I'm not the kind of guy who embraces a lot of change. Yes, there are things that need changing; I get that. However, rocking the boat just to see who or what falls out, isn't something I do for kicks.
Last month I was on the road for two straight weeks. Well, I was back in Greenville once for a whopping 11 hours and home for about 9 hours of that. It was long enough to unpack, do a load of wash, repack, grab six hours of sleep and get back to the airport. Sometime between that brief home stand and my final return three days later, all hell broke lose.
Maybe that's being a little too dramatic.
For the couple of weeks I've been back, I've been in connectivity/technology hell. I'm ready to gut punch a kitten. I've had it with computers, printers, personal devices, AT&T, whoever the jerks are who make GoPro, Apple, iTunes, and the list goes on and on. My head is pounding just thinking about it.
I get alerts from Duke Energy whenever there is a significant power outage in my area. Apparently there was one during the three-day period mentioned above. The lights went out at my home. I have no clue how long the house was without electricity, but it was long enough that I received two messages about it over a 24-hour period. If I lived in Wisconsin, a 12-plus-hour outage in February might have meant frozen water pipes, as well as other catastrophes. But, that's why I live south of the Mason-Dixon line.
No, what I did come home to was all of my digital clocks flashing, and all the timers controlling lights when I'm out of town turning those lights on at 2:30 in the afternoon. I reset all of those only to have Duke Power, the next day, intentionally shut down electricity in the area to “make some improvements.” Whatever that means. I got to reset everything all over again. (Oh and then the time change: another round of resetting it all.)
It wasn't until that afternoon that I finally fired up my PC to do a little work and found my Wi-Fi wasn't working. I couldn't connect to the Internet. I rebooted everything. I unplugged my ATT gateway and plugged it back in. Nada. My network didn't even appear when accessing available Wi-Fi networks. I was on the phone with the AT&T robot three times trying different troubleshooting solutions. By now, I had burned through more than two hours. I was steaming. You see, I can't make phone calls from inside my house with AT&T without Wi-Fi calling. Each call entailed me heading out to the carport in 40-degree temps to make calls.
Eventually, I got a human being on the phone. Although English was obviously not her first language, I had her repeat things until I understood what she was saying. Sometimes I got the gist of what she was saying on the first repeat and sometimes on the third or fourth. For some reason known only to the gremlins constantly attacking our technology, during all of the power outages, my Wi-Fi network reset itself to the factory network name and password. The technician I spoke with couldn't explain it, or if she did, I didn't realize it. There was a lot of chattering going on. We reset the password and I had Wi-Fi again. Of course, that meant going through my long list of Wi-Fi-connected devices, including outside security cameras, and reconnecting. Another 90 minutes up in smoke.
While in Florida during my two-week sabbatical, I decided the issue with my phone signal reception was due to the phone. I was having the same problem making calls and sending texts where I was staying as I was at home. Because one of my friends I stay with works for Verizon, he was familiar with the closest AT&T cell site, which also happens to host a Verizon site. They have no problem with their cell-phone signals. Although my phone was only 13 months old, I decided to pull the trigger and replace it. I ordered a new phone, which was waiting for me when I returned at the end of my trip.
Of course, signal reception isn't any better on the new phone. I'm keeping it, however, because it's a little smaller than the phone it replaces. It's easier to slip in my back pocket. When I bought the phone just over a year ago, it marked a switch from Apple to Android. After nearly 14 months, I am still not an Android fan, but I stuck with Android because for the last 12 months of using my third iPhone, it was updating twice or more a week. What a pain. Finally, somewhere in all that updating, it caused the GPS function on the phone to quit working. The phone knew where it was as long as I was stationary, but the moment I began to move, it had no clue where it was. I couldn't use Google Maps or any other direction app. That was enough to finish me with iPhones.
Since I've been with Android, I've been trying to figure out a way to move all of the iTunes music I've purchased over the years to my Android phone. Last week I finally broke down and spent $40 (annual subscription) on an app to transfer iTunes music from my iPod to my PC and then back to my Android phone. I'll eventually cancel the subscription. I have been able to make the transfers, but rather than playlists, the songs have transferred in file folders. I struggled with being able to get the phone to play songs in succession. I had to click on each song to play it. Another blood-pressure raising task.
I'm please to report, however, that I finally overcame the song-transfer issue. For the first time in 16 months, I'm able to share my entire music library with my Android phone and play songs in whichever car I am driving. A small victory, but I'll take them as they come.
Over the Christmas holiday, I bought a GoPro on a site called Daily Sale. I get an update of new sale items each day. I really have never had an interest in GoPro. Recently, though, I've been thinking about doing just3things car reviews from behind the wheel. As I was scrolling through the sale items one day I came across an $80 deal on GoPro Hero 3+ cameras for $80. I couldn't pass it up. I ordered it. It's arrival required about two weeks. Once delivered, it sat, unopened for another month. I finally got around to opening the shipping box since returning from my two week trip.
Once I had the shipping box open, I discovered the GoPro in a plain white box. Somehow I totally missed the fact that this was, in fact, a refurbished camera. Had I realized that, I would have opened it sooner. Once open, I had to buy a mini SD card. I got on Amazon ordered that, as well as one for my new phone. I also bought a couple of other GoPro accessories like a mount and spare batteries. A couple of days ago I watched a YouTube video on the subject and then set up my Hero 3+. I also downloaded the App allowing me to perform some basic operations on the GoPro through my phone, as well as use my phone as a monitor. Of course, the phone and GoPro wouldn't automatically sync. No, I need the serial number to do it manually. Where's the serial number? you may ask. It's supposed to be in the battery compartment. Fat chance. The serial-number sticker is missing leaving behind some glue residue in its place. Had the phone not been sync'd previously, I could do it with the factory settings, but that's not an option either. I reached out to Daily Sale. More on this in a future Clanging Bell.
As part of my Wi-Fi fiasco, the Wi-Fi connection between my PC and Canon printer was severed. I couldn't get the printer back online. I attempted to delete it from my PC, download a new driver and whatever else I could think of. After fooling with it for more than an hour, I was well over my tolerance threshold. I sprang a gasket. I was fed up with fighting technology. I got on Amazon and ordered a new printer. Of course, even though the new printer is from the same Canon line as the old one, it takes different ink cartridges. They looked the same in the online photos, but they are different. Consequently the box of spare cartridges is worthless to me. I'm hanging on to the old printer. It will rest in the upstairs spare bedroom until I have put enough distance between my breakdown and recovery to attempt to get it up and functioning again.
I am fed up with AT&T. I'm going to have to live with its lack of cell coverage for another year. I'm not going through all the crap associated with reconfiguring my phone for a new carrier. But I will be shopping for a new broadband provider. I am too exhausted to lay it all out here, but even after doubling my broadband with AT&T, I still can't stream anything between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. I assume it has something to do with kids being home from school and, en masse, logging on to game or whatever. All the extra traffic on AT&T's system knocks me off. It's fine earlier in the day and later in the evening. So, I'll waste more time and expend more energy (physical and emotional) addressing this issue.
Oh, the humanity.....