Jan 142007
 

So I’m at the supermarket yesterday to pick up some eggs, and as I’m walking in toward the entrance, I see they’ve got firewood on sale. Right next to that they have a huge stack of bundles of small bits of wood. Above which is a sign that says “KINLIN.”

When did it become appropriate to totally botch the spelling of words on signs at a place of business?

This, to me, is right up there with naming businesses things like “EZ-Mart”. For goodness’ sake, just spell it out as “Easy Mart.” Seeing “EZ” makes me think the person that runs the place has to be a clueless moron.

This is related to another massive pet peeve of mine. While I have no real problem with using shorthand when doing text messaging on a phone (especially when you’re using a keyboard the size of a saltine), I have a huge problem with people that send real email or even snail mail using abbreviations like “u” and “r” instead of spelling the words out. Are the words “you” and “are” really that hard to type or write?

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 Posted by at 5:51 PM
Dec 072006
 

I’ve been offline for about three hours now. I tried to call their customer service (ha!) but on top of their horrible support they’ve added an obnoxious automated system that insists on making you jump through the hoops you used to be able to demand they not make you jump through (admittedly with varying degrees of success).

So let’s see. Take some of the worst Internet service in the country. Mix in the stupidest support people on earth. Then take lousy infrastructure, incompetent technicians, and a new automated support system designed for the sole purpose of preventing you from speaking to a real person. Nice.

On top of that, their system insists that my modem is fine, when any idiot can look at the fact that there are two solid lights and no blinking ones and see that it’s totally not connected to jack.

Ironically, the only reason I called was because they used to have a recording that would tell you about any known outages, and I wanted to see if this was a known problem. That recording appears to be gone now. If they’d had it there, I’d have been okay with this whole mess for now.

I just now as I was typing this got a call from my mother-in-law down the road. She’s having problems with hers too, so at least it’s not just us.

Still — Charter is completely worthless, and I’d like to use someone else — except there is no alternative in this town

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 Posted by at 12:14 AM
Nov 132006
 

Today was an interesting travel day. The trip from Knoxville to Atlanta was pretty easy. Then I had three hours in Atlanta, which I used to play some World of Warcraft. Boarding for the flight out to San Jose from there was delayed by about 20 minutes.

Once we got on the plane, there was another delay to deal with some kind of mechanical problem. That didn’t take long, but then they had to scramble to do the safety demonstration in person instead of running it on the seat-back entertainment system screens, because the entertainment system was hosed.

That is to say that it was rebooting over and over again. There’s nothing quite like watching 160 or so 9″ seat back screens repeatedly booting up into Linux then resetting themselves. This went on until about 30 minutes into the flight, when they finally settled down.

They did reboot again one more time later in the flight, but since I wasn’t using mine, and was into a book, I didn’t really care.

There was turbulence at least 70% of the time we were in the air. Occasionally quite impressive.

Upon arriving in San Jose, we taxied to the gate only to discover that the motor that makes the jetway move around was broken. So they had to replace it, but the one they got was the wrong kind, apparently, and finally the third actually worked. Took 20 minutes just to start deplaning, all the while the air getting more and more stiflingly hot.

Awesome.

If someone had told me 10 years ago that air travel would actually be significantly worse in 10 years, I’d never have believed it.

 Posted by at 3:19 AM
Oct 062006
 

For over a year, there’s been this occasional scent of natural gas outside our house. At first it was only very rarely, and not very strong, but it’s gradually gotten worse. When we first noticed it, the gas company (Atmos) sent someone out who said it was a trace of unburned gas in our furnace exhaust, so we replaced the furnace and the problem seemed to go away. For a while.

When it came back, it rapidly got worse. Everyone on our street can smell it, and it’s almost always there, unless there’s a brisk wind. People have been calling the gas company to complain, some of them repeatedly.

A couple of months ago, they finally came out and found a leak in an underground pipeline, and they marked the street to indicate where the leak is. Then they said, “This one isn’t too bad. We have lots of them worse than this. We should have it taken care of in a year or so.”

Are you freaking kidding me? It’s a gas leak, you morons!

The fellow across the street (in whose yard this leak apparently is) called the fire department, which came out earlier this week, and they said that a year is totally in violation of the law, and that Atmos has 30 days to fix it or face fines.

The problem is that it is in fact true that there are lots of leaks around town, over a dozen of which are apparently worse than ours, and odds are apparently against it getting fixed within that 30 day timeframe.

That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, knowing that a company that pumps explosive gases through my neighborhood doesn’t have enough manpower to, you know, keep the stuff in the pipes where it belongs!

As time passes the problem seems to be growing worse; the smell gets stronger and stronger, and is detectable farther and farther away from the telltale yellow “X” painted on the curb across the street from my house.

I’m less than enthusiastic about raising my daughter in a place where natural gas leaks are apparently so commonplace that nobody bothers to do anything about them.

 Posted by at 7:06 PM
Jul 282006
 

So I use Apple’s Backup program to do my backups. Apparently this was a huge mistake, as it’s crashing while trying to restore my backups. Over and over and over again.

What kind of idiots write a backup program that crashes 100% of the time when restoring more than a handful of files? That’s psychotic.

I’m finding I can make some headway if I only restore one or two folders at a time, but that means this is taking forever to get done, and increases the odds that I’ll forget to restore something.

So far, I’ve managed to get about half of my project source code restored, and maybe a sixth of my documents. At this pace, I expect if I’m lucky, I’ll have everything back tomorrow.

Just now, as I was writing this, Backup crashed trying to restore my Documents/Mozilla folder. Good times.

I have email in to Apple begging for help. I don’t expect to get much.

This seriously blows.

 Posted by at 10:49 AM
May 302006
 

Today is the first day of the ninth week of our cable modem problems courtesy of the buffoons at Charter Communications. Sarah just got off the phone with them and basically they thought it was all fixed on the 19th, thanks to yet another miscommunication within their dolt-ridden organization.

They swear they’re sending a tech (oh, boy, another one of their idiot techs) to evaluate the problem and decide what needs to be done. I can’t help thinking we’ve been down this road before… four or five times.

Interestingly, they also claim that our local “technical manager” had never heard of this problem until today, which makes me wonder what rock he lives under and what he’s been smoking while under it, since he’s had at least a dozen different guys out here repeatedly over the last two months.

The degree of incompetence I’ve seen from Charter is mind-boggling in the extreme. I have little real hope of ever seeing this problem fixed anymore. They’ll just drag their feet until life at dialup speeds drives me to suicide.

 Posted by at 9:49 AM
May 272006
 

To my utter lack of surprise, Charter failed to show up to do the work they were scheduled to do today. So I’ve finally decided it’s time, and filed a grievance with the Tennessee Regulatory Agency, which deals with customer disputes with utility companies.

Next time we talk to Charter, we’ll see if it lights a fire under them when we mention that.

Losers.

 Posted by at 12:53 AM
May 102006
 

So this morning, after being offline more or less all night, Charter calls and asks how things look, and while I’m on the phone with them, I realize that the reason for the errors I was seeing was a configuration change done yesterday while testing.

Once I undid that change, I was suddenly getting phenomenal performance!

For about an hour.

Now we’re back to 90%+ packet loss and I’m having to use dialup again in order to get any work done.

There’s unfortunately nothing I can do about it today, as there’ve been a couple of general outages in our area, and since that might be the problem today, Charter pretty much doesn’t want to talk to us. I can more or less understand that.

But if it’s still not working in the morning, I’m going to be furious.

 Posted by at 5:12 PM
May 072006
 

These guys are incredibly incompetent at maintaining their network.  It spent most of the day offline today, then came back on at around 6:30 PM, only go go off again at 8:30 for about an hour and a half.

My connection watcher needs tweaking still — it senses the occasional dropped packet and treats it the same as a real outage.  I need to change it to only consider it an outage if the drop rate spikes, even if not every packet is dropped.

Tomorrow I’ll go somewhere that has more reliable Internet access to work, and let Sarah fight with Charter over this thing.  Probably my mother in law’s house again.

This has now been going on for three weeks.

 Posted by at 10:45 PM