“Most people I know…”

28 02 2007

Just heard that Australian rock legend, Billy Thorpe, died of a massive heart attack last night. I never had the privilege of going to one of his concerts but his music – especially “Most people I know think that I’m crazy” – is the music I grew up with.

RIP Billy – you’ll be a great loss to the Aussie music industry.


Two clever YouTube videos

28 02 2007

The first is a Help Desk person assisting a user with some new technology (and having been a Help Desk person for a few years, I can really relate to this one!)

(If you can’t view it from this site, try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX0-nqRmtos)

The second is a brilliant animation – again, if you can’t view it from this site, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE&eurl=

(oops! messed up the embedding… will find out more and try again a bit later. Meantime, use the links! Sorted!)

More accolades for the gurus at PC Guru

26 02 2007

One of the critical things for me in this lifestyle shift ‘down south’ was the ability to continue working for my clients, albeit remotely. Computers and broadband access are an essential for me – and both MUST be working. Which is why I paid for a Guru from PC Guru to bring down the computers and install my network and get everything working.

And they did – with a minimum of fuss, and with almost no issues found after the guru had left. The couple of minor issues that I did encounter got resolved on Sunday (yes, they work on Sundays to fix customer problems!! in fact, they advertise 24/7 support).

I’ve given PC Guru a good write-up before – and I can only reiterate what I’ve already said about their professionalism, knowledge – and service! So, if you’re in Perth or Western Australia – hell, they do much of their support remotely, so it probably doesn’t matter where you are! – and you have PC support issues and aren’t a big enough business to have an IT person on staff, give PC Guru a try.

(No, this is not a paid advertisement – I’m just a very happy customer!)

Customer service

26 02 2007

I’ve talked about customer service before, and about how for me it’s often not what the issue is as much how it’s resolved. [Example 1, example 2, and example 3.]

Today I read two great articles on customer service: one was from Kathy Sierra’s “Creating Passionate Users” blog, a blog I read every time she writes a new entry – this one was titled: “What tail is wagging the ‘user happiness’ dog?“; the other was on “Seven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service” on Joel Spolsky’s site (referred to by Kathy). I read “Joel On Software” every so often, and invariably he – like Kathy – have messages that resonate with me.

If you have a spare few minutes, go ahead and read them both – they’re worth it!

Whoa back!

24 02 2007

A neighbour in our small street came by this morning and introduced himself. After asking “what we did for a crust”, he asked if we were Christians, then asked if we’re affiliated with any church! And said he’d given up drinking alcohol for Lent.

I was brought up to believe that subjects such as politics, religion, and sex were off-limits in general conversation and should only be entertained once you knew the people you were talking to really well. This neighbour is older than us, so I presume he was brought up the same way, but maybe not. Then again, he may belong to a church that is all about grabbing new members – there’s a strong JW community in town, I believe…

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked those questions before! Certainly not by someone who I’d met for about 2 minutes.

Updates on the move… Day 4

22 02 2007

Well, not much more to report… just unpacking more and more boxes and putting stuff away where it will live for the next couple of years.

All I know is that this is strenuous and exhausting work! My back aches, my feet ache, my legs ache, my hands are wrecked, my nails are all broken…

One thing I have been doing most days though, is wearing a pedometer. Mostly because my feet have been killing me and I didn’t know why. Now I do. Almost every day I’ve been walking some 14,500+ steps around the house just moving boxes, unpacking boxes, shifting stuff from boxes into their new home, shifting furniture, etc. They reckon you should do 10,000 steps a day – well, for a sedentary computer person like me, doing over 14,000 steps each day is exhausting! At least I’m sleeping very well – a combination of the fresh air, the silence, the stars, and physical tiredness.

So, now I’m up to date with the blog. Tomorrow we’re off to Bunbury (an hour away) to get supplies we can’t get locally, from places that we don’t have in Bridgetown. Then we’re taking out S and G for dinner to thank S for all her help in organising the tradesmen. Saturday will be my last full day unpacking boxes, as we head off to Lake Towerinning (near Darkan) on Sunday to see friends who are racing in the West Australian Speed Boat Association’s ‘weekend away’ event.

Then on Monday I’m ‘back’ at work, though from home. A new chapter has begun…

Updates on the move… Day 3

22 02 2007

Computer day today… and unpacking boxes, of course!

I’d got everything sorted as far as possible yesterday (Day 2) for the arrival of the computers (server + 2 desktop machine). Chris from PC Guru arrived at 11am with my babies, and spent the next 5 hours getting the network set up, getting the internet connection working, testing emails, faxes, scans, wireless connection, etc. and doing some small fixes too. Then he had the long drive back to Perth – so it was a very long day for him. But it was SO worth it for me. I probably could’ve set up the network myself, but it would’ve taken me much longer, and had something gone wrong I wouldn’t necessarily have known where/how to fix it. It’s critical for me to be up and running and working remotely on Monday, so it was worth the expense in getting someone else to do it.

More unpacking of boxes… and somewhere in there we had the call that told us Settlement had gone through, so we’ve officially sold the South Perth house we’ve called home for the past 16 years!!!

We cracked open a vintage Voyager Estate wine early in the evening and served it in the Riedel O-Tumblers to celebrate. Then instead of me cooking, we got pizza from the local pizza shop.

A good day all round.

Updates on the move… Day 2

22 02 2007

The boxes are a nightmare… Sometime in the morning we decided we’d better go into town to collect the accumulated mail from the PO box, pick up some basic groceries and meat and bread. What we expected to take about 30 minutes took well over 2 hours… and we hardly know anybody yet!

Why did it take so long?

Well, we’d just walked out of the Post Office when we ran into the Property Manager (she’s been an absolute gem in organising all the trades to do work on the house in the 3 weeks it was vacant). So we were chatting to her and inviting her and her husband to dinner on Friday night as a small token of appreciation, when the handyman who’d done work on the house walked by on his way into the post office. My husband knew him, as did the Property Manager, so I met him too, and we chatted about other work we’d like him to do.

Then it was off to the local supermarket. As we walked in, my husband said “hi” to at least two of the servers who he’d met when he was here painting the house. And the server we had after we’d got our groceries used to be a tenant in the house a year or so ago! So we chatted to her too (we’d met her one time when we came down to do an inspection).

Then we introduced ourselves to the butcher, Greg, who was happy to chat. Then off to the bank where we met Gina and Lauren, who were also happy to chat and welcome us to the town. Next was the bakery where the person behind the counter wasn’t nearly so chatty!

Last stop was the Mitre 10 store (hardware) where there were more people to meet. So it was 2 hours before we got back to “Box City”! My parents had told us of this country town phenomenon, but we thought it would be some months – years, even – before we experienced it. Nope. Day 2. And it would’ve been Day 1 had we emerged from the house and all the boxes!

So far, absolutely everyone has been friendly and welcoming. Unbelieveable – and so refreshing after living in Perth. We haven’t met our immediate neighours yet, but then we only knew the people either side of us in Perth… and we lived in that house for 16 years!

Updates on the move… Day 1

22 02 2007

On Monday, I woke around 3am and didn’t get back to sleep – the mind was going like a train! We got up at 5am as the removalists said they’d be there sometime between 6 and 7am, and there’s all that last minute stuff to pack – bed linen, clock radio, etc. Anyhow, we were done by 7am; the guys turned up at 7:15am. It took three of them four hours to pack the truck! And even then some things just couldn’t fit so they were relegated to the skip bin. Our cars were choc-a-block full, and the computers were going separately with the PC Guru guys, so even more would’ve been tossed had we not already packed up stuff for us and others to take.

After the four hour trip south, the removalists got to Bridgetown and the first stop was the storage unit to drop off some of the stuff. Bridgetown is REALLY hilly so I had to give them an alternative route to our interim house as the usual route is just up and up and up the biggest hill in Bridgetown! Even with the stuff for storage removed, it would’ve been a struggle for the removal van…

Some ?? hours later, all was unloaded and dumped in the rooms where it was sort of to go. We didn’t realise they pack furniture first, then boxes, which means that boxes come off first and get dumped in rooms, then the furniture has nowhere to go! A bloody nightmare of boxes and furniture! We’re calling it “Box City”.

The guys got back on the road for the 3.5 hour trip back to Perth some 12 hours after they’d arrived at our place this morning, and we started the arduous task of unpacking the boxes… We got a few essentials done then had dinner around 10pm and crashed – for the best night’s sleep either of us has had in weeks! No more worrying about how (or if!) everything will fit. Add to that the bright stars (yes, we can see a plethora of stars from our bedroom window!), and the silence, and we slept like logs.

Stuff and nonsense

17 02 2007

I still can’t believe how much STUFF we have, even though we’ve given a lot away to charity, to friends and family, and to the great garbage disposal in the sky. Currently, we have a 2 cubic metre ‘skip bin’ out the front to take all the last unwanted stuff from the garage/workshop, and already it’s about one third full. If we’d saved up all the other stuff we’ve already thrown out, then we’d have needed a much bigger skip bin!

Despite all that purging and tossing and relocating, the garage is FULL of boxes. We’re not big on acquiring stuff – or so we thought. It must breed of its own accord. When I think about what we’ve got that was hidden away in cupboards etc., I’m reminded of our friends in Chicago. Their place was chock-a-block FULL of stuff! And you could see all this stuff. We took a look in their garage and basement one day – you couldn’t move in either place for STUFF. We knew we didn’t register on their STUFF scale, but hell, it’s still surprising at how much there is. At last count, some 55 boxes are earmarked for the storage unit! Scary.

Oh, and my darling other half informed me last night that there are some 40+ cases of wine! (And he’s bought almost none for the past 4 months…)