comcast…another go round

Internet Access Here Sign

Image by Steve Rhode via Flickr

Just wanted to warn you in case my internet connection goes on the fritz again for longer than I would wish. Knock wood, ever since my last 9 rounds in the ring with the cable giant, life has been cruising right along. I’ve been able to blog to my heart’s content with minimal, if any, interruption. Although my local service fixed the nuts and bolts, Mark Casem of Comcast‘s corporate customer service got the ball rolling. I will always be indebted to his good will on behalf of his employer. Casem was definitely cut from a different cloth, something vintage from a bygone era.

Egyptian magic wand. From the collection of th...

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The last few days, our internet connection was operating in fits and starts. Yesterday was a real struggle trying to write and then publish my post. I kept having to restart my laptop in the hopes that the problem would go away. But no such luck. When a new screen opened up, the old message was still there explaining what I might do to resolve the issue. I almost reverted to the early days of my amateur computer skills…wanting to toss my laptop through the window. But I’m a “black belt” amateur now…so I refrained, grumbling under my breath instead. Of course hubby got an earful. But even his magic wand was no match.

Lo and behold, late, and I mean late, last night my internet connection graced me with its presence once more. So I tinkered on my post, finally publishing it in the wee hours of the morning. By the time I lay my weary head down on my pillow it was probably several hours into the new day. What I didn’t dare do was turn off my laptop. So through the night its light shone like a beacon in an empty room. But it worked! I was able to pick up right where I left off last night.

Comcast‘s repair man scheduled to make a visit today, called first to ask if I was still experiencing problems. No idiot, I indicated that the cable connection came and went. Which I was certain would occur if I turned off my laptop, or even signed off of Aol.com. So the man stopped by explaining that, in fact, others in the neighborhood have complained, and that only this morning did Comcast find that there is a huge disruption to service in our area. Tyler checked the wiring and finding it to be old, changed it. Why the repairman who changed our arcane modem didn’t do that the last time was incomprehensible to this rep, as it was to me. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Are things done in dribs and drabs as a ploy for job security?

Comcast truck

Image by scriptingnews via Flickr

Tyler left assuring me that things should be fine…kinda. He told me to wait a week, maybe more for Comcast to figure out what they’re doing with the bigger problem. He said they might do this, or they might do that, but that I should be patient. Just wondering? Can I hold off payment of my bill until Comcast figures things out? No. I guess that’s not an option.

What frustrates me is being at the mercy of a monopoly like Comcast.

Comcast Center, the headquarters of Comcast - ...

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It’s not like I can walk away and sign up with one of 7 other competitors. Or can I? My husband is researching the possibility of signing us up for the little stick thing he inserts into his company laptop. I think it’s through AT&T, but perhaps Verizon offers it as well. No harm in checking. We’ll have to weigh the pros and the cons. The con being…demasiado dinero. Spanish for…mega bucks!

…so i’m hanging loose…until whatever happens…happens…hugmamma. 

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appreciate your loyalty…big time!!!

Almost a month has elapsed since I spent my days blogging away contentedly. I must admit my neck, back and shoulders got a much needed break from the long hours I’d spend hunched over my laptop keyboard. If your eyes have been glued to your computer screen in recent days trying to digest my thriller about bedbugs, then you’ll understand my long absence from hugmamma’s mind, body and soul. Let’s just say I was out making memories, however forgettable I wish they were. At my age you’d think I’d have enough life experiences not to need more to feel like an adult. I thought 61 years was a pretty solid foundation upon which to rest my laurels. But apparently not.

Since my daughter’s apartment, both of them actually, were in total disarray, and because  we were faced with the overwhelming task of moving her furnishings out of storage, and sanitizing everything before moving them into her new place, blogging was the furthest thing from my mind. Besides which we tried not to spend more time than was necessary where the bedbugs resided, the old apartment. Unfortunately, that’s also where the internet was still hooked up. Not until a new desk we’d purchased was assembled and in place, did my daughter want to relocate her computer and cable connection. All this to say I couldn’t blog even if I’d wanted to do so. I’m sure you’ll understand when I say…that was the last thing on my mind.

Cat Rambo

Image by Cat Sparx via Flickr

When I finally did sit down to log onto hugmamma’s mind, body and soul, I was very surprised, and very delighted, to find that my subscribers had remained loyal. I was certain the list would have dwindled alongside my dwindling posts. As other bloggers will confirm, “site stats” are an important indicator of a blog’s viability. While views declined as I expected, it was indeed humbling to see that I’d picked up another few subscribers, while hanging on to past subscribers. It reiterated, for me, the words of my Blogging 101 instructor, Cat Rambo. “Write something of value, and readers will come.”

So I thank each and every one of you who continue to make me feel my words are of value. I’m unable to publicly recognize all, for there are those who subscribe via particular posts, and friends and family who subscribe via email, neither of which I’m capable of reproducing below. But know that I include you, about 90, among the following WordPress subscribers whose gravatars I am able to show.

estherlou
http://estherlou.wordpress.com/
2 days, 20 hours ago
Blogging Blueprints
http://generatemasstraffic.blogspot.com/
1 month, 2 weeks ago
carvingoutavoice
http://carvingoutavoice.wordpress.com
1 month, 3 weeks ago
Blogging Blueprint
http://qtwt.us/2ift
1 month, 3 weeks ago
nuvofelt
http://chittlechattle.wordpress.com
1 month, 4 weeks ago
frizztext
http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com
2 months ago
OneAngryBytch
http://oneangrybytch.wordpress.com
2 months, 1 week ago
easylifestyles
http://easy-lifestyles.blogspot.com
2 months, 2 weeks ago
littlenavyfish
http://givemestories.wordpress.com
3 months ago
dogear6 3 months ago
carloscollazo06
http://carloscollazo06.wordpress.com
3 months ago
Redneckprincess
http://redneckprincess.wordpress.com
3 months, 1 week ago
Marion Driessen
http://mariondriessen.wordpress.com
3 months, 1 week ago
Beneath The Tin Foil Hat
http://tinfoilhatman45.wordpress.com
3 months, 1 week ago
HaleyWhitehall
http://haleywhitehall.wordpress.com
3 months, 2 weeks ago
sagechronicles
http://sagechronicles.wordpress.com/
3 months, 3 weeks ago
jeanne
http://nolagirlatheart.wordpress.com
3 months, 3 weeks ago
Jackie Paulson Author
http://postadaychallenge2011.wordpress.com/
3 months, 3 weeks ago
CMSmith
http://randomthoughtsfrommidlife.wordpress.com
3 months, 4 weeks ago
literaryescape
http://literaryescape.wordpress.com
4 months ago
Isabelle
http://myenglishthought.wordpress.com
4 months, 1 week ago
hakea
http://hakea.wordpress.com
4 months, 3 weeks ago
Steph
http://coolbluedudette.wordpress.com
4 months, 4 weeks ago
Northwestgimp
http://northwestgimp.wordpress.com
5 months, 1 week ago
Keith Kamisugi
http://keithpr.wordpress.com/
5 months, 2 weeks ago
mecwrites25
http://mecwrites25.wordpress.com
6 months, 2 weeks ago
fussymissy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

..how can i go wrong…with so many friends who…”have my back”…hugmamma. 🙂 …mahalo nui loa…aloha from the bottom of my heart!!!

never too late, “good manners”

The age of technology seems to have signaled an era where good manners have become extinct. Cell phone calls interrupt romantic dinners, cat naps on public transport, silence in a library. Text messaging is a never-ending, voiceless conversation. E-books and lap tops are all the companions some folks need. The latest gadgets and gizmos make it unnecessary for us to interact with one another.

Perhaps Mother Nature is encouraging us to get back to basics. Because in the final analysis, when all material things are washed away in a tsunami, or demolished in an earthquake, or engulfed in wildfires, people have to turn to each other for answers. We may do well to take a refresher course on good manners, on doing unto others as we would have them do unto us…before we find ourselves in need of their help.

The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., offers some good advice on being neighborly. Our memories just need a little jogging, and dusting off, to get us back on track toward being more human in an environment that’s becoming less and less so.

  1. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.
  2.  Don’t burn bridges.You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  3. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per
    Mother Teresa

    Image via Wikipedia

    day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

  4. Rekindle old friendships.
  5. Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death-bed, “Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office.”
  6.  Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know,” “I made a mistake,” I need help,” “I’m sorry.”
  7. Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
  8. Don’t rain on other people’s parades.
  9. Don’t interrupt.
  10. Never underestimate the power of words to heal and reconcile relationships.
  11. Be as friendly to the janitor as you are to the chairman of the board.
  12. Treat your employees with the same respect you give your clients.
  13. Remove your sunglasses when you talk to someone.
  14. Show extra respect for people whose jobs put dirt under their fingernails.
  15. Surprise an old friend with a phone call.
  16. Don’t be so concerned with your rights that you forget your manners.
  17. Act with courtesy and fairness regardless of how others treat you. Don’t let them determine your response.
  18. Spend your life lifting people up, not putting people down.
  19. Remember that everyone you meet wears an invisible sign. It reads, “Notice me. Make me feel important.”
  20. Encourage anyone who is trying to improve mentally, physically, or spiritually.
  21. Be especially courteous and patient with older people.
  22. Let your handshake be as binding as a signed contract.
  23. Love someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  24. Regardless of the situation, react with class.
  25. Become the kind of person who brightens a room just by entering it.
  26. Remember that a kind word goes a long way.
  27. Spend twice as much time praising as you do criticizing.
  28. Offer hope.
  29. When you need to apologize to someone, do it in person.
  30. When a friend is in need, help him without his having to ask
  31. Never be too busy to meet someone new.
  32. If it’s not a beautiful morning, let your cheerfulness make it one.
  33. Remember that cruel words hurt deeply, and loving words quickly heal.
  34. Before criticizing a new employee, remember your first days at work.
  35. Never call anybody stupid, even if you’re kidding.
  36. Offer your place in line at the grocery checkout if the person behind you has only two or three items.
  37. This year, buy an extra box of Girl Scout cookies.
    Boxes of the two most popular Girl Scout cooki...

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  38. After someone apologizes to you, don’t lecture them.
  39. Carry a couple of inexpensive umbrellas in your car that you can give to people caught in the rain.
  40. When you really like someone, tell them. Sometimes you only get one chance.
  41. Take more pictures of people than of places.
  42. Never make fun of people who speak broken English. It means they know another language.
  43. If you ask someone to do something for you, let them do it their way.
  44. Remember it’s not your job to get people to like you, it’s your job to like people.
  45. Write a thank-you note to your children’s teacher when you see your child learning new things.
  46. Never intentionally embarrass anyone.
  47. Don’t forget that your attitude is just as important as the facts.
  48. Remember that much truth is spoken in jest.
  49. Never resist a generous impulse.
  50. When in doubt, smile.

This list should keep us all busy for some time. In fact, just pondering them will probably occupy more than a few minutes. But we can take our time, for we’ve lots of time. Or have we?

practicing just one a day…will get us somewhere better than where we already are…hugmamma.

a bad bout of “virus”

Am writing this to warn you that scammers hover nearby, even at the tips of one’s fingers. Long story short, my computer alerted me to a virus attack a couple of days ago. Not sure if you’ve ever witnessed flashing icons on your screen that silently scream “viruses, viruses, viruses!!!” I immediately felt I was physically under siege. My heart began palpitating. My brain went into lock down mode. My eyes bugged out of my head. Words were roiling around inside my head, none of which I could organize into thoughts that made sense.

Running my fingers across the computer keys, I finally ran the McAfee virus scan system that came with my 17″ Acer laptop, which I purchased at a great price on QVC. The scanning completed, I was asked if I wanted to remove the viruses that were detected, or did I want to leave them be. Yeah right, I thought. That’s like asking me if I wanted to let bedbugs live in my bed forever! I tried texting my husband for advice. When none was quickly forthcoming, I took action…and have regreted it.

One option offered was to activate the automatic removal system. The catch was that I needed a password. Hmmm… I couldn’t remember even discussing anti-viral security with my hubby. He normally buys Norton. But I didn’t recall him giving me a password. So I went for the second option, signing up for “System Tool.” Popping up on McAfee led me to believe it was part and parcel of the scan system.

Unable to reach my husband, and thinking the viruses would gain a bigger stranglehold the longer I delayed, I tried to purchase “System Tool.” Well try as I might, the transaction kept being declined. Customer service at Master Card’s 1-800 number kindly offered their assistance. But even they couldn’t complete the transaction. The whole thing was crazy. That should have signaled a “red flag.” Finally the credit card’s computer technician explained that I was probably locked out because of several failed attempts. He suggested I might want to try again later.

Thinking the viruses were gaining an increasingly greater foothold the more time I wasted, I tried a Visa credit card. Same thing, I kept being declined in trying to purchase “System Tool.” Giving up on the online option, I decided to seek technical help from someone in town. When I pulled up their website, there was an alert on the first page indicating that “System Tool” was a scam which would infiltrate with viruses, not remove them. I couldn’t drive to the computer tech’s office fast enough.

The good news is that my hardware was not affected. The bad news is my laptop had to be thoroughly cleaned and a new security system installed, all for $199. The pro also suggested emphatically that I cancel my credit cards because the scammers were probably after credit card information from the outset. Needless to say I’ve done as he recommended. 

Lesson learned? Even writers have to know something more than just banging away at the computer keyboard. And it’s true, seniors like me can learn new tricks. We might have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, by our gray hairs. But in the meantime, our brain cells are growing by leaps and bounds. This is never a bad thing, although too many growth spurts like this, and I might have a heart attack.

Something which concerned me was that QVC sold a product, Acer, which offered McAfee security, which in turn offered “System Tool” as a means of removing viruses, which is, in fact, a scam. This is probably an oversimplification, but the outcome is that I bought an Acer computer, which my husband and I’d never heard of before, because of its great deal on QVC. Like many, I consider the online retailer highly reputable. I wonder if it’s even aware of Acer’s link to McAfee, and its link to “System Tool?” That a scam could be furthered by a QVC backed product is mystifying. I’ll probably be expressing my concern to QVC in writing, unless they come calling on me via my blog, as Comcast has done in the past. We’ll see.  

What does hubby say about all this? I’ll have to wait and see when he returns from his European business trip this evening.

getting in and out of trouble…par for the course…hugmamma.  🙂

“got my groove back,” hugmamma

THANK YOU COMCAST, for removing the Grinch and giving me back Christmas!!! The technician came at the appointed hour this morning, replacing wires, boxes, modems and what not. Not sure if it would be considered an overhaul, or a remodel. Whatever it’s called, our internet connection is again working. I’m sure you can tell from the vivid pictures gracing my previous post about holiday decorating. I’m back on my own laptop, where I can enhance my writing with pictures from my “library.” Yehhh!!! It’s almost like going from “black and white TV,” to color.

This time we’re ALMOST certain that Comcast’s technician fixed the problem. Since my husband’s more savvy about gadgetry, he understands the repair process better than I. Gut instinct is my trusty barometer. Let’s hope it’s still dependable, and that the same is true about Comcast.

Meanwhile customer service rep, Amanda Kennedy, promised we’d be given one month’s internet service free, for our frustrations. That’s in addition to the $20 credit we received for the first appointment, because the technician arrived after the 4 hour frame period. So while Comcast is a big player in internet service, they provided us customer service of the small town variety. Mistakes happen; things can go awry. We can be understanding, even patient, as long as there’s communication and genuine compassion for our plight.

So I continue to recommend using “honey,” and not “vinegar,” to resolve a situation. It’s less stressful for you, and may garner side benefits, such as I’ve described above. But go the distance, talking with whomever is necessary, rationally stating all the facts. Don’t hesitate to ascend the “ladder,” talking to the boss, if necessary. The most important thing, however, is not letting your blood pressure boil over. Your health is too important. So remember to take some deep breaths…

in the groove again, blogging…hugmamma.

“and the beat goes on, la, de, da, de, day,” comcast

Comcast’s Mark  appeared from nowhere again, leaving me a comment! It’s like having a guardian angel. Maybe he’s trying to earn wings like Clarence, Jimmy Stewart’s sidekick on “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Love that show, just saw it last night, or was it the night before? Running between the computer downstairs and the laptop upstairs to see if they’re working is again taking its toll. Comcast is one topic I’d like to relegate to the archives, but of course it’s the first thing on my mind since I can’t even use my own computer to blog. Every time I sign on to my husband’s laptop, I must wend my way through a very lengthy process. It’s amazing how we take so much for granted, until we have to go through each and every step. No shortcuts here. This laptop only knows my husband; it treats me like an alien from outer space, or as the case may be, “internet space. But you know me, neither snow, nor sleet, nor rain, nor lack of internet service will stop me from blogging.

You may think I’m ludicrous, but I’m still hoping for a “happy-ending.” Do I have a choice? Well, maybe, but I’m an optimist, most of the time. Other times I’m a fatalist. Perhaps I’m a fatalistic optimist. Remember, I’m trying to help Mark earn his wings, while practicing compassion, and positivism. You can help by sending all the good karma you can spare. It’s the holidays after all, the season for giving…and forgiving. Do I sound like I’m trying to convince myself not to blow a gasket? You bet your sweet life!

Do you know about THE COMCAST CUSTOMER GUARANTEE? With our bill today, was a graphically appealing leaflet touting the company’s efforts on behalf of, well, us! Here’s how it reads, in full.

You spoke, we listened. At Comcast you can expect faster answers to your questions–24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A $20 account credit if we’re late to an appointment and a complimentary service if we don’t solve a routine problem in one visit. IT’S TIME TO EXPERIENCE WHAT GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE FEELS LIKE. comcast.com/guarantee 

hmmm???…breathing deeply…ahhh…hugmamma.

“woes again,” comcast

Just when my faith was restored in the “powers” that be, Comcast, “poof! the plug was pulled” once again. Just like that! No warning, whatsoever. So I called customer service this time, rather than wait for their call. The weather couldn’t possibly be at fault now, as it was a few weeks ago when we were experiencing snow and ice, not like the east coast, but enough to make me excuse Comcast for a couple of weeks. Mike answered. Now that I think of it, he may have been the one who commented on my blog the last time, and got the “snowball” rolling. Well, looks like it didn’t roll far enough.

I’m using my husband’s laptop which has its own connection, not with Comcast, obviously. As I indicated when I previously blogged about Comcast, their customer service reps are pleasant, and as helpful as possible given that they’re not even located wherever problems arise. They have no clue what’s causing our problem. They want to send a technician again. I’m a little wary, since their last one arrived after 5 p.m., and did nothing, but talk a good story about “noise” interference. But the next day, our internet connection was back on, and has been until a little while ago. Maybe the “noise” returned. And maybe there are magic wands floating around, and on that particular day Comcast happened upon one and “whoosh!” made everything normal again. But I guess the magic’s expired. I’m not sure how they’ll fix what they’re not sure of, this go ’round. Maybe Harry Potter will happen along. Hmmm…

As long as I have access to my husband’s laptop, I’ll keep blogging, and letting you know, once again, the ongoing saga that’s “Comcast.” Hope there’ll finally be a happy ending. Until then, if there’s any among you who can recommend other avenues to access the internet other than Comcast, especially here in Western Washington, I’m open to suggestions. The only up side to this otherwise frustrating situation, is that I’ll always have a topic about which to blog, COMCAST! Who knows? Maybe they like the PR, even if it’s not so good.

I think the demons of technology are overtaking us, as I blog. Maybe I’ll curl up with a nice book.

for comcast, no hugs this time…hugmamma