January 2005
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Archive for January, 2005


Posted in Life on January 7th, 2005

Wow, what a busy week.

It’s been different, this going back to work idea. I find I suddenly don’t have time during the day to take care of the little things, like trips to the bank or maybe some poking around under the hood of the car to figure out why it doesn’t start on the first try every so often. A small price to pay, I think, for the security of having a job.

We have been really busy, and I’ve consistently had three computers at a time on the bench in various stages of repair. Today I maxed out at 5, but it doesn’t really count since three were waiting for something else to happen. Today’s woes?

-Failed hard drive
-Failed IDE controller
-Lost IDE controller (I hate Dells)
-Data recovery
-Crashed system that turned into a new build because the guy got an iPod for Xmas, and his old system wouldn’t run iTunes

Plus I spent half the day trying to gt a pair of 200GB drives formatted. Ugh!

Still,better to be busy, and I enjoy the work. Except for dealing with blown-up Windoze installs, anyway. It amazes me the crap that people will install on their machines thinking it will be useful. That last Dell had so many toolbars on IE that there was almost no room for content when you finally got to a page. (Not to mention the 15 or so programs running in the systray…)

Bells dig in to dominate high-speed Internet realm

Posted in Geekery on January 4th, 2005

USATODAY reports on how the Bells are fighting the private expansion of fiber-optic communications across the country.

What it boils down to is that the Bells don’t want to foot the bill for fiber to the home unless the FCC says they don’t have to share it with the competition. Meanwhile, the Bells also don’t want anyone else to lay down fiber networks saying it is too much competition and would drive them out of business if consumers had another option.

Basically, they’re taking a page from Bill Gates’ playbook.

When looked at in a certain light, however, these fiber networks are really the Government’s perview. Take the Interstate Highway project: it was funded largely by the Fed to provide a means for moving troops quickly about the country in time of war. By the same token, the internet itself was fuunded by the Fed and private parties as a means of insuring communication in times of war.

We all know how much communication ‘horsepower’ is provided by fiber-optics, and it seems a natural conclusion that the Fed in general, and the Emergency Broadcast System in particular, could be considered to be the ultimate shareholder in these fiber networks. So my stance is that the Fed should mandate the construction of fiber-to-the-home networks within a given time frame, the same way they have mandated the States to maintain the highway system.

I am not unbiased in this opinion though. 56k dial-up sucks. The average 756k of DSL is better, but low. The 3gb I get with cable modem is tolerable, but the upwards of 30gb a fiber network would provide would be gettin’ somewhere, ya know? And I would certainly love to see the prices drop a bit. Japan pays the equivalent of $15 a month for 30gb speeds, where I pay $55 for 3gb.

Something stinks here…

First Days

Posted in Life on January 4th, 2005

Today was the first day of my new job, and I am pleasantly surprised. It is a strange concept for me to be employed by a techie and working with other techies. Everything I learned about the operation today made perfect sense to me, and came directly from perfectly logical reasoning.

What a concept!

Sure, there are still a couple of illogical things (most of the techs are anti-AMD for some stupid reason…), but it was very nice to be able to simply step into a job role and be able to go almost directly to work.

No world is perfect though, I suppose. The first task set before me today was to call Symantec’s support line. It seems they have had a problem with their authentication code database, as several brand-new retail packages of theirs have come up with invalid authentication codes. I spent almost two hours on the phone with some jackass in India trying to get him to give me a new code or fix the one I had. His response, of course, was that he could ship me a new copy.

Uhm, fuck off? We retail your product, and you want my customer to wait another three days to get their computer back because you had an internal security problem? I don’t think so. No, you had better re-think that position, or I’ll see if MacAffee has actual Americans on the support line.

On to the new

Posted in Life on January 2nd, 2005

So how did my new year start? Rather grogily, as a friend from far away called me just as I was dropping off to sleep to wish me a Happy New Year. It’s ok, dear lady, I won’t hold you in violation of the usual “you had better be bleeding” rule ;)

I was awoken again several hours later with some disturbing news: BtFR called to ask me for a ride home – he had been on his way to go skiing with a friend when he had run afoul of a patch of ice and put his truck in the ditch. The bad news: truck is totaled. The good news: nothing worse than a bruise on either one of them, despite the fact he disobeyed the “shiny side up” rule. Three cheers for American safety engineering! Sure, he’s out some cash, but none of it will be spent on medical bills.

The rest of the day was just your typical routine – watched some cartoons with Pookie, read her a book or two, quick trip to the store for dinner fixin’s, spent some time in a book of my own while she played on the computer. All in all, not a bad day.

Tomorrow will be a bit of anticipation for me, as I start my new job on Monday, and I tend to spend the day before going through all the stuff I think I may need so as to not show up unprepared. Of course, I’ve been doing that for several months now, so this will mostly amount to ironing a shirt and re-checking everything else. Almost everything I will need already exists in my backpack: multi-bit screwdriver, software diagnostics kit, pen and paper for taking notes on their processes at the shop.

The pen and paper will get the most use, since the eventual point of hiring me is to get someone to mind the new store. So, they will be teching me the process they use for tagging incoming equipment to service, billing rates and practices and other administrivia. Then I leave at 1:30 or so for a 2:00 appointment with their HR outsourcer to sign all the paperwork and set up the drug screening (which I will pass).

The hardest part of the day will probably be getting to work less than a half-hour early – good thing I have a book to read ;)