Tag Archives: Computer Problems

Only Child looks for any silver lining

Only child contemplates the world we live in

Only child contemplates the world we live in

The world circa 2015 is going to worse than hell in a hand basket. Try nowhere in a rocket. Even Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, can’t save us.

Every day I wake up to more bad stuff – both in the wider world and personally.

The worst part may be that 90 to 95 per cent I didn’t cause.

Consider the following:

Worldwide: the weather – there is not a place in the world that is safe from extreme weather. Those who follow my blog posts here know who I blame for this (Hint: “dog” spelled backwards). Even waking up to the sun shining doesn’t provide much hope. Think skin cancer, windburn to evergreens, etc.

Worldwide: terrorism, financial debt, unemployment, overuse of too much technology, rudeness as the norm, etc.

Personal: problems with utility companies (don’t get me going here), computer problems, house and yard damage (much due to weather) and resulting financial problems and health problems, time management problems (some of the latter is my fault), etc.

I think you get the picture and it isn’t pretty.

The only solution seems to be to get away from it all – but where to go – a one-way ticket to outer space?

So I “hide” deeper in my writing. But excuse me – first I have to finish going through all the year-end bookkeeping for my business and do the tax stuff. No doubt to get “robbed” by the CRA – more money I don’t have much of to be forked out.

I am polishing up my tin can – a big tin can.

Lottery tickets don’t work for me.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Civility, Computer problems, Health, Income Taxes, Only child, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford, Sign of the Times, Technology overload, Technology problems, Uncategorized, Weather, Writing

Only Child says Mercury Retrograde caused communication problems

Mercury in Retrograde at work.

Mercury in Retrograde at work

I call it the polar vortex of communications going haywire. I’m referring to Mercury in Retrograde – three or four times a year the planet Mercury goes retrograde. And before you think that’s woo-woo and/or I’m crazy, it’s not all astrology. There is some science involved.

Mercury is a planet which spins around the earth. Like we humans, it needs to slow down and does so three or four times a year. During those times it appears that it is actually stopping and then spinning backwards. The latter isn’t actually happening. That is when electrical and electronic devices and services can go bonkers.

Blaming Mercury in retrograde for that is where some sceptics draw the line. Here is my non-technical, non-scientific explanation. There are electronic waves out there in space and they have a lot to do with radio, TV (think satellites) and digital devices such as computer Internet and cell phone reception. And like anything else in our world, it does not all work perfectly 100 per cent of the time. Weather, of course, can interfere. But so can the planets.

Think about the influences of our moon – equinoxes on different occasions in and around planet earth. So, why not Mercury (and other planets for that matter)? When Mercury is in in retrograde I believe it slows down or even stops/interrupts communication services.

What’s been happening to me the past few weeks is a good example. This current phase of Mercury Retrograde began January 21, 2015. Since then I’ve had a wave (pun intended) of interrupted reception in my cable TV service, my Kobo e-reader froze, there have been computer problems (some weird) on both my desktop PC and laptop and my area of Toronto had an 8-minute power outage just after midnight one night.

That comes to four electronic/electric mishap items – although all but the power outage have branches.

When the Kobo reader froze last week (only the second time in its two year age), the usual unfreeze method of sliding the power “button” to the off and holding it for 10 seconds didn’t work. The techie support at Kobo had me taking a small paper clip, bending it and inserting it into a tiny hole at the bottom of the reader. It worked. I was in the middle of a murder mystery in the Julia Spencer-Fleming series so you can imagine how grateful I was.

The computers have had programs freezing, programs needing replacement or updates. My computer techie is making another visit tomorrow morning for another of these occurrences on the laptop.

The Rogers cable TV service is turning into a bad saga. Big company with too many departments and people. The problem with the cable TV service – sporadically it would pixel, garble the voices and then go to black with the message “We have detected a service interruption. Please call your service provider.” I did – seven times so far and seven techies (two of them the same ones) showed up and all had different ideas. My friend next door was also having the same reception problem but only with her TV upstairs – the downstairs one was working fine. A similar thing happened – but encompassing more of us on the street- in fall 2013. It dragged on with the parade of techies in and out until Rogers finally got some smarts and figured out it was a defective cable up the poles behind one of the houses and fixed it. Then I hadn’t said anything, but non-techie me had figured out it had to be a cable.

So this time I’m speaking out when each techie walks through the door. One has replaced one cable up the pole behind my neighbours (both our service is connected to that). However, these are all old cables outside and all should be replaced.

Each techie had different ideas what was the cause but unfortunately when they arrived the service had returned. I called when there was the actual service disruption but they won’t send a techie right away to catch it. So far, besides the new cable out back, the techies have done the following: replaced the digital cable TV adapter (the old one was working fine), updated some connecting device in the cable box outside on the house wall, replaced a cable from the digital box to the TV, and one “bright” techie decided I had too much reception (because I have only the one cable device with Rogers – the TV) and put something on the TV to adapter cable to decrease the reception. Makes sense, right? One of the following techies removed the device.

The most recent techie (yesterday), a senior techie, actually tested the TV reception with a device which he placed in front of the TV and then he did some settings with the remote. All seemed to be working then. (Of course, the reception had come back – it was three days since I had called in the problem to Rogers technical support). He also moved the electrical connection of the adapter from one electrical outlet to another because he said he had found that was the cause at another residence. He even knocked on my next-door neighbours to ask her about her TV reception and she said it was okay then.

This techie also said he had found nothing, but to try the electric outlet plug-in change for a few days and if the service is disrupted again to phone in and make sure I ask for outside maintenance or I could be charged if a techie again comes to the door to come inside.

What? I pay enough monthly for the service and part of that service is free techie fixes. I told him this and pulled my senior’s card.

If this techie is right and it was the electrical outlet, I will be grateful and do the equivalent of eating crow. But I will need at least three months of uninterrupted cable TV service before I even remotely believe that.

Meantime I have searched the Internet and collected info and contact info on the Rogers Cable executives – CEO and Vice-president of communications. And I also have the contact information for a media consumer advocate – for future complaint reference.

This round of Mercury in Retrograde is supposed to end February 11. We shall see what we shall see here.

I still am filled with trepidation when I turn on my TV and computers. Experience has taught me not to be complacent and not to take anything for granted. For there lies the way of getting the rug pulled from under you.

Unfortunately, that is the way of the world these days, a world I’m disliking more and more each day.

I am interested if any of you have experienced “communication” problems lately. It is not just devices but communication with others. For more information on Mercury in Retrograde, go to http://astrostyle.com/learn-astrology/mercury-retrograde/#sthash.Isy4UkBm.dpuf There are even do’s and don’t’s to survive Mercury Retrogades.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Hydro power outage, Kobo e-reader freezes, Mercury in Retrograde, Only child, Problems, Rogers Cable TV Service

Only Child going crazy with little time

One of Only Child's teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

One of Only Child’s teddy bears sits on time to try to tame it

My late father was a master with time. His work – railway timekeeper-  probably helped him although it drove Mom crazy sometimes. Dad would get his watch regulated at Birks and always insisted Mom, he and I arrive at Union Station in Toronto an hour and a half early for our train. I’m sure he had other time tricks that he used.

The only time techniques I’ve inherited from Dad (besides the arriving early for trains) are the awareness of how important time is and trying all sorts of ways to fit things into time – regularly and otherwise.

Not working. Not sure if it is today’s complexity – too much information, too much technology and in my case (and many others I’m sure)  too much crap shoved unexpectedly at us. I get this in spades. Sometimes I feel like taking the spade and just smashing the source of the problem. (I’m a gardener so have a spade – a pitchfork, too). But I don’t. So I vent verbally out at the Universe, God  – in many instances for not even hearing me.

That happened twice in the last 24 hours. First, with yesterday’s rainfall when I specifically put it out there that I didn’t want any water getting into the basement – it did – not from the ground but through the window – it poured down from the eavestrough above from one spot there. I suspect the cause has something to do with F., the “repair” guy when he nailed down the netting (to catch the leaves) in the eavestrough a month ago (We didn’t get much rain after that).  So, I had to call F. (that’s his first initial although a four-letter word comes to mind to better describe him) to make a return visit. This rain shower from the eavestrough had happened a few other times since he “fixed” the falling out eavestrough netting. His answer then? Call him when it is actually raining so he can see it when it happens. Newsflash F. – the rain will have stopped by the time you get here. So, yesterday I told him this and to check it out Friday morning. His answer? Take a picture of it? I don’t have a digital camera I told him and it had already stopped. And I can show him exactly where it cascaded down.

Today, it’s the anti-virus program on my laptop. When I first turned it on I did the usual updating the protection and the quick active scan. Well, the latter was quick – it scanned only half the loading-point files – every time I tried it – and I shut down the computer twice and started it up again before trying. Now, it’s doing the full scan, so we’ll shall see how that goes and how that affects (or doesn’t) the active scan. And like not wanting any water getting in from the rain, I also put it out there for all computer programs, etc. to work. The techie is coming tomorrow to see what’s what. Good thing he will take a post-dated cheque into September.

Guess I’m not shouting loud enough.

All this wastes my time and I’m already on a time roller-coaster trying to get things done before I go on holidays in the near future. I will not be cheated from my train trip and visiting my cousins.

Am I shouting loud enough here?

I’ve been trying varying techniques to try to get things done – even the dreaded multi-tasking which I’m against doing (except maybe thinking while riding the subway) Last Friday while on hold for one of the utilities (yet another problem – money-based) I decided to finally fill in the form to update an insurance document. But I needed the original and previous update. Guess what? No time to dig them out, although I know which file they are in.

And I have a “to-do list for what must be done  (besides the obvious, packing) before I travel. Here I’m doing a little of one thing, then a little of another, etc. However, I feel like I’m doing a variation of a Jill-of-all trades and master of none.

I know I have to rein in some of what I do – too much time with business email (forget the personal, only family stuff gets done). Already I’ve removed myself from several lists. (Don’t you like it when they ask why? I just say “no time/email overload). I think the delete button will become my new best friend.

Once I finally drag my weary body onto the train I’ll probably fall asleep looking out the window. That won’t work – I’ll miss my station and my cousin standing outside the train station will wonder what’s going on.

So do I wonder what’s going on. But that is fodder for another post.

Meantime, Dad, if your spirit is out there, please tell me some of your time-mastering tricks. Your daughter is running out of time…literally.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

The time challenged

Only Child Writes

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Filed under email overload, Family and Friends, Life demands, Lists, Mom and Dad, Prioritizing, Rain, Sharon A. Crawford, Time management, to do list, Uncategorized

Only Child chased by technological woes

How Only Child feels about her laptop’s operating system and the company that makes the system.

I want to go back a few years, at least to the mid 1990s when computer technology wasn’t so complicated and we still had email. Or maybe back further to the early 1960s – at least my parents were still alive. Living the life of an only person is getting tougher and tougher financially, especially when technology gives me a hard time to the tune of dollars and no sense. I’m ready to throw a very hot towel at a few companies. For my own protection I’m not naming companies, although readers can probably guess one of them.

Here’s what is going on:

  1. Last week, my computer techie (no, not my son. I do hire a computer tech service biz for some things) had to reinstall my laptop software because Windows 7 refused to get me connected via my password. Fortunately, my techie is good, so he found Windows 7 hidden on my hard drive, as well as some other programs and my files, plus downloaded/installed the others. But it was Windows 7 from when I got my laptop two years ago. So 98 updates had to be installed. Done by me, no less after the techie left. Yesterday I decided to check the updates downloaded and “ready” to be installed (I have a suspicious nature thanks to past experiences), Guess what stared me in the face? A service pack update. My techie just installed that five weeks before the password problem. No matter how many times I removed the tic mark before that one (or five other updates) and despite hitting “ok” afterwards, when I checked back, the same damn updates were clicked again, including the service pack update. As soon as I shut down the laptop, it would install. That sucker takes an hour to install and does it in stages. I wasn’t comfortable about doing it last time so had my techie do it; and I wasn’t comfortable doing it now. So I had to leave the laptop on overnight until this morning when he arrived to fix the system. He did and there were several more updates connected plus he installed an updated version of my anti-virus program. He gave me a discount but the two visits cost me just over $400.. I’m still going to try and collect from you know-what company – I can hear you now “Good luck.” However, I subscribe to Windows Secrets, the newsletter put out by Windows guru Woody Leonhard and I’m going to email them about my situation.
  2. My cable TV service provider lied last year. When Canada’s TV services went from analog to digital a techie at my cable company reassured me that if I have cable service I didn’t need to get a digital converter or adapter. I’d still get the service. At the end of April I received an important notice from the cable company. Guess what? All cable TV stations are being converted from analog to digital – gradually this year. The first wave starts May 31. They are providing a free digital adapter and free courier delivery, with no extra monthly fees, but are vague about who pays for the installation. The key words are “it is easy to install.” Yeah, right, if you’ve done it before” as a friend told me. I am also still waiting for delivery of the adapter seven business days after ordering by phone (all recorded voices). You get a phone number to call for initialization when it’s installed. Initialization? What is this? A credit card? Also, nothing is free as my rates went up one month before this notice arrived. I called the company’s billing number. As I suspected they’ve run out of adapters and it’s on order and should be here near the end of May. There is a charge if their technician installs it but I’m getting $5. off my monthly bill for a year because I’m a longtime customer, which I’m told is not connected to installation charges for the adapter. Really? A promotion that is run concurrently with this adapter nonsense?
  3. No. 2 brings up another technological problem in the electric department. The outlet by the TV is an old-two prong (the house was build in 1949 and not all outlets were upgraded to three-prong). While the adapter itself is two-prong (with an adapter – pun intended – plug-in) when you add in my TV and a lamp, I need a power board. Power boards are three-prong. The alternative is to run an extension cord across the front of the covered radiator to the other side of the room for the lamp. That outlet is three-prong. My neighbour across the street, an electrician, suggested doing this when I asked him if he would upgrade my electrical outlet. He refused to help me. Even if I could afford a digital TV, the outlet would still need to be changed to a three-prong. I’m going to ask the handyman I hire to do odd jobs as he is also trained in electrical work.

These are the fallouts from being an only person – no siblings and no partner to help. “Help” is a four-letter word which can mean anything from “money” to “knowledge and experience” to “moral support.”

Usually I like to take a learning experience spin on these setbacks. However, the only lesson learned here is to continue to be suspicious, to read between the lines and to ask questions and get facts. Be like a good journalist. Remember the old saying, “buyer beware.” That seems to apply beyond buying scenarios.

And to pile on more client work to pay the bills.

Comments from readers?

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1960s, Aloneness, Computer problems, Consumer action, finances, Learning Experience, Only child, Problems, Sharon Crawford, Technology problems, TV digital analog problems