Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Arrival!

Our baby girl was born this morning @ 6:53 am Mountain Time. 5 lbs 14 oz. 18" long. Name is still up in the air, but my wife's leaning toward "Gwynneth" as her official name and calling her "Gwen" for day-to-day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's been almost a month . . .

. . . becuz how interesting is "work, sleep, eat, repeat" really?

Okay it hasn't been just that, but it hasn't really seemed like much more either. Teri's still sick much of the time, so we don't go out or anything anymore. Occasional family things that she pushes herself for, but not even always to those either. So it's pretty much we both work, she crashes on the weekends, I try to keep up with a lot of blogs that I read (see my sidebar? that's maybe half of the ones I actually follow), try to keep up with the tv shows we record, and play some mmo's in there too.

TBH, I'm a little burnt out on the mmo genre right now. I enjoy playing EQ2 when I log in, but I tend not to really log in much anymore. I'm not sure why, really, since I really do enjoy it once I'm logged in. I haven't played DDO in over 2 weeks. Warhammer's trial kept bugging out on me badly, so I ended up deleting it, but a friend who's in the trial also talked me in to reinstalling it. It's still bugging out on the graphics, but it's not doing the crash bug that requires re-patching 5 gigs of files anymore either.

In EVE I sold off my CNR and replaced it with a Tengu Tech 3 cruiser. I do more damage and have a stronger tank with it than in the CNR, plus due to the smaller signature radius and higher speed I take fewer and smaller hits anyway. I soloed the Angels Extravaganza 4 bonus room this weekend and barely dipped to 85% shields -- that was kinda nice. Even so... my corp is dead. Some people are talking about selling off their characters and starting over, others just never log in anymore, we dn't have our regular "corp night" anymore either, and.... I'm thinking it's time to leave RFI and find somewhere else to go.

I think that's part of my EQ2 problem -- my guild there is dead too, so I need to join another. I actually was chatting with a friend last week in EQ2 and he said I'm welcome to join his guild, and I think I'll take him up on it. I was in that guild before, but then it "died" and merged into another, but apparently it's been built back up.

Lotsa computer crap at work, yet no specific stories come to mind for your amusement. Sorry.

Also on the home front, the cat we got a month ago is doing well. He and the dog are getting along really well and love to play and wrestle with each other. He's almost to 4 lbs now (he was 2 lbs 4 oz when we got him) and it's all been growth, not fat. And he's got quite a bit of growing to do too. He's rambunctious and loves to both play and get pet, but is pretty careful with his claws. Only real problem is he's a little "bite-y" when he plays, but even there it's not that he's trying to bite, just that his teeth are so sharp that they hurt when he gets you with them. Mostly he's trying to "lip you" with the side of his mouth, but his little fangs are so long they get you anyway. As he grows a lot of his gray is getting more orange. It's going to be really interesting to see what his final color(s) turn out to be.

And that's it for this post. Until next time. . . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More computer secrets

Darnitall! Who's letting out all the IT secrets?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Approaching Halloween already?

Amazing how time flies, isn't it?

Not a whole lot has really happened, though. How exciting is "work, eat, sleep, repeat?"

Granted, the new TV season's started and I've discovered that I quite enjoy Castle and Dancing with the Stars. Got the DVR set to record all the "Man vs. Food" episodes, but after Sunday's "marathon" they did, as well as the sheer number of reruns they have for it... I have 1 more epsiode and then I am wholly caught up, methinks, so I can set it to only catch new episodes. I don't know why, but I just love that show. . . . .

Dollhouse this past week was simply amazing. Too bad that the rumor mill still has the show on thin ice and expected to be canceled after 12 episodes this season :-(

Work's still work. People are so helpless that they call us to map network drives that they have the paths for, so all they have to do is type them in, but. . . nope they don't do it. Ah well -- it's job security, anyway.

On my video gaming front, I'm still playing more DDO than anything. I suppose if I actually got off my duff and joined a bigger guild in EQ2 it'd be more exciting for me -- maybe even a guild that raids. I'm home in the evenings anymore, after all. We'll see.

And we do have 1 piece of "big news." Teri's been wanting to get a cat for a long time, and we said that once we got into a place of our own (not an apartment) that we'd get one. So we did this past Saturday. Adopted a 3 month old kitten from the Humane Society. Cute little gray tabby cat. Very sweet disposition, loves to play, already litter trained (though he did have 1 accident on the 1st day), and we're thrilled to have him. We've named him "Kozmo Kitty, Lord of Kaos" but just call him Kozmo. Wooli's still a bit concerned to have him around, but he seems to like her and tries to cuddle up to her every so often -- which freaks her out and she runs off. Teri had 2 adult cats when she got Wooli, and 1 of them and Wooli didn't get along so well, so it seems she's remembering that and is thus a little leery of him yet. For his part, he did hiss and spit at her a lot the 1st day until he realized she wasn't gonna hurt him, and now he seems to think she's pretty awesome. He's settling in pretty well too, we think. He's taken a nap on my chest while I was watching TV the other day, and he's napped on Teri while she's been reading also, so he seems to like us both. Sometimes he follows me around like a little puppy, so Teri's calling him a "daddy's boy" but we'll see how that goes over time.

Yeah, with the baby due in 2 months it might be a little nuts to have also added a kitten to the family, but with luck there won't be allergies and we'll all have a grand old time. We shall see. . . .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

And here we are in October. . . .

Started my new job on the last day of September. Well..... same job, different company writing the paychecks now. The joys of being a contractor!

Life's starting to settle a bit into a routine now, though Teri and I are still moving storage boxes out of the old place and into the new one on the weekends. Not all weekends are the same either, but they generally do involve laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

Cable internet tech came out last Friday and found that since it was running from a splitter through a 2nd splitter (and in to an "out" part of the 2nd splitter) that it was causing a pretty severe signal degradation. He replaced the 2 splitters with a single one with more "out" prongs, and made sure that everything was on the proper prongs, and there's been no trouble with the internet since. I call that a win for the cable company.

Computer Stupidities: People calling in for help creating SHORTCUTS. Come on! That's one of the most BASIC Windows functions. People calling in asking if the file servers are down when a) we sent a site-wide email informing them that yes, they are, and b) the intranet home page has a huge red-text posting about it. People calling in asking for a 25' telephone cable to run from 1 side of the room to a new desk they want to move to, when there's a stinking jack AT the desk and we just need to have their phone number moved to the jack at the desk.

There are more, but those are the ones so egregious they're standing out in my mind.

We've caught up on Dollhouse and are enjoying that. Heroes episodes are stacking up becuz I still need to download or hulu the 1st ep of the season. I've caught up on Man v. Food now. I don't know why, but I just love that show. We've started watching Flash Forward also, becuz it had an interesting premise and it's seemed pretty well done so far. I'm still eageraly awaiting the resumption of Chuck, but that won't be until after the Olympics, apparently. Stupid NBC. . . .

My EVE news is: I completed Caldari Cruiser 5 and can now finally fly Tech 2 hulls. and if I wanted to, I could fly a Tech 3 hull in a little over an hour also. Time for me to start grinding out some ISK. . . . . But, I frankly haven't really played EVE in about 2 months. I'm not really excited about doing missions anymore, but I'm not really interested in pvp either, nor researching the market well enough to "play it" and try to make money that way, so...... I'm willing to keep playing it, but I think it's about time for me to be looking at a different corp. MY current corp is fun in that I know everyone in it IRL, but we don't really do anything in-game together anymore. I can't remember the last "corp night" operation we had. But I read a lot of EVE blogs and I know there's a lot more game out there.... it's just a matter of me going out and finding it.

In EQ2 I spent the past weekend doing the Everfrost quests on my mystic. I set him to 100% aaxp on his slider and so I got 8 AA's rather quickly. The thing that surprised me was that I thought it was simply a combat xp slider, but it turns out it's all the adventuring xp, so my character level didn't move a bit - all quest xp went toward aaxp as well. He's now fully melee spec'd and also has his full 40% boost to SoW. Add his racial 5% speed boost and he's permarunning 45% now. I kinda would like to put the next 5 points into the generic footspeed AA on the Shadow tree, but the difference from 45 to 50% runspeed isn't that great and I've got the racial +50% boost I can fire off every 5 minutes if I want. As a result, I'm going to work more on the WIS line in order to get the Ritual of Alacrity. I also worked on getting more AA on my monk also and got him to over 50 points, but I still am not sure where I want to go with that character.

In DDO I deleted all my characters except for a dual-wielding kopesh fighter. I am *loving* this character. Good AC from the full plate armor, high dps from the fighter haste enhancements and good crit multiplier from the kopeshes.... much fun! There are still other combos I want to try, but I think I'm going to focus on this fighter for a while and look at building a reserve of cash up in order to be able to twink the later alts a bit. As it is, I've been able to do about half of the "newbie island" quests on the Elite level by myself, and I'm pushing level 4 with her now and will be able to add the "weapon specialization" feat in for even more damage. Way cool, methinks. Time to start looking at grouping. . . . .

And that's about it. Nothing earth shattering but... life is pretty good and I'm enjoying my hobby.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Time flies, no?

We got moved in, but it became apparent in the next few days that I highly overstressed my back while doing it. I'm better now, though.

Past couple of weeks have really mostly been the typical "work, sleep, eat, repeat" routine. Teri's pregnancy is still kicking her butt, so most evenings she spends resting in bed, so I've been passing the time reading or watching dvd's.

We did get our cable hooked up this past Friday, including internet. The TV part's been great, but the internet part.... not so much. The guy hooked it up to his laptop to activate it and it worked fine, but when I hooked my computer up a few minutes later...... nothing. Link lights looked okay on the modem, but the nic showed solid, no flashy. Power cycled the modem, but no help. Called the cable company and their automated system did a remote reset of the router and that fixed it. Hooray!

It worked fine on Friday, but on Saturday it started going up and down a bit, especially later in the afternoon. I ran some errands and tried again and it seemed ok at first, but still was going up and down a bit into the evening. The modem would reset itself from time to time, and that seemed to help each time, but then last night it was just a no-go. Link lights looked good, but I was lucky to get the occasional packet in. Could barely load text-only blogs, never mind trying to play a game or something.

Called the cable company again and this time it routed me to an agent. I described what was going on and she indicated she could see exactly what I described to her in her activity logs -- tons of missed/dropped packets and timeouts, etc. Seems odd that that would be the case -- when it's working it's nice and zippy, so I don't think it's a wiring issue, and it's a new modem -- I watched the tech pull it out of its plastic when he set it up. Even so, she said she'll send a tech out. She could do it for tomorrow, but since Teri and I both work... Friday it is. Since the TV's working and the fall season just started, Teri and I have more than enough to keep us occupied in the evenings now, and can read when we run out of recorded programs too. Ain't DVR something?

Although, knowing me, I'll check the internet connection out each night anyway ;-)

As it was, during the times it was working I put in a lot of DDO and a little EQ2 this weekend. For DDO's soloing, I'm finding I prefer melee oriented characters, and I'm thinking that a straight-up human fighter (bonus 1st level feat, after all) seems to fill the bill best. I tried a fighter/rogue multiclass combo, but found that the dual-wielding path I took wasn't "doing it" for me. Don't know why, really. It's not like I lost a lot with that 1 rogue level, and if I were to take every 5th level as a rogue I could end up with a 16/4 fighter rogue at the end with several of the rogue skills capped out and a very respectable +19 BAB for the fighting still.

But, the idea of an Arcane Archer took me, so I made an elf fighter. From reading the descriptions on the DDO compendium it sounded like I'd need at least 1 level of ranger in order to be one, so I started level 1 as a ranger, then swapped to fighter for the additional feats and "kensai" enhancements. I'll grab level 9 as a wizard and that will then open up the Arcane Archer abilities at that time, plus the wizard spells will have some utility, so far as detecting secret doors minor AC buffs, etc. Thing is, I'm soloing right now, so while I'm doing okay at plinking at things as they run at me, I'm still forced to "sword and board" most of the time. And I'm not sure that I'm doing any more damage with the bow than a competent sorcerer or wizard would, so I'm not sure any group would want me as "ranged dps" in these low levels. Time will tell, I suppose.

Anyway.. enough rambling on that.... I tried several other classes too, deleted several, have open character slots again, etc.

Logged in to EQ2, but really it was just in order to re-attune my gear that got changed from "Lore No-Trade" with the latest update. For my lower level toons I also adjusted the new xp slider to 75% AA and only 25% toward adventuring.

Today's computer stupidity: Guy calls up and wants me to renamed a file, then put a replacement file into the folder from the desktop. no admin rights needed, the idiot just thought they would be. He didn't even TRY to do what he needed to do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Moving Weekend

We closed on a house last Tuesday, it was recorded officially on Wednesday, and we started moving in on Wednesday night. Well.. moving our stuff in, anyway. We didn't actually spend a night there until Friday. But we love it! We've got about 80% of the stuff put away now, and my back is killing me (had a disk removed June 08 -- much better now than I was, but it's still twinge-y and tires rather rapidly). The big stuff is done, though. It's mostly just finding places for decorations and knick-knacks and such anymore.

But as a result... no gaming for me this weekend. We ordered cable, but it's not gonna be hooked up until the 25th. So.... got a long skill burning in EVE, and the rest... they'll keep. I did download DDO now that it's free to play now and ran through the early tutorial on Friday before the serious moving began, but that's it.

Today's computer stupidity: Company homepage down, giving a "not authorized" error. 1st 10 or so calls this morning: "Internet's down!"

Except of course, none had actually even TRIED to use the internet, which was working just fine, tyvm! Ay de mi!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day Weekend, 2009

I work a 4-day workweek, so I had last Friday off. Since we were going to be closing on our house here this week, we needed to go get our appliances out of my wife's house in "T or C" New Mexico, so we reserved a trailer down there, borrowed my father-in-law's truck with a towing hitch and headed on down. I-15 to Route 6 to I-70 to 191 to 491 to 64 to 550 to I-25.

You may notice that of the 700 mile trip, only about 200 of it is on the interstate. Still and all, the other roads are mostly in good repair and mostly have 65 or 70 mph speed limits, so overall it's about a 12 hour trip. If it was all on an interstate it'd probably be closer to 10, but... such is life.

Anyway, we made it there about 7pm and stopped off at our friend's house who we were staying with. took her and her husband out to La Cocina restaurant as an early thank you for letting us stay with them. Yeah, we have a house there but we stayed with friends. But that's becuz the house has renters and no spare beds or anything like that. It works out.

Saturday was bright and clear but never got much over 85 degrees, so it was quite pleasant. We got the trailer and headed for the house. The renters were actually house-sitting elsewhere, so we let ourselves in and got our washer and dryer and a few other things out and loaded inot the trailer. It took less than an hour. We looked through and figured what we'd need to look at fixing in order to have the house be saleable, and then.... back to our friends house, unhitched the trailer so we wouldn't be dragging it around the rest of the day or on Sunday, and then we took a nap. Yeah, we're boring, but we were also in BFE, NM. So sue us!

Did dinner at a local steakhouse that was pretty decent. A bit pricey, but not terrible. Visted with our friends in the evening, read a bit, and called it a night. Sunday was church where my wife got to visit a bunch of friends she hadn't seen since she moved out last year. She enjoyed the reunion and had lots of fun catching up with "everyone." Met in the afternoon with a real estate agent and walked through the house again. He gave us some names of contractors who can fix the roof, carpet the place, and repaint it. Then we went to his office and signed everything we needed to in order to hire him as our listing agent and put the house on the market come October 1 after the renters have moved out and we've had a chance to make the place look better.

Visited a few more of my wife's friends in the evening, thne back to where we were staying. Our friends there had made a lovely bbq chicken dinner for us all, so we enjoyed that. Visited for a while after, thought about watching a video, but decided that since we'd be pulling a trailer on the return trip the next day that going to bed early was a good idea. So we did.

Trip back was surprisingly quick, though. Once I got used to how the truck handled with the trailer I was able to more or less go the speed I normally would. A bit slower, but not much. took about 13 hours to get back, but we stopped in Moab for a half hour for dinner, so it was really only about 12.5 hours driving, even with the trailer. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Got back, dropped the truck and trailer off at the in-laws, picked up our dog and our car and headed home (only 10 minutes away from there).

Long day, and we were glad to be home. And my AWU 5 was set to complete in about 3 hours, so I logged in to EVE and queued up my next skill. Only took 26 days for AWU 5. About 6 for Caldari BS 4, then 34 more for Caldari BS5 and I'll be in my Golem. PLus I'll have a path paved for capital ships too, though it's gonna be a very long time before I think of training them.

We closed on our house up here yesterday, so tonight we start moving in -- drop the appliances and such in there tonight after work, then go return the trailer to Uhaul. the rest of the stuff we've got fits into a pickup easily enough (3 trips, but nothing's big) so we'll be doing that this weekend. Got the "vital" utilities set up, but still need to order cable. More for the internet than for TV, but the fall season's about to start, so it will be good to be able to watch Chuck, if nothing else.

In other news, we found out today that my company's contract is not being renewed so as of 9-30-09 I need to find new work. Rather... I need to find new work now so that once this current job ends I can move right on over. This is actually rather expected and I've been looking around for the past month or so, but anything I've seen so far has been in the neighborhood of 30-40% lower pay to start. There's a possibility that the new contract company will hire me, but even if they do it will still be about a 12% pay cut. Not really nice, but survivable, if it comes to that. Time will tell if the new company will hire me across, though. We shall see. I'll be more actively looking elsewhere too, though, and a friend of mine is a headhunter for my field so I'll see if I can enlist her services as well.

A bit unsettling, but .... life is change, right?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Musings on the Boston Tea Party

I've been re-reading 1491 by Charles Mann lately, and last night I finished it again. In his last section he talks about the Haudenosaunee alliance (Iroquois, Mohawk, etc), their system of government, and how much interchange there was between the Indians and the Colonists before the Revolutionary War. I learned in my American History classes growing up that the Founders based our Constitution primarily on the English system of government, but added "new ideas" of personal freedoms to it.

In reading 1491 and seeing how the government of the Haudenosaunee worked. . . .it seems rather obvious where those "new ideas" came from (and since the alliance can be traced back to at least the 1140's, if not even a bit earlier... hardly "new" ideas, just new to the Colonials, it would seem), well -- it actually looks pretty obvious to me where they came from. Interestingly enough, it seems quite a few of the settlers "defected" to the Indians since they enjoyed greater personal freedoms with them. Even people captured in raids and ransomed back to the English would often go back to their captors voluntarily. In some ways this also served to keep political excesses in check in the colonies, since if any governor tried to control his populace harshly, people could simply head west and "disappear."

So in light of this, how come my title of this post talks about the Boston Tea Party?

Well.... again, in my history classes growing up, I was taught that the perpetrators of the BTP dressed themselves as Indians in order to disguise themselves, yet from what I can discern it seems that it was still pretty well known who did it. What if the Indian costumes were just that -- costumes, not disguises? What if those who dressed that way were making a statement (imitation. . . sincerest form of flattery. . . ) that "we will be free like the people who we are dressed as?"

There's a quote in the book from Louis Armand de Lom d'Arce, Baron of Lahontan speaking of the attitudes of the Indians that he met:

They could not understand why one Man should have more than another, and that the Rich should have more Respect than the Poor. . . . They brand us for Slaves and call us miserable Souls, whose Life is not worth having, alleging, That we degrade ourselves in subjecting our selves to one Man [a king] who possesses the whole Power, and is bound by no Law but his own Will. . . . [Individual Indians] value themselves above anything that you can imagine, and this is the reason they always give for't, That one's as much Master as another, and since Men are all made from the same Clay there should be no Distinction or Superiority among them. [Emphasis in the original.]
If this truly is a representative attitude of the Haudenosaunee peoples, and the colonists thought it good and sought to emulate it, well... they're already tossing the tea overboard in order to say "We reject King George's authority over us," so why not dress as Indians in order to add the idea that "we are free men -- One's as much a master as another . . . and there should be no distinction or superiority among us!" to it?

Maybe it really was an effort to disguise themselves and it only came out later (and thus we learn in our history classes) who the "partiers" were, but maybe it was something more. I don't know, of course, but that's the thought that struck me as I read all of that.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Vanguard Weekend

Generic, relaxing weekend for me. Wish they could all be relatively nice like that. I don't work on Fridays so I do laundry that day while relaxing at the computer, generally playing EQ2. This weekend I got a "late start" due to having an eye appointment at 8:00 in the morning, then deciding I wanted to go to the BN a couple of blocks from the eye doc, but they don't open until 9 and I was done at 8:30, so I browsed the Target next door the the BN 1st. And my old jeans were old and I'd actually tossed out a pair the prior weekend due to having gone through 'em in a rather embarrassing location and not realizing it until I took them off that night, so..... it was a good trip.

And I picked up David Weber's latest book while there and am in process of reading it now. I'll tell you if it's as good as the 1st 2 in the series when I'm done. Not that anyone's reading and caring :P And then I even stopped off at the chiropractor on the way home too, since my back's been mostly good since my surgery last year, but has seemed to go downhill a bit this summer. I was pretty out of alignment -- right leg a half inch shorter than my left, even -- and I felt a lot better after leaving there. And I made it home before 10. Go me!

Started the laundry and launched in to EQ2. Was working my SK through the Lavastorm stuff in order to get to the end of the quest chain that will let me do the "solo shard" quest when the call went out "LFM for Anathema (DD)!" They had a tank and an illusionist, so my SK and Coercer were out, but they were happy to have my warlock, so Gotter Dammerung was logged in. 1st time in that zone for her, so what with all the quests and the Daily Double mission as well as the daily quest for the zone she ended up getting 2 complete AA points as well as 5 platinum. . . in spite of winning not a single drop for anything. We did so well there that we followed it up with a quick Deep Forge run, so... 6 shards in 2 hours. Not bad.

Tried camping back to my SK but it crashed and locked my machine when I did that, so I rebooted and when I was back up and running I decided that I'd rather try a little variety and fired up Vanguard instead.

Yeah, I reinstalled the beast a week or so ago. Some other bloggers were talking about it and I got a little nostalgic. On my previous installation I'd tried the Isle of Dawn but didn't really care for it, so this time I just made a new Thestran Human Dread Knight and worked his starter area. It's only 2 chunks away from a relatively easy level 10 dungeon that drops pretty good blue gear (soulbound though, so I can't farm it on my level 14 paladin and mail it around). But as I was working it I was also chatting with a few people and they all encouraged me to give the IoD another shot, so.....

I actually logged in the druid I have there and she had so many quests in her journal that I just kinda went "um... no" and started a completely new character. Remembering from my beta days that Clerics were well loved, I started on of them. I decided I didn't want to craft or do diplomacy, so I completely ignored those "spheres" and only did the combat quests. It was like night and day from my earlier attempt with the druid. Clear idea of where to go at all times, nice focus, etc. Made it to the final dungeon and was doing all right (clerics kill slow, but they're hard to kill too) but accidentally bit off more mobs than I could chew and ended up respawned outside.

Went back again, figuring on being more careful this time and another cleric was in there trying to solo the place too. We joined up and I mostly tanked and she mostly healed and we ended up finishing all the combat quests together. It's kinda nice really -- as I recall it, the "regular game" doesn't really give you shoulder or head armor until level 20 or so, plus decent masks and jewelry are hard to find too, but the IoD quests fill every slot and with blue or yellow stuff too -- really nice for the level.

So there I am, getting ready to leave the island and head to Veskal's Exchange, since I'm told the URT quests there give the next "good armor" and give good leveling xp as well, but the general IoD chat has several experienced players on lowbie alts stating they *highly* recommend doing level 10 in all 3 spheres before leaving since it doesn't take long and you get far superior items on the island than you can find on the regular game in those levels.

All right, fine! I started the crafting and harvesting, but it was getting on toward 5 pm now and my wife got home and so we went out to dinner and a movie. Saw The Time Traveler's Wife and we both enjoyed it.

Next day I got crafting up to level 6-ish and found that a level 5 crafting quest gives an intermediate chest armor piece for adventuring which would have been really helpful in trying to do the final dungeon, so now I know for future to at least level crafting up to 5 at the same time as my adventuring. . . . Sunday I woke early and couldn't go back to sleep, so I logged in and eventually ended up getting level 10 crafter. The final quest has you fight a little ways in to the final dungeon and I didn't know where I was going, so I hooked up with a Dread Knight and a Sorceror and we pwned through the place. and I found out how to finish the last crafting quest to boot, so now I'm "ready" for future toons to come through the IoD.

I started Diplomacy now and I think I'm level 4, but frankly it's boring the crap out of me, so... not sure if I'll finish that. IIRC, my druid's level 8 diplomat so I may just log her in again and see if I can't finish it up on her instead to see if it's worth bothering with on the cleric.

I also started a new DK and also a sorceror on the IoD and got both to level 5. Not sure if I want to focus on the cleric or not. I'm not terribly impressed with it at level 10, actually, but people in chat say that most classes don't come into their own until about level 20 or so, so... I'll try to work it up to there and see how it goes. As it is, I love my paladin I have left over from the previous install, but she's a "mainland starter" also, and as such I'm thinking of starting a 2nd PLD on the island to see how the gear differences stack up. The "mainland pallie has found some pretty good stuff on the broker, after all, so I'm not really feeling undergeared... except I can't find a helmet or any decent shoulder pauldrons yet. . . .

I took a few screenies but forgot to send them to myself here where I can crop and brighten them, so... no pictures on this post.

And our computer stupidity for the day:

User calls in and says "I'm having an issue with my email."

No biggie, happens all the time. But then she tells me the issue -- She had some email in her inbox and she even just saw it this morning and has a hard copy of it, but now it's disappeared and she wants my help in finding it.

It's not in her deleted items, and hitting the "recover" option shows she hasn't deleted anything since last Thursday as far as the server's concerned, so that leaves us with: She moved it herself.

But no, she insists she didn't do anything to it.

Except she HAD to have moved it. No other option.

Did I mention she's got about 12 pst files and all of them are called "Personal Folders" and each has about 20+ different subfolders?

I showed her how to use Advanced Find and told her good luck. She was still inisisting she hadn't moved it, but.... emails don't randomly disappear from your inbox, especially when you "just saw it this morning."

User error. But will she admit it? Not a chance!


There's another stupid one about incompatibilities of various security programs we have to use and Office 2007, but... I'm out of time and this is a wall of text now as it is, so..... ttfn.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crap! Someone Let Our Secret Out!

Yep.... that pretty much sums up 75% of my job. . . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2009


1st call this morning:

"My computer needs to run some updates. Can you log in with admin rights to run them?"

I remote in. I see a "Run Advertised Programs" window that indicates our SMS push went out last night like it was supposed to and updated about 6 background programs. I click the "Close" button. The caller realizes he should actually read what the thing says before calling the helpdesk and hangs up feeling foolish. I didn't use any sarcasm or anything, though I kinda wish I had, since this guy seems to call in every Thursday after our Wednesday night SMS push to ask us to run updates. . . .

My most recent call:

"I just got my computer back from you guys in IT and now I can't get to the internet, it just brings up this [company related] page."

I'm already facepalming at this point since this page is on the frelling internet. Yes, it's a new homepage for the Vista machines than from the XP machines, but c'mon!

So anyway, I tell him that the page is on the internet, so I don't understand why he's saying he can't get to the internet. I tell him to try google to see if he can get there. He tells me that it tells him page can't be displayed. Since I'm not really confident in this guy's ability to type a correct URL, I asked if he'd typed or "just google." He said "Just google."

After he added the .com to the end I hear this shocked "Oh there it goes!"

Uh, dude? That's how you get ANYWHERE on the interwebz if you don't have a pre-provided link. It's reallllllllllly common. . . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All kinds of stuff

Where to begin? This is what I get for not posting in a while, eh?

CCP announced DUST 514 at the EU Game Developer's Conference earlier today. Apparently to be console-only. I'm not real big on FPS games and my console is a PS1 (yes, *1*), so I'm not sure if this will be something I'll get into. But I may, since it looks pretty nice and I will admit that at my last job it was kinda fun to play 4 player free for alls in Halo on the Xbox. So.. we'll see.

Currently reading The Magicians and Mrs. Quent. It's all right, but nothing really that earth shaking. OSC reviewed it last year sometime and indicated he felt the author was kinda playing games with the style of writing, but he loved it all the same. I'm a little more ambiguous on it, but it's certainly engaging enough.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit finished This is Not a Game yesterday. He simply said he enjoyed it and that it felt similar to his own book. Not having read his book, I couldn't say, but I also agree that I enjoyed it. I love Walter Jon Williams, truth be told. He's been one of my favorite authors since high school and reading Voice of the Whirlwind and Hardwired. Huh. Looks like those 2 were re-released in the past couple of years. Kewl. He deserves to be read by lots of people. Lots and lots and lots of people!

I also recently finished The Gods of Amyrantha by Jennifer Fallon. Book 2 of 4 in the series. Apparently it's completely released in Australia, but still slowly making its way to the US. Another one that's been out for a while but only recently in the US is EVE: The Empyrean Age. It was all right, and a lot of the events in the books were sorta "played out" in the game, or at least in videos CCP made, so it was kinda easy to picture scenes in my head while reading that one.

In EQ2 my mystic is level 50 now, but I'm not really wanting to adventure with him much since I just ran through the 50's level content with the dirge. The dirge is 75 (I think I mentioned that before) and I'm not really looking forward to the last 5 levels on her either, though I know I will sooner or later. Before the next expansion in February, at any rate.

In EVE I'm training my 1st "higher than rank 3" skill to level 5 -- Advanced Weapon Upgrades, rank 6. I don't really *need* it right now -- I can fit ships just fine anymore -- but since I will eventually be wanting a Golem and/or Paladin and it's a prereq for them, plus it's the last thing I need for my "Core - Elite" certificate, and IRL is pretty busy right now so letting a skill burn for almost 25 days is more or less what the doctor ordered right now anyway. . . . it's ticking away, slowly but surely. Oddly enough, I've got 3 rank 2 skills in Engineering that I could be doing instead and they'd probably have more immediate effect upon my actual gameplay once I'm back in the game and they'd take the same amount of time as this 1 skill alone, but... I'm doing it anyway. If I eventually want into a Marauder-class ship, but won't train anything over a Rank 2 or 3, then I'll never get there since AWU is rank 6 and any of the battleship skills are rank 8. Of course I'll also need to train Torpedoes for a Golem and Large Energy Turrets for a Paladin. Fortunately, though... I have perfect capacitor skills now, finishing my shield skills is those 3 Engineering skills I mentioned, and I've got perfect (self) armor tank skills and will be perfecting my remote rep capabilities soon enough as well, so.... once I'm in a Marauder the defenses won't be a problem, at least. Too bad I'm only minimally competent with their weapon systems yet, eh?

For a change of pace, I also reinstalled Vanguard a couple of days ago. I'm trying out a Blood Mage this time. It felt kinda weak before level 4, but then got the "hurt them, heal me" spell and it's been smooth going since then. I started it in the high elf racial starting area since I'm most familiar with that one and I don't have to get level 10 crafting and diplomacy plus do a group quest in order to leave the newbie area. Don't get me wrong, their newbie island is really a nice chunk, but I don't like being locked onto it... unless they changed that requirement since it came out, anyway.

Biggest thing I'm not liking about the Blood Mage right now is that each level I get new spells I seem to get 4 or more, so trying to figure out where to put them on my hotbars and such is kinda interesting. The other thing is that the last time I tried the game I installed a custom UI and I remember liking it better, but currently I'm using the default UI and finding it less than stellar, but given my past history of uninstalling the game after a short time, I'm hesitant to take the time to install a new UI, get used to it, and then delete the game again, ya know? Especially since I barely even remember that I previously used a custom UI. As it is... I am questing merrily away, but think I need to run up into Leth Nurae and buy a horse. Running is so frelling sloooooooooooooow.

In the computer stupidities department....

Lady calls and says "I moved things around on my desk and now I can't print anymore!"

Various questions later we find out that she unplugged her printer from the wall and it has no power. She hadn't even LOOKED at the printer, just assumed it was a problem on her pc from moving it.

Next: Lady gets new PC with dual monitor setup, but complains she can't get her mouse to move on to the 2nd monitor. I remote in, right-click the desktop, hit personalize, display settings, click on monitor #2 and check the "use this as primary" box and voila! She's fixed!

Good gravy, I knew how to fix display issues when I was 16 and I hated windows then and still liked to use dos commands at the time. . . . Of course... on the one hand, I wish people'd be a little more proactive on fixing their own machines, yet when they do and mess it up worse then we complain that the know nothing users shouldn't be poking around on their machines, so.... guess I can't have it both ways, plus if they don't do that and then let me fix it then I have job security, right?

Still and all, I do kinda wish I could post some signs like this around here:

Too much?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Games and other Computer Silliness

It's been an interesting weekend. To me, anyway ;-)

So far as games go... I got my dirge to level 75 in EQ2, but I'm a little bored of the high end content right now, so I went back to work more on my Mystic. He's my lowest level character at 46. The xp curve is, IMO, way too fast in the lower levels anymore and yet I'm loathe to turn off the combat xp either, even though killing green heroic mobs was netting me 1.7% xp per kill. 2 arrow greens were netting 1.3% and tbh I didn't pay attention to the 1 arrow or no arrow ones. I got a few more AA's and am now nearly up t the full 51 needed to "complete" the melee spec. The last 2 points to go are a minor damage upgrade to one of my CA's and the other takes the additional damage proc from 20% chance to 25%. I've got the "Chieftan" endline and it seem I'm usually in the "rage state" when soloing anymore and thus have +35 haste and 35% double attack more or less all the time.

It's kind of odd to me though.... I know the mystic is different from the inquisitor, and yet when I play I seem to keep thinking that since they're both melee priests there should be more similarities. As an example, I'm completely used to the quizzie's "steadfast" ability which prevents interrupts, so when trying to heal myself when I have 4 heroic mobs pounding on me and getting interrupted was . . .not really a surprise so much as "unexpectedly annoying." And why it should be unexpected when the biggest reason I stopped playing my fury was due to the interrupts (and furies cast MUCH faster than mystics) is beyond me.

So anyway... my mystic is now level 49 with 49 AA's. Still have to finish Steamfont Mountains and I haven't even looked at Everfrost or Lavastorm yet. I'm thinking that once I get to those zones I will shut off the combat xp and see what I get from simply questing. Since this is my only "good" healer I've been doing the Tunare deity, but I'm thinking of swapping him over to Rodcet Nife instead. Time will tell on that. I still have to play my 80's to fund everything, ya know?

So far as EVE goes, I've run a mission or 2, sold off the loot I've accumulated over the past month or so in Jita and have been practicing scanning as well. I haven't found anymore sites in hisec, only wormholes. I've gone in and scanned down sites in the interior, but since they only take 3-5 minutes to find and the WH's all have had other ships and POS's in them, I haven't felt like it would really be worthwhile to come back in a combat ship and try to solo the sites, since I'd be easily scanned out myself. I have been surprised though ... each WH I've gone through has had an afk pilot in a frigate sitting on the 0.0 side. In 1 WH there was a Curse that went though at the same time as I did, and he killed the frig sitting there and podded the pilot as well, in the other I saw no active ships, and I'll admit I was tempted to come back in a combat vessel just to get that frig kill, but by the same token.... where's the fun in popping an afk ship?

Yes, I just said that -- my goal in EVE isn't just to get killmails... it's to have fun, and killing an afk ship isn't fun, so I didn't do it.

In the computer world.... just had a call with a guy complaining his computer doesn't work. Asked him what the error was and instead of answering the question he simply kept asking if I wanted his barcode (used to ID the thing so I can remote into it). I told him that no, I didn't want the barcode yet, I wanted to know the error. Took 4 tries before he finally told me the error -- his computer is locked by someone else.

I told him to reboot it. /rolleyes

Or last night ... it's 5:00 and we get off at 5:20, but with end of day stuff and I have to take the van we use for onsite stuff back to the garage and stuff, so I normally get off the phone at 5:00, but just as I'm hitting the button to log off the phone it rings.... so I answer it. Lady says "I need to install some drivers for my new firewire card.

People..... at the end of the day, you do NOT call the helpdesk and ask to install ANYTHING! Especially when the answer to the question "Okay, do you have the card installed already?" is "no."

Because it won't work. Hardware 1st, then software.

But she didn't believe me, so I ended up having to remote in, log in with my admin rights and show her "Oh look, installation failed due to NO HARDWARE ON THE SYSTEM NEEDS THE STUFF!!!!!!!!" Complete waste of everyone's time. I did manage to get our van back to the garage before closing, at least, but it was a near thing.

I also had a fun call yesterday from the guy who "knew" he'd saved a file he'd been working on for hours in the default temp folder for email attachments, and since we're locked down hard here he couldn't get to that folder in order to open the file again in order to save it somewhere else. Of course he'd saved it in his My Documents folder which he has complete access to. . . . .

Sometimes ya just wanna reach through the phone and strangle them, ya know?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Scanning in EVE

So, I took my 2nd stab at scanning yesterday. 1st attempt was in a 0.5 system with pretty low traffic. 1st scan attempt at lowest strength gave me 3 warpable hits and 1 weak hit. I bookmarked the 3 good ones and launched more probes in order to pinpoint the last spot. I'm faster now than on my 1st try, I guess, but I'm still not "quick" by any stretch of the imagination. That said, I put a couple of scan strength rigs on my Anathema and started using Sister's probes for their innately stronger scan, and I think that helped, becuz I was quite noticeably (to myself) faster.

Anyway, the final hit turned out to be a 4/10 Guristas plex.

I don't know max ship sizes or anything, so I decided to go in with my Vengeance assault frigate. No mids, but you don't need tackle in PvE, and it's got a great armor tank, good damage and range with T2 lasers and Scorch S ammo, it's decently quick with an AB, and it's cap stable even with the armor repper and AB running too.

So... I decided to hit the 4/10 1st. I warped in and there's a whole lotta ships there, but nothing bigger than a cruiser. I don't know how the aggro mechanics work or anything, but when a bunch of ships auto-aggroed me I targeted them back and went to work. With the Scorch I've got about a 15 km optimal and 18 km effective range. As I was mocing in to range though, a lot of missiles started coming in from the cruisers. My shields melted, which is not unexpected as it's an armor-tanked ship, but then even with the repper on the armor still seemed to be dropping rather precipitously.

As this was my 1st "real combat" in an armor ship, I got worried and decided to warp out. But by the time I aligned my armor was already going up faster than down, so I tried to cancel the warp but was too slow. So yeah, I warped back in as fast as I could and, well..... it took a while. The frigate all popped in 2-3 volleys, but the cruisers took some killing. I tried getting in closer and switching to multifrequency crystals, but with my AB on and orbiting at 3km in order to get a 5km orbit inside the MF's optimal I was outrunning my own tracking. I tried closer orbits without the AB on also, but still didn't seem to hit much, so I ended up going back to about an 8km orbit and using the Scorch. I was still inder their guns and going 890-ish m/s made it so that even light missiles were only doing about 11 damage to me. Even with 8 cruisers trying to kill me, I was sitting at full armor the whole time with the repper on. That was kinda nice, really.

After the ships were all gone I switched to the MF again and took out the structures. Nothing dropped in the 1st room, but I didn't really expect it to either.

2nd room was more or less the same as the 1st, but destroying the structures netted me a nice Pith-C Kinetic Shield Amp and an 8th Tier Overseer drop.

From there it was off to the other combat sites. 1st one had 3 or 4 small waves and they died easy and the structures didn't drop anything. 2nd one had many waves. They just kept coming. Finally a single ship appeared -- faction spawn! Dread Guristas Killer. I got 1000 faction heavy missiles off that ship, plus a semi-rare DG tag. Woot!

And the 3rd site was crap again. Ah well.

Headed back to base and got into the Anathema again, and scanned a different system. Got 2 hits I had to scan down -- a hacking site and an archaeology site.

Back to base and equipped a Drake with a codebreaker and an analyzer and headed out. Hit the archaeology site 1st. Opened 2 containers -- 1 was empty and the other had some crap salvage in it. Then on to the hacking site. Opened the 1st container and 3 frigs spawned. I had full heavy missiles on, but with a TP I still 1-shot each of them. 1st container was empy too :'( 2nd and 3rd containers had datacores, decryptors, spare parts, electronic links, and. . .um. . something else I don't remember . . . in them. It was a fun morning. Not as profitable as running L4's would have been, but it was more fun, so.. . .score this one a win!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August Already?

Where does the time go?

Busy week, so only managed a couple of hours of EQ2 on the weekend. Sold a semi-expensive master spell, though, so my plat total is back into "modest" as opposed to "dang, I'm broke!" Should have a research assistant master ready for my coercer tonight too, so I'll have to remember to log in and get it and start something else, I suppose.

In the "EVE Metagame" one of my corpmates posted who in our small corp of 7 characters (6 players) has the most SP in any given training section. Surprisingly, I was highest in the mechanic section, even though I only have about 1.4 million SP there. Yeah, my corp is Caldari shield tankers, and I guess it shows. Thing was, though.. . he just said who had the most, not who had how many or whatever, so I took everyone's limited API's and plugged them into EVEMon and listed out the whole shebang for everyone. Some surprising results, really, though only internal to the corp, I would think, so I won't bore you with them here. Still, there were some general trends I found fascinating.

For example. in the Corporate Leadership section, we all have minimal anchoring skills for secure cans, but the CEO actually has gone a little farther. And since the CEO wants to be our Fleet Commander all the time, he's got tons of Leadership skills to use the warfare links when he's flying command ships also. For drones, we're all in a very narrow SP range, indicating that's about how far you gotta go to be able to use 5 Tech 2 drones and we've gone there and no farther. Stuff like that.

As to RL stuff, one of my aunts died last week so we drove up to Idaho for the funeral on Friday. Waking the kids up early so we could get there made for some crabby kids and a rather stressful drive. We got them a nice lunch before coming back, hoiping it would knock them out, but.. they just kept picking on each other and fighting the whole way until I made my wife drive and I got in the back to separate them. and then suddenly they all fell asleep now that they couldn't keep each other awake anymore. Go figure

Anyway, it was a nice service, and I saw lots of family I haven't seen in 15-20 years, so it was a nice enough day overall. Saturday I took my kids to a new waterpark that was opened this summer. My son has a fear of waterslides for some reason (in spite of the fact that the last pool we went to had a full sized one and he went on it at least 20 times), so he spent the whole time there in the wading pool and lazy river, but the girls both tried every slide at least once, and then repeated slides down their favorites. After 3 hours, though, they were cold, in spite of it being 95 degrees and sunny. I spent the whole time there under an umbrella and still managed to get a light sunburn on my arms. No idea how, but such is life.

Anyway, that's my boring post for today. Only "stupid computer" thing for today is that the print server went down and the 1st call we got about it, right after I said "I'll notify the server guys so they can start working on it" asked me "Do you have a timeframe for when it will be fixed?"

HELLO! I just told you I'm not going to be the one fixing it, so how would I know?

But of course we have to be polite, though I'll admit I was a bit blunt and thus replied "How would I have such a thing? I just told you I'll notify the server team, but how long it takes them is up to them." She seemed a bit taken aback, but . . geez. EVERY time we have an outage, the 1st question is ALWAYS "When will it be fixed?" And guess what question we do not, can not, and never will have an answer to? It's frelling annoying!

And I'm shutting up now becuz I have to take this newly imaged PC across the hall to the dropoff/pickup office so that the lady it belongs to can come get it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I finished reading Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker last night. Stayed up WAY too late, and also didn't sleep on the van coming or going to/from work yesterday in favor of reading it instead. As a result, I'm dog tired here, but it was worth it.

How's that for a crappy review? ;-)

One of my aunts died of cancer this week. Her funeral is on Friday about a 3 hour drive away. We've decided to leave early Friday morning and then spend the night there, then return on Saturday, though in theory we could go up for the funeral, visit with family for a couple of hours and come back the same day. Or we could go about 2 hours farther along to my family's cabin. We could, that is, if my cousin weren't getting married today and he and his new bride are using the cabin for their honeymoon (other side of family from the aunt who died). That could be a tad bit awkward. As it is, reception for him tonight, packing for the trip tomorrow night, and then a weekend in Idaho. Not the original plan, but... life throws curveballs.

Today's computer story is that a lady called with a laundry list of everything that's been wrong with her computer over hte last few days, though she's not currently having any trouble. The list was every email, print server, and network outage we've had all week so far. Since she's not having trouble now, why'd she call? Who knows?

Okay, one more. We finally pushed out Adobe Reader 9 since it's been approved by the higher-ups as safe for our network. As a result, anyone using it today gets a new EULA screen they have to click accept on. Had a lady call asking us to complete the installation with our admin rights. Is it REALLY so hard to read what the screen says?

That's almost as bad as a person at a former job who called, said her computer was giving her "some error" and when I asked her to read it to me, she read the 1st sentence, then started saying "blah blah blah blah blah." I asked her to actually READ the error and not give me her commentary on what it meant to her (yeah, I could be blunt with users) and so she read a 2nd sentence and again started wit hthe "blah blahs." So I very succinctly told her that while I'm aware the error means nothing to her, it means something to me and tells me exactly what's wrong and enables me to fix her pc. Even with that, it still took nearly 5 minutes to get her to actually read the thing to me. Quick google search and about 2 minutes later she was up and running again.

Help me, help you. If you want me to remote in to your pc in order to install something with my admin rights, I need your computer name. Have it ready when you call. And don't touch anything you don't need to. I run my pc at home very clean -- no bloatware. It never has ANY trouble, yet invariably if a family member is visiting and asks if s/he can check her email, within 5 minutes I'm being told that my computer either doesn't work right or is broken. And then after the visit is over I get to go uninstall all the stinking toolbars, messenger services, and other tsr's they installed in their 20 minutes of computer use. And don't get me started on the time one of them filled my hard drive with about 400 massively oversized pictures from her camera that she uploaded without asking if she could or even telling me about them -- I found them after she left and was looking around for why my performance had degraded so badly.

Yeah, I deleted them. And 6 weeks later I got a phone call asking if I could email them to her. I told her that they didn't exist anymore and if she wanted me to keep them for her she should have told me what she was using my computer for. I would have gladly burned them on a dvd for her before I deleted them, but since they were just kinda sitting there, I'd assumed she'd only uploaded them in order to view them, and that it hadn't occurred to me she'd been cleaning space on her camera.

Anyway, I'm just rambling now. I've been imaging old old old boxes for another department that wants to have some machines available for people to check their email on, and since we are now mandated that anything we image must use Vista with the current security protocols, well... let's just say it's slooooooooooow, and 1 box was simply too old. It wouldn't take Vista. The 2 HP boxes weren't terrible on their speed, though they were so dusty before I blew them out that it's a wonder they hadn't caught on fire. The Dell I'm working on right now has decent-ish specs, but it's still taking forever to do any of the commands I enter. Ah well, it's just an email machine, right? Still and all... 1 more box to go, but while I can get it started tonight since this one i'm working on is about 98% done, I doubt I'll finish the last one. Such is life.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Monday!

Print server's down again, people with Vista machines can't access certain parts of the LAN, people still like to create new pst files for Outlook and then call to complain that "none of my email is in it" making it so I get to go search their hard drives and personal network shares for the actual pst they wanted to connect to. . . .

Another typical day at work ;)

Weekend was pretty good. Had a BBQ at my sister's place Friday evening, my daughter got back from Girl Scout camp on Saturday, started reading Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker and it's pretty good so far. Maybe not as good as Mistborn, but still quite engaging.

Saw G-Force over the weekend also. The kids loved it, and I thought it was fun enough as a diversion fora couple of hours. We also rented a few dvd's -- Inkheart, City of Ember, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The kids loved them all, but I'll admit I fell asleep during Ember and wasn't in the room when they watched Inkheart.

So, there are the movie reviews from my perspective ;-)

On the gaming front, I managed to run a few quests on the dirge in Fens, but not many... not even enough to gain an AA point. I think I got maybe 10% of an adventure level was all.

I did WC4 in EVE, though. Easy peasy once you know the aggro mechanics. Got the lovely bounties and filled the Salvacane up, in spite of accidentally deleting the bookmark for the final room. all those BS wrecks. . gone. . . :-( Even so.. full hold in the 'Cane, good salvage and over 20 million isk in bounties. Practiced scanning a bit more, but I'm still not very good at it. It will come, though. as it is -- 38 more hours and I'm "done" with all the training I want to do in the Electronics skill section. It'll be close to 5.2 million SP in the section, so I've done quite a bit of training there, but it will be worth it down the line, methinks.

Next section on the chopping block is Engineering. It will take about 6 weeks, but that's mostly due to actually training a bunch of skills to 5. Or I could finish getting all my currently known Spaceship Command skills up to 4, but that will take the same 6 weeks, and only be marginal upgrade in capability of a few ships that I don't fly often, so... less worth it. I could also look at command ships, but I'm 72+ days out of any of them. Oddly enough, that's about as far as I was back when I 1st started thinking it might be nice to fly one. I've taken maybe 20 days off the total, but focused a lot more on general support skills useful to any ship I will fly. Or I could spend a little over 4 weeks getting the last of my "base" weapon certifitcates to "Standard" also.

So much to do, and it takes so long to train. . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just reboot already!!!

We got a new manager today. There was some sort of ceremony to "pass the torch" but I didn't go. And I was just about the only guy on the help desk who didn't go, but a lot of non-helpdesk people didn't go either, so I got a lot of calls during that hour. Sadly, most calls were unrelated to computers or simply wanted to know how to order computers or just needed a reboot.

I swear, every computer given to a person in a corporate environment needs a HUGE sticker on it that says: "If you haven't rebooted yet, don't call the helpdesk!"

Of course, the fun ones are the ones who start the reboot and then call anyway expecting that that won't take care of it. What a complete waste of time.

My dirge is level 74 in EQ2 now. No screenies, sorry. My training progresses at its regular pace in EVE. Got some online friends from a bulletin board setting up a corp and they've joined the CVA alliance in Providence, so I've asked them to set me blue and I'll probably head down there in a cruiser or something in a few days. We'll see.

My wife and I have been looking at houses lately. Found a nice little townhouse close to a lot of stuff, in a decent neighborhood and in our price range. Put in an offer, got a counteroffer, accepted it and are as of today "under contract." Let the inspections and appraisals and title work begin! I worked in the mortgage industry for about 2 years (but over 10 years ago), but I dealt with post-foreclosure concerns -- filing insurance claims on the loans. I started on regular PMI claims for conventionals, but then got moved over to the HUD/VA section. Even so, I still got to read th origination files and such, so I'm still semi-literate in mortgagespeak. Or at least I think I am. Hubris? Who knows. . . . . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Servers and whitelists and vidcards, oh my!

Work's been interesting the past couple of days. The batch of PC's that we use here on the service desk all came with refurbished FireGL 7200 ATI video cards. And they all run hot. And they all fail, and rather spectacularly when they do. And when Dell sends replacements, they don't always work either, since they're refurbished too.

This weekend was apparently my computer's turn to futz out. It's had some difficulties since I've been using it, but the occasional reboot and avoiding watching wmv files in the media player made it easy enough to not have trouble..... but the AC went out over the weekend, so it was over 90 degrees in here when we got in on Monday, and my vidcard was already more or less fried as a result.

We got a 7600 a few months ago for a different pc, but it's still sitting on the workbench since it didn't really work there. We popped that into mine to see if maybe that pc didn't like it or something, but since it's a different card I hadda get the new drivers for it from the ATI website. Installed those and got a lovely BSOD saying that my video drivers were caught in an infinite loop. Boot to safe mode, revert the driver and blah blah blah. It owuld run on an older driver, but no matter which driver I had on the machine it had nasty vertial green bars at all times, sometimes sideways line of pixellation, often random patterns of green dots in the background. Meh. I put the old card back in, and while it worked at 1st, once it heated up it began locking up.

On the bright side, I managed to get Dell's online customer service to agree to ship a replacement card. We have to do it that way in order to have a transcript of the interaction with Dell, in case you wonder. But my pc was still unusable, usually locking up while still "applying computer settings" during the boot process.

So.... off I went digging on the shelf and found an old vidcard with a DVI and a VGA output on it. another guy here said he used to use that card on his PC before we got the newer workstations with the 7200's.

Slapped that puppy in, but again. . .no driver, and looking at the card itself it wasn't labeled in any way. Fortunately the basic driver allowed me to be able to use the pc to the point I could open a command prompt and enter the debugger to access the video memory so it would tell me what kind of card it was. ATI 300XT, in case you wonder.

so... off to download more drivers, this time ATI's "all in one legacy driver set." Oooooooooo. Once installed I was able to activate the vga port on it to allow myself use of 2 monitors again, at least. And I even have my old resolution back too, though it doesn't seem to like my background image anymore. Still and all.... makes the thing usable again until the new card arrives tomorrow.

And then my TL drops another pc from upstairs on me.. reporting the same problems, etc.

Yup, it's a bad FireGL7200 card again. We know it, but... have to do due dilligence on it. That machine now has the latest drivers, updated bios, etc. And it still gives a BSOD saying there's a problem with the card or its drivers any time I do anyhting remotely graphics intensive.

New card's on the way for that one now too.

The one on the workbench....since this is supposeldy a new card as of April, Dell won't send a replacement until we can test one of the "known good" new cards in that machine... nevermind that the same problems follow the card from machine to machine and it failed most of its video diagnostics. . . . . .

Print server's been up and down several times since last Thursday. always a nice call generator: "I can't print!"

Our whole business unit had lost internet connection this morning as well. Cause was found to be a DNS white list put into effect last night by the main office that blocked all of our external ports. Oops! They reverted to the old filters and are "investigating the issue" now. and obviously I have internet back or I wouldn't be posting this, no?

Haven't actually had too many "stupid stories" today. A couple of people too blind to see the box that says "click here to run the ActiveX control" that pops down from the toolbar, but other than that... mostly people complaining they can't print or access the internet. Gotta love MUI's, no?

Beyond that.... not too much to report from my gaming over the weekend becuz I didn't do much. I did get my dirge to level 73 in EQ2, but in EVE the missions I looked at getting from my agent were all crappy, so I just declined a long string of them. I'm really kinda killing time until I can go into a wormhole with a battlecruiser outfitted with hacking and codebreaking modules, and. . . .less than 2 hours to go on Survey 5 so that I can train Archaeology to use a codebreaker. I've been able to hack for a while, but never have actually done it before. In a couple of days I may have some wormhole stories to tell. I hope so, anyway. That sounds more exciting than mission running.

Okay, actually I did 1 more thing in EQ2, now that I think about it. Tipa at posted about a nice "appearance only" armor from the Station Cash store in EQ2 and when I looked at it, I *had* to have it for my ShadowKnight. So yes, I finally popped my Station Cash cherry:

I'll admit that the nose hole in the helmet leaves me a little cold, but hey... that's what the /showhelm command is for, right?

Yes, that *is* a High Elf SK. One of the 1st, actually -- created 4 or 5 days after the game launched. I like to try to break stereotypes here and there, and it seemed every high elf was going the "priest -> cleric -> templar" route at the time, so I broke the mold and made a fighter and then went evil. Admittedly, the character was initially intended to be a cleric, but once I hit level 3 and had to choose my archetype I decided I didn't want to be "normal." But then... who does?

I will admit, at level 19 I ran back through the (at the time REALLY scary) Nektulos Forest zone in order to be in Antonica when I dinged 20. I was tanking for a scarecrow grind group and when I hit 20 everyone thought I was going to be a paladin. As a result, the groupchat messages of "Gratz!" and all that quickly gave way to shocked cries of "SK? WTH?!?!?!?!?" That was a lot of fun, actually.

TBH, I kinda miss those scarecrows. . . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Problem with LowSec

Okay, a focused post for once. Let's see how it turns out:

EVE Online, for those who don't know, is a "sandbox" MMOG, meaning essentially that they created a virtual world, established a series of rules for the world, and then you go play in it using your own imagination to create your own fun. You don't "level up" or go do quests to gain better equipment. It's PvP enabled at all times -- anyone who sees you can shoot you. Any time, anywhere. There are consequences for doing so in some zones, but beyond that... watch your back and/or travel with friends, and the more friends the better.

Space is divided into 3 type -- high security (HiSec -- security rating 1.0 down to 0.5), low security (LowSec -- security rating 0.4 down to 0.1), and 0.0 or "NullSec."

HiSec is considered "safest" of the areas due to the fact that it's policed by NPC's. There are game mechanics making it safe to PvP there still, but for the most part it's pretty safe for anyone to fly around, even in unarmed hauling ships.

LowSec is considered (on paper) to be "sorta safe, but not really." There's no more NPC police, but there are still sentry guns at warpgates and space stations, so if combat takes place there, whoever shot first will be fired upon by those guns to aid the "shootee." Initiating combat also results in a reduction of a player's "security status."

NullSec is considered (again, on paper) to be "lawless" or completely unsafe. There's no NPC policing presence of any kind -- everything is left up to the players. Player alliances are able to claim sovereignty by placing their own "POS's" (player owned stations) and create their own nations in most of this area. Any policing/keeping out the riffraff is wholly done by player forces.

So... why is there a problem with LowSec, you ask?

It comes down to several factors. This is a PvP game, but the vast majority of players in any MMO (including EVE) don't like or want to PvP, especially since in EVE if you die then you lose your ship, its fittings, and possibly will get "podded" and lose any implants you have installed in your character's body as well. This can be a huge cost to the player, and as such death is very actively avoided. As a result, something like 80% of all players spend all of their time in HiSec, where their chances of suffering loss due to death is very low. As I mentioned above, PvP *is* possible there, but difficult, especially for "pirates" who have a low security rating due to PvP. NullSec is heavily and actively patrolled by its sovereign player alliances, making it so if you're in your in the space your alliance owns, you're generally about as safe as if you're in HiSec (notice that I said "generally"). Sure there are wars and people like to roam around at times looking for people to kill who don't have buddies to protect them, but space is vast, and wars tend to produce conflicts only in specific areas, so fights can be avoided.

This leaves LowSec space as the only viable place for player pirates to hang out. They can't go into NullSec due to the alliances vigilance in keeping out undesirables, and with negative security ratings they can't go to HiSec very easily, and since PvP is difficult to do in HiSec anyway, they're left with LowSec or nothing, pretty much.

So... HiSec is filled with people who don't want to PvP at all, NullSec is full of people who want to PvP on their own terms in wars with neighbors, and LowSec is a vast wasteland where "carebears" and NullSec alliance people don't care to go, and if you see someone there it's probably a pirate looking for some nonconsensual PvP.

To sum up: In HiSec, security is provided by NPC's, in NullSec security is provided by players, and in LowSec, there's no security at all.

So... from a "human behavior/social" standpoint, not many people want to be in LowSec.

Then there's game mechanics as well.

The NPC empires are set up completely backwards from how a real empire would be. The highest security areas have the "worst" resources. As the security level drops, the resources get better and better, and once you're in to NullSec the best asteroids and moons for resource gathering are found there. There's no police presence to protect the direct routes ("pipes") from the HiSec trade hubs down to NullSec space where ostensibly you would want the highest possible security for the valuable resources coming in to your home systems from the frontier.

I can see the gameplay reasons for it -- making it so the NPC areas suck and trying to incentivize the players to move to Low and NullSec.


In HiSec, people can choose to do missions versus NPC ships, and then loot the wrecks, then reprocess the loot down to the building materials. In doing this they have access to all the various minerals, even ones that "should" only come from Low/NullSec asteroids. So the vast majority of players therefore have absolutely no reason to ever leave HiSec. The developers have also put missions in LowSec, but they don't really pay out much more than missions in Hisec and since any player you see in-system with you is probably looking to scan you down and come kill you, if you're running missions in LowSec you spend a lot of time cloaked at a safe spot or docked up and waiting for people to leave, meaning longer mission completion times and therefore losing bonus rewards for fast completion, meaning HiSec is actually more profitable anyway.

So... there's really no reason for a "carebear" to go to LowSec, nor for a NullSec alliance member. They have missions they can do in their sovereign space a for more payout than LowSec and they've got their alliance looking out for them while they do it.

In practice this makes it so that:
  • HiSec = High Security
  • NullSec = Medium Security
  • LowSec = No Security
And with the human behavior of generally not going where one isn't safe. . . LowSec has a population problem. Pirates who live there want more targets, but the "carebears" don't want to go be the targets.

Most changes suggested by LowSec dwellers to force more of the "carebears" into LowSec are vociferously resisted by said "carebears" because it would radically change their gameplay, but with no benefit to them. Most changes suggested by HiSec dwellers to make LowSec a bit more secure for them are vociferously resisted by the pirates because it would make their already difficult gameplay even tougher with no benefit to them.

Sounds like the proverbial Catch-22, doesn't it?

So... what can be done to increase security in LowSec to make it so that it actually is (in practice as well as in theory) LowSec, as opposed to the current chaotic "NoSec?"

Some common suggestions are things like moving all the Level 4 (most profitable) missions to Lowsec, removing refinable loot from mission NPC ships (thus forcing LowSec mining operations), and/or a massive boost to LowSec mission rewards in order to make them more profitable than HiSec L4's in spite of the need to run and hide whenever a strange ship comes in to the system.

Common counterarguments are that L4's already exist in LowSec and nobody does them and they'll just switch to running L3's in HiSec. They'd rather obtain less income than lose their mission running ship. Removing loot from the NPC ships wouldn't really affect the runners themselves, but rather the industrialists that build the ships in the 1st place. If their supply of materials drops, they can't build anything, and unless they were in a corporation equipped to do mining ops with escorts (and if they were in such a large corp, they'd probably be in NullSec anyway for the even more profitable ores) they won't be heading to LowSec in order to gain the minerals anyway. This would make prices go up while incomes went down -- very bad for the economy -- and could (would?) cause a lot of the industrialists upon whom the very economy of the game relies to quit the game. And for the final suggestion, a massive boost to mission rewards still wouldn't be enough to make people willing to risk their "pimped out" mission running ships.

Frankly, I think that if the "LowSec problem" is going to be "solved" it's going to need to be quite a bit more radical of a change. The biggest bostacle to overcome, IMO, is the human behavior thing. The "carebears" are NOT going anyplace they don't feel safe, so there needs to be something added that gives a very strong illusion of security, whilst not actually adding so much security that it forces the pirates out.

I think that adding semi-predictable patrols of faction navies within the LowSec systems would help -- predictable enough to give the illusion of security to "carebears" that wish to mine the lowsec belts, but not so predictable that pirates can always avoid them. Have these navies fly ships with stats identical to the faction ships players can obtain and fly, fit them according to PvP principles, and give them the new Sleeper AI. This would make them tough, but it would make fights (at times) winnable for pirates also, even if it's just "kill the tackling frigate and GTFO!" A 0.4 system would have more frequent (and perhaps larger?) patrols than a 0.3 system, and so on down to 0.1.

The patrols would only go to the current fixed celestial objects -- belts, moons, planets, and stations, so mission runners actually wouldn't be any safer, since they're not at any of those places..... but they would feel safer since the navy's about! Possibly add a "call for help" function that would bring the navy, but only if a) there happens to be a patrol in system, and b) they don't respond immediately, but will take 3-5 minutes to arrive. Add in that they are fightable and can't do the "concordokken" -- the "carebear's" ability to call for help will give the illusion of security, the time window before arrival allows the pirate to get their kill (possibly), and the pirate can also (possibly) escape or fight the navy if/when they do arrive.

Something else that I think would help to heighten the illusion of security overall would be to look at the systems that make up the "pipes" to NullSec and then make them all 0.4, and thus subject to "heavy patrol" while still not kicking the pirates out of the system with the highest traffic. Keeping them lowsec will also allow capital logistics for the NullSec alliances as well.

I also think that it's too easy to scan ships down. No L4 mission runner is going to bring a battleship in to do a Level 4 mission when he knows he can be scanned out in 90 seconds or less. Tweak the scanning mechanics to make it take a longer minimum period (like 10 minutes or perhaps even longer, with good skills reducing it and/or giving a chance to make it only 3-5 minutes, or somesuch). Yeah, it'll annoy the pirates at first, but it will make scoring that mission runner kill that much sweeter, and over time it will be accepted as "just how it is."

And I know I don't get (m)any readers, but any that there are -- I welcome criticisms and other ideas in the comments.

And since it's an EVE post, another Eve pic:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

SW: TOR preview

The breathless overhype begins!

I'm actually with Tobold on this one. Hope for the best, but don't really expect it.

That said, the "dungeon romp" on the destroyer sounded very interesting. Perhaps I'm underestimating. Or perhaps this is simply a WAY too early hype-fest. The game's not expected until 2011 at the earliest, IIRC.

Didn't do much with my gaming last night. I generally don't play much, if at all on weekdays -- I have a nearly 2 hour commute each way on top of the 10 hour workday, so I leave at 5:00 am and get home around 7, making bedtime at 10-ish. Between dinner, spending time with the family, etc, there often isn't time for gaming in the evening.

That said, I finally ferried my EVE character back to my home base from the market hub, as well as set my queue for the next Electronic skill I'm "finishing" at level 4. According to EFT I've only got 15 days left to round out the section, but since they're "non-critical" skills it's tempting to train other things. I've decided to discipline myself to simply finish them now, and then never have to worry about them again. 2 weeks in EVE isn't a long time at all. Kinda odd how the perspective shifts -- when I 1st started EVE, even a 3 hour skill bugged me, but now I think of 2 weeks as "not long." What's it going to be like when I eventually am working on capital ships? Only time will tell.

Anyway, after ferrying my hauler (and some new purchases -- Sabre anyone?) back to my home base, I logged out of EVE and finished several quests in EQ2 on my dirge. I had them within an inch of completion, so I found the final few mobs I needed and turned them in. Got a bit of adventure xp and almost a complete AA point. Just have 1 more quest hub to finish up the Kylong Plains and then it will be time to move on the the Fens.

Total time online. . . less than an hour. Not bad for that short a time. Doubt I'll be on tonight, though -- my son has day camp tomorrow, so tonight will be making his lunch, making sure he's got his stuff packed for it, etc.

And since I'm new to this blogging thing, I'm gonna experiment with adding a picture or 2 to this thing now. Whoope-de-freaking-do, n'est-ce pas?

And now you see a nice EVE station off to the left. Not quite where I envisioned it, but I suppose that as I play with things I'll get things better squared away.

Monday, July 6, 2009

4th of July Weekend Musings

My normal workweek is 4 days. The holiday last weekend made it so I got Thursday off, though, so I got a nice 4-day weekend. It was nice to have the extra time with my kids. Plus a friend hooked me up with "Plants vs Zombies" and we all got to play that... well... I controlled the mouse, but they suggest strategies and which plants to choose on the various levels.

Beat the whole "main game" in about 6 hours and started on the mini-games, but by then the kids were agitating to play WebKinz and Free Realms, so I let them to it while I went and did laundry and cleaned up and such.

My mom and sister got back from a trip to Prince Edward Island this past week, so it was fun to visit with them and hear all the stories and all that. They actually didn't spend all that much time touring the Anne of Green Gables stuff, becuz there really wasn't all that much to do in that part of the island, apparently. They did a lot of nature walks in various places, visited lighthouses, and just generally relaxed. Sounds like a trip I will want to take at some point, though I'll admit that I don't have that much interest in the Green Gables area. I never read the books. I liked the movie I saw well enough, but overall. . . meh.

My daughter had a sleepover Friday night going to Saturday, so Saturday morning the remainder of us at home went and saw Ice Age 3. It was cute, even laugh out loud funny at points. I haven't seen the 2nd one, but now I'm kinda wanting to rent that to see what I missed. I loved Simon Pegg's "Buck" character.

The funny thing about that, though -- my daughter was all stoked about how much fun she'd had on her sleepover, until she found out we'd seen a movie without her. Then it suddenly "wasn't fair" and she "didn't have much fun" on the sleepover and yadda yadda yadda. She's quite the drama queen.

We didn't really do anything specific on Saturday to celebrate the 4th, oddly enough. Lots of neighbors were doing small fireworks, which scared the dog no end. couldn't get her to do a final potty run before bed -- she just kept running back up to the door and whining to go inside. Well.. when she wasn't barking at the "screamer" type of fireworks.

I totally forgot that this was a "bonus xp" weekend on EQ2, so when I did log in a bit on my dirge, I got a pleasant surprise. Got it from level 69 to 71 and got 9 AA's in that period. Really just solo-quested in Kylong Plains zone. Still have some of the new Order of Rime quests to finish up, plus the entire Kunzar's Edge quest hub. And if I'm feeling really ambitious I suppose I oculd slaughter goblins and brutes until I get the quest starter body-drops off them, but time will tell on that. Soloing with the dirge is "ok" but it took a jump in difficulty when entering the RoK zones. Not unexpected, mind -- I've got 3 toons at 80 already, after all, as well as 2 more in their 70's -- but still something of a nuisance.

I didn't do anything much in EVE at all, other than to buy a bunch of new skill books in order to "round out" the skills I want to train in certain skill sections, then using the skill queue to train them all to at least level 2. I'm working through them all to 3 now, but at 8+ hours each, the queue only holds 3 at a time anymore, so it's slowed down a bit. Even so, it's going quickly overall. I've got just under 16 days left before I've trained the Electronics skills to where I want them and probably won't revisit that section for a LONG time to come. Once this spate of new "short skills" is trained I'll finish that off and then. . . we'll see. I've got quite a few 3's in Ship Command and Gunnery I'd like to bump to 4's, but I've also got a few Missile skills I need to work on -- I *am* a Caldari Carebear, after all. I really should be better with missiles than I am. but no.... I have better gunnery support skills and can use all the T2 small guns, but can't even use T2 rockets, much less anything else. Bad me, I know.

And on to topics others are blogging about, just 'cuz I've got an hour left at work and it's pretty slow today (only 1 "stupid story" and it's not really THAT bad, so I'm not gonna bother), so...

The $10 mount in Wizard 101
: I don't care. I don't play that game, so... makes no nevermind to me. I do have Free Realms and I've done a few of the microtransactions. Got pets for my kids' characters so they have them following them around. Got a nice robe and wand for my daughter on her wizard. She actually seems to prefer the Medic job, though, and yes, I got her a nice Medic weapon too. Got my son a pet, but he hasn't cared about getting weapons or clothes or anything. Even so, since FR came out I think I've put $60 into it, and most of that has been for fluff that doesn't even make anything useful happen in-game. If anything, the $10 mount sounds like a good deal to me.

The EVE Blog Banter #9: What game mechanic would I remove from EVE? That's easy -- insurance payouts for ships that are concordokkened. I've never been suicide ganked, so it's not a personal concern for me, but it simply doesn't make any sense that insurance would pay out to someone who committed a criminal act.

Politics: I was as surprised as anyone by Sarah Palin announcing her resignation, I suppose. The situation in Honduras is interesting, but what it all means.... I don't know. I used to care a lot more about politics, and still read several blogs about all the current events, but mostly anymore I'm one of the apathetic ones. I vote, but that's about the extent of my public participation anymore. I rarely even remember to visit the bulletin board that more or less got me interested in the 1st place.

And I just got an email telling me to do an install for a user, so... time to stop randomly rambling and get back to work.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Firefox 3.5 is out. I've installed it. Seems to be a bit more responsive. Kewl!

Been doing some reading on Windows 7. Lots of good buzz. Hopefully it improves on XP (won't say improves on Vista -- XP is an improvement on Vista. . . )

Haven't had any dumb calls today. Did have a guy wanting to install a printer and wondering why the PC wouldn't detect it when he hadn't turned it on yet after my post of yesterday. I could dip historical, but since you can always just bip on over to Rinkworks and hit their computer stupidities section, why bother?

Yes, I like to drop pronouns when I start sentences. I also am fond of . . . and -- too.

Currently reading 1491 again. Truly a fascinating sampling of Native American history that they didn't teach me in school. I 1st read an earlier edition a few years ago, and am surprised at both how much and how little of it I remember.

My son got a huge Lego set shipped in yesterday as a combination b-day/Xmas present from my mom. We put together about 1/2 of it last night, and today he finished it up while I'm at work. It should be fun to see how proud he is of it when I get home tonight.

CCP games released some teaser information about their upcoming patch to EVE Online. I'm looking forward to the new "sized" rigs for smaller ships. It might actually make it worthwhile to rig a frigate with something other than a shield resistance rig.

I've also been reading over some fan notes from the SOE Fan Faire from last weekend. The changes for EQ2 that are upcoming sound really good to me. I truly don't understand why so many of the forum posters are whining about the changes.

I thought this Strategy Page article about female Marines in Iraq was rather fascinating, especially due to the peek it gives toward the cultural differences in how women are treated there vs here.

I've been doing my daily scan of various news and opinion blogs also and found a rather unexpected link: Runner's World I think it's pretty cool that someone as busy as a governor can still take time to run each day. Personally I've always hated running. I love biking though. And I always tell myself I'm going to bike more, but with work and family and chores and all that... It's not that I can't make the time, it's more that I don't choose to make it. Oy, that almost sounded like the old sales lecture: "Don't ask if they have time, ask instead if you can sit down and tell them your pitch. Nobody has time, everyone has a couch."

And yeah, I'll call this good for today. Really only posting to kill time since it's pretty slow at work today. Something about it being a holiday weekend and my employer does 4-days a week, but we all get tomorrow off since the holiday's on the weekend, so today's "Friday" but a bunch of people took today off too for an even longer weekend. . . . .

Don't know if I'll add posts at home this weekend. Doubt it, really. Doubt I have anyone reading either for that matter, so who cares? ;-)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

1st post (finally, right?)

Okay, so I only opened this blog so I would have a blogger profile so I could comment on friends' blogs. Never really had the desire to post or anything. Never really felt I had anything to say. still don't, really, but the past couple of days at work have had several shall we say interesting things going on.

And by "interesting" I mean "bang your head on the desk stupid."

For those who don't know me, I work on a help desk, providing computer support to all and sundry who call in. We also help with printers, fix hardware, and are currently in process of deploying Vista out to all our supported seats. Yeah, we tried to get management to skip it and just go to Win7 once it's released, but. . .well. . . untested software coming out and all that, it's doubtful mgmt will look at it until SP1 is released.

And now I'm rambling. I do that.

Anyway.... here are some highlights of the past few days:

User: I can't use to search, so I want to change my search provider.

Me: (Thinking he's referring to the search bar in IE) All right. Did you receive the email we sent out a couple of weeks ago with instructions on how to change the default search provider?

User: Yeah I did, but I didn't understand it. I called you guys the other day and he walked me through it. But it doesn't matter because it's still stuck on this stupid Bing!

Me: Huh, that's kinda weird. Let me see what's going on. (Remote connects in to the user's PC.)

Me: Oh, I see. You're using the search field at msn. That's actually a bing search. You'll need to choose a different search provider (4th wall break: we aren't allowed to "endorse" any provider, so we have to speak generically like that) and type it in your address bar above. Your search bar is also set to use google (4th wall broken again: this is probably what "you guys" did when he called last week), so if you type your search up there instead of into the website itself then it will search using that engine, rather than bing.

User: Oh, so I can't use the msn site to search anymore?

Me: No, the msn site uses bing as its search engine now. [Our employer] is blocking bing right now, so it won't work and you have to use a different search site or the search bar up in the top right of your window.

Sadly, he's not the 1st, nor even the worst offender. I think my favorite was the guy who went to the google site and then searched for from it.

There was the guy today having trouble with a certain website (which we don't support since, well, it's a website). The site has a helpdesk number prominently displayed on its main page for issues using the site. He called me instead.

We're experiencing a network outage right now. Many calls are coming in to report that email can't be accessed and suchlike. This is a typical exchange:

User: I can't get my email

Me: We're having an outage right now. Server guys are on it, but we don't have an estimate for when it will be fixed yet.

User: Oh. Do you know when it will be back?
On the bright side I haven't yet had any calls during an outage like at a former employer where the person says something to the effect of "Well, it's critical I get this email out to the client. Can you fix it for just me?"

As to the "classics" -- yes, I HAVE had the call where the person was complaining they couldn't turn on the computer during a power outage. It gets better: When I explained that computers need power to run, the rejoinder was "But the phones work!"

I also am rather fond of this one:

User: I got my new laptop today and brought it home, but now I can't get my email."

Me: Okay, how are you connected to the exchange server? VPN or the DID dial-up? (Yes, this was a few years back before broadband was terribly common.)

User: Connected? What do you mean? Don't these things just know what my email is?
This lady wasn't too bad, though -- once I explained connectivity to her she did get it, she was simply "initially ignorant."

Anyway, I think this is rambling enough for one day, so... adios and all that stuff.