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docj

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Everything posted by docj

  1. Amazon Lockers

    I tried to register and was told that it's not available in our area.
  2. Amazon Lockers

    What I'm reporting is the way USPS says it is supposed to work and it has worked that way for us in several states. It sounds as if the post office where you are located is too lazy to scan individual packages as they are delivered but there's probably not a lot you can do about it.
  3. Amazon Lockers

    With all due respect this is only true if you're using General Delivery or if the package is placed into a "box" for an RV park that may not get delivered to the park until later in the day. Otherwise, USPS is very accurate with respect to when a package is delivered to the addressee. I get lots of Amazon packages delivered to our TX mail service and I always get an email within a few minutes after the package has been delivered there.
  4. Amazon Lockers

    One of our grandsons lives in the DC metro area. I sent him a Xmas present the other day and Amazon offered Same Day Delivery for the same no-cost of 2-day Prime delivery. I took them up on the offer just to see how it worked. According to my daughter-in-law it was delivered by an Amazon driver around 7pm.
  5. WIFI booster

    It's been my experience that this can happen without any special prioritization for Netflix. What you're experiencing when FB or other sites are "crawling" is what I'll call "click response" which is how difficult it is to get the system's "attention" so it can load the page you want. That's different from a situation in which a stream is already "flowing" and you're just sitting there viewing it. Furthermore, Netflix has the best-developed bandwidth-dependent resolution algorithm in the business. Most people probably don't even notice the variation in resolution that Netflix provides as a way of avoiding buffering/loading issues. By way of comparison, try streaming a program on Acorn (a service that specializes in British video). Acorn's ability to dynamically control resolution is far less sophisticated than Netflix's and, as such, it takes much more bandwidth to get a stable video stream.
  6. Laptop replacement

    I'm not sure why you specified that the laptop needs to be on the Verizon network. Laptops aren't normally aren't on ANY network; they use wifi to connect to hotspots such as you are using. I just bought an ASUS for my wife with an 8th gen Core i5, an HD screen (1920x 1280), 4GB of memory, and a 1TB HDD. Less than 4 pounds. $500 delivered. I've already swapped the HDD it came with for the SSD from her old laptop. A good deal IMHO.
  7. WIFI booster

    No, neither Netflix nor any other content provider has a priority under current Net Neutrality rules. All data must be treated the same. Of course, this is likely to change, but that's the case at the moment. Netflix utilizes software which enables it to accommodate significant changes in internet bandwidth and still provide an acceptable image. If you are on a marginal internet connection and you look closely at the screen during the show you will notice changes in the video resolution. This is how Netflix copes with varying internet speeds; it degrades your picture a bit to avoid having it pause while it rebuffers.
  8. There's quite a difference between downloading a windows update and maintaining a viewable video stream. The video stream is a far less demanding use since an "adequate" picture doesn't require getting all the data whereas a data download must get all the data perfectly correct. My point is that many "consumer" uses of data are actually less taxing on the network then they might at first seem. A couple of nights ago we streamed 2 hours of video on Netflix and our total usage was <2GB. Sure, our stream wasn't always HD quality, but it was fine for us and didn't have to pause to rebuffer once during that period. Parks can limit users to "channels" with fixed bandwidth as a way of managing the load. Some customers will continue to complain, but I think most would be pleased.
  9. My laptop did something very strange yesterday. It downloaded update KB4051963 but it picked the version labeled as being for AMD-based computers. The problem is that my laptop has an Intel Core i7. The update tried to install but was left with the "restart needed" message. It showed in the list of completed updates and I was permitted to initiate the uninstall process but that failed. I was thinking of using the SoftwareDistribution folder approach I mentioned previously, but I decided to first try to manually download and install the correct version of KB4051963, the one for x64-based systems. That worked and now two versions of the update are showing as having been successfully installed??????
  10. Even though it can't help you, I do urge others to try the trick I mentioned previously as a way of dealing with a computer that gets "stuck" partway through a major update. With my wife's old (~5 years) Dell Inspiron went through the update but was left displaying the message "Restart Required to Complete Update" but no amount of restarting would fix the problem. I tried "clean boots", etc, but nothing worked. What was troublesome was that I tried a manual update only to get a message "Windows Update XYZ already installed". I was afraid that I was going to have to reformat the drive when I came across a tip which discussed clearing the Windows/SoftwareDistribution folder and all its subfolders. Having now done that on 2 laptops I can tell you that it does work. It clears the update history (you lose the list of all past updates) but it does make it possible to download and install the one that was causing the problem.
  11. Domicile Question

    The benefits from Medicare Supplemental (not Medicare Advantage) plans are the same no matter where you buy them. Part D plans differ in co-pays and premiums but the maximum dollar amount you can pay on drugs is determined by Medicare itself. Plans are available in all states.
  12. MaximumSignal Update?

    I'm sorry that you are having difficulties with your WiFiRanger. If the router is turning on and off for no reason it sounds as if there is a physical connection problem that may not have anything to do with the Ranger itself. Is that the primary problem you are experiencing or are there other issues? You said that the device was not installed at the factory; who did your installation? Do you have any idea what firmware version you are currently running. There have been several updates in the past year which would improve the operational performance. Feel free to contact me via PM if you would like some assistance with your Ranger. We would be happy to work with you to get the device working to your satisfaction. Or, if you would prefer, we would be willing to refund what you paid for the WFR; simply forward me a copy of your order. Joel (AKA docj)
  13. Domicile Question

    As a specific example, we have two vehicles insured by Progressive. One is a 2014 CR-V (our toad) which is insured with SD rates and the other is a 2015 Hyundai Elantra which is garaged on our property in Rockport TX. The Elantra is newer but less expensive than the CR-V. We have excellent driving records (no tickets, no accidents) and the TX vehicle's insurance is twice the SD rate. Works out to $400-500 per year difference.
  14. Domicile Question

    One thing that I particularly enjoy about being domiciled in a small town in SD is the ease with which "official" things can be taken care of. Last year, for example, we purchased a car in TX and told the dealership that we wanted it registered in SD. I offered to take the registration package from them and have Terri at MyDakotaAddress walk it down the block to the Lake County Office where such things are taken care of in SD. "No need to do that" I was told by the dealership's rather arrogant Business Director. 60 days later I returned to the dealership to obtain a second set of temporary tags since the first set were expiring. A week or so later, Terri emailed to inform me that the registration package was deficient by ~$100. I gave her my credit card information and the plates were shipped the next day. They were sent to the dealership (because it had initiated the process) but when I went to pick them up a few days later I was sheepishly handed a check reimbursing me for the $100 I had had to pay. I didn't gloat too much but I did remind the business staff that I had volunteered to handle the process. In 2016 we traveled to SD to renew our licenses and decided it would be fun to go to Madison for the renewal even though we could have done it anywhere in the state. It turns out that DPS license bureau sets up in Madison every Tuesday morning in the basement of the DPS building. Everyone sits around in one big room chatting with each other until their name is called. Didn't take more than ~an hour or so and we met some nice folks in the process. The best of small-town Americana.
  15. Maybe it's me but all three of my laptops (2 Dells and an ASUS) had difficulties with this update. The automatic update process downloaded the update with no problems but all three computers failed in the installation. When I examined the Update History is showed the update with the comment--"Restart Required," except that rebooting the computer didn't resolve the issue. Even using MSCONFIG to suppress a bunch of startup items didn't fix the problem. One of the computers showed over a week of failed installations in its history. With the two older units (4th gen Core i7 and 6th gen i7) I ultimately had to delete the contents of the SoftwareDistribution folder and I then manually downloaded the update and installed it. With the newest laptop (8th gen Core i5) I was able to do the manual installation without having first deleted the SoftwareDistribution folder contents. As I said, maybe it's just my bad Karma, but don't automatically assume your computer has successfully installed the update. Examining the update history may be worthwhile just to verify the status.
  16. FMCA votes to include towables

    That's what I did ~7 years ago when we were new to full-timing. That's when I thought that buying the Michelin brand was important. Now I realize that I can buy excellent tires, such as Hankook's, with no discount and still be a lot less than the cost of the Michelins.
  17. FMCA votes to include towables

    I hadn't realized this information wasn't available to the public. I've posted it on my Microsoft OneDrive (cloud storage) where it is available to anyone who wishes to read it. Just follow this link (if you don't have a Microsoft OneDrive account, just ignore the request to sign in and click on the link at the bottom of the pop-up which says "no, continue to view"): https://1drv.ms/b/s!AjeRbgZUPi9QguEaBRCSrYKUf013qA
  18. FMCA votes to include towables

    Even though this is often touted as a "bring you home" benefit, if you actually read the fine print (on the FMCA website) it is not required to do anything more than get you to the nearest facility that can provide an appropriate level of care. There is no guarantee that if you're in Canada, for example, that you will be taken back to the US if a nearby Canadian hospital can treat you. The fine print goes on to say that if, after treatment in the nearest facility, you need additional care that transportation back to your home hospital may be authorized, if approved by the insurance company. All benefits regarding relocation of your MH to your home area are dependent on the decision to transport the ill person. I'm not saying that this is no benefit at all, but what's in print is not what people often post that it is. The issue, as I see it, is that people post anecdotal stories about someone who did get repatriated home and these anecdotes are used as the basis for claiming that this is the benefit that is available. What unfortunately gets lost in those kind of stories are the details of the medical condition the person had. Sure, if you are sick enough you may well get transported, but the majority of people who get ill will not necessarily be sick enough to require transport back home. Because we like to summer in Canada and have been concerned about this very issue, I've been investigating our options. (In the US I'm not particularly worried because Medicare and our Medigap policies will cover us well enough even with respect to transport to another facility, etc). The more research I've done the more I've become convinced that what would be best for us would be a short-term medical insurance policy that would cover us in Canada, not a "repatriation" policy. Of the companies like SkyMed, MASA, etc, that offer repatriation policies, the vast majority have small print pretty much the same as FMCA's; they don't promise to "bring you home" only to "get you to care." For roughly the same amount of money I can buy $100k health insurance policies which will cover our expenses with small (or zero) deductibles. Although most Medigap policies do cover $50k of expenses, it would be on a reimbursable basis and the coverage is 80/20. By buying a Canadian policy you can avoid the need to pay upfront and you can choose a premium level that provides any copy you wish. The premium costs I've been looking at are comparable to the repatriation policies. About the only limitation I see is that most of the affordable policies limit coverage for pre-existing conditions. So if you have diabetes, for example, you would not be covered if you had a problem associated with that condition. But, if you are a diabetic and have your condition well enough controlled to be vacationing for the summer, the chances are good that you will not need medical assistance. Personally, I'm more concerned about needing an emergency room because I did something like trip and break and ankle than I am about needing short-term assistance with any of my existing conditions. Each person's situation is different.
  19. There's nothing special about the Genie compared to any other DirecTV receiver. There's no question that people have been taking receivers from their home and using them in their RVs for year.
  20. To be very, very clear, Chromecasting requires that there be an active wifi network to which both the phone and the Chromecast device are connected. Because the Chromecast device connects directly to the internet source it needs a hotspot to connect to. This is why Chromecasting doesn't get you out from under the hotspot limits of either Verizon or AT&T.
  21. In Chromecasting, once casting has started the "target device" (the TV) creates its own connection (via wifi) to the internet "source" of the data stream. That's why you can use your phone or tablet for other activities once the casting has begun. You can still pause or stop the casting from the phone or tablet but the data being displayed on the screen is not going "through" the device. (It's worth noting that AppleTV works in essentially the same manner.) In contrast, Miracasting is true screen mirroring. A two-device wifi connection is made between the phone and the TV. You cannot have "regular" wifi on nor can you have a hotspot running while casting is taking place. Whatever is displayed on the screen is what you see on the TV. The phone or tablet cannot be used for anything else while you are casting if your usage affects what's on screen. The phone will still receive calls just fine, but when you take them your screen display will get messed up. Miracasting is NOT exclusively a Samsung thing; my understanding is that it has been around a long time but has been underutilized because of compatibility issues. My S7 calls Miracasting "Samsung SmartView" but it works quite well with my Roku Premiere as well as with my Samsung SmarTV. I'm pretty sure that Amazon and others sell dongles that provide casting capability, but I would caution that casting between some devices works better than between others and there's no way to know in advance how well it will work with any two devices. Since Verizon is now limiting the screen resolution of video streamed on phones to 720p, I presume that what I am watching on my TV also has that resolution. But it is a darn good-looking picture nonetheless.
  22. I didn't think my terminology was garbled, but let's start from scratch. A phone can use data in one of two ways. Data can be delivered to its screen and speakers to be seen or heard by the person holding the phone or data can be distributed to other devices using the phone as a router. It is this latter usage that I, and many others, call using the phone as a hotspot. The Verizon Jetpack MiFi is essentially a phone with no organic display or speakers of its own, therefore, it is always used as a hotspot. (BTW, the name MiFi is an older terminology but both are in common use and are registered trademarks of Verizon as can be seen here: Jetpack MiFi 7730) I have a multi-line Verizon unlimited account under which we currently have two Galaxy S7's and a MiFi 7730. The phones have unlimited data but are subject to possible network deprioritization at 22GB/mo. They are also subject to a "hard limit" of 15GB/mo of hotspot usage at which time speeds are reduced to <600kpbs. Since the MiFi is exclusively a hotspot, it doesn't have the 22GB issue, but it is also subject to the 15GB limit. To be very clear these limits are per line and not for the account total. So, as I stated in my previous post, I have 15GB/mo available for hotspot use from each of the two phones plus the 15GB on the MiFi for a total of 45GB/mo. In addition, by using Miracasting (also known as Samsung SmartView) I can effectively increase that limit for streaming since Miracasting doesn't count against the hotspot data total. FWIW we also have DirecTV since there are a number of things we watch that are not available in real-time via streaming. Some day we may be able to dispense with this, but IMO it is still necessary (for us) at the present time. If I've continued to be garbled, feel free to ask additional questions. Joel (AKA docj)
  23. We also travel for 4-6 months. For those months I figure we'll live with the 45GB/mo of hotspot from our two phones plus MiFi combined with Miracasting (Samsung SmartView) for streaming. Miracasting works well from my Galaxy S7 to my Roku Premier and doesn't count against the hotspot limit.
  24. This is not a plug to try to get people to buy WiFiRanger hardware, but if anyone is considering buying a new system or upgrading an existing one, there's a 20% sale going on from now through 11/30. Just use the coupon code BFRIDAY20 at checkout.
  25. I thought everyone knew that WiFiRanger products are sold through its website: Shop WiFiRanger
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