Tag Archives: work

Rest day


It’s been a very busy week at the ranch: an employee on vacation, new bees arriving, someone hosing their server, planting out, along with all the other everyday, normal things that make life tick around here.

The server issue took about 40 hours to recover, plus another 10-ish to iron out little things – it was that bad, from an admin standpoint – so I’ve been running on less sleep than normal. That’s ok. In a couple of weeks I’l be taking a 6-8 nap during the daytime.

I’ve got the broccoli, some of the onions, and a flat of tomatoes out of the barn and into the rows. I intercropped onions and broccoli, and put some carrots (from seed) with the tomatoes. That leaves five flats in the barn and half a flat of onions and leeks hanging out in front garden south, awaiting their places. Plus the seeds I’ll sow directly (cukes) and the flats to start the melons so they can be set out (although I may very well just say screw it, and sow them directly, too).

The Buckfast bees – a variety new to me, as I’ve only had Italians to this point – seem to be super chill bees. They were not particularly bothered by much of anything I was doing, even when I had to shake the packages. Even at that point, some of them didn’t rocket out of the packages to come at me (bro!) and just stayed in the package, hanging out. I’m working on editing video of one of the installs to show that.

This morning, though, the week finally caught me. I was just too exhausted to do anything outside. It didn’t help that it was almost 90F today, and that being short on rest makes me queasy, which itself just piles on top of the queasiness I’m having when pouring food down the tube, which I think is a sign that the balloon has deflated, as it did last time. AND: we had our first heat index day.

This is the earliest date here at the ranch for a heat index day.

Now, though, it’s about an hour-ish until sundown, and it’s cooler (82F and with a light breeze as I type this) and I can hear some distant thunder – a forecast of rain that, as usual, passed us by. I feel much better after just doing some “real” work as needed, and resting inside. I’m thinking about popping out and putting the cuke seed and the zuke/squash seed in. That would be a couple fewer things that need to be done tomorrow.

Scam alert: Compliance Services

This afternoon, we received a very official looking form (and instructions for said form) from an outfit calling themselves Compliance Services. The form and instructions are an attempt to scam $125 from unsuspecting business owners who do not a) know the law or b) do not read closely enough, since these scammers do their best to hide the fact that this is not official paperwork. Although the envelope itself says “THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT”, the form has the look and feel of the typical government type documents that all of us who run businesses are overly familiar with, having to wade through them all the time.

These people have been at this a long time, based on a search. Some states have already been hit by these assholes. Other states have large warnings about them, and include restraining orders against them for their mailings. There are lots and lots and lots and lots of complaints/warnings about this scam. In fact, National Research Corp has a handy (and long) list about this annual minutes scam. Don’t fall for it. Definitely do not send them any money.

The things we see

We see a lot of things around here, dealing with people and what they do to their sites. One of the things we see a lot of are people calling themselves “web designers” who can’t even properly code an a href link to another page on their own site. It’s an added bonus if they’re using a very expensive application to create and update the site. Eve more bonus points if they shove every flashing, blinky thing they can on the site to make it look like they got caught in a whirlpool back in the early 90s and never managed to escape.

Catching up

So I let the daily blogging thing go by the wayside. Winters – or, more accurately, waiting for spring to really get rolling – are a bit boring on the ranch. I probably should have been painting more, or working more on the neverending to-do list, but the fatigue factor really got to me. Now that I’m on some supplements to get my B levels back up, I feel a whole lot better, and more like my old self. Still not taking iron supps, though, and I’m definitely not eating any liver, so that’s still a work in progress.

But progress there is: all of the first round of flats, except two, have been transplanted: tomatoes and peppers, mostly. The other two flats have onions (plus one  lonely little datil pepper that isn’t going to make it, like the other dozen that never bothered to germinate) and herbs (plus artichokes to replace the ones zapped by the severe freeze we had). I’ve also sown shelling peas, snap (green) beans, peanuts, three kinds of cucumbers, okra, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes, along with various herbs and flowers for the bees. Out back in the chicken yard, where we had composted some things over the past year and where the chickens had scratched around, I put in lima beans (ugh), sunflowers, and corn. Yes, corn. It is my personal windmill here on the ranch, and I have another variety I’d like to put in somewhere, too.

Yesterday we got over an inch and a half of rain, as measured by our very own weather station. Before the rains started, I had transplanted out a flat, and gave it up when the big thunder started rolling across the sky. It was only around 10 AM that it started storming, but it lasted almost all day. Much needed rain, although we’re still very short of normal.

Today, more sweet potatoes put in, the other flats put out, as much newspaper and hay put down as my back could stand, and two more flats started and put under the lights in the barn: paisano tomatoes for sauce, sweet basil, purple basil, and two types of tobacco for mom. Got another canvas started, added to one of the earlier ones that is now dry, dealt with an asshole who thinks we should have known to remove his account when he never bothered to let us know, bitching about the invoice the system generated – hey, my superpower of ESP still has not kicked in from the radiation, and no others have appeared either. That’s a bummer.

Several trees my mom swore were dead were just a little dead, and are now upgraded to alive, leafing and budding out. The peas, cukes, and okra have all started to poke their heads up. The snap beans are probably a week or so away from beginning to flower. We’ve had asparagus spears popping up for the past couple of weeks. It’s time to start prepping the spots the beehives will be in: two in the rear, one up front.

Tonight: seafood feast by request, as my sister is visiting from Illinois. Another attempt to view Jupiter and its moons before it slips away beyond our viewing period as the days get longer. Starting another canvas while the others dry a bit. Starting the reworking of our tutorials for our users, since our control panel has changed since the first round. Doing end of quarter stuff for the business. Relaxing. Maybe.

You don’t need it

Another tip from your neighborhood tech: you do not need to have all your high scoring spam delivered to a special mailbox under your account. Especially if you never clear said mailbox and jam up tens of thousands of messages in the system spooler. All you’ll be doing is pissing off every other person on the server because their mail is being delayed due to you. Then we will will have to go in and reset your settings to delete the junk you’re never going to look at in the first place.

You’re welcome.

Yet more ways to irritate tech support

So, you write in, telling us that you’re getting all sorts of trojans in your email. Mind you, you don’t bother to provide any evidence of anything of the sort, but someone on the staff tells you (quite correctly) that the virus definitions are always being updated, and if for some reason the server where you’re located needs an updated signature set, we’ll take care of it. You go away. We check, everything is up to date. Three days later, you’re back, telling us that you’re still getting these mysterious trojans, you’re not satisfied with the service, and you want to cancel. After five years of us hosing the account – during which you’ve opened very few tickets indeed, and which gives you plenty of time to know how we work, knowing that we do the things we say we will – instead of just saying “Hey, I’m still having this problem, what can we do”, you just want to cancel the account entirely. Then, when you’re asked, multiple times, for the headers of the mail you’re claiming is trojan-laden, so we can look at the logs, claim you have no idea what we’re asking for – this is even more ironic if your site indicates you’re claiming to be some kind of software developer. Then tell us we are “unconcerned”, “harsh”,  and have “email security issues”, and continue to ignore the requests we’ve made of you to provide any sort of information whatsoever that we can use. In the meantime, we’ve been going line by line in the mail logs finding every instance of your domain, including the system rejecting all kinds of crap from known spammers/spam locations, and, as it happens, deleting outright things found to have trojan-laden packages attached. That just makes us feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy around here, to be insulted while we’re trying to figure out, sans any useful information from you, what exactly you’re talking about, wasting our time because clearly you have zero interest in actually addressing the issue. And then to top it all off, claim that two of your systems were “damaged” by these so-called trojans, after telling us in response to our query about what it is that you’re seeing as trojans is whatever your antivirus says they are. That, of course, will make us wonder which of these situations apply: you foolishly didn’t actually have any antivirus  applications installed previously, and someone stupidly opened some random attachment. You didn’t keep your antivirus application up to date, so it didn’t trigger by whatever you claim was damaged when someone stupidly opened some random attachment. Or, the antivirus signatures were not updated in response to whatever the latest crap is being sent out – which, ironically enough, is exactly what we ourselves told you was a possibility and which we were checking on. Somehow, though, I figure in the latter case, you probably didn’t bother to write to the developer of whatever antivirus app you’re using to insult them in the same manner you insulted us. However, it’s a very interesting, although quite idiotic, way of dealing with a vendor with whom you’ve had a relationship for years. I’d say we’d keep that in mind, but pointing to an issue for which you won’t provide any investigative material, and which, remarkably enough, no one else has reported, is probably not a good framework on which to base just dumping a vendor without even bothering to make a good faith attempt to determine what is going on. But hey, best of luck with the next host, who perhaps will be able to read you mind.

I know people like to claim or think that tech support folks don’t like people. But that just isn’t true. They just  don’t like you.

How to piss off tech support, part infinity

When you are contacting us for support, because you’re working on a site for one of our clients, here are some tips on how to piss off the very people you’re asking for help.

Open a ticket saying you can’t upload to an application you’ve installed. Don’t include any other information. We love trying to figure out what the hell you’ve done to break something that’s been working just fine, and love even more rechecking ownership of and permissions on files, and tracking back through the logs.

While we’re working on that, open yet another ticket saying the site is entirely down. When we look at it, the site is in fact down, because it can’t establish a database connection. That seems odd, since the site has been working just fine. Until…

After we tell you the problem is the configuration file and the credentials the file is trying to use to connect are incorrect, tell us you haven’t changed anything. Except, oh, you changed the password for the main account user.

When we repair the configuration file to use valid and proper credentials, and then tell you that if you change little, minor things like, oh, PASSWORDS, you need to update configuration files that use those passwords, ask us how you’re supposed to change the file without FTP or control panel access. This will surely make us ask you what the hell you’re talking about because you just told us you were in the control panel and changed the password, and this has nothing to do with us correcting a database configuration file. Ergo, you should be able to do whatever it is you need to do, since presumably you were just in the control panel doing whatever it is you were doing.

An HOUR later, complain that you still can’t access FTP or the control panel. Since both are working fine, and the site is working just fine because we repaired things, this will make us even happier as we go hunting through the logs only to find you locked yourself out – and locked out the actual client as well, since you’re at their location – by continually attempting to log in with an incorrect password. A password that you changed from the control panel. A password that you should know. You kept trying to log in with an obviously incorrect password instead of stopping and just contacting us, which triggered the firewall.

When we tell you what you’ve done – without pointing out the definition of futility, I might add – and then tell you we unblocked your IP and reset the password, respond with a request to rest the password to “changeme”. Nothing delights us like easily guessed, massively insecure passwords.

And finally, when we tell you that we’re not resetting the password to that, give us a snotty “Fine.” followed by a haughty “I want it on the record” that you find our response insufficient and too slow. This despite the fact that the entirety of the issue, start to finish, was created by you, and it took you an HOUR to respond to something we managed to reply to in exactly seven minutes.

All of this will certainly ensure that we put you at the top of the douchebag list, and further will ensure that we let the client know – because they also contacted us about the site being down – exactly why everything was a mess. There was insufficiency going on here, that is certain. It is equally certain that it had nothing whatsoever to do with us.

What word didn’t you understand?

“No action is required on your part.”

This is plain English, I think. Only two words with more than one syllable. Seven words total. This is why it astonishes me that we receive a ticket from someone telling us they don’t understand and asking what they need to do. Is it that they are surprised they have to do nothing, that they don’t believe us, or that they truly don’t understand a simple sentence? I hesitate to claim the latter as the explanation but in reality, it does seem to be that way. How do these people manage to get through a day without killing themselves in some tragically humorous way?