Browsing articles in "Uncategorized"
Jun
30

Brandon from Windows

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

I just got a call from “Brandon from Windows” that I wish I’d recorded. He, of course, told me (in a Bangalorean accent) that my computer had malware issues. Our conversation went something like this:

“Brandon”: This is Brandon from Windows. Your computer has malware issues.

Me: Oh, no! Should I throw it away?

“Brandon”: No, we can fix it. Are you in front of your computer now?

Me: Yes

“Brandon”: Is it turned on?

Me: Yes

“Brandon”: What do you see on the screen

Me: (Hmm . . . dilemma . . . do I tell him I have iTerm2 in fullscreen, running tmux, with one pane running vim, one running gulp, and a third prompt for running git commands? Nah.) Um, I see some icons. And some clicker things.

“Brandon”: OK, let’s look at your keyboard. Do you see, in the lower left, a control key? It might say “CTRL”. 

Me: Yes. Is that how you control my computer?

“Brandon”: No. What key do you see to the right of that key?

Me: (Panic time. I have three keyboards in front of me: 2 MacBook Pros with keyboards and a Logitech K750 Mac keyboard. I don’t remember what key Windows keyboards put next to the control key. Is the jig up?) Um, the option key.

“Brandon”: We are looking for the Windows key. Do you see that?

Me: (Phew) Yes.

“Brandon”: Hold that down with one finger, and press the ‘R’ key.

Me: Capital “R” or lowercase “r”?

“Brandon”: It does not matter. Any “r” will work.

Me: (Mind racing — how can I yank his chain about “any r”? Maybe the “r” from a different keyboard? Nah — over the top.) OK.

“Brandon”: What do you see?

Me: (Ooh, that “run a command” thingie.) A dialog box?

“Brandon”: We are looking for the Run Dialog. Is that what you see?

Me: Oh, yes.

“Brandon”: OK, type the following: e as in echo, v as in victoria, e as in echo, n as in november, t as in tiger, v as in victoria, w as in whisky, r as in romeo, and press enter. What do you see?

Me: (I got nothing. Mind is blank.) File Not Found. It says File Not Found.

“Brandon”: No, what do you see on your screen?

Me: (I’m sticking to my guns here) File Not Found

“Brandon”: Let me get a senior support person.

“Joshua”: Hello. My name is Joshua. I am a senior support technician. What do you see on your screen?

Me: (I ain’t changing my story now!) File Not Found

“Joshua”: OK, do you see the Run Dialog?

Me: Yes.

“Joshua”: OK, let’s clear it all out.

Me: (Wishing I were funnier — just like my children do) Clear it ALL out? Or just the part you type in?

“Joshua”: Just the part you type in.

Me: OK

“Joshua”: Now type e as in eagle . . .

Me: Wait! “Brandon” said e as in echo!

“Joshua”: It does not matter. It is all the same e.

Me: Oh! OK.

“Joshua”: e as in eagle, v as in victor, e as in eagle . . .

Me: Ah, eagle again.

“Joshua”: Just the e.

Me: OK.

“Joshua”: n as in november, t as in tiger . . .

Me: Are these supposed to be uppercase? Or lowercase?

“Joshua”: All lowercase.

Me: OK, e as in eagle . . . n as in november . . . does it matter that it’s not November yet?

“Joshua”: Motherf****r

*Click*

This was my public service for the day — the entire time they were talking to me, they WEREN’T scamming your parents!

Jan
12

URLs as Pictograms

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

I started my car to the chime of a low fuel alert, so I stopped at the Kangaroo for gas and my Morning Mormon Coffee (today’s edition: Diet Dr Pepper). While filling my cup, I noticed the graphic on a napkin dispenser:

2015 01 12 08 38 01

The social media icons looked familiar, of course, but it took me a moment to realize that they’d abandoned the traditional ‘@‘ prefixes for the user names — instead, they’d used the icons as pictograms for the URLs, followed by a slash, and then the rest of the URL (the username). Interesting take, and probably a little too geeky to catch on, but I like when people experiment to see what sticks.

Apr
17

The Pinnacle of Fitness Failure: Samsung’s Gear Fit Activity Tracker | DC Rainmaker

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

The Pinnacle of Fitness Failure: Samsung’s Gear Fit Activity Tracker | DC Rainmaker: “Samsung built a cloud-based service that lacks the cloud.  We’ll just call that a rock.”

I haven’t yet taken the plunge into the activity tracker market–I run with a Nike+ GPS watch, but only while running–because I haven’t yet understood why I’d want one. This review didn’t push me any closer, but I LOVED that line!

(Via. Daring Fireball)

May
8

A Window into Education

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  1 Comment

My 6th-grade daughter currently home-schools, taking her classes online with Florida Virtual School (FLVS). She started the school year using my wife's MacBook Air, but couldn't get the FLVS software working. My wife called Tech Support, and they told her they don't support Mac OS X. We tried her on a Linux desktop for awhile, but the wireless connection kept dropping at inopportune times, so I finally broke down and dropped $800 on an HP laptop that runs Windows 8. It's a little slow–I should have bought an SSD–but it's working.

My second son, a high school senior, is taking an FLVS class he needs to graduate. We've had to work out an uneasy time-sharing HP laptop schedule of daughter-in-the-day, son-in-the-evening. Good thing school is almost over for the year.

My oldest son just finished his first year in college and is starting his summer term classes. He's majoring in Computer Science, with a Business minor, and one of his classes–one that he started today–is an introduction to computer applications. In that class, he'll learn to use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Powerpoint. Seriously? You have to take a class for that? A COLLEGE class?

Anyway, he has a MacBook Air that he received as a high school graduation present. It's been a great laptop for him. When he tried to log in to the website for this class, though, he learned that the class requires Windows, even though Mac OS X runs Word, Excel, and Powerpoint just fine. Not only does the class require Windows, it requires Internet Explorer: the interactive site that you must use for assignments, discussions, et al uses an ActiveX control. We're having to shove him into the HP laptop schedule: he gets the late-at-night shift.

In my house, I have a Linux desktop, two MacBook Airs, two MacBook Pros (both are mine–work and personal–and I admittedly don't share) an iPad 1, an iPad Retina (is that the 4? the new one), and an ASUS Transformer, and the education of 60% of my children is threaded through a single Windows laptop. Windows. We're relying on the former Metro for grades that count.

I'm aghast. It's another symptom of an ailing education system.

 

May
6

Give Tyler His Senior Year

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  4 Comments

Tyler Anderson is a boy I’ve known most of his life. When he was an infant, an aneurysm burst in his brain, and he had to fight for his life. Now, he is fighting for something most people are freely given: a senior year of high school. You can read more here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Give-Tyler-His-Senior-Year/560967097269111?hc_location=stream

Here’s the email I sent to Mason Davis (davisw2@duvalschools.org) and Jason Fischer (fischerj@duvalschools.org).

I have known Tyler Anderson since he was an infant. I was in the hospital with him the night the aneurysm burst in his brain. I watched his parents face his near-certain death. I saw the stitching on his head, after his operation, that made his head look like some grotesque, over-stuffed softball. I couldn’t imagine much hope for him.

I’ve also seen Tyler defy the odds, ignore his death-prognosis, and grow up. I’ve seen him fight for life. I’ve seen him learn social mores, adjust, and progress. Here’s a young man living on half a brain, and he continues to learn. He reads. He writes. He converses. He integrates with normal society. I’ve spent time in his home. He’s been at my children’s birthday parties. I’m a youth leader at church, and he’s there at Sunday services, at youth activities, and at scouting activities. He socializes with the other youth. He socializes with adults. He socializes with younger children. He leads the music as he sing hymns as a men’s group. He listens. He contributes. He BELONGS.

Most times that people write letters to express views, they swerve toward hyperbole to make their points. I’m not doing that, because I don’t need to. Tyler, and I’ve said this many times before, is as kind to others as we all wish we were. He is the kindest person I know. He is hilarious. He is enthusiastic. He loves others, and it shows. He knows he is loved, and that shows as well. Everyone that knows him secretly thinks he or she is Tyler’s best friend, because Tyler makes them feel this way. He is conscientious and he learns and progresses. He always adds more than he takes away, and I mean that. Any situation I’ve ever been in is better with Tyler in it.

You can see some of the love felt for Tyler on this page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Give-Tyler-His-Senior-Year/560967097269111?hc_location=stream

Tyler isn’t some problem to be dealt with, shuffled off and away from normal society. Tyler should not be robbed of his senior year. He will make better use of that year than many other seniors, and those around him will be enriched for the experience of a year with Tyler.

Many other people are being caught in this same battle–students with special needs who are being ripped from their schools and pushed to a special school for, as I understand it, hardcore special-needs cases. The niece of a woman I work with is also being shoved aside, being returned to an experience that before was abusive. I have heard, but not confirmed, that Tyler and the rest have been caught in a numbers game: they’re trying to improve graduation rates in Duval county, so suddenly creating a mass of graduates boosts the numbers considerably. I don’t know if this is true, but it makes sense that it is. And it’s deplorable. 

Tyler’s parents, Blaine and Shelley Anderson, are amazing advocates who work tirelessly for Tyler. He needs more advocates and fewer people discriminating against him. Please take a moment to like the Facebook page. If you feel so inclined, send an email in support of Tyler. Tyler deserves it.

Apr
23

Seeking inspiration? | Derek Sivers

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Seeking inspiration? | Derek Sivers: “Because nothing is truly inspiring unless you apply it to your work.

In other words, your work, itself, is the inspiration.”

Stop thinking about it. Stop reading about it. Stop talking about it. Just start doing. You can go back to the thinking, reading, and talking after you’ve done something about what you’ve thought, read, and talked about. 

Nov
9

Paper Passion, A Perfume That Smells Like Books For Booklovers

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Paper Passion, A Perfume That Smells Like Books For Booklovers: “Paper Passion is a perfume formulated to smell like books, meant to appeal to booklovers.”

From my niece Daisy.

I wonder if they have a Kindle version . . . .

Jun
9

The Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

The Rules of Storytelling According to Pixar:

#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.

(Via Hacker News)

I’ve read too many books that cheat.

Mar
5

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say – Yahoo! News

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say – Yahoo! News: “Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they “effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.””

(Via @bkohl)

Feb
17

Farewell, Anthony Shadid

By Rob Warner  //  Uncategorized  //  2 Comments

Where bullets flew, he jotted notes. Where despots abused, he documented crimes. Where war raged, he skulked in its midst, shouting the stories of common people with torn lives. Armed only with his wits and Microsoft Word, he flung himself repeatedly into peril so we would know, without doubt, that war is hell. And then cruelly, he perished from a snootful of horsehair, which is all the more cruel because half his family are doctors and likely could have saved him had they been there when it happened. Anthony, you were amazing, fearless, and a hero.

I can still picture the high-school-aged Anthony running laps around the gym, getting in shape and perhaps trying to drop weight for his next wrestling match. He’d grown his hair long his junior year, and I remember it streaming behind him as he ran. By his senior year, he’d cut his hair and was embarrassed by yesteryear’s mullet. When he asked me to draw him as Uncle Sam for the school newspaper, he begged me to leave the long hair out. That was easy, as it saved me some pencil strokes. I still have that picture somewhere.

He always spoke his mind. I remember him once declaring to our entire Calculus class, “I have a pimple on my butt and it HURTS.” I was mortified for him. He also freely confessed, after I’d paid off a $20 bet we had on our Calculus grade for a term, that he’d have never paid me had I won. I lost by 0.2%–it would have made a great story if I’d won. I would have said, anytime his name was mentioned, “Hey! That guy owes me $20!”

I once bailed him out of a jam when he needed a bag of ice for some school event. I sneaked off campus during school to a gas station down the road, shivering at my daring, and brought back a 5lb bag. He crowed and thanked me and nearly hugged me, and I felt like Sir Lancelot. Later, he sneaked into Iraq and Libya and Syria without quailing. I shake my head at the contrast.

When Anthony was held hostage in Libya, we all held our breath and marveled that this guy we knew made worldwide headline news and hoped and prayed for his humane treatment and safe return. For him to escape that and not this can’t really be rationalized.

I haven’t seen Anthony since high school, so the pictures I see of him now with gray hair speak to mortality–both his and mine. I was hoping one day to run into him again, to sit and reminisce about high school a little, but mostly demand that he recount his adventures until he can think of nothing more to tell. I mourn his death and hurt for his family. Farewell, Anthony–you were indeed a hero.

About

I'm Rob Warner, and I'm a software developer. I live in Jacksonville, Florida, and work for Availity, LLC. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Availity.