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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10/24/11

  07:19:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 450 words  
Categories: Appliances

Finally set up what will likely be the last coffee maker I ever have....

Link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002LAREDS

Near the end of August, I started an experiment to kick caffeine....but not chocolate. :lalala:

To replace coffee, it was either decaf coffee or second+ tea leaves (quick steep and throw first cup out)... For first thing in the morning it was dependent on how many times I had made tea from my current set (or how long they had got left out)....or relying on my coffee maker to automatically brew a pot in the morning.

I was also running low on my good tea from Boca Java...and I'm still getting automatic shipments from Boca Java. And, I had switched my Boca Java shipments to send decaf.

So during the work week, it was mainly decaf in the morning...tea in the evening...and on weekends...tea all day.

But, then it happened...another coffee maker bit the dust...on Monday, September 26th.... After some mourning, I decided to buy a new coffeemaker using Amazon Prime (and one-day shipping) and some Amex points. It arrived September 30th.

I went with a Black & Decker DLX1050B as my last coffee maker.

I still had coffee left when my next auto delivery from Boca Java arrived....this time holiday (halloween) flavors in decaf....and I still hadn't gotten to setting it up.

But, having a moment while making supper, today...I decided it was time to set it up.

As I was setting it up...I decided that this would be the last. Because I now see that Boca Java has tea available, and while there are some good decafs for the occasional consumption, I'm not liking it for regular consumption.... Though for now its easier to have decaf waiting for me when I wake up in the morning, than tea. But, perhaps someday it won't matter which is easier...or something.

Probably a lot of pressure for a Black & Decker coffeemaker....though not surprising, since my original coffee maker...of nearly 16+ years was a Black & Decker SpaceMaker. It could go under cabinet, but I never got around to getting the necessary spacers to make it go under the cabinets of my home in Medicine Hat. And, its simple shape made it work sitting on my counter, with various supplies sitting on top of it. But, the new spacemaker models aren't shaped that way....so when it finally came time to replace it...I had gone with the Mr. Coffee machine for its form, and when that died.... form became less important, so I got the KitchenAid one...and now that its gone, form ceased to be a matter...so I'm back to having a Black & Decker coffeemaker.... for now.... :cool:

Hopefully, Boca Java will come back with my favorite...Green Tea Passion. Though they seem to be doing bagged teas, rather than loose teas.... hmm....

10/08/11

  12:42:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2750 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

QHDHP, HSA and Chronic conditions

This month is annual open enrollment at work....time to review plan changes and make selections for January 1st, 2012. This year, premiums have jumped up a lot...particularly for single people. The implication is that for the last few years, they had drifted from the mandate that employer pays 95/55 of the health insurance costs (95% of single, 55% of family). Guess that means they had been paying more than 95% of my cost? Because my BCBS Plan A premium jumped by 44%. Plus every 3 years they renegotiate plans...and this was the year they did that.

Other than the premium jump...which was much greater compared to previous years (which hadn't jumped up as much as I had seen with previous employers). There were only a few changes this year.

The coverage on the 3 plans (A, B, C) have all stayed the same. All plans are PPO, Plan A has a 20% co-insurance rate versus 35% co-insurance rate for Plan B (in-network, all are 50% for out-of-network)...and Plan A has higher co-payments than Plan B...and higher deductible. New next year, is that BCBS will be offering Plan C (QHDHP). Other changes, is that Coventry and PHS have now merged, and United Health Care is now the 3rd provider option (though technically there were 4 provider choices last year, with addition of UMR... a sister company of UHC, but with a smaller network...and Coventry and PHS not yet merged.)

When I first started, they were HMO, PPO, QHDHP plans....and I had gone with PPO, even though all my providers were in network. When I had first moved to the US, I had started on an HMO plan...and it was bad. Like the time I went out of my way to go to what was supposed to be a Quest collection site for labwork, instead of letting my doctor do the labwork on site. And, end up getting fully charged for using an out of network lab, because the site had cancelled its contract with Quest the week before (but I had called Quest the morning of the test...so they shouldn't have misled me)....I complained, they apologized....but I never got the refund they said they would do.

Using Quest was only part of the HMO plan, so switching to PPO was good. Though later things changes to where if the practice where your primary has their own lab, the lab is automatically considered as in-network....so there was further savings, but I stayed with PPO because. Later they brought Quest in for PPO with some providers....I just picked the PPO provider that didn't use Quest.

Anyways....in my current job...Quest had jumped into the plans....though its optional. And, the Quest collection site isn't anywhere that can be reached on foot (and I'm kind of down to just the one foot now)...and the doctors in my area won't participate with Quest. At first it was part of the HMO, later it extended to Plan A & Plan B (since all 3 plans are PPO now). But, its still optional, and the labs that my doctors do use are in-network.

When I started, I went with BCBS....because I hadn't established relationships with local doctors, but BCBS had the larger network...both in state and out of state, and with relatives scattered around the country/world....access to a large out of state network was important. Plus now that I also attend conferences, conventions and such...it is hopefully less of a worry.

But, when they switched from HMO, PPO, QHDHP to the Plan A, B, C naming....I switched to Plan A. Which was at first explained as the HMO plan with PPO features. But, now they just say all 3 are PPO plans....just different cost structures.

I never really considered the QHDHP option...because I never really understood FSA/HSAs in the beginning....wasn't until 2009 that I started using an FSA. And, the steep deductible scared me (still is scary). Though one thing that intrigued me at this job, was that the prescription plan on the QHDHP/Plan C option was different from the HMO/PPO/Plan A&B one. The A&B plan was co-insurance, no deductible...the typical 3 tiers with some extras classes. When I started, it wasn't an issue...since most of the stuff I took was either generic or preferred brand (well, when I first moved to Kansas I was on Prevacid, which wasn't a preferred brand....but primary switched me back down to Prilosec which is generic. Though can't help wonder if my health taking its turn for the worse didn't start when that change was made...and now that Prevacid is available as generic....:hmm:) Anyways...Plan C's prescription plan was co-pays after deductible, which was the kind of prescription coverage I bad before I came here. Not always a good thing though...since $10 co-pay for generic.. where as I have a couple of generics where the 20% co-insurance is less...some generics I've had fill come out to $0.92, $2.02, $3.53, $1.58, $1.39....on the other hand...the co-insurance on branded meds were costing me much more than co-pay....and the worse ones were yet to come.

So, in open enrollment 2008 (for 2009), I decided that it was time to see what all this FSA business was about. I went with a minimal contribution....$300 for the year. Well, I didn't know at the time, that combined with the results of my first 'free' Healthquest screening from work and my annual physical (Well Man Exam) that I'm not supposed to be sleepy all the time, have experience that surge in weight gain during the summer, fall asleep easily during the day, including at least one uncontrolled nap each day.... I just knew that in 2009, co-insurance was change from 10% to 20%, and co-pays were going up.... But, I had my first sleep study in December 2008. I got initial setup that month...so 10% co-insurance versus 20% was a good thing, plus deductible was less, and already met, in 2008 than in 2009.

But, because of the OSA dx, I quickly met my deductible (which had gone from $50 to $150) and spent my entire FSA amount in the first week of 2009.

So, in open enrollment 2009, I decided that I should put more into FSA....but I didn't expect that I would have the same kind of major expenses that I had, so I increased my amount to only $1200. This was even though I had an accident in august of 2009, and it had cost me quite a bit. But, it was the accident that kept on giving....When I got my teeth cleaned in Jan 2010, it was discovered that I had cracked some teeth in the accident....so the $1200 was gone in a couple of months.

Meanwhile...in 2010, I was introduced to Provigil and Lunesta. The co-insurance on Provigil was about $380 a month, and Lunesta was about $112 a month. Plus then I had an accident in November of 2010, and another sleep study in December. What I discovered though was what happens when I hit my co-insurance maximum for 2010. I still have to pay co-pays...but after than everything is covered in full. While reading over the plans on co-insurance maximum, I saw that the prescription plan had a separate co-insurance max of $2850. I wasn't going to reach it in 2010, with the Provigil costs....and Lunesta didn't count towards it (even though they said if you had tried two other prescriptions before it, they would...which I had....they did require my pharmacist to call in to get permission to fill it, even though they would already know that I had been on prescribed 3 different ones before it. Though I guess 2 of them were off-label? Though the PDL only lists one drug for the class, which I had been on, and only generics...they have no preferred brand.) Provigil is also alone, as the preferred brand....though it is quite different than the other types of stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Dex, etc.)

So, in open enrollment 2010, I considered switching to Plan C. They still keep telling everybody that Plan C/QHDHP is only for super healthy people. But, because of the co-pay structure of the prescription plan (after deductible)...I wondered if it might not be the better way to go.... It would take 1.5 months worth of Provigil to meet the deductible..and then I would only have to pay a $30 co-pay. Maybe sooner, depending on what else happened at the start of the year. I didn't know I was going to break my foot in November 2010. What I did find out was that one of my meds was capped at $20 a month (Singulair), where as it would be $30 co-pay with Plan C. The Plan C prescription plan didn't have the specialty tiers for things like diabetes, asthma, anti-cancer.... and it wasn't like I was on Xyrem or something super expensive. Though I had looked, and Xyrem is on the list of specialty meds, so its a $75 co-pay.

But, I had missed the open enrollment presentation (because I had gone to the NN Conference) and I didn't have a lot of answers on why they only consider Plan C for super healthy types....and not somebody like me.

The other problem is that with an FSA I can spend all the money I plan to put into it before the money is actually in it. While with an HSA, the money needs to be there first. They did say the first year is the hardest.... So, running out of time, I quickly locked in my discount status, staying with Plan A & BCBS and other stuff...and went with putting the out-of-pocket maximum of Plan C into my FSA (which is less than the current maximum that I could put into an FSA.) I had skimmed the networks of the other providers...to see if my current doctors were in, and whether they offered any other choices that BCBS didn't....

Well, I spent all my FSA for this year in about 4.5 months...and only because I switched to only submitting the bigger claims after I got my tax refund.... Though this year the the deductible did feel more painful. It had gone from $150 to $300...but I also didn't have the big expenses early in the year...so it was a bunch of little things where I had to pay the full discounted amount... Not sure where I stand on reaching co-insurance max this year for health ($1400)....

Had I still been on Provigil...I would've reached co-insurance max on the prescription plan around July...but as I had been warned at the NN Conference, I would build tolerance to it...and it stopped working in spring time.....where I was then switched to Ritalin.... And, I quickly built tolerance to that....so at the end of August I was switched to Nuvigil....which seems to be working better, and apparently its the other isomer that is in Provigil that we build tolerance to. I briefly tried Provigil again between refills, and it did little for me.

Problem with Nuvigil though is that its the non-preferred brand...so it doesn't count towards my co-insurance max....though I'm about $1000 away, so I probably won't hit it this year....even if I could've gotten the override (having tried Provigil and Ritalin before, should've met the tried two other drugs from the PDL first....also the co-pay coupon from Cephelon apparently doesn't work. Just as the co-pay coupon for Lunesta didn't work. They both say they won't work with plans that are state/federal government funded....so no discount for us poor state employees).

The other change this year is the prescription plan for Plan C has changed...its more like the Plan A&B one, except adjusted to fit the QHDHP. So instead of co-pays after deductible and continuing after out of pocket max is reached. It is just co-insurance after deductible and then 100% when out of pocket max is reached. And, tier 3 drugs count towards the out of pocket max (as do drugs on the anti-cancer tier).... Also with Plan C, there's no co-pays to see doctors....so once out of pocket max it reached....they're covered 100% in full. Didn't seem a huge deal before 2010...because PCP and sleep doctor were in the same medical home, so $25 co-pay for either....the only specialist where I had to pay $45 co-pays were related to physical therapy...and I didn't do that this year (though wonder if maybe it would help my walking issues since broken foot incident....maybe next year if things continue to worsen...)

Given how quickly my FSA went this year, and my current projected expenses (and the changes this year)....it shouldn't be that hard to reach the $1500 deductible or the $3000 out of pocket max in 2012...so it'll be interesting to see what it is like to have things covered 100% in full after that point. Especially since the current co-insurance on Nuvigil + Lunesta x 12 is more than the out of pocket max. I had considered asking about Nuvigil sooner, because paying 60% of it (non-preferred brand)...instead of 35% for preferred brand)....is about half the 35% I pay for Provigil. But, when the Provigil stopped working, doctor wanted to try Ritalin instead first....which did work in the beginning....but it didn't seem to matter to insurance on when I did get to be on Nuvigil. I decided that I would more strongly consider the switch to Plan C.

The fact that BCBS offered it was certainly a big factor, since I had concerns over network last year. And, during an open enrollment presentation..somebody asked why Plan C didn't work even if they hit the out of pocket max in the year (and all the money they put into the HSA)...

for an individual/in-network
Plan A has $300 deductible + $1400 co-insurance max & Rx has $2850 co-insurance max (where tier 3 doesn't count towards it)
Plan B has $150 deductible + $3000 co-insurance max & Rx has $2850 co-insurance max (where tier 3 doesn't count towards it)
Plan C has $1500 deductible -> $3000 out of pocket max & Rx works with the same deductible/out of pocket max (and tier 3 counts).

So sounds like if you know you're going to be out of pocket more than $3000 in a year...plan C is the way to go.

Plus with Plan A & B, the co-pays continue after the co-insurance max is hit. Plan A is $25 (Primary/Urgent Care), $45 (Specialist) and $100 (ER). Plan B is $20 (Primary), $25 (Urgent Care), $40 (Specialist) and $100 (ER)....there's an advantage for families, where co-pay for children is $10 (Primary) or $25 (Specialist)....

In addition to no co-pays with Plan C (versus Plan A)....there are two other differences, the Manipulation Therapy (IE: Chiropractor) is reduced to max of 26 per year (from 30). And the Durable Medical Equipment maximum is lowered to $1000/year (from $5000/year).

Since I just got a new CPAP machine this year, I don't anticipate my DME expenses to be more than $1000...in fact the new machine plus supplies this year shouldn't break the $1000 mark. But, who knows what the future holds.

So, since United Health Care is a new provider this year....I started to think that I should check out its network as to whether to stay with BCBS or not. In the first open enrollment presentation, I didn't stay for the HSA presentation. Because I was at first thinking that I would stay with Plan A, and this time put the $5000 max into FSA....before healthcare reform lowers the max to $2500. But, in the time between the morning presentation and the afternoon one, I started the research on Plan C/HDHP/HSAs, etc. And, decided I wanted to hear the HSA presentation.

Fortunately, they did that one first in the afternoon session.

So, I instead looked at the HSAs associated with the 3 providers....and decided that BCBS would be who I would go with.

The BCBS HSA has a maintenance fee that falls between the other two (close to the low end, where the high end one is significantly higher...and the one for UHC). The interest rate structures differed, but all were insignificant for low balances. The other two, offer maintenance fee elimination with a minimum balance. The lower one waives off at $3000, the higher one waives off at $5000....there's differences in investment options and additional fees. BCBS HSA has a lot less in the additional fees area. And, what investment options it offered seemed ok.

But, given that I'm expecting to hit out-of-pocket max (which is the contribution max for the HSA)....how much the HSA will cost for little or no balance weighed in. Though I will probably build some of my HSA over time...since initial expenses will be before the HSA is sufficiently funded, and I may or may not chose to use HSA funds to meet all my later out of pocket expenses.

On the additional side, I opted to go with $600 for a limited use FSA (Dental and Vision....I have one dental related prescription, and I anticipate the buying a new pair of glasses every year to be a trend that continues indefinitely.) I kept my Vision insurance.

Now to see how 2012 goes....

  09:56:46 am, by The Dreamer   , 1201 words  
Categories: Home, Appliances, Healthcare

I got a new Panasonic Electro Thermo Pot

It was back in November, 2006 that I got my previous Panasonic Electro Thermo Pot. Which compared to previous ones that I've owned, seemed perfect in almost every way. They only minor problem was the it default to 210F208F as the temperature when plugged in, but after its 6 hour off timer it was 185F. For me, I would've preferred it be 185F all the time, and off timing didn't really fit my usage. So, I had plugged it into a timer to be on for a few hours in the morning and then in the evenings. (so it was off for 8 hours during the day, and for 7-9 hours over night....shorter on weekdays than weekends....6 hours might have worked, but remembering to use it ... especially in the morning....not happening...)

As a lined pot, it was likely to last forever....but it does have one thing that wears out....the pump.

About a year ago, it started making a lot more noise and sometimes working harder to get water out....so I started thinking that it would be time to replace it.

Then about 6 weeks ago, I started into my experiment of cutting caffeine out of my diet (strange time, since I had recently stocked up on large amounts of a caffeine, and even still had some orders that hadn't yet arrived.) Jury is still out on whether the change is helping my EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness) problem. The jury is confused in part from the switch from Methylphenidate to Armodafinil as my daytime stimulant (I was on Modafinil before the switch to Methylphenidate)...

Anyways...with the cut of caffeine....it meant no more coffee in the morning (I did get some decaf, but it really is no substitute...and then my coffee maker quit working.... the heating element went, like the previous one.... the old black & decker had lasted forever, but the rubber parts had gotten old and weren't sealing like the used to, and the mineral buildup was getting to a problem.... coffee cleaner helped, but with the bad seals it wasn't a pleasant operation, especially making sure I won't have to taste the cleaner afterwards... I got a new Black & Decker coffee maker, but haven't gotten around to putting it into service yet.) So, I switched to drinking tea....I do have real teas...but had learned from watching Dr. Teas a few years back...that you want to rinse tea leaves and discard as part of getting the tea leaves ready to make tea. And, the rinse benefit is it cuts the caffeine...and of course, the subsequent cups won't have the caffeine.

I hope Boca Java gets back to selling tea....though I should get the coffee maker set up again, before my next membership selection arrives with more decaf (getting some of the seasonal flavored ones later this month). I especially hope they bring back Green Tea Passion back before I run out.

So, not only was I use my thermo pot most every morning to make tea instead of coffee....I found that I was now using it in the evening to make a second, third, fourth cup from the old tea....though more recently I've started experimenting with herbal teas, and sometimes a different one in late evening than earlier in the day. And, the old thermo pot was starting to make its angry noise more and more often.

So, only about a week into my experiment, I pulled the trigger and bought an new one.

My old Panasonic Electro Thermo Pot was an NC-EM22P (2.2 Quart) purchased on November 18th, 2006 from NewEgg.com...don't recall how I thought to get it from there, but I strong suspect iGive was the motivating factor...at various times it offers some kind of ability to search the iGive stores for products...and that was probably a time where it worked. These days searching has become worse....they are all into the fuzzy, and no longer into the exact. And, adding more and more keywords doesn't refine searches.... it just makes it more annoying, because it doesn't seem to care after a point. Could be the downfall for Amazon at some point. IE: if I'm searching for 2TB drives, I don't want 1000 hits where most of the results are for drives smaller than 2TB....and if I really want to see what all 2TB drives there are...I have to go through all the hits...etc.

But, I didn't have this problem with finding what new Panasonic Electro Thermo Pot to get, because I had already found the ones I would likely get and put it in my wishlist. I did a quick search in case a new model had come along, but wading through the rice cookers, breadmakers, slow cookers, coffee makers, etc. that polluted the result set I didn't see anything newer...available with Amazon Prime. So, I ordered the Panasonic NC-EH30PC Electro Thermo Pot on August 28, 2011.

This new one is a 3 quart. Not sure it was the thing I should've gotten...with the increased tea drinking, I was running out of water in the 2.2 quart one faster as well. Though refilling it from my Pur water pitcher was easier....one pitcher would get it back to the max line or close to it. Takes a bit more to get the 3 quart topped back up. There's a 4.1 quart model, which I had also considered. Though it was probably good that I just went with the 3 quart one. More capacity means its bigger...namely taller. The lid opening on the 3 quart barely clears the underside of my kitchen cabinet.

This new Electro Thermo Pot also has some changes from the previous model....it has an extra temperature setting. The old one did 210208, 185 and 140....wait why do I keep saying 210 instead of 208....probably because my very first hot water pot did 210....think that was a Tiger, was a gift I got when moving out of my parents for the second time (and to the US)...spring 1998. Pretty sure the Zojirushi I got to replace it did 208 as well. (according to Quicken, I got the Zojirushi in June of 2002)....the Tiger wasn't a lined, and finally got replaced then it had rusted through....the rust didn't stop me from using it before that point...

Anyways...the new Electro Thermo Pot does 208, 190, 180, 140....and defaults to 190 on power as well as after 6 hours (don't use the 6 hours much, since I still use the timer). The other new thing that threw for at first, was that the temperature setting light flashes if the water in the pot is hotter than that set point, which will be the case after (re)boil.

I had a vague recollection on the different temperatures as being relevant to what kind of tea...but on the previous model, I had found it was mainly 185 that I want for tea than 208. Though with 190 vs 180 now...its not so clear...except that the manual mentions green tea with the 180 setting.

Quick internet search.... suggested is near boiling is for black tea/rooibos, 190 for oolong, 180 for white tea, 160 for green tea, but no recommendation for herbal teas...and to just experiment, but most work in near boiling.... I try to not be so obsessive now...so 190 is probably where it'll stay all the time....and I do have at least one kind of each tea near by. Most from Boca Java....but starting to get other teas now....

07/30/11

  10:08:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 2143 words  
Categories: Stuff, Hardware, Furnishings, Storage, Printers

Almost didn't make it to the UPS store today

So, when I got up this morning...the plan was to fully wake up and go down to the UPS store hopefully before it gets too hot.

But, I started in on various things for random reasons.... I was filling out some paperwork for an appointment I have on Monday. And, while I was doing that, I thought that now might be a good time to finally move my HP Photosmart 8450xi from by TARDIS to the new All-In-One Cart I had gotten from Staples. I had worked out yesterday where it was going to sit....but first I moved the TR5M-BP to a spot on the cart. Decided to go with the bottom shelf. Not sure why, but I moved it live. And, then I went to move my printer. After that was done, it occurred to me there was a CD that I wanted to burn, so I went to get a CD-R...and noticed that the DVD+R cakebox didn't have any labeling on it, and occurred that once I open the CD-R cakebox...it would also have no label. The discs don't have any marking on the fronts...though the color of the dye on the data side would be one way to tell them apart. But, I had just bought a Brother P-Touch PT-1090 Label Maker, so it was time to open it up and use it.

Noticed a tear strip on the pack, so it would be easy to open...I took it to the bedroom to work on it.

I had the bed stripped for laundry (mainly because I had gotten years of disgusting dust all over it from doing ReplayTV surgery on it.) When, I thought that while I have it this far apart, I should finally replace the bedframe. Old bedframe is over 25 years old....had noticed when I moved the bed a couple years ago that one of the rollers on the frame was broken....I had made a note that should I find a new bedframe via Amazon Prime. And, some time ago I did....a year ago, on July 31, 2010.

A pretty nice frame...and I made the switch and got all that done. Noticed that the Select Comfort controller was only showing a few segments....missing so much that its useless. Wonder how I'm going to get it to the right pressure tonight? It had been losing segments for a while...but I guess I intended to look for doing something about it...but don't know why I put if off so long. I suppose deep down, I had reached my limit on getting Select Comfort to get it right.

But, I had worked up a sweat fiddling with the bed base....I had taken the cover off to get it to fit the new frame, and the plates had shifted. And, it took some work to get them flush again. So, I went off to shower, and then thought I should see about heading out...but I got laundry going, so I should get to a suitable spot first. So, what will I do next?

Pages: 1· 2· 3

07/21/11

  05:58:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 575 words  
Categories: Hardware, Travel, Home, Furnishings, Storage, Printers

Staples® All In One Cart

Link: http://www.staples.com/Staples-All-In-One-Cart/product_708575

Because of the high pitched whine of the fan in the Open box TR5M-BP I wrote about....I had gotten to thinking about finally getting a small printer stand to go next to Zen. So, I had been eyeballing one on staples.com, and trying to decide what else I would get to get free shipping.

While browsing last week, I spotted a really good price on a new label maker (my old one having run out of tape....and it has always been a peeve that it isn't the laminated kind like the older deceased label maker had....) ... where the sale price was less than new tape for my old label maker (a new M tape)...it probably doesn't include that much length in the starter (TZ) tape it comes with....but should be good enough for now. And, then the other thing was I've been meaning to restock on bottled water at home..... So, I ordered 3 cases...

I delayed ordering until Saturday, hoping to get the order to show up sometime yesterday (after my dentist appointment, had taken the whole day off so not to have to walk back to work in the heat). Well, the water and label maker arrived on Tuesday instead...and by some area courier for Staples, instead of UPS. Actually, more used to a local delivery service fulfilling office store orders than UPS...though it tended to be that way living in Columbus, Ohio...where they have many local stores around the city and probably warehouses too. While there's a local Staples here....thought there was going to be an Office Depot or OfficeMax coming....not everything is stocked here, so some stuff comes by UPS from Kansas City.

I meant to leave a note on Wednesday, since there was a good chance that UPS would show up while I was at the dentist....but I ended up being rushed to get to dentist...so I forgot. Fortunately, the UPS guy left the printer cart box by the door (maybe he saw me when I was walking into the dentist office...)

With the other things that happened yesterday....I didn't quite get around to fully assembling it as I had intended....was interrupted by work and that pretty much ate up the rest of the evening (also while I was doing my Wednesday night church thing and later IHOP with some friends).

But, finally finished it earlier today... now to clear a spot for it.

The plan was to put the TR5M-BP on a shelf on it...so that it would be pointed in a direction so that it would be less noisy (and the open back/front should get better airflow that it's getting now on bookcase shelf.) Though at some point the sensor fan I got from Amazon will show up...so don't know if I still plan to do this or not.

Though once I get the cart situated.. I think I'll move my HP Photosmart 8450xi back to the livingroom, where it should be.... And, we'll see if the laser printer I've been dreaming about ever materializes next to TARDIS instead. Was originally planned as a summer purchase, but more likely it'll be my next Christmas present (where Zen was the present I got last Christmas....financed on a 6-month no interest...which is why I thought printer would happen now. But, that was before I decided that I want to do more travel (having not done any since last November...)

Wonder if I need to move my UPS to make cart fit....

07/20/11

  02:37:42 pm, by The Dreamer   , 485 words  
Categories: Home, Healthcare

Sound+Sleep Machine -- Ecotones take 2

Link: http://www.soundofsleep.com/product-info/

A while back I had bitten the bullet and picked up a Sound+Sleep Machine by Adaptive Sound Technologies, Inc. from an eBay seller. This was despite my bad review of its earlier incarnation, Ecotones, that had gotten at the end of 2008.

Well, the new version is not the $300 I paid for the original...it was less than half, and I scored one for under $100. It is kind of plainer looking unit, and it features a white noise mode, which the original Ecotones did not.

It also turned out to have other features...namely the ability to adjust the 'richness'....or turn off those added elements that negated the usefulness of masking sounds at night and helping me sleep (though I think I've run out of technology to help me sleep.... :yawn: Hopefully someday the doctors will figure out what's wrong with me....)

The buttons are easier to work than the original, though they make it hard to adjust the volume in adaptive mode, since the make a click that makes the unit loud...and then its too quiet when later, so have to keep fiddling to get it up loud enough to be mask normal noises....but, it seems to not have enough range after that. Also probably need to move it to the other side of my bed, so better mask the tinnitus in other ear. Though the old ecotones is still on my headboard there (though the sleepPhones, I had tried plugging into that seems to have fallen under my bed somewhere.) I may try the sleepPhones with the new Sound+Sleep machine someday, but its summer...so its kind of uncomfortable, even with extra fans blowing. The new model does do adaptive sound with headphones. The display/controls is harder to read in the dark though....without the fancy color LCD display.

Also the unit still forgets to stay on if the the power flickers....though at least it doesn't do the super loud sound blast on first power now. I moved it onto a UPS as well, should be the GeekSquad 1285VA rather than the PowerSource 400. Should probably audit whats plugged in where. Perhaps when I get around to replacing the broken bedframe.

Though lately, I've been using my old SleepMate 980A for my sound masking needs. Perhaps I should sit down with my Sound+Sleep machine during the day to see what setting would work better at night. Its hard spinning the knob in the dark trying to figure out what settings to use in the dark, when I don't think I've ever looked at ever. Or figuring out what richness I want....usually want none, but sometimes I want a little, and it means something else when I'm dialed to white noise.

Having read the manual again today...and seeing that adaptive mode works with headphones, I think I would like to try that someday. Maybe get some pillow speakers so I can have sound closer to the ear that rings....

:hmm:

  01:53:07 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1015 words  
Categories: Home, Safety & Security

Waiting for a plumber, at least I fixed doorbell.

For sometime, the drain in the bathroom sink had been running slowly....I had tried drain cleaner and short snake, was thinking that I'd pull the trap off some time and take a look.

The toilet has always been a problem, but I suspect that's because the fill valve is leaking....never seem to get around to disabling the only toilet in my home to try fixing it myself. Perhaps some day I will.

But, then I noticed that the shower doesn't drain as well as it used to. Was thinking that I might get some drain cleaner on the weekend, and see if that helps. I had snaked it myself once years ago, that had helped a lot. Not sure where that longer snake has gone too now....

But, came home from dentist this morning to find that shower hadn't drained from this morning yet. And, for sometime I had thought I had heard water noises, but wasn't able to find the source. Still can't. Seems bathroom is on a different drain than the kitchen/washer...so maybe its time I got a plumber in to go long through drain.

It has been almost 3 years since I had the plumber in to snake the kitchen drain, that was worse though, because water was backing up and flowing on the floor. Though is was partly because the drain line for the dishwasher hadn't been put it right to prevent backflow. He borrowed some of my cable ties and fixed that while he was there. Hopefully this time around things won't be as expensive....last time being a Sunday when it had happened.

Meanwhile....for sometime I had noticed the doorbell was being kind of annoying. People seemed able to get it to ring when they used it, but the light had gone out...so I had assumed they couldn't see it at night, so weren't always using it then. I had intended to see about replacing the light earlier this year, but then I saw that the light was working again. So, I forgot all about it.

But, then last night I got a delivery from Dominos. I happened to walk past my front door, wondering why the delivery hadn't shown up yet and heard some rustling. After a moment, I peeked to see what was out there...and there was the delivery guy just standing there? :??:

After he left, I checked my doorbell. It didn't ring. I noticed that the vinyl siding flexed under the doorbell, so I worked the button a bit...and got it to light, but still no ring. Guess a wire is loose. I'll look at it in the afternoon after my dentist appointment.

So, now that I've had my dentist appointment...and after having called the plumber...for a probably Thursday call. I went to tackle the doorbell.

I unscrewed it from the siding and saw that one of the wires had broken off and was only making intermittent contact. I guess if you push it the right way instead of making the light work, it would make the doorbell ring. Its a pretty tight run of cable and its solid wire...and it felt old, probably original to the building from the 60's (the wire, the button was probably new when the building was renovated around 2005.) Plus one of the wires went around screw the wrong way....which makes me guess who might have done that work.

I exposed some new wire....hooked it round right and attached it. While I was doing that, the other wire popped off (the one that went the wrong way...I was thinking that after I was done, I would check the other screw for tightness.) Well, I tried to bend the wire the other way, and it broke off...it was about to break off at the flex point at the screw. So, I exposed some new wire and hooked that on.

Hmmm, can't tell if the light is working now....guess we'll find out later.

Full story »

07/17/11

  05:59:23 pm, by The Dreamer   , 286 words  
Categories: Home, Safety & Security

So much for the new tradition...

June 25th came and went...I had a specific thing I wanted to do that day, and bunch of other things I needed to or wanted to do that day....and I think I did get what needed to get done that day....except for one thing. The new tradition.

I forgot to test my smoke detectors. After the July 4th long weekend, I realized I had forgotten...and meant to do it later...perhaps the weekend. But, I never seem to have enough time to get the things I want to do on the weekend (and being summer, I'm working too much...during the week.)

So, it got forgot until this weekend...went screw it, I'm testing them. They all work.

Wonder if for Christmas, I'll give myself some Lithium 9V batteries....supposed to last 10 years...(or supposedy 5x longer than Alkalines in other applications...of course, I'm sure a 9V Alkaline would last longer than 1 year in a smoke detector....but its a safety thing to just replace these sort of things in a proactive way.)

Plus I think 5 years from now I'm going to be looking at getting new smoke detectors....if not sooner. Since the smoke detector is supposed to be replaced after 10 years, I'm assuming of course, that they started the 10 year clock when I first moved in...and that they hadn't been in service too much longer than that.

Guess I've been thinking about the wireless and dual sensor smoke detectors upgrade for a few years now....at the time, they didn't exist. Wireless yes, but one company made ionization and the other made photo electric.... Also there was the question of how to do tell which one detected.

Also one of these days I should crack the whip on getting a CO detector.

07/08/11

  09:30:17 am, by The Dreamer   , 81 words  
Categories: General, Healthcare

Swinging for Sleep Campaign With Nicole Jeray

Link: https://www.narcolepsynetwork.org/get-involved/swinging-for-sleep/

Narcolepsy Network has teamed up with long time loyal Narcolepsy Network member and golf superstar, Nicole Jeray, LPGA Touring Pro. Narcolepsy Network is soliciting your support for a unique fundraising endeavor, “Swinging for Sleep”.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals will donate $25 for every birdie that Nicole makes on tour. And, you can pledge any amount you wish to also donate for every birdie that Nicole makes on tour. Or, just make a one-time donation of your choosing.

Personally, I've pledged $0.50 for each birdie.... :cool:

07/07/11

  10:37:12 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1056 words  
Categories: General, Hardware, Computer, Home, TiVo HD / Premiere / Elite, Storage

I nearly died 3 times this week...so far....

First Tuesday's near death was caused by my TiVo Premiere.

I sat down to watch Combat Hospital first....on my 1st TiVo HD....but saw that the episode was split in two....a 30 minute and a 22 minute piece. Guess I'll have to find it elsewhere....checked Amazon, NetFlix....no luck. Guess iTunes....though I turned off the Apple TV, wonder if should set it back up. I'll just push it through TiVo Desktop or something...

While waiting for it to download and convert....I switched over to my TiVo Premiere....it gave a strange HDMI error. Probably rebooted recently, too...the TiVo's sometimes mess up the HDMI handshake on boot up, and I have switch input away and back to fix it.

It was busy recording two shows.... I looked to see what I would watch. Noticed that I was weird on how it recorded Outcasts....it recorded 3 of the same. Played one....it reported that it didn't record because there was no signal, same with the next and again with the 3rd. Hmm, I checked other shows....after that point....same message, this is getting annoying.

Things had recorded fine on my TiVo HD's...so a problem specific to my TiVo Premiere. I was deleting the bad shows as I was going and writing down the episode number to of the ones that weren't repeating in the coming week to track down later. But, not the missed episode of Outcasts, it recorded fine on my 1st TiVo HD. I started going backwards, and finding more and more unplayable shows. Wondered if the shows currently recording were working. One seemed okay (Covert Affairs), but the other one (HawthoRNe) was black at the beginning...guess the was a station outage...but the show was coming through fine now.

I then tried to plan an old show that I hadn't finished yet...it reported that it didn't record because.... hmmm, maybe it just needs a reboot. Since both shows will repeat again later in the week. I rebooted it (took me a while to track down the restart option

And, then I died a bunch of times.

I saw that the just a few more minutes....hmmm, its a different looking screen than before, wonder when it upgraded that. But, then it rebooted again.... And, another few more minutes....and this time...blank screen.

I tried pulling the plug....a few times....checked all the connections....then I checked google, seemed to suggest perhaps an HDMI problem. So, I switched component....no help. I wondered if my TiVo Premiere was still under warranty. Evidently, I activated it on July 12th. Just under the wire?

Meanwhile...it was still showing blank screen....and I was maybe hoping that it would just be taking really long or someting. When, suddenly "TiVo Central" appeared...and the later the discovery bar slowly filled in. So, no more intro video?

I looked around a bit...and the big change I saw was the Hulu Plus item. Guess it was just another painful software update....

I then checked the shows....everything seemed fine...I restored all the shows I had deleted and they seemed ok as well, and I've watched a few since then....only Outcasts and the two shows that were recording were lost. The two shows repeated later, and I got them then...other shows will repeat and I'll get them. Since Outcasts recorded fine on my other TiVo....nothing was missed in the end.

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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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