End of the Year Review: Year 2

It was field day at the junior high today, so on top of being slow this time of year, I didn’t have anything new coming in. I decided to walk around some of the activities there, and had lunch from Subway that was brought in. School let out two hours early for our awards assembly at the performing arts center.

The guys left the shop earlier than I expected, so I was the last one to make it to the PAC. I mingled a little in the lobby, then found a seat with Summer and Miranda. Ryan got tech of the year, which was well deserved after all the work he’s been doing on just about everything that makes the rest of our jobs easier.

I stuck around and chatted with Becky for a little while until traffic settled down, and then headed home. On the way toward Hickey Park, I saw a fox run across the road from the school into the little meadow between the campus and the park. It had a squirrel in its mouth, which I kind of assume was dinner for some tiny fox babies.

When I got home, I moved the rest of the tadpoles to the 55-gallon tank. I counted around 250 alive, and only really found one corpse. There were some others that didn’t seem too active, but there’s a ton of movement now that they all have way more space to swim around. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with over 200 frogs, but it should be entertaining. The pair I took to Oakland have gotten way bigger than any of the ones I have at home, which I guess is due to less crowding and better water quality. Hopefully the larger tank will fix both of those issues, though I still need to go buy some more filter media.

I drove through Wendy’s for a couple burgers on the way to Summer’s house. She baked some fries, and we watched The Office for a while. There was some leftover caramel apple pie from the bake sale that was super good too.

On the way home, I decided to stop at Walmart for some new batteries to put in my Nest Protect and a replacement lava lamp bulb for the one I broke in the library. Then I ran into Steven while I was looking at water hose nozzles. I see his dad around the neighborhood, but I haven’t seen him in years. Crazy how time works.

Price check on prune juice, Bob. Price check on prune juice.

The Existential Review: Year 2

Reviews seemed to be bumped back by a month this year for some reason. I didn’t notice in time to ask about the timing, but I guess it really doesn’t matter.

It was the last day of testing, and everything went alright. Quiznos for lunch. Lots of work orders for after.

I met Josue at Ruby Tuesday for our birthday burgers. I left a little early to get there and took a loop around town to get there on the bike on account of the weather. Then we caught up over beer and cheeseburgers. He came by the house for a while after to see the new TV and what I’ve made of my home theater so far.

I needed to get some laundry done, but I’m exhausted, so it’s sleep instead.

Dinkin’ flicka.

High Class; Low Society

You want the nicest house on the block. It’s better to have high class in low society than low class in high society. I visited a recently/currently renovated McDonald’s for lunch today that was a perfect example. The self-ordering kiosks weren’t functioning yet, but the mobile ordering works well. Service and food were great because the owner was there in his McVette. It was a little funny that the manager didn’t know what I was talking about when I said I wanted to pay with Android Pay. I’ve used that method to pay for ages, and now suddenly it’s a problem because of some new floor tiles.

Back at work, I successfully installed Neverware on an old Gateway laptop, essentially turning a slow Windows machine into a faster Chromebook. Ryan was impressed enough, but nobody else was around to bear witness. Another day.

After work, I headed home and lost track of time in PUBG land again. I actually intended to go out again, but it’s probably best that I didn’t, as tired as I was this morning.

But what do white people think about the “Black Panther” movie?

MOOvie Day

We continued our movie marathon today with The Incredible HulkCaptain America, and Iron Man 2. We took a break in the afternoon somewhere between the movies and picked up some Popeye’s for a late lunch. As though the universe was teaching me a lesson for continuing to do business there, they shorted us our seven biscuits and all of our dipping sauces. On top of that, the spicy chicken seemed to not be spicy at all. Even more disappointing were the ghost pepper wings I decided to try again. I’ve seriously had ice cream spicier than those wings. At least the chicken was fresh and hot in temperature, unlike the fries that were cold and soggy.

By the time everyone left, I needed some time to unwind. Jack got on and played a few duos with me, and though we got close, we never won. I guess tomorrow I’ll clean house again. I don’t know why I thought chicken grease wouldn’t end up on all the things.

Don’t get crazy.

Technophile: Pixel 2 XL

I was surprised how much it warmed up today. I wasn’t expecting it after this past cold week.

My Pixel 2 XL finally came in today after like a month of waiting. I finally split my Google Voice number off from my Sprint number and used it to sign up for Google Fi to compare coverage and quality of service to what I’ve been getting on Sprint. I figure it’s time to look at options now that there’s no incentive to stay with any particular carrier. The Pixel 2 uses an eSIM instead of a physical SIM card for service on Fi, so I was able to sign up and jump right into service without any trouble at all. I’m a little nervous about losing my account history from Google Voice, but hopefully it will all just slide right over. I get to continue using Hangouts with SMS, which will hopefully also eliminate the weird issues I had with group SMS and certain emojis or text strings when combining Google Voice with Sprint integration.

The first thing I noticed on the new Pixel 2 XL was the color shift when viewing off-axis. I kind of wrote it off when listening to reviewers complain about it because I thought I had a similar color shifting issue with other phones and didn’t mind it, but WOW this is bad. I absolutely would not have expected this quality from any flagship device even a few years ago. I heard others make similar remarks, but it honestly didn’t look that bad in videos. In person, you get blue-shifting almost immediately off axis when looking at a white screen. It’s not nearly as noticeable when looking at a photo or something darker, but anything super white is painfully obvious. So far I haven’t noticed any issue with image retention or burn-in, but it may be too early to tell, and I haven’t been watching for it super hard either.

I’ve tried to just use it as I normally would, and my biggest complaint aside from the screen is the size of the phone in conjunction with the indistinct texture of the power button and its placement above the volume buttons. The size of the phone requires that I completely shift my grip to reach the power button that is way up in the top right to turn the screen off. While shifting my grip again to put it away, I find that I often accidentally unlock the phone again as I graze the fingerprint reader. On top of that, all of this grip-shifting leaves me more prone to dropping the phone, which is terrifying now that I’m not getting them for free with a one-time damage replacement from HTC Uh Oh. I’m not even sure if I’m still eligible for an ADH plan from either Fi or straight from the Google store, but it hasn’t been offered to me anywhere yet.

I still find myself trying to unlock the phone by touching where the home button was on my HTC 10. The fingerprint reader on the back isn’t the worst placement, but I definitely felt better about gripping the chin of the phone to unlock it than I do finding the right spot on the back. Hopefully a little bit of time will get me used to most of these things, but the texture of the power button being indistinguishable from the texture of the volume button is going to be a thorn in my side. Things like this really show the attention to detail that I’m used to from HTC. Without tactile differentiation on the buttons, I keep fumbling the simple locking of the device, which is something I have to do literally every time I use the device.

The volume and clarity of the speakers is actually pretty disappointing for it to have dual front-facing speakers. I really expected more in this area. It sounds okay, but it’s no HTC Boomsound. While playing with the ringtones, I found that sound was only coming out of the bottom speaker. Music plays out of both, but the bottom speaker is clearly louder and harsher than the top speaker, giving you an unbalanced feel when watching videos with stereo sound. I also wish the Now Playing feature that shows the title of ambient songs playing in the background would work with songs being played on the Pixel itself. Seriously, why the hell would it show me song information for something I’m not playing, but not show me information for something I’m actively playing on my device? That’s just stupid.

Voice quality on Google Fi seems to be lacking quite a bit compared to Sprint. I’m willing to make that sacrifice since I rarely make phone calls, but it’s worth noting. I’ve never found a carrier with voice quality as good as Sprint in this area. I haven’t really done any speed tests yet because I’m paying per megabyte, but I guess I should spend a few cents to compare service while I can.

Overall I just need to spend some more time with it to see how I really feel. Next week back at work should be interesting. I really hope I don’t drop it, because I’m going naked. #YOLO

After I got the phone set up, I took a shower and headed to the theater to meet with Jesica to watch Murder on the Orient Express. She finally texted right before the movie was set to start to let me know she was just finished getting her hair done, so I abandoned ship and went to my parents’ house for a while. I ended up eating some leftovers there, then came back home to play with the Pixel some more.

Fulfilled Plans: 2/5
At least there’s a Steam sale.

End of the Year Review: Year 1

We had a big assembly today to sort of celebrate the end of the year. It was discouraging to hear some of my team fuss over it beforehand, because it seemed like a decent enough event to me. There wasn’t a huge amount of fanfare, but those that were retiring were paraded across the stage as their superiors said words. Employees of the year were recognized, and received some small tokens as well. It’s tough for small departments like ours where we basically have to rotate each other through the process for employee of the month awards, but even in my first year here, I could tell Gary was deserving of the recognition of overall employee of the year. He may put on a grumpy hat most days, but he’s truly one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known, and I’m happy to get to work with him after all these years after graduating together. I never even knew he was that much of a tech guy, but he’s about as sysadmin as you can get.

We got to go home a bit early after the assembly, but I didn’t bother to use any of that time to actually clean the house like I intended. Jesica came over after work, and we went to Walmart to pick up some food for MOOvie Night tomorrow. We ran into Kevin and Brandi, but he has other plans tomorrow. Hopefully I get at least a couple newcomers though.

What’s the difference between a technology tech in this district and a large, deep dish, pepperoni pizza from Domino’s Pizza?

The Existential Review: Year 1

Studying for the CompTIA A+ exam has really made me rethink my career choice. I love my job, but I cannot imagine a future in which I have a real need to know how many pins are on all of these different CPU sockets, or what a Land Grid Array is and how it differs from the Pin Grid Array. I don’t need to know exactly how long a USB 3.1 cable is rated for because they are already terminated when I buy them. I felt a bit like Tyler Durden during his speech about knowing what a duvet is. Is this essential for my survival? Studying for this exam has brought me back in time to when I was at university trying to earn a degree in computer science. It has filled my heart with the same burden of dissatisfaction and regret, and I want to cry.

My boss Ben was as encouraging as he could be when I said all of this during my first annual review, which is one of the reasons I love working for him. He’s always super approachable, and he’s just generally a great human. He will be the last to die when my race descends upon this planet and scorches the ground with our heat rays. Because it’s my blog, and if I want to be an alien from another planet, I can be. And so it goes.

After work, I spent some time in the garden with my aunt next door and saved this little mapley guy.

He is one of many from the fruit of the tree that my father started mowing around when I was born. Though I may not be productive in this life, may my tree and its descendents provide shade for others, forevermore.

Afterward, I met Jesica for a trip to Freddo’s Frozen Treats, where I’m pretty sure I was robbed by a girl behind the counter. I cannot condone whatever is happening in this establishment, delicious as their treats may be.

Some day, I’m gonna be big and tall like my dad…