mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

madanthony battles technology... technology 3, madanthony 0...

This has been kind of a crappy week for me, and the weekend wasn't much better. Of course, there is the bad news that's affected all of us where I work.

Then there are the little things - the stuff that is minor in the grand scheme of things, but has been making me tear my hair out the last couple days.

my shitty internet connection

I got an email from my mom on Friday morning that she couldn't get to the nibblercam. Since the rest of my site was up, and the camera bounces to my home network, it was obvious that my comcast internet connection was down. And still was when I got home Friday night. I took a nap, then called them at 5am. After being transferred to four people, including one guy who said he was going to "run some tests" and then dropped me back in the queue, they confirmed there was a "service interuption" in my area. Which continued Saturday morning, was fixed for a couple hours, then went down from Saturday night until about 11am Sunday morning. In addition to cutting off my access to the rest of the world, I actually had taken home a computer for work that I needed to create an image for, which was rather difficult without an internet connection.

When I first read about this woman, I thought she was nuts, but now I'm thinking about digging up my hammer... I do live around the corner from a Comcast office.

My mysteriously disappearing $3500 laptops

So part of my job occasionally involves ordering things, and since I'm one of the few Apple people on staff, that often includes ordering macs. A few weeks ago, a department asked for two top-of-the-line Apple Macbook Pro's - 17", with 4 gigs of RAM. They are a fairly important department, so the request was approved, the Purchase Order faxed. I got a shipment notification a few days later, and started tracking it. Last Monday, it said they would be delivered. And that's the last anyone's seen of them.

This is what the tracking info shows. There are two laptops, both show the same thing. See that little thing at the top that says "rescheduled delivery 11/12/07"? That originally said 11/5/-7. Then 11/6/07. Then 11/8/07, and so on, but the progress hasn't changed. So on Thursday I called UPS. Who transfered me to UPS International, because the laptops shipped from China, even though they are lost somewhere in Northern Maryland. UPS admits that it's odd, but tells me I have to get the shipper, ie Apple, to put a trace on it.

So I call Apple. The woman I speak to doesn't understand why I would want to put a trace on it - after all, it says delivery is rescheduled for today. I explain that it's said that for the last 4 todays, and that there hasn't been any changes on the tracking. I've ordered enough stuff online to know that UPS will show if a delivery attempt is made and nobody is there, and that's not the case - plus we have two reception desks, so there is always someone around to sign for packages. She reluctantly agrees to put a trace.

So I call back Friday to see if they know anything. They don't. Traces take 10-12 days, and they can't do anything - like send me replacements - until it's done. Meanwhile, the person whose laptops they are going to be wants his laptops, because he and his staff were planning on using them for critical design work over Thanksgiving break - you know, in a week and a half. I have a feeling I'm going to wind up having to go to the Apple Store and buy 2 laptops, and then figure out what to do with two extra giant laptops if they ever show up.

The Light Fixture with no bulb

About two weeks ago, while I had a bunch guests over, the light bulb in my kitchen blew out. I was pretty busy, so I didn't get a chance to try to change it for a few days. When I finally opened it up, I got two surprises - a dead fly in the globe and the fact that it takes a circular flourescent bulb. Finally got to Lowe's on Monday and bought a 30 watt circular Sylvania bulb. Got home and realized that it was a 9" bulb and the old bulb was 8". Went back Saturday to return it. Bought a GE 8" circular bulb, even springing the extra $1 to buy the "kitchen and bathroom" bulb that's supposed to "make food look better", which I figured would make my Hot Pockets look tasty. Got home, put it in, nothing. Finally noticed the "use 30 watt bulbs" sticker on light fixture. The bulb I bough was 22 watts, and I didn't remember noticing any 30 watt bulbs at Lowes. So I went online when I got home and found that there was nobody on Amazon who sold 30 watt 8" circular bulbs. Finally googled the part number and discovered that, on the whole world wide web, there are 3 places that sell the bulb, all tiny sites that sell only light bulbs. I pick one that takes Google Checkout, so I don't have to give some shady site my credit card number. $11 for the bulb, $6 shipping. After checking out, I kick myself for not buying another one as a spare, especially since the site had flat-rate per-order shipping. Then again, the bulbs are supposed to last 5 years, and if I still live here and can't find a bulb in 5 years, I think it's time to get a new light fixture.

Attack of the virus-infested laptops

So at work, we support student laptops, and employees can take laptops home and work on them for overtime. I've usually avoided it, but one of my coworkers was overwhelmed and, well, I've got a door to pay for. So I took two home. Spent several hours beating on the first one, trying to get it to do a system restore, and having all kinds of software errors. After it bsod's while doing windows updates, it finally occurs to me to do a memory diagnostic, and it comes back bad. It wasn't software after all. The next day I take another one home, spend a few hours cleaning up viruses and spyware, and take it back and still can't get it to connect.

In theory, I could have put in for the overtime I spent working on them, but I don't feel right putting in considering I didn't actually fix anything. So I ended up getting nothing, and losing two evenings.instead of earning $250 or so in overtime - but I figure it's better than putting in the overtime and then having management wonder why they are paying a tech to not fix computers.

I hope this week is better.


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