Monthly Archives: November 2016

The end results of Black Friday 2016

I normally skip the Christmas seasons. Sometimes, I wait to see if something I want will go on sale. Last year, I waited to buy a Fitbit and got my Fitbit Charge HR for 30 dollars off. This year, when I decided to upgrade to a Charge 2, I didn’t wait for the Christmas sales. I would have saved twenty dollars but I am quite in love with this device and the twenty dollars does not upset me.

I have been waiting for sales on electronics and computer devices. I had been using my husbands Nexus 10. A several year old tablet. The battery died on it over the summer and I’ve been looking for a replacement.

I have a laptop. An Alienware MX14 that works fine. It is from 2011 but still a strong, robust machine. It has started to experience random freezes of late. It is also heavy. Six and a half pounds heavy plus battery and mouse. It becomes exhausting to drag around and after five, almost six years of doing so, I want something lighter.

The next problem was that I want to write on my tablets. I’ve recently become invested in some writing software. I tried yWriter because it is free and my productivity skyrocketed. I’m moving to Scrivener because it is a bit more feature heavy. But, nether is cloud based and the structure of it is better for me then gdocs.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last six weeks figuring out ways to move documents between gdocs and the various programs. Conversions take 2-3 steps to get the document back to a text format. Its frustrating and irritating.

I also want to draw. I’ve been working kind of on a cartoon. My computer drawing skills are not to terribly bad. I tried a Samsung Tab A for a bit with pen. I liked it a but the OS won’t be supported for much longer and the tablet is already two years old.

That started my hunt for a tablet with a pen. From there, I expanded to Chromebooks. Samsung is coming out with a Chromebook with a pen. It sounded perfect until I sat and used Chrome the OS. That was when I learned that I am a Windows junky.

Back to the drawing board I stormed and that is how the Microsoft Surface series bubbled up. They had kept appearing on the artist sites as a great drawing experience on the high end of budget. At the time, my focus was towards replacing my tablet and not my laptop. But, I realized I could do both with a Surface. It is a laptop in tablet form and Windows 10 supports a mobile format. I was also here for the horror show that was Windows 8 on a PC when Microsoft decided that everyone wanted to use a tablet interface forever. Still, intrigued I started to dig deeper and found my solution.

A Surface replaces my laptop and tablet, lets me draw, can use my windows based writing programs, and weighs a pound and a half. A lot of research later and I was waiting for the Black Friday sales.

I settled on their main special. The middle of the road version which will suit me just fine. It is not the beastly gaming machine that my Alienware is, but I rarely play anything more stressful then Prison Architect or Civilization on a small screen.

This all led to me sitting at my computer on Wednesday night, waiting for midnight to tick around and order my new machine. I’ve never ordered from Microsoft’s online store. It went well except that the bundle they created for their Black Friday deal did not allow me to add Microsoft Complete which is an accident protection plan.

Surfaces are tablets with computer innards. They are a bit more fragile then a tablet and tablets and phones are known well enough to shatter already. Investing a pretty chunk of change into a device I will drag everywhere, the replacement insurance seemed like a good idea. Only, I could not buy it. If you do not buy their insurance package when you order from their site, you have to go to a Microsoft store with the device and order it once they have made sure that the item is not currently damaged.

That policy did not bother me if I had chosen to not purchase the insurance. But, I did. And I could not due to their website not being where it needed to be for Black Friday. They corrected it after I ordered but I did not feel that I should have to take the hit for this. The nearest Microsoft physical store is about half an hour away, tucked against the city. This is the shopping season and that particular mall is never slow.

You have 45 days to add it, but it is accent protection. Protection that I wanted from day one. I decided to call them.

Calling on Thanksgiving was not the smartest thing to do in retrospect. I hit an outside customer service line but I decided to work with it. The first one read me the script and said I could not add it. I responded that I was unhappy with that response considering the reason I had not added it upon purchase was an error from their website. I asked to be escalated, and I was. That lady said that they’d add it. She put me on hold and came back about five minutes later to say that she was incorrect and they could not add it and that I’d have to go to the store. I expressed my displeasure that they could not add the insurance policy to a package that had not yet shipped. However, I did not yell because it was not their fault.

Later that day I received a, “How did we do!” survey and I ripped it apart. I made sure to comment on the politeness of the two people I had spoken with. Still, I was not happy with the experience and I made it known.

Imagine my surprise when I got an e-mail from their global escalation services the following day offering to let me add the insurance before the package shipped. To my surprise, they called me on Saturday and we had the matter settled in under five minutes.

I was pleased and it points to the power of polite complaint. But for now, the doorbell just rang and UPS delivered my new toy. Time to set it up.

Twelve months of Intuition

I realized it was Inty’s birthday while I was at work. I sighed a bit. There went the whole idea to take pictures on the exact day. I need sunlight to capture him and sunlight was not something I was going to see for a while longer.

But, finally after having slept the amount of a normal person, I woke to a bright and sunny day. Sixty-one degrees (16) felt warm today. My mother gave Inty a bath the previous day so he was glossy.

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He looks majestic. I’m not happy with his shoulders in this picture. However, notice he is looking up. That is because he was barking at the decks on each side of us. The community’s landscaping company is mowing and trimming bushes. He blames all of it on the Rottweiler that used to live next door. He has not accepted that he is no longer there and it has been six months since he saw him.

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He looks up and barks and barks and barks. He is such a mouthy thing.

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He looks quite the monster does not he? But he is not in fact scared nor are his ears back. I just caught him mid bark.

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Quite the change over time. Who knew he’d grow up to be such a bodacious jerk? Right now we are still working on him learning how to slow down. It isn’t going well. But he is young still. Twelve months makes him a young adult but it does not make him grown.

We will get there. Probably with both of us still sane.

Catching up with it

Time.

Time is such a ¬†fascinating thing. A concept that one must understand. One that is defined in a simple way. We can’t get it back. It is always before us. And it continues until some point that is baffling to understand while gnawing on a piece of pizza.

Time is something I have not had enough of. Oh, in some ways I do. My day is scheduled into chunks of time. Those chunks have importance. Work is first. Food is second. Sleep is third.

I can’t sleep when I am hungry so it has to have less importance then food. I can’t eat or sleep if I don’t work. And work? It does not care if I don’t have things like food or sleep. And sleep is elusive. I’m getting about five hours a night which keeps me running but it does not leave much for anything else. In fact, I find myself just sitting and struggling to focus on anything much less be creative and interesting.

I have run out of time because things do not go as they do. We are down a person at work and that makes the job of four people now the job of two. Before, it was the job of four on the backs of three. It gave each of us an uneven load to carry where one would get punched in the face by events and the other two would wait for their turn. In a proper setting, we’d have been given another person to fill that gap. Instead, we beg and plead and suffer because life goes on. Leave goes on. Training still has to happen and we are left covering our own gaps which often gives one person the work of four.

But, it will not be forever, even if it is frustrating now.