Current Blips

Cache dump of very brief thoughts, ideas, and recommendations.

2019-18-18: The LAST UPDATE to the Bitten by the Banking Wars post has been published. You’ll find it at the end of the post.

2019-07-25: Read the sensible proposal by Jason Perlow in the ZDNet post titled Why Apple and Microsoft belong together like…. I wonder if Microsoft and Apple can play smarter together to bring about this limited partnership to benefit themselves, and us.

2019-07-16: If you enjoy viewing nice photography, check out the blog The Phoblography. It has a large library of interesting and creative works.

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Bitten by the Banking Wars

My “banking career” began in the early 70’s of the previous century and ended with my retirement in 2013. In the 80’s and 90’s the bank failures and buyouts created havoc in the industry and the lives of many workers and their families. My close friends and coworkers in IT managed to survive as many as 5 takeovers during that period and were involved in the conversions to the buyer’s computer systems and hardware. Other people contributed heavily in the conversion to the “new” bank’s way of doing business.

In 1989, the Mrs. and I obtained a mortgage to buy our condo from the bank I was working for at the time, Bank of Boston CT. I was working for Bank of America (end of the buyout chain) when we paid off that mortgage in 2013, just before I retired. Over the life of that loan, it changed hands from one mortgage lender to another as well as one bank to another.

I am currently in the application phase for a Home Equity Loan with Bank of America, as a retiree, to make some needed home repairs. This application required financial forms and verifications to be obtained and attached, and the bank was helpful with the process.

But guess what showed up yesterday? An existing lien on my home from the original Bank of Boston CT mortgage. Total nonsense. I’ve been through at least one title search since the loan was paid off and no lien showed up. This should be interesting. A bank that no longer exists making claim to my home. This may cause a lengthy delay in the current loan application’s completion. Or hopefully I’ll be lucky and it’s an easy fix.

I think a conversion plan dropped the ball in at least one of those buyouts and allowed that lien to come alive again on a list somewhere. It should have been closed out.

UPDATED 08/08/2019: The belief that the issue was a glitch in one of the bank buyout conversions proved to be true. The bank has told me this is their issue to resolve, not mine. However, it’s taking quite a long time with escalations to other departments and internal auditors. I still have no idea when my loan will be available (or declined). This process started on June 12th.

UPDATED 08/18/2019: On August 9, 2019, the bank’s stand on the bogus lien issue dramatically changed. They advised they would no longer be addressing this matter and that I needed to contact Bank of Boston CT (a bank which has not existed since the latter part of the last century). The bank later changed my contact to Chase Manhattan Bank as they now “own” the mortgage history and advised I had 30 days to get resolution before the loan application would be marked as “denied”.

On a conference call with the loan department, my temper got the better of me and I strongly advised they just cancel my application. I had a feeling this was going to take longer than 30 days, so no loss. I contacted a lawyer who explained what steps would need to take place and what documents would be required to release the bogus lien on my home. Remember that on more than one occasion I was told by the loan department that this was the bank’s issue, not mine, as it was a file conversion issue during the chain of the bank buyouts and that they would resolve it.

That a bank of this size completely reversed this commitment with out a satisfactory explanation and refused to take responsibility for resolution, is what angers me the most. Pursuing this further with the loaning bank would be akin to an ant trying to wrestle a dinosaur to submission, so I am forced to accept the situation.

I do worry however, that the loan application being marked as denied will have a negative impact on my credit score.

An Apple Relic Resuscitated

While in the continuous throes of ridding my home of junk, I found a very old Apple iPod in a drawer. The battery was dead but I was able to find a suitable charging cable in a box of cables, and hooked it up. It took over a minute, but the device came to life displaying the big battery, in the red. After sitting for a few hours the big battery was in full green.

At first power on, a logon prompt was presented, and I realized I was probably not going to get into this device. After trying a number of possible passwords, I was forced to give up. The trip taken over quite a few days to get the iPod working again was tedious, but seeing its out of the box Apple app icons on the main screen was worth the effort. The process of getting it recovered was documented in case it goes fully back to out of the box again. The iPod has been alive since January of 2019 due to making sure the battery stays charged, and that it seems to hold a charge well.

By the model number on the back, it’s a 4th Generation iPod Touch. I was unable to find a receipt or any other record of the actual purchase date, but believe it was purchased it in 2010.

My current iOS devices are on iOS 12.3.1. This iPod is trapped on iOS 6.1.6, the update being installed after it was up and running. This the last available release for this device.

There are zero apps in the App Store available for this iPod due to the iOS version. All Apple apps that came with this release still work as intended. I can see my iCloud email account, and have manually downloaded music from my iTunes library. It cannot interface with the sound system in my car other than with a direct USB connection. This means all music playing has to be initiated from the iPod after the connection is made, making playlists a must.

All the Apple supplied apps that came with the purchase still work: Calculator, Calendar, Camera, Clock, Contacts, iTunes, Notes, Photos (camera roll), Reminders, Videos, Voice Memos, Weather, Maps, and FaceTime. The listed apps may be missing features or settings added through the 6 iOS releases since the iPod’s version.

I have fun with it. Its small size (4.25′ by 2.13′) makes it easy to carry. With tethered ear plugs the music sounds good, and I often use the iPod on my walks. To prevent impacting my data, I don’t allow iCloud access from the device except for my Apple email account. I’m still amazed it can do as much as it does, and that the battery charges last as long as they do. This version iPod is selling on the web for as high as $250, so there must be other folks out there coveting this early device.

Unknown Caller Rage

I’m retired and have a lot of time on my hands.

I’m going collect as many phone numbers as I can, legally or not. I will then call these phone numbers every day and evening, often multiple times, using an unlisted phone number. I will change this unlisted number often. I will ignore the Do Not Call lists.

If you answer I will try to sell you insurance, a newspaper subscription, or play a recording that will tell you that you are in trouble with the government and you need my help to get out of it. I will keep calling, whether you answer or not.

If I get voice mail, I will leave you as long a tiring message as I can, every time. After a month or two, my voice mail will offer to stop calling if you wire a monthly fee to an account I provide.

How long would you put up with this? Would you call the police? Would you try to have me fined, or arrested?

You would probably succeed. And deservedly so. So why can’t we citizens, harassed daily by unknown callers, call the police and get them arrested?

Adding insult to injury, the Telcos make money providing these miscreants the bandwidth they use, and then have the audacity to offer us a priced, monthly service to stop only some of the calls.

Think about that for a while.