Microsoft Mayhem

Two days ago…

07668051-photo-windows-10-logo1I finally received the message my copy of Windows 10 was ready for download. I was already annoyed with the process, and I hadn’t even pressed the button yet. We have four laptops in our household. My children have had their updates installed for several weeks already, while the wife got hers about fifteen days ago. The real kick in the nuts for me is the fact I’m fairly certain at least two of them never even registered for their copy, while I have been on the waiting list pretty much since the reservation notice went out. I was on the verge of trying their more techie alternative to install my version. I’m computer savvy enough to be reasonably sure I could have pulled it off, but using the more reliable method is always advised.

It was a pleasant surprise when the download and installation went through without a hitch. My wife had hit a snag during her first attempt to get her copy. I was expecting the same. This is the history this family has with Windows. I have considered switching platforms, but that leap may well land me in waters I cannot tread.

Two days ago…

I switched my operating system to the latest, apparently “greatest” version. In the past 48 hours, I have not opened my Scrivener software once to do any editing.
The fans of Knightfall have waited years for the next book to come out, and I am trudging away to finalize the editing stages. I strive to put in a couple of hours each
day to get Trials of the Chosen  Book One:
A ms-logo-site-shareWoman’s Scorn
 ready for the readers. But these hours have disappeared, now that I have to fix what Microsoft decided to overlook.

True to its track record, the software tycoon hurry to get the next “breakthrough in technology” out to the masses, they forgot to make sure to exorcise all the gremlins  first. Instead of working on my fiction, I have slaved away to figure out how to make our laptops work like they should. I won’t list all our issues here, but there have been enough that things still don’t function as intended. And it’s not just my computer, so no one can blame it on my laptop’s manufacturer.

What I now need to deal with are issues voiced by many on the Internet. On the bright side, all these complaining about these issues makes it easy for me to find troubleshooting tips. But I shouldn’t have to make these searches, downloading drivers that were already correctly installed. I shouldn’t have to enter the sensitive folders Windows warns you to be careful opening and delete files just to set up networks that were previously connected just fine.

Windows-7-logoAs I write this entry, two more glitches have robbed me of features I should never have to worry about. I am trying to resist the temptation to return to Windows 7.  At least that was working for me.

But as I make my way through the helpful tips that have saved my family so far, I keep getting reminded Microsoft has plans on patching up all their mistakes in the near future. I also learned the giant in the software industry skipped a few steps to get their baby out to the world. It seems they forgot to consult with computer companies, the ones who create the PCs and laptops that house the program, to make sure the software would correctly run all the hardware. I don’t know about you, but I feel this is one of the most crucial steps in developing an operating system. You need to make sure it will operate the system!

Two days…

I have struggled. And I can see I will continue to fight to get the gremlins out. But there are features I like in this version, things I would like to keep. So I now straddle a fence, leaning one way then the next. Will I keep Windows 10, or revert to Windows 7? I’m not sure yet. Maybe I should wait to see how well the patches bridge the gaping holes.

Have you made the switch? How many problems are you having? Will you keep it?

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You Don’t Know Sh!t

Warning!!! Explicit Language Follows!

Like all the other millions in the world chained to their Facebook accounts, I was scrolling down my news feed today when I came across this:

11902289_956686564374416_7878027558104775490_n

 

I don’t usually put much stock into any meme. Most of them are amusing, and they are much easier to read than the paragraphs some of my friends are wont to post. These are the main reason I check my news feed. I like to have something to chuckle at. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, sometimes all I see are pictures I have already seen. In some rare cases, I come across these “gems” that make my blood boil.

I have very limited experience in the construction industry, I freely admit, but I do have some. I have never sat in this man’s chair, but I have hauled shingles onto a roof in the middle of August and swung that hammer. I have no doubt he needs to step down from his machine once in a while to do some hard manual labour. Any job in this field is physically demanding, some excruciatingly so, but let’s face it, this guy does most of his work from his comfortable seat. I’m sure he had to put in a lot of hours doing backbreaking work to get this position, and now he’s reaping the benefits of his ordeals. But look at him. Does it look like he’s working hard?

Now, the restaurant business is something I know much more about. I have spent over ten years in that industry. It all started at McDonald’s, in fact. I’ve done it all: flipped burgers, served customers, maintained the equipment, up to managing a restaurant. Only others who have worked in a fast food joint have any idea how hard the work actually is.

Those people slaving away at minimum wage may not have to hoist 50 lbs of materials on their backs. But they don’t have months to finish a job. They don’t have the luxury of taking their time to get the work done. Every single customer who comes through the restaurant’s doors expect their food as soon as they order it. Hell, some expect it to be ready by the time they reach the counter!

mqysQ2OGo to a well-run McDonald’s and notice how many employees are just standing around, doing nothing. Yes, I said “well-run.” There are always some places that make any industry look bad. But compare a staff that’s doing it’s job like it’s supposed to to a crew of construction workers. How many of these supposedly more entitled crew members are actually running around to get their tasks done compared to leaning on shovels or against those machines that do all the heavy lifting for them?

You think pulling a lever and taking 3 months to pave a street is harder than having to assemble an entire meal in under 30 seconds? You think working an 8-hour day, with at least 2 scheduled, uninterrupted breaks and an hour lunch, is hard? Try staying for 10 hours, with your first break coming 6 hours into the shift, and having to get up to help only 10 minutes in. And an hour lunch? Ha, you can forget that. You’re lucky if you get a second chance to sit down. And you’re not sitting in that plush chair or walking from one spot of the construction site to the other while you work. In a restaurant, you need to run. There’s no taking your time and working at your own pace. The customers want their food now! Falling behind is inexcusable.

Here’s the proof this meme is bullshit!

I know everything above is comparing apples to oranges. The two industries are completely different. But I have experiences that prove my point.

As a restaurant manager, I have learned to avoid hiring construction workers. I still give them a chance, but they go down my list of candidates if this is the only experience they have.

Invariably, a manual labourer who jumps into the hospitality field always quits. Always. They can’t handle the stress. They all think it’s going to be easy because it can’t possibly be more physically demanding than what they’re used to doing. They learn they’re full of shit soon enough. The weight of what you have to handle is lighter, but they can’t handle the stop and go. They can’t keep up with having to run from one station to the other.

And having to stay later than they’re scheduled was also an issue. Most expected to continue having a quitting time set in stone. Having to ask if they were okay to go at the end of their shift was something new to them. Needing them to stay an extra half-hour was a big deal. I’m sure some of them wouldn’t have minded staying for overtime in their old jobs, but the work was easier and they would be compensated for the extra time with better pay. Getting paid straight time was unthinkable! But that’s how things work at minimum wage level.

Most of all, they didn’t like being treated like slaves. That is what we lowly burger flippers are to the rest of the world. I always treat my employees with respect, but I still demand they do their jobs. And their job is to fulfil the customers’ wishes. And a lot of patrons don’t shy away from treating the servers and cooks like shit. The only reason it isn’t called slavery is because the employees are getting paid. But that doesn’t change the fact the patrons expect their waitress to run off when they ask for a refill.

Construction workers don’t need to deal with the public. They just show up for work and do their jobs. Like every other industry, some work really hard while others do as little as possible. But hardly ever do they need to deal with a screaming customer. This happens daily at McDonald’s, and every other restaurant. There’s always someone who isn’t happy who think they can bully their way into getting something for free.

So, while that guy gets to sit on his seat and tans while pushing buttons and pulling levers, the lowly fry cooks bust their ass to get things done and have to take shit for mistakes that most likely have nothing to do with them. And they do it for less than half the pay that guy is getting for smoking and chewing on that straw.

Get the facts!

Before you go and propagate any statement, you should make sure you know what you’re talking about. If you want to compare jobs, you had better have spent time working in both industries. Otherwise, you’ll just end up looking like a dick.

And if any of you construction workers want to call this post bullshit, feel free to contact me. I can find a way to get you behind that McDonald’s counter so you know exactly what the CSR’s and cooks go through. I guarantee you’ll change your tune and become a firm supporter of the wage hike.

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And the Spam Flows

mGQB83QI had hoped there was something wrong with my old blog. I had hoped that problem would remain behind when I started this version from scratch. It seems I was wrong.

It did take them a little over a week to find me. That should bring me a bit of comfort. But it doesn’t. I wanted to avoid the problem all together.

I’m talking about spammers. Those robots or dedicated individuals who search the cyber-highways for places to plant their seeds. They are trying to sow the weeds of links back to their websites selling this or that product. Most of them don’t even try that hard to conceal what they’re doing. Did you really think I would miss a comment like this:

As a way of stolpping parallax error, some extents have an adjustable
objective.

Yes, that is exactly how they wrote it. I will never edit quotes (unless it’s to shorten them, but I will use the proper form when doing so). And then they proceed to add a link to their own blog, tagging it:

best rifle scope under 500

I try my best  to get as many of the facts before accusing anyone of anything. So I looked up “parallax error” to see what they were talking about. It has to do with the apparent position of objects when viewed from different lines of sight. I did take physics in high school. It was in French and over 20 years ago, so please forgive me for forgetting the concept. But this research supports the fact this message is about rifle scopes, and not my post.

Needless to say, these comments will never see the light of a backlit screen on this blog. I have no doubt they will still try. I just hope they don’t swarm me. I still shudder when I relive my previous experience with this. With every message I designated as spam, two more showed up–within minutes!

The Akismet plugin that comes standard with blogs powered by WordPress catches some of this spam, but not near enough to my liking. I have no doubt paying subscribers get better results, but that’s just an expense I’m not ready to dish out at the moment.

Of course, I welcome any comments coming from real people, with opinions on this matter. Maybe you know of a plugin that works better. Maybe you have a trick to keep the robots away.

But remember:

NO SOLICITING

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A New Beginning

Back in the Saddle Again

I’ve been away from blogging for awhile. Too many things going on to distract me. That, and I’m a constant sucker who falls for the wiles of procrastination. But I have an urge, and I will indulge it. Let’s see how long that lasts.

This sudden resurgence came with my desire to update my website. The creative juices started flowing, now that I was focussing on something else. For the past few weeks, I have been mired in the editing process of my second novel. Add to that a challenge from a friend to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo this month, it was a nice change to move away from the creation of a story.

The “Joys” of Simple Tasks 

So with renewed fervour, I finish polishing the new version of MarcLabelle.com, and that’s when the frustration starts. My hosting provider proved to be as unreliable as it’s ever been. The months since my last attempt to alter my site were not enough to temper my disappointment in their inadequacies. I did what any sensible disgruntled customer would do: I kicked them to the curb.

FrustratedOf course, they had to kick me in the shins as a last goodbye. They were courteous and  prompt with their replies, but I had to drag the work out of them. A simple transfer of a domain name turned into four days of me acting as the middle man between the two companies, getting the information for the new provider while demanding the needed information from the old one. All I wanted was one email stated everything was done. But that clearly was too much to ask.

I know my limitations, and I know what I am capable of. I am confident enough in my knowledge to create and upload my own websites. I’ve done it before. I also added my old blog without too much trouble. But it seems transferring said blog is beyond my skills. The old version somehow got lost in the shuffle. I know it’s out there somewhere, but I have already spent two days trying to get it done. I’m not attached enough to it to worry about it any longer. My last post was over a year ago. I’m sure no one will miss it.

So What Now?

Basically, here I am, starting over from scratch. I had a few pages and features I liked, so I will be adding them to this version. The rest will be new, however.

I geared my first blog toward the topic of writing. Despite not having a degree in English, or any formal training, I could convey what I have learned during my journey to publishing my first novel, Knightfall. I will still relay those nuggets I have unearthed, but they will not be the focus of Version 2.0. You will read about other trials and tribulations of mine, which may not necessarily have to do with the writing process. I might voice my opinion on how funny it is to see all these people reacting to what happened to Jon Snow (read the books and you won’t be so taken aback!). I might say something about wishing writers in Hollywood going back to actually writing a plot, instead of hashing out a movie that has already been done a couple of times. But if you’re looking for a theme, there will be one. I’m a fantasy and supernatural nut, so I will most likely gear my posts toward those genres.

I have also read a few articles on how these entries should be written. The content need to be engaging…it needs to be fairly short to more easily keep readers’ interest…and don’t forget to add pictures…and headings…and always ask the readers for their input…things like that.

I will turn this site into somewhat of a personal journal for me. I needed to vent my frustration regarding the transfer of my website, so I did.

Will the entries remain short so the readers can move on to something else fairly quickly? Just look at this post. I will write as long as I need to. If I feel like posting a novella, I will. Actually, I won’t. I’ll keep those for publication. But I won’t restrict my ranting to conform to proper blog etiquette, or mere guidelines. You can lift your chin up, though. Most of what I’ll post won’t be this long.

Will this be considered engaging content? Maybe. I’m sure someone out there has gone through a similar situation and will be gratified in knowing they’re not alone.

Will I keep adding pictures and headings? The pictures, probably, but the headings might be less of a staple. I won’t make either of them a focus, however. I reserve the right to not use any.

And asking for people’s comments, well, that might be something that falls to the wayside. I value the opinion of others, but I’m the type of person that doesn’t like asking for it. I will end my posts the way that feels right to me. That might mean there won’t be an invitation for you to weigh in. But know that I always accept comments, or even criticism. So, if I happen to not direct you to fill in those fields at the bottom of the post, do remember you are free to do so. Call me out on anything I say, or elaborate on a point I made. That’s what these blogs are for–to engage the reader.

Welcome Back!

So here is the beginning of the next stage of this site. I can’t promise when I’ll be seeing you again, but I have enough of an itch it won’t be too long.

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