Laptop Blues

I’m sorry to be writing you again so soon, but it appears that Friday’s service call left me worse off than before. My laptop locks up now when displaying full-motion video. I’m almost certain this is neither a software nor hardware problem. Rather, it’s a case of an improperly installed system board. I’m even sure about what the tech failed to do, but it’s something I can’t get to and fix. I know better than give you any more detail, because you wouldn’t understand. Please just forward this info to L2 Tech Support, and ask them to call me ASAP.

 

RE: Moms and MSDN

Quite easy to understand. Go do what you need to first.

—–Original Message—–
From: Robert Scoble [mailto:rscoble@microsoft.com]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 3:26 PM
To: Scott Royall
Cc: Blog; Blaise; bradgsmith@mdanderson.org; Brandon Milligan; Carol
McKinney; Dianne; DSloan; Jack Davidson; janis.nicol@nau.edu; John Royall;
Marsha Anderson, DVM; Michelle Luster; Ming Zu; Mom; Richard Becton; Sakina
Lanig; Tao Ju
Subject: RE: Moms and MSDN

Scott, thanks for the kind words!

But I probably won’t be able to work on it for another week, sorry.

Robert

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2006 12:06 PM
To: Robert Scoble
Cc: Blog; Blaise; bradgsmith@mdanderson.org; Brandon Milligan; Carol
McKinney; Dianne; DSloan; Jack Davidson; janis.nicol@nau.edu; John
Royall; Marsha Anderson, DVM; ‘Michelle Luster’; Ming Zu; Mom; Richard
Becton; Sakina Lanig; Tao Ju
Subject: Moms and MSDN

Robert,

What can I say? You already know how temporary life is. You also have
the good sense to recognize how fortunate we are. I mourn your loss as
you come to terms with life and its consequences. None of us is perfect,
of course, but I think you can take comfort in the evidence you found in
MT of the pride your mother took in you. Although your paths diverged,
she clearly didn’t regret yours.

Living on Disability when I’m actually capable of earning a good salary
as a developer is no fun. I won’t lie and pretend it is. It is
financially and emotionally draining. Yet, I too am better off than most
of humanity. I know that, just as I know that most severely disabled
people will never even get a chance to do anything with their lives.
That hasn’t changed in my 50 years, and maybe it never really will. Yet,
the field we work in, computer technology, does at least offer the hope
of change. It is something of an equalizer in that computers don’t react
emotionally or pass judgments on what people are capable of contributing
to society. If you are able to give a computer the input required to
achieve the output desired, you are as capable as anyone else. Xpress-It
is proof of that. I honestly believe that app has the capability of
helping many, many people become less invisible to the world, because it
addresses a need that the established medical software houses don’t even
seem to see.

However, Xpress-It’s future is tied to offering it on more portable
platforms. Achieving that goal, given that Xpress-It is C++, means
keeping my MSDN subscription up so I can get more modern tools. I simply
can’t afford the $2,300 price tag for the year, though. This is why I
asked for your help; my subscription expires this month. As you take the
next week away to close out your mother’s affairs, please try to not let
my request fall in a crack somewhere.

Scott

<http://www.vistaprint.com/vp/gateway.aspx?S=5176697856&gt;

Moms and MSDN

Robert,

What can I say? You already know how temporary life is. You also have the good sense to recognize how fortunate we are. I mourn your loss as you come to terms with life and its consequences. None of us is perfect, of course, but I think you can take comfort in the evidence you found in MT of the pride your mother took in you. Although your paths diverged, she clearly didn’t regret yours.

Living on Disability when I’m actually capable of earning a good salary as a developer is no fun. I won’t lie and pretend it is. It is financially and emotionally draining. Yet, I too am better off than most of humanity. I know that, just as I know that most severely disabled people will never even get a chance to do anything with their lives. That hasn’t changed in my 50 years, and maybe it never really will. Yet, the field we work in, computer technology, does at least offer the hope of change. It is something of an equalizer in that computers don’t react emotionally or pass judgments on what people are capable of contributing to society. If you are able to give a computer the input required to achieve the output desired, you are as capable as anyone else. Xpress-It is proof of that. I honestly believe that app has the capability of helping many, many people become less invisible to the world, because it addresses a need that the established medical software houses don’t even seem to see.

However, Xpress-It’s future is tied to offering it on more portable platforms. Achieving that goal, given that Xpress-It is C++, means keeping my MSDN subscription up so I can get more modern tools. I simply can’t afford the $2,300 price tag for the year, though. This is why I asked for your help; my subscription expires this month. As you take the next week away to close out your mother’s affairs, please try to not let my request fall in a crack somewhere.

Scott

 

RE: Lilly and Money

I didn’t answer the question because I don’t really have an answer yet. Assuming that we’re talking about next Monday, the figure could be $1,000 but will probably be more like the typical $500. It’s all a matter of when checks come in.

 

I think that you should come see Lilly so you can appreciate better what we’re dealing with. The lame leg is on the side opposite from the discernible arthritis so we have a mystery injury. If the radiologist also doesn’t see a bony cause, more imaging will be needed. A soft tissue injury, such as a tear, would require surgery, but have a good to excellent prognosis. Even Arthritis is normally manageable with meds.

 

We agree that the prognosis is what matters. Bear in mind, though, that I may have information you don’t. In Corby’s case, I never revealed that he was beginning to walk the Friday before the end. Unfortunately, GCVS was flooded by a tropical storm that weekend, and Corby somehow broke another vertebrae. That’s what dashed his recovery.

 


From: Lourez Bullock [mailto:lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 1:41 PM
To: ‘Scott Royall’
Subject: RE: Lilly and Money

 

Scott, I appreciate your comments and your understanding of the situation.  Sometimes emotions lead us to act in not the best way for our animal friends.

 

You didn’t answer my question about money – how much and when???

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 12:18 PM
To: ‘Lourez Bullock’
Subject: RE: Lilly and Money

 

Mother,

 

Think.

 

How can a prognosis be discussed before the diagnosis isn’t known yet? Of course it can’t be. You are probably fixating on the Arthritis, which is minor at this point. Corby had it most of his life. No, something else has crippled the other hind leg. It may be related, or not. The Arthritis is relatively cheap to treat so it’s a non-factor (Rimadyl, and possibly diet and monthly shots). Is that too much?

 

I am quite aware of what I can no longer afford. Yet, does that mean we need to put Lilly down right now? No, I know that wasn’t what you meant. My point is, the gist of your entire paragraph went through my mind long before we even took x-rays. Getting just a diagnosis is certain to be expensive. What’s our limit?

 

Scott


From: Lourez Bullock [mailto:lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 11:16 AM
To: ‘Scott Royall’
Subject: RE: Lilly and Money

 

So how much do you estimate you’ll need and when?  Remember, we have to request funds from our financial advisor, we don’t have cash on hand.  We just had him pull $$ to pay for this trip in August – a break we’re long overdue incidentally, in case you’re wondering.

 

Have you and your vet discussed Lilly’s prognosis- and how far you’re willing to go in treating her condition?  There are limits after all.  Look what we just went thru for Tripper – to no avail.  And Corby – were the heroic measures worth the additional pain and discomfort he endured?  I know Trip and Corb were extreme examples, probably neither had a chance but we owners tend to “go for broke” for beloved furry friends. I just think before radical measures are employed – with no guarantee of success – one needs to stop and think.  Isn’t it sometimes better to just make them comfortable and pain-free as long as possible?  Hopefully, Lilly’s situation isn’t dire yet.

 

—–Original Message—–
From: Scott Royall [mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2006 10:16 PM
To: ‘Lourez Bullock’
Subject: Lilly and Money

 

As you can imagine, Lilly’s problems and Chase’s stupidity are draining my meager funds. I have about $350 currently, and I still owe Ashford $225 just for the x-rays. There is no telling what’s coming next. There’s also little chance of getting two more MetLife checks before the 31st. Sometimes, things do get overwhelming.

No, I don’t really want to default on my Chase account, but they are bringing it on themselves. The only good thing about being so broke that the IRS backs away is that it also gives credit card pushers few choices.

 

I Hate Chase!

15906 Manfield

Houston, TX 77082

 

May 19, 2006

 

 

In regards to: Account 5369 9003 3977 4783

 

Cardmember Services

P.O. Box 15298

Wilmington, DE 19850-5298

 

 

Dear Mr. Herberber:

 

I don’t know why I am surprised by Chase’s ability to contradict itself, but I am. Look at my current online statement. The previous minimum amount due is $0! Notice the 4/19 payment of $28. I paid that amount because that’s what your online system I owed. Do not try to make customers responsible for second-guessing what they need to pay. If you are doing an online system, it’s only going to work if it’s accurate. Your letter directly contradicts the information your online system was giving me.

 

Let’s not kid each other. Chase makes all the rules in its BLP so Chase can really do as it pleases. Do not tell me you can’t enroll me in BLP. I have already shown you that I paid exactly what your own website directed me to. I did my part as far as I am concerned.

 

No, I will not make any more calls to Chase. My disability makes calling difficult to start with. Moreover, I want all future communication in writing so I can rub your nose in all of the double-talk Chase gives me.  Enough is enough. Remember that my monthly income is only $1,500. It’s not that I can really afford to pay Chase $373, but that’s what I previously agreed to.  However, your letter effectively ends that obligation.

 

I believe in repaying my debts. On the other hand, Chase has been so duplicitous in its dealings with me that a lot of my sense of honor has worn off. It technically wouldn’t matter much to me if my Chase account went to a collection agency, because my income is so low now that my credit rating is just about meaningless. I can’t buy anything anyway! I don’t have a home phone, and I screen my cell callers so a collection agency won’t be able to harass me. I still would much rather pay off Chase, but the reality is that I also owe the IRS. The IRS feels that it has far higher priority than any credit card company too. That means, if Chase genuinely wants to be paid, it needs to stop this on-again-off-again game and start honestly working with me. Until you do, I can’t afford to send any more payments, because that 29.99% APR eats them. It’s a bitter irony that your letter arrived the day after sending in $373.

 

Scott Royall


 

 

Cardmember Service

P.O. Box 15548 Wilmington, DE 19886-5548

May 15, 200,

017716

Donald S Royall

15906 Manfield Dr

Houston TX 77082-2941

11…11…111…1..1…1.1..1.11.1…1..1…1111 11…1..11

Account: 5369900339774783

Dear Donald 5 Royall,

Thank you for your interest in the Balance Liquidation Program (BLP). We would like to thank you for making an effort to gain control of your finances. Unfortunately, we cannot enroll you at this time, as we did not receive the needed payment within 30 days of the date you applied for

BLP.

We may have other payment options that would better fit your situation. Please call us at 1-800-955-8030 if you wish to discuss other payment solutions.

Sincerely,

Bill Herberger

Customer Support Division

Account 1S owned by Chase Bank USA, N.A.

Calls may be monitored and/or recorded to ensure the highest level of quality service.

BLPOO3

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15906 Manfield

Houston, TX 77082

 

April 4, 2006

 

 

In regards to: Account 5369 9003 3977 4783

 

Cardmember Services

P.O. Box 15298

Wilmington, DE 19850-5298

 

 

Dear Cardmember Services:

 

 

I received your letter dated March 31st, 2006. Unfortunately, it was clearly a form letter and totally failed to address the core issue raised in my previous letter. Accordingly, I am including facsimiles of both with this letter. Allow me to take this opportunity to highlight the most salient points for you:

 

  • I am physically disabled and currently unable to find employment.
  • I am therefore living on $1,500 per month in disability benefits.
  • You raised my APR from 18.24% to 29.99% in January of this year.
  • There is no way I can afford even the minimum payment under the new APR.
  • I called Financial Operations on February 25th, 2006, and spelled out my situation.
  • During that call, several people agreed to close my account, reset my APR to 18.24%, and set my minimum payments to $373/month.

 

Now, let me state very clearly what will happen if you do not comply with the February 25 agreement you offered and I accepted. Since I cannot afford the minimum payments under the 29.99% APR, there will be no point in sending any payments to you at all. I am someone who pays his debts, but I cannot when your APR outstrips my ability to pay. Your case will not be helped by turning my account over to a collection agency as that does not alter basic reality. If you want payment, you must abide by the terms of our February 25th agreement.

 

Scott Royall


 

 

CARDMEMBER SERVICE

PO BOX 15298

WILMINGTON, DE 19850-5298

800-436-7937

VISIT US ONLINE AT WWW.CARDMEMBERSERVICES.COM

March 30

060063

Donald S Royall

15906 Manfield Dr

Houston TX 77082-2941

11…11…111…1..1…1.1..1.11.1…1..1..11111..11111..1..11

RE

5369900~39774783

Dear Donald 5 Royall

2006

As your credit card company, it’s important to us that we provide you wit timely information about your account.

We are writing to tell you about a change in your Cardmember Agreement. Effective with the next statement you receive after March 31, 2006, your minimum payment requirement has been changed to the fixed percentage of 2.65% of your statement balance. If you want to have your minimum payment consistently calculated at a fixed percentage while you pay down your balance, no action is needed on your part. If you take no action, the change to your Cardmember Agreement is noted at the end of this letter.

However, if you prefer, we can change your minimum payment calculation to the greater of 2% of your statement balance or 1% of your statement balance plus billed interest and any applicable late or over-limit fees. This change may result in a higher minimum payment, which could result in a faster reduction of your balance and, accordingly, reduced finance charges. If this option appeals to you, please call us. We will be happy to assist you.

In taking no action to the change in your minimum payment requirement, effective with the next statement you receive after March 31st. The portion of the Minimum Payment section of your Cardmember Agreement that describes your minimum payment calculation will be replaced with the following:

 

Your billing statement shows your beginning balance and your ending balance (the "New Balance" on your billing statement). If the New Balance is $10 or less, your minimum payment will be the amount of the New Balance. Otherwise, it will be the greater of 2% of the New Balance or $10. However, if an annual percentage rate (APR) on your account exceeds 22.99% or your balance is over your credit line/cash access line, we may require a minimum payment due of the greater of up to 2.65% of the New Balance or $10. As part of the minimum payment due, we also add any

amount past due and any amount over your credit line/credit access line.

Regardless of the minimum payment requirement you choose, we encourage you to pay more than the minimum payment shown on your billing statements. Paying more than the minimum payment will allow you to reduce your balance more quickly and reduce the amount of finance charges paid over time.

.lr you have any questions please call us at the toll-free number noted

above. For your convenience, we are available 24 hours a day to assist

you.

Sincerely,

Cardmember Service

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15906 Manfield

Houston, TX 77082

 

March 25, 2006

 

 

In regards to: Account 5369 9003 3977 4783

 

Cardmember Services

P.O. Box 15298

Wilmington, DE 19850-5298

 

 

Dear Cardmember Services:

 

 

On February 25th of this year, I contacted your Financial Operations department and opted out of the new 29.99% interest rate by closing this account. They agreed to reset my interest rate to 19% and said my monthly payments would be $373. However, I just received an email from your system indicating that I owe $639 a month. I called Financial Operations again, and spoke to a supervisor who identified herself as “Kendra.”

Kendra did remove the excess finance charges that had accumulated this year. She also acknowledged the prior agreement Chase had made with me, but claimed it was in error because the APR could not be changed. Considering that my prior contact involved several people in multiple departments, I have to really doubt Kendra’s knowledge.

I should also make you aware that I am classified as severely disabled. I can neither speak nor write. I did manage to hold an Applications Developer position with Shell Oil for 14 years, but lay-offs have reduced my income to $1,500 per month in disability benefits. You don’t need a degree in accounting to see that an APR of 29.99% is completely impossible on my income. The situation is that, unless Chase returns to our prior agreement, it will be pointless for me to make any payments because the APR will consume them. Any threats involving collection agencies and damaging my here-to-fore excellent credit rating would be fruitless, as I’m already on a subsistence income. I don’t see any hope of making any major purchases unless my fortunes reverse again. I am someone who does want to work with you, but reality demands it be on my terms, sorry.

Lastly, I should tell you that a copy of this letter will be published in my blog. The same applies to any written response you wish to provide. In this way, the world will be able to see for itself how Chase Bank treats a long-term customer who has hit dire straits.

 

Scott Royall

 

 

 

Mobile Tech


Funny how things go.

As I sat in my vet’s clinic today, waiting while she put my service dog through a battery of x-rays in search of the source of her lameness, I switched Media Player to my laptop’s internal speakers and listened to some podcasts I had stored up. Lo and behold, I hear Mobile Tech Round-up doing a piece on me and Xpress-It. That was obviously freaky since I wasn’t expecting it. True, I did use Skype to harangue them last week. The MoTR boys were lamenting the apparent lack of progress in the text-to-speech field. My voicemail was along the lines of, “oh yeah, well dig this!” That clearly caught their attention, and the resulting show segment was excellent. I have to thank the guys for really doing a good job with their research, because that enabled them to capture the most important aspects of Xpress-It. Listen for yourself.

 

RE: stuff

No wonder, the blog entry was missing the link to the relevant entry in Robert’s blog. That’s fixed. Follow the link to his entry. You can see all his entries for the month by clicking on the banner at the top of the page. Among other things, Robert’s blog this month tells a sadly touching story as it unfolds.

 

 


From: Lourez Bullock [mailto:lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 4:31 PM
To: ‘Scott Royall’
Subject: stuff

 

Thanks for the M’s Day card…..I do love Chudleigh.  Didn’t understand your reference to Robert Scoble…..I’ve read your correspondence with him but must have missed something along the line.  Checked your last “minor” blog addition and that didn’t help.

Went to  Mother’s for their brunch.  She ate very well but threw up all the way back to her apt. from the main bldg.  What fun.  Poor thing went from feeling great to in the commode.   Think she just ate too fast. She’s okay today, though.

John, Lori and Kaitlin came over so he could cook dinner for Lori and me.  Had venison backstrap and axis medallions,  ymmmmm. 

Again, thank you.  I really enjoyed the card.

Mom