21 June, 2006

Best. Gimmick. Ever.

So I decided, by some random chance, to stop at Starbucks this morning on the way to work. I needed something in my stomach, I wanted some coffee, and I didn't want cheap quickie mart coffee. So I end up in the drive thru. It's a few minutes' wait -- they're usually pretty busy in the morning. As I pull up and order my drink, I see the girl at the window talking more than usual to the lady ahead of me, and making a few hand gestures. I also overhear something about "It's been going on all morning". At this point I'm thinking maybe they are having some issues with debit card purchases. I hope not. But then the girl takes the lady's debit card, swipes it, hands her a receipt. Okay, cool. My turn.

I pull up, to a happy, smiling girl at the window. Kinda cute too.
She leans out and strikes up a bit of a conversation. Here's what I remember of it:
Her: Hi! Are you having a good morning?
Me: Why yes, I am!
Her: Well, I think your morning is about to get a lot better. The lady ahead of you just paid for your drink!
Me: (head spinning with confusion) Really!?
Her: Yeah, one person started it earlier today and it's been going on like that all morning! (*click* gears grinding in my head with realization of what's going on)
Her: So what you can do now is, you can take your drink for free, or you can pay for the person behind you and keep this going!

Now, at this point I'm thinking... hmmm, well, mine was $7.95 for a quad venti white mocha and coffee crumb cake. The lady ahead of me had what looked like a venti drink of some kind and a small one for her daughter in the seat beside her. Probably about the same price as mine, possible a dollar or so less. There are 2 girls in an SUV behind me. I wonder what they ordered. Well, probably just 2 light drinks. Why the hell not. It's a gamble, but sure, I'm game.

Me: Sure, I'll keep this going, why not.
Her: Great! Just let me swipe your card .... here's your receipt ... ($10.95 -- not bad) ... and here's your coffee crumb cake and mocha.
Her: Also, I've been giving these cards out to people for doing such a good job. With this, you can get any size free of our new drink. (*click* again)
Thank you very much! Have a wonderful day!
Me: Thank you, you too!

After which I proceed to drive off. Then I pull out, and wait at a stop light to drive off. As I'm sitting there, I decide to read the card she gave me. It reads:
Spread Summer Sunshine

Somebody's going to do something nice for you today. Maybe they'll
let you go first in the register line. Maybe they'll give you some
change so you don't have to break a twenty. Or maybe they'll just hold the door for you when your hands are full.

Whatever the nice thing turns out to be, return the favor by giving that anonymous benefactor this card. You'll both find a little karma
goes a long way.

This card is good for a Banana Coconut
or Bananas & Creme Frappuccino blended beverage.

So that's what this is all about. A fancy gimmick to advertise their new drink. But damn, what a hell of a gimmick. Seriously! It makes the person happier because the person ahead of them paid for their drink, and it makes them feel better about themselves and like they did a good deed by paying for the person behind them. Plus they promote the drink by handing out the card, and encourage you to promote it by what's written inside. And the great part is, you actually feel compelled to hand it to somebody else because of the way it was given to you! I can't believe this... whoever came up with this idea is a GENIUS!

But the one big question that's been nagging at me is this: What about those people who drop 40 or 50 dollars, buying coffee for the people at the office? Do they sucker some poor sap buying a $4 coffee into paying that bill? How the hell do they handle that situation? Surely the person with the $50 bill would never believe that the person ahead paid their whole bill. How would they pass off that it was a continuing chain in that case?

Oh well, either way it's a great idea. Kudos, Starbucks! You definitely made my morning better!

17 June, 2006

Tarken, the cynic

n : someone who is critical of the motives of others

Cynic \Cyn"ic\, n. (Gr. Philos)
2. One who holds views resembling those of the Cynics; a
snarler; a misanthrope; particularly, a person who
believes that human conduct is directed, either
consciously or unconsciously, wholly by self-interest or
self-indulgence, and that appearances to the contrary are
superficial and untrustworthy.

He could obtain from one morose cynic, whose opinion
it was impossible to despise, scarcely any not
acidulated with scorn. --Macaulay.

This, unfortunately, describes all too well what I have come to be. It is how I have come to view the world. I keep trying to change for the better, and through these changes I keep finding that I can rely less and less on other people. I am finding one ultimate truth: "Take care of yourself, cause ain't nobody else going to."

I hate being like this. I have very little, if any, faith left in humanity. I wish it wasn't that way. Maybe some day, but not today.

There was nothing specific leading me to post this. It's just something that needs to be said. Some people have noticed that I seem more bitter, or that I'm less trusting. They're right.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was this: "I am the Mac truck. Get out of the way, or get run over."

15 June, 2006

I got a toy!

So I got paid yesterday, and I decided that, in honor or my new job... and due to the fact that I need some way to entertain myself on the flight back to Spokane at the end of this month, I was going to buy myself an MP3 player.

After much frantic, quick research.... well okay maybe only like a half hour of looking at a bunch of random websites, I came upon the iRiver T10 1GB.

I've always been a fan of iRiver, in large part due to the fact that they support OGG Vorbis audio. Which makes them totally awesome in my book. So this is my newest toy... and so far, I love it! People's only complaints really have been that the USB port cover doesn't actually close (It does), and it looks a little weird (I think it's cute!) so I'm all good! It sounds awesome, it holds a gig of music, it's even got an FM tuner! And I can even access it in Linux, via gPhoto2.


13 June, 2006

Databases.... grr.

Well, it's been a while since I've posted up another blog here. I've been bad, I know. In my defense, however, I've been very busy. Right now though, I'm sitting .... waiting .... watching my machine grind .... because of a stupid, slow, database.

Now, I can respect the fact that restoring 750mb of data into a database might take a little bit of time. That's a lot of data. What I really don't get is how it would take well over 2 hours. That is so not cool. This is one of the many, many, MANY reasons ... I no longer use MySQL. Granted, this is an ancient version of MySQL. 3.23 has been long since antiquated, deprecated and dropped like the bad habit it is. But at the same time that this was out, PostgreSQL had a far superior product which would have taken nowhere NEAR as long to accomplish this same task. Since then, PostgreSQL too, has come out with newer, better versions. In my opinion, it still stomps the living crap out of MySQL, in any application, in any environment.

Then again, maybe this ridiculous amount of time has to do with the fact that I only have 256mb of RAM allocated to that virtual machine. Hmm. I need to get more memory in this system.

02 June, 2006

It is done!


I'm finally gone from that job! WOOHOO! I'm so glad to be done with that place finally. I will still talk to a couple of the people I worked with, but that's the closest I'm going to come to "visiting" that place again. I hope.

Now bring on the drinking! Tonight is a party night for sure!

01 June, 2006

Cleaning day

Well, today's the day I'm cleaning out my desk and preparing to leave this job. It's definitely a finalizing.. and sobering moment. Everybody here is pretty wound up today, because two of us will be leaving tomorrow. I've become pretty mellow at present though. It's dawning on me just how much of a change this is. How much I'm leaving behind. How much I've accomplished here. I wish I could take some of these pieces of code with me.. but I'm sure I'll reconstruct some of the bits later, and do it better the next time.

My desk is now cleared, save for a few wires.. a couple books.. and some dust. It's pretty strange. My desk hasn't been this clear since we moved into this building. It's always had papers scattered over it, or even stacked neatly. Either way, it's been covered in information, covered in work. The signs of a busy person. I really have kept busy through most of my time here, and I really have done a lot. In a way, I'm sad to leave some of this behind. But then again, I'm glad to be furthering myself. I'm glad to be picking up and moving along on my own, without assistance. This new job will actually be the first job where I am completely on my own... in more ways than one. Every job I've had to date, I knew somebody on the inside. I had somebody with whom I was already acquainted, that I could easily talk to. And I've always worked in a team also. This new job, I don't know anybody there, save for meeting them at my interview. At this new job, the only "team" is the company. There is no IT department. I *am* the IT department.

Right now, I'm cleaning files off my laptop. Talk about a long process. You can store a lot of crap on an 80 gig hard drive. I already took care of the biggest part, which was the music. 4 dvds worth. Still a lot of other crap to get rid of.

Yet another hectic day. I really need that happy hour tomorrow.