Monday, May 3, 2010

Help me shave my head (AND defeat Type 1 Diabetes)

Want to help me raise money for charity, walk a mile in a kilt, and do it with a shaved head? The pictures alone should be worth a couple bucks. Support me in this year's JDRF Walk for a Cure by visiting:

My JDRF Walk Page

Last year I raised $240. This year, I'm upping the ante.

If I raise $500, I'll do the walk in a kilt.

If I raise $1,000, I'll shave my head. And do the walk in a kilt.

Take a few minutes, give a few bucks to a good cause, and have a few laughs at my expense!

Thanks all,

- Colin

Monday, June 22, 2009

My letter to Daniel R Hesse, CEO of Sprint

Mr. Hesse,

I hope you had an enjoyable weekend and a very nice Father's Day. I wanted to let you know, personally, about my recent experiences with your company's customer service as they have been somewhat lacking. Given that Sprint has spent quite a few dollars in recent months mailing me all kinds of slick, expensive-to-print marketing materials, informing me that I am a Sprint Premier customer, I felt it doubly important to explain to you why I am planning on terminating my Sprint contract in the next 90 days.

For some weeks now, I have been having difficulty with my service. Friday, I decided to look into it and call your support line. While on hold (for 18 minutes, not totally unreasonable, but not exactly wonderful), there was no hold music. There was a periodic click on the line every three or four minutes, but otherwise, there was only silence. The last thing I wanted to do was hang up, dial in again, and go back to the beginning of the queue. As it turns out, I had other things to do with my Friday nightt than to sit on the phone, maybe on hold maybe not, so I just hung up. I was planning on cancelling my Sprint service soon, anyway, so this was just an impetus to get me to do it sooner.

Saturday, I had two missed called that turn out to be an automated survey call from Sprint. I missed both of those calls and just answered the third attempt about 10:00 AM Eastern today, June 22nd. The survey was asking many questions about how my talk went with the tech support agent I spoke to. I would had assumed your company had enough technology in its call centers to realize that mine was an "abandoned call", as the telecom parlance goes, and that I did not, in fact, ever speak to an agent. I was obviously incorrect.

At the end of the automated survey, it asked if I wanted a member of the "Priority Support Team" to call me to work on my issue, as my issue was unresolved. I pressed "1" for yes. I was thinking, for the briefest of moments, that Sprint had finally done something right, and maybe had a chance of turning me around on my poor view of your company and its support.

The recorded voice informed me that a member of the "Priority Support Team" would call me back within five business days.

Mr. Hesse, five days is only considered a priority turn-around if you are trying to re-schedule a space shuttle launch. It is by no means an acceptable turn-around for customer service of any sort, let alone so-called "priority" for a customer that your company has designated a "Sprint Premier Loyalty" customer.

Please remove me from your Sprint Premier Loyalty program, as I have certainly not been treated as such by your organization and Sprint has certainly expressed no loyalty toward me as a customer. If you would also be so kind, I would ask that Sprint waive my contract termination fee, so as to allow me to quicker be done with any dealings with your company.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

~ Colin

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Open Letter to 2009


Everybody greets the new year in their own special way. Most by offering a prayer for what they hope the future will bring, accompanied with a few words of thanks for what the fading year provided. Others by making resolutions of what they will change about themselves as the course of history ticks over once more.

While I'm not big on prayer (Unless I've gotten myself into the kind of bind only divine intervention can release you from - which is pretty often), and I realized long ago that my New Year resolve lasts until I sober up from the festivities, I would also like to greet you in my own way. So, here we go, my special little welcome to you, the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nine.

Don't mess with me. Seriously. You tangle with me and I will end you, 2009. You see, I have one great advantage over you. Statistics.

When it comes right down to it, the worst odds on my lifespan say I've got another 40-some-odd years to kick around this planet. Let's call it a better than 40% chance. You? You've got a 0% chance of making it more than 365 days, buddy.

365 days. I've got upwards of 14,600 to do with what I will. So let's play nice in that time we've got together, because when all is said and done - you're nothing baby. You are 2.5% of the remaining time that actuarial tables say I probably have left to me. 2.5%.

So this is how this is going to work: You're going to plod along, one day at a time, grinding your way toward insignificance. I'm going to kick up the Awesome and rock on through into 2010. You're going to stay out of my way or you're gonna get burned.

Time marches on, 2009. And while your big, bad granddaddy the 21st century may be able to kick my ass, you're nothing more than a short stop on my way through this crazy journey called life.

I will END you. And then I will laugh in your face as you fall, swilling booze to celebrate your demise, and I will scream the same challenge at 2010.

2009, I own you. You have 365 days to accept your fate - then it's on.

With hope for peace, love, and health in the New Year,


PS - Seriously. Totally not kidding. You're my bitch.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


So, my company is currently hiring for various positions. Here's the deal:

Company Profile:

Small business (<70 employees) specializing in technical solutions to various government agencies with a strong focus on Defense markets. The company is headquartered in Sterling, VA but many positions are work-from-home and technical positions are travel-intense.

Classified Security Clearance is a big plus, but the company will sponsor clearances if you don't have one and the position requires it.

Focus Areas:

Our products focus in three areas -

1) WAN-Optimization. Primarily Riverbed's family of products. Familiarity with routing and switching in general preferred.
2) Next-Generation and Secure Wireless. Primarily Aruba's family of products. Again, familiarity with routing and switching are preferred. Familiarity with microwave is a big plus. There is definitely one open position for a wireless field engineer.
3) IPTV / Video-Over-IP. Primarily VBrick's family of products, but any experience with Video-Over-IP is helpful. Familiarity with IIS, Routing and Switching, and basic video technology are a big plus.

Open Positions:

Open positions can be viewed here:
If you know me well, let me know you're sending in your resume and I'm happy to put in a word for you.

Currently, we are looking for Project Managers, Sales Persons, and Technical Staff. If you have questions about any of the specific positions listed, let me know and I'm happy to give more details.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Spirit of Christmas

In the spirit of Christmas, I decided to decorate the cubicle of one of my co-workers last night. And yes, that IS High School Musical wrapping paper. I had considered Hannah Montana, but figured that jailbait wasn't office-appropriate.

I know there have been some more thorough wrappings you've seen on the internet, but the intent here was to keep the entire desk functional (All the drawers open, etc.) so that the wrap job would last the whole holiday season.

Pics below:

The best two hours and $12 bucks I ever spent.

The next big management style craze

Everybody is coming out with new business strategy and training programs these days. From Sun Tzu's The Art of War to Six Sigma and the "Lean" craze.

I humbly submit my own contribution to the future of American business management practices:

Title: Lessons of Awesome Through American History
Revolutionizing Your Workplace Awesome

Concept: Being successful is great, but being Awesome (proper noun) is awesome (adjective). This presentation explores the nature of Awesome, and introduces concepts on how to embrace Awesome in your work life. Just like all successful high-on-fluff-light-on-content business practice concepts, several new terms are invented by combining perfectly usable words into painfully unusable buzz-words. Exampe: Synergy and Logistics become Synergistics (Existing über-word). Customer Service becomes Custervice (New über-word)

Focus Areas Covered:

· Great Concepts become Awesome Plans: Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence – Don’t let great concepts wither on the vine of “somebody else should…”, declare your independence from the crowd, take action, and develop those ideas into Plancepts!

· Awesome Isn’t Always Awesome Enough: The Constitution of the United States and The Bill of Rights – Amend your own accomplishments to take them to the next level! There’s always room for more Awesome. Amendishments will help you reach the next peak!

· Hot-Head Conflicts Become Awesome Partnerships: President Andrew Jackson, General Robert E. Lee and the Aftermath of the Civil War – Workplace tensions are bound to rise, master the arts of diffusing conflict and reconstruction in the post-conflict era. These cubicles stand united by more than just aluminum and cheap plastic! Conflolution will help all parties heal their wounds!

· Ignoring the Un-Awesome Leads to Greater Challenges: Isolationism and the Run-Up to the 1st World War – Not every customer is a dream to deal with, but becoming an expert in Custervice and staying engaged, will help steer that customer relationship into the calmer waters of peaceful co-existence. Don’t just pass off your troubles to another department (Especially if that department is Europe)!

· Awesome Technology Isn’t Always Enough: Radar and the Opening of the 2nd World War – Awesome Technology surrounds us daily, enhancing our communications and our ability to track what’s going on from afar – but don’t forget to pop your head in every once in a while and inspect the skies personally! Texpertise can’t replace good old fashioned personal engagement!

· Lessons Learned by Misspent Awesome in the Modern Era: Franchise Films and the Rut of Repetition - Entertainment reigns supreme in modern-day America, and there’s no better place to look for the an example of the biggest pitfall facing the Awesome employee – Sequel-itis. Rocky 1: Awesome. Rocky 2: Not Awesome. Star Trek The Motion Picture: Awesome. Star Trek The Wrath of Kahn: Not Awesome. Every customer, job, and solution is unique – even if they seem the same in general terms. Don’t just re-hash yesterday’s success is today’s over-hyped disappointment. Embrace the concept of the Uniquel for fresh approaches!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dear Netflix...

So, Netflix,

I know we’ve been through a lot together, and I really appreciate that. I mean, you told me I wouldn’t like National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze and I doubted you. You know what? You were right. I should have listened. But that’s just one bump in the long road of life. I thought we were doing good, despite my one moment of weakness.

Last week, you wrote me and told me that you wanted to be with me forever – sort of. You said that, since you loved me so much, I could now view unlimited movies online. No waiting for the mailman, no hassle about your place or mine. You promised to be there for me, whenever I wanted you. All I had to do was reach out and click.

And tonight? Tonight I turned down the lights, lit some aromatherapy candles, and slipped into my robe for a long night with you. Watching your pixels flicker into the wee hours, enjoying the sound of your voice. Tonight, I was going to embrace my new unlimited access to your treasure trove of entertainment.

But then you told me I had to upgrade to Windows Media Player 11. Upgrade? Last week, you wanted me just the way I was, but now that you’ve opened yourself to the world, my Media Player 10 isn’t good enough for you? I run on XP Media Center Edition, Netflix, I can’t upgrade to Media Player 11. I’d have to buy a new operating system, at which point I may as well just buy a whole new computer. I never figured you for the gold-digger type, Netflix.

“But wait, my love”, you said. “Click here for support. I can give you instant answers! Instant gratification”. And being the fool that I am, I believed you. But your instant answers kept going in circles. Never leading me anywhere, nary an “Email Us” link or form in site. You kept assuring me that all I had to do to enjoy your warm online embrace was upgrade to Media Center 11, and really, I thought we already covered that.

At last, though, you gave in to me. Sitting there, glowing like a promise from the cyber angels who crafted you… Your digits. Eleven numbers, three dashes, not necessarily in that order. You wanted me to call. You wanted to talk to me, help me work through our problems with us. You told me I could call until 2 AM Eastern. You’d stay up late for me and risk getting in trouble with the boss in the morning when you were all groggy from staying up all night, sucking down coffee to chase the dreams of our night together from your mind. You told me I’d only have to wait about a minute. You would be there for me!

I clutched the phone in my sweaty hand and trembled out your number across the keys. I heard your sonorous voice, a promise of fulfillment, telling me that my expected wait time was in excess of …. TWENTY SIX MINUTES? Are you totally batshit? I refreshed the help page, there must be some mistake. Sure enough, it said you were still waiting, that I would only have a minute to wait.

But it also said I could call 24 hours. Netflix, are you bipolar or something? First it’s 2 AM, now it’s 24/7? One minute it’s just a single minute to wait, the next it’s an excess of twenty six, and then it’s a minute again? Are you just screwing with me, here?

Sorry. I let my temper get the better of me for a minute there. Anyway, I just wanted to write you this letter to let you know that you are a horribly duplicitous bitch. I’m incredibly disappointed with you now, but I’m not going to do anything crazy like call up my bloated old ex, Blockbuster. I’m going to give you your 26 minutes, then I’m going to give you a piece of my mind and see if we can’t find some common ground that doesn’t involve me shelling out a couple hundred bucks and you taking it to your other boyfriends and using my wad of hard-earned cash to mop up some other dude’s digital spunk.

Yours, with waning love,

~ Colin

Caster's Realm: I interview Jess Lebow

Head on over to Caster's Realm to read my interview with Jess Lebow, Content Director of Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Crazy Talk with Jess Lebow

Posted by STONEBOTTOM on 01/21 at 05:51 PM

Holy sabattical, Batman! The SB here, coming at you from the far side of holiday break. Truth be told, this article was promised a week ago, but those Gizmodo goons IR blasted me at CES and my fragile little mind took a little extra time to recover. This week’s Crazy Talk is well worth the wait, though, as I’m not showing up to the party empty-handed. I’ve brought a keg of Swashbuckler Gold and an interview with none other than Jess Lebow, Content Director of Flying Lab Software and uber-geek extraordinaire! We took some time to yap about Pirates of the Burning Sea, user generated content (thumbs up), micro-transactions (thumbs-down), the toe-curling terror that is Splash Mountain (WTF?), and a host of other goodies. Strap yourselves in, pour yourself a grog, and feast yourself on some Jess Lebow, but feast gently – he’s a sensitive one!


FakeNews Wire: Johnny Depp Not Appearing in PotBS

FakeNews Wire: Johnny Depp Not Appearing in PotBS

Posted by STONEBOTTOM on 12/21 at 01:24 PM

Johnny Depp Not Appearing in Pirate-Themed MMO, Stunned
By: Stonebottom

St. Tropez, France (via FakeNews Wire) – International Film Star, Screen Actors’ Guild Award Winner, and former People Magazine Sexiest Man of the Year Johnny Depp announced today that he is not appearing, in any way, shape, or form, in the upcoming Pirate-themed MMO “Pirates of the Burning Sea”, currently under development by Flying Lab Studios in Seattle, Washington, USA.

(Read More...)

FakeNews Wire: Vandal Strikes Wrong MMO

Vandal Strikes Wrong MMO
By: Stonebottom

SAN DIEGO, CA (via FakeNews Wire)– Sony Online Entertainment, LLC (SOE) has been forced to temporarily shut down all of their servers in response to what is best described as the most mis-directed case of cyber vandalism in the history of the computer age. As of press time, SOE technicians were working dilligently to close security loopholes and restore service to the millions of players affected worldwide.

At approximately 1 AM Pacific this morning, the live servers for SOE’s beleaguered “Vanguard: Saga of Heroes” restarted. Said Vangard lead developer, Salim “Silius” Grant, “Yeah, the beeper went off, but let’s be honest – a complete server restart and rollback isn’t unusual for us. I thought there was something weird about the info, but at 1 AM on one of those .5” x 1.5”, non-backlit beeper LCDs, you’re lucky if you can read anything – let alone a 17-digit version number. One word, Mr. Smedley: Blackberry”. According to sources close to the situation, somebody gained entry to the Vanguard servers and pushed a hacked version of an early beta release of the game. Though the investigation is ongoing, preliminary indicators are that this was an inside job.

“Ten minutes later, I got the ‘server up’ message on the beeper. The other devs and I were in [Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (WoW)] doing a Battlegrounds run and I asked [Vanguard Designer] Avarem to log in to Vanguard and check it out”, said Silius.

Vanguard’s development team first got the sense that something was wrong when Avarem reported in WoW guildchat that he was downloading a very large patch. Shortly thereafter, all of the members of the development team were logged out of WoW and patching. They were greeted with an altered loading screen (Image Below) that appeared to have been lifted from Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa, edited with MS Paint to read “Suckula Rasa”

At this point, Silius and his team made the decision to pull all the servers offline until they could determine the extent of the damage. In addition to the loading screen vandalism, the character select screen seemed to have been reverted to an incomplete version with notes of “Add Later” and the only available character classes as “Rangers”. The character racial choices were limited to “Garriott” and something called “Micronauts”. Extensive vandalism was reported here as well.

SoE President John “His Royal Smedness” Smedley, having been alerted to the growing problem, logged into Eve Online to ask the Star Wars Galaxies development team to assist in the restoration of Vanguard and to begin checking all other SOE games for possible tampering. He also called Richard Garriott, who had been swimming in his money bin outside his Austin countryside castle, and alerted him of the situation.

Said Garriott, “We’ve had numerous attempts to attack the Tabula Rasa servers over the past few weeks, which isn’t uncommon for any major MMO. None of which have caused any major alarm.” When asked if he had any thoughts on a suspect, he offered, “Well, most of the recent ‘attacks’, and I use the word lightly, originated from Carlsbad, California. And we have had a bit of ruckus on our forums from a fellow named Enudara, but the fellow seemed to lack any sort of ability to finish what he started. I doubt he could have pulled off something like this.”

Despite our pressing inquiries, Mr. Garriott excused himself for an appointment to get “NC $oft”, surrounded in a cluster of pink hearts, tattooed on his chest.

SOE expects to have all servers back up and running by noon Pacific Time today and is confident that they will find and close whatever security hole this attacker exploited. Authorities believe the individual responsible intended to vandalise Tabula Rasa directly, was technically incapable of doing so, and instead spread his message of hate via Vanguard: Saga of Heroes.

John “Smedstar Runner” Smedley released the following statement to the press:

“Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a global leader in the online games industry, today suffered an act of vandalism of it marquee product, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, a highly-successful massively multiplayer online game, re-branding it as “Suckula Rasa”. SOE is announcing a $25 million reward for information leading to the discovery of the attacker behind today’s events.

The driving creative force behind the Suckula Rasa effort in the game space is unparalleled. We look forward to identifying the genius behind it and continuing their vision to deliver sound groundbreaking game play.

SOE seeks to make Suckula Rasa an integral part of its online games portfolio, bringing even more value to its valued Station Pass member with this exceptional product.”

Detective Sean Grady of the San Diego Police Department issued the following statement: “The city of San Diego takes this vandalism very seriously and we are doing everything we can to find the perpetrator of this act and bring him to justice. In the meantime, stay vigilant, report and suspicious activity, and for Pete’s sake will you nerds please just go outside and get some sun? Frankly, we don’t understand the big deal. Go play softball or something like normal people.”

Please keep your eye on the FakeNews Wire as this continuing story develops.