Work 2006

Break it on down!

This one's for you, Alissa, being the CSI freak that you are...

I was searching through the non-credit catalog for Waubonsee Community College (our local C.C.) recently looking for some Adobe Illustrator courses when I came across the perfect profession for myself and for all of you in the Blogosphere.

It is the Forensic Computer Examiner Program. Check this out...

This 150-hour program prepares individuals for a career as a forensic computer examiner. Students will learn to retrieve evidence and prepare reports, based on that evidence, which will stand up in a court of law. The ethics of computer forensics, and the preparation and analysis of investigation results are also covered in this self-paced class. The primary certification for civilian forensic computer examiners is the Certified Computer Examiner (CCE) certification. This online program is an authorized CCE training course and thoroughly prepares students to take the CCE certification exam. Prereq: Basic computer skills, including the ability to work outside the Windows GUI interface, remove hard disk drives and change jumpers is required. NOTE: The class fee is nonrefundable once enrollment is processed. For a complete syllabus that lists resources included and required purchases, visit www.gatlineeducation.com/waubonsee.

Just try and tell me that doesn't sound cool! How awesome would it be to sit down at a computer and shred it for hidden data?

Okay, I'm sure after a while, the process itself might get a bit tedious. But I think the thrill of the hunt and the actual discovery of the lurid details of someone's personal life would definitely make it worthwhile. Think of it as Googling a person, but juiced up on 'roids (the process, not the person).

This just sounds like it would be a blast, and something that I would be great at.

Now can anyone foot me the $2,895 class fee?


Opportunity, opportunity, this is your big opportunity...

I received all kinds of responses to my feeble attempts at poetry yesterday from people saying that it's hilarious to people feeling sorry for me for all the crap I endured on Thursday.

However, one response, that none of you saw (because it came in on e-mail), is one that I never in my wildest imagination would have expected to receive.

Miscmsemail

Sorry it's a little blurry. Hard to resize it without killing the clarity of the text. Here is the entire text of the e-mail (complete with corporate disclaimer... ooh boy!):

Dear Mr. Apgar,

This e-mail is being sent in response to the “Ode to Microsoft Windows” posted to your blog on Friday, March 31, 2006.

As a loyal user of Microsoft products (would my employer have it any other way?), I do take issue with your claims that Macintosh OS X is superior to our Windows operating system. And our pending launch of Windows Vista, should you give it the chance it so richly deserves, will be a testament to that claim.

But this is a discussion for another time as I am writing you for an entirely different purpose.

As part of the marketing and promotions staff for Microsoft, I am charged with finding new ways to promote our range of products, and, more specifically, Windows Vista. As you may or may not realize, Vista has taken a virtual beating in the World Wide Web due to the need of our corporation to push back the launch date until later this calendar year.

In order to quell this dissent, I am attempting to find bloggers who would be willing to test a Beta version of Vista. We are asking these bloggers to open up a new blog and begin writing about their experiences from the very beginning as they install the OS through to actual personalization of the user interface and regular daily use of the OS. We want people to see that its implementation will be seamless and even an improvement on how their computer currently operates.

Why am I asking you? While we could easily recruit from a large pool of the Windows faithful, I prefer to portray a more balanced viewpoint. Having a few skeptics amongst our blogger corps would bring about that balance. In the end, of course, we hope to make a loyal user out of you, as well. If we can make a believer out of even the most ardent Macintosh users, there is no reason why Vista would not be a good computing solution for anyone.

I realize that you are a Macintosh user and that you may not even own a Windows-based PC of your own on which you could install Vista. I doubt the Information Services department at your place of employment would allow such an installation on one of their machines, either. If it is the case that you do not own a Windows computer, please inform me and we will send you an IBM ThinkPad for use in this project. The laptop would be yours to hold on to for as long as you remain a blogger on this project. A per-word stipend will also be paid to you. We can discuss details at your earliest convenience.

We hope that our blog campaign is successful so that we can expand it to other product launches in the future. And we would like to see you take part in these, as well. This, of course, would be dependent on your experience with the Beta version of Vista.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Thomas Chamberlain
Assistant Manager of Marketing and Promotions
Windows Division
Microsoft Corporation

Cc: Peter Simmons, Marketing and Promotions; Jane Reyes, Product Development

THC/psr


This email and any attachments are confidential, may contain legally privileged information and are intended solely for the use of the addressee. If you are not the intended addressee and/or have received this email in error, please immediately notify me and delete it from your email system without disclosing its contents or that of any attachments to any third parties and without retaining any copies.

Part of me is morbidly curious and wants so badly to prove him wrong. The other part immediately screams "no way in hell, why would you want to work in cahoots with the Evil Empire!"

So, what should I do? You think I should look into this a bit more and see what it's all about? Finding an employee list on the Microsoft site is an exercise in futility so confirming whether or not he's for real may be entirely out of the question. The e-mail address seems legit, but spam has a way...

What would you do?

Hell, do you think blogging this negates their offer?


Get over it, get over it...

Apparently, I'm in quite a bitter, yet poetic, mood today.

An Ode to the Dipshit at the Gym Yesterday...

You came up to the counter last night,
With a tone full of venom and spite.
You got in my face,
You fucking headcase.
Now I may string you up like a kite.

© 2006 Kevin Apgar

Here's a tip, jackass... when your "favorite" treadmill is on the fritz, USE ANOTHER ONE! Or, better yet, take advantage of our 65-degree weather and run outside.

I hate stupid people.

But I love limericks.


Steamy windows, zero visibility...

An ode to Microsoft Windows...

Together we work, day in and day out
This situation makes me want to shout.

You freeze, you crash, you enrage me daily,
Yet your makers sing your praises gaily.

Some IT departments, stubborn they are,
Are their choices made while drunk in a bar?

They prefer the low-priced licensing rates,
Don't they realize they're tempting the fates?

Price equals quality, this much rings true,
I've declared this fact til my face turns blue.

Invest in quality, shoot for long term,
Make a wise choice and stand by it quite firm.

There's another choice, a better O.S.,
One that makes you scream aloud, "OH HELL YES."

The name's OSX and it's made by Mac,
And once you've gone Mac, there's no going back.

© 2006 Kevin Apgar

I'm done with you Windows. You and all the errors and crashes that you so readily propagate. My fury is at its peak. I want out... but I can't. Work dictates I deal with this hell on a daily basis.

I wish I knew how to quit you.


What words you say...

Yesterday afternoon, the phone in my office rang.

Me: "Kevin Apgar."

Him: "Hi.  This is so-and-so with the Aurora Beacon-News.  You recently answered our request about iPod playlists and I wanted to follow up with a few questions if that's okay with you."

A little background information:
I work in public relations and our Media Relations Director (MRD) is always looking for people on campus to take part in media requests.  He'll receive random requests for information that local newspapers send out in bulk to their contact lists and our MRD tries to forward them on to people that he feels might be good sources of information.  It can be a request for any number of topic areas from academic or religious information all the way on down to experts on Harry Potter.

Mine just happened to be about iPods and what the top ten songs are in my playlist.  The MRD gave me the request and I replied to it.

And, a couple weeks later, I got a callback about it.

Oh, and he really did have a name.  But, for the life of me, I'll be damned if I can remember it.

Him: "So you fell right in the middle of the range of ages of people who responded to the request."

Me: "Really?"

Him: "Yep.  I had kids as young as 11 and people as old as 60 respond."

Me: "Wow."

Him: "Yeah, I never expected that good a turnout.  But it's given me a lot of information to choose from."

Me: "I'll bet it has."

So we sat around and talked music for about 10-15 minutes.

Wow, what a great break in the day.  Just talk to someone about music in the middle of the workday. Those are very welcome breaks.  Especially when the person is knowledgeable enough themselves.  I haven't had someone in the office with whom I could talk music since Eric moved to Michigan, so this was a great reprieve.

We talked about ways in which I acquire music (my collection, Eric, the library, and the iTunes Music Store), whether I support the concept of peer-to-peer sharing networks (split... I don't support piracy, but I think it's fine to use P2P to find out if you like something enough before buying it... I like to know what I'm spending my hard-earned money on ahead of time), if I've ever used P2P (back in the day when Napster was free and in some early versions of Limewire to do exactly what I described above), and what I think of the RIAA (a joke that generally just puts out shit music, charges way too much for it, and constantly creates policies and initiates lawsuits that drive more and more people to want to take part in piracy instead of concentrating their efforts on finding a positive, viable solution).

It really was a great conversation and I hope that some of my input finds its way into the article.  I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't, though, since I've been interviewed before and all my information was cut from the final article.

If it does make it in there, I'll either link to it or repost the entire article here.

It would be cool if I get in there.

Miscfranzferdinand On the music front, Alex and Nick from Franz Ferdinand were given the 20 questions by Playboy this month (I know this from reading Right Thoughts, not from reading Playboy).  One of the questions pertained to how digital downloads and MP3 players, specifically the iPod, affect music sales...

PLAYBOY: Some musicians aren’t very happy about the iPod.

NICK: I’m not quite sure.  I think if you’re in one place, it’s nice to have an actual album, a record sleeve, the lyrics.  So there will always be that element of wanting to own something and not just have a song on a hard drive.  But I know I travel a lot - and I’ve always liked to travel light - I don’t like to have a lot of possessions.  What I do is buy a CD and stick it in and rip it.  Then I can listen to it and have it with me even if I lose the CD or give it away.

ALEX: I like the idea that, because of downloading, people are going to buy songs only if they are good.  I think that’s a positive thing.  It means lazy bands aren’t going to get away with giving you one hit single and an album full of filler.  We like the idea that every song should stand up in its own right so you don’t have to listen to a song in the context of an album to understand it.  I suppose that’s why I’m sympathetic to the download environment.

Alex's response is right on the money.  That really sums it up perfectly, doesn't it?  Yet the RIAA hasn't learned anything, have they?

And I just found this article from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) in which the RIAA says that copying CDs to an iPod should not constitute "fair use."  Good luck with that one.  Asshats.