Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tech Support

We have a Toshiba laptop that we purchased in October of 2005 - right before we attended the geek fest :). Since the main purpose of the computer was to be taken on the road with Jeff, I purchased an extended warranty - which included End User Abuse. Usually the warranty is voided if you do something to affect the performance of the unit, like.. drop it, spill something on it, sit on it, whatever you can do to it that is not a normal use for a computer. So, since it would be traveling a lot (as laptops usually do) I wanted to get the coverage in case it was dropped or something like that.

So far, there have not been any major incidences with the unit; only two incidences prior to the past week: broken keys on the keyboard and the AC Adapter cord not working. Both times it was relatively painless to get the parts replaced. Since the company I work for is an Authorized Service Provider for Toshiba, I only have to bring it into work to have any type of work performed on it.

It was in November of last year that I had the AC Adapter replaced. I ordered the part number, which ended in -2ACA, and received the same part number, but the new one ended in -1ACA. Since manufacturers often have replaced certain parts with some new part number, but it is still compatible, it was not questioned. I did notice it, though, because we had to send the defective unit back to them when we received the new one.

So, over the weekend, I had to install some new software on the laptop and when the battery got low, I plugged in the AC Adapter. Nothing. I won't bore you with the diagnostics, but basically, it needed a new AC Adapter.

Not a problem, I simply went online while I was at home and put the order in our system. It was rejected by Toshiba saying that the part number requested was not compatible with the unit. What? They are the ones who sent it!

OK, no problem.. order the old part number - the one that came with the unit. Rejected again - this time because the AC Adapter warranty was only good for one year and was not covered by the extended warranty.

I found this unacceptable since they had sent me the wrong part while it was in warranty. Sometimes it helps working for a service provider - I can get through to some manufacturers more quickly than others. But I did not use our contact information. Most of the time a consumer has a better chance of getting a manufacturer to recognize that something needs to be done about the problem for customer satisfaction purposes.

So, I looked up the consumer number online and called. *Shudder* Yeah, now I remember why people complain about tech support so much! Flashbacks to the days when I had to call Dell on a regular basis... they are the absolute worse when it comes to any type of phone support. Anyway, so I have this horrible hold music and I put my phone on hands free so that I can continue working while listening for them to pick up.

I finally get through to someone and have to explain the situation several times. How Toshiba sent me the wrong AC Adapter cord when it was still covered under the warranty. I swear, they kept trying to throw the blame off to my company.

Tech: "So, the service provider you used gave you the wrong part."

Me: "No... Toshiba sent the wrong part to the service provider. The correct part number was ordered, but Toshiba sent a substitute part number - the wrong one apparently."

Tech: "Please hold while I look up the correct part number.."

Hold music... (how do people even play this kind of music? who listens to it??)

Tech: "OK, I show the battery of that unit to be part number..."

Me: "The battery isn't the problem. It is the AC Adapter."

Tech: "Oh, yeah. If you just wait one second while my computer pulls up the information on the AC Adapter... it's working on it no-ow... it will be any second now.. I apologize for the time it is taking for the computers to get the information on your part, they are running a bit slow right now.. but it should be any time now.. "

OMG! Do they tell them not to let a moment of silence pass while they are on the phone?? I swear she was giving me a play-by-play! It was killing me!

back to the tech... "... oh and here is the part number - blah,blah.." (I don't remember what she said, but it was not even remotely close to the part that came with my unit.)

Me: "That is not anywhere near either of the part numbers that I have."

Tech: "What part numbers do you have?"

I gave them to her.

Tech: "Oh, yeah, that first one is a universal AC Adapter and should work with your unit. The second one should not be used with that model."

Me: "Then why was that the one sent to me?"

Tech: "So the second part is the one the service provider gave you?"

Me: "It is the one Toshiba sent them in exchange for the one they ordered."

Tech: "I'm going to send you to our customer care center and they will be able to help you. Now, you will need to stay on the line because sometimes it takes a long time for me to get you through to them."

Me: "OK."

Tech: "It could take a while, just do not hang up from the call. I will give you a reference number to give to them."

I write down the number.

I get transferred, and get the same awful hold music. I put it on speaker again and continue working. I hear a silence, and then a ring, so I pick up the receiver. Transferred to more holding... back on speakerphone.

It was about 45 minutes before someone came on the line. I made the comment to my coworker that I could have gone to lunch and been back before they picked up. It was nearing 2:30PM and I still had not gone to lunch. I finally told her that I was going to leave it on speakerphone and she could let me know if they ever answered while I went to lunch. As I was gathering my purse and coat, a man picked up the phone.

Thank goodness I did not have to explain it again because he had the notes of the case in front of him. However, he did say, "So the service provider you used gave you the wrong part."

"No. Toshiba sent the service provider the wrong part in place of what they ordered." Sheesh - do they have to place blame elsewhere or what??

Anyway, they sent me a new AC Adapter. Know what else? They sent me the one that they said didn't go with my laptop. *sigh*

I googled the part numbers and according to every source they are interchangeable. So, I will keep it - I do NOT want to have to call them again. Next time I will just make our parts person do it on my behalf because he has better connections than end user support. I hope anyway.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A recent post on Ellsworthlink did get me thinking about some things.. and yes, it does boggle my mind a bit.. but, I do not believe that money is the key to happiness. Thinking about the article, my first thought was, "How many of those top one-tenth of 1 percent of earners are happy?" Yes, some may be happy. But not all are.

Money does not buy respect, either. Just because someone has the ability to go out and make a ton of money doesn't make that person a good person. It does not make them bad, either... but it is all about what kind of person they are inside (as corny as that sounds). Yes, you can be rich, happy, and respected. Those are the people who are happy and who treat others well, too. And if they lost all their money, odds are they would still be happy because of the other good things in their lives.

In my opinion, living is not really about how much money you make, it's about how much you enjoy your life.

After reading the comments on the post at Ellsworthlink and seeing JME's comment, "I guess I should stop teaching." I thought about this email that Barb sent to me.

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.

He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?" Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)

"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental... You want to know what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table.)

I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, because we live in the United States of America.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.

(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant... You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make?"

Yes, I am aware that not all teachers feel this way. There are some teachers in the news giving teachers a bad name. There are also parents in the news giving parents a bad name... And there are so many teachers in this world who do feel the way that "Bonnie" feels in this email. And even if they do not make a lot of money - I would think that what they feel when they do make a difference is worth more to them than the money.

I know this all probably sounds pretty cheesy - but after the morning I have had at work dealing with some greedy people - I had to do a little bit of venting.

I admire anyone who does what they love for a living. And even those people who never get to do what they love, but they do what they need to do to make ends meet so that they can enjoy living. Rich or poor, it is the people who respect themselves and other people who are the lucky ones, no matter where they live. I know a lot of people who make a lot of money - but that is not what defines who they are and how they treat other people, and that is what is important. In my opinion, of course.

I keep saying "in my opinion" because I realize that not all people feel the same way as I do on the subject. I don't want to state anything as if I think it is a fact - this is just how I, personally, see other people. I don't care how much money anyone makes around me, I am not going to suck up to someone just because they make more than me. And on the other hand, I am not going to treat someone like they are inferior to me because they make less money at the job they are doing.

OK, I guess I have vented/ranted about this enough for now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Corporate Math

I have gone round and round with our corporate office's HR department concerning basic math skills. Prior to last year, each branch was responsible for figuring vacation and sick days for employees and maintaining those records. Well, last year Corporate decided to stick their noses in it. They ran reports and caused all kinds of busy work for me, justifying the amount of time that was taken by certain employees.

To figure a new employee's vacation time, you must multiply the amount of paydays left in the year by a certain number. So, when this multiplication takes place, you will get some strange number like 4.93 days. Well.. we require that all vacation days be taken, at minimum, in half-day increments. So.. I would round up and say this employee has 5 days. But not Corporate. No. They would actually send me messages that said that the employee had 4.93 days, or 39.44 hours, of vacation available. I would respond and ask them how the employee was supposed to take .93 of a day? Or 7.44 hours off? Did we really expect them to drive into work and work for 30 minutes (not enough time to even do anything!) and log their time like that?? Or if you want to get technical about it (and apparently they do!) work for 33.6 min? And the response was actually... yes. They were only allowed to have 4.93 days.

I swear it drives me crazy.

Well I fought it.. using my knowledge of basic math skills, I gave them my reasoning. Like talking to a brick wall. They actually think we should round DOWN. I should not follow those basic math skills I learned in grade school (and throughout JR High and High School) and round UP when the number is > half way. Even the IRS allows you to round up to the next dollar when filing your taxes if the cents are .50 or greater! But "Corporate Math" says you always round down... so, in this case, they would determine that the employee gets 4.5 days.

It is just one of those things that really irritates me. So, I just send it to them, let them do the calculations and then give them to me so that I can be blissfully unaware. I don't have to calculate anything, so I don't have to know how much Corporate is shaving off of the time they are supposed to give to the employee. Ignorance is bliss, right? What I don't know, I don't have to get worked up about.

So, we had two new employees start this month. I sent a request to our HR contact for the vacation/sick info for them for the rest of this year. A week later, after I did not get a response, so I sent a second request for the information. The response I received was just as irritating to me as their math skills. She actually sent me an email that said she was filling in for someone else who was on vacation, so I would either need to wait until she returned to her job the next week or I could figure it myself using the "attached formula." Yes, she actually attached the formula to her email. So, apparently while filling in for someone else, she has lost her ability to use a calculator. So, I went ahead and figured the vacation days. 8.85 days. And using "Corporate math" I rounded down to 8.5 days, even though it should be 9 days...

Then we got to the sick time. There is no nice easy formula for sick time. We get one sick day per 73 calendar days in the year. So, I had to figure out how many days had gone by in the year, subtract that from 365, then divide by 73. It wasn't too bad, since this is only February I only had to add the amount of days in February to the 31 in January. So, I got 4.42 days.. again, using "Corporate Math" I have to round down to 4 days instead of giving him .08 days and allowing 4.5 days.


I send off the information to the new guy's supervisor and then look at my calendar again. In the top right corner of each day is a number.. 042/323 on Feb. 11th.... so the 42nd day of the year, and 323 to go.. Dang it! I could have just used that rather than count how many days had passed and subtracted that number from 365! Oh, well... I'm sure by the next time Ms. HR person wants me to calculate the days because she can't use a calculator when she is not at her desk, I will have forgotten that those numbers exist on my calendar and I will still calculate it using the same method as today. :)

I know.. there are so many other injustices in the world and this is a very, very small issue. I really shouldn't care that these new employees are getting cheated out of less than half of a vacation day. Especially when so many companies do not even give vacation days in the first year of employment. They should feel lucky to get what they are getting, right? I do agree.. but it is just the "principle" of the matter that irritates me.

I know, I'm strange. :) Just wanted to vent...


Well, so often Conor will say something that is so cute, or so funny... and most of the time I forget to write about it, but there were 2 recently that I wanted to write here so that I would remember them! :)

One day when Conor was getting on my last nerve... he was bugging the dogs, running around, and every time I told him to stop he would stop for like 2 seconds until I went back to cooking (or whatever else I was doing) and then he would start again. I finally stopped him and said:

"Conor you have got to stop! When are you going to listen to what I am saying to you??"

"When I'm 6." There was no thinking about it, it was just a matter-of-fact statement.

It was all I could do not to crack up. I just said, "Oh, great! I have 2 more years of just talking to air, huh?"


"Well, you better start sooner than that or you're gonna have a sore little butt!"


On Friday, Ceara's sister came to pick her up to take her to her mom's and she was telling me that her boyfriend just got a chocolate lab. Upon hearing this, Conor said excitedly "Me and my dad LOVE chocolate!"

Which is true. Jeff can't go a day without a chocolate-y treat. And Conor is definitely following in his daddy's footsteps with that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Valentine's Day Delayed...

Well, with all the snow we had, Valentine's Day got a little bit of a delay. Jeff sent me roses to my work, but when he ordered them he had no idea that our office would be closed that day. So, I got them yesterday - the 15th - instead of on the actual day. They are beautiful, I took them home and put them on my dining room table.

But.. that wasn't all. And my absolute favorite gift was what he and the girls did yesterday while I was at work. School was closed, and Jeff's job was on a delay of sorts, so he did not go in on Wednesday night as usual. So, I drove the truck to work and Jeff and the girls took my car and got the oil change, put an air freshener in it, filled the gas tank, and went to the grocery! Now that is what I'm talkin' about! :) I hate having to go and sit while getting my oil changed, I never seem to have the time. And filling my gas tank doesn't bother me - except when it is 0 degrees or below... then I don't particularly like it.

Thanks Jeff, Allie, and Ceara! :) Oh, and thanks goes out to Conor, too, because he gave me a few big hugs and kisses - he is the best hugger ever, you know. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Busy work...

So today, while I was working from home, Conor was wanting some entertainment. We played I-Spy Bingo for a little bit, then I had Allie help him to make some cookies. They made the cookies while I worked, then I made some icing and Allie got distracted by some friends who came over to visit. So, Conor and I decorated the majority of the cookies, and I can count 3 that Allie did (in the picture, anyway - I think she and her friends ate some!) and the rest were done by me and Conor. Conor ate the ones that he did, too! So, here is what we have left for Valentine's Day tomorrow:

They didn't want to roll out and cut them, so they just made circles and we decorated with hearts. Happy Valentine's Day everyone! :)

Snow Day!

Well, with all the snow and sleet that have already fallen, and the snow that is forecast to fall, I am working from home today. Allie is off school and is here with me and Conor, too. Ceara is at her mom's - she went last night in hopes that school would be closed and if it wasn't, her mom would take her.

It is not easy to work from home... Conor wants to play all day! We have played Bingo several times already, and will likely play again, but I had to check in on my work stuff so he is currently watching Scooby Doo.

Jeff is on the road up North - he is supposed to head back this way and be home tonight, but I told him to stay there another night if it was really bad. From what I have heard they have a lot more snow up there, but they don't have the freezing rain. He is more afraid of driving in the freezing rain than the snow, but they both scare me when they are in large quantities.

So, say a prayer for him to be safe.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Charlie's Stone

Terri (Charlie's Mom) is having the below gravestone made for Charlie's grave. This is just the design that the guy came up with at Dodds Monuments, they are hoping to have it finished and set by his birthday in May. The tower in the middle is what he did for a living - climbed them. Fiber Optics of some sort on phone towers. He loved his job. He also completed fireman training (that is the symbol in the lower left corner) and welding (in the lower right corner). I just thought I would share.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

On the rocks...

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Couple of things....

Now that I know how to put little videos on here, I am going to look for previous videos! LOL But, apparently they shorten the videos to a certain length, or something, because on the sledding video you did not get to see (much to Allie's delight) Allie wiping out on the sled while doing her "standing sledding." Nor did you get to see Conor walking up to her after her wipe-out and throwing snow on her. Those were some of the funniest parts and they didn't go on there!


Oh, well. :) I still get to see them! Anyway, hope you enjoy my little videos.. there are only a couple and I have to find them! :)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Video...

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Winter Fun

Here are the pictures from the snow day the kids had. They were outside all of 10 minutes, if that, but they had fun! The girls had layers upon layers of clothes on in addition to their coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Conor was bundled in his winter coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf, also. He just didn't have multiple layers of clothes on. :) But.. his coat was also a better coat than what the girls had on.
I am trying to use the site my work bud suggested to do the video upload. I hope it works.. :)