4.050 tech, committees, docent, bb

Friday 01/20/2023

Busy day today. First thing, 9am, met with Ian in the auditorium. He has an event at 11 and wants to plug a laptop in to the projector. Said it only worked with the stage HDMI jack. Showed him the jack on the AV desk worked fine at least with my Mac.

At 10 I was to see Marlys. She has a new iMac to replace one just like mine, a 2014 one. She was scared of transferring all her data, thought it was very complicated, Bert had told her to go to Apple, blah blah. I checked and showed her, she has a nice little external backup drive, and a current backup. We pulled that off the old iMac, stuck it on the new one. Booted up. It asks, what language shall I speak? What time zone are we in? What wifi should I connect to? And then, How do you want to transfer data, from a backup drive? Yes pleze. OK, would that be … this one? It shows the icon for the backup drive. Uh huh. OK, I’ll start transferring, and it does. It is that simple. Bert is a Windows guy and has no idea.

At that point we confirmed that her backup file is almost 1TB, and the new iMac has only 1TB storage. So she agreed she would pack up the new one, take it back, kiss the shoes of the Apple people, and pay for one with the 2TB storage option. But at least, after she does, she knows it will be really simple to initialize it.

Now it was time to change to my red docent shirt and go lead the noon tour at CHM. This turned out to be a bit of a fiasco. Attendance was light, and nobody wanted a tour, except one guy. A 20-something English bloke, over here on holiday but wanting to work in Silicon Valley. So I led a tour for one guy. We just walked around and chatted.

Back home, take off the red shirt, time for a meeting of the Nominating Committee. Our #2 choice for RA VP turned us down. So time to pick a #3. Inconclusive discussion, I guess we narrowed the list to two names.

Quick nap, then time to put on a Stanford sweatshirt and my red fedora and off to a SWBB game, against Utah. Expected the team to play well after the rather humiliating loss to USC. Utah is ranked #8 and played like it, very tough defense. Stanford started off slow, down 2-10 right away, then came back to hold a slim lead through most of the game and won by 10.

4.049 hair, shustek

Thursday 01/19/2023

Tidied the apartment in anticipation of Wanda cleaning it in the afternoon. At 9am went to the CH Salon on the 2nd floor to get my hair cut by Leah. Then off to the Shustek center in Milpitas for a day cataloging along with Steve Madsen.

We cataloged all the various pieces of a single donation from one of the founders of Foveon. Foveon started out making high-end high resolution digital cameras for professional use in 1999, when digital photography was a new thing. What we worked on today was the first Foveon camera sold, which the donor had retrieved from the original buyer after 20 years. I didn’t take any pictures, it wasn’t that interesting visually.

4.048 video

Wednesday 01/18/2023

Went for the standard walk. Stopped on the way back to pick up prescriptions at CVS. Somehow in the changeover of insurance they have revived an old prescription for Metoprolol. I now have 4 full bottles of this med. I went online and I hope shut that prescription down.

My main job today was to assemble the video for Stew’s Sock Hop. Stew in planning this for 2/17, and planning has been going on among about 8 people for weeks. They finally settled on a final-final list of 50s tunes, and which were to have sing-along lyrics. Jerry did a great job of finding all the required videos and getting them all formatted to the same size and quality.

Today I put them all together into a 1-hour video, adding lyrics where required. Took about three hours of work.

There was supposed to be a FOPAL monthly zoom conference at 1pm. I forgot about it and napped right through. Later I found that they had zoom problems and canceled. So I didn’t miss anything.

I also forgot I had promised to set up a microphone for announcements at the bi-monthly birthday dinner. Barbara called me at 4:45 to remind me, bless her. So I went and did that.

4.047 takin care of bidness

Tuesday 01/17/2023

Did the gym round at 8. Then, this was an open day except for the writers meeting. So I made a hasty list of all the things I’d been putting off, and started doing them.

First up was to straighten out access to my IBM medicare advantage account. The problem was that up until 12/31/22 I had had an AARP medicare part B plan which was managed by United HealthCare (UHC). Starting 1/1/23 I have an IBM medicare advantage plan managed by — UHC. Every time I tried to sign in to the new account, following the instructions in the “get started” pamphlet, I would get derailed into the old account, where it would helpfully inform me that my coverage had ended.

It took just under 40 minutes on the phone with the support people to finally get this straightened out. The first suggestion was that I register as a new account. Unfortunately that was rejected because my email was already in the system, tied to the old account. The nice lady seriously suggested that I get another email account with Yahoo or someplace. I politely but firmly rejected that solution. Eventually she was able to push me up two support tiers to a lady who actually knew something about the “HealthSafe ID” system that UHC uses, and she got the job done. I was able to sign in to UHC, and it said, “Oh it looks as if you have two policies, which would you like to see?” and listed both. Yay! Solution!

Once in, my next job (#2) was to get UHC to use electronic funds transfer to charge my monthly fee — which they had already been doing for the AARP account. I expected an issue with this and possibly more phone calls, but by golly, they were already doing it, had already done a successful EFT for my January premium. All good, no effort.

(#3) was to email Katy The Tax. The tax accountant is changing their system of electronic filing to use Citrix FileShare. They’d sent an email introducing this and promising to send an “invitation email” I would use to connect, but it hadn’t come. Sent that.

Here I attended the writers meeting. I hadn’t written anything, so just listened.

The Financial Advisers had coincidentally(?) and simultaneously started using FileShare, and their invite had come and I used it a couple days ago. It’s time for my annual financial review with them. This always involves filling out a complicated questionnaire. This year the form was a fillable PDF in the FileShare system. So (#4) I downloaded it and filled it and uploaded it.

Then I ordered some more low-carb shakes for my breakfast (#5). Then (#6) went to the CHM volunteer site and signed up for Thursday at Shustek and a docent tour on Friday. (My Saturday is open if anyone wants to propose an exciting outing.) Then I walked up to the dry cleaners on Emerson and picked up my sweater (#7).

On return I bumped into Lois and Sherry, 2/5ths of the nominating committee, in the lobby, where they were waiting to waylay Ian, the guy we want to nominate for the RA VP job. So I joined them. Ian is a good person to know, but he immediately and definitely refused to be nominated. As a retired academic (physics prof at Cambridge) he says (in his lovely british accent) he sat on entirely too many committees and won’t do more.

Finally I took the video recording of Jim Eaton’s talk from Sunday into iMovie and edited it, and sent a link to it to Stew and Jim.

4.046 comcast, meeting, fopal

Monday 01/16/2023

The big event today was that this was the first day of the big conversion of all Comcast boxes in the building to new X1 DVR boxes. There’s a long back-story here. In short, the contract between CH and Comcast, which covered very basic TV service for all units, expired in September. CH now has negotiated a new contract, under which all units will get a good selection of HD channels, and a new DVR box and new remote in every unit. Realizing this was going to be difficult, the first group of people to be converted were volunteers including the Tech Squad members and a few other adventurous types. Today was the day.

Like several others, I already had an X1 DVR, the old style X1 box and remote. On the schedule I was supposed to be serviced before noon, but of course things didn’t go like that. As of 10:30, Craig encountered the two installer guys in the lobby, waiting for their supervisor. They had problems with the first couple of installation. So I spent the morning waiting around for a cable installer.

At 2pm I had to go to a meeting of the Nominating committee, who are supposed to pick the people to fill three spots on the Resident Association executive committee, two members at large and a vice-president. The at-large job is super easy, just attend a meeting every month for two years. And, greatly simplifying the committee’s work, it turned out two people had already volunteered to be nominated for those spots.

The VP job is a little more of a commitment, since the VP is pretty much expected, after two years, to become the President for another two. Not required, but. Anyway, we agreed on our first and second choices for VP and will approach that person next week.

Back at my room at 2:20 and the Comcast guy showed up at 2:30. And was done and out by 2:50. Mine was a super easy install, since I had cleaned up all the wiring behind the media cabinet while installing the new TV. All he had to do was swap one black box for another, boot it up, and sync the new remote with the box and my new TV.

As soon as he was gone, I could finally head out to FOPAL to clean up my section after the weekend sale. I looked at every book and sent three boxes of books that had sat through four sales, to the bargain room. To my pleased surprise, there were only like ten books waiting to be priced. So I was back home again by 5.

During the day a facilities guy came by to collect the packing material from the new TV. He wouldn’t take the old TV, though. They don’t dispose of electronics, and he couldn’t accept a working device anyway. Give it to the gift shop was his advice, so I contacted Mary Beth who runs the gift shop. She said to put the TV in her 3rd-floor furniture showroom and send her a picture so she could advertise it.

Which I did about 7pm, getting a cart from the lobby, transporting the TV, and putting the cart back. Now I need to send her the picture.

4.045 new tv, event, swbb

Sunday 01/15/2023

Usual Sunday morning. Later in the day I found two good things about the new TV.

First, I had been disappointed that my MacBook doesn’t like to connect to it using an HDMI cable. This is a problem that computer has had with every HDMI I’ve tried it with, but I hoped it would be better with the new TV. Not so. Then I realized, duh! the new TV supports Apple Airplay. In about 30 seconds I had the Macbook mirrored on the TV screen, over the wi-fi. No cable needed, and no issues with picture or sound.

Second I found a different picture setting. The image had been very clear but just a touch too bright, some highlights burned a little. “Expert – Dark Room” setting corrects that. Rich colors, and that bit of glare has disappeared.

At 3 I went down to set up for an event. Jim Eaton talking about the early years at HP. He worked in the HP Labs in the 70s and 80s, saw the beginning of the HP calculators and other integrated circuit revolutions.

This was a live+zoom presentation. I used the three-page checklist I had created a while back. Everything set up fine and the event went off without a hitch. Jim’s talk was interesting. I had dinner with Stew and Kathy and Jim after.

Then up to watch the recording of SWBB at USC. They started horribly slow, scored only 4 points in the first quarter. Their defense was good; USC only scored 11, which would be a good defensive result if you had any offense to go with it. Stanford trailed by 3-7 points all the way and finally lost by 10. The first time USC had beaten Stanford since 2014.

4.044 docent, new tv

Saturday 01/14/2023

Today I led a tour at the Museum. About 25 people, who seemed interested. One young woman went out of her way to tell me she really enjoyed it. Nice.

From there I went to Best Buy and spent a bit of money buying a new, 55-inch, LG OLED TV. The clerk was worried it wouldn’t fit in the Prius. Ha Ha, I said. It fit with a foot to spare. Brought it home, used a grocery cart to wheel it up to my room, and spent from 3 to 5pm installing it.

It works pretty good. It is “smart” in that it has a built-in OS with all the functionality of a Roku, i.e. I can stream from our interrnet on any streaming source I have a subscription for, which is currently, only Amazon Prime. Lots of people around here do Netflix and Disney and Hulu. I can have 3 months of Apple+ for free with the new TV and I might activate that just to see.

Anyway I was pleased that the installation, including attaching the base, connecting all the cables, getting it on the house wi-fi, and so on, all went quite smoothly. I approve of the user interface that LG provides, it is far far simpler and more intuitive than the current Samsung TVs.

Had dinner with Patty Connie and Marianne. Nice.

4.043 meetings, SWBB

Friday 01/13/2023

Heavy rain in the morning so no walk. At 10am I met with Stew and Jim to rehearse for Jim’s Sunday @ Home presentation this Sunday. He’s a bit nervous about it. But everything appears to work. We agreed to meet at 3pm Sunday to be sure to have plenty of time to get ready for the 4:30pm talk.

Jim will talk about his years in the 60s and 70s at the HP labs, in the dawn of the IC industry. He mentioned in passing to me that he thinks his personal collection is the largest collection of HP memorabilia, since the HP official archives were lost in a fire. So I mentioned CHM, and later emailed Dag, the curator about him.

At 3pm I was slated to meet Reni, the currently only actual fitness person on staff, in the gym, to address some complaints I had about the new machines. So feeling the lack of exercise, at 2pm I went down and spent most of the hour on the cyber cycle and the treadmill.

Reni is of south asian extraction, about 4 foot five and bouncy. She showed me a number of features of the new machines that I had not been aware of.

Dinner with Dr. Margaret, Sandy, Joanne T, and Gwen. Very pleasant.

8pm up to 11 to run the SWBB game vs. UCLA on the big TV. Six people showed up. The Cardinal started slow. The game was tied at the half, and still very close after three quarters. Then in the fourth, Stanford just stifled UCLA, who didn’t score for 8 minutes while Stanford took a 15-point lead to win.

4.042 more passwords, meeting, no trip, TV

Thursday 01/12/2023

Went down to the gym and the stupid aduction machine overstretched by hips, so it was sore walking later, and the other machine wouldn’t recognize my ID card. Grump. Tried to take a walk after but cut it short for hip discomfort.

Spent a couple of hours deleting LastPass and installing DashLane into all my browsers. It seems to work well. All the passwords transferred over fine. It turned the LastPass credit card records into “secure notes” instead of recognizing them as credit cards, but that was easy to fix manually. So generally that conversion went smoothly.

At 2:30 there was the major Zoom meeting, led by Gerald of IT, to introduce the new TV remote and talk about the schedule for converting every apartment to a new Comcast box and remote. The crowd was a bit cranky (change is never popular) but Gerald dealt with us with great patience.

Right in the middle of the meeting I had a call from “unknown caller” so I didn’t take it, but later looked at the voice mail. It was from Road Scholar, telling me that my planned Spanish Art tour in mid-April — the one that I had put a deposit on — the one that just sent me an email reminding me it would soon be time to pay the full balance on — that trip? Was canceled “due to lower enrollment”. They “hoped” to get me re-booked on a later one, call them back. I did but got a recording saying their small dedicated team of re-booking specialists — they apparently have a whole department for this — was busy, leave a message, they’d call me back.

I spent a few minutes wondering if I wanted to go back to planning my own trip, like I had started to do. No, not really. It was turning into a bunch of work. I’ll just ride with it and see what Road Scholar comes up with.

I spent time shopping for TVs. My TV is fairly old. How old is it, Johnny? Well I happen to still have the old Home Inventory that Marian created back when, showing all the possessions and their original purchase date and price. And, oh my goodness, the TV dates to 2011. I’m surprised it’s even in color, at that age. Anyway, it has started to have these little spells when the image flickers rapidly. So I have selected my next TV and I may just go buy it tomorrow or Saturday. It’s a 55″ LG with an OLED display. So about 10% bigger, more pixels, etc.

Not a Samsung! The current one is a Samsung, and it did well for us. However lately I have helped a couple of other people with their new Samsung TVs and My God is the Samsung user interface bad. Awful, just awful. So overcomplicated and unintuitive.

Took myself out to supper at Mike’s in Midtown.

4.041 laundry, meeting, passwords, meeting

Wednesday 01/11/2023

Major event today was to participate in a marketing meeting, held to let interested people know about CH. This zoom session was promoted in the print brochure that was mailed locally a couple of weeks ago. (I linked to this brochure on day 4.027.)

There were four of us “typical residents” in the conference room, made into a panel of talking heads by the Zoom Room software. Me, Carol, and Sue and Kieth. There were a total of 42 attendees at the peak, so at least 35 outsiders. It went nicely.

We were to be there at 10:45 sharp so I had to start my laundry early and barely got it all done by 10:30.

In the afternoon I spent another 90 minutes going through the many entries in the exported LastPass vault, all of the sites I’ve registered a password at over the last decade, and deleted about half. Probably 20 that I use regularly, and another 75 or so where I said, ohhhh… maybe… someday I might want to go back there, and left them in. Next job is to install a new password manager.

At 4:45 it was time for the monthly 6th floor meeting, which is always fun to see all my floor neighbors. Then we went down to dinner. Socializing. It’s good for me.