Category Archives: Rant

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Prius 13 Update

Previously on Prius 13

    “I warned you not to stir the oxygen tanks,” my service writer replied.

    Houston, we have a problem.

    I noticed one of my warnings lights was on as I drove through the parking lot. No wait. ALL OF MY WARNING LIGHTS WERE ON. The main console was lit up like a Christmas tree. I pulled into a parking space and rebooted the car (aka turning it off and on). All of the warning lights stayed on and the primary notification window alternated between “CHECK PCS SYSTEM” and “CHECK HYBRID SYSTEM”.

    My Prius had gone Apollo 13 on me.

    With my luck, it’s the AE-35 Unit.

 It wasn’t the AE-35 Unit.

It was the Flux Capacitor … or the financial equivalent thereof.

 = = =

Thursday was a busy day at CatBeard Manor. The Mrs was back from the hospital but still wheelchair-bound. A plumber was out, reaming a decades-old clog from our plumbing to allow the upstairs toilet to flush without filling up the tub. A cable technician was out for the nth time troubleshooting my abysmal Internet performance. And finally, the first wave of physical therapy had arrived to evaluate the Mrs. So I was calling Toyota every hour or so trying to get an update on the Prius. No joy.

Late in the afternoon, after everyone had left my house, I decided to drive over to Toyota and talk in-person to my service writer. I drove the rental car to the front, parked, got out, and got a free cup of coffee in the lobby before stalking my service writer.

I walked up behind him and said “you’re a very difficult guy to get a hold of.”

“It’s been a goat rodeo here,” he replied.

“I came by to get some free coffee and while I was here decided to stop by and find out what was up with my Prius.”

I got a smile. “Let me go in the back and find out what’s going on.”

He was gone a long time.

When he came back he was carrying two sheets of paper. The first sheet of paper was a printout, the first line of which had HYBRID BATTERY with a bunch of Xs after it in various columns indicating various failed tests. The second sheet was blank save for handwritten numbers indicating cost of the part, tax, and labor. The total was $5600 or so.

$5600 Deep breath. Did I mention that I have been out of work since last February? I got laid off following my 15 year anniversary award with a major oil field services company. “Yeah I was afraid it would be this.” The discussion then went on to how I had read that the cost had come down and/or that individual battery cells could be replaced. Maybe, but not through Toyota. “Is there anyway this might be covered under warranty?” I asked. “Let’s find out,” he replies.

Typing ensues. Screens pop up on his monitor. He pulls out a little book and starts leafing through it. This goes on for what seems like an eternity. Then he reaches over to the sheet with $5600 handwritten on it, crumples it up with one hand, and tosses it in the trash. Now I am staring at a screen showing the warranty status of various subsystems for my car. Each them shows that it is out of warranty – EXCEPT for the HYBRID BATTERY. It is warranteed to 100,000 miles. My car has less than 100,000 miles on it.

“So,” I ask tentatively, “it’s under warranty?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“I want to kiss you.”

“Let’s not.”

“Agreed.”

He had some more paperwork to do, so I walked over to get more free coffee. Then I went to the car rental desk and requested a printout of the contract on the car had I rented the day before. I intended to try to get Toyota to comp me for the rental car, since it was warranty work. When I got back to the service desk, my service writer was way ahead of me. “You have a rental car, yes? We’ll cover that.” He called over to rental desk and made it so.

As I left, I shot him a thumbs-up. “Free replacement battery pack. Free rental car. Free coffee. Can’t beat that.”

He smiled. “Especially the free coffee. It may not be good, but it’s free.”

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Prius 13

“I warned you not to stir the oxygen tanks,” my service writer replied.

Houston, we have a problem.

It has not been a good week at CatBeard Manor. Last Thursday the Mrs lost feeling, then function in her left leg. It was effectively “dead”. It had been bothering her for a while prior to this. (MS? Leg? Spine? MS? Leg? Spine?) She immediately called her neurologist, but it rolled over to voicemail. I broke out the wheelchair which we use from time to time when the Mrs feels particularly exhausted. Feeling and function returned over the weekend. I put away the wheelchair and broke out the walker. By Sunday evening she was “free walking” once again, unaided.

On Monday her left leg began acting up again. That afternoon I was out running errands when she called to say that the neurologist had called. “Go directly to the ER to be admitted to hospital for tests. Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200.” It was after 4 PM. I went home and collected the Mrs, the wheelchair, and several bags of supplies. We knew the drill. By the time they put her in an “observation” room they had run X-rays and a CAT scan of her head to rule out stroke, blood tests, and ultra-sound of her leg to rule out a blood clot. It was 2 AM Tuesday when she got to her room. I went home exhausted and got little sleep.

On Tuesday afternoon they scheduled her for cranial, cervical, and lumbar MRI (head, neck, back). She finished these up at 5 PM. I stayed until 10 PM, then left for home. Unable to fall asleep, I had a second mostly sleepless night.

When I got to the hospital today (Wednesday), I got the diagnosis that she had torn ligaments in her back from previous falls and probable degenerative disk disease causing irritation of nerves to her leg (a visit to the neurosurgeon who worked on my back several years ago would likely be in our future). They were sending her home with instructions to rest and a home health physical therapist would be set up to visit. She was scheduled to be discharged late in the afternoon.

I decided to run out and get some lunch. It was just before 2 PM. I walked out to parking lot, got into our 2010 Prius, and drove off. I noticed one of my warnings lights was on as I drove through the parking lot. No wait. ALL OF MY WARNING LIGHTS WERE ON. The main console was lit up like a Christmas tree. I pulled into a parking space and rebooted the car (aka turning it off and on). All of the warning lights stayed on and the primary notification window alternated between “CHECK PCS SYSTEM” and “CHECK HYBRID SYSTEM”.

My Prius had gone Apollo 13 on me.

I drove straight to my nearby Toyota dealer, waited to get my favorite service writer and told him my Prius had gone Apollo 13. “I warned you not to stir the oxygen tanks,” he replied. They would not even be able to begin troubleshooting on it until tomorrow. With my luck, it’s the AE-35 Unit.

Anyway, I went over to the rental counter and while waiting I got a call from the Mrs informing me that she was being discharged. I arrived in time in the rental car to pick her up at front door (an aid brought her down in her wheelchair with all of our gear).

Tomorrow is another day.

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Arrrggghhhh! (Internet)

Maybe it’s the Russians …

First Weggieboy (https://phainopepla95.com/2016/12/28/post-1255-argh-router-issues-this-time/) … now me.

Luckily my iPad has a cellular data connection or I could not post this. After noticing that webpages failed to load, I attempted a speed test. FAIL

So I unplugged my modem/router/wifi box and waited “long enough” then plugged it back in. Still no Internet access via WiFi.

Called my big name cable TV and internet service provider. “There is an outage in your area,” an automated voice announced. “Service is expected to be back … blah blah blah (whenever)”

OK Internet is back up BUT download speed is terrible. Call them back.

Now I am on hold with a human agent as they check my system (7:56 PM CST) …

There still appears to be “partial outage” in the network the will be corrected by 8:45 PM CST.

Now it is 8:49 PM. I unplugged my modem/router/wifi box and waited “long enough” then plugged it back in.

Download speed is about 25% of what it should be. Upload speed is normal.

Hair

Give me a head cat with hair … 

All of my cats have hair, a long top layer and an almost downy under layer. I don’t comb them enough. They can’t … be …combed enough. When I finally notice the matty mat mats it’s too late. Combing yields at least an extra cat full of hair, maybe more. Hillary and Pickles are forgiving. Patches not so much. They get shaved in the summer at the vet, but it is too cold to shave them in the winter. (As cold as we run the AC in the summer I even hate to shave them then.)

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t let them get as matted as some of the horror stories you see on the Internet, but a little matting goes a long way and takes a long time to get out.

I have a Roomba 980 and EVERY time it runs it fills up with hair. I could show you pictures, but just imagine a large cat without the actual cat. If you have long haired cats you know what I mean.

I mention this because I noticed that Hillary was getting just a little matted and when I had finished combing him out I had an extra cat and he didn’t look any skinnier.

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ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH

Rant for December 11

Comcast Internet tech came to house. Richard was very diligent. Comcast staff, not contractor. Spent much time monitoring signal. Identified spurious transmission errors. Determined that I was the only one of four on the “node” – good news. Bad news – the other three connections were “unterminated”. Richard terminated them. He also replaced the cable from the house to the node. Problems “appear” fixed.

Got email from Apple from AppStore Re: purchase of Burley Men at Sea

WTF????? – I didn’t buy this.

Hours on chat / phone / website to Apple. AppleID compromised. Got a refund. Changed my password.

Filed from http://www.ephesusgrill.com/ Katy TX
PS … I ordered a $40 bottle of Turkish wine with the intent of having some and bringing it home. Ha ha – I drank it all. Safely home now.

Upload UPDATE | Brothers HD

So … today I decided to run speed tests on my Internet again …


There are two sets of numbers for December 10 (alternating) … 150+ / 11+ and 70+ / 1+

The faster numbers on December 10 are for the 5 Ghz Wi-Fi channel and the slower for the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channel. The 5 Ghz Wi-Fi channel is fast enough to keep up with the native cable modem speed, the 2.4 GHz channel … not so much. I think I knew that, but had not paid attention as I always connect via the 5 GHz channel.

My son confirms that direct wired connection is running at full speed as well.

I am definitely getting a “performance discrepancy” with Comcast that varies throughout the day. Does this reflect bandwidth congestion from other users? Probably.

Will retry the upload now.

SUCCESS

Brothers HD

Upload

Are you Internet tech savvy? Look at the following and tell me what you see …


 
After watching the video in the previous post, Brothers, I felt that the video was a bit blurry and decided to upload an HD version of the video. What follows is a classic case of when you’re up to your neck in alligators, it’s easy to forget that the initial objective was to drain the swamp.

The upload to YouTube for the HD version from my iPad was taking forever. WTF?

It all started two weeks ago (cue music from Alice’s Restaurant) when number two son got a message on his upstairs TV that we had to upgrade his cable box from Xfinity/Comcast. So I asked him to investigate and it turned out that we needed to collect our Internet cable modem and two cable TV boxes and take them to Comcast to exchange for newer models. He brought down his box and I got the downstairs box and modem and the very next day I took them to Comcast to swap them out. 

The next day I got a new cable modem, a master cable TV box and a secondary cable TV box and brought them home. Number two son took over the job of hooking up the new modem and master TV box downstairs and after at least an hour on the phone got the downstairs TV and modem working. However when he tried to get the secondary box connected to the upstairs TV it did not work. After additional communications with Comcast he determined that he needed another master box for his TV.

Days later it arrived and when he hooked it up to his TV he still could not get reception. After another session on the phone to Comcast, it was determined that a technician needed to come out to the house. 

Last Tuesday said technician (an independent contractor for Comcast) spent the entire afternoon running new cable, splitters, and installing a signal booster (a powered amplifier) in order to get a TV signal upstairs. As he was getting ready to leave I cornered him and asked him what he did (see previous sentence). He also told me that our Internet performance was poor and that there was nothing he could do on my end. He said he would put in a support ticket for Comcast to investigate on their end.

On Thursday (December 8th) I called Comcast to follow up and was told they had no record of any problem being reported. While on the phone I ran a speed test (see image above for December 8) and told them that I was getting about 160 download and 12 upload. I was told that my service level was for 100-150 download and 10 upload … the best available. My value of 160/12 was certainly better than 150/10, so all was good. I left it at that.

So tonight (December 9th) I tried to upload an HD version of the Brothers video (remember the Brothers video?). We’ll just wait for it to come around on the guitar. It was taking forever to upload. So I called Comcast to complain. The first thing we did was a speed test. My numbers were 107/0.9. Then 67/0.3. That is … 0.3 vs 10 … for upload. “How far away from the modem are you?” Comcast guy asks. A reasonable troubleshooting question as walls and pipes can interefere and slow Wi-Fi speed. I am already on the move with iPad and iPhone to the room with the cable modem/Wi-Fi. “I am two meters away from the modem with clear line of sight,” I tell him. “71/0.28 – my Internet sucks,” I continue. “Do you have a computer connected directly via Ethernet?” Comcast guy asks. I Skype number two son upstairs. His numbers are WORSE than mine on Wi-Fi.  (WTF x2) Comcast guy asks to reset the modem. OK. No improvement. I tell him that number two son has been complaining about poor performance. “How long?” Comcast guy asks. “How long?” I text number two son. “Two weeks,  maybe, since we got the new modem.” Comcast guy says he needs to send out another technician to look at our Internet. “Sunday afternoon is our first availablity.” Sigh … OK.

Where was I? Oh yeah, guess I will wait until Sunday or Monday to try to upload the HD version of the Brothers video. Or maybe I won’t …