These are instructions for discontinuing contributions. (Reminder post for my own benefit) Send an email to “RSVP Government Affairs” (auto-resolve through the GAL) with the message, “Please discontinue my contributions.” A response will be sent asking that you provide your employee ID & alias. Deductions will halt in 1-2 pay periods.
I couldn’t find anyone that talked about this on forums or in
There’s very little support for this device online I’ve discovered, and as everyone knows, Amazon is effing horrible when it comes to customer support. Even getting things returned takes knowing “where to go” because all routes intentionally lead to automated responses that usually lead to dead ends and are ultimately really frustrating.
PAIRING & UNPAIRING ECHO WALL CLOCK FROM YOUR ECHO DEVICE
I tried in vain to have my Echo Show disconnect and ultimately “forget” my Echo Wall Clock hoping that re-pairing the clock to my Echo would get it to synchronize the time with it so that it would accurately display the time.
- Holding the tiny blue button on the back will put it into pairing mode and flash Orange
- Tell your Echo to “Alexa, pair Echo Wall Clock”.)
No dice. Every time I did this, the device would pair – but it wouldn’t set the time on the clock.
GETTING THE ECHO WALL CLOCK TO “SYNCHRONIZE TIME”
I can’t believe how difficult this was but basically, I had to do a complete “factory reset” of the clock in order to have it accurately reflect the time.
This “factory reset” completely erases the wall clock’s memory and starts it again as if it had never been used before.
HOW TO FACTORY RESET THE ECHO WALL CLOCK
Buried in the tiny brochure that comes with the Echo Wall Clock are the instructions for doing a factory reset of the device. Only after I read this did I find an article on Amazon’s customer service page to accomplish this. This is the only way I could get the Echo Wall Clock’s time to be set accurately.
- Go to your Echo device and have it “forget” your wall clock. This is done on the Echo Show by swiping down from the top of the device, pressing SETTINGS, pressing BLUETOOTH, selecting the ECHO WALL CLOCK but pressing the (i) symbol and selecting FORGET THIS DEVICE.
- Go to the Echo Wall Clock and push the tiny blue button on the back FIVE TIMES and the device will start to flash blue.
- Go back to your Echo device and re-pair the Echo Wall Clock. Simply tell your Echo, “Alexa, pair Echo Wall Clock.”
While I still use the clock to keep time, I would not recommend this device for anyone with an Echo ecosystem. This is really poorly engineered and the device’s User Interface is terrible.
Google has gone through great lengths to prevent people from downloading videos from YouTube, going so far as to lock out apps posted in the Google App Store that recorded YouTube videos.
Personally, I’d never even heard of this app. I only learned about it when the RIAA filed their cease & desist notice to GitHub, the service where the app and it’s codebase are hosted. So imagine my delight when I found the tool (reposted to GitHub after GitHub concluded that the request had no merit) and discovered it works BEAUTIFULLY.
HOW DO YOU USE IT?
First of all, it’s a command line tool, so if you’re not comfortable with using the command line (CMD.EXE)then you probably won’t want to use this. On the other hand, it might be an opportunity to learn, right?
The main page for YOUTUBE-DL is:
Here you’ll find all the details however for the Cliff’s Notes on how to get started:
- If you’re using Windows you can download the Windows app here:
- Note: Your browser will likely try to prevent you from downloading the raw executable because downloading .EXE files is usually not a safe thing. In this case, it’s fine and millions of people use this tool. You can sidestep any warnings in downloading the .EXE. How you do that will depend on what browser you use.
- Move the .EXE to somewhere in your path to make it easy to call from a command prompt. I moved it to C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps
- Open a CMD.EXE prompt.
- Change to the directory you want to save the video/MP4 file to.
- Type youtube-dl [URL]
Ex: youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-Db_AFKCzM
- The program will pull in the video, identify the title, and save the video as [titlename].mp4 in the directory you’re in
- The video quality will be the best available by default. If you wish to get a lower quality, see Options.
OPTIONS FOR YOUTUBE-DL
There are hundreds of advanced options available that can be applied at run time. Here’s a few interesting ones:
- Bypass geographic restrictions
Ex: youtube-dl –geo-bypass [URL]
- Record playlist from 5 to 49
Ex: youtub-dl –playlist-start 5 –playlist-end 49 [PLAYLIST]
- Update to newest version
Ex: youtube-dl –U
- Download at a lower quality format
Ex: youtube-dl –f worst [URL
There is a very important FAQ published at:
It lists answers to questions like slow performance or other commonly asked questions.
I’m writing this up more for my own memory as I keep forgetting how to get to the customer contact site when the refund process fails.
GETTING RETURNS/REFUNDS ON THE WEB
Easiest way to return stuff with Amazon is through the “Order History” portal:
- Go to https://www.amazon.com/gp/css/order-history
- Find the item you ordered & click the button “Return or Replace Items”
CHATTING WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE
If however after trying this, you find that the web site says, “This item is ineligible for returns” or something like that, just go to the Customer Service site and chat with someone. Or you can ask to be called by someone through this portal.
If you chat online, there’s a good chance that if the item is under $100, they will just refund the money outright. I received the wrong item and they refunded my money and let me keep the “wrong item”. Even if you never received the order, they will refund your money. I had a $250 package that was never received and on the chat, the person got authorization to simply send another the next day.
Recently, I completely revamped our home network and the performance for everything has skyrocketed. Ping times, bandwidth/speed, network reach/range, responsiveness… everything.
These are the steps I took:
UPGRADE INTERNET SERVICE
I upgraded our cable Internet plan from “100Mbps/10Mbps” to “400Mbps/20Mbps”. Most days I see 480Mbps (!) which leads me to believe that that bandwidth is actually 500Mbps but they only guarantee 400) Total cost: $10/mo increase.
IMPLEMENT PERFORMANCE-BASED MESH NETWORK ROUTER
I replaced the Asus single hub router, with a 3-module, Eero Pro Wifi Router. Beside having “5 bar” coverage across my entire home, performance against the 400Mbps connection is literally perfect as I usually see a ~480Mbps. This is because the Eero Pro, designed for performance, has one channel for communicating with PCs/tablets/endpoints & a SEPARATE channel that it uses for hub-to-hub mesh network communications. This was about $270 but well worth it.
DEPLOY MICROSOFT EDGE
IMPLEMENT “OPEN DNS”
Replacing the lousy DNS server that the cable company uses with OpenDNS makes browsing so much snappier and immediate. Click on links is now almost instantaneous compared to the 1-2 second pauses per click. Everything is “snappier”: It’s crazy that a free service can improve your overall browsing speed so much.
OPTIMIZE FOR VOICE/CONFERENCE CALLS & BAND STEERING
Modern network devices have modes that will do a few nice things to maintain a good network connection:
- Prioritize (also known as QoS or Quality of Service) voice and video conference call communications. The Eero Pro has this capability they call Eero Labs “Optimize for Conferencing and Gamiing”.
- Encourage devices on the network to use 5Ghz instead of 2.4Ghz. 2.4Ghz is easily interrupted by microwave ovens, appliances, and other devices disrupting phone calls. The Eero Pro has a capability called “Band Steering” which tells devices to use the 5Ghz band instead if they can.
This is something I’ve actually had for a while but it’s worth mentioning: When Cable Internet goes down, it’s usually because something has gone wrong with the cable modem’s connection, but sometimes’s it’s the router as well and they need a reboot.
The ResetPlug is a simple device that plugs into a AC power outlet, and you connect your mode+WiFi router into it for power. You program it and it pings a web site every 5min: If it can reach the site, it shuts off power, waits 30 seconds, then powers everything back on and tries again in 5min. It repeats this process until a solid Internet connection is established.
Facebook is a giant time sink and while you rationalize using it for your “knitting group” or hitting up your old high school classmates, the fact is that none of that is actually that valuable.
Meanwhile, Facebook is using you by monetizing your privacy every second of your life through fairly devious means you’re probably not even aware of. For example, did you know that the Facebook Messenger app is collecting all of your SMS text messages and the phone numbers you call/receive on your cell phone? I’ll bet you never agreed to that, did you? Do a search on it. You can even download what they’ve collected from the main Facebook site. Facebook even admitted it.
Look. I get it. You can’t get rid of your Facebook account because you have memberships to X or you get group meeting noticed from Y. Whatever. You need to maintain your memberships & your friends.
What you can do is DELETE EVERYTHING FROM YOUR ACCOUNT. Removing this content eliminates your presence on Facebook, minimizes your digital footprint, and kills Facebook’s ability to monetize your life.
HOW TO DELETE EVERYTHING IN YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT
I deleted 12 years of posts, photos, comments, likes, etc. from my Facebook account. You can too. All you need is Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome.
- Install the “Social Book Post Manager”.
This is a free installable extension for your web browser that will, like a robot, “batch delete” content in your Facebook account. It is not fast as it emulates a human’s interactions with the Facebook web site so if you have a lot of posts or have many years of content you wish to delete, you may want to install & run it on more than one computer.
- Login to Facebook and go to the Activity Log.
Login to Facebook (TM), go to the Activity Log.
Use activity filters to select a subset of posts to delete.
- Run Social Book Post Manager & configure what posts/content to remove.
It allows you to select what timeframe & context you want to remove content from (ex: 2015-2018 & anything with the word “Trump” in it), what content you want to delete (ex: posts, comments, likes, etc.) and how you want it deleted (automatically or user verified).
Click the extension’s button to open the interface.
If needed, choose “Year”, “Month”, “Text Contains” and “Text Not Contains” for posts that you want to delete.
- Run the Social Book Post Manager’s Deletion process
Click the “Delete Post” button. The extension will scan through your Activity Log and mark all posts matching the conditions.
The prescan process may take a long time, depending on number of posts to be deleted.
After the prescan process finishes, there will be a Confirm button shown on top of the Facebook (TM) page. You may verify and uncheck certain posts as desired, then continue to actually delete the posts.
When done, the extension reports total number of posts deleted.
WARNING: THIS WILL TAKE A LONG TIME
Note that this process may take all day – and may take multiple RUNS – in other words, you might have to do this several times because like any human doing things really really quickly, it misses things. It’s not flawless – and that’s Facebook’s fault.
This is a unique program because it really does work like a robot, deleting posts and “likes”, going through posts & comments one-by-one as fast as it can, as if you yourself were doing the deletions. (You will actually see it do it’s work)
This is because it doesn’t do anything programmatically (using APIs) against the Facebook web site – so Facebook can’t do anything to stop you. (Which they have with other tools that use Facebook APIs directly)
I had to run “Social Book Post Manager” probably 15 times to completely delete all the posts, comments, likes, and other content between 2001 & 2017. And I had it running all night, every night for 4 days across 3 different computers, each deleting a different year in my account. My account is now pristine & clean… and I never log into it unless I have to.
Amazon will give 20% off of the purchase of a new Kindle if you trade in your old Kindle. And they’ve give you $5 in gift credit as well. If you’re like me, you have ancient Kindles lying around waiting for this opportunity.
The Kindle Oasis, in it’s highest end configuration (32GB, Wifi+3G, no ads) is $349. 20% off is $70 off the retail, bringing it down to $275, if you use the $5 credit.
I’m not even sure that the device needs to be in full working condition to get the 20% off. It didn’t seem so. I have a Kindle 3G 3rd generation that doesn’t hold a charge any more that I’m probably going to send in for a discount on another Kindle Paperwhite.
Don’t forget to hard reset your device before you send it in! (Search this blog for instructions on how to do that.)
- “Kindle Trade In” deal page:
This is the page that describes the deal 20% off deal.
- Manage your Trade Ins
(This is where you can check to see where in the shipping & inspection process your trade in is at. This can take a couple weeks.)
I marvel at Coinstar. I remember the days of having to collect coins and stack them into paper rolls to change them into bills at the bank. It was such a hassle that some people brought coins home, threw them into bottles or jugs or boxes and forgot about them
I’ve been doing some reorganizing for my mother-in-law would collect coins and stuff them into those paper rolls – 50 pennies, $2 in nickels, $5 in dimes, etc. to turn them into the bank. Because that’s what you did back in the day when dealing with a lot of coins.
But Coinstar brought automated coin counting to the masses – in grocery and convenience stores, Coinstar machines would count your entire jug of coins in a few minutes and give you back a windfall of unexpected cash.
Since I had these rolls that my mother-in-law had stuffed (in anticipation of someday turning them into the bank) I decided to do the test that I’ve always wondered about:
“Does Coinstar truly & accurately count coins – or is is gipping us, trimming a coin here, or a coin there, skimming change so to speak to increase profits?”
COINSTAR IS ACCURATE!
I can confidently say that after dumping these “exactly counted” rolls of coins in one-at-a-time and watching Coinstar count the coins – the machine does a 100% accurate count! It’s really impressive – it never misses a single coin. I did this for like 15 rolls of coins and it got the exact count on the screen every time, no matter what the coin.
So exchange confidently friends! Coinstar is legit and it’s not cheating anyone. And for maximum exchange, always get an eGift card for your coins. If you select “eGift card” for the value of your coins exchanged, one of two things will happen:
- The Coinstar machine will give you a voucher for 100% of your coins for the vendor you chose. I generally choose Amazon since I buy so much stuff there.
…the key here is that Coinstar won’t charge you a counting service fee of 10%, which is what they usually do.
- If for some reason the Coinstar machine can’t issue an eGift card for the vendor of your choice at that moment, after you’ve turned in all your coins – be sure to stick around! The machine will give you a CASH VOUCHER for the full amount of your coins without deducting the 10% service fee.
(One note: I did discover something interesting: Generally, Coinstar will also spit out/reject dimes & quarters dated 1964 or before. This is important because these coins are real silver, instead of the metal alloy used today. These are worth much more than the 10 or 25 cents so once again, Coinstar’s doing us a favor!)
For all 41 states with personal income tax, the income tax deadlines have been pushed back due to the coronavirus crisis. Most of these states have pushed their income tax deadline (both for filing and payment) to July 15, 2020. However, there are a few exceptions including:
- Colorado, where the payment deadline has been pushed back to July 15 but the filing deadline has been pushed further to Oct. 15
- Hawaii, where the payment and filing deadlines are both July 20
- Iowa, where the payment and filing deadlines are both July 31
- Mississippi, where the payment and filing deadlines are both May 15
- Virginia, where the payment deadline is June 1 and the filing deadline is May 1
You should check with your state taxing authority if you’re dealing with estimated quarterly taxes. These deadlines may not apply to those specific payments.
Read more here:
- COVID-19 & Taxes: Here’s What You Need to Know
April 8, 2020
I know a certain OTHER major school district <ahem> that uses Teams as well. (But they never went Zoom to begin with.)
Good job, New York. Stop using software that treats security & privacy as an afterthought.
- “New York City schools ban Zoom due to security concerns and shift to Microsoft Teams” – Geekwire
Zoom’s SEC filing cites concerns about China-based development creating ‘market scrutiny’ of Zoom’s data securityApril 1, 2020
Interesting line from Zoom Video Communication’s SEC filing:
Many governments have enacted laws requiring companies to provide notice of data security incidents involving certain types of personal data. In addition, some of our customers require us to notify them of data security breaches. Security compromises experienced by our competitors, by our customers or by us may lead to public disclosures, which may lead to widespread negative publicity. In addition, we have a high concentration of research and development personnel in China, which could expose us to market scrutiny regarding the integrity of our solution or data security features. Any security compromise in our industry, whether actual or perceived, could harm our reputation, erode confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures, negatively affect our ability to attract new customers and hosts, cause existing customers to elect not to renew their subscriptions or subject us to third-party lawsuits, regulatory fines or other action or liability, which could harm our business.
Seems Zoom has a lot of reasons to be concerned about security:
- “Zoom Lets Attackers Steal Windows Credentials via UNC Links” – Bleeping Computer
- FBI warns on Zoom conference security – FCW
New teleworkers can unintentionally open up videoconferences to unwanted intruders, warns the FBI.
- Zoom is a work-from-home privacy disaster waiting to happen – Mashable
The video conferencing services is a privacy minefield.
- Zoom is leaking email addresses and photos of users to strangers. – Vice
Zoom has treated some users who sign up with personal email addresses as if they’re all part of the same company, letting them video call and see each other’s info.
- Zoom Meetings Do Not Support End-to-End Encryption – The Intercept
The video conferencing service can access conversations on it’s platform.
- Beware of ‘ZoomBombing’: screensharing filth to video calls” – TechCrunch
- Zoom iOS App Sends Data to Facebook Even if You Don’t Have a Facebook Account – Vice
- Zoom faces a privacy and security backlash as it surges in popularity – The Verge
- What Zoom doesn’t understand about the Zoom backlash – The Verge
It’s sold like an enterprise app, but it sure doesn’t act like one
- Elon Musk’s SpaceX bans Zoom over privacy concerns -memo
- Laguna Beach City Council meeting is bombed on Zoom with pornography
- New York City schools ban Zoom due to security concerns and shift to Microsoft Teams – Geekwire
This is a list of reference links that I’m updating for my own personal reference.
- What does the coronavirus mean for the U.S. health care system? Some simple math offers alarming answers
- As the coronavirus spreads, a drug that once raised the world’s hopes is given a second shot
- The new coronavirus can likely remain airborne for some time. That doesn’t mean we’re doomed
- Lower death rate estimates for coronavirus, especially for non-elderly, provide glimmer of hope
- Who is getting sick, and how sick? A breakdown of coronavirus risk by demographic factors
- Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more
How to disinfect N95 Respirators for reuse:
(Assumption is that they will be unavailable for repurchase for a long time)
- AFRL-RX-TY-TP-2009-4594 A PANDEMIC INFLUENZA PREPAREDNESS STUDY : USE OF ENERGETIC METHODS TO DECONTAMINATE FILTERING FACEPIECE RESPIRATORS CONTAMINATED WITH H 1 N 1 AEROSOLS AND DROPLETS POSTPRINT ( Code 20 ) | Semantic Scholar
- Aerosol and surface stability of HCoV-19 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to SARS-CoV-1
- “Lost Sense of Smell May Be Peculiar Clue to Coronavirus Infection” – NY Times
- BLOOMBERG: “Newest Shortage in New York: The City Is Running Out of Dogs to Foster”
- PEOPLE: “Wisconsin Humane Society Finds Home for Every Animal up for Adoption”
- QUARTZ: The WHO has changed its position on coronavirus and pets
“Pets can be infected, but there’s no evidence they can spread the virus to humans.”
- WASHINGTON POST: Perspective | Smartphone data reveal which Americans are social distancing (and not)
“D.C. gets an ‘A’ while Wyoming earns an ‘F’ for following coronavirus stay-at-home advice, based on the locations of tens of millions of phones”
- SCIENCE DAILY: New surgical mask doesn’t just trap viruses, it renders them harmless:
Innovative improvement on surgical masks will make them effective by empowering them to kill viruses – ScienceDaily
- IHEARTINTELLIGENCE: Stanford researchers confirm N95 masks can be sterilized and reused with virtually no loss of filtration efficiency by leaving in oven for 30 mins at 70C / 158F
- NEWSWEEK: Even with the most conservative estimates, 7.5M people will simultaneously need both hospitalization & ventilators. At the high end, there are only 150,000 ventilators available in America… so 49 out of 50 people that need them in the 7.5M above… will die.
- Interesting view. How bad is the acceleration in your country? How long does it take to double the number of infections?
- Bill Gates: “It’s very tough to say to people ’Hey keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner, we want you to keep spending because there’s some politician that thinks GDP growth is what counts.'” – FOX News
- “NYU allows senior medical students to graduate early to help fight coronavirus” – CNN
- Coronavirus Stats
- Amazon and Microsoft join White House team to unleash high-performance computing on COVID-19. – Geekwire
- Microsoft’s guidance around responding to COVID-19. “Responding to COVID-19 together”
- This tool – CovidActNow – shows the potential infection curve for each state, when beds in that state could run out, and how the curve flattens with social-distancing actions. Click on your state. Share with others. Pressure your elected officials to act.
- Kentucky mayor’s blunt coronavirus message: ‘It’s a big f***ing deal’”
- Mayor Garcetti announces water and power will be shut off for nonessential L.A. businesses that don’t close
- “Open after coronavirus order, Irish pub faces ‘quarantine shaming'” – LA Times
- Observe this chart of nationwide unemployment claims as of Thursday. For those that can’t figure it out, we passed 2008’s unemployment in less than a month.
- Coronavirus and Dogs: Everything You Need to Know
- What’s the Evidence on Face Masks? What You Heard Was Probably Wrong
I’ve been a season ticket holder for UCLA Football for 25 years. 2020 will be the first year in a long time that I will not have “re-upped”.
And apparently, I’m not the only one. Here’s a count of the season ticket subscriptions sold in the past 40 years:
EARLY SIGNS OF COACH JIM MORA’S DEMISE (2014-2017)
If you wondered what really caused Jim Mora’s firing in 2017, you need look no further than the season ticket subscriber data. Between 2014 & his firing in 2017, there was an incredible 30% decline in season ticket subscribers.
EXCITEMENT FROM COACH CHIP KELLY’S HIRING (2017)
There was a small 4% increase in subscribers from 2017 & 2018 likely due to excitement from the hiring of a flashy new coach known for high flying offenses.
BAD TEAM PERFORMANCE (2018)
You’ll notice the massive 26% decline in subscribers between 2018 & 2019. The 2018 campaign with Chip Kelly’s first year as head coach was a disaster.
What can we expect in 2020? Well, UCLA’s 2019 record was 4-8 – one win better than it’s 2018 record of 3-9. So that’s not great. And they lost to USC – something they didn’t do even in 2018.
But Bruins have always come to the games regardless of how bad things were… so why would 2020 be any different?
Enter Dan Guerrero. (Or *exit* depending on your viewpoint.) UCLA Athletics UTTERLY ABUSED it’s fan base over the last 5 years:
- $100 MANDATORY DONATION
All season ticket holder subscribers were required to “donate” $100 to the Athletic Association whether you liked it or not. It was the equivalent of a price hike but because it was donation, UCLA gets the benefit of the money not having been part of a sale – i.e. non-taxable.
The privilege of parking on the golf course each game to walk 1/4 mile to the Rose Bowl is now $30. At the turn of the century it was FREE. Roughly every other year this fee has gone up $5.
Nachos are now $18. Fries are now $15. 6 Buffalo Wings are now $17. The price of food in the Rose Bowl has officially gotten stupid.
The Rose Bowl has always disallowed alcohol within the stadium. But wait! Now, you can pay for the privilege of being able to purchase & drink alcohol in the venue!
- ARE YOU A $1000 DONOR? You get access to the “Beer Garden” – a gated area within the stadium where you can purchase wine & beer.
- ARE YOU A SPONSOR?
If you are, for example, affiliated with TCL, a major sponsor of UCLA football, you get access to their “game party” within the stadium… where alcohol is served.
- $100 WORTHLESS TICKETS
The Oklahoma/UCLA game last year was $100 per ticket & all season ticket holders got 1 ticket. Guess what game no one wanted to go to? Never mind that you couldn’t sell your ticket because no one was buying: The Athletic administration couldn’t even GIVE AWAY tickets to the game. They sent a mail – in desperation – to all season ticket holders that they were giving away 4 FREE tickets to the Oklahoma/UCLA game to each subscriber. I stayed home and watched them get slaughtered 48-14.
Besides no longer being fun to watch – who likes being a perennial loser – everywhere you turn at the Rose Bowl, UCLA football games are a constant reminder of how the athletic department treats its fans as nothing more than a revenue source to monetize & milk.
I think many fans understood that a top tier coach is expensive and that operating a team with quality training resources, quality assistant coaches, and facilities to be proud of requires money. But this is a bridge too far.
- “My family has voted Republican all our lives. Our family’s party can’t possibly be in the wrong & our personal need to be “right” is more important than anything.”
- “I dislike minorities & believe they’re somehow the cause of all that ails me.”
- [Corollary] “I’m a white male & I believe everyone has exactly the same opportunities & are treated equally to me in America, but those ‘other people’ always get more money & stuff – all because of the liberals. The scales are always weighted against me – when am I gonna get “mine”?”
- “I’m a god-fearing Christian & the only policy that I’m concerned with is abortion. I’ll stand with anyone that echoes the same. Or whatever it is that my evangelical preacher tells me is right.”
- “I’m wealthy, competitive, & my entire value system is built around money & getting more money. The fact that I’m a millionaire many times over is irrelevant: I’m tired of you poor people taking my money from me. Taxes are my enemy & anyone raising them is my enemy as well.”
- “I’m poor & either lost my job or have a bad job & the only thing that matters to me is getting enough money to stay afloat or getting a better job.. I don’t care how I get it – subsidies, another job, whatever.”
- “I love guns. And I’ve convinced myself that “personal security” is the most important thing in the world & thus fighting anything that might restrict my access to the guns of my choice is the centerpiece of my value system.”
Recognizing these character types is important. What to do with them… that’s another story.
AUDIOBOOK: Free recording of The Whistle-Blower Complaint Released by the House Intelligence Committee, 9/26/2019September 26, 2019
The audio is streamable from Soundcloud and downloadable from there as well. It is 30min long and the .MP3 is 40MB in size.
Today, I noticed that the sync started working again for both Verizon Messages (Windows UWP/Microsoft Store app) as well as VZW Message+. (The legacy Win32 app installable that’s no longer available from VZW’s web site.)
There’s been no explanation as to what went wrong but it was clearly a backend service issue because nothing changed on my or anyone else’s computer at all.
(What I’m saying is that the VZW Support’s explanation that “Message+… is not compatible with Windows 10” was & remains totally wrong. If you’re reading this, blaming Windows 10 “compatibility” was a really silly & annoying tactic, Verizon.)
BTW: Props to DavidR_VZW from Verizon Support. His explanation on the community boards was the most accurate in all the other responses, I’d seen:
We apologize for the issues experienced when using the Message+ Verizon Messages – Windows Desktop application, JoEbY-X. We always want to make sure you’re able to use any available service, and you can rest assured our Message+ team is working on a resolution. DavidR_VZW
VZW Support chimed in. You can see in the Support forum below, they have spammed the forum with the same canned answer over and over and over again:
The Message+ application is not compatible with Windows 10 computers. The Windows messaging client for Verizon messages is being temporarily removed to prevent syncing issues. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. You can utilize the messaging web client as a windows alternative by following the steps in this link below
I got the same from @vzwsupport on Twitter. Virtually the exact same wording. No update, no ETA, no commitment that the matter will be fixed.
The fact that they feel it’s better that their customers are ignorant or dissatisfied with their support response tells me something is likely afoot here.
One of the critical apps I install on my PC is called “Verizon Message+”. It’s a simple Win32 app that allows me to text using my Verizon Wireless account from my desktop as if I were using my phone. It keeps synced with my phone so I can seamless text from my desktop and continue when I leave with my phone.
On August 31st, the Verizon Message+ apps for Windows & Mac stopped working and the community isn’t very happy about it… to the tune of 35 pages of “feedback” on the VZW community site:
I have the same problems as everyone else. I suspect they have recently started to have service failures with the Internet gateway they have that connects the SMS text messaging service with user’s Win32 Message+ apps. (Modern App from the Microsoft Store & the old Desktop app that we all love & saved the installers for, amirite?)
Like everyone here, Message+ (Win32 desktop install) stopped working on my workstation on 9/1/19. I’ve installed the “newer” Modern App version from the Microsoft Store and it suffers from the exact same problem.
The web app at https://web.vma.vzw.com/ times out and doesn’t seem to be able to maintain a dormant HTTPS: connection so that fails somewhat regularly. My Android device however works with it’s Verizon Message+ (or whatever it’s called on Android) just fine – but I strongly suspect the connectivity is done over their cellular network and not over the Internet, hence it doesn’t use the same gateway that the Win32/Modern App clients use.
I’m a little surprised that they don’t appear to have this as a high priority (Service down???) being that SMS text messages are a revenue-generating service. But then again, maybe many VZW customers have Unlimited SMS text msg plans and thus this is not a big deal to them.
Its’ September 11th, 2019 now and it’s still not working. I really do hope they get this resolved. Based on the thread it appears to have failed before but subsequently resolved but I guess an issue has reared it’s head on 8/31/19 all over again.
For those interested in the app for Windows – assuming it gets fixed – there are 3 options:
1) Message+ for Win32:
This is the old desktop app that VZW no longer makes available sadly. This is the app that long time users have depended on for more than a decade and it has run on everything from Windows Vista on up to Windows 10. VZW removed the app from their site but the installer is still downloadable from the link below:
2) Message+ for Windows 10
This is the new “Modern App” that only works on Windows 10 available for download via the Microsoft Store in Windows that apparently VZW doesn’t advertise either. Its similar to the Win32 app but requires that you download it from the Store. It’s downloadable from the link below:
3) Message+ Web Client
This is the web page you can sign into that provides similar, but lesser functionality through a web browser. All you have to do is sign into the link below:
Note: I’ve started pinging @VZWsupport on Twitter and referencing the Community forums thread referred to above, in the hopes of getting a status or even a resolution.
VZW’s been radio silent on the matter. I have yet to receive a response either on the community forums or on Twitter.
Today, I received a terribly sad email.
It is with deep regret that we inform you of the passing of Chef Nobi Kusuhara. Chef Nobi came to the United States in 1971, a few days after graduating high school with a dream to be a successful American businessman. At that time, he did not know the passion and love he would have for the sushi business. Nobi struggled, and his life’s journey was filled with peaks and valleys, but he always moved through life with a smile and obstinate optimism. When he said “I want to make you the best sushi”, he really meant it. To his dying day, he loved finding the best fish and serving it the best way possible. He was a few weeks from retirement and was planning to spend his time with his wife that he had been with for 49 years by moving back to Japan. Though he had countless offers over the years to sell his businesses to various large corporations, Nobi always believed it was more important to stay true to his craft and honor the creation of authentic sushi. In the end, he turned the path away from becoming a businessman and found his true passion in becoming a master craftsman in the art of sushi. Chef Nobi decided to pass down his restaurants to the chefs who studied under him. He said, “I want to pass down to my chefs, so the customers can keep eating the same sushi I made. I do not want to inconvenience my loyal customers.” To honor Chef Nobi, we hope you will continue to eat at any and all of the Sasabune locations located in the United States. There are 4 locations in California at West LA, Beverly Hills, Glendale, & Pacific Palisades, also in New York City, & Honolulu.
Though we will not be having a formal memorial service, there will be an informal viewing scheduled on August 11th, 2019 at 4pm. Please feel free to join the Sasabune Family.
August 11th, 2019
707 E. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
I’ve been eating at Sasabune since the mid-90’s when the restaurant had just 2 chefs & was located on Sawtelle Blvd and filled with day traders with hot stock tips and “big market swing” stories. (Those of you who were there know what I’m talking about)
I have a few stories of my own but I’m going to save those for later once I collect myself.
- The quiet desperation of Gen X workers across America
- Burnout is officially a medical condition, according to the World Health Organization
Margaret Price, Principal Researcher and Design Strategist at Microsoft, wrote an article on this topic & how to bounce back from burnout.
- Living Life vs. Managing Life
Four lessons on bouncing back from burnout from a senior Microsoft researcher who’s been there and back.
Off of this site, there’s actually a long series of articles addressing ‘burnout’ in two hashtags:
- Beating Burnout
- Burnout (General)