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Everything posted by kristof65

  1. The lead engineer is also the company owner. The software guy is his son. it's a frustrating situation for me. I literally have the best of two worlds - I'm considered self-employed due to the fact it would cost them a lot more to bring me on as an employee, given that I'm their only US asset, and they would have to create an entire US company just for me. But I also get what amounts to a regular paycheck and paid vacation, which provides some security. I actually have to assert my self employed status from time to time to avoid any issues with the IRS, which is nice, because I can refuse to service certain customers, or take on customers on the side and bill direct for things that would be outside of my contract. So walking away from that knowing I will probably never be able to find as sweet of a gig as I have now is really really hard. OTOH, the owner/engineer drives me crazy at times.
  2. I've had conversations about this with various people, and it seems to me like they can't really get a grasp on you if you're a writer and/or GM and/or have a lot of different hobbies/interests.
  3. Isn't fox a generational reference? I mean, I get it, but then I was a teenager in the late 70s/early 80s when it was in heavy use. Well, most cats do believe they are the center of the universe. These ones are just starting to manifest the gravity well associated with being the center of a universe. So last week, I had to visit a local site to assist with the tear out of some old tellers and installation of new ones. This was all discussed via a group text message on Monday that included the site, myself, the lead engineer and the software guy. Tuesday I was on site helping with the tear out, and then back again on Thursday to assist with the firing up of the tellers. Site & I posted several updates to this text group. On Thursday, the software guy is completely unprepared to assist. At one point I walked off the job site because I was ticked off. During a later conversation, the engineer tries to tell me he didn't learn about the installation on Thursday until Wednesday afternoon and that the software guy didn't know until he told him that morning. Took everything I had to not yell "are you broccoling kidding me? You were on the same text message thread I was. Broccoli this, I quit." I wound up having to go back on Friday as a result. The engineer and software guy were still complaining that they had to work through their lunch hours and after dinner that night because of the short notice.
  4. ooh, a nice hotel definitely helps. I'm sure you are a back row piece. You just have to realize that each square on the board is a smaller chessboard, and each square on that small chessboard is an even tinier chessboard, so on and so forth. The real question is at what level of the boards does the square you're on change over to a pawn?
  5. 1 hr 45 minutes in and we've just hit the 50% mark!
  6. 1 hr 22 minutes in and we/re 3/8ths done. maybe there is hope we'll get done in time? @Pegazus - I'll go to LA for you if you take over the rest of this call?
  7. Ugh. 1 hour in to a 2 hour appointment and we're 1/8th complete.
  8. I am already out of spoons for the day. I started off with a limited amount, but it should have been enough for me to make it through most of the day. Only 10 minutes into an upgrade appointment this morning, and I'm already out. And we haven't even started the upgrade portion of the appointment - they're trying to figure out how to plug in a serial cable.
  9. I know, right? I actually have a few. I just rarely mention them here, since they don't aggravate me. The lead tech for our biggest distributor is another one. When he started off as a junior tech there about 10-12 years ago, I would get frequent service calls from him. After a couple of instances where I couldn't get back to him right away and he no longer needed my help by the time I called back, I realized that if I waited 30 minutes to call him back, he would frequently have figured out his issue on his own by the time I called. So I began deliberately setting a timer before calling him back for most calls, but not all, so no one one would catch on. Eventually, his calls dropped off, and I began shortening the time I took to call him back. A few years ago, I finally admitted this to him, and he laughed. He said he had always wondered about that, especially after he became the lead tech and started doing the same thing to his junior techs because he realized that him having to figure out those problems on his own made him a better tech overall. These days I try and answer his calls first ring, because generally when he calls these days he genuinely needs my help, and even then, most calls aren't more than a few minutes long.
  10. If it was my cell phone, I would. But since it's my extension on the company's VOIP system, I have no control over that.
  11. I have someone with an 825 area code number that keeps calling my direct extension at work, but won't leave a message. Ten calls in the last five working days. The number doesn't come up in our database, nor in any of my email conversations.
  12. This is sort of built in. The OEM vendor who's credit card processing module we use charges based on how recently the firmware was last updated. Less than 30 days, no charge at all, then starts at $75, and the older the software is, it goes up until there is a max charge of like $280-300 at 2-3 years. Our rate is based on the max rate, plus our average labor rate for doing the programming & paperwork. We charge that as a flat fee, regardless of how much we get charged by our vendor. So the company already makes more profit on someone who changed six months ago vs someone who changed three years ago. We techs are given authority to charge less if we feel the situation warrants it, but we rarely do. Well, I rarely do, anyway. The only time I'll charge less is when it is clearly something outside the customer's control, such as the processer being unable to provide a working setup sheet. The most extreme situation I waived the fee for was a guy who's processor decided to hold his funds hostage until he upgraded from dial up to internet. The big problem was they took weeks to acknowledge what they were doing and and then a few more to agree to an acceptable solution. But then when they heard he was going to switch processors as part of the upgrade, they made him agree to processing via internet on their platform as a requirement for releasing his funds, figuring it would be too much of a pain for him to switch after the initial setup. After he got his $30k of withheld funds from them, which took another few weeks, we switched him to another processor, and I only charged him the bare minimum I had to. His old processor was pissed off, but there was nothing they could do - he was really careful to make sure there were no contract terms that would lock him to them - they were counting on the same complacency that kept him from upgrading to internet in the first place to keep him with them. Charging him less paid off, too - the customer was so grateful I did what I could to help him get his money back - money he would have lost as a result of his own inactions, he's been really, really good at upgrading his system on a regular basis since then.
  13. So the reason they weren't answering the phone for their training is the same reason I don't typically schedule training on Mondays. She had fires to put out - her gas pumps weren't working, and she was on the phone with those techs. It worked out. Now I'm dealing with a putz who just doesn't get it. Last October, Visa/MasterCard started charging higher rates for merchants in Canada who cannot accept chip/tap cards and only mag stripe cards. A site in Ontario was told this was why their rates went up, and that the solution was upgrade their equipment. Their solution was to switch to a different processor. Of course, that processor also started charging them more because they can't take chip/ta, and the rate they quoted was based on the merchant taking chip/tap. So they found yet a different processor. That processor was charging them less per transaction, but was charging some extra fees because of large disparities between the pre-auth amount and the final transaction amount. So we increased the pre-auth amount to match their average transaction size. Then their customers started complaining, because instead of a $4 pre-auth, the pre-auth was now $15 and since it was a mag stripe transaction,, the banks are taking longer to drop the pre-auth charge from the pending transactions on the customer's accounts. So now the site wants to switch back to their original processor as of October 1st and set his pre-auth amount back to $4. It's not going to help. Visa/MC are raising the rates on mag swipe transactions again, effective October 1st, and more and more processors are charging extra fees for large discrepancies between pre-auth & final transaction amounts. Not to mention every time he switches processors, e get charged a reprogramming fee which we pass on to the site, along with an extra fee for our labor. Based on these fees and the reprogramming charges, he has probably paid for at least 15% of a new system already - and a new chip/tap system is the only way he's going to lower his fees.
  14. Grrr..... Made a special exception to do training for a site this morning. Don't normally do training on Mondays, but today was the only day I could work them in for over a month, and they've been waiting for 2 months until some other problems got resolved. So guess who's not answering their phone this morning? First two guesses don't count.
  15. I hope that's just "All of it in the house" and not something like "All of it in the city". Cause that would kill you. Probably.
  16. Hmm, I wonder if I can get this added to my official list of holidays for days off? I'd still have fewer days off than the Canadians.
  17. Why is this in purple? It's true! (sort of) This used to be the case. But now I has a map! And Flags! These are both posters on the wall of my game room. My frustration this morning is people calling in, but not leaving voice mails. Receptionist and Dispatcher are both out today, so the only way we're getting back to anyone is if they leave a voicemail or send an email. Got one guy in the last 10 minutes who has called 4-5 times already. It's really annoying when you're on another line, and phone just keeps ringing and the person you're talking to is going "do you need to get that?" Nope. No idea who it is, they can leave a VM if they need us that bad.
  18. Have you tried Eldritch Foundry? IF you have access to a 3d printer, their STLs are only $5. Even better, they have a subscription - $40 for 3 months, unlimited stl downloads. Even better, they have a sale code for September that gets you 25% off the subscription.
  19. LOL! We used to have a tech who would BS like this when he couldn't figure things out - a bunch of technogabble followed by a "Well, it probably needs an upgrade." wow, she's 7 already? Man, time is flying.
  20. There are several stores here in Winterset that sign could apply to. We have an antique store here that I literally have never seen open in the 6.5 years I've been here, but the merchandise in the window keeps changing, so they must be doing some business.
  21. Ah, another Chronoscope fan... My frustration of the day so far is a site that doesn't want to do any proper follow through on their issue, and instead whine and complain and ask for one of our techs to come to site. For a problem that has been going on since January, and was very likely self inflicted. At no charge, of course. They actually had a bunch of issues initially, and all but one of them were resolved by March. The remaining issue is that they can't get the gas pumps to talk to the car wash controller so they can sell wash codes at the pump. They've called the gas pump company to try and get it working, but they won't contact their local wash equipment distributor. The gas pump tech has been told three times that the best way to get this resolved is to arrange a scheduled appointment for them and the wash distributor tech to be on site, and me available by phone. I've known the wash distributor tech for 15 years now, and I know that he and I can handle our side of things. But nope, now the gas pump company has joined in the whining about sending a tech out. Talked to management of the company I contract to, and even though the factory is closer to the site than I am, their travelling tech is tied up with new site installations until spring and they're not going to pull him from those since the distributor is nearby. I'm currently helping a local customer open up a brand new site with new prototype tellers, so I'm not available until November at the earliest - plus getting me to Canada's west cost is likely going to cost the site/gas pump company well over C$4k by the time you factor in travel time and expenses. My best guess as to what is going on is that the site owes the wash equipment distributor money, or otherwise had some sort of falling out with them. It will be interesting to see what their response is to being told I can't get there until November and the likely minimum cost. Normally I wouldn't even entertain going, but Vancouver is closer to where my son is stationed than Iowa is....
  22. ugh @CaptainPete, sounds like a rough night. Good luck!
  23. I don't know if Pumpkin Spice Tequila exists, but Pumpkin Spice Margarita recipes are all over the internet.
  24. As a child, an argument over the color of Robin's outfit in a comic book is how I found out about color blindless and that my cousin was red-green colorblind to a degree. Totally blew my mind that people don't see colors the same way. But yeah, red torso, green sleeves.
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