Sunday, January 15, 2017

Step 8: Buy Hewlett Packard

This is about hour six on the phone with tech support. I'm up to about 12 full recharge cycles, 18 reboots, four attempts to update my bios, three attempts to update my HP drivers, three remote repair sessions... So far they have all tried to use the same techniques, which somehow lead to me calling back at another time (and getting someone new, so the first guy is off the hook). Thats why for this step you only have to buy an HP product. Endless fun will surely ensue.
Otherwise this is a great laptop. The screen is clear and the colour is good. It has a decent graphics card, especially compared to the other computers available for the same price. Its pretty fast, if you ignore the obvious Microsoft brand bloatware.
And do you want to know the solution that everything comes down to? Well clearly if I reformat my notebook it will make everything right again. Lets just throw out the baby with the bath water and maybe the tub will be clean.
Anyway after tearing a strip off of the floor supervisor "Sumuin" and being assured that if I happen to call back to his floor that I can talk to him, I had to hang up and call back in two hours. I told him to expect my call in exactly 120 minutes and zero seconds. I'm POSITIVE he wont be there, but maybe I'll just call back and talk to a new agent. The advantage to these giant call centres is that theres always someone new to yell at. Its like on of those inflatable clowns that just keeps standing up again so you can punch him in his nose.
I should note for those who are following my steps, at this point you do not want to return to the punching bag injury step. Try kicking, or take a deep breath before unloading on that 75 pound black vinyl agent. I wonder if I can get a back injury from kicking too hard...
So finally call six got me as far as giving all my details before he put me on hold and I ended up at another agent. This agent got an earful and finally promised to send me the battery.
If you want confirmation that I'm not unique you should google "hp worst tech support." In EVERY case of HP problems the first step is to erase all the contents of your laptop and then run all the trouble shooters.

If you'd like to hear my 6th phone call word-for-word click here

Monday, March 7, 2011

Step 7: Kijiji Karma is a wonderful thing. Somepeople see it as a way to make money or rip people off. Some people see it as a way to get cheap stuff. In my mind Kijiji is the 21st century reincarnation of a trading post. I buy a table for 10 bucks, then I sell some speakers for ten bucks, then I get some weights someone is giving away, then I give away a some bicycle handlebars. Ideally it follows the law of Even Steven. I'm not there to make money, like the guy I saw that was selling a 2008 Honda pilot with 30 000 km for $900 more than a brand new one of the same trim. Or the people selling outrageously priced Ikea furniture.
Once, when I bought a car for $500 it came with a stereo. I tried to install the stereo to find that whoever had stolen the old one had ripped the wiring harness right out of the dash. There was nothing to hook it up to. The stereo was probably ten years old. It looked like this. I wasn't trying to make a buck, though I could have used one. So I offered it for free. If someone wanted to see if it worked they could have it. In less than 30 mins it was gone, and in a couple of hours I got a phone call letting me know it worked great. This is the essence of Kijiji. Turning my garbage into solid gold.
So for the long awaited step seven I put up an advert and gave away a genuine 1987 BMW tire iron made in west germany. It came out of my old red Bimmer I had to sell, and it was useless to me. Apparently its a unique size and they are hard to come by. My two pounds of chrome-steel trash was useful to Neil, whoever he was. And balance is restored to the universe again.
So next time you have something you wish you could get rid of, put up an ad on your favourite online classified. The only faster way to ensure you never see it again would be to chain it up and close your eyes.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Write a story

Step 7 is to write a novel. Remember when you were reading that really weak novel you bought, and you said to yourself "I can write a better book than this." Well now is your chance.
Actually on a number of occasions I have had what I felt was a really good idea for a story. The problem is I dont know how to get from a good basic idea to a complete novel with interesting characters and plot twists and everything. Well I found an article about something called the snowflake method. Its actually quite genius. And if you think that its somehow cheating then maybe now you see why there are stores full of books out there that never should have been printed. A dead mule could spit drivel into this method and come up with a 400 page novel. Would it be worth reading, well I can't say. Thats for the publisher to decide. But if it works that well for rubbish ideas then your good idea should work out fine. I have always been a firm believer in the infinite monkey theorem, the idea that a thousand monkeys on a thousand typewriters would eventually write the greatest novel known to man. If enough of us write the best thing we can for long enough we'll get a few more "Great Expectations" or "Lord of the Flies" or even "1984" calibre books. I figure I'll take a stab at it. If it doesn't work out maybe they can make a movie out of it. After all they made "A Bridge to Terabithia". Twice.
If I had taken art in highschool maybe I could have written a graphic novel. They are all the rage these days, with great titles like Dragonball in the 90's, and Naruto in the 2000's. Hellboy was a winner. Again if the graphic novel wasn't great it would always work its way to the big screen, like Suckerpunch.
This all may sound crazy, but its my quickest way to be on Oprah. How does Dr. Cody sound?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Step 6: Vigilanteism

Click here first. It will get you in the right mood for step 6.
Edmonton drivers are among the worst I have seen. The accomplish that feat in a number of different ways. Lets look at that. Mozambiquan drivers and wreckless and dangerous, but in order to get a licence there you have to survive the roads long enough to pass the mandatory drivers training. They drive like lunatics because they can do it without crashing. On the other side of things are new/student/inexperienced/clueless drivers. There are always a few of them on the road. They drive poorly because they dont know how. They obey all the rules, but they impede traffic everywhere they go. They slow down two blocks early. They change lanes so slowly you miss the next three exits. They are dangerous because you expect them to keep up and they get in the way.
I would estimate that about 40% of edmonton drivers suffer from what is a combination of these driving styles. They don't signal. They slow down too early. They turn the corner too slowly. They change four lanes without checking their blind spot. They look both ways before crossing a green. They back up when they miss their exit. They turn out right in front of you. They go straight in left turn lanes. And they drive drunk. Often. Licence or not. I have worked with a number of guys who drive an hour each way every day and are on a suspended licence for drunk driving. The guy who hit my car last week was half wasted. Of course its my word against his, because I can't force him to breathalize.
So what do I do when I see someone driving like they've had their brain switched for a turnip? Write it down and call it in. With any luck I'll be seeing him in court. Good way to use my time as well. Nothing quite as satisfying as enforcing the law in your own spare time.
That reminds me of a joke they used to tell. What is the hardest part of getting a drivers licence in Edmonton? The lobotomy.
You can tell that I am very bothered by driving around here. I dont remember this nonsense on the 401. Maybe thats because on the 401 you just take what you want or get out of the way. But lets not forget, that in Edmonton when you let someone merge they always wave. That is small town politeness you dont get in Toronto.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Step 5: Injure yourself

Due in part to Step 4 I have decided that step five would be a shoulder injury. I hurt it two ways, as I found out in talking to Robert. The first is that I push myself too quickly. As soon as I feel strong enough to increase my workout I do, which doesn't allow the rest of my body (i.e. tendons) to catch up. I need to work out at a consistent level for longer than a week. The second way I hurt myself was with my brand new punching bag. I have gloves for it, but I wanted to push myself harder so I got hand wraps as well. That way I could punch full power. When Shaw's representative turned her own ignorance setting to "extreme" I lost it and beat the tar out of my heavy bag. I guess I know my limit now. Its somewhere between "that's going to hurt in the morning" and "that hurts a lot right now." Now I will be out for at least a week. What a setback. It will probably be a few days before I can even kick again because it hurts to stabilize my shoulder when I do some kicks. Thats also a shame because I was really enjoying this kick. Known as a swing kick or a crescent kick (or maybe even a wave kick?) it is quite an improvement over the crescent kick we use for stretching here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Step 4: Argue with the phone company

This step could kill weeks and only lead to dementia. Telus was terrible about getting anything done. When we moved they booked 3 appointments and none of them ended in a guy even showing up. When I cancelled with them and signed up with Shaw it took 44 days to switch my phone over. I paid for zero of them thanks to my relentlessness on the phone. Since I have been with Shaw I have never recieved a correct bill (and this is since November). Most recently they called me offering free cable for 6 months. They called two weeks later offering a free upgrade to digital cable for a year. I got the bill and it was more than double what I used to pay. An hour on the phone and we had no cable anymore, the charges were reversed, and the cable guy was coming again. This time I am disconnecting the splitters before he can steal them. At least Shaw hires people who speak english, but still they're from Winnipeg and have no idea what the local promotions are. This is all ignoring phone company math, which can be heard here. If you haven't seen this video yet you have not lived.
I had unbelievable problems with my cell phone when I switched from pre-paid to post paid and apparently my phone bill teleported into another galaxy. Suddenly my prepaid money was gone, never to return, and they wanted to charge me sign-up fees and phone line porting fees. I'm using the same phone, with the same company. If it takes decades of paperwork its not my problem. Sort it out and dont bother me. Otherwise I'll find someone who can. We dont have to ask CBC to find out we're getting ripped off, though we can if we like.
There has to be some kind of restraint. Someone has to protect people from these criminals. If not they will soon find us sitting in our homes clutching our money to our chests for fear these highwaymen with pry it from our white-knuckled hands.
So if steps 1 to 3 didn't work, step 4 will keep you from ever being employed again. After all, I have a full time job, because I have a phone line.

Step 3: Play Starcraft

Step 3 is the easiest. While you are recovering from pounding the heavy bag, and since you can't lift your arms anyway, play starcraft. Everyone remembers that great hit from the 90's, well now its back. While I'm no korean (the real pros) I enjoy getting the achievements and beating down a few computer opponents now and again. I even enjoy a lot of the custom maps, which become mini games with starcraft characters. The whole thing means hours of fun, as long as you can avoid being 6pool rushed.
I almost got my dream job yesterday doing commercial work at the airport for a really good company. I got beat out by one guy. If only he had slept in that morning I'd be working monday. Oh well, maybe there will be one at the U of A so I can take the train instead of driving. Thats even dreamier.