Clean

I have been here blogging on and off for since 2001.

Lately, I’ve been in the off mode. Life has been busy the last six years. Raising kids, changing jobs, and dealing with the general curveballs life throws. Times for carefree thought are rare. When an opportunity presents itself, it is almost always limited to what you can do on your iPhone. So posting an Instrgram photo, sharing my status on Facebook, or reblogging on Tumblr is almost only what can be done.

There is an opportunity here.

I have often been depressed looking at this space, where my blog would reside, and see it going unused. I still go to my Tumblr. I go to my Instagram. My Facebook. I use the web of services and tools that pervade my daily life.

This page will now be the launching pad, the hub, the Grand Central Terminal of my interweb life. A small snippet of a post or a photo that leads to other photos will be placed here. To access the main content, simply click the link after the posting.

Comcast Does Not Listen

I had a similar conversation with Comcast when I was simply trying to find out how many Filipino stations they offered. DirecTV offers eleven Filipino stations. Comcast only offers five. I simply asked if they would be offering more, but the representative avoided the question and started talking about their other channels and how much better they are then DirecTV.

The one-sided conversation took off from there. The Comcast person started talking about pricing, channels, and other features that I was not interested in. When I pushed back he would ask, “Why?” “Why aren’t you interested in this great deal?” “Why do you need more Filipino channels?”  Perhaps because those channels are being watched by someone in my house?!?!?

It took some time with me becoming more agitated to be able to pry myself off the phone. I think I finally hung up on them as I simply said, “You are not listening to what I am wanting and asking about, so this conversation is over.”

I understand the person was trying to make a sale, and I was the one who called Comcast. But to turnaround and try to thrust their services on my was very off-putting.

Listen to the below call. But be warned: you might get a little agitated after listening to it all.

@SearsAuto My Experience Sucked

This is a simple story of a bad customer experience turning into a worse one by the day.

My truck battery was on its last legs. I managed to get it charged so I drove it to the closest Sears Auto in Cupertino. I was able to be checked in fairly quickly about 11 am, and told my car would be done a little after noon – or within the hour.  This sounded great.

The mall in Cupertino isn’t that great, so I called Farrah who, with the kids, picked me up at Sears. We decided to have lunch at the local park and let the kids play. This provided a couple of hours of fun, more than enough time to get the battery changed in the truck. It was strange, though, no one called from Sears Auto during the time we were at the park. As we started driving back I began to wonder if they even started work on my truck.

It was a little after 1:30 when I got back to Sears Auto. I saw my truck in the same spot which concerned me a little. But then I thought, well all they need to do is pop the hood, disconnect the old battery and put in the new one. They shouldn’t need to move it far. In any event, I stood in line to talk to one of the customer representatives. I stood in line for about 30 minutes, a line only 3 people deep, before I got to talk to what apparently was the one working representative. This was strange because earlier in the day, just a few hours ago, there were at least three representatives working. The representative told me that they hadn’t gotten to my truck just yet but it should be done soon. He would make sure.

I was a bit peeved but was able to occupy my time with Farrah and the kids by going across the street to do some grocery shopping. This ate about an hour of time. I asked Farrah to drop me off and just head home with the kids, thinking the truck would be done. Boy was I wrong.

All I could do vent through Twitter:

 

then

then

 

Unfortunately, according to Sears I was sending my tweets to the wrong account. Instead of @Sears I should be sending tweets to @SearsAuto. Silly me. I thought that a service with the name Sears would be concerned about the bad customer experience several people were experiencing.

Hoping to get some resolution, I sent tweets to @SearsAuto. They responded the next day:

But they have been silent ever since.

I don’t believe I will be hearing from them. Even if  I did I suppose I would only get some half-hearted apology with no rational explanation for the problems experienced by the many people that day.

Thinking back on what could have been done differently by anyone at Sears Auto that day I could only come to this conclusion: they should have set expectations appropriately. If they couldn’t do the work in a timely manner, then they shouldn’t have promised it could be done. They should have stopped taking new work in. Continually building up the workload for a number of workers they had only frustrated the customers.

I am guessing this trend will continue at Sears, uh I mean, Sears Auto. In any event, Sears, as a whole entity has lost me as a customer.

Lorde at The Fillmore

General admission. Standing room only. A combination I do not look forward to in a concert. But if the artist and venue are right, I will endure. And Farrah and I did endure this combination, at The Fillmore, to see Lorde.

I was lucky enough to snag two tickets back when they went on sale a few months ago, before  Royals was getting regular mainstream radio play. I don’t know if I’d be lucky to get tickets now seeing how big Lorde has become.  Funny thing was when they went on sale, they seemingly sold out immediately. But I persisted for a few minutes and was able to grab two tickets. 

We arrived a few minutes late to The Fillmore. Friday night traffic going up to San Francisco was ugly as usual. We caught a few songs from the opening act, Until the Ribbon Breaks. They sounded great on stage, so I immediately added a few tracks to a Spotify playlist. After their set people milled around, as usual, waiting for Lorde to take the stage.

The crowd started to fill up as Lorde’s set time was getting closer. The crowd was a good mix of ages, as The Fillmore can be depending on the performer. We were situated in a good spot, center and further back on the floor. Unfortunately, to Farrah’s left, a group of unruly 20-somethings decided to talk and bump around people through the whole performance. One couple just wanted to make out all night.  In front of us was an older couple, probably in their early to mid 50’s. Made me wonder how many concerts do they attend?

Getting back to Lorde –  she performed well for someone who hasn’t performed often on tour. She sounded well, though the bass was on the heavy side, making her voice sound muddled. From another review of the concert, it seems it was her idea to crank up the bass. She had energy, working the stage very easily. She talked between a few songs, using   Thank you, San Francisco, often, which elicited approval from the crowd.

Her set was short, about 12 songs or so, lasting a little over an hour. No encore performed with the lights coming up after her last song. I thought she could have done a few more songs, as her album came out that day in some places.

The annoyances of the general admission crowd are worth it sometimes, especially when seeing an up-and-coming artist. It is always nice to see an artist on the rise, seeing them before they get too big, in an intimate place like The Fillmore.

Other reviews of the show are at SF Gate and San Jose Mercury News and SF Station.

Success!

I knew how I was going to purchase a new iPhone on launch day. I was going to do it online, not stand in line at an Apple Store. I had heard the best way to purchase online would be through the Apple Store iPhone app. Something about using APIs versus the store front would be faster. I don’t recall where I heard this from, but I assumed it couldn’t be worse than watching a browser try to load.

Since the iPhone 5c was already available to order before Friday, I went through a few test runs on the app to see how the purchasing process would be. I noticed that the app is phone specific when purchasing the iPhone, meaning you are choosing to replace the iPhone you are using the app on with a new iPhone. I then asked Farrah to load the Apple Store app on her iPhone, since I was upgrading her phone as well. I would be doing simultaneous purchases using both phones.

I watched as midnight rolled around on our phones. I launched the Apple Store app. I chose the colors and GB size of the iPhones. I confirmed our current voice plan. I also reconfirmed our Unlimited Data plan (sneaking AT&T trying to make me choose otherwise). I then chose AppleCare for each phone. I clicked submit. Within 30 seconds I was done! It wasn’t even one minute past midnight and I was successful in ordering both iPhones!

Now comes the hard part, waiting for the phone to ship.

Color Me Rad

Confident before the run.
Confident before the run.

This past weekend, Farrah, Fina, Kristel, Kay, Chantel, and Marisa took part in the 5K Color Me Rad run. It was held at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose. This particular run benefited the

Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE). I was able to take a few photos at the event. It was a bit difficult avoiding the color powder that is used at the event. I saw several DSLR users have plastic bags over their cameras, similar to a rain bag I used on my Nikon D70 when we went to England. If they do this run again, I will need to make sure to bring a plastic bag with me.

Celebrating after the run!
Celebrating after the run!

Photos for this event are located under the Color Me Rad folder.

My New iPhone Predictions

I am anxiously awaiting Apple’s announcement tomorrow. Having used the iPhone 4S since it was released in October of 2011, I can really use a new phone to satiate my hunger for new phone technology. If I had to wait any longer I might need to consider one of the many Android phones that are available.

I have read many articles about what the tech insiders say will be on the new hardware,. Here is what I think – or hope – will come out of tomorrow’s announcements. My predictions have no basis in fact. They are guided by the articles I’ve read and just my feelings in the whole spectacle that is an iPhone announcement.

  * It won’t be an iPhone 5S but will be called an iPhone 6

  * There will be a less expensive iPhone called the 5C – for color.

  * My reasoning for the name iPhone 6 is the inclusion of the rumored fingerprint sensor and the introduction of the less expensive iPhone.

  * The difference between iPhones will not only be the fingerprint sensor but a retina screen and better camera / dual flash for the premium model.

  * The iPhone 6 (let’s just say premium iPhone until the actual name is announced) will come in black, white, gold, and gray.

  * The 5C will come in 6 colors – black, white, red, blue, yellow, and green.

  * The components of the premium iPhone will be new and faster. The 5C components will be the same as the iPhone 5.

  * Pre-orders will start on Friday, September 13th with delivery on September 20th

I can’t wait to see what Apple will be offering this new iPhone season.

Time

I feel I don’t have enough time during any given day. At least not enough to do what I want, when I want to do it. This is why my blogging has efforts have fallen by the wayside.

Wife. Kids. Work. Eat. Commute. Sleep. These are the priorities in order. Wife. Kids. Work. Eat. Commute. Sleep.

Sleep is nice if it can be had. When it is possible, it doesn’t come in consecutive hours, not since the kids were born. I’ve learned to function with chunks of sleep here and there, sneaking in a few extra minutes on the commute to-and-from work.

Commuting and working are dedicated blocks of time. The commute is not fixed in its length. It can take up to 2 1/2 hours a day. And if there is an incident on Caltrain, add another 90 minutes to that time. I try not to take my work home with me, but my job is easily accessible through any device.this makes it easy to read and answer work issues.

That leaves the time spent with the wife and kids. They are the center of my world, the reason I do what I do. During the week I don’t have the opportunity to spend much time with them. An hour or two in the morning while getting ready to leave for the day. A few hours at night at dinner time then bed time. At least we have the weekends together.

Eating is done between all of these times.

Setting aside time to write has been tough. I can steal a moment away here-and-there to jot down a thought I want to explore. Finding the time to think that thought through and writing it down can be difficult. But I believe I need that time, the time to use my brain and stretch my fingers. My writing may not be revelatory but it is mine. It is seething I wish to express, even if it is a trivial matter.

And so I’m making an effort to post more, to write more in this space. It may be a simple comment on a link or a long bitch fest about a day gone sideways. But it’ll be something I want to share. Whether you want to read it is up to you.

I hope you do.

My iPhone 4S Camera Issue

I wanted to take a photo of Graecyn yesterday with my iPhone 4S. I launched the camera app from the lock screen. The familiar shutter image appeared but didn’t proceed any further through the process. I tried again and again, quitting a relaunching, but nothing happened.

I did a hard reset, tried booting into different camera apps I have on my iPhone, but each resulted in no joy.

I did a web search and found that this a problem experienced by some users. I went through the necessary restore steps, even wiping my phone completely without restoring from a back-up. The problem did not go away.

I’m guessing it is a hardware issue since it affects all the photo taking apps I had. We’ll see what the Genius Bar says tomorrow.

Update: Just got back from the Apple Store. The problem was hardware – the front camera was no longer working. This is one of the things I like about an iPhone, the ability to go to the Apple Store to get it fixed. Where would I go to get my Android phone fixed if I had a problem? The carrier is most likely. I’m not sure their level of service would be the same.