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So, we are currently at 18 hours post-Irene and more than 24 since the power went out and still without power.  PEPCO has managed to restore power to every street in my neighborhood and even the Springbrook Forest neighborhood next to us…but my street (and the two side streets off of mine) are still dark.  This flies in the face of PEPCO’s alleged strategy as they have it on their webpage:

Restoration efforts will first address public health and safety issues, then focus on repairs that can restore large groups of customers, followed by restoration of circuit servings neighborhoods and streets.

Our area-based approach means that crews will stay in an area until all customers are restored.

Clearly, if everyone around my street has had power restored and we haven’t then PEPCO is not following this approach.  And what is more frustrating is when I try calling their outage line (1-877-737-2662) it either gives me a busy signal or it just drops the connection.   According to PEPCO – as of this morning, 7:09 AM EDT the status of the outage on my street is as follows:

  • Customers Affected: 98
  • Cause: Unknown
  • Crew Staus: No Crew Assigned – Outage being evaluated.
  • Estimated Restoration:

Unbelievable!  This was reported yesterday and they’re still claiming that the outage is “being evaluated” with no estimated restoration time.   You’d think that the crews that were working on Kemp Mill Road or Springbrook Forest could have made a modicum of effort to take a look at my road and say “Hey…they don’t have power!”  But apparently they didn’t.  According to PEPCO they don’t know what the cause of the power outage is – probably because their crew didn’t bother to look!  At the very least PEPCO, show that you’re paying attention!  How about I do this – I will evaluate my next bill payment to you.  My estimated time to pay it is: __.  The cause?  I think you should be able to guess that for yourselves – it should be fairly self-evident.

“This cylinder is provided under license and remains the property of Soda Club Atlantic, LLC.”  I swear to you that’s what it says on the label of the CO2 cylinder of the Soda Stream soda maker in my house.  All I could think was “WTF?!”  Here’s a physical object (with a bunch of compressed CO2 in it) and the “license” says that I don’t own the cylinder but rather I am granted a license to use it.  I was just stunned until my wife told me that the Calvert curriculum we’re using to home-school our two daughters is also under a similar license.  In fact the license there says the curriculum and books that we are using home-school our older daughter who is going into 5th grade cannot be used in two years to home-school our younger daughter who is going into 3rd grade?  Again…WTF?!?!

Let me get this straight – I paid for these physical objects and the agreement (whether it stands up in court or not apparently has not been determined yet) says that they don’t belong to me but in fact belong to the companies that made them and that I – as a private individual – am being given right to have them in my house.  What next?  Perhaps Dell will change their license to say that I have the right to use the computer I bought from them but that it really doesn’t belong to me and that I cannot put it up on eBay when I decide to get rid of it?  Perhaps Sony will want to charge me every time I turn on my TV to watch a DVD or Blu-Ray? At what point does ownership of a product ultimately transfer to the end user and becomes their property without some inane, asinine, and ridiculous attempt by the manufacturer to limit how their product is being used or control how the end consumer can dispose of it.  What next?  Perhaps publishing houses will tell you that the physical books you buy through Amazon or through a bookstore are not really your property but rather you’re being given a license to read the material and that they may revoke that license at any time – whereupon you must return the book (apparently Amazon already does something similar with their ebooks on the Kindle – remember the 1984 fiasco?).   It’s getting to the point that it feels like nothing really belongs to you – it’s all just provided under license – and it can all be taken away at any time…in some ways I guess you can think of life like that (assuming you believe in God or some other deity of your choice) – your life is not really your own – you’re only provided a “right to use” license and that may be revoked by the manufacturer at any time for any cause.  Sucks to be you.

Windows 7 is quickly becoming the bane of my existence. I travel quite frequently for business. As such I figured I would install Skype in order to keep in touch with my family at home and to provide myself with the ability to do video calls with them (it’s nice to be able to see one’s family and not just hear them). It took me a while to get my Lifecam NX-6000 (which is, allegedly, compatible with Windows 7 according to Microsoft’s gospel) installed and working both with the Lifecam software and with Skype. However, for reasons I CANNOT fathom, whenever I plug the webcam into a different USB port (and my laptop has 4 of them) Windows 7 wants to reinstall the driver. Well…today, it tried to reinstall the driver (I couldn’t remember which port I last plugged the webcam into) and failed – repeatedly. This for a product that is considered COMPATIBLE with Windows 7 (the Lifecam NX-6000 is only 2 years old at most!).

So, now, I cannot use the webcam and Skype crashes when I try to do a video test. This is utter BS on the part of Microsoft. I have tried looking up the help for this problem only to get some ridiculous crap about a) making sure that automatic updating is turned on (HELLO! This is a corporate system – they are only pushing patches that they approve!) or b) manually updating the drivers (tried that…no luck) or c) installing the software for the device from the manufacturer (uh…Microsoft…YOU ARE THE MANUFACTURERS OF THE FRIGGIN DEVICE AND THE OPERATING SYSTEM!!!!!). I’ve even done the usual uninstalling and reinstalling of the driver (Several times in fact – all to no avail). I’ve even done the sane thing of rebooting Windows. What I can’t understand is that Windows won’t provide for me any detailed information as to WHY the driver is failing (the only thing I can surmise is that the driver being used for the 1TB USB drive I got yesterday is the culprit…however, I’m not sure which one it is). This is beyond stupid and represents a truly, phenomenally crappy operating system. I’m starting to think that I will be looking to get a second laptop to travel with just so that I can stay in touch with my family with hardware that actually WORKS!)…perhaps a MacBook Pro…if only I can swallow the fact that I will be selling my soul to “The Steve”!

April 2020
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