Mar 31 2008

Confused yet?

This is an actual email from one of my personal clients:

“I only use outlook for my calendar on my home computer and blackberry contact info and on my current work computer (desktop that I am not going to use anymore) I used MSN email and no outlook for anything but I think I will be using that with the new laptop for email and blackberry since that is where the technology has gone. I will still have my MSN email address but using it through outlook right? All the contact info is on my home computer to load and with my MSN email addresses. I have most of them but I know this is confusing but I can sort it out with you in person.
Basically I use the following:
Home computer-I log into MSN hotmail and do emails from home-It also has my blackberry contacts through outlook that you put there from my sony clie and I can add new ones and use the calendar but I have yet to sync it to my blackberry. I just use the calendar on the blackberry itself to use the reminder and not sync it to my home computer.
Work destop (will not use anymore) has my sony clie contacts and I use the sony clie for my calendar-(will not use that anymore either I will use the outlook on the new computer) I will need to take my email addresses from MSN and put them in outlook on the new computer laptop as I will no longer be using MSN (I don’t think) and will be using outlook with the calendar and contacts.
We will get this organized and you wil see where I want to go and hopefully I am doing the right thing. To many places that I go instead of using outlook for everything and it is compatable with the blackberry. I am used to that now and it is nice but still some kinks.
See you Thurs..R”

This entry is still trying to recover!

Mar 12 2008

Growing tired of users

By “users” I’m talking about computer users. Not all the people I encounter are a problem, but it does seem that business owners are the worst people to help with a computer issue.

For example, I’m working on a laptop for a client who reported getting a BSOD on startup, but he could still get into Safe Mode – at which point he was bombarded with popup messages saying his computer was infected with spyware. I arrived to his office and he was positive that it was our fault, saying that we removed his antivirus program when we installed his printer. I assured him that wasn’t the case and told him about how many current spyware/adware/viruses find ways around older antivirus programs and then prevent them from working. His computer was obviously infected while he was surfing porn sites, based on the types of malware I found. His 2006 version antivirus program was powerless to prevent infection.

Another business owner had grown tired of repeatedly having to call us to resolve user-caused problems. We told him about setting up a proper client-server network environment and how it would make his systems more stable. Granted, my boss under estimated the amount of work it would take to get their systems up to snuff, but the project was all in order. After about a month of working around their staff to get the network and their workstations ready for the change, the owner started to complain about how long it was taking. It didn’t occur to him that it was taking much, much longer because I was unable to just get in there and do what I needed to do and converting one workstation at a time — with the staff member breathing down my neck and/or asking me what type of computer they should buy for their mother — wasn’t conducive of efficient work. Now that the work is done, we hardly hear a peep from them. But when there is something they need help with, the owner complains about how he spent all this money to get the system the way it is and how he can’t believe he still has to call us for help.

Then there are the loony clients. The ones that check their email using their webmail interface, flag spam items and delete them, then open Outlook to download the email – but still leaving the email on the server – and then freak out when their mailbox cap is reached, assuring us that every-single-email is of the utmost importance. These are the types that will log onto the server using the Administrator account, muck something up, then blame us for whatever went wrong. They’ll listen to us when it comes to restructuring their network to a client-server environment and when it’s all done and configured, get upset that users can’t install Incredimail, Yahoo! Instant Messenger, or Limewire on their own — and when we open access for the users to do so, they’re livid that they have all sorts of computer problems again (and after they spent all this money!). Or the bookkeeper that says, “I’m more of an IT guy than a finance guy,” then asks, “what does FTP mean?” in the same conversation — then asks us if we can give him the domain Administrator login info.

Some days the job can be frustrating, but for the most part it’s a lot of fun. It’s those 15% of users who can turn an otherwise mentally stimulating and enjoyable day into a hair-pulling day of mental anguish.

This entry still loves working on computers in spite of it all.

Oct 4 2007

The Simpsons Suck in Spanish

“What? You mean you’re not going to post another video today? Are you crazy? I live for that shit!”

Sleep is just something my body knows it should do, but doesn’t really want to go about, well, yanno … actually doing … enough. I’m finding myself completely awake much later than, say, 2 weeks ago. Last night I got around 4.5 hours of sleep. What’s especially odd to me is that I’m not even tired — which is and isn’t a lie, sorta. I mean I feel like I’m not getting enough sleep, but I don’t feel tired. Does that make any sense? The night before I got about 5.5 hours of sleep.

It isn’t because I’m doing anything that would keep me up that late. I’ll stop playing Lord of the Rings Online as early as 11:00 pm and still not be able to get to sleep 2 hours later. Drinking a couple of beers will make me a little drowsy, but when I get into bed, I can’t fall asleep. There’s nothing like wanting to go to sleep, feeling like you’re going to go to sleep, but not actually falling asleep. Huh? What? Exactly.

We’ll see what happens this weekend. I don’t have anything planned (except to get rid of my cat) and Rece will be at his mother’s for the weekend, so it may be possible to get caught up on some missing rest. So my theory goes, at least.

Yep, I’m getting rid of my cat. I won’t say how, but the cat will be gone. Okay, I will say that it involves a shelter, but that’s it. My apartment smells of cat pee and I’m not happy about it at all. Didn’t she read my earlier post about restroom behavior? Stupid cat.

Work has been very busy lately, thanks to an anti-virus software roll-out project for one of our clients. They have over 120 computers that need their anti-virus software upgraded. All but about 30 of them are at remote locations, on stand-alone workstations, with staff that barely know how to right-click, let alone attempt to install software on their own — well, except for Smiley Central … they always seem to manage getting THAT piece of crap installed. Oh, lordy, lordy!

The entire process is very repetitive. We convinced the company headquarters that this was the perfect opportunity to make sure all of their computers were up to date and operating properly. So on top of the anti-virus software upgrade we’re doing updates, patches, and general system maintenance/tune-up things. The entire process is very repetitive. One of the only complaints I have is that it gets boring rather quickly to do the same process over and over again. It’s like the bottle in your shower says, “Lather. Rinse. Repeat.” except that bottles don’t talk. But some computers do (“Shall we play a game?”). The entire process is very repetitive.

So, yeah, sleep. My apartment is a complete mess right now. To see just how messy it’s become, click the webcam link to the right. Don’t forget that the username is Webcam1 and there is no password.

The web host I use to host my website, this blog, and Quinn’s blog just increased my online storage from around 175 GB to 478 GB for free. I’m trying to figure out what to do with all that space, since at this point Quinn and I have only managed to use around 0.1% of it. Online backup? Maybe. I’ll have to figure out how I can secure what I put up there before that becomes a feasible option.

Right now I’m at the office working on a client’s computer that’s hundreds of miles away. Their office is out in the boondocks, so the only Internet service they can get that’s better than dial-up is satellite. It’s pretty neat, but the latency is a bitch! I’ll click on something and it’ll take a second or two before I see that it did it (or didn’t). What typically takes around 2-3 hours to complete is looking like it’ll take 3-5 hours. The entire process is very repetitive. Hey, it’s all billed by the hour, so who am I to complain? I know my boss won’t!

The good news is that I’ll have plenty of work to do for the next couple of months. The bad news is that it’ll be a lot of the same stuff over and over again. I’m definitely going to have to get the other techs working on this project so I can change things up a bit.

Can one really be poor when they’re rich? Fuck if I know. I’m glad you asked, though.

This entry thinks that the entire process is very repetitive.

Jul 27 2007

Seniors Play With Their Wii’s, Too

Today I went to an 82 year old client’s retirement community to help him with some issues he’s been having on his computer. He was very happy to learn that he no longer needed to use AOL’s ridiculously slow software to check his email and stock portfolio (he’s loaded, btw).

On my way out, I glanced at their daily events board and had to grin …


So I guess it is true that the Nintendo Wii is enjoyed by people of all ages. That’s cool.

This entry wants to play shuffleboard on its Wii!

Jul 25 2007

I think I’m going to be sick

I just installed AOL on a client’s computer. Deliberately.

Dear God, what have I done?

This entry just threw up in its mouth … just a little.

May 15 2007

New Job, New Camera

I’ve kept this quiet for a variety of reasons, but I ended up getting laid off at the new job I found. 2 weeks after I started, they lost a major contract and the loss of it caused the owner to let 3 people go 2 weeks following the incident. Being the lowest on the totem pole, I was obviously one of them.

Luckily my friend Christine is an amazing job placement professional, so she went right to work in finding me opportunities to apply for. Less than 2 days after I was unemployed, I had a phone interview, and a day later I had an in-person interview with the same company. They put me through a test, which turned out to be ridiculously simple. I got an offer the following Tuesday, countered on Wednesday and got the job. So I was out of work for 9 days … not too shabby!

Today is my second day with this new company and I’m already contributing. We went to 3 client locations yesterday (Monday) and I ended up finding the solution to every problem we encountered. It felt good.

So now the cat is out of the bag, as they say. Moving right along …

Client quote of the week: “Norton didn’t seem to like it, so he dropped the Google!”

A friend of mine recently purchased herself a new camera. She’s really enjoying it and decided that her old camera needed a good home, so she emailed me and offered to let me have it. I couldn’t pass it up.It isn’t a major upgrade, since it’s the same resolution (3.2 MP), but it has a much better lens and a 10x optical zoom, plus a macro mode. I’ve only snapped a few pictures so far and they’ve turned out pretty good. We’ll see how much I can get out of it as time goes by.

This entry just keeps plodding along.

Apr 2 2007

Last Day at Work

Friday was my last day at Orange County United Way. In lieu of a mushy goodbye email, I decided to send out something a little more my style. Here’s what I sent to staff:

Well as it turns out, the Simian Protection Society caught on to our recent monkey problems and have decided to press charges against us for the attempted starvation of an Internet monkey. Seeing how it was my idea in the first place, I took full responsibility. They decided that this was fair and I will now serve as their scapegoat to further their anti-broccoli (with cheese sauce) propaganda. Of course this means that I can no longer remain here with you without putting you all in risk of great peril. I do this for the benefit of all those at OCUW and their respective family and pets. Cry not for me and continue carrying the flag of honor high in my stead! For you all are the chosen ones. The elite masters of the nonprofit world. Higher you shall climb until you all reach a level of greatness usually reserved for biblical figures and polka music. Remember the wise words of the great amnesiac as he said, “I did what?” and toss back a couple pints of your finest ale!

This is not a “goodbye” … it is merely a “what were you drinking?” combined with a little “go get ’em and break-dance”.

I have to say, that’s pretty odd, even for me.

This entry is too strange for words.

Mar 19 2007

Good Job Hunting

Well it’s official: I’m changing jobs.

After working at the same place for 9 years (and always making below the low-end for my position) I finally decided to start looking for another job. My friend Christine has some mad skillz in this arena and helped me out more than I can say. After a few months of no-pressure searching, I found myself on a couple of interviews with some companies. One of them went very well.

In two weeks I’ll be starting with a computer consulting company that provides IT solutions. It’s a nice bump in position/title, with a decent increase in pay to make it worth all the hard work I’m expecting to be doing. My official title will be Network Engineer and it’s looking to be a position that will challenge me and help me grow in experience. The folks at the new place all seem to be good people and I got along with them from the start. I’m glad they could see my potential and found me to be a good fit for what they were looking for. I’m really looking forward to this!

I must admit that I’ve got mixed feelings: I’ll miss the people I’ve worked with for so long. It’ll feel strange going to a different place in the morning than I have been for the past 9+ years. It’s also very exciting and full of interesting challenges!

The whole process has been a series of new experiences for me. Most of all, I feel a lot more confident about my future — and most of all, about myself. We’ll see how it goes!

This entry is moving on to bigger things.

Feb 9 2007

Sick of Blackberries

4 weeks and counting, and I haven’t gone a day at work without some mention or discussion or troubleshooting something to do with one of those infernal hand-held devices. Sure they’re about as handy as a rubber glove in a sex shop, but by golly I’d love it if I could just not have to deal with them for ONE STINKING DAY. I swear, it’s been enough to put me into another “Eggs with flippers” mood.

Segue into the sickness … I flew up to Sacramento on Monday to attend a course on Blackberry Enterprise Server Administration on Tuesday. I could tell that I was getting sick, but since the class, flight, and hotel had already been paid for, I started taking Airborne and hoped for the best. Well the best isn’t what happened and I found myself spending Monday waking up every 2 hours in a fevered sweat. It was fortunate that I had hopped into bed about 9 pm, otherwise I would have been a complete zombie for the training class.

After enjoying a lovely buffet breakfast Tuesday morning, I caught a taxi to the facility hosting the training. The course was definitely worth the time, and I learned quite a bit that I should have known BEFORE I was told to install the blasted platform and rolled it out to the CEO. It did become rather difficult to concentrate later in the afternoon as I could feel myself begin to come down with another fever.

The class eventually ended, I got my certificate of completion and I was off to catch a taxi to the airport. This turned out to be unnecessary, since one of the guys attending the class had a rental and was also headed there. Dexter turned out to be a real cool guy and we spent the time waiting for our respective flights talking shop over crappy Chinese food at the airport food court. The flight home was uneventful (as one would hope), but I was unable to sleep on the plane, as usual.

Christine, who had been gracious enough to watch Rece while I was away, came to pick me up at the airport. She was nice enough to tolerate my whining and got me back to my car, which I had left at work before my trip. That night’s sleep was good, thanks to a double shot of Nyquil.

I ended up calling in sick for the next couple of days (Wednesday & Thursday). To be honest, I almost wish I had done so today as well. On my way back from lunch I ran into the CEO in the parking structure and she brought up the Blackberry again. Damn it.

This entry used to like blackberries.

Feb 1 2007

Atari and the refrigerator

We received an email at the office from the CFO with a subject line of “Atari”. I about fell out of my chair upon reading it and felt it deserved to be shared…

“Atari is Japanese for “prepared to be attacked”I would like to forewarn you that while you may not hear it, there is something whispering “Atari“ from inside the refrigerator: I know, because I nearly lost my right arm just a moment ago.

Can we please work together to ensure that the items in the community refrigerator remain fresh and limited in their stay here. Right now, I am expecting DreamWorks’ next horror film to be about what is growing in the white box in the copier room.

Thank you”

This entry was pleasantly surprised.