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This week in tech fail (or how I accidentally became a murderer)

Here’s Paul’s week in fails, learn from them. Don’t be like Paul.

The fail of the plant murder

Rest in Peace Lily
Rest in Peace Lily

So we’ll start with a product I’m reviewing, the KooGeek P2 – it’s a smart plug that’s not available or purchase yet that I’ve attached to my Plant Air purifier which cleans my office air. I’ll preface this that there’s nothing wrong with the Koogeek P2. As a note, I moved my other smart plug to my house for a different project.

My work Plant Air purifier contains two plants – a Peace Lily, and a purple plant commonly called a Purple Heart, Wandering Jew, or Tradescantia. The Plant Air purifier is a gadget which sucks air through the root system and basically lets the plant do 50x the job of purifying the air. You can read the NASA study if you’re snickering.

Unfortunately the Peace Lily I have can’t take much more than 10 hours of working before it becomes fatigued. At a day running it’s drooping. Since I’ve nearly killed it a few times I thought I’d be smart and put it on a smart plug and turn it on and off.

On my old plug I just had set a schedule and it adhered to no more than 8 hours a day runtime. This plug’s a little different (also different featureset,) and I didn’t have that option so I was manually turning it off when I forgot to at work.

On Friday I left the office and it was on. Saturday I realized it was still on and went to turn it off but the WiFI it was connected to was down. Sunday the WiFi was back up and running and I got it turned off but I’ve got a probably murdered plant because of a miscalculation in the abilities of a WiFi network to stay operational. Thanks NetGear.

Assuming I continue the internet connected plant, I’m going to switch back to the plug that has an auto-off/timer function.

The fail of the dying phone

FormatFactoryHTC10 Silver - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereYesterday I got a new-to-me 2014 Honda Odyssey. I showed up at the dealership at about 3pm with nearly 60% battery and the expectation I was going to be there a couple of hours. 50% battery should last me right?

At 4ish I’m expecting the car in the next few minutes so I drive my old one off the lot to my work, which is conveniently five blocks away. I note that for the first time in my life I have no portable chargers that will work with my phone with me. I’d taken them out of my car because it’s been freaking hot and I don’t want anything exploding. I walk back to the dealership.

at 5:13pm having 26% left on the battery my phone dies. The detailers are still detailing the hell out of the car. Former owner had dogs. Guess what I’m allergic to? Not terribly, just I can smell a dog in a car and there were 6000 dog hairs still in that car.

Nobody at the dealership has a USB C cable. They’ve got charging stations with all the iStuff and two generations of Android plugs, but no dice. I walk back up the hill as I’m on call 24/7 and bring my car back to the lot and charge my phone.

I hang out in my car for a bit because I didn’t want to lug in a car battery to hook my phone up to. Evidently I’m known as car battery guy in the Yelp circles because I did just that to keep a phone charged at an event after the birth of my first kiddo. Also at a time when I had no chargers on me.

I am told by the sales guy that my car will be ready in five minutes. I drive the car back to work, walk five block, notice I have 48% battery life as I’m walking. Get to the dealership and am told the car has another minute to go but now it’s time to sign the papers.

OK, having not purchased a car in a while I’d assumed that mountain of paperwork I had signed before was it, but no. Oh, this is the 3 forms to do license plate purchase/transfer/work with the govt to get me a plate, oh there’s the three forms required for them to transfer title to me, oh here’s a brief survey, here’s two forms of me declining their $600 key replacement insurance, there’re three more forms for the finance dept.

And now it’s time for my insurance cards which I had forwarded a PDF of to the salesman. The forms guy looks and notices on the pff they expired a year ago. Lordy. My printed current insurance cards are once again five blocks away up the hill.

I pull my phone out with 30% left to go to my insurance company and it dies. I reboot it and it claims it’s got 14% battery left. It won’t complete a boot. It doesn’t have 14% battery left.

They take me to a computer so I can access my insurance. I know I’ve got the current card in email but I’ve got two factor authentication and the authenticator app is on my phone. That’s cool because I printed out the emergency numbers and they’re in my car, five blocks away.

I remembered I’d hidden a code in a post on a forum I frequent. Guess who’s down because their admins are out for the week celebrating the 4th?

Believe it or not I use fairly secure passwords most places. I tried a bunch. Things involving money usually also involve having them written down or a hints file I keep. I managed to remember it finally.

So yeah  – fails in order:

  • Battery failing on HTC 10 at 1.5 years?
  • nobody has a USB C charger
  • didn’t have a portable charger for once in my life
  • didn’t have any USB to USB C cables on me
  • The one forum I hid some codes in a post was shot
  • I believed a sales guy on timelines
  • When purchasing a car carry your insurance card with you
  • Didn’t place enough one-time codes for authenticator in the wild
  • One time code in wallet washed away/unreadable

Overall, plenty of mistakes because I was not planning on needing my phone, which I guess I should plan for.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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