February 4, 2008, Cornwall On Hudson, New York

Before I start my rant, make sure to check out some new photos linked on the left. They’re the “West Point” ones …

Technology so vexes me. While it has provided a good living for me and my family, it seems as if given any chance it will screw me over at the same time. Nothing major, like power grids failing around me (yet), but minor irritants, like a gnat buzzing around your head on a humid summer night. It will not harm you, like a west Nile infected mosquito, but it sure enjoys seeing you squirm. Technology likes to see me squirm.

I called Comcast yesterday to see about switching packages as a note in their last bill informed me that the service level I had been enjoying would be going up about $15 or more per month starting in February. That was unacceptable. So, after speaking with a seemingly competent salesperson on the other end, I agreed to a new package to maintain most of the channels we watch, DVR service and an Internet connection.

All seemed well and we went our separate ways. Later in the evening, I realized something was not right though as I was trying to connect with Max on Skype. Turns out all attempts to connect to the Internet were being turned back at the modem level. I called customer support several times after trying to troubleshoot on my own and by the end of the night I was at least able to teleconference with everyone on Skype. But any browser trying to access the web was met with a Comcast screen asking if I was a technician or customer. The customer path lead to a software download and install that always failed. One technician at some point said the modem had been “deactivated” and we thought he had reactivated it, but after several attempts to get beyond a Skype connection, I figured it was time to get to bed.

So … getting back online with them tonight was a truly maddening experience. The technician was nice enough (all of them have been) but he kept saying something about my modem not responding or being seen and also being listed somehow as a “lease.” I have not leased a modem for about 5 years now. When cycling the power for the modem and router still did not show at their end, I had to have max crawl under the desk and fiddle with cables. Cut to the end everything works now.

But how making a simple switch in plans from package A to package B necessitated screwing around physically with cables under my desk, which have not been trifled with in 4 or more years and worked fine up through Sunday morning, I’ll never know.

Then … my DVD drive on my computer simply died Saturday night. Right in the middle of a Venture Bros. episode from season one, it quit. I had a problem with The Simpsons Movie the night before and figured it was the software I was using. That resolved the issue with The Simpsons Movie, but now all disks inserted are just completely ignored. I already ordered a replacement from Newegg and it will be home when I get there.

And … the stupid “Service engine soon” light came on in my car over the weekend while I was sitting at a McDonalds waiting for my lunch, two snack wraps. It usually goes off after a day or two and only comes on when it is damp. Well, it’s still on and still damp though. I don’t care. I am going home Friday night whether the light is on or not.

Finally, with the incredible speeds at which websites can take and process orders now, you would think they would have updated their backend processes a bit. Some have. I ordered the replacement DVD drive yesterday and it’s on its way. I ordered my futon frame from Target Jan. 28 and only today received a note that it finally shipped. Estimated delivery date? Why, Monday, Feb. 11 of course, when I’ll be in Munhall. Grrrrrrrrrr. Yeah, it’s not a DVD drive, it’s a friggin’ large box of more than a hundred pounds of futon frame parts in it, but c’mon, a week to process that and get it onto a truck!

OK, so that’s about it on that front … does not sound like a lot and I guess it really isn’t. Just that damn gnat buzzing me again.

So, I have a lot to write about and have been jotting down notes. I did not want to add to this already drawn out posting. I promise to write about more substantive and interesting things for the next installment. Soon I hope.

Well, what have I learned in the last couple of days … while a super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning was a horrible fantasy start most of the year. I would still take Brady over him any game with fantasy money on the line. Except for maybe a Super Bowl …

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