Category Archives: Personal Problems

All the metadata

When looking at the quality of schools, I don’t want to know who the teachers are. I mean, I do, but I don’t. I’ll read former student’s and parent’s reviews. I want to know who the administrators are. The school board. The superintendent. They drive the long term objectives and they dictate the narrative of the teacher’s content. Who did they donate money to in past elections?

Great, you’re using these books as an information authority to teach our kids. Who are the publishers of the books? How often do they update their content, and why? Where do they stand on open access issues? Are they publishing for profit or because the content needs updating?

When I look for news sources, I don’t want to know who the authors are. I do, but I don’t. Looking at the publisher helps me understand bias. Who’s the editor? Who’s on the board of directors? Why have past employees left the company?

Wikipedia is churning out extremely high quality information on complex topics. They’re teaching me (and many others) a few things about the nature of information.

I remember how valuable my Microsoft Encarta DVD was to me. It meant access. It meant solving problems and understanding my complex world. But it, like books in school, suck.

They suck compared to Wikipedia. Books in school are on par with news media. What is the source of this information? Why is it here? Not “here in this article”, but here in between ‘this’ argument and ‘that’ argument. Who put it here? What else has this author written? What else has the editor edited, and manager, managed? Wikipedia solves a lot of this. Citation is a critical aspect to high quality information consumption and production.

It’s no longer acceptable to accept information as fact. Complex information, about people and organizations of people, doesn’t work that way.

The future of news media needs to learn from Wikipedia. Great, I see who “authored” the piece. But who’s funding it? Who’s editing it? What restrictions are placed on the authors and editors by the administrators?

Metadata matters. The NSA knows this. Metadata provides required facts in order to understand specific aspects of the story.

No, mass surveillance is still unethical and illegal (in the United States). But I completely understand why they want it. They want it all for the same reasons I want it. It makes me an informed individual in the ways I want to be informed. Ideally, holistically.

I’m not calling for the surveillance of news media organizations. I’m asking for their transparency because of how critical their public good is for society to act intelligently to complex events. The more that people are exposed to higher quality ‘anything’, the more they want it. The public needs high quality information.

T-Mobile refuses to retroactively apply my discount they wrongfully removed

I joined T-Mobile in December 2013 using my Microsoft discount which reduces my bill by about 15%. T-Mobile makes a photo copy of my Microsoft badge to verify my employment (which I now realize was a Microsoft security violation). In February 2015 I learned that T-Mobile had removed me from the discount program even though my employment status did not change. This month I learned that T-Mobile removed my discount on June 18, 2014 and that T-Mobile is unwilling to retroactively discount my phone bill.

1. I did not receive or agree to this contractual change. I moved from Sprint to T-Mobile explicitly for the corporate discount.

2. Even if I had received and somehow automatically agreed to the contact change, I have two specific learning disabilities that are recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of which is a reading comprehension disability. Even if I were to have read something about my discount program, I may not have understood its impact.

3. In T-Mobile stores, which I frequently visit because of account changes, I am sometimes asked for my Washington ID. At those times I have always offered my Microsoft badge to make sure my discount is active. Since June 2014, at least once, I have been told, “We don’t need to re-verify your discount.”

4. T-Mobile has already retroactively applied my discount. Last month, when I visited the T-Mobile store to have my account looked at because of my suspiciously high bill, I was informed that my discount had been removed. I was given an apology and my discount was applied for the month of February by a telephone representative, and then told to contact MCSA to get back onto the program. My email:

From: Christopher Sheats
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2015 6:35 PM
To: ‘’
Subject: corporate discount


I have been informed that my corporate discount has been removed. Please re-instate my discount and refund me for every month that you have not discounted my bill.

Their reply:

From: MCSA Migrations []
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2015 10:49 PM
To: Christopher Sheats
Subject: T-Mobile Advantage Program Approved

Hello Christopher,

We appreciate you taking time to contact the T-Mobile Migrations Team. For your reference, please take note of your Case ID 1#######.

We have received and successfully processed your request. Your account, 9######## has been attached to the Advantage Rewards program sponsored by Microsoft . As a T-Mobile Advantage Program participant, you will receive a $25 Rewards Card for every purchase of a new device or tablet.

As far as I could understand, my concerns were addressed and I had a bonus rewards card that I should apply for. I then waited until my next phone bill. This month I still didn’t see my discount, so I called T-Mobile back. I was told over the phone that the percentage discount program had ended, that discount changes occurred back in June 2014, and that I needed to have updated my employment verification by December 2014 to keep my discount. I was also told, as a way to shove off wrong doing, to contact MCSA again.

Their reply:

From: MCSA Migrations []
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 10:01 PM
To: Christopher Sheats
Subject: T-Mobile Advantage Program Approved

Hello Christopher,

We appreciate you taking time to contact the T-Mobile Migrations Team. For your reference, kindly take note of your Case ID 1#######.

We do apologize for misinformation, Please be advised that your account, 9########, has been attached to the T-Mobile Advantage Program sponsored by Microsoft Corporation. You will receive an estimated 15% discount off on your monthly recurring charges*. On the invoice, you will see the discount displayed as a credit on the “Credits and Adjustment” section. Please note that it may take up to 60 days before the discount appears on your statement.

*?Monthly Recurring Charges? are the rate plan and other Service charges that recur on an invoice each month for a line of Service. Monthly Recurring Charges do not include overage, roaming, long distance, pay-per-use or data usage (other than recurring monthly data plan access charges), insurance, taxes, tariffs, or other government or regulatory fees and charges. The rate of the monthly recurring discount is an estimate and may be subject to change at any time.

Not only do I refuse to wait 60 days for something T-Mobile’s people and computer systems can do right now, I require that I be reimbursed for T-Mobiles wrongful action against me. I called T-Mobile Business and asked to have my discount retroactively applied.

After calling T-Mobile again and speaking to a representative and their supervisor, I am now waiting for a manager callback within 72 hours — a callback that the supervisor told me “might” happen.

looking at my heart

I have not blogged about personal stuff in a long time. Sometimes the only thing that will listen in the way that I want to be heard is with a pen and a piece of paper.

It is clear to me that I am an introvert. When it comes to personal matters, I like being by myself and working out my own problems. With that comes cut-throat prioritization and intense moral struggle.

The exception to my independence is when I fall in love with another person. The act of falling in love happens rarely, because it takes a long time for me to identify someone with a mix of characteristics and mannerisms that I thoroughly and thoughtfully enjoy.

When I do fall in love, I fall quickly, and I fall hard.

When I find this person, I think that I know what to do. I actively demonstrate care, humility, and respect. I become super attentive and reactive. I do all of these things because it is what I want:

  • It is how I want to be mutually treated by this person.
  • Because it is an outlet for positive emotion, one that I understand, which makes me happy.
  • And because I need to create feedback loops to–in my opinion, help–verify the integrity of our feelings.

Sometimes one or more of these things scares people. It makes them question their own emotional depth, which creates uncomfortable rifts. I then get frustrated because these people do not seem to be patient with themselves or with me–or is it truly irreversible?

Password Reset

Hello Company,

Can you please assist me with resetting my account password for the company customer portal? I don’t know how I answered my “security questions”. I never use the same answers since answering the same question at multiple locations (like my bank, etc) is no different than using a password twice, just these ones an attacker could actually figure out just by finding the right information.

If security is important to you, you should look into multi-factor authentication, and not simply increase the amount of passwords a person has to type in. Please forward this suggestion to Jane Doe, your CIO, who apparently designed the company customer portal.

By the way, when you disallow web browsers to remember my randomly-generated passwords, it gets in the way of my workflow. I must have saved the password in clear-text somewhere but instead now I’m spending my employer’s time emailing you for help.


[changed for privacy]

My entertaining and educational experience with

This post is a short story about my experience with the domain, I was attracted to the idea of owning because I wanted my own platform to share information about the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative. I try and talk to anyone who will listen to me about the IMMI and why I think it’s so important.

December 2010

The story starts out with me inquiring about the cost of the domain since it was parked at the time and owned by a company dedicated to domain squatting. I hate companies that do that so I don’t feel sorry for how things have turned out.

I received two messages with the same content but was not interested in dealing with the ridiculous price. So I left it at that for a few months.

July 2011

I felt anxious again and decided to email them directly, ignoring their previous communications.

Still being frustrated by the high price for, I noticed that the domain was expiring soon. There was no harm in waiting to see if they’d let it go, especially with their last message sounding like they were willing to let it go for less than their imaginary asking price.

I also noticed that it was registered with GoDaddy. Gross, I know, but one of their services was clearly worth it considering the outcome. I signed up for GoDaddy Auctions ( so that if the domain were to not be renewed, I could try to bid for

August 2011

This was my best move ever with regard to domain management, because, it turns out, the company who was parking it didn’t pay for renewal. And I was the only bidder for $12! So much for 2,000 GBP (~$3,000).

So I was a happy little camper. I used (and still am using) to host a WordPress blog for documenting the news about the IMMI. I even spoke about the IMMI and the website in October at InfoCamp ( 2011 at the University of Washington, which was successful because I ended up getting feedback from one person who is now a good friend.

December 2011

The tides turned as I became even more educated about politics and the internet when the SOPA and PIPA bullshit became hot topics. GoDaddy helped develop the legislation ( and I couldn’t tolerate using them as a company anymore.

While netizens were sharing information ( about who to avoid, who to use, and why, I learned quite a lot and discovered that Dyn is a registrar. Dyn was both transparent and educational about SOPA which I have a lot of respect for:

April 2012

I finally got around to starting the process of a domain transfer.

In the mean time, I received an unexpected email from the company who formerly owned The timing was really weird.
LOL? I didn’t bother responding.

May 2012

The transfer was taking longer than any transfer I’ve experienced before. I inquired but didn’t get anything useful.

But something completely unheard of to me had happened during the transfer process. It failed, and at this point in time, neither GoDaddy, Dyn, or Dyn’s registrar-parent Tucows knew why. More on this further down.

May 2012

After a couple of weeks, speaking to GoDaddy support and Dyn support, I finally had my issue escalated to Tucows since WHOIS was correct and they were listed as the registrar (the .us TLD affiliate of Tucows). A gentleman by the name of Paul had called me to inform me about Tucow’s relationship with  Dyn. Here’s a partially redacted transcript of the nice voicemail he left me:

Hi, It’s Paul from Tucows returning your call. Christopher, it looks like DynDNS is a Tucows affiliate, so they are a reseller of ours, so whereas you may not see them when you query WHOIS, they are indeed your first point of contact. But because Tucows runs a wholesale model, you’ll see us in various parts of the Internet, and you may see them in various parts of the internet. This probably isn’t making much sense. But, can I invite you to send me an email to [redacted] at Tucows dot com and I’ll try to clarify it a bit better for you. Thanks.

So obviously Paul at Tucows wasn’t fully aware of my situation, so I sent him an informative email to help the situation.

And here’s what had happened according to Dyn!

…there was a problem on there end due to DNSSEC being enabled on the domain. This caused their system to believe the transfer failed and subsequently fail in our system (including cancellation of payment).

So if you ever have DNSSEC ( enabled on a site before transferring, be mindful of this possible issue! To the best of my knowledge, I did not disabled DNSSEC on GoDaddy’s’ end prior to transfer. GoDaddy did, in fact, successfully transfer the domain away. Tucows had a problem receiving the domain because of the DNS key signing.

Upon investigation, it looks like ICANN was looking into the issue:

DNS/DNSSEC and Domain Transfers: Are they compatible? (PDF)

Further, it looks like ( GoDaddy is not a competent DNSSEC operator.

There is a downside, of course, and that is that it will be hard to move away from an incompetent DNSSEC provider. However, you can do that by removing the DS completely from the parent (i.e. going insecure), in which case none of the checking by the registry is needed.

Had I known, I would have just removed my DS records prior to moving. Cheers!

Brainstorming tangents

I wonder if I am more or less emotional about varying topics because my brain has greater or fewer neural networks that integrate said topics into correlating responses. After all, depending on how much one cares about someone or something, they are probably more likely to spend more time thinking about said idea, reinforcing a larger, more diverse, and heavily integrated neural network.