Six years ago... Remembering my personal 9/11

On a Tuesday morning six years ago, plus an hour, I was getting ready to leave to go to work, when I heard Bubba The Love Sponge say that one of the World Trade Center buildings was on fire, and that a small plane hit it. I saw the fire on the TV, and I was very interested, but I had to leave for work.

As I was listening to Bubba on the short drive on the way into work, they told me that a second plane hit the other World Trade Center building before I got to my parking lot. I came into work, but people already knew what had happened. That started a day I will never forget. As a Canadian who had moved to the U.S. a year earlier, and loving my new country, a country that I was born a mile away from and always thought I'd eventually move to, I felt very sad and troubled by the message the terrorists had sent us. My girlfriend at the time, who lived in Toronto (or as she'd say, Scarborough), and my mom, who lived in Windsor (Ontario), had to call me to see if I was alright. Of course, I was, but I remembered that, a week before, I was flying in the sky as those planes came down.

No one alive forgets that day, and I don't need to remind you of the events that happened after that. I remember being up all night, watching the TV and crying almost non-stop, watching the horror, unable to understand how people could get together to do this, imagining they never could have expected how successful they would be.

I wanted to blog about it, since I noticed no one else in the Adobe community had yet. That day still haunts me, as I am sure it haunts many of us.

That's not MY Cleveland today!

This post on the Weather Channel's website actually made me laugh...

We've got a LOT more snow than this clip shows. I am guessing the clip was shot yesterday, during rush hour.

Update: You'll see a much more appropriate video clip here, from Fox 8 Cleveland.

Valentine's Day Blizzard

Like my friend, Dan Vega, blogged earlier, the mystical land of Cleve was hit by 14+ inches of snow that started Tuesday and continued over night. I shoveled my driveway, sidewalk and porch last night, after about 8 or so inches had fallen, and it hardly looks like I did a thing.

Thankfully, last night, my insightful boss instructed her entire team to work from home today (except one consultant). He had to go in today, since he has no way to work from home, like the rest of us.

My wife had a terrible drive home last night, and, thankfully, decided not to go into work today. It's her day off, but she was going to go in to work overtime, but she rightly decided that it wasn't worth it. I guess we'll be celebrating Valentine's Day indoors tonight. Too bad we don't have a fireplace because it would be coming in handy right now.

Our poor dummies (our three dogs) have had to drudge through the back yard just to go potty. It is kind of funny to watch them, in a cruel kind of way... ;-)

Go Daddy! Great Customer Service!

Now, for those of you who read my previous post about good customer service dealing with Marriott, you'll find that this story is worth a mention...

Of all companies to get good customer service from... I got a call from GoDaddy today! Greg in customer appreciation called me today, making sure that my recent domain renewal went as expected. In fact, I had not intended to renew the domain in question, and Greg was immediately able to rescind the renewal. Then, he asked about my upcoming renewal of this domain, and was able to handle that over the phone. Then, after asking if there was anything else, I had mentioned that I had charged about my CFUG's transfer, when we had trouble getting that transferred (not on GoDaddy's end). Greg was able to credit me back for the failure.

You don't expect customer service like this for domains that cost $9 a pop per year, but, I have to say that I was definitely impressed. GoDaddy will now be my exclusive domain registrar from now on!!!

And NO... I have NOT received any compensation for this post, and I do not have GoDaddy ads and there are no links in this post. I just had to tell people about it... I was impressed.

Marriott - Great Customer Service!

I'll make a couple of customer service mentions...

First, I was at the recent Frameworks Conference, and I have to comment on the customer service I received.

I did not originally get a room at the Bethesda North Marriott, since they were fully booked. Instead, I was booked at the Bethesda Marriott, which would not have been the most convenient, especially since I didn't have a rental car. I called customer service a couple of times, and was able to first switch my reservation to one day at the Bethesda North, one day at the Bethesda Marriott. Then, the day I was to check in, I was able to switch my reservation to the Bethesda North both nights! When I got there, the front desk didn't have my switched reservation, but they immediately honored it.

In a time when customer service sucks most of the time, I was happy to be treated so well.

Now, you could argue that, for a $250+/night reservation, you SHOULD get good service... but that won't explain the next story.

Homework on Rent-A-Coder?

I found this funny (but pathetic) post in one of my Lockergnome Channel emails today... There's a story about people outsourcing programming homework on Rent A Coder.

A commenter mentioned that it's happening over on Yahoo! Answers, too.

I have two thoughts about this one.

First, I think these students should be in IT Management courses, not Computer Science!!! :-) I commend them for being resourceful. This is kind of a stepping stone to IT reality. We've all had to farm stuff off to subcontractors or consultants, and this is, in some ways, no different. In fact, much of the IT industry couldn't exist without subcontracting, and it's probably a good thing to learn these lessons sooner, rather than later. It's also a good networking lesson, too.

Second, and this is my main thought... Assuming that subcontracting and networking (not the computer kind) are not part of the lessons taught in this course, how pathetic is this??? Are these students doing this because they aren't learning, or are they too busy emptying out a kegger? This is a sorry example of the society we live in today. If you are in school to learn programming, you should try your best to LEARN programming, and not circumvent the system by getting someone else to do it for you.

The people that are going this route will have trouble finding, and especially KEEPING, an IT job.

Alice of Real Tech News added, "Ok, let's take this out another notch: what if workers themselves with decent paying jobs started outsourcing their own projects and deliverables? So instead of killing yourself on that big project, you just bid it out and enjoy those quiet evenings playing video games while someone works overnight on your assignment. Has anyone done that?"

In a fulltime job, no, but in a consulting role... absolutely. I don't know why a person would be willing to do something like this in a fulltime job, but I would assume there'd be reasons to try (some possibilities listed below). It would seem foolish to me, especially if you are eligible for overtime, to try to do everything yourself. I am not eligible... I am salaried, and there are times when I am swamped, but if I am, that's my manager's decision on what to do about it, not mine, and I am certainly not going to pay out of my pocket to get my work done... that's insane!

I could only see doing this if you are incompetant, have no chance of being able to do what is expected and are doing it to keep your job, you are up for a big bonus that would make up for the cost, you are going up for a promotion, or are trying to build something for your job on the QT that would get you the promotion or bonus and figure it's going to be worth it to get it done faster (or don't have expertise in the area you need to get it done).

Howard Stern is back and his terrestrial replacements...

I got to drive in with Howard this morning. Yes, this CF developer is a Howard Stern (and Bubba The Love Sponge) fan, and proud of it, and both of them debut on Sirius today.

I understand Howard and Bubba are not everyone's cup of tea. They ARE MINE, and I am willing to pay for a subscription to listen to them, and so is my wife.

What sucks about this morning is that my wife and I have yet to purchase home kits for our his and her Sirius car radios. We could have bought at least one when we bought the radios for Christmas, but we balked at the price, and now the home kits are sold out. We'll get two or three when we can afford to - one for Julie's work (which needs it the most, since she's restricted at work what she can surf), my work and at home.

Since we don't have a home kit, that meant listening to something else to wake up and get out the door to. In Cleveland, David Lee Roth took over for Howard, and Rover (another Howard replacement in some markets) is on another station. David's first week on the airwaves sucked. He was a little more listenable this morning because he was talking about bands who are not really playing live in concert - something he obviously knows about and has some credibility talking about. This is a stark contrast to him spouting off about guns, and stupid stuff we really don't want to talk about in the morning while we're trying to wake up. I don't think he's grasped the comedy element. Rover's good - I like him - but he's no Howard.

I wish that we could listen to Adam Carolla to hear what he's like. I am a big fan of Adam. I used to listen to him on Loveline, and saw him on The Man Show and his comedy on Crank Yankers. I am sure he'd be up to the task... probably the only person that truly could fill Howard's shoes.

When I lived in Jacksonville, Howard Stern was not over the air, and I listened to Bubba the Love Sponge. I LOVED listening to him and his crew (Manson, Brent, Ned and - back then - Spice Boy) every morning. After I left Jacksonville and moved to West Virginia, I used to listen to him in the morning over the internet (when the stream was working). I have missed him, and I look forward to listening to him on the drive home today.

An 8th grade education in 1895...

My mother-in-law sent me an email about an 8th Grade (or, as we Canadians say, Grade 8) exam, and now I have found the original web page with the exam:

I also found the exam with the completed answers:

It seems an 8th grade education was much better back then... in either Canada (where I grew up) or the U.S., it seems like things have been watered down, at least as far as the fundamentals are concerned.

Bittersweet Day in Radio... Goodbye Howard Stern!!!

Today was Howard Stern's last day on the terrestrial airwaves. I am sorry to see him go, but I am also glad he'll be back, better than ever, on Sirius in a few weeks. He'll also have another favorite of mine, Bubba the Love Sponge, who I used to listen to when I was working in Jacksonville (they didn't have Howard there).

Unfortunately, I don't have a Sirius yet, and I may not be able to afford one for a while. I'd love to get one, but getting our bills paid is a much higher priority than having another monthly expense.

I am curious what David Lee Roth's going to be like (Roth will be replacing Stern in Cleveland), but I am expecting some disappointment. We'll see.

Happy Sweetest Day!!!

Also written in Phoenix... while waiting for our connecting flight to LAX...

What is the deal with Sweetest Day? Who celebrates this?

It is a marketing construct, set up by companies to sell things like greeting cards, stuffed bears and chocolates, to make the gullible use this pathetic excuse to sell things. Similar days, like Valentine's, Mother's Day, and Father's Day have some history to them. Sweetest Day, however, is just a creation...

But I will say this... if it gives me a chance to celebrate my love for my wife... I guess it's good enough for me.