Monday, March 21, 2011

Thanks for the help.

I needed a software tool from our IT department to view some demo documents that our IT department had created.  I went to download it and, after following the white rabbit through a number of internal web-sites and links, I discovered I needed to download a downloading tool in order to download the tool I wanted.


So I downloaded the downloading tool.  It next needed to be configured with servers, proxies, and some form of login.  I gave up and put in a general ticket for help, along the lines of: What do I put in the fields for servers, proxies, and logins?


Here's the answer I got back, with the ticket pretty optimistically marked by him (her?) as comlete:
Reply - 21.03.2011 11:27:15 -

Support Guy


Please first request profile B_SWDC_DL_NO for OW1 via the CUP

tool -> https://uap.MyCompany.corp/AE/index.jsp. For more information

please refer to the note no. 1037575 ->

Detailed information how to configure SDM for MyCompany internal can be

found at the attached note no. 600659 or via the following URL:

For more information about the software download approval process

for MyCompany Internal, please refer to the attached note no. 1090288

or open the note via the following URL:

Other helpful SDM notes are:

574885 Download Manager: Tracefile für Analyse

401195 Download Manager: Unable to read basket

Best Regards,

Support Guy.


I tried.  Honest I did.  I tried for 45 minutes.  The I decided to write support back:


This is more than ridiculous.

I have bludgeoned my way through the CUP/GRC/WTF site and, after trying to understand it for a while, I simply gave up and started clicking on things so I could get past the roadblocks its ABSOLUTELEY INCOMPREHENSIBLE USER INTERFACE* was throwing at me and, voila, I lucked into getting the data to be input and approved. What that whole thing was I think I'm beginning to understand.

Anyway, I have popped open the five or ten tangential browser tabs and windows necessary to get to the other notes that tell me things like "I'll need to enter my password" to find out what my password is. With that mission perhaps accomplished, I'm of course pointed to more OSS notes and web pages which pop up even more windows and tabs that ask me what my password is and tell me to do very-unclear-to-the-un-initiated things such as to turn off that which is un-turn-offable, the almighty PSE Single Sign On (hey, that's what SSO stands for! How about that? Acronym reverse-engineering provided at no charge) solution, which works so well that you CAN'T turn it off as advised, yet works so POORLY that every time I access an SSO enabled application within our corporate IT stack I arrive there, well, NOT SIGNED IN, causing me to click on the "Logon" button on, for example, the corporate portal, or to type my login into StreamWork, which is rumored to be SSO enabled. But will PSE die? Will it let me turn it off? No! It is apparently immortal and impervious to all known technology weapons, including the ultimate death-machine, ctrl-alt-delete, kill-process. Wow, the cockroaches could learn a thing or two from PSE.

What is it's password, this mysterious "MyCompanyNet" password? I'm sure you're as curious as I am. Well, I'm sorry to say that I haven't a clue. More links and more windows take me full circle into suggesting that I put in yet another ticket to find out what the heck my own password is. Apparently it's neither my MyCompany_ALL password nor is it my MyCompanySuportPortal login's password. I've tried those. Where? I can't even remember, there were so many tools and web sites and download managers and logins.

This is a cry for help in the wilderness.

Won't you please cost the company some money and efficiency and help someone (me) who costs the company, oh, let's see, roughly $110 an hour based on last year's W2 (this is pay only. Please don't factor in administrative, tax, travel and expenses, and other costs for a fully loaded employee, or it will make you cry), and pick up the phone and call me? I'm at My Phone Number. That's in the United States. Where are you?

I'm thinking maybe a five minute long distance phone call, costing roughly $0.25 would be more cost effective than having me run around for two hours in my vain effort to download a simple internal demo-viewing product (which should have been on the standard image, by the way). This same demo-viewing tool will, I know, can absolutely rely on, have faith in, bet-yer-bottom-dollar, not work for my Windows 7 image, as one of the many OSS notes that flew past my eyes before I fell into IE's trance and decided to see what's up on Twitter for a while and gripe about environmentalists with their cheesy "please don't print this email unless you have too," as if all I do all day long is print out emails unnecessarily, indicated I'd have to follow a few more notes. Notes are the devil to find and follow. Did you know that? See my rant about usability below. It applies here too.

I keep getting asked for passwords that PSE fails to, in its immortality, provide, as it's so concerned and focused on just the act of living that it fails to live. It's kind of like Sharon Stone's movie career, you know? Basic Instinct 2? Are you kidding me? She's like fifty years old! Anyway, I'm still willing to take my chances and bow to the four corners of the earth a few times in order to make it run because, well, underneath it all I'm ever an optimist that maybe, just maybe, the stars will align with the super-moon we had over the weekend and it will work, it will Toto! And you can all visit me in Kansas.

I've received two or three emails letting me know that my wise overlords are reviewing my request to download this simple tool and will let me know when they deem me worthy (oops, there's the confirmation, I'm worthy! Praise be!) to download.

I've done what I can. I've entered most of the information I asked for (thanks for all the links, they've been great, but they still left the problem-solving to me and though I love a good mystery novel, I'm just NOT IN THE MOOD for it today.) and my 8gb of ram is running out and the TTGTT (that's Tool-To-Get-The-Tool for you acronym happy people out there) is still gives me an error. So please, as Harry said to Sally (you have seen When Harry Met Sally, haven't you? Great flick for couples. My wife and I watch it every two to three years and just laugh and giggle and blush and tease each other because so much of it is SOOO true!), "Call me!"

* Seriously, if the data it needs is a simple tree, as in "My role, the component I'm asking for, some portion within that component, and a text-field for justification", I don't think we at MyCompany could have done a WORSE job of making it completely unclear as to how to enter these ostensibly drop-down choices. I mean, come on! It took me fifteen minutes, and I'm an pre-sales engineer. I demonstrate this stuff to customers. I'm an expert. I couldn't figure it out. Please, yell at the developers first for me, then scream at the idiots who allow regulations to this extent to be foisted on business, slowing it down and adding to its costs, hence causing economic slowdowns and poverty. Sheesh. Yes, I'm having a bad day.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Progress Report Hamy. Beginning Finishing

Over the last week, Henry and I have been experimenting with brush-on/rag-on oil-based polyurethane finishes.  We've glues some of his final veneer to a sample wood block and experimented with that block and a chunk of Mahogany left over from project Junior.

We've sanded, cabinet scraped, sealed, applied layers of poly, and sanded some more.  Thge results are okay... but I think two or three lessons have been loearned here:

  • if you're not spraying the finish on, then you need to apply poly with an apprpriate brush, and apply slowly, gently , and in one direction only so as to flow the poly on more than paint it on.  Very different from painting, say, the wall of a house.
  • Tack cloth really should be used to get the surface really clean before applying.  I'd been wiping with varying leather gloves and ragged t-shirts, but that doesn't really get the small dust out like a tack-cloth will.
  • I've learned a lot about sanding.  While 220 and 400 do provide a smooth finish, you need to tart with something rougher to get to a flat surface, and use 220 and 400 (and probably higher) to make that flat surface smooth. Yes, I've been using sanding blocks. 
Here's a picture of Henry's Sapele veneer finished with two coats of sealer and three coats of poly, sanding between each coat.  It maintains its depth, but the surface is craggy- not flowed.  I think that's a result of the rag-on, back and forth technique.  I'll be doing more of these experimental finishes over the next few weeks to see what works best, and then we go for the gusto on the real deal.

Photo courtesy of my new blackberry bold.  Not bad for a phone!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Obama's budget

This year's budget:

$ 3,700,000,000,000

divided by the current US population



$11,935.48 from every man, woman, and child in the country.

Of which...

$ 1,700,000,000,000

(or $5,322.58 from each man, woman and child) is, um, unfunded.

That's a $47,741.52 tax burden for a family of four. 

I can't wait until next year!