Thursday, May 17, 2012

Technical Difficulties

I have been spending my post graduate freedom residing in my grandparent's basement. Well, I sleep in the basement. I spend a lot of time with them in the main part of the house. We read, we eat, we shop, and we watch murder mysteries. Oh and we spoil the dogs.

Anyway. I have become their technical support staff while here in residence. This position was unofficially extended to me on the assumption that I was qualified because I am in my twenties and own my own lap top. My grandparents love me and probably over judge my abilities a lot. But this is the one that I can't deny. I am not qualified for this position. My grandparents aren't as technically behind as they could be either.  My grandpa reads his paper online, they both read e-mail, my grandma does face book and downloads knitting and sewing patterns and recopies, and my grandpa finds fun videos of goats or cloggers for us to watch. So basically they know as much about computers as I do.

The following is an explanation of why the position given to me was not in the best judgment. I am not proud of the following., besides murder mysteries my grandparents and I love is the show Doc Martin.

Doc Martin Bobblehead When I was shopping with my grandpa he mentioned to me that you could get a Doc Martin Bobble head.
I was like "Ooh! Does he scowl?"
Grandpa: "Of course! Is there another expression for him?"
Anyway. I looked it up on the computer later while on the phone. I saw that Acorn Online also had Doc Martin series five for sale, to download or watch instantly.

Now, what could be a better use of position as technical support for this household but to enable them to see the newest and last season of one of their (and my) favorite series. Okay, so I have already seen it. But one thing I do on the computer that my grandparents do not is watch shows pirated. I know it's wrong. Anyway, so my method of viewing was right out. But now we were actually able to do it the ethical way.

So I went upstairs and showed my grandmother my findings. What ensued was a long explanation of what we were buying, not a DVD but a file, we could buy the DVD but it was more expensive, we would have to wait for it, and pay shipping. With the file we would save money and have it right away!!!!


Grandma: "Let me get you my card."
Me: "I can pay for it."
Grandma (suspiciously): "How much is it?"
Me (casually): "$24.99"
Grandma: "I don't want you spending your money." Leaving the room to fetch said card before my surrendering "OK" could pass my lips. Experience has taught me resistance is futile in these matters.

Then I had to see if I could get the show from the computer to the TV. Which led to a very long search through the FAQ section. I had to scroll through like five times before I found the answer... yes it had been there in front of me all along. Turns out, you couldn't stream it on TV like Netflix. Which meant a fruitless search for cables. Finally a debate if we should not just purchase the DVD.

In the end we decided why not just get it on the computer? We could set the computer and watch it on the coffee table and it wouldn't be as grand as we were used to, but it would be fine.

So, it was time to actually make the purchase.

Then I realized! If they were paying it I would at least make sure to download it onto their computer. I even tried the download speed test I didn't understand on said computer to make sure it could handle this project. I'm not sure what the results meant but in any case I proceeded. I put the show in the cart, filled out the personal information, and printed a receipt.

Then I couldn't access the library I had just purchased. No matter what I did I couldn't get in. So, I took the receipt and called customer service.

I got a bored, slightly prickly woman, who became less bored, more prickly, then finally just strait up entertained as I attempted to explain: that I was Madison who had tried to purchase something with Ellen's credit card, using and e-mail address that included Richard's name, but no, the account would be under Ellen, even though yes, I Madison had set everything up.

She couldn't access the account either with the information I gave her. So I asked for a refund of my purchase-- so grateful I had printed out the receipt and could prove that a purchase had been made with my grandma's card which we now could not access. She was able to use the purchase number to access the account.

 Turns out, the reason I couldn't access?  I had left the "D" off the end of the "Richard" in the required e-mail address when filling out the personal information section of the sign up. So, the program had sent our password to an e-mail that didn't exist.

Yeah... real technical support is working this all out now.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wire in the Blood

Wire in the Blood

One word. TERRIFYING!!!!!!!!!!!! This is a murder mystery series that you do not want to watch in a dark room. I did. Often during my strenuous college days... probably why I currently have so many issues...

Anyway, most murder mystery series on TV are entertainment in varying shades from light to gray. This show is hard to watch because it feels so real. The sadistic nature of the killers is very potent. It's not a documentary by any means, but it isn't light fiction. It strikes a chord.

The protagonist is Dr. Tony Hill played by Robson Green. He is a psychologist, on staff at the local university, but also advices the police on the side. Or, as his collogues feel, he is police asset first and a member of staff second. He is odd. He never packs anything he needs in anything but a plastic bag. Be it a file or clothes and toiletries for a conference. The problem? He has a hard time separating himself from work. Yeah, I know you're thinking "how original". But there is nothing new under the sun and this conflict was portrayed very realistically. Once he got into the psychology of the perpetrator he couldn't step back. Sometimes he is so caught up in the abstract that he fails to see the sheer horror of what he is discovering-- as his partner DCI Carol Jordan once tells him "But we're bringing back bodies, not the actual loved ones. You remember that don't you?' Ok, that's not exactly what she said. But I don't remember word for word.

The supporting character DCI Carol Jordan is played by Hermione Norris. She is a tough police officer. Hermione Norris is an excellent actress, but she generally known for playing Ice-Queen characters. Carol is no exception to this. In fact, she could have started Hermione Norris on this road. But the writers and her acting make Carol believable rather than the stock cop side kick. She and Tony are bonded because they are both very lonely, and seek comfort from the nasty world they work in in each other. She is tough, but very protective of Tony.

Unfortunately -- as is the nature of TV-- she didn't stay the whole ride. Carol disappears, if I remember correctly she takes a job in Australia or New Zealand. Tony is emotionally crushed and never quite recovers from this abandonment. While I commend the writers for giving Tony realistic emotional baggage, I felt that there was no motivation on Carol's side for this choice. But then, television is a genre where the audience has to be forgiving.