1 DealYear


Today I have been at DealNews for 1 year.  I'm not sure I've ever been as happy to work some place as I have here.  That's in large part due to working on government funded contracts for so long and needing a change, but it's also due to the environment at DealNews.  I like it.

The balloon filled office above is mine. It wasn't like that today, that was how it looked on the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Why? I wasn't there while everybody else was watching Ant-Man. Oh, there's more of a reason than that, but that was good enough for most of the people there to blow up a couple of the 280 balloons that found their way to my office. It wasn't something done out of spite or meanness, just a fun little prank.

The work is fun, but often frustrating. I'm still learning how to change my coding style to the current company style. It's not easy as I've spent a very long time doing things my way/whatever works now/just get it done. That is a very hard mindset not to revert to. Often I do things the hard way because that's the first (and often second) way of getting something done that pops into my head. But I'm learning. They haven't gotten rid of me yet, and I hope they don't. But even after a year that's still something (a fear maybe?) that motivates me to keep trying.

Now to make some progress to writing DealYear #2.

programming/interweb random

New Stuff


Thanks to events over the past few weeks I now have a new refrigerator and new iPhone.

My traditional Black Friday Board Game influx did not find me getting as carried away as the previous two (or maybe 3) years. Thankfully.

This is the wrong time of year to say I'm ready for things to calm down a little.


Can I hear me now?


Sunday morning I awoke to a phone that said "Activation Required".  When I swiped the phone all the way on it went on to say "Insert SIM Card".  This was all 8 hours after I plugged the phone in by the bed and received 2 text messages from Keith & Jerry.  Somehow, in the middle of the night, unmoving, my phone broke.

The rest of the morning was spent Googling how to fix my problem. My problem could not be fixed by Googling.

Out of the proper mix of pissed & frustration, I ordered a new phone from Verizon. My phone is 2½ years old and I've been wanting one of those snazzy, oversized phones that would better fit my beefy man hands since they came out. Sunday morning I placed the order and I had 2 shipping options - Next Day by 10:30 for $30 or Next Day by 8:00PM for free. I'll pick free because I'm not in that much of a hurry! Order placed and I get ready for Monday.

Monday morning I get an email that the phone has shipped and will be here by 8PM Tuesday. Verizon doesn't know they don't ship on Sundays. Well #$%! you Verizon. Or I guess #$%! me. Fine, I'll wait an extra day. And this is being shipped by FedEx. To my house. Those packages seems to make it half the time. Oh, and I have to sign for it. My chances of getting this thing Tuesday night have slipped to around 10%.

I spend Monday frustrated. And pissed. I really should have looked into getting the phone fixed. It should be a problem with the SIM card or more likely some internal component connected to recognizing the SIM card went bad. I decide PLAN B is to see if the broken phone can be fixed IF FedEx doesn't show up for me to sign for the new phone. I make an Apple Fix It appointment for Wednesday morning as my backup. If I read things right it will cost $265 for Apple to fix my phone - I guess that's a minimum cost. Cheaper than a new phone, but I was splitting the new phone into monthly payments included in my Verizon bill.

I've got a lot of aggressive passive aggressiveness built up. For somebody who claims not to use his phone nearly as much as everybody else this has been bothering me a lot more than it should.


Only 1 Fridge


When I went to order my replacement refrigerator, I got a little carried away. On Friday I went on to the Home Depot site and started an order with the refrigerator and all the sundry items that would go with it (water line, haul way my old fridge, 5 year warranty) so I could see the price. On Sunday I went through the process again and picked a delivery date. When I got to the order summary, after paying, I noticed the total was double what I was expecting.

Crap. I looked at the order I placed. Yep, two of everything. My cart from Friday was still active when I added stuff on Sunday, and I wasn't paying enough attention to to notice.

A "Chat with Us" box was still on the page, so I opted to see if I could handle this with someone I hoped wasn't in India. I ended up having a nice chat with someone going by Michele who removed one of the refrigerators from my order and told me it would take 7-10 days for the credit to show up. I double checked that I was still going to have 1 refrigerator delivered Saturday, and she said I would, along with a smiley face.

Saturday comes and I'm first on the delivery list. (A single) new fridge arrives and the guys hook it up. I notice on the delivery sheet it says at the bottom:
@ haul away
@ haul away

Haul away is listed twice. This sheet has no prices. When Michele removed my extra refrigerator, did she remove all the extra stuff that went with it?

The delivery guys wouldn't know, so I went back to Home Depot Chat. Today I got Paul. I explained what originally happened with the multiple fridge order, how I got 1 fridge like I should have, but since haul way was listed twice I wanted to double check what had been credited since my lone invoice from my original order still showed what I had originally ordered (2 of everything).

Paul was helpful. More helpful than I would have thought ahead of time. He was even chatty and personable. In the end he told me that everything had been taken care of (as it should have been), and he would try to send me an updated invoice but their system had some limitations in what he could send. As someone who deals with nice and pretty front-end systems vs the hacked together parts of the back-end, I understood where he was coming from. It sounds like everything is just as it should be, I've just been a little paranoid since I initially screwed up and don't have anything documented that it's been fixed.

Mainly I've been pleasantly surprised by how well chatting with customer service has been. I think I (we?) have be conditioned to think any type of online/technical support will be a form of torture, where the person on the other end won't understand me or whose sole goal in life is to the exact opposite of what I want. But it's not that way. I need to not be so hesitant and belligerent-ready the next time I have to use customer service in that way.

Even better, I just checked my credit card account and Home Depot properly credited my account!


Getting colder, in a week.


Last week I lamented my refrigerator not refrigerating. Do I go the route of most sane people when their refrigerator gives them a problem for the first time and call a repair service technician to come out and take a look? Hell no. I go buy a new refrigerator.

My current (non-working) refrigerator is almost 8 years old. It's a low-end fridge, an any life span beyond the extended 5-year warranty I consider bonus time. The problem with the fridge is the compressor, and or things connected to the compressor. The most likely culprit is some type of computerized controller board since my problems started after the power had gone off (power surge?). A replacement compressor is $350 on the internet. Add in the cost of an out of warranty service call, labor, etc, I'd be lucky if it was fixed for $500. Even then it's still an 8 year old refrigerator that I know I'm going to have more problems with. I don't have good luck with refrigerators.

This is a good time of year to have appliance problems. Many places are starting early Black Friday sales. Home Depot has an early Black Friday sale. They even have (yet another) low-end refrigerator that has just what I want, along with not having things I don't want. So I took advantage of the sale and placed my order, because the Home Depot appliance department is just a showroom - everything is delivered from a centralized warehouse. In theory the refrigerator should get here this Saturday. In the interim I've dug out, cleaned, and plugged in my old 3-ft tall refrigerator that I used the last time my refrigerator died.

I could have gotten a better model refrigerator. The one I got comes with a 5-year warranty. The salesman was really pushing a better model that has a 10-year warranty and has been one of their best sellers for the past 3 years. It cost twice as much as the one I bought. Plus it had all kinds of extra stuff I didn't want. Last twice as long for twice the price VS get what I actually want, and likely to buy it again in 5 years. Although I generally dislike the hassle of buying appliances, this time I'm going to not talk myself into getting something fancy that will last longer due to (basically) peer pressure.

We'll see how all of this works out starting this weekend.

random maintenance

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