Electricity cost calculator for Texas

If you are living in Texas, then you can choose your own electricity provider. If your contract is about to expire, you have to choose your electricity provider which is a bit hassle as you have to calculate the actual electricity cost from the Fact Sheet provided by each company.

I use http://www.powertochoose.org website to look for the best deal. Even though, the website shows the best rates available at 500, 1000 and 2000 kwh usage, sometimes the electricity company creates the plan in such a way to be listed on the top of the search result which may actually cost more depending on your usage. To calculate the actual cost is a bit hassle based on the Fact Sheet provided by the electricity company so I have created a spreadsheet in which if you enter your monthly usage and the data from Fact Sheet, it will calculate the total cost. You need to download the copy of the spreadsheet from the Google Drive in order to enter the data. Please note that, the bill amount does not reflect any tax or fees

Electricity cost calculator spreadsheet for Texas

How to check OCI application status

If you ever visit Indian government OCI application status, you will find that there is a footer block which is completely blocking the “Get Status” button which prevents you from submitting the application and hence viewing the status. I have created a short video which shows you two tricks to get the OCI application status

Thank you UnitedHealthCare for causing IRS form 1095 problem

Couple of weeks back, I got a mail from UnitedHealthCare that they need SSN for the member in order to generate IRS form 1095. There are three options to submit the SSN

  1. Online
  2. Fax
  3. Mail

Online

I thought the quick way to submit it is online as it also serves as a immediate confirmation. I submitted and waited for 2-3 weeks and the online form was still not updating IRS form 1095 even though the another page shows the SSN. I called them and found out that the online submission does not work.

Fax

The fax line does not work.

Mail

Couple of days back, I sent mail to UnitedHealthCare and I called them today to find out if they got the mail. Representative told me that the address is wrong and I need to send it to correct address.

Well, now I have correct fax and mailing address. I will see what happens.

Thank you UnitedHealthCare for causing unnecessary issues and not correcting it even after knowing for more than a month.

Honda CRV does not lock using key remote

Today, I had a problem locking my Honda CRV. When I tried to lock it using key remote, it did not blink side lights indicating it locked. Although locking works fine. All lights remain lit. When I lock it using the locks on windows, it locks but the internal lights remain lit. The solution is so simple.

Make sure all the doors are closed properly. If one of the door is open little bit, car will not lock using key remote.

Trick to get Equifax credit report after being denied due to “Security” reason

I recently tried to pull my credit report from http://www.annualcreditreport.com for Equifax. I had given all the correct answers but still I was not shown a credit report due to “Security” reason. They mentioned that I should mail the request along with the proof that I am myself. What I noticed is that the questions are very wierd compared to what Transunion and Experian would ask. A quick google search regarding “cannot get equifax credit report” reveals the same problem other people are facing. I knew I answered all my questions correctly and still being denied a federally mandated report so I filled out a quick “Contact Us” form on http://www.annualcreditreport.com complaining about it and to my surprise I got my credit report in mail within 7 days.

WordPress Comment Spam Even with Comments Disabled for Blog

I have my diary as wordpress blog. Every day I am getting hundreds of comment spam. I had installed comment spam fight plugin and it seems like worked for few days but again I was getting spam messages. I changed the settings of blog so that only logged in user can put a comment. I even disabled comment completely but all efforts were in vein. I tried to find some information on google but couldn’t get the reason. So I thought let me debug the application and check it out why I am getting hunderds of comments everyday. For this, in wp-comments-post.php I wrote a code to write all parameters in a text file so I can check out what’s wrong with application. I can post my comment and see the log file but for spam, there was no log trail. It seemed to me that comments are coming from other? files. so I moved that code into config file and I found that those comments are actually trackbacks. If you want to check if the comment is trackback or not, check the Email value of comment. If you see it empty, it means it is a trackback. I disabled trackback by loggin in site > Options > Discussion and disabling trackback and pingback.

Now I am relieved of comment(actually trackback) spams.

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My trip to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico for new H1 Visa stamping

I came to USA as a student on F1 visa. I completed my study in Texas A&M University in May 2006 and I got job in houston. Now I am on H1. I can legally live in USA as far as I have I-797 with me but once I leave USA, I must have to have H1 visa stamp on my passport for re-entry. So I decided to go to Mexico for my H1 visa stamping as it is near to houston. I got my visa date by registering at website www.visa-usa.com.mxI choose Nuevo Laredo for my visa stamping. It is very near to Laredo which is a part of USA.

Fee receipt showing visa application fees paid at Banamex Bank. This fee is approximately $105 USD. I got service from Mexico Assistance. They paid my fees and sent me a receipt with total cost of $185. They previously provided transportation service but recently they are not providing it. But they had recommended a taxi driver Roberto Elizondo. (who is NOT a trustworthy guy. read ahead for complete story).I had visa date of 11th Dec, 2006 and time was 9:30. I drove from houston to laredo and reached to my friend’s home in the evening. On the day of 11th Dec, I was ready by 7:45 AM and taxi driver came and picked me up. He took me to consulate in Neuvo Laredo. I asked him about restaurant where I can kill my time while waiting for my passport. He suggested me to go to Crowne Plaza hotel which is just a block away from consulate. He promised me that he will come to pick me up at 3:45 AM and he will be waiting in front of consulate.

I stood up in queue where one lady officer who knew english, helped me. (You will find very few people who knows english). As I went inside, I passed through security. One guy sitting on a nearby table gave me a token number. Now I again stood in a queue waiting for my token number to be called. I got my turn and a lady saw the application and took my photograph. Now I seated on chair with other people waiting for my token number to show up in screen. I got my turn and went to visa officer. He asked document like paystub and employement letter. He asked my about my job description and he told that I can collect my passport at 4:30 PM.
It was 9:15 AM when I was out of consulate. (It is too fast than I expected because one of my friend came out at 1:30 PM). I went to Crowne Plaza and spent my time. At 4:00 PM I came back to consulate. Around 5:00 PM I got my passport back. I checked all details on visa. Now I was looking for that taxi driver but he did not come. I waited for few minutes but he did not come. I took a cab with the help of a person who knew english. I came to Bridge 1. There I paid toll of 30 cents and crossed the bridge. I came to USA side of bridge and went in immigration office. That officer gave me permission to enter. I got another cab and reached at my friend’s home.

Basically I did not face any problem other than that taxi driver but still I would recommend you not to go to Nuevo Laredo. If you already got date in Mexico, it is not a problem but if you are planning to take one, please choose other center.

Note: This is not a legal advice. It just describes my experience and my views.