Saturday, March 15, 2014

Colossal Groove - Mistress @ The Webster, Hartford, CT

A short video of Colossal Groove playing in the Battle of the Bands at The Webster in Hartford, CT on Saturday, March 15. I was taking this video for the band and was not able to record the full song or anymore after that because I was unaware that they did not want anyone recording. After one of the security guards came over tell me that, I had to turn it off. Plans are in the works to get more videos for Colossal Groove. In the meantime, enjoy this video.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

USAA - taking pride in Excellence in Customer Service

A recent experience as a customer was with my car insurance company, USAA. I have been a customer with them for over five years and recommend them to everyone. USAA is your one stop shop for many things like car insurance, home and renter's insurance, bank accounts, loans and stocks. They also have car buying and home buying services and financial planners that work with you to help you make a budget and plan for your future. USAA's services are for military members and their families and they pride themselves on customer service. As a customer with USAA for over five years, I really do believe that they are serious and sincere when they say that they pride themselves on customer service. Through the years, they have always been able to assist me with my problems, issues and concerns. Not only were able to assist me but successfully resolved the problems, issues and concerns to my satisfaction. They handled the matters professionally, courteously and quickly. They have a toll free number that they answer and every customer service associate is in the United States which makes communicating less frustrating. They have made my customer service experience with them so easy and convenient not only by having a toll free number but also with the ease and access of technology like their website and mobile app. With their website and mobile app, you are able to view your accounts and bills. You are able to change your insurance policies, yourself and pay your bills with ease. When you call their toll free number, if there is a queue, it will tell you how long the wait is, how many customers are in front of you and offer you the option for a USAA customer service representative to call you back by pressing 1 and they really do call you back. I really believe that USAA and their customer service is a true example of outstanding customer service and I hope that other companies can learn what it takes to make customers happy, help them feel valued and bring back the lost art of excelling in customer service.

Friday, November 15, 2013

My wish for Facebook Likes

My email inbox needs to have some TLC. It is overwhelming to check emails at the moment. This is mainly because I have signed up for newsletters almost everywhere I had read something that I liked. This was mostly because most of these entities had not joined the Facebook wagon yet. But now that it has grown so much, I am taking the opportunity to like them on Facebook and choosing to unsubscribe to their emails. Although, I am wondering if it would be easier, quicker and more effective for me to just set up filters and send them directly to the trash automatically. The only problem with that is that the initial time that I set up the filter, I will have to select every single email to get it out of my inbox.

It has abruptly come to my attention that I am unable to like any more pages on Facebook because you are allowed up to 5,000. Somehow, I am over my quota. I went to do maintenance on my likes and found that when you search all the results, it does not offer you the option to filter it by how many current likes the page has or list the pages you liked with that search term first. This would make un-liking pages much easier for me while allowing me to accomplish my goal without making it into a several day project.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pot Luck: Inside a Beverly Hills Cannabis Club Dinner Party

20/20: Pot Luck: Inside a Beverly Hills Cannabis Club Dinner Party

I was watching 20/20 tonight and the show was called: I escaped my life. One of the segments was about a 53 year old woman and mom of two girls who also runs a public relations firm, is a medical marijuana user, founded the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club and is an activist to legalize cannabis in this country.

The moms of this club have battled cancer, chronic pain and crippling anxiety. They say that what got them feeling normal and healthy again wasn't prescription drugs but marijuana did.

They say that they do it to take the edge off and to remain functional and checked in as parents, not to get baked out of their minds. They feel that just as other parents might choose how much to drink around their kids, they are the only ones who can judge what the line between being stoned and buzzed is. They say that they struggle with how to best educate their children on the subject of drug use, just like any parent.

The moms say they try to be responsible and healthy by choosing to vaporize the marijuana. Using small mechanical devices which look like cigarettes, it heats the cannabis just enough to make the THC active and doesn't produce as much harmful smoke.

At the parties, they create edibles, consisting of fettuccine and chicken with marinara sauce made from cannabis infused olive oil and strawberry shortcake.

So, I was not surprised to hear about this because of the fact that Marijuana is becoming legal in more and more states, nor about the fact that they mentioned how happy they felt and how it took them out of depression. I was glad that they mentioned how they were like zombies and checked out when they were using prescription drugs. This is something that seems to get overlooked quite frequently, in my opinion. Prescription drugs are being abused and I have heard of parents taking and even abusing them. They are laid up in bed all day and it becomes more of an excuse, unfortunately, to the kids expense.

I do worry for these parents for the fact that they are doing this in front of their kids. Vaporizer or not, I don't feel that is ever a good idea. Although, I don't know why it would be any more appropriate or okay for someone to smoke or drink in front of or around kids. But, I guess we do it and that is okay. There is still a big stigma in this country about marijuana use. It will be interesting to see what comes of this in the years to come.

Watch the video and let me know what you think or have to say about this topic. Do you think it can make you a better parent?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Personality is half the battle

I had an interview for an entry level C# programmer position and had to fill out some sort of personality sheet, also called a PI. The Predictive Index or PI is a scientifically validated behavioral assessment that accurately predicts workplace behaviors.

The PI offers a clear understanding of the unique behavioral needs and drives that make people work. The Predictive Index/PI assessment is administered in the form of an adjective checklist and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The results provide managers with detailed information into the behavioral drives of people.

Predictive Index is a a proven management tool used to improve performance and productivity of people at all levels of the organizations. PI gives you the power and knowledge to better motivate, lead and utilize your people to achieve your company's goals. Predictive Index or PI is a scientifically validated assessment that accurately predicts workplace behaviors and tendencies. It is a companion instrument that allows managers to identify the behavioral requirements of any position

These are my results:

Personality Index
Click to enlarge Personality Index

Personality Index
Click to enlarge Personality Index

After feeling uncomfortable and out of my element for some time because I kept doubting myself, this is a good way to end the interview. This was a very special way for me because not only did I know these things about myself, but this test reaffirmed to me what I already knew about myself. I also loved how beautifully it was written and put these in such a good light because sometimes, when people say these things to me or about me, I take interpret it in a more negative light.I am taking this information to heart because these are things my parents always said about me. They are passed away now and as I was reading the PI, I could hear my parents voices saying it. It was like they were right there with me.

I absolutely love the idea. It can be used to motivate employees or gain insight about a potential employee. The way that it was written did motivate me.
What do you think about Predictive Indexes?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Technological Terrorism?

It seems that the more that I try to "get with it" technologically speaking, the further away from it I really get. I have a Kodak Office Hero 6.1 wireless all in one printer, Motorola Droid Bionic cell phone, Canon Rebel T3i Digital SLR camera and Verizon DSL internet. Just to top that off, a degree in Computer Information Technology. You may be asking what is the big deal then?

Verizon High Speed DSL Internet
Verizon High Speed DSL Internet

The big deal is that if it is not the internet randomly losing connection, causing me to spend many days, weeks and months on the phone with Verizon and many technicians coming out to my place, then it is the cell phone rebooting on its own randomly, lagging significantly, making it great as a paperweight only or losing battery like crazy.

There have been times in the past where my phone rings but it does not show the answer button on the screen. Other times, I have not received my emails or it randomly sent an email later on. Not a good scenario when you are communicating with your ex about the kids through email. There have been times when I went to make a phone call and it just lags and you have to try several times to make the phone call. You would think that the most basic thing a "smart" cell phone should be able to do is make and receive phone calls because in the end, no matter what the other things it can do, in the end, it is still a phone.
My printer has already been replaced through the warranty once already and now it does this thing where when it "prints" it sucks the stack of paper in the bottom tray through the printer and gets jammed.

I love my camera. It takes beautiful pictures and is the one technological thing that I own that has never caused me grief. It takes such beautiful, perfect pictures that I can't even edit the pictures.


On the flip side of that, my SD card finally "bit the dust." I had an 8gb SanDisk Ultra SD card that I was using with my camera and I don't know if it was from taking it in and out of the camera to transfer the pictures to my laptop or what, but it finally cracked on the top where the gold, metal chips are. I was surprised by this because to my knowledge, SanDisk has a great reputation for their products. I was worried about my card but it still was able to read the information and took pictures...until today, that is.
Even Charith mentioned having the same problem on Yahoo! Answers and this has me wondering if this is becoming an pandemic.

Last night, I took the most beautiful pictures of the sunset and the moon. The sky was pink and orange with the clouds all around and the moon was half full. It was so beautiful that I had to take pictures to share with everyone. I remember last night looking through the pictures on my camera and didn't feel like transferring the pictures off my SD card to put on my computer because I was too busy and tired. So I went to do that today to show my family. When I put the card in my laptop, the Camera Wizard never came up. I thought that was a little weird but thought I had too much going on my computer at the time. Finally, I rebooted my computer and put the card back in my laptop, again. Same thing, the Wizard never came up. I took the SD card out and went to put it back in my camera and the camera could not read the card. Now I was really getting concerned and confused.

Thinking that I now had lost all my pictures, I started to think outside the box and think about how else could I get these pictures. So I put the card in my printer. My printer can see the pictures. So I was thinking everything is okay, as long as I can get the pictures off the card. My printer is wireless and I thought that I could just transfer the pictures to my laptop using the built in menu on the printer, but this was not the case. Apparently, it only allows you to transfer the pictures using a USB cable. So, back to the drawing board. I went into the Kodak All In One Software that is installed in my computer and put my log in information to Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa and Google Docs, thinking that I could just send my pictures to one or any of these accounts and everything would be alright. But that did not happen, either. After reading the documentation on Kodak's website, you have to have the pictures selected from the camera to send there. Again, this is not any help for me and my situation.

The only thing that I can do now is find my USB 2.0 Printer Cable A to B (Google Affiliate Ad) anto my printer and hook it up to my laptop to transfer the pictures. But, I have no idea where it is because I have never had the USB cord hooked up because I had always used the "wireless feature."

I guess my main point is that I went to school and got my degree in computers so I can help others fix their technological problems and I can't even fix my own. I guess the other thing is that it really isn't that I can't fix my own technological problems, it is that the hardware can't completely do what I thought it could do and apparently, my imagination is bigger than what they actually put out on the market. Right now, because of the current situation, I feel terrorized by technology.

Do you know a way that I can get my pictures off of my SD card? I would love to hear what else you can do.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Brown's Outdoor Retail: Winter Safety Tips

I have been hearing quite a bit on the news lately about winter safety tips regarding the ice. Usually, around this time of year, the ice would be fine to go on, but with the winters becoming shorter and warmer, this is not the case. The ice is not safe to be on right now and there are signs to look for to know if it is safe.

  1. Never go on the ice alone or without telling someone.
  2. Avoid being in the same are with a group of people.
  3. Always wear a life jacket.
  4. Look for large cracks or in the ice.
  5. Clear ice is the strongest. Ice formed by melted and refrozen snow appears milky, is very porous and very weak. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe.
  6. Four inches of ice will generally hold an average-sized person on foot. Snowmobiles and ORVs need at least eight inches of solid, consistent ice.

Brown's Outdoor Retail: Winter Safety Tips: Winter Safety Tips Don't let children play outside in the snow for more than 3-4 hours at a time and monitor them. Don't over exert your...