Month: May 2007

Flashing lights, fireballs, and self-aware weirdos

I have several posts in the draft stage that are very slowly progressing towards being published. So slowly in fact, that I’m going to throw some random, unformed thoughts and observations out here just to say that I’ve posted recently.

In no particular order:

  • Why do gas pumps all have stickers on them which proclaim “FOR USE AS A MOTOR FUEL ONLY”? Are there other common uses for which people might purchase gasoline but for which the stuff from the pumps would be unsafe? Or are the stickers there just for those who might put the gas to use in Molotov Cocktails and the like? Will the warning stop those people?
  • There’s an Infinity G35 in the parking lot at work with a piece of paper taped in the rear window which reads,

    FIRST and LAST Infiniti! Too many defects! Going back to General Motors!

    Is it wrong of me to be baffled by this? I have a sneaking suspicion the driver was was prejudiced against Japanese brands, was talked into buying the Infiniti and was looking for an excuse to hate the car. Otherwise the note would read Too many defects! Buying a Toyota next time!

  • I need to figure out a coherent plan for my personal e-mail addresses. I have two Gmail accounts which I regularly use, one of which being Ickster and the other being erikgranse. (I’d prefer erik.granse, but it already exists — I think I created it and forgot the password. I’ve tried to get into it several times, all to no avail.) I also have ickster and erik.granse at the domain here, and would actually prefer to use those. I actually access them all from the same Gmail account, so managing clients isn’t an issue. I’d just like to consistently use the same address, but sending out a mass e-mail asking everyone to change would be pretty stupid. (Don’t ask me why it’s important to be consistent; I have no idea myself. It’s my brain’s foolish idea.)
  • I liked Christopher Walken better when he wasn’t being a parody of himself. I’ve liked many of his movies and roles, but lately he’s been constantly showing up in little cameo roles where the entire gag is that he’s Christopher Walken, and he’s being creepy and unbalanced as only Christopher Walken can be! Doing the self-aware joke is funny once, but after the twentieth time it’s just kind of pathetic. Doesn’t he get offered any serious roles anymore?
  • What ever happened to the magnetic flashing lights that used to be ubiquitous in police movies and TV shows from the sixties through the eighties? It used to be so common to see the detective get the call, turn the flashing light on (while still holding it in the car) and then reach out to stick it on the roof. Whenever that happened, you knew it was getting serious. For some reason, that never happens anymore. If a cop’s in a unmarked car and needs to get somewhere in a hurry, he just takes off and blows through traffic. (Oddly, when watching a movie or TV show as an adult, I never think twice about a cop driving like a bat-out-of-hell without that magnetic light, but when I was a kid it really bothered me that when they were using that light they still didn’t have a siren. I never thought the light alone was sufficient. Why that bothered me when having neither light nor siren doesn’t bother me now is an unsolved mystery.)

So there you have it. As I said, just random tidbits, and absolutely nothing important. Have a great day!

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More connection woes

As loyal readers (yes, both of you) may have noticed, the site’s been down a lot lately. That’s because it’s still being hosted on my PC at home, and we continue to have problems with our connection.  On Sunday, I talked with a tech who gave the impression that he actually looked into the problem and he deduced that there’s a problem with our connection! Woo Hoo! He offered to send a tech out without even making any dark threats about possible charges if it’s a problem with our equipment, so I have an appointment tomorrow morning.

Anyhoo, all the problems lately have been making me think that I should actually get the site hosted somewhere else. Anyone have any particular thoughts? I’m looking at Dreamhost and 1 and 1 right now; I know some of you are using GoDaddy, and that seems decent as well. Dunno.  Maybe. Someday. Eventually. I suppose.

Hope they fix my problem tomorrow so that I can forget about looking for a host again . . .

Comcast frustrations

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having intermittent problems with my internet service at home. Randomly, but nearly every day, we simply lose our connection. Our modem shows a connection with the home network, but no signal from the Comcast (our ISP) side. A quick glance at the router status confirms my network is A-OK, but there’s no traffic from the modem side.

“Power cycling” the modem (as Comcast likes to call it; it involves unplugging it, waiting for a minute and plugging it back in) will restore our connection, but at very slow speeds for periods that have lasted up to an hour (for example, a speed test last night showed 11 kbps, much slower than a 56K dial-up connection). After that, speeds ramp back up to the 4-6 Mbps I’m used to. Until the next time it goes down.

After putting up with this for a while, I decided to call tech support last night (*shudder*). After brief troubleshooting on their part (which I think consisted of pinging my modem, which didn’t tell them anything other than the fact that my connection was up), I got the dreaded question, “Do you have a router connected to your modem?” I’d gone through this before, and explained to the tech that I had no intention of disconnecting the router, connecting my PC directly to the modem, reconfiguring networking on my PC from static to DHCP, rebooting, etc., when the problem is clearly not on my side of the modem. From there the immediate response was that there was nothing else they could do but to send a tech out and that if the problem was with my equipment I’d be charged. I was a bit surprised that they weren’t even going to try having a level II tech look into it before sending a field tech, but I agreed to let them send the tech. Then I was informed that because I don’t have cable TV (just internet for me, thanks) there would be a $19.95 charge for sending a tech, with additional charges if the problem wasn’t with their equipment.

WTF? The fifty bucks I pay per month only grants me the possibility of accessing the internet? Apparently if I want actual service there may be additional fees.

After arguing this point for a few minutes, I hung up without accomplishing anything. Then I tried the online chat feature, and went through the exact same process, but without the $19.95 dispatch charge. So now I have an appointment for Saturday, some time between 8:00 and 5:00. Great.

Of course, I’m still not actually sure that I want to take the risk of having a tech come out. It’s an intermittent problem, and if I can’t recreate it when the tech is here, am I going to get slapped with a big fee? Even if we lose our connection while the tech is here, my experience is that he or she won’t do anything except get it working again and then leave with a resolution of “power cycled modem”. What I’d really like would be to be able to open a ticket and have someone who knows something take a look at my connection, and maybe even run a couple of actual tests on it.

Crap. All I want is to pay my bill and have a service that actually works. Is that too much to ask?

Edit: After posting, I decided to cancel the tech appointment. Next time I have a problem, I’ll start over and insist that someone actually troubleshoot the problem. Don’t know if that will get me anywhere, but it’s worth a shot.

I’ve been baffled, and I like it.

In the spirit of yesterday’s post about IT e-Business techno-babble, here’s an excellent piece skewering political babble-speak.

My favorite bit:

But at the end of the day, my new slate of initiatives was in meltdown mode. The dog that previously didn’t bark now wouldn’t hunt. My gaffe morphed into a climbdown as I stumbled across the fourth, fifth and sixth rails of American politics. Instead of walking back the cat, I had jumped the shark. Where once I had been a dark horse, I was now a wingnut. The last straw that broke the camel’s back left my platform for clean politics in a lockbox. My Sister Souljah moment came during a perfect storm that was unprecedented in its magnitude, just as my political star was beginning to ebb. It was Me-gate.

If you can’t dazzle them with dexterity . . .

. . . baffle them with bullsh*t. After all these years, I still have the capacity to be amazed that presumably intelligent people are capable of doing something like this:

Accelerate the design and delivery of complex workflow processes leveraging event-based automation and dynamic critical path analysis.

Who writes this kind of stuff? And why haven’t they been beaten to death with their keyboards?

Here’s an English translation: Full-featured job scheduling software.

I think I’m going to go aggregate viral solutions enabling syndicated revolutionary networks to transition turn-key relationships. Or something.