captpackrat: (Fail - Bob Barker)
And just like that, I'm fired.  "Not a good fit."  I finished every single ticket I was given, and everyone seemed to be happy with my work.  Guess that's not a good fit anymore.
captpackrat: (Windows uber alles)
Wow, it's been a while since I've posted here.  I tend to post more often to Twitter because it's so much easier and faster.  And Skyrim had consumed a huge portion of my life for the last month and a half.  Damn you, Bethesda!  Although I haven't posted anything, I do read everyone else's posts regularly.

Got woken up by a phone call at around 9:30 a.m. on Friday.  It was a recruiter wondering if I was interested in a Network Server Admin job in Lincoln.  The client was in a big hurry, and I got an interview that same day at 1:00 p.m.  The interview lasted a whole hour, one of the longest I think I've ever had.  Shortly after I got home at around 3:30, I got a call that I was hired.  They e-mailed me a bunch of paperwork in PDFs, and I digitally signed them and sent them back by 5:30.  6 hours from initial phone call to being hired, that's gotta be some kind of record.

I start work Monday.  I'm replacing a guy who is retiring on Friday, so I get a whole week of training before be thrown into the job.  There's only one other IT person there, a temp who's only been there for a few weeks.  This is gonna be fun!  At least the pay will be good.  It's temp-to-hire, which means in 6 months I'll hopefully be permanently employed.
captpackrat: (Dead)
Doing a Novell to Active Directory migration for a school district.

Up at 5 am so I can get to work by 7 to do Tier 2 helpdesk, then off to a school at 1 pm to do a migration, which can last as late as 10.  It takes another hour or so to get home, so I finally manage to collapse in bed about midnight.  Then the alarm goes off at 5 and it starts all over again.

Luckily it only lasts for another week and a half, but then I'm unemployed again.

At least I'm making insane amounts of money on this job.

Work it

Nov. 7th, 2011 08:38 pm
captpackrat: (Fail)
Today was my first day of work in entirely too long.  It was supposed to be only a single day, working as an independent contractor doing a PC refresh for a local American Cancer Society office.  It was also supposed to be very simple: unbox and boot the new computers, let the automated Sysprep tool configure them, plug it into the old computer, run a utility to copy the data, set up Lotus Notes, install the new computer at the user's desk, then box up the old machines.  Simple, right?

Of course not.

I got to the office at 7:30.  The new computers weren't there.

The site contact called the PC distributor, and was told the computers would arrive by 9:30.

9:30 came around, but nothing had arrived.

Called again, was told 10:30.

10:30 came and went, and nothing.

Then we were told 11:30.

And again, nothing.

The site contact noted that the other materials had arrived via UPS, who'd previously shown up at 2:30.

So I waited...  FedEx driver dropped off a small package....  UPS driver pulled up out front, but went into another office with a small package then left....

The project manager told me to remain on site until the office closed at 5:00, then I could go home.  So I waited some more....

At 4:15 some freight company I'd never heard of finally showed up with the equipment.  They didn't know there was supposed to be a rush on it.

I was able to get 4 machines unboxed and the Sysprep started and 4 old machines set up ready for the data transfer, all in less than 45 minutes.

So basically I got paid to sit around on my ass for 8 hours, and I get to go in again tomorrow to do the actual work, so I get paid double for a simple one-shot temp job.  Yay.  Too bad I won't get paid until after my credit card bill is due.

Sign you've been out of work for too long:  you write IBM as the manufacturer for a bunch of Thinkpads.
captpackrat: (TIME:  In Rod We Trust)
[Error: unknown template qotd] I worked at a Computer Renaissance for about 10 months.  That was the worst job I've ever had.

Computer Renaissance was a very large franchise, that is, people would pay the parent company to license the Computer Renaissance name and logo.  They're still around, but they're nowhere as big as they used to be.

The particular store I worked for was one of three owned by the same person, one store in San Diego, one in Albuquerque, and my store in Encinitas, CA.  I started out working as a tech at the San Diego store, which was the headquarters for this franchise.  I proved to be as good a salesman as I was a tech, and since Encinitas was a shorter drive for me and the tech at that store (who was a poor salesman) wanted to return to the San Diego store, I was transferred up there.

At first things went smoothly, one of the managers from the San Diego store was there to handle the sales and I did the tech work and jumped on the sales floor when there were more customers.  But then the manager started coming in late, leaving me to open the store.  Then he started leaving early, so I had to close up.  Eventually he just stopped showing up at all, leaving me to open the store, do the sales, tech work and answer phones by myself, and then close.  Since the store was open from 10 until 9, this meant an 11 hour day, at a minimum.  Since I also had to clean the store before it opened and do administrative work like closing the register and tabulating the day's reciepts, it usually came to 12 or more hours.  On the weekend there were two people who came in, but the tech usually just made a bigger mess for me to fix the following Monday.  Eventually they stopped showing up and I had to work 6 and then 7 days a week (at least it was only 9 to 10 hours a day on the weekends).  Since I was the only person in the store, I couldn't take a break for lunch without closing the store.

The store was on the corner of the two busiest streets in the area, but the way it was situated it was almost invisible from the road.  The owner also never invested in any advertising, so store traffic was pretty abysmal.  Most of the customers who came in were either shopping at one of the adjacent stores, learned of the place through word-of-mouth (I was a very good salesman), or pulled into the parking lot by mistake (the Gateway store was just up the road).  Pretty soon the home store stopped sending merchandise, so even when I did have customers, I had nothing to sell.  At the worst point, I had just two computers for sale, a $4000 dual-Pentium Pro IBM workstation and an ancient B&W Mac PowerBook Duo!

It was the customers, though, that really made the place hell.  There was this one woman who would keep bringing her computer in with the most trivial of problems, and she would talk nonstop the entire time she was there.  Imagine listening to the MicroMachines guy for half an hour, that's how she talked.  Then there was the teenager who kept coming in and talking at me about computers and how he was going to build a computer for his girlfriend and then never actually bought anything.  And then there was this creepy old guy who'd come in just before closing.  He was insanely paranoid, tinfoil hat-kind of crazy.  He always paid cash, because credit cards have a computer chip that the government uses to track people.  Yeah....

Did I mention I was only being paid minimum wage, plus "commission"?  (Though with all the overtime and double-overtime, I made almost as much as I did at my next job, which was 40 hours a week and $15 an hour.)

I finally couldn't take any more and quit.  I applied for unemployment, claiming I quit because of unreasonable working conditions (pay below average for what I was doing, excessive hours, no lunch breaks), and not only did the state turn me down, they penalized me 2 weeks UI the next time I applied.  WTF?

captpackrat: (Hello Computer)
I've got a job interview with Raytheon tomorrow morning.  I'm not sure whether I want this position or not; it would involve extensive travel, possibly even overseas, the pay is barely higher than my last job and it's only a contract position, but it's salaried and would net me a security clearance.


Mar. 31st, 2007 10:29 pm
captpackrat: (Think or I will set you on fire)
Geez, haven't posted anything in over a week, so here's a huge freaking updatethingie. 

Lots of thunderstorms this past week (I unplug my computer just to be on the safe side), and my SO and I have been driving a sick friend to work/doctor/etc the past couple weeks, so I haven't been online much.

Investments are mixed.  Sirius (SIRI) and DJ Wilshire REIT (RWR) have been sucking, as have the Janus Contrarian Fund (JSVAX) and the  Janus High Yield Fund (JAHYX), but Exxon Mobile (XOM), the Prudent Bear Fund (BEARX, heehee) and the Excelsior Energy & Natural Resources Fund (UMESX) are doing gangbusters.  So far after a week and a half, I'm ahead by $120.  In order to match what I could get at a bank, I need to make at least $50 a week.  I still have a good chunk of money to move into some sort of vehicle, probably more mutual funds.  Lots of prospectuses (prospectii?) to read.

My SO lost his job last week.  The company he was working for has been dropping people like flies.  Apparently they lost their biggest client.  He was feeling really depressed, then I reminded him he could apply for unemployment and he started feeling better.

Monday we went to a job faire just outside Offut AFB.  Both of us ran out of resumes.  I still need to follow up and send electronic copies to all the addressed on the business cards I picked up.   One of the companies there was a construction firm.  They weren't hiring for any IT positions, as they don't feel they need any in-house IT, but that's what my last employer thought before they met me.  ;)

OfficeMax had 2 gig SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB flash drives on sale for $25, so I picked one up.  Then I discovered that RadioShack had the 4 gig version on sale for $60.  My old 2 gig flash drive was nearly full, 4 gigs will really be helpful.  (I have Puppy Linux, the entire PortableApps suite, Office 2003 Enterprise + SP2 and a ton of other useful utilities on it, basically an entire software toolkit)

Also picked up a weather radio from RadioShack.  It has come in handy already (see below).

Chocolate-covered Ginger Altoids are strange.

Saw Meet the Robinsons today.  Much better than I expected.  I thought it was going to suck, but it was actually pretty darn good.  You just have to forget everything you know about temporal mechanics.

When we came out of the theater, it was pouring rain, there was a wee bit of hail, and there were lightning strikes less than a mile away.  Fortunately it let up pretty quickly and I didn't get too wet.  When I got home, I noticed my new weather radio was displaying something about a tornado watch.  It didn't go any farther than a watch though, at least in this county.

2 weeks

Jun. 19th, 2006 09:26 am
captpackrat: (Hiding in the plants)
I handed in my resignation letter this morning.  June 30th will be my last day here.  Since I started working here, the company officers have shown no interest in spending money on IT.  My workload has been tripled, but I haven't gotten a raise, and there are people here using computers that are 5+ years old.  OSHA and the BSA would have a field day with this company....

I spent the morning packing up my things.  This office looks strange without my furry art and stuff on the walls.


May. 3rd, 2006 01:33 pm
captpackrat: (Homer D'OH!)
I just found out the company I work for offers up to 3 days of bereavement leave. I could have taken today and yesterday off. Oh well, at least I don't have to use up my "floating holiday" to take tomorrow off.

Maybe I can go home early today. I still have lots of stuff to do at home to get ready for the relatives.
captpackrat: (Smug)
These Dell Inspirons that the company president INSISTED on buying are WORTHLESS! We need to use a PCMCIA cellular modem with them, and they don't have PCMCIA slots!

The Latitude laptops that I specced out? They've got a PCMCIA slot, of course.

I'm feeling so freaking smug today I could pop.
captpackrat: (END OF LINE)
The Dell Fairy visited yesterday and left 12 laptops in my office. Not the Latitudes I'd asked for, but absolute bottom of the line Inspirons, which saved the company about $50 each. Riiight.

Latitudes come with just Windows, nothing else installed. The Inspirons get loaded up with as much crap as they can squeeze onto the drive. AOL, Earthlink, Google Desktop, a trial version of McAfee, etc.

These laptops came with XP Home, so I had to go out and buy an XP Home OEM CD ($100) so I could format the hard drive and install a fresh, clean copy of Windows. The amount of time I'm spending screwing around with this could have gotten several of the Latitudes set up.

I got the idea to try saving some time by installing everything onto the first laptop, then use Ghost to make an image and use the image to prep the other laptops. So I put the drive into my desktop and tried to boot to the Ghost floppy. Except I get an error message, the S.M.A.R.T. system has detected that the hard drive is about to fail. Oh goody! It's a Toshiba hard drive, naturally.

I finally managed to make an image of the drive, and popped the second hard drive into the desktop. And I get the same error message, the drive is about to fail. And of course, it's another Toshiba drive.

The imaging process was taking FOREVER, so I'm just going to let it run overnight.

And if the drives fail, oh well. I wasn't the one who insisted on buying the cheapest thing possible.
captpackrat: (Hiding in the plants)
I love it when people keep me out of the loop.

The company I work for recently invested a large amount of money into a service dispatch system that has so far proven to be rather buggy.

Worse, only now am I finding out that to make full use of this software, we're going to have to run our own web server. Thanks for letting me know in advance so I could put it in the freaking BUDGET!

I guess I can make our 5 year old copy of Symantec Anti-Virus last another year. :P
captpackrat: (Scuzz the Rat)
With the switch from T-Mobile to Verizon, the company I work for has TONS of useless leftover phones. The bosses want me to put them up on eBay, but I'm probably just going to take them to one of those eBay consignment shops and let THEM deal with the hassle.

There's about 70 phones, including 30 or so from our previous contract with Nextel. Most of the phones are in fairly beaten up shape, and nearly all of them were the free phones the cellular companies toss at you when you sign up. I doubt we'll get anything for them. The only thing we'll probably get anything for are the Palm Treo 600's, and those are pretty badly beaten up. I figure we'll be lucky to get $50 each.

For some reason, although we had only about 12 Treos, the previous office manager had bought 50-something cases and 25 or so sync cables. I hope I can get at least a little something for those.

I spent most of the day figuring out which of the massive tangle of cables went to which phones, then bundling everything up nice and neat in little plastic baggies.


Mar. 29th, 2006 04:13 pm
captpackrat: (Windows uber alles)
Found a hack for XP Professional that allows you to use it as a Terminal Server. This was a feature that Microsoft had introduced in the SP2 beta, but they removed it from the final version. I found a hack that reenables it.

For months, the folks at our Temecula office have been complaining about how slow our database appication is, and yes, it is horrifically slow, because the database is over 1 Gigabyte, and they're trying to access it over a VPN running over a T-1 line (it used to be worse, it used to be ADSL). I felt sorry for our field guys, who were trying to use this database over a cellular modem.

Then it occurred to me, why not just set up a Terminal Server on the LAN here and do all the crunching and processing locally, only sending screen updates and keyboard/mouse clicks over the VPN. It should be like 100 times faster this way. And we won't need to order ANOTHER T-1.

This will also mean I may be able to deploy Linux more often, since the primary reason I haven't been able to was this stupid Windows-only database program.

I'm rather tired, though. I'm working OT to get this up and running by tonight, and I haven't eaten since 8 am. Bleah.
captpackrat: (Homer AAAAAAH!)
The company VP wants me to make a chart of the company cell phone usage. I just borrowed a copy of the most recent bill. 537 pages! @_@
captpackrat: (This Bites)
The FedEx guy just stopped by at work and dropped off over 40 boxes, about one foot cube each.

The contents of these boxes?

Each box contained ONE phone charger or holster.

Instead of loading everything into one large box, they sent 40-something boxes, each loaded with one item and tons of packing material.


Mar. 8th, 2006 12:58 pm
captpackrat: (Microsoft Bob)
There's some kind of horrible smell in this building this afternoon. It smells chemical and it's burning my nose and making me want to vomit. I don't know how much longer I can stay here. Gag!

EDIT: I tracked the source of the smell to the company kitchen. Someone with a stronger stomach than I managed to brave the stench and discovered it was one of those automated air "fresheners" recently installed by our service company. I hope it'll be taken down soon, as the smell is getting stronger. If it runs overnight, I'm not going to be able to work tomorrow.

I've shut down the AC in the server room (whooo!) and I'm burning incense to try to mask the odor, though that's not helping much.

Fortunately the General Superintendent, a principal and #3 man in the company also thinks it stinks, so there's a good chance it'll get taken down. There are actually a few people here who say they like the smell. I almost vomited when I stuck my nose in the kitchen.

EDIT EDIT: Someone ripped the thing off the wall. Yay!

Work toys

Feb. 24th, 2006 10:10 pm
captpackrat: (Gadget Spacesuit)
I just received a Vadem Clio to evaluate for use at work. These things are fantastic, it's like a small laptop with Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer, but even though the CPU is less than 100MHz, it is SOOOOO much faster than any modern PC.

At work we are trying to deploy a mobile work order system for our service techs. The only problem is most PDA's have no keyboard, which makes data entry rather tedious. The few PDA's that DO have a keyboard, like the Treo, have crappy quality and tiny tiny buttons. The mobile version of the software doesn't work on a normal Windows laptop, and laptops are bulky and take forever to boot. The Clio would be the perfect compromise, with a useable keyboard and a large screen, and with the instant-on capabilities of Windows CE.

There are only 3 possible problems. 1. Will the software work with a MIPS processor? 2. Can we get a cellular modem with drivers for Windows CE? 3. Can I find at least 12 more Clios?

It's too bad the Clio concept never went anywhere. I'd love to have one built with modern technology.


Feb. 20th, 2006 10:24 pm
captpackrat: (Default)
Day four of the flu. It's mostly gone, except I feel like there's something in my lungs, but I can't seem to cough it up. And the coughing is making my throat sore. I've still got a bit of a fever, between 100 and 101, and I feel a bit run down.

While today was a holiday for most people, it wasn't for me, I had to go to work. Fortunately, about half the people at work decided to take the day off, so there was little for me to do all day. I got into work early, so I was able to leave early.

The K&N filter on my car was getting a bit nasty, but the process of washing, drying, and reoiling is very time consuming, and I can't drive the car without an air filter, so I just bought a replacement filter and installed it today. I'll clean the old one, so when the new one gets dirty, I'll oil up the old one and swap them again. The old one took about 2 years to get dirty, so together, these two filters should last well into the 22nd century.

My car reached exactly 78,000 miles as I pulled into the driveway.

I need new tires. The old ones are getting rather worn, down to 1/16" of tread left. The problem is this car takes an unusual size, P255/50R17. I'm thinking of switching to a tire with a smaller sidewall, 255/40R17. This size is easier to find, there's more variety available, they're cheaper, the shorter sidewalls make for better maneuverability, and the smaller tire diameter will have the effect of increasing the differential ratio, giving me faster accelleration. The only downsides I can find so far is that it will throw off the speedometer (which can be fixed by reprogramming the engine computer), the smaller tires might look slightly odd (they're about 2 inches smaller in diameter), and the ride won't be quite as smooth (less cushioning).

Tomorrow I have to drive to Temecula to do some maintanence on the computers at our remote office. Fortunately the drive is against the normal flow of rush hour traffic, so it's a trip I don't mind. It's a fairly scenic drive, I usually get to sneak out of work a bit early, and Temecula has one of the last Long John Silver's in the area. Plus I get reimbursed for the mileage. Yay!

I normally don't watch House, but everyone was talking about it, so I watched this episode. Weird. Very, very, very weird.

Finally managed to win a Vadem Clio on eBay. I've been needing to buy one for work to do some testing. Unfortunately, it's the C-1000 model, not the better C-1050. I can't believe just how expensive these damn things are.
captpackrat: (Smug)
Every woman who works in this company showed up for work today.

Only about 5 men out of 15 showed up.


captpackrat: (Default)
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