Category: "Safety & Security"

Pages: 1 3

01/06/13

  04:28:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 401 words  
Categories: Home, Safety & Security

Better Late than Dead?

On account that I was out of town over Christmas this year, I delayed the annual Christmas present to my home.... The gift of new smoke detector batteries.

I decided that I would do it New Year's day instead. But, when I went to replace the smoke detector batteries, I discovered that I had neglected to purchase a 4 pack. So, eventually I remembered to order a 4 pack via Amazon.com...evidently the same item that I had ordered previously....but in mid-November before last Christmas....

So, I finally got around to doing it today....and I hadn't done a full test of my home security system in a few months, and since the siren detector will always alert the monitoring company unless I'm doing a sensor test. It seemed like a good time to test things. Might be the only activity some of the less active locations get, to make sure they're working.

It was hard to test the motion detectors, since my main keypad is seen by both detectors and the test requires that the detector 'clear' before seeing the new motion event and recording the test success. And, the detectors don't have any visual indication normally that they've seen anything. The activity light is only active a short while for initial configuration. I actually prefer the sensor this way....not like other people's systems where its always active, so you get tempted to see if there's a way to get past it and not be seen by it :>>

A second keypad is on my wish list....though not entire sure where I would put it for the most benefit but not get in my way. The handset version might be better, except that I already have enough trouble misplacing other things around my home...I wouldn't want to be misplacing this.

Later I also decided that I should replace the batteries in my CO detector and test it...just to complete things.

Always interesting that it has a peak reading...though not ever high enough to have gone off. But, every time that I've looked at it...its always read 0. Wonder when there is CO?

Full story »

12/08/12

  03:52:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 515 words  
Categories: Home, Safety & Security, Healthcare

Home Security

After years and years, of saying that I'm going to do it....I finally did it....I got a home security system.

Last couple of years, my HH had been getting particularly disturbing....I thought about doing it then, at least I got my locks rekeyed, which helped on the anxiety level after any particularly disturbing HH.

I had kind of registered the idea that I would definitely get a home security system if I should get a Narcolepsy diagnosis and open me to its particular treatment option.

Well, I got the Cataplexy Dx on May 15th, and the Narcolepsy Dx on July 12th. And, eventually I was to start treatment....July 26th.

After the Cataplexy Dx, I ramped up my intent to get a system. I noticed that AAA offers a discounted package with Lifeshield. So, I opted to get that package for my condo. Along the way, the base package was more than adequate to cover the basic exit/entry points. But, I opt to get a bunch more sensors to provide extra coverage around my medication fridge and medication safe.

It doesn't get me much of a discount off of my condo insurance (since the main structure is covered by a master policy from the HOA) to get any real savings for a security system, it needs to be cellular backed. The cellular gateway option is like $270, so the pay back is there...though it is on my list of addons to get.

But, it sure has helped with piece of mind and my sleeping.

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01/07/12

  10:03:37 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1643 words  
Categories: Wireless/iPhone, Safety & Security, Android

I got a new phone, and it's ... bricked, bricked ... rooted!

There was a time, when people bought their own phones and then bought service....I did that twice. First was a 'fancy' candy-bar phone....it was nice, but it was hard to use for data. Second was a Motorola flip...where modems and such for it could be easily had...so with great complexity I found ways to be online while mobile.

Then they came out with digital...and I got one of the first digital only phones, it was sprint and coverage was poor. Though they only needed 1 year contracts back then. Later I got wise, and got phones that were both digital and analog. Along the way, 2 year contracts came into play. Now analog is pretty much gone. I've spent time on various major carriers and then some over the years.

More recent history...I had an iPhone 3G. I waited and waited to see if something newer than that was coming, and they didn't. I was on a blackberry before that, and now working a job where those aren't popular....iPhones were....and it was with Sprint...where reception at home is poor and none at work. Though with AT&T, reception at home was poor and work wasn't much better. There was reception by in the bathroom by my office. Fortunately, for visitors the conference room is next to the bathrooms.

Eventually, Apple came out with the iPhone 3GS, and a new iOS that turned my old iPhone 3G into a bear. But, it hadn't even been a year with it yet. So, along comes Credo Mobile, offering to buy out AT&T contracts....they credit the ETF to my account. Well, that was good...though its back to Sprint.

Then a couple months ago, my phone fell off my desk at work...and turned into one more piece than expected. Though it mostly worked after I snapped it back together. I used to get phone insurance back in the beginning...but since it became new every year, and then new every 2 years....I hadn't. Don't know if I should reconsider.

The phone continued along....though it developed a problem where it would just turn off expectedly, or spontaneously restart. The self-restart was a big problem, with my recent traveling...there have been 3 separate occasions where the phone had turned it self back on while all such devices are supposed to be turned off. Only once, did it do so soon after I had turned it off...that I heard it turn itself back on before I had stowed it for the trip.

And, then there have been days were I've been walking around not knowing that my phone was dead.

I wanted to go back to T-Mobile. I knew they had pretty good signal at home, though they didn't have much service at work. There was service...but it was a CellOne (GSM) tower....which later got moved. For good service, it was US Cellular. And, it was good when work was reselling their service. But, just before I was considering jumping to them on my own...they changed all their plans around, and I didn't like it. All this emphasis on voice minutes...in proportion to data usage. IE: I don't want to pay for unlimited voice minutes to get unlimited data.

There was a time originally, where I had a Blackberry...where I paid for unlimited blackberry data service....and had 0 minutes and 0 texts on my plan... minutes were only like 10 cents each.

Cell phone is still largely for safety & security.... And, when I switched to Credo Mobile...I opted to go with a 'feature' phone. At first I didn't want anything, though being able to tweet on the road might be useful. Though initially I signed up as if it was going to replace my work phone. Since they weren't reselling US Cellular anymore, those phones were going away. I ended up getting a Droid 2 with VerizonWireless service as work phone.

The Droid 2 was nice in the beginning, but its been getting pretty frustrating to use lately....and I was torn about wanting to go back to T-Mobile for personal service. While they'd would be good most areas of town, except right around work. I figured on benefiting fromt here WiFi calling feature. But, these days that's pretty much an Android phone....though there was this whole AT&T wanted to wipe them out...and not sure why I would want to be with T-Mobile without that one key feature.

So, I limped along on work phone that was getting less and less stable, and slower and slower....but Android. And, feature phone for personal...that was becoming unreliable. While watching the T-Mobile site for free phone offers.

A few times I saw their Sidekick 4G come up as free. And, it was a good candidate in most areas, except one. It has a physical keyboard (a 5 row to boot), and 4G. But, its only a single core phone and only 2.2. I wanted at least 2.3, and it seemed dual core was likely to be a requirement for longevitiy.

And, then finally...the AT&T takeover was gone....and discovering that the cell phone that I had been traveling with for safety, was useless. It was time to take the plunge. Though I waited until the last day of the sale period.

I went with ordering a MyTouch 4G Slide - Khaki - for $99.99 from T-Mobile on December 29th, 2011. It arrived on January 3rd, 2012. A few days before I took the plunge the old Samsung Seek had once again died on me, but I didn't notice that it had until after...and it didn't last to see the arrival of my new phone.

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12/25/11

  04:39:17 pm, by The Dreamer   , 386 words  
Categories: General, Home, Safety & Security, Healthcare

Merry Christmas ... Home Sweet Home.

Merry Christmas....

So, other than sleeping in past 11am...and a frantic search for work phone (turned out it was exactly where it was supposed to be, I had just put my Kindle on top of it last night.)

I remembered that there was one very important gift to give on Christmas Day. New batteries for my smoke detectors.

Even though one of them ran down early back in November...I replaced batteries in all 4 of them. With new batteries I had picked up a couple of weeks ago.

But, before I got to...I ended up hitting a few other chores that I needed to do, like laundry, dishes, and cleaning my CPAP stuff. (not in this order...)

Think my Intellipap AutoAdjust just might still have its original filters in place....so I swapped it for the pair of foam and white filters that came with it, threw out the white (which didn't look that bad, considering neglected white filters in my old CPAP would look pretty dark....perhaps time of year plays a part). Knew I had bought extras, looked around a bit...but couldn't find them, though I found a package with one remaining white filter for my old machine (as well as a packages with 24 or 30 new ones.) I had dug out the old machine on Friday to do a download, but had already put it back....so I had to dig it out again to replace its filters. I some how manage to keep losing foam filters now and then after I wash them. Probably because I leave them near room fan to dry, and when they become dry they take flight. Well, I have a few new ones...so that went into the old machine and I put it back in its travel bag.

Someday I should replace the hose in the travel bag....

I then took mask cushion and went to clean these items.

Not sure if I'll get to a laundry load today or tomorrow where I run headgear through. There was something else I was going to do this break laundry wise...not sure if I'll get to it now. That's wash my winter jacket. Perhaps I'll try to do that after the whites are done. And, leave colored and hand wash loads to tomorrow. Not sure if I'll do that other special load this weekend....

12/01/11

  04:27:00 pm, by The Dreamer   , 1531 words  
Categories: General, Digital Photography, Hardware, Computer, Travel, Networking, WiFi, BOINC, Safety & Security, b2evolution, Quicken/TurboTax

Cyberweek Activities

This being Cyberweek...I tried to cram some stuff in other than just recovery from Chicago Tardis into this week.

Though I haven't actually gotten to all the things yet...I felt that I should start this post before I forget all the things I wanted to cover. Too late :no:

Anyways...one of the important items was new CO detector. I used to have a First Alert CO400?, battery operated CO detector that took a couple AA batteries and didn't do much else. I was looking to buy something like it again, except reading the negative reviews on amazon.com... a number of other people were complaining that unit disintegrates when you try to change the batteries. Which is why I was needing to replace my old one. So, I decided that maybe I would look at a different brand this time around.

Also noted that these things have like a 5 year life expectancy...though my First Alert CO detector was only a year old. I noticed that Kidde CO detectors claim a 7 year life span (though only a 5 year warranty). Though (in part due to Amazon 'recommendations') I got the Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM, which has a digital display....showing current CO levels and historical levels, etc. Which I debated on whether I would want to know if there was a CO level, that wasn't alarming.

Don't know if I paid attention to the fact that it uses 3 AA batteries....one odd thing I've noticed, is that it doesn't say if I should replace batteries regularly....but I suspect it'll be part of the same routine with replacing smoke detector batteries.

Though I don't think I'll replace the CO batteries along with the smoke detector ones on December 25th (because of long DST, I had changed my bi-annual to be on or around June 25th and December 25th.) Though, I've already replaced the battery early in one of the smoke detectors. Odd, because there hadn't been any nuisance trips in some time...and it isn't one that is typically set off by these situations. (usually ones that nuisance trip is the detector in the living room [near the kitchen or the first bedroom from the kitchen. Yeah...something I'm burning on the stove or in the microwave is usually the cause.)

But, getting a new set of 4 9V batteries was something I got in my recent cyberweek purchasing...

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11/10/11

  04:11:52 pm, by The Dreamer   , 881 words  
Categories: General, Wireless/iPhone, VoIP, WiFi, Safety & Security, Cox HSI, AT&T DSL, Broadband, Amazon Kindle

Cox Cable was a no show today....

This afternoon's tale starts on Tuesday, November 8th.

At about 9:30am, I get an email from Cox about Wednesday's EAS test for 2pm EST....shouldn't be a problem, won't be home and nothing should be recording then...

Then at about 11:30am, I start getting pages that my Cox connection (among other things) has gone away. Well, the other things were because without Cox...there's no DNS or NTP...so things that tested or depend on that also failed. Though monitoring from work just showed Cox down.... At least I still have DSL....tweak some stuff back to being DSL centric, and bounce my cable modem a few times.... I had switched away from being DSL centric after a recent significant DSL outage.

Eventually cable service comes back, and I think all is good. Though I don't notice that not everything in nagios has cleared. And, when I come home...I find that I still have no Cox internet service.

I turn on the TV to see if I'm at least getting a signal....but I only checked the channel that was default...didn't check further. I then get on with Cox to find out why my service is down.

Strange that I often have trouble right around bill due time. But, I use EasyPay, so they automatically get paid. And, this month the auto-pay date is November 9th. New bill came out around October 27th (in fact later when I got confirmation that they had processed the payment, that's what it said). Always interesting that they allow so little time between sending the bill to when it needs to get paid. Its probably to keep us from dropping services between getting the bill and paying it. Like dropping Movie Pak....a while back they moved BBC America to the Movie Pak, so I had to add that to my service quickly....but sometime later they moved it back to the Variety Pak...so I should probably drop the Movie Pak...but I never seem to get around to it. I don't watch anything else in the Movie Pak (but at least I do from the Variety Pak.)

But, I check and account is current. I also got alert from bank of the pending charge too.

So, I get on with Cox support to find out what's up or not....and after they get my account information, come back saying a technician call is needed and say the earliest is Thursday between 1-3pm. Ok...then I'm asked if there's anything else, and I'm disconnected.

Seems like that's one way to avoid the National EAS test....

I had turned the cable modem on and off a few times, with longer off times, and checked connections and such...to no luck, but couldn't recall if I left it on or off overnight. When I get up...there's still no Cox Internet service. I restart the cable modem, and presto...I have service.

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07/20/11

  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.

12/28/10

  09:28:57 am, by The Dreamer   , 3041 words  
Categories: Hardware, Software, Computer, Networking, BOINC, Home, Safety & Security, Storage, Healthcare

New computer migration process

The upgrade/transition to my new HP Pavilion Elite HPE-450t, which I have named Zen, has reached a milestone.

The point where my morning routine will need to take place on this computer rather than on my old one, TARDIS.

I didn't power it on for the first time until the evening of Boxing Day (December 26th). And, after completing the initial boot setup...the main thing I did for the rest of the night was install BOINC and attach to as many projects as I could. Several projects seem to be currently down, hopefully they'll return in the new year once the various institutions that they are located come out of their normal holiday shutdown period. K-State's closed its normal operations from Friday, December 24, 2010, through Friday, December 31, 2010. Normal operations resuming Monday, January 3rd, 2011.

Of course, I'm special...I get to work through the shutdown.

Anyways...the next morning I spent time trying to get it to update...there were a lot of patches, and it needed a lot of cycles. Annoying that it only applies some patches when you shutdown, not reboot. :##

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12/25/10

  01:58:43 pm, by The Dreamer   , 259 words  
Categories: Home, Safety & Security

Remembered that I'm starting a new tradition...

...to replace smoke detector batteries and test them on Christmas Day.

I used to use Daylight Saving Time transitions as when to test and replace batteries. Pretty sure I used to do it in the spring when I was last a home owner. Then I lived in apartments that had hard-wired smoke detectors, though one place I stayed in had battery backup in the detectors...and it got really annoying when it needed to be replaced, which was unexpected...but I lived close to a Wal-Mart then.

I was kind of using the DST transitions to test and replace, though I went to replace in the fall. But, DST has gotten a lot longer, and I seemed to think there was a 6 month recommendation somewhere...so I thought I should find a new anniversary date to do things.

I figured June 25th and December 25th would be nice days to use.

Though I guess times have changed....because I tried to google to find out...and there were lots of vague suggestions and recommendations...but the consensus seems to be replace batteries annual, using either one of the DST transitions, a birthday or some other date. And, to test according to manufacturer's recommendation.

Well, while replacing the detectors, I read the writing on the inside and it says to test weekly. I doubt any of my neighbors test theirs that often, plus I wonder if they even bother with regular battery replacements....wish I had better neighbors.

Oh well, too late to go back to old schedule I guess....will see how this new tradition goes :lalala:

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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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