The Three Faces of Science and Religion

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way to resolve disagreements between people using just logic and evidence?  I think there is.  I believe that the best way to form opinions about the world and the things in it is to use the scientific method, that is, to use evidence to test claims about truth.

Furthermore, I believe that religion and spirituality are specifically bad ways to form such opinions about reality, precisely because they do not provide a way to resolve disagreements.  The end game in religious disagreements is usually either “I agree” or “well, you believe whatever you want, we cannot say for sure.”  Or maybe things get really ugly and a fight breaks out.

Unfortunately for me, while making my case, I have noticed that “science” is a word that has three different meanings.

  1. Science:  The scientific method.  The use of reason and evidence to test and DISPROVE claims about the real world.  Also the method of communicating and describing such claims.  Using this method requires a willingness to reveal methods and data, if you want to persuade anyone else.  Note that science is NOT about proving things!  It’s about disproving them.
  2. Science:  the body of “knowledge.”  This means all observed and verified data and observations about the world, plus the accumulation of claims which have been tested by the scientific method, and seem to make accurate, verifiable and measurable predictions about the world which do not contradict available evidence.  A theory is disproven by showing it does not accurately describe the real world. Note:  items here are not “proven to be true” by the scientific method.  They just have not been shown to be false, they just don’t contradict any evidence, and ideally predict new evidence which subsequently appears as predicted.
  3. Science:  All scientists lumped together.  A “scientist” is a person who uses the scientific method.

When I say “Science is the best way to learn new things that you can trust to be accurate,” I am talking about science in the sense of the scientific method (category 1).  And I’m open to learning about better ways.  Anyhow, notice how I’m not saying “scientists are the best at learning” or “science has all the answers.”

When having discussions about the merits of using science,  I often hear the argument, “There are many examples of so-called scientific ‘knowledge’ being shown later to be false.  Therefore, science is seen to be a flawed method.”  This confuses the scientific method (category 1) with the body of scientific knowledge (category 2).  When things in category 2 are shown to be false, it is in fact done by the scientific method, and this is a vindication of science, not a repudiation of it.  Again, science is a method for disproving, not proving, claims.

Another argument I hear is, “But scientists are biased!  They believe in science like a religious person believes in religion.  Therefore religion is just as valid.”   But this confuses scientists (category 3) with the scientific method (category 1).  If a scientist is biased, and carefully uses the scientific method, she will discover her bias and correct it.  The assumption that scientists have biases is built into the method.

Interestingly, I find the same three categories to be found in religion:

  1. Religion:  The methods for confirming religious claims about reality.  There are four that I have noticed so far.
    1. Prayer:  ask “God” for help.  I put “God” in quotes because it’s a slippery subject.  Whenever I try to find out what God is, it gets crazy
    2.  Authority:  a trusted priest, high authority or book says it’s true, so it probably is.
    3. Emotion:  I feel good about this, so it’s probably true.
    4. Reason and evidence:  Sometimes religion tries to use reason and evidence to substantiate its claims.  However, reason and evidence that seem to argue against any particular religious belief are usually met with anger and hostility.
  2. Religion:  Religious belief, dogma, theory.  The practices and rules of religion.
  3. Religion:  The various sects and the people in them.  For example, one can speak of Islam or Mormonism to mean the people that believe in these religions.

The trouble as I see it with religion and “spiritual beliefs” is that category 1 relies on a flawed and broken foundation that does not produce consistent truth that can be tested by others.  Mormons and Muslims (category 3) share these methods, but heartily disagree about the nature of reality (category 2) in important ways.  Most crucially, they have no way to come to an agreement about which is correct.

I hope these distinctions are useful to others and can serve as a basis for further progress in discussing how to move society forward in good ways we can all benefit from.

I also look forward to corrections from sincere readers looking to improve this article.

Amazon finally fixes their Kindle app; support remains oblivious

I’ve been emailing and phoning and chatting with Amazon’s enthusiastic but helpless staff and dealing with their amazingly bad tech support system for a while now.

Today, I’m happy to report the horror show has ended.  Amazon released an update that fixed my problem.  I can now log in and get the books I paid for and read them.  Yay.  Of course, I’ve already switched to iBooks and decrypted ePubs.  It’s only a matter of time before Amazon abandons the mac platform altogether I suspect.  At any rate, being tied to one platform is a bad idea.  Open source is the way.

Just wanted to close the loop on it.  It’s over, for now.  God help anyone that tries to get tech support from Amazon.com!  🙂  Peace out.

Incompetent Amazon.com support continues to struggle with my simple request

Wow, this is interesting, how many ways there are to not help someone when you have a giant corporation dedicated to the worst customer support on the planet.  This has been going on so long I’m running out of clever ways to title my posts.

Click here for a video of my original issue.  Here is my latest exchange!

Amazon
Your Account Amazon.com
Message From Customer Service
Hello,

Thank you for contacting Amazon.

I’m sorry that you’ve had trouble in login with your Kindle app. I understand how disappointing it is.

I’ve checked the detail from my end and found that our technical team is still working on this issue so that you no need to explain the issue again an again.

I’ve check the master ticket status for this issue and our technical team request you to please send the screen shot of the registration screen (basically the screen which has the issue).

In this case, I’d request you to please cooperate with us and try to register the device and send the screen-shot of the registration screen (basically the screen which has the issue) so that we can forward it to the technical team to resolve this issue as earliest as possible. You

It usually takes 1-2 business days for this sort of research, but in this case it’s taking a little longer. I’m very sorry about this delay.

You can provide the screen shot with the help of below link.

Please visit the following link to provide the information we requested:

http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-mi?c=hcraxerf3683150022&q=o2r

Of course, I’ve already provided a complete movie of my problem.  I clicked on the link and was amused and not at all surprised to find out it does not have a way for me to provide a screen shot with my message!

So I clicked “Send e-mail.”  I got the following response from Amazon.  You can’t make this stuff up, folks:

Hello from Amazon,

You’ve written to an address that does not accept incoming e-mails, but we have provided links to help answer some common questions.

Where’s My Stuff/Order: http://www.amazon.com/help/wheres-my-stuff
Cancel Items or Orders: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201976060
Problem with an Order: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201945500
Marketplace Order Problems: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201889250
Gift Certificates: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201937160
Returns & Refunds: http://www.amazon.com/returns

Your move, Amazon.com!  I can’t wait to hear back from Earth’s most Customer-Centric Company with a solution to my now months-old issue.

The amazon buffoonery continues! Kindle continues to not work, customer support still flailing.

I recently wrote about amazon’s terrible Kindle support in a post called “Amazon Kindle is a hopeless mess, as is user support” and put a followup called “Follow up: in the end, amazon.com failed to deliver the goods.”  So in the interest of documenting the endless parade of really crappy interactions with Amazon’s support team, I’m back.  Unsurprisingly, amazon again failed to make any progress, while pretending to make progress and keeping the drones busy.

In the latest exchange, today I got an email and a voicemail from Amazon.  The email went like this:

Hello Rich,

I wanted to let you know that I’ve received a response from our technical team, and they indicated your issue with logging in to the Kindle application on your Mac has been resolved.

If you’re still having trouble, please provide as much information as possible, including any new error messages. We can be reached using the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall-kindlesupport

I hope this helps! Thanks again for your patience!

Best regards,
Marlyna R.
Amazon.com

I went to my computer with zero confidence.  I tried the Kindle app again and nothing has changed.  The behavior is identical.  The reason I knew this would be the case is that as far as I can tell there is nobody at Amazon that has even bothered to really understand my problem.

So I sent this reply:

Nope, it’s not fixed.
It behaves in exactly the same way.

And of course, got the usual reply:

Hello,

This is an automatic e-mail to confirm we’ve received your e-mail
and a Customer Service associate will be in touch within the next
6 hours. In the meantime, please visit our Help Pages:
https://www.amazon.com/help

Please note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only
address that can’t accept incoming e-mail. Please don’t reply to
this message.

Regards,
Customer Service Department
Amazon.com

I 100% guarantee that will go nowhere.  I’ll get a message saying I need to call them.  Or a request to supply more information.

What about the voicemail?  The voicemail said this:  “Hi there this message is for rich. This is Marlena calling from Amazon Kindle customer service Department. We were recently made aware that you had not been notified that our kindle for PC applications salt login issues were resolved. We wanted to go ahead and let you know and follow up with you to see if you are particular issues. Have been resolved if you still need assistance. Please give us a call back at 1 866 321 8851 again that number is 1 866 321 8851. I’ll also be emailing you as well just to confirm. Hope you have a nice day.”

So, I called the number she provided.  I was put on hold for less than a minute, thankfully. A nice lady with a Philippines accent answered.   I could tell this was front-line customer support, the usual clueless people I’ve been talking to over and over about this issue.  Sigh.  OK, so I told her I was returning a call by Marlene about an ongoing issue I was having with my Kindle.
I then asked “Do I have to explain my situation over again and start at the beginning?”
She answered “Yes.”
So I said, “OK, that’s not going to happen, good bye.” and hung up.  I am not falling for that runaround any more.

This is really fascinating, how bad Amazon.com is at helping its customers resolve their problems.  It’s just a huge corporation with little concern for me.  So what I do is convert their books to a decrypted format and then use iBooks, which actually works, to read it.

I’ll keep engaging with amazon’s terrible tech support as long as they want to pretend to care, just to see if they ca actually produce a result, but there is absolutely nobody there that even understands my problem yet as far as I can tell, so there is little hope they can solve it.

The saga continues, stumbling, bumbling, fumbling along in a pathetic corporate display of inefficient helplessness!

Racism is real, and is a distraction

I recently encountered a post on Medium bemoaning America, seemingly seeing us as hopelessly divided along racial, cultural or tribal lines.  People like this often place a lot of emphasis on skin color in analyzing America.  President Trump has created an hysteria, or at least a real worry, among some of my fellow liberals about the rise of racism in America.  Here is my response to that line of thinking.

“Black Christ,” Guatamala ca. 1750, oil on canvas rkimball@abqjournal.com Tue Dec 24 08:44:32 -0700 2013 1387899867 FILENAME: 164448.jpg

Dear Hopeless in America:  I’m sorry you are feeling bad, but I think you’re part of the problem. You are declaring war on everyone that looks different than you, or who doesn’t fit your cultural type or however you define yourself. The people holding the whip are not a racial group, they are not the majority, they are an economic group and are a tiny minority but dangerously powerful.

Yes, there are people like you that judge everything by race, and that’s a shame and works to the detriment of racial minorities for obvious reasons. As long as race is the focus, there is nothing you can do to help yourself if you happen to have the wrong skin color. There are plenty of disenfranchised whites, that’s what got Trump elected you might say. But I am guessing probably you see them as jerks and have no compassion for them. That’s why you just might be a racist. Skin color is just sooo important to you.

I’m sure it sucks to be called racial epithets, and knuckle dragging white racists are horrible, but my lack of concern for the exact right phrasing and sensitivity levels to make you happy is not the problem. The real problem is class class class. It’s Jeff Bezos and Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton and seemingly every Republican ever elected. It’s the concentration of political, economic, military and police power in a smaller and smaller set of hands, regardless of their ethnicity or culture. That would be bad even if they were not mostly white people, believe it or not.

I believe that if we change our lens to focus on the real issue which is that insiders and corporations run our government, and that education, infrastructure and health care have taken a distant back seat to endless wars and stock market profits and real estate bubbles, we can make real progress.

Amazing Thailand! Picking up a package

So in March I ordered some FYF socks for $80.  Hoping for some volleyball magic, who knows.  They look cool.

They finally arrived at my condo in Bangkok.  The process for receiving them was so amazingly inefficient.  Amazing Thailand!

  1. I got a slip in my mailbox at my condo saying there is a package at the Pra Kanong post office for me
  2. Take the BTS to Pra Kanong and find the post office
  3. come and take a number and sit and wait
  4. A guy at desk takes my number and tells me to follow him
  5. We go to another office outside and he leaves me there
  6. A man in that office looks up my information in a binder. Nope not that one, gets out another one, ah there it is.
  7. He tells me to go back into the main area and take another number and wait.
  8. I do so and am called to the same window as before.
  9. The man there enters my information into a computer.
  10. I pay him 1000 baht tariff on my 2500 baht package.  Yes that’s 40%
  11. He gives me a slip of paper and tells me to take it back outside to the outside area office
  12. I give the slip of paper to the guys in the second room.
  13. They make me sign something and give me my package

Next time you chafe at the US Postal service, remember Thailand is out there…  🙂

Follow up: in the end, amazon.com failed to deliver the goods

I have talked to so many people at Amazon.com about my issue with my kindle.  I documented the incredibly bad experience I had in a previous post.   Here is a partial list of the people that have promised to look at it and follow up:

Harish on July 10
Prashant on July 10
Emie S. (supposedly a manager or higher level) on July 8
Thakur. Rawat on July 8
Ravinder S. on July 8
Prakash on July 3
Kaviya T. on July 3
Richa S on July 3
and numerous others that I have not documented here on phone and chat.
Each one has apologized repeatedly for my inconvenience and made empty promises to follow up.
End result?  It’s two weeks after the latest empty promise and guess what?  Zero response.
Amazingly awful support you have there, amazon!  The one good thing I can say about all this is that if I were training a company on what to avoid and mistakes that can be made, I’d find this to be a useful case study.
So what I’ve done personally is stopped using Amazon for books.  I used Calibre to convert my Kindle copyright protection to an open source format and am now using iBooks to read them.  iBooks works better than the Kindle app anyhow.

Amazon Kindle app on OS X is a hopeless mess, as is user support

I recently started having a mysterious problem with my Kindle app on Mac OS X.  It will not log me in.

The first thing that happens is this.  I have nothing in my library.  This is because my Kindle.app is disconnected from Amazon.   

Very reasonable to expect that I next need to log in: 

I type in my username and password and get another prompt to log in, but this time with a CAPTCHA added.  Why am I being asked to log in again?  If a captcha is necessary, why not ask me in the first dialog?  I’m already annoyed.  Stupid but hey, not unbearable yet.  

After passing the captcha test, the weirdness begins.  Kindle decides I need to be sent a 6 digit code by email and then enter it.  Seems reasonable, well, except that it’s totally annoying.  However, what happens is I am transferred to my browser, Chrome, to enter the code.  Kindle.app goes into the background and Chrome comes up in front with the following “Verifying it’s you” demand.  

I’m sent an email with the code: 

OK, so I go back and enter it into Chrome and I get this dialog saying my session has timed out.  I know what’s happening.  Technically speaking, Kindle.app holds the session ID and Chrome does not.  So amazon assumes my session has timed out.  Again, why is Chrome involved at all?  

OK so anyhow I enter my sign in information and I’m admitted to amazon.com where I can go shopping… except of course that’s not what I want to do.  

I want to use my Kindle.app!  So I bring it to the front.  It is waiting patiently for sign in: 

If I do sign in however, the loop repeats.  I’m asked for a captcha, then sent to Chrome for a 6 digit code, then timed out, then logged in, then asked for a login on Kindle….  

Click here to watch a video of the whole thing.  

So I call amazon support.  I have spoken to them numerous times and they just don’t understand their own software.  On June 30, I chatted with them for 40 excruciating minutes.  For some reason amazon teaches their technicians to constantly apologize and that is sooo annoying.  

Initial Question: I cannot register my kindle reader on my mac
06:58 PM PDT Ryley Rose(Amazon): Hello Wealthychef, my name is Ryley Rose. Thank you for being a Prime member! We really appreciate it.

I’m sorry to hear you aren’t able to register your Kindle Application for Mac. I’d be happy to check and do my best to help you.
06:59 PM PDT wealthychef: OK.
07:00 PM PDT Ryley Rose: May I ask, have you already tried to use the Amazon verification code sent to your email?
07:00 PM PDT wealthychef: yes
yes
07:01 PM PDT wealthychef: What happens is I get a dialog asking to sign in with username and password.
After completing that, I get another dialog asking for username, password, and a captcha. That’s already annoying. Why not just use the captcha right away?
Anyhow, after completing that, it opens my browser and asks for a 6 digit code sent to my email. I enter that and my browser takes me to my amazon.com account but the kindle app does not allow me to synchronize and continues to think I’m not registered.

07:01 PM PDT Ryley Rose: I’m sorry to hear that the Amazon verification code didn’t worked.
07:01 PM PDT wealthychef: The problem seems to be that that 6 digit code is being asked for in my browser, not the kindle app
I’m sorry you’re sorry
07:02 PM PDT Ryley Rose: I see. I appreciate the information, Wealthychef. Thank you.
Have you already tried to uninstall and reinstall the Kindle for Mac application, still same issue persist?
07:02 PM PDT wealthychef: yes
07:03 PM PDT Ryley Rose: I’m sorry for that.
Checking on it now.
07:06 PM PDT wealthychef: ok
07:06 PM PDT Ryley Rose: Thank you for waiting on me.
Upon checking here, I need to transfer you to the higher level which is our Kindle Tech Specialist trained to give an appropriate action. No worries, you don’t have to repeat your concern. Please stay on the line while I transfer you.​
07:07 PM PDT Richa(Amazon): Hello, my name is Richa. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
07:07 PM PDT wealthychef: roger that
07:12 PM PDT Richa: Thank you for waiting.
07:13 PM PDT Richa: Lets go ahead and first disable two step verification.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201962430
07:13 PM PDT wealthychef: good idea!
07:13 PM PDT Richa: Please click on this link to disable the verification.
07:14 PM PDT wealthychef: I don’t see a way to disable it. It took me to Advanced Security Settings but there is no “disable”
07:15 PM PDT wealthychef: Just a button that says “Get Started”
07:15 PM PDT Richa: Alright.
07:16 PM PDT Richa: Please go ahead and first uninstall the kindle app from your mac.
07:16 PM PDT wealthychef: I’ve already done that… but I guess I can do again
Hmm, actually I just installed again, not uninstalled.
Let’s see what happens. I will just delete the app. Is that what you mean?
07:17 PM PDT wealthychef: Or is there a special uninstaller?
07:17 PM PDT Richa: To download Kindle for Mac, go to:https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-pageHave you trashed the app ?
07:17 PM PDT wealthychef: Yes
07:18 PM PDT Richa: Please use above link to install app.
07:19 PM PDT wealthychef: ok it’s installed
07:20 PM PDT wealthychef: should I try to use it?
07:20 PM PDT Richa: Yes.
07:21 PM PDT wealthychef: Same thing. It says “For your security, we need to verify your identity. We’ve sent a code to the email wealthychef@gmail.com. Please enter it below.”
Then when I enter it it says “There was a problem
Your session has timed out. For security reasons, please sign in again.”

Presumably because it’s asking on Chrome and the app is not involved.
07:22 PM PDT Richa: You received code at 7:20. Did you used it?
07:22 PM PDT wealthychef: Yes I used the code
07:23 PM PDT Richa: Have you enable firewall to restrict downloads ?
07:23 PM PDT wealthychef: No
07:24 PM PDT wealthychef: There is no firewall that I know of.
07:24 PM PDT Richa: Alright.
Is Mac running OS X 10.9.5 or higher?
07:24 PM PDT wealthychef: Yes
10.12.6
07:25 PM PDT wealthychef: It worked a few days ago in America, although it is constantly asking me for my password, which is incredibly annoying. It gets unregistered all the time
I’ve used it in Thailand and Korea successfully.
07:26 PM PDT wealthychef: I have tried going through a VPN just in case Amazon hates Japan
As I have said multiple times, the kindle app does not ask me for the code. It opens
Chrome for that.
I think that’s the problem.
07:27 PM PDT wealthychef: I enter my 6 digit code into Chrome, not the Kindle app. So the kindle app does not get the code.
Don’t know how to say it any clearer
07:27 PM PDT Richa: Please check if web debugging proxies are enable for safari.
07:27 PM PDT wealthychef: I’m not using Safari
07:27 PM PDT Richa: Alright.
Please check for chrome them.
*the
*then
07:28 PM PDT wealthychef: I don’t know what that is.
07:29 PM PDT wealthychef: What is a web debugging proxy? There is no Chrome setting for that that I can see.
Why is Chrome involved at all?
07:30 PM PDT Richa: May I know if date and time is correct according to the location?
07:30 PM PDT wealthychef: As far as I know it is.
07:32 PM PDT Richa: The following instructions will show you how to disable the proxy settings for Wi-Fi on your Mac computer.
Click the Apple icon then select the System Preferences… option.
Select Network.
From the left pane, select the network service you wish to disable the proxy settings on, then click the Advanced… button.

07:33 PM PDT wealthychef: There are no proxies enabled for my wifi connection
07:34 PM PDT Richa: Please check for chrome as well.
1. Open Chrome and click the wrench icon in the screen’s upper left corner.2. Click “Settings” to open your Settings page.

3. Click “Show advanced settings” and click “Change proxy

07:34 PM PDT wealthychef: My iPhone is using the same wifi router and the iphone kindle reader works fine
07:34 PM PDT Richa: settings” to open the Windows Internet Properties dialog box.4. Click “Settings” to open your connection’s settings.

5. Click the check box labeled “Use a proxy server for this connection” to clear it.

6. Click “OK” in both open dialog boxes to close them.

07:35 PM PDT wealthychef: I do not use Windows.
There is no proxy enabled.
I found the proxy setting in Chrome and it just uses what the system uses, which is nothing.
07:37 PM PDT wealthychef: I tried using Safari as my default browser and get the same problem.
Why is kindle asking for this code? It never did this before.
07:38 PM PDT Richa: As we have tried troubleshooting to resolve it, in this case, I will go ahead and forward it to our technical team to check for the problem, you will receive email for resolution from our team with in 24 hours
Here is a ticket ID: 0117323517
07:38 PM PDT wealthychef: OK

Crickets.  OK, so July 3, I check back.  More apologies for my inconvenience and the trouble I’m having.  Apparently they are waiting for me to provide more information, only I never was asked for any information.  

 

I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve received any information from us. I can certainly help you with this.

I’ll surely forward your message to the appropriate team. We have a dedicated team working relentlessly to implement the feedback we receive.

I’ve immediately checked the ticket and see that our technical team requested some information to resolve your issue so please contact us via phone or chat so that we can gather the required information and help you to resolve this issue immediately.

Please be informed that troubleshooting steps can only be handled via phone or chat since we’re unable to gather information via email.

I’m really sorry if this additional step might cause you any inconvenience. I hope you’ll understand that this will help us in assisting you more precisely.

While contacting us via phone or chat, we can check and help you to provide the updated ticket information and assist you with real-time assistance.

For your convenience, we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Simply drop your number in the link given below, and we will call you right back.

To contact us via phone:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall

Contacting us through the website allows you to verify security before a call is placed and ensures we have your account information ready when we call you.

You can also contact us via our Live Chat facility by clicking the Contact Us tab in the right-hand column of our Kindle Support page.

To contact us via chat:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat

Once you visited that Contact Us page, click on the “Chat” option.

For Phone: When you visit our website and select Contact Us, click on the “Phone” tab, enter your number, and we’ll call you right back. Contacting us through the website allows you to verify security before a call is placed and ensures we have your account information ready when we call you.

Thanks for your patience and understanding. We hope you can contact us soon so we can help solve this problem quickly.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the buttons below to vote about your experience today.

Out of politeness, I do not vote about my experience.  Each time I send them an email, they send me two back, one to say thanks for emailing, and another to tell me it would be better if I call them.  So I chat with them and finally make them understand that i have not received any correspondence asking for additional information.  That chat takes 30 minutes of my time.

Initial Question: I was told to contact you to chat regarding my problems with my kindle reader software on my mac. Hopefully you have my history
03:22 AM PDT Aswathy(Amazon): Hello, my name is Aswathy. I’m here to help you today.
No worries, please let me check this for you.
03:23 AM PDT Aswathy: Thanks for waiting.
Just to confirm, are you referring to “wealthychef’s Kindle”?
03:24 AM PDT wealthychef: I’m referring to the kindle app on my Mac. I don’t know what nickname it is but it probably has the work “Mac” in it
03:24 AM PDT Aswathy: I’m sorry for the misunderstanding caused.
03:25 AM PDT Aswathy: I see no Kindle for Mac app is registered in your account.
03:26 AM PDT Aswathy: I see you’ve already deregistered Kindle for Mac from your account.
Are you now chatting from your Mac?
03:26 AM PDT wealthychef: I was trying to get it to work. Nothing helps
Yes I’m on my mac now.
03:26 AM PDT Aswathy: Okay.
03:27 AM PDT Aswathy: No worries, I’ll surely help you in this.
03:27 AM PDT wealthychef: I was told your technical team needed more information from me in order to help.
I’ve already gone around with one person on a lengthy chat. Let’s not do that again.
03:27 AM PDT Aswathy: Do you have the Kindle app on your Mac?
03:27 AM PDT wealthychef: I was told by email “‘ve immediately checked the ticket and see that our technical team requested some information to resolve your issue so please contact us via phone or chat so that we can gather the required information and help you to resolve this issue immediately.”

03:28 AM PDT wealthychef: Yes I have the kindle app on my mac.
03:28 AM PDT Aswathy: Please uninstall the Kindle app and let me know.
03:28 AM PDT wealthychef: I have already done all that. Do you have the history for my case? I don’t want to start over.
03:29 AM PDT wealthychef: I’ve been waiting for a followup and it has not come.
Do you understand? I’ve already spoken at length to someone about this.
03:29 AM PDT Aswathy: Yes, I do understand.
03:30 AM PDT wealthychef: Do you know who requested some information to resolve my issue?
03:30 AM PDT Aswathy: I see a ticket has been created to resolve your issue.
03:30 AM PDT wealthychef: What information do they need?
03:30 AM PDT Aswathy: Please allow me a moment.
03:31 AM PDT Aswathy: Thanks for waiting.
Let me connect you to a member of our Kindle specialist team. It will only take a moment.

03:32 AM PDT Jahnavi(Amazon): Hello, my name is Jahnavi. Please give me a moment to review the previous correspondence.
03:33 AM PDT wealthychef: ok
03:36 AM PDT Jahnavi: Thanks for staying connected
I checked and found that your concern was escalated to the technical team of engineers and they had requested you for
manual logs
May I know if you had sent them please?
03:36 AM PDT wealthychef: I have not received any communications
03:37 AM PDT wealthychef: What form was this request? By email?
03:37 AM PDT Jahnavi: I’m sorry to hear that. The team was waiting for the logs so that they could help with a fix , I can help you with the steps
03:38 AM PDT wealthychef: How was this request made? By email?
03:38 AM PDT Jahnavi: It was made on the escalation request that the previous agent created
03:38 AM PDT wealthychef: I don’t understand what that means.
03:38 AM PDT Jahnavi: However, I see that you were not informed about it
03:39 AM PDT wealthychef: I just received an email requesting logs
03:39 AM PDT Jahnavi: I understand that you have not received any information regarding the logs
I’ve sent the logs to you as directed by the technical team of engineers
Please follow the steps to pull the logs
03:40 AM PDT wealthychef: I will send the logs and noted the advice to use cloud reader; i hadn’t htought of that
03:40 AM PDT Jahnavi: and then please attach the log files on your Kindle for PC
03:40 AM PDT wealthychef: I will do so.
03:40 AM PDT Jahnavi: Sure
03:40 AM PDT wealthychef: OK anything more?
03:41 AM PDT Jahnavi: You can meanwhile access the cloud reader to access the books
https://read.amazon.com

03:41 AM PDT wealthychef: I will try that.
03:41 AM PDT Jahnavi: I would just need the logs from you, Once I get it, I will update the ticket
03:42 AM PDT Jahnavi: I would need to upload them to the concerned team so that they can analyze and find out the root cause of the issue and help with a fix
Sure please do
03:43 AM PDT wealthychef: I just sent you the logs
03:43 AM PDT Jahnavi: Thankyou
03:43 AM PDT wealthychef: Please confirm that you have them
03:43 AM PDT Jahnavi: Sure I’m checking
03:44 AM PDT Jahnavi: may I know if you had sent it from your registered email address?
I have not yet received the logs , I’ll give it a minute
03:44 AM PDT wealthychef: Yes. From wealthychef@gmail.com
03:45 AM PDT wealthychef: They are small
03:45 AM PDT Jahnavi: I’ve just received the files, thankyou
03:45 AM PDT wealthychef: OK good
03:46 AM PDT Jahnavi: I’ll right away upload them to the ticket and assign myself to this and once I get an update from the concerned team , I’ll write back to you via email
03:46 AM PDT wealthychef: So when will I be receiving further communication from you?
It would be nice if this could be resolved in a timely fashion
03:47 AM PDT Jahnavi: I’ve requested them to resolve it asap as I already explained the cause of delay, please be assured, this issue would be resolved on very high priority
03:47 AM PDT wealthychef: So tomorrow? This week?
03:47 AM PDT Jahnavi: Give me 24 hours, I’ll keep you in loop
03:48 AM PDT wealthychef: OK. Thank you
03:48 AM PDT Jahnavi: It should be resolved within 1-2 business days or perhaps much earlier but I’ll keep you in loop once I get any sort of update from them
You are most welcome. It was my pleasure to assist you. Would there be anything else I can do for you today?
03:49 AM PDT wealthychef: That would be nice. Yes, I have a question about the cloud reader. How do I adjust the font size?
03:49 AM PDT Jahnavi: please give me a moment while I help you with this
03:49 AM PDT wealthychef: Never mind I found it
03:50 AM PDT Jahnavi: I’m glad to hear that, I was just opening it to walk you through the steps
03:50 AM PDT wealthychef: OK, I think we’re good for now. Thank you
03:51 AM PDT Jahnavi: Thank you so much for choosing Amazon!
Have a great day ahead! 🙂

03:51 AM PDT wealthychef: You too, thank you. It’s night here, so I’m going to have dinner and enjoy Kyoto
Good night
03:51 AM PDT Jahnavi: Good night 🙂

 It results in the following email, which apologizes for my trouble.  I feel so warm inside knowing they are concerned about my trouble.    

Message From Customer Service
Hello,

I’m sorry for the trouble you’ve experienced while registering the Kindle for MAC app. We’ll have to research the registration issue further before finding the solution. In order to troubleshoot your issue, please send us the log files on your Kindle for Mac application. You can send us the log files by doing the following

1. Close the Kindle for Mac application.
2. From the menu bar at the top of the screen, click Go and then Computer.
3. Open the Macintosh hard drive.
4. Select Users and open the current user’s name (the icon is a house).
5. Follow the folder path: Library > Application Support > Kindle > Cache > Logs

If the Library folder does not appear in step 5, follow these steps:

blah blah

OK, now I know how to send the logs.  I do so.  

Message From Customer Service
Hello,

Thanks for providing us the log files of your device.

As per your instructions we have forwarded these files to my fellow representative so that he can do the required troubleshooting with the help of these log flies and will write back to you when this issue is resolved. In this case I request you to wait for 1 – 2 days as within this period this issue will be resolved.

I understand that waiting for additional days can be frustrating but I hope you will give my fellow representative the time to fix this issue. Your patience is really appreciated in this case.

If you have any other query then feel free to write back to us by clicking on the link below:

Five days later, on July 8, I receive the following idiotic reply:  

Message From Customer Service
Hello,

I wanted to let you know that I’ve received a response from our technical team, and they have requested you to please  check if you are able to load other amazon websites like amazon.com , read.amazon.com or kindle.amazon.com on same device. Check for the network proxy settings on device.

Obviously they don’t understand my problem.  So I send them a MOVIE to show them what’s up.  

You can see I’m getting a bit testy after a week of the runaround.  Trying to be patient and polite, as there is no point in being a jerk.  I call and speak to a specialist, who starts asking me the basics of my problem.  I talk to a manager.  The call goes on at least 40 minutes, with a good chunk of it being me just flabbergasted that they don’t understand my question yet.  Finally she understands what I’m talking about.  I get this followup from her: 

Message From Customer Service
Hello Rich,

I need to look into the problem with kindle app for mac, i also file a ticket, and it’ll take a bit more time than usual.

I just wanted to let you know I’ll write back in 1-2 business days with more information.

On July 10, two days later, I get this message: 

Message From Customer Service
Hello,

I’m Jahnavi from Kindle Specialist team

I’m personally following up with your issue which has been escalated to our technical team of engineers.

They’re working on taking care of it. However, In order to investigate with our concerned team regarding this issue, I humbly request you to please extend your patience for this issue to be resolved. usually when we escalate the issue, the issue is worked on and fixed within 1-2 working days or perhaps much before. If possible, please do send us the screenshots of the error message to us.

Remember that I have already sent them a movie showing the problem in detail.  Sigh.  I send it again.  I ask did you get it?  

Message From Customer Service
Hello,

I’ve previewed your previous correspondence and found there is a follow up created for the issue. I’m sorry for the inconvenience which you’ve experienced.

We have received your attachment and I’ll update it in your followup case so that they will resolve the issue at the earliest.

So that’s where I’m at right now.  Any bets on whether they ever fix this?  As a programmer myself, if I had the source code I think I could fix this pretty quickly.  The holdup here is amazon’s ridiculous support system.  It’s just horrible…

Note:  This morning, I sent them an email with a link to this post.  

I got this reply:

Hello,

Thank you for writing to us. It would be easier to help you over the phone or via chat.

You can reach Kindle Customer Support via phone or chat by clicking one of the links below:

To contact us via phone:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall

To contact us via chat:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat

Um, hell no I ain’t falling for that again!  LOL

 

Great example of politically correct feminism

I just ran across an article called “If it Ain’t Woke, Don’t Fuck It” by Megan Ford.  It seems to be a great example of what’s wrong with left-wing thought in some corners of America.  The article focuses on style and advocates for PC speech standards. The author claims that a good way to push women’s rights forward is to withhold sex from men in order to manipulate them into saying what she wants. Wow, that’s so insightful.  What a powerful statement and tool for change!

Meanwhile powerful “successful role model” women in corporate suits like Hillary Clinton continue to advocate for bombing brown babies and increased surveillance to protect us from terrorism, and for trickle-down style tax breaks for the wealthy in order to “create jobs.” But I’m a sexist if I criticize her, because I don’t have a vagina so I am not allowed to comment on people who do.

And meanwhile, the real misogyny is happening in countries where women have to wear burkhas by law and aren’t allowed to go to libraries without their husband or another “guardian” present. But it’s racist to call that out, right, even though Islam is not a race? Especially because I’m white, and my privilege makes me completely unable to understand the unique plights of wealthy minority kids attending exclusive universities.

It’s true that I’m a white male.  If your argument against mine includes my race and gender as an argument, then consider that you might just be a racist sexist bigot yourself.

 

My Father Died

A few days ago I got the unsurprising news that my Dad has died.  He has been struggling with many health problems, which when you are past 80 years old is always a precarious situation.  Finally, he succumbed to some sort of internal bleeding and the end has come for him.  I hope it was mercifully quick.  He was in pain.

When I heard the news, I realized, I’m not sad about the loss.  Partly because it was quite expected, but also, because my father and I were never really that close and there was really mot much left to lose between us.  In fact, I had to debate whether to go to his funeral or not.  You might think wow, Rich, you’re kind of a dick, aren’t you?  Or maybe, wow, what kind of monster was your father that you would not go to his funeral?  I hope the reason for my indecision is not the former, and I know it’s not the latter.

He was definitely not a bad guy, in fact, he had lots of good qualities.  But being a good father to me was not one of them.  My parents were divorced when I was seven.  Before then, my childhood seemed pretty normal.  I was a shy kid, I liked soccer, my Dad seemed to take an interest in me and support me.

My childhood soccer days.

My experience of him, after my parents got divorced and he remarried, was that he just disappeared and never made much effort to be involved.  That effort lessened over the years to the point where he was just basically gone from my life.  He seemed more interested in my life once I joined the same Church as him, but it was always pretty shallow and I felt like I was putting way more into it than he was.

Me, my Dad and his wife Renee when I joined the Mormon church back in the day.

I think every relationship between parent and child is unique, and the distance between father and child was not the same for my other siblings.  It seems to me that my oldest brother and sister both understood the divorce, saw it coming, and went mostly unscathed by it, maintaining an already established connection to their father.  But the three younger kids had worse experiences, because he basically just completely ignored his “old family” and started focusing on his “new family.”  In particularly my next older brother Bob and I really got the short end of the stick, but I believe that Don suffered too a lot at times.  Looking back, I see that he was very stingy with his time, his money and all forms of his attention toward us.

My Dad and his mother.

I could see he was deeply involved in his “new family” with his new wife, and honestly yes, it hurt to see him ignore his own kids that needed him and turn all his attention on this other set of kids.  I attribute this not to any maliciousness on his part toward us, his reasons were complicated I think.  Nor do I harbor the slightest ill will towards his new family;  they are awesome people who live great lives.  I really admire them.  But for my dad, the bottom line, I think he was weak, afraid and powerless most of his life where it mattered most to me.  His character was deeply flawed.

My character is flawed too, we all are imperfect.  But as a man, I cannot respect someone that says they love someone or something but takes zero actions based on that love.  That’s either laziness or weakness or fear.  I forgive him his weaknesses, but since he never seemed to see that it mattered or act like it did, I could never really respect him as a father.

He had a stroke, and I tried to be there for him, to encourage and support him, and to support others who were helping him.  I was by no means making a heroic effort there, but I showed up to some extent and did what I felt I could.  In that time, I saw how strong he could be, and how everyone around him loved him.  Again, the shadow side for me was, if this was because he was such a great guy, why not pick up the phone and call his “other kids” once in a while?

Dad after his stroke. He because hemiplegic. This must have been so hard for him but he was incredibly brave.

Over the years, I heard many stories about how he continued to neglect and damage his relationship my brothers, my sister, and my nephews and nieces, and saw how he continued to neglect them in his thoughts and actions right to the end of life, all the while making excuses like “I’m just not a good communicator.”  By the time of his death, it had become difficult for me to visit him because of a sense of emotional dissonance, and started getting a sense that I was wasting my time.  I felt deep compassion for him as a suffering human being, in pain and unable to move half of his body.  But I just didn’t feel like I owed him any of my time or resources and it was too painful to continue just so he could keep up some illusion of something special between us.

So now he has died and his funeral is this Friday.  I have decided to go and participate.  Am I going because I feel like I should go, because I would be judged for not going, or to make my siblings happy?   These seem like bad reasons, because even though I do want my family to be happy and don’t want to cause negativity at this important event, I don’t think they would want me to go if I’m only going for them or for appearance’s sake, and those things aren’t going to make the funeral meaningful for me either.

I try not to act out of anger or fear, and want all my actions in the world to be positive if possible, so I would not want to avoid it as some sort of angry statement against him or his memory as a person or even as a father.  Those just do not seem like good reasons to NOT go.

In the end I decided to go because regardless of how I feel about our relationship, he was an important person to me, and I want to mark his passing with dignity, support my family and honor the good I could see in him, then close the book for myself and move on.  I saw how strong he could be when he wanted to be and admire that from afar. He was funny and smart and kind and stoic. He passed on some good genes and I’m grateful for the things he gave me, such as the ability to think linearly and logically and a quirky sense of humor.  It’s worth the 26 hour flight from Thailand to me, the money, the awkwardness, the religious sermonizing, and whatever other inconveniences might come.  I will get a lot from this and my presence there is going to be meaningful, supportive and full of love.  That’s my commitment and that’s the way it’s going to be.

I feel like this funeral is not for him, the dead, but for us, the living, to remember and to let go, to mark his passing each in our own way. He’s gone, hopefully to a better place, Heaven, the Borg, whatever. I will cry at his funeral, not because I miss him, because you can’t miss someone you never spent much time with, but because I lost him a long time ago, and for me this is a final letting go of everything that means, the anger, the disappointment, the hope, the jealousy.

This is not a complete statement of everything I think on this matter, but it’s what’s swirling through my head at the moment.   I might revise it in the future, I might come to feel differently if new information comes to light, but right now, this is how it is.  And I think I’m doing all right.

Still without a father. But at least now I can let go.