marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I'm not posting a full screen shot with location, latency information (48ms - actually kind of awful) and protocol (IPv6) so you'll just have to take my word for it, but the initial speed test - while we were still on the phone with Level 5 tech support after he fixed our download speed - shot up to a comparatively decent 578.75mbps:

A screencap showing our new download speed at 578.75mbps - really freaking fast, in other words

I want this screencap framed. Better yet, I want this download speed.

Alas, it was not to be: subsequent tests show speeds as high as 150mbps (entirely on the kitchen laptop, which has the wireless N spec - the prototype of wireless N, in other words - and yet still it flies) to as low as the usual 30-45mbps on other devices around the house, but hey, I can look at this screencap, at what was for a few seconds, and dream.

It's not an unusual speed in South Korea, after all. And obviously it's possible here. The price, though, probably isn't within reach for most of us.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

After we brought the modem home one hot and disgusting day toward the end of last month in between ceaseless rain storms, Other Person called Comcast to help us troubleshoot it. The modem was simply not cooperating; we'd exchanged the old one to fix download speeds as low as 1.5mbps when we're supposed to be getting 75mbps down and no less than 30-45 over wifi, but even with the new modem there was no improvement.

OP wound up speaking to what, back in the day, we'd call Level 5 tech. The guy who worked with him over the phone (it was on speaker so I could listen and participate as needed) was well-spoken and clearly knowledgeable, as well as extremely patient and nice, but couldn't figure it out. He walked OP through a number of steps and processes to no avail, before he got the idea to log into our modem as us and make some adjustments.

This meant granting himself access to our gateway admin panel (the panel you normally log into over 10.0.0.0.1, or similar) which made me a bit nervous because I tend to lock things down like Fort Knox the same day we bring each modem home (and this is our third one in a year, so I've gotten rather good at practicing really tight security) but I consented simply to get the modem running right.

Well, it got running right (I'll post an image of just how fast our wifi is on the laptop we keep in the kitchen to use while we're cooking or hanging out nearby, maybe as my next post, only because it is rather funny by itself) but the possible tradeoff for that was when I logged into our Comcast account later on that night, the wifi page told me the modem was no longer ours.

But this was impossible with the way Level 5 would have left things for us. He specifically asked permission to use our last modem's broadcast name (let's say it was Cowboy, though it was not) and our last wifi password (let's say it was c0mca5t5uck5, though it was not) while he was in there making his adjustments*, which we allowed him to do for the sake of expediency.

But when I logged into Comcast later on that night instead of seeing the gateway broadcasting as Cowboy with the password c0mca5t5uck5, I saw this:

Instead of seeing our wifi broadcast name and password, I saw info belonging to someone else on our Comcast account page

The screencap shows our gateway broadcasting with the wrong name and password. To protect the information from search indexing I'm not posting the text.

I'm like, who is L*, and what kind of password is that, because neither I nor OP would ever choose it. There is and has never been a gateway named L* in our area, so it didn't seem like it could be an odd, local mixup on Comcast's part, not to mention our wifi was literally broadcasting as Cowboy - not as L* - even as I saw this strange name and password on the page, so it also didn't seem possible a stranger had overtaken our router. And again, our Level 5 told us he used Cowboy and c0mca5t5uck5 when he went into our router to make his changes, so he should not have been at fault for why the broadcast name and password were showing up as someone else's.

At this point I was wondering if I should call Comcast as I realized I hadn't once logged into the admin panel myself to do my usual Fort Knox lockdown, when suddenly I thought to just refresh the page. Sure enough, the reloaded page showed our broadcast name as Cowboy and the password as c0mca5t5uck5. Multiple refreshes didn't bring the page back to showing the wrong name and password, so at that point it looked like the problem was solved - but not knowing what caused it has been sort of bugging me ever since.

* Edited after posting to more accurately explain what Level 5 did.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

I'm tired of thinking a business might finally be correcting course (see anything I've written about Comcast, which uses bait-and-switch tactics for basic income flow the same way AOL uses their pitiful remnant of remaining dial-up customers) only to have them turn tail on me as soon as I say nice things about them and try to get on with my life.

Case in point: yes, Comcast has taken back my credits on last month's bill. Yes! Again. For something like three months running they've gleefully pulled this Lucy at Charlie Brown "I promise I won't pull the football away" trick. I'm thinking I'm not going to fight it directly, but still might give them one more call for Old Time's sake, because how am I supposed to go more than a few weeks without calling them? I wouldn't be me anymore, not after playing almost three solid years of their games.

When I call it'll be just like good Old Times: they'll offer me the world, or at least to fix what they've done wrong, I'll get all weak-kneed and goo-goo eyed at such soothing promises, then as usual they won't fix it and I'll have to call them back because for the thousandth time they've lied to me again, but then instead of duking it out with them, this time I'll pursue some other option. It is that time of year, after all, when I do things like that.

And nope, I don't mean another blog. At least not anytime soon. But I can't say exactly what I might or might not do (because I'm still too white-hot-mad to think about it; it can take time for me to stop boiling and start planning) only that it shall be dealt with.

In the meantime, the lovely folks at BoA who I'll never trust again have finally agreed, after hours of phone calls over the span of the last three days, to rescind the $12 fee for a check I asked the check writer to cancel last week and (after many more calls, call transfers and hold-wait times) to lift the hold on the new check the check writer wrote to replace the cancelled one. So they finally made things right.

But they should never have done those things. If it's "illegal", as one rep told me a little over a week ago, for their bank to accept a check without endorsements on the back of it, then what are they charging a $12 fee to process it for? Why are their ATMs even programmed to accept checks without endorsements? If their ATMs can "read" the front of a check - and boy, they sure can - then their ATMs can "read" the back of a check and spit the damn thing out if it looks blank; it can't be that hard, really.

So if I've got this straight, they'll accept a check that's illegal to accept, then charge a $12 fee for what every rep has told me is "processing", though it's illegal for them to process it in the first place, right? I mean, I can see a good lawyer in my future should I choose to pursue this - which just for fuck's sake, I might - because I've got reps basically admitting to me that BoA is breaking the law by "processing" unendorsed checks.

Besides getting this check mess straightened out, we also managed to sell a few hundred dollars worth of stuff this week, but because work isn't what it should be - that's all around - we'll still barely make rent. And by "barely", I mean next week's lack of budget - there's nothing left after paying rent to budget for - is enough to make me not know whether to laugh or cry. Because of that I've resorted, as usual, to drinking (because I might just do both, which scares me).

But once the rent's paid and Other Person's phone gets renewed next week I'm leaving that fucking bank. It's down to Gulf Winds or some other credit union now because I'm done with Bank of America, done done done. No one has the right to deny me the use of my money, or to take it away from me, especially on what's possibly their totally illegal whim.

marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)
  • Comcast: done. No more phone calls or in-person visits for me. Saw the second credit in my account today, bringing the bill back to about where it was in July...

    A screencap of Comcast's website showing $75 and $50 credits given to me during 10-2016
  • Kittens: weighed. Last month Bowie weighed 7lbs, Pip was 6.5lbs, and Tab-Tab was 6lbs. Now Bowie and Pip weigh 9lbs and Tab-Tab is 8.5lbs.
  • Re-ordered flea medicine for all five cats. I thought I'd be able to use my Uni card (I take surveys through a university a few times a year that pay rather well) but due to the kitten's weights I was on the fence about whether to get the dose for under or over 9lbs. Bowie had a brief problem with tremors last time, so I figured if I did get the over 9lbs dose I'd buy in bulk and cut the pills down for Bowie and Tab-tab. That came out to just under $50 with one seller, but the card didn't go through for some reason, so I went back to my last seller and re-ordered what I got the last time. Two kittens will be slightly under-dosed (and buying both dose sizes for five cats actually cost more - too much to put on the Uni card) but I was going to under-dose Bowie anyhow to keep him safe, so oh, well.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Which, before I get started, reminds me *glances at title*...I have two problems with writing - besides, of course, the inability to proofread my own writing as objectively as I proofread in general, and a style so elastic that 10 years of online writing hasn't narrowed it down to anything in particular (but in truth, there are at least two major styles I display; one's very hard to use because I never use it, so it gives me a headache like the one I have right now; the other's conversational and therefore almost too easy to use; I don't like either) - commas and where they should go, and when to use 'that' or 'which'. And yes, I know the Internet's a thing I can use to look up the answers, but my mind riots against commas and wants to switch up when I use 'that' for 'which' with wild abandon and I'm getting so tired of fighting it.


  • The kittens need to be re-weighed for their next round of Activyl because the doses come in two sizes: over or under nine pounds. They were in the 6-7lb range a month ago but kittens do strange things, like grow, that I have to take into account in order to not under or overdose them.
  • The kittens completed their third round of dewormer two days ago. Never saw a worm again after the lone worm I reported before their first dose.
  • Tab-tab tried to reproduce with Pip the other day. They're boys, so I take it it's time to look into the removal of that which produces the need to reproduce. Income's been too low lately to consider it.
  • Roof's still not fixed. I was actually glad the due date of last week came and went because it was supposed to get fixed just before Matthew was to hit, so I figured the roof would get fixed, fly off or get broken by the trees in the next storm, then have to be fixed again. Spare me my rich landlord's crying about having to fix the damn roof twice. At least if it ever does get fixed, we're getting a new roof, end to end. No more leaking in my bed every freakin' time it rains. Yay-ah.
  • Comcast lied about giving me most of the credits discussed in this post. It's not that I never got them - I saw evidence of at least two: one under "My Account" on their website and one in an email confirmation, but the first $75 credit I saw was apparently rescinded by an auditor before it could be applied to my next bill, and the next $75 credit never showed up. While I had $50 credited by them last week to partially make up for one missing credit, I agreed to another $75 to settle up, but still haven't seen it, despite more promises made by an escalation agent than I can even count. Hours lost toward trying to get credits promised, both in person at the local office and on the phone: at least five. Years off my life over the stress of fighting with Comcast for the better part of three years over so much stupid shit: at least five. I've been in bad relationships with actual people that were easier to endure and ultimately to just get the hell away from than Comcast is.
  • I need to do more online surveys and start selling on eBay again. I put off doing eBay over the storm last month and haven't looked back and can kind of understand my trepidation over it now: I'm afraid another storm will hit and I won't be able to ship items on time because of it. Things like that terrify me because I want my customers really happy.
  • I need to roll my phone back toWin8, though it kills the battery to run Win8. 11-3-16: done, about a week later. Everything's fine except the battery. Pictures won't sync from Win10 Mobile to OneDrive. I can log onto onedrive.com and nothing on the phone now is there, which gives me the most fragmented mess of pictures I've had since before I owned smartphones. I have to manually import the pictures now but sometimes the laptop won't recognize my phone as something that can have a picture on it, another bug I can't contemplate without flailing, so it won't find anything to import and why, Microsoft, why do you make our lives such living hell.
  • The Dell got a new keyboard. Unlike my laptop's replacement keyboard, it's a genuine part and works flawlessly. I wish I had it that easy on my HP - but, fwiw, the seller's refunded 75% of the purchase price, so ultimately I only paid $5 for it.
marahmarie: my initials (MM) (Default)

Other Person has gotten the Dell laptop working again. The "i" and "z" keys sometimes stick or die and yesterday, of all things, the apostrophe quit so I had to copy one out of a Google search for "apostrophe", because I'm really nothing without contractions. Today the apostrophe's fine and after I sat my index finger on the "i" for a few minutes it sprang to life, as well. The rest of the keyboard seems up to speed and the laptop no longer freezes.

I didn't pay attention to what he did to fix it because I was on his tablet, because my tablet keeps freezing up now, too, but from glancing at him now and then I gather it involved taking the laptop apart, blowing some things out, re-seating other things, re-assembling it, and perhaps the chanting of incantations. The Dell cost me nothing, I've already fixed it once, and I would've tossed it rather than gone through what he did, but I'm kind of glad now that he bothered. My blog looks pretty good on it (better than it does on our tablets - those turn the page gutters an ugly dark tan color that I wouldn't have picked myself).

My replacement laptop keyboard's due here by the end of the week, but I'm worried about it being a crapshoot, so I'm keeping the packaging and will re-seal it like new to turn around and re-sell ASAP if it doesn't work out. The thing is, since the storm, my existing keyboard's bent toward the top middle, so I'm thinking it's because something under the bent part corresponding to the motherboard overheated and warped, in which case no keyboard (except an external) might ever work again.

If it does turn out to be useless, I'll need a new external keyboard because the one I'm using now has multiple dead keys, just like the laptop. The dead keys on the external aren't dead on the laptop so I've just been using both of them at once. I wish y'all could see this - I'm like a DJ working keyboards instead of turntables, which is sort of amusing.

We've lost power four times since the storm, for anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Last night was for a few minutes, a few days before it was for a few hours, there was a quickie the night before that, and it was out a few hours the weekend before last. Every time we've lost power since the storm Comcast's cable modem has totally wigged out. It's always been slow - it takes a good five minutes to reboot, find its own ass, feel everything out and start pumping signal again, but since the storm you can add "find its own signal" to the list of things it takes too long to do. It has to reboot multiple times to finally stop claiming our signal's broadcasting when, in fact, it's not.

What sucks is that to our phones and computers the signal looks like it's broadcasting, and when you connect it doesn't show a yellow triangle to denote limited connection issues. But when you try to get online you can't, and when you check the network list it shows a full signal but then says next to that, "No internet", in classic, "Oh, NOW you tell me" fashion. So we waste a) five minutes waiting for the modem to reboot and decide it can do this, b) another five minutes for it to realize it can't do this and is totally lying, and c) another 5-15 minutes for multiple reboots to take place to finally push the signal back to life again.

I'm pretty sure it's a surge victim, though it was on surge protector - but there's nothing the storm didn't seem to touch - so we're planning a trip to our local Comcast office soon to get another modem so big I'll need both arms to carry it out. I'm going to hate having to swap these things out every time there's a storm.

To finish what I started the night the storm hit, I installed the latest build of Windows 10 on my now-collector's-item Nokia about five days ago. My phone restarted to install updates required to get Win10 (one tree had hit the house by then; the second tree was about to) just as the lights went out. My phone only installs updates over wifi, which didn't exist for another 14 days, so once wifi came back the phone automatically picked up where it left off.

I had to use the WinInsider app as a workaround against Microsoft's official app, which blocks my phone from getting Win10 because it's not recommended on phones with only a half gig of RAM. It's running great on my half gig, though. It's opening and resuming windows, menus, browsers and the app list faster than Win8.1 did and looks jazzier, too. The worst problems are with Edge windows - they tend to crash as much as Internet Explorer windows do on 8.1 - and with the native email app, which opens with the keyboard displayed every single time. I can't figure out why the email app thinks it's the messenger, but one press of the back button makes it go away, so it's more "annoyance" than fatal flaw.

Battery life, once the primary dealbreaker on Win10, is actually better now than it is on 8.1, so if you're an 8.1 user with just a half gig of RAM it might pay to go the WinInsider route and switch to Win10 to preserve battery life, but no, I never said that, EULAs be damned. It's helped my battery - a lot. On 8.1 I had to keep screen brightness on "low" to get the battery to last more than a few hours, which made the screen really, really hard to see because my eyes, as we know, are not the greatest. On Win10 I can get 12+ hours on a single charge with brightness set to "high", which means it would last even longer on a lower setting (there's a "medium", too).

I mostly upgraded to Win10 to use my bank's official app, which isn't available on Win8/8.1, but the one thing I wanted it for - to deposit checks, which I get a fair amount of each month - isn't working. It tells me it took pictures of the checks successfully, then says it can't read them, and gives me tips on how to take the pictures so they come out better. Reading through the tips, I can see I've done exactly what they suggest, yet the app still fails to read my checks.

The worst thing about Win10 Mobile is the News app. I don't know if I've discussed it before, but I've been addicted to it on Win8/8.1 for years. It shows lists of headlines with a tiny thumbnail next to each one. You click an item and it opens full page with larger pictures, which, if you click on those, can be pinched and swiped from full-size (like the actual size they were published at, which can sometimes be huge) back down to article size. If you swipe left you get thumbnails of all the pictures in the article, and you can swipe through those without the accompanying text, or cycle through them with accompanying text, one picture at a time.

It's the greatest app for looking at pictures, but it's MIA in Win10. You can't change picture sizes anymore - the medium-ish thumbnails found in the articles are completely WYSIWYG, which results in a loss of context because pictures are so often essential to understanding what's going on.

The other thing missing in Win10 News is the entire list of headlines. Now there's huuuuuuuge thumbnails and huuuuuge titles with loooong blurbs, so you have to scroll and scroll and scroll to see even a tiny bit of what's going on. I liked the cleaner, simpler, and for lack of a better example, Drudge Report-style lists (they're much nicer/calmer-looking than TDR, but otherwise it's the same idea) and the fact that the lists were truncated at 3-5 items per topic with no blurbs (you click on a topic name to see the full list of headlines on one page).

There's no truncation in Win10 now, just endless scrolling. It's highly inefficient, and totally breaks my reading flow.

It's gone from:

WORLD

This item
This item
This item

To:

World

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

This item

*huge thumbnail here*

Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah
Blah blah blah blah blah
blah blah blah blah...

And you can just rinse and repeat forever. It's awful.