Friday, August 31, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joys of Life - A Sunday in August 2012

                                                                    A lazy day, a decision to NOT "accomplish."
Three hours spent on the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. I have always felt too inadequate to persevere with it.  The puzzle was described as "easy" by Rex Parker, "the 31st Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe!," and many of his commentators.  Even though I used Google to help me with a few clues and ended up with three errors, for me it was a triumph just to finish it.              And I got ALL of the theme items.

Afterwards, reading a bit in Edward Rutherfurd's  "New York."  At times the characters are mere hangars on which to hang the historical events, but the book is (for the most part) highly readable and gives a good sense of  that very dynamic city from 1664, when it was New Amsterdam, to Summer 2009 in an Epilogue.  I am half way through, up to the Civil War.

Edward Rutherfurd has written two other novels that I want to read:  "Russka:  The Novel of Russia," and "Sarum:  The Novel of England.."  "New York" is 860 pages.  I plan to read his other novels on my Kindle.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I Guess I'll Live

  I just renewed my Consumer Reports subscription for 5 years.   I hesitated about doing that.  My health issues over the last 1 1/2+ years makes me wonder how many more seasons the Arlene Comedy Show will run.  This renewal is an affirmation that it might be picked up for at least that many years.

Subscription Expires:September 2012 Current Offer:
1 year $26 - Save over $58 off of the newstand price.
2 years $49 - Save over $119 off of the newstand price.
5 years $98 - Save over $322 off of the newstand price.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Evil Empire (revised)

When Ronald Reagan referred to the Evil Empire, he meant the Soviet Union.  He was wrong.                                                           
I have spent 10+ documented hours dealing with AT&T on the phone and through text communication.  Most of my impotent rage is directed at Connect Tech, a company  to which AT&T refers its customers when they think a customer's problem is related to software.  As it turned out, mine was not initially a software problem.
                                                                                                                  The difficulty with which I was dealing on Friday, July 13, was that I couldn't get my e-mail on my computer at my usual mailbox.  I was able to receive it on my iPhone and iPad and should have counted my blessings.  Or I could have followed some advice to use gmail proffered early in the process.  Instead (and foolishly), I turned to tech support at increasingly high levels of expertise (or so I was told.)

As it turned out, what started as a simple and minor problem, has stolen my time and cost me money to pay the computer geek that cleaned up most of the mess Connect Tech created. My advice:  DO NOT EVER LET CONNECT TECH REMOTELY "FIX" YOUR COMPUTER.  NEVER!  EVER!  NEVER!

Here's what the last 2+  weeks looked like at my house:
(In between all of these contacts, I was on hold for a very very long time.

July 13 (Friday):  (1 hour) with Customer Service and the first layer of techno geeks.  They tell me that my problem is a software problem - it wasn't (yet) - and that Tech Connect will fix the problem for a $50 fee. At the hour point on the phone, I am willing to pay the money.
(3+ hours) with Tech Connect; the company "takes over" my computer and "fixes" things remotely.  At the end of my time with them, my e-mail program is still not working.  TC tells me to be patient; that the line has a problem that technicians would be fixing

July 14 and 15 (Saturday and Sunday):  I discover that I have NO security on my computer AND my printer cannot print

July 16 (Monday):  (1+ hours) After being passed from one person to another, I reach Heidi in "Retention."   She tells me that she will reverse the $50 that I agreed to pay Tech Connect to deal with my e-mail program.  (Later I discover that the charge was not reversed).  She says she will connect me to tech support and I will not be charged.  The connection fails.  I eventually get  tech support.  I ask to be connected to a supervisor.  I am never connected to a supervisor.  The person with whom I dealing with tells me that her supervisor looked the problem over and says that  I should talk with "Risk Management."  She tries to connect me to RM.  The connection fails.  When I finally reach "Risk Management," they are closed.

July 18 (Wednesday):  (2 1/2 hours) Risk Management informs me that their department deals with claims against AT&T.  I don't want to make a claim;  I want my security programs back and my connection to my printer fixed.  They tell me to contact Connect Tech.  At the end of this second time with CT, my printer is able to print and I am told that my security programs are working.  Later I discover that they do NOT work. 

July 20 (Friday):  (1 hour) on the phone  I talk with Brian in Retention.  I want to make sure that I will not be charged for my calls to Connect Tech.  He assures me I won't be.  I tell him that I want a tech to come to my house without charge to fix the computer problems that Connect Tech has caused.   I am told that there will be a charge, but Retention will reverse it after the charge appears on my bill.  I need to call Retention for this to happen.  I tell Brian that I don't want to have to call AT&T again to reverse a charge.  I ask to speak to a supervisor.  After a long wait, I talk with Pranali who says that she will reverse the charge after it has posted without my calling.  I contact Customer Service to arrange for a technician to come to my house.  The tech comes, tells me that he doesn't deal with software issues, and DOESN'T charge me for his visit.  He also gives me his direct phone number.  
 That night my computer geek friend gets my security back. (21/2 hours)
August 1 and 2 or 3 (Wednesday and Thursday or Friday):  (1 1/2 hours)  Jason, following up with the  AT&T Survey I completed, tells me in our first conversation that he will help me deal with my remaining computer problems.  In Jason's second call, he says me that he found out that the problems that I am having with my computer can only be solved by Tech Connect ; they should be the ones to deal with the problems since they created them.   I tell him that I am unwilling to deal with Connect Tech again.  Jason assures me that he will pave the way for me to talk with the right person to get the job done.   We hang up.                                                                                                                     Jason calls me back a few minutes later with Ray at Connect Tech on the line.  He makes sure that Ray understands the situation.  Before Jason hangs up, he assures me that that AT&T will reverse the fees that CT will charge.  The amount at this point seems to be $15 for one time or $149 (it wasn't clear) and Jason says okay to both possibilities.  

As soon as Jason hangs up, Ray tells me that he needs to review my account.  He reads me a statement about the $149  that CT will be charging for its services.  He asks me to agree to the statement.  I do so.  He then passes me on to Joe who wants to discuss my account.  We discuss my account.  Joe hands me off to a woman who wants to discuss my account.  At this point, I have been on the line for 40 minutes with Connect Tech with people who only want to deal with the financial aspects of my account.  I have had zero contact with someone to deal with the problems that CT created in the first place.  I hang up in an uncontrollable rage.

  Afterwards, I leave a message on Jason's answering machine to describe my experience.  I am hysterical, a mad woman, at this point.

August 3 (Friday night):  My computer geek friend deals with the problems that have emerged since he worked on the computer.  (1 1/2 hours)  This time I insist that he accept payment for all 4+ hours that he spent fixing the problems created by CT.

August 6 (Monday):  I leave a message on Jason's phone telling him that I want to be sure that I will not be charged by Connect Tech and that I don't think that AT&T should have to pay them either.   I am also interested in making a claim.  I haven't heard from Jason since our August 3 conversation.

I would like to write and mean the statement:  AT&T and I cannot co-exist on this planetAs it stands, I can't even get rid of them in my life.  They provide the super-structure of the tools I use.  When I use my iPhone 3G, it is powered by AT&T.  Will that be the case when I go to Verizon at the end of my contract with AT&T?  What other options are there for my land line?  For e-mail, it is AT&T or Comcast. Comcast  doesn't have a particularly good reputation either.  (Other e-mail providers, like Sonic, use AT&T's super-structure.)

AT&T IS THE EVIL EMPIRE and I don't think I can escape living in it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Prey and Predator

Daisy (the prey) and Roi (the predator)
It's hard to see this in these pictures.  Looks can be deceiving.
I've been trying to train Roi,the orange tabby, to not chase and stalk, to not stare at Daisy when she's on her "safe chair" and suddenly pounce, to not corner her and attack.
Roi knows that he will get in trouble for following what is his instinct.
I am asking him to go against his DNA.
All my life, I have had cats (and a dog when I was a child.)
Never have I had a furry family member that didn't get along with another furry family member.
(I've had as many as three cats at a time.)
They've lived peacefully together and sometimes cuddled with each other.
(I have some strategies for training Roi up my sleeve that I haven't yet tried.)
The furry members of my family have always mattered to me, less so when I was bringing up human children, more now that they are the little ones in the home I share with the wonderful Gari (who shares my love for the animals in our lives.)
There was a time in my life when I had this tongue-in-cheek thought:  (I know) God doesn't hate me ' cause he created cats.
Cats bring so much joy and love to my life.
Right now Roi is testing whether this is true in his case.