Internet, Writing and Bunnies

This will be short. Our internet and cable have been down since last night. Living out in the country means the wait for repair is extended. It will be tomorrow before a technician is able to try and resolve the problem. We have tried all the possible remedies to no avail. So it is time to punt.

We are so technologically dependent. With Hurricane Florence approaching, the outage makes it harder to check the status of the storm. A lot of my tasks today were hampered.

I planned to work on a short story I had shelved a year or so ago. I finally found my last draft tucked quietly away in the cloud. I was able to download it to my phone and thought through the magic of Apple’s Airdrop I would be able to transfer it to my laptop so I can write. Writing a lengthy story on a five inch screen just does not work. Thankfully, Airdrop worked!

After a long morning, I was feeling frustrated. I glanced outside just in time to see our resident wild bunny. A few days ago I remarked to my husband that I had not seen the bunny for months. And today, when I needed a breathable moment, there he was. He always makes me smile.

So there you have it. Maybe this is preparing us for what lies ahead. Right now I will just think about the bunny.

Now off to write – keeping myself in the positive lane on my little mountain roadway.


Blogging Every Day For a Year

Yes, friends, this is what I signed up for. My daughter said, “Mom, that’s great but this is so much more than your 30 days of NaNoWriMo!!!!”  She is so right but I feel an unfamiliar dedication to this project.

NaNoWriMo is an annual event in which writers from all over the world set out to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It takes place every November and every year I join. I do not always finish. Honestly, I do not always get halfway. So what makes me think I will blog every day for 365 days?

img_6708First of all, my creative mind often gets sidetracked from everyday stresses and obligations. Writing a blog allows me to write about those events and clear them out of my way. Secondly, NaNoWriMo is very volume and deadline driven. Having that kind of pressure does not always work for me.

I also like to write about little miracles and little beautiful occurrences throughout the day. Like today, for example, I saw the most beautiful butterfly. It was blue and its wings glistened in the sunlight. I had just watered the plants and the butterfly swooped down to the little puddle of water I created on the sidewalk. It was just a tiny moment in my day but it has stayed with me all day.

Since I decided to do this project with my friend, Maitri, I seem to have a motivation I have been lacking. I know I need to be careful not to set too many expectations for myself, but I am anxious to work on things I have set aside for far too long. I think I have needed the push.

I have decided to create yet another WordPress blog for this 365 day adventure. I have a website I considered putting it on, but it is under construction and I did not want to bog down my blog with the design work I need to finish. I also decided not to blog here because this blog to me has a different purpose and so much family history. It just means something different to me.

So, if you care to follow along on this 365 day journey, I would welcome the company and the encouragement. I’ll be blogging on a new WordPress blog: From Cave Walls. I’ll be there for the next year starting September 24th!

Hope to see you there! Happy Blogging!







Apple Support Advice

As promised, I’m back to tell you how my call with the support center went and give you some advice if you own an iPhone. (Read this long missive if you need to catch up.)

The support center called me back as promised. He was able to verify the IMEI number on the phone I was shown yesterday – it was indeed my phone. The rest of the call went as I expected. He answered my questions patiently and apologized for the lack of tactfulness shown by the Apple store staff. Outside of that, I have a phone that is working, my data has been erased off my old phone and my problem has been resolved. He was not dismissive – quite the contrary. He listened and responded to everything I had concerns about but the bottom line was simply that I was back in business. He even offered that I could call him at any time if I ever had any questions. Nice.

So, now to the advice.

  1. img_6702Back up your device – NOW. If you do not know how, learn. You can do backups on Apple’s iCloud or you can backup using iTunes. I use the latter and it works well. It is important to have a baseline backup you know is good.
  2. Make a habit of backing your iPhone (and your other devices) frequently. You never know when you will need it. If you ever need to get a replacement for your phone, the only way you will get your data back is to restore it from a backup.
  3. Use the Genius Bar before you have problems. If you do not know how your device works – learn. You need to know how to backup your phone and restore it.
  4. Screen time eats up your battery. Apps, games, Safari, Facebook – all those things you look at use battery. Learn how to check what apps are using your battery – realtime and in the background.
  5. If you take your iPhone in for service do the following:
    1. Make sure to ask what it will cost. If you are out of the warranty period, the service will cost you something.
    2. Make sure your software and carrier updates are current.
    3. Memorize your Apple ID and password.
    4. Do a backup the day you take it in for service. If you want to be safe, do a backup in each location.
    5. If you keep confidential or personal things on your phone, move them elsewhere before you drop your phone off. Always assume you will not get your phone back. Would you want this data in someone else’s hands?
    6. Decide what you will do if they need to keep your phone or send it in for repair. (A lot of people keep their old phones just for this reason)
    7. Do not be afraid to call the Support Center and ask for help.

I overheard the techs telling another customer that all iPhone 8 phones must be sent back for repairs. No in-house repairs. Good to know and who knows if there are similar restrictions on other phones.

One last thing – if you don’t wear a watch, start. I wandered around aimlessly unable to find a clock anywhere in the mall! Same goes for a list of phone numbers you may not have memorized!

Better to be safe than sorry!




One Bad APPLE Can Spoil The Whole Bunch

img_6692My first exposure to the world of Apple products was back back in 2010 when I was studying to be a web designer. Well, to be honest it was back when my kids were in school and came home saying ‘Open-Apple’ something which neither of them profess to remember….but I digress. I fell in love with the MAC I worked on in class. Before I graduated, I took advantage of my student discount and bought a MacBook Pro.

From that point forward, I have purchased iPods, another MacBook, two iPads and eventually an iPhone 6. I have loved them all. The lack of viruses, the ease of use, the integration between them all – I have always been a fan.

Unfortunately, my iPhone 6 may be the bad Apple that spoils the whole bunch.

Let’s talk batteries. You cannot just take the back panel off and replace the battery. When the battery in my phone failed two years ago, I did what any Apple owner would do. I called and made an appointment with the Genius Bar at the nearest (an hour drive for me) Apple Store. After doing a backup (thank goodness!!!) making the drive, turning off my passcode, turning off Find My iPhone I turned the phone over to the ‘genius’ . Diagnostics were run and indeed, my phone needed a new battery. That would cost $79 IF they had a battery which (drumroll please) they did not. I was livid. 3 hours of my life consumed for nothing. I pitched a fit! So much so, they gave me a new phone (I was suspicious why they would give me a new phone let me tell you) for the cost of the battery. Following much hemming and hawing, I finally said ok. The tech let me purge all the data off my phone, I took the new phone home, restored it from my iTunes backup an Voila! All was well.

Fast forward about a month and my phone lost it’s ability to use cellular service. After hours on the phone with the support center (using WiFi calling), updating carrier settings, a trip to the AT&T store to get another SIM card (which did not make any difference) and a week of frustration, Apple agreed to send me a new phone. Of course, because I needed my phone until I had the new one, Apple put a $700 hold on my credit card until the old phone was received back at Apple. I returned my phone, got the credit on my credit card and all was well – for a while.

Over the last few weeks, I had to charge my phone several times a day. I just got tired of it. So, again, I called the Apple store and made an appointment. But this time, I was oh so much smarter! The day before the appointment, I called first to make sure they had a battery. That call took me to central Apple support. After many calls and exchanges, it was again confirmed that the Apple Store will not hold a battery for you – even though you make an appointment FOR a battery and Apple techs run diagnostics saying you need a battery it is strictly first come first serve. I had been down this road before.

So, the nice Apple Support guy found an authorized vendor (still an hour from home) that had batteries and could change it for me if I came that afternoon. Great. What he did not tell me was I would need to leave my phone for 2+ hours for them to change the battery. I had other scheduled appointments so I could not leave my phone. This was not going well. So….back to the Support Center.

Long story short, I made yet another appointment at the Apple Store (first appointment of the day because I am much smarter now) and the support person said he would work with the store to make sure they had a battery for me. Now I understood I would need to leave my phone for the repair an I planned accordingly.

Up at 7:30 am. Phone backup. Coffee. Breakfast. Shower. Get dressed and on the road for another hour drive. When I arrived at the Apple Store, it was already pretty crowded. The tech was nice. Very professional. Sorry for my trouble. He really put me at ease and bonus – it was only going to take a hour.

After shopping around the mall, I got checked back in and was called back rather quickly. It started going downhill from there. One of the techs came out rather nonchalantly, handed me a phone and said, ‘they had problems with your phone after the battery was replaced – it would not power up’. It took a minute to register. This was not my phone. They assumed it was some sort of logic board problem. My phone, was all packed up, ready to be shipped ‘somewhere’ with all my personal data on it. Somehow, this phone I had paid cash for – so I sort of thought it was mine – was somewhere in the back ready to be sent back to Apple ‘to be disassembled and melted down’ without any discussion with me.

My mind was slowly focusing on the magic trick I had just witnessed. I asked if the phone was new. The response was ‘no one has ever owned this phone’. Huh? So I said it must be refurbished. The response was, no, it was not refurbished. Again, no one ever owned this phone. After pressing the tech, I was finally told that the case was new but at least the camera had been replaced to which I again said, ‘so it was refurbished’. ‘It’s just a camera’ was hurtled back at me in a very condescending tone. This is when I requested the manager.

I will not bore you with all the assurances I was given about Apple and their fight to protect individual privacy. Surely I had seen the article in the news about how they refused to turn data over to the police. Bottom line, same story. I asked for my phone back. No, it was packed ready to mail back. What will happen to it I asked. He couldn’t really tell me because he wasn’t sure. He said I assure you no one is going to look on that truck for your phone. I told him I wanted my phone held in the store until I could get in touch with the support rep I had been working with. I was not happy. He told me the support people would not be able to help me (was he trying to discourage me from calling?). I told him I would call anyway – Of course that meant I needed to go home because now the phone I had in my hand had none of my data on it. No emails, contacts – nothing.

I decided to call my husband and get him to find the support rep’s email and give me his phone number and my case number. While I was on the phone waiting for my husband to call, the manager came back and told me they were going to try to wipe the phone clean. He eventually came back with a phone and showed me the phone had been cleared. Funny, the phone that would not power up, and had a probable bad logic board was powered up. I asked him how that could be. He then told me that sometimes when they try to restore a phone, it will work again. At this point I am beginning to think there is something fishy in Denmark. I looked at him and asked “How do I know this is my phone”?

At this point I copied the IMEI number, called and left a message with the support rep and drove an hour back home to restore my data on the phone. This is my fourth phone in two years if anyone is counting. Today was another 5 hours invested in what was to be a battery change.

Tomorrow I will let you know what I hear from the support center and will give you Apple users out there some advice if you ever need to take your iPhone in for repair.

Oh, and one last note, I have no idea how old the battery is in this phone (which no one has ever owned but yet the camera has been replaced.)