New Dishwasher

When my parents got their new house, it included a dishwasher, leaving an extra dishwasher from the old house. Since almost anything has to be quieter than the dishwasher we currently have, my parents brought it down last Sunday. With about 20 minutes of effort, I pulled the old dishwasher by myself.
Old Dishwasher
After looking realizing that the existing fitting on the new and old dishwashers were different, and that someone had overtightened the correct fitting, we made a trip to Lowes and picked up a new elbow. We also grabbed lunch at Ruby Tuesdays while we were out.
Upon returning home, I finished up the install after about another 30 minutes.
New Dishwasher
We haven’t run it yet, but the hot water fitting hasn’t leaked so far.

And Alisha put up the Christmas tree on Sunday.
(More pictures)

Dell Tech Support call

The harddrive in my less than 3 month old laptop bit the dust today. Being the good guy that I am, I called Dell Support myself instead of burdening the overworked hardware guys, and all I can say is Wow.

  • Entering my Express Service Code actually routed me right to the correct support chain. This is new. I was asked for the info again, but at least I wasn’t shuffled around another time.
  • The woman that I got on the line asked the standard questions, and didn’t put up a fight when I said I’d rather not give an email address.
  • She also didn’t argue when I said “My hard drive has died.” I described the symptoms (not found in BIOS, laptop won’t boot, makes loud clicking noise) and she said: “I’ve got some bad news, we’ll have to replace your hard drive.” I then say that’s fine, and she replies: “But, you are supposed to cry. Am I going to have to kick you in the shins?” I explain that I support users all day and I don’t put anything important on desktops or laptops. She is not amused, still wanting a response.
  • My next statement is “If it is important enough to save, it should be on a server.” She says that sounds just like her brother. I am confused.
  • Five minutes later, after all the address information has been collected, she asks if I’ve seen any good movies lately. I tell her no, I don’t go to many movies. She says I should see National Treasure, but she’s really waiting for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy to come out in 2006. When I say I didn’t know that was coming out in 2006, she responds that I’ve earned massive brownie points for knowing what it was. When I say that I wasn’t that impressed with it and it was long, I lose all my brownie points. And all future support calls will require me to jump through every hoop possible.

The moral of the story? I called Dell Technical Support and got someone:

  1. Who spoke english as a native language.
  2. Was female.
  3. Had a clue. (This is not gender related, some Dell Techs are just reading the scriptbook without knowing what any of it means.)

There should be a replacement drive here tommorrow or the next day. Yay for good parts service, boo for crappy quality/low MTBF.

New security update from Microsoft

And they were getting so good at keeping things on the second Tuesday of the month. Oh well, at least they are fixing holes with known exploits in the wild.

Home users, time to visit WindowsUpdate. I’m putting off updating all the lab machines for at least 24 hours to make sure there aren’t a string of “this update hosed my computer/network/server farm/enterprise” posts to NTBugTraq.

Walmart vs CostCo (and others)

After reading a short entry from Glenn Reynolds about Wal-Mart, I hit the two links and did some reading.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE would like us to think that because the economy is improving, people are shunning Wal-Mart because of the lower priced, and therefore lower quality, goods that are sold there. Consumers choose to pay slightly more for brands with more name recognition.
The second goes down another track and claims that the shopping experience in general just sucks at Wal-Mart:

I can accept that, but Wal-Mart starts to lose the battle when Target clearly goes out of its way to maintain wide aisles, a slightly more upscale selection of merchandise and a store that’s not downright filthy six days out of seven. Maybe Wal-Marts outside of the Southeast are clean and neat, but I’ve yet to see a store stay clean and pleasant for more than six months after its opening. Those of us with the option don’t want to shop at Wal-Mart; not out of opposition to red state values or capitalism. We shop at Target because our feet don’t stick to the floor while walking down the frozen food aisle.

I’d agree with the second one, but I think they are both missing an underlying factor: Wal-Mart employees have no motivation to do a good job, their compensation and benefits suck. CostCo, for example, has better employee retention numbers and better starting salaries, according to this article. Contrast that with some of the reports about Wal-Mart’s wonderful employment record.
If you know you are just an easily replaced cog in the giant machine, why try to do anymore than just what is necessary to get by? Maybe this will encourage Wal-Mart to put employee well-being ahead of stock holders value and corporate profits in the race for the the all-mighty dollar.
Update: My stylesheet still makes quotes look like crap, gotta get that fixed.

Active Directory upgrade

The student sites are now running on a Windows 2003 Server Active Directory. I learned a few things along the way:

  • Don’t try to reuse an existing server name if it is staticly mapped in your WINS database. The Windows Server 2003 upgrade process will think there is a name collision and use some randomly generated name for the server, UNIVERSI-2345a8 for example.
  • If you have messed around with the User Rights on your NT4 domain, you’d best find the defaults for Windows 2003 and reset them. Updates and other things just don’t install correctly until they are reset. (The Threats and Countermeasures Guide came in pretty handy here too.)
  • Until the workstations DNS server and the default DNS domain name is changed, they keep working right along as if the domain is still NT4 based. Dynamic DNS doesn’t start working until then either.

I still need to move all the FSMO roles off the temporary DC, but that doesn’t need to happen any time soon. I may put any more changes off until winter break.

1 year blog-aversary?

Is this thing on?

Yes, I’ve had the blog for a year now, and contrary to my own predictions, it isn’t neglected or dead.

I’ve got pictures and stories to post about tearing into my parents old house and the Windows NT4 to 2003 Active Directory upgrade at work, but I really don’t feel like writing up either of them right now.