Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Well, I've been at Apple for 3 weeks now and I can honestly say I think I am going to love this job. It's everything Earthlink was and better. Apple is making insane amounts of money right now because of the iPod, in fact we just finished up the fiscal year and have had the best year EVER at Apple. So that's good. As I may have mentioned before, I am a Tier 2 agent. However, for the first 2 months I will be working in the capacity of Tier 1. This means I have time to adjust to how things work here and learn the ropes without being rushed. The training is absolutely phenomenal. I've never experienced anything like it. Earthlink's training was awesome, Apple's is... without words to describe it. Just plain good. Benefits at Apple are insanely good. Discounts at Apple and affiliates are mind boggling (60% off Monster Cable. Up to $5,000 off a new car through Volkswagon. Etc.) The atmosphere... so laid back. Dress code casual, nearly non-existant. The people are friendly and knowledgable. I know quite a few people already, from Earthlink and even HP. The pay... is the best I have ever received. The only thing that slightly sucks is driving for 30 miles, nearly an hour each way. However in January our lease is up and we are looking at moving to Elk Grove.

If anyone wants/needs a job, gimme your resume. Email me at dnewell@apple.com, dash16@gmail.com, or dash16@mac.com. We are hiring right now. If you are a software engineer, drop me a line. If you are in sales, or tech support, talk to me. I would like nothing better than to have my friends working with me at this incredible company. I used to hate Macs. As we approach the Intel crossover next year, the line between PCs and Macs will blur, and if you harbor an unnatural hate for Macs as I used to you may want to consider opening your mind. I'm not a switcher; you can pry my PC from my cold dead hands. But I will be getting a Mac as soon as I can afford it, an iBook in fact. The way I look at it, a man with one tool in his toolchest is a fool. There are many tools for different problems, and I intend to avail myself of as many of the tools I can.

Dual boot Yellow Dog Linux/ Mac OS X 10.4 baby. Gonna take over the world.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Been playing Fable: The Lost chapters for the PC. Great game, superb even. Haven't had this much fun since KOTOR 2. Fable has a very intricate morality system. If you walk into a town, go into someone's house and search their bookshelves for items and remove them, you will be punished if someone sees you do it. The owner of the house will run off and find a guard, who will come and offer to take the fine for stealing or breaking and entering or lockpicking or whatever it is the villager reported, and if you decline to pay they will attack you. Different crimes have different penalties, for instance if you kill a guard its a $2000 fine, if you are trespassing in someone's house it is only $150. The key is not to get caught if you are going to break the law. When you build up your stealth skill high enough you can lockpick and steal items from shop owners. At night, when everyone is sleeping and the guards are patroling, you can break into a shop and steal things. Whenever you do something wrong like this you get evil points; when you do good things like kill a bandit or give money to someone who needs it you get good points.

I'm playing through the first time evil cause its easier to do. Even breaking barrels in town for items like healing potions or food is vandalism and stealing, and you get fined for it. Also, sometimes in the heat of combat you could accidentally target a friendly and take them down, evil points galore. Kinda different from most RPGs, where you can walk into everyone's house, break their pots or boxes or open their treasure chests for money or food or items and no one cares. I'm focusing on strength and speed and melee attacks, next time through I'll play the Gandalf/Elminster/Merlin character and be an uber good magic user.

The world is alive, more so than any game I have played. In the wild between cities you will run into traders and people traveling to go to other towns, there is a day and night system so if you arrive at town in the middle of night and need to buy something shops will be closed. You can talk to everyone, maybe not have in depth conversations but there are different actions and expressions you learn along the way. Such as flirting, flexing your muscles, standing in a heroic pose, belching, pretending to be a chicken, and so on. You can have women (or men) fall in love with and marry you. You can buy real estate, fix it up, live in it or rent it out. You can make money by buying goods in one town and selling them for more money in another town. And there isn't an unlimited supply of goods, items will actually sell out until they get another shipment in. You can punt chickens for points (or just for fun), compete in an archery range for prizes, escort traders to towns and have them follow or wait in places while you clear out the bandits or monsters ahead.

I haven't even gone into the elaborate skills and leveling system. Its very easy to make whatever kind of character you want. Offensive magic user, beserker melee barbarian, stealthy rogue sniper. Storyline is decent, kinda cliche/predictable, but maybe there's a plot twist coming I haven't seen yet.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


So far so good with Apple. My background check went fine, orientation starts on the 21st. Job will start on the 26th. Only final hurdle is a drug check, and I'm clean.

I've been doing some work for Ashley's stepdad in the meantime for his photography business, mostly sorting and balancing images and updating his website. He wants me to create a shopping cart system so people can buy photographs from him online, but I honestly think it is beyond my current web skills. As much as I think I know, I still have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. I think the shopping cart would take some other programming that I don't know right now, probably something like PHP. I don't know enough even to know what I'm going to need to learn in order to do it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

How to Bypass Most Firewall Restrictions and Access the Internet Privately


This is a great walkthrough on how to turn your home PC into a proxy server and how to SSH to it from a remote site.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


So last Monday I got a call from an Apple recruiter. I was having lunch with Ashley so she set up a time to call me back on Tuesday. Tuesday came, she called, I liked what she was offering so she set up a technical phone interview with a supervisor later that day. Supervisor called, I answered his questions with ease, and the recruiter called back to schedule an interview at Apple on Friday.

Apple is in Elk Grove, kind of a far drive for me.

Friday comes, I put on my best clothes and drive on down. The application and interview process took about an hour, I think I did really well. The position they are offering is a tier 2 position, so right off the bat I'd be getting as much as I did at Sutter. Benefits would start day one of working there, and I'd get discounts on Apple products. They even have a 3 week training class to ensure we are ready to take calls.

I should hear back by Monday or Tuesday this coming week. This could be a great job.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


In this day and age, the common employee is disposable. Take contractors. Being a contract employee basically means you get paid less to do the same job as a full time employee, you get no benefits, and you have no job rights. At any time an employer may terminate a contract employee without having to give any reason at all. They are filler, to get the job done when faced with budget constraints and/or an imminent need for help. The last three jobs I worked at started off as contract work. Earthlink through TAC staffing, HP through Volt Services, and Sutter through TekSystems. Earthlink was nice, I worked 3 months as a contract employee (basically a trial period) and after that I was hired on full time. At HP I was brought in to serve a need; they were outsourcing their call center to India and Canada and needed someone to stay until the transition was complete. Part of the reason I was brought in at Sutter was to help with the additional call volume of aquiring California Pacific Medical Centers in the Bay area, some thousands of additional customers to support. I have felt the good and bad of being a contractor, and today I felt the teeth.

At about 5:10 PM I got a call from my contact at TekSystems, the outstanding man who got me my job and has been nothing but nice to me. He called to inform that my contract at Sutter had been terminated today.

Initial reaction was denial.

I had just heard a few weeks ago from another employer at TekSystems, who happens to the the Sutter liason (and who also is an incredibly nice lady) that my contract had been extended to the end of the year. I was just about to tell him he should talk to her about that when he kept on going, intent on giving me the whole story up front.

The bottom dropped out of my stomach and has since not returned.

Apparently I am not a team player. I am not courteous with customers on the phone. I have a bad habit of surfing the internet or reading between calls or while I am on the phone.

The only truth to any of this is my internet browsing. I do not believe it is/was a problem, but the fact of the matter is this: if it was a problem, my supervisor or manager should have approached me and informed me that what I was doing was a problem. I didn't see my performance suffering as a result, I made just as many if not more tickets than most of the people there. Plain and simple, from day one I have been kept out of the loop. No one saw fit to tell me anything that was going on in my job, even things that directly impacted me. Two weeks ago they moved my desk. I was told the day of, a few minutes before the time for me to move to shut down and move my computer. Last week they changed our extensions around. I was on the phone with a customer when the telco technician yanked my phone line. My phone was down for an hour and a half, and the ticketing system was down as well so I literally couldn't work for over an hour. Again, no prior notice. A month or so after I started working, one of the guys there was installing updates on my machine while I was on the phone with a customer, the computer rebooted, and I lost any work or notes I had created for that customer. I basically had to ask them to call back because my computer just restarted. Again, not a word of what was going on to me. Last week we started using a template to record all of our notes in the ticketing system. I was told the day of that I was doing things wrong and needed to use this new way of recording notes.

I took EVERYTHING in stride. Fine, I thought, They can't tell me everything that goes on in my job. I never was unprofessional in any way at any of these times, despite the fact that I was basically given the shaft. The only time I was ever approached about anything was when my manager told me I couldn't wear sandals to work. Guess what? I stopped wearing sandals. I have consistantly been above average when it comes to call volume. We get a weekly summary of the help desk average and our own personal average, and nearly every day I am well above average in terms of numbers. As far as quality goes, I solve a good number of tickets and I route most tickets to the proper place. Its quite hard to be 100% when it comes to ticket routing, even people who have been there for years still send the occasional ticket the wrong way. I have never, not once been approached about my decorum with customers or my "lack" of being a team player. I have never, not ever lost my cool or professionalism with a customer on the phone. Not once. Sure, after the call I may vent, but I don't carry on about it.

This has been a complete shock. I guarentee I was better than most of the other contractors there, I've seen the numbers, I've read the tickets that come back to us. I was nothing but helpful to my fellow teammates, and in turn was told I wasn't a team player. I am respectful and professional with every person that called in to me, every email I responded to, every voicemail I transcribed. I never, not once disobeyed any order my superiors gave to me, I never got into arguements with my coworkers, I never got pissed at a customer and let it show to them while I was talking to them. As far as I knew I was an above average employee, and yet they shut the door on my back without even trying to explain anything to me. They childishly, cowardly ended my employment after I had already gone home for the day, in the middle of the week no less.

I will not let this get to me.

I will be the better man, I will explain myself and my actions to TekSystems, and hopefully they will have me employed again soon.

Addendum: I am a little disappointed. For once, I was using my skills and knowledge towards something worthwhile, supporting hostpitals and the infrastrucute behind them. My efforts were actually going toward saving lives. Maybe not directly, but indirectly. My last jobs were hardly this noble, I wouldn't say helping people connect to the internet or helping a corporate executive sort his email were earth shatteringly helpful, in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


So we got a Roomba after our wedding, with some of the gift cards we received, some store credit, and a bit of cash. Real nice, vaccuums the whole apartment, even under the sofa. Word of advice? Make sure you know where your dog is when Roomba's doing its thing. Chester left a nice big pile in the wake of the Roomba, and when we found it it was going over the same spot over and over trying to get the crap up.

Brushes, dust bin, grill, wheels... all clogged with Chester doodie.

You don't know haet until you've cleaned dog shit out of your $250 robotic vaccuum cleaner.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 5

I believe I am finished. I actually had to reinstall windows, this time started from SP1. After tinkering with things for a while, I concluded that the problems I was having could be attributed to a crappy screensaver. I downloaded this screensaver that had some pretty cool 3d effects, but after a while the screensaver would stutter and flash white overlay like it was trying to induce seizures. I had applied the screensaver to basically test the 3d card over long periods of time, but have since given up on it. Doom3 runs fine at 1024x768 on high with everything turned on. UT2004 plays flawlessly at the same settings and everything turned to MAX. Thief 3 is a little glitchy, but it may be running better now. Splinter Cell 3 ran great, but I uninstalled it cause I couldn't find a crack.

So windows is up to date (SP2 with all the updates), NAV 2005 antivirus installed, Office 2003, Daemon tools and tons of ISOs. This beast is ready to go.

Happy 7Eleven day, go get a free slurpee already.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 4

Well, the new video card is here. I am posting this from the completed computer, and so far so good. The card I bought was cheaper, faster, and just overall better. Which just goes to show, ordering parts online is the way to go. Here is a screenshot of the desktop with the applied skin:

Monday, July 04, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 3

It's amazing how many problems you run into building a PC. From limitations in software, to hardware incompatibilities, to defective hardware/software, it can be a rocky road constructing a PC from the ground up. The first Windows XP SP2 CD I created had some problems... probably due to the customization I built into the install. I had to create another CD, sans customization, so I can use it on other PCs I build. Now that windows is functioning like I want it to, its time to load up with software. Mouse and keyboard drivers had to be updated with versions from Logitech's website, audio and video drivers all downloaded... I'm beginning to wonder why manufacturers even bother bundling CDs with their product. Odds are you are going to need to download new versions of it to be compatible with everything else. For instance, the mouse software worked fine, in everything except Firefox. Didn't recognize the back/forward buttons. Updated software, now it works fine.

The video card I got from Best Buy needs to go back. I've been wrangling with wierd graphics problems for 2 days now, and I've run out of viable options. I've removed and reinstalled the Catalyst drivers twice now, once with Driver Cleaner to remove any tidbits left behind. I get wierd graphics glitches... occasionally it will stutter, in the simplest things like a 3d screen saver or the 3D view in the Catalyst Control Center. Sometimes the whole screen will spasm with white overlay. Half the games I installed won't even run. Some do run, and they run beautifully, like UT2004 (with all the graphics turned up to MAX). Half-Life 2 runs, if a bit choppy at times. Haven't even tried Doom3 yet, but I'm sure it will have problems. Max Payne 2 wouldn't run, Far Cry had this wierd glitchy thing where it ran really fast, and crashed 75% of the time. I've ordered a new card from NewEgg and am going to have to wait until I get it to continue work on the computer, as you need a display adapter in order to see what is going on in the computer. Can't exactly work blind... although I could try and boot it and remote to the machine from my computer. Nah, better to just give it a rest for a bit, getting kinda burnt out.

I loaded a sweet looking skin for Windows, really goes with the whole blue and black theme I've got going. Will post a screenshot of it once I've got the new card installed.

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Taking a break from posting about the computer. It's nearly done, I'll create another post once I'm satisfied. In the meantime, here's Mario. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Building a new computer, Part 2

So, the rest of the parts came today. Err, yesterday... as I write this it is indeed Saturday. As I started photographing all of the parts for this blog, I realized that somehow the video card I had picked out disappeared! It wasn't in the shipment of parts, it wasn't on the order confirmation, it even disappeared from the wish list I put together. So, I've got all the working parts I need, sans video card. A quick trip to Best Buy remedied that, and I picked up some CPU thermal paste while I was there. I spent a couple hours delicately placing the parts into the insides of the case. I must say, this is the nicest case I have had to work with. Thumb screws. rack slides for the optical drives, removable hard drive rack, 3 fans built into the case (Two 120mm and one 80mm on the side), glossy black finish on a air-light aluminum case. Yep, it's purty. Plus its got nice blue glowy lights all over it. The PSU I ordered matches the case, it has a blue LED inside it and the housing is glossy as well, more of a dark grey. The optical drives and floppy drive as well (gotta update the BIOS and load the SATA driver somehow...).

As I write this, the 500GB SATA2 RAID Ø array is formatting, at 50%. It took some doing to get windows to see the array for what it was. I blame Microsoft for shoddy programming. Did you know that windowsXP, pre SP1 or SP2 couldn't see large hard drives for what they were? Anything larger than 130 GB got truncated. Bad, bad microsoft. So I had to slipstream an install CD, load it up with SP2, SATA drivers, unattended install, and WM player 10, and it is formatting right now. I idly pass the time by writing this blog. Whoopie.

I used to be a night person. 3 AM bedtime was a norm for me. I guess when you gotta wake up at 5:30AM for your job, your sleeping habits change.

Another slight hitch was updating the BIOS. I origionally loaded the updated BIOS along with the SATA RAID drivers on the same floppy. For whatever reason, the BIOS update utility was not seeing the BIOS file, maybe too many other files for it to parse. I copied the BIOS onto another disk along with a backup to the BIOS and it decided to see it and update finally, so I am up to F4 on this board, and the dual core processor is recognized. The hardware is connected, the HDDs are formatting, and soon the OS will be loaded and we have a functional computer. My job will nowhere be complete however, arguably the longest stage is ahead of me: software updates and installs. Gotta bring windows up to date, drivers up to date, apps and games to install.

This picture was taken with the flash off to show how nice the blue LEDs play off the inside of this case. Looks actually took a back seat to horsepower in this bad boy, and yet they turned out rather nice. I think my brother's friend should actually consider naming this computer Tsunami... as the case is called that, and it has the name printed on the front of the case. That would actually make for a pretty cool naming scheme... Tsunami, Earthquake, Volcano... naming your network PCs after natural disasters that is. Check Exit Mundi for more natural disasters and end of the world scenarios.

My brain is beginning to shut down, I am rambling. 70% on the format and no end in site. I've never formatted something as big as 500GB before... glad I went with 500 instead of 600. I am a little worried that the drives are not SATA2... there was no mention of the specification on the drives themselves, and they are OEM so no boxes. Well, NewEgg has them listed as SATA2, and if they are not I will have to take that up with them. Lets post this blog and see how it looks, shall we?

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Building a new computer

So, I have been commissioned to build a new PC. My brother's friend is back from a 2 year haitus from the world and he needs a PC to do video editing. He gave me a budget of $2000 and told me to go buck wild. Well, not exactly buck wild, but he asked me to build a machine that I would want to have. So, for the next few days, I am going to document the building process of the machine.

We'll start with an list of parts. I ordered everything off http://www.newegg.com. NewEgg is, hands down, the best online retailer of computer parts. Fast, cheap shipping, excellent customer service, top notch hardware. You can view the wishlist I put together for the computer HERE. The CPU and motherboard came today. If you were too lazy to click the above link to see what they were, I'm gonna tell and show you.


I ordered a brand spanking new Athlon 64 X2. That's right ladies and gents, this is one of those splendiferous dual core processors we've all heard so very much about. The AMD is clocked at 2.2 GHZ, but it's a 4200+, which means in AMD terms this baby performs like a P4 running at 4.2 GHZ.

/me wipes the sweat from his brow

It's hot in California. Oh, and check out the behemoth heat sink below...

That is, by far, the largest and coolest stock cooling device I have seen bundled with a CPU. And look, it's even got heat pipe technology. AMD sure has come a loooong way.


Now, to back up this incredible brain powering the entire computer you need a fantastic motherboard. Quite literally, you can have the best and greatest individual components making up the different parts of the computer, but if you skimp on the motherboard you are gonna pay for it. The motherboard connects all of the parts together. I mean ALL of them. And a bad motherboard can do things like fry your nice expensive components to a crisp. So, ALWAYS spend extra money on the board, you will not regret it.

This board is chock full of the latest and greatest features. SATA2, PCI Express, something like 10 USB2 ports, Firewire B, Dual Channel DDR 400, Dual gigabit LAN, and 8 channel audio. Now, the one downside is currently, there is not an official supported BIOS for this board that supports the A64 X2. I managed to find a beta BIOS, but I am a little weary to try it. It shouldn't be too long before an official supported BIOS is out... I hope. ***Edit: Well, that was quick. Official BIOS is out.***

I'll update again when the rest of the parts arrive.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Our new dog

This is Chester. He is 100% Pomeranian, 75% fluff, 1% annoying, and 3 pounds soaking wet. Posted by Hello

So, about a month ago Ashley was jonesing for a puppy. One day over AIM she just kept saying "puppy" over and over again, like she had invented a new language. Puppy, puppy puppy puppy-pup-pup puppy. Also, Puppy. I took the hint, she found one she wanted, and we drove out 30 minutes down to South Sacramento to a private breeder and purchased our dog. Incidentally, the family we bought him from was Vietnamese as well, so our dog is Vietnamese. Chester is so adorable, even the über macho man Tony exclaimed he was the cutest dog he had ever seen.

I am amazed at how smart he is. Already, after not even one month, he is about 75% housebroken and going in a litterbox. We've taught him to sit, lie down, stand up and balance on his hind legs for a short time, and we are working on shaking paws. We are crate training him and have confined him to a small area in out living room, probably will be there for another month or so until he is 100% housebroken. Then we just gotta stop him from chewing on things... but that should come after the teething stage has gone.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Attention Dog Guardians

Thought this picture was funny. Oh yeah, I have a dog now. More on that later. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

Succumb to the Dark Side

This was linked a while ago on Slashdot, but I'll put it here cause its damn funny.

Darth Vader's Blog

This blog is written from Darth Vader's POV, from the beginning of Empire and through Return of the Jedi, probably up until the end. Extremely funny, here is an excerpt of the entry where he froze Han Solo in carbonite:

"Human science experiments. A meditation on sculpture.

Today we put Captain Solo into the carbon freezing chamber, in order to test the system before capturing Luke Skywalker for delivery to my master, Sidious, on Coruscant. Everything went swimmingly -- the punk smuggler was put into perfect stasis. And people question the merits of human experimentation!

Captain Solo's body was half-visible, fused in mid-emergence from the face of the carbon brick. He was frozen in a cry of agony, hands grasping like claws, pelvis turned.

It made a beautiful sculpture. A perfect captured moment of a man in bondage, his heart blackened by hopelessness and pain.

It really spoke to me. Made me feel weird."

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Saw the movie opening day with my wife, with Vince, Dan, Stephen, and Tony. I must say, I was a little weary after reading MJ Simpson's short spoiler-free review. He made it sound like an absolute travesty, an insult to Douglas Adams' legacy. Well, I am happy to say that this is absolute bunk; the movie rocked. Yes, it was not letter for letter the same as the book, a lot was changed, left out, or otherwise altered. This does NOT make it a bad movie, quite the contrary. H2G2 is and always will be a story constantly in flux. From the BBC Radio series to the Commodore64 video game (which is now available as a flash game on the BBC website) to the TV series (which I have not seen, but would love to) to the increasingly misnamed trilogy of 5 books, to the towel, the story varies from medium to medium. The movie more so than any other before, but it is still H2G2. Now, you may not exactly get it if you haven't experienced any of these medium, but it is still a good movie. My wife has not read the books, and she liked the movie.

I am currently reading the Ultimate HitchHiker's Guide again, and am surprised to see how many little things were in the movie that were direct homage to the book that I did not notice before. For instance, the book describes Prosser as being a direct descendant to Ghengis Kahn, and as such has unexplained visions of battle and a strange predilection for little fur hats. The movie says none of this, however I believe Prosser is wearing the fur hat. Also, the book talks about the Vogons and how the forces of evolution had given up on them but they did survive. It then mentions the "scintillating jeweled scuttling crabs" (which were in the movie), and the "elegant gazellelike creatures with silken coats and dewey eyes" which the Vogons would catch, sit on, and break their backs. There was a chair that a Vogon was sitting on in the movie that at first to me looked like the dog statue from Friends (with a broken back), but after reading the book's description I realized what it was. There are lots of little inside jokes like this that fans and dedicated diehards will love, such as Marvin from the TV series standing in line at the Vogon paperwork office.

I guess Disney is already talking about filming the sequels. They don't really need to go as far as "Mostly Harmless" or even "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (SLATFATF)", but it would pretty pretty spiffy if they did. Now that I think of it, "SLATFATF" would be hard to pull off, seeing as it deals with the Arthur's return to the Earth. At the end of the movie, they saw it fit to have the Margratheans complete Earth mk 2 but leave Arthur out of it. I guess they could work it in somehow, but they'll really have to start mucking about with the story and that would piss quite a few people off. As I understand it a lot of people are pissed about the movie anyways, but they can all eat their towels as far as I care. I liked the movie dammit, and I wanna see it again after I finish the books again.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Whats left of Ashley's car. A Truck rear ended us at an intersection and totaled it. Posted by Hello

That sucks

I suppose I should explain the pictures above. On Monday, April 11th, 5 days before our wedding, we were in a car accident. We were on the way to pick up my car from Der Wagon and had to stop at a green light because traffic was backed up in it. Almost instantly we were rear ended by a teenager who was, and I quote, "Checking the price of gas" on the corner. In retrospect, the time between us stopping and us getting hit seemed like an eternity, things were going in slow motion. I wasn't seriously hurt, just some cuts from the flying glass of our rear window and some aches and pains the day after, but Ashley has severe whiplash according to her doctor. We have been to the Chiropractor three times since the accident, and she feels a lot better now. We are still dealing with the insurance company, but we have some help with that since Ashley's father is a lawyer.

Kinda chilling. The insurance adjuster came out last week to look at the car (it is parked at her mom's house right now) and said he had seen cars in better condition where people had died. O_o I guess since the kid who hit us truck was lifted up so high, it only crumpled the trunk and bashed the window, never hit the frame and transferred energy into our bodies. He hit us at about 35, you should see the damage to his truck. Negligible. He had a big ass bumper and a wench on the front of his lifted truck, I think all he broke on his car was a turn signal lens. In the meantime, our car isn't safe to drive, the adjuster says that it is totalled, so we have a rental.

I guess Ashley's mom said that someone at Intel had a similar accident and got a settlement of ~$60,000. Considering the accident happened 5 days before our wedding... well, I hope we can expect similar numbers. Maybe some good will come of this. The week before the accident we started taking dance lessons so we could have a nice dance for our first at the wedding. We had 2 classes, learned about 6 moves and were practicing to get it down right. After the accident Ashley was in too much pain from the whiplash to dance, so we couldn't practice. Come the wedding day, nearly every step was forgotten and we looked like a couple high school kids at Prom. I can't get that back, but maybe a settlement will fix it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Married Life

So, got married on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, everything was great despite the numerous problems that plagued us. But I try to focus on the good things. You can see some of the pictures here, they were taken by Ashley's friend Kat.

The job a Sutter is coming along, training was weak but fortunately they are pretty lax on what they want me to do. So far I have been working on email issues, which is nice because there is almost no direct interaction with the customer. Either they have enough information for me to fill out a ticket for them or they don't, and I send it back to them. Piece of cake, except the email system has been going haywire so I've had a lot of downtime. Today I started taking voicemails, which is alright. I'm kinda fearing getting thrown into the queue to take blind calls, there is SOOOO much to learn here, what department supports what, what applicatations there are, etc etc etc. It'll come with time I'm sure.

I picked up Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory at CompUSA on sale for $29, I'm stoked to start playing it. Ashley said I couldn't start until after the wedding, and it is after! Just need to clear up some hard drive space and install it...

/me can't wait

*Edit* Oh yeah, almost forgot. My titanium frameless polycarbonite lens glasses BROKE yesterday... frikkin piece of crap. Called up the optometrist and they gotta order the part... so I am only driving and watching minimal amounts of TV with my glasses on, as they are giving me a headache wearing them broken.

Friday, April 08, 2005

More on outsourcing, job update, and maybe pickles.

I'm writing this from the training computer at my new job at Sutter in the IT department. Kinda funny, Sutter Health doesn't refer to us as Sutter Health IT, because then our acronym would be SHIT. I started my job on Wednesday, and so far I think I am really going to like it here. Has the same vibe I got at Earthlink, the sense of closeness between coworkers, not the detached feeling I sort of got at HP.

Anywho, outsourcing. Went off on it in my last blog update, going to vent some more in light of this news post, courtesy of the Indian Times. It seems that as many as 12 call center employees of MsourcE, and outsource call center located in India, (who, coincidentally, is the same company Earthlink uses to outsource) stole approximately $350,000 USD from customers of one of the the companies that they are outsourcing for. Now, to put things in perspective, call centers reps in India make about $20,000 a year, give or take. This is quite a bit of money, as the cost of living in India is pretty low.


350,000.00 USD (United States Dollars) = 15,281,000.00 INR (India Rupees)

15 million India Rupees. Not sure how much a rupee gets you in India, but 15 million of them sounds like an awful lot.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Splinter Cell 3 demo score. Next step is to go through knocking out the least amount of people possible, no killing, etc. To be a ghost. Posted by Hello

Earthlink revolves around poo.


Anyone whos seen the new Earthlink ads on TV knows what I am talking about. "Who deserves a new office?" or "Who gets a company car?". I for one, am furious.

For those of you who don't know, I worked at Earthlink from August of 2001 until February of 2004. I loved it there. We were like a family, we had a lot of fun, it was just an overall great place to work. That started to change in the beginning of 2003, when Earthlink announced that they would be outsourcing all of their dialup tech support. Earthlink has always outsourced, just not on this scale. The Natomas office where I started closed and we moved to Roseville, no big deal. The feeling of family was starting to leave, however, things seemed to be getting darker. Our higher-ups assured us that they had no intention of outsourcing our high speed products like DSL/cable/satellite, that these postions were secure. What a crock. In January of 2004, right after the new year starts, we get the news: Earthlink would be outsourcing all of their phone based support, email and live chat as well. We had essentially six or seven weeks until everything went bye-bye.

Overseas outsourcing is getting very popular. Dell did it. Dell went from number one in customer support to number two, maybe even further down; Apple, whose call centers are stateside, rose to the top. Dell aknowledged their mistake and bought back tech support to the states. Basically, what a company gains by outsourcing is money. It is cheaper to send support overseas than keep it here. I guess there is a fine line to be aware of, that is, how much your customer base can stand talking to someone whose first language is not English. Not that I am racist, not that I am a xenophobe, but I believe that it is incredibly important that you and the person on the other end of the phone have an understanding with one another for it to work. We were told that if Earthlink kept their call centers in the US of A, within a year the company could fold. So it was in the company's best intrest to save money by sending support elsewhere. It was hard for us to accept, but we all moved on with our lives. I wouldn't trade anything for my time with the company, the people I worked with were awesome.

Which brings me up to date on the rant I had going. What. The. Fuck. "Who gets a company car?" "We did such a good job on scamblocker please reward our efforts!". What about the THOUSANDS of call center employees who were let go because of money problems? Is Earthlink saying now it has money, it is going to reward the few employees they kept? I find the whole thing insensitive and downright immoral. A scant year later Earthlink is in the clear, so select few get new offices and cars.

cl_rant 0

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Blog you, mother blogger.

Got back from meeting... ouch. Had to shell out $3k for food, and we have just about that much left to pay as well. Next week. Fortunately, after that, we won't have much left to pay for, just rentals of some decorative equipment, DJ and Officiant fees, cake... I think that's it.

Started playing Hitman: Contracts, and I must say I am happy with it. Didn't think Hitman2 was as good as the first, and Contracts started off kinda the same, but I was pleasantly surprised that some of the missions from the first game were in it. I can understand how a lot of people might feel gyped because of the rehash, but I enjoyed playing the same missions again. For one, they were slightly different, and the graphics were better. Plus, the hotel mission from the first game is, hands down, one of my favorite missions from any game, ever. The sheer bad-assness of starting the level with a metal detector and needing to ditch all your guns and walk around pretty much defenseless with TWO targets to nuetralize... awesome. You can snipe the cops at the beginning and take a uniform to pass the detectors, but if you want a Silent Assassin rating you can't exactly do that. I've been playing the game trying to be as stealthy as possible, getting a Silent Assassin rating on about half the missions. But when it came time for the assassination of Lee Hong (again)... I went a little gung-ho with the micro-uzi and wiped out nearly everyone in the restaurant. Which is pretty much how I finished that mission the first time in the first game. Oh well, maybe one of these days I'll go back and play it, super-stealthy style.

Commence with the bloggings

Well, it seems everyone and their mom has a blog, I figured it was about time I had one as well. And what better blog service to use than Google's? I don't know how often I'll update or the rhyme or reason as to why I'll update.

Short list of things happening in my life:

*Got hired by Teksystems yesterday for a contract job out at Sutter Health in Rancho Cordova. After 6 months of being unemployed, I finally have a source in income again.
*Getting married April 16th, 2005. 23 days to go...
*Have a new apartment, it's pretty sweet. Has water meandering through the complex, and a swarm of ducks live here.

Well, I am off to meet with our site coordinator to finalize the food for the wedding.