Dragon*Con 2011 … is done.

If you were eagerly awaiting my day by day posts for Dragon*Con that I’ve done for the last few years, I’m sorry.  I decided this year not to do them.  I probably could have, but instead chose to focus on actually being at the con.  To find out what I was doing there, head to the MMORPG Track website and find the 7 posts I did about our programming.

Personally, I had a blast.  Our Saturday WoW Meet & Greet (the Darkmoon Faire) and the MMO Gathering of Heroes party were insane.  Lots of happy people and I was very proud to have helped make that happen.

Hotel reservation already made for next year (yes, the Sheraton and Hilton are taking reservations already) and I look forward to a year worth of planning to make 2012’s con even better.

A Week of Tweets on 2011-02-20

  • A website that I only go to every 45 days requires a new password every 30. I've never logged in with the same password twice. #
  • I've regenerated the world on my minecraft server nearly 2 dozen times, and each time there is no coal near the spawn point. #ithatesme #
  • "The Lady Hermit" DVD releases today, and I review it for @Shakefire http://bit.ly/eVNHps #
  • Every Tuesday I make a WoW post, and I always forget to get screenshots, and they always have the servers down. #damnmytiming #
  • @Critus I was just thinking the same thing. in reply to Critus #
  • Movie screening tonight, and I'm attending as a reviewer. #onlysuckerswaitinline #
  • @Critus Every morning, I seek your insight to assure myself that the world is, in fact, still here. in reply to Critus #
  • If you need to tell Donald or Daffy they should move downward to avoid being struck in the head, what do you yell? #duckmightconfusethem #
  • Regen'd the minecraft server this morning. Coal!! #aboutdamntime #
  • What? Since when did "enuf" become a real work AND valid in Scrabble?! #afterizoquoiliketoushnuu #
  • I figured it out @Critus, Facebook and Twitter broke up on Valentine's Day. #
  • Would you kindly… #
  • This is kinda awesome. http://irinawerning.com/back-to-the-fut/back-to-the-future/ #
  • I believe that Activision-Blizzard should merge their 2 hottest games: Call of Warcraft, a first person shooter set in Azeroth. #
  • You know what never gets old? Alignment jokes. #adnd4ever #

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Not Enough Information

I deal with a company on a fairly regular basis.  When I call in about any issue, we open a trouble ticket and I’m given the ticket number.  They have a Quality Assurance team, and before I go bad mouthing them know that I think having a good QA team is awesome and more companies should do it, however… their QA team will call and based on whatever report they are looking at will ask if a) I’ve been contacted, b) my problem is being resolved, or c) if I was satisfied with the completed work.  I have no problem with this at all, and as I said, I wish more companies would do it.  The problem I have is that the QA team is not given enough information.

They call and say, “Hi! I’m [insert name] from [company X] and I’m calling in reference to ticket number [ticket number]…” and then they ask their question.  Given that at any one time I may have three to five tickets open with them my first question is always, “And what is this ticket in reference to?”  They never know because they aren’t given that information.  They get contact info and a ticket number, that’s it.  I could always look it up myself, since I keep my own notes, but I’m not always at my PC when they call.  This company also has a website where I can view my open tickets and add details.  Only, all I can see is the original ticket and the latest update.  This means if there have been multiple updates to the ticket, I cannot see anything but the last one.  The last one is usually the most useless too.

  1. [original problem] Stuff is broken, please fix it.
  2. Assigned to dept A
  3. Researched, found errors in logs that indicated dept B is actually needed
  4. Assigned to dept B
  5. Resolved source of log errors, item still not functioning
  6. Assigned to dept A
  7. Trouble appears to be on external lines
  8. Assigned to contractor Z
  9. Z found damage, repaired
  10. Assigned to dept A

After the above series of events, I go to the website and can only see:

  1. [original problem] Stuff is broken, please fix it.
  2. Assigned to dept A

which is pretty unhelpful and looks like they’ve done nothing at all.  Why have a customer viewable ticket if you are going to have it be that useless?

All in all, this is something I run into all over the place.  So many people want to control information because they feel like controlling the information gives them the upper hand… which it does, but it also often slows things down.  Or worse, they’ve been told to never admit fault, ever, and so they hide all those details so they can do some hand waving and things will be magically fixed without ever telling the customers that a problem actually existed.  It is just so frustrating…

Finding my ‘Why’

Nearly two years ago I had an idea.  A tool to build, a website.  But no matter how much time I spent on it, I never really got anywhere with it.  I wasn’t inspired to finish.  When I first watched yesterday’s video nearly a month ago, it got me thinking about my own project.

Originally, the idea had just been about making money.  I was working a contract job that was running out and all my attempts to find new work were failing.  I had one of those moments where I realized that it was entirely possible to create a job for myself rather than rely on finding one.  Despite the idea I had, which I still think is a good one, I found that I didn’t have the drive to work on it.  The potential for money wasn’t motivation enough.

After watching the video on starting with why, I asked myself, “Why do this?”  I figured, if I couldn’t state why I wanted to do it then there was no point daydreaming about doing it.

I found it.  I know “Why”.  Stay tuned…

The Movies are Gone

You might have noticed that since Hamlet 2 back on August 29th, there have not been any movie reviews here.  That’s because I have moved them off on to their own website, and that website isn’t ready yet.  If you are a crafty individual, you might find it, but I’m not going to officially link to it until I have finished the graphics and layouts.

So, stay tuned…

WordPress Theme: Options

I’ve been using and playing with WordPress for quite some time now.  I’ve tried dozens of themes and have looked at dozens, if not hundreds, more.  While I’m fairly settled on my current theme for the weblog (I still might make some tweaks here and there, and new banners), I’ve always been looking for something for the main website.

It doesn’t help that I really don’t know what I’m going to do with the main site.  However, I have stumbled upon what is probably one of the coolest themes I have ever seen for WordPress.  It is called Options.  Here is a link to the demo site.  Its the first theme I have seen that really manages to take WordPress and leverage it as a Content Management System instead of just a blogging tool.

Anyway, unless something much cooler comes along, I’ve finally settled on a theme for the site (though its likely to get a little tweaking).  Now I just need to decide what the content is going to be.

Seeing The Light

It isn’t often I take the time to mention the passing of individuals on this website.  My mother, of course… Stanley Kubrick, because I loved so many of his films… Pope John Paul II… Christopher Reeve, because he was, in so many ways, Superman…

I spent most of the morning heads down on some work, barely noticing the world at all, but a few moments ago I broke away and opened a browser to CNN to get a peek at what was going on with the rest of the planet.  Amid the usual political posturing and Middle East happenings, I find out that Jeff Healey died.

In 1988 I didn’t have a CD player yet, only this tape playing monstrous boom box.  That Christmas, one of my gifts was The Jeff Healey Band’s See The Light.  I must have played it a thousand times.  And while my first car didn’t have a tape deck, my second car in 1992 did, See The Light became one of the treasured few that would be played until it broke.  By then I had a CD player for home and I rushed out and bought it, and I’ve had it ever since.

I wouldn’t say that JHB was one of my favorite bands, I only own one other album by them, but they were a band I would never turn away from if the song came on the radio.  But See The Light has always held a special place for me, and it always manages to find its way into my play lists and my CD rotations.  If I feel like bringing down a night of karaoke or serenading my wife or dancing one last slow song before hitting the road, Angel Eyes from that album is the song I most often choose.  Jeff’s music has been and will forever be a part of the soundtrack that plays in my head as my life unfolds around me.

Thank you, Jeff.  You will be missed.

Anonymity and the Internet

My name is Jason.  No, really.  I post as Jason here on my website, and on most message boards, though there are still a few throwbacks to my EQ days where I post as Ishiro or other boards where I use other names, but even then it takes only about ten seconds to get from any of those forums to here and find out my name is Jason.  I’m not really scared of identity theft, although I don’t go posting my social security number or anything on the Internet and I use secure protocols whenever possible.  I’m protected, but I’m not hiding.  Mostly its because I really don’t have much worth stealing.  I often jest that I wish someone would steal my identity and pay off my bills.  But the point is, nearly a decade ago when I decided to start posting things to the Internet, I decided to, for the most part, be myself.

One thing that I do enjoy doing most on the Internet is engaging in discussions, and to a large degree, I find that its much harder to have serious discussions with people who are anonymous.  Mostly, I find it hard because anonymous people are more likely to say things they don’t really mean or feel because there are few, if any, repercussions for saying those things.  To put it another way: anonymous people are often dicks.

There are entire communities built around anonymous people being dicks.  Oh, some of them are not anonymous, in fact in some cases there are people who are very well known, but the majority are people who only unleash their vitriol on the Internet because its the only place they can get away with it.  The bigger problem with that attitude is that it spreads.  I generally avoid forums where being condescending is the norm, but when other people go there and get used to it, they bring it with them to other places.  Sometimes I think I’m being overly sensitive, but there really are some people who can’t seem to string three sentences together without one of them belittling someone else.  And its a shame, because anonymous people being dicks don’t stop to think “Hmm, maybe what I’m saying is driving people away.” and people like me often don’t put up with it forever.  Its not that the insults hurt.  The insults often are so childish that its impossible to be hurt, only to feel sorry for the person who feels the need to hurl them.  But after a length of time, you just get tired of reading it.  The person may make a good point, but when every good point is accompanied by a personal jab…

I’m rambling.  Anyway, this comes up because lately one of the places I’ve enjoyed hanging around has been overrun by a product of Internet anonymity.  And its just not fun anymore.  But thankfully, that’s why message boards have features to ignore people.

Goodbye 2007

This is where we look back at the year and see how we did…

… or not.

In the grand scheme of things, unless I have set in motion unseen events that will lead to the destruction of mankind or its salvation, not much of anything important happened to me personally in 2007. Although, I dare say, this year, this blog has taken on a more cohesive shape, and I hope to continue that and expand that to the root website in the coming year.

All in all, in my corner of the world, things have been smooth sailing.

Goodbye 2007…