Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Blogging... And Itching

So, let me recap the last bit and why I don't really exist anymore.

I took a job with a giant software company and stopped blogging and writing for the most part.  I just didn't have time any longer.  I found myself working 12 and 14 hour days just to keep up.  Things were busy.

I've left that job, a large part so I could have a life outside of work.  I wanted to spend time with my kids without feeling that I would be punished for not producing.  It was a LOT of work harder, not smarter.

Think of it like this, I had my boss who reviewed what I did and I was assigned cases daily.  Once I got my cases, they were added to my backlog.  Also daily we had a "Crit Watch" for cases the customer deemed "Critical".  Every day we would get a "Critical" case escalated and those of us in the watch during that time period would do a version of Rock, Paper Scissors to decide who would work it.

None of us had the bandwidth to ever take it.

So, that's fairly stressful, but the kicker was the group of "Technical Account Managers".  Their job was to be advocates for the customer.  That's a good thing, except, they had the power to hit us up directly and demand we work on their customer's case now.  90% of the guys were good, but the 10% who were unreasonable drove me insane.  If we didn't work according to their satisfaction, they would raise the severity, ping my boss etc...  So the reality was a user who had a problem in the big picture was cosmetic or an annoyance, would get more attention than a customer with problems making actual calls.

I was pretty depressed.

Some of the guys stood up to them and my boss backed them.  It didn't seem to work that way for me.  It seemed like when I took a stand I got bit.

I moved to another job with a smaller phone manufacturer.  The hours are fewer, the stress is much lower and the work is filtered through my boss, so I don't have 500 bosses all telling me how their customer wants things fixed NOW!

The flip side is, metrics.  It's always metrics.  How many calls do you take, how long are you on the phone, etc...?  I could play the metrics game, but the question is how good is that?  I have seen some of the work from folks who play the game (and have been rewarded for it) and it sucks.

It's the age old struggle when you work for someone else.

Now that I have changed, I have an itch again.  The writing itch, the drawing itch, the itch that has been gone for so long.

Will I scratch that itch?  Will it get infected if I do?  Wait, maybe it's not the writing itch, maybe I caught something from the toilet seat?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The UN Gets Into IT

So with some time to let the whole ICANN thing stew in my brain a bit, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I don't like the idea of the UN running the internet.

Yeah, I know. Shocker, right?

Seeing as how my career has been tied to the internet for the last ten years or so I can't imagine why anyone would thing I do approve of this load of crap.

There are some good countries in the UN.  Countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Israel, etc...  There are also some crap countries. Countries like Iran, Syria, North Korea, Pakistan (pronounced Pock-EE- Stahn), Saudi Arabia, etc...

Why would the US, who is the last hope for freedom int he world give up control of the backbone of society today? Can you imagine when the UN gets involved and starts putting restrictions on what can and can't be said?

"Oh, but Tots," you say, "it's only the naming convention.  So they will just be in control of who gets web URLS.  It's not like they will be putting firewalls on the web."

Yeah, and I'm saving $2,500 on my insurance this year... NOT

With the new tax accounting system counting my insurance as income, even with four kids and tons of donations I'm lucky to break even.

Put down the Kool Aid and wake up people!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Day By Day Nails It


The third party won't happen in time for 2016.  I pray to God we have a chance for 2020.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Time To Get A Fatwah Declared

There was an interesting read over at iOwnTheWorld where Cardigan shared information on a group of Muslim truck drivers who refused to carry shipments of alcohol and were then fired.

It appears the Federal government is intervening on their behalf as their religious rights were violated.

So here we have a group of men who knew they would be transporting goods of all sorts, but they refused to do the work on religious grounds.  There are plenty of arguments to be made regarding if Islam forbids the transport of alcohol or not, but the bottom line is these guys signed a contract saying they would transport goods from one location to the next.  They failed to live up to their contract and were fired.

Let's compare this with the baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple.  This is a situation where the baker was asked to perform a job and refused.  He didn't agree to do the job and failed to deliver, he said he would not based on his religious grounds.  This has led to a judge ordering the baker to "cease and desist from discriminating" against gay couples or face financial penalties.

I guess the argument can be made that the refusal to accept a job resulted in humiliation to the gay couple, but why is the government intervening on behalf of the Muslim men?  Is there a bias against Christianity?

We have three choices going forward, we can continue to stand our ground and refuse to do things contrary to our religious beliefs, we can declare ourselves to be Muslim to see if the treatment is the same or we can go Gault and simply say we don't have the time to perform any duties that violate God's rules.

I'm choosing the first.  We are being targeted for a reason and we must stand firm in our beliefs.  We will be called h8ters, bigots, racist, etc...  The list never ends.

Keep in mind, how much fun the second choice could be.  For someone willing to follow through there will eventually be an identical case where Christians are persecuted and Muslims are not.  That could be a lot of fun.

Now that I think about it, does anyone know a Muslim baker I can send some gay folks to?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting Older

I've been asked a question I'm pondering how honest to be on.  The younger me would be discreet and keep my mouth shut. Maybe... I think hack to how na├»ve I've been in the past. Who knows.

I've been asked to provide feedback on how to improve some things.  Being the new man on the team could lead to me getting labeled as an ego maniac.  The bottom line is I've done support for fifteen years and my company is paying me too much money to work basic adds, moves and changes type stuff.  Getting through the tiered stuff is wearing on me too. What's the point in taking a case if you don't get the satisfaction of completing it?

A second thing is my first personality conflict is rearing up.  I'm trying to be lighthearted and laugh things off, but I'm having some serious issues with how a coworker is interacting with me.  I guess I'm expecting too much and I have no desire to air dirty laundry, lets just say I'm ready to change to the position I interviewed for.

I'm going to set up a one on one with my new boss.  I've decided I understand my time in T1.  All well and good to get to understand the product  (not sure why Microsoft didn't run that way) but I want to know what goals and/or timeline I can expect before moving to Tier 2.  Paying dues is one thing, I just want to understand and set expectations.  I do not want to stay in Tier 1.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


If you are looking for funny, you might want to step away for a minute.  I promise funny is coming, but not yet.  I HAVE to get this out of the way and get on track.

In July of 1997 I quit smoking.  I had my oldest son and my baby boy Christopher (now Chris, he finally won out on that battle) and I realized I wanted to see my children grow up.  I smoked my last cigarette in my back yard and just didn't buy any more.

Three more babies came along, Benjamen, Lucie and then Sadie.

In between Ben and Lucie, we moved to Dallas when I took a new job.  I was in Hammond, Indiana working on a hospital PBX when 9-11 happened.  All the planes were grounded and I couldn't get home.  I had a ticket to fly out of Midway airport on the afternoon of 9-11.  All I could do was watch the news and cry over the phone with my family.

My son didn't believe I was alive.  He knew I was flying home that day and saw enough to know planes flew into buildings and he was convinced I was in them.

I decided I had become fat and lazy.  I weighed 326 pounds and when I flew out to Chicago I had to have a seat belt extender to get buckled.  I was humiliated...

but not enough to stop eating...

THE WIFE got me a book called "Body for Life" and I followed it religiously.  I told her, "It's only 14 weeks, I can do anything for 14 weeks."  I lost 60 something pounds (I was too dumb to keep track).  I kept telling myself, how could I protect my kids when I couldn't run, or fight or do anything.

Once I came off the Body for Life program I started eating in my old ways.  I was still working out, so I thought everything would be OK.  Then one weekend, I had to go to the hospital with the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. My abdomen was giving off a pain I can't describe and nothing would ease it.  THE WIFE finally got me to my doc and she sent me to the ER.  Turns out I had gallstones.

Gallstones formed when I started eating the fatty crap again and my liver and gallbladder couldn't clean everything up properly.  Out came the gallbladder and no more pain, but I couldn't work out for six weeks.  That was the death knell for my "Program".

The weight came back.

I went through another program and dropped 40 pounds like a mad man by taking shots and eating a thousand calories a day. (I forget the name of it, but it was supposed to be 400 calories, but shag it all I can't do that.)

The weight came back.

Late 2013 I went into the hospital with chest pains.  The tech who set me up in bed told he he thought I was a D-Lineman for the Cowboys.  We laughed when my weight was 336 and I told him I would make a good Nose Guard in the 3-4.

So what does this have to do with 343?

Today I went to the doc for flu.  I got Tamilflu which is saving my butt, but I also got my weight. 343.

I can't live like this.  I have to change.  I have a wife, five kids and my oldest son and his wife have a baby coming.  I will be a grandfather soon and I so want to be there for my granddaughter.  I want to dance at her wedding.

14 weeks.  I can do ANYTHING for 14 weeks.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

We're From The NSA And We're Here To Help

Found an interesting article everyone should read at Zero Hedge. The NSA's book of bugging goodness made it out and to cut to the chase, we're screwed.

The latest revelation from the biggest wholesale spying scandal since Nixon, exposed by Germany's Spiegel which continues the strategy of revealing Snowden leaks on a staggered, delayed basis, involves a back door access-focused NSA division called ANT, (which supposedly stands for Access Network Technology), described by Spiegel as "master carpenters" for the NSA's TAO (Tailored Access Operations, read more about TAO here). The ANT people have "burrowed into nearly all the security architecture made by the major players in the industry -- including American global market leader Cisco and its Chinese competitor Huawei, but also producers of mass-market goods, such as US computer-maker Dell.
What caught my eye more than anything was this:
The ANT division doesn't just manufacture surveillance hardware. It also develops software for special tasks. The ANT developers have a clear preference for planting their malicious code in so-called BIOS, software located on a computer's motherboard that is the first thing to load when a computer is turned on.

This has a number of valuable advantages: an infected PC or server appears to be functioning normally, so the infection remains invisible to virus protection and other security programs. And even if the hard drive of an infected computer has been completely erased and a new operating system is installed, the ANT malware can continue to function and ensures that new spyware can once again be loaded onto what is presumed to be a clean computer. The ANT developers call this "Persistence" and believe this approach has provided them with the possibility of permanent access.

Another program attacks the firmware in hard drives manufactured by Western Digital, Seagate, Maxtor and Samsung, all of which, with the exception of latter, are American companies. Here, too, it appears the US intelligence agency is compromising the technology and products of American companies.

Other ANT programs target Internet routers meant for professional use or hardware firewalls intended to protect company networks from online attacks. Many digital attack weapons are "remotely installable" -- in other words, over the Internet. Others require a direct attack on an end-user device -- an "interdiction," as it is known in NSA jargon -- in order to install malware or bugging equipment.
If you're an IT guy you know what this means. Everything you do to clean your PC, reload it, replace the hard drive, encrypt it, it doesn't matter. as soon as you connect to the internet they can read you. Even if you miraculously clean everything on your machine they've got you moving through the internet's routers.

Yeah, yeah I know. If you don't have anything to hide you have nothing to worry about. Of course it depends on who's judging you.

Source article: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-29/nsas-50-page-catalog-back-door-penetration-techniques-revealed
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