August 01, 2004

Trying to get a Verizon cell phone

A week and a half ago, I ordered a new cell phone from Verizon to replace my dying Sprint phone. It took a week, and a phone call from me asking if they had forgotten about me, but then I got it last Thursday. The email confirmations told me that it was already activated with my cell phone number ported from Sprint.


After a half-hour conversation with Verizon on Thursday, they said they'd put in a trouble ticket, and the phone should be working soon.

After a one hour conversation with Verizon on Friday, they discovered that I didn't have an account set up, which is why my phone number couldn't be ported. But all would be fixed, and it would be working soon.

After 105 minutes on the phone with them on Saturday, they reset the phone and the account, and finally got it to the point where I could make phone calls -- but not receive them. If you call my cell number, it still goes to the Sprint phone. Oh, and when they reset my phone, they couldn't find the service plan I had originally ordered -- so I need to call back on Monday and fix that. But they put in a new order to fix my phone and said I should be able to receive calls within another 24-48 hours.  

Any guesses as to how long I'll be on the phone with them tomorrow?

In fairness, everyone I've talked to at Verizon has been very nice and very friendly. But I still can't receive calls.

Posted by Mike at 10:51 PM

August 08, 2004

What's wrong with this picture?

From "... two-time Republican presidential candidate and Maryland resident Alan Keyes said Sunday that he will run as the GOP's candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois."

Posted by Mike at 07:52 PM

August 11, 2004


This is the thrd week in a row that I've been driving all out at work. Tonight I came home around 11 PM when I could no longer figure out what a 20-line C# function actually did. It's really great stuff that we're working on, but I need some sleep soon. Ugh.

Posted by Mike at 12:49 AM

August 14, 2004

Work crisis mostly over

The worst of it is over at work -- there's still some big things we need to get done in the next few days, but I think the 16 hour days are past.

Which works out well, since I have a 100 deg fever today, no doubt because of working quite so many hours. Ugh.

Posted by Mike at 01:00 PM

August 17, 2004


Last night I dreamed that I was in a Bug Council (Microsoft-ese, equivalent Apple-ese is -- or at least was -- Bug Review Board) with a bunch of people from my current team at Microsoft and a bunch of people from the QuickTime team when I worked there at Apple. We were all earnestly discussing what to do with some bug. Very weird.

Did I mention that my temperature last night when I went to bed was 102 degrees (F)?

I went to the doctor this morning, who said it looked like a simple virus and that it should be better soon. And, indeed, tonight is the best I've felt since Friday.

I love this doctor. This is the third doctor I've had since I moved here nine years ago, and by far the best. The first doctor I had was insane. Any little symptom I had of anything was obviously something dire and possibly fatal. Dizzy one day? Probably a heart condition. A stye on my eyelid? That'll need surgery. Heartburn? Major ulcer (could lead to cancer, you know). Oh, and I was probably an alcoholic. From all the binge drinking that I did in college. (I say I didn't? Denial.) And, for all this, I got to wait a minimum of 75 minutes for each appointment. Often more. Yay.

My second doctor was nice, and not, seemingly, insane, but was happy to prescribe drugs for anything. Acne? Go on antibiotics. Forever. Umm ... The wait was still long (45 minutes - an hour on average), and that was once you could get in at all. I called one time with a fever I had had for several days and they were able to fit me in four or five days later, by which point I assumed I would either be healthy or dead. As an added bonus, the rest of the staff in the office clearly communicated just how pissed off they were by you imposing on them anytime you had to interact with them. Finally, I decided to take the hint and not impose anymore.

My current doctor works out of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. In my three appointments there so far, my longest wait has been fifteen minutes. The other two were closer to five. My doctor pays attention to me, does what she needs to, prescribes medicine only if it makes sense, and then I'm done. This morning, Meredith called to make an appointment for me. They fit me in 40 minutes after the phone call. I was in and out in ten minutes, feeling great about the experience.

This is how health care should work. Why is it so unusual?

Posted by Mike at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2004

New kitten

We have a new kitten. He's about two months old now, we've had him for just over a week, and his name is Pippin.

Jake was less than thrilled with the new addition to the household. For the first few days, there was lots of hissing. Curiously, though, despite being about 8x Pippin's size, Jake was unable to cow little Pippin, who mostly stood his ground and batted back at Jake. Now, Jake has decided to mostly tolerate Pippin's presence, but Pippin's favorite activity now is to practice pouncing on and biting anything that moves (hands, feet, faces, or Jake). Jake even tolerates this for a minute before he starts biting back, which seems like it could have really bad results, so we're keeping them separated for now.

At least they seem past the worst of the biting-each-other phase. The worst was when they appeared to be trying to bite at the other's crotch. Very strange. (Note: search Google for 'crotch biting kitten', and you get some really interesting results. People are strange.)

I'd post a picture, but Meredith has the camera with her on a river rafting trip this weekend. So, pics will have to wait until next week. It's amazing how much he's grown even in the nine days we've had him.

Posted by Mike at 05:10 PM

August 25, 2004

Swisscom to start MS IPTV trials

Check out this CNN article about Swisscom starting public trials next month of the Microsoft IPTV system. 

It's great getting to work on this.

Posted by Mike at 11:02 PM

August 26, 2004

Misunderstanding computer security

PCMagazine is running an article claiming that "Windows XP SP2 Has a Dangerous Hole." The premise is that XPSP2 has a new feature, "Windows Security Center", which displays the status of your firewall, automatic updates, and antivirus program. The "security hole" that PCMagazine is reporting is that it's possible for code running as an Administrator on your box to spoof these settings, and thus present a false picture to the user about what's actually going on.

Here's the thing, though: code running on your system as Administrator can do ANYTHING. Once you let code run on your box, it's game over: the attacker owns your computer. Yes, it can tell you that your firewall is still up, when in fact it's turned it off. Or, since it's running as Administrator, it can just bypass the firewall altogether. It can send spam from your PC, turn on your webcam, reformat your hard drive, or whatever. It's not a hole that code running as Administrator can do bad things -- it's how computers work.

What XPSP2 does do for you is make it much harder for you to be tricked into running malware (worms, trojan horses, viruses, whatever) by mistake. But still, if someone emails you a malware executable in a ZIP file and you unzip it and run it, your machine is no longer yours. No operating system on the planet can stop that.

Another thing you can do is not run as Administrator. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily as easy in Windows as it should be, but it's definitely possible. For about two months now, I've been running as a LUA (Limited User Account) on my laptop. Even if I am tricked into running a program that I shouldn't, that program can only mess up my user account on this PC -- it can't take over the operating system, because my account doesn't have Administrator privileges. For more information on how to run as LUA on Windows, check out Aaron Margosis' excellent blog.

Posted by Mike at 09:55 PM

August 28, 2004

Finally getting healthy

Today marks two weeks since I first got sick, and I am just now finally starting to get healthy again. I went back to the doctor again this week, who gave me some antibiotics. Thank God for modern drugs. The antibiotic killed the fever, which had been spiking every day, within about 24 hours.

Monday I get to go back to work and start catching up.

Posted by Mike at 07:31 PM

August 31, 2004

Decisiveness is not necessarily good

Yesterday, at the RNC, Bush was widely praised for his "decisiveness" in the war on terror.

Decisiveness is not inherently a good thing. It can be, but it can also just mean stubborn.

Two-year-olds are very decisive.

Posted by Mike at 10:27 PM | Comments (1)