Archive for October, 2008 Redesigned…Again

Today I’m officially launching the new design for this site. I’ve done all the work on my own this time, including the design and integration into WordPress from the ground up. I feel more comfortable about the code, and was able to get rid of some major issues the old design was having. I spent a lot of time on making this new design look extremely clean, and hopefully be more efficient and faster. If you’re reading this from our RSS feed, stop by and see the new look.

I still have a laundry list of things to do, so you’ll see parts of the site tweaked a little bit over the next few days…but the majority is done. If you do happen to see any issues or bugs, please let me know. The biggest issue that has been resolved is where pages were just showing up as 404 not found. I’m sure I was losing a ton of pageviews and visitors because of it…either way, it’s a thing of the past.

The other important aspect of this redesign is a re-branding of this site and what it’s about. This is something that you’ll see more of over the next couple weeks. Previously the slogan for the site had been “Topics for entrepreneurs, and my miscellaneous ramblings”. This has now been changed to “Cars, business, ramblings, and the rest of my life”. Previously I was really trying to target the site towards entrepreneurs, with the mindset that I was writing more specifically about topics that young entrepreneurs would like. That won’t change much in a sense, but the topics will be shifted somewhat.

The topics I discuss will still be targeted towards bright, young, ambitious people. There will be a larger footprint in the automotive category. Cars, technology, and business have always been my true passion, and I hope to convey that on this blog. You’ll soon see a revamp in the categories on the site which help convey this shift. On top of that, posts now utilize tags, so you’ll be able to find similar content with that so you don’t have to necessarily rely on something as high level as categories if you don’t want.

The other thing you’ll notice over the next couple weeks is a re-branding name change on the site. I previously used my entire name, to reference the site. Unfortunately, my last name isn’t so easy to spell, and a while back I mirrored the domain to this site. Now I will officially be re-branding the site to be named It’s easy to remember, shorter, and flows better. will continue to work, but will soon redirect to

One of the other cool things that I’ve added to the sidebar is a “Top Commentators” box which shows up on all pages of the site. This will show the people with the highest comments over a period of time. If that user has a link to their website, their name will link to it, and I will not be putting any sort of nofollow on it. I hope this encourages some of you to voice your opinions and comment on posts more often.

As always, I welcome all comments, suggestions, praises, and criticism. Here’s to an entirely new chapter!

Ford 2009 F150 Event Day 2

Day 2 of the 2009 Ford F150 event was definitely the day where we had the most fun. It gave me a chance to fully experience and understand the capability of the truck. The day started at 6am where we had breakfast at the hotel. By 7:30 we arrived at Michigan Proving Grounds, an impressive area of all sorts of test tracks and development facilities owned by Ford:

Michigan Proving Grounds

There were four different driving events throughout the day, I??ll cover each one separately. The first event for my group was off road??which was by far the most fun, and the one where we pushed the F150 the most. I had never been off-roading before, so I was looking forward to this. The off road track was amazing, there was everything from huge mud pits to dirt hills which we had to climb. The snake pit was the most challenging section, we had two opportunities to try and make it through. The area consisted of a big hill you climb up, and then come back down into a giant area of deep mud. Getting through successfully was all about giving the truck lots of gas, and hitting the right lines in the mud.

The first pass, I didn??t give it enough gas, which led me to get stuck right in the middle. Fortunately Ford had a truck on standby to pull me out. The second time around, I gunned it, hit the right lines, and was able to make it through. Here??s a couple good pictures from this event:

Mud pit at Michigan Proving Grounds

F150 off-roading

F150 off-roading

F150 off-roading

The next event was the trailer tow, where we drove the 09 Ford F150, 09 Chevy Silverado, 09 Dodge Ram, and 08 Toyota Tundra with a trailer behind each truck??oh and did I mention the 8,000 pounds we were towing? We drove the trucks on a track which gave us the ability to see how the trucks were able to accelerate up hill and handle on turns. There were a few great technologies which some of the trucks had (the F150 was the only one that had them all) that really made towing a trailer easy. Those included:

  • Tow-Haul Mode ?? A driving mode which adjusts the RPMs correctly to downshift at the correct times
  • Integrated Trailer Brake Controller ?? This was one of the most noticeable features, something I??m surprised hasn??t been standard in the past. Normally an aftermarket unit is installed, and essentially it tells the trailer you are towing to brake when you hit the brakes. The problem with the aftermarket units is that there is a slight delay because of the way that they do this, so when you hit the brakes, you??ll actually feel the trailer come towards you for a second before it slows down as well. Same deal with when you are accelerating. The F150 integrates this from the factory, and the way they do it, there is no delay.
  • Trailer Sway Control ?? This does exactly what it sounds like. We were able to swerve the trucks while going about 50 mph downhill with the 8,000 trailers behind us…no problems.

Trucks towing

Trucks towing

Afterwards we went back to one of the facilities for a nice lunch, and then it was off to the next event. This time we covered durability/safety. The test for this was taking the trucks through a straight track which had a variety of things like large cobblestones in the road. Driving over this drastically effects the drivability, and shows you where each truck was able to excel. The Toyota Tundra was by far the worst in this category, some of the bumps would cause the bed of the truck to hit the cab!

F150 on stone creek

You can see a video comparing the F150 and the Tundra here…notice how the Tundra cab is all over the place:

The last event was hauling where we took each truck on an autocross course with 850 pounds of weight in the bed. I enjoyed this event, and was able to get a great idea as to what the trucks were capable of handling, regardless of all the weight in the back. There were certain sections which we were to go a set speed, this way we could compare each truck as unbiased as possible. I was amazed at how well the trucks handled, especially the F150. If you remember when I had tested the 09 Ford vehicles, I was also impressed with how some of their bigger vehicles like the Flex handled on the track. After I tested each truck, I took the F150 out for one more lap driving it as hard as I possibly could. The truck handled amazing, I was floored.

Trucks autocross

Afterwards I hopped on a shuttle, and made my way back to VA. Once again, I??d like to thank Ford for the opportunity to drive and learn about their vehicles. I’d also like to thank Dorri from If It’s Got An Engine and Matt from Ford for some of the pictures that were used above.

Is The Verizon Fios IT Team Completely Incompetent?

Updated 10/31/08

I’ve decided to publicly vent about my frustrations with Verizon Fios because the situation has just gotten so ridiculous that I had to share.

So the background to the story is that I purchased a home in Northern Virginia. The monthly home owners association fee with the community includes Verizon Fios TV, as well as internet. This comes at a cost of course, as the HOA fee is higher than normal. As soon as I knew I was going to get the home for sure, I called Verizon to get everything setup so I could make sure to have internet by the time I moved in.

I found out there is a special number to call that directly handles HOA Verizon. This was about a week and a half before my move-in date. I call to set things up, and I deal specifically with one representative (who I’ve been dealing with since as it seems to be a small office). After figuring out exactly what I need, I find out that the order cannot actually be processed until the previous owners call to stop their service.

At this point, I call the sellers agent to have her talk to the owners and setup a stop date for the Fios service. She got back to me right away and said everything was good. I call Verizon back up to setup my service, and the rep tells me that I actually can’t setup my service until the previous owners service has actually stopped. They setup to stop their service on my closing day (a Friday) since they were in the home up to the night before.

The fact that Verizon can’t setup an order without the previous service actually stopped is pretty ridiculous. t doesn’t allow for any leeway, like in my case. But ok, not the end of the world, I’ll call on Friday morning and get everything setup for that weekend for installation. Friday morning rolls around, I speak to the same rep. Service has stopped, but it will take 24 hours to process, and since they’re closed on the weekend, I’ll have to wait until Monday. Ok, that sucks, but again, understandable situation.

Monday comes around, and this is where the insanity really starts to begins. I call to setup service, but I’m told that it cannot be done because something happened in the system and our order is not ??flowing?? through correctly…Ok…They tell me they’re working on it, and will let me know once it has been resolved so I can get everything setup.

I call every day for a week, I still get the same excuse. The previous owners order is not clearing out properly, which is not allowing my order to flow through the system properly. They have submitted a ticket to their IT team, and that was pretty much the only thing they could do. They listed the ticket and the order as urgent, and from a management level request.

The fact that it can take a week for an IT team at a multi-billion dollar company over a week to figure out how to clear an order out of a system is insane. I even mentioned the idea, why not just cancel our order, put a new one in, and maybe it will work. The rep tells me that will not do anything because the problem lies with the previous owners service.

Week 2 rolls through, and I??m starting to become livid. There is still no progress, and every day it’s the same excuse. IT team is looking at, it has already been told to supervisors, and there’s nothing that can be done but to wait. I feel completely powerless. I’m tied into Verizon because of my HOA, and the HOA doesn??t reimburse money if I decided to get DirectTV or Comcast or something. So even if I don??t use Verizon, I will still pay for it.

By the end of week 2, a friend that knew somebody who worked for Verizon had been told about the situation to see if he could do anything, and I had also contacted the HOA. The HOA gave me the contact to their IT person who should be able to work with Verizon to get this resolved quickly. I e-mailed him the situation, and I get a response saying he??ll contact them and work on it. So I’m trying to get this situation resolved from 3 different angles now.

Surprisingly enough, the next day I get a call from Verizon saying that the TV part of the service has been fixed, but the data part is still not flowing properly. They are trying to resolve this, and she??s confident they will do so by that day. She kept mentioning October 14th as well (which was about 4 days away). That night I call because I hadn??t heard anything back, she says they weren’t able to fix it yet, keep waiting.

Saturday comes along, and I get an E-MAIL (remember, I don’t have internet setup yet) saying the install date is on October 14th, but the time hasn’t been chosen yet. Ok, awesome, they figured it out over the weekend, and finally on Tuesday I’ll have everything setup. So Monday comes up, and I call Verizon. Hey guys, I got an e-mail with a Tuesday install date, but there’s no time, can you tell me when they’ll come so I can come home from work at that time? The rep says they will call me later that night with that info. I finally get a call at around 7:30pm telling me that they actually haven’t figured out the data part just yet, so there is no install time, but they were very confident they will get it working that night or by morning…so just call back in the morning and get the time.

Morning comes, and I call my usual rep. Guess what? Data still not working, order not “flowing” properly. They recommended her to cancel the order, and resubmit it…wait, didn’t I suggest that 2 weeks ago, and they told me it wouldn’t do anything? Anyway, she said they should have things good to go tomorrow or the day after (Wednesday or Thursday). The request is in at an executive level now. Great.

Friday comes around, still haven’t heard anything from Verizon. I call them, same story as before, ticket is still in with IT, she hoped putting the executive level on it would do something, but it hadn’t.

It has now been 3 weeks, since I moved in, and over a month since I originally called. I have no internet or TV in my home, and I now have the perception that Verizon has an IT team full of retards who need over 3 weeks to figure out how to fix an ordering glitch. The crazy part is that my rep tells me this has happened a few times in the past ever since a system update was made a few months back. Those people have actually been resolved, you’d think maybe they could use the same resolution to either fix my order or fix their system.

How does such a big company with so many resources have so many problems with what you would guess was a pretty minor issue? I wish I fully understood. I wanted to speak with the IT people, but my rep wouldn’t allow me to do so.

How much longer can this go? Have you ever had a similar experience with Verizon like this? If you have any contacts or any suggestions to getting this resolved, please don’t hesitate to let me know. In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed every day, and I’ll be sure to update this post with the latest.

Update Tuesday 10/21/08 (Day 25):

I received an e-mail from a Verizon rep in the customer advocacy group for Verizon Enhanced Communities. She said the issue had been escalated to her this morning (I would assume from the HOA contact I had gotten, but may have also been from the friend of a friend Verizon employee).

Good afternoon Mr. Pitlyuk,

Your issue with getting Verizon Fios service installed was just escalated to me this morning. I wanted to touch base with you and let you know that I am checking into the issue. I completely agree with you that waiting a month for service is unacceptable. I am researching to find the problem and correct as soon as possible. I will keep you updated with the progress of your installation.

If you have any additional questions or concerns please feel free to contact me.

At least it’s some sort of hopeful progress. I hope to hear some updates shortly.

Update Friday 10/24/08 (Day 28):

On Wednesday, I was finally told that Friday 10/24 I would finally have installation and that all issues were resolved. I was ensured that there would be 100% chance that I would get installation.

So Thursday around noon, I call Verizon confirm we’re still on for everything. Everything still good.

Then Thursday night around 7:15pm I receive a call from a Verizon call center. Sir, there is a problem with the order. There was apparently duplicate orders, and because it was too late in the day, they couldn’t clear one of the orders, so it never actually goes out to dispatch. Therefore I would not get installation on Friday as planned. After trying a bunch of things and yelling at the poor guy for about an hour, I gave up. No installation on Friday, yet again due to some order problem in the system.

Then about 9:30am on Friday I get a call from Verizon. Sir, the tech should be arriving in the next hour. Huh?? Oh last night…that wasn’t the HOA Verizon, so they got confused about something, we’re still good. In fact, since you already have the router in the house, you can already connect to the internet. WOW. This entire time the internet could have just been enabled!? Unbelievable.

Anyway, the tech arrives. Nice guy, and was helpful in getting everything setup. Until we turn on the TV and find that none of the program information or DVR software functionality works. Tech goes back to his car, and is on the phone for about 30 minutes. Comes back in and says the orders are messed up, something about them putting the order in as the previous owners name and not mine, they are fixing it, will take another hour. Another hour passes, and he comes back in and says that they are still working on it, they will fix it on their end and it will just start working on the TV. It’s now about 10 hours later, still doesn’t work.

Then we went to activate the internet account. Verizon’s systems are down. I have to keep trying to do this throughout the day, hopefully it will be back. 10 hours later I still get this error:

System Error

Due to technical difficulties, we are unable to process your request at this time. Please try again later.

Error Code: 303101

Verizon’s entire ordering system and everything else behind I have absolutely no faith in. Hopefully these last little things will get resolved soon, but at least I have internet now, which is what I cared most about.

Please share your horror stories in the comments.

Update Monday 10/27/08 (Day 31):

I was happy to at least have internet on the Friday above…Unfortunately I wake up Saturday morning…internet is not working. Oh, and also the program information on the TV still doesn’t work.

I give Verizon a call, and they aren’t able to pull my order up. My name or phone number doesn’t work. The rep finally is able to find it, the account is under some random name, with a backup name of the previous owners! IS IT POSSIBLE FOR VERIZON TO GET EVERYTHING CORRECTED IN THEIR SYSTEMS ALREADY? Does it really take over a month to fix this, and they still botch it? Anyway, we try a couple things, and found a yellow light on the router. Verizon tells me this means the router is bad, which is also why the program info is not showing up on the TV’s. The earliest they could get a tech out is Wednesday. They couldn’t get somebody out faster. I waited a month to get service with constant excuses of order issues, and the internet works for about 8 hours before not working already. Now it’s almost another week before I can hopefully get it fixed…which I’m not so confident about.

More updates to come I guess. Hopefully one that says everything finally works.

Update Tuesday 10/28/08 (Day 32):

It was finally Monday yesterday so I sent an e-mail to the Verizon contact I was speaking with earlier basically explaining why my situation was still ridiculous. I also happened to CC Consumerist,my HOA community contact, and a bunch of people from Verizon’s media/PR department (Eric Rabe, Bobbi Henson, Clifford Lee, and Heather Wilner) hoping that somebody would do something (sorry for the bad grammar, but I was just ranting out quickly and sent this).

Short version is a tech finally came out on Friday. The account was not in my name, it was under somebody else’s name (some Sarah Lee or something), as well as the previous owners name (Michelle Taylor). None of the program info on the TV’s were working, he left telling me that it would be fixed on Verizon’s end and start working.

Saturday morning I wake up, internet doesn’t work. TV still has nothing program info on it. I call, they aren’t able to find my info because nothing is my name because the orders are still messed up. They say the router is bad, and they will have somebody out on Wednesday. I’ve already waited a month of constant excuses, issues, and order mess ups. Is Wednesday seriously the earliest somebody could come out and fix this?? Can I please feel like Verizon is doing something about resolving this and give me a little priority?? I’ve already wasted probably hours and hours of my time between trying to get updates, being on hold, explaining this story a hundred times to different techs, dealing with different departments, trying to get help from different parts of Verizon, etc.

Can somebody please step up, fix whatever order/account issues there are in the system, and get me the fios service right away?

Please do not hesitate to call me and discuss if needed. XXX-XXX-XXXX.

I received responses later on in the day from the Verizon contact and HOA telling me they are sorry, and will escalate this to try and get somebody to come out and fix everything asap. Great, somebody is doing something.

Actually, not so great. 3:04pm the following day, I haven’t gotten any sort of follow up. I e-mailed them for a status. No response.

So now it’s 7:53pm and I’m finally talking to a Verizon rep that took 28 minutes on hold to get to through their main Fios number. At least I’ve confirmed that there is an appointment still tomorrow for a tech to come by and hopefully fix everything. That is until they call in an hour to tell me there’s a problem in the system and they can’t come…at least I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.

Update Wednesday 10/29/08 (Day 33):

A tech came this morning, and when we went to look at the router, the light that used to be yellow was now green. That’s funny, because the tech on the phone when I called support told me if the light was yellow then the router is bad. I argued with him for a little saying that didn’t make any sense, but he told me that was the case. When the tech arrived, he told me all he did was reset the Verizon box…that’s all that was needed to make the internet work…they could have done that on Saturday and nothing had to be down for 5 extra days.

Regarding the TV program info not working, the tech found out that it was because the video order was actually done through the previous homeowner. The actual order I made was still pending. Since they were separate orders, nothing was communicating properly so the guide wasn’t working.

I was told this similarly last week as well, and still nothing was done about it. I’m told that it will be fixed by the end of today, so we’ll see.

All I know is that right now, my internet is down again. Will this ever work?

Update Thursday 10/30/08 (Day 34):

I got home, and my internet was in fact down again…with the yellow light on the router. I call the Encore group, the people the tech that came in the morning told me to call…They have no idea what I’m talking about, and don’t handle this stuff.

I called my HOA group to verify they don’t do support…nope they just take new orders, please call another number. So I call the other number, and again, it takes me 30 minutes on hold before I can speak with somebody. They again cannot find anything that links my information to my order. I have them call the HOA number to try and find my account info, and they get on the phone. I re-explain the situation again, for the 100th time, and she says there is nothing they can do that night. Call this specific number in the morning and work it out with them to get the issue to their “war room”.

I call the number at 8am today, they can’t find my info as usual. Then they tell me they have no idea who it was I talked to yesterday (even though she said they would know), and they don’t even handle Fios.

I call the HOA line again, and plead with them. “I know you don’t do tech support, but please I placed an order through this department, nothing is working, it has been over a month, can you do something. I’ve been running around in circles and nobody can help me.” The person I spoke to looked into everything further, and seems to understand what the problem on Verizon’s end is. The first person to actually seem to understand why nothing is working. So she submitted it to their “war room”, and is updating me throughout the day on any updates. She’s telling me she thinks I’ll have things up and running today or tomorrow.

I’m basically ready to cry now, but there may be light at the end of the tunnel. It only took about 10 hours of my time on the phone, 2 days home from work, and over a month of time. Crossing my fingers yet again.

Update Friday 10/31/08 (Day 35):

No surprise updates today, another day of the same BS. I get a call back from the above person I’ve been dealing with (Barbara Bell), telling me that the main problem was the original people did not actual close the service from the previous owners. They took care of this, and literally once it propagates into the system, it will automatically put mine in and everything will start working.

Then around 3:30, I receive a call from dispatch saying they have a tech coming to the house to fix the video part of the order. I was confused, Barbara told me that everything would just start working. I felt like there were two separate stories going on, so I asked the dispatch lady to call Barbara and ensure they are on the same page before I waste my team by leaving work and potentially waste a tech’s time coming to my house.

Dispatch calls back and says that Barbara agreed to send the tech out. Ok. I go home and wait. The tech comes, goes downstairs, looks at the yellow light on the router, and turns to me saying “this won’t work”. Ahhh, of course not. He said that the order flowed through the system, but on the last step there were errors, so it didn’t actually go through all the way. He goes back and forth between the house and truck a few times, and the last time he just says “I have no idea what to do, your orders are just completely jacked up”. Of course they are, they only told me on the phone that everything had been cleared up. Apparently people had been ordering and canceling and ordering and canceling and changing names, etc that everything was just a huge mess.

So I get on the phone with the HOA Verizon group, who can’t do anything because everybody is home. Not to mention for whatever reason, he cannot find any of my information. He can’t find any of the notes that Barbara had. Even though they are open until 8pm, they apparently can’t actually do anything. The tech was just amazed at how ridiculous the situation was. So after being on the phone for another 45 minutes of getting nowhere, I just told the rep I would call Barbara in the morning since she told me to. I call her around 9am, she’s on the line with somebody else and will call me right back as soon as she’s off. It’s over an hour later, still no call back yet.

I can’t wait to see what happens today.

Mid-Day Update: Finally got a hold of Barbara over 2 hours later. She tells me something about the fact that she’s not supposed to actually call me back, only take calls…and that she could actually get fired for calling me. Huh??? Anyway, she said since I had so many issues she’s trying to help. I gave her the news of last night, and she said she had done all of her steps, and the only thing she could do is forward the information to a supervisor who will then take it to the the “war room” again. I told her to have the supervisor call me in a timely manner. We’ll see how timely that is.

Late Afternoon Update: 2:00 came around and I still hadn’t gotten a call from anybody. So I call up, and get put on hold for about 20 minutes while they get an update. They finally call back and tell me an Edricka will call me within the hour.

So Edricka calls (Within the hour, very nice), and I don’t remember her title, but she threw something out about directors. She was apologetic and understanding of the situation, and told me they have their top people working on it now. She told me I would get hourly updates with the situation. I just hope to have at least internet for this weekend. We’ll see how the updates go.

I also happened to notice that The Consumerist finally picked up my story! Odd coincidence? Maybe. Based on a few of the responses, people mentioned complaining to the state public utility commission. This is definitely something I’ll do if this new situation doesn’t result in anything.

Late Day Update: INTERNET IS WORKING!? At least for now. The internet started working, but there is no video. The Consumerist post was great, I even had a Verizon employee send off my issue to a VP of the region’s customer advocacy group. Hopefully video will be all set soon, and hopefully everything will stay up.

Then I’ll need to start talking to the HOA as well as Verizon about some well needed compensation. Any suggestions to what should be reasonable?? I really hope that Verizon steps up and offers something without me saying anything.

Update Sunday 11/2/08 (Day 37):

The internet didn’t last very long on Friday, it went down a couple hours after working. I woke up on Saturday, still down (along with video). I left voicemails on Edricka’s office and cell letting her know. Then all of the sudden in the late afternoon the internet starting working again.

Then around 8:30pm I received a call from a Verizon rep letting me know that they were working on the video aspect. She said it was a an issue that was being worked on by top techs the entire day trying to figure out how everything was so messed up. She mentioned things had really been escalated from high up that day.

Afterwards, I had another rep call and walk me through some steps trying to get video working. The video was displaying, but again the program information was not coming through. We did a variety of tests over the course of about 30 minutes and the decision was made that a tech would have to come out again and make some fixes. A tech will be coming out on Monday to hopefully fix things once and for all. Let’s hope these updates are coming to an end.

Update Monday 11/4/08 (Day 39):

The tech came last night, and really couldn’t do much on the video data not coming through still. He said the only thing they can do is work on the back end and that it would take 2-6 hours. By 11pm, the data finally came through on the TV!

So looks like I finally have internet and tv that works properly. The only problem now is that I am supposed to have 20/20 download/upload speed and I’m only getting 20/2 right now. I hope this gets resolved soon, as far as I know there is a ticket out for it.

My HOA offered to give me back the fees for the amount of outtage time. I still haven’t been offered anything from Verizon yet. I’ll wait until the TV is getting the correct upload speeds before I start asking for some sort of compensation. Looks like the worst is over now.

Update Monday 11/17/08 (Day 52):

My upload speeds are still not working correctly, and I’m only getting 2mb instead of the 20mb I ordered. They’ve been working on it for a week or so now, not sure what’s going on. I’ll hopefully have an update this week.

Update Monday 11/24/08 (Day 59):

I’ve been trying to get a hold of the manager that I’ve dealt with to get everything fixed, and cannot get a hold of her anymore. It always goes to voicemail, and now her mailbox is full. Was she let go? I’m still not getting 20mb upload speeds. On top of that, she was supposed to discuss with me some sort of compensation once the upload stuff was fixed. Now I don’t even know who to call to fix it. Am I surprised though? No. Updates to come. This nightmare is still not over.

Update Friday 12/19/08 (Day 84):

I have left literally 25 voicemails on the manager (Edrika Taylor) and have not gotten any callbacks. They finally fixed the bandwidth issue, so all of my service is ok now. Edrika said to get in touch with her once everything was completed to figure out any sort of compensation…figures that she never picks up her phone or calls me back any more.

Anybody from Verizon want to make this right? Whatever, I’m just glad my service is up, but I am not satisfied with the final result or the way I was treated. It took sending the issue all over the place, including getting posted on The Consumerist, to get service to work. It has taken countless hours of my time (well over 10 hours), who knows how many phone calls, working from home to meet a technician a few times, all the time writing this post and keeping it updated, etc, etc.

I was not even offered anything in return. Not even an apology.

Ford 2009 F150 Event Day 1

If you remember, a few months ago I was invited over to Ford in Michigan to check out all of their upcoming 09 vehicles. The one vehicle we did not test was the new F150 pickup truck. Yesterday I arrived at Ford to take a look.

I arrived at Detroit Airport, and we headed over to the Rouge plant for a little presentation. After the presentation, we ate some lunch, and then were given a tour of the plant. This was the first time I had ever had the opportunity to take a look at how the production for the F150 was done. We literally saw each step, and it was something that just blew my mind. The facility alone is about 1.5 million sq/ft, it was monstrous!? It’s really hard to imagine how a car manufacturer can make a vehicle profitable. Here’s a few pictures for your enjoyment:

Ford Rouge plant

Ford Rouge plant

Ford Rouge plant

Ford Rouge plant

After checkout the plant, we headed over to another plant and we were able to see some of the training facilities and going over the new features on the new F150.

Ford F150 wiring harness

Then it was time for some driving!? We took the 2008 F150 and drove it about 40 miles to a Ford dealership, where we got into 2009 F150′s for comparison sake. The difference between the two F150′s is night and day, and the 09 is a huge improvement. There are some really cool technology improvements from aerodynamics to interior that really made some drastic differences.

I was able to drive the new F150 for about 80 miles before we got to our hotel in Romeo, MI (The Royal Park Hotel). It really gave me the opportunity to get a true feeling of the car, and it honestly makes me want one…and I’m not even a truck guy.

We got back to the hotel, which I made is ridiculously nice!? Check out a couple pics of my room:

Royal Park hotel room

Royal Park hotel room

Royal Park hotel room

Royal Park hotel room

Once I put my bags in my room, I headed back down for some cocktails, and a little bit of demo’ing of Ford’s Work Solutions. This is a really neat edition for the F150 meant for working professionals, and in reality more specifically to contractors and construction workers. There are a variety of nifty features worth mentioning:

  • Cable lock system – Ford listened to their customers and found that tool theft was a pretty common occurrence. The cable lock system allows owners to wire lock their tools (or anything else like a dirt bike) in the bed of the truck.
  • The coolest part is the new computer system option up front. The system allows you do anything from get on the internet, to remote desktop, to printing an invoice for a customer on the spot. You can read more here.
  • Crew Chief – This is a system that uses RFID tags. You would simply stick an RFID tag on your tools, and then program them into your car. As long as the tool is in the bed, it will show up on the system up front. This way you will always know you have everything you need. You can even setup specific jobs, for example drywall. You can setup all of the tools you’ll need for drywall, and then it will ensure that all your tools are in the truck when you start your job…as well as leave.

After a couple of drinks, it was time for some more food. We had a great dinner, and at the end Ford raffled away a new Dewalt saw, which I happened to win!

That concludes a great first day, and tomorrow sounds like it may even be better. We’ll be spending the day at the Michigan proving grounds driving the F150 on the track and really putting the truck to the test. I’m really looking forward to it.