Archive for September, 2007
I filed a dispute against my February SunRocket charge with American Express and they gave me a prorated refund.
I always thought disputes had to be within 30 days but it appears there are exceptions to this rule.
Thank You American Express! Now I don’t have to join a class action lawsuit that will refund me $0.25.
I got tagged by Kelly in blog tag. What is it? I have to tell you 8 things that you don’t know about me – and then I tag 8 different bloggers and they do the same!! Sounds like link farming too me. Hello SEO.
8 Random things you may not know about me
- Shyness crippled me for the 1st 25 years of my life. After that I finally started getting over my social anxiety. I have never been diagnosed or medicated for this condition.
- I ripped a chunk of my face off in a biking incident while co-oping with IBM in Raleigh back in 1991. A few months later, in college, a girl came up to me and mentioned what a nice job they did fixing my clef pallet. “I don’t have a clef pallet!!” How embarrassing.
- Like Bill I am mechanically inclined and love to fix things
- I grew up poor. I didn’t live on the streets but I did qualify for free lunch at school. Of course after elementary school no one uses their lunch pass because you don’t want people to know. In middle school, I became a dealer to make lunch money. I sold lollipops and gum. not drugs!
- I paid my own way through college (with help of scholarships and co-ops) and graduated with money in the bank.
- I survived an air-embolism while scuba diving. In class they always talked about how if you had an embolism you died. So when the doctor told me that is what I had I was wondering why I was alive. My kind did not get into the blood stream. Needless to say, I don’t scuba dive anymore
- I don’t like reading. I don’t know why but I find it impossible to focus on a books. Oddly enough, I can read email and code all day long.
- Despite my reading issues, I graduated with a 3.88 for my associates degree, 3.93 for my Bachelors and 4.0 for my masters… and I still have 95% of my college text books. Why?? What does it mean? They are behind me right now taunting me.
Ok… Now I’m supposed to tag 8 people. but everyone I know has already been tagged, so I’m going to leave this as a leaf node.
Back in 1988, my high school Pascal teacher told us not to go into computer science, since all those jobs were heading to India. Yes. I said 1988. This didn’t matter to me because I wanted to be an EE. But as I started looking for co-ops, perspective employers kept noticing that I knew assembler and some higher level languages. So I kept getting programming jobs. I never did land a job as an Electrical Engineer and I eventually finished my MSCS after about 9 years of working as a software engineer.
I thought it was interesting that back in 1988 there were already predictions that software jobs were going to move out of the country. Our teacher, Mr Murray also taught us the value of team programming. The class broke into 2 teams at the end of the semester and worked on projects. My team did an attendance program for the school. It ran on an Apple 2e and lived on a 5.25 inch floppy disk. I’m not sure if it was ever used but it was a great learning experince.
I don’t keep in touch with anyone from my graduating class and I probably wouldn’t recognize anyone if I bumped into them. But I have our final project printout. Here are the comments from the code. (Not these were in all CAPS.. when was lowercase introduced to computers?)
This program is courtesy of the following students from Mr. Murray’s Period 10 Computer Science 3/4 class (Pascal):
Vasin Paesang (Bing)
Alan Ours (Al)
Chris Cunningham (Moose)
Kevin Foley (Spike)
Kevin Kortkamp (Bong)
Lo Yang-Chun (James)
Back in high school (1985) my auto shop teacher told us that over time car batteries die because debris that flaked off the plates eventually got high enough to short out the battery. Today it seems that the more common failure is caused by build up of sulfate on the plates from excessive use. My little GTI didn’t use much power so both batteries lasted over 5 years and I’m pretty certain that debris buildup was the cause of the failure.
The original battery died right after AOL installed about 100 rumple strips in front of its building. The vibration surely knocked off some lose crud on the plates and viola, I had to roll start the car after work.
The 2nd battery died shortly after visiting a new shopping center outside of Baltimore where they had a brick-like entrance driveway. The drive vibrated the car pretty badly and sure enough, that afternoon the battery was dead.
I suspect a service to vacuum out the crud in the bottom of the battery would have allowed me to use the battery for another year or more. Although such a service would probably cost as much as a new battery.
Today I confirmed that my ViaTalk number was ported to Packet 8 and I canceled my ViaTalk service. This was the best experience I have had with ViaTalk so far. I pay $1.95 for priority support so within 2 minutes my account was canceled. The fact that I did BYOD and was on a monthly plan is what made this quick and painless.
Packet 8 has all the features I need and they work. My Viatalk service worked about 90% of the time. Hopefully ViaTalk will get their act together soon.
Fortunately my predictions for today were false.
- My car didn’t burst into flames and my radio worked all the way to work.
- The dealer did not call me with a $600 repair bill for my wife’s car. They called me with a $450 bill for a new water pump. I told them that I was pretty sure that was part of the powertrain warranty and I was right. $100 deductible sure beats $450. I was pretty sure something along the serpentine belt was failing. The water pump is the only thing in that loop that is covered so I lucked out.
I wonder if they would have charged me $450 if I didn’t call them on it.
Just for the record. Our 2004 Grand Caravan has about 44,000 miles on it. I think this will be my last American car. How hard is it to make parts that last 200,000 miles?
I took Friday off from work and decided to take my kayak out on the Potomac. As I opened the hatch on my car I knocked the kayak off the front of the car and scratched my hood. Feeling stupid I put the Kayak back and preceded to the river. The weather was great and next to the WSSC water inlet I found an old Mt Dew bottle from the early 80s. Ah, memories. I strapped it to the front of the kayak and started heading back to Swains lock. Before I got there I hit a rock and my precious bottle came lose and smashed on a rock. Bottle smashed, hood scratched I headed home.
Later in the afternoon when my wife went to the pool I proceeded to put my kayak back in the garage and there I found a small puddle of fluid. Its either transmission or power steering. Wonderful, so I hang my kayak and race to the pool to inspect the minivan.
I call the dealership and they are approaching closing time and will not open again until Tuesday. I make an appointment for Tuesday morning and stress over how much this repair is going to cost me.
With the wife’s car out of commission we head to Baltimore on Saturday in my old VW. When we go to leave on Sunday my battery is dead. Fortunately, I was on hill so I was able to roll start the car and get home. Once home I parked on our steep driveway and called around for batteries. Costco said they would “probably” have my size so I roll started the car and headed to Costco. There I found a remote parking spot on a hill to park my car in case they didn’t have my size.
Inside, I was unable to find my battery but upon returning to my car someone had pulled in behind me blocking my rolling escape. So.. I pulled the battery out and headed into Costco to find the closest match to my battery. I found one, installed it myself (sams club does this for you) and dropped off the core at the auto center before heading home. I got home just in time to goto a neighbor’s party so that was good. Or so I thought.
Monday morning I can’t find my car key. Retracing my steps was easy, came home, got changed, went to party, came home. The key is probably lost in my neighbor’s ivy. I guess I better buy a new one soon.
Finally, coming back from the pool on Monday afternoon I noticed my Radio was no longer working. Fortunately it was just a blown fuse but fuses don’t normally blow without something else going on. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop on this one.
As you can expect I can’t wait for Tuesday. Here is how its going to play out. Dodge dealership is going to want $600 to replace my wife’s power steering pump and my car will burst into flames on the way to work. I’m such the optimist.