My new phone and troubles

Three weeks ago, I wrote about my new phone number, and switching over to Cricket Wireless.  I wanted to share some info about how their company works and how so far, they have started to lose me as a customer.

The phone I bought is the one you see in the picture.  It is a ZTE Grand X4 phone.  The main selling point for me appealed to my inner security geek with it's fingerprint scanner.  The minute I saw it on their site, I knew that is the one I wanted.   When we made the switch, I happily brought the home and enjoyed knowing that I had enhanced security on

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Advertisements on Devices

As a consumer, I have always been bombarded by advertisements in print, on the radio, TV, and even movies.  With the advent of the Internet and ad-blockers, I was prompt to install one and have been spoiled by how 'clean' the web appears without advertisements.   When we started having smart phones come onto the scene, it was immediately a new avenue for advertising revenue for the developers of applications and Google (for Android), and the increase of advertisements in apps has become a nuisance.   I think most of us are used to or have become so numb to them invading our apps that we do not care about them

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Weekends are too short!

I had to work yesterday which took the majority of my day.   Up at 4:30am work at 6:30am to 3:30pm.   After work, I went to the auto part store to purchase a replacement blower motor for the car.   Over the last month or so, it was starting to make noise, louder and louder.  I knew that a bearing had come loose or something along those lines.   In my years of car ownership, this would be the second one I have replaced and it just so happens, both cars that I have done this on have been SUV's.  

I spent today installing or attempting to install the blower motor.  I found

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Tinkering with a small computer

A quick primer on the Raspberry Pi for those who are not familiar with it.  This is a small credit card sized computer which runs on 5 volts of electricity and allows you to use it as the core computer in projects, or even a project itself.   Students all over the world have used them to create robots, while hobbyists have attached cameras to them and turned them into a wildlife cam which connects to a network and sends photos to their email.   Others have used them to create full fledged arcade machines capable of playing 100's of games all inside of a standard arcade cabinet.   The array of projects

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Checks and Balances

When I was in school, we learned all about the checks and balances system in my Social Studies class.  With the recent political change we have had in our country, I have finally seen it in action.  No matter what political view you have or who you support, you can easily see what has gone on and no matter what your view, the nation is seeing the system come into use more than ever.

I am not sure where we will go as a country, or where we will be in the next 4 years as one, but I know that we will be in a safe World War free

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What a week!  From power outages to a couple of medical issues in the family, to various stressful events, I am glad that the weekend is now coming upon us!

I was in a conversation with a co-worker the other day about T.G.I.F. from ABC which used to air in the late 80s and 90's.  It still runs today, but it is not broadcast like it used to with the theme music and intros.  He is about 15 or more years younger than me and his recollection of those shows are different than mine.  But we both had the same feeling, that it was a good time and the shows

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Power outage last Monday

When I wake up at 4:30 on weekdays, I rely on my alarm clock to do it's job.  We have had very unreliable alarm clocks for a while, one I have had for 10 years that auto set's its time using the Atomic clock signals.  That one has flaked out and rarely would go off, and the display had an odd flicker to it.  It had served me well with it's blinding blue light that was in fashion back then.  I ended up replacing it with another clock that was supposed to auto set, but it never has.  This one has a nice pleasant green display.  Lo and Behold, the

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Why I have made the permanent switch to Linux

Since I have moved to the Portland area, I have experienced several hardware changes - my laptop died which had Windows on it, my spare computer I was using died, and so I was left with my current system which is an older system, but still quite capable.  Windows 10 runs on it fine and there are no issues with it.  With that said, the change to Linux has been more or less motivated by how much I have grown in it.  When we moved to Portland, I started working at my job which dictates that you have 'command line' experience in Linux.  Having run a web hosting company in

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My history with computers


TRS-80 Color Computer II

When I first started using computers, I was 12 years old in 1984.  That was a magical time for me and I have very fond memories related to them.   It was then, that I remember us going to Radio Shack at the mall and my parents picking up a TRS-80 color computer II with 16K of memory and it hooked up to the TV.   It came with a tape drive to play cassette tapes which held programs and was at the time, a very amazing system.  It was this system where I started to learn how to type and became immersed in the wonders of being

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New Start - New Look

With the new year starting, I thought that it would be a good time to finally revamp the web site.  2016 has brought many things with it and we are all very glad that it has finally come to an end.  I think it is safe to say that we all know someone who has faced trials and adversity, or maybe yourself.  In 2016, we had our fair share.

I look forward to 2017 being a better year of prosperity, good health and peace for everyone.

More posts to come soon!



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Things you may not know about tech support

I thought it would be fun to share some interesting notes about tech support people and what goes on during the calls. I am a tech support operator and have come to these realizations from both a customer's point of view but also as a phone operator myself.

1) If you hear us typing in the background, it is because we are actively documenting our conversation we just had with you and what steps we took to troubleshoot the problem. We are also probably conversing with others in a local office chat interface to get assistance or answering other questions other techs have while we are waiting for you to

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What's up?

Alright, so we have not been around for a long time on the site.  There is a long story behind this, that is for another day.   Mostly, though - I have put the site back up and hope to add more posts in the future sooner than later.  As a more introverted personality, these things are just not a natural thing for me to do.

In short - from the last post here -

We virtually were cooked in our new apartment at the start of summer and were quickly faced with the reality of the fact that stores around here generally carry 10 or 15 air conditioners in inventory

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Ten things I learned as a traveling technician

In my brief time as a traveling repair person for point of sale systems, I picked up a few neat tricks along the way that I thought I’d share:

1) You can pretty easily walk into the back of the store without being noticed.
2) No matter how many times you set the inventory alarm off with your tool bag of tools, they never give a second look. This goes with #3 below
3) If you look like you know what you are doing, they leave you alone.
4) You can be researching on your laptop how to repair a product, and people think you are filling out the paperwork

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 It’s Fresh!  It’s New! It’s Wonderful!


A fresh new look has beheld this web site.  Since we have moved to the Portland area now, I have decided to start the web site fresh and clean with a new look.  The skyline you see above is of Portland’s skyline at dusk taken by an unknown source on Wikipedia.  I thought it was a good representation of the area we live in.  With our move, we have made some personal changes in our lives as well which we feel will make us better in the long run.

I will be adding more photos than ever before starting with our wedding

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Observations of being in a new city

Having grown up in Medford most of my life, I never really had a chance to explore any other larger metropolitan area than it.  Medford is the largest city closest to the California/Oregon border, but those of you in this area that I know already knew this!  As our journey landed us here in the Portland area, we have come to notice several really cool things about this place.

  • The Trees!  There are so many trees in our local suburb that even in the most “city” parts of here, there are tons of them.   I drive by ‘little forests’ daily to and from work and am looking forward to them
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Another year has passed and we are confidently saying "Good Bye" to it and ready to move on to greener fields and pastures as this year comes to a beginning. 

Like many people, I have looked back on what this last year has brought to us and I must admit, it has been very ugly to us.  With the job change I had, my back causing some issues and the loss of both my job and home, we have had to endure more than our fair share of trials than anyone should ever have to endure.  It truly has been a test of our endurance and faith to say the

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On Saturday May 24th 2014 at 1:49 it all began. The starting of an attack by a hacker on my accounts starting with PayPal. The first email came in:

Verification code to reset PayPal password

Dear Keith (redacated), To reset your password, enter this verification code when prompted: 039066Sincerely, PayPal

This email was sent by an automated system, so if you reply, nobody will see it. To get in touch with us, log in to your account and click "Contact Us" at the bottom of any page. Copyright © 2014 PayPal, Inc. All rights reserved. PayPal is located at 2211 N. First St., San Jose,

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A Case Against Outsourced Call Centers

Those of you who know me, know that for well over 14 years, I worked in a call center in various positions.  From basic order entry, telemarketing, customer service, supervisory, claims information specialist, to technical support operator, I have done them all.  Now that I have moved to IT Support, I don’t do this type of work anymore, but I still do respect and stand up for our Call Center employees who put in sometimes long hours, angry customers, happy customers, and your garden variety of customers.   You can learn a lot about human nature working in call centers and one of the things you learn pretty fast is that

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