Seriously?! I’m STILL Dealing With This?

Okay, I’m extra cranky today. But I think I have a pretty decent excuse.

A while back I talked about how my Amazon account got hacked. I still don’t know if that came first or if the email I used that was tied to that account got hacked first, but both were apparently targeted.

I was able to fix the Amazon one with somewhat minor headaches. The email one? I’m STILL dealing with the fallout of that one.

For the most part, it wasn’t a huge deal. I had a couple of hiccups in getting accounts changed that used that email, but they mostly worked out well. The one that didn’t? My Dell account.

It really shouldn’t be an issue. Just set up a new account the next time I need to get a computer, right? Well, that is exactly what I did when I got my current laptop.

The problem comes in with the fact that I had purchased my Microsoft subscriptions through Dell. Because it is a subscription, it is automatically renewed, so I keep getting charged even though I can’t access that account. Even though the credit card number associated with that account is no longer valid, the credit card company still pays it because the old card is still tied to our new card number.

I have tried each time this charge has come up to contact Dell so I can either change the information on my account so I can access it, or cancel the subscription through them so I can manage it through Microsoft. I’ve spent hours on the phone with them, but they refuse to do anything because? The warranty for my computer is expired.

Oh, they’d be more than willing to help me out if I paid hundreds of dollars for an extended warranty on a computer I no longer use. Even though the issue isn’t with the computer, but with the online account.

Let that sink in. They won’t provide any support because of an expired warranty on a computer without me renewing that warranty even though the problem is not about the computer, but with accessing their website.

The first time I called them and tried to get this resolved? 2018. I’m still dealing with it.

The last time I called Dell (last year), the conversation admittedly got a little heated because I’d already attempted to jump through all the hoops the previous year to even get connected to the correct department or person that MIGHT be able to help me, to no avail. The person I’d managed to get last time was being incredibly rude and condescending because this wasn’t a current computer (again, NOT a computer issue!!) He eventually hung up on me. And no, I managed to hold off from cussing the guy out, so I was shocked when I suddenly got dead air.

I thought we might have gotten a work around when our credit card company said last year when the charge came through again that they would not process another payment for the subscription unless we explicitly stated we wanted them to. The plan was to just let it not process, let that subscription expire and I could buy a new one through Microsoft (because guess what? I can’t buy a second one as long as the first is active).

We got notified from the credit card company today that we have a pending transaction for this subscription. They are processing another payment. Even though they said they wouldn’t.

I’ve now called the credit card company and we’ve set up a stop payment on all further transactions for this, but for the current charge, I have to wait for it to officially post and then file a dispute.

Did you know that pretty much the ONLY type of help you can get from Dell is for warranty support on a physical product? Feel free to go poke around their website and see what I mean. If you want to do any kind of an online chat for a problem? You have to log into your account. Which I cannot do. See how that might be an issue?

I attempted another call to Dell today, but couldn’t even get a voice prompt that came even close to what kind of help I needed and it refused to direct me to a single agent without choosing one of those completely unrelated prompts. I eventually hung up. I did manage to dig up an email address for some form of customer service, so I’ve attempted that route, but I’m not holding out a lot of hope.

It is quite possible that I’m going to have to break down and set up a new Microsoft account just so I can establish a new subscription. Do you have any idea how much of a nightmare that is going to be? There are so many things on a computer now that is directly tied to your Microsoft account if you have the right programs. There are already enough burps and glitches with Microsoft, I dread the complications I’m going to run into or what I might loose with that significant of a change. And attempting to get any kind of help or support from Microsoft is about a convoluted and non-existent as Dell’s support is.

Even that option is only going to happen if I can manage to get to the point where I’m no longer paying for the first one.

It is times like these that I absolutely abhor technology. The support for almost all of it is absolute crap.

Seeing Color

This was going to just be my usual photo post, but it is apparently turning into a rant because WordPress has decided to be assholes and force us to use their shitty block editor.

I didn’t really need to relearn how to use WP this morning and I’m so not happy about it. I’ve managed to find most of the critical pieces, but not all of them. I did find the option to use classic mode. Guess what? It didn’t work.

Lovely. Today wasn’t supposed to be a grumpy day.

Amazon Suckage As An Author

I’ve mentioned struggles in the past with being an indie author. I’ve even talked a little bit about my experiences with advertising specifically on Amazon. I’m now discovering another lovely and not often mentioned little beauty (oh, so NOT) that is the beast of Amazon. Ranking and search results.

Or, to be more accurate, the lack of the ability to even appear in a search result if you drop too low in the rankings.

I had seen in the last month or so that my book wouldn’t show in the results unless you added my author name to the book title. That was a little frustrating, especially when some of the results that popped when just searching the title alone had absolutely nothing at all to do with the search terms. Now, you cannot find my book at all by searching title and author. Not even WAY down a list anywhere.

It is still very much a live, active listing. I’d even gotten a few KU reads in the last month thanks to a twitter post by a blogging group (seriously, THANK YOU for the mention!!) My overall rankings are now exceptionally low, which is something that happens if you aren’t getting constant sales and reviews, and that apparently means that people can’t even find my book when they are specifically looking for it. And we aren’t even discussing the fact that it won’t show up as a suggested read anywhere unless I pay for advertising or I get over 25 reviews on Amazon (at least that is the magic number I’ve seen tossed around).

I really don’t get it. Amazon makes money off my book when I do. A lot more than I do for the paperback, but they won’t even show it in a search result when you look specifically for that title AND my author name?! That is some straight up bullshit right there.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that Amazon also owns Goodreads and between the two, I have at least that 25 threshold of unique reviews, but they don’t actually work together like that. Or the fact that the only way to place an ad on Amazon for a book (at least the ebook) you have to be exclusive through the KU program, meaning it cannot be on any other platform and that the ads I’ve done so far have only ever helped my rankings, but did squat for any kind of actual profit because they are expensive.

I get it. I only have the one book out there and authors succeed mostly through return readers. The more books you have, the better chance at success you have, the better chance you are going to get seen. The problem is that it is already massively difficult to get eyes on your book with all the competition out there and Amazon’s apparent policy of refusing to even pop a search result when someone is actually looking for it is mind boggling. I honestly don’t have a clue how that even makes good business sense.

I’d even get it if they had some sort of a stated expiration policy for delisting a product after a specified time frame for inactivity, but I’ve not found anything anywhere that states this. I just tripped across the fact that I’m not showing up at all by accident. AND I’ve gotten KU reads, so it has had activity.

So, fair warning to anyone looking to publish through Amazon. There are some definite perks to it, but there are also a lot of hidden downsides to it too. It is hard to say if it is worth it or not as every single sale I’ve made has been through them with the exception of one library purchase early on before it moved it to Amazon exclusively. Those downside are exponentially greater when you are a massive introvert like me that cannot stand to push my stuff in front of people’s faces constantly.

If you feel like giving the middle finger to Amazon on my behalf and want to buy my book, An Unexpected Turn, or read it for free through KU, please feel more than free to do so. Or you can go with the two year old version of the middle finger, sticking your tongue out at them, by sharing that direct link to my book with others.

Now I’m going to grumble some about greedy bastards and then bury my nose in a book to try and decompress.

 

Technical Difficulties

One of the quickest ways to turn a good day into a crap one is to have problems with your technology.

I have spent way too much of my day either attempting to get yet another problem fixed on my computer (spoiler alert: didn’t get it fixed) or researching how much it would cost to get a new one (ugh! really?) because I’ve about had it.

I absolutely hate that when it comes to technology, there are very few options for keeping old tech functioning well, especially computers. I wast just forced to get a new tablet, so I really don’t want to be forced to get a new computer, but I may not have a choice soon.

As of right now, I’m running, just not well. I’m also apparently at a point where my computer isn’t going to run anymore updates for software that I pay a subscription for. I cannot even manage to uninstall it in an effort to install a clean version (and yes, all the virus scans have been run and are clean).

When I got the new Adobe products, I ran into some compatibility issues, but it was on some of the pieces I probably won’t use and only needed the one for a project BG was doing for school. I figured as long as I’m still able to run and do what I need to do, I should be fine. I’ve always tried to be of the mind that I will run something in the ground before I’m forced to replace it.

Except…

I’m constantly getting kicked off the internet for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with our service as I’m the only one that ever gets bounced, and only with my computer. If it were a simple disconnect, I’d probably deal with it, but it requires a restart of my computer. Every time. Sometimes multiple times a day.

I could go on for days about all the issues I have with simple tasks taking way too long to complete (restarting being a biggie), and lately, some of them just failing instead. To an extent, this is something that speaks to this now highly ingrained need for instant anything all the time, but I shouldn’t need to go take a potty break or a coffee break while I’m waiting for my computer to load something basic. It reminds me of dial up in the 90’s.

I upgraded my ram a couple of years ago when I first started having problems (did a check and I’m at almost 5 years old on this one) and that made a huge difference and I seemed to have averted the need to upgrade for a while. Sadly, the last 6 months or so have been an exercise in patience and frustration and theorizing the ability for a laptop to fly through a window or a wall. Or how it would hold up under the weight of my car as I run over it. Repeatedly. After chucking it into the street.

Some days are way better than others, even to the point where I may not have a single issue for a few days. Then you hit days like today where every single thing works like crap or doesn’t work at all and I waste so much time trying to get things working again.

That makes it even harder to make the decision to get a new one because this one IS working, just in an exceptionally crappy way. It is really hard to justify replacing something that technically still works. Especially when the issue is most likely one small piece of a bigger whole that is either outdated or going bad (or in my case, potentially a combination of those two). It seems like such a ridiculous waste.

I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I can eek out some more time before I’m forced to give in to the inevitable. I will be on constant back up mode, just in case, though.

Balancing Compassion With Reason

I’m having an incredibly difficult time with this today. Both on a much larger, external scale and a much smaller, personal scale.

I want to be understanding and compassionate when others are having a difficult time, for whatever reason. I’ve always struggled with being able to see both sides of a lot of different situations and not able to feel comfortable landing solidly on either side. Normally, this allows me to more easily be understanding and compassionate.

Some divides are more obvious to me, no matter if I can see both perspectives and knowing where I land is much easier, but it makes it so much harder to find that compassion. Right now, I’m very solidly landing on one side and not only am I finding it hard to feel that compassion, but I’m feeling a whole lot of anger to go with it.

On the larger scale side of things, there is nothing I can really do about it but care for myself and my loved ones, making sure we do what we need for us. On the personal side? Well, that is where it is getting messy and I am not happy today at all.

Personal choices and actions always play a huge part in how I feel about things and this situation is heavily impacted by choices. Selfish and even somewhat thoughtless choices by others are now putting my family at a much higher risk and I’m trying so hard not to be angry about them.

Yes, there are reasons. Some of those reasons are understandable to a degree and I sympathize with those reasons. But many more of them are based on an irrational mindset that they can still live life as if nothing were out of the ordinary and little to no thought or concern is put on how those actions will impact others.

It is so hard not to be angry today. Especially when other options are there, but those options are refused. Especially when others should be playing a part but won’t upset their own personal routine because it isn’t convenient, yet we must inconvenience ourselves at a much higher risk of expense. Especially when advice and guidance has been given by those in a professional capacity with years of knowledge and experience, but it is discounted because the it isn’t the desired solution or outcome. Especially when this was something that was seen long ago, but ignored and left unaddressed. Especially when attitudes come across as a childlike temper tantrum instead of a rational adult willing to look beyond just themselves.

While the above can absolutely be applied to the larger, external situation, it is also very specific to my personal one. Because of that, I’m now being forced to sit on the side and watch the actions of others put me and my family at a much greater risk when it isn’t absolutely necessary. I want to be compassionate and understanding. I know that some of the reasons behind the situation warrant those things, but so much more just makes me angry it is hard to find the balance.

 

Lone Tulip

I wanted to try and get a photo of my one tulip that has managed to miraculously exist in my flower bed after having not bloomed for years until last year. Sadly, I think the weather took it’s toll. It was open yesterday, but the photos I got didn’t turn out very good. Today, it isn’t open all the way and the edges are beginning to darken and curl.

When I first went outside, it was mostly quiet with a few birds singing and some distant sounds of someone working in their yard. It was peaceful.

By the time I stepped from my porch to my yard, it was suddenly crazy with multiple car horns going off. At first I thought it was on the street outside my neighborhood. Then they got closer and louder.

Turns out someone was having a car parade, much like the one I participated in the other day, except it was explicitly stated in ours to not use horns or even scream and yell loudly out of respect for the studio owner and her neighbors. This one was doing both. There were maybe 10 or so cars and all of them were laying on their horns or repeatedly hitting them.

I get that I can easily drop into cranky old hag mode or grumpy neighbor mode when I think people are being rude. This was ridiculous. It was 10 am. People are working from home. Kids are doing school work. BG often has required calls where all students have to be on (luckily for her, today’s wasn’t until later). I know that there are at least a couple of people in my neighborhood that work in the medical profession on night shifts.

I  get wanting to celebrate something in whatever way you can during all the crazy that is going on. I get that this didn’t really last more than a few minutes. I also understand that, because I’m so deeply programed to think about other people, stuff like this pushes all my buttons. But… the utter arrogance and the selfish mindset behind this still ticks me off. It is just one more example of people only thinking of themselves and not having a lick of common courtesy for others. It was rude at the very base and exceptionally disruptive. I seriously hope that no one in this neighborhood is actually sick and trying to get some rest and that idiocy woke them up.

If me getting upset over some people “just having a little fun” makes me a cranky old hag, I’ll wear that label proudly.

 

Rain Kissed Crocus

It is cold and rainy today, which made for some phenomenal photos, even if it is more crocus. I would have gotten more, but it was actually still misting and I really wasn’t in the mood to get drenched, so I only got a handful. I WILL have some hyacinths for you soon as they are almost open.

As I’m sure many of you are in a similar situation, my state declared a state of emergency. This is a full day after my city did so on its own, without any guidance from further up the government chain. Sadly, my city is doing a better job of actually trying to make a difference in banning certain number of gatherings (though still probably not enough), whereas my state has only made the declaration to free up funding. They have not imposed any restrictions or canceled schools, leaving it up to local heath departments.

Honestly, I’m frustrated by the whole thing. The people at the top that should be guiding the rest of this country in best practices aren’t doing squat, leaving it to those downhill to clean up the mess, but the people downhill aren’t doing any better.

I do my damnedest to keep anything political off my blog, but this is just too much. Where I live, there are no cases in the immediate area, but a few on some of the outer lying areas with more popping up every day. We are in a perfect position to stop or at least slow down this spread, at least in our area, but the people that should be making the decisions to close down schools or other major centers that are basically petri dishes are passing the buck to someone else.

The kids’ school has a plan in place to go online after spring break, but they aren’t making the decision themselves, waiting for someone to tell them they have to. I get that they may not actually have the authority to make those kinds of decisions at the district level, but someone should be stepping up and making the responsible decision.

I really try not to jump into the panic and hysteria, but this isn’t something that people are going to be able to fix or even improve on at an individual level and those that are at high risk shouldn’t be considered disposable because no one wants to step up and make the probably unpopular move to say we should shut all these things down as best we can.

Can we please just be concerned about our fellow humans for a change?

What Suckage Looks Like

One other lovely benefit to living in a area with new construction? Road hazzards. Like nails.

I was waiting on BG after her class last night when one of her friends comes up to me and asks about what car I drive. After confirming, she lets me know I have a flat. This was at almost 9:15 pm. It was not warm outside. I’ve never changed the tire on this car before (wheel locks and a really funky mount for the spare).

Hubby comes to get BG and take her home after I call for roadside assist (thank you car warranties that have yet to run out!!) because she has homework to finish up. He comes back to wait with me and deal with the guy that comes out.

What really should not have taken all that long, really does. The guy doesn’t have his jack with him (shows up in a car and only has a small compressor as any kind of tool), so has to the use the one that came with the car. Apparently it doesn’t raise the car high enough to get the tire off?!

Manages to find a small board to add that extra height and finally gets the tire off. The spare is apparently not fully inflated and his little compressor isn’t doing the job. He manages to get it to a safe enough level to drive on, but not fully inflated.

So after a lovely, extra long night, I finally get home a little after 11pm and still have a ton of crap I need to get done. Today is shot because I now have to go back and get the tire taken care of. Did I mention I was JUST there on Monday for maintenance? The kind where they rotate the tires? Oh, and my indicator on my dash was showing that tire low when I took it in, but apparently they didn’t see this MASSIVE nail in the middle of the tread.

*sigh* I will now be spending my day not in my studio but dealing with suckage. Fun times, people!

Got My Cranky Pants On

I have no photo for you today because I spent almost all of my morning and a chunk of my afternoon dealing with the absolute nightmare that is trying to get someone to kill my cough. There are so many reasons why I quit going to the last doctor’s office and why I hate urgent care. Today just reinforced ALL of those reasons.

I quit going to the last doctor we had because I could NEVER get in when any of us were sick because the next available appointment was always 3 or 4 days out. When you are sick, you normally can’t wait 3 or 4 days. Even worse when it is your kid and they are running a fever. That and when I did go, I could easily be there waiting to actually see the doctor for a couple of hours or more. Again, a massive nightmare when it is a sick kid. I started going to urgent care because at least I could get in the same day, even if I did have to wait.

Then I began hating even urgent care because they treat me like I’m lying and drug seeking because the ONLY thing that ever helps kill this damn cough is a round or two of steroids and the cough medicine that has codeine in it (most times a couple of rounds of that as well.) Because, yes, that lung I attempted to leave on the floor is obviously a fake cough.

When I started having some pretty obvious signs that I might have a UTI (anyone that has ever had one knows what I’m talking about) and they didn’t go away after large amounts of water and cranberry juice (seriously, my eyeballs felt like they would start floating), I caved and tried to get an appointment at the new place I found and have taken the kids. Even though the website claims same day appointments, they didn’t have anything for 3 days.

Fine. I’ll go back to urgent care. And wait. And wait. And wait. Finally get in only to have them tell me there are no indications of a UTI (WTF are all my lovely, not fun symptoms then??) but, they will give me an antibiotic and a steroid for the cough. Cue the “you are wasting my time” attitude and the slight sneer when I explain, after asking about a cough medicine and she says she’ll give me what amounts to an expensive OTC, that it never works. She finally caves and agrees to give me what I know works, but very reluctantly. She so grudgingly gives me enough to maybe, if I’m exceptionally frugal and don’t actually take it as recommended, get me through 3 days.

I’m really tired of coughing, so I’m putting up with it. I have a feeling I’ll be calling back the office that couldn’t get me in today and trying to get in for a secondary appointment next week. I’m so sick and tired of people in the medical profession that don’t actually give a crap if they get you feeling better. They just shuffle you through like you are in an assembly line and toss a few antibiotics your way to make it look like they did something.

Having dealt with this for probably 20 years (yes, I deal with this exact same cough every single winter, all winter and have for at least that long) along with a few other issues I’ve had over the years, it is no wonder I cannot stand having to go to a doctor for any reason. I can say that the office I couldn’t get into has a nurse practitioner that I LOVE and doesn’t seem to have that attitude. I just need to be able to get in to see her.

Ugh! I’ll try to put my sick and tired cranky pants away for now. I have cranberry juice to drink, eyeballs to float, and a graphics project to work on.

Cranky Old Hag Mode

I’ve had probably half a dozen posts running through my head the last week or so and almost every single one of them are rants about one thing or another. Being frustrated at the massive back and forth swings of trying to sell a book. Idiots at the grocery store doing stupid shit (and nearly getting an accidental elbow in the face for their stupidity.) People that play games to boost something random and stupid like follower numbers (People! Anyone can see that you didn’t “follow everyone” when they don’t see that “follows you” tag next to their name. Saying and doing that kind of crap makes you an attention seeking asshole.) People that make commitments they don’t keep and fail to pass along that they won’t or can’t be keeping said commitment and leaving others hanging in that limbo of not knowing. More idiots, but those behind the wheel of a car (do not get me started.)

Those are just the ranting posts about other people and outside situations. I also had several rants about the absolutely irrational, ridiculous mess that runs through my head every single time I think about making a post that isn’t a photo or a book review. Or any time I think about commenting somewhere. Basically talking about the mess that my brain makes of any kind of social interaction at all and the fact that I’ve realized some of it isn’t so much being an introvert, but that it is actual anxiety and that it has taken me over 40 years to come to this realization.

When I tried to figure out what I wanted to post and all this went through my head, I realized I’m just in extreme cranky mode right now and pretty much everything is pissing me off or getting on my nerves. I usually try to keep things on a nicer, higher, happier note here. I’m also all for a good rant now and then to get something out of my head or to blow off some steam, but every single one of those posts would have just been an ugly mass of cranky.

I know that part of why I get this way is that I’m trying to do too much and I’m frustrated at the things I’m not getting done. Part of it is that sort of adrenaline crash you get after an emotional high (like after a major event or vacation), in this case, seeing my Amazon ad winding down. Part of it is managing expectations. Part of it is the massive amount of heavy books I’ve read recently. And part of it is just a mood.

I think I might go find some fluffy feel good reads or something I’ve already read that I know I’ll love to see if I can shift that mood.

Perspective & Texture

As of this morning I’m still sitting in limbo on my book. The 24Symbols platform via Draft2Digital still has not managed to get me delisted 10 days after I put in my initial request. I have been off all other platforms with the exception of Kindle since about 8 days ago.

I’m not so frustrated by the fact that I’m losing out on potential sales from those platforms I’m no longer listed on because I hadn’t actually sold any through them in the first place. I am frustrated because I’m potentially missing out on readers through Kindle Unlimited because I can’t set it up until I’m completely off all other platforms with the ebook and I HAVE gotten all my sales through Amazon.

I emailed D2D again yesterday and they said they were working with 24S to get this straightened out. If someone were to ask me today, I’d probably have to say they should avoid the 24Symbols platform at all costs. It seems to be problematic as they were also one of the ones that took the longest to publish out to. I don’t have anything negative to say about D2D at this point as they have done a good job of responding to my emails and may be working to help this along, though that doesn’t do much for my frustration levels.

Yes, I may have just hit the unlucky spot with my timing and this isn’t actually normal for them, but trying to market a self-published book is hard enough without these kinds of roadblocks and speed bumps dropped along the way.

Glitches and Delays

I had said the other day that I was going to try and get my book in Kindle Unlimited. In order to do that, I needed to remove the ebook from all platforms that weren’t Kindle. I requested that my book be delisted on Draft2Digital on the 14th. It is now the 20th and 24symbols (which I’d never even heard of before I went to publish) STILL hasn’t removed my listing.

You cannot list with Kindle Unlimited if your book is available digitally anywhere else. It is an exclusive contract. So still being listed is preventing me from making the shift. On every other platform I was off within less than 3 days, some in less than a day. This one doesn’t seem willing to let go for some reason.

I’ve contacted D2D, so hopefully this will get resolved soon, but it is starting to really tick me off. I did some looking to see how long it is supposed to take and I saw an old post complaining about the 24symbols platform taking so long, so this is not apparently a new issue. I have nothing but good things to say about D2D even if I am switching because they really are an amazing publishing option. I’d just be exceptionally leery of ever pushing to the 24symbols platform if I ever decided to go back to D2D. If I remember correctly, they were also the one that took nearly 2 weeks to load my book in the first place.

So, for anyone that was waiting for this to go to KU… I’m still working on it. I promise.

Hanging My Head In Shame…

…or it could be banging my head on the desk. Right now, the two look very similar. After nearly 14 hours of non-stop data entry and tweaking what I thought I’d had in place before I lost everything with the Windows update, I had managed to get to a point where I thought I had nearly every base entry recovered. I did realize that there was a chance that my previous database wasn’t pulling my DNF numbers out of my overall books read count, so I couldn’t tell for certain what all I was missing. I had lost a lot of the smaller genre tags that I’ve created for my books and any notes I’d made, but I mostly had any new books added, give or take a few. I’d somehow lost some of my reread and DNF numbers, but for the most part I’d felt pretty good at what I’d been able to recreate.

I went to shut down the app and saw that it was somehow STILL tied to that Onedrive folder and I did not want that. I go to hunt down how to break that tie and see the folder has 4 instances of my database. All with different names and versions. Guess which version was in there? Guess what I learned about the search feature in Microsoft? It doesn’t search the Onedrive folder. Guess who was livid to have wasted nearly 14 hours of work? I was nearly in tears for the second time.

Yes, I’m thrilled to death I found my original database. I haven’t lost anything (that I can see so far), so that is a massive positive. I’m still pissed as hell because that version in the Onedrive folder had a different name entirely from the database I was using. The database I was using didn’t actually exist on my hard drive anymore because it had been replaced by that older version. This is something that should never, ever happen. Even if this had been an Office update rather than a Windows update, it should have never happened. Those files never should have been touched in any way, shape or form.

I’ve moved my active database to a different folder, hoping to prevent something like this happening again. It is in the same location I keep my photos as that is on an auto backup for my external drive, so hopefully that will mitigate any future problems.

I’m trying really hard to be grateful that I didn’t actually end up losing anything and going with the “lesson learned” mindset, but it is hard to do after the work I put into trying to fix it all. Yes, I probably (REALLY) should have found that Onedrive folder before I went to all that effort, but I had no clue that it didn’t show in search results when looking for files. I never even considered that would be the case. I do appreciate this process has pointed out a potential error in my numbers and forced me to remember my database needs to be backed up on a regular basis. None of that changes how pissed off I am at the whole damn mess.

I also need to go through all my Goodreads entries again, because I could have sworn my numbers were a little higher in my database before I lost it, so I still think the version I got was at least a few days behind, if not a couple of weeks. That means that even though I’ve recovered my data, I’m still not done having to go through it all and trying to find problems. *sigh* I just want to sit down and read!!

 

Feel Like Crying and Screaming – Technical Difficulties

I have lost a year and a half of book data from my personal database. I went to enter my latest read and something looked off when I opened the app. When I realized my dashboard didn’t have all of my latest changes I was really confused. Then I went to look at the latest entry and it was from early in March 2018.

How could I have somehow reverted to an extremely old version of said database you ask? Why Microsoft, of course! My computer demanded I update my version of Windows the other day or I would no longer be on a supported version. Multiple hours later and me giving up to get sleep instead, I log in and everything seems to have upgraded with no problem. Until I opened MS Access.

Apparently, the idiots missed a glitch that pulled information from their useless Onedrive folder (which I had disconnected from almost immediately after testing it out as it was glitchy as all hell and only useful for my grocery list, so I’m still baffled at the version I got), and OVERWROTE the database stored on my computer. You do NOT code upgrade software that at anytime EVER overwrites personal data files on a computer!!! Dipshits in QA need to have some conversations with my Hubby to learn how that shit is supposed to be tested.

I was absolutely devastated. I have been keeping track of my books for YEARS in this database. Constantly making tweaks and changes to make it better, easier to use and pull the kinds of information I’m looking for. I do also keep track of my books on Goodreads, thank goodness, but I keep so much more information in my database that I can’t keep track of in Goodreads (personal notes and where I reviewed it for example) and is why I kept using it after I found Goodreads. It doesn’t help one tiny bit that I’m a bit of a flake sometimes and forget to enter a book in both locations. Yes, I can probably recreate what I’ve lost, but it is going to take me hours if not days and I’m most likely not going to be able to get it all.

I’d also made some significant changes in the last year. New reports and summaries I was keeping track of. All of it is gone. I could absolutely kick my own ass about the whole thing as well because I JUST got a new external hard drive to back up all my important stuff, like my photos, and somehow I managed to overlook backing up my database, otherwise I would have only lost maybe a week or two of books. Believe me, I have dug and searched all through my computer and my version no longer exists in any form.

I’ve slept on my grief over the loss and I’m still infuriated and frustrated, but the only thing I can do is whatever I can to rebuild it. I’m trying to see the positive side of this in that I didn’t get a version that was years older than the one I got, but it’s incredibly hard to see any loss as positive. I’ll be getting my review  written and posted, but then I’ll be buried in my Goodreads and Amazon records working to get it all back. I can only hope it doesn’t piss me off any more than I already am or my computer may grow wings and fly out the window. Whether that window will be open first remains to be seen.

 

One of Those Days… Updated*

Today is trying really hard to be a grumpy day. I feel like that has been me a lot lately, which is frustrating because I try really hard not to be so negative. I can see the positives in today in that even though we are soggy as all hell and you can’t walk in the yard without sinking a couple of inches into what is beginning to look more like a swamp, we are safe, our house is whole, and we didn’t get a flooded basement like I suspect some of our lower lying neighbors did. Some people not that far from me cannot say the same this morning and what is making me grumpy is petty whining in comparison.

Continue reading “One of Those Days… Updated*”

Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead

This is another post I really battled posting, but it just pushed way too many buttons for me not to say something. I figured this was the best place to do so. This can definitely be filed under the “Don’t Be An Asshole” category.

Continue reading “Wasn’t Going To, But… Rant Ahead”

Cranky Pants It Is

*The picture is for those that really don’t want to read the rant. It looks kinda mean and thorny which is how I’m feeling, but it is still on the pretty side so you won’t have to suffer. Much.

I have tried. I really have, but apparently cranky is going to be it for me today. I have a lot of thinking to do on what I’m willing to do and not do with regards to trying to be a part of the indie author community and get exposure for my book.

Continue reading “Cranky Pants It Is”

Not A Fun Discovery

So, I’m all revved to get started on my project. I get everything organized and set up. Get my music going. Sit down with my wires and my stone. Get a few pieces cut and start wrapping when I notice it. My eyes refuse to focus on the fine gauge wires enough for me to be able to count them. I literally cannot see the difference between one wire and the one next to it. They just merge into this kind of shiny blob with faint hints of shadows where the division should be, but I just cannot see the individual wires. It didn’t really matter how close or how far away I was, I just could not get those details into focus enough to work.

That realization just about made me cry.  I have always had really good vision, with the exception of a tiny blip after OC was born where I needed to wear glasses for a couple of years, mostly for driving (was told it was pregnancy related hormones and it corrected itself after MC was born). I have been able to do tiny detail work in all kinds of different areas all my life. Tiny little seed beads. Sewing. Fine details in drawing. Thin thread crochet. All the things you need to be able to see really well to be able to do. Now, I probably can’t do a huge majority of those things. At least not without help.

I’d had to fix a necklace for BG a few weeks back and I had to snag Hubby’s reading glasses to see, but I honestly thought it was just because what I was trying to fix was smaller than what I was used to working with along with my eyes being irritated from allergies and it wasn’t a big deal. Apparently not.

What makes all this even more frustrating is the fact that I had my eyes checked about a year ago and there were no issues at all. I was told that the amount I was off was so small it wouldn’t be worth it to try to get glasses and that was more for distance. There wasn’t even a question of my up close vision.

I am sad and frustrated and angry. Being forced to put this off until I can steal Hubby’s reading glasses again ticks me off. I’m also worried what this means for me being able to do the things I love if I’m not able to see well enough to do them.

Crazy Teen Dating Drama

Sorry! No photo today. I have been offline lately because EVERYONE is off and home for the holidays. Hubby AND the kids. But, I had fully intended to post the other day asking for advice on a teen dating issue with BG. Before I could, the whole situation snowballed and I’m left with a giant what-the-ever-loving-fuck! situation.

Continue reading “Crazy Teen Dating Drama”

PSA: Amazon’s Appalling Lack of Security

If you are an Amazon user, please take head. Amazon has an appalling lack of security that I’m pretty sure many users are completely unaware of. I know I was and I tend to be on the cautious side when I do anything online, let alone shop.

While I’m still in the middle of trying to get my issue straightened out and I don’t have all the facts yet, I can do some pretty obvious inference into what happened. No matter the facts of how or why, my account didn’t just get hacked, it got full on hijacked.

Yesterday, I got a notification that my password had been successfully changed, a change I at no time requested. I go to Amazon to log in to see what is going on and it says there is no account under that email address. It’s as if that account simply no longer exists when just hours earlier I had no problems getting in and getting a book.

I call customer service and it takes a while, but they finally determine that the email address for my account has been changed. Again, something I did not do. The issue has to be escalated to another level, but I don’t get a resolution. I have to wait for someone to call me back. In the meantime, I have credit cards tied to this account. I’ve been assured that the account is currently locked, but that does not relieve me in any way, shape, or form. Someone pretty much stole my Amazon account out from under me and I have no clue how. I am still waiting on a call back, but I have no access to anything. No Unlimited. No ability to track several packages I was expecting. No way to go in and remove those cards from the account or any of my other personal information like my address.

I am almost certain that I know what happened, but I can’t confirm any of it. About a month ago, I ordered a shirt that was listed as a Prime item. I got it, like pretty much every single other thing I’ve ever gotten. I have been an Amazon Kindle Unlimited and Prime customer for YEARS and have not one single time ever had a issue with anything, so when that shirt came and I loved it and decided to get another one in a different color, I didn’t think twice about the change from Prime to not with the color change. That was my first mistake.

Not only was the different colored item not Prime, but it was not scheduled to arrive for over a month. I honestly thought that the item I was buying was from the vendor listed in the main listing that stocked with Amazon, but that that color/size was out of stock and needed to ship directly from the vendor. That isn’t what happened. I got switched to an entirely different vendor, but there was nothing in this process that made that obvious. I didn’t realize there was any issue until weeks later when I went to track the item only to find out that there wasn’t any tracking information provided. When the shirt never showed up, I contacted Amazon and was told that I wasn’t eligible for a refund as this was purchased by an outside vendor and I needed to deal with them directly.

When I went to leave a nasty review, I saw that this particular vendor had a single star rating, not the 4+ that was on the original listing. EVERY single review was about never receiving the merchandise. I’m pretty damn certain that if Amazon allowed it, that one star wouldn’t even exist, the reviews were so bad.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a classic bait and switch on Amazon’s part. Should I have paid closer attention to the actual vendor when I went to check out? Yes. Absolutely. But I had NO idea that this was something that Amazon did, switching vendors under a single listing like that, so I didn’t know that it was something I needed to watch for. Again, I’ve been a customer for years and not once have I run into an issue like this.

One of the massive problems with this situation is that the item in question actually has it noted in the top level of their description that the item is only authorized to be sold by a single vendor, that any other vendors selling it are doing so without authorization, yet Amazon allowed this vendor to list and sell this item. Essentially, allowing, at best, unethical practices if not out and out fraud. When I confronted them about this vendor, which I absolutely did, I was told that they watch vendors closely and take action when there are issues, but there had been these negative reviews going back well over a year and they were, quite obviously, still allowed to be a vendor.

Now, just over 10 days later after I submit my complaint against that vendor, I have someone manage to get into my account. Sure, it very well may just be a coincidence, but that would be one hell of one.

After dealing with this last night, Hubby did some checking and apparently Amazon doesn’t have any real security when it comes to your account. If someone has the most basic information like the email address used and the home address, all information provided to vendors when you buy something, they can get into your account with a single phone call. There is no verification process AT ALL. When I called, I was able to find out that the email address had changed and get the account locked down simply by providing them with an order number of something I’d purchased. Again, something a vendor would most likely have access to.

His research showed that there ARE ways to set up a dual authentication on your account for logging in, but that isn’t a standard thing. It is something you have to go into your account to set up yourself. That also doesn’t negate the ease of which someone can get to your account through customer service via phone.

It is truly terrifying to see how insanely easy it was for this to happen, and that I’m not the only one to have it happen to. It is so stupidly easy for a vendor that got ticked about a review to utterly destroy your account. I have no clue what has been done in the time mine was out of my control. We did check Hubby’s account and the credit card numbers are masked, so that can’t be stolen, but… YEARS of history and information are in that account. Do you know how many books I have through that?

I feel violated and ragingly pissed off. I’m already pushing two hours past the time I was told I would hear from someone and I’ve yet to get a call.