Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bonding with Microsoft Support

Today I spent the afternoon being tortured by Microsoft Customer Care, located in the Philippines. Specifically, Robert (alias v-2robev) tortured me and got me as frustrated and angry as I can remember being in years. He toyed with me, asking meaningless questions in a well-rehearsed polite voice while promising me no hope whatsoever. It was only after more than 30 minutes as his victim that he told me they don't have access to the database that shows our team is a Microsoft Partner. He then said I'd have to call a different number. I did, they verified that we're a MS Partner, then they transferred me back to Robert's unit for care! It was very painful.

I confess that I had to pray afterward, asking God to forgive me for hating Robert in my heart and asking him to bless Robert with the joy of salvation. What a day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Nick's Hardware Picks

Every few years I publish an article about the hardware we find most helpful and reliable, and where to buy it. I've just posted a free copy of it on our website in PDF format, and you can download a copy by clicking here!

I hope you find it helpful!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who's Responsible for Application Success?

I'm at the annual Christian Leadership Alliance (CLA, formerly Christian Management Assoc) Ministry IT Summit in Atlanta. At yesterday's roundtable session someone said something that I found helpful.

The discussion was about who in the organization is responsible for the success of applications used by the team. Most of the time it seems like it is IT's responsibility. But really, it's not! It is the responsibility of the part of the organization that needs it to work for them! IT's role is to make sure it works on the system; not to ensure it's success.

That means that the database folks are responsible to make sure the database works for them; the accounting or finance department is responsible to make sure the accounting system works for them; communications and media are responsible for their applications; and nearly everyone is responsible to learn and use the productivity suite (like MS Office) well.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

College Hunting is Fun!

This week is Spring Break for my daughter's high school, formerly known as Easter Vacation . She's a 17 year old junior, so this is our turn to look for colleges with her.

We've toured three so far this week (UCLA, UCSB, and UCI), and have one more tomorrow (CSULB). It is so fun to see her begin to think through what she likes and doesn't like about each campus! What a great time of life she's going to be entering soon.

I did peer counseling when I was in college, helping fellow students cope with various academic issues. The most common was the concern many had about changing their major. Very few people know at 17 or 18 what they want to do for the rest of their life; yet requiring someone that age declare their major suggests otherwise.

Our daughter is, like most, not exactly sure what she wants to study. We're okay with that, and are encouraging her to start her college career with the understanding that she'll likely need a couple of years to figure that out. We want her to enjoy those years of self-discovery, and to do so guilt-free. What a fun time of life!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Windows XP Lives! Again!!

Thanks to some heads-up research by Michael Pietroforte, also knows as 4sysops in the Twitterverse, we got word today that the life of Windows XP has been extended again! (Good job, Michael!)

He points to an eWeek story which says Microsoft will allow HP to ship computers with XP on them through April 30, 2010. That's good news for many network administrators who want to delay hardware and software changes that may be necessary when updating systems from XP.

Speaking of Windows OS updates, BTW, I've been using Windows 7 beta as my exclusive PC OS since early January this year, and have found it to be solid. I'm looking forward to seeing the final release candidate!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tyrone Wells @ Seabreeze Church!

I'm so excited about the free concert our church is having tomorrow night (4/4/09) by Tyrone Wells and his band! I've heard his stuff on the radio, and thought it was very good-- but had no idea he's a Christian! Here's a YouTube promo video of a couple of my favorite songs by Tyrone... I hope you enjoy it!