New Helpdesk People!

Well, I can't say I actually expected it to happen, but over the past month, the helpdesk has hired almost ten new people. I won't name them individually, because that would be rude, but suffice it to say that I'm no longer exactly one of the "newbies" at the helpdesk. Not only am I no longer a newbie, but all three new phones staff so far have shadowed me on the phones, listened into some of my calls, or in general, received some sort of training or advice from me.

It's interesting to think about, especially since we had to hire so many people in the middle of the year, how many other new ACHD student workers I'll see while I work there, and I'm also, of course, interested in exactly how long I'll be working there myself. I suppose one thing I've got to admit is now that I work at the helpdesk, I can't really imagine myself working anywhere else on campus, and in fact, much as I hate to say it, I might not even mind working in a real call center.

I've read blogs of and spoken with people who work at various help centers, mainly a few from Apple and Dell. The biggest thing is that it sounds like a very satisfying job in terms of helping people, and it seems like the benefits and pay aren't the worst ever, but that in the phone support world, there is very little in terms of advancement. Becoming a product specialist, moving to another company, or finding a career are apparently the most frustrating parts of doing support professionally for a corporation.

That said, I'm fairly certain that I still want to do something in my life related to  photography. If at all possible, I would absolutely love to be a professional photographer, doing events and weddings, or commercial product shots, or anything of that nature. The biggest challenge of course, for that, is getting my degree and actually finding the work, which I think when it comes down to it, won't be as hard as I may think it is right now.

So, new helpdesk people, ponderations on the rest of my life... This looks like a blog post well-executed.


Mac World San Francisco, 2008.

Every blog and forum I read has had a commentary on MWSF 2008, universally considered the Christmas of the consumer Mac world. Having bought an iPhone just shy of five days before the keynote, I'll start off by saying I was somewhat worried that my shiny new device would already be out of date. Luckily, not only was the iPhone not replaced, but it received a nice software update. The most important feature is that which allows me to manually manage the music and videos on the device, just like my iPod.

The first thing Jobs revealed was Time Capsule. It's a relatively simple device, it's basically Apple's Airport Extreme base station hooked to a 500GB or 1TB "server grade" hard disc. The gist of the device is that you can easily set up Time Machine to automatically and wirelessly use the Time Capsule as its backup drive. You can use it with "all the Macs in your house." Simple enough, and I think it's a cool device, the only questions I've got so far involve whether or not you can add to the storage in your Time Capsule, or if it would be possible to own more than one Time Capsule, and concatenate the available amounts of storage.

Afterward, Jobs demonstrated some iPhone software updates. I installed the iPhone software update recently, and without a doubt, my favorite feature, the feature that might actually cause me to keep the iPhone, is the ability to manage my music and movies manually. It's how I use my 30-gig video iPod, and I'm glad it's available for the iPhone. The third major announcement of the keynote was new iTunes movie rentals. I'm really excited about that one because like Jobs says, I'm the kind of person who doesn't really watch movies more than once. In a way, it's a lot like a daily ticket on satellite TV, where I can watch the same movie several times in one day. It'll be like in December when I watched "Chuck & Larry" about five times.

Part of the iTunes update involved AppleTV. In this part, Jobs admits that they'd gotten the concept of AppleTV wrong, and provides updates on the software of AppleTV, including the new user interface and renting an HD movie. The whole experience looks really well designed, and I've got to admit that the AppleTV with its software update looks really nice. I don't really want one, but I also don't really have an appropriate television with which I'd be able to peruse the content.

By far, the most important part of the keynote, the one causing the most controversy online, is the MacBook Air. Let me start by saying that I think the MacBook Air is an awesome product, and it's something Apple hasn't had in awhile. Let me also say that it's not something I'm going to be buying any time soon. Even though I think it looks awesome, and would love to be able to bust one out during class, but the high price and the fact that I've already got three working IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads, all of which have reasonable battery life, and good capability as note taking machines.

The main problem with MacBook Air, of course, is the price. For $1800 (retail) you get a 1.6GHz Core2Duo, from the new Penryn platform, 2 gigabytes of memory, and an 80 gigabyte hard disc. You don't get much other than that, of course, because being so thin, Apple had to make compromises somewhere, and they did it in reasonable areas I think. The backlit keyboard is full size, and the LED-backlit display is a full 13.3" glossy display, similar to the MacBook's display.

Not included are an optical drive, and a few "essential" ports. What I've noticed is that the biggest grouching people have been doing is the result of the ports. The MacBook Air features only a MagSafe power port on the left side, and on the right side behind a little door, one USB port, one "Micro DVI" port, and one audio output port. The biggest things the MacBook Air is missing is apparently another four USB ports, audio input, an internal optical drive, and FireWire. What bugs me about that is that the inclusion of those things basically turns the MacBook Air into a MacBook Pro, plus a few extra USB ports.

The problem with this, of course, is that the entire point of the MacBook Air isn't the thing those people want. Those people want a $599 mobile machine, as fast as a full-sized MacBook, with discrete graphics, basically adding up to a 12" PowerBook G4.

My take is that the MacBook Air is really intended as a companion Mac to a powerful desktop computer. I can see a lot of Mac Pro owners, or people whose desktops are high end iMac systems wanting one of these to use as their mobile systems, especially if they, like myself, prefer doing as much computing as possible on their desktop systems when they're in their offices or homes. MacBook Air is great then, for people who need something they can use on a plane or train, and that they need to be as light as possible. When it comes down to it, there will be people who are willing to pay this price for such a mobile computer.

Maybe if I were more patient, and hadn't already bought the ThinkPad, I would've gotten one, although I'm really happy with the ThinkPad, and think I'll have it for quite some time to come as my mobile computer. Maybe my next mobile machine will be some kind of MacBook Air successor.


Return of the Pismo!

I know it's Sunday morning, not Monday morning, but I've got to admit that I'm really jazzed tonight by the fact that apparently my PowerBook G3 isn't completely dead. I was getting ready to harvest it for parts when I looked at the processor daughtercard, realizing that it was still in the system, but it was not secured too well. I pressed down on it, securing it once again in its slot.

Lo and behold, the pismo booted straight up, although it looks like it's developed a few more lines in the screen, but the fact that it's working at all still makes me quite happy. Basically, we all now know that Megan isn't a killer. I intend to keep its 10.3.9 and 9.2.2 loaded, although I may transfer some of my actual data from the Pismo to the R61i.

So yeah, that happened today and I thought it was worth posting off-schedule for that.


Beginning of School!

Well, I can't really say that it's the beginning of all school or anything, but Spring 2008 is officially in full swing. I even took out the garbage this morning. That's how committed I am to my schoolwork and the like.

I'll admit that I do really appreciate repeating events such as the beginning of semesters, because of their value for blog posts. I'm sure I've got something really special stowed away in the calendar of things about which I should be writing, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I will be writing about those things. Luckily, I do believe that it was a "kickoff of the semester" that my blog-writing calendar has called for. The exact calendar entry calls for "Well wishes to everybody for Spring 2008."

Well... Well Wishes for Spring 2008! I'm going to go ahead and use this post to give a few life-related updates as well, so go ahead and let me list those.

  • I've reformatted the iMac. So there's a lot of photos that I'm sure everyone is expecting me to put up, but those things won't be put up until I reinstall Aperture.
  • I'm waiting until tomorrow, which happens to be the SteveNote at MacWorld San Francisco, to decide whether or not to keep the new mobile phone I've got. I'm also waiting until this coming weekend to finalize my decision to install Aperture 1.5.6, or wait until a new major version ships.
  • I bought an iPhone last week. More to come on this later. (Although I've discovered that I could write significantly more today if I want to.
  • Jim and I have a new suitemate, who I haven't met yet. I know nothing about him other than his name, and that his mother cleaned the bathroom while he was moving in.
  • On another note about the room in GabaLand, Jim and I are thinking of unbunking the beds. have just unbunked the beds. It'll be similar to how Jessica and Meaghan have their room, except our desks are staying where they are, and one of the beds will run parallel with the wall that has the windows. Not the worst arrangement idea ever, I've got to admit. We're not sure where the TV will go, but my guess is that we'll figure it out later today when he gets here.
  • Actually, the main reason I made this list was I wanted to try out more of the formatting options in Windows Live Writer. I have always wanted to have a struck-through list item in a blog post.
  • I work 30 hours this coming semester, including 18 overnight hours.

That's pretty much what I wanted to say. I'm sure there's some philosophical discussion about the iPhone or some awesome response to WWDC for next week. I'll probably write the epic blog post on one overnight, and edit it on the next.


Back At Work!

Well everyone. I'm back at work. It's been a "fun" day because of all the calls relating to the recent Cisco Clean Access appliance upgrade, overall not the worst day I've ever had though. Just a whole heck of a lot of escalations, and I'm going to have to go back through my calls to make sure all of them have a category and an OS.

I was planning on a longer, nicer blog entry, but was unable to deliver due to my own laziness. Even though I could've gotten up at 8 or 9, I slept until about 11 this morning, which I'll admit was pretty awesome.

Now if only Pine Ridge Village worked properly. I have almost ten escalations right now of people who live in Pine Ridge, hopefully that gets fixed soon.


Another Fire Alarm

Fire alarms happen at the best times. Today, I was in the laundry room, hanging out while my dirty clothes become clean, and then become dry. Then the fire alarm went off. I tossed the thinkPad into the backpack and started heading outside, not really worrying that both of my favorite sweaters and my awesome winter coat were in the dryer at the time. Hopefully the building didn't also lose power, but whatever.

After going outside, I stood underneath the ledge behind Birch wing, and when I saw Meaghan walking down the pedway toward the lab building, I had to take it upon myself to run across the field to catch up with her. In my sandals, shorts and a t-shirt. The trip to the lab was fairly nice, except for the whole bit about my feet feeling a little bit frozen.

Now Meaghan and I are in the walk-in area at the helpdesk chatting with Danielle, being warm. It's nice. As a sidenote, the phones people rock.

As another sidenote, I'm going to be posting another blog entry tomorrow, because Mondays are the scheduled day for blog entries.