Categotry Archives: Misc. other devices/things

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Comcast Created Trip Hazard

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Yesterday, Comcast came out to install services at my next door neighbour’s home. But instead of using the utility access that was directly behind their home, they decided to create these nice trip hazards on my property instead. I complain a LOT about Comcast. Here is there latest bumbling:

Comcast Trip Hazard 1

Comcast Trip Hazard 2

Comcast Trip Hazard 3Comcast Trip Hazard 4

My 3 year old great niece is visiting from out-of-town next week, I do NOT want this there. And I do NOT want a rake over job either.

I have contacted Comcast this morning (as usual they were less than enthusiastic to help) and I have also Contacted the Arizona Corporation Commission who will send a request to them to fix this. But they have no regulatory power. Sheesh.

Update for May 6, 2015

Comcast Guy

This fellow, Manny shows up at my front door (without any prior contact) shortly after 9 am while I was shaving, to inspect the cable. Having done so, he informed me that they would have someone out to re-locate the cable. After a brief telephone call he made, he later told me someone would be out today to take care of this. Well that of course, never happened.

After Manny’s visit, I posted this sign:

comcast_notice

If they just bury the cable, the gives Comcast an implied easement to utilise my property. Nope they must do things properly, and re-locate, and bury the cable.

I called around him around 3:15 pm to get an update, and he wasn’t sure how busy the actual person was, but it would not be today. Well we know that much is true.

About 4:30 pm, Theresa from Comcast ( (888) 966-7794 ext 3014455 ) called me to reach out and get an update. I told her that Manny had been by earlier and that I do not have any information. I gave her Manny’s contact information, and that was that.

I sent information to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department (report # T15000232) regarding the trip hazard, but they rejected it. At least I tried.

I also contacted the Drexel Heights Fire District. They did respond.

drexel_fire

They will have one of the Battalion Chiefs come out tomorrow to take a look around for themselves. As I told them, this could prove to be fatal to firemen in the event of a fire — because it is an unknown trip hazard that really involves 3 properties.

I’ll keep you updated.

Wayno

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Comcast’s blazing Internet Speed (NOT!)

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ludicrous_speed

I was recently forced into a $100 cable modem upgrade from docsis 2 to docsis 3 modem, because Comcast apparently never told anyone that they had ended support for Docsis 2 modems. (Why they couldn’t email all their existing Docsis 2 modem users and tell them, is beyond me).

When I called to activate the new modem, the agent told me that I could get a promotional price for 1 year, of a speed at 100 mbps for an additional $5/month. Okay. I’ll give it a try. I had been without internet service for 4 days while I hunted down where to find the new Docsis 3 modem. I asked the agent for 4 days credit since I was completely down. The person said they would credit my account. ($1.67/day x 4 days = $6.68. How much do you want to bet that doesn’t happen?)

I waited. The upgrade NEVER happened. I called a second time, and the agent said that the work order was never submitted, and that she would take care of that for me. Thank you!

I waited again. And of course you can guess. Upgrade never happened. I called a 3rd and final time to cancel the upgrade, and go back to the performance starter with 7 meg down and 1 meg up for $50/month (unbundled. I am over-the-air with Mythtv because the cost of cable tv is too high, and you have to use their set top boxes. Can you say, ouch?)

Once again, Comcast’s offshore tech support, proved to be inept at handling a simple customer request. (Which would have actually made them more money).

You can understand my stance on the proposed merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast. They seem intent on discovering new lows in the customer service (they are NOT mutually exclusive) arena.

At a minimum Comcast could do the following:

1. When an order is placed, the customer is given a customer order number to reference.

2. An email copy of the order is sent to the customer.

3. On the day the service is to be performed, the customer is notified via email. If the order is NOT completed on time, the Customer should contact Customer Service with the order number, and ask for a status update.

4. Once the order is completed, the Customer is notified via email, that the order is now complete. Any further questions or comments, should be directed to Customer Service.

5. In the event the order is NOT completed on time, then appropriate action to expedite order completion is taken by Customer Service.

None of these suggestions will ever see the light of day, but it would vastly improve the Comcast Customer Service image, and at least give a semblance of a we can help attitude, rather than: “How sad. Too bad. Now leave us alone” attitude that seems to permeate Comcast’s Customer Experience.

Share your Customer Service experiences with the Federal Communications Commission on Proceeding 14-57 (TWC/Comcast Merger)

fcc_complaint

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How to install PC Study Bible V5.x using wine in Linux

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Unfortunately this broke PC Study Bible

Linux Kernel 3.14 Breaks Wine for 16-bit Windows Applications using 64 bit kernel (Ubuntu 14.04 lts):

3.13.0-32-generic #73-Ubuntu SMP Tue Dec 16 00:22:43 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

W O R K A R O U N D:

Upgrading to kernel:

3.13.0-44-generic #73-Ubuntu SMP Tue Dec 16 00:22:43 UTC 2014 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

and Wine 1.7

When configuring wine (snippet from article below)

WINEARCH

If you have a 64-bit system, Wine will start an 64-bit 
environment by default. You can change this behavior using 
the WINEARCH  environment variable. Rename your ~/.wine 
directory and create a new Wine environment by running

WINEARCH=win32 winecfg

This will get you a 32-bit Wine environment. Not setting
WINEARCH will get you a 64-bit one. 

🙁

There are somethings that Linux does better then Windows. PC Study Bible, although a 32 bit Microsoft Windows application, can be successfully installed in Linux. However, there are some tricks to doing this.

These directions are overly simplified to allow novice Linux users, the best opportunity for success. As always I break it down step by step.

1. If you do not have wine installed, that is the very first step. Wine stands for: Wine is NOT an Emulator (which is recursive). What wine does, is allows you to run most windows applications (that do NOT require USB support) under Linux.

Let’s install wine!


sudo apt-get install wine

NOTE THAT I AM RUNNING THE 64 BIT FLAVOUR OF Linux (Debian) so that requires some extra steps (detailed below)

The fist cd you want to install is the New Reference Library CD.

I choose NOT to autorun anything. So it is necessary to navigate to the CD.

2. As mentioned in the winehq article: we will need to change settings in /etc/security/limits.conf

The # on the line is comment, and does NOT need to be coded.


cd /etc/security # go to the directory
sudo cp limits.conf limits.org # backup the current file
sudo nano limits.conf # edit the file

You want to add a line to the file:

user hard nofile 32000

Where user is your user name. Apparently PC Study Bible likes to open a gazillion files, this sets the upper limit to 32000 files.

ctrl + o to write, ctrl + x to end.

3. To mount the cd, (using system mount points): — mount requires root privileges —


sudo mount /dev/sr0 /mnt

You will get back:

mount: block device /dev/sr0 is write-protected, mounting read-only

which is absolutely NORMAL.

4. Now navigate to the directory:


cd /mnt

5. Install the programme with wine:


wine setup.exe

Pcstudy Bible Install

IF you are installing PC Study Bible in a 64 bit environment, YOU MUST tell it to use a 32 bit architecture (works fine with 64 bit Debian/Wheezy (V7)):

Linux Homer 3.2.0-4-amd64 #1 SMP Debian 3.2.46-1+deb7u1 x86_64 GNU/Linux


wine setup.exe winearch=32

the winearch=32 tells it to use a 32 bit environment. If you do NOT do this, the installshield WILL FAIL.

6. To unmount the cd: (note # is a comment and does not need to be coded)


cd ~ # back to the user home directory
sudo umount /dev/sr0

Repeat steps 3-6 for EACH cd/dvd you want to install.

7. To run PcStudy Bible, it will be necessary to create a shortcut with the following properties: (If a shortcut is NOT automagically added)

env WINEPREFIX=”/home/USERID/.wine” wine C:\\windows\\command\\start.exe /Unix /home/USERID/.wine/dosdevices/c:/windows/profiles/All\ Users/Desktop/PC\ Study\ Bible\ 5.lnk

where USERID is your userid.

The actual executable is located at:

cd ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Biblesoft/PC Study Bible/Program
wine joshua.exe

The file launcher looks like this:

Command: env WINEPREFIX=”/home/USER/.wine” wine C:\\\\windows\\\\command\\\\start.exe /Unix /home/USER/.wine/dosdevices/c:/users/Public/Desktop/PC\\ Study\\ Bible\\ 5.lnk

Working Directory: /home/USER/.wine/dosdevices/c:/Program Files/Biblesoft/PC Study Bible

Where USER is your login username.

8. Et voilà

pc_study_load

 

pcstudy_run

For me, PC Study Bible runs faster using wine in Linux, than using native Windows.

3

HDhomerun3 Product Review

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hdhomerun3

With the arrival of the Digital Age, Silicon Dust has a niche market: For those people who want to free themselves from cable bills, Silicon Dust created a digital tuner which can easily be added to a computer network, allowing you to have your own Personal Video Recorder. One of it’s unique features is that it is a networked appliance, so any device on the network (with the proper software) can watch videos from virtually anywhere on the planet with highspeed internet connection. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux.

The product does come with an installation disc for the Windows operating system. I choose to use the free open source Mythtv for Linux. Mythtv installation can be frightening. I required assistance from my friend Mike M. in the Kansas City area.

The installation went with a few hiccups, but the real challenge was just ahead. Configuration. That is more art then science. It required more thaumaturging (magic wand waving) then I would have liked. The biggest issue was that when I did the channel scans, and then ran mythfilldatabase to update the logs. Nothing happened! It turns out that you need to add the xmltv id.(see highlighted red section — xmltv id is just and index into a database that contains the channel specific information. Zap2it is the easiest to use)

channel

After that, I was watching tv for the first time! YaY!

All good things crashed last week. The digital tuner quit working. It would NOT tune any hidef channels, either over-the-air, or cable, even though my HDTV received them fine, either way.

The true mettle of a company is revealed when there are repair issues. The problems did not surface until day 31 of a 30 day return period. I am under the manufacturer’s 1 year warranty period now. What I found out…has been challenging. There is NO telephone number to call for Tech Support. It is all done by email via Fog Creek. Silicon Dust does NOT do their own Tech Support. It is done by a 3rd party vendor. Support is very slow, arduous and painful. You can expect 1 reply / day. It could take weeks to solve a simple problem. The embedded diagnostic software, that phones home is operating system dependent: requiring the user to have Windows. For Linux users, this requirement is un-acceptable. If a product is advertised as Linux compatible, then the diagnostic software should be available native to Linux, NOT Windows.

The email Tech Support, lack of native diagnostic software, the Windows requirement, and product reliability/durability gives this product 1.9 out of 5 rating. (C-)

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Comcast live chat fails Turing Test

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A Turing Test is used to distinguish whether or not I am you are talking to a machine or a human. If the responses would be generally considered that of what a real life person would give, then it is said, to have passed the Turing Test.

One of the first machine based artificial intelligence programmes was Eliza. It was primitive by today’s standards, but none-the-less was the first machine based AI programme I encountered in college.

This recent chat with Comcast would seem to indicate a Turing Test failure. To wit:

analyst Arthur has entered room

Arthur: Hello Wayno, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Arthur. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Wayno: My Issue: Life Line service

Arthur: I am here to provide you with excellent customer service today. Please be assured I will do my best to help you with your concern.

Arthur: Can you please elaborate your issue?

Wayno: hi arthur. I have a question about life line services.

Wayno: qualifications, cost mostly.

Arthur: I understand your concern is about life line services, am I correct?

Wayno: correct

Arthur: May I have 2 minutes to check on that?

Wayno: absolutely

Arthur: Thank you.

Arthur: Thank you for waiting, Wayno.

Arthur: XFINITY Voice service is compatible with personal emergency alert response systems provided by Philips Lifeline and Linear LLC. XFINITY Voice service doesn’t guarantee compatibility with other systems. To check compatibility, contact the agency that provided you with the personal emergency alert response system.

Wayno: no that does not answer my question. what are the qualifications and cost of life line service?

Arthur: Contact your alarm company before your XFINTITY Voice installation. Provide the date and time of your installation so the alarm company can check the status of your alarm on installation day. If your alarm system needs to be reactivated after XFINITY Voice is installed, you will not be compensated for the cost of reactivation.

Wayno: okay I am not talking to a human being.

Arthur: I am a live agent, Wayno.

Arthur: I just gave you the information about Life Line service. It is for free.

Arthur: You just need to have a Comcast phone service.

Wayno: how does contacting my alarm company have any thing to remotely do with lifeline?

Arthur: I can see here that you don’t have Comcast phone service.

Wayno: okay you failed the Turing Test.

=========

Actually I was able to find the information on-line for lifeline phone eligibility.

Wayno

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How to fix audio cd in Linux (unable to open mrl)

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When I tried to play an audio cd I recently got from the library in vlc, I got the error:

VLC is unable to open the MRL

And it told me to see the logs. So I tried dmesg, and niente. Nothing. Yeah that helps!

So I went into vlc tools/preferences/Audio and changed the output module to pulse audio output. So it looks like:

VLC Audio Output Options

Who knew?

Wayno

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Fixing the libcanberra wrong ELF class message in Linux

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The solution is very simple.

It’s just so buried, it is hard to find.

Reposted from the original article above.

I was getting:

Gtk-Message: Failed to load module “canberra-gtk-module”: /usr/lib/gtk-2.0/modules/libcanberra-gtk-module.so: wrong ELF class: ELFCLASS64

Trying to run the new V4.0 of Skype in 64 bit Debian. The old trick of doing an LD_PRELOAD does NOT work.

My new skype script, includes the GTK_PATH export as mentioned above. Yes 4.0 skype WORKS! (should work for any 32 bit app, running in a 64 bit mode. Yes Skype 64 bit, USES the 32 bit libraries.)

New skype.sh script!


#!/bin/bash
#
# script preloads the 32 bit video for linux (v4l) libs needed by 64 bit skype
#
# Wayno Guerrini http://www.pkill-9.com v 2.0

# added the export for the gtk 32 bit library -- GU -6/22/2012
#
export GTK_PATH="/usr/lib32/gtk-2.0"

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so /usr/bin/skype

In my case, it made skype and the video work perfectly.

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Why orange?

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It’s time to answer: Why an orange theme? Because no one else is using an orange theme. Orange is NOT my favourite colour, but orange to me is something you have to start your day.

Tart. Tangy. Re-freshing.

And you will notice, we changed themes. Still orange. I will be tweaking this over the next week or so.

Wayno

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old.pkill-9.com is now part of the Creative Commons Community

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Knowledge should ALWAYS be free. As such, I am passing all the contents of this website into the Creative Commons Community.

This work is now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Share and share alike.

Thanks Joe and Loni for your wisdom, guidance, and mentoring spirit.


Creative Commons Logo

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Cox Communications “quality challenged” internet connection (of Cats and Cox)

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Outdoor internet connection provided to Hermitage Cat Shelter, in Tucson, Arizona by Cox Cable

Outdoor internet connection provided to Hermitage Cat Shelter, in Tucson, Arizona

NOTE: THIS LETTER HAS NOT BEEN SENT, IN HOPE OF RESOLVING THIS ON A LOCAL LEVEL.

————-
Patrick J. Esser, President
Cox Communications
1400 Lake Hearn Drive
Atlanta, Georgia 30319

The Hermitage Cat Shelter is dedicated to the shelter, protection, and care of homeless cats, especially those that are often not considered adoptable by other organizations. We are both an adoption facility and long-term sanctuary for those felines who are “adoption-challenged.” including felines who are FIV or FeLV-positive, and other types of chronic health issues. All of our kitties roam free within 8,000 sq ft of outdoor/indoor living space. (Mission Statement)

To that end, we rely heavily upon the internet to carry out our mission. Approximately a year ago, The Shelter contracted with Cox Communications here in Tucson, Arizona, to install internet access for the shelter. We have 4 hard wired connections, and a laptop in use, using a central router. Because the way things we’re done, we have a cable modem and laptop (wifi) in one building, and the wifi and hardwired router in another. Because the distance is too great, the laptop cannot connect to the router in the next building, even though it sits a few feet from the cable modem. All of this goes through a single connection from the outside.

When we often have inclement weather during our monsoon season, or extremes in temperature, we experience frustrating and severe outages. Why? Because the technician who installed this took several short cuts (see photo, attached) and obviously has no pride in their work.

We are committed to providing the best opportunity available to the cats under our care. But is Cox committed to doing the right thing and fixing the poor installation quality that was performed?

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