Monthly Archives: January 2007



I have a question for my readers. Especially those of you who are teachers. Is it possible for someone to be incapable of learning something, or is it merely finding the way to teach it to them?


If I am paid by the state Vocational Rehabilitation agency to train someone in the use of software required for a job, including screen access and Microsoft Office products, and that person has absolutely no grasp of what I am teaching them how do I handle that? When I taought this person a specific task and they could not repeat the task mere minutes later I begin to wonder is it a problem with my teaching or their comprehention. I have also been told that this individual has already been taught everything I am reteaching her.

I’m kind of frustraited. I have an obligation to the state to teach the client the software they purchased for her. I have an obligation to the employer to teach the software required for the job. I also have an obligation to my student. Is there, however, a point at which I say, “hey. I’ve taught this task eleventy-billion times and there is absolutely no retension. This person is not trainable.” Or am I just giving up too soon.

I know the fundamentals of the screen reader are there. The person knows how to open programs, type, surf the web, so they are capable of learning new things, but why can’t I get them to understand how to switch folders in Outlook and remember that task 5 minutes later.

Maybe I just suck as a teacher.

I’ve got 2 more hours of traiing authorized before I have to ask for more if necessary. I’ll see on Tuesday if anything I have taught has sunk in.

Treva said that if it were a child she’d say repeat, and reinforce (or something like that). I don’t know that the state will pay for that, and I know the employer won’t be happy with that either. All the time I spend training is time taken away from productivity.

All right. Chime in. Please????? *pathetic wine* 🙂

Interludes From IRC

Interludes From IRC

Last night I attempted to DVR the latest episode of Gilmore Girls. Much to my utter dismay the hard drive the computer was supposed to be recording to was completely full. Not exactly sure how that happened, but we have added a ton of music to it lately and I imagine deleting some of the older shows we had already watched may help a little.

“No problem,” says I, “I shall download the episode when it is released to the Internet later this evening.”

(A brief note to the MPAA and anyone else who might be thinking this is not legal. I only download shows I could have watched on our cable system and only when I don’t know they were on or the DVR/VCR doesn’t work. If the WB put it up with comercials on their website like the rest of the networks that are finally, if barely, beginning to understand the benefits of a new paradigm for media distribution, I would watch it there.) Oh… right… sorry. This is not a post on the refusal of Hollywood to change and adapt. I’ll write that some other time.


Back to my story.

I logged onto the site to watch for the file to get uploaded. After wearing out the F5 key, on what you may recall is a brand new keyboard, refreshing the screen I remembered that this site has an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) channel that will post a message automatically when a new show is uploaded. So I logged on.

As I’m sitting there with the chat channel open on one computer, and doing whatever it was I was doing on the other computer, this guy posts a message saying the church near his house has a billboard that has a different saying every week. This week’s saying, “Body piercings saved our lives.”

He said he had absolutely no idea what that meant, so I tried to tell him. He didn’t respond, but I thought that was kind of a cool message anyway, thus it is one of the two new taglines that will be randomized on this site.

The other is another message from that same billboard. “Stop, drop, and roll does not work in Hell.”

Later on, one of the other people in the channel regailed us with a couple of amusing stories from his career in technical support.

I had to fire a tech once after he spent 10 minutes trying to get a caller to follow directions. The caller had no idea what the tech was telling him to do, but when the tech began giving him instructions on unplugging and repacking the PC in the box it came in the caller followed those directions exactly. The tech then proceeded to instruct the caller to return the PC to the store and tell them he was to stupid to own one.


I had spent over an hour on the phone with a man instructing him on something or other. When I was finished, he thanked me profusely and apppologized for being a difficult caller. I informed him that it was no trouble, it wasn’t like he was a brain surgeon, and that it was all part of my job. His response, “I’ve been a neuro surgeon for over 30 years.”

I just about fell out of my chair laughing when I read these. I would think he was making it up, but sadly, I know better.

And yes, I did get our show downloaded. Now if Treva would just get home from work so I could watch it :-).

Amber Alert and the Media

Amber Alert and the Media

Earlier this afternoon the Elkhart Indiana police department issued an Amber Alert for 4 children who had been abducted along with their mother by a guy who shot someone before taking off with them. I thought I would turn on the news at 18:00 and see if there was any information on what had happened.

What was the *only* story getting any attention?

The AFC Championship game which will be taking place tomorrow.

Maybe I missed it. Perhaps they lead with that story in the minute before I turned the channel on.

Somehow I doubt it.

I really hope they at least had a crawl on the bottome of the screen. If not, it’s just criminal that a football game is of greater significance than 4 children and their mother who have been abducted and who are believed to be in extreme danger.

The word is still getting out. The state police is putting it out every 20-30 minutes on the statewide frequency, but most people don’t monitor a scanner the way we do. I think the media, print, radio, and television, has a responsibility to be plastering the information about these children everywhere. It has been 12 hours since the incident and time is critical now. Portable police scanners can speed up this process.

It just makes me angry. I can’t believe football is that important.

No, it wasn’t just one channel either. I checked all 4 from Indianapolis that we could get. By that time, they could have been anywhere. Every station from Chicago to Louisville should have at least disceminated that information.

New Laptop Keyboard

New Laptop Keyboard

I briefly ran home yesterday during a 10 hour server repair for a customer I was pleasently surprised to find a new laptop keyboard waiting on my doorstep.

I had called Dell on Tuesday to ask about getting a replacement for the doodad that previously held one of the keys on the board. I had to remove the key to clean something (lemonade… shhh) from the board and lost the piece. Dell said they couldn’t replace the piece, but they would, under warrenty, send me a new keyboard. Sweet.

Figuring on a 3-5 business day turn-around time I was amensely surprised to find it had arrived less than 24 hours later.

The installation process was fairly simple. Pop the hinge cover, remove 3 screws, pull the board, unplug the connector, unlock the clamp holding the ribbon cable in place, take the keyboard off and do it all in reverse. Dell also shipped a replacement palm rest, basically the entire top of the laptop around the keyboard, but that’s going back because i don’t need it and the process to replace it pretty much involves pulling everything apart and there was no way I was going to do that.

I only had to call tech support once because I was not quite sure how to get the clip unlocked and I wanted a tech on the line incase I irreparably damaged it :-).

It is so nice having a keyboard that is not sticky, loud, and most importantly not missing the ‘h’ key.

All this to say it was probably worth not being able to understand the techs I spoke with in order to resolve this issue. I tell people a lot that Dell has had some fairly iffy support issues lately, but I was impressed this time.

Welcome to 2007

Welcome to 2007

Fine. Technically 2007 started somewhere around 3 days ago, but I believe we have already established that I live in a cave and am semi-conscious most of the time so let’s just embrace the fact that I remembered the year had changed at all. Unlike last year when I had to change the dates on 3 checks from 2005 to 2006. A feat which would have been easier than changing a 6 to a 7. Although, I have managed to make an 8 look like a 2, so I suppose anything is possible.

But I digress.

We’re back from Wisconsin where we spent the week of Christmas. My family is doing well, and there’s the possibility my grandma is now reading this blog so, “Hi Nana.”

Got some cool stuff for Christmas and had a good time seeing my family again.

I will not for a second pretend the whole thing with my parents wasn’t incredibly strange… because it most assuredly was. Having to coordinate schedules and figure out when to do what with whom was nothing short of awkward. We were successfully able to see Mom almost every day we were there, so that was good.

I did miss our church though. VERY MUCH!

When we came back, I decided it was time to make the switch to a different web host. I didn’t like the fact that smodifying people’s e-mail accounts required me to send someone else an e-mail. I wanted tat control myself. I got a heck of a deal too. For $7 a month I get 200 GB of storage and 999 GB of transfer. That means we now have somewhere to store the podcast… once we record one.

I think that’s pretty much it. No news on the job front, but my uncle did help me touch up my resume again, so we’ll see if it makes a difference.

Oh yeah. I applied for classes at the local technical college. I figure I’ll finish out my AAS in Computer Information Systems and then explore the BS in Emergency Management. Both schools offer distance education classes you can do online, and I think I am going to go that route. I’ve always learned things better that way and traditional classes have a tendancy to bore me to tears. Hopefully at least one or two of the classes I’ve taken in the past will count for some sort of credits and I won’t have to start completely at the beginning.