APC Battery Backup

So, my main APC UPS started giving me warning beeps last night. It shows that the battery is failing. Crap, I thought, I hope this thing doesn’t shut down. This is the UPS I have my recovery machine hooked up to. This has currently been working on a hard drive for 332+ hours. I don’t want to start this over.

I look up the receipt in my records and find that I bought it on 02-27-2008 at Circuit City. Circuit City no longer exists, that’s bad #1. I look up the unit on APC’s website and find that their standard warranty is only 2 years, bad #2. I remember though, that I bought this unit specifically because it had a 3 or 5 year warranty. I call APC and give them the model and purchase date and it does, indeed, have a 3 year warranty. I have 3 days left on it.

APC is sending me a new battery under warranty and I don’t even have to return the old one for the RMA. They just ask that I dispose of it responsibly. Not a problem, I told them, I have a local recycling place for electronics.

It’s a sad thing that a company doing the right thing is something to celebrate but, nonetheless, I’m happy.

So, THANK YOU, APC, for standing behind your product and honoring the warranty no questions asked.

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University of Phoenix @UOPX

You really just mail random things to incorrect names and addresses and then don’t have a direct way for me to get off of your mailing list? If your “marketing” department is responsible for mailings, PUT THEIR NUMBER ON THE MAILING so I can get off of your stupid list.

I’ve never contacted you, given you my information (especially incorrect information) nor shown any interest in your crappy school.

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Mercy Gilbert, Round 2

For today’s little rant I give you unwanted mail. I got a letter today from the East Valley division of Catholic Healthcare West, the parent organization of Mercy Gilbert Hospital, where I was recently admitted and treated.

I called them to ask where they got my information, since it mentioned in the letter my recent treatment. It was confirmed that they got my name and address from the hospital. They assured me this didn’t violate HIPAA laws since they got no medical information, only names and addresses. Ok, fine.

The only problem with this is they also mentioned, during their explanation, that they only request “demographic information” from the hospital. I’m sorry, but demographic information doesn’t include names or specific addresses only general information about patient ethnicity, age and location, etc. They said they could put me on THEIR do not mail list which I did.

My problem with this situation is this. Whether or not you are violating HIPAA laws is secondary to giving out MY information without my permission and requiring me to opt OUT of such things. You shouldn’t put me on lists without asking me first.

Shame on you, Mercy Gilbert.

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Sprouts Customer Service

In welcomed change from my last few posts, here is a praise for Sprouts Farmers Market, although it started off in much the same way. We bought a beef roast for Thanksgiving this year, a nice “Presidential” cut. We opened it on Thanksgiving morning and it was spoiled. It had a sell by date if 11-24 and this was the 25th, not good.

So we made do with a pork roast from a few days before. The day after Thanksgiving is where Sprouts showed what they’re made of. I took the roast in and explained the situation. They said to go get the other things I needed to pick up and get a refund for the roast and they would bring a new one up. I got the other things and went to check out. The girl that helped me came back and said they were just going to GIVE me the new cut after I got a refund.

“Awesome!” I thought. But that’s not the end of this story. When he did bring out the new roast it was twice the size as the one I returned.

Sprouts, you have made this customer VERY happy and it will not be forgotten.

Thank you for being a stand up company.

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@HistoryChannel fact checking

I am watching Ancient Aliens: Chariots, Gods & Beyond. One of the sceptics/supporters of the alien technology theory, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos, claimed that building the Great Pyramid of Giza in 22 years would require placing a block “EVERY 9 SECONDS”.

Does History not do ANY basic fact checking anymore? Even using the commonly quoted number of blocks, 2.3 million, the time is 301 seconds per block, slightly over 5 MINUTES. This is not even close to the 9 seconds.

Now, using another, probably more accurate, estimate of the number of blocks, 590,712, the time per block jumps to 19.5 minutes per block.

These numbers are from here: http://www.world-mysteries.com/mpl_2.htm

It took me all of about 30 seconds to find this. History, you are supposed to present interesting, BUT TRUTHFUL, stories. I’m not saying aliens haven’t been to Earth. I’m just saying you have to weed out information that is very obviously false.

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Cox’s new on screen guide

This is the message I sent to cox regarding the “upgrade” to their guide they just pushed out.

I don’t know who you had design the new guide but it is very poorly implemented.

Yes, the new guide is much more responsive than the old one. That is the ONLY improvement. You have made every single display portion of the guide smaller on screen.

The banner at the bottom of the screen that displays what the A, B & C buttons do is tremendously over sized. It doesn’t need to be any taller than the letters. The channel listing on the left is also way to wide, cutting down on display space usable for the actual primary purpose of the guide, displaying channel information.

Likewise, the on screen Info bar has also been reduced in size contrary to its purpose. It doesn’t need to be floating off the bottom of the screen. It should be 1/2 of a lower 1/3rd or smaller on the first press and then a lower 1/3rd on the second press.
And the final problem, which should have been addressed with this update. The guide formats to 4:3 instead of 16:9 on widescreen TVs. The cable boxes have a setting for what format TV they are hooked up to. There is no reason to not use this to format the guide.

Please roll out a revision to address these issues. The update is not currently an upgrade in my opinion.


That pretty much sums it up. How can a cable company screw up something so basic?
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Let’s see if this works…

Well, I’m just seeing if this post will populate through all of my services. Here’s hoping.

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@Sprint Customer Service

We got a mailing from Sprint today offering Palm Pixi phones for sale.

First, REALLY? You’re advertising a dying company to get people to use your services? Good job, marketing.

I just decided to call the number to get my wife’s name and our address taken off of their mailing list. I’ve never had service with any Sprint company. Hell, we’ve never even contacted Sprint. I call the number and get a representative on the phone. I have to repeat my request three times because she says she can’t hardly hear me. Wow, a phone company who’s phone system doesn’t work correctly. They say they need to transfer me to “Customer Care” to get this taken care of. Fine, but why was i not connected to a customer service department to begin with? That’s where you put all generic calls that come in, people.

I am transferred and have to repeat my request, twice again, and am then told that they can’t do that and I’ll have to call another number. I asked to just be transferred and am told that they can’t do that either. The guy is arguing with me and refusing to transfer my call. I am forced to hang up on him and hit redial. This time I say what I want, am put on hold for about a minute, and the request is fulfilled. What the hell?! Why was this so hard the first time?

Sprint is supposed to have some of the best customer service in the industry but my experience was not even close to that. In fact, it was one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve ever had.

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Gannett insurance

This post is a result of my wife having to re-up our insurance for the next year and the insurance company saying that costs are going up yet again.

I know everybody wants lower insurance rates. I really do. But how can a company with over 46,000 employees, as of October 2008, justify their outrageously high insurance costs? When I moved to Arizona, at my first job, my out of pocket cost for my diabetes prescriptions was $0. Yes, $0 for all of them. My premiums, which were 1/4 of the Gannett insurance amounts, covered everything fully. Now, a 90-day supply prescription for one of my insulins costs me $175 out of pocket on top of the already horrendous premiums. The other is just slightly less, and my test strips are still about half of that. This is inexcusable. A company of Gannett’s size has enough clout ,and money to spend, that it can push the insurance companies around a bit.

So I asked CVS Caremark about any payment assistance programs that they have. I was given two websites and a phone number for one of them. Note, it was a standard phone number, not a toll free one. I go to the website and it is basically just a collection of links to ACTUAL programs for payment assistance.

One of them is Lilly Cares by Eli Lilly, the maker of one of my insulins. I go to that website and go to the qualifications. One of them, which makes perfect sense, is that you must have a household income of equal to or less than 300% of the poverty line. The other, which defeats the entire purpose of the so-called assistance program, is that you cannot have ANY private or public health insurance. Wait, what!? So, basically, they’ll only help you if you’ve already been screwed or screwed up your own life already. If you’re trying to AVOID problems, you’re out of luck.

So we’re stuck paying ridiculous premiums, ridiculous copays and there’s nothing we can do about it without completely screwing ourselves for the foreseeable future.

Gee, thanks for nothing.

Whoever is running the insurance plans at Gannett isn’t doing their due diligence to help their employees.

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Hospital trip

So, I went to the hospital on Thursday morning. On October 28, 2010 I woke up with low blood sugar. I immediately went to the kitchen to test my blood sugar. When I tried to put the test strip in my tester I dropped the tester, I couldn’t hold onto anything. At this point I realized that I was getting dangerously low.

I got out a 128 ounce bottle of apple juice and started drinking. After a few minutes I realized that my sugar was still feeling like it was dropping. After a few more drinks I came to the conclusion that I needed to call an ambulance. The only problem with this was the fact that I was thinking, “I need to call the hospital” instead of “I need to call 911.” Yes, I, literally, forgot how to dial 911. I had a clear thought path but just couldn’t complete the task. I went to my computer to look up the number for the hospital  but couldn’t remember my password for my computer. After several minutes of trying to get a phone number I decided that I was getting close to not being able to doing anything further so I went on a quest.

I walked out my front door, wearing boxers and carrying our home phone, to go to a neighbor’s house and have them call for me. The first house I went to with a car in the driveway had nobody home so I crossed the street to the next house with a car in the driveway. The guy that answered the door obviously had a confused look on his face when he saw me but I apparently mumbled enough for him to realize that I needed help. I had me sit on his couch and got his wife to make me some orange juice to drink. An interesting side note, the wife used to date a guy with diabetes so, when she saw me, she knew exactly what it was.

By the time the paramedics got there, all 9 of them between the paramedics and firemen, my blood sugar was up to 140, which is actually a little high. This made them question what was causing my memory problems and other communication issues. They thought I may have been high on something. They got me onto a stretcher, into the ambulance and on our way to the hospital.

When I got to the ER, I was even further out of it and couldn’t answer any questions. My wife, Joanna, got there shortly after I did since the paramedics called her before we left the neighbors’ house. I remember her asking me if I knew who she was, which I did, but I couldn’t communicate this to her and I could NOT remember her name, just that she was my wife. When the original ER doc was done doing his evaluation and when they had gotten most of the blood tests back, negative for everything just like Joanna said they would be, he pulled her aside and told her that he thought I was “faking it.” She told me this the next day when I was in the hospital room. This is a ridiculous jump to make right off the bat. Whoever that ER doc is should have his qualifications reviewed. Joanna left around 4:00 or 5:00pm to go to the house to make sure everything was ok there.

She took some pictures of the situation, see:

Test kit strew about in bathroom.

Kitchen table pushed out of place.

Bottles knocked over from me falling.

Around 7:00pm I finally remembered her name and basically sat up in bed and just said it. The hospital person sitting next to my bed looked at me and asked if that was my wife and I told her it was. She went over and told my attending nurse. Joanna called right around this time and they told her I was getting my memory back and she should probably come back in. By the time she got there I was pretty well back to myself and could remember everything that had happened, even though when it was happening I didn’t have any idea what was going on.

Another note, the “hospital person” next to my bed was actually there to make sure I didn’t try to hurt myself. This is also the reason I was in a red/pink gown, suicide watch. When Joanna mentioned that I was unemployed that apparently triggered the alarm bells that I was just depressed and was trying to hurt myself. Anyone who knows me and who has been told this story knows that isn’t an option to me.

I was in the ER from about 11:30am on Thursday until just before 8:00pm that night. This is Gilbert-Mercy hospital that is supposed to be known for getting people into and out of the ER QUICKLY. Right…

When I went up to the hospital room they put me into a regular gown so I wasn’t on suicide watch anymore. I was released from the hospital around 5:30 or 6:00pm on Friday, October 29th, 2010. I went to my doctor today, November 2, for a follow up and he gave me a sample of a different type of overnight (long acting) insulin, Levemir. It replaces my previous kind, Lantus.

Overall, this was a scary experience and I hope that I never repeat it, more for Joanna’s sake than mine. I hate that I put her through these things.


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