1.140 road scholar, virus, tech

Monday, 4/20/2020

Started with a run; felt good and strong. On return, emailed my neighbors to see if they wanted to do shopping this week. Then tried to get into the Road Scholar website. As before, it didn’t seem to complete the sign-in. However it occurred to me that the problem might be browser- or ad-blocker-related. So I tried in Safari, and bingo, logged in immediately.

Went to My Trips:Upcoming Trips and.. there are none. Aha, the Swiss trip has vanished? So I called their help line. “Jeff” (that’s probably his real name, he had a nice mid-america accent) said, yes, we haven’t gotten all the emails out, but that trip has been canceled. (Me quietly: yeah!)

We went over my options. Initially they were going to go through the trip protection insurance plan and refund money. I opted instead to leave the whole sum, which is about $6K, with Road Scholar as a credit, which I can use anytime in the next 3 years. I don’t need the money, and I’m doing a favor for the organization by letting them hold it. Of course I am also taking a risk: they might not survive. If they go belly-up, I probably will lose that sum. But I think they’ll pull through.

Later on, I spent several hours writing code for Crafting Interpreters. I clarified a couple of things I’d been very puzzled by. Tomorrow I get the fun of testing my code.

I was disappointed that my DIY vacuum was not delivered today. Tomorrow, I hope.

The Covid is still lagging: barely up to 2.4M cases, so the doubling time has stretched past ten days. On the other hand, Denmark has reopened their elementary schools. Thanks, Danes, for taking the point. Hope you don’t suffer too much, but I bet you will.

Late in the day I got a call from Grace. She’s one of a couple of people who call me direct with their computer problems. How do I politely tell them to call the tech support line first? In her case, I had to. She has gotten herself completely balled up trying to change her password with Sutter Health on her iPad, and also apparently uses some kind of Sutter Health (Palo Alto Medical Foundation) app on her iPhone and that’s wedged as well.

Now, I know I could probably resolve these problems quickly, if I could put my hands on her devices. But we are not supposed to do that. I was just talking about that with Craig and Bert yesterday. Yes it is probably perfectly safe to put on gloves and a mask and pick up the device and wipe it down and fix it and give it back — but we are not supposed to do that. However, house staff can do that, and specifically Vanessa, our new IT director, could. But Vanessa is up to her ears trying to on-board herself to our systems. So I persuaded Grace to put in a tech call, passing the buck to Bert.

However, I did score a major tech coup today. We had a call from a different person, Joan, who was unable to complete purchasing prescriptions from her health insurance, because she couldn’t see part of their web form on her screen. Bert and Craig both assumed the problem must have to do with her ancient Mac Mini, which apparently had been gifted to her by her son, complete with an old Windows USB keyboard. (Gee, thanks, son. Now, you fucking cheapskate, go buy your mom a $999 Macbook Air.)

To me this was clearly not a Mac problem but a browser issue. I guessed that she had deliberately or accidentally used command-plus to zoom the display in, and now the web page wouldn’t fit in the window, and she couldn’t figure out how to do a horizontal scroll to reach the “buy” button. I lectured Bert on the use of the zoom keys and how it was in the view menu too. And a while later, Bert sent along Joan’s grateful email, she had successfully zoomed the display out and could see it all now. Yay, me.


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