Costco and Honda aggravating snafu

I recently had a TPMS sensor warning come on in my Honda Insight. I dutifully took it to the Honda dealership  to have a look over. They said it could be a malfunction with the entire TPMS system and they needed to diagnose, the diagnosis cost was $99.- and that doesn’t include “repairing” anything found at fault.

I had had enough of nonsensical incompetent Honda technicians and sales at my Honda dealership (please avoid Bellevue Honda if you are in the Bellevue, WA neighborhood). They had previously charged about $160.- to replace engine and cabin filters ($99.- for labor, the rest for parts). The next time they tried to pull the wool on me, I found a Youtube video describing how to do it myself. It was a 15 minute job with $20 for the engine and $20 for the cabin filters, total of $40.- with free labor. Now Honda wanted to rip me off performing a simple 5 minute TPMS diagnosis. There, I vented.

Back to the TPMS sensor, I took the car to Discount tire, which promptly diagnosed the problem as a faulty TPMS sensor in one of the tires. So I got that replaced. I also asked them to build a full size spare tire, complete with a TPMS sensor. The purpose is so next time I have a problem with a tire, I can just replace it with a good full size tire, get the TMPS sensor programmed and keep on going.

As it was there was one tire that had the white cord showing, thus had to be replaced. I had purchased Costco’s road hazard warranty with the tire, so I went to Costco. Costco balked at working on the tire, saying the rim was too bent. I had to go to Discount Tire to buy a new rim and a TPMS sensor to go with it.

All set right? Went back to Costco, checked in at 12pm, was called at 2pm that they started working on it, was called at 4pm that they finished it. I came by to pick my car up at 5.

5 minutes away from Costco, I noticed, how come I only have 4 tires? I came in with 4 rolling tires, a new steel wheel, and purchased a new tire from Costco. I should have 5 rolling tires. On top of that the TPMS sensor still showed a system malfunction (not a tire underpressure warning, but a system malfunction warning).

I went back and “Oh there was a misunderstanding, we’ll fix it for you free of charge”. I was internally livid but held my tongue in check, my misdemeanor was all over the place. My thought was it was your f**king misunderstanding and incompetence to begin with.

It turned out that incompetent Costco technicians:

  1. Completely missed their own requirement to have a new rim (this idiot should never again be on Costco premises)
  2. Tore apart my brand new $200.- full sized spare tire when the brand new rim was provided in a nice white box
  3. Reused the old rim (instead of the brand new rim) and mounted the new tire on it
  4. Failed to program the TPMS sensors. I had to point out to them the rim they reused was never programmed, it has to be programmed in.

Costco programmed all 4 TPMS sensors and the TMPS warning light went away. I now have my 5th rolling tire.

Costco recommends to come back in a week to check the torque, and back in 40K miles for a tire rotation. No thank you, I have my own torque wrench (on my Honda it is spec’ed for 100 foot-lbs of torque), I’ll check it myself. Tire rotations are done at every service, I don’t need stupid Costco technicians messing around with it.

They’re probably good with replacing old tires with new and balancing and that’s about it. Don’t even think or try to have them do something with even the slightest variance. You’ll regret it.

Cheating Uber

As I’ve written before, I drive Uber once in a while to save funds for pet projects. In that time, I’ve noticed a few ways that riders cheat Uber.

The first is requesting a trip for a short destination. This gets the passenger an inexpensive ride. While en route, the passenger changes the destination to the actual intended destination which is further away. Uber accepts this without changing the original fare, woohoo.

The second is a refinement of the first one but instead of changing the destination once, the passenger changes the destination multiple times to make multiple stops. The passenger would enter destination 1, on arrival tell the driver to wait a few (“3 minutes tops, just to pick up my bag”), once back the passenger changes the destination to another stop and so on. Uber accepts this as well without extra fares.

For me, the driver, I get paid by the mile and time, so I don’t care whether they do this or not. So long as I don’t get stiffed on my pay.

Now don’t try this on your own. Uber and Lyft might have fixed cheating this way. You could get banned from riding them.


Mailbird email client, comparable to Outlook or Mac Mail? Not!

I recently had a need to find an alternative email client on Windows 10. The Mailbird web site is all jazzy and lists many features. Other blog posters also reviewed Mailbird. Short is they claim Mailbird compares favorably with mainline Mail and Calendar.

They missed one huge thing. Nowhere in Mailbird is there a little thing called a CALENDAR. They promised it’s in development. What they have is a connected calendar which only works if you connect Mailbird to Google’s Calendar, or another calendar service, but not on its own.

It would be great if it came with a working calendar and a syncing service.

Hah, I’ll be pleasantly surprised when I see a CALENDAR.

There! I wanted to be sure the Internet has someone with integrity to point that out.

Referral codes for Uber Riders and Drivers

I recently became an Uber driver part time to supplement my income for my gadget toy fund. The results have been great, there’s money for the toys and additional left over. The additional income could potentially be used to buy a car.

However, I’ve calculated the budget and Uber driving is definitely not something that is feasible to do full time (at least here in Seattle). It works well only part time where you already have a primary job.

Uber drivers can provide referral codes for riders and drivers. For riders, the codes can provide a discount when first registering an account with Uber. For divers, the codes can provide a guaranteed amount of money when first registering an account with Uber.

You can only use this code once and when you sign up as a rider or driver.

For drivers Uber says you can potentially earn a guaranteed earnings of $300 per this site (note that the link is generated, it may stop working at some point): Driver Sign-Up Guaranteed Earnings.

For drivers a minimum amount of trips are required. Based on information on the web the guaranteed earnings can be between $500 – $1300. I would assume UberX is $500.-

For riders the bonus is less rewarding but pretty cool if the rides are short. Sign up with the code and Uber says the rider get $2 off the first 3 rides. Once the rider take the first ride they get $5 off the next ride.

Note that these codes only work for first time drivers and riders.

Enjoy your ride! My referral code is u93xh

Google’s new “Hold Command + Q to quit” Chrome feature on Mac (turn it off!)

It boggles my mind why Google has added a new but unwanted feature that is a default behavior on Chrome browsers. It disrupts the flow of quitting an app that is standard across all Mac applications.

There’s just no benefit to this approach. Even Google has not come up with a reason for this feature. No explanation, scenario, or information of this significant change whatsoever.

Is it an attempt to stiff Apple’s upper lip? If so that’s a really stupid move because the real victims are all Mac Chrome users that are impacted by this new procedure, not Apple. It really feels like an unseasoned developer added this hodgepodge feature, most likely an inexperienced intern.

Mac users are used to simply do Command + Q keypress to quit an app. The point of any GUI is to have a uniform behavior for its apps and OS (which includes window behavior that is now impacted by Google).

If apps start say requiring Command + A through Z to quit, the Mac app ecosystem will be sorely irate.

Thankfully you can go to the Chrome menu and uncheck “Warn Before Quitting” to remove this stupid feature.

If such a stupid feature passes muster by Google’s Product Management team, that really speaks of a low calibre team (please read “low” as stupid).

Amazon Prime – isn’t it now really just Free Shipping no matter how long it takes?

I’ve been noticing how Amazon Prime has changed whether recently or have for a while I don’t recall.

Amazon Prime has really been ubiquitously associated with Free 2 Day shipping. No matter where you are, no matter how many goods you ordered, 1, 2, 3, 5, etc. I suppose there’s an upper limit somewhere. Well, there are exceptions to the 2 day delivery, but for the most part, metropolis and goods are within a 2 day delivery reach.

It turns out there are some fine prints now that delivery times are dependent on where the goods and the destinations are. Those factors may cause the delivery time to exceed 2 days.

In my case a very simple can of “Scotchgard Water and Sun Shield with UV Protector, 1 Can 10.5 Ounces” will arrive Friday Oct 5th, 2018. However, it was a Prime goods and supposedly guaranteed to deliver in 2 days. It was ordered Oct 1st. So Oct 3rd, no?

Well, no, it turns out it is still free shipping but the delivery date is now Friday Oct 5. 4 days later from the order date.

So Amazon, what else might you have changed? Breaking contracts as you slip in these changes?

The solution for me is simple, filter and choose the “Get it today”, or “Get it tomorrow” options for shipping. I now never filter by “Prime” anymore. You never know when you’re gonna get your order.

Another solution for me is to buy locally than wait for Amazon to deliver in 5 days. I can just go take my car and get it in 10 minutes. Hey now, isn’t buying locally Amazon’s market to take away? Its competitor? The reason many small stores go under and close?

For a particular Prime order, I now still have an order in transit for 2 months still out there somewhere. I think it’s time I pulled the plug on that one and let Amazon and the seller figure out what the heck happened 🙂 This is nuts.


How to enable startup chime sound in Mac OSX El Capitan

OK, OK, I’m late to the upgrade party. But if it works just fine for me why upgrade?

Well in my case I needed to run Quicken for Mac which requires El Capitan <grumble, grumble>

In fact, El Capitan runs faster than Yosemite, so I’m thankful. But not for the Disk Util app, that’s a severe downgrade from Yosemite’s.

Most of all, they turned off the startup chime. I use that when walking away waiting for the 5 minute boot cycle (I wonder if there’s a boot argument to make that shorter 🙂

Anyway, I wanted this article available as at least one place where someone can google and find a way to enable or turn on the chime for El Capitan.

It’s pretty easy:

  1. Launch Terminal
  2. Enter the following command

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolumeDB=”%d0″
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=”%100″

Exit/quit from Terminal and reboot, if all went well the chime should sound on startup!