How do I keep getting myself into things?

Not bad things, mind you, but insanity things. And by insanity things, I mean fun things in SecondLife. It’s not like I wasn’t already busy enough with Firestorm Support, but now I’ve jumped overboard off the U.S.S. Sanity into the SecondLife Gateway project. Hello busy SecondLife!

It’s all good, though. Gives me something to do while inworld. And it’s not like I don’t just linger around doing support anyway. Now I can linger where people will actually exist for me to talk to. I’m shy as heck, but still feel the very real need to socialize…wat? I know. I’m weird.

Anyhoo, how do I keep letting myself get talked into things like this? I wasn’t going to do the Gateway because “hurp. I’m busy with support. Hurp hurp.” But then Miro…the smart aleck he is…convinced me to join the Gateway. Oh well. I had fun helping the newbies. Puts me to some good use too.

Workplace Harassment

We all know what it’s like to be bullied. It’s happened to us all at one point in our lives or another. Most of us experienced it in school and it has molded us into the people we are now. But at what point do you expect to not face bullying? Do bullies really just stay on the playground or do they follow us well into adulthood?

Personally, I’d like to think bullies are just a thing of the past. That they cease to exist as soon as you graduate high school and enter this thing called “Adulthood.” The hard reality is that I’m naive and a dreamer. Bullies exist even where we work whether we want to admit it or not. Even if we don’t know someone’s a bully at our workplace, there is undoubtedly one person who talks about you behind your back in a less than favorable way.

I’ve seen it recently over the Halloween weekend at the office in which I work. While the few who spoke to me about my dragon wings, tail and bandanna spoke to me about it with joy and amusement, I caught whispers of those who turned it into an opportunity to speak mockingly of how I acquired the items. In most cases, I would probably have confronted them very vehemently with acid on my tongue, but being at work I had to just let it go and chose to ignore it.

But this was a mild case and one that’s easy to dismiss. My husband has become the laughing stock at his current job assignment. Like myself, he’s working the odd contract job with a temp agency so that we can make ends meet. He has informed me today that he is not only being farted at – a mild form of assault but harassment nonetheless – and now ridiculed for going to the rest room.

Excuse me….what? Laughed at for going to the bathroom? Farted at and even the supervisor finding it hilarious? No. This is not OK. This is a group of people we assume to be adults since they are working in an adult environment and making things like adults do. They are not in a high school or at an elementary school playground. They are not wearing diapers and asking Mommy to feed them. They are adults. Tax paying adults.

Or maybe they’re not and I’m just making assumptions. Because this kind of behavior is ill suited for an adult and his workplace. Harassment, in my opinion, starts the very second someone starts taking pot shots at someone else. It doesn’t even matter if it offends the person. If it’s a pot shot at their expense, it’s harassment.

And it is of my opinion that harassment becomes a serious problem the second it is no longer funny to the person being harassed. So what do you do in this kind of situation? Obviously, retaliation is out of the question as it will undoubtedly lead to you getting fired. But if you’re a temp worker and the boss already doesn’t like you, what then? Clearly my husband’s supervisor is OK with this behavior as he has joined in on it. The only other option he has is to seek advice from his agency contact to find out what can be done.

But what I fail to understand is how this is ever OK in a civilized and modern society where bullying is typically outlawed under company laws. Did these people not sign and agree to the exact same “no bullshit” rules that my husband undoubtedly had to agree to? I’m powerless to help despite me wanting to go over and knock the crap out of the morons doing this. There is simply zero excuse for this kind of behavior. I hope they all lose their jobs over this bullshit. Because that’s what it is: playground bullshit.

Upcoming updates

Hi all.

Updates have been slow coming, I admit. In fact, they’ve been nonexistent for some time. I feel like I’ve caught up enough in my life to be able to come back to this now, and I’ll start with revamps of the tutorials already in existence. Screenshots need to be updated as the viewer and the OSes have changed in the last couple of years. The changes to the OSes have been less drastic (with exception of Windows 10) than the changes to the viewer, but they are significant enough to warrant an update in screenshots.

In regards to new tutorials, I’m going to play with the idea of adding photos inside the body of the text itself, though that will add a considerable number of images to my already limited storage. I will probably end up hosting the images outside of WordPress just to save on said storage. If I find it doesn’t fit my needs, I’ll go back to the old way of doing tutorials.

But with that said, expect to see some updates from this again. I know it’s been a long time coming.

Lack of updates

As of right now, I’m working to wrap up the last few weeks of school, so I hope to be returning to semi regular updates here. Right now, I’m a tad swamped to keep up with making tutorials and other bloggy stuff. Hopefully come April I’ll be recouperated from class and can get back into the swing of things. May even toss up a few Win 7 tutorials for yah.

Oh, the tablet wars

Oh, the tablet wars. They’re almost as prominent as the OS wars that have been raging for years on end. Though, really, it’s not much of a war when you think about it. It’s just a choice of three systems:

  1. Apple’s iOS
  2. Google’s Android
  3. Microsoft’s Windows 8 RT/Windows 8…uh….normal?
I’m sure each tablet brand and OS brand has its benefits over the other, as well as its downsides compared to the others. All I know is, iOS is a little bit more new-user friendly than the Win 8 OS. In the spirit of fairness, the Win 8 tablets are great little machines for productivity. I actually prefer typing on my Surface RT instead of my iPad. They keyboard for the Surface is far nicer and easier to type with than the cheap keyboard I got for my iPad. But the iPad has a lot more apps that appeal to me in the entertainment aspect than the ones on the Surface. And that’s just scratching the….uh….Surface.
In this post, I’ll describe what I like about both the iPad and Surface, and what I hate about each of them. All in the spirit of fairness. 🙂 And plus I’m bored and want an excuse to hear the popcorn sound when I type on the Surface.
Pros – iPad
  1. compact
  2. nice screen size for reading, game playing, drawing, and movies
  3. syncs beautifully with my iCloud on my Mac
  4. easy to accessorize
  5. lots of choices of bag and cover styles
  6. simple, streamlined OS interface
  7. tons of interesting apps. if you can think it, there’s an app for that
  8. it’s Apple. instant win.
  9. instant access to iTunes account
  10. durable aluminum casing
  11. very customizable home screen. hold the icons till they wiggle and arrange them as desired
  12. familiar OS out of the box
  13. gestures are included for ease of use and to help move stuff out of the way
Cons – iPad
  1. no Flash support. biggest downside to this platform for my needs
  2. relatively small HD compared to newer tablets
  3. somewhat more expensive due to he smaller hard drive
  4. keyboards are hit or miss depending on the brand
  5. keyboards must be Bluetooth and don’t snap in and work right away
  6. charging cord is cumbersome to plug in and unplug
  7. aluminum backing scratches and discolors with the Smart Cover
  8. only comes in one OS version – an app-based OS so you can’t install your desktop programs on it
  9. feels like much more of the same in Apple’s OS designs, leaving it feeling tired and dated
  10. slightly heavier than the Surface, though not by much
  11. no MS Office to continue working on documents away from home (it’s untested as of this writing whether the Web app version of MS Office will run on the iOS. i’ll have to try that out sometime soonish)
  12. no built-in stand. you need to buy one separately
Pros – Surface
  1. RT comes pre-installed with MS Office and SkyDrive so you can access your documents anywhere
  2. USB port on the side of the screen for extra storage options and document transfers
  3. keyboard is easy to type on and snaps to the bottom of the device
  4. IF you have MS Office 2013 on your computer, it’s the same interface on the Surface, so no learning curve to continue working with your documents
  5. lightweight
  6. widescreen format makes it feel more like a computer and less like a mobile device
  7. Skype comes preinstalled, so go nuts
  8. IE comes in 2 flavors: app version on the start screen and desktop version on the desktop
  9. highly customizable home screen. you can even change the size of some icons to show more or less info by making them smaller or turning off live tiles
  10. charger cord is a similar magsafe tech as what Apple uses on their MacBook laptops
  11. the keyboard acts as a cover and can be reversed if you want the slightly fuzzy side to sit on the table instead of the keys when you don’t need the keyboard
  12. comes in 2 flavors: RT (app based) and Pro (can install your normal desktop programs on it)
  13. built-in kickstand
Cons – Surface
  1. Windows 8. enuff said
  2. big learning curve due to the newfangled fai–attempt to be different OS
  3. RT models are limited in what they can do because of being limited to whatever apps are available on the Microsoft Store. yes, that means no Steam on the Surface RT
  4. Skype needs to be merged with your Microsoft account if you plan to even think about using it on the Surface
  5. few apps that I personally care about. ie: no Steam because Valve decided to boycott the failure that is Win 8
  6. can’t customize when updates apply. they’re always on automatic download and install
  7. flash is updated only when the system updates. you can’t update it on your own
  8. the RT can’t be used with the fancy stylus that works with the Pro model. don’t know why, but I find it silly
  9. the keyboard that comes with the RT (if you bought that version) is touch-sensitive rather than actual mechanical keys. this tends to make me misspell words now and again or flat out miss a letter or two. there is a keyboard with mechanical buttons, but I don’t want to shell out $130 for a keyboard to go with a tablet that already has one
  10. extra apps are hidden within pointless gestures. this goes with the learning curve of the OS, but there should at least be a button in plan site for ease of access to all the apps on the machine and not just the couple dozen that come default on the start screen.
  11. gestures are required to learn to get the full functionality out of the touchscreen OS. unlike with the iOS, gestures are required to learn on Win 8 as some important features are hidden behind them.
Well, that’s just my sleep-deprived lists of what I like and hate about both tablets. Maybe at some point I’ll revisit this list again when I come up with more likes/hates about the two machines. Overall, though, I like them both pretty equally. The iPad is and always will be a larger version of the Kindle. It was designed to be an ereader with games and some web browsing, and for that purpose, it excels incredibly well. The Surface, on the other hand, was designed with productivity in mind. That has always been Microsoft’s focus, and they bring their Windows OS to the tablet world incredibly well. I can’t vouch for Android, as that OS holds no interest to me whatsoever. I do challenge you to come up with a list of likes and hates for it if you do use it. You’ll surprise yourself with the knowledge of how you really use your tablet.

But I’m terrible at reading!

I have to say, this phrase probably gets my goat the most. Not just because it allows the sayer to be absolutely lazy when it comes to reading the wiki, but because they have to read the group text anyway. Group chat isn’t in voice, and it isn’t in pictures. It’s in text. This rant goes right along with the rant about not being a techno geek. Saying you’re horrible at reading is pretty absurd. Surely, you’ve learned at some point in your education how to cope with reading comprehension issues. Other than sheer laziness of the teacher, there’s no other way you could have graduated. Be that as it may, I actually have something positive to say on this matter.

 

Read slowly. Take it one line at a time.

If you happen to be one of those who say they can’t follow the wiki links because you’re horrible at reading, there is a solution. Take the page one line at a time, and reread it until the instructions make sense. Because you’re reading on a static web page, you can take as much time as you need to work through your problem. The text won’t leave you behind like the group chat will, and it also won’t get lagged out. There’s no need to feel rushed. Please feel free to work at your own pace. Doing so will actually help you figure out the problem and understand how the instructions lead you to the solution. You’ll be much less frustrated when you work at your own pace rather than feeling stressed to fix the problem NAO.

The fact something doesn’t work right is frustrating enough, and we all do understand that. That’s why we continually update the wiki with new information for common problems and even some not-so-common issues. It helps us help you help us all. When you read the wiki one line at a time, and work through the instructions at your own pace, you really do end up learning a little bit more about the viewer and may even have a solution for someone else with a similar problem. Plus, you know where to look when your friends have issues and can help walk them through it a little at a time as well.

 

If you don’t understand, just ask!

Contrary to popular belief, the support team doesn’t throw wiki links out for shits ‘n giggles. The wiki links are designed to offer each user a truckload of information in a single line of chat. This helps cut down on chat lag, but also eliminates huge wall ‘o texts. We also understand that not everyone learns at the same pace, and that not everyone will understand every line of instruction on the wiki. We’ve tried to word the information into an easily understood language for the least techy amongst us, but sometimes not even that is understood by all. If you don’t understand something, please don’t hesitate to ask in group. We’re here to help you learn, and you can’t learn if you don’t ask.

 

Go to class!

As a final word, don’t be afraid to attend the Firestorm classes. They’re held regularly, and offer a lot of information on the viewer in short, one hour chunks. There’s usually one or two support members present as well, and an open Q & A after the class for any and all questions you may have. These are very beneficial and 100% free for all users. Many of the users who attend them are very pleased to leave the class knowing a little bit more about how their viewer works, and they go on to help others who are having issues. As a support member, I also enjoy seeing who shows up to the classes. It’s great to see some of the users of this great viewer, and it’s always a pleasure to meet you in avatar. Come join us! We don’t bite. Well…I don’t bite very hard. I can’t speak for the rest of the team.

Pasta bowls are a MUST for all homes

So, I’ve recently come to the conclusion of “why didn’t I buy these sooner?” Pasta bowls are great, multi-purpose eating dishes that have become quite the requirement for many of my meal time needs. That and my Crock Pot. Oh, the joy of being able to set dinner to cook before I leave for work and then come home to have a nice, hot, homecooked meal. Even if I don’t go to work, having the Crock Pot do the cooking for me is still an amazing feat for dinner time munchings. It’s funny, because when I was a kid, I’d crinkle my nose any time I saw my mom drag out the Crock Pot. Now? Now I wonder how I lived without one for almost five years.

The worst thing about it, though, is beef tends to like to leave this film on the inside of the stoneware that’s rather unappealing. It’s one of those things, that no matter how much you scrub it, no matter how long you soak it, it just doesn’t come off without help. “But Hata, how’d you get it off” you ask? Bar Keeper’s Friend, my friend. The liquid kind, I might add. I’m not so sure the powder kind is safe for ceramic, but the liquid kind is so long as you don’t put it directly on the enamel. Instead, put the liquid stuff on the sponge and spread it around that way, rinsing immediately afterward. And use it sparingly. There’s an acid in the stuff that allows it to cut through the tough grimey stuff on your stainless steel cookware that could possibly damage the cookware, etc., if left on it for too long. But enough about that. You want to hear about the pasta bowls.

Pasta bowls have kind of a deceptive name to them. Sure, they’re MADE for pasta and serve it beautifully, but they’re also great for other food too. Soups and stews are great to serve in a pasta bowl because they’re not as deep as your cereal or salad bowls may be. Yet they’re deeper than those puny soup bowls, making them a great choice for those hearty soups and stews that you just can’t get enough of. They’re a perfect size to serve that beef stew, because you actually can see the beef and other veggies. Plus, because it’s shallow but wide, you can fill it and not feel like you’ve put too much on your plate. It fills both your eyes and your stomach without overfilling the latter.

But wait! There’s more! Pasta bowls are also great for that tossed salad you planned to serve with your dinner. Again, because of their wide but shallow nature, you can feel free to stuff your bowl full of a nice hearty salad that won’t leave you grabbing your tummy for more…or wishing you ate less. It’s very much the same thing as with the soups. It looks fuller because it’s a shallow plate with high edges, so your mind THINKS you’re stuffing your gob to kingdom come, but your tummy thanks you because you didn’t overfill the gas tank again. But not only that, you can pile on the toppings without losing them in transit. Like a whole Roma tomato sliced on your salad? No problem! The high edges of the pasta bowl will hold them, and its mighty girth will let you spread them out so you can actually eat your salad before eating all the tomatoes. Croutons? No biggie! The high edges and wide diameter also help hold the crunchy bread pieces in place. And don’t worry about dripping dressing! There’s no salad running over the edges, remember?

So far, I haven’t experimented with other ways to use my pasta bowls. I just know I wish I had more than three. Drop me a line on Twitter about how you’ve used your pasta bowls and maybe links to your favorite slow cooker recipes. I wanna know what I can stuff in my gob that tastes good!

Hata’s Tuts Episode 0: A New Post

Just updating because I feel like it and because I can. I’ve done a bit of changing the right sidebar because, well, I got thinking. *sits down for some story time* I don’t really want the blog to come off as looking official to Firestorm and such, so RSS feed is gone and the class schedule is gone. The links to the wiki and main Firestorm blog are still there though. Those are too useful to make go poof. I may put the RSS feed back at some point, but not sure.

I also decided to go for a more personal theme for the blog. Previously, I chose something that was similar to the Firestorm colors, but then that decision was antiquated when I decided to make this a tutorial blog for just about anything I could think of. So, a more personal theme was required. 😀

My thoughts are my own

Mic check. Is this thing on? Good. It has occurred to me that before I get too carried away with this blogging thing, that I put some things out on the table. They are very important disclaimery things about the blog, my part on the Firestorm team, and how this relates to the project.

This blog is primarily about tutorials. I stared it with the idea that it was going to be Firestorm only, so that the wiki could be translated for the more visual amongst us. I then got thinking (dangerous, I know), why does it have to ONLY be Firestorm? I do enjoy making tutorial graphics for lots of things, so why not expand the horizons? Thus, my decision to add tutorials that don’t relate to the Firestorm viewer was made. Tuts. This blog is about lots and lots of tuts.

My place on the Firestorm team is one of in-world support. I’m online and in Secondlife somewhere, and while I don’t usually take one on one IM sessions from users, I do on the rare occassion if the Lagdra in group chat is too much of a beast to overcome. All I ask is you clearly state the issue at hand rather than start off with “hi, I have a problem.” The faster I get he details on your sitch, the faster I get you off to enjoying the Linden world as we know it. Seems fair, right?

Finally, and this is the big thing I need you all to pay attention to, this blog is NOT affiliated with the Firestorm Viewer Project in any official sense of the term. It is run and maintained by me, and me alone. That said, I may say some things here that are HIGHLY opinionated. That’s just how I am. My opinions, however, are mine and mine ALONE. I do not, cannot, and WILL NOT speak for anyone on the team. I want to stress this again: my words are mine. No one else owns them, no one else feels the same way that I do, and no one else can share partial or complete blame for the idiocy that can sometimes come out of my face. This is so important, that it’s also repeated on the about page.

My thoughts are my own. Please regard them as such.

F1, F1, F1!

F1. The universal function button for help. At least it was eons ago when I was just starting out on Windows 3.1 and then up through ME. I’m not sure when F1 got hidden under the fluff of online help guides in programs like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, but it’s not as prominently pushed these days. Either that, or I’m just not looking. Either way, F1 plays a HUGE role in the Firestorm viewer. It’s your direct link to lag-free help via the Firestorm wiki, and I must say, it’s a handy help tool to have.

I really can’t stress using the wiki enough. It has topics on every single question you could possibly imagine. And if it’s not there, well, we’ll get it there eventually. The in-world support groups are fantastic on days the Lagdra doesn’t decide to wreak Havok on us all, but there are days when it’s just so bad I find myself relogging several times just to get the group chat to open for me. That’s where F1 comes in handy. It’s your quick link to the biggest body of documentation on the viewer, and it comes to you with no chat lag.

Need to troubleshoot a bake fail? Press F1 then search for bake fail. You’ll find http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/bake_fail just a few clicks away. Curious about everything the bridge adds to your viewer? Press F1, search for bridge and you get http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/fs_bridge to peer over. There’s even a wiki about filing a jira on that bug you may have just found. That’s right here: http://wiki.phoenixviewer.com/file_a_jira . So you see, there’s a lot of info inside the wiki, and I haven’t even scratched the surface. More like poked it and made it annoyed at me.

Give F1 a press and see where the wiki takes you. 🙂