Monday, May 30, 2011

Stick I.T. - You're Not My Server


Recently some of us wacko bloggers had a quick discussion on Twitter about the crazy search keywords that land viewers at our blogs. Some were better than others of course, which left those of us with boring search results jealous. 

Thus began the "HUH???" blog ring.

Occasionally, the members of this blog effort will go out of our way to make posts with wacky stuff in them, in the hopes that our keyword traffic gets funnier and more interesting. When these funny keywords show up, we're going to go here and post it in the comments.

(In an effort to keep all the comments together, I've disabled comments on this post, so if you have some great keywords and / or blog posts about the keywords you have already found, go there, comment and link, and we'll all enjoy a good laugh!)

If you would like to join us in this endeavor, all you gotta do is grab the badge, link it back to this post, and post some crazy shit! On the first of each month, come back here and post your results for the weirdest keyword search that shows up in your keyword results.

Yes. That's right. We're going to be weird for the sake of being weird, just to see if it works...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

200th Blog Entry, and a New Award!

Two hundred entries. Who'd have thought I had so much to say? Or that anyone would find any of it worth reading.

So, recently I was gifted an award by Margo Kelly!

I'm supposed to pick five folks to whom I shall gift this award... I never know who to inflict these awards upon, so I'm going to do this a little differently and hope that my new award is not striped from me for it...

Instead of choosing bloggers to get this wonderful award, I'd like to ask a question, and then have anyone who comments get the award and pass it on as well... If you'd like to comment, you have to take the award. If you'd like the award, you have to comment! Please link back to this post

The question: Why did you start blogging?

*I* started blogging originally to see what kind of mark (or scar, depending on how you look at it) I could leave on the Internet. It's now become more accurately, a place where I can dump some thoughts, interact with great people, and perhaps have some thoughts available for future friends and family members to get to know me when I'm gone.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Need To Know Basis!

I've posted before about my father and the veritable gold mine that was his brain. He was the go to man for any sort of information, however obscure, and if he didn't know it, he knew where to find it.

My approach to life used to be somewhat different. I was always in favor of tests in school being open book, mostly because LIFE is open book, and not everyone can memorize things as well as others. I've managed to get by and indeed grow a whole career now, based on the knowledge that something is possible, I just had to figure it out.

Let me elaborate upon that... I am an I.T. guy, or a computer geek, if you will. I get computers and software to do things for people who need to produce something. Fulfilling this role does not require that I be intimate with every piece of software that I support. It only requires that I know what the users should be able to do. For instance, I know that graphic designers need to be able to create things like advertisements, so I know they're going to need an array of fonts to choose from.

I know enough about how it works that I can generally figure that somewhere in the options, or preferences, or some other area in the software, I can load fonts. For me, (sometimes...) a general idea is enough to get the job done. This is OK for someone who is going to help you download your email. This is not OK for someone who is going to remove your tumors, or put someone on the moon... but I don't plan to do either of those things.

Still though, I apparently have enough of my father in me that I tend to absorb information about things that interest me, and lots of times the information that sticks isn't what would be traditionally called "useful"... The sort of stuff that sometimes comes up in conversation, and when you share your thoughts, everyone has learned something, but no one really knows what to do with it, so everyone just says "Oh!" or "Huh, how bout that!" and nods, followed by a brief and awkward silence...

For instance... Did you know that hot air actually does NOT rise... Cold air falls, displacing the hot air. Because the cold air comes down, the hot air has nowhere else to go but up. It doesn't rise, it's pushed up.

Or did you know that cold is the absence of heat... There is never a presence of cold...Things do not grow cold, they simply continue to lose heat. You do not absorb cold from a block of ice, the block of ice absorbs heat from you.

And now you're going "Huh, how bout that!" with your eyebrows raised and the corners of your mouth stretching down toward your chin.

Occasionally, I come up with a fact that actually is useful, but instead of regarding me with looks of impressed reverence, I get a lot of "Why the hell do you even know that?!". Well excuse me for being informed!

It's one thing to not expect someone to know something... it's quite another to expect someone to not know something, and worse still to ridicule them when they do!

The fact that the Internet is bursting at the seams with information has really made information far less of a commodity, I think. I have witnessed first hand a company hiring someone based on the results of a test, in which the employee was to look at a drawing, and reproduce it. The job did not go to the person who drew a similar drawing the fastest. The job went to the person who happened to notice that along the bottom of the diagram was the network path to the drawing file. Right at the bottom it said something like F:\Jobs\Blocks\Boiler.dwg. The kid followed the path, opened the drawing, and said he was done. Boom: new hire.

It seems like people these days are in many ways encouraged to cut corners like that. Yes, it's faster. Yes it's more productive, but what happens when the infrastructure has a flaw, when someone mis-labels a drawing file, and this whizkid is forced back to the basics he was so flagrantly disregarding, and was IN FACT HIRED FOR, but based on the fact that he could circumvent their use...?

Perhaps the fact that I'm still in my very early 30s doesn't entitle me to store these tidbits of information in my head? I could borrow them if I needed to write a paper, or apply them to a situation, but I'm supposed to let them fade from my consciousness because I know I could always just retrieve them from Wikipedia again some other time?

If that's the case, I humbly apologize for accidentally bringing your ignorance to bare. My bad. What age will I be able to stop pretending to be vapid and devoid of thought?

...Sheesh! Now I sound bitter.

Have you ever been looked at sideways for knowing an answer, or being right? Have you ever gotten that "Oh, good, here comes this guy with all the answers" look, and just wanted to poke them in the eye? Ever just wanted to shout "If you don't want the answer, don't ask the question!"

Do you feel that people are being let off to easily these days without actually having to know what they should know?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stick I.T. - Blackberry Sync

Could The Internet Spell The End Of Snow Days??

There's a story here that suggests that this may be the case!

I'm not sure how I feel about this... I'm all for using the Internet for the education of kids and what not, but... Snow days?

Do you remember staying home on snow days and how awesome it was? A day when all mother nature, or god or whomever you believe in graced you with an unexpected reprieve from school, and a pile of snow to go play in! Sure, you make the day up at the end of the year, but there's nothing more in line with the procrastinator in all of us than the good fortune of having school called off for snow.

Snow days are a little different for parents, logistically... If you have kids, you know that if your kids are staying home on a day you didn't plan for, it can throw a wrench into your schedule. But it's not necessarily a problem if you can get some work done from home, or get day care or something... But if the kids are expected to be able to attend school on your computer, there's no way for you to get your work done unless you have another computer or something... and even then, you're likely to have to get them set up or what have you.

Are schools going a little too far? Should the magic of the snow day be left sacred? How many things like this will be taken from our kids? We're already giving homework to preschoolers, and my kindergartner is now writing full sentences, and counting nickels, dimes and quarters... She's doing things now that I didn't have to do until first or second grade. How hard are we going to push these kids? Sure, it's nice that she's ahead of where I was, but would I be any better off now, had I started reading a year earlier?

She recently developed a nervous tick where she scrunches her face a bit... It's noticeable, but it's not an impediment or anything, so we just monitored it at the Dr.'s orders. It went away, but he did say that it was a sign of stress. I do feel like I spend most of my time telling her to stop this or that, or to do x, y, or z... but a nervous tick?? ...And they're looking at things we can do at home to alleviate stress? How about I stop making her try to read books and do arithmetic for another year or two, and let the poor kid be a kid.

Well, if nothing else comes of this post, I think NOW I DO know how I feel about it...

How do you feel?

Stick I.T. - Personal Hard Drive

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hold Music: A Form of Torture

I'm in technical support, and I spend a lot of time on the phone either with clients, or vendors, or a client's vendors, or any combination thereof.

Tonight, I've called a couple of folks who put me on hold for an extended amount of time, and have the absolute worst (in my opinion) music available. Is this a good idea?? I mean, have they thought things through? You can't NOT listen, cause you need to know when the tech comes back, but you really don't want to listen to it either.

I've been working on one of those things that goes one step forward, and then stops, and you have to do a dozen other things before you can take the next step, etc... By 9 pm, I've dealt with 7 things that SHOULD work, but mysteriously don't today... They worked yesterday, but they suddenly stopped and no one knows why. So I call tech support... and I'm put on hold, and get to listen to freakin TubThumping. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, but I highly recommend you don't click it.

"You should be all set sir," they say. "Just give it twenty to thirty minutes and you can start your business." Forty minutes later, I call back, cause the thing they said would work does not. Again, I call support. Again I'm put on hold. Mambo Number Five. Really?

"Gee, that's strange," he said. "That should have worked. Let me try that again." Another forty minutes go by, and still nothing. Yet again, I call support. "Just a moment, let me research the issue." I couldn't identify the garbage they put on for that hold, but it was horrible... "Yeah, we don't know what's going on. We can put a ticket in to our administrators, but they won't get to it right away, cause they're in Germany. Should be done by morning though."

So. Frustration, meets a lot of shoulder shrugging and irritating music, only to be forced into calling it a night.

Hope your day goes better than mine. :) 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stick I.T. - Backups


I'm sure you all know that blogger went down yesterday. I was wondering what the hell happened, all of a sudden I wasn't getting any email. I never realized how much email I get via blogger!

So they say they're going to restore the most recent posts, but I'm almost hoping they don't. There was one other post I made with a Stick I.T. drawing, but I'm sorta thinking I should slow down the posting of those, so that I don't run out of material too fast!

Anyway, glad blogger's back, so I'll be seeing you shortly. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Corporate America

Just a couple doodles I did while watching TV recently.

Thought this one might have made a good badge, but I've made enough of those for the time being.

You ever get that "Not so sharp" feeling in the afternoon?

Below: this HAS happened to me as an IT guy (right). I'm sure it'll happen again too.
And don't pretend you've never been the lady (or man as the case may be) on the left! 
Even I've done it. Once.

100th follower and a little embarrasment

So I hit a milestone yesterday, I now have 100 people subscribing to my random drivel. I've been trying to think of something I could do for the occasion, and thought about a gift card contest to someplace like, but I'm broke, so that's out.

As it turned out, I was done a favor by my 100th, Belle. She was kind enough to point out that I had a mistake in my Blogger profile, that I HAVE to believe at least a few of the other 99 of you have seen before.

Ironically, right next to the mistake is the picture of me doing the face-palm. Apropos, if you ask me.

So thanks to the 99 of you who've stuck around regardless of my mistakes, and thanks to the 100th for helping me out! 

I figure as long as I can stick to only disappointing myself, I'll be OK! :D

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Writing by hand

Ok, so it should be "as *I* poke, and later, it says "FLICK" of the wrist... I know what it looks like, but no.
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

The Gentleman Blogger

So while browsing around the Blogsosphere, I started to notice that the majority of the blogs (at least of of which I frequent) are written by women. I thought this an interesting thing, but that's about it... I sorta forgot that fact for a while.

...that is, until I started seeing "Powerful woman blogger" awards and other such things. I thought that it was a nice thing, but noticed a complete lack of similar things for us men. So I fixed it.

The Blogosphere is definitely female dominated! If you're a guy and you blog, then you qualify!

If you blog, and you're a guy, grab the badge code over on the right of this blog, and past it into an HTML widget on yours!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gmail: The server returned the error: Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure).

For the second time today, I'm complaining about technology... Non-techies are likely to understand this post a little more than my last, so don't dismiss it right away if you're a little put off by the first impression...

I'm a Gmail user. I have, and use several GMail accounts, that all forward back to my main GMail account. One address I used for websites that I have to register for, one I use for possible spam sources, etc...

Last night I got a new hard drive and re-installed everything... Windows, Office, etc... everything. Today, I set up Outlook for my work email and my main Gmail account. I had over 12,000 emails in my Gmail account. After all, they advertise that you never have to delete an email again right! TONS and tons of space with Gmail! That's why the whole world switched, isn't it?? It's certainly the reason I switched!

So my Outlook client got to work synchronizing with my copious amounts of email. What I did not realize, was there's apparently a penalty for having too much data downloaded in too short a time period. Outlook had apparently tried to connect multiple times, while the original connection was still active. There was just too much data, and things just stopped. All of a sudden, I got this error from outlook: The server returned the error: Account exceeded bandwidth limits. (Failure). And yes, it was in red. 

I fumbled around with it for about an hour. I removed the account, added it back. I changed my password, I disabled imap, re-enabled it, etc... I eventually turned to Google, and found literally dozens of threads here and there about it being a problem with a few different possibilities. 

This can happen if:

  • Too much data is being downloaded in too short a time frame
  • Too many connections to the same email account
And there were a few other speculations too, but these were the most common ones. ALL advice that I could find said to close all connections to the account, and wait for 24 hours. Twenty-four hours! (It actually only turned out to be 4 hours for me, FYI). 

Now, Yes. I can go without email for 24 hours... But should I have to? I followed all available rules! I could not find anywhere on the Internet that says how much data is "too much", how little a time frame is "too short"... 

My problem is that they advertise their products as infinite space, never delete, no inbox too big! ...and yet there I was, dead in the water because I have too much data. Not only that, but I was expected to be down for twenty-four hours. 

Once again, not the end of the world, but isn't that a bit like saying "If you drive our cars, you can go as fast as you want, anywhere you want!" So you do! And then you find out from a third party that your car was impounded because you drove too fast. Sure you CAN do it, but there are consequences! Oh, and we're not going to tell you what the speed limit is either. Nor will we tell you how long you'll be without your car, but we're OK with letting everyone think it's for two weeks. Maybe it won't be. 

This may just be my opinion, but I find this to be a shady way to do business. 

Kaseya - ActiveX control kaxRemote.dll failed to load! -- Please check browser security settings.

This is just a quick technical blog post here... If your eyes glaze over while reading technical stuff, feel free to gloss over this. It's just up here because I searched for the answers, and couldn't find any, and that includes having contacted support. The answer is simple, yet wasn't to be found online, so I thought I'd throw it up onto the Internet for other morons like myself to find. :)

I freshly formatted my hard drive last night, and installed windows 7 again. When I logged into Internet Explorer to use Kaseya for remote control of my clients' machines, I got the following error:

"ActiveX control kaxRemote.dll failed to load! -- Please check browser security settings."

I made sure all browser security settings were right, but still nothing.

Long story short, the problem was that I was using "Internet Explorer (64-bit). Switch to the normal IE in your "Programs" list, and give it another shot before trying anything else. It may save you a few hours of frustration.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

General Blogger

I was recently told that based on the wide range of topics I blog about, that I am a general blogger. I like to think that means I'm in charge of all the other Sergeant and Colonel bloggers. So I thought I'd make a badge for all those other General Bloggers out there. Go ahead and grab it, and comment on this post. I will make a link to your blog above, and share your page with all other readers.

Wanna make the list? Grab the badge from the sidebar, post it in an obvious place on your blog, and post a comment here, and I will add your blog to the list on the "General Blogger" tab above. Simple as that!

How do you know if you're a General Blogger?? Do Sergeant Bloggers pee their pants when you're around?? ... what?? NO! If you blog about one specific thing, then you're probably not a general Bloggger... If you blog about anything and everything, you can safely assume you're a general blogger!

Grab the code at the top right!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Exhaustion and the Mind

Thinking is one of my favorite pass times. I like to consider, and analyze, and ponder. I have a hard time stopping my mind from doing these things. It's feelers reach out from the center of my mind and poke and tickle at subjects like they're rubix cubes to be solved. Sometimes I can do just that.

I worked last night, late into the wee hours. Today was a flurry of fires for me to put out. By the end of the day, my mind was racing, and in fact still is, but I can't seem to do anything productive. It's like my engine is revving, but the clutch (or transmission if you rather) wont engage.

Or perhaps more accurately, the feelers are working at the rubix cubes, but they're not turning, or the feelers are working against each other.

It's times like this when I look forward to retiring in thirty-some odd years, and the only problems I have to consider are my own.

What do you do to calm your mind's feelers when they fumble over one another?

Reflections on A to Z 2011

I've never participated in anything as large as this, but I'm certainly glad I did. I met some great bloggers, and I really stirred some memories as I dredged through the mental rivers in my mind.

My hope is now to revisit some of the posts I'd made and answer some of the comments that were left. I had a hard time keeping up with them. I'm also hoping to get to know my new blog friends a little better as we're not all under the constant pressure to keep blogging, and we can relax a little and read!

Definitely looking forward to doing this again next year! :)