Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Letter to the CEO of HP


I am a technical support rep and have been coming on 5 years. I have seen myriad technical problems, interacted with a lot of software and hardware, and beat my head against many a machine in efforts to get them to work. I am capable and incredibly handsome. I work mainly in the medical field, and when we need something to work, it MUST work. Lives could be on the line.

I say the above so maybe you don't take the below lightly.

I HATE YOUR SOFTWARE. It is almost entirely ad-ridden junk that slows PCs down, adds a million desktop icons and programs within the control panel, and for all of its over-sized bullcrap, half the time the insipid filth DOESN'T EVEN DO ITS JOB.

Can I ask a few rhetorical questions? Of course I can. I'm the customer. WHY does the average HP customer need software that:
1. Advertises a product they have already bought and continues to do so until the software is uninstalled
2. Tries to update already bloated software every day and uses valuable PC resources to do so
3. Takes half an hour or more to download on slower network connections (wasting EVERYONE'S time) because it is almost 50 MB for a bare-bones no-nonsense printer
4. Spreads through a PC like a virus, touching and taking control of things that it has no business doing, often making the uninstall process laborious, and in some cases impossible but for a reload of the OS
5. Has an impossibly annoying interface, that often takes over half the screen to tell you where to buy genuine HP toner/ink/supplies that you don't even need yet

Early in my career, I spent a large portion of my time diagnosing and fixing HP software issues. Be it printer drivers that refuse to work or just break after months of working, or a 'smart' fax machine refusing to be recognized via USB or the network. I've seen newly bought HP PCs and laptops with so much bloatware pre-installed (which you can only trust to be gone after an OS reload) that it crawls along when a similarly equipped non-HP laptop zips through tasks no problem. I have taken loads of customer complaints about your software noticeably slowing a system. I could get very detailed with the little hell you've provided me, but alas, letters to the CEO can only be 3500 characters long.

And what can a customer do when they don't have me to wrestle with their systems for them? They call support.

Oh, goodness help me, HP support.

When you manage to make it though the laborious and kludgy phone system, you get to speak to someone who #1 doesn't speak English and #2 cannot help you in any technical sense.

I'll save the support complaints for later. I'm sure you get those all the time. In fact, I bet you get many letters such as this, from many tech support folks.

There is a reason for this, and that reason is: YOUR SOFTWARE IS ABHORRENT AND A PLAGUE ON MANKIND.

Thank you very much for you time. Please stop making software. You don't know how.

In the immortal words of Donny Astricky, "Honey, I cain't swim, I know I cain't. So you know what I do? I stay my black ass out the pool!"

--Charles Nasworthy
--Application Support Analyst II

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gambler's Fallacy

So, as I often do, I was postulating from the throne. I'm average. Average height, average income, average intellect, average looks, average at my job, average average average.

I have a low opinion of the shambling masses that we call humanity, and probably not without reason. I was struggling to think of any qualities of mine that surpass the foaming crowds, and came up with only my ability to acquire new skills. I can, in a very short amount of time, put my mind to something completely foreign to me and quickly rise to the rank of average in that new skill. I think that this is why I thrive on change. Boasting aside, I started this I.T. career with no experience and with my usual tendencies immediately became average at it. I was well ahead of the curve. I feel like I'm still in the 'average zone' of being an I.T. guy after 3 years of doing it. I'm no longer ahead of the curve. I'm now where a normal guy would be expected to be skill-wise, and the flash of 'holy cow this guy just started and he's already like a salty dog!' is gone. Maybe its because the secret to I.T. is Google, which I found early and use regularly. But I digress.

The need to change and overcome challenge is growling and scratching and pulling at me right now. Go find a new profession, or do SOMETHING that gets you that 'I'm finally ahead of the crowd!' feeling again. I bought a motorcycle and after two weeks or so I felt like an 'average user' on it. Just running from thought to thought as I type, maybe its about being a showoff. I tend to not ascribe shallow traits like that to myself, but 'call em as you see em' I guess. I didn't get much of a relief from my burning need to defeat challenges or change from the whole motorcycle thing, however rewarding it is. (And man is it fun!) I think that it could be because it was only I who saw how easy it was to pick up something relatively difficult for normal people and pound it into submission. No one else was on the bike with me, so no one saw my skill increase. (On an aside, is that why I felt compelled to write this? Am I showing off?)

I guess I'm just an average showoff now too. However easy it was to become one.

Looking at all the pies I've got my hands in, I feel the need to further show off. Actually I sort of just want to list them all out as a way to delineate what I can do and what may be lacking. Feel free to view the following as me being a pompous and arrogant ass. Because it probably is. I can drift pretty well these days, or make a decent time around a circuit in a properly set up car. I can properly set up a car for drift or grip. (The 350z is set up great for circuit driving...and the 240sx is of course a purpose-built drift slut.) I can repair said cars when they break, and I can even teach people all of these skills pretty well. I'm pretty good at driving boats and skiing behind them. I am also proficient at snow skiing. I am a certified scuba diver. I can fish with a reel, a bully net, or even a cast net. I can run endurance races and make average times, even at ludicrous distances. I can tell you about the human body pretty extensively, or the universe around us, be it astronomy or particle physics. I can talk geology with geology majors and I can talk biology with bio majors. I have a decent understanding of archeology, and I know details on how a lot of different religions worship. I can lead a team of people toward a unified goal, be it just playing an online video game with friends, or in a real life technical emergency. I can cook well enough to get compliments every time I put my hand to it. My technical skills with electronics have been covered already, though I feel like I must mention that I have the same confidence to fix just about any electronic device as I do with mechanical systems on vehicles. Were I not self-bridled with abstinence I feel like I could date some really hot and worldly girls. I also feel like I can make and tell some very interesting stories.

Theres a lot I left out, but I'm beginning to tire of that whole 'i'm awesome' rant. In truth, having a lot of skills that you are average at is probably not all that cool, and I'm just trying to make myself feel better. Not a single of the above listed features sticks out as "I'm better than everyone I know at this one thing." There is always someone out there that is better. The sick thing is that of the skills I'm more proud of, I probably don't even rank in the top 25% of skill-level of specialists in each field.

Average average average. Lets see what I can do to change that.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I saw a green meteorite on the way home from Houston tonight. It broke up before impact. Very cool.

I looked up what compounds it could have in it to burn green, it was probably copper.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Subverting the Trope "Big Dumb Heroes"

A few prefaces to this particular adventure: During High School I was in a cross country team with some really good friends. One of these friends was named Mike. He and I were a few of the ‘slightly crazy’ group of kids that I hung out with. He introduced us to street racing in Dallas, where the ultimate rush of running from the cops was tantamount to bliss. So with this in mind, I’ve been staying Mike’s house here in Kauai. We usually are reigned in by more sane friends of ours when we look like we’ve decided that fun is better than safety or good judgment. Unfettered, we decided to go for a hike.

Hanakapi’ai is supposed to be a 4 miles in, 4 miles out relatively difficult hike. Knowing this, we started at about 3:00pm on Tuesday, but in trying to find a parking spot found several neat caves that we wanted to check out before embarking on the main hike. Waves and wind had hollowed out large caves in semi-circle fashion. Some of them went several hundred feet down below sea level and had nice little stagnant pools of salt water at the bottom. After a few pictures, and 30 minutes of poking around in some holes in the ancient igneous rock faces, we head out on the main trail.

Kauai is beautiful. Pictures can’t do it justice, come out and do it yourself. With a lot of energy and a lust for adventure, Mike and I half-jogged through the trails greeting other hikers as they funneled out of the trails. Several amazing views of the ocean and some neat beaches from over 1000 feet up (which we climbed in the first half mile) were breath taking. We came upon a beach that had a protected pool behind a big sandbar and I jumped in while mike took a smoke break. We started heading toward titular falls, and checked down our responsible side. “It’s getting late yeah?” Mike remarked. “Aught we to turn about?” I quipped back, thinking that a good recourse to hiking at night. “Nah, there’s supposed to be something cool at the end of this trail, lets keep going.” Mike said with finality. I didn’t argue, as ‘something cool’ stuck out to me like a side quest in a Zelda game. We crossed the river several times, hopping about on the river rocks with ninja-like balance (mine after much training, Mike’s inherent in his asian-ness) and made good time upstream. In the distance we saw a massive cascading waterfall from the top of an impossibly high cliff. I was getting excited, further locking my responsible side away in the dark corner I usually keep it in. We saw a straggling couple and asked what time it was. 5:00. Plenty of time to make it to the falls.

Another half an hour or so and we’d arrived at (and I am not exaggerating or just using superlatives) the most beautiful spot I have ever seen or been to in real life. Water fell (uh, duh) from what must have been close to 1000 to 1500 feet off of a sheer cliff to settle into a bowl of pristine, clear, fresh rain water. It was cold, and it was refreshing. We took a lot of pictures, jumped in, and felt the falls on our head and swam around a bit.

Energized, we went to the task of getting out of the valley before dark. After deciding that going down a much less traveled trail to cut through on the right side of the stream, we found familiar markings on the trail and realized we were making great time. We stuck to our blazingly fast trail only to find ourselves blazing our own trail. The trail had terminated into nothingness. We had to keep our pace up, and finding a trail would be the best use of our quickly being scratched and bruised bodies.

We found no trail. Quickly darkness began enveloping us as we made our way toward the beach one painful foot at a time. For every time Mike fell several feet into an unseen ditch, I’d find the thorniest bush or tree and throw myself longingly at it. We soon were relying more on the moon for light than the waning sun. “Mike, I’m glad that its you and me in this situation, most people would be freaking out.” I calmly remarked. “I need a cigarette.” Mike said, for about the third time since we started churning through the dense tropical underbrush. “Lets just keep heading towards the beach, that’s where we’ll see the main trail.” I reassuringly let out. We trudged forward. Many times one of us would exclaim “It’s the trail!” only to follow it for a few meters and find we were had, once again. Never letting the adventure devolve into frustration, we kept our chins up. We could see the beach! After many cuts and bruises we’d made it back in sight of where the real trail should be. I celebrated by falling into the river and dowsing my camera and iPhone. Mike celebrated by slipping on the same stone as I and dropped his lighter. We’d thought of camping out for the night at the beach before, but fatigue had run its course on our minds, and we decided to press on. Being that the Moon was shining from the Southeast, we were completely in the dark as we went north and east up the cliff side, leaving us with no recourse but to use a Mike’s cell phone as a flash light. This is not as easy as it sounds, as after the leader gets over a particularly difficult area, he has to stop and shine the spot so the follower can get over it. When trying to make good time, this is not very conducive.

After what was another hour of night walking on a slippery high-incline trail, I’d started cramping and Mike had started dying energy wise. He wanted to stop for a bit, and I couldn’t or risk cramping up entirely. We were the perfect team. I convince Mike to keep going and we trudge up, around and back down the mountain ridge. Two hours and fifteen minutes after sundown we finally make it out of the hellish hiking trail. We walk the 10 minutes up the road to where Mike parked and settle in for the long road home, to find that more than the lighter went into the river when Mike slipped. The keys went as well. A perfect end to a perfect night.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The fear of no fear.

I'm struggling with something.  And yes my title is a conundrum and a contradiction.  

All my life I have been striving to fear nothing (and well, if I have to take accountability for myself, succeeding.)  For the first time in my life I'm asking if this is actually a good thing.  

Yes yes, the Fear of God.  I don't consider this to be a phobia or something to 'EEEEEEEKKK!!!' at.  My relationship with God is of whole respect and love... This is where things get fuzzy.  SHOULD I be afraid of God? I recently heard a sermon by Mr. Smith that was about our 'Dangerous God.'  It was quite inspiring and thought-invoking, and it left a taste in my mouth that meant I needed to do some thinking.   The point of this post -I must point out- is not actually what Mr. Smith was talking about, but a lot of the premises were there to get the cogs churning.  

Does a certain phobia of what God can and will do to you incite further obedience? In my most recent (before all this incessant pondering) ideals this type of fear would only result in knots in necks, useless tears, and nothing more.  Do people follow God out of terror? Is God leading people solely out of their own fear in some specific and isolated cases? Is that what some people need for motivation? Should I pity them? (at this current juncture, I truly do.)  

Can one not follow God simply to be on the good side? To side with those that most perfectly fit your inner need to love, make people happy, instruct, take instruction, and emulate the hero? (Christ) Can this not be your underlying motive for following God?

All of this thinking gets a bit difficult when I try to apply it to people around me.  Why is such-and-such in the Church of God?  Why is he not?  They both know the truth.  What decisions were made about your internal moral character that made one go one way and one the other?  What about God's calling echoed differently in each persons psyche?

I have some studying to do.  And in the first time in a while its not on someone else's suggestion.

Life is good.  I can't sleep due to having this cough/sneeze/sniffle/headache.  Might as well enjoy myself.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Poast

So I got a new car, and I'm really enjoying it.  Its a 350z, and its orange. 

I love it.  I've already determined that my old rims wont fit due to some little dingus on the disc brake. 

I'm going to Colorado to visit my Mom, step Dad, sister and brother in law -and- (most especially) my little niece and nephew for Thanksgiving.  Boy do I have a lot to be thankful for.   

Family is odd, everyone says that when you have a good family it truly is a blessing.  And I think that saying never carries enough weight.  Why, every time I see my niece do I think "I would protect her with my life without hesitation" and when I see pictures of my new nephew do I think "I need to be a better person so he looks up to his Unca Chuckie"? I believe its something God built in.  Maybe.

I love my family. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

The best part about a blog that no one reads is...

Its like a sounding board with no sound.  I can put some of my more personal and retarded thoughts on here without too much fear that the wrong people would read them.  (is that secretly what I want?)

So with this in mind,  I think I'm slowly becoming cynical.  Or emotionally unavailable, or something.  Laziness has always been a part of my life.  Not that I just sit around all the time (which is happening more often now with the advent of Wrath of the Lich King) I stay active for the most part, but things that require my attention don't get done.  Laundry is a good example, or cleaning my room, or even fixing my car. (fully.  I get it to minimal operation status and leave it be.  There are probably 5 major things that need fixing on my car, but it still drives fine.) 

Cynicism on the other hand has not been part of my life.  Really ever.  I did go through a bout of loneliness and depression in middle school when I was being picked on daily, but who couldn't say they've been through something similar?  Real cynicism, like expecting to be disappointed in everyone,  or expecting the mundane to happen even when you try your hardest to live an interesting life is what I'd say I've been getting a taste of lately.  

I've been places and done new things to keep me off balance.  I've gone away on a whim to a tropical island by myself, no plans.  I've been to a 3rd world country just because I've never been there.  I've tried to scare myself stupid once a week on average.  

More.  I need to do more.  And I can't do that in a relationship.  I can't have someone worrying about my safety while I'm climbing radio towers in a wind storm, or petrified that I'll go to jail for sneaking into a water tower that is under construction.  I would feel uncomfortable with someone I care about being vexed that I just learned that front wheel drive cars are indeed easier to do a full 360 turn in, and continue driving down the road.  I don't need the added burden of someone turning to me and telling me to take my anti-malarial like the nurse told me to.  The thought of a girl crying over me not coming home because I need to look danger in the face needlessly makes my heart constrict my throat just a bit.

I really just want to be alone, and that hurts.

Is it freedom I want? Or do I need someone who is as crazy and irresponsible as me?  *shudder* I really dont think I'd be with me were I a girl, so maybe thats not what I need.  

I think everyone wants to be a superhero.  I am struggling though, with one thing that this wish of mine betrays.  I want evil in the world, for the sole selfish purpose that I can oppose it. Why would I want that? Am I trying to show off? I don't tell anyone about half of the stupid things I do, so I'm not yet convinced of that.  (not putting that one down for an instant though)

It wouldn't be fair for me to get into a relationship with me like this. (well, another relationship) I've been in one where I showed no real interest and just kind of let her break it off.  I also went out with a girl and left it completely open ended. I just stopped calling her.  My interest level is declining more and more rapidly with every girl I involve myself with, and I can't for the life of me figure out why.  

I'd like to say that its because I broke it off with the only girl I've ever loved and was loved back, and I'm in regret.  I don't really feel that this is the case.  I had a good year and a half after I broke up with her when I feel like I could've hopped into another relationship and put the emotion and love and work into making it last.  Its only been about a year since I started feeling that its not worth it, and I think we stopped dating about 3 years ago.  Is the fact that I bring her  up an indication of anything? Or am I just bringing it up because thats been the closest thing to success with a girl I've ever had?

The introspective side of me has started to wax cool as I'm writing, and it all seems like whining.  I'm debating not publishing, but ctrl+a delete is more work than clicking 'publish post.'

I'd also like to say that this isn't the direction I was going with this post when I started.  I wanted to end with something like 'And so, in conclusion, the sign up chart for the make-out-with-you-and-never-call-back is in the kitchen, next to my sandwich maker.'