Categories: "Home" or "Appliances" or "Broadband" or "AT&T DSL" or "Cox HSI" or "RoadRunner" or "Furnishings" or "Healthcare" or "Outdoor" or "Safety & Security"

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  08:03:48 pm, by The Dreamer   , 640 words  
Categories: Wireless/iPhone, Travel, Home, Storage, Amateur Radio

Failed HD upgrade.

I was all in a rush last week to upgrade the other drive in my primary desktop. Partly because the plan was to use the old drive as the backup drive of my other computer. Guess, I'll just have to go without backups for a while longer.

I had resorted to ordering the drive from instead of my usual source, because I wanted to know that it was going to show up for certain on a certain day before the weekend.

And, it appeared as desired on Friday. But, first Saturday I was volunteering my Amateur Radio skills to do communications at a SAG for the Yellow Brick Road Race. And, I was way too tired to take on a project like this when I got home. Being up early and being kept up by a yapping dog downstairs was part of the reason. Also being nice than expected and standing in the sun near the end probably didn't help either. But, it was cool. Though it has me thinking that maybe I'll continue to hold out for the Yaesu VX-8R, instead of wimping out and getting the VX-7R. Probably do so by deferring the upgrade of my mobile phone until next year. (likely to be a decision between Google Android or a Blackberry...choice of carrier might be as solidly decided as well either.)

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  03:29:45 pm, by The Dreamer   , 560 words  
Categories: Furnishings

Continued Great Service


A few months ago, I noticed the problem I originally had with my Select Comfort bed had reappeared. Some missing segments on my (wired) pump remote. It had beed just about the same amount of time since I got the remanufactured pump unit for the last time I experienced this problem.

They had indicated then that they wanted the 'failing' unit to determine the cause of the problem and address it. So, I guess it isn't totally surprising that I've experienced the problem again.

Despite my continued effort to be careful with the remote, the problem has reappeared. I kind of suspect is doesn't like that occasionally the remote does slide off the edge of my bed and on to the floor. But, you'd think that I'm not the only person that this kind of occurrence happens to.

One random morning, when I was looking at an empty search box....I decided to see if there was anything out there about my problem. I got distracted reading about problems in general that people have had.

Evidently I don't fall into that group.

At first it was an intermittent miss a few segments...and they would sometimes come back and others would leave, etc. With no apparently indication of why the changes were happening. But, then a few nights ago...remembering that my back was sore that morning, I went to see what pressure my bed had changed to. Felt like it had gained about 20.

Well, I was stumped.

Only one segment was working on the display. I could tell whether the indicated number ended with a '5' or a '0'....I had to go by feel that night. As it was, I apparently hit the right number...because a couple nights later enough digits returned to tell what I had dialed up.

But, annoyed that all I could tell was whether the number ended in '5' or '0' and annoyed that my back is bothering me again...I went to fire off another customer support request to see about getting the pump replaced. I knew the bed is supposed to be a 20 year limited warranty....though I wasn't sure how things fall with the 'limited' part.

I did wait a long time to get a response, but I see that this happened the last fact I've forgotten when I sent the support request (fairly sure it was like midnight Labor day or something). So, it wasn't like forever.

But, I got the email today. They said they want to confirm my delivery address, so they can replace my pump at no cost under my warranty by UPS Ground.

The only struggle was whether to have them ship to my home address or another address to have somebody receive it for me. I opted to have it go to my home address. Shouldn't be a problem if the UPS guy has to make a second delivery attempt should I not know to expect it on a certain day. There will be other planned UPS deliveries coming up.

I sure hope that they have worked out the kinks and that this'll be the last time I deal with this problem until I buy my next Select Number bed. Which I kind of would like to be sooner than later...hint, hint, hint :))

"I'm now a 40" :wave:


  06:25:55 am, by The Dreamer   , 149 words  
Categories: AT&T DSL

Another blip in the DSL upgrade

It is day two of the latest DSL upgrade. No change in sync rate, since its already reached the upgraded rate. But, DSLreports spectrum analysis gives somewhat more room on the downstream. Guess that'll ensure a stable connection.

Downstream Maxrate (Estimated): 6708
Upstream Maxrate (Estimated): 952

Bit tones with notches/missing bits:

bit(s) 38:43   		163.875   - 189.75    KHz
bit(s) 49      		211.3125  - 215.625   KHz
bit(s) 59:60   		254.4375  - 263.0625  KHz
bit(s) 67:68   		288.9375  - 297.5625  KHz
bit(s) 88:90   		379.5     - 392.4375  KHz
bit(s) 92      		396.75    - 401.0625  KHz
bit(s) 100:104 		431.25    - 452.8125  KHz
bit(s) 106     		457.125   - 461.4375  KHz
bit(s) 118     		508.875   - 513.1875  KHz
bit(s) 120     		517.5     - 521.8125  KHz
bit(s) 133:137 		573.5625  - 595.125   KHz
bit(s) 147:150 		633.9375  - 651.1875  KHz
bit(s) 162     		698.625   - 702.9375  KHz
bit(s) 169     		728.8125  - 733.125   KHz
bit(s) 172     		741.75    - 746.0625  KHz
bit(s) 176:186 		759       - 806.4375  KHz
bit(s) 190:191 		819.375   - 828       KHz
bit(s) 197     		849.5625  - 853.875   KHz
bit(s) 199:200 		858.1875  - 866.8125  KHz
bit(s) 203:212 		875.4375  - 918.5625  KHz
bit(s) 218:219 		940.125   - 948.75    KHz
bit(s) 228:255 		983.25    - 1104      KHz

No change in Line Attenuation, but S/N Margin is now ~8.5


  06:28:00 am, by The Dreamer   , 169 words  
Categories: AT&T DSL

Surprise, I got it all this morning.

Woke up this morning, and checked my DSL modem.

At around 5:20am, my DSL upgraded.

The Sync Rate is now 6016/768 (Line Attn jumped from 48.5 to 49.5 and S/N went from ~12 to ~7.5).

Looks like I get it all, and they upgraded the line to such that it can just down the downstream and little bit more for the upstream.

Here's my Cacti graphs on the matter:

Pages: 1· 2


  07:16:48 am, by The Dreamer   , 657 words  
Categories: ReplayTV, DVDs / NetFlix, Blu-Ray, TiVo HD / Premiere / Elite, AT&T DSL

Time to upgrade my DSL again

Last time I pulled the trigger on upgrading my DSL, I was just hoping to get them to bring me up to the speed I had been paying for (originally they said I could only get 1.5m/384k, and they did deliver that for the first month....when after a storm they then locked me down at 768/384. And, no amount of calling or emails, would make them think to let me back up.)

When I had last looked, both tiers were offered...but I was pessimistic, so I only ordered the 3.0m/512k tier. But, since sync rate is almost always this rate now....and DSLreports tools suggests that 768k upstream is possible. And, should be able to get another 1-1.5m on the downstream. I had started wondering if I shouldn't have gone for the higher speed.

Then the Roku NetFlix player was announced, and that seemed like something I would want to have. Which would make the need for more speed that much more desirable.

So, I had drafted a plan to get the NetFlix player last month and upgrade my DSL last month. Only as time went on, and reviews of the NetFlix player came interest faded. The lack of subtitles or CC capability in the player is a big negative.

Especially since I've been catching up on my TV recordings, and the big thing I miss is that they weren't recorded with CC enabled. Of course, I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that some of the people behind ReplayTV are now behind Roku. Though to be fair, part of the lack of CC on my ReplayTV recordings is the transition to digital....

Anyways...I was online today to check my account information....couldn't remember if I had seen the bill or not. Decided to go ahead and order the upgrade to see how close to 6.0m/768k they can actually deliver.

I'm more likely to be holding out for the LG/NetFlix combo device now....than the Roku. Even though the LG device is apparently no more capable than the Roku for NetFlix. But, I've been wanting Blu-Ray since the beginning, and now that its the might be time to finally pull the trigger on that. Guess it'll depend on whether NetFlix streaming improves....and whether I see enough Blu-Ray now to justify it.

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  09:09:59 am, by The Dreamer   , 789 words  
Categories: Home

Canceled my Allstate Renters Policy

Yesterday I got a demand payment for a Renters Policy with Allstate. Except I became a homeowner back on June 29th, 2007.

I had thought it odd that I never heard from Allstate on the conversion of Renters Policy to Condo Owner. And, when I went to the Allstate site to find the customer care also seemed odd that they still had my Ohio contact information. I was positive that I had updated it. Later I found an email that confirmed that I had made the request...sent to the new email address that I had specified when making the request, rather than the one that still listed as my contact info.

I called Allstate....after shuffling around a bit, they reported that they couldn't locate record of my policy and later said it was due to a system wide outage of their computer systems. And, assured me several times that they would call me back later that night.

I sat patiently by the phone all evening, and finally gave up waiting at 11pm and went to bed.

This morning I was about call again....but decided to try calling a local agent (the person that I thought was my agent had ceased to be running the local agency sometime after I had requested this conversion and the update of my contact information).

In conversation, I learned it was partly my fault that I had gotten to this. Apparently, I had paid the renewal of my renters policy in July of last year. I probably assumed that all was right [it was significantly higher than what I had previously paid in Renter's Insurance], and since I didn't hear any issues with insurance when I did the I just paid it. Actually, knowing me....I probably filed the paper somewhere and just paid it online (records show the charge went to my Discover card)....I actually put in my memo field that it was for homeowner's insurance (rather than renter's insurance).

I had been an Allstate customer since 1990 (when I first moved out)...and they showed me as an Allstate customer since 1998 (when I moved to the US)....and most recently since 2006 when I moved to Manhattan, KS.

Anyways....they wanted paperwork (which I have, but it would take time to locate since I use the fill-a-box filing method)...of the closing so they could backdate the cancellation. Plus they would want me to visit wherever their office is. I suppose that was probably a problem in my Allstate relationship.

In the whole time that I've been living in the US, I have never set foot in an Allstate office...and have never met face to face with any of my Allstate agents. Unlike in Medicine Hat, Alberta, where my relationship began....

Anyways...they said alternatively they could set that policy canceled on July 28th, 2008...which was the anniversary of the policy. I said that would be fine. I wasn't after getting my premium back, just that I wasn't going to pay any additional premium for something that I don't need.

Not sure how the date became the anniversary....but, it seemed to do with when the policy was finally updated to reflect that I had moved to Manhattan, KS on July 1st, 2006.

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  11:03:10 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1077 words  
Categories: General, Home Theatre, Computer, DVDs / NetFlix, Travel, Home

So, what did UPS bring me today?

Well, there were 3 boxes from

I started out thinking there were things I needed, or wanted to stock up on, or have in preparation for other acquisitions. But, then I trimmed it back to keep under budget...and I'm not sure I ended up with stuff I really needed.

First, the mouse on this computer is not moving around as well as it could. Not sure if the mousepad is getting gummed up (its a 3M Precise Mousing Surface pad, so maybe....) or the mouse bottom is getting gummed up, especially since the teflon pads have migrated around the maybe that adhesive is what is gumming things up. So, I bought a new mouse and a new 3M Precise Mousing Surface pad.

Next, I was thinking of getting the Netflix Roku player. I doesn't come with an HDMI to DVI cable....and I would need one to connect it to my system. So, I got out of these. Of course, now I don't think I'll get the Netflix Roku. Because based on reviews...its not quite DVD quality, which since I do DVDs in an upconversion player...would likely be quite a step back. It also doesn't do 5.1, which I figured I could live with since my initial interest is watching old TV shows (namely old Doctor Who shows). So, there's probably no immersive sound field to get into....though I'm the guy that watches all his DVDs with subtitles, because I don't hear dialog all that well.

But, a review I watched recently, says the Netflix Roku player doesn't do subtitles either. So, that has pretty much shelved my interest to get one for the time being.

Third, or rather, in the box with the mouse and in the box that had the HDMI cable (the 3M mousing surface came in a 2nd day air envelope)....was a roll of duct tape. The one roll of duct tape that I could find the last time I needed to do a patch....disappeared. The building people had been in doing some other work, and I suspect they packed it off along with theirs when they left. But, I wasn't home when they came to do the work, etc. So, I don't know what really happened to it...except that it was on my dryer, which they moved and rearranged stuff around to do their work....and now I can't find it anywhere. One is regular duct tape of the same kind that had gone missing. And, another roll was acquired only because it said it was purple. Of course, its not the purple I was thinking it would be. Oh well. :P

The other two boxes from UPS?

Full story »


  08:45:16 am, by The Dreamer   , 457 words  
Categories: Home, Appliances, Amateur Radio

Air Cleaner Shuffle

I bought a new air cleaner.....

The Kenmore EnviroSense™ True HEPA Air Cleaner - Model 85500

I had been researching getting a new air cleaner, though I probably still pulled the trigger on this too soon. It looked similar to what I was looking for....though it doesn't have all the features that I was looking for.

But, there has been a odor problem in my condo...smells from the condo below getting into mine. So, I've been looking at units suggested as capable of helping with this issue.

Before this, I had 3 air purifiers....two Oreck XL Professionals (refurbs, one from and the other from and a Brookstone Pure-Ion (the older, small grill, big tower one). The Orecks have been working good at dust and such, but not sure about odor control. But, I've had one in the bedroom and one in the 'computer' room. Though the 'computer' room is the quieter one...the bedroom has a bit of a rattle somewhere. I've been thinking of switching the two.

The Brookstone Pure-Ion seems to have been a waste of money. The clean filter light comes on way to often, and nothing washes off of the filters. Also sometime ago the oscillate feature had become an issue....sometimes it won't move, other times it'll go all the way around instead of back and forth. Though other times it'll start working again. I seldom use that feature anymore.

So, the shuffle...has moved the Oreck air purifier from the 'computer' room out into the living room (where I have replaced its carbon filter with a 3-in-1 Odor Absorber.) Moved the bedroom Oreck to the 'computer room'....putting in a new carbon filter (when I use up my supply, I may look into getting a 3-in-1 Odor Absorber for this one as well).

That puts the new air cleaner in my bedroom.

It seems to do its job...though the lighted display is way too bright and annoying, and I seemed to recall reading that a different model had a light sensor to dim the display in a dark room (also make it automatically switch to quieter operation). So, I may yet seek out this one.

It'll still work, later I can move the Kenmore to the other bedroom (which is storage now, but some day I plan to clear out enough to make it usable space. Thinking I might set up the 'shack' in this room.)

In the meantime, I'm looking for somewhere to put it where it'll function...but shine away from my bed and against light absorbing surface (or not against a light intensifying surface), but still be workable by its remote. Or perhaps some duct tape or something may come into play. :??:


  08:02:42 am, by The Dreamer   , 518 words  
Categories: Stuff, Safety & Security

Almost bought a new weather radio

Some time ago, I noticed that I wasn't getting weather alerts from my weather radio in the living room. It was annoying, but I could still hear the one by the bedroom. But, that one was getting touchy/scratchy as well.

But, then with the recent bad weather, especially the tornado...which fortunately hit while I was out of town and missed me. 'cause I'm not sure what I would do if I were home. I should try to remember to ask if there's some place near by that I can go seek shelter for tornadoes.

Since all the weather radios that I've had have been all the same brand.... Oregon Scientific. And, I've had a few over the years stop working....I've contacted them on it, but they said because I've had it over a year and they had discontinued it...I was SOL.

So, I been meaning to replace them with ones made by another manufacturer...but as long as they are still working....

Well, last night another killer thunderstorm...and neither weather radio made any noise. I decided that maybe it was time to see what's up. Though just as I was about to order....the living room one started to do a Flash Flood alert but cut out mid-alert.

I knew that ambient RF noise in my living room was pretty high, I haven't determined if its the stuff in the room or something external....I suspect its both. Since some of the noisier parts aren't near any of my electronics. Though it there's enough stuff that there might just be lobes and stuff.

I decided to try find another place in the living room for my weather radio to see if that would make a difference. I couldn't find any spot that was near an outlet and a flat surface to set it down on that would work. As I was about to conclude that it just wasn't as sensitive at it used to be, etc. I remembered reading somewhere that the area is covered by 3 different overlapping NOAA stations....and no one station specifically associated with the area.

So, I tried checking the other channels....because maybe the coverage pattern off the stations has changed.

Well, I found that one of the other channels was stronger....enough that I got a full flash-flood alert (though those are the ones I don't really care for....I'm not in a flash flood area, and waking me up through the night just annoys me even more. Wish there was some further selectivity. I seem to think that newer units do have this perhaps I'll check some other day).

It is still kind of scratchy....and other receivers don't get the channel at all (or not any better than the other.) So, maybe there's just no good weather alert radio coverage for here.

Meanwhile...I just got an email from Ginger People that bulk sizes are available [again] finally. But, no email from Thinkgeek on the [new] item that I've been waiting for, but want to use my coupon that expires on June 30th.....


  07:02:31 pm, by The Dreamer   , 56 words  
Categories: DVDs / NetFlix, AT&T DSL

I may have jumped the gun....

....but I've already assigned/reserved an IP (in DNS & DHCP) for my NetFlix player and updated the QoS rules on my router to give this IP a boost in priority.

I will very likely place the order later this month...but I probably won't pull the trigger on ordering faster DSL service until next month.

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Now instead of subjecting some poor random forum to a long rambling thought, I will try to consolidate those things into this blog where they can be more easily ignored profess to be collected thoughts from my mind.

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