Friday, June 30, 2017

Turning Off Annoying Wi-Fi Notifications on Androids

If every time you swipe down on your phone or turn on the screen it has a notification as to what wi-fi spot you are connected to, and you find that annoying (as any normal person would), it's easy to turn off that notification. Here is how: Go to Settings/Wi-Fi and then touch the menu icon in the upper right-hand corner, then select Advanced and Turn off/uncheck the Wi-Fi notifications.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

West Elm (Phoenix)

West Elm has just opened a store in Uptown Plaza which has gone through quite a remodeling and upgrading (although they still don't get it when it comes to making the parking lot safer). West Elm furniture is quite nice and not outrageously priced. And, while you can for now during their "grand opening" get a bigger discount (20%) in the store compared to shopping on line (15%), if you over the age of 40, do NOT go into the store. It's akin to going into a hip-happening clothes-store for teenagers who have to be immersed in loud awful music. Even if your sales person is not a low-talker, you're going to have trouble hearing what they say. 

PS: If you happen to see an item (e.g., a night stand) with a label stating an incorrect price (e.g., $199 instead of $299), don't make the mistake one couple made today of buying just two. West Elm will honor the posted price, so buy hundreds, keep two and sell the rest on eBay.

PPS: West Elm offers designer services. Some cost, but you can have an hour of free in-home consultation including paint selection assistance.

Ken's Steak House Lite Caesar Dressing & Marinade

Once you taste Ken's Steak House Lite Caesar Dressing & Marinade, you will have opened a world of culinary delights like you never dreamed possible. Obviously, it's a salad dressing, but it's so much more. The only limit to things to use it on or with is your imagination. Try it for an artichoke dip, yum. As a salmon rub, yum. But here is the really great news: Its being low in calories makes for a great diet aid. For example, no longer do raw celery stalks have to be your only snacking food ... now you can dip them in a table spoon of this dressing and you will have added just 30 calories to your snack ... and that's 30 delicious calories.*

     *  While the label says 35 calories per tablespoon, likely 5 calories will drip off while you're noshing on your celery stalks, which is why it's always wise to wear a dribble cup or an apron.

Image result for ken's steakhouse lite caesar dressing

Computer Help (Phoenix)

The Computer Group is a Phoenix based company that can address any computer need you might have from networking issues, to cabling, to computer repairs. They work with both businesses and residences, are exceedingly professional, and really know what they are doing. Given their expertise and the difficult problems they are able to solve, their charges are quite reasonable. 

By way of example, suppose you are looking to buy a new residence. The current owner has internet service but no cable television or land-line phone service. Everyone will tell you: "No problem. Cox will be able to run cable anywhere you want." Heed that advice and you're likely in for a shock. You could just as easily have Cox drill into an electric line or water pipe or worse, and Cox might not even be able to figure out how to get cable to where you want your televisions or how to get Cat-5 to where you want your computers (and if you don't think an ethernet connection is better than wi-fi for your computers, you need more help than you might think).

So, whether you need cabling help, or data recovery, repairs or upgrades, virus removal, network cabling, or audio/video help, contact Shannon: 602-616-4060 /

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief (2017)

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore is a world-renowned bereavement counselor, professor, and researcher. Her latest book, Bearing the Unbearable, just came out, and is available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle. The insights she brings come not just from her studying grief and counseling those who are grieving and teaching about grief, they also come from her own grief in the death of her infant daughter.

What makes this book so powerful, and so instructive, is that it simultaneously addresses grief both from the perspective of those who are grieving and from the perspective of those who are in contact with those who are grieving. It is not a hand-book, but instead, is a shining beacon: (i) for the person grieving, what grieving is not and cannot be, namely, something to be overcome or get past or move on from; and (ii) for the person in contact with the person grieving, what is helpful and not helpful viz the grieving person, because their grief is not something you can or should help them to overcome or get past or move on from.

How grief might be embraced truly is an individual journey. For some, the journey might be enriching. For others, the journey might be a descent into inescapable despair. But what this book makes painfully clear: There is no elixir; there are no good works to accomplish as compensation; there is no 12-step program; there is no way around grief--only through it; there is no conquering grief--rather, mustering the courage to surrender to it; and there are no answers to the question "why" and perhaps no reason even to ask "why."

As this book drills home: Only by avoiding love might one avoid grief--if one loves, one is destined to grieve. 

Link to Book on Amazon

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Reasons to Shun Beta Testing iOS 11

[Courtesy of cnet]

Apple on Monday opened testing of iOS 11 to the general public. Signing up and installing the beta takes just a few minutes of your time. However, it's important to remember that a public beta -- regardless of how stable it may seem -- can wreak havoc on your device and, potentially, the data stored on it.  
Instead, the best approach to helping Apple beta test its software is to use a secondary device, such as an old iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch. Still tempted? Here are a few reasons it's a good idea to wait or, at the very least, not install a public beta on your main devices. 

Bugs! Bugs everywhere! 

The quality of early iOS betas has improved drastically over the years, but the software is still labeled as a beta for a reason: it's not done and it's not always going to behave as it should. Some bugs can impact Apple's own apps and services, while others break third-party apps. For example, 9to5Mac recently published the release notes for the second developer beta of iOS 11 and it lists issues with apps from Tweetbot to Square Cash. Things are going to break, and it may be a long time before Apple fixes them. 

Battery life is a drain

One of the last things to improve during the beta process is battery life. Apple implements new features and interface tweaks, and then once it all begins to come together it tackles improving battery life. 

Data loss is real

You always run the chance of losing data when testing beta software. In the past, I've personally lost countless photos and documents when testing a beta version of iOS and iCloud Drive. I had a backup of everything, but it was a stark reminder that beta testing can not only force you to encounter bugs where apps don't work, but also delete files without any warning at all. 

Going back to iOS 10 is a hassle

Once you opt into the beta program and upgrade, you're not stuck on iOS 11, but if you decide you want to downgrade the only way to do so is with a complete factory reset. And any backups created by iOS 11 cannot be restored to iOS 10. In other words, you'll be forced to either reset and set up as a brand new device or restore to the latest iOS 10 backup you have. Neither solution is ideal. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Terrific Dedicated (and Free) Gmail Client

A lot of people use Gmail. It's great, but having to access it via a web browser instead of a dedicated program can sometimes be inconvenient. Browsers take up lots of RAM, for example. And it's annoyingly easy to inadvertently close your mail when closing your browser, even if you didn't really mean to close the Gmail tab. Plus, because you're accessing Gmail via a browser, there's no Gmail icon on your task bar. It's just another browser window or tab. So it's not easy to quickly flip between your email and another open program. 
Kiwi for Gmail is an email program designed solely for Gmail. It works like a normal Windows program rather than a web browser, but the experience is precisely the same. You will hardly know you're not using a browser. Plus, you don't need to configure Gmail settings for IMAP or POP in order to use it. Just log into Gmail via Kiwi in the normal way.

Changing Your Android Home Screen

You can designate any of the screens as the default home screen on Androids. Here's how: Do a pinching sweep on the screen which will make the screen look like below; swipe left or right until you get to the screen you want to make your default home screen; and tap the little home symbol at the top of the page. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Better Vacation Rentals

Forget Airbnb, VRBO, and the other vacation rental sites you've heard of. Check out these better and way cooler ones:

Welcome Beyond: Specializing in unusual houses and small hotels all over the world. Welcome Beyond Website

One Fine Stay:  Specializing in luxury hotel-like service in apartments and houses all over the world. One Fine Stay Website

The Thinking Traveler: Specializing in unique properties, such as your own private beach compound on a Greek Island. The Thinking Traveler Website

Boutique Homes: Specializing in really cool places for chic and thrifty nomads. Boutique Homes Website

Landmark Trust: Specializing in historically significant places in England (e.g., John Keats' home) and some in France, and fees go to preserving these places. Landmark Trust Website

Condor Airlines (Phoenix)

Condor Airlines is the best airline to get to Europe in that you can get first/business class service with lie-flat seats for the same price (or lower) as coach fares charged by most airlines. Starting next May, Condor will begin non-stop service between Phoenix and Frankfurt.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Pedestals for Washers and Dryers

If your washer and dryer are not on pedestals, our Home Appliance Group (HAG) is speechless other than to warn you to be careful when you bend over to get laundry out. The good news is, even if you forgot to or for some inexplicable reason didn't buy pedestals when you bought your washer and dryer, you can buy them almost anywhere online or in appliance and home stores. The bad news is that ones made by the manufacturer for your particular model are pricey ($200+ to $350 each). But the good news is you also can get generic ones for much less. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Customizing and Managing Screens on an Android

Your Android phone comes with four home screens by default, and
you can add more, up to a total of seven. You can also
rearrange the home screens in a different order.

1. From the Home screen, pinch the screen.
– or –
Touch and hold an empty space on the screen.

2. Use these options to manage screens:

• Add a screen: Scroll to the end of the screens, and then tap
on a screen to add it.

• Remove a screen: Touch and hold on a screen, and then
drag it to the Remove icon.

• Set a screen as the main home screen: Tap at the
top of a screen. This screen displays when you press the
Home Key.

• Change the order of screens: Touch and hold on a screen,
and then drag to a new position

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wall Oven Secrets Revealed

Anyone who ever has had a wall-oven cannot go back to an under-counter oven. Amazingly, many people think that a wall-oven has to be vented. It does not. So, if you have space for a wall-oven you can build one in. And if you have space for a single wall-oven, you have space for a double-wall oven. Or, if you have an under-counter oven, you can add a single wall oven wherever you have space and use the under-counter oven for your second oven.

Here is what a single wall-oven looks like just "placed" on a counter:

Image result for single wall oven

Here is what a double wall-oven that fits in a single wall-oven space just "placed" on a counter looks like:

 Image result for ge double wall oven that fits in single wall oven space

Auto Advance in Gmail

Tired of having to click on each email to see the reading pane in Gmail, use Auto Advance. Go to Settings/Labs/Auto-advance and hit Enable. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Preview Pane in Gmail

If, as so  many of our readers are, you are switching from Outlook to Gmail, and you miss the preview pane as displayed  in Outlook, Gmail has a version of it. It's not as good as Outlook's but you might run it  up the flagpole and give it a whirl. Go Settings/Lab/Split Screen and hit Enable. Back in Gmail you'll see a new box in the upper-right giving three split screen options: none/vertical/horizontal. 

Templates in Gmelius for Gmail

Unlike in Outlook, if you insert a Gmelius template (e.g., a template giving your full name, address, phone) in a Gmail text, it will wipe out the text. We have contacted Gmelius to address this issue. In the meantime, here's the work-around: Insert the template before typing the email text, and then type the email text above the template.

Undo Text in Gmail and Other Short-Cuts

Unlike Outlook, Gmail does not have an "undo text" button. But it does have a keyboard "undo text" short-cut. Just hit Ctrl-z, and your last text entry will be deleted. You can keep hitting Ctrl-z and it will keep deleting each next-last text entry. And keep going and it will bring back deleted text. Undo text is not the only keyboard short-cut in Gmail. In fact, there are a bunch of them, many of which are real time savers or otherwise truly useful. To see a list of all such shortcuts, open Gmail and type "?" (without the quote marks), and schzam, you'll see em all.

Flying to Santa Fe From Phoenix

If you think airline pricing is strange, look into flying from Phoenix to Santa Fe. If you fly American, it is much less expensive (close to half) than flying Southwest to Albuquerque--even before you pay for a shuttle or rent a car. Odder yet, perhaps, flying round trip on American to Santa Fe is just $10 more than flying one way. And, unlike the previous airline that flew Phoenix to Santa Fe, the American planes are real planes with jet engines, air conditioning, and toilets. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sewer and Water Line Protection (Phoenix)

If you own (and especially if you are selling) or are buying a home that was built before 1980 (or even later), sewer line protection is very inexpensive (under $70/year) and worth it given the cost if something does go wrong. Water line protection is not as critical but it too is inexpensive. Below are the links to where you buy it and a newspaper article that will give you comfort that this is not a snake oil scam.

Link to USP Website

Link to Informative Article

Chrome Update 59

Version 59 of Chrome has some stark differences (e.g., the settings page looks completely different). Many people are having difficulty having it install. If you look at Settings/About and it has a button that says "new version will be installed on relaunch," and you click on the button and Version 58 still appears, here is how to fix it (after backing up your favorites and creating a restore point just to be safe):

Close Chrome
Go to Task Manager/Process and End Task for any process that says Google Chrome
Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application and look for chrome and new_chrome
Delete chrome
Rename new_ chrome as chrome
Delete Folder 58xxxxx
Open Chrome and check Settings/About that the fix worked

Gmelius for Gmail

If you've finally had it with Outlook (it's great when it works, but too often, it just breaks down, and Microsoft support is a joke) or your ISP (Cox has a spam system that Cox admits can and does wrongly tag even the most innocent residential customer as a spam source and, once so tagged, Cox has no way to undo it), and have switched to Gmail, Gmelius is an absolute must extension to Chrome or whatever browser you're using for Gmail. Gmelius lets you do all kinds of customizations and tweaks not available in Gmail (e.g., templates), it's easy to use (you just go down its setting choices and turn on or off each setting you want or don't want), and it's free.

Link to Gmelius Website

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Arizona Republic Price Increase

If you read the last paragraph of the letter from the Republic, it announced a 10+% price increase on home delivery. If you call customer support, and tell them you are so upset you are thinking of cancelling, especially if you have been a customer for more than 30 years and a senior citizen and one of the last few hold-outs on your block still getting the paper, and you are just getting over the upset of their not timely crediting you for your last vacation hold, they just might agree to keep you on your current billing rate. 

Best Mesh Wi-Fi Network (Blanketing Your Home)

Even compared to systems that cost double (e.g., Eero), cnet recommends Google Wi-Fi (which costs under $120) as your best choice to have wi-fi coverage all over your house ... say good-bye to dead spots or spotty coverage. See Link to cnet Review

 Image result for google wifi

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Aastra 470 Desk Phone

Although it's not made any more and can be difficult to find a new one, the Aastra 470 desktop phone remains the best of breed. It has every feature anyone could want, including a 50-name directory, message waiting light, Caller ID, Speed Dials, and more and more. Big Sky Communications sells them, with free shipping, for under $100, and has excellent customer support. Here is what one looks like:
Image result for aastra 470

Link to Big Sky Website

Monday, June 12, 2017

Boardwalk Empire (on Amazon Prime)

Based on Episode 1 of Season 1, Boardwalk Empire, although flawed, is enjoyable to watch. On the downside, it's not easy to follow what's going on or who is who or who or what is on which side of what, and it annoyingly imitates signatures of The Godfather (e.g., carrying out murders with opera playing in the background). At the same time, it's got Steve Buscemi in the lead and Kelly MacDonald, and even Omar from The Wire, and screen characters don't get any better than that. In short, the characters portray real people, the sub-plots are gripping, and the photography is wonderful. Can't tell if we'll ever get to Season 5, but we'll definitely get to Episode 2 of Season 1.

IMDb Link to Boardwalk Empire

Saving Emails in Gmail

In Outlook, with one-click you can save an email to your computer or to any external device. Not so with Gmail. But, you can do so in a few simple clicks. Open the email you want to save, and click on the "more" down arrow next to Reply, and click on Print, and then click on Change, and select Save as PDF, and then click on Save.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Edge of 17 (2016)

I you like a different take on a coming of age move, the first half of Edge of 17 is for you. Unfortunately, it just bogs down after that and gets boring and ultimately predicatable. The cast is good, but it does not save the second half. Woody Harrelson is good but he must need the money to play such a small part.

Easiest and Best Way to Cook Corn on the Cob

Whether shucked or unshucked, wrap in wet paper towel and put in microwave and heat on high for 4 minutes per ear.

Samsung Galaxy S5: Reasons to Buy and Tips in Using

We've now had our new Samsung Galaxy S5 for over 10 days, and could not be more pleased. Indeed, because soon you likely won't be able to find one anywhere, we bought a second one just to have as a back-up. Here are some reasons to consider one and some tips if you have one:

1. While not available from carriers anymore, you can get a carrier-branded new S5 for about $200 on Amazon. Try to be sure the phone you order is sold and fulfilled by Amazon because of its flexible return policy compared to some third-party sellers.

2. I'm sure the newer flagship models for $600 to $800 have superior features, but for most users, the S5's features are way beyond good-enough. They're terrific.

3. If you want a 6" or larger screen, the S5 is not for you. But if you'd just as soon not lug around a big hunk of phone, the S5's 5" screen size (which is extremely bright and crisp) is way beyond just-fine.

4. No longer are phones made with removable batteries. The S5's battery is removable. This has many great advantages and potentially huge cost savings.

5. With its rapid charging cable, the S5 charges EXTREMELY fast, e.g., it will go from 20% to 100% in an hour. It's battery life is good as well.

6. The S5 navigates extremely fast. And if you remove or disable the stock apps you'll never use, it will navigate even faster and your battery life will improve. It's really easy to remove or disable: Just go to the App section, click on Uninstall/Remove, and then touch the icon whose app you want to uninstall.

7. It's easy to learn to use and highly customizable.

8. It's water-resistant and water-proof to an extent.

9. You almost never have to deal with settings. You can have what you need to access available with one swipe down on the Home screen.

10. One click and a tap will eliminate all apps running in the background.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Orange Is the New Black: Season 5, Episode 1

It's a riot. No, it's not funny. It's just a riot. And it's boring and stupid and terrible. It ignores the maxim, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime." This will be the last review of Season 5 because at least this reviewer will not be watching any more episodes.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mascots (2016)

If you liked Best in Show or Christopher Guest movies in general, you will like this. If you didn't like Best in Show or Christopher Guest movies, you need serious help. The only shortcoming of Mascots is that it is much a re-make of Best in Show. Indeed, with the exception of Eugene Levy, just about the whole cast has re-appeared, although many look a bit different. It has many funny lines, including some cute character switcheroo twists from Best in Show, such where Ed Begley, Jr., who was the hotel manager who wouldn't give Eugene Levy the room he thought he had reserved, in Mascots hedoesn't get the room he thought he had reserved. Parker Posey is terrific even though she looks strikingly different. Actually, the whole cast is good. It's a shame Catherine O'Hara is missing but Jennifer Coolidge makes a wonderful pairing with Bob Balaban. Finally, if you are not familiar with the world of mascots, this is truly an educational movie--as much of a documentary as Best in Show was. It's 4K on Netflix.

IMDb Link to Mascots

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bloodline (2015)

Bloodline is available on Netflix streaming at 4K. But, the people are so unappealing, who cares how clear and sharp the resolution is. If this series gets better in future episodes, so be it. In the meantime, it is difficult to see so many good actors in a drama that is so terrible.

IMDb Link to Bloodline

Samsung Television Support

Samsung television support, while not blip-less (anecdotally speaking, two of three reps are excellent--one in three not so good), is awfully good. An email question sent in the morning typically will be answered by the end of the day. You can schedule a call right on your television and you will receive it at the time promised. But most impressive, you can get through to telephone support in under a minute and they'll take control of your television and begin troubleshooting within 30 seconds. No bugging you for a bunch of useless information, at least as long as you've registered your television online and given them the phone number you will be calling in on. While the serial number is on the back of the television, the print is so small that, even with a magnifying glass and flashlight, it is difficult to read. No worries: You can find it in the television's menu.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Newer TV Remotes

Some newer TV remotes have to pair with the TV and can come un-paired. So, if your TV remote stops doing what it's supposed to do, go to The Google and search for the buttons to push on the remote to re-pair it to the TV. Also note, only one remote can be paired with the TV at any time, so if you bought a second remote, keep it as a back-up, but don't try to use it at the same time as you use the other remote.  

Caution re Costco Concierge Service: Don't Waste Your Time With It

[Prefatory Note: A loyal reader sent in this story he just had with Costco Concierge service. While we very much would like to give him credit for the valuable lesson he is imparting, he has asked to remain anonymous. This submission replicates the email he sent to Costco. It is edited only to make it a bit more readable than the original.]

"I received this Samsung TV about 6 days ago. It worked perfect until today, when the volume button on the remote stopped working. I phoned the Concierge service and, while the person was very nice, it was a total waste of time. She knew nothing about the TV. She then went to connect me to Samsung, but after saying there would be a “short 2-3 minute hold,” I waited over 20 minutes, only for her to come back on the line to say she could not get through without a serial number even though, as I explained, my TV shows as being registered on the Samsung website. She then asked me for the serial number again and said she would put me on a “short 2-3 minute hold” and try again. When I asked would this be another 20+ minute hold, she said, “Samsung is experiencing long wait times.” I asked if she had any way of getting through to Samsung faster than I might alone. When she said, “no,” I told her never mind, I would try myself.

"I called Samsung and was connected with a tech in about 1 minute. Within 5 minutes, she had the problem figured out as the remote’s having come un-paired with the TV, and it took 10 seconds for me with her instruction to re-pair the remote with the TV. She never asked me for a serial number either because she didn’t need it or because she could see my TV was registered on the Samsung website. 

"I’ve learned a valuable lesson: At least for this kind of circumstance, Costco Concierge service is a complete waste of time. In this instance, a lot of time. I think Costco might be in fact wasting money on providing the Concierge service. I know in the past when I had a computer problem the Concierge rep actually knew something about the computer and was able to get the right HP rep on the line quickly. It seems those days have passed. I’m not trying to be critical. Rather, I’m trying to be helpful because I LOVE Costco and I LOVE this TV, but I hate to see Costco wasting its money and resources to offer a supposed premium service that isn’t worth anything.

"Thank you for your attention to this matter."

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Samsung Galaxy S5

Image result for no brainer

If you want a sleak, brand-new in its original sealed box sim-card-based cellphone with a good camera, a removeable battery, SD card slot, bright 5" screen, easy to set up, easy to use, and extremely fast charging, and which costs under $230, consider the Samsung Galaxy S5. Actually, it's kind of a no-brainer. It's no longer available from the carriers, but it is available from Amazon and other places such as BH Photo, which actually bought branded phones from the carriers. Just be sure, wherever you get it, it has a 30-day no questions-asked return policy, in case you don't like it for any reason. Avoid eBay at all cost.    

Image result for samsung galaxy s5

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Eye in the Sky (2015) (Amazon Prime)

Not because it is Alan Rickman's last movie (and he puts in a wonderful performance, as does Helen Mirren, as does the whole cast), Eye in the Sky is riveting as well as maddening. It's riveting because the director knows how to turn the screws on the audience. It's maddening because it's not so much arguments on the issue presented, but rather, portraits of the shortcomings of politicians, although the military perhaps comes out a bit cleaner than might be the reality. It's a shame it's just HD and not 4K and it would be better on an 85" screen than on a 75" screen, but you will definitely enjoy watching it.

IMDb Link to Eye in the Sky

Friday, June 2, 2017

Mother-Daughter Texting (From the Scene)

The Scene is a hoot in general, and is staffed by many talented staffers. Our favorite is an incredibly gifted staffer who, as you can see for yourself in the below-linked texting "dialogue," captured perfectly just the kind of back-and-forth, and revising as they go,  mother and adult-daughter's "little talk" on her most recent Tinder experience.

Link to Texting Dialogue

Link to the Scene Website

It's Time to Buy a New TV

If you haven't bought a new TV lately, while we cannot speak to other brands which might be better or worse, and we cannot speak to other technologies (e.g., we know OLED is better in many ways), 
we can speak to Samsung, and we can speak to  4K Ultra HD LED LCD, and, most important, we can speak to 75". Here's the deal: TVs have gotten way better in terms of resolution (get ready for wow), and way smarter in terms of set-up (2 minutes and a snap), fine tuning (none needed), and usage (everything is done remotely and automatically). Most important, no matter how small your TV room (indeed sitting about 9' away is optimal), 75" is just fine for news and such, but it's beyond fabulous for sports and movies. You'll wonder how you lived so long tolerating a 60" TV. And even more important than most important, even the most skeptical naysayer in your house will love it!

Samsung 75" Class (74.5" Diag.) 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV

Thursday, June 1, 2017

BHPhoto Mystery Solved

If after an eBay seller messed you up, you go to BHPhoto to buy a new phone, you might get a notice, even on a weekday, that checkout is not available until early that evening. No reason is given for this. Many people think it must be a computer glitch. Others think the website is going through maintenance. We put the matter our reference department, which we call our Just Everyone Wonders group, and here's the answer: Even though the ordering is electronic with on human intervention on their part, BHPhoto will not take orders until after sundown in New York on Jewish holidays.

Microsoft Customer Service for Outlook and Windows

If you have a problem with Outlook, although it's free, do not call Microsoft tech support. If you make the mistake of doing so, do not let them escalate you to Level 2. Failure to heed this advice could lead to spending over 10 hours on the phone across 3 days and having what started as an Outlook issue turn into crashing Windows, leaving you the only seeming choice of buying a new computer, until you had an idea to try one thing which, as it turned out, fixed all the problems in about 10 minutes, and allowed you to cancel your new computer order.

Costco Telephone Customer Service Tip

If you need telephone customer service for Costco, ignore the estimated wait times you are given. First, you will be told they are experiencing "longer than usual wait times" so "try again another time." Don't hang up; ignore that. Then you will be told the wait time is 20 minutes. Ignore that. Then you are given the option to put in your phone number to get a call back without losing your place in line. Do that. Then you will be told you'll get a call back in about an hour. Don't worry. You'll likely get a call back within 10 minutes.