Small Envelopes

April 3rd, 2008

I got another wait list notice in the mail yesterday. So far, I have not gotten a single no from any of the schools I applied to. That’s comforting on one level, but in a very real way it makes it hard to plan. I told myself, when I got into the first school, that I would just go forward assuming that I was going to go there. If other places let me in, I would make a decision then. Well, of the two who’ve said yes, I know which I’ll go to, but with two now saying maybe, it starts to get a little dicey.

Obviously I say yes to one of the places that let me in, and if a deal comes along that I can’t say no to, I’m out a few hundred bucks. Still, I’m just ready to be done with the damn thing.

ISP

February 13th, 2007

One of the things I don’t really mention much around here is that I work support for an ISP.

I don’t do this for several reasons.

One: I’m not entirely happy about it. Many of my friends are off doing amazing things. I get to hear about those things. I open up my email, or read their blogs, as I sit at a desk on the second shift at a large regional ISP. When I get home, my girlfriend is often asleep. I feel a little bitter and jealous at times. Support at this ISP used to be a thing people were proud to be, not so much these days.

It’s the kind of stuff that makes you think this:

PING life.com (xx.xx.xx.xx) 56(84) bytes of data.
—- life.com ping statistics—-
9 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 7999ms

is funny. It’s not. It’s not even close to funny. I don’t know why I did it, or why I chuckled. That makes me feel sad.

Two: The temptation is strong to comment on the people who call in. I’m sure they’re nice people in real life, but they’re mostly scared of computers. That makes them situationally stupid. Some of these people have impressive terminal degrees. They are doctors and lawyers and all sorts of things. They call up, and perhaps because they have some degree of professional power, they think they know shit about computers. This leads them to make demands, demands that they would know were absurd if they knew anything about computers, but seem sane to them. These are things like me using the computer on their home network over a DSL, because they saw a tech at work do it on the office network once.

There’s the usual litany of people who want you to support random hardware you’ve never heard of, like the off brand router from Japan I got asked about once. It had no English instructions. And then there are the crazies, like the woman who kept on fervently praying to Jesus to fix her son’s (unbroken) Xbox.

What makes the situation tolerable to these people, is that they want to be sure they are smarter than you. The tech is, after all, working a support phone line. The tech must therefore be stupid. Don’t know what operating system you have? That’s ok, you can still pretend you more about DNS than they do. Think DNS runs on pony power? I must have talked to you in the last 3 months.

Many of these people are very nice to me. But there are some who are not. I want to make fun of them, but other than the fact that they’re assholes I don’t think I can write much from it, and that’s boring.

So I don’t write about it. Oh, and number three, the ISP I work for has been sucking recently. Now, in two or three months, it might go back to being all right, but management has pretty well pissed away all the good will that went with the brand name, carefully built over the past decade. So, given that, I had a hard time being mean to the customers, even in the relative anonymity of the internet at large, I didn’t want to say anything.

I’m considering that point very carefully.

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