I dreamed I was eating something last night. I had dinner. I wasn't hungry. Sometimes I'll have dreams of eating when I am hungry. I hate that. I don't remember the details of the dream because I woke up having bitten the crap out of my tung. I didn't taste blood, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. It's funny, sometimes you can fall asleep in pain. That is a good thing. I've forced myself to sleep through migraines.
Ford Motor Company no longer makes parts for Model-Ts. Why do we expect software companies to support their products indefinitely? Some of the folks at my day job have blown a gasket because Microsoft is killing support for NT 4.0. What pisses me off is software patent holders who have no intention of supporting old products who want to prevent third parties from supporting the old software. This is called a forced upgrade. If the old software does what someone needs, don't force them to upgrade. Honestly, Microsoft cannot support its old products for ever. It simply puts out too many products for that. I don't have a problem with it. Don't sue people who come out with services to do it themselves.
Mazen (Abbas) will not try to confiscate the illegally held
weapons, he will not take on Hamas," Zeevi said in comments broadcast
on public radio.
"Abu Mazen will try to convince (Hamas) and appeal to Palestinian public opinion to put pressure on the terrorists by explaining that this generation has suffered enough," added Zeevi.
"I believe he understands that he now has to take a strong position, an open, vocal, clear position against terrorism," Powell told Fox News.
"But more than just take a position, he has to fight against those forces within the Palestinian community that still think there is a role for terrorism."
KKK Gets Recognized
I'm not sure what to say about this. It is constitutional. Personally, I think the KKK is on par with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. My two cents, anyway. This is a wonderful country. This kind of thing proves it. I love America. Some of the people are real pricks.
Offbeat from USA Today
Every one keep your eyes pealed for a guy trying to pay for a Ferrari with many bags of nickels.
Dog vs Eagle ends in a draw.
this month, an Indiana third-grade teacher was suspended after being
accused of tapping students on the shoulder when they marked wrong
answers - the state's third alleged incident in as many years.
In September, Mississippi threw out portions of test scores at nine schools after discovering more than two dozen cases of alleged cheating. One fifth-grade teacher was fired after allegedly helping students on the writing portion of the test.
And in July, nine Arizona school districts invalidated portions of their test scores after teachers allegedly either read sections of the test to students or gave students extra time to finish. It was the state's 21st case of cheating since 2002.
The problem, say many education experts, is that the tests have been tied to teachers' job contacts and bonuses.
HISD has acted quickly, creating an Office of Inspector General to look into the allegations. "We must administer a testing process with total integrity," said Superintendent Abe Saavedra at a news conference last week. "And on those few occasions when someone decides to violate the rules, HISD will take swift and decisive action to stop it."
But cheating won't stop until the high-stakes testing system is thrown out, says Linda McSpadden McNeil, an education professor at Rice University who has studied the issue extensively. She believes No Child Left Behind is treating education like a business, with strangers managing schools remotely.
"You could have a great arts program, an unsafe playground, your ceiling falling in, or national merit scholars," says Dr. McNeil. "But all they look at is the passing rate of the children in your building."
It is the opening line on so many phone conversations these days: This call may be monitored for quality assurance purposes.
The taped message is so common that many callers might assume that no one is ever listening, let alone taking notes. But they would be wrong.
Monitoring is intended to track the performance of call center operators, but the professional snoops are inadvertently monitoring callers, too. Most callers do not realize that they may be taped even while they are on hold.
It is at these times that monitors hear husbands arguing with their wives, mothers yelling at their children, and dog owners throwing fits at disobedient pets, all when they think no one is listening. Most times, the only way a customer can avoid being recorded is to hang up.
Some privacy advocates worry that monitors, as well as operators, can steal customer passwords and other sensitive data. Thus far, few documented cases of identity theft have been unearthed involving monitors, and most monitoring companies screen their applicants. State wiretapping laws generally do not provide protection against recording of call center conversations (the taped message at the start of the call is in most cases considered an adequate privacy warning).
Sometimes, refereeing means reporting off-color calls - known in call center parlance as a "hot line" - like the flirtation that Mr. Pike overheard. Plenty of other calls also raise red flags, including customers and operators who shout, swear, talk politics or threaten bodily harm. Anyone hanging up - either an operator or an angry customer - sends out warnings, too.
Joyce Van Doren, an assessor for J.Lodge, recalled one man who canceled the cable service that was in his name because, he said, he had just divorced. The man, however, failed to hang up the phone when the customer service agent ended the call, so the tape kept rolling.
That is when Ms. Van Doren heard him reveal his real motive to a friend in the room: getting back at his former wife, who was going to be livid when she came home to find the cable TV disconnected.
Operators can also be marked down for being too helpful. Ms. Van Doren recalls one who told a customer about a special promotion on a cable service that was to start two weeks later. The customer was delighted, but the operator was reprimanded for failing to make the sale the day the customer called.
With thousands of call center jobs moving overseas, monitors are also noticing a growing reaction against operators with foreign accents. More customers now ask to speak to an American after they hear an operator with an Indian accent, said Miriam Nelson, who helps run Aon Consulting's center.
Perhaps inevitably, monitoring is also moving offshore. HyperQuality, which is based in Seattle, has 100 call monitors in New Delhi who eavesdrop on call center workers around the United States. Those raters, oceans away, are trying to make sense of hot lines and hotheads, too.
When things aren't going my way on a support call, I try to "kill them with kindness." That gets amazing results more often than not. I have worked both sides of the call. I've done support calls. I've made many calls to support of all kinds. I should come up with a book that has two halves. The first half for the call center people and the second half for the callers. The call center half would be titled simply "Next". The caller half would be titled "I'm Next".
Really, the same advice needs to go to both groups. Put yourself in their shoes.
If I'm the caller, I have to expect to give the same information to every one I talk to. I need to understand that the person on the other end is making $0.35 an hour (in India) and knows nothing about American culture. Treat people with respect. Speak slowly and don't expect any miracles. This person has had a week of training if you are lucky and probably knows nothing about the actual workings of whatever the thing you are calling about is. They just have a screen in front of them telling them what t say.
The assistant must realize the person would not call unless they needed something. They are probably paying for the service and want to be treated with respect. They want the problem to go away and most likely feel like the whole transaction is a waist of their time. Remember, you have had a whole week of training. The people on the other end have had none.
I've actually called the wrong mobile phone company asking for help once. I called my old mobile phone company looking for help on a different companies services. "oops!" It didn't dawn on me until the lady said "I can't find that number in our system."
I get calls every day asking me things that should go to the company's very expensive support. This company spends a fortune for support and people hate to use it. I support databases and package software. I get calls for Excel trouble. I get general XP questions. What is a good mp3 player? How do I get a program to move off the second monitor if the second monitor is no longer hooked up? Come on.