Tag Archives: pad

MMG Insurance — One Heck Of A Company, The Best Of The Best.

by Anura Guruge


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MMG Insurance homepage. Click image to access.


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In business 118 years — and MMG stood for MAINE Mutual Group, and they are indeed located in Maine. On the history page of their Website (above) under “About Us”.


It is so uplifting, reassuring and pleasant to come across an insurance company that, from the minute you make a claim, is nothing but 100% responsive, cordial, helpful and PROMPT. WOW.

I have only been with MMG since last September, but I plan to be with them for a long time to come (breaking my habit of shopping for the best rates every year, if not two). That is a given. As some of you know by now I tend to be very loyal to companies that treat me even halfway decent. And MMG has treated us right royally of late. Thank you. Bravo and kudos.

As I have mentioned in passing in a couple of my posts we had a mishap on our April vacation trip to Yosemite. On the last night, a few hours ahead of our early-morning flight, our rental car, a AWD Nissan Pathfinder from Budget, got broken into at “Fisherman’s Wharf” — right opposite the Sheraton. They broke both passenger side windows and grabbed three backpacks — those belonging to Deanna, Devanee and Teischan. But they left a whole bunch of stuff behind like all of our other luggage. Deanna and the kids were devastated. This was something new. Not something we think about in New Hampshire. Teischan lost nearly all her electronics and Devanee a zoom lens to her Canon T3i. Teischan and Deanna both lost their glasses and Devanee a gift card and a small amount of money. But it could have been much worse. They never touched my bag that had my pad and all the travel documents.

Teischan (10), within minutes, still sobbing asked me “is our house going to be OK?” That confused me. We were in San Francisco and our house was 3,300 miles East. Took me a minute or so to work out WHAT she was thinking. She had an APP on her stolen pad that allowed her to access our security cameras. It was not password protected. She was worried that they would start accessing the cameras! She is 10. Anyway I assured them that everything that could be replaced with money would be replaced. Teischan lost some birthday presents she had received a month earlier. Those could not be replaced. Neither some of the mementos she had picked up — including her 4th grade National Park Pass.

I didn’t even think about insurance. Never occurred to me that my homeowners policy covered stuff stolen from a rental car. I had assumed that the broken windows would be covered by my Citi AAdvantage card (that I had used for the rental) — since rental car insurance was one of their many claims. I WAS WRONG ON THAT.

We got home Saturday and by Monday afternoon I had ordered — from Amazon, of course — nearly 90% of the stolen items. The prescription glasses would require a trip to Walmart. It was AFTER I had ordered all this that it occurred to me that I should put a call through to my local insurance agent (not MMG, but an independent agency). 36 hours later I got a call. They said that they THOUGHT that I would be covered. They filed a claim, on my behalf, and said I would hear from an MMG Claims Adjuster.

And I sure did. Wow. It was magical. So helpful from the start. No messing around. No evasion. No prevaricating. Told me the list of documents she needed — and they all made sense. I could even e-mail them to her. It took me some time to complete the claim. We didn’t make it to Walmart for nearly 10 days to order the glasses, the opticians having been closed the first time we visited on a Sunday. Deanna and the kids kept on discovering small things that were in the backpacks. I had to amend the SF police report to include the latest items. Finally two weeks after I first spoke with the MMG claims adjuster I sent her the final batch of paperwork and said “that is it”. I am done. Within a week I had a check. I was amazed. It was for a goodly amount too. I never added up the amount of everything we lost and I claimed. But the check seemed very fair. I was happy. I made the decision then that I liked MMG and was sticking with them.

[P.S., Found a few more things I had not claimed. Teischan had lost a $13 library book from school. The librarian told Teischan that she did NOT have to replace it given the circumstances. But I insisted and replaced it. I changed the password on the security camera DVR as soon as we got home. Teischan also wanted all her passwords changed. The thought of a stranger accessing her stuff really spooked her. I did some checking via Google Play Store on the Android pad and with Chrome. As far as I could tell Teischan’s pad was never used after it was stolen! Maybe they reinstall the software right away. This was not a random breakin. This was organized crime. I have since discovered that there is an ongoing epidemic of car breakins in SF.]


On May 14 just as I was wrapping up with MMG I got a bill from Budget for $403 for the two broken windows. My credit card, the Citi AAdvantage, was going to be charged that within the week. I immediately called up Citi AAdvantage. They transferred me to a claims department. They asked me to e-mail them a bunch of documents. I did. They confirmed receipt of those and then asked for a copy of the original Budget rental agreement. I didn’t have that. Requested a copy, electronically, from Budget. Got that the next day and submitted that via e-mail (again). Got a confirmation that they received that too. A week later with the $403 now on my credit card I called the claims department to ask how my claim was going. They said it would take 14 business days. I waited. I called. They said it was still being processed. I waited another week. Called. Nothing. Then I called again on June 14. They said that they had sent me a letter requesting further documents. I never got a letter. It transpired that it was NEVER sent. The Citi claim was being handled by ‘Virginia Surety’ — a company that seems to have difficulty understanding what dealing in good faith is all about. That is why I reported Citi AAdvantage to the ‘Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’ (CFPB) yesterday. 

While my phone calls with Virginia Surety was going on last week, somebody told me I should try my car insurance policy. Never thought of that. Assumed that my credit card, as promised, would take care of it. But I called my local agency. Yet again they said they will file a claim with MMG. Last Friday I got a call from a different MMG adjustor. She already had a bunch of documents forwarded to her by my agency. She just needed the credit card statement showing the $403 charge. I e-mailed that to her. That was Friday. On Wednesday I had a check for the whole $403! That is brilliant. I am so happy. This is great. This what insurance is meant to be.

Nothing but good words. Such a stark contrast with Citi and Virginia Surety. I, being who I am, kind of feel bad! As far as I am concerned Citi should have paid for this. Never mind. I will sort out Citi in my own way.

For now REJOICE that there still are companies like MMG.


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘credit cards’ for many other related posts from past years >>>>


by Anura Guruge


Fuji June 9 Firmware Updates Successfully Installed On X-E2s, 35mm f/2, 18-55mm & 55-200mm f/3.5.

by Anura Guruge


Yes, as planned I waited until today, June 13, 2016 — 3 full days after the release — to do the update.

No problems. Very smooth. In total took less than 10 minutes for all 4 updates and I, intentionally, took it slow so as to avoid any ‘finger trouble’. I even gave the Fuji battery a quick ‘top up’ charge in between the body update and the lens updates!

Did the body, i.e., X-E2s, with just that update on the card.

Then I formatted the card, topped up the battery, and copied ALL 3 updates to the card at once. As I had read on a Fuji forum that was no problem. Camera effortlessly picked up the right update for each lens that was mounted. That saved quite a few steps and time. Lens updates, with the file size just 388KB, were quick. I think I could have had all 4 update (or more) on the card at the same time BUT I was willing to do the body separately.

Did the 55-200 zoom last. Then couldn’t resist taking some pictures, in my darkened study, at ISO 12,800 using manual focus. I will upload the images laters. It could be my imagination and WISHFUL thinking, BUT they seemed sharper!


Lens updates I succesfully installed.

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Click to ENLARGE.


For the record here are images of each update.
SMILE.

I am always apprehensive about doing any update.
(Pictures taken with my Lenovo Android 10″ pad.)


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Fujifilm X-E2s body –> 1.02.

Fuji55update

Fuji ‘kit’ 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS –> 3.20.

Fuji35update

Fuji XF35mm f/2 R WR –> 1.01.

Fujizoomupdate

Fuji XF55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS –> 1.20.


Related posts:
++++ Search ‘Fuji’ and/or ‘firmware’ for other posts
>>>>

++++ Check Category ‘Six Images’ >>>>


Fujifilm X-E2s Anura Guruge cameraby Anura Guruge

Fidelity New Mobile APP Is Definitely More User Friendly & Useful.

by Anura Guruge


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I ‘used’ Fidelity’s (much vaunted) new mobile APP on my Lenovo Android 10″ Pad this morning. Sure more welcoming and informative than the old one. I liked it. At least had some useful market data in the opening screens — which was nice.

Easy enough to use. Responsive too. Didn’t use it much or for long — as is my wont. I was just scanning stock prices … SMILE. Not sure (and I could be wrong) whether they have done naything major when it came to the account ‘Positions’ display. I tried to reduce it to see more columns but that didn’t work. That was annoying. When viewing ‘Positions’ I like to see as many columns, if not all, in one go. That they have added a NEW ‘analyst sentiment’ column, with color coded boxes for: very bullish, bullish, bearish & very bearish is NEAT. But that is way over. I would like that on my desktop view too. [Yes, I will call up and request … though nothing will happen. They just ‘yes’ you to death!]

Anywho … not that you will have a choice (since the APP will automatically update) … give the new APP a spin. Definite improvement. And that is always something.


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘Fidelity‘ for other related posts from past years >>>>


by Anura Guruge

Fujifilm X-E2s — Must Have Accessories.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.

Taken with my Lenovo Android pad.

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My accessorized Fuji X-E2s with handgrip, thumb grip, raised shutter release and wrist straps.


Got a genuine Fuji MHG-XE Hand Grip for 1/2-price from eBay!

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Click to ENLARGE. My eBay purchase at bottom.


The other accessories — not counting two wrist straps.

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Click to ENLARGE.


My cameras, as you must be able to tell from my “6 Images A Day” posts get used daily. So it is important to me that they feel right in my hand — and I spend a lot of time (if not money) making sure that I get them setup the way I want them to feel.

On my new Fuji X-E2s the standard grip, at the front, was just way too small — especially since I invariably hand carry all my cameras, dangling off one or more wrist straps. I had read on multiple reviews that the Fuji provided MHG-XE grip was a must. Why Fuji doesn’t include this as standard obviously all has to do with profits. The $101.53 on Amazon seemed too steep. So I checked e-bay. Found one for $65 that said “Make An Offer”. I started at $45 and settled at $50 (with free shipping). Claimed it had some cosmetic blemishes and was missing the Allen wrench. That didn’t bother me. I don’t mind if my camera looks like it gets used and I have plenty of Allens. When it arrived, within 2 days, it was PERFECT. So that was a nice bonus.

That the grip has a built-in ‘Arca Swiss Plate‘ tripod/monopod mount was another deciding factor. This is great. I don’t have to worry about carrying a mounting plate and screwing it on. Just remove my wrist grip and I am ready to go. I like the hand grip. All as promised. Full access to battery and SD card without having to remove the grip and the mount works brilliantly. So delighted with my $50 grip.

I had also heard good things about the ‘Gadget Place‘ thumb grip and I knew it would come in handy since as I said I hand carry my camera. So the thumb grip is another place for me to hold onto the camera even when I am not using it. Given the built-in flash I don’t have much of a need for the hotshoe. So that is not a factor. The thumb grip is good.

I was NOT going to get the shutter release button. Seemed like an affectation but after 24 hours I decided that it would be nice if the shutter button was higher up. Works. Makes it easier to use and Devanee likes it. So that is all good.

The ACMAXX 3.0″ Hard LCD Armor Protector is all that it is cracked up to be (if you get my drift). Piece of cake to apply and cleans up easy enough. I like it.

Using a comfy leather DSLRKIT Split Leather Wrist/Hand Strap Grip that I already had at home in case I needed one! Ditto with the wrist strap. I have a few spare at any given time!

Using B+W UV lenses as is my wont. Wasabi batteries, again as is my wont — though one was bad and had to be replaced! going to try some “DOT-1” batteries — though I haven’t got them yet. 


fujixe2ssmallRelated posts:
++++ Check Categories ‘Fuji’ & ‘Six Images’ >>>>


by Anura Guruge

If You Miss The March 22, 2016 Kindle Software Update You Will Still Be OK.

by Anura Guruge


Amazon Kindle update chart

From Amazon. Kindle Software Update chart. Click to ENLARGE and study here.


The March 22, 2016 deadline is just for Wi-Fi or Wireless (if you have 2G/3G support) update of the Kindle Firmware.

2012 and earlier Kindle’s, UNLESS they have new software, will be UNABLE to receive UPDATES over Wi-Fi or Wireless. Basically after March 22, 2016, unless you have new software, Internet connection is not going to work.

Not the end of the world. Kindles can still be UPDATED via a PC. Download the Kindle software to a PC and then transferring it to the Kindle via a USB connection.

To be fair, if you miss the update THROW away your old Kindle! Get a decent Android Pad and you can still read all your Kindles. Amazon knows what you had and you can download the books again from the cloud.


Related posts:
++++ Search on ‘Twitter‘ for MANY other related posts >>>>


by Anura Guruge

Totally Hooked On Power Outlet Taps With Built-In USB Charging Ports.

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by Anura Guruge


Every once in awhile I run into a product that I immediately fall in love with because it is exactly what I needed — sometimes not even knowing that I so needed it till I saw the product.

That is the case with this 6-outlet wall mount tap with 2 built-in 2.4 amp USB charging ports. It is just what I wanted. I love it.

Yes, like so many other households our house is littered with charging devices — we even have them in the car and I have a bag of adapters and cords for when we travel.

With my two cameras, the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 and the Sony RX100 M2, and Teischan’s Samsung, I have a charging station set-up in my office just for the batteries given that I have 8 batteries in total to deal with. For convenience I have it on the floor next to my reading chair since much of what I read when seated in that chair has to do with cameras. So I also need power for a reading light and a clock around that chair. Though I have an extension strip off the wall outlet I was running out of outlets.

So the other day I was thinking that it was time to get a wall ‘block’ with say 6 outlets. I was going to get around to ordering it. Then within 48-hours I get an e-mail, purely by coincidence, by a TV promotion company trying to sell me a tap with built-in USB charges. Eureka! That is what I wanted.

I checked Amazon. Their prices were better. They actually had the TV promotion product for CHEAPER. But it did not have very good reviews.

Then I found this, the ‘Cable Master‘ product, with better reviews and only fractionally more expensive. I ordered it. It arrived Friday.

It works. Works well. The USB chargers worked, in parallel, just fine. I know that 2.4 amp is good. That is what I use in the car. I charged my pad, Teischan’s Samsung camera and my phone. All worked fine. I am chuffed. I am going to get a FEW of these. I would like to have one in each room.

Yes, down the road, say 10 years from now, I visualize all new houses with power outlets with built-in USB charging ports.

Cable Matters 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector with USB ports

Click to ENLARGE.


LG Electronics LGV700 10.1″ Android 5.0 Tablet — Infuriating Rather Than Compelling.

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by Anura Guruge


Other Related posts:
>> Le Pan 10.2″ 16GB Android Pad.


>> Transferring APPS on Android.
>>
Google Nexus 7 Charging & Battery Life … .
>>
2 Android Devices On The SAME Google Play Account.


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LG Electronics E10 LGV700 10.1″ Tablet. Click to access Amazon page.

I got this LG LGV700 10.1″ Android Pad as a backup for my 8 month old 10.2″ Le Pan tablet. The Le Pan when it works, which is 95% of the time, is formidable. It is fast, flawless and has no eccentricities or foibles. But, alas, a fatal flaw lurks somewhere within it. Every once in a while it just dies. We are talking dead as a doornail. Responds to nothing. The on/off button becomes powerless. It is dead. So far, inexplicably, it has come to life after such a sudden death. It is like a resurrection. Sometimes if I bang on it you will suddenly hear this ‘whirring’ noise, like a hard-drive kicking in, and it will go through a complete reboot process. Once it has resurrected itself it is its usual flawless self until it next decides to die. I have an extended warranty on it — so I don’t really care. One of these days I will return it and get $200 (or something like that) back from Walmart.

But it would be annoying to be without a pad, not that there is a shortage of pads in this house. But, my pad, has my Apps and is customized for my habbits. So Deanna, the other morning, when she saw me banging the Le Pan to activate it, told me to get a backup. That was the LG LGV700.

The LGV700 looks nice. Very slim. Nice contours. Appealing tactile feel. I plugged it into recharge, using the Le Pan charger (since they are all the same in the end), and set it aside. I wasn’t excited or anything. It was just another pad, a backup at that. A few hours later I went to get it setup. There was a TUTORIAL that had been activated and it was TALKING AWAY at me, very loud and annoyingly. It was, as we later found out, an ‘accessibility’ tool, called TALK-BACK. And it sure did talk-back. That is all it bloody did. Talk-Back. It was an ‘User Interface’ explaining tutorial. Every Time you bloody touched the screen it told you what you were doing! Jesus would have wept. I did more. Just could NOT get out of it. Deanna and the two kids joined in. They are all Android users. They tried. TOUCH WAS DISABLED. You had to bloody double knock. It was a nightmare. I hated it. I am not destructive and very rarely lose my temper. I was ready to smash this pad. I didn’t care that I had paid $2xx — whatever for it. I hated it. But we persevered. The kids sitting with me to stop me from totally losing it. We got Wi-Fi going with the bloody talk jabbering away. Can’t Koreans pronounce Wi-Fi? It is NOT ‘We-Fe’. Hated it. Finally we finished the setup. Then we could get to to SETTINGS. Then we found how to disable the frigging Talk-Back. Then there was this stupid Knock Code.

It works. It is kind of fast. The system update gave me Android 5.0.2. There wasn’t that much clutter. The Wi-Fi chipset seems decent. Accepted the microSD card without any fuss.

But all said, it is not as fast as my Le Pan when I am using Chrome — and using Chrome is what I do 95% of the time! It is slow and it doesn’t render as fast.

So it is OK. That whole set-up fiasco with Talk-Back soured the whole experience. I am no empathy with this pad.

The miniscule 4.2″ x 2.5″ English/Spanish Quick Start Guide came with the pad was beyond a joke. Had nothing about the bloody Talk-Back based set-up. 40 pages of English — 34 of them “For your Safety”. It was a joke.

I will NOT recommend this LG LGV700. It works and that is about all. IF you can get the Le Pan. It is at least 10 times better. The Le Pan is unobtrusive — when it is not dead. [It is, alas, however, very obtrusive when it is dead.] So that is that. This time next year I will most likely have two new pads!


Kindle eBooks: Heads Up, Automatic Book Update Notifications & Downloads Not Working.



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by
Anura Guruge


≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ Check CATEGORY ‘Books‘ for other posts
—>>> (side bar)


Given my propensity for typos I update all my books (e- & print) quite frequently. Being able to update freely is one of the big draws of eBooks.

Given that I have updated all my comet books in the last week, I noticed that I had not received any e-mails notifying me of the updates! Just to make sure that the books looks halfway decent on mobile device I always buy a copy of the book and have it downloaded into one of our Google Nexus 7 (Android) Pads. This way I get to see what customers get to see.

So I contacted Kindle support last night. They know me. We ‘chat’ often. They responded this morning. Yes, they are having issues BUT are working on fixing them — though they don’t have a timescale.

They are willing to manually e-mail all those that have bought my ebooks! That is pretty impressive — though in my case we are not talking thousands of sales.

So just a heads up since this is a topic that is not adequately covered on the Web. Thanks.

Unstinted Kudos & HUGE THANK YOU To Bank Of America.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


bofathankyou


Over the last 16 days, ever since my disastrous, nightmarish move to DirecTV, I have just felt abused, raped and degraded by DirecTV and TDS Telecom (who handle my DISH billing) — though to be fair during that same period I had service from DISH (yes, DISH), Google (on one of our 3 Nexus 7 pads) and Direct Sat (who refunded me my whole payment) that exceed expectations.

But, I had still been feeling battered and bruised — and mentally exhausted.

A wonderful company with great values. I love interacting with Fidelity. It is the ONLY phone call I enjoy making and even look forward to!

This morning as month end approaches I had to do some financial transactions. I first called up Fidelity. I had been saving this call till today. Dealing with Fidelity is ALWAYS a pleasure. They are so nice. So helpful. So pleasant. I am not a phone person. Never have been. But, I enjoy calling Fidelity. So, I called them up. As ever, piece of cake. Smooth as can be. No hassle. No aggravation. Just pure unadulterated ‘service with a smile’. I like Fidelity.

Then I called up Bank of America. I often see folks, especially on CraigsList (Boston & NH), ranting, foaming at the mouth, about BofA. I have been with them for a long time. I really have never had any problems with them. I have always found that they do their very best to help you out. I have multiple credit cards with them and we have a checking out with them — since they were the only bank in the U.S. that was able to accept, electronically, my very small pension from the U.K.! I enjoy dealing with BofA too — except that with them I also get to interact with them in person if I visit one of their local branches in Concord, Manchester or Rochester.

So this morning I called them. As nice as they can be. Answered all my questions. Then out of the blue, this rep says something along the lines of: ‘You have been a good customer for a long time. You have an excellent record with your credit cards. Let us do YOU A FAVOR and help you out even more …‘. No, I am not stupid enough to tell you the details. But, I was staggered and it takes a lot to stagger me. This was way beyond anything I had expected. It was like winning the lottery! Wow. I am impressed, and humbled. There was absolutely no reason that BofA had to do what they did. I had not asked for anything. I was just going through some numbers.

Suffice to say I am delighted. Yes, it was a big, unexpected favor. Of late I am totally jaundiced. I expect nothing from people. As I pointed out the other day, of late I can empathize with this squirrel and TDS and DirecTV have a lot to do with that sentiment. So, this was really great. Made my day. Actually it has made my year!

Google Chrome On Windows XP Does Not Properly Support GoDaddy eMail! That Is Diabolical.

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by
Anura Guruge


A Few Pertinent Posts:
  +++++ Do a SEARCH (>>>>) on ‘FireFox’ or ‘Chrome’ for others >>>>>
1. Switching from FireFox to Chrome  — Mar. 23, 2013.
2. Two things I like about Chrome … — Mar. 25, 2013.


I have now been using Chrome, exclusively, for just under a month. On the whole it has been ‘seamless’. I can’t believe that I was able to walk away from FireFox that easily, without nary a backward glance after over 12 year association. I really haven’t encountered any insurmountable problems with Chrome, on Windows 7, though I will continue to contend that I find it a tad sluggish compared to FireFox!

Last night I used Chrome on my Windows XP machine (which I still keep around because I still, alas, use FrontPage 2003). I was all excited that Chrome was going to automatically sync all my bookmarks, extensions etc. as soon as I signed in. It did all of that and I was happy.

But, I noticed that it would not render [i.e., display] my Bookmark Toolbar icons! That is a bummer because in some cases, especially with the very distinctive icons [e.g., Marketwatch, Bloomberg, Yahoo] I do not have any text next to them. Just the icon. On Windows 7 this works like a champ. On XP you get the generic ‘page’ icon for all. I thought this was a screen resolution issue so I ‘reduced’ my screen resolution to make the icons bigger. Still no joy.

Then I went to access my e-mail and I nearly fell off my kneeling stool seat. I reloaded and reloaded again. I even restarted XP!

GoDaddy e-mail, the e-mail service that I have used for eons (if not longer), just does not render in Chrome!

So I fired up FireFox. E-mail is just fine. I fired up this Windows 7 PC. Accessed e-mail. Just dandy. Went back to XP. Damn thing looks like somebody puked on the screen.

Here. This is what it looks like on Chrome on Windows XP.

Remember how GoDaddy rushed to my aid when I ran into traffic issues on my blog when the pope resigned. That is GoDaddy. Google should learn from them (though I have to say that Google was pretty awesome when we have had hardware issues with our Google Nexus 7 pads).

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

For a start, look at the parts I have underlined, twice, in red. Look at the BIG button. Notice that you can’t read the TEXT … which actually says ‘Move’ because it is displaying white text on a white background! All those little blobs you see, like bleached mouse droppings … those are supposed to be full size buttons.

This is crazy. This is stupid. This is unacceptable.

So, I Google. A known problem, going back to at least 2011. That is diabolical.

Click to ENLARGE.

Click to ENLARGE.

Notice that there is now a Chrome APP to access GoDaddy e-mail. I refuse to go that route. I have accessed GoDaddy e-mail from a browser for longer than most Google programmers have been out of diapers. I am not going to go down the slippery slope of relying on an APP to access Web-based e-mail.

That Chrome can be site-specific, depending on the version of the Operating System is beyond pathetic — and I am here talking as an ex-professional programmer for IBM, an ex-microcode programmer, a person who started programming in 1969, somebody with both a B.Sc (Hons.) & M.Sc. (Distinction) in Computer Technolgy/Science and somebody who taught computer programming at College level. This is just piss-poor programming. Simple as that.

I am not amused. Can’t believe that Google hasn’t fixed this or that GoDaddy, with their enormous clout, hasn’t leaned on Google and forced them to do the decent thing. Amazing.