Apple Teaches Us To Accept Being Inconvenienced

“It just works!”

If you buy into the Apple ecosystem, something you need to know is that you’re going to be inconvenienced…a lot.

When I got my latest iPhone, I knew going in that I’d be losing the headphone jack. No problem, I thought; it comes with an adapter that I can use to connect it to the head unit in the car (sadly, Anderson is not bluetooth-equipped). What I didn’t forsee were those rare instances when I wanted to listen to music through headphones as I fell asleep. I have bluetooth earphones, but they’re impossible to sleep in. And yeah, I could pull out the crappy lightning earbuds that came with the phone, but for me they’re also incredibly uncomfortable, fall out, and sound like crap. So I’m faced with either bringing the stupid headphone-to-lightning adapter in from the car every damn day on the off chance I might want to fall asleep to music, or dropping $10 for another fucking adapter that I can keep bedside.

And then there’s the ongoing issue with my nearly-new $2K laptop and it’s goddamned keyboard. When you buy something from Apple, it comes with the expectation that—at least hardware wise—you’re getting the finest engineering on the planet. That used to be true, but lately it seems that in Jony Ive’s quest to make everything no thicker than a sheet of paper, that has fallen by the wayside. While I figured out how to safely remove the keycaps and blow compressed air into the butterfly mechanism to clean out dustI shouldn’t have to. And last weekend as I was blowing out a non-responsive N-key, a little bit of black plastic something went flittering into the night. Turns out it was part of the dome mechanism that blocks out just the right amount of the LED light from underneath to ensure all the keys are equally illuminated.

I found the piece of black whatever-it-was, but I couldn’t reattach it because it had torn. I opted for a miniscule piece of black electrical tape in its place, but—of course—it was thicker than the original light shield and they key was now even more fucked. For some reason adding the black electrical tape in its place diminished the already tiny amount of key-travel to next-to-nothing, sending me on a hunt to find a replacement key mechanism.

Yesterday, the N-key just stopped working altogether. The replacement mechanism was supposedly sitting at home in my mailbox, so I pried the top off the key again and gave the whole thing another good dusting. The functionality returned to what it was prior to yesterday, and after getting a really good look at what’s going on under there I decided that I would live with it until I absolutely had to tear the key completely apart to replace the dome mechanism.

I shouldn’t have to do this, Apple.

Yes, it’s obviously still under warranty, but taking the machine back to Apple is also an unacceptable solution because for some reason the key can’t just be replaced by their Geniuses like I was about to do. No, the whole thing has to be sent out for a complete lower case replacement because the keyboard is glued in place and I’d be without it for one-to-two weeks. And even then there’d be no guarantee another key wouldn’t get fucked up.

What the hell, Apple?

There are rumblings of a manufacturer recall. My fingers are crossed.

Finally, there’s the issue of my Apple ID. Last week Apple finally started allowing people to change their main Apple ID to an icloud.com or mac.com address (something that you haven’t been able to do ever). When I set up my account back in 2009 on my very first Mac, I chose voenixrising because I was new to the this untrusted environment and didn’t want to use my real name because reasons. Over the years, that of course changed, and now I use my realname@icloud.com (an alias I set up under the main account) address for pretty much everything.

So when news of this change became known, I was ecstatic. I could finally ditch the otherwise unused g-mail account I’d been using as an Apple ID. I logged in, went through all the steps, sent up all the offerings to the Apple gods, did the proscribed incantations and…”you cannot use an icloud address as your main ID.”

WHAT THE FUCK, APPLE?

And that error only occurred when attempting to use the realname@icloud.com account. Every other alias I’d created could be used.

I called AppleCare the next day, and to his credit, the guy on the other end of the line was incredibly helpful. Unfortunately, we still couldn’t get it switched over at that time because apparently if you have been using an @icloud.com address as your emergency backup address in the Apple world, you can’t use it as your main ID for thirty days after you unhook it as the emergency contact. And my realname@icloud.com was the backup.

Inconvenience, thy name is Apple.

UPDATE: Late this afternoon the H-key started acting up. Again. So I gently pried the keycap off and dusted it out. I noticed when I replaced the cap it was loose on one corner. It turns out one of the little pins on the butterfly mechanism had broken off at some point.

So now I have two wonky keys. They work, but not without issues. I’d take the damn laptop into Apple tomorrow if Ben’s old backup machine was usable enough for me to transfer everything over, but it isn’t. It needs both a RAM upgrade as well as a larger hard drive so I don’t have to pick and choose what to restore from Time Machine when restoring to it. Until I can afford to make those upgrades, I guess I’m just going to have to carry the little Apple bluetooth keyboard I bought back in 2010 with me.

This is BULLSHIT, Apple.

A Repost

Looking over some old entries today from 2012 and ran across this one. While it doesn’t apply quite as much to my present position as it did when I was basically the only technical support available at CNIC, it still resonates…

Signs of I.T. Burnout

  • You wake up in the morning and think of 50 different excuses to call in sick because you just can’t face another day of it.
  • You no longer even feel the need to pretend to be cheerful and nice when talking to end users. You answer them with the fewest amount of words possible and possibly a grunt thrown in for good measure.
  • When you sit at your desk and stare through your monitor thinking of all the other things you would rather be doing, and one of them is having a urinary catheter put in.
  • You stop hearing what people are saying to you and just think about how much you would enjoy smashing them in the face with your keyboard—repeatedly—just so you can go back to staring through your monitor.
  • It feels funny when you smile.

I’m so there.

Having been on both sides of the Tech Support fence, I can pretty safely say that the state of technical support from most major vendors these days is so abysmal that an actual good support experience is almost shockingly noteworthy. I try to do my best, but there are days where I simply don’t give a fuck. I’ve already been called out for having an attitude, but thankfully the number of “You ROCK!” nominations that keep coming in for me from my end users offsets any stray comment my boss receives.  And on the other side of the fence, businesses in general have begun to recognize that the grand support-offshoring experiment that started in the late 1990s has well and truly failed. But even before the trend really got underway, tech support was hardly a glamorous experience, either for the customer or the poor phone monkey stuffed into minuscule cube, earning a hair above minimum wage.

The story is the same for customer-facing and internal help desks alike: no one likes calling them, and no one likes working them. It’s a common bit of conventional wisdom that the average time it takes for a newly hired tech support worker to go from bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to suicidal and burnt-out is about 18 months; the job can be notoriously hard on the psyche and the soul. It’s the very definition of Sysiphean—no matter how many times you answer the customers’ questions, there will always be more customers with the exact same questions.

Repetitive tasks with no relief can be psychologically stressful. This leads to a feeling of resentment on the part of a lot of support staff, who can come to regard customers as unendingly, unerringly stupid; conversely, when confronted with a sighing, obviously annoyed Nick Burns-ish creature groaning at them, the immediate response of most customers is mistrust, reticence to comply with directions, and sometimes outright anger.

Non-IT users need to learn their computer/device better. I see too many people who still don’t know the difference between Windows and Office. Granted computers etc. are getting easier to use, but end users need to at least try to learn some basic terminology besides “The Internet isn’t working.”

How to do this? First, make the technology easier. Apple does this the best. (And my experience with Apple Tech Support has been, without fail, exemplary.) Facebook is right behind them. Google has some good consumer offerings as well and is catching up rapidly while still keeping higher end functionality. I’ve personally had to deal with software that requires a process that has no documentation, takes 2 hours to install and required manual intervention by a person for most of that time. Only one question… WHY? If you can’t answer that succinctly in a few words, or it sounds like “we don’t have the resources to invest in that yet,” you are doing it wrong. I’m talking to you, McKesson.

Second, pay tech support people more and give them some respect! Customer service is hard. Programmers can’t do it and neither can engineers. They think they can, but it requires training just like any other position. We have to stop treating customer service like sweat shop labor. That’s how we got the support outsourcing started because some bozo thought we could just put warm bodies on the phone to do what a computer could not. Tech Support staff are the E.R. physicians of the 21st century, yet they’re still treated like janitors. Even after your system crashes and we’re called upon to get it working again, we’re never given the respect that little bit of saving-your-ass deserves; more often than not, we’re blamed for the calamity. I’m all for putting the right person in the position, be they Indian or American, but pick people who have skills, respect them and pay them, and eventually you’ll have good people wanting to go into these positions.

Finally, the best tech support has people who can think critically and logically. It’s sad, but we are losing our ability to do that in the United States. Increase investment in public schools and increase time spent on logical problem solving in general. Customer service is about solving someone’s problem, not just smiling and making the customer feel good about themselves. Yeah, I want the person to be friendly and personable, but if they can’t take two seconds to think about my problem and make a decision… any decision, then the first two points aren’t going to help at all.

After the 6,437,193rd time I’ve worked through your exact problem, I have an idea or two about what might be wrong. When I ask you to reboot, check a setting, or rename a backup file and restart the program, it’s because these steps fix the problem most of the time. You may be honest, but approximately 56% of the callers will lie about trying a simple reboot, and the other 44% won’t even have considered doing that before calling in the problem.

Speaking of lying, when I go to a PC and see a half dozen toolbars covering 25% of their browser and ask, “How did all this get installed?” the answer will be, “I don’t know. It just showed up.”

When I walk you three three procedures and have you check to see if the problem is fixed after each one, it’s not that I’m an idiot (correlation does not imply causation). Rather, it’s because your particular problem sometimes has multiple causes, and if your system is partially hosed, we can avoid some of the steps. When it’s completely munged, though, we must go through the steps to fix the little problems before the big problem goes away.

I am the entire unofficial “Help Desk” for my company and to be perfectly honest, while I still try to provide good, friendly customer support to my users, I’m rapidly coming to loathe every aspect of my job. I’ve been at this company for a little over a year, but I’ve been doing Tech Support work as my sole source of income since 1997. For the ten years prior to that, it was secondary to my primary job function, so I’m certainly no stranger to the scene. My phone ringing has become like the calling of some satanic beast, here to rip out another chunk of my soul, so I finally reached the point where I turned the ringer off. I figure if it’s a real problem, they’ll (a) leave a message, (b) send me an email, or (c) come to my desk. What I learned early on is that with most problems, if you don’t immediately run to hold the user’s hand, 90% of the time they’ll figure it out on their own or the problem will spontaneously go away on its own.

I’m looking for a way out of here, but I’ve been at this long enough to know that in this field the basic story line and personalities I have to deal with on a daily basis will stay the same no matter where I go; only the faces will change. The only saving grace to this job is that I get here a half hour before most everyone else, which means I get some time in the morning without having to see or hear from anyone and I beat the traffic going home in the afternoon. It’s also insanely easy to get to from our new apartment, regardless of the weather.

A good number of the users at my company admit to being computer illiterate and they have no patience for the time it may take to troubleshoot a problem. They seem to have this idea that my job is simply a matter or pressing a button or tapping a key and everything in their world that breaks will be put back together in a heartbeat. But it’s not like many real problems—problems that might require I invest a few brain cells in solving them—ever come up.

Most of my day is spent:

  • unlocking accounts (Turn OFF your CAPS LOCK KEY,  you MONKEYS!)
  • resetting passwords (You were out for a week and you’ve forgotten it? Is it really THAT hard to remember? You’ve been typing it EVERY day for the last three months!)
  • telling people what the URL is to our web mail system
  • walking them through the steps to get their email to their smartphone. (Most of these people shouldn’t be allowed to have one)
  • Troubleshooting or requesting service for printers (I hate printers. Why are we still printing SO DAMN MUCH?!)
  • showing people how to reduce their mailbox size when they have gone over the limit (they never remember to empty the deleted items folder)
  • creating PST files in Outlook so they can horde every single personal cat-video, inspirational message, and Obama-is-a-communist-Kenyan-ursurper email they have received from the beginning of time

I guess you get the idea.

Terminology is also big problem with my users. They can’t tell the difference between a desktop computer and a laptop that is attached to a docking station. They don’t know the difference between a computer and a monitor (your mean the TV thing?) Before I created a spreadsheet with all the hard information I would ever need to get from my users, if I asked a user for his/her computer name, I can guarantee that I’d either their employee ID, log in name, email address, the computer service tag, the model of the computer or  “It’s a Dell. Does that help?”

When I ask for their Windows password, 9 times of of 10 I’ll get, “Is that the one I use first thing in the morning to log in?”

Seriously.

They refer to their web browser as “The Internet” and Windows as “The Windows.” Try getting a user to tell the difference between Windows XP and Windows 7. It’s like trying to teach a newborn how to drive a dump truck. Same goes for Office; there’s no hope when it comes to that. Hell, most of my users can’t even figure out how to create shortcuts on their desktop or task bar.

And they’re terrified of trying anything on their own!

They don’t know what it means when I ask them for a folder path or drive path to whatever calamity they have gotten themselves into. They only know it as the “R” drive or “P” driver or “I” drive.

The company I work for is in the medical insurance business and therefore rakes in vast amounts of cash. But no matter how much myself, or the two I.T. Directors I’ve now had the pleasure of working for have pleaded with the holders of the purse strings, it’s only very recently that they started providing basic, strictly voluntary Excel training to the staff. Until that point, they just gave these people a computer and said go to work! So whenever someone new gets hired I can almost guarantee at least 3-4 calls a day from this person, just trying to help them navigate the scary magic box on their desk.

In conclusion, Tech Support is Hell. It has been my observation over these past fifteen years that a good majority of the people who work in the field are tortured souls, and very few of us actually like this job after the initial rush wears off. Users are, for the most part, incompetent, and I often wonder how companies manage to stay in business considering this staggering level of willful stupidity. It’s 2012, for chrissake! Personal computers have been a part of corporate life for the last thirty years, and yet there are workers in their 20s who still view them as some sort of incomprehensible technology that landed from another planet. The bottom line is that American businesses need to put more focus on training their employees on how to use the thing they spend 99% of their work day in front of.

Red Hot to Asshole in 30 Seconds

Once upon a time I thought this guy (who I used to follow on Instagram) was hot. Very hot. Then I came across a post where he went off about how he’s straight and put these sort of photos up there “for the ladies” but goddamnit! his pictures were “stolen” and now showing up on gay sites, and people are assuming that he’s gay.

And it’s just not fair!

Let me explain this, since obviously you sir, are an idiot. Once you put something on the internet, it can—and will—go everywhere. If you originally post sexy pictures of yourself on Instagram (or wherever), they will be shared and eventually find their way into the hands of gay men who for the most part don’t give a shit about whether you’re gay or straight in real life but will nonetheless fantasize about doing hundreds of unspeakable, mutually pleasurable things with you based on those photos—and will then pass said photos on ad infinatum. Deal with it, and consider yourself lucky that people find you attractive at all considering how—despite your good looks—what an awful, insecure person your childish rant has revealed you to be.

And frankly, with all your whining, “The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.”

Overexposure

It’s a curious phenomenon. You know how when a new face appears on the porn social media scene that you initially find adorable, a face that gives you impure thoughts whenever you run across one of his photos?

Yeah. We’ve all been there.

But then as the weeks and months pass and you start seeing more and more of him, you eventually reach the point where one of his photos comes up on your feed/dash and you sigh and say, “Oh her…“?

It’s not something new, but I think it’s definitely a by-product of the Internet age. I mean, you couldn’t easily get to that point with a particular actor/model when your only source of photos were $20 glossy magazines that came in sealed plastic bags (unless you had a lot of disposable income)—and even then it might’ve been difficult.

Several faces (one famous example of this overexposure phenomenon being Steve Kelso) come to mind as I think back over my years online, but what prompted this screed is one boy in particular who popped up on Instagram a couple years ago and is now quickly approaching maximum online saturation. When I first spotted him, he seemed like just another cool, recently-out-of-college gay guy; a cute, fresh-faced cub with perfect skin, an immaculate beard, fuzzy body, and a wicked gleam in his eye that told you he’d be a lot of fun in the sheets (not that you’d ever get the chance) who was innocently sharing his (occasionally drunken) life through social media like any number of other Millennials.

Because he was so good looking, I knew from the moment he appeared this guy was going to be another “next big thing.” Sure enough, while he hasn’t signed on with any porn studios yet (that I know of), his Instagram pix are becoming more polished and starting to look like he’s at least flirting with (legitimate) modeling. In addition, much more revealing selfies than what he’s posted on Instagram are finding their way onto Tumblr with increasing frequency. If he’s not “illegitimately” modeling yet, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until he’s discovered by some enterprising studio and is offered to go pro. (It’s obvious he’s comfortable getting naked in front of a camera, and is still young enough that he could—pardon the expression—milk several years worth of work out of it if he was so inclined to pursue a career in adult entertainment.)

But I’m rapidly reaching the point where I’m over it. Part of the attraction was that fresh-faced realness he had a year ago, but now it’s almost as if he’s starting to realize what a hot commodity he’s becoming and has lost some of that authenticity. He still comes off as a nice guy, so this isn’t a condemnation of him or whatever path he’s pursuing, but simply an observation about how too much of a good thing can still be too much of a good thing. I’m not to the point yet where see one of his photos and think, “Oh her,” and obviously I’m still downloading his pix, but it is getting close to that point.

Sigh.

I’ve Given Up

I’ve given up on thinking that Apple’s Magic Mouse is ever going to work reliably with my MacBook Pro again. It’s just one of those things that’s broken and apparently can’t be fixed no matter how much Apple mucks around with it. While it worked flawlessly and the Bluetooth connection was rock solid under Snow Leopard, I can say with certainty that it hasn’t worked properly since Lion, and the problem has become insufferable since Mavericks. I keep hoping that with each new OS release/patch that the obvious bluetooth issues are going to go away, but nooooooo

At first I believed (based on what I’d read online) that the issue was the batteries flopping around in the battery compartment, causing the mouse to lose power for a moment and drop connectivity. Who knew at AA batteries weren’t all the exact same size? Sure enough, different brands did fit differently, but the issue never resolved itself no matter what brand I bought. Even when I gave up on AA cells completely and bought the rechargable Mobee power pack (which fit very snugly in the battery compartment of the mouse) it would still drop connection.

And by drop connection, I don’t mean that it would disconnect and reconnect a few seconds later. I mean it would disconnect, and the only way to get it talking to the laptop again would be a complete reboot. Until it happened the next time. Ad nauseum.

So when the Magic Mouse 2 with it’s integral rechargeable battery came out a few months ago, of course I jumped on it. And to be fair, the problem did clear up for the most part. But lately it’s come back and it’s as infuriating as ever.

(This problem happens even with a fresh, virgin load of the OS, so it’s not some other piece of software interfering with the functionality. And BTW, there are reams of discussion online regarding this issue.)

So why do I insist on sticking with the Magic Mouse? Because—ironically—while I hated how it felt in my hand when I first got one all those many years ago, I now prefer the ergonomics. I also like the inertial scrolling, which Apple only seems to make available with that particular model.

“So why are you using a mouse at all? Why aren’t you using the trackpad on your laptop?”

Because even with as excellent as the Apple trackpads are, I’ve used a mouse most of my adult life and far and away prefer it over the pad. I will use the trackpad if I’m away from a hard surface, but using a mouse is still my preferred method of moving around the screen.

I am SO Tired of Stupid

I mean seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people?

This morning I was taking my usual route to work, going about five miles an hour over the speed limit in the center lane on the freeway.  All of a sudden I’m being tailgated by some asshole, even though the lanes on both side of me are clear. Even after the center lane became the far right lane, he stayed on my ass. Typical Denver driver, nothing to really spawn a blog post, until… he got off at my exit simply to flip me off, and then got back on the freeway.

Seriously.

I used to think Phoenix drivers were bad. Then I moved to Denver. Years ago I could go days if not weeks without seeing stupidity while on the road. Now I can’t go five minutes. The majority of people in this city are either high, not paying attention, or simply DO NOT KNOW where they fuck they’re going. “Oh, this lane turns into right turn only at the intersection. Maybe I should get over BEFORE I GET THERE.” No, because that’s too hard. Just come to a complete stop in the middle of that lane and block all the traffic behind you that actually does want to turn right in hopes that someone to your left will let you merge. (This happened not once, but twice in the span of about 100 feet on my way home from work last night.)

This illustrates my biggest gripe about life today: no one thinks ahead. Being taught pro-active thinking seems to have joined cursive  handwriting on the list of things no longer being taught to our children.

And while I’m on that subject…

I’m positive the stupidity,  self-centeredness and entitlement I’m seeing in society today can be directly attributed to the fact that during the 80s and 90s, schools stopped fostering excellence and exceptionalism, instead adopting the philosophy that all students should be rewarded equally; basically for showing up and breathing. “Everyone gets a gold star no matter what they did because we don’t want to hurt their self-esteem.” Fuck their self-esteem, teach them that one does not get ahead in life by simply showing up.

And so now we have 20- and 30-somethings thinking that no matter what they do, they’re entitled to special treatment and recognition simply because that’s all they’ve ever known. They don’t know how to think. Problem solving has become a lost art. That’s why they block traffic and expect to be allowed to merge when they suddenly find themselves in the wrong lane.

It’s also why—when the other contractor I’m working with runs across some software install instructions that have one or two steps missing or are no longer up to date—he grinds to a complete halt and sits there with a blank look on his face. It’s as if the whole concept of thinking creatively is unknown to him. I was given the same instructions he was, realized they weren’t accurate, and came up with a solution that allowed me to keep on working.

But back to traffic for a moment…

While I admittedly have not lived that many different places, the streets in the cities in which I have lived have all been laid out on a grid. Even the notoriously hilly San Francisco was built that way—resulting in some truly awesome inclines on certain streetsBut Denver? Oh hell no, and furthermore what. the. fuck?

From street names that change on a whim as you make your way across the metro area, to roads that curve for absolutely no reason whatsoever and stop lights that are timed in such a way that you spend more time with your foot on the brake than the accelerator, I’m convinced that traffic engineers in Denver have intentionally done everything in their power to restrict the flow of traffic, rather than facilitate it.

And then there’s this. And this. And this.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Is it just me? Is it just living in Denver? Or are we as a culture, truly headed toward Idiocracy?

 

 

 

I…I Just Can’t.

I swear Teh St00pid is spreading like an unchecked cancer  across this country.

Last Friday I received an email from a recruiter:

The Desktop Support Analyst will be responsible for providing a high level of PC hardware/software support for our local and remote clients in a Windows/MAC environment and for assisting with major PC related projects (rollout of a new application, hardware/software upgrades, integrations, etc.)

We are the world’s largest supplier of services, products, and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions and growing by leaps and bounds!

 What you’ll be doing:

▪   Providing PC hardware and software support for our local and remote clients.

▪   Diagnosis of PC problems via phone, remote control of desktops or desk-side visit.

▪   Provide support for Mobile Device Technology (Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, etc).

What you need:

▪   Extensive hands-on experience troubleshooting and installing PCs, peripherals and applications.

▪   Minimum of 3 years’ experience supporting users via phone, remote control and desk side visits in a large multi-location corporate environment.

▪   Strong knowledge and experience with Windows 7, Windows XP, MS Outlook/Exchange, MS Office 2007

▪   Experience using remote-control software, software distribution tools (e.g. Symantec Altiris) and anti-virus & spyware tools..

▪   Experience upgrading PCs (memory, hard drive, data transfer, etc.)

▪   Maintain and update users PC asset information and experience supporting mobile device technology

▪   24×7 On-call technical support on a rotation basis and local travel when required (less than 10%)

Nice to have:

▪   5+ years supporting PC users in a multi-location corporate WAN environment with 3,000+ users.

▪   Microsoft or other technical certification or training.

▪   Bachelors degree in Computer Science, Information Technology or related discipline

▪   Experience with iOS and MacBooks

▪   Experience with encryption software such as McAfee Endpoint Encryption

What’s in it for you:

▪   Competitive salary and full benefits.
- Work with one of the top-ranked solutions companies in the country
- Unlimited opportunity for growth

If you feel like this would be a great fit for you, please apply today!  You’ll be glad you did!

Okay, this sounded exactly like what I’m looking for. The email had no direct link to “apply today!” so I sent the guy my latest resume.

This morning I received an email from him saying, “Please call immediately!”  Wow, I thought. This must be a hot job.

So I returned his call and it soon became apparent I was dealing with someone who wasn’t running on all cylinders. He asked how much I had been making at my last job and I told him. For the life of him, he could not understand how I could be a full-time, permanent W-2 employee with benefits who was paid hourly—all but calling me a liar for claiming so. Then he asked what I was making my job previous to that one (the one I’d worked at for seven years in Phoenix). Again, he COULD. NOT. BELIEVE. I was paid on an hourly basis.  “If you work 60 hours in a week, do you get paid for 60 hours?” YES, I said. I get paid 40 hours at my regular pay and then 20 hours of overtime at time and a half. So then I tried tossing out the terms Exempt and Non-Exempt. That didn’t register with him either.

This guy just didn’t get it, and from there the conversation went downhill. He asked why I wasn’t still working at my last position. I explained that because of the revolving door lack of leadership, too much was falling into my lap that I was unqualified for.

Because I got tired of dealing with idiots like you!

“So you were fired?”

“No, I quit.”

And his response, dripping with judgment, was, “Without something else lined up? Do you think that was a wise idea?”

I swear, this is not the kind of crap I needed first thing today. When I related this to my friend Michael, he said I should’ve responded to him with, “It was wiser than talking to you since you clearly don’t have a CLUE.”

Why don’t I think of this stuff while it’s happening?

Anyhow, he never asked about my experience or what I actually did at any of the places I worked. Totally fixated on the wage issue, he ended the conversation by saying asking what kind of money I was looking for, “Not hourly, but as an employee.”

I told him and he reluctantly said he would pass this information along to the hiring manager.

You do that, buddy. You do that.

Teh St00pid, it BURNS

At my last job, those of us in I.T. used to joke that the company hired by simply going out onto the street and asking random people if they wanted a job. This is because it was painfully obvious they were hiring folks who had no qualifications whatsoever.

Well, that’s nothing compared to the place I work for now—and I suppose it speaks more about me that I’ve chosen to remain there as long as I have instead of going somewhere else than it does about the quality of their candidates. I learned yesterday that in order to come work for us, not only do you not need any technical skills, apparently you don’t even need to know how to type! Seriously. The new hire (a concurrent review nurse) demanded a new keyboard because the letters had worn off the one at the workstation she was assigned to. “I can’t type if I can’t see the letters.” And then I watched in disbelief as she hunt-and-pecked her way into the system.

Seriously.

This came on the heels of them hiring—and then, less than a week later—firing an administrative assistant who came preloaded with an “I.T. is here to do my job” attitude and so incapable of actually doing the job that she didn’t even know how to schedule appointments in Outlook.

Seriously, how do these people even get in the door?

And while we’re on the subject of work (sorry, I need to vent, and I have no peers there that I trust enough to share this with), why is it that anyone with an “O” in their title such a flaming asshole?

With very few exceptions (most notably at my last job while working for the Health Plan), this has been the case everywhere I’ve worked, but it seems especially true at my present place of employment. I’ve never seen such a pampered, self-important group if ignorant, arrogant disagreeable assholes concentrated in a single building.

When the CEO (who reeks of alcohol every time I see him) went off on me yesterday for something I had absolutely no control over, I said that was enough. I smiled, nodded, and after he walked way, I flipped him off with both hands and immediately went on Monster to reactivate my profile and update my resume.

I’ve been doing this work long enough to know that I’m going to run into this kind of stupid no matter where I go; I suppose that’s the main reason I haven’t put more effort into finding another job. I think, “Why bother? Same shit, different company.” But yesterday pushed me over the edge. And as Ben pointed out to me after this happened, if I go somewhere else at least it will be a different stupid.

Never mind actually looking forward to going to work; all I want is to be able to wake up in the morning without my first thought being, “Well, what kind of assholery am I going to have to deal with at that place today?”

Is that asking so much?

Rant (NSFW)

Like I was overdue.

Am I the only one who finds the recent resurgence of animated gifs (thanks in no small part to Tumblr) horrific?  Especially when applied to porn?

I thought this format rightfully died and went to cyber hell in the 90s. I don’t mind it in small does (I’ve posted some on this blog), but now it seems it’s everywhere, 24/7 all day every day!

STOP IT.

And while we’re on the subject of porn, why does so much gay porn remind me more of a gymnastics competition than sex?

Another pet peeve (and it’s not just limited to porn) is the overexposed effect:

I look at this and think, “Someone doesn’t know how to use a camera,” and “That would’ve been an awesome shot. Too bad he fucked it up.”

And don’t even get me started on bareback porn. Seriously guys? Have you not learned anything in the last 30 years? Or do you stupid, irresponsible, selfish fucks (and I’m referring to the producers and actors in this crap) just have a death wish?

Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky.

“You there! GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN!”

Teh St00pid, it Burns

I am getting exceedingly tired of the celebration and encouragement of ignorance in our culture.

Pride in one’s wanton ignorance is being worn as a badge of honor by the wingnuts on the far right, and that attitude seems to infiltrating society at an ever-increasing pace.

Like I have to actually tell anyone.

Need proof? Jersey Shore. Survivor. Justin Bieber. Michelle Bachman. Maggie Gallagher. Not enough? How about the entire fucking Republican presidential primary?

People, Idiocracy was meant to be a comedy, not a blueprint for our future. STOP IT.

I Used to Love to Drive

Sadly, that’s something else that living in Denver has stripped the joy out of. Between the weather, the never-ending string of potholes, and the absolute assholery displayed by drivers in this city, it’s almost gotten to the point where I loathe even getting in the car.

I used to think the streets in Phoenix were bad.  They’re smooth as glass compared to what I have to deal with on a daily basis here.

And much like my last commute in the Bay Area (San Francisco to Foster City), many mornings I now find myself asking, “Is this the day I die, or am horribly maimed—or my car destroyed—by some jerkwad weaving in and out between cars who thinks that even though traffic is moving 75 in a 65 zone, it’s still too slow, or by some ass putting on makeup or texting while driving?”

Yes, I have the option of taking public transit, and I’m doing that more and more often, but there are some days I either have to drive to work for whatever reason or I simply can’t bear the thought of having to get up a half hour earlier in order to get my ass on the bus/train and be to work on time.

And no matter how much I plan on taking transit on snow days, invariably the days I need to drive (like next week when I take the car back in for service) snow is predicted. Seriously. I can’t seem to catch a break.

I’m getting fucking tired of it.

Worst Customer Service EVER

I’m starting to understand why so many people say they hate their cell phone companies.

I’ve had Verizon service in one form or another for about two years, and except for having to jump through hoops to get my cell modem and iPhone put on a single account when I first got the iPhone, I really haven’t had any problem with them.

That is, until this week.

When I lived in Phoenix, I got decent 3G coverage from my cell modem and was happy with it. Since moving to Denver, however, it’s been next to useless. Since I’m locked into the contract on the modem for another six months and had to pay for it anyway, I sent it to my dad, hoping could get some use out of it (he was still on dial-up).

We started getting 4G mobile hotspots at work for several of our on-the-go users and I’ve been very impressed with the lil’ buggers. 4G service in Denver is excellent, so I finally broke down and ordered one online from Verizon a week ago to replace the cell modem. The device was free with a new 2-year contract, so it was kind of a no-brainer.

I’ve had to activate enough of the things by now to know it’s a very simple matter. That’s why I knew I was in trouble when I called the activation number and was immediately transferred to customer support.

Apparently they’d sent out a SIM card with a number that couldn’t be activated. The lame excuse I go from the rep was “Since we started selling the iPhone we’ve had a lot of bad numbers come across.” Really. REALLY?

He said he would overnight a new SIM card and made me go through the motions of accepting a new agreement.  That should have been the first red flag.

Yesterday I went online to check my balance and discovered that I now had four lines.  Not only did I have the expected lines for my iPhone and my 3G modem, I had two additional lines, one for the SIM card that couldn’t be activated as well as a fourth line for what I assumed was the new SIM that had yet to arrive.  (It turns out the rep lied or was flat out clueless. The card had been sent out two day Fedex, not overnight.)

The new SIM was waiting at home last night when I arrived.  Once again I called the number to activate, and once again was immediately transferred to customer service.

At that point, Ben took the phone from me and acted on my behalf, letting loose on the rep.  It’s a good thing he did; I might’ve had a stroke if I had to deal with the amount of outright stupid on the other end of the line that he did.

Apparently the jerk I’d spoken to two nights earlier didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.  What a surprise. In the land of Verizon, the SIM cards are (for whatever reason) tied to the devices they’re shipped with and the idiot didn’t know or didn’t care.  He should’ve sent out a new hotspot and SIM, not just a SIM.  Idiot. Ben was told that in order to clear this up, and get the extra lines removed from my account everything would have to be mailed back.  Again, the rep didn’t have a clue how to handle this other than to read from her script. We were getting nowhere.

At this point, I got on my cell and called the local Verizon store, asking them if they could sort out the mess.  They said it wouldn’t be a problem and to bring everything in.

After dinner we drove to the mall and got everything fixed. I left with a activated, working MiFi, and only one additional line on my account (as it was supposed to be from the beginning).

Lessons learned: never ever order anything from Verizon online. GO INTO THE STORE. Secondly, don’t ever bother with their phone support. It SUCKS.