Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
View the album at http://picasaweb.google.com/buffspics/Kloe
Congratulations to Shane, Caroline, Chelsea, and Summer to their new addition to our family. Samantha and I look forward to spoiling this one rotten too!
After we got finished visiting with our new niece, Samantha, Tammy, Quintin, Paris, and I decided to head over to Oak Mountain State Park and check out the Previne falls Samantha's boss had told her about. There was a short, one mile hike to the falls and it should have turned out to be a great quick hike in nature.And it was. But not until we had walked almost three miles with two children and almost killed each other about four times. Really the absolute worst part of the journey (and it was a journey both physically and mentally) was the first mile. It was a treacherous uphill battle with gravity and mother nature. I had a tough enough time in tennis shoes, the girls were doing this hike in sandals. We had no water and no idea what we had gotten into. After cresting the hill and thinking I was having a minor heart attack I had an epiphany; this was it. I had reached my limit and I would not go any further up the mountain. But the girls convinced me it would be OK. And we continued. And after another 20 minutes on a much more flat trail we arrived at the falls. They were pretty and you can see the pictures below. I apologize for the poor quality but thats the best my cell phone can do. Samantha was so hot she actually jumped in clothes and all. The boys played and fun was had by all.
View the album at http://picasaweb.google.com/buffspics/OakMtnHikeApril2008
Then a horrible reality began to sink in. We made it to the falls...now we had to get back. So we climbed out of the falls and got back to the parking lot. The group consensus was to try walking out on the road that lead in to the falls rather than return the way we came on the hope that a concrete road would have a much more gentle slope and less tree limbs to climb over. So we began walking again. And walking. And walking. It was about the third walk that I remembered I could use my phone to get a GPS map of where I was and how far we had to go (thank you Verizon). So I booted up the program and downloaded the map and saw nothing but green and a wavy line going through it. I zoomed out and the wavy line was name Pervine Road and the green was the state park. Pervine Road was about three to four miles of switchbacks to the main road that cuts through Oak Mountain. I think Tammy broke down at this point. It was also at this point that a stallion came to our rescue. Tammy shouted "Stop," to a Mustang that was driving by and I was chosen (I did not jump in to go swimming and there for the "driest") to ride with these strangers back to the main road, or our car, which ever came first. So I rode with the real hero's, Mark and Abbey back to the truck. Mark has a hip-hop band and Abbey was very nice. They didn't kidnap me and dropped me off curb side service. As I waved goodbye I reached into my pocket and had one last terrifying realization. After walking three miles, one of which was strait up a mountain, listening to two children complain and fight (bless you Mom and Dad, how did you do it?), and hitchhiking with strangers I had absolutely no keys in my pocket. Samantha drove us here and she was three miles back up the road I had just come down. I was screwed. My truck has one of those handy keypad locks so I quickly opened the door and found my wife's purse and frantically searched through it to no avail. Then I remembered last time we came to the Oak, she had left the keys in the door...yes now the whole world knows where our keys are in the truck (With great power comes great responsibility)...and I triumphantly cried out "Sweet". As I drove through the switch backs faster than the posted 15 mph I came across four of the biggest smiles I had seen all day. They piled in and we booked it out of that wild place. The rest of the day has been spent enjoying not being in the woods, technology, and the amenities of home.I told my wife we were to have a month hiatus from the wilderness. No outside for us, just the wonderful joy of air conditioning and alcohol. So as I finish off my night cap of the last of the Vodka and OJ I want everyone to remember that the outdoors are great. But you can't get lost in your own house.--Brian
Sunday, April 27, 2008
The article is spot on when he reviews recreating the error for tech support. It is critical for you to be able to communicate to the person helping you to fix your computer what is happening. A lot of the help desk is guess work and, honestly, we don't always fix things, we just make them stop giving you that error message. I have been luck enough to be able to remotely log in and view what is going on to the afflicted computer when something is going terribly wrong using VNC (Virtual Network Computing) software. This ability is worth it's weight in gold to the technician. The technician can view the problem and in most cases, fix it on the spot. There are even solutions for home users. If you need help from that geeky friend/family member (which is me or my Dad in my family) there are many free services which let you do this from your home PC, including just using VNC. And (if you can excuse the selfless plug) you can contact BrainCase to log in to your computer and fix it from where you sit.My only point of contention with the piece was that he suggested fixing the problem yourself. I am all for creative thinkers and do-it-yourselfers out there in the world but there are a lot of people who don't know when to quit! Often times the issue in a corporate environment can not be fixed by the average user. Most of the time you have to have our higher level of access to address the issues going on or check something on the server and I fully do not expect your average individual to fix those things. But this is a quick check list of things that you can do (other than reboot as listed above) that will make your tech support experience better. Do not take offense by these. I am not trying to berate anyone but we actually get calls about these things.
- Check ALL connections! This includes the power cord, network cord, mouse/keyboard connections, and the monitor cable. I get too many calls of people not checking the basic things like this. All computers need power to be on and a network cable to communicate with the outside world (i.e. your corporate network, the Internet, etc.).
- Make sure there is paper in the printer, it does not have any status lights/error messages, and it has toner/ink. At least one call a month is on this subject.
- Ask the nearest tech savvy person in the office or the closest young person. I am not ageist but there is a trend with older people (40+) to have no clue as to how the box on there desk works. Grab that young person who's checking out YouTube video's and Twittering his friends about what he is up to and find out what is up with your computer.
- Finally, the best thing you can do in a network situation is to simply do nothing. Go grab a coffee refill or a snack and see if the problem goes away when you are back. Often times the issue was not your computer but the slow network connection or those crazy techs working on the system.
I hope that my generalizations didn't offend anyone to much but I notice these trends in my day to day life and understand that they are not a universal constant. If I did offend you, let me make it up to you by providing you with a way to circumnavigate those pesky proxy blocks on your network and let you check that blocked website from work. If nothing else read it and click on the link to download the free software that can help you fix your own computer at home or work and turn you into a power user. Good luck and enjoy your work day.--Brian
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I have driven all over the U.S. Now I'm not saying I am an expert or an traffic angel, but in my experience, Alabama has some of the worst drivers around. Turn signals are a mystery device, cell phones are up to everyones head as if sucking the drivers brain's, and a general lack of understanding of the common driving rules. The citations ranged from speeding violations to driving under the influence. What number amazed me, however was the 847 tickets for not wearing a seatbelt. When I went to follow up on what constitutes as a seatbelt law here in Alabama (I took my drivers test in Idaho) I found this:
Alabama’s safety belt law requires that all front-seat occupants, regardlessSource: Alabama Drivers Guide, http://www.dps.state.al.us/DriverLicense/manuals/DriverManual.pdfThat is it? Twenty-five bucks? No wonder no one wears seatbelt! According to Car-Accidents.com 63% of people killed in auto accidents are not wearing a seatbelt. I see this kind of stuff all over Birmingham.Really I am hoping that more people slow down, pay attention, and get off of your cell phone while driving. It's not that important and before there were cell phones you didn't make calls while driving so you can live without it.Who else can't stand driving in Birmingham? Comment below.--Brian
of age, be restrained.
Alabama’s child restraint law requires that children through age 14 must
be restrained when riding in motor vehicles in Alabama. The law applies to
occupants of front and back seats of passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans
(with seating capacity of 10 or fewer), minivans and sport utility vehicles.
Violators will have points assessed against their driver record, in addition to
incurring a fine of $25.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
After much deliberation (rock paper scissors) we have decided to see Superhero Movie on Saturday, April 5th! Show time is 9:15 pm at the Patton Creek Rave. If you want to come an hour early (and are of legal age!) stop by Cajun Steamers for a couple beers before the show! Check out the trailer and visit the website if you don't already know about this one!