Tag Archives: Geek stuff

Hotties

No, not those kinds of hotties, you pervs – get your mind out of the gutter!

I’m referring to this sort:

This was just before 3 PM local time, with a temp of 93F and a heat index of 110F. You know that phrase “It isn’t the heat, it’s the humidity.”? This week has matched that phrase. This morning I popped out to the beeyard to check a few hives to see who needed a second brood box and to generally make sure there were a good number of bees and stores in those hives. At that time, about 9:30 AM, it was already 84F with a heat index of 92F. I was so soaked with sweat when I came in I had to change all my clothes. It was like wearing a swimsuit, and I had to peel all my clothes off my body, they were that soaked – including my socks.

But that’s ok. This is Florida, after all, and while some days are not all that pleasant, I expect this, and I chose to live here. Making it through the summers is my version of climbing Everest: how far can I push myself without keeling over?

I rolled out of bed at about 7:30 this morning, and this is what greeted me:

Foggy morning at the ranch, which turned into a burner of a day. It all burned off by the time I went out to the bees, and then Mother Nature did her thing by bringing the heat.

The gardens are still a work in progress, and there is still more work to be done. However, each year, I keep refining the processes out there, and I think next year will be even better because of the changes I have in mind. That refinement is what I’m trying to do in other areas of life as well, from outdoor work to the helpdesk where a new user accused us of selling his email address to spammers. He had registered a domain, and naturally, since WHOIS information is public, and the spammers watch new domain registrations, he started getting spammed. He also told us this was “very unprofessional”. I counted backwards from five, then pointed this fact out to him and offered to use our masking info for the domain, so that we would get the spam and the phone calls. He took up that offer. Problem solved, and for me, no being pissed off because of the rudeness some people shoot our way for no reason.

I’ve now posted to the blog here daily since the 24th. It’s a start, and helps me get into the groove of making writing a habit. It occurred to me that I wasn’t making writing one of my top priorities, being too busy with the business, doctor visits, and so on. I made the decision to make it a priority, just as the business, my gardens, and my bees are. I had started a web site as a hobby type of thing, tracking deaths in any given week, I realized that was a major timesink, since I had to pick from the lists, then go do research to build the short blurb I’d give to each. That one had to go, because it took away time I wanted to assign over to my writing instead.

There’s another major shift I made that freed up a ton of time. But that’s a story for tomorrow.

Be well, peeps, and I’ll blather more at you soon.

Updates, updates

I told myself to get back into updating ye olde blawg daily, to get me in the habit of writing something daily, which I tell myself will help with the actual writing I am supposed to be doing on anything real – any of the ideas I have rolling in my head for novels. Which, I should point out, I have actually gotten some  “here’s how the story goes, generally” notes down for, like this.

And right at this very moment, it all really sounds like total bullshit to me, probably because I let some asshole annoy me with his stupidity and then his panicky bullshit because he couldn’t be bothered to take ten seconds to think about something before completely freaking out. Likewise, his passive aggressive bullshit afterward didn’t do him any favors in my eyes.

I really wonder about someone who can’t quite get to the idea of choosing “settings” as the place to make a change in the app he’s using. It occurs to me that this is the kind of person who would gnash his teeth and rend his garments and wail about how he doesn’t understand anything about anything, and – in his own words, in not one, but two tickets – he’s now “fucked” and “screwed”, thereby ensuring that someone else will easily fix (because it was an easy fix) whatever it is he’s too stupid or too lazy to do in addition to him pissing off whoever has to deal with it.

So now that I’m typing this, guess who just found himself in a list of people in my head who will make appearances in the books I will write?

Since this guy is so terribly incompetent, he certainly can’t be the bad guy. You can’t really have an incompetent villain carry an entire book – well, I take that back, you can, but the book would not be very good.  I have read many books where the bad guy is so stupid, careless, and/or lazy that he should have been tripped up and strangled by his own shoelaces, yet the hero (male or female) is not able to figure it out for 300 pages.  That says something about that hero, too, but that’s something for another day.

No, this person will be a victim. Not someone that’s particularly going to be missed. Not someone who is a pillar of a community or an underthanked martyr, giving up their time for those less fortunate or privileged than they are. No. Not this guy. While I’ve been typing this, ruminating on the vagaries of dealing with people like this both in and out of the tech world, it came to me that I have the perfect spot for him. He’ll be a throwaway character with some very bad habits whose excuses have gotten old to those who have loaned him money and whose time has come to an end. It’s actually the first scene in one of those books up there. In my mind I had written that scene and the soon to be victim mans up, understanding his fate and resigning himself to it, but as I consider it now, I do believe that he will instead be a whiny, pathetic loser, paying for the problems he brought on himself – not paying in money, but with something far more dear: his life.

And now, having typed all that up there, I feel a bit better, and not like I despise the entire world because this one douchebag caught me up at a bad time.

By the way, those papers in the top image? Each one is a different story. This is how backlogged my brain is.  I have four different series characters, a fantasy trilogy, one standalone non-genre book, and one that I haven’t classified as yet, all hanging out in the idea lounge that is my brain, and all hanging out as a short description of what each of those books is about. I have to go update my author blog now, then post the same thing to my facebook author page, and then tweet the link to the blog – because authors these days need an “author platform”, a term that irks me almost to the same extent as “I know, right?”, “That’s what she said.”, a “You know” after every sentence, and “Because (something).”

Thus ends another blog post. See you tomorrow, peeps. Be well.

 

No problem, Mr. “Network Engineer”

You know what experienced techs think when you feel the need to insert “I’ve been a (something – in this case a “network engineer”) for 25 years.” after you’ve described how you “solved” a problem in a manner that shows you don’t know jack shit about what you’ve just described? Let’s just say there’s a reason we have compresses for excessive eye rolling and why we put quotation marks around things like “network engineer” or “developer” or “IT guy” or whatever else it is you think is going to impress us. It isn’t. We certainly hope whoever is paying you isn’t paying you much. But if that’s what helps you sleep at night, go right on ahead and demonstrate your vastly superior knowledge while at the same time showing that it literally took you all day to “fix” the (non) issue. Well done.

Things that bug me, part whatever

“Nothing more detestable does the earth produce than an ungrateful man.” – Ausonius

Being ungrateful and disloyal – not blindly loyal, mind you, but disloyal to people who have treated you beyond well – are two things that annoy me considerably. Some days (or weeks), I really do question why in the world we go out of our way to do all the extras we do for people when we get those things chewed up and spat back out at us as people give lip service to thanking us for everything we’ve done while they sail out the door without ever bothering to discuss options with us before doing so, even when they have been perfectly happy for a decade or more. It is disheartening and depressing to go through, and very stressful in some ways.

Connected

As many of you know, I moved out to the very edge of the biggest city in the area – technically, just across the county line into a town that is both unincorporated and unknown to most people even if they live around here. Now, while I love life at the ranch, with all the ups and downs that go with it, there is one thing, above all else at this moment, that I miss dearly about living closer to civilization.

High speed internet access.

Now again, as most of you know, I run a business that is internet-based (well, one of the businesses is). While satellite is ok, it is definitely not high speed. It is also terribly unreliable, and in a place where we receive reasonable amounts of rain, generally speaking, it leads to signal loss. There is also the problem of the satellite just deciding to cut out for no apparent reason at all. We have endured outages when there isn’t a cloud in the sky, and when there is a stronger than usual breeze, as if the signals are blown out of alignment by the wind.

Over the years, we occasionally check to see if any of the usual providers have made it out here. We know that Comcast has a loop on a pole about 700′ from the house. So we went on their site to determine if service was available, and while the first guy said there was “nothing remotely” in our area, the second guy who called a day later said what we knew: there’s a loop 700′ away from us. Happy day!

He was quite interested when we said we wanted the largest business package (that runs about $300/month, give or take), and that other people in the small development here had also expressed interest in high speed access. We went back and forth for a week, only to be told, in the end that no, they would not be able to do it, because the loop at the road “already had too many people on it” and it would cost Comcast $200K to roll it out to us. Mind you, this is already after we had polled the people here – some of whom, like me, run their businesses from their properties – and almost to a person they wanted some form of service, whether it was internet only (us) or internet plus tv (several), and all were agreeable to having a multiyear contract. It seemed, when we reported those results, like a win-win, but someone on the chain knocked it down.

It’s rather unfortunate because it is so close to us since we run up against the main access road. The upper level business account dude suggested we contact one of the local offices and have them call their corporate overlords to talk about it. I’m not entirely sure what difference that will make, but it is on the list of things to do. The tiny candle of hope still flickers in the darkness of slow internet service here.

Tuesday’s child is NOT full of grace

In the tech world, for some reason Tuesdays are generally the shittiest days. Problems are extra large, people are extra dense, ticket volume is extra high, and everything just seems to be a bigger pain in the ass than it usually is. Generally speaking, all my days are pretty much the same – to the point that sometimes I don’t even know what day it is – because I work every day, anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, doing something. So I take Tuesdays in stride, because often some other whack-a-mole will pop its head out on a day other than Tuesday, and to me,it seems like Tuesday even if Tuesday is just lending an outfit to another day.

However.

Today was my personal Tuesday. It started off very calmly. As Stacy astutely points out, that’s sometimes a warning indicator, i things are far too calm. Turns out, this was one of those times. Got my breakfast, got a shower, headed off to pick up a paper scrip from one of my docs because the med contains a scheduled drugs so cannot be called in – thanks a bunch, Feds, for making it annoying for those of us who actually need the stuff. It’s a 35 to 40 minute drive to that particular office, as it’s on the other side of the world from the ranch. Picked it up, got back in the car, and started my way toward Publix, to get the thing filled, plus pick up another that was ready, along with a few assorted other items.

On my way there, I get a call from the ranch: the electric company dude who reads the meter (they just drive up the driveway to the house and use their reader without getting out of the pickup, yay technology!) managed to back into and snap a stub that is a water line. To the house. Since Gabby was there with some worker bees, they shut off the main valve that leads to the house. Therefore, no water in the house or to any of the irrigation piping until it’s repaired.

Change of plans: we have no spare 1″ PVC lying around. Everything is the wrong size. We do have couplings, and they assure me we have pipe dope. Off to the big orange store. I pop in, pop out, hustle back to the car. In the parking lot, some guy gives me a shout, starts walking toward me with his hand out, like he wants to shake my hand and says, “Hey, how you doing?” and who obviously either wants to sell something, or get something. I say, “Sorry dude, in a hurry.” and I head back to the ranch, where…

…we do some test fitting, cutting down – with a mini coping saw, because the PVC cutter I had once upon a time I cannot find – test fit things, judge it good, and get ready to finalize it. No cement. Primer, yes. Cement, no. I dig around in various places, and in a drawer I come up with cement that a) I do not prefer and b) is old, so questionable. We try it anyway, allowing it to set, then turn on the water. Sealant: fail. Off I go once again to the big orange store, and since I’m already out again, to Publix to get the other stuff for the ranch.

The big orange store has all the things I need – including a ratcheted PV cutter – and I also spy some couplings that have rubber seals and teeth to grip the pipes when they’re inserted. No cleaning, priming, or cement required. I also find a combo cleaner, primer, cement in a handy spray bottle just like spray paint. Why did it take this long to come up with this? I pick up both, along with traditional blue dope, and head to Publix, where…

…as I’m giving the scrip to the tech along with my ID, and she’s reviewing it, she says, “Oh, no. They didn’t date the scrip. We can’t fill it.” Argh. I take the scrip back, pick up the other stuff, race back to the ranch, where….

…I redo the bottom fitting in the traditional way, but cannot get the top fitting off to redo the cement on that. Fine. I do the bottom, allow it to set, wipe off the excess, and then the valve to get the water flowing again to test it, only to find….

….the top seal is definitely not going to work. Fuck. I turn off the water, cut the pipe off at the ends of the couplings, which requires digging out the bottom part of the stub a bit, get the other part of the replacement PVC I didn’t use, and cut it down. Instead of dealing with the traditional prim/dope method, I slip the newer coupling on to one end and use my body weight to push the piece snug and it clicks into place. The other coupling goes on the top connecting pipe, and I cut down the replacement pipe a couple of times until I can get it to slide under the top coupling (after pushing that part slightly to an angle in order to do so. I push down with all my weight, but can’t get it to snap into place. I grab a rubber mallet and pound the damn thing until it gives a satisfying snap. Finally.

Time for a test! I open the valve, and the pump kicks on. The couplings hold and are not blown off by the pressure. There are also no leaks at the joints. Yay. I head inside, turn on some taps and the tub in the master bath to force the pump to cycle on and off to make sure any pressure changes don’t damage the joints. it doesn’t. Problem solved!

By now, I’m drenched in sweat and my pants are sliding further and further down my hips. I have a massive spasm going on my left side, from my hip all to the way to my face. I decide – it’s now 4PM, and I left the house about 11AM originally – it’s time for lunch. Except…

…it pops into my mind that the bees need to be fed. Luckily, I had already made their syrup this morning, so I poured the jars, climbed into my suit, went out, and changed their bottles. It’s very still, with no wind, and very humid, and I’m sweating even more in the suit than normal. I head back inside, peel out of the suit, and get lunch started, only to be hit….

….with a massive new spasm that takes my breath away. I lean against the counter to let the worst of it pass, then grind up my antispasm and other meds and finally get lunch made.

Then I find out Comcast is not willing to run access to our one road development: there are too many people on the loop they have at the road now, and they estimate it would cost them $250K to do our road. Fuck. The corporate guy suggests we call our local Comcast office and have them call in to corporate. Yeah.

So, thanks, Tuesday, for fulfilling every expectation I generally have of you. But you can go now, really. Seriously.

Those who cannot do

Tip: if  you cannot secure your mail server from spewing spam to the outside world, despite being given loads of information, log snips, and everything else possible fro ma perspective outside that server, perhaps your organization should find someone else to administer it, as you’re terrible at the job.

A tech’s woes

Do  you know why, generally, many people in IT hate users, and why, generally, first level support techs despise them?

Because these jobs are, in the end, not terribly different than any other server-related job. The nice ones, who take the time to say thanks, or write a nice note out of the blue praising the service, or who do any number of tiny things to show they appreciate what you’re doing, are rare. It’s nice to get those notes/calls/etc.

The vast majority of users, their issues, and the tech’s resolutions are white noise, that constant murmur in the background that follows a tech everywhere, including into dreamtime occasionally. This group is, again, much like anything else in life, a presence that never really fades away.

And then, there are those people. The ones who are never satisfied. The cheap ones whining to you about costs. The ones who complain they “are not a tech” and shouldn’t have to be a tech just to get through an answer about how to change their password (hey, newsflash: a step by step instruction list doesn’t require anyone to “be a tech” to follow). The ones who think they can be immediately hostile and uncivil to the faceless person on the other end of their message for no real reason whatsoever. The very, very  worst of all? The ones who drive good tech people out of the field into more charming, less irritating, and more fun occupations like mucking out cow barns or cleaning sewage lines or deodorant tester.

The ones who request that you do something, confirm that they want you to do it, and never once ask any questions about what they have asked. The ones who then open a zillion tickets, all on the same subject: that they cannot perform operation ABC because what they requested was done. The ones who whine that if (company) had (XYZ), the “inconvenience” they have suffered would have been avoided, as if having XYZ would have made them magically not request the idiotic thing they requested – and that rather stunning logical fail is just another one amongst the thousand little cuts that makes techs hate users. Because it is usually the horrible ones that are remembered best.

Don’t be the horrible one. Be kind to your techs.

This might qualify

As a first world problem: a new server we ordered for a client, and shipped overnight, refused to boot. Power on, yes, but perform the POST, no – not even a hint of video and no drive probing. After unhooking and reseating every single thing, from the power connectors to the memory to the CPU itself, we got nothing. We asked the vendor to overnight a new motherboard, thinking that would solve the problem. Nada. Yesterday I asked them to overnight a new CPU, since that was the one component I had no replacement for, given this was a new motherboard type we’ve never used before. Nothing. So, tonight I’ll be ordering a server based on a specification we’ve ordered before, that we know works just fine, and next week we will ship back this server, the extra motherboard, and the extra CPU. If you want to know what drives people in tech crazy, it’s problems like this. Well, that and the people who can’t keep their passwords secure, and then bitch at us when we set minimum password strength requirements that prohibit them from using “password” as their new password.