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Everything posted by docj

  1. It's not necessary to change SIMs to transfer an existing Jetpack from a prepaid plan to the new post-paid one. All it takes is a CSR with a sufficient knowledge base. I'm currently using the same SIM and phone number on my Jetpack as I did when it was post-paid.
  2. I signed up for one of these today. It took >1 hour on chat and eventually on the phone to transfer my 7730l from my postpaid account to a new prepaid account. It can be done, but I ended up working with a total of 5 people before getting it done properly. Be prepared to have to argue about the plan's specs; the person who eventually got me up and running told me at the outset that there was no such plan. That's even with citing the plan #28366. Be persistent but patient. The CSR who challenged me eventually thanked me for teaching him something he didn't know. My speeds using Fast.com are in 4-8Mbps range. The CSR did warn me that there was always the risk of network deprioritization, but I told him that was a risk I was prepared to take.
  3. I'm planning on doing this also. But I am concerned that Verizon says that if use their phones for more than 60 days they may cut you off. Do you know what would happen if we spent an entire summer in Canada?
  4. docj

    Discontinuing of 3G devices

    If you've lived this long with 3G then you may not need to get a smartphone. My wife's sister has a 4G/LTE flip phone from Verizon that cost practically nothing and meets her needs. I'm not advocating that, but if you haven't felt the need to upgrade so far you don't have to let the change to 4G/LTE force you to do anything more than change phone instruments, not how you use it.
  5. I'm not sure how you reconcile your feelings with the fact that many nice RV parks near major tourist destinations are crowded most of the summer. We spent 10 days at Yellowstone Grizzly in late August. It wasn't 100% full but it was pretty busy. I'm not sure how one avoids this unless you are willing to go much earlier or later in the season. As it was we encountered snow and freezing temps during our visit; the Yellowstone season doesn't go all that much later.
  6. FWIW both our phones (a Pixel 2XL and a Galaxy S7) support what Verizon calls HD Voice. I rarely have any problems understanding what is being said.
  7. Alexa works well if it has an internet connection. The Hey Ranger device does all its speech processing locally so an internet connection isn't required.
  8. WiFiRanger made an announcement yesterday of a whole new product line that builds on our custom software and electronics expertise. The “Hey Ranger” AI Universal Assistant, is an offline, artificial intelligence assistant with a custom vocabulary and skillset that allows voice control of almost any kind of RV component or system (e.g. lights, awnings, slides, generators, pumps, battery life, etc). WiFiRanger is already working with several systems manufacturers and will debut the prototype system next week at the Elkhart RV Open House. The prototype will include showcasing voice control of lights, awnings, pumps, fans, and monitoring of legacy tank systems through a custom hardware bridge. Adding to the convenience of the system, once the Hey Ranger AI Universal Assistant is online via the WiFiRanger, it can be summoned to temporarily act like an AlexaTM or OK GoogleTM device if the owner has accounts for those services, extending usage to those services as well. Although many RVers already own "Alexa"-type devices, those all rely on having an internet connection in order to perform the speech processing needed to respond to verbal commands. The Hey Ranger product line is based on a proprietary speech processing module which is self-contained and doesn't require an internet connection. Initial shipments are scheduled to key RV manufacturers in Q1 2019 with volume deliveries scheduled for model change mid-2019, and skills developed for a variety of system components. Although it's easy to see how Hey Ranger can play a role in new RV production, it's also being designed so that it can be integrated with existing RVs. For example a custom interface has already been developed so it can be used with the See Level series of holding tank monitors. Other interfaces are planned and the device can readily be use to control a variety of 12V switching applications. As the product modules become available next year I'll post specific applications information. Joel (AKA docj)
  9. Yes, the intent is to have aftermarket kits. They will interface with WiFiRanger hardware and they will have the capability of controlling multiple 12V switched circuits.
  10. docj

    New Medicare Card

    It's a new Medicare number, not a new Social Security number. We're all getting new Medicare cards, not SSA ones, FWIW, the new "numbers" are mostly letters and will be extremely difficult to memorize (at least for many of us).
  11. For roughly the same price we had full hookups.
  12. This summer we spent 65 days traveling and our journey included 3 major tourist areas where we planned to stay 1-2 weeks at each. Those reservations were made months in advance because we felt we had carefully selected the parks at those locations and we wanted to stay at them specifically and didn't want any problems getting the deluxe pull-through sites we wanted. With our toad we are ~63' long and it's really nice to have an easy to get into site where we can hitch up the night before we leave. We like to use our washer/dryer and take long showers. As a result we always request full hookup sites. As for the shorter stays between these three longer ones, I had originally thought I wouldn't need reservations, but the more I examined our proposed route the more I realized that in quite a few places there weren't many options and quite a few of the parks were fairly small. For example, we wanted to stay in Dayville OR so we could tour the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument but the one decent park in Dayville has something like 5 sites. The more I looked into this the more I decided that having reservations would be worthwhile. The the seemingly ever increasing number of long-term residents at RV parks throughout the country appears to have significantly reduced the number of available sites on any given day.. I use RVTripWizard to help plan our travel days; it allows me to easily find the available parks in the vicinity of the ~325-375 miles we typically drive in a day. I like having a reservation to look forward to at the end of that drive. In quite a few places out west, if you can't stay in the town where you planned to stay, the next available site might be 50-100 miles away. That's not something I want to put up with at the end of a 6-7 hour day of driving. I'd much rather suffer the "restrictions" imposed by having reservations than have to hunt around for a place to stay. We're admittedly picky about where we stay; even for overnight stays we are pretty selective; my criteria is at least a "7" rating on RVParkReviews.com Notwithstanding all of this, circumstances can change the need for reservations very dramatically. Because of the fires out west this summer some locations, such as Durango and Diamond Lake/Crater Lake had had quite a few cancellations. We had a great time despite the smoke, but others decided to alter their plans to avoid those areas. No one could have foretold that and next year may be very different. I'd rather be safe than sorry. All told I think I paid ~$20 in cancellation or change fees over the entire course of the summer. Joel (AKA docj)
  13. docj

    New Medicare Card

    My wife used the card I printed for her yesterday and no one cared that our "color printer" only prints with two colors these days. All they cared about was the new number. I've also used it online a couple of times to update our records in doctors' offices.
  14. docj

    Mobile service Bushnell?

    Half a dozen years ago we had some work done by a Mobile service calling itself Penner's RV. He worked out of Brooksville FL. His prices were fair and his work was satisfactory. I don't know his number and I have no idea if he's still in business.
  15. I'm having difficulty visualizing your setup. If you have a SWM dish you would normally have only one coax coming out and going to the power inserter and receiver. I'm not sure why you have two coax's. Is this a setup you've previously used to get signals from the 99 and 103 satellites? What receiver are you using?
  16. DNS service can't be combined with a home account so it is primarily applicable to full-timers.
  17. It's in Key Largo not Key West.
  18. IMO the closure of MyDakotaAddress has several of the earmarks of a bankruptcy. If that were the case, refunds to customers would not be allowed by the bankruptcy trustee until after a full analysis of the company's assets and liabilities. If there are assets to be distributed, those holding obligations against the company would be paid whatever percentage of those debts the trustee determines is feasible.
  19. docj

    Silicone caulk removal

    Amazon has it also. Thanks
  20. Most of us are aware of the reasons why we shouldn't use silicone caulk on our RVs---among other things it doesn't adhere to itself if you need to re-caulk and it's very difficult to remove. But even if none of us use the stuff, it's not uncommon for previous owners of our RVs to have used it. However, to my complete surprise I recently discovered that it can be dissolved with the relatively harmless home cleaning product Goo Gone (or one of the other similar "simple orange" products.) Maybe everyone else knew this already, but I don't recall having ever seen it posted. I figured this out while trying to remove caulk from a 40' "drip rail" on my MH. The reasons the caulk is there are unnecessary for this discussion, but I started by using razor blades to remove it from the clearcoated paint. That was reasonably effective but it often left a "gummy" residue and occasional resulted in nicks to the paint. I intended to use the Goo Gone to remove the gummy residue, a task it is intended to be used on, but I began to realize that it also seemed to be dissolving areas of caulk that I hadn't yet tried to remove. At first I thought that maybe the Goo Gone was simply destroying the adhesion between the clear coat and the caulk, but I am now convinced that it really does (relatively slowly) dissolve the caulk itself. It doesn't appear to have any effect on the clearcoat. I was able to complete the caulk removal with far less effort and with no damage to the paint. As I said, maybe this is a well known maintenance trick, but I sure didn't know about it and maybe others don't know it either.
  21. I've just been introduced to the world of sous vide cooking and I'm loving it! Sous vide literally means "under vacuum" and the process is based on encasing food in ziplock bags or vacuum-sealed ones and placing the bags in a water bath being heated by a sous vide immersion cooker. What makes sous vide different from other slow cooking approaches is that the sealed bag keeps moisture from escaping the food so that it can be cooked for extremely long periods of time. The immersion cookers are designed to hold extremely tight temperature control (plus/minus half a degree F) and they all contain small "stirrers" to circulate the water and equalize the temperature. These features make it possible to cook foods for long periods periods of time at the desired serving temperature rather than at a higher temperature for a shorter time. The result of the sealed cooking bag and the low temperature makes it possible to achieve food moistness and tenderness that is hard to imagine even with difficult items such as skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I cooked the chicken, coated with some seasonings, for ~4 hours at 140F. When I took it out of the bag I pan-seared it and then put it in a Chicken Tikka Masala sauce that I had prepared on the stovetop. The chicken was so moist and tender you could cut it with a fork. The "trick" to sous vide is that food becomes pasteurized after extended exposure to high enough temperatures even though those temperatures would normally not be thought of as being hot enough for food safety. (There are detailed tables you can access online that give the pasteurization times for a large variety of things you might want to cook.) As long as you cook the food long enough to ensure pasteurization there is rarely an "upper limit" on how long you can cook it for. For example, I cooked my chicken for 4 hours even though 3 probably would have been safe enough, but 5 hours wouldn't have appreciably changed the texture. It's this last point which I think makes sous vide ideal for RVers--it's nearly effortless and frees you from time constraints. For example, this summer while we're touring with our grandkids we can start our dinner cooking at lunchtime and can leave it while we go enjoy the afternoon. Using chicken breasts as an example again, they could all afternoon with no problem so dinner won't be ruined if we come home an hour later than we planned. Another aspect of why it works for RVers is that you don't need any fancy cookware, in fact, cooking in a non-metallic plastic pot, or even a cooler would be fine. I'm using a commercial Rubbermaid 12 qt plastic container, but I could, just as effectively, use a Lowe's paint pail (although my spouse might get turned off by that!) For my birthday I bought myself one of these: Anova WiFi/Bluetooth Anova is one of the leaders in consumer use of sous vide. The concept was developed in the 1990's for the restaurant industry. It's one of the ways a restaurant with a small kitchen staff can offer you a large variety of dishes so quickly. (The reason for the wifi interface is so you can monitor your cooker if you're away from where it is. It's an interesting idea, but IMHO it's not quite ready for "prime time.") While writing this post I'm cooking a couple of boneless center cut pork chops in green curry sauce. Again, lean pork is often a challenge, but at 140F it should come out on the slightly rare side of medium. This post has now become much longer than I intended, but I wanted to provide enough information to whet your appetites! Feel free to ask questions. Joel (AKA docj)
  22. This is from the DirecTV website; it includes a link to the form you need to send in. Although you are told you have to mail the form, you can also fax it to: 800-978-2792. The voice number to the DNS grouo is 800-561-4388 DNS for your RV, car or boat Certain types of vehicles are eligible for DNS without requiring home address eligibility. For eligible vehicles, see item No. 11 of the FCC Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act fact sheet. Boats and other marine vessels do not qualify for this special consideration. Note: A separate monthly package is required to enjoy DNS in your vehicle. To add DNS to your mobile service Send a copy of your vehicle registration, a completed Mobile Vehicle Affidavit Declaration of Intent form, and a copy of your commercial driver's license (if requesting service for a commercial vehicle) to the address listed below. DIRECTV Attn: Mobile Network Services P.O. Box 6550 Greenwood Village, CO 80155 It may take up to 14 days after receiving your paperwork to verify the information and activate your DNS programming. Your dish must be pointed to the satellite located 101 degrees West longitude at the time we activate DNS service for your system. If you are not receiving DNS programming after 14 days, make sure your dish is pointed to the correct position and then call us to request activation.
  23. docj

    how many flushes

    I've had both and I think the answer is what kind of RVing you like to you. Obviously, you stay at lots of places without hookups; we almost always have them. Our 50 gal black tank will last us at least a week, but we have hookups connected for the washer, taking showers and doing the dinner dishes. Friends of ours recently bought a Hymer MH with a cassette and we thought they were crazy. To each his own.
  24. What I've read is the same as what Sehc posted. I'm not sure what the date's going to be, but those who have Plan F can keep it but those who don't will have to opt for Plan G. I think something similar happened over the past few years with Part D prescription plans. For the first year or two when we had Medicare there were plans with no deductibles. These days I don't see them. I think the philosophy is that making people pay a deductible reduces "frivolous use" and for some people that might keep them from incurring any costs in a particular year. If you don't have to pay anything to go a doctor you're more likely to go when you might have been able to get well on your own.
  25. We DVR just about everything so the East Coast feed is all we need. I have little use for a feed that provides me today's network programs long after we've gone to bed! 😁