Category Archives: Tech

Homeward bound

I’m in the van, heading home from Kluskus.  It was a pretty good trip really.  Travel time is 2.5 hours either way, and we managed to spend only 4 hours onsite in the village.  We fixed the Internet, got about 12 computers networked, set up a couple printers and overall tidied things up.

 

I’m not sure how Chris is doing, or whether he’s been transferred out of Quesnel yet.  I’ll know by the time I get this posted though, as I won’t have Internet for another hour or so.

PMOG

What is PMOG you may ask.

I would answer thusly.

“That is a very good question. According to their website it is a ‘Passivley Multiplayer Game’, but the real truth goes a little deeper than that. Allow me to give you a link to where you can get it, and then I will discuss it further below.”

Perhaps the first interesting look at PMOG should be this webcomic detailing in sort of poetic form the descent of one into the PMOG world. That is to say, the underground of the internet in the real world.

You can find the original sized comics at http://pmog.com/codex/appendices/metamorphosis

Here is the general idea. First, you install a firefox toolbar. This “voluntary spyware” tracks your surfing history and you begin to gain coins and whatnot passively, while you surf normally. You can easily turn it off or on, and change lots of it’s settings.

Now that you have your toolbar enabled, you can “find” things that other people have placed on the internet. For example, I’m going to place a crate on my website with some coins in it. If you are the next “pmogian” to come along, you will see a crate pop up, and you can choose to take what is inside.

So, it’s sort of like a treasure hunt, right? Yep. It’s also a little more.

Pmogians can leave missions on websites too. Missions (should you choose to accept them) take you on a guided tour of the internet, linking from page to page. I’m going to build one based on my linked blogs on the sidebar.

Portals, when you see them, mysteriously take you to another website. Why? Well, you’d have to ask those who dropped them. Sometimes it might be because they like another site better, and want to let other pmogians know. Sometimes it could be because they just want to cause mischief. ;)

I haven’t figured out lightposts yet. Their description says “Lightposts light up the areas between web sites. They make visible connections that were dark before.” Ah, I see. If I read a little further it tells me that lightposts are required to make missions. Neat.

Mines can be dropped on websites, and when you step on one they take away some of your datapoints (coins).

Armour can be worn to protect against mine attacks.

Coins/Datapoints are collected at each new site you go to. (Each day, or ever, or something. I’m not quite sure. I’ve found a way of farming them, and in only a day and a bit have collected over 600 of them. Since I’m using firefox I do a search in google and go along and open every link in a new tab. I do this for as many as I have patience for and then close all tabs and start again! Whew! Internet surfing at speed!

Now, depending what you do there are different factions you will be joined to. Bedouins for example are known to wear armour to protect themselves. Vigilantes foil others mischief by placing St. Nicks on their profiles, blocking them from doing their next action. There are others, fly over to pmog.com to see what they are like.

Feel free to come along and join me. My username is Suprspi, and I’d be happy to have you as an acquaintance. Or just take my mission and see what I like best on the internet in the world of blogs, comics and random stuff.

I should mention that I found this game, like so much other cool stuff I’ve found on the internet, from Wil Wheaton. Will is also playing PMOG, but I don’t know his name yet. This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the internet in a long time, and I really encourage you all to check it out.

Spam Spam Spammity Spam

Mmm…Spammy goodness.

For a long time we didn’t get any spam comments on our blog.  Recently we’ve been elevated (hmm, that doesn’t sound right) to the ranks of blog spammage.

Which must mean that there are at least one or two clickthroughs per day, and that we have some random search terms showing up on google or another search engine.

Anyway – I just got the warm fuzzy toasty feeling of destroying 129 spam messages that have accrued over the last few days.   I also had one sneak through my spam filter and ask to be moderated.  However, I doubted that “Xanex Viagra ChEAp Drugs111” was a real user, and so sent them on to Akismet Spam Hell.

Hence the reason comments here are moderated.

I’m supposed to put up a picture of Ivy soon.  In a Ninja costume.  I’m going to do it too, because well, that’s just how I roll.

And Sami is going to make me a special dinner of spam with cloves and honey or something – this is a real food.  It seems fitting to eat Spam soon, so close to all our annoying spam messages.

Cheers.

I need to learn to watch before I post

I posted a video in my last post before I watched it.  Now that I have watched (most of) it here at work, I have some points to make about this obviously one sided attempt at journalism.

The first critique is that the only computer repair shop in the show which was shown to do a good job was the one where the technician told the customer to “take it home, do it yourself, reinstall windows, it’s simple”.  If I was a customer I’d be upset – I bring my computer in to have it fixed, not to be told to fix it myself.

Secondly – I work as a computer technician.  I can say confidently that I would have diagnosed the first problem (damaged RAM) correctly.  However, it wouldn’t have been onsite, as we don’t generally service non-booting computers onsite – too costly for us and for the customer.

The technicians who did get the problem right were criticized for selling replacement parts at too high a price.  Because of course, buying ram on a discount website is the best way to gauge how much a computer service person/center should be charging.  It isn’t like they have to keep track of inventory, stock the item in the first place, deliver it and install it.  That part should all be free.

Thirdly.  The second manufactured problem (a few corrupt windows files, no more than 60 dollars to fix).

Oh. My. Goodness.

First of all – you shouldn’t have randomly corrupt files in windows.  This shouldn’t be able to be solved in an hour, because of a little first step in pc repair, namely, diagnostics.

It will take time, at least 15 minutes, probably half an hour or more, to identify that there are corrupt files in windows.  Then, there should be reasonable time spent (probably 6-8 hours of bench time, not chargeable) to prove that a failing hard drive or bad ram didn’t cause the corrupted files.

The technicians who said “you have a virus” may be simplifying the problem, but I’m inclined to think they are taking the easy way out (seeing limewire installed and guessing there is a virus or spyware strain corrupting windows) and not just trying to hose the customer.

This brings me to another thought.  Explaining things.  Customers get aggravated if you speak in geek talk, but get angry if you simplify things and later they are given a more detailed explanation that makes your simplification seem like you’re talking out your ass.  I seem to be pretty good at explaining problems to customers simply without having to resort to half truths, but not everyone has that talent.

A more fair test would have been to bring the laptop in and say “I think some files are corrupt, someone was playing with it and may have deleted some windows files”.  This way they could rule out some of the diagnostic procedure and get to the fix – running a repair install of windows.

Overall, a sketchy reporting – one that makes me look bad as it paints all computer technicians with a very broad brush, and puts them in a bad light.

I know that in my town there are several competitors who offer cheaper service than we do.  I also know that I get very few negative reports – or I wouldn’t still be doing my job and making the money that I make – which is quite decent, thankyouverymuch.

Tech Vid

Interesting video about inept technicians, ripped from cbc.ca

http://www.cbc.ca/mrl3/8752/marketplace/geeks.wmv