Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 64 - Four Acts

Today's blog will consist of 4 acts.

Act I - The Sky
This is a sky under which one should be running.

Central Indiana not known for our crystal clear blue skies. We hit the lottery today.

Couldn't get my run in early. Had a demo to prepare. But a lunch time run was going to be sweet.

Act II - Bank by Phone

Thanks to my new (and smokin' hot) financial planner, I am finally making some progress on wrangling the ol' pesos. Today's task was to get the payoff amount and interest rate for my car loan. Simple enough.

Not.

My car loan is the only low-tech loan I have. Probably the only low-tech account period. Not statements. No online access. It's like 1973.

I found a phone number (surprised it was 7 numbers and not written with letters for the exchange, like KL5-1227, or PA6-5000). I was able to hear all about my last payment, when it was made, for how much, what page it was entered with a big feathery quill in their big Ebenezer Scrooge style accounting book. Useful stuff like that. I even managed to get the payoff amount.

Now, all I needed was the interest rate... let's go through the options, again. Nope. Nope. Nope. Might be down this rat hole... Nope. Maybe I'll press "0" to talk to a person. Nope. All the way back to the top... Nope. Nope. Nuh-uh. Nope. Nope. Uh, no, already tried that, numb-nutz recording. Ah, "7" for a person. Of course, everyone uses 7.


Your interest rate? Well, says here that it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!


"Your hold time is 6-8 minutes." <--- This is a big fat lie.

20 minutes of truly horrible music interrupted by commercials for the bank's other offerings, like horse shoeing and blood letting.

When the "banker" finally answered, I had my interest rate in about 15 seconds.

Act III - BSOD

Believe it or not, there is something worse than a conference call.

Giving a demo or your software by way of a conference call is way worse.

This involves not only a horrible conference bridge with everyone on speaker phone and in rooms with the acoustics of a trash can, but also an intricate chain of connections and not-ready-for-prime-time technology called "Web Conferencing", just so the other side can see on their computer what is happening on mine.

It's even better when you have to prepare the demo from scratch.

And it takes your entire morning and lunch.

And you don't get to run over lunch with the other guys under that gorgeous sky from Act I.

But if you're lucky, and I was, it all comes together. In this case mere minutes before the demo starts.

Everything was working just fine... except that the other-side of this demo had problems logging in. 5 minutes gone.

Next they needed a new projection monitor (there are several people in a room looking at a big screen showing my computer screen...probably in the dark... kinda creepy thing to do at work if you stop and think about it). 10 more minutes gone.

The second monitor didn't work either. Another 10 minutes...

Finally, the demo is underway... the host gives a little intro and hands it over to me, not realizing that 30 seconds earlier I'd been dropped from the Web Conference. My laptop had popped a BSOD ... Blue Screen of Death.

This is what the Grim Reaper looks like to an Operating System... and a live demo.

My product was fine... but the laptop I was using as my link into that tenuous chain of "technology", just puked all over itself. And then passed out.

Luckily my host was able to vamp for the 10 minutes it took for my laptop to reboot and for me to insert my tin cans and string back into the line.

It all dragged on long enough to butt up against yet another meeting filled afternoon... meaning no run from work.

The rest of the demo went great. Thanks for asking.

Act IV - The Run

I was home by 5 and anxious to get my run in.

Turned out pretty good, actually, for the dog. She got to go with me. We hit a big grassy field that would be easy on my foot and crazy fun for her nose.

You know... it worked out great for her. A little too great. She got to run and I came home first instead of going straight to the swim meet.

You don't suppose she's been studying up on ways to hack Web Conferences, do you? She could mouse easy enough, but how would she type with those big doofy paws?

I better change my password.

Good running,
Doug

Numbers: 1.4 tentative miles. Foot not looking good for the race tomorrow.