Category Archives: Housekeeping

Problem with RSS feed corrected

This morning at about 1:00 a.m. EST, one of the plug-ins I use on this blog created about 50 iterations of the same post. Problem has been solved: I have deactivated this plug-in, and deleted the extraneous posts. If you use RSS to subscribe to this blog, I apologize for clogging up your RSS reader.

Site improvements

I’ve just finished a minor rebuild of the entire Web site, including improved navigation on the main site. I made minor design changes on the main site to improve legibility, and make it look more consistent with this blog and my sermon archives.

Most importantly, there’s now a Site Map to give an overview of the whole site.

Additionally, I added lots of new content here — songs and arrangements from our church’s Folk Choir.

Archives (mostly) online now

Alas, I didn’t have time to write a real post today, because I spent the evening rebuilding my online sermon archives. They’re pretty much all there — the good sermons, the mediocre ones, the real stinkers — although some of them were just so bad I restricted access, just to save you the anguish of reading even the first paragraph. And I’ve lost several sermons over time (though generally speaking, they’re no loss). Everything up through January, 2008, is now up. The rest will be up soon. No extra charge for typographical errors.


Upgrade to blog software should now be complete. If you notice anything that looks amiss, please let me know in the comments below.

During this blog update, I have increased protection against comment spam. If you experience problems posting comments, please let me know via my email address danrharper-AT-aoldotcom.


We finally have DSL service again. Which means I will be posting regularly to this blog again. The next three paragraphs give the long saga of our problems with Verizon;– and the final paragraph offers some advice should you have to call Verizon’s support center.

Here’s what happened:– Our DSL service went out on July 31. We called Verizon the next day, and they sent a tech out on August 2 — he found that our service had been improperly grounded when originally installed by Verizon, and he fixed that problem. Still no DSL. We called Verizon again, talked to help desk people (with such poor English skills that they were obviously based in some call center overseas) who supposedly “tested the line.” At one point, the person I was talking to got offended when I told him he was going to have to repeat himself yet again because I simply couldn’t understand his accent. He claimed the problem would “be resolved.” Still no DSL by Wednesday, August 6, so we had to call Verizon yet again.

They sent a tech out, and then Verizon called back at 4:10 p.m. on the 6th saying the problem would be resolved within 24 hours. When we still didn’t have DSL by about 3 p.m. on Thursday, I called Verizon, who said that now the problem was in their office, and it would take five days for things to settle down (I think that’s what he said, again his English skills weren’t great). Still no DSL by Friday, August 15, so we had to call Verizon yet again.

They said they’d send someone out on Monday, August 18. Tom, the same tech we had the first time, showed up (Tom is great, by the way, one of the few Verizon employees I spoke with who seemed competent, intelligent, and courteous). Tom did some tests, and told me that our DSL modem had burned out, probably due to the problems and due to all the tests they had run on our line from the central office. So I called Verizon yet again, and after an hour got them to send us a free modem. Which arrived today, August 19. I tried to set it up, ran into problems, called Verizon yet again, yet again got someone who didn’t speak English well, and who couldn’t answer my question — she transferred my call to someone else, who promptly cut me off. During the 15 minutes I had to wait for him to call me back, I solved the problem on my own, and so didn’t bother to answer when the phone rang. By this time, the last thing I wanted to do was to explain to someone with poor English skills that I had solved the problem on my own — that’s not something that is on the scripts they read from, and I knew his response would be something like this: “[pause] OK, I understand. Now, please power down the modem and restart your computer….”

The following may be helpful to you if you have to deal with Verizon support:– (a) When you call Verizon’s 800 help number, press “0” (that’s a zero) at any time to be connected directly to an agent. (b) Be aware that their voice recognition software often cannot understand what you say, so whenever they give you the option of punching in information using your phone’s number pad, do so. (c) The menus on their phone system change from call to call, and making the same choice on one menu on two different calls will get you two completely different results — so be prepared to have your call forwarded to the wrong place. (d) Verizon help desk staff do not respond if you are polite or courteous, but they do respond if you speak loudly and use your authoritative voice of command. (e) If Verizon tells you something is going to cost you money, argue with them, tell them it is their fault, tell them you should not have to pay — worked every time for me. (f) Supposedly if you call their help line at night, you may get connected to their call center in Canada, which means you will probably talk with a native English speaker. (g) Remember:– Verizon is not in the business of providing good customer service. They’re the phone company, they don’t have to care. Your blood pressure may be lower if you can just keep that in mind.

15 days and counting

We haven’t had DSL service for 15 days now. Verizon has been out to our apartment twice, and we have spent hours (literally) on the phone with their tech support people. Still no DSL. They say they almost have the problem solved now, and all it will take is one last visit to our apartment by one of their techs. But I am not holding my breath.

What was the line on that old television comedy show?… “We’re the phone company. We don’t have to care.”

Until Verizon finally effects a repair, I am using the free wifi at our local coffee shop, and posting to this blog when I can. But don’t be surprised if I skip a day now and then.

Spam attack

Another spate of comment spam has hit this blog. My spam filters are working, but they’re working too well — I just pulled a real comment out of the trash. So if you comment on a post and it doesn’t appear within 24 hours, send me email to let me know.

Link love

As the number of blogs keeps increasing, I’m finding it harder to find new blogs that I want to read; search engines like Google Blogs and Technorati give too much weight to corporate blogs. These days, I’m finding the best new blogs by following links from blogs I already read. Yet so many bloggers have let their blogrolls fill up with dead links… which realization caused me to revamp my own blogroll.

I don’t have room on the sidebar for all the great blogs I have found, so I’ve added a Page of Blogs. In the spirit of spreading link love around, if I read your blog more than twice, or if you link to a post on my blog, I’ll link to your blog from my Page of Blogs. In fact, if you simply comment on my blog, I’ll link to you from there.

And hey, if you’re a blogger, maybe I could encourage you to spread a little link love around by updating and expanding your blogroll. After all, blogging is supposed to be a conversation, right?