siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Every. single. time. my shell hosting company announces a planned outage for an upgrade for something having to do with email, and they assure me that it won't impact me at all and I won't have any email outage, every single time they've wrong.

I'm not going to embarrass them in public because they do try so hard and are quick to fix broken things when I bring them to their attention.

It's just that, by now, I'd hope they'd just email me, "Hey, Siderea, we'll be fucking up your email at this future date and time. We'll be around on Twitter until this subsequent date and time. Please be available during this window to exercise your account and let us know what we've broken this time."

Instead, I email them in response to the planned outage announcement and say, "Hey, what can we do in advance to make this work?" and they're like "nothing, it's all going to go perfectly!" and I'm like, "ooookay, when exactly will you be flipping the switch, (so I know when to check on you, but I don't say this part)?" and they're like, "oh, sometime on that weekend." *throws hands in the air*

(I miss nyip.net so hard.)

Day 21 -- Russe and Veliko Tarnovo

Jun. 21st, 2017 07:04 pm
skreeky: (Default)
[personal profile] skreeky

The boat docked this morning in Russe, Bulgaria, which you will also see sometimes spelled "Ruse". We had a brief bus tour of Russe on our way out of town, but this was one of those days where our destination was a couple of hours away on the bus, so it was very brief indeed. Read more... )

<

Read more... )

siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Can somebody update me on the present legal status in the US of graphical user interfaces as intellectual property? Am I correct in believing they can't be patented (though the code can be copyrighted)?

What I really want to know: Can I rip off GVoice's old/retired web interface legally? Or more accurately, can I pay somebody else to do it for me with reasonable ability to assure them they won't go to jail or get sued into oblivion for doing it?

To be clear, there are some nifty functional subtleties I'd want to make off with, which I wouldn't even want to bother pretending I came up with on my own. For instance, there's some interesting algorithm for how texts are batched into threads which I haven't entirely reversed engineered, but make a huge difference in readability.
[personal profile] osewalrus
"A Communications Oligopoly on Steroids: Why Antitrust Enforcement and Regulatory Oversight in Digital Communications Matters" is a fun and exciting romp through our current messed up market and why we need to care about this.
http://equitablegrowth.org/report/a-communications-oligopoly-on-steroids/

Perfect summer reading for your inner wonk. 

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:02 pm
theunseelie: default me (Default)
[personal profile] theunseelie
August 18
VNV Nation..


Nov 5th
MINISTRY!

w00t! 

[tech, domesticity] Oy, Verizon

Jul. 17th, 2017 06:28 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
The one logistical thing that has not gone swimmingly with D's move to assisted living has been moving her landline.

The extent to which Verizon has screwed this up has been epic. [personal profile] tn3270 referred to it as a Russian novel.

Penultimately, I had a conversation with billing that went approximately thus:
Billing: Hello, Verizon Billing, this is [NAME]. How can I help you today?

Me: You can waive this month's bill because Verizon has screwed up two move orders so far, and the 90 year old account holder hasn't had access to her phone line for five days and counting. It's still not on at her new place, but I understand there's an expedited technician order for today. But who knows? You're the seventh Verizon employee I've talked to so far, and I've been told a variety of wrong and contradictory things every step of the way. This has been the worst corporate fiasco I've been involved with in years.

Billing: ...yes, we will totally credit the account for the month.

I had originally thought that we might have trouble because Verizon had security and stuff, and I wasn't the account holder (D) and I wasn't the contact on the account ([personal profile] tn3270). But no. I text chatted with Verizon in advance of putting in the order (CSR #1), and they told me what authentication tokens I needed to authorize the move order, I got them, and they worked fine when I put the order in.

No, everything went to hell apparently due to galloping incompetence on Verizon's (staff's) part(s).

Initially, I was told we didn't need a technician to come out for the line move, unless we wanted help plugging the phone into the wall; they could do it on their end. For the record, this is a good ol' fashioned POTS line, and moving within the same town. Fine. Once we'd nailed down the move date and booked movers – June 30th, to be precise – I got back in touch – btw, I was using the Verizon website realtime customer service chat, because I couldn't find a damn customer service phone number. It's 1800VERIZON, btw. So I fired up the chat thingy, and talked to a customer serv rep (CSR#2), who said they'd be happy to do the move order for me. Somewhere in the middle of the process, he apologized to me and said that the system was saying that a technician is required for that address; that there were no available technicians on the move in date, but could do the day after (7/13) between 1pm and 5pm, and it wouldn't cost anything to have the technician. I said to make it so, so he put the move order in. I asked him to confirm the service and he quotes me a price that I later find out is almost twice D's usual bill. I ask him whether he needs the account contact there to meet the technician, and he doesn't know, so he transfers me to another cust serv rep (CSR#3), who says, no, any adult who can let the tech in is fine, and who confirms the order is all complete, and (he specifically said this) the previous CSR did everything necessary.

Subsequently, [personal profile] tn3270 got a phone call from Verizon confirming the incipient move.

On Thursday, 7/13, 6pm no Verizon tech, and D's landline still has no dial tone at the new place, and is still working at her old place.

I am working until 9pm, so when I get home around 10pm, I get back on the text chat, and ask what happened. I'm informed they can find no move order on the account. The cust serv rep (CSR#4) asks if I have an ID number for the move order, and I don't have one. But they're happy to submit a new move order. Grrrrr. I say, yes, do it. After a long pause, the cust serv rep apologizes and says they can't do the move. Because it's a landline. The text-chat customer serv reps can't do landline moves. For that you have to call in. 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM EST Monday through Friday or 9:00AM to 5:00PM on Saturday. Also, he tells me, I might need to present paperwork in person at a local Verizon office.

It's after 10pm on Thursday, so I have to wait until the phone is staffed again. Why they can have 24/7 text chat CSRs but not 24/7 phone CSRs, I don't know.

Other stuff comes up, that has priority Friday, so I don't get to call Verizon until Saturday, 7/15. The rep I speak to (CSR#5) tells me she sees no record of the move order for Thursday, but she can totally put in a move order for right now immediately. I say the guy I talked to on Thursday said I needed a technician and special documentation; she said she had no idea what he was on about, no technician was needed, and no, they didn't need any special documentation. She said it would be done by "5 today, though maybe really more like by midnight". I make her give me the order number for this move order.

Sunday, 7/16, still no dialtone at her new place, dialtone at the old place. Verizon is closed for phone calls.

Today, Monday, 7/17, I call Verizon and ask WTELF. The CSR (CSR#6) calls up the account and says, "Oh, I see you had a move order for last Thursday." "WAIT. WUT. You can see that order? I was told you guys had no record of that order!" I make him read me the order number; so now I have the order numbers for both move orders that failed to happen. He then apologizes on Verizon's behalf and tells me they over-booked technicians, and that is why no technician came out. "BUT, BUT, WAIT. NOBODY EVER CALLED OR EMAILED. I WAS TOLD THERE WAS NO ORDER. THE LAST PERSON TOLD ME WE DIDN'T NEED A TECHNICIAN AT ALL." The CSR apologized again, and said he'd put the order in, and expedite it, and a technician would be by today.

Then I explained that I wanted the bill credited, and he referred me to billing (CSR#7), who both credited the bill ([personal profile] tn3270 has already got the confirmation email) and confirmed her service level and price, contra CSR#2.

Miraculously, a Verizon technician actually showed up at the assisted living facility today. He did a bunch of stuff, including something in the network closet and sticking some sort of probe in her wall socket, and assured us everything in the building is all set.

She still doesn't have dialtone, though; the technician confidently told [personal profile] tn3270 that the problem was on the pole outside. They'll have a lineman deal with that tomorrow (Tuesday, 7/18).

Next up, contacting the Mass DTC to see about filing an official complaint.
[personal profile] osewalrus
Were Republicans as stupid about repealing the ACA as i thought they were all the way back in November? Yes, yes they were.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/17/obamacare-repeal-republicans-white-house-240607

I predicted as far back as November that repeal would be far too disruptive for the Republicans to accomplish. What people inside and outside DC failed to understand was the disconnect between inside DC and outside DC. Inside DC, the assumption was that repeal of the ACA was merely politics. Outside DC, the assumption was that return to the status quo ante 2010 was impossible. Why? Because the entire industry, as I keep pointing out, had reoriented itself around the ACA. 

Meanwhile, Republicans still think this is about politics. Sure, to some degree it is. But if you screw things up too much then it becomes a political disaster for your side. 

Knightriders

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:30 am
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

In the news today are a bunch of obits for director George Romero. Pretty much all of them focus on Night of the Living Dead, and to be fair, it's the work he is best known for.

But let's pause a moment and remember his movie Knightriders -- the closest thing the SCA has to its own motion picture. Legend (maybe true, maybe not; I honestly don't know) has it that Romero happened to attend a particular SCA Crown Tournament, and was swept up by the drama he saw there; his producers weren't thrilled by the idea, and said, "Enh -- maybe if you add motorcycles and a good soundtrack, we'll think about it". So he did.

Knightriders has always been on my personal list of Movies Every SCAdian should see. Not because the club portrayed is the SCA, mind. It very much isn't: it's essentially a traveling RenFaire where they joust on motorcycles. But the feel of the group, I've always thought, reflects the SCA beautifully. You have the folks who are dead-serious about The Dream, who see something better in the ideals of their club. You have the stick-jocks who are here for the sport and the babes. You have the craftsmen who are making it all possible, and, yes, you have the folks who are just here to party. (There's even poor Patricia Tallman, better known for Babylon 5, in her first major role as the token mundane who is enamored by the whole thing but doesn't quite seem to get it.)

The movie gets a bit full of itself at times, and some people mock it mercilessly, but I love it -- not least for Ed Harris (in my favorite of his roles) as King Billy, who is trying desperately to keep his people both safe and united, and to pursue his dreams while everything around him is falling apart. He is a wonderful study in obsession, illustrating both the advantages and problems of having a strong leader.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. It's not the most brilliant movie ever, but it's wonderfully human. For pretty much every character in it, I can say, "Yeah, I know folks just like that". That's one of the higher compliments I can pay a director...

Day 20 - Vidin, Bulgaria

Jun. 20th, 2017 07:00 pm
skreeky: (Default)
[personal profile] skreeky

This morning we are still in Bulgaria. As we dock in Vidin, we see a small chapel-like building which turns out to be a memorial to those who died under Communist oppression. We board our tour buses for the long drive up into the mountains, over 90 minutes each way, to see the dramatic rock formations of Belogradchik, which were once used partly as a fortress for the town.

Read more... ) Read more... )

However, we had already signed up for the afternoon cooking lesson group, so after lunch out we went again. The cooking lesson was a group of a dozen or so of us, and hosted in a local home with a woman named Ramona. Ramona had lived in the US for many years, and noted that her house at this point probably resembled an American style home more than a typical Bulgarian home. However, she seemed to really enjoy welcoming us in and giving the cooking lesson. Her Auntie Rosa did not speak English as easily, but assisted by preparing measured ingredients and whisking extra dishes out of the way. We immediately determined that everybody ought to have an Auntie Rosa.


Above left: Ramona's house, with Auntie Rosa and her friend Pavel on the porch. Above right: Ramona and Auntie Rosa demonstrate the banitsa mixture.

Read more... )

Day 19 -- Iron Gates

Jun. 19th, 2017 09:50 pm
skreeky: (Default)
[personal profile] skreeky

Today was a sailing day, with no actual stops to explore towns - just a day of relaxing and admiring the scenery. In the broadest sense of the name, the Iron Gates is the gorge lying between Serbia and Romania, which contains the Danube River. It is a national park on both sides. I will not waste too many words on the basic info you can read in Wikipedia except as it relates to various photos. (Feel free to click the various links for more info.)

Read more... )

Read more... )

[me] Update on MiALFM

Jul. 13th, 2017 01:10 am
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
D moved in to her room at her chosen assisted living facility today.

Despite her being resolutely and bravely determined to do this, despite the movers being wonderful, despite all the staff being lovely, despite all the residents being super friendly and even outgoing, despite her room turning out to have rather more space in it when her furniture was in it that we expected, despite everything being about as optimal as one could possibly dream of...

It was still utterly wrenching and distressing for D. At one point I was reassuring her that this was normal, and said not to underestimate the challenge this was for her. "It's probably the hardest thing you've done in forty years," I said, thinking of her divorce. "Ninety," she corrected me.

I fully expect for her to adjust substantially in a day or two, but right now it's all terrifying, anguishing, infuriating, and all-round overwhelming.

[personal profile] tn3270 took yesterday, today, and tomorrow off from work to be with her. He spent the day before the move over her house, helping her pack and generally being an emotionally stabilizing presence. He slept over, and ran the move; I traveled up to meet them a little before noon. I helped with the unpacking and setting up the space, and being emotional support; we had lunch there with her. Then he and I went back to her house to get some things they forgot (her cane!). Then we spent more time hanging with her in her room, being supportive. Then she dismissed us, and said she was all set, and we could go home. I informed her that we'd leave, but we'd be in the area (North Shore) for some time, and to call if she needed us back. She insisted she wouldn't. She did, about three hours later. We didn't leave until around 7:45pm.

[personal profile] tn3270 will be there tomorrow morning to spend the day with her. Friday will be her first day there without us. I think [personal profile] tn3270 is planning on being there on Saturday and we'll both go up to visit Sunday afternoon. Hopefully by that point everything will be much more familiar and she will be more confident in her ability to navigate it all, and in the staff's kindness and availability to help her.

ETA, Thursday 2:15pm, just got off the phone with [personal profile] tn3270: Last night when D was freaking out a la I CAN'T LIVE HERE IF THIS IS HOW THE PLACE MAKES ME FEEL O GOD SIDEREA WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME WHY DO I FEEL THIS WAY, I reassured her it was temporary and she would feel 80% better tomorrow. This morning she felt 80% better. \o/

[personal profile] tn3270, however, is not unexpectedly something of a wreck. He had been planning on spending the whole day, but later in the morning D announced that she had to learn to handle the place on her own, and he clearly needed some rest, so she ordered him home to bed. So he's home taking a nap now.

I am beginning to wonder if we've found the best assisted living facility on earth. They've, top to bottom, been incredibly helpful and easy to work with, and they are so understanding and considerate and cooperative. Like, usually there's a fee for room service, but we told them that she needs to hermit a bit in her room to adjust and they're waiving the fee. Like, one of the staff had me literally coach him how to approach her for her maximal comfort. The staff are following our instructions about how to handle encountering her in her room, and it's apparently going really well. Staff are dropping by one at a time to introduce themselves, so she's learning who people are at a steady slow drip, on her own turf, rather than all at once in busy congregate areas.

D continues to impress me with her determination and guts. There's three options for breakfast at this place: the dining room (restaurant-style service), room service, and a continental breakfast set out in a "kitchen"-style lounge on each floor. This morning, she decided to go check out the continental breakfast, even though she could have had room service, and she's terrified she'll get lost in the hallways. Apparently she loved it, and met another resident who is a regular at the continental breakfast. Crucially, she discovered that the continental breakfast has better coffee than she can make herself, and promptly did something that was tantamount to deciding never to make coffee for herself again: she told [personal profile] tn3270 to take away her coffee maker.

Note, she had asked us yesterday to fetch her her coffee maker from home on our trip to pick up the cane. [personal profile] tn3270 assured me it was safe and she could leave it on for days without it burning down the building, aeb the fact her home was still standing. So we brought it to her; and now she's decided she doesn't need it after all. Transitional objects come in many forms, yall.

I think, ironically, one of the things exacerbating this transition for D has been that D has been pushing herself too hard, and not allowing for her own emotional limits. For instance, she broadsided [personal profile] tn3270 and I with the announcement at the intake assessment on move-in day, that she wanted the medication-administration service after all, which has a variety of emotional challenges for her, which suddenly got dumped on top of her move-in stresses. Now, we think having her meds administered to her is great, we're all in favor of this, I had asked them about the service weeks ago anticipating it might become necessary. But D didn't talk to either of us first, and just up and did this on the one day she really, really didn't need additional stressors. I wasn't there for that meeting; when I arrived, she was already fully into OH GOD SIDEREA DID I MAKE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE ASKING THEM TO DO MY MEDS?!

Had I been at that meeting and had I known how badly it would throw her for a loop on a day that was already looking like a serving of cheerios, I would have put my foot down and insisted that she was going to self-administer for now, and we could discuss it again in a week. Because, ironically, the facility can't immediately start administering her meds, anyways. So all she got herself was the stress of knowing this was coming, without any of the relief of someone taking that chore off her hands. She's still stuck self-administering her meds anyways, for the time being. This is seriously worst-of-both-worlds. Oh, D.

With the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had known to have a conversation with her in advance about make no changes to the plan for the first week. And also that I had realized just how much her best character features can set her up for failure, and that she needed someone to tell her to take her move as easy as she can. Me, I in her situation would have been like NOPE, WHATEVER IT IS CAN WAIT UNTIL AFTER MY MOVE IN, ALL MY COPE IS BOOKED – hell, it is how I've handled her move, and I'm not even the one moving. It never occurred to me that she would multiply her own stressors like that out of a sense of "should".

So she's been making decisions on "it would be good for me" basis in blithe disregard for her own human limitations. Thus she exceeds her limits of cope, and melts down. Then she starts catastrophizing like she's trying to make the US Olympic catastrophizing team.

Things we've successfully done that were super helpful:

1) Not believing her when she airily declares that she'll be fine, and have plans in place for when she is (inevitably) not fine after all.

2) [personal profile] tn3270 taking those three days off. There was a point late on Wednesday, the move-in day, when D was freaking out and the following approximate dialog happened:

D: OH GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TOMORROW WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE AND I'M ALL ALONE!

[personal profile] tn3270: Mom, I'm going to be here tomorrow and you won't be all alone.

D: OH GOD WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TOMORROW WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE AND I'M ALL ALONE!

[personal profile] tn3270: MOM, I'M GOING TO BE HERE TOMORROW. I'VE TAKEN THE DAY OFF WORK.

D: ... you're coming after work?

[personal profile] tn3270: No, in the morning.

D: What about your job?!

[personal profile] tn3270: MOM, I'VE TAKEN THE DAY OFF. I'LL BE HERE ALL DAY.

D: You'll be here tomorrow?

[personal profile] tn3270: YES, MA.

(Of course, he had gone over this plan with her numerous times in previously. But when when she gets going into a freakout, it doesn't matter what she has been told. If she's afraid of being alone, that becomes the cognition I WILL BE ALONE, which overwrites any less emphatic contradictory information in her memory. We're just lucky that it didn't manifest in the delusional certainty that [personal profile] tn3270 would be in a car accident on the way up.)

3) We quite deliberately established a pattern of "go away and come back". For instance, there were some things she needed today from her house: rather than go to her house first to pick them up and then go visit her, [personal profile] tn3270 first went to see her, then made a round trip to the house to pick up the things and brought them to her. This manufactured for her a span of time when she was alone in her room, but knew her son was coming right back. We did this on move-in day, too, at several removes – leaving her in her room to go talk to staff about things but still being on-site, leaving the facility to go pick things up for her with a plan of returning soon, and leaving the facility but staying the local area (with no scheduled return) for her to be able to call us back; and of course the go-away-come-back of finally our going home and [personal profile] tn3270 coming back the next day.

This seems to be really working for her. It's giving her some control over how alone she's being, which allows her to balance her independence and need for solitude with her anxiety about being abandoned and neglected, and provide her adequate scaffolding for learning to tolerate that separation. Attachment theory FTW!

4) Lots of doting on her: I brought her flowers; [personal profile] tn3270 got her some nice new sheets for her bed; lots of hugs and kisses and back rubs and literal handholding.

5) I helped her do some moving in things that were familiar domestic tasks (making the bed, organizing her kitchenette, etc) which were re-skilling, and marvelously distracting and organizing for her. I got her to give me orders about how she wanted things in her room, which she found soothing and calming.
skreeky: (Default)
[personal profile] skreeky

After lunch and not expecting very much, we reboarded a bus and headed back into town for the add-on tour of the Opera House, or as it is officially known, the National Theater. Our guide this afternoon was a very upbeat young woman, obviously completely in love with the theater, the opera, and perhaps even her city. This was definitely a welcome and refreshing alternative view.

Read more... )


Read more... )

100 Demon Dialogues

Jul. 12th, 2017 01:19 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

For the past several months, Lucy Bellwood (author of the delightful nautical graphic novel Baggywrinkles: A Lubber's Guide to Life at Sea) has been posting a series of single-panel comics titled 100 Demon Dialogues. You can find the full series here.

They are little vignettes of conversation between herself and her inner demon, a personification of all the insecurities and doubts that any creative person (really, any person) is prone to. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, frequently thought-provoking, they're one of the better reflections of basic inner life that I've seen.

The series ended today, and the much-demanded Kickstarter opened at the same time. She's collecting the cartoons into a book (both soft and hardcover), and producing a plushie little demon.

There's a fun little cartoon on the Kickstarter page that introduces the project. I'm getting both the book and plushie -- frankly, I had decided that I wanted the collected book even before she announced that she was going to do a Kickstarter for it. I want it for my own personal reflection, but I suspect it may also be an good book for helping kids work through their feelings and understand that grown-ups aren't as secure as all that, so parents may particularly want to give it a look.

Check it out, and spread the word: it looks like it's going to be a great result, from a fine artist who is really hitting her stride...

skreeky: (Default)
[personal profile] skreeky

Ah, Serbia. The only country on our agenda not a member of the E.U. We awoke to a view of a rusty corrugated iron wall and a warehouse with graffiti and several broken windows. (right) I joked about how nice it was that we had the finest docking spot in all of Belgrade. It turned out I was not joking. It was pretty much the best docking spot in Belgrade.

A momentary interlude about passport checks. For the first two weeks of the trip, we were entirely within the Schengen travel region and thus no border checks were required. Read more... )

And now, an even briefer interlude about Josip Broz Tito. Read more... )

Our guide for the morning... I spent the first hour or so of the morning tour trying to figure out if he was clinically depressed, or if Belgrade is really that bad. After awhile I decided that Belgrade is really that bad, and after awhile longer I decided it was both. He was absolutely dripping with sarcasm, which is somewhat amusing and some people thought he was a hilarious joker. In this case though, I got the feeling that is was the kidding-not-kidding sort of sarcasm that is just as depressing in the end. Read more... )

jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

Okay, yes -- complaining about how creepy Facebook can be is shooting fish in a barrel.

Still, I was taken aback by the notification I just got there. Un-asked-for, it popped up with, "You last updated your profile 2 weeks ago." Which, on the one hand, is just a statement of fact. But it's a statement loaded with connotation.

Seriously -- why is Facebook telling me this? When I have something I care to say on my Profile, I say it. I don't need reminders -- I certainly don't need automatic, non-opt-in reminders after only two weeks of profile inactivity. And mind you, this isn't saying "you haven't posted" -- I post to FB moderately often. This is saying that I haven't revealed new and updated information about myself.

There's a weird sense that FB is trying to guilt-trip me for not being sufficiently naked: that the system and the audience have the right to know everything that happens in my life, and that if a whole two weeks have gone by without updating my profile, something is clearly wrong.

Yes, it's a little thing. But it's the combination of all those little things that remind me of why I dislike and distrust Facebook...

Profile

lensman: (Default)
lensman

June 2012

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 23rd, 2017 04:47 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios