Monthly Archives: November 2015

Only Child says TTC transit Toronto not the better way

Only Child complates Toronto transit snafus

Only Child contemplates Toronto transit snafus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The TTC, Toronto’s public transit system is embarking on many renovations, fixes and upgrades – both on subway lines, streetcar lines (read tracks and signals for these two) and subway stations. It is the latter that is causing me and many others grief. I agree that the upgrades, etc. are necessary. However, the way some are being mishandled with no concern for us the passengers, is what makes me very angry.

One example is the closure of bus platforms simultaneously at two subway stations for over a year – the Coxwell station and Woodbine station. On October 6, 2015 I wrote and mailed a letter of complaint and concern to the TTC head honcho, Andy Byford. Had to send it by regular mail to head office as I couldn’t find an email address for him. So far I have heard nothing back from him and Mr. Byford professes to be very pro customer service, including getting right on the subway and doing interviews right after problems surface. Not this issue – right now he seems more concerned with the mold and peeling ceilings at TTC headquarters.

Since writing my letter I have changed my mind about the new Woodbine station setup. The buses park and pick up passengers just around the corner (and I do mean almost at the corner) from the subway station. So passengers have what you would call a hop, skip and a jump to get from the subway station to board one of two buses and vice-versa. There are also two temporary shelters at the temporary bus “platform” which work well so far. Not so with the Coxwell station. Here are some excerpts from my letter to Mr. Andy Byford, which highlight these concerns.

The planned Coxwell Station setup is even worse – the stop right at the southeast corner of Coxwell Ave. and Danforth Avenue. The diagram from the June 23, 2015 presentation isn’t too clear if that is for buses going north and south or if those of us coming from the north to the subway station will also have to cross Coxwell Avenue and then walk up to Strathmore and along Strathmore to the actual subway station entrance. Same criteria of objection as for the Woodbine station apply with one additional fact. The subway entrance is on Strathmore. Why didn’t whomever made this decision have the buses turn onto Strathmore, line up there to let passengers on and off, and continue around the block as is the setup at Woodbine Station. At least passengers waiting for buses could wait inside the station. With the Woodbine set-up, all the heavy equipment was moved off Strathmore and onto TTC property by the actual Woodbine Station – so lots of road space. Couldn’t the same be done at the Coxwell Station? The buses already normally turn onto Strathmore briefly before entering the Coxwell Station.

This worrisome setup also begs two questions:

  1. Why are two consecutive subway stations having renovations done at the same time? Doesn’t whomever made the decision realize that many of us (depending on where we live) can take either an O’Connor or Woodbine bus from our homes to either Coxwell or Woodbine Stations? And vice-versa to return home? It would make more sense to renovate/upgrade one station first and then do the second station. I believe the Pape Station renovation wasn’t begun until the nearest large subway station’s (Broadview) renovations were completed.
  2. Although there were many things done wrong with the drawn-out Pape subway station renovation, one thing done right was to move the buses to nearby subway stations (like Donlands) when necessary and letting people know. This at least eliminated standing out in the open (Woodbine Station and upcoming Coxwell Station setup) during bad weather and a long hike during bad weather (Coxwell Station setup). Why couldn’t the same be done with the buses going through Woodbine Station and Coxwell Station? There are even fewer bus routes at those two stations than at Pape Station. Woodbine Station buses could go to nearby Main Station – a large station and Coxwell Station buses could go to Greenwood Station. Even if at the latter, buses had to park on Linsmore Avenue, it would be much easier access into a station as the main entrance is on Linsmore Avenue.

 

I can only conclude that the decision-making for these one-year closings were made by person or persons who don’t regularly take public transit but drive cars. I know you don’t drive and do take public transit, but some of your underling managers obviously don’t. How did that one slip by you?

Not to mention the time-line for these two stations’ upgrades.

With TTC fares constantly going up, I expect much better service for its riders. I also believe accessibility is now the law in Ontario and doesn’t that mean even when work is being done to make it so? If passengers fall on the ice because of the extra walking, has any consideration being given to possible lawsuits?

Some of my concerns have become reality. Because the TTC big whigs in their “infinite wisdom” decided to combine the two bus routes down Coxwell Avenue (the bus number changes)  if there are traffic problems for whatever reason on one line, it now affects the other. We had that problem on Sunday, with an annual Santa Claus Parade in the area covered by one line. And I wanted the other line to get to the library, so couldn’t take the Woodbine bus route as I do now.

Can’t wait until winter weather factors in or next spring and summer with all the marathon walks and the like occurring in Toronto, but that’s a subject for other blog posts when they actually happen.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Coxwell and Woodbine Subway Stations, Only child, Public Transit, Public Transportation, Toronto public transit, TTC bus and bus station upgrades

Only Child condemns Microsoft’s Windows 10 marketing

Computer_Assault_2I want to go on record as being 100 per cent opposed to the aggressive marketing Microsoft is doing with its new Windows 10. “Aggressive Marketing” is probably putting it mildly. Many of you with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 have experienced this attack on our computers. Some of you may have wanted to upgrade to Windows 10, but maybe not now. Some of you have had no choice.

The horror stories abide – just Google and get into some of the forums. The one that I think wins the award for most invasive and disrupting someone’s business and its functions is the fellow who was at a conference who turned on his laptop for notetaking and other conference business-related functions. Imagine his shock and surprise when he found Windows 10 downloading and later installing when he didn’t even okay it.

Since the October 2015 monthly Windows updates, the nasty Windows 10 icon has showed up in the updates box. If there are other updates listed you can get into the list of what is available (there is another way which I found by a fluke but can’t remember offhand) and hide it. Earlier this year, in previous monthly update, Windows snuck in an update numbered KB3035583 – details for it were just the usual security update blurbs. No indication that it prepared your computer for Windows 10 download and installation. Before that Microsoft had snuck in a “Get Windows 10 free” connection on your computer toolbar. Apparently, that was supposed to be their okay to do the nasty.

It has been a lot of reading online and trying different things to get the damn Windows 10 upgrade from even showing up in the update box when you click on Windows Update. Woe to you if you have your updates set to automatic and have been just letting Windows do the updates as you shut down your computer. You have to change your Windows Update Settings to “Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them.” And hide that KB 3035583 or maybe uninstall (like I had to do) first. Good luck. No guarantee that Microsoft won’t automatically download and install Windows 10 in 2016.

I always went into the Windows Update and checked it out, when the Update (the orange exclamation point) showed up in the Shut Down box). But until I figured out a way to stop it – for now – I was afraid to shut down my computer. In fact, I cancelled going to the doctor’s because of it. You might say this Windows 10 snafu is bad for my health.

This is more than a bad business marketing decision on Microsoft’s part. Microsoft is offering Windows 10 upgrade free to those with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 for a year. It is supposed to be optional? You think? Whoever came up with this marketing idea and those who put it into practice, should be named all over social media. And they should be fired. Because this is not ethical; this is not moral. It is an invasion of our privacy and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was illegal.

I was resigned to having to get Windows 10 when my current leased Dell laptop will run out next October and I leased another laptop. I figured that by then a lot of the bugs new systems get would be fixed (I know, there are always patches). Having lived with Windows 7 a few years back when it first came out and all the weird things that happened – I even had to have Windows 7 re-installed by a professional and that cost a fortune in my books. Now with Microsoft’s bigger than big booboo, I’m changing my plans. No offense to Dell, but I’m switching to a Mac. Ditto when the desktop PC’s lease runs out – but I have over two years for that. Meantime, I hope my son (who is in the computer business and encouraging me to get a Mac) will let me try out his Mac and give me some pointers on the differences in using a Mac and PC.

I bet a lot of others will switch to Macs. Microsoft you really screwed up this time.

Meantime, here are a few links to where I did my research. One of them is the well-known Windows and Office guru Woody Leonhard. I like his wit and knowledge. You can go to his webpage to read his regular postings on Windows and Office here 

The article is appropriately titled

How to clean the Windows 10 crapware off your Windows 7 or 8.1 PC

Here are a few more links, randomly selected, on the subject:

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/214070-how-to-delete-microsofts-unwanted-windows-10-download-files

http://blog.ultimateoutsider.com/

There is lots more – just Google for them.

 

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Computer problems, Consumer action, Life demands, Microsoft, Only child, Problems

Only Child’s hearing returns – problem list still long

Martin, Juni and me on the new couch. I'm the sloucher

Martin, Juni and me on the new couch. I’m the sloucher.

My hearing is back to normal thanks to the ear drops and the doctor flushing out my ears again. I’m grateful for that. A few days after that some of the respiratory gland stuff died down – at least it looks that way. Still have the tinnitus in one ear and some sinus problems but the latter could very well be from allergies. I want to get tested for allergies in the next few months.

This big scare made me think about all the problems – health and otherwise – I’ve had to face during the summer and the fall so far. One of my friends says I have a hard life and he is right. Sometimes I think someone or something has put a curse on me.

Won’t rehash my whole life – that’s for the memoir books. But a partial list of the problems over the last six months is scary enough. Besides the ear and respiratory problems mentioned above, the following has been happening.

  • got stung by a wasp with a local allergic reaction in August
  • tripped over picture hanging wire some asshole left on the sidewalk
  • water got in the basement with the rainstorm Oct. 28
  • constant problems with eaves troughs and tree overhanging and squirrels (I’ve been yelling “roadkill” a lot lately)
  • more house and property repairs/upgrades for safe living
  • many other ongoing health problems including oste0arthritis in my neck
  • too many wind and heavy rain storms causing worries about power outages, roofs, trees, etc. (Another one due here this Thursday – garbage collection day, of course)
  • too many good dishes falling down when I’m not near them – and of course breaking
  • vacuum cleaner hose detaching from vacuum
  • Utilities and businesses screwing up my accounts
  • Dealing with the city for partial green pickup and getting the sewers cleaned

To offset some of this I have a wonderful son and some wonderful friends. Many of you know that my son Martin paid for the new chesterfield that I purchased in August. Sunday, Martin, his girlfriend Juni and my school friend Margaret came over for dinner. But not just dinner. Martin drove Juni and Margaret here and Margaret brought a ton of fresh fruit, cakes (one gluten-free) and two bottles of wine (no we didn’t finish them and Martin as DD didn’t drink any) and Martin and Juni brought some lettuce greens for me to make a salad to go with our dinner. Juni helped me transfer digital photos from my camera to my laptop. I can never get the hang of it. Martin did some other computer stuff and also some minor house fix-its, like taping that vacuum cleaner hose solidly to the vacuum and changing the battery in the smoke alarm in the basement ceiling.

So, there are good and bad. Sometimes the bad is more than the good. It should be more good than bad, but when you look outside at this world (the weather is a good example – but more on that in another post) and see all the crap going on, all the bad things, no wonder people’s personal lives are a mess. It’s like constant uphill living. No smoothies except the drinks.

Like I said before, someone or something put a curse on me – perhaps right when I was born.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Anxiety, Bug bites, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Health, Health Seniors, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Life Balance, Life demands, November Weather, Only child, Power Outages, Problems, Rain and wind storm

Only Child has hearing problem terror

Only child ponders new disability

Only child ponders new disability

I have another big medical problem – I am now hearing impaired, particularly in my right ear, my better ear. Had been having a few intermittent problems with the left ear with my respiratory problems. Now the right ear has joined in the whole bad occurrence.

I have been back and forth to my doctor’s. He has flushed out my ears (which helped some) and he gave me a prescription for ear drops and will do more flushing on my next visit there later this week. May have to see an ENT specialist, an audiologist and get allergy tests as that might be at least part of the problem. This medical clinic has an allergy testing clinic and the clinic is about 10 to 15 minutes walk from my house.

The big scare came Saturday morning when I woke up and could barely hear out of my right ear. I couldn’t hear people speak (in person) unless they faced me and shouted. I couldn’t hear a lot of peripheral noises and felt congested. Strangely I had (and still have as of this posting) no problem hearing people when talking on the phone and I can hear myself speak. It was strangely eerie and very scary walking through No Frills to get some groceries and I could hear nothing except a couple of guys yelling at each other.

Since then some of my hearing has returned in my right ear, thanks to the ear drops and not sleeping on my right side. I can now hear hear people speak as long as they face me and don’t speak in low soft tones. And I can hear others speak on the buses. But I don’t know if my hearing will ever return to what was normal for me. Some of it may be also due to age and what I have to say to that is – if your health deteriorates too much with age is there any point in people living really long? From what I see around me, with few exceptions, most people who live long do so with a lot of medical problems.

Still, I will keep on writing (and gardening in the spring, summer and fall). My saving grace perhaps.  Another saving grace is that both my son and my ex are going to help pay for hearing devices – the balance of what an Ontario program doesn’t cover.

And yes, one of my terrors from last week’s posting happened – some water did get in my basement from all that rain – started coming in just before I had to leave for my East End Writers’ Group 15th anniversary presentation, so I was scrambling around the neighbourhood to beg someone to please check on my basement a couple of times during the evening. I found someone although not the usual person.

On this note I will leave you with a link to info about seniors and hearing loss. Heck anyone and hearing loss. http://www.chs.ca/facts-and-figures

Getting old is a pain – in the ears apparently.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Health, Health Seniors, Healthcare coverage, Helping Others, Life demands, Only child, Problems, Seniors, Uncategorized