Email messages

email-iconI guess I’m starting to sound cranky, but if I can’t complain to you, who can I complain to?  🙂

Another pet peeve…

If you (the generic ‘you’, not you personally, of course!) send me (or the help desk) an email asking a question or asking me to do something, I would think you would kinda watch your email a tad more closely, to see if I get back to you. I may not get back to you immediately (although I do that a lot), but usually within a couple of hours.

I’m pretty good about answering emails and a lot of time I have an answer for you or, often, another question. Sometimes I have to do the “do you mean…” or “do you want me to do A or B?” sorts of emails back at you. Until I have an answer, I can’t do anything.

When you send an email and then don’t answer my question back for two days, I have to figure it’s not as important as you made it sound in your initial request.

My current example is a student who asked the help desk for something that I need to fix. No problem, but I need to know something from the student first. The original question comes in on Friday morning and by Saturday noontime, there’s no response. Turns out the answer came in Saturday late afternoon. But, on Tuesday morning there’s a follow-up “I haven’t heard from you” not-quite-a-complaint. Sigh.

We all have that happen… the student who calls your office every 15 minutes wondering why you haven’t answered them, when you have like 3 classes back to back and you’ve barely been to the bathroom, much less had a chance to check your phone messages. I get it.

So… if you ask a question, you can usually expect an answer… that’s what I do, after all. Watch for it and make sure I’m not asking you a question back…

 

Drives Me Crazy

You may or may not know that I live in Buffalo and commute to Batavia daily. It’s not a bad drive, about 40 minutes on a good day, and the time allows me to ‘gear up’ and ‘wind down’ on either end of the day.

The best route to and fro involves driving on the Thruway. It’s well kept, they plow it religiously (important with the snow we get) and it’s a pretty straight shot.

A lot of times, it’s not annoying, but then, sometimes…

There are a number of vehicles, mainly tractor-trailers but sometimes cars pulling camping trailers, who drive at or slightly below the speed limit. They’re okay, since they are good about staying in the right lane. Traffic kinda bunches up around them, but the slower folk mind their own business and stay out of the way.

What drives me crazy are the folk who insist on passing these slower vehicles, going like 1/2 a mile per hour faster than the vehicle they’re passing.

If you’re going to pass the slower vehicles, put a bit of effort into it! You don’t need to go 80, but you’re causing more of a back-up by now making both lanes go slower than prevailing traffic!

And — don’t even get me started on the guy who pulls up on the right thinking he’s going to cut the line! Sheesh.

The Beauty of the Internet

I have something that resembles a real life and it involves a wonderful group of people on the internet. Yes, that sounds like an oxymoron. I’ve talked about going to meet my “Internet Girlfriends” and some of you have kind of boggled at “how can you go off to meet people you don’t really know?”

Let me tell you. You get to know people.

“Missy” — all names have been changed to protect them and me — is a friend of a friend who I have never physically met and may never meet. She lives in Wisconsin and has enough physical health issues that traveling any distance isn’t probably going to happen. And her personal finances are such that she essentially lives on next to nothing and the cost of traveling anywhere is prohibitive. So unless we go to her, she and I may never meet. Bummer.

This was her blog post yesterday (yes, I have more than one blog; no, you can’t ask!):

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I have the best friends ever…

I’m one of those people who rarely turns off her computer; I spend so much time on the damned thing, I usually just turn off the monitor for the few hours I sleep. Yes, there are pros and cons to this habit, but it works for me.

The other night, I went to bed, and all was normal. I got up, turned on the monitor — nothing. I could see the light blinking on the CPU, an info box on the monitor had a readout: Scanning but nothing else. I fiddled with it, did this and that, checked the connections, nothing.

Okay. Got out the laptop, hardwired it to the modem so I could get online, figure out the problem.

The laptop wouldn’t connect.

Called Minor!Company. Three hours later, I sat there stunned. They didn’t know why the laptop wouldn’t connect, they couldn’t help me, so so sorry, said the polite lady from India.

Cut off? No internet? But all my friends live on the internet! How… Wha…? And there were files I needed, just a few, that weren’t backed up to my external hard drive. I couldn’t get to them!

Darling M who always listens to me, picked up when I called, panicked and nearly in tears. She not only let me cry on her shoulder, she did something truly amazing! This incredibly awesome, intelligent woman went to Google! “Oh, clear your cache and reboot your modem,” she said.

I did. It worked. Back online!!! Seriously, it took her less than five minutes. Minor!Company? Nada in three hours. Miracles. The woman performs miracles. With her pinkie finger. *grin*

So, after falling all over her neck with gratitude, I tried my google-fu on the monitor issue. Since I could actually see things not-the-desktop on the screen, it seemed to be the graphics card had burned out. I priced a replacement — ouch! — scouted a couple others that might work (maybe, if I skimped on groceries or waited until next month), but still wasn’t sure that was the problem.

It’s been a long time since I’ve played with the guts of a computer so I called K and asked if I could borrow Mr. K. Out of the goodness of her heart, she handed him the phone. I explained the problem in less than 1000 words and he agreed: it was the graphics card. He also gave me good advice on a new one. As I’m not a gamer, that made my price options much more reasonable. He also gave me a way to access the desktop by using the laptop, no monitor needed. Unfortunately, the laptop refused to cooperate and I couldn’t retrieve those files I hadn’t backed up.

Still, between K loaning me her husband and his advice, I felt so much better about the situation, and I knew I could handle technical side of it as long as I had the right problem to fix.

Okay, the video card — after the grocery store. (My neighbor says he can take me next Tuesday.)

So, CJ pinged me yesterday to chat. She asked if I’d look at a first draft for her and I said it might take awhile as the desktop was down. She asked about it, I whined in my own whiny way (“It’s there; I just can’t access it without the video card!”) and she said, “I’ll get it for you!”

What?

“Link me! Link me! I’ll buy your video card!”

“…”

Bless her heart, she did! Just like like that. It’s taken me all of yesterday and most of today to process this. As I said to CJ, I just don’t expect this kind of generosity. I manage, barter, save up, or do without. That she offered to help surprised the hell out of me and left me speechless. Advice, yes, I’ll ask for advice from friends, but this? Wow! I just… I was over the moon! I still am. \o/

And since Mr. K found me one that’s good and inexpensive (free shipping!), I’m really excited about it. If I could hug CJ long distance, I certainly would! The card will be here tomorrow and, hopefully, will just go right in.

So there you have it. Best. Friends. Ever. I can’t thank you all enough for all your help. ((((HUGS))))

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For some further perspective, “M” lives in Maine, “K” lives downstate New York, and “CJ” lives in France! The world is not flat, it’s one big, group hug.