Category Archives: WTF?

A Cautionary Tale

If I had known how desirable my Apple ID email address is, I would have put it up for sale.

Hack My Email

After talking to Apple Support it appears somebody tried to have my Apple ID reset earlier today. Luckily, I set up two-factor authentication and set up an alternate email address for any notifications about altering my account.

Same As It Ever Was


I upgraded to Parallels 9.0 yesterday when it was announced and have been starting up each of my virtual machines to allow the newest version of Parallels Tools to install in them. Windows 7 and XP both upgraded fine, as did my CentOS linux VM… unfortunately my Windows 8.1 image wouldn’t start with the error above: “PAGE FAULT IN NONPAGED AREA”. Okay — I guess I will search the internet for a clue about exactly what that means.

Yes, Microsoft’s famous “blue screen of death” is no longer a darker blue, it’s now sky blue with the classy (and very business-like) emoticon for a frown. Reminds me of the “Sad Mac” icon from a couple of decades ago:



Broken side mirror on my truck.

Broken side mirror on my truck.

It’s that time of year again. My truck alarm went off last night but instead of the traditional 2 AM it was 10 PM. I heard the alarm sounding and noticed out the window that it was my truck. Neat. This time it appears I was side-swiped by somebody driving too close and too fast down Lincoln Street. Luckily I have “break-aeay” side mirrors that have a hinge so while the mirror is broken, the housing did not come off of the door. Hopefully I can get the mirror housing replaced this week.


I had been planning to attend (as in, already purchased airfare) a rugby tournament in Argentina in October. I was getting a little concerned that the event was about two months out and the tickets were not yet on sale. Today I discovered why:

Argentina Sevens World Series round postponed

Sadly, in this case by “postponed” they mean cancelled for this year. Since I’ve already purchased my airfare to Argentina and been granted the time off of work, I suppose I will still go and explore Argentina and have a vacation and stuff. I can’t say that I am happy about this, though.

More Comcast Fun

You just thought my issues with Comcast were in the past, right? I was concerned that the multiple people at Comcast Support who promised me that I would be fairly compensated for my outages and the billing would be correct would in fact be speaking the truth, but of cource since this is Comcast it isn’t that simple.

I’ve been tracking my Comcast account online through the “Customer Central” web site and as of yesterday it had the following posted at the very top of the page:

Total due $33.51

What would you think is meant by “Total due by 05/22/2012: $33.51″ when you read that? Yep, that’s what I thought, too. However today I checked my bank’s online account system and see that Comcast’s AutoPay charged me for $93.51. Hmmmmm, that’s strange… it doesn’t match what it says it the “total due.” In fact, it’s off by exactly sixty dollars. Remember that number.

So I look at the account online and see a bunch of generic charges and credits — none are itemized to reflect what they’re actually for so there is no way to tell. At the bottom of the page is a section called “Pending charges” that lists a $60.00 amount, again with no way to determine what these charges are:

Pending charges

There is a link on the page to download a copy of my paper statement, but it was generated on 27 April and does not reflect any of the credits (and apparent charges) on the online account activity page. So I called Comcast billing support and got the BIG RUN-AROUND.

I first called in and got “Tommy” (OPID 19392). I asked him a simple question: “Why does the amount due listed on my online account page not match what I was actually charged?” I hoped that he could get access to specific itemized charges and credits that added up to $93.51 and tell me why the top of the page says $33.51 instead. Tommy didn’t understand, and I suspect people like Tommy are kept on to frustrate and confuse honest, hard-working customers who need specific information. He placed me on hold four different times for multiple minutes to “verify” something (he never said what he was verifying) and then he still did not appear to understand my original question. I asked him for his operator ID because I try to document all of my conversations with Comcast with specific names or ID numbers and he was very hesitant to provide me his ID number. I had not yelled, insulted or demeaned him during our conversation; I had only explained that I didn’t think he understood what I was asking about. I wanted to document the call, not file a complaint against him. Begrudgingly he finally gave me his ID number. I then asked him to escalate me to a supervisor so I could explain why question.

After over four minutes on hold somebody answered and quickly told me her name, but the person speaking apparently had a bad or malfunctioning headset because there was a lot of static whenever the person was speaking. I couldn’t even understand her name, and then when I explained that the static was preventing me from hearing anything she was saying clearly and was distracting me when I was trying to talk she said nothing. Eventually I asked that she call me back on the number on my account because the call quality was untenable. I hung up at the 21 minute mark. No one called me back.

I called back into the main support number again and was eventually connected to “Kenneth” (OP ID 33715). He seemed to sort of understand my question, but he wanted to explain to me the entire billing and statement process, which was not my original question. I point-blank asked him “Why is the number on the account page say $33.51 when I was charged $93.51?” He again wanted to walk me through the intricacies of my bill, when the statement is generated, etc. I again asked for a clear and current statement that itemized all of the charges that added up to $93.51 because that is what Comcast billed against my AutoPay bank account today, but he said that I did not understand what he was saying. I then asked him to escalate me to somebody who could provide me with the itemized list of charges and credits and he said “they will tell you the same thing.” I finally asked him, since I had now spent most of my lunch hour on the phone, to have somebody call me back to explain the charges specifically. I honestly doubt anyone will call, based on past performance from Comcast.

My biggest gripe at this point is that the only up-to-date information about my bill that I can access online says the total due on 22 May is $33.51 but Comcast took $93.51 from my bank account. If they cannot provide itemized documentation for the charges when I request it I feel they have committed theft. Until they they attempt to explain it to me I will tell everyone I know (including the investigative teams at the local TV channels) about Comcast’s despicably-low level of customer support and their THIEVERY.

Update 25 May 2012: I’ve just noticed that Comcast has not adjusted the amount I was charged and it was still $93.51 as noted in my bank’s online account info page:

When I access my Comcast online account page I see that I currently have a credit for $60.00 on my account, which jives with what I was told on the phone. It appears that Comcast cannot or will not remove the $60 charge for May and has credited to my account for June. Meanwhile, they have $60 of my money for a whole month that a) they do not deserve, and b) could not adequately explain. I won’t get my formal statement until the 27th so I STILL DO NOT have any type of itemized explanation of the amount I was billed on the 23rd of May. Again, unless they can explain to me in detail what they charged me for I consider it theft.

Update 2 for 25 May 2012: I had a voicemail from “Heather at Comcast Corporate Escalation” confirming that I had called and requested more information about my billing. She also told me what I had already gathered, that I was erroneously billed for a technician visit and something called a “HD Technology fee” (WTF does that mean) which accounted for the pending $60 charge. She said she had credited my account the $60 and it would appear on my next billing cycle. Way to call late on Friday afternoon before a long holiday weekend — that’s shows lots of guts.

So, Comcast, you’ve already told me the original issue was not in any of the cable or equipment on my property yet you’ve billed my twice for technician visits at $50 each and some mysterious “HD Technology fee” even though the problem was caused by a damaged trunk cable in the alley? And you’ve bungled the billing where I cannot even determine what these charges are and your representatives are unwilling or unable to explain it to me? Oh, you’ve managed to charge me for items that were not appropriate for the problem anyway and took the money from my bank account? You’ve now issued a credit to my account but you’ll go ahead and keep my $60 for another month until the next billing date?

I’d be in jail if I did this to somebody. What a crock. After the weekend when I’ve had a chance to calm down a bit I’ll be finding a new broadband provider and canceling my TV and internet service as I don’t appreciate being overcharged and robbed.