Monday, August 14, 2006

TV and trainings

I finally got around to calling about satellite TV. I was planning on going with Dish Network, because that's what my parents have, and so I'm used to it. Come to find out, Dish no longer allows installations in apartments anymore. Ha! At least the other option, Direct TV, has no such policy. Someone will be here on Saturday between 8-12 to set me up. I'm so stoked! Not only will my bill be about the same, but I'll have more channels, a DVR that can record two things at once, and a remote that actually works more than half the time. Woo hoo! Now let's just keep our fingers crossed that when they come out they'll be able to get a signal from my screened porch (which doesn't exactly face the right way).

Lately the reception on my TV has been pathetic. It would look better if I had rabbit ears sticking up behind the thing. We're talking serious static. It's watchable, but seriously, the picture should be crystal clear when you're paying for cable. Well suddenly I turn the TV on tonight, and everything is magically clear! Not to mention that the internet is running much faster. I wonder if someone came out and tweaked something to make it all better. I never bothered calling because Mediaworks is such a hassle to deal with, but I think someone might be moving in to the the apartment next door, and so maybe someone came out to hook them up, saw that something wasn't right, and fixed it.

Today I went to Winton and Edenton, NC. They are about an hour apart, and about 2.5 hours from Raleigh. Edenton is right on the coast, but it's not technically the Atlantic. It's Edenton Bay, which is part of Albemarle Sound.

And even if I had wanted to touch the water, I wouldn't have been able to. There were several feet between the ground and the surface of the water. And knowing me, I'd slip and fall in. (I did that once as a child--I think I was feeding ducks in a lake, and I remember thinking to myself, "Don't fall in, don't fall in," and of course I fell right in. More embarrassing than anything.) I would have expected it to be cooler at the coast, but it wasn't. It was probably in the high 80's. But there was a breeze.

Apparently there was a Civil War battle in Albemarle Sound, and part of Winton was burned down in 1864. These towns were incorporated in the 1700's! Remarkable considering Santa Clarita, CA was incorporated in 1987! Check out this Victorian mansion in Winton (awful photo but what a charmer!):

Here's the back of Barker House (1782), which I thought was lovely enough,

but apparently I missed the better view, from the front.

I had time to stop in and look at one shop, selling gifts and culinary items (rosemary peanut butter, anyone?). Other than this clever display, there was not much of note.

So the Garmin is officially On Notice. I've had her for less than three months and she's already lost her voice. That's right. Absolutely no sound coming out of the thing. It happened while I was crossing over a big bridge. It made a very weird bleep-hack-bleep sound and I looked at it strangely, ascertained it was a passing anomaly, and continued on my way. At the next turn, I was dismayed that she did not speak to me. I pushed a button. No bleep. I turned it off and back on. Not a peep. Lord, she's giving me the silent treatment. The screen displays my location and I can read the directions by viewing the Turn by Turn list, but I have no idea what happened to the sound. It loses about 80% of its usefulness without sound. I am very disappointed. I have a feeling the worst case scenario will play out: I'll have to return her directly to Garmin, which will fool with her for weeks, meanwhile I'll be forced to resort to archaic paper maps and printed Google directions (gasp!). Eventually they'll ship her back to me, "fixed," and I will be forced to give the i5 a lowly rating in my Amazon product review because of my lousy luck to get the one unit in a thousand that happens to be crappy. Sigh.

On a brighter note, the trainings went well today. The first one had about two dozen people (I was expecting fewer than 10!) and the second had about eight. I think I'm getting better at making sure they understand things. I'm the kind of person who, if I don't understand something, I ask questions. And when I was a teacher, my colleagues were always very vocal if they needed clarification on something. But I am learning that many people, even if they're confused, hesitate to ask questions. So I've found that if you simply say, "It looks like I see a few confused faces," that tends to make people feel more comfortable--they feel like they're not alone, and they'll start to speak up. Because honestly, people come into these trainings with such widely varying ability levels. You've got the district IT people, who could probably figure the system out without any training at all, and then you've got the 60-year-old principals who are for all intents and puposes Luddites (okay, no cell phone, I can understand, but not even an answering machine at home?!). They forsake everything techie and are just barely using email. Any classroom teacher can tell you that this challenge is not unique. Educators face it everyday. I do think it's tough, though, when you only have an hour and then basically you'll never see them again. All I can do is say, "If you have problems or questions, please do not hesitate to call our Customer Support number," knowing full well that I answer at least 75% of those calls on days when I'm in the office. So in a way I kind of like doing CS just as much as, if not more than, training. Because when they call in, they have specific questions and you can help them accomplish something, rather than just telling them about it hypothetically. I have to say, though, that I like being the one who gets to show them all the cool things our new system can do. Everyone across the board just loves it, and has nothing but great things to say about it. So I feel very fortunate that the product I'm training them on is high quality.

Thursday I'm flying to Baltimore to do a training for one of our biggest customers. Wish me luck as I venture forth into the formidable and unpredictable realm of air travel.


  1. Oh no, not the Garmin.....oh my. I'm really sorry to hear about this. I hope that Garmin stands behind their product. This was a Consumer Reports best buy product. I wonder if you blew her speaker. Keep your blog readers informed.

  2. I see you took the "On-Notice" from the Colbert Report. The show that I told you about? HHMMMMM. Well thanks for the honorable mention! Wink!

  3. Wishing you smooth travels on your trip to Baltimore. Wonder how business travelers are coping with this. Will look forward to reading your post about it.