Skybell v2 setup

So I bought a Skybell v2 – it’s a special doorbell that replaces the ancient button by the door and brings it into the 21st century. I paid $119 for it which is considerably less than other advanced doorbell buttons.

Installation was pretty easy. They provide the mounting plates and even the gel wiring crimps and screws. Pop your old doorbell off, hook the two wires up and you’re off. Now they say you can download the app to your phone. My phone doesn’t like the app or vice versa. And I got the bronze version. And it’s got infrared too – That’s the little white spot above. And obligatory – Marvin the Paranoid Android ditty on infrared:

Now the world has gone to bed,
Darkness won't engulf my head,
I can see by infrared,
How I hate the night.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
Try to count electric sheep,
Sweet dream wishes you can keep,
How I hate the night.

81oy74y70el-_sy355_Could not get the device to register on my phone. Drives me batty. However I will never admit defeat – so I thought what other Android based device can I install this app on. Grabbed my Kindle Fire HD6 and downloaded the SkyBell v2 APK, installed it and presto – works perfectly when I turn WiFi on. In uninstalled the app from my phone. One of the things I’m doing this weekend is getting an upgrade on that anyhow. This SGH-T599N has been pretty good – but it’s showing it’s age and is having capability problems.

But the SkyBell v2 is really nice – wide angle lens so you see EVERYTHING. And you can even take snapshots with the app.

Diana Ross 2016-04-14

Day before tax day (Mine are done already) and this evening we went to see Diana Ross. The opening act was Rhonda Ross, daughter of Diana Ross who btw if you didn’t know spent four years here in Providence going to Brown University and also has a six year old kid making Ms. Ross the elder a grandmother.

One notable thing – it was definitely an older crowd at this concert. Really older – for instance we saw one guy with a walker, one who was wheeled in a wheelchair, and I was fully expecting to see an oxygen tank or a stretcher at some point. Alas no such came to pass.

And girl sitting immediately to the right of us let one fly – god damned it’s true. They say women’s farts smell worse and this one was pretty ripe.

And Keyron swore he smelt Ben Gay on someone walking by us. Too funny. But I guess if you do the math if the elder Ms. Ross is 72, then some of the crowd might very well be in their 80’s. I feel like a fucking youngster in a crowd like that and I’m in my damned 50’s.

And you could spot the ‘sisters’ in the crowd – when a couple of what I’d call Ross’s gay anthems played they were up and dancing away, making spectacles of themselves. Keyron spotted it right away.


And here’s the divine Ms. Ross in action – well a still of her.

Got to say it, for 72 years old she puts on a hell of a show. Alas I wish I had seen her in the heyday of the 1980’s. But my musical tastes from them were more P-Funk and Jazz.

When you single handedly save the company you work for

So a bit after lunch today my systems guy instant messages me to look at the Rackspace tickets. There’s one in there warning of non-payment.

I log onto Rackspace and sure enough, $20,000 in unpaid fees. We live and die by Rackspace. All of the company’s major services are on Rackspace Cloud. So I escalated the issue by forwarding it to my boss, and my team. I also went and spoke to the controller and let her know that several of our products could potentially go dark if this wasn’t paid. That would certainly have spelt certain death of the company I work for so she took it seriously.

But my boss – I notified him at 13:34 hours that he needed to touch base with the controller vis the issue on Rackspace. He didn’t respond back to me despite my sending several instant messages to him regarding the situation. Finally at 15:33 hours he calls me – and I ask if he’s approved the payment. He says he thought he had. I call bovine effluent. Anyway got him talking to the Controller and the invoice were approved for payment. Payment will go out via ACH transfer first thing in the morning.

And more interestingly – the boss said he was in meetings all afternoon. If I were in his position and he had his I.T. Leader/Manager tell him to get in  touch with the controller regarding payment of a Rackspace invoice I’d have excused myself from the meeting and made the phone call. But he didn’t do that. Now I don’t want to narc on him to the CEO, but I’m really on the fence. My boss doesn’t know it yet, but he owes me big time. Why? Because the efforts I had to make to raise this alarm and get this squared away consumed a very big part of my day. So depending on how he tries to cover for it tomorrow – that will determine whether or not I mention it to the CEO.



Stupid User Tricks

Where I work we have several remote people. And as such we have some that I will call computer challenged to the maximum. It’s so bad that the office mate and I were talking about actually suggesting they use a basic computer knowledge test to people.

The test would involve logging in, opening Word, composing a document, then opening Gmail in the web, and even MS Outlook and having them send the document to an email address we provide.

But the number one we get from two remote users. They never power their laptops down or lock it – and then an update gets pushed, machines reboots and presto they forgot their password.

Or better – a user takes their laptop, cell phone and jetpack to a bar in Brooklyn – NYC. Yeah it got stolen. But the best part is policy requires a police report before we’ll order replacements of the phone and jetpack. So I get an email form the leader of the guys division saying they’ll get him new stuff policy be damned. I let the guy who does the purchasing know they’re going to try that and that we needed a unified front on this.

But the best part – the user asked if he could file the police report in Massachusetts. I had to explain that law enforcement didn’t work that way, that each department is it’s own separate entity.

These are just two examples of the stupidity we deal with on a day to day basis. I’m seriously considering compiling the best ones into a book. With any luck it would be a best seller on the New York Times list.

Microsoft: Way to scare people

So this morning I was looking at my computer clock. Something was off – namely the time had set itself one hour ahead. “That’s odd” I thought. I know I had setup NTP or Network Time Protocol on my Windows 10 machine.

Couldn’t see the problem before I left for work. But I mentioned it to co-worker and said “I bet it’s because it’s using Microsoft’s NTP server.”

I was correct. Got home and change it to NIST time servers and presto change-o voila – the time is once again scarily accurate.

I further wonder – how many other people are running Windows 10 with NTP turned on and using Microsoft time servers and had the same problem?

I also wonder – could it be that the Microsoft IP I blocked a couple months back be their NTP server? Nah – it’s not.

Things I love

Ok here’s a meme – things I love.

  1. Of course the love of my life gets top spot in this list. Were it not for the love of him I don’t know if I’d be as ambitious a motherfucker as I am.
  2. Getting feedback from a friend that you had a huge impact on their life. That ranks way up there too. But it’s what I do – I like developing talents in others.
  3. Seeing the sunrise every morning while I’m on the commuter train.
  4. Reading a good book. It can vary – I’m reading a lot more political stuff lately.
  5. Good music as I’m near always found with a set of these on my head. The flyover provides a nice sort of halo for me. And those tigerwood cans – the resonance off them makes everything sound fantastic.


  6. Good food. This one is a broad category. Actually toyed with buying some squid to make calamari today. And bacon wrapped scallops are delicious, so too Hosomaki which is interesting. As a kid I pretty much abhorred fish. Now I’ll eat almost any of it. Just haven’t had cod in a long time.
  7. Nice leather furniture. My ass is parked on a leather recliner as I type this.
  8. Animals. We have one resident feline by the name of Angie. But I also love seeing the wild rabbits feeding on the lawn that surrounds the path I take the train station every morning.
  9. A good waterproof backpack. Each day I pack off to work with my lunch, laptop, Fire HD6, cables, tools, etc. in my backpack. So it’s a good one. The inner surfaces are vinyl lined so no moisture can penetrate the backpack.
  10. Timberland Hikers – they’re awesome during the winter and even spring when things get a little bit mucky out there.
  11. My hoodies – I’ve got three currently that I rotate through. One  is in all black and has a Big Daddy and Little Sister on the back. Another is dark navy blue and has an atom on the front and the saying “A Day without Fusion is like a day without Sunshine.”. And finally there’s the light blue that says “We are all connected – to each other biologically, to the Earth chemically, and the Universe Atomically.”
  12. The fact that there’s almost nothing I can’t find online related to video and music.
  13. The technology around me at this very moment. I’ve now lost count of the number of Central Processing Units there are around me at any given time. They’re that ubiquitous.
  14. Spring and Summer – spring is nature getting dressed up and to quote the song, July is dressed up and playing a tune. Really.

Never try driving I-93 after 3PM

So I was up in our Manchester, NH office today. Hooking up computers, testing wifi etc. only to find they’d left one character off the password. Ooops.

Anyhow I figured leave at 3PM – it only took 1 hour and 18 minutes going up to Manchester from Quincy, MA. Getting back though took two hours of crawling along that blasted lower deck of I-93 just outside Boston – and then into the tunnel where it’s stop and go.

There has to be a solution for all the traffic. I’m thinking flying cars but no the kind with wings but levitating cars. It’s got to be possible.

But back to I-93 – I did note one other thing on the drive up to Manchester. I-93 in Massachusetts is a rutted out piece of shit. But you cross over into New Hampshire and it’s smooth sailing.

But if you want ot get there in a reasonable amount of time – never leave north of Boston later than 2PM. You’ll pay.