“Hello Team”

Posted by jplesset on May 5, 2017 under Real Stories of Support | Be the First to Comment

I wonder if customers really intend to dehumanize Support folks by addressing us as, “team”. Sure, they don’t have to learn our names, though every time we update their ticket, our names are there if they read. Of course, sometimes I wonder if they CAN read, when our questions are only partially answered…

Thanks for listening.  I’ve vented now.


An OrangePi for my audio system

Posted by jplesset on February 20, 2016 under Audio Technology, Computer Audio, Computers | 2 Comments to Read

What’s an “Orange Pi”? If you’re a geek, you’ve heard about “Rasberry Pi”. If you’re not geeky enough, then here’s the short explanation. An Orange Pi is a single board computer, about the size of a deck of playing cards. Costs about $35. Comes with a 4-core ARM processor, and can run Android or several flavors of Linux.

I’m running Ubuntu Linux 15.04 on mine. Everything I needed to install, that I had on my old PC in the audio system is also available for free, so the total cost is just for the hardware. $35.00 for the board, $15 for the “wall wart” power supply, and that’s all you need. I spent another $4.00 for the clear box for it.

The good part? It’s small, silent, and plenty powerful for the job of managing well over 5000 music cuts, managing the crossover to the subwoofers, and feeding another output un-filtered for the rest of the house. Oh, yeah, I use a USB sound “card”, same one I used before, cost me about $25.00. Yes, I’m kind of cheap, when it doesn’t really matter… It sounds great, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

The bad part? The documentation to get it running is really poor to none. It took me nearly a month to get it all working, mostly figuring out how to get the right configuration for the board in the Linux OS. They figure you know to copy the right “boot” file. If you don’t know, then the network isn’t recognized, the drive isn’t recognized, etc. *sigh*

Once I could talk to it over the network and not plug it into our TV to see it, things went really well. I used standard Ubuntu commands to install:




ladspa plugins

and a bunch of other stuff. All up, I see the system using just 9% of the  processor, leaving 90% idle.  What else can I load on this thing?  Hm.   Another post, later.


Yes, if you’re interested, ping me. I’ll help.


More “customer tricks”

Posted by jplesset on October 29, 2015 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Action plan for customer:

  1.  Create a new item.
  2. Locate the file and copy it.
  3. Wait for the problem to show up.
  4. Send me the original file and the copy.

What the customer did:

  1. Created two new items
  2. sent me both files.


What do I do with this?

Posted by jplesset on October 8, 2015 under Computers, Did That Really Happen?, Working with Support | Be the First to Comment

Scenario:  Customer has a case open with me about a feature he wants added to the product. He’s really adamant that the feature needs to be there.

Today, he adds three files to the case, but with no explanation of why these files are important to the case. I guess I need to read his mind.  Sorry….

“You didn’t give me a satisfactory answer”

Posted by jplesset on December 22, 2014 under Did That Really Happen?, Real Stories of Support | Be the First to Comment

I also participate in “fixya”, attempting to answer people’s questions. Had one a few days ago that really ticked me off. The original question, “The other side of my CDs don’t play.”  That’s it.

When I answered, “Turning a CD over doesn’t work, there’s only one side.” got me a tirade about not answering the question. Turns out, “the other side” meant a two-cd player, and player “b” isn’t working.  Sheesh, if you don’t give enough detail in the question, how can you expect an accurate answer.

I fixed it. Tell me why it’s working.

Posted by jplesset on under Real Stories of Support | Read the First Comment

No, I’m not going to tell you what I did….


My response. . .

Yes, you should still apply the current patches; running the version you are running will cause you many strange errors.

No, I cannot tell you why it’s working now, because I have no idea what you did. Once I know what was done to “fix” it, I may be able to tell you why it worked.  I might not. That’s reality.

A New Computer for Diane

Posted by jplesset on October 19, 2014 under Computers | Be the First to Comment

Well, not really “new”, but “newly upgraded”.  In fact, I replaced everything except the case and the monitor. Cost $700. Here’s what she got:

1. New motherboard. Required for the new processor

2. New processor. 8-core AMD

3. New memory. 16 gigs RAM

4. New Solid-State drive (not actually a hard disk)

5. New power supply (quieter)

6. New video board

7.  Windows 8.1

This thing is a WHOLE lot faster than the old system. Programs load almost instantly, and boot-up is about 20 seconds. Diane is pleased….

Are you really clueless?

Posted by jplesset on September 3, 2014 under Computers, Did That Really Happen?, Real Stories of Support, Working with Support | Be the First to Comment

I’ve been trying to help answer questions on http://fixya.com but.. .

Much of the time, the questions are so incomprehensible that I have no idea what the question really is, like this:

Could you please tell me where i could obtain a user manual for

No, that’s all.  It’s in “cell phones”, but that’s the entire question…

Or, this one:

I got this box from a chines site but only says f5s on box

That’s in the vending machines section.  So, ok, what did you expect?

How about this one, in the laptop section:

Need case removal instructions. Need to repair screen.

Might get more answers if you include the product and model.  Or, I could say, “remove screws until the case falls open”?

And, those are the ones I could read.  Some of the entries look like the person neverheardofthespacebar.

Garden visitors

Posted by jplesset on August 22, 2014 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

We get some nice visitors to our garden. . .

Is the “Cloud” Safe?

Posted by jplesset on May 23, 2014 under Real Stories of Support | Be the First to Comment

Recently, our Church decided to move to using “Cloud” services for office applications and e-mail.  Yes, they did it without consulting with me (typical church stuff, the staff makes decisions without input). This prompted me to ask, “Is the cloud safe?”

For values of “safe”, indeed it is, but . . .  If you’re thinking about putting your information in the cloud, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who has my data?
  • Do I really trust them?
  • What security measures do they take against hacking?
  • What backup do they do?  What if I delete something accidentally?
  • What will the long term cost be?  It may be inexpensive today, but next year?
  • Can I get my data back if I want to?  If they stop offering the service?

There are alternatives to paying somebody else to store your stuff in a “cloud”. A few months ago, I got a “network attached” storage unit.  Not expensive, and we now use it as our own little “cloud” here at home. We could turn the remote access part on, and be able to access our stuff from anywhere. Since we own the equipment, we don’t have to pay anybody for the service…

Update to the Church experiment, 6 months on.

Most things seem to be working well, except..   All e-mail with attachments are only getting a “winmail.dat” file attached. Many Church members can’t use these, including me. The Church IT person can’t figure out how to fix it, and every time there’s an update, what he tries goes away. Microsoft Support hasn’t been able to help either.