Tag Archives: life

Better Dressed

Beth read something to me out of a book she’s reading about the first day of school (as a teacher) and how to set yourself up for a successful year.  It read:

As you are dressed, so shall you be percieved. And as you are percieved, so shall you be treated.
It is not what is, but what is percieved that counts.
Always dress better than your students. If you do not care about yourself, why should the students care about you?

Which is probably why I need to start dressing better as a college instructor.

So noted…

Good Quote of the Day

“Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand”  – Kurt Vonnegut

Struck me as amusing today, simply because it was off-topic for my recent activities and what’s on my mind lately.  It reminded me that sometimes we just have to forget important things every once in awhile and just laugh.

Kids, You Know?

I went to a meeting Tuesday night with a handful of local merchants in Cook County. We’re (they’re) trying to get a group together to help bolster small business revenue locally. I took Anika with me since Beth has school Tuesday nights. Anika loves my computer shop and even has a cot there to lay down on.

The mayor was at the meeting, as were the owner of the local newspaper and several other business owners (obviously). I had a hard time keeping Anika quiet and to herself as she grew bored. Once about every 150 seconds, I tried to tell her to quiet down, quit kicking the table, don’t draw on that, etc. There were several other conversations going on in addition to the speaker of the meeting. Anika wasn’t the only person bored enough to find other entertainment.

I had to get stern with her one more time, and turned around to listen (or act as if I was). I felt a pat on my arm and turned back to her. She was pointing directly at Mayor Barr and said aloud, “Well he needs to be quiet too!”

I love her. She’s so fair.

No One

“Never underestimate the disparity between developer excitement and user apathy.”
-Ted Dziuba

I was reading this article this morning and came across that line. It’s a good one-liner that encompasses a lot of what I feel sometimes.

I read the tech magazines and have my cool 2600 shirts, but no one can relate. Nearly everyone I know has better things to think about, and they don’t give a shit about what it is I do. That is, until they have a problem with some electronic device. But even then, they just want it fixed. They don’t really care what the problem was. They ask, but they don’t listen to the answer or really care for my explanation.

I like to think I know what I’m doing most of the time, and so far it’s working. It’s just that I’m lonely in my enthusiasm about computing. There is no one here like me.

Netflix Errors

You’d never guess what I found today in my DVD player, so I’ll tell you: Night at the Museum. This comes as a surprise only because I sent an envelope back to Netflix last week that should have had this disc in it. I suppose if I haven’t heard anything from them in three weeks, they can just keep whatever movie I sent them and we’ll call it even.

I am posting this here because someone might Google that question and will perhaps find an answer here. I wonder what will happen with the DVD, but this experiment was not intentional. Here are some questions folks may type into the search engine:

  • “What happens if I send the wrong movie back to Netflix?”
  • “Will I get in trouble if I keep a movie from Netflix and return something else?”
  • “What if I got a movie from Netflix, kept the original, and sent a copy back to them*?”
  • “Will the FBI knock on my door if that happened?”
  • “Should I hide my stash?”

Seriously, though, I’ll try to report what happens if anything does happen.

* I doubt I did that.

The Time is Now…

Studying for an IT industry certification is not as fun as it may seem.  Many of my friends have certifications (and some don’t but should) and they always talk about it like it was cake.

I picked up my first certification manual for CompTIA A+ in 2000.  I will take the tests for this certification next Monday, about 7 years after I began studying.  Since the beginning of this journey, CompTIA has changed the objectives twice.  Once in 2003, and last year.  It’s time I bit the bullet and got certified, don’t you think?

That’s the reason I haven’t been blogging lately.  I scheduled these exams last Friday and put my brain to work in a 600-page book that covers the following exam objectives:

A+ Essentials (Exam 640-201):

  1. Personal Computer Components
  2. Laptops and Portable Devices
  3. Operating Systems
  4. Printers and Scanners
  5. Networks
  6. Security
  7. Safety and Environmental Issues
  8. Professionalism and Communication

A+ IT Technician (Exam 640-202):

  1. Personal Computer Components
  2. Laptops and Portable Devices
  3. Operating Systems
  4. Printers and Scanners
  5. Networks
  6. Security
  7. Safety and Environmental Issues
  8. Professionalism and Communication

The overall objectives of both exams are the same, but I’m sure the IT Technician exam is a bit more technically in-depth and focused on actual field support than the Essentials exam.  For instance, the IT Technician exam objectives include performing preventive maintenance on printers and scanners while the Essentials exam stops short of that.

After one certification with CompTIA (they have many, including Network+, Security+, Linux+ and more) I can use the CompTIA logo on my business card and resume.  In college I learned that it sometimes helps to just put a logo on there.  Same for Microsoft, Cisco, and Novell certifications.  Catches their eye.  Although now most large corporations run your resume through a computer to find matches.  Logos don’t help when you’re being selected by an Intel Processor and a Perl script.

I’ll be busy until Monday afternoon.


Nobody Cares, That’s Why.

I’ve read Dvorak on and off for years now. I’m still not sure if I like him, but I read an article today about the media dumbing stuff down for its readers. I get his point, and I readily agree, but there is something missing: reader interest.

John fusses about a New York Times article dumbing down the term “hexadecimal” and continues to talk about how people might should be bombarded with computer related terms and acronyms. He says that if they want to know, they’ll summon a dictionary or Google for a bit of learning. He asks

I just wonder when exactly The Times stopped calling automobiles horseless carriages. And when did it stop using velocipede for bicycle? The Times story reflects a much larger issue: Exactly how much jargon should be incorporated into the general lexicon? We’re not in 1850 anymore.

I must submit my own two cents: Sure, we now call the horseless carriage an automobile, but the average driver does not know what the EGR valve is or does. I doubt they care. My father just had his EGR valve replaced for around $400, and still has no idea what it is. All he knows is that his truck runs smoother now. Stay with me – there is a point.

In the same light, everybody knows, generally, what a computer is. They just don’t know everything about it. Or how it works. Nor do they care, just as long as it keeps working. My mother doesn’t care one bit about the fact that I run Fedora Core 5 in runlevel 3 and with that machine I am able to keep up with my home IP address via a Google Gadget. It also runs home automation tasks with some open soure software called Heyu. As long as my mother can play solitare just as she has for the past ten years, she can’t give a hoot about how much RAM she has, or that it’s DDR. I might note that she is not mechanically enclined, either.

There is nothing wrong with that. I can understand operating systems and set up networks, but I can’t read music or sell insurance. I don’t know what an F-stop is or how to use it (adjust it?). I can change my own oil and manage my finances, but I don’t know that I could provide in-home care for the elderly or disabled. We all have our specialties and don’t have the time or interest to learn others, John C. Dvorak included.

Um, You Forgot Something

I am just about this (||) close to trashing Vista now. One more feature I need tonight was standard in XP but is now only included in Vista Business and Ultimate. I need to talk to the government, and damn me if I don’t have to fax something. I don’t (like many others) have a facsimile at home. Why would I ever need one if I have a computer, right? Ha! If I had one it would be out in the shed, and I’d have to go dig it out about once every two years. I found my workaround in XP when I started using the Windows Fax Wizard. Why wouldn’t it be in Vista?

I guess it’s in the Business and Ultimate editions because those folks, after buying their new software licenses, can’t afford a damn fax machine anymore. The fortunate kids who saved a couple of hundred on a good cheap laptop with Home Premium will have to forgo the fax and buy another clunky piece of junk to use once per American marriage.

I’m now going to use CutePDF to get a portable document and e-mail those deprecated people at the State Department of Revenue.

This is Personal

Sometime last semester, I got really angry at a lot of people, and began feeling jaded toward society in general. Working full time and attending a traditional university was pretty demanding, on top of caring for my family. Depression seemed to set in, and I had been crapped on by too many people in simple situations, like the gas station attendant never making eye contact, some fat lady nearly causing a traffic jam trying to put her straw in her drink, and, yes, another fat lady not knowing what her job is at the auto parts store. These fucking people, I thought. What a place to live. One morning in class I decided I’d had enough and did what I always do during these times: I sit down and write. So I wrote:

I can’t begin to explain my declining state of mind. Something is missing. I am becoming apathetic, yet hostile at the same time. I am angry at society and its current state. Most people are rude, and it’s either because they were raised that way or they are megalomaniacs. People are hypocrites with earth-friendly stickers on their cars from which they throw trash on the road. They smoke cigarettes and eat pure cooked fat, then declare it a shame that Uncle Jimmy died of a coronary at 46, when he weighed 300 pounds. They wear gold and diamonds that shine in the headlights of other cars on the highway when their grossly neglected vehicle has finally given up. It’s the same $600 car with $1500 wheels on it.

These are the same peole who snap at you for trying to hand them your credit card when you can just swipe it yourself, and only point you in a general direction when you’re looking for something in a store. These are the people who don’t speak when you hold the door for them, as if you owe it to that person. These are the people who share their telephone conversations with everyone in the restaurant and seem to have the hardest time driving while conducting business on said device.

I don’t know where I’m going with this – I just want to sit down and learn how computers work, be left alone right now and not be bothered. But one cannot live without going out for needed items, forcing me out into the jungle of rudeness and hostility. Maybe it’s because I’m white, or because I don’t look like everyone else, but it’s probably just because I’m on the same road or in their store, bothering them to no end. It’s not as if she wouldn’t have a job without paying customers, is it?

I was taking anthropology at the time, and it hit some nerves. The instructor is an atheist, and he really hit home on some topics I’d been toying with on a personal level for some time. The class was very invigorating, and struck the match that lit my fire.

I had been a struggling agnostic leaning toward atheism until I took anthropology. One night the professsor was talking about the significance we as humans imbue upon objects, events, and basically anything we can summon words for. This lecture told me exactly what I needed to hear: God exists because we invented a god. That statement is really for another article.

I have always been a believer in the purely physical and systematically proven concepts. I love it. I can touch it. I can explain it. I deducted from my observations that anything, with time, can be logically explained. I found this in mathematics, when I was trying to explain to Beth how I know that even though I can’t actually define the exact value of the square root of 3, I still know that its square is the number 3. It’s because it works for any square root. That also may be for another article.

All this to say that since I have decided that God does not exist in any form, my methods of thinking about most everything have changed. I have released the significance of many things, and this in turn has granted me liberty from our society. In my mind, I am truly free. There are many benefits to this, but there are also some drawbacks. One drawback is that my new level makes me socially awkward, and unlike 90 percent of America. That said, I don’t have many friends here in South Georgia. That’s okay, though, because I’ve always been socially awkward and without many friends. The pros outweigh the cons.

Don’t get me wrong – I still pay my taxes, I respect people, and I even bow my head when someone wants to pray at the dinner table. I just don’t give any significance to the animocity of some people, the $10.00 “Pray for Our Troops” magnets, or a scratch on my car’s finish. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a car.

It’s just a watch. A shirt. No matter what the commercial says, that diamond necklace only has the significance that you give it. To a monkey, it’s just shiny. To a fish, it’s probably something to eat. To a rock, it’s a relative. What is it to you?

My dad once told me when I was having a fit about life that I must choose to be happy. I couldn’t understand that because it wasn’t that simple at the time. On a lower level, I was angry at the way things were and how I didn’t have any money. I couldn’t maintain my attitude about those things and simply choose to be happy. So when I changed my mind about the significance of money, of other peoples’ opinions of me, and found out what is really important, I was able to make that choice to be happy. I have made my choice, and I am happy.

I realize I may have lost the respect of a few people in light of this, but I am prepared. I have in no way intended to imply that your belief is wrong – only that I may not share the same beliefs with you. If you have been offended, feel free to comment. I am finally ready to defend myself.

Google Works Like Gravity

Since I posted my dealings with Streets & Trips 2007 and Windows Vista using an older device that came with the same program, a few people have found this site and have been helped. I didn’t advertise, but I trusted Google (and, okay, maybe the other search engines too) and folks found my solution to this problem. I am grateful I was able to provide for my fellow man.

Still, Microsoft shouldn’t have done this. Fools – they shouldn’t have tried to force us into buying a new device with 2007. I realize that this could have been an oversight, you see, but it seems too common these days that Microsoft is screwing the little guy. I won’t believe it’s a mistake until some MS executive pays me to say it was.

I was going to wait until Apple gave wireless capability to the iPod to upgrade, but maybe now I’ll wait it out until I can put my headphones on and get turn-by-turn directions from it. That would be the ultimate.