Monday, September 29, 2014

Bless You Beloved Telecomm Company

BLESS YOU Century Link!


Guardedly, with another call needed to Billing, but BLESS YOU for exceeding expectations and restoring RantWoman’s service faster than promised.


RantWoman started her day with her next round of calls to Century Link.


Ring. Ring. Choose the Billing and payments option. Choose the Talk to a human option.


Here’s the problem. Last week RantWoman was told if she pays a specific amount of her outstanding balance, she can get her high-speed internet service restored. RantWoman  found an internet connection, massaged her bank accounts to her satisfaction, commanded her bank to send the requested sum, but the bank would only send it today. RantWoman headed out of town for the weekend anyway and decided that would have to be fine. But today, Rant Woman REALLY needs her internet. Never mind all the details of why, other than work, climate change,the evolution of smart transportation networks, life on the technological edge with underpowered devices and creaky but brand new operating systems,  undersupervised and / or troubled teenagers, frets about things to do with RantMom, RantWoman’s vast capacity for logorrhea…


While waiting for human, computer cheerily informs RantWoman of a balance. We know, but the amount is different from what RantWoman remembers from her bank.


Voice of human: How can I help you?


I want my internet service restored NOW! RantWoman was JUST ABOUT that polite. RantWoman apologizes sort of for not being able to emit gentler requests into the karmic pool.


Okay. Human with nice voice looks up balance. It is closer to the high number that RantWoman remembers from her bank. Human with nice voice also wants RantWoman to pay about 2.5 times the amount she was told last week before her service gets restored.


But NO, that is not what RantWoman was told. Back and forth a couple of times. Human with Nice Voice gets that RantWoman has paid all she can pay for now and that RantWoman is paying based on what she was previously told. Okay, human with nice voice can restore service today but it might still take between 4 and 48 hours before RantWoman has internet back.  


And RantWoman might have to pay a service restoration fee.


(Under RantWoman’s breath: REALLY? Seriously?  What if RantWoman decides to prorate payment and not pay for the days she is without service?)


More questions about the service restoration fee.


Questions about RantWoman’s bill which comes to RantWoman’s online banking process. This is nice for the payment side, but the bill goes poof in RantWoman’s bank recors as soon as RantWoman pays anything so RantWoman hasn o way to review history and detail.


And why does RantWoman have less than 30 days to make a payment once the bill is issued? RantWoman sort of remembers past correspondence with the WA Utilities and Transportation Commission about this issue. RantWoman thinks she remembers noting that Qwest, Century Link’s predecessor, persuaded the WSUTC that the company would suffer grievously if customers were allowed more than 15 days to pay their bill. RantWoman is so NOT sympathetic., ut other travails loom. Not sympathetic will have to wait!


Human: Oh, I am payments. You have to talk to Billing about that.


No! Not today. RantWoman has done as much as she can handle about this topic today. If RantWoman is going to have to go deal with her next iteration of alternate internet connectivity, Billing will have to wait.


RantWoman does not look at her modem very often. RantWoman counts herself lucky to be able to tell when key lights are RED and when they turn white. So it was only by chance that a little while later, RantWoman happened to look at the modem and notice that a key light had turned from RED to white.


Could it be?


RantWoman would love to bound out of bed with focus and clarity to start her day. RantWoman is even riding on waves of good feeling both from a weekend retreat out of range of cellphones and from the Queen of Spades’ extravagant reception upon her return. But RantWoman seems to do better with a few minutes of sending the world pictures of mountains and articles about interesting topics. So THANK YOU Century Link for almost instant service restoration and a few precious moments on Facebook.


Now, bring on the rest of the day!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bermuda Triangle Bill paying for Beloved Telecomm company.

Dear Beloved Telecomm Company

RantWoman has signed into her online banking.

RantWoman has moved money around.

RantWoman has instructed Bank to send funds. Bank will only send fundson Monday.
RantWoman is vexed because the amount due according to the bank looks unreasonable and out of line with this mrrning's conversation with customer service. This problem is going to have to keep until Monday.

RantWoman is further vexed because she has allowed bills to go to her bank but somehow the statement details go Poof as soon as RantWoman applies funds. RantWoman is unclear whether signing in to Beloved Telecomm Provider's site would offer anything helpful. This problem too will now have to keep until Monday.

See RantWoman is off on one of her periodic forays out into the land beyond the internet, a cell-phone dead zone in Central WA where "cloud" means a fuzzy misty thing in the sky and people better be able do to face-to-face because connections to cyberspace are iffy and unreliable. Unfortunately, RantWoman also gets to be in charge of one subset of  minutes and papers. Good thing RantWoman can still relate to thumb drives, better yet before heading out of town!

RantWoman would be terribly excited if all her vexations magically disappeared while she is gone. Sure, and RantWoman has a large supply of fairy godmothers to help make it all happen! But a girl can hope.

Dear beloved Telecomm Provider

The Cliff Notes version: RantWoman has multiple complaints about billing and customer service practices as well as performance for the main telecomm provider in her household. RantWoman is not naming the provider, although its identity should be obvious to some readers. This omission is not really squeamishness toward any particular brand, but RantWoman also writes of several issues facing many customers and telecomm providers.



Late at night:


Dear Beloved Telecomm Provider


(Beloved? Seriously? RantWoman, you are about to unleash a blizzard of complaints about customer service and technical performance and you are using the word “beloved?”

Think of it as one pathetic RantWoman longtime customer attempt to suck up, at least a little bit.)



Thank you for the robocall the other morning. RantWoman had something on the stove and could not interact. Could you maybe possibly just have left RantWoman a message? It is TRUE that RantWoman does not interact enthusiastically either with things in print or with oceans of text on your website, so an automated voice mail IS worth a try. But RantWoman draws the line at flirting with kitchen fires. A human could be asked to call back. A robocall could try again later in the day.


Thank you so much for what looks to RantWoman like a forced upgrade in monthly fees. RantWoman suspects that interaction with a human is going to be necessary regardless. Awhile ago RantWoman’s total relic of a DSL modem sputtered off into the technological archeology sunset. At that point, RantWoman was forced to upgrade to a high-speed modem. RantWoman does not mind better service but RantWoman sort of resents also having to pay more for service. If high-speed modems are state of the art, RantWoman is so not charmed to have state of the art come with what looks like a substantial increase in monthly service costs. RantWoman HOPES that interacting with a human can resolve this, but in the wee hours of the morning, unable to connect to the internet, ranting at the keyboard while steam rises from ears, RantWoman definitely wants to note irritation!


Thank you so much for the cheery voice on your customer service line. RantWoman called at 1:30 am because she was unable to connect to the internet. Past experience is that sometimes there has been a human available to do some technical intervention beyond the basic troubleshooting RantWoman knows. But listening to your automated customer service line refer to your website when RantWoman cannot connect to the internet is such a kind touch, a real laugh riot. RantWoman is rolling on the floor.


Thank you so much for the email which came to RantWoman’s cellphone almost as soon as RanttWoman disconnected from your tech support line. The email informed RantWoman that her service has been suspended. NO RantWoman does not want to interact with this issue by cellphone. RantWoman wants a HUMAN. RantWoman will call during business hours. RantWoman thanks you so much for this opportunity to complain about your billing practices and customer service!


(Sleep, nearly ALWAYS a good idea anyway. Morning stretches. Morning oatmeal.)


Dear Customer Service, using the word “service” with great caution,


Thank you for two different human voices telling me that you cannot restore my service until I come up with $xx.xx in past due balance. Please take note of the two digit amount of the past due balance. About 50% of RantWoman’s usual monthly fee. Please take particular note because RantWoman is considering the option of sending you a bill for free consulting about customer service practices.


Thank you for not absorbing the point that even if RantWoman can move money around and come up with money to pay the amount at issue, RantWoman is unwilling to do this by mobile phone, partly for accessibility reasons. RantWoman apologizes for depriving you of the full RantWoman customer service experience. RantWoman failed to burst out laughing when considering the need to connect to the internet to do basic banking to come up with the amount. RantWoman will now add these step to all the other stuff she is trying to do at work.


Thank you for reviewing RantWoman’s account, telling RantWoman that there are late fees from a missed payment. Look, ya know, things happen. RantWoman does not remember what might have happened in the month mentioned, but things happen. One reason RantWoman does not just let every biller she has claw money out of her bank account on fixed schedules is because things happen. Recently RantWoman was in a conversation with people more solidly resident in the middle class than RantWoman and several of them mentioned “things happen” issues too. Things happen!


Thank you for not even being willing to talk about a payment arrangement for the past due amount. RantWoman did not bring it up, but it’s POSSIBLE that if you had, RantWoman would not have felt called to go on at length about every single issue arising from this customer service experience.


Thank you for telling RantWoman what the new monthly fee is supposed to be, a number RantWoman is not crazy about but considers possible to live with—IF there is good customer service AND the internet speed performs as advertised.


Thank you for jogging RantWoman’s memory: RantWoman’s last laptop suffered it’s third hard drive crash sometime early in the year, shortly after RantWoman upgraded her relic of a modem. RantWoman took note of the impending demise of XP and the need to upgrade various accessibility software. RantWoman assembled resources, bit the bullet and got a new laptop. This took several months during which RantWoman was paying for high speed service but not using it.


--How many fees would you have charged RantWoman to suspend internet service while RantWoman was not using it?


--Do you realize that you probably should be grateful that RantWoman really LIKES still having a land line? RantWoman LIKES having a land line, among other things because it takes messages and handles at least some of the interruptions RantWoman would otherwise have to deal with when the mobile phone cannot conveniently help deal with calls.


-- RantWoman considers herself lucky to be able to lurk at a workplace for supplemental connectivity but really likes keeping boundaries between personal and work matters. Can you imagine why RantWoman might not be thrilled to hear that, if she can use work time to do needed online banking and make a payment she finds objectionable anyway, she will still have to call back in, that it might take from 2-24 hours, AND that RantWoman MIGHT also get charged a fee to restore her service????


--Can you imagine how RantWoman might also not be charmed by one phone voice’s suggestion about some payment options that sound like non-bank options. RantWoman is familiar enough with the ways people on the bus informally cover each other’s gaps in money and housing to appreciate that maybe this meets some customers’ needs, and still RantWoman rebels. For one thing RantWoman hopes not even to have to get ON the bus to resolve this problem.


--RantWoman apologizes for not calling to complain too: after RantWoman got her new laptop and downloaded a bunch of software and dealt with the wait for various needed CD’s, the internet speed at times was, cough, halting, despite the new modem and the enhanced billing. Your company deserved the opportunity to address technical issues and RantWoman apologizes for depriving you of this.


Thank you for not being able to tell RantWoman why the amount of the bill fluctuates from month to month when the service RantWoman is buying does not change and RantWoman does not think the taxes and fees should change either.


Thank you for the opportunity, while being transferred between voices, to listen to hold messages trying to sell RantWoman, cheerily telling me about several speed options, and then, AGAIN suggesting that for faster customer service RantWoman should try the website she cannot connect because you completely suspended RantWoman’s internet service.


Thank you for IMMEDIATE attention to a request to move RantWoman’s billing cycle so that the window RantWoman has to pay her bill overlaps with the date where RantWoman most consistently has funds.


Thank you for prompt attention to the other concerns listed here.





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shameless Plug: City of Seattle Digital Inclusion efforts for immigrant and refugee community.

Skip down to read the actual email from the City of Seattle Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller

OR, in flagrant hope that RantWoman's language access and digital inculusion communities overlap enough for people to pick this up and forward, RantWoman invites readers to bear with several really good reasons just to shamelessly reprint the CTO's email almost verbatim except for a couple annotations:

--The email refers to City budget, which affects everyone in Seattle.

--The email refers to several important community programs where, for people who pay attention, there are opportunities and references to important consumer protection options.

--There are references to public budget hearings, posted hopefully in time for people to request interpreters if that would facilitate participation.

--There may or may not be opportunities to meet RantWoman in person at some of these public events.

Read on!

Date:Mon, Sep 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Good afternoon,
The Department of Information Technology is the central information technology organization for the City of Seattle. Many of you know us through our Community Technology Program, which works to ensure digital inclusion for all, so that residents and neighborhoods have the information technology capacity needed for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services. The Mayor’s 2015 budget presented to Council today continues to fund the technology programs making a difference in our communities:
  • Mayor Murray’s continued support of Technology Matching funds is critical to help bridge the digital divide that exists in Seattle. Between 1998 and 2014, a total of $3,430,832 has been put back into the community to encourage a technology healthy city and equal access to technology resources and education. In 2014, twenty-three community organizations were awarded grants ranging from the Vietnamese Friendship Association to Casa Latina. The 2014 grant projects <> are available online and we urge you to continue to support this important programming.
  • The Office of Cable Communications helps to protect consumers through direct customer service using the Cable Customers Bill of Rights. The Cable office helped resolved 442 of complaints in 2013 and has already resolved 998 complaints in 2014. The Office also processed 4,356 applications for low income and senior discounts in 2013 and through July of 2014 has process another 1,763 applications. In addition, the Cable Office and Community Technology Offices support a cable broadband program that offers free high speed internet service to eligible non-profits and community groups. To date, the program supports 308 free connections.
  • The programming on the Seattle Channel is crucial to keeping Seattle informed about civics, arts and culture in our city and Mayor Murray is committed to enhancing programming on the Seattle Channel for immigrant and refugee communities. The proposed 2015/2016 budget supports important research into community to determine how to best structure and offer meaningful and impactful programming. In addition, the funding will help support outreach into Immigrant and Refugee Communities for Seattle Community Media, the public access channel, to start increasing awareness of their services and community support.
All of these programs help to create stronger relationships between City Government and the Immigrant and Refugee communities that we serve.
We encourage you to contact your Seattle City Council to express your support for the continued funding of our Community Technology Program. For a list of City Councilmembers, visit
You can also attend one of the following public budget hearings:
• October 7, 2014 – Garfield Community Center at 5:30 p.m.
• October 23, 2014 – Seattle City Hall, Council Chamber at 5:30 p.m.
Thank you for your continued support of and engagement in our programs. We look forward to continuing to work with you in 2015.
Michael Mattmiller
Chief Technology Officer
O: 206.684.8341 | @SeattleCTO |

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Free Crime Prevention Workshops from Seattle Neighborhood Group

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

SNG is offering free crime prevention presentations!

Info here

Schedule one today

The Club

Anti-Theft Device

Order online to receive a $2.00 discount!

Seattle Neighborhood Group is offering FREE crime prevention presentations to the Seattle community!

These presentations are informative and hands-on. They vary in length, from thirty minutes to two hours, depending on the need. We have brochures in many different languages and can assist with interpretation if requested. A very brief Crime Prevention site assessment can be provided if requested. After the presentation, a follow up crime prevention memo will be distributed.
We are pleased to present at community meetings, events, multi-family buildings, neighborhoods, schools, etc., anyone who is interested! Please contact Seattle Neighborhood Group to make arrangements.

The presentations we offer are:

Personal Safety: How to protect
yourself from crime
o Preventing theft
o What thieves look for?
o Transportation safety
o Safety on the street
o What should I do?

Calling 9-1-1
o When to call?
o Tips when calling
o Interpreter services
o Methods to report

Vehicle Security: How to protect your
car from crime
o If your car is stolen of vandalized
o If your car is stolen and recovered
o Theft from your vehicle
o What attracts a car thief?

Suspicious Activities: How to recognize and report suspicious activities
o How do you know what to report to the police?
o Reporting crime is important
o Calling the non-emergency number
o Behavior that indicate criminal activity

Identity Theft & Fraud
o Increase awareness of identity theft and fraud
o Prevent identity theft & fraud
o What can you do if you become a victim?
o Common ways identity theft happens

Download a flyer by clicking here.
Please forward this onto anyone who may be interested.
We look forward to working with you!
Allan Davis
Kylie Helmuth
Alex Vallandry
Subject: Crime prevention presentation
Seattle Neighborhood Group
1810 E. Yesler Way Seattle, WA 98122

Monday, September 22, 2014

How to help ...Protection Orders

October is National DomesticViolence Awareness Month

RantWoman sometimes jokes that her life is sort of a Yucky Topics Festival. Protection orders are one of the Yucky Topics Festival topics that RantWoman has come to know something about.

This looks like a really helpful training about nuts and bolts, pros and cons. RantWoman recommends that if the situation is serious enough to be thinking about protection orders, readers also be in touch with an agency that specifically is informed about domestic violence and sexual assault.

RantWoman recognizes that people with such problems also come walking through the doors of various service providers, libraries, community technology centers, faith communities, and a host of other locations every day. Readers from such locations might need to call in reinforcements / lookfor outside resources. One but definitely not the only place to start: the WA Coalition Against Domestic Violence,

Shop Talk
CMA logo no address
Civil Protection Orders: Helping Survivors of DV and SA to Have Positive Outcomes

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Please join KCCADV to learn about practical ways to help survivors have good outcomes in their petitions for domestic violence and sexual assault protection orders. You don’t have to be a legal advocate to help survivors understand the basics and make decisions about these important options. All DV and SA advocates can benefit from this training.

Topics include:

  • The context: legal definitions, and pros and cons of getting an order.
  • Eligibility: determining whether a survivor is eligible for a protective order, and if so which type of order would be appropriate.
  • Helping survivors to draft effective and relevant petitions.
  • Information to prepare survivors for hearings, including understanding and preparing for respondent tactics in court.
  • Potential impacts of DV & SA protection orders on family law cases.

Instructors are:
Megan Allen, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
Kris Amblad, Northwest Justice Project
Sandra Shanahan, King County Protection Order Advocacy Program
Natasha Willson, Lifewire


2100 Building
Community Rooms A&B

2100 24th Avenue S.
Seattle, 98144
Register Now Space is limited.

For More Information contact
Alyssa Morrison at or call 206-568-5454

Interpretation available upon request.
wheelchair symbol - tiny no background This facility is wheelchair accessible

Thursday, September 18, 2014

VOTE: Scottish Independence

RantWoman congratulates the people of Scotland.

97% of eligible voters are registered to vote in today's referendum on independence from Great Britain. A standard to aim for!

RanrtWoman notes that her morning news streams bring:

1. News of the Scottish vote

2. Speculation on Iraq and the Middle East and words like dissociation and confederation.

3. News of the Ukrainian president also grappling with matters of association and dissociation.

I it something in the air?

As for insightful policy analysis, here is RantWoman's shortcut to that.

As for RantWoman's position on the matter, RantWoman's family tree is full of ancestors from the British Isles, but none of these ancestors have lived there recently enough for RantWoman to have any claim to topical nationality,. So let the Scots who live there decide!