Breaking in the new equipment…

So, I got a fancy new laptop from work last week. Let me lead off by saying overall it’s a tremendous improvement from the five-year-old laptop I was previously saddled with using. That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t a few issues.

The first, which I discovered on my first full day of using the laptop away from its “docking station” on my desk at the office, is that there are only two USB ports. Those ports are arranged in such a way that it’s impossible to simultaneously plug in my removable Wi-Fi adapter and any other USB device. The adapter is slightly wider than a thumb drive… but sufficiently wide that it makes the second port unusable. Fine. A $13 USB hub ordered from Amazon later (plus $2.99 for same day delivery) and I can now use my air card and a mouse simultaneously. I won’t comment on the aesthetics of that whole set up other than saying it looks like absolute trash sitting on my desk at home. 

This morning, a piece of software I use all day every day fired up as expected and a few minutes later promptly disappeared. It’s as if it never existed on my machine at all. No trace of it anywhere. 

This necessitated a call to the obviously misnamed “Enterprise Help Desk.” The gentleman I eventually spoke to was nice enough, going so far as musing that it was strange because the last person he talked to was having the same issue with the same missing program. More people with the same problem might sound like it’s worse, but in fact being part of a big problem is much better, because something that impacts many users is far more likely to get attention than if you’re the odd man out in the wilderness somewhere. If it’s a group problem, it might actually get fixed. If it’s an individual problem there’s a pretty even shot that your ticket will just linger long enough for someone to mark it complete regardless of whether they’ve solved your problem or not.

Here I am, hoping that I really am part of the many rather than the few. In the meantime, I’ve been directed to the web version of the program that I need to use all day. Honestly, if there’s anything more problematic than not having the software you need, relying on its underpowered web version is it. As always, my standard disclaimer applies… if Uncle wants me to be able to do something, I’ll be given the resource to do it. Otherwise, I’ll cheerfully report that there’s nothing significant to report or that we just can’t get there from here.

On the up side, at the rate we upgrade our office technology, I could have as few as one more new computer to go before I call it a full career. So, I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Logic…

I like keeping my phone on a belt clip. It’s geeky and will never be a fashion-correct approach, but it’s convenient and that trumps either of those other considerations. I’m also finicky about the clip and case combination I use. It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me that I like things precisely the way I like them… and pretty much no other way. This past weekend, the clip caught on something and broke so I’ve been attempting to make due sans clip for the time being. That’s not going particularly well given the combination of pen knife, keys, and other random ephemera that ends up in my pockets.

Having dropped my phone more in the last four days than I’ve dropped any phone over the last four years, I’m forced to concede a change is in order. There’s a method to my madness, of course. Things here seldom happen without there being some underlying logic to them. Even if it’s logic that only makes sense between my own ears.

In a herculean fit of warped reasoning, it occurred to me that spending $30 on a clip to fit a phone I’m due to replace any time now is kind of like putting new tires on a car you’re about to trade in. In my mind, addled as it is by years of accounting for money in those special ways that only Uncle Sam can fathom, the more logical thing to do was to go ahead and buy a new phone and a new clip now instead of waiting another month or two. Let that percolate for a moment if you will. Somewhere in my head it sounded perfectly reasonable to spend $900 on a new phone and then $60 on a new case and clip than it did to spent $30 for a replacement clip to keep the old phone in operation a bit longer.

If anyone wants to know the exact date and time I realized I’ve spent too long working for the government it was Saturday, November 19th, 2016 around 2PM… When I decided spending $960 to save $30 somehow made sense. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed for the time being… though I still don’t have an acceptable or convenient way to keep my phone tethered to me at all times so the whole experience has been decidedly unsatisfying for all involved.