GE CARES – About What?

Oh this is rich. You have probably seen the GE adds on TV that claims they are now Digidustrial – a mix between Digital and Industrial. Well my recent experience with my GE washing machine leads me to believe they have swung the pendulum a bit too far out of their experience base. I called GE Cares this morning and they told me that before they come out for a service / warranty call that I need to reset the machine. Fine – where is the reset button I ask. There isn’t one – you have to follow this procedure:

– Unplug the washer for 2 minutes exactly

– Turn the Load Size selector knob to Small

– Turn the Wash Cycles selector knob 6 times past the Drain and Spin cycle stopping on Drain and Spin

– Plug the washer back in

– Within 12 seconds open and shut the lid 6 times

– Press the Start button – the lid will lock and it will squirt water twice and then engage in a violent spin (direct quote) and drain cycle

– After it finishes let it sit for 30 minutes and then try a load of laundry

– If you still have problems call us back

Well needless to say that didn’t work – I was afraid to call back – I figured they would ask me to burn some incense next and chant! I called them back and told them I had to unplug it since the pump wouldn’t stop running – they are coming out next Thursday!

All the while I have been wondering how much did this software reset procedure cost them to develop instead of a simple reset button? They should stick with Industrial and Light Bulbs!

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Comcast is the Motor Vehicle Department of Cable TV

That's Strike Two on Comcast – and both in the same day! 

Strike One was my bill came and for no discernable reason it went up from $200 to $300! I called for an explanation and they told me my current plan was no longer available.

I asked them what options did I have since I refuse to pay that much a month – they proceeded to tell me that I could sign up for an option that gives me everything I currently have and throws in another premium set of movie channels (to go along with the four I currently have). I then asked them the price for this and miraculously it is down to the $200 rate. When asked why they didn't just move me to that plan and they responded that isn't what they do. 

While they had me on the phone they offered to upgrade my cable modem to their latest for no additional charge – and they threw in that they could come out today between 4-6 pm. Sounds too good to be true – more channels and faster Internet speeds – sign me up! So I rearrange my work afternoon schedule and make it home for close to 4pm – Comcast calls me around 5:15 on my home phone and proceeds to tell me they will have to reschedule since I am not home – but wait – you called me on my home phone and are trying to tell me I am not home – yep – they said the technician is sitting in the driveway at my address and town and I am not there – funny – I walk out into the driveway and it is empty – they hung up on me (this would be Strike Two)! 

I call them back around 6ish and they say the tech is still coming and that they will give me a $20 credit for my inconvenience – but where is my new modem! It is 8:30 pm so I am guessing they are not coming tonight – I guess I will go ahead and book them for first thing Saturday morning so I can spend all day waiting for my faster speeds! 

The planets align and we push the sun up one more time!

So when you have seen as many summer solstices as I have you realize there are some good days and some not so good days and if you are fortunate the number of good days outweigh the bad. But every once in a while you have a day where the planets align – when you least expect it. Today was one of those days. 
The day started off looking to be a not so good day – my beloved BlackBerry screen went Black – there have been some warning signs over the past month but I was in denial. It has “blacked” out on me a bit over the month but after 30 seconds of profuse sweating (me – not the phone) it would jump back to life. The phone was still alive but I couldn’t see anything on it – it would ring and I couldn’t answer it, it would buzz and I couldn’t check messages – I was headed towards a breakdown. 

I have replaced quite a few parts over the years on this phone but it has never acted like this. As I searched for solutions (and spare parts – which are getting harder to come by) I was slowly accepting that I might have to succumb to pressure and use my daughter’s old iPhone. Out of desperation I called Joe – the guy in the basement of the admin building at work – I had heard that over the years he used to tinker with BlackBerries and might have a part or two laying around. Joe was happy to actually have a visitor in the basement and was quite chatty but he had not seen symptoms like my phone was exhibiting before. But he did offer up a box of spare parts he was getting ready to bring to the electronic recycling place – nothing too exciting – some old BlackBerry connectors and cables and a few other miscellaneous parts. This was better than I had hoped for but then it happened – there was the gravitational shift and this is where the planets actually aligned. There was one more thing he was bringing to the recycle plant – a brand new, still in box, untouched by human hands, BlackBerry Q10 – for a BlackBerry fan in 2017 this is like the Holy Grail! Oh – you want this – we were getting rid of it – go ahead and take it.  
I was trying hard not to tremble. I was so excited and yet I didn’t want to take it out of the box and tarnish the glowing aura surrounding the boxed beauty. So I rush home after work and figured let me wheel the suffering patient into the operating room one more time. Eleven tiny, tiny, tiny, screws later and some careful prying apart and I have the internals once again exposed – and what do I find – a damaged connector – did I mention I had a box of connectors! 
So my BlackBerry gets to push the sun high one more time. Now I have to get ready for bed – and tuck in my boxed beauty 🙂  Happy First Day of Summer!!!

Steve Jobs is my Khan Noonien Singh – Khannnnnn!!!!

“To the last I grapple with thee. From hell’s heart I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.”

Yes – it was time to replace my daughter’s phone – her badly fractured iPhone screen was becoming unusable.  The first stop was the Apple Store to see if it was repairable, and if so, how much would it cost. I was greeted at the door and told I needed to speak with the guy in the green shirt with glasses – hello – all of the employees there were in green shirts and wore glasses.  I finally found the right green shirt and he told me it would cost $129 to replace the screen. Great – can I drop it off?  Oh no sir, you will need to make an appointment to drop it off.  Why – I just want to leave the phone and pick it up when it is ready. That isn’t how we do things here sir, you need an appointment to drop it off! What do they think they are – a plastic surgeons office!  First open appointment to drop your phone off is in four days – are they really that busy!

So the next option is the Verizon Store to see about a new phone.  They had plenty in stock and the monthly payment was tolerable so we decided this was the quicker route. We got the phone along with a new case and tempered glass screen protector and they activated the phone while we were there – so far so good.  I asked the salesperson if they would move my daughter’s  contacts over and he said that with Apple products you are better off going through iTunes – I should have known then I was in for a long night – last time I did battle with that poor excuse of software my daughter and I were not on speaking terms for days. Note that I do need to say that we don’t use iCloud – especially since Kim Kardashian’s iCloud photos got hacked. 

So off to home with a new phone to perform the “simple” task of syncing contacts. The initial backup of the old phone went pretty quickly – less than thirty minutes – then the fun began. I connect the new phone and proceed to setup the new phone and restore everything from the backup (per Apple instructions). It turns out the backup is incompatible with the new phone and I was directed to update the operating system of the old phone and then make a new backup. OK – ninety minutes later and we are updated and have a new backup. I go back to setting up the new phone and when I get to the restore from backup point I now am informed that the old phone had a newer operating system so I would have to update the new phone. Another ninety minutes later and we are ready to try again. Now I am told the backup is corrupt – ugh – I could have typed all the contact information in from scratch faster than this. So I wipe out all backups and create a brand new one – I wasn’t sure if it would restore but surprisingly it did! 

Everything came over – except pictures – but that part wasn’t a surprise – we learned the last time that the photos we take aren’t really ours – Mr. Jobs owns them and he decides how you can use your photos – but that is the subject of another rant.

And people wonder why I still use a BlackBerry!

Worlds are Colliding

I want to apologize up-front to everyone that may have gotten bombarded by a flood of social media “friend” and / or “follow” requests from me this weekend – there is a story behind it (isn’t there always 🙂 )! All I can say is blame it on my adolescent behavior and strong need to have access to SnapChat filters!  One present my daughter received  for her recent birthday was a new docking station for her iPhone (one with a lightning connector). This meant she could stop using her old iPhone as a bedside alarm clock and music player (her old one had the old style connector). Seeing that I had now inherited her old iPhone 4s (WiFi – no phone service), I figured I would check it out in more depth (at some point my BlackBerry is going to stop working although I just replaced the keyboard on it so I should get another three years easy). Other than long, drawn-out battles with iOS and iTunes every time the kids get new phones, my main exposure to iOS has been with a really old iPod Touch (still running iOS 4 and no camera) which I use as a music player. Before you laugh, the old iPod Touch is great for what I use it for since it contains no personal information so I don’t care if it gets lost, dropped, falls in the mud while I am working in the yard, or gets full of sand at the beach – you get my point. Anyway, I wiped her old iPhone clean and began to set it up with me as the new “owner” – this was an ordeal unto itself since once iTunes gets its hooks into a user, it never wants to let go – it took hours to convince it that I was the rightful owner and it was ok to relinquish control from iCloud, iMusic, iGiveUp… Once that was done, I began setting the phone up – I tend to be pretty careful about access permissions on my phones – remember I use a BlackBerry! Over the years I have gotten used to how BlackBerry will not do anything without your permission – it even asks you for permission before it updates for Daylight Savings Time 🙂 – I successfully got the phone setup (WiFi only) and I must admit I was intrigued by how well things seemed to go – I even had my first “conversation” with Siri – she is quite pleasant. So now onto the Apps (and finally access to my SnapChat filters). I proceeded to install ALL of the social media apps – yes I have an addiction and my kids are working on an intervention – but that is another story. Everything went very smoothly – until I realized iOS had decided I needed to improve my communication and sent out cross-app requests for friends! I felt like George Costanza – world’s were colliding – my BlackBerry would never do this without first asking permission (several times) which I always denied – I prefer to keep control over what friends are in what social media circle. So there you have it – the reason behind why you may have gotten so many requests – honestly I am not stalking. By the way, this really long post has been provided by way of my trusty old BlackBerry 🙂 P.S. – the filters are awesome!

RIP Mr. Nimoy

“The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many”, “I have been – and always shall be – your friend”, “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels; his is the most… human.”

Since hearing of the death of Leonard Nimoy, my thoughts have been swirling with quotes from Star Trek. It was hard enough to deal with the fictional death of Mr. Spock in The Wrath of Khan (I still shed a tear when I watch the movie – or even a short part of it), but at least he was returned to us, and went on to Live Longer and Prosper.

For those that know me well, it is probably not a big surprise that I am a big fan of the sports and entertainment industry, and an even bigger fan of celebrities (and their characters), real and fictional. Sometimes the lines blur and are hard to distinguish. For example, I know Hugh Jackman has been in numerous roles, but that does not matter – Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine.

When celebrities pass away (again either real or fictional), I often find it upsetting. Even totally fictional deaths get to me (if you couldn’t tell, I have a hard time with death).

Over the past 5ish decades, there have been some celebrities whose deaths have upset me more than others – Lady Diana, Whitney Houston, and Robin Williams come to mind – all of them dying at too young of an age. And then there are a few that have shaken me to my core – there was Mickey Mantle and now Leonard Nimoy.

Mickey Mantle was a special case that is truly linked to childhood memories. Since before birth, I was a NY Yankee fan, so it goes without saying that I was a Mickey Mantle fan. He was my first introduction as a very young child to Larger than Life. The way he walked to the plate loosely swinging his bat like Thor’s hammer (another personal favorite but that is for another time). And his towering home runs – how could a little boy not grow up idolizing The Mick. Although at some level I knew I would not grow up to be the Center Fielder for the Yankees, as a kid there was always that fantasy that I could be the next Mickey Mantle. I clearly remember the day I got to meet him – it seems like yesterday. I was a young man and I was trembling while waiting in line to meet him and shake his hand. When he passed away, it was like a part of my childhood was gone forever – all that was left were the memories.

Leonard Nimoy is another one of those special cases. I remember being 6 years old and watching the first episode of Star Trek and being so angry at my older brother because I wanted to watch Bewitched but he hid the TV channel knob (this was before clickers) so I couldn’t change the channel. I didn’t know it then, but my siblings and I were slowly developing into Trekkies! I have been an avid fan of Star Trek for almost my entire life, and I am particularly partial to the original cast. It has been said that much of the early Star Trek was “campy” but the show somehow delivered a strong message that the universe, and humans place in it, will somehow turn out alright. And Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Mr. Spock over the years was nothing short of outstanding. Whether he realized it or not in the beginning, Leonard was portraying to all of the people in the world that are not part of the “in-crowd” that you can fit in and contribute and be successful even if you are a little different than the cool kids. He made it ok to be smart and he showed that it was ok to struggle with expressing yourself. He also showed us that it wasn’t uncommon to have conflicted feelings. While I, and nobody I know, is half human / half alien, I think most of us can relate to what Leonard was going through as Mr. Spock.

While Leonard Nimoy did live longer than the other celebrities mentioned, that does not make his passing any easier for me. It feels like another piece of childhood is now forever gone.

RIP Mr. Nimoy.