Sunday, October 18, 2009

Learn Baby Learn!

       My daughter has started to read.  I find this absolutely amazing.  It’s amazing because she is 19 months old.  We had been working with her for a while using the “Teach your child to read” set of videos and cards, and while there are lots of children out there who can do it at her age or even quite a bit younger, I still can’t help but be blown away. 
       I guess I find it so amazing because I didn’t learn to read till I was in 1st grade.  (~7 years old)   What’s even crazier is that my daughter is learning to read before she learns all her letters.  Basically she learns to recognize the word, the letters it turns out aren’t all that important.   I didn’t actually learn that skill till 5th grade., and I only learned it then because I didn’t know how to use the scroll buffer in the Qmodem term program and I had to teach my self to quickly read the words that streamed in from the 2400bps modem I was using to surf BBS’s. (pre-commonly available internet)  As you might imagine once I learned to read words without seeing the letters my reading speed increased dramatically.  I can typically put down a couple of meaty books on a flight from NYC to LA. I can only imagine what Jordan’s reading speed will be.
       Anyway, I’m just fascinated by my daughter.  You should have seen the look on my face when I saw her read the first word a few weeks ago.  Of course my wife and I were sure it was a lucky guess the first time we saw it happen, so we show her another word and she nails that one too.  It starting to come faster now, more words, more letters, and she is even beginning to count.  All things I have to say I simply didn’t do till the K-1 timeframe.
       It’s also cool to see how her mind works.  We used to laugh when she was learning to talk because I would ask her to say “Daddy” and she would immediately reply “Papa”, and vice versa.  It’s like I would say a word and she would say the first thing that popped to mind.  Well the funny thing is this happens in reading to.  We wrote “DOG” on the board and she immediately replied “Puppies!”  Hmm...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Keas has launched!

Keas, the start-up I was previously working at is starting to make headlines. (warning Fox news link :-)  Check it out, its a great tool for managing your health.

Dell is on fire... not in a good way...

        Dell’s service quality is spiraling from bad to worse. I bought one of those uber high-end water-cooled dell desktops about 24 months ago. Now having bought dell gear in the past I know that it never makes it to 3 years without a serious hardware failure, so I do the smart thing and I get the 3 year next day on-site service.
       As expected I had multiple failures of the hardware in the last month with the onboard network card failing, USB flaking out, and finally one of the hard drives dying. I call dell to open a support ticket and I’m told,
“We can’t offer support this week, we are upgrading our support system.”
WTF?!? Multiple calls, online chat with support rep, bitter complaints about how I have a next day support contract and I’m finally able to track down someone agrees to open a ticket for me. Halfway through it becomes apparent that they are really just taking notes on paper and are going to open a ticket at some time in the future. (3 Days later and I still haven’t gotten the ticket email yet)
       But get this, once the ticket is opened they tell me it’ll still be at least two days before the tech will get the hardware and then he will call to schedule a time to come out. In no way does that qualify to me as next day on site support. I’m sure if I look in my contract there is probably a lot of hedges about availability of parts, etc. But, it’s just a bad experience. At a minimum I feel it’s false advertising.
      It’s kinda too bad really. I had been thinking of buying some more gear recently from Dell, cause they have good prices, but knowing the life time of the kit, and seeing the kind of service you get I think its not nearly as good a deal as it looks on paper. The reason apple seems to be winning these days all boils down to high quality gear and good support.

Update: Four days later I get a call from the tech,  he wants to know if he can drop by.  A hour later I have a new motherboard and a new drive.    So all in all, while I didn't get the speedy service I expected, the problem did get solved.  To be entirely fair if you go back 10 years ago I would have either had to ship the thing off or been completely our of warrant/servicing, so I don't really have a right to complain.