Craptastic

I dislike comcast, quite a bit. I was their customers years and years ago, well about 6 years ago. They had horrible customer service and never lived up to their speeds when I was with them when it came to internet. It was a no brainer to pick ATT for our internet service… that is until we realized that they deliver the service via DSL and not cable. I will not bore you with the details of the technologies, but DSL depending on your location can suck. We decided to deal with the DSL and so far it has performed well enough and the speeds are not all that bad. The bad part is that we do not have the capability of getting their Uverse service which lets you pretty much set up a little home network and share a DVR between all of your TVs.

With reservation we decided to give Comcast a call to see what they offered and when it was all said and done our first bill for just two TVs was going to be over 150 bucks. That was not their bundle with everything, that was just for plain old cable service with an HD DVR for one TV and a regular set top box for the second TV. Even if I dial it down to just getting one TV with digital signal for HD and a DVR they still want way too much money every month since everything is “rented.”

So I have been looking at alternative and TiVo now is its own company not associated with DirectTV any longer, but for their HD offering they want $300 bucks plus a $15 dollar monthly fee. Other non subscription alternatives are still $300 bucks.

Direct TV is not an option, nor are other providers (there is one I know of) because the condo association only allows comcast since the lines are already in.

We got the little converter box and a good antenna and started getting HD reception like a champ, until we realized that CBS does not have a strong signal. This is frustrating because I actually don’t watch much TV anymore, but Heroes and The Big Bang Theory which are the shows that I do like to watch are both in that channel.

I thought technology was supposed to move forward, why am I still dealing with bunny ear antennas and transmitter positioning?

Looking at my stacks of blank DVDs I figured, well the technology is there for DVDs to be used like VHS (set the time) type of recorders right. Sure they are, but a good unit is still over $200 bucks if you want it to have a tuner.

I could build a PC to take care of everything, there is even a Linux distro that is not all that bad to set up, but I would still be spending about 200 bucks for really good hardware with a sizeable hard drive and good TV tuner card.

I am almost ready to break down and get comcast, but they are a horrible company. We signed up our new number for the Do Not Contact list, but we are still getting telemarketers. Out of 10 calls in the caller ID, 5 are from comcast. If you have any ideas, I all ears.

Pícaro

That words means mischievous in Spanish and it is the mood I am in today. I’ve had one of the most exciting work weeks in history. I thought I was gathering a lot of knowledge the past month, but things really have been kicking into high gear lately. So today my brain is about to explode and its making me super mischievous. Its not even 10 A.M. and I have already offered to procure a Voodoo doll, used the word debauchery, heck I even used the word procure in the sentence before.

Working from home is not as cool as people think it is. While it adds tons of flexibility to your day, it also means that you end up working a lot of hours. I have been logging quite a bit reacently and I am hoping it will slow down. After setting some boundaries myself I think its starting to level off.

I had worked from home plenty when I was in the consulting world, so I learned how to deal with it back then. The thing now is that since I am in learning mode, the time goes by way too quickly and I don’t even remember to check the clock. But like I said when the post started, I am in a very good mood today having accomplished more than seemed possible this week and already planning a pretty full week the following.

When working from home it is important to still keep your morning routine of getting ready for work. Also don’t forget to eat, even if you have to set up an alarm to do so.

One thing that helps me break the day up, is bathroom breaks. I have learned to drink water and if you do several glasses a day, which its healthy, it will help you make sure you get up and around. Tuesday and Wednesday I don’t think I moved from my chair for more than 4 hours and my back started not to like me much. This trick works well and I am good at doing it while at work, but I seem to forget about it when I am working from home.

This weekend I will be meeting up with some friends I have not seen in years, some of them since I went to Michigan. Thanks to facebook one just called me last night and we talked for quite a bit catching up. I am glad that the group actually stayed pretty close together and they are eager to go get a bite to eat. Also the motorcycle crows has grown to sizes I had seen on paper over the years still being a moderator of that forum but now the get meet ups are just insanely large. I have met with one of the other mods for lunch a couple of times and tonight we might be seeing a couple more for happy hour. There are still plenty of other people that still don’t know that I am back but I already have too many things going on and with the holidays I might just wait until the beginning of the year to contact some of them. Which also reminds me that I still need to set up dinner with Barb and her hubby. Its nice to reconnect with friends and being close to fully unpacked.

It Works on My Computer

The new job is going great, no actually it is going awesome. The days go by so quickly because there is so much to do that I am putting more hours in than I have since I worked on the first start up back as a recent graduate, but I don’t even look at the clock. The work is not easy, it is pretty challenging and the list of requests is daunting, but the attitude of lets get as much done as we can the organization has makes it simple to jump on board and want to make a difference.

One of the things that has already made a huge difference here is that my friendliness is appreciated. The way we treat our customers (which in my case are all internal) is what makes this job so enjoyable. It is one of my directives to make sure people are being listened to as well as their needs met. I am glad that not only my technical skills are important but also my people skills.

Last week was specially busy with several deliverable by the team creeping up at the same time. I am glad that I can jump in and help out with some of them, but we were almost at the point of just letting one of the balls just drop because there was no other way. It was frustrating, but we have to do what we can with our current resources… I never realized how hard it can be to hire overseas help. After a long day of feeling like no matter how much we accomplished we were just going to be way off with timeliness, I decided to go have a second look at some small thing a user reported.

As it turns out the user had the issue before and it just kept on coming back months later. The issue seemed very random and nobody could reproduce it. The details are boring and it had something to do with working remotely, but I asked her to do something very simple next time she was working from home.

The next day rolled around and on top of all the other deadlines we had some hardware go bad. Coordinating vendors both for software and hardware is no easy task, and the day was just getting longer than it should have been. Then a message from that user popped up thanking me and the team for our diligence on staying on top of her program and how the simple steps I gave her made her able to work with no problem.

I think most of it was that her issue was resolved, but I think the personal touch of being able to listen to her issues and actually care to fix her problem made the difference. I think that being personable and establishing relationships with those that work around you should always be encouraged. You do not have to party with your coworkers every weekend, but being able to have conversations and really listen to them as people can make us IT people not seem like socially inept people that speak using binary code.

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