Saturday, November 7, 2015

How long will this go on?

How long will this oppression go on? How long will the leaders who cant lead go untouched? Why do people allow this to continue to go on? Will it ever get better?
these are a few of my questions as I take a drag of my cigarette and scan the current news for the day on my local paper. I glanced up and looked all around at the sea of faces before me. many reading the stories I just had read and I did not see one face get angry with rage at the injustices their eyes just scanned. Everyone just sat there sipping their coffees and let that story sit. Some scrolled across things on their phones not seeming to be interested in the news that will affect them greatly. The shop was busy during the morning rush of people looking to get their caffeine fix before starting the day. It was warm on this autumn day. But the sun was fighting for space in the sky with the clouds. The week before had brought heavy rains and ran off fears of droughts. Now this week we were starting to see the autumn weather we all loved. Crisp air with bright zaps of color as leaves fell down from the trees. It was cold enough to run the heat in the morning but then you turned it off in the afternoon and maybe fired it up again in the evening.
I had spent the previous evening on the phone trying to convince my attorney that we should start a class action suit against a company making sub par parts on a popular vehicle. He tried to tell me that my thinking was out of line and my drinking was blurring my thoughts. I argued my case back and fourth with him for half the evening but in the end he finally gave up and hung up on me. Wait till he sends me his latest bill. Ill make sure it gets lost in the mail. I am sure this company should get heavy fines and lots of bad press. They cannot keep making these cars so shitty. Never mind the safety impact but the people will stop buying them and then they will complain that they cant compete in the global market place. The auto market place is a rough place to be in right now. Every one is cut throat with their pricing and if you don't give the customer the best bang for the buck your sales will fall. I decided to go look for a new car after I finished my coffee.
I dropped a tip on the table and left the coffee shop. A few moments later I was zooming down Smith street at 80 miles an hour looking to beat that god awful red light that comes up suddenly. I got through it as it was pink... Some honking and a few angry drivers, eh, let em bitch! I decided to head over to the car shops at North street. At least there I could get a good selection of cars from all the dealerships and see which one I wanted to buy. I was thinking a new BMW was in order.. I had grown tired of this red Audi with the turbo charger. Maybe I would go with a 7 series with some nice leather. It had been a while since I got leather in a car. I stopped getting it because the heat from the summer sun made sitting in shorts so unbearable. Too many days I had spent driving a useless car that I hated to drive. Now that I have the choice and the power to choose what I want I will always buy the car that I want without settling. If it does not have all the features I want, then I am not buying it. If i want it to have a button press that flips off the person behind me then i better have that option to put that in. Otherwise the car is not for me. Since I came into this fortune I have become the annoying consumer that most sales people don't want to deal with. Because I know exactly what I want and you cannot upsell me unless I planned to go all out on that item anyway. And I'm pushy. If I don't like you I will tell you and you will not be selling me anything. Ill go to a different sales person and ill keep moving around till I find the one that I want to deal with.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Are smart devices causing us attention issues?

You see it all the time. Your out eating and you look over and there is a family of 4 at the other table. No one is looked at each other because they all have their noses buried in their phones. Then you keep watching and one of them asks a question to the other person and the answer is "HUH?" Then they are trying to place their order with the waitress and they cant accurately convey the message of what they want so they get upset and blame the waitress as if its her fault they cannot speak correctly.
Mobile devices have given us unlimited access to countless Gigabytes of data. But what cost does this come with? The ability to work anywhere and look up anything at any place is an awesome concept. But does it cause us to forget common logic and keep us working at times when we should be doing our own things? People tend to lose the ability to unplug and disconnect and take time for themselves. I have done this before and now make sure I take time for myself and let the phone beep and buzz with its updates. I tell myself "we can check them later". Same goes for the other way too. The person sending the email at 1 am may even expect a response, smart devices have created this effect as well. People send messages and think the other person is looking at their data 24/7 no matter what time it is.
I have talked to people of all ages and noticed those who grew up with this technology and use it heavily seem to have some difficulty speaking to people face to face. I do feel that these devices take away the ability for people to communicate if smart devices are used at a younger age. Now there may be classes that will be taught to reinforce proper communication and general conversation skills. But these may be a way off and will not get to all the people that need them now. Is limiting children from using these devices frequently a good way to stop this? Perhaps setting an age limit to say 12 before introducing children to these devices. By this age, they should already have developed decent communication skills and have been through quite a bit of English and grammar teachings.
Smart devices are here to stay, but we need to make sure they do not make us dumb at the same time! People need to learn to "unplug" and truly go off line to relax and keep stress from work to a minimum.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Your post here!

As I posted on my Facebook page, I want the audience to suggest a topic for me to blog on that is tech related. It mayb be something I don't know much about. If it is I will research it and find out more about it and post about it. I love to learn and read about new things and always enjoy expanding my knowledge. My goal for this portal is for it to be a place for people to come and discuss technology. I want the audience to give their feedback and post their love of tech. So think about something you want to read about, suggest it and I will look it up and post a blog about it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Even if you love your career frustration can set in...

There comes a point in every career that you start to have bad days and start to think things, like why do I do this? What is my goal? Do I even want to do this anymore? Does what I do matter to anyone?
If you job is high stress this can come on quicker than in other fields. When it comes to the IT Field you can face high stress almost every day. I started feeling like this about a month ago. The calls would come into the help desk and while trying to deal with those I was doing other projects that required a lot of attention to detail that I could not provide because I was on the phone helping users and doing other things at the same time. I used to wake up and look forward to going to work and facing new challenges. Now I wake up and I have to talk myself into it. I knew there were a ton of projects that I needed to work on but I just did not have the drive. I felt like why bother, there will just be another one right after it and no one cares. Going back to a retail store to stock shelves all day seemed like a better alternative than this. Basically I forgot some of the most important things about myself.
I lost sight of why I got into this field. What I loved about it. What used to drive me to try to be better every day. I wasn't sure how to get it back. Even my co workers could see I was stressed out. I would normally just answer a question and talk a little about something related. Now they would get a one word answer and I was short and barked at them gruffly. I knew it wasn't right to do and they were all working as hard as me, but I felt like I was drowning.
But then one day something good happened. I had several calls in a row and everyone thanked me for my help and told me how wonderful I was to work with. How I always can get them out of a jam and that I was truly a valuable person to have at the desk. Then as I was going through helping people by email requests, they were each coming back saying the same thing. One person said, "I know you guys don't get the respect you deserve sometimes, but this office really appreciates all that your team does for us. That email got flagged and marked in a category called "keep going you're on the right path".... I then had a moment to myself, it was quiet on the desk and my projects were waiting on updates from others that would not come for at least a few hours, so I started cleaning out my desk drawers. They get to become a disaster If I don't try to keep up with them. As I was going through the one drawer a small card fell out, It was a thank you card I got one of the first years I started working there. The person had written up a small note thanking me for the amount of time I took to make sure her offices were up and running and how she was so thankful for the amount of time and effort I put into the task. She said I went above and beyond what was needed and she was thrilled. I had forgotten I had that card. So I put it on my desk near where all my papers sit that I have to work on every day so I could always see it.
I went home that night and made sure I replayed all the good comments and remarks I heard and read throughout the day in my head. I asked the important questions that needed to have answers to make it all clear, "Why do I do this work?" "What gave me my passion for this role so long ago?" I remembered how back when I first got into the computer field, I was not sure what I wanted to do, I didn't know where to start. There were a few people in my neighborhood I talked to all the time, I told them I was looking into getting into computer work. they all asked me for some small help on the computer. Basic stuff, how to get AOL to dial up right, (I know, no body remembers that stuff!) How to make Windows 98 run a little quicker. All small things I knew how to do. And each person was so happy I could help them in some small way. They all said I had great patience to work with them and I would go far in the field. I realized then that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in a support role to help people with the computer. People need someone who can give them help stay focused and not get upset when its hard to explain to them how to do something. I remember how I would work hard on learning how to talk to people and explain technical things in a way they would understand. I felt better that night.
I woke up the next day and went back to work with a new recharged feeling. It was a hectic day, the desk was really busy. There were several issues going on that needed to be fixed with a few steps each time. I worked with every person until they were working and happy, I stayed calm, focused and did not feel stressed. I was enjoying the challenge. The day went by really quick. It was a great day. I made sure to remember how I felt that night and thought about more ways I could improve. I started reading about some new technology we were going to be using. I made sure to know how to work with it and thought about what issues I could face with this new stuff. I was back. It was great again.
So how do you get back to a place where you love what you do? I don't have all the answers but reminding your self of why you went into that field can help. Also get feed back from others. Find out what drives your peers in the field and why they started in the field as well. Ask co workers to evaluate you and tell you what they feel you need work on. When you have a bad day, before you leave, make sure to shake it off and leave it at work. Go home and doing something you love to do that has nothing to do with your work. Once you feel better try to think about the day and how things went. See if you can find ways to improve things. If you do that after working on a hobby or something you love to do, your mind set will be better and you can look back at the day with a fresh outlook and it may help you make the next day better. If you can do these things to help you feel better about your path again, you will start to have better days. It will bring you back to enjoying what you do again.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A look at what being in IT is like

A lot of times I get asked what is it like to be an IT person? I can sum it up in one word... EXHAUSTING
There is always something new to learn. When I started the company I am at currently, in my first week I had to learn 7 different applications. AT warp speed... a call would come in, this application is not working right.... Ok, what is the application, how do I use it so I know how to tell the end user how to use it or what they are doing wrong. Then I have to learn this other application that helps me do MY job. It was a crazy time.
We as IT people don't get the luxury of taking a weekend to sit down with the manual and read about a new program and figure out how to make it do what we want. we usually learn it during a call with an end user, they need it to run right now and its not a common application like your standard say... photo editor program. When this happens you have to rely on you knowledge of how other applications work and how they are laid out. You have to remember the common things that all applications have that you have seen before, like an options menu, or that the Print command is always in the file menu.
Then on top of learning the 12 new versions of the software that you support that just got released yesterday, you have to be able to rapidly figure out what issue is happening as the next call comes in and be able to use your tools and skills to figure out why a network connection went down. Now there is no internet... and people cant get to their files.... this is a situation that can get even the calmest of managers seeing red and taking swigs of Maalox. If it were still 1999 the internet being down would not be a big deal, the users would have their applications in front of them on their local computer and they could get other things done and calmly wait for the internet to come back up to check their emails. Not so much anymore... Business happens at the speed of the internet and the internet has everything connected. If the internet connection goes down business stops. Money stops flowing. You get that call, you have to get the internet back up if you can or be able to work with the local provider to get the issue fixed. Now you have to be able to quickly troubleshoot from simple to more complex and make sure if its just one user or all the users. Again you have to use all the experience of doing this before to try to determine this quickly so that you can get to a resolution fast and move on to the next call. Now you find out it is the provider and that its out of your hands. Now you have to make sure to convey to the internet provider that the connection needs to be restored and that it needs to happen quickly, and then you have to tell the manager the news and convey that it will be ok and this happens from time to time and it will all get resolved quickly. That brings up another skill you need, the ability to put this into words that anyone can under stand. You cannot tell the finance manager that the T1 circuit is in fail over mode and there is a fiber splice. He will not know what that means and not know what the situation is. You have to be able to tell him that there is a connection issue but it will be resolved but there is physical damage that will have to be repaired by the provider and a crew will be out working on it. You have to be able to explain technical things to a non technical person. That can be hard to master. You are around other It people all day you throw the terms back and fourth constantly all day, "fiber splice," "CAT 5 Cable" Defragment the drive. Then you talk to a non It person and forget your not in the same field. You have to change your explanation on the fly as to what is going on. I see IT people all the time who are good but have trouble putting it into words that someone else can understand.
Its also good to actually learn some of the business aspects of the company you work for. It makes it easier to understand why things are done the way they are in the office. If you learn how the A/P department process payments to go out, you learn more and you may even find ways for them to do it differently that is better than whats done today. Learning some non IT skills is also good. Management love having an IT person that is well rounded. They will feel more confident in your ability and know you have a desire to know your company and learn new things. It can lead to better opportunities and even a little more pay. Which is always a plus.
So the next time you see your IT person and they have their head down and they are staring at their screen, they are not reading some non work thing just goofing off like you think, they are learning the new financial application which is rolling out next week and trying to figure out how to get the California office back online all while trying to explain to the CFO why the cloud costs so much if there is no physical server here in the office!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Time to lace up and roll!

With Summer upon us I decided I had enough time off and it was time to go in search of a summer league to bowl to get back into the swing of things. I have been staying active bowling once a week for fun during sunday mornings but i wanted to get back into the competitive side of the game. I missed being there in the 10 frame knowing your team is down 50 pins and if you can just roll 3 strikes in the tenth you can cut 30 pins off that lead to help your team get back into the game! After some searching at my local bowling centers nearby I settled on a trios league that was affordable and competitive with a good prize fund and started at 8:30 on a tuesday. It was a big league they had 34 teams.

Now came the hard part. Trying to figure out which of my set of 12 bowling balls would be ideal to bring. I have a 4 ball bag that I carry so I take with me 1 spare ball which is a plastic ball that can also double as a "the lane guy forgot how to oil so there is no oil on the lanes good luck with that ball!" Then I have 3 more balls I can take with me. I usually like to keep a solid ball and then a pearl ball then I will have one more which may be an aggressive ball in case the lanes are heavy with oil, or maybe a weaker ball that is in between the other 2 that come along. I plan to use different ones every week.
This week I am bringing a 20 year old ball with me to use. It is a hammer 3d Offset blazing Violet. IT was one of the most popular balls Hammer ever put out and those that own them do not get rid of them. I tested it last week on a typical house shot and I was able to just play right up the five board and the ball would just arc to the pocket really smooth and hit high flush to strike. If I went up the 10 board I would leave a weak ten so I knew the angle was not enough from that line to carry.
I threw a 250 with the ball and it had the best look on the fresh oil.

My other 2 choices for balls for this week that will come along is a Storm Dimension

This ball is a great ball as well. It is very even rolling and doesn't over react. But it will cut through heavy oil and did well for me bowling on the badger pattern. This ball I used last week and it was used all 3 games. I only needed small adjustments throughout the night to stay with my line. It is a standard drilling on the ball and requires hand position change if you want to add or take away hook from the ball.

My 3rd ball that will accompany me is my newest ball the Radical Yeti. This is my pearl ball as the other 2 are solid coverstocks.

This ball the drill pattern is different and is my new favorite layout. It has the pin right over the 2 fingers in the center and really makes the ball versatile to adjust to different lane conditions. IT also does a nice even roll on the lane and is not over aggressive. This ball is great to use as the night wears on and the pattern is getting a little beat up on the lane. People move left and I can stay on my same line and throw this ball and keep finding the pocket. I need to have the thumb redrilled again as I lost weight and the hole is too big. For now I use tape to compensate and still have a clean release when throwing the ball.

It is always good to have options on the lane and even though this might seem like over kill for a house shot, It works for me and I am always able to find something that works to score well with.

I will be bowling tuesday night so I will try to use the hammer all night and see if it does well for me. If it does I have 2 other hammers I'm going to have drilled up. One is a pearl 3d offset the sister to my ball Im using. And the other one is the pink super hook 3d offset. That ball should be a more aggressive ball of the 3 and will do well for heavier oil.

Does anyone here bowl? Do you still enjoy it? I have been bowling for 20 plus years and I love it.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Music information. How the search has changed!

The other night I wanted to find out information about my favorite band. So I googled them and came up with posts from Wikipedia and other links.
In a few minutes I found out the latest release from the band and the latest news and tour dates. It got me thinking, how did we get this information before the internet?
Think about it. Back them when you wanted information about your favorite artist what did you do?

You bought a rolling stone or another type of music magazine to find out what was happening! I remember many times running to my local store to get the latest magazine and it was sold out! then what? You had to wait till they came back in stock to find out or call your friends to find out what changed. Maybe you could even watch MTV or VH1 but they may not have had information on rock bands or maybe they were playing the stupid reality stuff they did not and you could not stomach watching it to find out the news!

Now you go to the internet to find out information and the information is at your fingertips! We really take this kind of access for granted. I know I do. "Gah its not working!!! WTF??"
"its going through the air and coming back give it a second!!!"

Do you find information about music in a different way? Do you find any information in a different way than the internet? Write in and let me know.