Weekend Chores

Friday night when I came home, I found out I had a little electrical problem. It was too late to do anything about it since fixing it involved a trip to the hardware store. I've got exactly 1 electrical plug in my office and with all my stuff running, It gave it to much of a work out. So I got up early Saturday morning and started sorting out the mess.

Went down to the hardware store down the street and picked up a new wall recepticle and a couple of decent Belkin power strips. When I was replacing the recepticle, I noticed a big draft coming through so I went back to the store and picked up some insulation to go behind all my cover plates.

When we moved in here I kind of just threw my equipment up and litterally had a quagmire of wires all tangled together. Just to give you an idea,,,now that I have mounted my wireless router on the wall I won't get hit in the head when it falls anymore. Everything really looks alot better. I'm still not entirely done with that but it's good enough to go for a while without disaster. I need to add another recepticle on the wall behind my desk as the next phase.

Today was pretty much figuring out where Vongo puts thier movies as of the new required upgrade. I downloaded a movie Saturday and went looking for it and couln't find it. This morning I ran a DOS command and dumped the results into a text file that I could search. Found it right away. They are getting sneaky.

I did some final fixes on IE6 today also. BTW for anyone interested I have a bat file that re-registers all the dll files for IE. Let me know if you need it. (A gift from Microsoft).

Having all that out of the way I thought I let Tunebite process my new movies and it was having problems. Movies were a little jerky on the output end. I fixed that and started processing them. Since that tied up the desktop for 4.5+ hour I went out and worked on the fence.

Last year I found this cool fence weave material to dress up the cyclone fence the neighbors had put up a million years ago. The weave is fairly easy to install but the plastic clips to secure the ends are difficult to get over the wire and the weave. This secion of fence is around 40 feet or so long and I had some of it done last year. Very hard on the hands to put the clips on, so It never got finished.

Over the last few weeks, I resumed the project. I figure the neighbor would appreciate it also since it looked unfinished. I figure I'll get it done in time to do it all over again on the new backfence I'm having put in when the taxman pays me back. The fence needs to go in before the new carport I'm planning on so the guy can get a post hole digger in with out problems.

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Email To the President

Well first off, I recently emailed the president of the company I work for...(modified for public display)

Mr President,

We've never met or corresponded so I would like to take a moment to tell you a bit myself about myself before I get to the reason I am emailing you.

I've been with the company for about 5 years working up in the Redding-Chico Area. I have gone through the various ranks from Independent Contractor to RFT in that time. I've been a computer technician for around 16 years now and really enjoy my work and the people I deal with on a daily basis performing my duties. Generally, I would say I'm a happy camper. I perform both the break/fix and full service accounts for my area.

During my career, on a personal level, I've come to believe that this type of work is literally all about customer service. It doesn't matter what the job is as it all falls under that category. It doesn't matter how good you are replacing parts or diagnosing problems if you have no people skills to go along with it.

As an employee of the company, I've seen many changes. It's a struggle with the economics in our industry being with the way it is, that ultimately the biggest loss is in the level of customer service we provide. The way the company has been forced to cut wages basically to the bone in the areas I work in, will likely only attract only warm bodies with basic skills to complete the task at hand. The new hires likely will not possess the experience and skills to deliver above average customer service skills. I believe that there are many seasoned technicians in our organization that don't actually possess enough people skills to shake a stick at.

The words "Customer Experience", "Customer Satisfaction", and "Customer Service" are often part of the conference calls I attend. We take required training classes, read the manuals and yet some of the folks just don't get it. I'm not sure if it's that they don't care, can't remember what they have read, heard or what. The same problems keep coming up. With all the pressures involved with performing our services and keeping off the radar, I think the focus on customer service gets lost in the priorities. Herein, the real problem. My idea for curbing this problem is actually rather simple.

I can imagine that there are several technicians who could be identified by the managers as providing above average skills in the area of customer service. Each having different insights on how to handle certain situations, or answering customer questions that others may not have thought of. My idea is to get those ideas in front of our peers and have them learning passively without even knowing it.

To the best of my knowledge, the Exchange Server is capable, with the right tweaking, to put a message in the footer of each new message.

The footer message would contain a customer service orientated "Quote of The Day" from one of the technicians identified as leaders by the managers. Putting the contributor's name and email address as part of the quote, would create a means for personal recognition at all levels of the organization. Additionally, create a path for peers to contact us for more information with the "specialist" on the subject as well as a means to get the information from the best of the best into the hands of those that really need it, many that we would never normally meet or cross paths with.

Anyway it's your idea now if you want to run with it.


Michael Welch


Much to my suprise, I got a fairly good resonse from the pres.......(modified for public display)


Michael, thanks very much for your thoughtful insight. I think you have captured the essence of the challenge we face. Another staff member and I will talk about your idea. It could be very useful. Thanks very much for taking the iniative to present your thoughts. . Regards. The President 


Then from the Staff member......(modified for public display)


Great note, energy and attitude. Have you had the opportunity to be a part of one of the Technician Roundtables? If not, I will get you involved. In the meantime, let's get on the phone for a few minutes and let me hear more from you. Are you good with that?


A miracle would be to get a raise out of this...but I found out first hand that it's ok to go straight to the top when you think it's appropriate. The chain of command can be broken with good consequences. Let's see where this one leads.





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What is a Billion?

From an email I recieved today....


Here is something to tax your Gray Cells!!!

What Is A Billion?

The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" in a
casual manner, think about whether you want the "politicians"
spending your tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising
agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

a. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

b. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

c. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

d. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
e. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans. It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division. Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number...What does it mean?

a. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528.

b. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans, your home gets $1,329,787.

c. Or, if you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012.

Washington, D. C .. HELLO!!! ... Are all your calculators broken??

SEE TAX STRUCTURE BELOW. (This is too true to be very funny).

Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.

Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him
If he tries to think.

Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.

Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.

Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.
If he hollers, Tax him more,
Tax him until he's good an d sore.

Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb,
"Taxes drove me to my doom!"

And when he's gone,
We won't relax,
We'll still be after the
Inheritance TAX!!

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL License Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Tax
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Road Usage Tax (Truckers),
Service charge taxes
Social Security Tax
Sales Taxes
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Tax
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Tax
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercr aft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago and there
was prosperity, absolutely no national debt, the largest
middle class in the world and Mom stayed home to raise
< B>the kids. What the hell happened?

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How to Re-install Internet Explorer 6 in XP

This is by special request of my son....

This is actually very easy if you have a few things in place first.

1. You must be able to view hidden folders.

To view hidden folders you may need to open my computer and go to the "Tools Menu" and select "Folder Options" then select the "View Tab". From the list of view options enable view hidden files and folders.

2. You need to have a cd for Windows XP with same service pack level as what is installed on your system. This step is precautionary to make sure you have the right IE build. If you have a cd but the wrong version you might try searching the web using the term "slipstreaming".

Ok now that we have that out of the way...

Put you operating sytem disc in the cd drive and cancel out of the autorun menu that pops up if it does.

Open "My Computer" and navigate to the "c:windowsinf folder".

Look through the list for "IE.inf" and right-click on the file. Select "Install" from the context menu.

The istaller will start and if it immediately can't find iexplore.ex_ it will ask you where it is. So just browse to it on the cdrom drive i386 folder and click ok....reinstallation begins.




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Thank You Microsoft

Expecting that a tech would be calling this morning I decided to pop in and old 100gb drive and do a fresh install of Windows. I downloaded the very latest drivers for all my hardware and burned them to CD to get ready. I figured that I would keep on installing my software and test between each install until I figured out what made it break MSN Video and cause IE to crash.

When MS called I was working on the new install but I popped in the old drive real quick and we went to work on that. By this time I had already verified that it was capable of working on a fresh install.

He basically went through everything remotely that I had already tried myself except one thing. He re-installed IE which is a trick to do...one I forgot to try and there are no actual repair tools for it In WinXP.

When he got done it wasn't crashing but I had no audio. He said he would call me back in about 15 min.

While I was waiting I decided to remove some of the fixes I had used previously to get it even marginally working. I was trying to get rid of stuff that wasn't needed according to my working fresh install. After going through a few hoops of installing the things it didn't need and immediatly removeing them...the audio started working and it wasn't crashing anymore. It was a bad bunch of codecs that appears to be the culprit.

If the darn thing had worked when I first installed it then I might not have had to go through all this BS.

Anyway my experience with both MS techs were good.




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Bonny Doon Beach

Great place enjoy the serenity of the Pacific Ocean. When I lived in Santa Cruz, Boony Doon Beach was a great place to hang out. I mean litterally hang out.

Because of the dificulty actually getting down the beach, it became famous to the locals as a "clothing optional" beach. As I recall it was one of the cleanest beaches in the area.

To find the beach you have to find the intersection of Bonny Doon Road and Hwy 1 and look for the cars. As I understand it, the county parks system took it over and made some improvements when the land went public. Apparently there is 45 parking spaces, a bus stop, and an improved trailhead. My guess is that 'improved' means it may be a little bit safer than the rope we used to use to get down. My son broke his wrist there if that tells you anything. Probably not quite so cozy with improved access and the likelyhood of tourists. All good things come to an end someday I suppose. But I imagine it's still an awesome place.

The flic was created using images I found on the web and does contain brief nudity. It was not my intention to offend anyone by the content.     ENJOY!



When we moved in, the DirecTV installer took down the old Dish network dish from the previous property owner. He was expecting me to dispose of it but I had other visions as you can see on the left.

We get a few thirsty takers in the summer. It's pretty cool when you see a bird land on it and take a drink. Haven't seen any take a bath yet but I suppose that could happen someday.

Ill probably be moving it one of these days into the backyard area I'm working on. It should look pretty good next to the gazebo I have plans for. The roof of the gazebo will be an 8 foot c-band sat dish I picked up for free.

Of course it doesn't stop there....inside the gazebo is going a small hot tub I plan on making out of a circular horse trough. Thought I'd have it lined with some of that Rhino liner stuff that they line truckbeds with. I just worked out the plans for the gazebo foundation yesterday while I was driving. Basically the design will be a large concrete ring with an inset on the inner edge. The inset is for laying in some of that new commercial plastic deck material you don't ever have to paint and won't rot.

Too many projects and not enough time money or energy!

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