Category Archives: Observation

Health Insurance Refusing To Pay? Call Your Insurance Commissioner!

Not Linux related, but still an observation that may help someone out there.

As anyone who reads my ramblings will know, I spent an entire month in hospital between May and June of last year after a failed surgery for bowel cancer.

After my first of 3 surgeries, I had a heart attack, caused by the pain killer they had me on, which I ended up being allergic to. This required the services of the in-hospital cardiologist.

My wife and I spent the next 6 months after I was home, fighting with Humana Insurance over why they would pay one doctor, but not another. Indeed, every person we spoke to, gave us a different lame excuse, some saying it was coded wrong by the provider, another saying that the provider didn’t even accept Humana insurance. Going back and forth for months before the cardiology practice put me into collections, dropping my 800+ credit score 50 points in the process.

Having little recourse at the moment, I paid the cardiology and other bills myself, money I didn’t really have!

After stewing about the situation for a few weeks, we decided to contact our Florida state insurance commissioner to inquire if it was proper for Humana to selectively pay some of my $490,000 hospital bill and not others. The response from Florida state was swift, personal, and positive!

Indeed, the Florida Insurance Commissioner employee who was tasked with looking into our complaint, called us personally instead of just sending the normal form letter, to let us know how unfair and unprofessional it was for Humana to deny claims that occurred in a hospital that was supposed to be “in network” and on my plan! Florida assured me that refund checks would soon be in the mail to us.

I should add, that Humana’s “third party arbitration company” (excuse me while I fall down laughing) who we first sent our complaint to, of course sided with Humana, saying that Humana was not responsible for paying these bills, even though it happened in a covered hospital!

Personally, I’d like to see insurance companies hit with triple damages to the patient when they do crap like this. How many people out there have been ripped off because they don’t know their rights?  I’ll be contacting my state representative to see if this is possible. It would sure protect us consumers, that’s for sure!

I am so grateful for the work of our insurance commissioner’s office in clearing up this matter, and will say to all who will listen; If you are having payment problems from your insurance company, contact your local regulatory body in charge of them. You may well find that money, back in your own pocket!


Buying New Computer? Another Reason To Install Linux Instead!

An interesting story broke this week about Lenovo and some of their currently selling laptop computers. In a nut shell, those computers are being sold with a feature, that serves up advertising to your web browser.

The problem is that the software, called Superfish, might make man in the middle attacks possible against your computer!

Why a computer manufacturer would risk their reputation by allowing this kind of software to be installed, I’ll never understand.

I’ll let you read the full article from our friends over at ARS Technica

With manufacturers inclined to put programs like this on our new machines, why would you want to keep it? I am constantly getting requests from friends who purchase a new computer, and want to get rid of all the garbage programs removed from it. We call these unwanted programs, Crapwear.

Save yourself the pain, and once your new machine comes in, I can’t recommend enough that you wipe the hard drive and reinstall a fresh copy of your operating system. If your machine didn’t come with disks, it is possible under some circumstances to download the Windows 7 or 8 operating systems directly from Microsoft and do a fresh install,

Or even better, Download and install Linux! We of course recommend Linux Mint.

Android: It Could Have Been A Disaster!

For the first time in the year that I have owned it, I found it necessary to plug my Android phone into my lone Windows computer here on the farm.

The message I got, had I not ignored it, may have found my phone reformatted to fix a nonexistant problem!

Windows Warning Message

Windows Warning Message

I of course knew better, but one has to wonder how many phones have been possibly bricked by a user panicking and allowing Windows to fix their phone’s file system!

Dump Windows, get Linux and never worry about this kind of stuff again!




Breaking Things: FFMPG

There have been a bunch of updates to Mint 17 lately, and I always dutifully apply them as they become available.

In one of the last updates however, a couple of things changed that I didn’t really  realize until I went to use the software that was  deleted during the updates.

My ClamTK and ClamAV antivirus package and GUI went away. Turns out I was using a legacy version. Simple enough to fix, just went to the ClamTK site and got the updated version.

The other interesting package that went away was ffmpeg. I’ve been using that wonderful tool for years and years. It was for a long time, the only way to convert about any media type, to about any other kind of media.

Thing is, it’s deprecated. and I just wasn’t paying attention when it happened. Of course there is a replacement, and it’s already part of Mint 17. It’s called avconv and it lives in the /usr/bin/ directory.

WinFF Setup

WinFF Setup

All that I needed to do for the software that I had using ffmpeg, was to change the conversion engine to avconv instead.

The lesson learned: As you do updates, it’s a good idea to actually read the information pop-ups that are telling you what is going to be updated, deleted etc. I usually do, but these changes got right past me.


Security: Don’t Click On That!

I’ve been saying it for years to all who will listen. If something on the web seems too good to be true, it probably is!

In the latest hacking scandal, private photos of several celebrities were taken from their cloud accounts and shared on line.   People hear about it on the news and then go searching for them to see for themselves.

In New Zealand, people searching out the leaked photos, found them alright, along with malware and virus infections to their machines. Those in turn created a bot-net that was carrying out  denial of service attacks. This in turn overloaded the DNS of and took down one of New Zealand’s largest Internet service providers! You can read the story HERE.

Folks, it’s pretty easy to stay safe on the web. Don’t click on links sent via email, and never, ever, go searching for things that you would not search for if your grandmother was standing over  you, watching what you are doing!

More securing and safety tips in the top menu!