Bitching and Moaning

First off, let me say that I am very grateful to have a job and to be working—even if it is for less money than I was earning ten fifteen years ago.

That being said, working for a government agency these past six months has been an eye opening experience. I have nothing in my work history to compare the level of dysfunction I encounter on a daily basis. Not even DISH was this broken, and that’s saying a lot.

You would think that this agency would’ve learned from the fiasco that was their 3-month new equipment refresh project that was started before Ben and I returned to Phoenix and is just now—more than a year later—wrapping up. Hiring Dell to basically do everything short of placing the new equipment on users’ desks wasn’t their first mistake. That was failing to get the necessary teams in place to do proper testing of the hardware and software before pushing it out to the thousands of employees across the state. If that sort of infrastructure had been in place, then maybe—just maybe—it wouldn’t have been necessary to terminate their contract when Dell failed to live up to the ridiculous expectations and timeline they’d been given…and then turn around and rehire them because it was obvious that without their outside knowledge and assistance the entire project was going to crash and burn in a spectacular fashion.

But no! Get it out, get it out, get it out! NOW NOW NOW.

So six weeks after I came on board and a few hundred Win10 machines had gone out the door, most of those machines started coming back in to be reimaged with Win7. Mission-critical software didn’t work properly. Users hated the OS. The CIO “left to pursue other opportunities” and his replacement immediately announced that unless the hardware wouldn’t support it or there was an overriding business reason for Win10 to be used, all new hardware that went out was to be loaded with Win7.

I can’t tell you how many problems that cleared up—not to mention it cut down our machine prep time by half.

My time here was supposed to have ended when the refresh project wrapped up, but I truly believe my supervisor wants to keep me around long enough to survive the agency’s hiring freeze so he can bring me on as a full time employee. (This would be a huge pay increase, bringing me back in line with what I have been making prior to this.) Thankfully for both of us, a new project was coming online—the replacement of around 250 customer-facing kiosk devices across the state; all of which would need to be imaged and prepped for deployment.

And that is where today’s rant comes in.

Once again we are being told to get something pushed out the door without adequate Q&A testing being performed—even though we know things are not working properly—because apparently it’s more important to show that something is being done rather than wait and make sure what’s being done is right.

With one batch of machines already out the door and in the field, the first time I had to unbox a few dozen other already-imaged machines was when the powers that be realized the assigned computer names were too long and couldn’t properly join the domain. The second time the machines (which thankfully hadn’t gone out yet) were unboxed was because someone realized that from a data security perspective, these very public machines probably shouldn’t have their USB ports active. The third time they were unboxed was because someone else realized that the machines needed to have an auto-login to the service account that ran the kiosk software.

The auto-logon worked sporadically at best, and seemed to be tied to the machines being in the proper group in Active Directory. Once they were in the correct bucket in AD, some worked and some still didn’t. “Oh, it’s a back-end issue they’re working on,” my supervisor said. “Go ahead and box them up and get them ready to go out.”

Against my better judgment, I boxed them up again. My boss returned to the workroom shortly after I’d finished the chore and said, “We need to force group policy again.”

I wonder what stupidity tomorrow will bring?

Tastes Change

As I’m sure I’ve written here before, I’ve been a huge fan of Philip Glass since discovering his music via Koyaanisqatsi in 1986.

To this day there are parts of Akhnaten and Satyagraha that still send chills down my spine.

But in 1989 he released 1000 Airplanes On The Roof, a work that by all accounts I should’ve devoured, laying his music over a theme of UFOs and alien abduction (something I was way too much into at the time).

And yet, I hated it. I don’t know if I was expecting to be blown away like I was with Akhnaten or if I perceived that his style had changed too much since Koyaanisqatsi, but I was not impressed.

When the CD was stolen from my collection in 1991, I didn’t bother replacing it.

In the years since Airplanes, Glass’ music has evolved and changed—as we all have—and I’ve loved pretty much everything I’ve heard of his in the interim.

So when I was looking over my recently found “List of Stolen CDs” and noticed that Airplanes was on it, I thought, what the hell—give it another listen.

And upon hearing it again, I don’t understand why I hated it so. It doesn’t give me chills, but it is quintessential Glass.

I Can’t. I Just Can’t.


I can’t. I just can’t. And this my friends is why it is so vitally important that we all get out and VOTE in November. If you don’t want that Cheeto-faced straw-toupeed fucktrumpet sitting in the White House—and by extension idiots like this running the country and determining your future—you have to VOTE. Sitting at home on November 8th, thinking you don’t need to drag your ass to the polling place because everything says that Hillary has it wrapped up, is no guarantee she will win if you don’t cast your ballot. We need to show unequivocally that Trump’s hate and his Neo-Nazi brain-dead followers have no place in our society.

So Many Feels

To celebrate National Dog Day, Universal Pictures presents the first look at, A Dog’s Purpose, an upcoming 2017 family comedy film starring Josh Gad, Britt Robertson, Peggy Lipton, and Dennis Quaid. A Dog’s Purpose comes to theaters on January 27th, 2017.

“Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström, shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.”

Like Running Into An Old Friend You Haven’t Seen In Years

And so another journey down the back alleys of the internet has turned up something quite unexpected—and quite forgotten.

In the mid 1980s, right after I’d gotten my first CD player and replaced my mediocre Sony stereo equipment with some good gear (Yamaha, baby), I stumbled upon the Private Music record label. While their wares were eventually sold everywhere, it was at the audio salon (the venerable Jerry’s Audio for my Arizona readers) where I purchased the aforementioned equipment that I initially discovered them, and many of the discs became the soundtrack of my life after my relocation to San Francisco.

I don’t remember how I landed on that Wikipedia Page, but even before I’d read through the whole list of their releases, a name popped into my head—along with a song title: Eddie Jobson, Theme of Secrets.

I remembered the name and title, and was surprised when I did a search through my iTunes and came up empty. WTF? Why didn’t I have this album in my collection? Was it one of the CDs that was stolen from my apartment in 1990 and never replaced? Did I get rid of it during my purge in 2013 without ripping a copy first? It turns out Secrets wasn’t the only Private Music album curiously absent from my collection, but it was the one that proved the most difficult to find again.

When I did finally track it down and heard those notes playing, a tear came to my eye. Rediscovering once-loved-and-forgotten music really is like running into an old friend whom you haven’t seen in years.

Any WordPress Gurus Out There?

It seems the most recent WordPress “upgrade” has broken something. Again.  I’m no longer receiving email updates when comments are left on posts.

As you can see, I have the proper boxes checked off in the control panel, and the email address they’re being sent to is valid (nothing has changed), so I’m wondering how to get this working again.

Any ideas?

Friday

I know I’ve posted this video previously, but damn…after going through my News and Twitter feeds today, I need something fun to counteract all the stupid. And this never fails to put a smile on my face.

My only question is why is there no official extended dance mix? Four minutes just isn’t long enough!

And since we’re on the subject…

This is Brilliant

#DonaldTrump #statue #unionsquare #nyc #manhattan

A photo posted by Alfonso Quiroz (@quiroza) on

The revealing public art was the work of INDECLINE. Watch the video below to see the statues (which have also popped up in San Francisco, Cleveland, Seattle and Los Angeles) being made.

Thirty Years Ago

Thirty years ago today I started my San Francisco adventure.

It had been a long time coming. While one of my dearest friends in the world moved there in 1979 and regaled me with stories of wonder and debauchery that simultaneously enticed and repulsed me, a little voice in the back of my head kept telling me that city was off limits until further notice. I’m glad I heeded that voice for once; there’s no telling if I would even be here today if I’d emigrated there any sooner than I did.

In May 1985, my partner at the time had some frequent flier miles that he needed to use or lose. He announced he was flying to San Francisco for the weekend. “Not without me you’re not!” And thus the seed was planted.

The following Christmas, we returned for an extended visit. By the time June the following year rolled around, my friend Lee had already secured employment there and our entire tribe was making preparations to leave Tucson, none of knew exactly when this was going to happen.

At the beginning of August, my supervisor called me into his office and announced they were laying me off. I started laughing. “That’s the oddest response I’ve ever gotten from anyone after being laid off,” he said. “That’s because the universe is telling me to move to San Francisco now.”

On August 15th, I threw a couple of well-packed suitcases in the back of my car, and along with a rather attractive boy named Jim Girard whom I’d met a few weeks earlier (my partner and I had split up earlier that summer), began the journey west to begin an adventure that was to leave an indelible mark on my life.

We didn’t take the quickest route to the City. Since we didn’t know if we’d “ever come this way again,” we eschewed I-5, overnighted in Santa Barbara, and took Route 1 up the coast.

We reached Monterey mid afternoon on August 16th. At the time, thinking that Monterey was only “a few minutes” south of San Francisco, I noted that the Aquarium was one place I definitely wanted to see after I got settled. Funny thing is, after all the years I lived there, I never did see it. It was always a case of “I’ll drive down next weekend.” Next weekend never came.

Late that afternoon, we finally arrived at our destination. Lee had been staying with friends of his in the Lower Haight. They were renting two units on a single floor of an old Victorian and had plenty of room for guests, opening their doors to yet another Arizona transplant.

811 Page Street, my first—albeit brief—San Francisco domicile

Not realizing that August weather in The City was decidedly different from June, I had neglected to pack appropriate outerwear, and I found myself shivering in the damp fog that rolled in like clockwork every night. Thankfully when Jim’s ex arrived a week later (talk of reconciliation was in the air) he brought my jacket and all was once again well in the world. Jim and Dave returned to Tucson about a week later, leaving Lee and I to wait for the arrival of the rest of our crew in the subsequent weeks while being told by Lee’s friends nearly every night over dinner that “The City will chew you up and spit you out.”

To be fair, the City was hard on us. Of the five of us who initially moved there, I was the only long-term survivor—and even then The City had the last word when I was forced to leave after the dot-com bust.

Not Surprising

From TechnoBuffalo:

Windows 10 might be a nice upgrade for most PC users—especially when it was free—but many just aren’t interested in it. Businesses especially are avoiding Microsoft’s latest operating system, according to new data.

Softchoice, which has obtained data from the TechCheck IT asset management service that is supplied to 169 firms in the U.S. running over 400,000 Windows machines, has found that only 0.75 percent of businesses are currently running Windows 10.

That’s right—not even a full percentage of businesses are running Windows 10 more than a year after its release.

Windows 7 is still used by 91 percent of enterprise customers, according to Softchoice, and that percentage continues to grow. It’s actually up 18 percent since the same time last year. Windows 8 is currently being used by 4 percent of businesses.

“It seems businesses don’t see an urgent need to move operating systems, so long as their cloud-based applications are still running fine on Windows 7,” said Craig McQueen, director of the Microsoft Practice at Softchoice.

However, McQueen does believe that Windows 10 will see a boost in adoption once organizations begin to “grasp the user benefits,” such as improved touch interaction, greater security, and baked-in Cortana.

User benefits? Touch interaction doesn’t work on desktops and Cortana was the first thing the organization blocked as part of Group Policy at my place of employment!

In addition, after a very poorly executed pilot program and a rush to get new machines into the hands of the users, nearly all of the machines that went out imaged with Windows 10 when I was first brought on board for this refresh project have now come back in to be reimaged with Windows 7. The users hate it, and a lot of home-baked mission-critical applications aren’t compatible.

Maybe someone should’ve looked into that before we rolled out all those machines?

Like Cockroaches

Dear Out-of-State Indian Recruiters: Lest I be labeled racist for what I’m about to say, I want to make it clear that I do not work with any out-of-state employment agencies, not just yours. It has been my experience that it is a total waste of my time and resources when I can’t go into a local office and actually meet the person representing me. I’m singling you out on this because—unlike all the other out-of-state agencies that have contacted me and have honored my requests to be ignored, you JUST. DON’T. GET. IT.

If I do not return your first, second, third or fourth call, that means I AM NOT INTERESTED in doing business with you. Maybe it’s a cultural thing and you believe that pestering candidates will make them more inclined to want to work with you; I don’t know. But generally when someone ignores your repeated phone calls and identical spam-like emails, any rational person would realize whoever you’re trying to contact JUST ISN’T INTO YOU and you should STOP.

Cynet, CTI, Reveille, Fountain, K-Tec, VTech, Yochana, and especially Collabra, I’m talking to YOU.

I’ve tried responding with polite emails. I’ve tried responding with rude emails (and actually received one response telling me that I should go find Jesus—who I guess has wandered off again), yet nothing makes a difference save disabling my online job profiles—something I can’t do while looking for work.

“Respond with ‘REMOVE’ in the subject to be taken out of our system.” Yeah. Tried that. I’m starting to think it’s just a confirmation that your stupid fucking email got through.

“Click here to be removed from our system.” Yeah, tried that too. Again, seems to just be a confirmation for you of a live email addy.

Right now I have 151 blocked numbers on my phone for you jokers. (Four were added just in the time it’s taken me to write this post.) I’m starting to wonder what the maximum number assigned to any one contact can actually be, since I’ve got to be getting close to that limit. I got smart a couple months ago and started noting (when you left messages that I could actually understand or were accompanied by emails) the company attached to the numbers instead of just filing them under “main,” and it’s been enlightening. No matter how many numbers for any of your companies are blocked, new ones constantly spring up—just like cockroaches.

It’s bad enough that you simply do a word search instead of actually reading profiles before contacting people, but the worst offenders are those of you who send “as discussed” email job listings for NYC, or South Florida or East Bumfuck. Those are the ones that will get the rudest response from me. “WHEN, EXACTLY, WAS THIS DISCUSSED AND WHERE ON ANY OF MY FUCKING ONLINE PROFILES DOES IT SAY WILLING TO RELOCATE? DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN!” (Usually in 24 point type.)

Maybe I should just start responding with “खुद मैथुन जाओ.” Will that work?

From Your Mouth to the FSM’s Noodly Appendages

When Trump loses in a jaw-dropping landslide in November—virtually wiped out, outside the hatred-and-resentment-fueled Deep South—it will be a very personal defeat. No one will be able to blame conservative ideology or the Republican platform for the massive ass-whoopin’ that’s coming Trump’s way. He is going to be labeled the Ultimate Loser in American History and it’s all personal. What the voters are rejecting is Trump himself—his essence as a human being, his ugly, deformed personality, his unsuitable temperament, and his horrible nature/mental illnesses. By October, the battleground states are going to be Montana, Kansas, Arizona and Georgia, with Trump desperately trying to claw his way back towards a win in South Carolina and Kentucky. He’ll be lucky for every electoral vote over 150 he gets—and if he keeps provoking Ted Cruz, the election’s biggest surprise could come in the Texas suburbs of Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Austin.” ~ Down With Tyranny