Alienware complaints

FIRST CALL:

6 minute hold time. Tech had a hard time looking up my account number. After 4 minutes of trying to look me up the call ended abnormally. I don’t know why.

SECOND CALL:

John picked up right away. He looked up my account number quite easily. My account number is 229408. I explained my complaint about last night. John is getting me a supervisor.

After 6 minutes of holding came back on line and offered to transfer me to customer service.

After holding for 4 more minutes, John comes on and apologizes again.

It’s been 8 more minutes of being on hold. John comes back on the call and apologizes again.

A minute later Ace, who works in Customer Service, comes on the phone. I explained my complaint about last night. He explained that normally tech support supervisors leave the office at midnight EST. I explained that I called at 10:00 PM EST. He thinks that maybe they had to leave the facilities early for a meeting. Put on hold while he checks on that.

After 3 minutes of on hold Ace came back on the line. He called tech support and asked them when supervisors are available. Apparently supervisors are in the call center 24 hours a day. Ace thinks that maybe the supervisor was on a call with another customer and was not available when I asked for him. The tech support supervisor has promised to give me a call or email in the next 48 hours. Ace updated my phone information and then we finished the call.

Alienware complaints

Called Alienware. I worked with them 4 days ago on a hardware issue I was having. They diagnosed it as a memory problem. I agree with them. So we pulled a stick and ran for a few days. Things seemed ok for a while. Then it blue screened during a reboot. The blue screen referred to disk issues. The guy I got tonight is an idiot. Told me to re-install the OS. I agree that I need to format that system, but there is also a hw problem. I told him about my POST error codes for the memory. He told me that it was associated with the OS problem. I mentioned that it’s impossible for an OS problem to give an error before the MBR is referenced.

Then the guy started arguing with me. I’ve given up hope on getting mad at these guys. I asked for his boss or another tech. He refused. No bosses are there at night and he’s not allowed to transfer a call to a peer. I told him I’d call back in the morning. He assured me that he could help me. I assured him that I didn’t want to work with someone who argues with me.

I’ll call back tomorrow and complain about not having any bosses on the night shift.

I’ve decided on a new strategy with Alienware. I’m going to call them about everything. If anything at all breaks. ANYTHING…I’m calling them.

New ultra-high speed cable modems in KC

So for another $50 a month I could double my download speeds. Upload only moderately increases from 384 to 512. I considered it, because my recent work stuff has really been waxing my throughput. ULing a 800MB file to sun is a pain, FYI.

The price increase is only supposed to be $25, but since it would break the package I’m in, it would really cost me $50. It’s money better spent in other areas at the moment.

I also talked to the Time Warner gal about the new Hidef DVR that has a 160GB HDD in it. The new DVR only runs a nickel more a month. I’m probably going to take my box in sometime next week and see if I can get some more capacity out of this deal.

As a sort of side note…I’ve got a new pet project that I’m considering working on. It’s really just an extension of many of my other projects. Controlling my life through computers.

I’m interested in a HAL type interface. I’d like a system that can query and respond verbally. You know, a “What time would you like a wake-up call?” kind of thing. I initially just started jaunting down the linux possibilities. But with a little thought I’ve decided I should see if anyones making any progress on this area in Perl.

Troubleshooting HS Issues and Heavy Work Pace

did a little more analysis on the messed up system. I did install new hardware recently, so I disconnected it and it’s not solved the problem. I also installed some new drivers recently, but I backed them out and the reliability is still not high. I think I’m going to roll my system restore points all the way back to last Sunday and see what that gets me.

I’m also looking at the firmware level on the motherboard and it’s pretty old. They have a new revision available, but I’d like to back out my system restore points and see what I get. Then I guess I could attack the firmware upgrade and then possibly install the new hardware again.

Works kind of annoying at the moment. I’m on a 3 person team now. I don’t really like being on small teams. The on-call is pretty tight and if you’re the technical guy you’re basically on-call all of the time. Then this holiday my boss decides to head to South Dakota and my other co-worker takes off for the whole weekend too. I’m on-call, so I shouldn’t gripe so much, but seriously we’re in the middle of a horrendous migration and we have several outstanding production issues. There’s a time to step up to the plate and no one did.

I mean, basically at this point my days go kind of like this.

  1. Wake up. This can happen at any time. It happened at 3AM today.
  2. Figure out what broke while I was asleep. This may take a while. I try and eat if I can while I’m figuring it out.
  3. Triage. Fix things that are horribly wrong.
  4. Work-out. This usually means go for a run. This seems to be upsetting my co-workers but seriously I’m working a ton of hours. If I don’t get in the early morning run it just won’t happen. Only problem is that some nights I’m up to 3AM working on problems and then I sleep in(if I can.) but I still go running after my triage.
  5. Official work begins. Most days this is where I make it into the office. If the boss is in then I’ll review with him what I’ve recently found and am concerned about. I get my priorities from him and then go work them.
  6. Eating. It occurs at my desk as the day progresses. If I don’t pack a bunch of food it’s guaranteed that I’ll be stuck at work and grumpy. Menu plans are really helping me with this.
  7. Second Workout. This doesn’t happen too often, but if things seem in hand and I’m feeling good I’ll jaunt out on the bike or swim or something.
  8. Work some more. At this point I’m trying to shut the day down. By now we need to know what work we have to do tonight, who’s going to do it, do we have procedures, and figure out who’s going to be in the next day.
  9. Drive home. Before this happens I usually have something to kick off. Some job that’s not done yet. So I start it running and head home.
  10. Work more. I get home, login and see how things are going. I may be able to grab food at this point, just sort of depends on how the task is going.
  11. Chores. Yeah right. Some nights I get stuff done. Most I don’t. The house stinks of cat, dog, and me and I don’t even notice anymore. Friends don’t come over too often.
  12. Work more. I’m running about 70% of the events at this point. So if there’s night work to be done, I’ll be up doing it. I don’t sleep well early in the evening so it’s rare for me to nap before the work gets done.
  13. Send out my final emails for the night. They detail what happened and let everyone know that YES I’m still up and working. I don’t even state that I’ll be in late the next day anymore. If they can’t figure that out I’ll rip their heads off.
  14. Sleep. Fitfully and usually on the couch.
  15. (REPEAT AS NECESSARY)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to be gainfully employed, but I wish my co-workers would pick up a bit of the slack too. I think one thing that really pissed me off last weekend is my co-worker Chris asked if I could cover his on-call on Sunday because they’re celebrating Thanksgiving. And yet I’m stuck being on-call and can’t visit with my parents during the official on-call rotation. I mean my parents piss me off and all, but I’d like to see them occasionally. It helps them to not nag me for a few months. They can verify that I’m alive and not dead in the bottom of a barrel. Somehow the telephone can’t fix that fear with them.

But back to Chris. I figure, hey, if you’re doing Thanksgiving a week early, why don’t we just trade the whole week. You’d not have on-call during your family celebration and likewise for me. Oh no, that’s no good because he really NEEDS his vacation. Also, he wasn’t asking to just swap one day of on-call with me, he was flat out asking that I work one of his days with no retribution.

At that point I pretty much just said, NOPE, sorry I’m going hunting on Sunday I can’t help you. And despite all that I still got called on Sunday to work a problem. And it’s a problem that I had already worked once and wrote a document on how to fix it. I published the document to the group. This is what I mean about small teams and being the technical guy.

And seriously the guys don’t really understand that this isn’t going to work in the long-run. I’m running a good bit now. But wait until it warms up and I’m riding 5 hours each weekend. But hey, that’s a management problem I suppose. Well, I’ve ranted enough. It’s time for me to go check and see if any of my processes need attention. Maybe I’ll have some breakfast. A little protein shake or something.

Living life with blinders

I’ve been trying to think of all the ways that I shield myself from input that I dislike.

a) Tivo. I don’t watch commercials anymore. Likewise I miss out on health and weather warnings.
b) MP3’s in the car. I don’t listen to commercials anymore. This has the same ramifications, plus I don’t find out about traffic problems.
c) Selective deletion of emails. I delete emails solely based on subject lines. If it sounds politically motivated I’ll probably delete it. I like my friends but if I want to know about an issue(that I probably know more about than them anyway) then I’ll research it and not depend on a piece of propaganda that’s been forwarded 50 times.
d) MP3’s in the gym. I don’t even listen to the ads in the gym anymore. Or watch their TVs.
e) Unless they’re my boss I excuse myself when anyone gets religious.
f) I don’t have a home telephone. No one ever calls to ask me for donations or to sell me anything.
g) I removed the doorknob from my screen door. It used to fall off occasionally. I find that it’s much more useful to not have one at all. None of my friends are scared to tap on a window and say hello. All the salespeople who don’t know me don’t bother to try and sell magazines to some loser who doesn’t have a doorknob.

Overall, I find that all of these restrictions make it easier for me to say no to people when they want to sell me thinks I don’t want. I find it easier to say no to people trying to say they’re right when they’re wrong. And I’m left living my life in a way that I accept. I don’t spend so much time questioning why others want me to live like them. I just get up, do what I do, work, run, eat and sleep. It’s not thrilling, but it’s me. And it’s honestly me. I’ve got crazy ideas. But they’re not tempered by mediocre 9 o’clock news. I read something that set me off, I thought about how I felt about it, what it means to me, and then I decided what I think should be done. If I can help in that area then I do something about it. If not, I just retain my opinion in case some dummy wants to convince me otherwise.

So I don’t know. I’m constantly questioning these blinders I put upon myself. Am I becoming a hermit? I wonder about these things as I begin to more resolutely reject the ideas of having children. Possibly of getting married again. The longer I live as single man the more I consider that while I’m not exactly “happy” I am certainly free and content. In this day and age the only thing that marriage offers me is possibly semi-regular boring sex, expensive kids, and standards that I don’t really want to succumb to. I’d rather watch sick-ass art films on a VERY regular basis, spend my money on kick-ass toys, and live to my standards. Very few people I know now nag me. And if they nag me they do it infrequently or they get cut off.

What can I say. Perhaps if I met a woman who didn’t want to change me then I’d consider it. But I don’t believe that said woman exists. I believe that many women think that I’ll grow out of this stage and so they’re willing to overlook the statements I’ve made above. But I’m here to tell you that the ideas represented above are fairly well thought out. If you’d like me to date you for a few months before you figure that out, then please email me and we’ll see what we can do about making me your boyfriend. I’m not changing in these particular aspects. I don’t like kids. I like good love. I hate propaganda. I hate people with opinions that were handed to them. I hate anyone who stops by my house without a phone call…You people are lucky I didn’t shoot you. Oh yeah, and generally most families piss me off.

Just to be clear there are a few things I like a lot. Honest friendship. Rock’n’roll. Rap. Dancing. Working hard. Getting crazy with some friends and throwing down. Making a woman cum(sorry, but making her feel worthwhile emotionally is not satisfying to me…for that you need to see a shrink…on the other hand if she’s a friend then she gets some support but I’m not here to make someone’s life meaningful). Driving anything really fast. The charge of a serious mission. Watching people show up at the gym after me and leave before me. America. French Impressionist art and pretty much anything Hemingway wrote. Oh yeah, and winning!

Sun iPlanet Replication fixed

So we have escalated on Sun enough that they brought in an expert, Fred Munday.  He reviewed the work, our procedures, and they even tried performing the event for us once.  It turns out we have one of the largest iPlanet LDAP systems in the world.

On an impulse, Fred just took the binary file itself from the original master LDAP, moved it over, and started the backup master LDAP process.  Theoretically this shouldn’t work.  But it did!

I’m actually writing this post years after this, so the date of the fix is an estimate.  If I recall correctly, one of engineers also realized that the file transfer between the two boxes was taking too long.  He figured out that the routing was set up wrong and it was going over a Gigabit NIC configured to run at Fast Ethernet(10% of it’s function) speeds.  So he set up the copy to run over another Gigabit NIC and that really increased the speed of the transfer.  Not by 900%, but much faster.

Sun iPlanet Replication still down

event didn’t succeed. AGAIN! I’ve been doing this same procedure for about 10 days now. It’s never worked. Not once!  We’re trying to get a multi-master replication in place where data is synchronized in both the LDAP masters.  So you export the data to a LDIF file, copy it over to the backup master and import it.

Unfortunately it takes close to 24 hours to perform the export, and 20 some-odd hours to transfer it to the other system and then more than 24 hours to import it.  Then the changes that have occurred in the last 68 hours on the original DB have to be synced up to the backup master.  But we only retain the last 72 hours of changes and it takes more than 4 hours for the final synchronization to catch up.  So some of the changes never make it over and you have an imperfect mirror.

Additionally the migration is now approaching. Which means more sleepless nights! I pretty much need to just understand that I’m going to be in and out of the office for a few hours at a time for the next few months. I need to give up and just forward my desk phone to my mobile and put an out of office sticker on my monitor or something.