time - I am incapable of typing without having to rewrite everything 6 times) you have no idea if you're in the right spot until you start attempting to edit - either adding letters or deleting stuff.

I thought it was a problem with Firefox after the first 3.6 update in both the Mac and Windows versions.  That's when I started seeing a problem.  Weirdly, I DO have a cursor when I type out a post...  I have a cursor if I use Safari or IE8 (thus it's a good thing to have access to multiple browsers if there's a problem). 

Then Mike said in the comments to the post below that he does have a cursor and he's using FF 3.6.6 as am I... drat. 

I have checked on the Mozilla forums.  A suggestion I ran across was to restart FF in Safe Mode which I did.  Unfortunately that didn't change anything.   I disabled my plugins of which I have 2 on the Mac (Ad Bloc Plus and 1Password)... no change.  There after the suggested changes are way more invasive - up to uninstall and reinstall.  Sheesh!

I may go messing about with my fonts next.  Not exactly sure where to go with this or how much I want to screw up my browser to find an answer.  It's the kind of thing that will drive ya nuts trying to figure out what's wrong. I'll keep working at it though when I have some time.  Apologies to anyone who has this problem - I know it's majorly irritating. 

UPDATE:  So I went to play with my fonts in the FF preferences.  I have my fonts set BIG because I'm old and I'm lazy and I HATE to squint.  However this does mess up the display of some web pages. 

In the Preference pane (or Tools --> Options in a Windows version) go to the Content tab --> Fonts & Colors --> Advanced  there is a check box that says

Allow pages to choose their own fonts instead of my selections above.

I had that checked. When I uncheck it - I get my cursor back.  Now I have to see if this messes up my views of other web pages too much. 

Let me know if this works for anyone else.

Even MORE Updatier:  In Windows I unchecked it, saved it... no cursor.  Went back and rechecked it, saved it... now there is a cursor. 

Now I know it's voodoo and has nothing at all to do with check boxes, fonts, plugins or anything else.  Let's just reboot and start again.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 08:25 AM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
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