You are currently browsing the frustration tag archives.

Bandwidth Blues

Posted 2012.11.14 10.39 in Computers/Internet/Technology

This past week has been a bit exciting and tumultuous.

First, I had my tv cable cut. Intentionally, it wasn’t like an accident or anything.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now, it’s just too dang expensive for what you get. There were only a couple channels I was interested in but there was no way to get them a-la-carte, so it was $80/month or nothing. At long last I opted for nothing.

Well, not entirely nothing.

I’d done my research about HD over the air. My TV is new enough (2 years old) to have a digital tuner. And my folks knew I was going to cut the cable and get an antenna, so they generously gave me some $ for my birthday to put towards a good antenna.

So this past Friday the cable guy arrived and worked his magic to make it so I no longer received cable-TV data, while still maintaining my cable internet connection. And after he was done and gone, I got out the ladder and set about installing a funky new TV antenna.

I’ve never been good with heights, and it’s been about a decade or more since I last felt safe ontop of a ladder, but I had set myself the challenge and managed to pull it off — with only minor injuries. Nothing more serious than a bunch of bruises and pulled muscles, and one damaged finger from when the wrench slipped.

Overall though – mission accomplished, I had my antenna up and was able to receive local broadcasts. CBC, CTV, Global, Omni, TVO, a French channel, and sorta-kinda City-Tv, plus something from Buffalo called ‘The CW’. And all in much higher-quality than I got from cable. Uncompressed HDTV, most of them at 1080i.

It looks straight when you’re directly under it, ontop of a ladder.

However, I was missing all the channels / shows I actually watched. Stuff on Showcase, Discovery, History, CBC-Newsworld. So I turned to places like iTunes where you can get episodes and series (also in HD).

Now while doing all this, I was also working on my dad’s computer over the weekend. Upgrading his OS, downloading upgrades to a bunch of his software, that sort of thing.

Finally I thought to myself, I bet I’m getting near my bandwidth limit for the month. I’d better check on that. I’ve only ever got near the limit once before in the 10 years or so that I’ve had this particular service, and they plastered a warning ontop of web pages I was visiting to let me know. I hadn’t seen the warning yet but knew I must be close.

But I was wrong – I was not close. In fact, according to them, I was already 25% over my limit, to the tune of an extra $36 fee.

Why no warning when I got close? For that matter, why no warning when I hit the limit?

I’m guessing it is punishment, for cancelling the tv cable.

I don’t even entirely believe them that I’ve used as much as they say I have, but I’ve no way to know for sure. But that’s not what I’m upset about.

According to their day-by-day logs, I hit the 100% limit before I started all the big weekend downloads. But no warning, no notification.

Now I have to be careful about what bandwidth I use for the next week, and knowing I’m already in for a big extra bill this month. Next month I’ll have to decide whether to increase my account with them, or cut them off completely and go with another ISP.

The problem is, it’s a dualopoly. There’s Rogers and there’s Bell, and they both charge the exact same rates for the exact same services, and they both suck and neither has any incentive to do any better because they both know they both suck and there’s no real choices outside of the two of them. Whether it’s internet, television, telephone, or wireless, those are the two big players in Canada and they just match each other on everything.

[Expletive Deleted]

Posted 2012.09.12 10.10 in Work

[loud swearing, angry cursing, gnashing of teeth, stamping of feet.]

[rattling of swords, clutching of straws.]

[fists shaking, stress building]

[blood pressure rising]

[darkness]

I Hate Waiting

Posted 2012.07.11 8.45 in Pointless Blather

Waiting is always the worst part.

I don’t like to think of myself as impatient (although I surely am) but rather, waiting is where you lose momentum, or get distracted and something else comes up that catches your attention.

I’m the person who’ll usually kick in the extra few dollars for the rush shipping option. Unless the rush option is outrageously expensive, or isn’t available, or isn’t really ‘rush’. Or if I figure it won’t make a big difference because it’s something small that shouldn’t take very long to get through.

Anyhow, so the thing is I’m waiting for my circuit boards for the ISEB-6 MkII and I was really hoping they’d be here Friday.

Then I was really hoping they’d be here Monday.

Then I was really hoping they’d be here Tuesday.

I’m not faulting OSHPark – they’ve been great, excellent communications and the boards were finished and sent nice and quickly. It’s the mail that’s holding things up.

There hasn’t been any mail delivered here so far this week. I can’t remember if there was any mail on Friday.

It happens sometimes. I never know if there was legitimately no mail, or if the carrier is taking a wee holiday. Like when I first moved here, it was about 3 years before we had mail delivery on a Monday. That can’t be a coincidence, that there was simply no mail for anyone on the block on any Monday. It seemed a lot more likely that someone was just taking 3-day weekends.

Anyhow, I’m frustrated and impatient. I want to solder stuff; I’ve got the stuff, but I’ve got nothing to solder it to. Adding to my frustration is that I’m pretty sure the boards will have at least one mistake on them, and there’s at least two features I want to add/change.

Which means I’ll have to assemble one, identify and fix what’s wrong, tweak what needs tweaking, create a new schematic, order new boards, then be right back into the waiting game again.

Next time, I think I’ll try the rush shipping option.

UPDATE

It came it came it came it came today! Along with a few days’ worth of mail. But forget the other stuff. The OSHPark package came! Yay!

Brain Drain

Posted 2011.03.27 8.45 in Computers/Internet/Technology

It’s very frustrating. I’ve just resumed working on an iPad app, after a 4 or 5 month hiatus, and once again I can’t figure the darn stuff out.

Last time I got back into iOS coding, it was after more than a year away. Things had gone through two major revisions; I had learned coding in iOS 2.x and when I went back to it, they were at iOS 4.x – there were some huge changes.

This time, it’s not like that. I got about halfway through this project in October or November, working against 3.2 and 4.something. Certainly, 4.something was the current level that I was compiling against. And now were’ just at 4.3 so it’s only one or two minor changes.

But this time around, they’ve completely — completely — changed the IDE. I mean utterly, it’s a strange and unfamiliar new beast, and I frakking hate it. I think it’s ugly, stuff is hidden, it feels like they’ve removed things I was accustomed to.

They probably have some positive-sounding marketing spin, but what they’re really doing is slowly moving towards this full-screen one-app-at-a-time bullshit on the Mac. It works on the iPhone / iPad because of the limitations there, and I get that it makes life easier for non-technical people. But if you’re writing code or doing development, then by definition you are kinda technical, yeah?

So I’m really resenting what they’ve done to Xcode.

It’s foreign and ugly and I look at my half-finished project and can’t make head-nor-tails of it. The language hasn’t changed but I can’t figure out what the heck I’m doing. I don’t know if this means I’ve gotten dumber in the last 4 or 5 months, or if I’m just blocking it out because I find the interface so shitty.

Either way it is frustrating and bothersome.

The project has a self-imposed go-live deadline of April 30th. There’s at least a month of work left on it. I know I shouldn’t have left it so late to get back to it, but all that other stuff was happening and this got set on the backburner.

Bah. I’m just venting. Though I fear this is indicative of the direction Apple is taking overall with their desktop OS and I don’t like what I’m seeing. I didn’t like the preview of Lion, either.

Update: Yay, a quick scan through the developer forums revealed that the old Xcode was still available — just hidden. So I’m off downloading that. Later today I’ll find out if it was just the crappy new interface, or if I really have gotten stupider over the last few months.

Anti-social psyco-apathy

Posted 2011.03.04 9.57 in Pointless Blather

Ever have one of those days where people just really tick you off? Ever had a whole week full of those days? How about a month?

Like you pay your taxes, the gov’t cashes the cheque, then sends you a notice saying that they never got your payment so they’re charging you interest, and a fine, and you have 2 weeks to respond. So you call them up to try and sort it out, only to be told that your name isn’t on the ‘authorized contact list’ (it’s bizness taxes) and it’ll take a month to push the paperwork through before you’re allowed to talk to them. So you’re name & signature are good enough for sending them money, but when you need some help sorting out a problem, you’re SOL.

Then you have almost the same exact scenario with some company, only instead of not being allowed to talk to them, they have so many separate depts to handle each little thing and they don’t talk to each other. And their planet doesn’t have a concept for ‘we made a mistake’ so if anything did go wrong, it has to be your fault.

Or you order something on the internet and being impatient you select & pay for rush shipping. Only to find out after the fact that a) they didn’t price it right and rush would have cost them too much, so b) they shipped by pack-mule (ground), and c) they did it without telling you before-hand, and d) they didn’t tell you afterwards either, until you queried what was taking so long, and e) only after you called them out on this did they offer a refund for the express shipping, which f) they didn’t actually follow through on, and g) not only does the pack-mule take forever to cross 3000 miles but h) they put the wrong address on the waybill, so i) it takes even longer because after the pack-mule gets lost a few times they finally call and get the correct address, then j) they have to get the pack-mule from where the wrong address was to where the correct address is, which is a long way because k) their mistake on the address wasn’t a small one, it was entirely the wrong city, and l) there’s not a damn thing you can do but hope the thing shows up, eventually, someday.

Nameless faceless people you’ll never see or meet, who screw up on the job, but they never see any ramifications or punishment for their errors. You suffer for their errors, while they are oblivious.

I’m still depressed but I’m not feeling suicidal. I don’t know what the word is for how I’m feeling now. Best way to put it is, the end of the world can’t come soon enough for me. 2012, bring it on. I’ll have a drink in hand, put my feet up, and watch the show.

I dunno, maybe I just need a vacation from reality.

Cheer up! Snap out of it!

Posted 2011.01.20 9.44 in Hobbies, Pointless Blather

You hear stuff like that now and then, when you’re depressed. Seems more likely in the first 6 or 12 months. Once you get into a really long dark groove, eventually people clue in that it’s not something you can just snap out of, and that if you could just cheer up you probably would have done that already.

About the best I’ve been able to manage is to keep myself distracted. Keep forcing myself on this electronics hobby stuff. When I’m actually plugging away at it, I’m not feeling depressed. So from that angle, it’s working.

The problem is that it’s not consistent or fool-proof, and now and then things don’t go well then it just adds to the frustration and negative thoughts, rather than being a distraction from them.

Like this thermostat project. It’s starting to feel like every time I make any progress, there’s another setback to go with it. Two steps forward, three steps back.

It’s been two weeks since I talked about the last big setback. Two weeks of re-thinking, re-organizing, and replacing dead components. I got a new enclosure. I scrapped the first prototype board. Slowly things were coming back together again.

Last night I got back to the point I was at 2 weeks ago, of incorporating the ethernet port. This time, nothing went in backwards and nothing was wired wrong. The magic smoke stayed in. The ethernet port is installed and working. Except…

The ethernet chip generates a lot of heat, even when it’s sitting idle. By a lot, I mean, it feels just slightly warm to the touch. No big deal, right? Except having a little heater in the thermostat completely fucks up the thermostat’s ability to know the temperature of the room. Gawddamnit.

Read more »

One Step Forward, n Steps Back

Posted 2011.01.05 12.14 in Computers/Internet/Technology, Pointless Blather

Grumpy grumbles. After all my thermostat progress, I was getting more and more stuff squeezed into the final enclosure when there was a stumble, a trip-up, and then a complete collapse.

First I got a part in backwards.Then I hooked up some wires wrong. Then the magic smoke escaped from a component. Finally the whole thing achieved electronic death, or at least an electronic vegetative comatose state.

So I had to rip it all apart and move everything back to the breadboard & workbench, to start over.

Damnit.

It all went down Sunday night I think. Then I got all frustrated, then that got me feeling down, and I could almost feel like I was teetering on the edge of the depression, like it was just waiting for the opportunity to get me when I let my guard down.

Dealing with frustration is ‘easy’ (well easy to say, sometimes hard to do). You just put it down and walk away. Stop working on it, put it away and leave it for an hour, a day, whatever it takes.

Now I’ve got things mostly re-assembled on the breadboard, except the ethernet module which I don’t know yet if it still works… the magic smoke came out of a supporting component and I haven’t had a chance to replace that.

So, not quite back to the drawing board, but back to the workbench, anyways. Grumbles.