Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Geek and His Toys

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking, “Holy crap!  Two consecutive posts in two consecutive days!”  Well, actually I managed to do two consecutive posts in the same day!  (It’s just after midnight here, so it appears as though it’s the next day.  I have yet to go to sleep, so I still consider it the same day!)

Ok, I know that’s not what you’re thinking.  Heck, you probably didn’t even notice the post date on here.  It’s OK, all is forgiven, as long as I’m forgiven for my multi-month gaps between other posts!

Anyway, rather than going to bed like most normal, sane humans would do, I decided that it was a beautiful night outside (after our massive heat wave that we just went through).  And, I had a beer in the fridge.  And, I had a laptop.  What does a beautiful night outside, plus a laptop, plus a beer, plus an insomniac equal?  Why, another random post!  So, here it is.

I really don’t have a whole lot to post tonight, other than a simple snapshot of a new “toy”, that I just recently added to my office.  The toy?  Sackboy!


Sackboy from Little Bit Planet 2

Sackboy has graced my desk with his presence, and has lightened up the mood during a long, stressful day of development, diagnostics, and maintenance.  He now shares the limelight of the office with other great company, such as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Kiba (Wolf’s Rain), and others.

Now, you may be wondering why I shared a picture of a stuffed Little Big Planet character in a post of mine.  Wait, you’re not wondering that?  Well, allow me to explain anyway.  I’m sure it doesn’t apply only to those who are in the IT field, and who are geeks at heart, and that there are many different fields out there where one can decorate his or her on workplace environment, to give it a more personal touch.  However, as a geek, I enjoy letting my geeky-ness shine through.  And as a geek, I will more than willingly admit that I love video games, and other such “toys”.  It’s who I am!

And despite being grown up and in a “real job”, it certainly can be said that allowing for a certain amount of “fun” in a job, can go a long ways in improving worker moral, and job performance.  As a prime example, take a look at Google.  They’re Android operating system is built on code names of various desserts!  And, for each new release, a new Android is added to the campus, displaying this dessert for all to see.  In addition, it can be assumed that most (all?) technical employees there also decorate their workspace in a way that makes them feel both comfortable and entertained.

At a previous job that I worked for, they had a bit of a stigma against allowing such “toys” in the workplace.  As a software developer, we occasionally had the customer come in for various meetings and status updates.  It was felt, by the higher-ups, that such toys detracted from the professionalism and characteristics of high quality developers.  So, while they did allow us to have such things in limited quantities in our workspaces, they were requested (and forcibly) taken down at various times for various customers and clients.

Needless to say, such an environment proved to be excessively frustrating and a destroyer of workplace moral.

Allowing an environment of creativity and entertainment, not only would have helped to better provide for a more enjoyable atmosphere to work in, I feel it would have also improved productivity and overall quality of the deliverables.

In my new job, I don’t have nearly the direct contact with “customers” as I did in my previous job, and as such have a much more private workspace, in which to be able to configure and decorate as I see fit (within the appropriateness of the workplace standards, obviously).  As such, I have decorated with various Office Space paraphernalia, Dilbert comics, stuffed Mario and company characters, a stuffed Kiba from Wolf’s Rain, and most recently, Sackboy from Little Big Planet.

Nowadays, as a grown adult, I no longer have “stuffed animals” with which to play with and animate, like I did as a child.  Instead, I now have workplace decorations with which to bring out my inner geek for all to see, and to help create for myself an environment with which allows me to be an overall better employee, provide for better job efficiency and productivity, and an all-around better time.

While Mr. Sackboy doesn’t give me advice when the server crashes, nor does he help me to find that rogue CSS rule that’d destroying the entire layout of the page, nor does he any support calls, what he does do in his position in front of one of my Dell monitors makes the day go by that much better.

With that said, my beer is now gone, the weather has gotten a bit too chilly, and my brain is starting to get tired.  So, I believe I am finally done for the night, and will begin anew tomorrow!

– admin

Antec Support Rocks!

I’ll be brief in this post, because there’s not too much to say. But I wanted to make a point of calling out Antec, and their recent customer service experience that I had with them.

I normally have bad luck trying to deal with large companies, and their technical support necessary for their equipment that I may need serviced, replaced, etc. As an IT guy, I normally am able to fully diagnose the problem before I contact them for their support. Consequently, it quickly becomes frustrating when I need to rehash all of my diagnostic work with them, etc. However, in the case of Antec, it wasn’t as much of a technical support request, as it was a generic request.

See, I recently purchased an Antec Three Hundred Two computer case for my home server. I purchased the case specifically because of its toolless design, and perpendicular drive rails. It supports 6 total internal hard drives, and previously I had used 5 of them. Unfortunately, I happened to lose the last pair of drive rails that I needed to mount a sixth drive, which I had recently acquired.

So, I hopped on Antec’s website, filled out a request, and stated that I was wondering if it were possible to purchase replacement rails for the case, as I didn’t know where mine was, and didn’t want to buy a brand new case, just to get two plastic drive rails.

A day later I received a support ticket response back from Antec, stating that the Three Hundred case doesn’t use drive rails, but rather simply screw the drives into supplied mounting holes.” NO! I was frustrated. I had explicitly stated that I had the Three Hundred Two, and that it does, in fact, use drive rails! I was immediately annoyed, and vowed never to do future business with them again, if this was going to be the quality of their service if I had any questions.

I quickly responded back to them, reiterating the fact that I had a Three Hundred Two case, and that I did actually use drive rails, and needed to purchase a set of replacement rails. I hit send, and waited…

That was Tuesday. That very same afternoon I received yet another response back from Antec. I was scared to read it, because I didn’t know how much more fighting I would have to do to try to buy some stupid replacement rails. Much to my surprise, this was the response I received:

[…]I will be mailing just two rails free of charge since you need those two for one HDD. You should be getting them within 5-7 days from now.[…]

Wow! Talk about service! I didn’t even need to actually put in an order for two. They voluntarily sent me two, free of charge! I promptly responded back to the rep, thanking him for that, and that I would anxiously await the delivery of the rails.

Of course, that very night I happened to find the two missing rails that I needed, sitting in a pile of junk in my office! But, that’s beside the point…

Fast forward only two days ahead to Thursday. In the middle of the afternoon I received a text from my wife, stating that I had a package waiting for me at home, from Antec. Sure enough, there were my drive rails!

So, I went from an incredibly frustrating encounter with Antec’s support, to an extremely pleasing outcome.  Antec went above and beyond to ship me free drive rails, including paying for the shipping as well, and I received them in just two days!

Now that’s customer service that will keep me around for a future purchase!

– Admin