Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Science vs Faith...

Obviously, from a scientists perspective... ;)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And we replaced....

The FedEx guy was just here and dropped off the "fixed" Alienware. I haven't booted it up, but reading the tech's report is fun...
  • Duplicated your problem
  • Diagnosed additional problems
  • We replaced your Motherboard ...
  • ... and your memory
Sounds about right, I think the PS was integrated and if it did indeed implode I'm not surprised that it shocked (bad pun?) the memory.

Through it's not quite 3 years of life the following has been replaced:
  • The screen, a week after I received it.
  • Memory, twice. Once last year, and again this year.
  • Motherboard, this years adventure.
In other words, if we add a case, a few fans, and a keyboard they've ended up building me a new laptop. Ouch.

Shall we take bets that the motherboard was faulty and caused most, if not all, of the problems I've encountered? We'll find out.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pics on the new system...

Finally got around to uploading the shots of the new rig.

"Look Ma! It's a geek puzzle!"

"Thank God I didn't frag the CPU."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Status on the Craptop....

This is a lot funnier now that I have the new rig in place. Here's the timeline for the latest repair of the craptop. In cronologic order, otherwise the irony would be lost...
  1. Feb-07: RMA approved after proving to the tech that I indeed have a clue and a broken laptop.
  2. Feb-13: FedEx shows that they have delivered the craptop
  3. Feb-14: I get an email from Alienware telling me I have an RMA and I should ship my laptop. Um.....
  4. Feb-22: FedEx sends me an email telling me that a package has been shipped to me
  5. Feb-22: Email from Alienware saying that they are working on my laptop. Um....
  6. Feb-23: Email from Alienware saying that they fixed it and will be shipping soon
Not sure which is the more ironic: That FedEx communicates the status of Alienware better than Alienware or that I still don't know what they did to "fix" my craptop. Guess we'll find out next week. After all, I paid for an on-site 3-year agreement that must have been what guarantees my fixed laptop is always shipped ground. After 16 days, what's another 7-10?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Inspector Gadget, Beverly Hills Cop...

It's more confusing when you don't see the embedded video coming up. Check it out. I wont ruin it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A positive quote on Generalists...

One of the things I've struggled with during my career is lack of being a specialist. It's not me. I don't evangelize a language, platform or concept. Some folks I've worked with were "C or nothing" for the language, "Windows only" on the platform, and "I can Manage anyone!" - you get the idea. That's never set well with me. Why lock yourself to one set of ideas when your best defense of it is "because". My kids attempt to use that one word excuse - it doesn't work for them either.

Unfortunately, from my experience, our culture thrives on Specialists, not Generalists. So it was very interesting to me to run across this quote over on Bob Sutton's blog.
Generalists, people with moderately strong attachments to many ideas, should be hard to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have weaker, shorter negative negative reactions since they have alternative paths to realize their plans. Specialists, people with stronger attachments to fewer ideas, should be easier to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have stronger,more sustained negative reactions because they have fewer alternative pathways to realize their plans. Generalists should be the the upbeat, positive people in the profession while specialists should be their grouchy, negative counterparts (page 526).
It's left me thinking, hope it does the same for you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Friday "Santa" visited. Sorry kids, he didn't really come in February - but it felt like it for me. While the craptop is still stuck in Florida confusing techs, my new system is up and running! I had a fun Friday night building up my new rig. I'll post some pics once I get the camera back (birthdays win priority over blog posts!).

Until then, this is the first post off the new system. Why the heck did I ever buy the craptop.... oh, when asked to name my system I found there was only one good choice...

... Lesson

And a well learned one at that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Reactions to the haircut...

My ponytail wasn't 3 feet long and if you didn't look, or go behind me, you probably didn't notice it. I've been into more than one meeting with customers where you could watch their emotions go from "Ah. Nice, suit, haircut. I'll forgive the lack of tie." to "Ponytail?!" and finally to "But he has a clue, okay, never mind". It's been similar having cut it off. Many folks assumed it was there until someone said something or they crossed behind me.

Here are some of the fun ones:
  • "You cut your hair?" *incredulous look*
  • "Turn around!"
  • "NO! YOU DIDN'T!" Two of the girls my daughter takes Martial Arts with were a bit miffed at me.
  • "You look more like your son now." Yeah, he has a short haircut too. We still looked alike.
  • "Why?" This question is not just asked by your 2yo now.
  • "Lose something?"
and my favorite so far....
  • "I hear you cut your hair and you are building a computer?!" My brother-in-law after a mutual friend, and blog reader, let him know. *laughs* Thanks, made my morning today.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I pulled the trigger on the new PC. Everything, winter weather not withstanding, should be here for Friday and I can have some fun putting that puzzle together. Should be fun, I haven't built a system since the one that my kids (and I right now) use. Always fun seeing how things have changed. Geek am I.

The Alienware arrived at the main office a few days back. I got an email saying "Here's your order status. Please ship us your laptop". Not sure what kind of Two-Face style message that is. I did try to call this morning - went through 3 levels of menus to get to "We're closed". I'll try again later. I honestly doubt they've looked at it yet.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Enough Mystery....

Most folks have seen me by now or are asking "what are you talking about?!" after my earlier post. No, I didn't shave my head, but the ponytail is gone.

I had been asked when I had it "Why" and many folks are asking the same question now that I cut it off -- interestingly it tends to be the same people asking. Anyway, I never had a real answer for "Why". I could never answer the question myself. Sure, I found answers that people could understand; "I'm 1/3 Native American", "Why not?", and for the guys "Don't worry, I'm sure your wife will tell you size doesn't matter" (man did that irk some). Truth is, I didn't have an answer. It was time.

I don't have an answer for why I cut it off either. It was time.

Interestingly enough, I had the ponytail for 1/3 of my life at this point. Cosmic causality perhaps?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Building a new desktop...

I'm sick of wondering if my craptop is gonna startup, how long it's going to work for, and since the warranty runs out next year I'm screwed when it does implode next year. Yeah, a little pessimistic but since it has had at least one major error per year since I got it, there's no reason to expect otherwise - unless they send me a brand new craptop after they look at it (don't hold your breath).

Into building systems? Check out the build I have for my new rig (link is to a NewEgg wishlist). If ya got an opinion, be glad to hear it!

Never an easy riddle

I have been asked for 10 years, Why? Truth is, there was no single reason. I didn't consciously go out and decide to do it, life led me that way and events collided and it happened. Similarly, the end of that era (wow, 10 years!) has a similar answer. There is no single reason, it's time.

Feels weird though. I wonder if Samson had a similar reaction.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Almost made it a year...

Two months short. If you've read my rants on this particular PC and peeked at the keywords you know what's coming; My Alienware laptop is on its way back to Florida. My $0.02 says the power supply decided I was playing WoW too much and gave up.

Yesterday evening I was playing along and I started smelling "something wrong". Those of you who have experienced this know what I mean. It's not smoke, but the melted plastic smell is unmistakable. I quickly powered down and checked the fans. Nothing wrong.

This is where you can tell I worked in IT. Upon booting up I immediately backed up my system. While the backup was running I noticed the "charging" indicator for my battery was on. Odd, as I was running on AC power. I watched as the battery discharged while "charging". I'm willing to bet when it hit Zero is when things ended. The system clicked off and nothing I could do to bring it back to life.

I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again; Never, never, will I buy another Alienware. I've tagged all my posts, at least one problem per year since I bought it. What a pain.

Oh, and if you buy that extended "3 year onsite" warranty - ask when (hell, if) they would come onsite before purchasing it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A neat overview....

I dislike the "Web 2.0" name, it doesn't say what is really going on. This video does.

Enjoy. I found this over on DownloadSquad.