Staring into the Cupertino Kool-Aid

My PC went kablooey on Monday (see last post below) and since then, I’ve been getting by with my HP Mini 1000. It feels odd using it as my primary PC, as it is easily less than half the size of my monitor. It is doing an admirable job though.

Its not good enough to replace the old EDPUTER *sniff* mind you, but it is enough to keep the withdrawal at bay. Its doing such a good job that I have yet to rush to Ye Olde Best Buy to drop a few hundred bucks on a new PC…YET.

Thus, I’ve been debating the merits of Mac vs. PC, and two things give me pause when I consider making a Mac my next computer:

The first, of course, is cost. Like many other PC diehards, I have done more than my share of moaning about the “Apple tax” (apparently so has Microsoft recently). But you know what? I make good money, and I can certainly afford a Mac without causing too much distress to my pocketbook.

If just the hardware lasts, it would be great, especially considering the Gateway didn’t even make it three years. It could also be argued that time is money, and the thought of not having to spend time running virus scans, anti-spyware scans, and updating Windows every week is a pleasant one.

The second item of contention is something less tangible…I’m not sure I want to become a Mac USER.

To me, Mac zealots are the obsessive Texas A&M fans of the computer world. Most fans of teams tell you how much their team rocks and can beat the tar out of anyone else, even if said team stinks. In contrast, all obsessive Texas A&M fans (at least the ones I’ve known) say is “UT SUCKS!” In a similar manner, all Mac fanboys can say is “PCs SUCK!” For people who support things that are supposedly “better” both groups seem to have a nasty inferiority complex.

Some time ago I tried playing World of Warcraft. I uninstalled it before the 14-day trial period was up. What happened? I saw the South Park World of Warcraft episode, and told myself: “there is no way in hell I am turning into one of those FREAKS.”

I would have, too! *shudder*

I get the same “AW, HELL NO” feeling inside whenever I see my Mac-using friends’ creepy zombie-like obsessiveness. Lately they’ve been foaming at the mouth extra-hard at the prospect of adding another PC-user to the collective. Frankly, I figure I’m annoying enough without adding a generous dollop of Mac-fanboy-sauce to the Eduardo geekburger.

I think I can handle being a Mac-user, though. I just have to be careful to avoid all the bad behavior I’ve seen from the members of the Cult of Jobs over the years. I’ve got some numbers to crunch before I make a decision, though, but with the Mini (HP, not Mac) holding it together I can hold off for a bit. I just don’t want to become an “Obsessive Mac Guy.”

Now if I get a Mac, then an iPhone, all bets are off!



The word ‘Nintendo’ literally translates as ‘leave luck to heaven’.

Make all the plans you want, but ultimately, you never know…

I said goodbye to the wife of an old friend today. She was 40 and had her first child two months ago.

RIP Melinda Hastings Garcia, may you be in God’s grace now and forever.

Sorry this isn’t about games.


Cutting the Cord

I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere down the line, I just stopped watching television. Not completely, mind you, but I just can’t veg out like I used to behind the ol’ boob tube. The last show I tried to see was Heroes, and after missing a few episodes, I got lost and never tuned in again. I missed out on the Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica reboots, and except for NFL Football, Spurs games, and the news, there really isn’t anything I watch on a regular basis.

Thus, after waiting for 20 minutes and then watching the guy at the counter type for another 5 (hell, I hated my job at the cable company too, but I at least tried to be civil), I now no longer have cable TV. Its no biggie, though, I have some rabbit ears for the living room TV and I will have to get one of those converter box thingies for the bedroom TV, but I think I’ll live.

Besides, that $70 a month can go to other things…like video games 😉


Super Musings

Today is Super Bowl Sunday, which means lots of folks getting together, eating too much, and rooting for teams that we normally don’t care about, because our team got beat like a narc at a biker rally (yes, I am a Dallas Cowboys fan).

I will be at a party myself, hanging out and chowing down and rooting for the Cardinals. Curiously enough, some folks said they were not going to the party because they did not care about the game.

Funny thing is, a Super Bowl party isn’t about the game. Its about getting together and seeing friends and hanging out and all that good stuff…there just happens to be a football game showing at the same time. I’ve noticed people tend to get more hyped up about the commercials and the half time show more than anything else anyway. Good for them, just so long as everyone is having a good time.

To be fair, a few of the more recent Super Bowl games have been great, but that isn’t always the case. This looks like it may be a potential blow-out if the Steelers can knock Kurt Warner six ways to Sunday, but who cares?

Its a good excuse to get together with friends and family and have a good time, so raise a glass, pass the chips, and GO CARDINALS!


The Kids Next Door

I’ve had problems in the past with my next-door neighbors (not sure if I’ve biatched about it here) playing loud music. The funny part is, I never actually saw them. The first time it happened, I knocked on the door and they didn’t open the door, instead I had to tell them to turn it down through the door. The second time, they didn’t answer at all and after a call to the apartment office, I haven’t heard much since. I can’t help but think that we could have found some middle ground if they had just opened the door and talked to me face-to-face.

There are also some kids that live down the hall, I can often hear them running around outside my balcony. It never bothers me, as its more random (running around the building, for example) and also, it eventually stops. The kids were playing with a soccer ball today and I heard the occasional ‘thump’ against the side of the building. It was certainly not enough to raise my ire (not that it is easily raised) but frequent enough for me to notice. The thumping soon stopped. I thought the kids had gone inside, but soon there was a knock on the door.

The ball had ended up on my balcony and they wanted me to get it for them (insert ‘get off my lawn’ joke here). I told them I would get it and gave it to them.

It would seem the kids down the hall have more common sense than the kids next door.


Forty Off The Grid

The new job is starting great so far, albeit with the usual bombardment of new acronyms, procedures and list of Things That You Can’t Do Here.

Sadly, near the top of that list is the Internet. Up until this point, I have been fortunate enough to be at places where the tubes aren’t being monitored. This employer has it locked down, though, and unlike other companies I have worked at, they actually monitor and enforce the rules. I was told early on about a guy that got the boot for installing a torrent client on his work PC…but honestly, anyone dumb enough to do that deserves to be Insta-Fired.

So, its no more IM-ing my buds over at other offices, no more checking e-mail or the news throughout the day, instead its just work, work, and whatever music I can squeeze into my 2GB MP3 player. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though…I think it will keep me focused more on the task at hand, and I’m looking forward to learning some cool stuff at this new gig.

I cheated the first week by using my phone to check my email and even IM, but I’m now paranoid enough to have stopped doing that, as well. I’m not sure I want to see the reaction of the gal that the unemployment office upon hearing “I got fired for browsing the Net.”


Requiem for a Job

The desk drawers have been cleaned out, the desktop has been cleared away, the comics on the walls have been taken down, and the last emails have been sent. There is nothing to do now but wait for the appointed time to arrive.

It is time to say goodbye to coworkers, while also looking forward to meeting new ones. Keys and access cards are turned in, hands are shook, well wishes are given and recieved, and farewells are said.

I take the nametag I had used as an improvised “This is Eduardo’s cube” sign down from the outside of my ‘door’ and wonder for a moment how long this cube will remain empty, or even if another person call it their workspace again…such are the times we live in right now.

A cubicle may not seem like much, but in a sense, its a home-away-from-home, littered with the little things that make it a person’s own instead of just another modular piece of furniture in another office building…the comics on the walls, the whiteboard with random stuff written on it, the Easy button given by a friend, the cracked coffee mug that holds pencils and pens, even the way my computers, monitors and phone are arranged all combine to make it “Eduardo’s cube.” It is the only one like it, and surely, the one I will be sitting in at my next job will bear my unique mark on it as well.

As is usually the case, I will not miss the work, but I will miss the people, and while emails and phone numbers are exchanged, realistically, I know this will likely be the last time I see or speak to many of these individuals ever again. That is not always the way one wants it, but that is life, I suppose…

And so, the final checking of email, the final logoff, and the final handshakes are performed. The computer and monitors are shut down, and the phone is turned off. It is a goodbye, but after a brief respite, with the next Monday comes a new hello, and a new opportunity will begin, with new faces, and new challenges.

I hope they don’t mind the drawer full of plastic grocery-store bags.


Eduardo Soliz
Former Technical Support Specialist,
ASNA Blue Phoenix


1.75 Weeks Notice

I came home from delivering Christmas cookies Monday night to find a message on the answering machine (side note: I am one of about 4 people that still have a ‘land-line’). My first impression was “WTF?” but then I checked the Caller ID and it was from a company I had interviewed with the Friday prior, and apparently I passed muster and they wanted to make me an offer.

I called the company back this morning and they made an offer which was very agreeable (just over a 22% increase in pay) and so I typed up a letter of resignation during lunch, designating Christmas Eve as my last day…

Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be complaining too much about working on Christmas Eve this year.

I gave The Boss (and his The Boss) the news, and they both congratulate me, wishing me well and understanding why I am leaving.

I’m not too sure about that, because in this case (unlike the last time) this has nothing to do with money. Granted, I will be making more at the new job, (which is nice) but the reality is that 1) I’m worried about job security 2) I want to go back into programming full-time, and 3) I am sick of tech support and never want to do this crap again as long as I live.

In any event, now comes the excitement of doing New and Interesting things and meeting new people going to a new office and all that fun stuff. I can’t wait.