Thursday, May 19, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

AT&T Fail

I have been an AT&T wireless customer now since they merged with Cingular way back when. I believe I spent a few months as a Verizon customer in the middle of that, but it was because AT&T started cheating on me with other cell towers and I couldn't get signal in my apartments. So, as I lay in bed at night thinking about where AT&T had gone, I decided it was time for me to get back at her and just go start a new relationship with a better wireless company. It turned out my plans to make AT&T, my true love, jealous worked because shortly after I had joined Verizon AT&T pulled me back with a free phone, paid for my cancellation with Verizon, and gave me some pretty cheap rates. I came back reluctantly, but secretly I was happy to be back in the warm embrace of my beloved AT&T.

Then, a few days ago, I was introduced to AT&T's Jeff. I called Jeff because I needed to activate the Blackberry network on my phone. I had just gotten a Blackberry and wanted to step away form my iPhone, just testing the waters with some new products, but I couldn't use data on my phone until I had informed AT&T of the transition. So, like any good user would, I quickly grabbed my phone and called 611 for customer support. They were quick enough to answer, a few minutes on hold at most, followed by my introduction to Jeff. Here's what happened:

Jeff: Thank you for calling AT&T, my name is Jeff and I'm going to provide you with the very best customer service you've experienced.

--NOTE-- Jeff and I are already off to a bad start at this point. Claiming to be providing me the very best customer support I've ever had? I don't know about that-- I mean I have an account with Netflix, and they're pretty amazing. So thanks to Jeff's blatant lie, we were already not going to get along. I mean, how could we? Jeff's a liar, and I don't trust liars at all.

Me: We'll see, Jeff.

Jeff: Are you calling from number XXX-XXX-XXXX?

Me: Yes, that's correct.

Jeff: And you're name?

Me: James Mitchener, spelled M-I-T-C-H-E-N-E-R

Jeff: Alright Mr. Mitchener, who is the administrator on the account?

Me: Me, My brother, Robert Mitchener, and my mother, Lynn Mitchener.

Jeff: Great. Can I have the last 4 digits of the social security number?

Me: Which one, we're all administrators, we can all alter this account, so which one of our socials would you like? Mine?

Jeff: I can't answer that question.

Me: (long pause) I'm sorry?

Jeff: I can't answer that question.

Me: What do you mean you can't answer that question, Jeff? You want me to give you a social security number, but you won't tell me whose social security number you want?

Jeff: I'm sorry, sir. I can't give you that information.

Me: What information, Jeff? You can't tell me which name, all of which I already told you, you want a Social for? See, the thing is Jeff, I know all these socials, so I can give you any of them you want. However, I'm not going to just guess which one because frankly I don't trust you enough to start spitting out random socials that might not be on file. Now, whose social do you want?

Jeff: I can't answer that question.

Me: Alright, Jeff, there are 11 planets in the solar system (based on that Pluto thing and the inclusion of the new planets), I'm thinking of one. Tell me its circumference.

Jeff: I'm sorry?

Me: Answer my question Jeff, or is that too hard because I haven't bothered to tell you which planet I am interested in? Now tell me, which person's social do you want? Robert Mitchener? James Mitchener? Lynn Mitchener? Tell me Jeff. Which one?

Jeff: I can't answer that.

Me: Alright Jeff, I'm going to call back later, and hopefully I'll get to talk to someone who isn't a moron.

--- END ---

I haven't called back. I just can't bring myself to deal with the level of stupid that emanated from that office. I fear that Jeff might have actually infected everyone else at AT&T, and if I call, I could suffer from phone-transmitted-retardation. I'm just going to play it safe and switch to T-Mobile.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Dangers of Water Heaters: The Most Troublesome Thing in your Home

Water heaters are used to take cold water, heat it, and then distribute it throughout your home. They provide us with a more comfortable approach to bathing, and a practical method for washing our cloths and dishes that doesn't involve a wood-burning fire and a metal tub full of water hovering above it. We take water heaters for granted, but have you ever stopped to consider just how dangerous these pieces of equipment really are?

Water heaters are essentially giant containers filled with water. Some of them have over 120 gallons of water just stuck inside them, waiting to be released. Some people have their water heaters installed in the garage, which is good. Some don't. Some people have them upstairs in their attics. This is where water heaters become very dangerous. A man can drown in only 3 inches of water. If a 120 gallon water heater were to release its water onto an unsuspecting individual below, that's a lot more than 3 inches. If a man can die in only 3 inches of water, a man will almost certainly die in 120 gallons of water. That's called logical reasoning, and it makes sense.

Water heaters usually heat water through electricity heating or gas heating. Either way, you are in an extremely dangerous situation. If a water heater using gas decides to release some of its gas into your home, and you flick a light switch because you don't know, BOOM! You just exploded. If an electric water heater sparks in an attic, it can immediately ignite all the combustible material up there. By the time you even know you have a fire, your attic is burned to nothing, and the smoke inhalation alone will result in your immediate death.

Going back to the 120 gallons of water thing. A single gallon of water weighs about 8.35lbs. That means that a 120 gallon tank of water weighs 1002lbs. Not to mention the weight of the tank, we'll estimate about 300lbs. That's 1302lbs, sitting above your head, waiting for you to be off your guard. Then, one day, the water heater could just decide it didn't want to be supported in your attic anymore, and boom, down it will fall, straight onto your body, crushing you easier than an elephant can crush a stick insect.

The truth of the situation is that water heaters, though practical, are the most deadly man-made devices in the world. Water heaters kill an average of 18 million people a year. That's more than anything else.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Google is Closed: First Sign of the Apocalypse

Grab your ammo belts, sharpen your knives, stockpile your food and water supplies; Google is closed. That's right. Let me say it again, just to be sure you understand what I said. Google is closed. There is nobody in their offices. There is nobody responding to Adwords requests. There is nobody controlling the future of our society. Google, the leaders of the free world, are closed.

If you know anything about the apocalypse, then you understand the implications of this statement. With Google being closed, we have reached the point in human history where everything is turning upside down. The world has taken its first step towards chaos. Here's what you can expect to happen over the course of the next few days:

GC (Google Closing) +6hrs: The global source of information will begin to realize it is going unchecked. False information will begin to flood the interwebs, confusing fact and fiction. The Google Spider (a machine that documents all of this information) will not be able to keep up with the massive overload of unchecked information.

GC +12hrs: The Google Spider will shut down due to information overload. It will cease to document incoming information. The power that is Google will lose control of the internet.

GC +18hrs: People will begin struggling for internet dominance. With the massive flood of internet warfare, many different infrastructures will be damaged. Hackers will take the massive swarm of traffic as a "cover-by-night" approach and begin stealing bank account details, government secrets, and yes, even missile launch codes.

GC +24hrs: Hackers controlling nuclear silos all over the world will begin a power struggle. In an attempt to claim dominance, missiles will begin to fire.

GC +24hrs30min: The world will be glassed. Only a select few will survive.

GC +1yr: Society will have crumbled. All information will be lost due to global dependence on the internet.

GC +50yrs: Society will have reset into the stone age. We will be using rocks and sticks to kill each other to survive. Without the internet, no one will know how to build anything anymore.

GC +150yrs: Without the internet, people will forget how to procreate. The last of humanity will die off. The world will be left to the animals that didn't die in the Google Nuclear War.

It has begun. This is the beginning of the end.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hello, My Name is "John".

Outsourcing to India is the greatest threat to global peace since the India-Pakistan race for nuclear arms. You pick up the phone with an issue that should be resolved in 5-10 minutes, tops, and then you hear Mr. India pick up the phone and say in broken English “Hello, my name is John, how can I help you,” and you’re already thinking how much you hate him because you know “John” is a liar because his name isn’t “John,” it’s probably “Patel,” but now you have to call Mr. Patel “John” India by his fake name for the rest of your conversation.

So Patel “John” India starts off by asking for your name, and so you spell it, J-A-M-E-S, and Patel “John” India reads it back:

“I have H-P-P-Q-F”

“No, J-A-M-E-S”

“Sorry, H-A-R-7-1”

“John, you just put numbers in my name! How could that possibly be right?!”

And 45 minutes goes by and Patel “John” India finally gets your name right because he has simply run out of every single letter combination in the alphabet, and he moves onto other personal information. By this point, your blood is boiling, and you’re already shopping the internet for plane tickets and soap and weed-killer so you can fly to India, build a bomb, and blow up the headquarters for whatever company Patel “John” India works for.

After two hours on the phone, you finally get to your question, by which time you’ve already booked your tickets, planned to have your bomb supplies shipped to your hotel in India (which you booked through Orbitz) and you’re in your car driving to the airport. Patel “John” India tells you he can’t help you, and transfers you to his manager.

He then puts you on hold for the entire 9 hours that you are on your plane flying to India. When you land and have collected your bags, the manager finally takes the call, and tells you there’s nothing they can do to help you. You argue for another 2 hours while you unpack your bags and start building your bomb. Then, she transfers you to someone at their “corporate office” which is utter shit because now you’re talking to Patel “Peter” India who clearly is in the same building. While he tells you he’s sorry, you drive over, plant your bomb, and blow up their building. Your line is disconnected.

You call back and are routed to their English office, where your issue is resolved in 3 minutes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Found a Unicorn!

Okay, I didn't actually find a Unicorn, and I can't be credited to any of these findings in terms of the proof of Unicorns. I did, however, use the internet to find an animal I didn't know about, and am now taking credit for it because I can. So, here we go. We've all wished that Unicorns were real. Some people will argue to the grave that they are, but you know what, they are unfortunately just idiots. Because, and I'm going to just say it, Unicorns aren't real.

I'm sorry, Unicorn lovers, I know I've hurt you, but give me a chance to redeem myself. Here's what I think happened. Unicorns did exist, once. But there was that whole "Unicorn horns are magical and provide crazy powers to the person that posses it" thing. So, the Unicorns got together one day and just said "fuck this shit, I'm going home." I mean, wouldn't you want to get away from people who are constantly trying to kill you? So what did they do? They went somewhere humans couldn't follow. They went back into the ocean.

Being mammals, however, they didn't turn into fish. They used their magical horn power to speed up evolution and grew flippers and tails, and into the water they went, away from human hands. The swam out into the coldest parts of the world, where there was tons of ice, because they like white stuff because as Unicorns that was their colour and all. And they hid. They swam around doing ocean Unicorn stuff, reproducing and making more and more ocean Unicorns until someone stumbled upon them on some ocean expedition.
So Unicorn lovers. Here's your Unicorn. It's called a Narwhal. Embrace it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Saving the World, RPG Style

Role Playing Games (RPGs) drive me crazy. I love them, but seriously, they can be infuriating. I mean, let’s take a look at the go-to RPG story structure. You are nobody. You live a crummy, normal person life in a normal person town with normal friends and a normal culture. Then shit hits the fan, someone you know and possibly love is kidnapped, hurt, or put at risk of serious harm in the not-too-distant future. Then, you kiss normality goodbye and begin a quest to stop the rampage of destruction that is now plaguing your world and putting your lifestyle or normality at risk.

So, off you go, to save the world, acquiring skills and learning how to become the most epic warrior of all time so that you can confront evil head-on. Sometimes you band together with some other people, sometimes you go it alone. Who cares, you’re suddenly awesome, and you’re out with a pure heart to save the universe! But you don’t necessarily know that. You might think you’re just out to help a friend, or out to help your town or your community. But eventually, you always end up saving the world.

So why does this annoy me? It’s about the structure. A good RPG has anything from 50-500 hours of game play built into it. The main story is anything from 8-20 hours of this total. So what’s with the other 480 hours? Well, that’s the most important part of any RPG! That’s all the shit that you can do while saving the world when you don’t quite feel like saving the world. Someone lost a puppy. Go find it! Someone needs a haircut. Buy them scissors. Someone wants a mine full of zombies and walking skeletons cleared so he can steal the treasure that you’re going to go steal in the process of clearing the mine for him. Go clear the mine.

What makes this awesome? The whole time you’re out collecting bottles of water or catching fairies or chasing puppies, the evil power that is destroying the world is apparently sitting on his ass eating grapes and jerking off. He’s the laziest villain ever, because as you are rising to power, he’s just hanging out saying to himself “I’m going to wait to make my next step in global domination until someone comes to throw a wrench in the machine.” He has no drive, no ambition! He’s just hanging out waiting for you to roll up into his space and stab him in the back before he reaches global domination.

What I expect from a RPG and a villain is this: “Warrior, while you were out collecting some chickens for the farmer that let them all escape because he’s lazy and left the gate open, Super Villain X decided to kill the king and took over the kingdom. Way to waste time.”

That’s what I want in a RPG. Someone, go make that game so I can lose at it for collecting horse poo in a jar.