Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

Computers, Cox, & Credit Cards: Never a Dull Moment

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March 14, 2015, 5:50 p.m. So my computers are offline, once and for all. I’m writing this in Wyrd, planning to cut and paste into WordPress tomorrow morning, when I expect to get online at my favorite coffee shop.

Been having some strange connectivity problem for the past few days, some affecting the phone line and some the usual up-and-down connection that characterizes lovely Cox.

Cox is a hell of a lot better than Qwest. But…uhm…that ain’t sayin’ much. Smoke signals would’ve been better than Qwest. One thing you have to give to Cox is that they have decent customer service.

At any rate, the wireless connection went irretrievably down this afternoon. So I have no blog. No email. No endlessly entertaining news and “news” sites. No online games. No baroque Facebook time suck. No clients…

The horror!

Cox allows as to how the problem is on their end, and they’re sending a tech over tomorrow afternoon to install a bunch of new equipment and make the thing work. Whether this will disable the new robocall blocker remains to be seen. If it does, then it’s good-bye to Cox; I’ll have to go over to Ooma, which will save me a shitload of money and inflict a shitload of hassle.

The weird thing about being stuck offline…is the horror.

I feel utterly at sea without the email and without access to the Internet to inform the editing projects.

Fortunately, the book I’m working on now is a work of fiction. So I don’t have to look up every third reference, factoid, circumstance, or stylistic quirk. For most of the editorial work I do, though, an Internet connection is not an option.

So the whole “no email, no Internet” angst is kind of irrational, at least for the time being. As a practical matter, chances are I’ll get more done and enjoy life more without the preoccupation that has become an occupation. Maybe I’ll even take the dogs for a walk this evening!

This evening I was supposed to go to a meeting, but I’m still too sick to go anywhere. Especially not to a two- or three-hour jawfest.

Probably will be too sick to go to choir tomorrow night, and probably will be too sick to go to the Thursday meeting. But just now there’s no way to send my apologies to any of the worthies who expect me to show up.

As dawn cracked this morning, I was going to write a Spring has Sprung sort of post, featuring a passel of flower images from the yard. Not so much, though.

Neither computer would read the camera’s memory chip. As it developed, I was able to access the images on the large computer, which accepts a cable connection to the camera. Copied the images to a flash drive. So that was not a connectivity problem but a memory chip problem.

I did not want to do battle with computers this morning! Got up at 6 a.m.; by 8 a.m. all I wanted to do was go back to bed and take a nap.

Fed the dogs; ate some more leftover soup; watered the plants. The weather has been in the 90s, so the potted plants need to be watered every day and the stuff in the ground needs watering about once every three days.

Brushed down the pool. To my surprise, the mustard algae was not back!

That would be because the pool was brushed yesterday. It occurred to me that pushing the pool brush up and down the walls amounts to a good way to get some much-needed mild exercise – I’ve been spending way, way, way too much time parked in front of a damn computer.

Running the nylon brush up and down the walls again, I reflected that when I first moved into the house, I was so tickled with the pool that I used to clean it and test it and adjust its chemicals every day. Now it’s lucky if it gets cleaned and tested once a month.

When did I take to neglecting this marvelous puddle? It’s obviously an asset to the house: make that a$$et. What’s with letting it go to pot??

No answer to that one. But pretty obviously the wall moss is the outcome. Sweep it down once a day: get some mild upper-body exercise and preserve a $20,000 lifestyle blandishment.

Read about 20 pages of the client’s novel – really a first read, a fast line-edit. The MS is only about 130 pages; at 20 pages a day, I can get through it in a week. Since I set a two-week deadline, this will leave another week to go over the whole thing more carefully, think about it, and offer some advice of the writing-coach variety.

By about 2:00 p.m. the wireless connection was down. It being about six hours past my naptime, I decided to shut down both terminals, disconnect the modem and the router, leave them disconnected, and go back to bed. Surely after an hour or two, the system would reset itself.

No. Not so much.

After a restless and generally miserable attempt at napping, I reconnected the peripherals and rebooted and…couldn’t get online at all.

Oh god.

Back and forth with Cox. Long, long story short, a technician is supposed to show up between three and five tomorrow afternoon and install a whole new set-up. I’m being told Cox is upgrading its equipment. The new stuff is supposed to be installed inside the house (oh, good: MORE junk to clutter up the desktop, MORE junk for me to dust!), supposedly free of cost to me except that I have to pay for backup batteries.

Shit.

Meanwhile…oh, yes, meanwhile

Yesterday while I was enjoying a particularly miserable run-around in search of groceries that I never did manage to get, I stuck my AMEX card in a pocket that also held a metal doodad. Metal doodad scratched the fancy fucking “chip,” and it wouldn’t work at the Safeway. And that is why, among several other goddamn reasons, I wasn’t able to get the Kleenex and the cough medicine and the vinegar and the ClearCare and the cream despite stumbling around not one, not two, but three goddamn grocery stores.

Don’t ask.

So AMEX was supposed to have a new card delivered by FedEx today.

While yesterday’s antics were in progress, I was so sick I wasn’t thinking even vaguely clearly. Today I realized I hadn’t told them they HAVE to mark the package with a note that the address is on my street, not on the street just north of me that has the same name. Called AMEX this morning to see if a message could be sent belatedly; was told the package hadn’t even been delivered to FedEx but couldn’t get the dumb bunny on the end of the line to understand what I was talking about.

Later this afternoon I called again and reached someone who seemed to have some IQ points. She said the problem is that FedEx was pretty much rendered inert by the storm on the East Coast. They still hadn’t picked up the package.

So, could we PLEASE add a “NOT MY CRAZY NEIGHBOR’S ADDRESS” clue to the package?

Videlicet, my Amazon address is set up to read…

My Name
1234 North Erewhon Drive
Please NOT Lane!
Phoenix, AZ 85123

She at least was able to understand what I was talking about, but she allowed as to how adding NOT LANE to the address was impossible. Which is reasonable, but annoying.

But, she assured me, don’t worry (be happy!): you don’t have to be home because they’ll just leave the package there.

THAT’S THE POINT, I said. If the guy leaves the package at My Crazy Neighbor’s house, it will never be seen again!

They just don’t get it. When you explain this to someone else, they don’t want to believe that these people steal everything that is mistakenly delivered to their house. Most middle-class Americans, I guess, just don’t want to think bad things about other folks.

Oh well. If the card doesn’t show up tomorrow, I’ll call and cancel the AMEX account. I do have a Visa card, which is accepted in more places anyway.

To make everything perfect, the damn Nest thermostat runs on the wireless. No wireless connection: no air conditioning. It’s supposed to be 95 tomorrow!

Fortunately, I don’t normally turn on the AC until temps are in the low hundreds. But…what if this had happened in July? My house would be unlivable.

Enough with that damn thing! As soon as this dust settles, the AC guy is going to be invited to replace it with a NONprogrammable, NONwireless thermostat.

First thing tomorrow morning, I’m headed over to the Little Guy’s coffee house, where I can get a decent cup of café Americano and a free connection to the Internet. Post this thing there, then check the email, and then go on my way for an otherwise Disconnected day.

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9 Comments

  1. Good Grief Funny…..Our “life experience” is almost parallel. Not so long ago our internet went out and I challenge ANYONE to get a hold of someone with knowledge about internet connections at Comcast. This is a HUGE corporation now that seems to be more worried about it’s latest acquisition (NBC) then the “lowly internet/cable customers”. When our internet went down the CSR from Comcast said “hard to say what it might be…” This after 15 minutes on hold. I did the research on my own and the new wireless router from Best Buy solved a bunch of nagging problems at the Ranch.
    And then like me you have trouble/problems with your Amex card. I was VERY disappointed in the Amex service I received when my Amex card was misplaced. NINE DAYS to get a new card and it came regular mail that could have easily been mistaken for junk mail….and I pay $95 a year for the PRIVLEGE… I HOPE you have better luck….But IMHO blaming the winter weather on the East Coast for a belated response to a card replacement in the West…is a bit of a stretch….Just sayin’. It is for this reason I’m weaning myself off the Amex and looking for “greener pastures”…

    • My gawd, are you sure it’s not a counterfeit AMEX card??? Argha!

      They got the thing here in two days flat. They thought it would arrive overnight: the weather excuse was to explain it not getting here in ONE DAY.

      I think I would bellyache about that kind of service. This card? They sent it by FedEx. Actually, I don’t think they’ve ever sent a replacement card here by regular mail. So their behavior in your part of the country is…kinda strange.

      And it has to be said that what I was asking the Filipinas to do was a little much: really! How can they be expected to find a package that already has an address and CHANGE the freaking address? They did send a tracking number early today, so if it hadn’t arrived, I would have been able to find out, all by my foxy little self, if it went to the neighbor’s house.

      Y’know, some of the mail trucks now have a GPS thing that lets them record EXACTLY where they left a package. If FedEx is doing that, sooner or later I’ll be able to prove by honored neighbor is kiping deliveries. Mwa ha ha! 😀

      • MAN …. Amex really came thru for you!….Me?….Not so much….Aaaaand I’m about done with those folks….thus the “weaning”…. How did you make out with the fine folks at Cox?

      • The Cox guy — who was a field supervisor — was really a great fellow. He tested everything and even showed me the results on his smartphone and explained what they meant. Ultimately he decided the problem was the modem, not the router. I remarked that it was a fairly new modem (purchased at the behest of Cox). He said they only last a couple of years, and that he had seen modems go bad right straight out of the box. {eyeroll!!!}

        Because I did not look forward to having to traipse to Fry’s Electronics or order a new one off Amazon and then talk my son into installing the damn thing — meaning DAYS more outage — I bought a “data gateway” direct from Cox. Of course, I couldn’t get online to read the reviews on Amazon, where the device is pretty roundly hated…but if you look at the negative reviews closely, you see much of the hatred is directed at Time-Warner rather than at the device. Evidently Time-Warner makes Cox look GOOOOOD. 😮

        Anyway, it’s working for the time being…which may turn out to be a fairly SHORT time being… The thing operates as a combined router/modem, so even though it’s a large box, it’s only ONE box with only ONE tangle of cables. That’s something. I guess.

        Anyway, after he installed the gadget, he went outside and upgraded the stuff coming into the house and THEN he traipsed out to the alley and upgraded the cable phone stuff out there. So…if the thing doesn’t work, it’s not for want of trying.

        One suspects this stuff would work a lot better if it didn’t come out boxes stamped “made in China”….

  2. Sounds more like you need extra naps and rest right now so you can continue your recovery. Maybe losing internet at home is a blessing. Take a book to bed and turn off your worries for a bit.

    The Nest should still work if it doesn’t have wireless internet access. https://nest.com/support/article/Do-I-need-Wi-Fi-to-use-Nest

    • Well I did take up a book: the client’s. 😉

      Interestingly, I set a goal of 20 pages, which in the past has taken half the afternoon. Was done in 90 minutes flat…got through 30 pages in two hours.

      That was enlightening! I think it’s a measure of how much time I diddle away playing online games and cruising the Web.

      Not only did I get through more copy than expected, time was left to pick up the house , dust the furniture, clean a bathroom, and create two Excel workbooks with 10 spreadsheets (total) to organize bookkeeping data for 2017. Much simplified organizing…this is good, very very good.

      I’m thinking what I need to do is TURN THE WIFI OFF when paying work is under way.

    • Oh, and on the Nest…it wouldn’t get past the “searching for a network” screenlet. Literally, it would NOT let me move to any other set of commands.

  3. Great news about the service from Cox. Couldn’t agree more about the router from China….the modem we JUST replaced lasted about 6-7 years and was made in ….Mexico…..LOL. When I replaced my router and was shopping at Best Buy I saw those router/modem/phone “combos” AND they were “pricey”. The “dude” explained that “it’s all in one” you just plug your phone and computer in and go….I understood him to say that it would work with a “Ooma like device”…. I took a pass. As for Time Warner ….they are HATED for whatever reason….Wonder what happens if/when AT&T takes over Time Warner?

    • Six or seven years is apparently some kind of miracle. The Cox guy said you can expect these things to work maybe two years.

      Heh heh…presumably if AT&T takes over Time Warner, then AT&T will be roundly hated. I think there’s a fair amount of rage there, anyway: all telecoms piss people off.

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