Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Xfinity Connectivity

This is not satire. One could only hope that some competition for broadband existed at this zipcode! (We had good service from Vivint for 6 years, before they left the neighborhood in May)

Xfinity Assistant


Live AgentEnd Agent Chat

Welcome back, Duane.

I hope you’re staying safe and healthy. We’re committed to keeping you connected during this time.

What can I help you with today? You can say things like “my Internet is slow” or “how much is my bill?”
Our response to COVID-19

call me

I can help with most issues, but I’ll put you in touch with an agent if you need more assistance. What do you need help with today?

Billing questions

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connection issues

TV issues

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Which of these best describes your Internet issue?Connection LossSlow Speeds

Connection Loss

Let’s try troubleshooting your internet connection. We can also check for outages in your area.Troubleshoot connectionCheck for outagesWiFi coverage tips

Go for it, but after dozens of calls, and 5 technicians, I would think Xfinity would want to solve the problem.

OK, I can put you in touch with an agent.Chat with an agent

Chat with an agent

Got it. I’ll put you in touch with a live agent now.

Connected with Amy

Current place in line: 0Cancel Agent chatYou are now chatting with Amy, a Xfinity Live Agent

Hello, thank you for contacting Xfinity Support. My name is Amy. Who do I have the pleasure of assisting today?

Duane McGuire, upset customer. 1077 N 1285 W, Clinton, UTAH

We have had unreliable service for the entire duration of our account.

Downtime today has been 1 hour and 10 minutes. Ridiculous!

Good evening.

5 technicians have been out. Still isn’t fixed. WHAT NEXT?

I am so sorry that you are experiencing internet issues with your internet connection. This is definitely not the experience we want for you. Let us go ahead and work further to resolve this

Thank you so much for the details


BTW, it is up now, and you won’t find a problem with the connection.

Thank you for the info

Please give me 2-3 minutes to run check on your account and device.

Also the notes in the account about the issue

That was done a few minutes ago, until the agent went away.

I see. I will check it for me to verify the status and also check the notes

Please give me 2-3 minutes


Thank you

While waiting, I wanted to share this since it is part of your XFINITY internet package. You can also connect to XFINITY WIFI public hotspot on the go for FREE. Just use your wifi capable devices and once you see XFINITYWIFI name connect to it using your XFINITY user name and password online. You can download the Xfinity app to check for hotspot location

Thank you so much for waiting


I thoroughly checked everything in the account and there is no issues detected. There is also no reported internet outage in the area. When the internet goes out, does the modem light went off as well?

Not always, no. But if the modem is restarted it will be out once restarted.

When you mentioned restarted, did you physically unplug and plug in the power cord or did it restart itself?

unplug replug

I see. How are you connected to the internet? Is it thru wifi or hardwired connection using ethernet cord? We wanted to isolate the issue and determine what really causes this.

O, My Goodness. From a server in texas I ping this modem every minute. 70 pings have failed today. While the pings are failing, NO device on the network has internet access. Surely you people keep notes. We have been through this SO MANY TIMES!

I am so sorry that you have to go through all these things. Here is what we can do:


Since you are experiencing issue for several times and also have several technicians came out, I will submit report about this so our higher team will know and further investigate on the issue for complete resolution. Also, if it is fine with you, I can send another technician and this time, I will request for a supervisor tech. Will that be fine?

That might help.


Please give me 2-3 minutes to complete the report and then will wait for the soonest available technician


Also, we will process credit adjustments for the service interruptions


You are welcome. I know where you are coming from. It is really essential to have stable and working internet nowadays specially working at home

I am still working on the account. Please bear with me

OK The account does have some history!

Yes. I was able to check the account notesI’m here again.

I’m back, on my phone hotspot. Connection failed for a bit.

Thank you so much for waiting

Oh! I am so sorry about that. I was able to get available technician

We available technician on 09/02/2020, 09:00 AM-11:00 AM MDT

Will this work for you or what is your preferred time?

I’ll be here. Thanks.


Is this your best call back number (801) 896-xxxx?

Since techs have questioned the modem, It might be worthwhile for the tech to bring an Xfinity modem. If no other solution appears.

Yes 801-896-xxxx

Sure. I will definitely put that in the notes as well for the dispatched team reference and making sure they will review more/further investigate your issue prior to the visit


You are welcome.

The appointment was successfully set up and I already include requesting for supervisor technician. Here is your reference number CR923400286


Also, I have submitted a report about your complaint and I am sure our higher team will further investigate prior to the appointment time and date.

I am now working on the credit adjustments

Thank you for waiting

A total of $20 credit adjustments was processed in the account

This will reflect on your next billing statement


Anytime ūüôā I know that the credit will not excuse the issue that you experienced, however I hope that it will serve as an assurance that you are a valued customer and that we are committed to improving your experience with Comcast.

It has been my pleasure to assist you and thank you for sharing me your valued time.

I’m here hoping for success.

I completely understand. I already put all the needed info and for the report as well. I am sure this will be fully resolve this time

I want to make sure that we cover everything before we end this chat. Is there any other Xfinity concerns and issues that I might help you today?

Thanks for your attention and for scheduling enhanced service.

I think we are done until Wednesday. Thanks for your attention and for scheduling enhanced service.

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A roof in a day

Our house was built 17 years ago. A look around the neighborhood will tell you that the roofing jobs were not the very best. We found that we were at the point of doing repairs which would probably continue annually. Since we plan to be here for many years, we decided on a new roof.

The McGuire heritage is one of get up and do it yourself. Well, not this job! My climbing days are over, and I was never really attracted to roofing. The roofing company I hired blew away all expectations; I had no idea that a crew could tear off the old and install a new roof in a day. But oh my, this crew can. Seven ninjas on the roof with a short lunch break, and it’s done, just like the company owner told me. They were moving so fast we couldn’t get an accurate count, but I think there were seven. Hats off to CCR roofing. of Clearfield, Utah.

Remarkably, all that energy was contagious. I had a very productive day in the shop. I had plenty of breaks, and took a couple of walks with Bebop to give her a break from the stress. But honestly, I got twice the work done in the shop that I usually do. Good contagion.

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Let’s Eat Home

As Terri and I were enjoying another of her fine meals on the deck, we talked about how self-isolation has changed our daily lives. Terri was pleased to say that she is quite content with staying home: tending to her garden, caring for Bebop, and being with me more. I loved hearing that she is the happiest she has been since retirement.

The next morning, while listening to KCSM (my favorite streaming jazz station), I heard the song, Let’s Eat Home, for the first time. Rosemary Clooney said in song what Terri was saying at lunch!

Enjoy the song and your life where it is.

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Taking ownership

Over the years, I’ve created lots of content on Facebook. In the past few days, I’ve spent time collecting some of it and re-publishing on this blog.

I do love the way that Facebook has brought friends and family together over the years, and I’ll still be lurking and commenting there. For now, I’m avoiding posting directly there, because for me, that activity leads to unhelpful time spent there.

Upon re-examining my use of Facebook, I realized that I’d lost control of a lot of content that I do want to retain and preserve. So I’m collecting and re-publishing. Currently, I’m working on travel posts, perhaps because the current pandemic makes me a bit wistful for those times. You’ll find most of my current work in the blog’s travel section. In addition, I’ve incorporated other more recent things in the “best of facebook” section. There will be lots more to come!

I’ve been enjoying collecting the life events and stories here. I look at this blog as a perpetual Christmas newsletter. If you haven’t received a McGuire Christmas letter in the past twenty years (you haven’t!), well here it is!

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Quick Change Bit holders

I bought a collection of quick change driver bits: square, phillips, hex, torx, and straight. Some came with holders for the set; some did not. I saw this as an opportunity for some precision “woodworking”.

Well, actually it wasn’t woodworking, but I used woodworking tools. The material of choice was polyethylene plastic sheet.  Very conveniently, the material was cut from an inexpensive Walmart cutting board (more on that later).  Here’s the result, comparing my work with the commercial equivalent:

Commercial holder on the left. Shop-made holders on the right.

As you can see, I set myself up  for a precision boring challenge.  The polyethylene sheet that I had available was sized similarly to the commercial version :  0.347 inches (11/32 inches).   The bore needed for a friction fit of the bits was 9/32 inches, which left 1/32 of an inch margin.   The material would work with that small a margin, where wood would not.   Achieving precision was the challenge.

That challenge was met nicely at the drill press with the compound slide table that I’d bought recently for another purpose

Compound slide table from Grizzly

In setting up the operation, I carefully aligned the edge of the top vise to be within a hair’s breadth (0.001 inch) of the drill bit cutting surface when the table travelled from one end of the vise to the other.   With that complete,the material could be placed in the vise and positioned for each bore with the left-right adjustment wheels.   As it turned out (pun intended), the holes were positioned by turning the wheel 3-1/2 turns (whatever distance that was).

As I mentioned earlier, the material was from a Walmart kitchen cutting board:

The price was right ($9.95) for this application. Working with it, I could see no difference in strength or workability from from industrial UHMW polyethylene sheet ($30.47 plus shipping)

I was tickled with the process, price, and result!


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Front Door Handleset Repair

Yesterday I got an oops text from my wife:


I recognized immediately:

  • These handlesets are expensive.
  • I’m a woodworker, not a metalworker.
  • But I fix stuff.

So despite being unqualified, I tore into it this morning.

I found that the thumb latch rotates on a pin inserted in a pair of holes bored in the pot metal casting. There’s not much material around the bore, and one side had broken out.

I knew that I had some solder recommended for work with disparate metals and pot metal castings in particular.¬† ¬†It’s a solder that melts at a low temperature (around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, I believe), and can be worked with a heat gun.¬† ¬†Bingo.¬† ¬†I had some stuff that might work.

I cut out a chunk of 1/16″ aluminum stock and prepared the casting for soldering.

Ready for solder.


A new hole was bored through the repair.

The repair was trimmed using an abrasive disk, leaving more material around the bore than the original casting did.

The repaired part is ready for reinstallation in the handleset.


It works.   Ask me about it a year from now!  I think it will still be good (unfounded confidence of a woodworker).

Here’s the material I used, soldering with a heat gun:

Super Alloy 1 Multi-Metal and Pot-Metal Solder


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Can I borrow a cup of sugar

In 2019, a neighbor can appear at the door and ask to borrow a cup of sugar!¬† It happened tonight.¬† ¬†What a delight.¬† ¬†It’s nice to have a neighbor like that, and nice to be a neighbor like that.

In our suburban existence, we are not fully integrated into a community: certainly not as I knew community growing up in the 50s and 60s.¬† ¬†But today, someone I care about and care for asked for a cup of sugar,¬† and I smiled.¬† It’s nice to be able to loan a cup of sugar.

Consider the value of borrowing a cup of sugar.   This author says it may define community:  Borrowing Things From Our Neighbors Strengthens Society  


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The Ballad of Pearly Sue

It was just four notes that did it; my mind skipped a track from Shenandoah to The Ballad of Pearly Sue!

Four notes:  a variation on the theme of Shenandoah and a repeated motif in Pearly Sue!

Though I’ve been practicing the transcription of Keith Jarrett’s Shenandoah performance for months, this four-note passage took me on a crazy incongruous path this morning. Shenandoah is a wistful and mournful piece, which I play while visualizing the cobbled streets of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and the agony that the Civil War brought there.¬† Pearly Sue, though, is an upbeat and¬† joyful expression of life and the self-determination of strong women everywhere. Those four notes triggered a neuron or two and suddenly I was singing a somewhat obscure song of joy, that I hadn’t heard in ten years!

Susannah McCorkle wrote and performed The Ballad of Pearly Sue in 1989:  six years after Sally Ride blasted off in a rocket ship.   It is an exuberant performance and a  marvelous telling of the empowerment of women.   It speaks of the strong women in my life and the hope that each of us may chart our own path.    It makes me smile, laugh and cry.

What about you?

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A once in a lifetime recipe

Chocolate Custard

Left-over hot chocolate from your Christmas Piano Recital

Crack some eggs into a bowl
Beat the eggs.
Pour some left over hot chocolate into the bowl
Stir it all together.
Think: that could probably use some vanilla
Add vanilla
Think: you probably didn’t use enough eggs
Add eggs
Butter a baking dish that’s big enough.
Pour your stuff into the baking dish.
Turn the oven on to 325.
Think: I see no reason for that to preheat
Put your stuff in the oven
Set the timer for 40 minutes
Go do some stuff and forget about it.
Realize later that you have no idea when the timer went off.
Take your stuff out of the oven

My mother taught me how to cook. Three rules apply here:

  • If you have leftovers, you can make something good out of it.
  • If you use good ingredients, it will be good.
  • Custard is good.

This does call to mind hundreds and hundreds of pounds of government surplus rice delivered to Raymond High School when Mom was the head cook there.  She said,

“I just couldn’t cook enough rice.¬† And those kids didn’t like it much, either. Then one day¬†I was making mashed potatoes and I thought, ‘What difference would it make if I put a few pounds of cooked rice in that?’. You know, no one knew the difference, and they were pretty good mashed potatoes. I sure got rid of that rice.”

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Electrified Thoughts

Recently, my friend Terry Greene posted this evocative photo work on Facebook.   This piece grabbed hold of my very core,  and brought memories flooding forth.   For me,  this  is a completely natural response. The raw power of electricity is as  much a part of my upbringing as huckleberry pancakes and bread rising in a sunny window.

Photo work of Terry L Greene

My dad, Harvey McGuire, began his work at Pacific County Public Utility District¬† in 1938, and retired from his work there in 1978.¬† For the most of those 40 years he was the “meterman”, responsible for testing, repair, and calibration of the thousands of meters of the PUD.¬† ¬† But Pacific County PUD was a small operation, and Dad was also a radio technician and a transformer rebuilder.¬† During storm emergencies, he¬† worked alongside the line crew for whom he had the deepest respect.¬† ¬†I came to know at an early age that linemen were brave,¬† robust, and knowledgeable workers.¬† I also knew that they were among the friendliest people on earth, because any day could be “bring your kid to work day” at the PUD of that era. The photo below is from Pacific County PUD of the 1960s.¬† I¬† believe that pictured here among the 13 kilo-volt lines are Wayne Patrick and Shorty Remington.¬† There were no overweight linemen!

Linemen of Pacific County PUD 1960s

The meter room of  the PUD, was a natural gathering place for the friendly folks who worked there, and I enjoyed being a part of the place.   Arriving there at 4:15 was a good thing, and I could score a ride home with Dad at the 4:30 quitting time.   At that time of day the line crew was coming in, and I could  listen in to the events of their day, and enjoy the status of visiting kid.

This photo may not evoke a smell memory for you, so use your imagination.  It is a rich mixture  of tobacco, solder rosin, transformer oil,  and ozone.  Enjoy it.

Harvey McGuire tells a joke to an unidentified friend in the meter room of Pacific County PUD

Given all this exposure to electro-magnetic radiation I was drawn to it like an iron spike is drawn to a magnet. It’s little wonder that I’d become a ham radio operator in my late high school years. This photo of 1971 shows Dad and me in the bucket truck of the PUD. As the photo was snapped, we had just completed installing a cubical quad antenna for the 20 meter ham band on a small tower atop the garage at home. It was another electrifying experience. Obviously, at the time, Pacific County PUD wasn’t just a “bring your kid to work” company. Sometimes it was a “bring a truck home to install an antenna” kind of company.

Duane and Harvey McGuire installing an antenna – 1971

Nine years later would find me employed as an “energy conservation specialist” at Grant County PUD, as I began a 10 year career there. As it worked out, Harvey Guy McGuire and Duane Harvey McGuire spent 50 years fully charged in the electric utility industry.

I left Grant County PUD in 1990, but when electricity flows in your veins, it doesn’t seem to leave. It’s only natural that when photo-electric generation became cost effective, I’d have my own generating station. This is the 8.3 kilo-watt installation on my shop building at home in Clinton, Utah.

Solar array on the shop in Clinton Utah 2018

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