December 15th, 2004

running, bomb tech

Work: in a word: "OW."

I started out on the phones today. Then he-who-was-supposed-to-give-me-the-test-on-the-system came and yanked me off the phone. I thought I was just going to be taking a test and going back to the phones. Heh. No.

He handed me a seating chart and told me I'd be walking. Holy crap!

I was walking from 5:15 to 9:00, with half an hour break and about 15 minutes of assorted "my back is killing me" sitting scattered throughout. Cleanup was another 45 minutes. 3 hours and 45 minutes of relentless walking (not just being on my feet, walking) was not what I am used to. I'm going to get used to it, though. <azzgrin> The Walker Boss asked me, at the beginning of the shift, if my feet would be OK walking in those shoes. At the end of the shift, he asked me how I was feeling. I told him. It wasn't my feet giving me hell, it was my back. He grinned and sent me home.

Cute Chick Monitor gave me a ride home. She was having an emotional day. Everyone gave her stuff. I gave her a little bottle of the perfume oil she comments on every time I wear it. She was thrilled to pieces. There was hugging. (She's married. I'm reserved. It was a workplace. Nothing untoward happened.) It'll be less interesting without her there.

Walking, I get to make just as many, but different, judgement calls about the phone goons and what they're up to. It's interesting. I am hoping that this is the first of some Onward and Upward things.
running, bomb tech

Life, unrelated to work

I've been playing around on the Support boards. I'm up to 90 Support Points now. I am amused, and like collecting Support Points, and wonder if I shouldn't start racking up the points on my Stealth Identity Account, the innocuous red herring account that I'd feel 100% OK about letting co-workers see, just so I can cite the experience complete with account name so they can check it out themselves.

My cat is nuts, and/or possessive. Tonight she decided that she was going to groom my velvetoid shirt. It was cute, though. Mommy's fur is on the floor. Oh! I will lick and/or eat Mommy's shed fur!

I need to, somehow, cram all of the following into tomorrow:
  • Read a full-length novel, and edit it the heck up
  • Play Fairy Godmother to an Ella-in-the-cinders computer
  • Get new shoes (for walking) (OK, so it is related to work)
  • Sleep

Any one or two of those things could be done. There are probably more things, like laundry, that I haven't considered. Also, the bathroom floor. Ugh. I also have afghans to crochet, and serious things to do to get Thalia up and running as she ought to be, especially in the "talking with AzureBlue" department.

I think I'll go and sleep pretty soon.
teddyborg, geeky

Unpopular opinions: nationalism, tech support, and the global economy

One of the common things to complain about in the computer industry is the fact that large chunks of phone-based tech support are getting outsourced to countries such as India. The usual complaint is, "Since workers over there will work for less money, it's cheaper and companies are wanting to do that, which takes jobs away from workers in the United States."

I am really not thrilled with the argument that takes the form, "Buying things that are made in other countries is not good because it supports the people who work in those countries, and not the people working in our own country," because I think that the premise supporting the argument, the nationalistic premise that it is better to support people in one's own country (usually, the unspoken commentary is that this good outweighs concerns about the quality of their work) rather than people living in a different country. I think that the United States is currently living unsustainably, and I furthermore have gathered the impression that many products made to be marketed at the States are made poorly, with little regard for long-term use, but with much attention paid to the appearance. My sense of fair play is annoyed that poverty-level existence in the United States is unimaginable riches to people in developing countries.

I feel that quality and desirable features of any product or service should be the main decision factor between any two given products. Only if the quality and features are closely comparable should nationalism come in to play. (But then, my nationalism-factor is tied to Alaska specifically, not the United States as a whole. I do tend to choose items made in Alaska over those not, when quality is equivalent.)

All that being said, I have problems with the quality of service of tech support when language barrier becomes a factor. Phone-based tech support, especially between a technical person on the tech support end of the line, and a non-technical person on the problem's end of the line, is an environment where nuance in language, and the ability to explain things in multiple and flexible ways, is extremely important. There are a lot of times when people who speak English as a second language have the understanding and vocabulary to operate perfectly normally in a day-to-day English-speaking environment, but simply do not have the vocabulary and bone-deep understanding of nuance to understand what the person on the other end of the line means, versus what they're saying. Tech support is a lot of "You should tell me about what I mean, not what I say," things, usually with a further communications barrier between people who speak the commonly accepted technical jargon and those who don't, and especially between those who speak the commonly accepted technical jargon and those who have created a whole new private language that they, and perhaps parts of their office, speak (but isn't the correct technical jargon).

When I spoke with Dell's new, outsourced, very articulate but still ESL tech support, we had about five minutes of dancing around trying to get the terminology straight and figuring out what the hell we were talking about -- and in this case, I was the trained professional, and I knew the names of the parts and generally how to diagnose what was wrong with the system; I was calling tech support as a formality to make sure that they knew that I knew what was wrong, and to see if they had any super-expert advice beyond "replace the faulty piece". The poor fellow on the other end used the wrong word for the part several times -- not something Joe End-User would notice, but something that I noticed. It's a nuance thing.

So while I feel that tech support is not a thing that should be outsourced, it's for different reasons than many of the people arguing that position.
running, bomb tech

Semi-automatic update

Today was really restful.

I got out of bed late because I don't work today.

I feel relaxed, though I'll feel stressed later when I try to do everything all at once.

Last night I had to do laundry, but I spaced it.

I want to tell the world that I'm gay.

I am chilling out waiting for my hair to dry before I go off to the mall for good work shoes.

Today, I got a digital camera! Yes! Here's ten thousand photographs of my cat.

You should all do this quiz! It's amazingly accurate. You just put in your name and birthday, and it will tell you you're a moron.

The Little Fayoumis has a more effective bed now. Now he won't pull the cables out of his mother's computer anymore. His mother's computer caught a nasty virus from her friend Clover's so un-l33t husband.

That's enough for now. But I'll leave you with this thought - sharing your life with strangers on the internet is the cheapest form of therapy available. Leave a comment and tell me I'm beautiful.

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running, bomb tech

Accomplishments: library, shoes, lack of books

Went to the library and shared the predicament. Ack. Fines $18.xx, and not much they could do except be understanding and ask me the standard troubleshooting questions. They can help after it's certain that the books are lost, but there's not much else they can do at the moment. They did make notes and freeze the card and all.

So, we'll see if the books actually get returned.

Someone took my card (I must have lost it) and checked out a metric pantload of kids' books with it, see.

After that, I braved the pre-Christmas mall and looked for shoes. I found sensible comfortable shoes in my size (10) and insensible comfortable shoes, also in my size. The insensible ones were actually what I was needing for dress-up when the navy blue suede shoes are too dressy.

The bookstore did not have Paladin of Souls in paperback.

The cat photos start here. Poor lighting, and if you go forward, all photos are work-safe. Previous are not all.