March 28, 2003

Dressed for success
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

I have been doing daily tasks ranging from hardware to sofware to admin work.
I love it, it keeps the job interesting.

However, in five years, I have not managed to get it right.

The day I wear my best shirt and a black skirt is the day I end up sliding across a dusty floor to find the other end of a network cable.

I will paint my fingernails, only to end up using them as a temporary screw driver to remove a troublesome chassis case.

Velour fabric looks nice. But I've learned it's not nice when you end up cracking open the dustiest computer in the room.

My car has no air conditioning. In the summer, my office's air conditioning is usually set to 10 degrees below zero. The one day I plan for this and head into the office wearing a scarf, ski jacket and three sweaters, I am sent out to a client site that is 2 hours away.

The one day I head into the server room for some admin work will always just happen to be after a late night of drinks and friends. Within minutes the soft, gentle sound of servers and fans running is close to putting me into a catatonic state.

The fact that I stay awake is only due to the air conditioner running, and I am wearing short sleeves!

March 26, 2003

Confessions of a closet screen shopper.
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

Hello. My name is Jess, and I'm a closet screen shopper.

"Hi Jess!"

What is a screen shopper? I coined the term a few nights ago while realizing that one of my favorite things to do (I find it relaxing) is browse "toys" online that at the moment, I have no intention of buying. But I'd like to!

You can relate. It's those things that are always just a smidge out of your reach. I say smidge because you could be walking up to the store with credit card in hand, ready to buy.... and your transmission goes. Then your brakes go. Then you have a $900 vet bill while your ferret gets a IV smaller than a nip of alcohol.

Two things I currently don't have but enjoy browsing is laptops and digital cameras. I go all out, picking a brand and carefully reading to see what others have to say. Never mind that it will probably be obsolete by the time I get around to buying one. Hey, it's still fun to look!

Right now, it's cars that I'm looking at, more specifically, a Mitsubishi Eclipse. My Pontiac has been in the shop since January (yes, I'm aware that it's almost April. My mechanic has all the energy talking to me on the telephone, but I'm convinced that he goes into a cryogenic sleep once I hang up). It went in for a tune-up. Don't ask.

Or maybe he's just busy screen shopping.

March 21, 2003

End users are to analogies what...
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

In past experiences, I can put all prenotions aside, and tell you two truths of end users. These truths have helped me do my job better, so I share them with you this morning.

Truth 1. End users LOVE analogies. It helps form a bridge between the stereotypical barrier of techspeak vs. their limited knowledge. Compare it to something they know and understand, and everyone's happy.

Truth 2. End users LOVE when they can understand what's going on. Contrary to popular belief, end users really do want to learn for themselves how their computer works.

I've noticed that one of the biggest ideas that users really want to grasp but just can't quite get there is how data travels through the Internet. How do people break into computers? What the heck is a firewall?

It's hard to explain how data travels through the Intenet without a detailed explanation of ports, and how they work. My favorite analogy is that of a radio.

Radio waves are always travelling through the air. Now you turn your radio to a certain dial, and it picks up a particular station, let's say classic rock. You move your dial two inches to the right, and you get a new frequency and a new genre of music.

Ports and Internet data work the same way. Except the air is a network cable, the radio is a server, the station is a type of protocol, and it's always listening.

Email travels through port 25. When you set your server up to "listen" on that port, it's just like moving a radio dial to a certain channel. Web traffic travels on port 80. It's categorized just like a radio. One frequency gives you classic rock, and others give you jazz.

Now let's suppose you have a radio that will "lock the dial" so you can't ever change to a music station you don't like. Even though radio waves are still travelling at a certain frequency, you can rest easy knowing that YOUR radio will never, ever pick up those channels because you've instructed your radio not to allow those channels through.

This is a firewall.

I didn't really mean to give a detailed explanation of something that most people who read this already know. I was out to share how powerful analogies can be when trying to explain facts that at a quick glance, may seem ungraspable to an untrained ear.

March 19, 2003

Blogs as Publicity Stunts
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

Back in October, I stumbled upon It was a complicated story of governmental CIA-type secrets, complete with mysterious wording, strange letter-spacing and capitalization among the story. It contained photos of a broken camera, with the promise to post the "world changing photos" on March 8, 2003, once it was "safer."

Once word got out, panic spread in, leading to run a debunking story on it. It was later determined that it WAS indeed a publicity blog, by admittance of the site owner due to the influx of panic-stricken emails.

The site owner then reassured us that it WAS a publicity stunt complete with clues in the wording, posted the original site for anyone to see as a link at the bottom, and then kept going every few weeks adding more to the story.

March 8th came and went, and as promised, the pictures were posted along with a link to a new site (complete with the words "do not believe a word this site tells you...". The new site contained a different version of the story, along with a new date of confession, and this time a contest to see who could guess what was coming (book, movie, etc.)

If you check out the original site , you'll notice the author has posted the feedback he has gotten. While many of them contain disappointment that none of this is real, about 90% of them thank the author for giving them a little excitment to their daily routine, not to mention something to look forward to.

I personally can't wait until the item is released, knowing that I've been a part of the "backstory" months before anyone knew what it was. That said, I may have to kick a little ass if I find out its for Men In Black breakfast cereal or something like that...

March 17, 2003

NYC here I come...
Posted by Jess in Announcements

While I'm thinking of it, is anyone going to the E-View Domino R6 Upgrade Seminar in NYC at the end of the month? It would be nice to put some faces to names.

Also, while I'm thinking of it, something happened to me for the first time. We have a large, open office. The phone rings, we all hear it and just sort of grab as it rings. I answered the phone, saying as usual:

Me: "Good afternoon, this is Jess, can I help you?"

The person on the other line: "Ummm... no."

Me: "Okay. Bye then".

The person on the other line: click.

Radio = free. Speech = free.
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Dixie Chick's Natalie Maines said that she was ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas, and now radio stations are dropping them because listeners are calling in and complaining.

I quote from MSNBC's article: "Station managers said their decisions were prompted by calls from irate listeners who thought criticism of the president was unpatriotic."

Isn't that backwards? Isn't getting mad at someone for exercising their right to free speech unpatriotic?

Seems to me that we don't pay a cent to listen to the radio. If the Dixie Chicks come on and you don't want to listen to them, can't you just change the station?

Are people now too lazy to lift a finger and change the dial now, too?

March 14, 2003

The Frobozz Magic Blog Company
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

The Frobozz Magic Blog Company...
Copyright 1981, 1982, 1983 Infocom, Inc. All rights reserved.
ZORK is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Release 42 / Serial number 8675309

North of Blog
You are sitting in front of a computer. The screen you are looking at is bright green, and appears to be a journal, or blog of some sort.
There are entries to read.

Maximum verbosity.

>leave room
The rank undergrowth of actual work you have to do prevents you from leaving the room.

What do you want to read?

Before reading, you notice a sign on a large wooden post beside your screen.

Continue reading?


Zork, Zork II and Zork III all freeware and available for download.
I played them when I was a kid, before I really understood what I was playing and just ended up getting frustrated, and typing 'WHY DON'T YOU JUST DO WHAT I WANT, YOU STUPID THING?'

Come to think of it, at the time, I'm sure thousands of others were typing something similar into their DOS windows, only they weren't playing a game. ;-)

Am I crazy because when I have a dog, I want to name it Foozle?"

You fail to hear the grue behind you. He walks up and turns off your computer.

**** You have died ****

Your score is 10 (total of 500 points), in 3 moves.
This gives you the rank of Junior Blogreader.

March 13, 2003

Stop the Insanity!
Posted by Matt in Day to Day

Well, I haven't been posting for a while but I have good reason... I have been trying to get a passport expedited cause I am going on a long trip for work (more on that in a bit). So anyway, here are the turn of events that have happened:

Friday of last week (march 7th) my boss walks in and asks me how my passport is. I inform him that I don't have one.

Monday: Look into ways to get a passport in 1 week

Tuesday: Go home sick from work but still research the how-to on passports. Call my boss at 11 AM and tell him I need an itinerary if I am to get a passport in a week. In a 1/2 hr, I have my flight itinerary in my inbox. Make some calls to the passport expediting service and find out that because my licence was just renewed I will need another way to prove my identity (my licence was renewed in January and had to be a minimum of 6 months old). I gathered the following information:
1. my licence
2. My High School Diploma
3. Marriage licence
4. Car registration
5. Insurance car
6. Credit Cards
7. High School Yearbook Photo

And I also included a pay stub from august of 2002 for good measure.

On a side note, I also asked about my birth certificate ( I have 2 versions ) and the passport company says that the xerox with the town seal on it is not good but the little index card I have is fine.

Wednesday: Go to the post office to get my passport expedited and get a sworn affidavit from Jess stating I am who I say I am. The post office tells me that the index card is invalid and I need a better form of my birth certificate. Currently, I think that the xerox with the town seal is bad as well so I drive Jess into work (we currently have only one car cause her's is in the shop). I get to her office and ask her to look up the phone number for the Newton MA Town Hall and the Passport Agency in Boston while I step out for a smoke to calm my nerves. I call the town hall and they are open til 5 so I can get a new birth certificate. I then call the passport agency in Boston and check the morning appointments. Nothing until March 17th (4 days before I fly out) so that wont work! I then decided to check the afternoon appointments and viola, there is one at 1:30 pm on March 12th. Here is the day in a nut shell.

10:30 AM leave Jess's office.
Drive at illegal speeds to Newton MA.
Get lost in Newton 3 times and ask directions (felt weird being a guy and all)

Get to the Town Hall at 12:15 and get a copy of my birth certificate. WTF!!! This is the same thing that the passport service told me was INVALID?!?! I make a stink but the town clerk assures me it is fine.

Try to park my car at Newton Highlands (Green Line stop for subway) but there is no parking. I learned the hard way not to park in places that are not legal when in or around Boston so I drive back to 128 and head towards Riverside, another Green Line stop with ample parking but it is the last stop on the Green Line when heading "Outbound" from Boston. Get there at 12:45, run my ass up to try and catch the train but it takes off before I get there. The next train shows up at 1:00 PM.

Get on the train and frantically look at peoples watches ( I don't own one, nor do I want to ). I get to North Station (Fleet Center) at 1:28 PM. Run down the stairs, run up the stairs of the Tip O'Neil Federal Building, go thru the security check and make it to the passport office on time (maybe 2 minutes late but hey... I'm there right)

Stand in line for a 1/2 hr and finally get to the receptionist. She checks me off on the list and gives me a number. I wait for about 10 minutes and my number is called.

I show the guy my license and immediately he says, "Um... Mr. Stratton, your licence is not more then 6 months old, do you have any other way to prove your identity?"

It was like I was just waiting for him to say it. I produced my many forms of identity verification (this was the only good thing that the passport service told me about) The yearbook xerox did it for me. So, to make a short story long, I will have my passport some time next week before Friday when I fly out to Japan. I just hope I get rid of this darn cold!

P.S. For those of you who dont know what I do, I am a software engineer. I have been working closely with Toshiba for about a year now and it is time for them to release our product in Japan. At work, I had to design a proof of concept application to show we could indeed program in Japanese. We had an outside company take the intial steps for Japanization and I got to merge all our current changes into the new version of our software. That was a headache in itself but it is done :-)

March 12, 2003

How To Give Your Spouse a Heart Attack 101
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

Okay, so maybe I asked for it by labelling my Limerick post, "there was once a girl from Nantucket".

I get emails whenever someone posts a new comment, as does Matt for his posts. Therefore, Matt knows what the auto-email format looks like.

Matt quickly discovers he can fake this auto-email rather easily, especially as the From: address is that of the person who posted the comment.

Matt's been known to pull a prank or twenty.

Matt finishes his own version of the Limerick putting the right names in the right places and sends it off to Jess as a phony "comment".

Jess immediately goes to the website , and sees "0" comments for the Limerick category. Jess deletes her cache file, tries again. Still "0".

Jess, in a panic, calls Matt to see what's going on. Luckily, Jess knows Matt VERY well and recognizes the faint hint of a smile behind his voice and politely asks if it was a joke.

"Of *course* it was!" says Matt in a "I love it when a plan comes together" sort of way.

Luckily, Jess also has a very good sense of humor, and realizes that, as evil a trick it was, Matt definately deserves some mad props for that one!

It makes life a lot more interesting and certainly a lot more fun when you have someone around who keeps you on your toes! :-)

March 10, 2003

Some videos get no respect.
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Matt and I watched part of the "100 Greatest Videos" on VH1 a few nights ago.

I have to say, the only video I was really upset about was the fact that Dire Strait's "Money for Nothing" was only number 25.

C'mon! How many of us sat there open mouthed in 1986 *gaping* at the screen saying, "a computer did that? It's not real. But it's not a cartoon. What IS it?"


At least it got something at the time.

Here's another interesting bit of trivia. The high-pitched voice softly singing "I want my MTV" in the background is none other than Sting.

March 09, 2003

Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Joe Litton noticed the "As you wish" at the top of the page yesterday, and mentioned how much he loves the movie The Princess Bride.

Joe, we agree with you. Wholeheartedly. In fact, we agree with you so much, that our entire wedding had a Princess Bride theme to it.

It wasn't hokey by any means, don't worry. I've told everyone on several occasions how Matt and I are incredibly goofy people. The Princess Bride is the epitome of True Love and Goofiness.

Here's some of the more fun things we did:

  • Our wedding rings have "As you wish" engraved on the inside of them.
  • My brother played the music to walk us down the aisle. He was kind enough to work out by ear the theme music to the Princess Bride.
  • The two readings were funny monologues about "true love" straight from the book.
  • Insead of saying "I do", we each said "as you wish."
  • Our Justice of the Peace's readings of our vows were a nice surprise to us. After saying "till death do you part", she added, "even though death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it a little while?"
  • All our reception tables were named after settings in the movie/book, ie "Florin", "Guilder", etc. Though I did feel bad for all those people we placed at the Fire Swamp!
  • The best man speech.

Ahhh... my favorite part, and a COMPLETE surprise. He gets up there with another friend of ours, and brings out a book. "Chapter 1", he says. "The Bride."

"Buttercup liked nothing more than to torment the Farm Boy. Farm boy, hook up my computer for me. Farm boy, install that program for me. Farm boy, polish my computer monitor. I want to see my face shining it in by the time I get back..."

As we had asked everyone to watch the movie before our wedding, everyone knew what he meant. I've never seen a Best Man speech get a standing ovation before, but it happened at our wedding. :-)

Anyway, to make a short story long, I just wanted share the reasons for my little "as you wish" at the top of the page.

Some trivia: There IS no S.Morgenstern who wrote the original Princess Bride book. I found out the hard way. I wanted to find a first edition book to collect. Apparently, the "Abridged, Good-Parts version" by William Goldman IS the original, and it's brilliantly written to look like an abridged version. Complete with fake exceprts. If you have never read the book before, you'll be in for a treat. It's absolutely brilliant. I actually got a whole new appreciation for the book once I learned William Goldman managed to trick EVERYONE.

March 07, 2003

There was once a girl from Nantucket...
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk s having it's second annual Geek Limerick Contest.

I think I may have to be up for the challenge. After all, I came up with a pretty decent one once years ago, and what makes it worse, it was in context!

This is the winner's page from last year's contest. It's a very funny read.

March 06, 2003

Forum Faux-pas
Posted by Matt in Tech Talk

Anyone who posts in technical forums has seen it, and those of us that usually offer help don't want to deal with it. I am talking about the people who pop in from time to time and either:
   1. Ask homework questions
   2. Ask us to write some code for them
   3. Ask for answers to certification questions
   4. Recruit
   5. Post in "LEET" Speak

I admit, when I first started posting at Tek-Tips, I was eager to help anyone with anything. I wrote up parsers, in-depth algorithms, and various other code related answers. Heck, I even had someone send me their code, which I reviewed and emailed back to them when I fixed it.

Over time, I began to notice patterns... the boards would be moving along at a regular pace and all of a sudden, they are inundated by 15 URGENT posts. The posts are very similar and are asking college or high school quesitons about "How do I create a linked list?", "Can someone write some code to output pre,post and infix expressions?", or very simply "My project is due tomorrow, will someone write it for me if I pay you?". That last one is my favorite... I post some exhorbitant amount of money and never hear back cause it gets RED FLAGGED and deleted before the have a chance to respond. I still look at these posts because sometimes, they actually post their code and ask for help. I have no problem with that as long as it is not a copy and paste of an entire file and you are expected to find the one line that is wrong. I have better things to do then compile your code in my head and say "OH! you didn't initialize a variable".

Well, that pretty much covers topics 1 & 2. As for 3, if you think I am going to answer your questions so you can earn more then me and impress some chick... KEEP DREAMING! And number 4, at least at tek-tips, it specifically states "NO RECRUITING" ( it also says no homework questions as well but I cut those High School kids a break since I was the same way). If you can't read the bold red text below the submit button and you come in to recruit, I will submit your email to porn sites and spam-o-grams galore!

Number 5 has no place in technical forums. For those of you who don't know what "Leet Speak" is, it is basically a language that originated in games like Quake, and Half-Life as well as in BBS and IRC. It was "kewl" to find new ways to type words and there is a time and place for everything. When you play on a quake server, expect someone to "0\/\/z3d" (own) you cause they "r0x0r" (rock). Same in IRC, but KEEP IT THERE. I can understand it, but I am not going to take the time to decipher "YOUR WAY" of typing leet speak when you post in a forum. If I am playing Quake, I have no issues with it. There IS something we can do though for the weiners who try to act cool and post like this... all we need to do is go to one of many online Leet Speak Generators (I chose this site because the guy acutally took time to make a real web page and not some shoddy cheese site ), paste our answer in there and generate the "Leet speak". Let them decipher it back! Just my 2 cents :-)


P.S. That leet speak at the end of my last post was a play off of "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-a-Lot

Stand Up,
Shout it Out
Even white boys got to shout <--- this was in leet speak
Baby got Back

Dear user...
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

This is a letter I typed up a few months ago during a move to a new Notes server/domain for 900 users. I was there to get the process started, and moved about 300 users. I just wanted to share this, because it was sent out before any move occurred, and I'd like to think it helped make the move a success by keeping support calls down to a minimum because the end users were informed.

Dear User:

As you may or may not know, the IS department is currently working hard to migrate all 900 employees to a new server. You have been selected as part of a pilot program to move to the new server by 100% automation.

Here are some answers to questions that you need to know!

What does this mean for me?
In a nutshell, better reliability and stability. You will probably notice faster performance as well.

What can I expect during this process?
You can expect no less than four emails from us over the course of the move.
The first email will be letting you know when it's YOUR turn for the move, and to be on the lookout for more instructions. The second and third email will be a button for you to click on to help us configure your workstation without us actually having to be there. And finally, the fourth email will be us letting you know that the move is complete!

How will I know when the process is done?
Once all employees are moved to the new server, we will be sending out an email to all users letting them know the move is complete.

Is there anything I can do to help?
The easiest way to help us out during this move is to read all correspondence we send you and follow any instructions both accordingly and promptly. We will be sending you a button to click on to change your settings and/or username. This is perfectly normal, and it's OK to click the button.

Again, we look forward to making the move to the new server, and with your help, the process will be nothing short of a huge success. Be on the lookout for an email that says it's your turn for the move!

Please do not hesitate to ask any questions.

The IT Department

March 05, 2003

Posted by Matt in Geek Humor

In 97, I was working at a company called Omni-Multimedia. On my first day, my boss asked me "Are you a nerd or a geek"? At the time I never understood the difference. In high school, a nerd was a geek and vice versa. Having to give a response, I reluctantly said "Geek". Apparently I made the right choice and today, I openly admit it. Geek, in my opinion, has evolved from being the equal of nerd in high school to a respectable term today. Certain web sites like ThinkGeek and MegaTokyo actually promote this once shunned title.

Just how did I become a geek? Well, if I had to pick a time in my life, it would be 7th grade when I took a class on programming in BASIC. It was my first programming class ever but I LOVED it! Granted, at the time, it was a cheesy little program that showed a city street and cars driving by. However, I was naive, and was just starting to like "girls" (ewwww cooties). I had a building with flashing neon (just a few pixels really) that said "Matt's Girls". I never really knew the implications at the time but now I understand that it was either a Shack outside LaGrange or somewhere you could get Legs and Eggs. In either case, I never really thought about it til now.

I began college as a pharmacy major but it was not GEEKY enough. I needed something more. Junior year I switched to Computer Science(CS) when my geekiness really shined (granted it had to because I was, in essence, a freshman in CS with every gen-ed filled). I took core-classes for CS through my Junior, Senior, Senior, and Senior years in college but it was worth it! Me and a group of CS friends (I was never really any well at English grammar (sorry Libby, you English major you)) began to see just how small our code could be and still function properly. I could write 8 lines as one with in place swapping and a splash of recursion here and there. We had the philosophy of "if it was tough to write, it should be tough to read!".

Continuing down hill, in my first Senior year I found something new (old to others but new to me at least) and that was Multi-User Dungeons or MUD's for short. To my surprise, they were written in C so I lobbied to help code one of them. Finally, I got my chance and you can still see some of my old-school code on a simple google search for Zyrenthian. It is the CircleMud stuff that contains my code, but you can see my other geekiness in the links provided. Pretty sad that you can do a search on ONE WORD in google and only find pages pertaining to you, but hey, it goes with the territory of "GEEK" I guess.

So, if that is not enough to qualify me as a geek, I am also a gamer. From Warcraft (the original) to Everquest (was almost the death of me) to Warcraft 3, I have played em all. Everquest, however, took over my life. It was my food, my drink, my world! Level 57 out of 60 in only 3 months of game play time. The scary part is those 91 days, 12 hrs, and 15 minutes of game play in the world of Everquest was done in a 6 month period. You heard it right, in 6 months, I managed to spend 2196 hrs and 15 minutes playing at my computer. Still not geeky enough? I also write code for fun. I got a bunch of lil' utility apps (one that could be used as a virus if used improperly) that do all sorts of things such as remove read-only flags on all files in directories and sub directories, rename files, generate files... the list goes on and on. Give me a file and it's specified format and I will have a parser for you within a week but most likely a day if I am not busy converting software to Japanese or fixing bugs. I try to play Dungeons and Dragons every weekend but lately, I am too busy to do even that.

So what distinguishes me from a nerd? Well, I guess it is the fact that I don't wear plaid and stripes in the same ensemble, I can interact with people, I don't have to put a 5 star ring binder over my crotch when a pretty girl walks by, and I shower. Ok the last one was a bit low... nerds shower, you just don't know it cause the showers are few and far between. If you dare, you can take their hair and reposition it any way you want. The grease will keep it in place. In the world of Object Oriented Programming (OOP), I would say that class Nerd (this is the only time class and Nerd should be used in the same sentence) inherits from class Geek. In simple terms, that means a nerd "IS A" geek but a geek is not a nerd. The geek will have certain private members such as "People Skills", "Personal Hygiene" etc that will not be inherited by Nerd. Ok, so I am a geek for explaining this through OOP but once again, it goes with the territory.

Well, for my first blog, I hope I have made a few closet geeks stand up, type it out, 3\/3n
\/\/h1+3 80yz 90+ 2 $h0u+, BABY GOT GEEK.

The lone "computer person"...
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

I'm not talking about being alone in an out-of-work environment. Nope.

Let's say you are the sole network admin, Domino admin, or the sole developer for your company. Let's also say that the rest of your company produces widgets.

Have you ever noticed that it's tough being in a roomful of people who talk and joke about the trials and tribulations of making widgets all day, yet you've got absolutely NO one to relate with about the trials and tribulations about being an admin/developer?

God forbid you joke about "those wild and crazy end users"... to the end users.

It's a weird and creepy feeling to shout out "and there was much rejoicing!" and NOT hear the well-known response of "yay".

I don't know how many great programming jokes I have that most people will never get.

I've been in a few companies where I was the sole admin/developer/resident geek. And it is tough when people don't understand that I might actually enjoy getting back on my computer when I get home from work and playing games.

Well, if anyone needs to throw a great computer joke out there, trust me. I'll be the one laughing my ass off, so go right ahead and share it! You're in good company.

Incidentally, this whole entry came because I noticed that I was one month and 8 days too late for this.

March 04, 2003

May your goofiness be plentiful.
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

I was remembering some old pictures.
I suppose some people would say that eight years can change people quite a bit.

Not us.

Looks like everything's right with the world. ;-)


March 01, 2003

The Unstoppable G.B.E.
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

Some words of inspiration on an otherwise quiet Saturday.

I remember it quite clearly. My brother and I were both out of college for the summer, and had our individual computers set up and ready to go in our rooms. Windows 95 had only been out for a few months.

My bro showed me something on his screen. It wasn't what was on his screen that amazed me (which, I remember was that neato 3D clock screen saver). It was how nice and sharp and tiny everything was. "How did you do that?" I asked.

It was then that I learned about screen resolution and how to go into desktop properties ("what the heck is 'the desktop'?!"). I ran back to my computer to change it to 800x600, and lo and behold, mine looked different. It was greyed out so it couldn't be moved.

I went back to Jay and told him that I couldn't change it because it wouldn't move. His response?

"Only losers don't change things on their computer just because it's greyed out."

We went back to my computer, and he then proceeded to do stuff (which I now know all I needed to do was change the default monitor), and all of a sudden the button was moveable.

Had I accepted the fact that it simply would not change, I might still to this day be destined to looking at a 640x480 desktop forever.

Chew on that next time you run into the grey-button epiphany (GBE). It's realizing that you have the power to change something as long as you're up for the challenge!

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