Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Between Cox Cable and Centurylink today, I became extremely agitated.

Centurylink sent out a person that is NOT the 2cd tier person they said they were going to send out.  Just another technician who couldn't figure out what was going on.  He comes in after his "investigation" and tells me that there is nothing wrong with the lines.  I sit him down at my kitchen table and do the speed tests on both my wired desktop and my non-wired laptop and show him  CenturyLink's "approved" speed test.  On both of them, they show around 5,000 mbps.  Then, the number started going up as I kept refreshing.  Then back down. And up. And down. 

He went outside to make a phone call and came back in and told me of some "division" in their company that keeps a running log of my speeds - according to their system anyway.  I said thanks, obviously, he wasn't going to be able to do anything.  I informed I would be calling CenturyLink again and discussing this with them.

Meanwhile, Cox cable comes out.  The supervisor ends up coming out and bypassing the worthless worker who obviously just wants the easy way out - drilling a hole through my front wall - and we discuss this situation.  It's for George's work and his work is paying for it, yes, but it's MY house and I don't want a hole drilled through the front wall of my house.  

So the guy walks around and suggest to run a trench along the side wall in front of my house through the block fence and then under the house, to the rear of the house and install an interface there.  Sure, I said, that sounds great.  But remember, I tell him, that you are going to have to crawl underneath the house and feed the line up through the bottom of the house through the wall. Okay, he says and that's that.

Back to Century Link.  I call them back and just go for the throat: the manager this morning tells me that they are sending out a 2cd level tech and that they WILL take care of this situation and they do not.  I go through the Philippines yet again and then to an American operator who wants to argue.  Your manager, please.  She rambles on. Manager, thanks.  I'm just not going to go into the extreme amount of talk that went back and forth, too much and after having to have had deal with 2 of the same kind of company at my property today?  I'm just done.  

I was very blunt with the manager that I got on the phone, I will say that.  Promises not kept.  The same things stated from every manager, every time: it's GOING to be fixed.  The same outcome: it ISN'T fixed.  It turned into an ugly conversation, but only because she was hedging and hawing.  Blame shifting, I told her to her ear she didn't care and it was obvious.  It was too  late to call corporate, they had already closed, but rest assured they WILL be getting a phone call first thing in the morning.  This woman claims both a high level tech and a supervisor are showing up tomorrow morning at 11:00 am.  Yes, lady, that's all I have to do in life: spend quality time with your freaking employees. I'm on VACATION.

Back to Cox.  The worker comes back several hours later.  Like about 6 hours.  He obviously does not want to get under the house to do the install.  George is telling them no, it has to be under the house.  Time passage.  Supervisor shows up, they are in his bedroom and George is speaking loudly enough for me to hear the conversation, he eventually directs them to me.  I am already peeved about this on-going, non-abating situation with Century Link and now I have to deal with THIS?  

They come out and start talking.  No, I am not going to allow you to drill a hole through the wall in front of my house, that's that.  We go through the options.  We agree that they can run a line through the side of the house where there is already a hole, but the line is still going to have to run through the floor from underneath the house.  We have this discussion for 10 minutes and then they look at me blankly.  Huh? We don't understand, we are running a hole through the front of your house, right?

I will admit that I became hostile at that point.  I have JUST discussed with them - PLAINLY - that the line is going through the side of the house.  I pointed to the side of the house when I said that and I asked them if they understood that means by the gate? Yes, we get it, over there.  I had had this SAME discussion with this supervisor 6 hours earlier, we did a walk-around the entire house.  We both saw the places where this was going to be done.  Now they are attempting to talk me into having a hole in the front of my house again!

FREAKING MORONS.  I must have told them 10 times - NO HOLES THROUGH THE FRONT WALL OF MY HOUSE.  George told them several times over as well.  Unbelievable!!!  I got up out of my chair and looked the supervisor in the eye: There are not going to be ANY holes drilled through the front wall of my house, do you UNDERSTAND this?!!  IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DO THE JOB, WE'LL BE HAPPY TO CALL COX CABLE AND ASK THEM TO SEND SOMEONE OUT THAT WILL!!  

That was the end of it.  Their tones changed completely.  They are subcontractors.  They work for Cox, that is their life-blood. They lose that they are screwed.  They don't want people calling Cox telling them that their subcontractors don't want to do the required work.  They want to take the easy way out and don't care what the homeowner wants. 

Yup, the worker eventually crawled under the house - it's a 65 foot crawl - drilled the hole, pushed the cable through, done.  Was it that hard?  I have been under there numerous times, all the way to the front. Fun, no, doable, yes, but miserable? No.  The guy was standing there attempting to tell George that it would be at least 130 degrees underneath my house.  I just laughed. It's WAY cooler under my house than it is outside!

It's done. Cox is anyway. I guess.  I'll have to go out front and inspect the damage and see if they screwed up any of my plants with their install. 

Century Link?  Ongoing story.

You wanna know what blew my mind? I had my Verizon Hotspot out here while they had internet shut down checking whatever.  I ran a speed test on it, the first one came back at over 16,000 mgps!! The second went  down to 12,000, the 3rd went clear up to the 17,000 range.  NO, it doesn't always work that well, but yes, I was pressing buttons and it was moving right along from one site to another.  

I just checked my credit score.  I do so about once every 6 months.  I don't figure it's going to change that fast either for good or worse.  It's up about 50 points from the last time I checked it - but it's still bad.  That because it is still showing that I am late on my mortgage payment and it also doesn't show that I paid the car off or the credit card that I paid off. It has one credit card flagged because I was late on a payment.  The late payment? July of 2008.  Are you seriously going to tell me that a late payment some 5 years ago should negatively affect my credit?

And then there's the medical thing I forgot about.  It's on there.  Less than $100, but any negative on there regardless of how much affects your score. I'm going to pay that one off and get rid of it, but I am going to try to convince them to remove it off of my files completely if I agree to pay off the full amount.

They may not do that, but I am going to ask anyway.

I don't know how long it takes for companies to update the thing to show the activity that has been made.  Paying off the car loan should be a very good thing.  Must take longer than a month, apparently, so next month I am going to check again.  To think that at one point, I had my score up to almost 700.  Oh well.  Just keep working at it and bring it back up again.
George's company is paying to have Cox internet installed. Here's the problem with people nowadays: You can tell them facts and things that are extremely relevant to a situation and it will go over their head like they never heard it.  George told everyone - Cox, his company - that there is no Cox cable coming into the house and neither has their even been.  There is no cable running from the street.  George told them all of that, repeatedly according to George, but, of course, it falls on deaf ears.

So, they show up today.  Before they get here, I'm thinking: running conduit from the street to the house.  Blue stake will have to be called and a very long trench will have to be run.  Blue stake hasn't been out there and the dude that showed up?  NO way was he digging any trenches.  This guy was neatly dressed with a more-than-casual shirt on, tucked in, hair neatly kept: this guy is not a trench-digger.  And so it was.  I was standing there listening to him, he switched to Spanish.  He intoned the words: "no se puede".  It can't be done, I can't do it, whatever, that's what it means, non-happening event.

So, his supervisor is coming out in an hour to do - what - tell George that a trench has to be dug and conduit installed? lol  Okay, arrange for that, please, if not, I have contacts from work to get it done.  I am not doing that.  Well, I would have if I were going to have Cox installed for my own personal use - not paying a construction company some unbelievable rate to bring a Ditch-Witch out and churn out a trench.

I can rent my own Ditch-Witch if it came down to that and have it delivered to the house and picked up.  But, this is part of the reason I don't have Cox cable internet - yet.  Lol.  Cox isn't going to say they won't do it.  They're just going to say it's going to cost more money to have it installed, is my guess.  I am sure they have a company or companies they contract out to to have come over and do the trenching and conduit laid.

So, in the end, this is actually going to help me out quite a bit.  I won't have to pay for any of this, it will be done and I will be one step closer to having Cox internet in my house.

Speaking of internet.  Century Link is coming out yet again. I called them again today - the speed has been down for a week, I finally got tired of the length of time it takes to access any site - and told them I had run 7 speed tests on fully 7 different test sites.  The results were anywhere from 3.8 to 5.6 mpbs.  Yeah, unacceptable.

The first lady on the phone? Philippines.  They don't argue anymore when you ask them to be switched to America, they just do it.  As I figured, the first lady I got in the U.S. was going to argue with me about the speed.  She informed me that none of those sites were not "legitimate", of which I balked out.  She then said the only site they take as proof is their site.  Yep, I responded, I don't doubt that.  So I went to their site while on the phone and it came up as 6.5.  Closer, but still not 7.7.  Doesn't matter, the woman intoned, it's within 20% and our guarantee is within 20% of the target speed.  Bunk again. Let me speak to your manager.

The manager gets on and starts giving me the same rap.  While she is doing that, I sit back down at the computer and run the test again.  This time, 5.3.  That is NOT within 20% and I told her I just ran it again and from the verbiage of the first lady I talked to, it IS on YOUR computer screen, you can see it for yourself.

I then began running the test over and over, it came up with wildly fluctuating results varying from 3.8 to 9.6. I left the last one on the screen showing 3.490, less than half the speed I am supposed to be getting.  So, yes, a tech is coming over again.  I was assured that they would fix it this time.  I replied that that is exactly what your company told me last time.  And the time before that, and before that, look it up how many times service techs have been out here for the same, exact reason and all of them have never been able to identify what, exactly, the problem is.

I left it at that. They are coming out today to "finally" figure out what is going on by allegedly sending out a "higher tier" level technician.  I'll be asking that technician about that when he arrives.  But in reality? Once George gets this Cox thing squared away and the line - well I am going to ask them to run 2 lines while they are at it - is installed, I am definitely going to find myself a good router and modem and switch to the greener side of the fence.  Okay, who knows if it is or not, but I have endured Century Link long enough.  They have sent out over a dozen techs over the years with the same problem arising every single time.  They either fix it temporarily or nothing changes.  The last time the guy put in a new router - for free of course - which at least fixed the problem of the signal being completely dropped and having NO internet feed at all.

I'm just going to tell the guy that he is one in a line of many techs that have been out here "figuring" out the problem and that whatever the problem is, it has never identified.  Not in an abusing tone, just a simple challenge: can you please figure out what's going on here?  When I have the full 7.7 going, it's fast enough.  It's not mega speed but it does the job well enough. If they could actually figure out what's going on and fix it once and for all, I would probably stay with the company.  I have my rate reduced to $25 per month for a year and after that back to normal rate which is $45, which is $10 cheaper than Cox.  However, the $55 tier for Cox is twice the speed, I think 15 mbps.  That would be blazing fast in my world and I know Cox has even faster speeds, up to 50.  But I am not paying over $100 per month for internet, no thanks.

And finally, a huge-joke-of-an-article explaining how to protect yourself against a home invasion. Taser guns.  So, a taser gun is going to stand up against a handgun?  Home invasions around these parts have been executed by people armed with handguns.  Your taser gun is going to be worthless against such.  I was laughing at this article by the time I got through with it.  It was all about everything but the use of lethal force. I guess if you are a person that simply won't use lethal force, be my guest.  Me?  I'm going to show up with my 12 gauge shotgun or my .40 caliber S&W40VE and they are going to get it right back in their face.  My first line of defense is no front door.  Second line of defense is a completely fenced property with only the very front of the house not fenced in.  3rd line of defense: surveillance cameras.  4th line of defense: large, loud dogs.  5th line of defense: only unlocked entrance in very rear of house, I would see someone walking by before they got there.  Last line of defense listed about: lethal force.

It ends the story with the following: "Finally, and perhaps most importantly, never try to be a hero — especially if the intruder has a gun.
As the National Crime Prevention Council says, "If someone tries to rob you, give up your property — don't give up your life."

Really? What about the robbers who don't care if you are submitting to them, doing everything they say and they still shoot you anyway?  I've seen it over and over again in the news.  Trusting the police are going to get there in time?  Good luck!  When are police around when something is actually going on or arrive in time to defuse a situation?  It happens, yes, but not that often.  You could be robbed, shot and killed and those people gone before they ever show up.  My best line of defense is to be prepared.  If someone came through the back door I would be out of the line of fire in a millisecond.  It's a utility room and I'm 40 feet away from it and the first 20 feet is a narrow enough walkway with limited line of sight.  Dive into the living room, head for my bedroom and yes, get out the shotgun.

Yeah, I have replayed that scenario over in my mind just a few times considering the amount of crime in this city.

And that's the name of that tune.

I had a series of discussions that went on for several days some years ago with the boyfriend of a tenant that was living here.  He was/is a computer geek type of person.  One of his biggest pet-peeves is Microsoft Automatic Updates.  SHUT THEM OFF AND LEAVE THEM OFF PERMANENTLY, was his advice, with his adamant observation that such updates load up your computer with "junk" that slows it down.  The more of it you download, the slower your computer gets.

Just make sure, he advised, that you have good anti-virus software and you won't have to worry about the updates.  I had my doubts, aren't some of those updates put on there to fix glitches within the software?  We went back and forth, but I let him turn off updates and left it at that, running both Avast and Spybot.  

I didn't have them shut off before on this newer computer, but I did shut them off this time around with fresh install, leaving it at allowing me to install them whenever I wanted, if at all.  I turned the blooming thing on this morning and what pops up?  Don't turn off your computer, installing 1 of 2 updates, yada yada yada.  I KNOW I set that thing to not do that.  Well this freaking thing did it's up date, turned off the computer, turned it on, reconfigured and off and on and off and on and off and finally on again - about 15 minutes of this nonsense.  Accessing Security under Control Panel, sure enough, it reset it self to automatically downloading and installing updates. 

I just got out of that thing 10 minutes ago.  It said it had 38 optional updates but no "important" updates.  Now? Just 10 minutes and now the thing is saying 17 important updates.  So WHAT, exactly, qualifies them as important?  I went to a list of the updates, 95% of them are "security updates", which is exactly what the geek dude was referring to.  But what if some of these updates are fixing glitches for access to thieves from outside sources?

Onto other things.  Such as the suggestion that the minimum age for receiving Social Security should be raised, according to "experts".  Unless I win the lottery, which I don't even play except rarely, I won't be able to retire until at least age 62 to start receiving those benefits on top of whatever money I have saved in my retirement account.  What kind of work, pray tell, would I be able to do at say, the age of 65?  Still drive trucks? Many do, I know that for a fact, but that's as long as your health stays good.  No guarantees there in life.  Last year, a guy driving an LTL truck came into our yard.  He was 75 years old.  Do I envision myself driving trucks at the age of 75? NO.

Whatever.  They've raided that fund over the years and now we are going to be in trouble starting in the year 2033.  Now, is anything going to be done about it before then?  It's such an unpopular subject with many constituents  that most politicians want to steer clear of the subject.  But the estimates are that it will only be able to pay 77% of the benefits you are now supposed to be able to receive.  The reason it is unpopular are myriad, but for me, it's because I have PAID INTO THAT SYSTEM FOR DECADES NOW.  It is NOT an entitlement!  If it is, it's because I am entitled to the massive amount of money I have paid into it!  

What I want them to do is make whatever changes that need to be changed and get it done NOW, not 20 years from now.  But with most other things the government does, I am miffed and have been for some time that they have raided that trust to pay for things that - they simply should have found other ways to pay for or better, just get rid of it.  

Speaking of politicians, I am very enlightened to see the recall effort going on in Colorado.  More of this, not less!  When politicians do whatever they want that goes against the majority of that person's constituency, get rid of them!  We don't need rogue politicians - of which there are many - that simply vote to do things their way and not even give any credence whatsoever to the voice of the majority.  Government knows best, that's their thinking, they are 'doing it for our own good'.  That group turned in DOUBLE the number of signatures needed.  I'm sure they did that on purpose to ensure that any disqualifications won't undo their hard work of collecting all those signatures.  This concerning senator Morse's vote for much stricter gun control in the state of Colorado.  

Whatever.  I'm keeping my views on Obama and all of the crap that is going on with that administration in wraps for now.  Some of the liberal news media is finally coming around and it may get interesting to see how much more dirt they are going to turn up.  It is, after all, their job to do so and when that's your job, well, that's all the motivation one should need to execute the parameters of that job efficiently.  Of course, there is always the political bias, but if a reporter really wants to be a real reporter, facts should over-ride political leanings.  Just my view of it. This newest revelation that senior officials are using "secret" government email accounts could get quite interesting indeed.  These people are in public office and really shouldn't enjoy any kind of privacy in terms of whatever they are doing on paper or in email as the public should - which it doesn't anyway.  I read an article yesterday of a reporter that basically uncovered, through a government officials statements, that any email you have ever written can be brought back and up.  That's kinda scary, isn't it?  Does the government have the right to have access to every email account of every person that has one and everything they have ever written in those accounts?  I most certainly do not believe so. Talk about government intrusion.

Umm, changing the subject yet again, I ordered yet another tree online yesterday.  Strike that, I just ordered a bag of seeds to try and grow one of trees on my own.  I did, with the help of a facebook friend, find a live version of one of the trees available on line for $18 something plus $14 shipping.  I didn't want to pay that much, I don't mind planting all the seeds in various pots - indoors to start with I think - and see if I can get one or more growing.    

Vacation.  Day 2 off of work.  Tuesday morning.  Still undecided about going up north.  I am content to be here and do nothing.  I didn't think I would be that happy just sitting around doing nothing besides yard work and pond stuff, but so it is.  The only thing that I find somewhat annoying is one particular person that walks in and out and in and out and in and out all day long.  

The $350 check finally went through the bank. The last of the Mohicans.  Okay, the last of the big ones that I paid out with the loan I got.  There isn't anything else pressing - well that I have to get done now  that can't wait unless that fan motor goes out on the AC unit.  I dunno.  I do know that my paychecks are down - by about $250-$300 per check because OT hours are done and gone with.  Only if the work picks back up.  No idea.  I'm not a genie and I have no idea if/when we might start getting enough work back to be able to have OT hours.  It's a significant chunk of change per month to lose that much money.  At the same time, I no longer have a car payment and one credit card payment is done, gone and that card is cancelled.  Has been for a long time.  I just was paying the minimum payments.  Which didn't account for much since this particular company charges a $6 per month fee just to have their card, plus other fees plus high interest rates.  I was glad to have that money drain gone.  

Well whatever.  I need to get busy.  One pond filter left to go and other things out there to get done plus I am considering doing a major cleaning to my bedroom.  It needs it, lol. 



Short trip, got that over with. I no more than got back to the yard and left for home when I got a text from yet the newest version of a di...