Dec 6, 2007

A few thoughts - or more...

Wednesday, I traveled to a school with a video equipment problem. I had worked on the system before, and it would not respond no matter what I tried. I had gone back to the school so that I could call the tech support folks and they could tell me which part needed replacing (I was torn between two parts, and they would not let me replace both at once). I plugged the system into the wall, and waited. The touch panel came up with the familiar "you have no communication between the codec and the touch panel…" So, I fired up my Q1, set the internet address on it, connected the crossover cable to the computer and turned back toward the touch panel. It was ready to start. So, I tentatively touched it, not expecting anything to happen. Instead, I was presented with the screen's "home page." After some quick reconfigurations, the system was back up and running just as if we had taken it fresh out the box.

My usual response to situations like this is: Hey anytime I can do nothing, you let me know!

This time, though, something triggered a mechanism inside me that threw up a red flag. I am growing weary of fixing problems by the simple "laying on of hands." This type of problem resolution does nothing for adding to the general knowledgebase I have running in my head. Upon reflection, I believe the codec may have reverted back to factory defaults after being without power for so long – much like the CMOS in your computer. So, that is what I am chalking this up to, but won't really know until I run into the same situation again.

I enjoy troubleshooting problems, especially if I am able to solve the problems. But when the "fix" is more and more often "I stood by and watched," I can't help but get that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I really like my job, as I've said on here before, I'm sure. Today, it is because I was doing several different things throughout the day, which means that in general, there is no monotony in my work. I started the morning by answering some emails, catching up on some of the industry-related blogs and sites, and then getting sidetracked checking out Share point web parts on I also began collaboration on a project that will be very, VERY cool once everything falls into place. I am not going to reveal anything yet, as I don't want to ruin the 'surprise, cool' factor. :-)

I also worked a lot inside Office 2007, which I am growing to like more and more each day. It is a huge difference from previous versions of Office, and the general learning curve for those of us used to the "old way" can be pretty steep. I like the fact I can blog to my distance learning-related blog directly from Word. I like the "To-Do" bar in Outlook, plus the "preview attachments" feature, which lets me look at attachments without opening the main program. There are other features I am growing to like, too, and I'm sure I will eventually be "converted" about the time they release the next version...

Oh yeah, I spent time Wednesday and Thursday helping Marilyn hunt down some weird wireless problems we were having. Namely, we keep seeing a "linksys" access point showing up on our network with an "ATCHLEY" machine connected to it. The problem? We don't have a computer, user, or anything else called "ATCHLEY" and we have switched all our wireless access points away from the default "linksys." Go figure.

In addition to those things, I also spent time helping other DL folks via phone, email, etc.

Sometimes, I am troubleshooting Palms, video systems, and networking. Other times, I am coordinating distance learning programs for the schools, learning new software, or experimenting with existing software. Rarely, however, am i doing the same thing I did the day before.

It turns out my card purchase on eBay came in two shipments! I have decided that the best way to get these prepared for sale is to divide them by sport, then go from there. This is really the first time I am going for a huge listing on 'the bay,' so I am experimenting with different software in order to help me get the 'inventory' listed quickly. Of course, scanning the cards will be the most time-consuming. I am thinking about not scanning all the cards, though I know pictures help sell... We'll see...

In our county, Shan is the ONLY person who has certified for National Board Teaching Certification. This year, only 250 teachers STATEWIDE certified. This is (or should be) HUGE news, and a big deal to the districts where they teach. The statewide newspaper listed some of the rewards (monetary) school districts were giving their newly certified teachers. Looking over the article, however, it was very plain to see that Prescott did not do jack. Shan didn't get so much as a party, a card, and certainly no financial reward/incentive. I know, she did not get certified so that she could be patted on the back and get more money in her pocket. She also doesn't want the rest of us to make a big deal about the fact that the school did not make a big deal about it. Yes, she gets a financial 'bonus' from the feds for certifying, but come on! How does the local school district not offer SOME kind of award for accomplishing a feat that only 249 other Arkansas teachers accomplished this year. I think it is ridiculous. I really thought the school board would have stepped up, but I was only fooling myself.

While watching TV tonight, I saw a Charmin commercial that honored the passing of "Mr. Whipple." It shows a lot of integrity for a company to show respect for a man that essentially served as the face of a specific product. I applaud the makers of Charmin for their montage in honor of one of the most beloved characters on television.

Tyler loves to write fiction, and mostly, he likes to make up his own "pokemon" world where he invents his own humans and monsters alike. He also invents town and cities. When he asked for my help, he had no idea what he was in for... I told him to name the next place his characters visited "Gonto Town." Then he came up with "Wherebeda City." We had a lot of fun making up names, and he ran down his list of made-up creature names. He is very creative!

We did this while we were waiting for the annual Nevada County Christmas Parade to come by us. Shan and Emily rode the church's AWANA 'float' because Emily decided at the last minute that she wanted to ride in the cold with the other kids. The float was a flatbed trailer with hay bales on it. The kids seemed to have a great time riding along, and she got to be the last float before Santa came to town in the parade!! :-)

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