Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tech Work is Happy Work!!

Ever been bored at work? It happens all the time in the technology world. Sometimes there just isn't any problems to work on. For some this is a time of rejoicing and goofing off, not for me. These slow times just cause me to get tired of my job. With out the challenge of the problems/issues that are brought to my attention work is just plain work. I consider myself extremely lucky in the fact that what I do for a living is what I love to do. My father always said if you love your work then it never seems like work. I do not believe he is entirely correct with this statement but it is a good start.

I believe liking what you do and doing well at what you do are two requirements to having a successful career. You don't need both but it is easier to be good at your job when you like that job. I have been misjudged several times as liking my job because I work hard and do well. I guess work ethic isn't something thought of when looking at employees. That is where those employers made the fault and I didn't stay long after that in most cases. I have had my share of bad and good jobs. Many of the best jobs were with bad companies and the worst jobs were with good companies, but there were a few that were in the middle ground of both and I stayed a happy employee for much longer at these places. In the end, I am usually disappointed in the company and leave for greener pastures. This has worked well so for, with a few stumbles along the way. Nothing that a little hard work couldn't fix.

That brings me to today. My work is a source of happiness in my life. I am not a workaholic but I like what I do and I am good at it. I work long hours and most of my time is dedicated to my work. It didn't even take a year at my current job to earn a promotion and several raises in pay. I have done this because I learn quickly, I have practical experience in the application of software and hardware solutions, and I work with my team to solve problems. In a job like mine sharing the knowledge you have is a two way street. One way if you share everything you know then you may not be needed anymore. We all know the idea of working yourself out of a job! The other way is that by sharing you gain perspective on your ideas and experiences making you more effective in diagnostics and troubleshooting.

This all leads in to the most important piece of being a technical support person, personality. I think if you can get along with people you are more apt to share with them. You can be more empathetic to customer's problems and that leads to being better at customer service. Dedicating yourself your self to your customers will get you far in tech support but rarely makes you friends in other departments and can hold you back from moving to other places in a company. Choose you battles wisely and be sure you make intelligent well planed moves.

The best part of being in the technical field is the option to work privately on the outside of your normal job. Many techs do this to make the extra money they spend on the tech products they buy for themselves. I do it for extra spending cash and to experience other parts of computer support I don't see in my job. It is a way for me to keep my knowledge more current on what is happening to the individual user and what they use computers for. I also like the work because it reminds me of when I was young and still learning to interact with technology. It is fun to work with people and gain their respect and gratitude. I am not the best but the work makes me happy and I will always work hard to keep it that way. Tech work is happy work is successful work and makes a happy worker in my case!!

Andrew Birchler
Newest Version Computer Services

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Parents... Who Knew?

This week started different then any other week prior in my life. Last Saturday my parents flew in to Arizona to visit me for the first time. I was honestly scared what they would think about how I have developed my life since I moved away and with all that has happened to me in the last years. The bad and the good times that shaped who I am today has made me very different then the 19yo that moved away from home. It took me several years to break the habits that were part of my life back then. Back when life seemed so much simpler then it does now. The assumptions I made based on what experiences in my life and all that I had seen back then don't seem like they have a place in my life now. If you can imagine, I once was a young, cocky, know-it-all teenager. I know, it is hard to believe, lol. I didn't think back at that time that anything could ever hurt me. Nothing could turn my life upside down, make me rethink everything I knew about what life really is about. I was wrong, not only about getting turned upside down, but also nearly every assumption I took from growing up in the simple hard work orientated life. I found out that life is so much more ALIVE then what I knew. It is hard to break from how we grew up and the life that we saw for all those years. I still struggle with what I think of as the simple interactions with the world and people. I have spent what seems like a long time learning how to deal with everything the world throws at me.

I have spent a lot of time talking with my parents this week. Mainly about things I have like the MINI, my job, and just random stuff about how I live here. Through it all, I remembered that I really miss my family. It is hard to describe exactly how I miss them. Seeing them is only a very very small part of it. How then do I miss them? I don't get to talk with my dad that much so I miss my dads perspective on the world. The sharing of his knowledge and experiences that formed the base to everything I understand today. Yesterday, the two of us stared at a very old airplane engine for a long while. We discussed and deducted exactly how it worked pointed out all the different parts we knew and figured out what the other parts we didn't know. We even researched things today that we couldn't explain when we were standing there. I listened to him as he explained the components of a jet engine as we looked at one sitting on a rack. I miss the even tone and laid back nature of my dad. My mom and I talk all the time. But I still miss my moms understanding about everything. She listens and adds comments and questions me on ideas like no one else I know. We sat and talked about music, cooking, home decor, MINIs, wardrobes, and everything about anything that came up. I bounce ideas off my mom all the time, even things I know she doesn't understand. I think it is something about getting some type of approval from her. I don't know how and it surprises me to see many of the qualities in them that I strive for in my life today. I thought I was trying to make myself different then all of what I grew up with. I guess not!!

When push comes to shove... I can't change where I came from. I hope to embrace what I have experienced this week with my parents. Maybe this time will help me see more clearly in to my future path. My perspective of the world has been changed by this visit from my past. I am now rethinking my old ideas of the world with my new experiences guiding me. I can't wait to see what comes from all of this rehashing....

Note to my parents: I don't know if you will ever read this blog... even if I send you a link... but you are an inspiration in my life I had forgotten. The past I thought I left behind and replaced with all the new ideas I found in my own experiences. It just surprised me how much I still rely on all I learned from you and how much you still have too teach me. I love you both.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Andrew Day Recap

Andrew Day, Wednesday, May 13, 2009.... It didn't really start out like a normal day like I thought. I woke up about 2:30 in the morning.... of course I went to bed at 7 the night before. In order to miss all the blog stuff and random info I might find out throughout the day... I decided to catch up and watch the season finale of Fringe before work. It was great... and a partly unexpected ending. You will have to watch as I don't give shit away. After that I decided to head to work around 5ish as I had some major research work to complete over in Ireland. It is beautiful this time of year... LOL. The rest of the work day went as normal, bitching, griping, and moaning about stuff not working and me having to fix it. When it came time to leave I packed up and headed out to my destination... Rebel Art in Tempe. You heard it right I was out to get a tattoo. As you have no doubt already looked though all the pictures before reading this I am sure you knew that already! It only took 2 hours for Tony to do this amazing work of art on my arm. It isn't complete yet. I had some shading and other details left off so that I could take time and decide on the exactly how the next part will go. Because with this art you can add but never take it away!! So I was cautious and left out things I wasn't sure of yet. I am starting to compile ideas already. Nothing major just little things like eye color and such. So here is a few pictures of the total process.


Just so you all know the back story... this isn't a spur of the moment idea that just popped in my head last week. I have been wanting a tat like this for some years. I never had the nerve to have it done before nor did I know or have the inspiration and knowledge from the friends I have today. You know who you are! Well this has been an exciting Andrew Day!!!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Tool Named Twitter!

Twitter is a great tool and I didn't have to be a tweeter for long to find that out. I started my personal Twitter account (@Gottoon), as I assume many do, by adding the friends I knew to be using it. I then expanded that list using a contact list I have of everyone I know. This list has grown over the years because of social network sites. After I used Twitter for several weeks I started finding new uses for it. I found breaking news, tech articles, software version releases, direct company press releases, and an endless source of trending topics being tweeted about. My Twitter account is now my best source of information about the world as people observe it. It is a word of mouth reference tool like nothing I have seen before. With this tool I am no longer a slave to the big media sources and news feeds. All of which are controlled to a point by the people who run them. I follow topics on many subjects everyday by listening to podcasts, reading forums, blogs, press releases, and news articles. I have used a dozen different sites and tools to follow different topics through the years and have never been impressed by any one tool as I am with Twitter. In the last week started a second Twitter account. This one for my side business, Newest Version Computer Services (@NewestVersion). It is my tech feed to the world about reviews and blogs I have read or written and wish to share. Clients can view it and keep up with the software packages I recommend or if there is a version update they may need.

Twitter is now not only a tool for me to be notified and be informed... it is a tool I use to notify and inform others. This is my tiny contribution to the Twittersphere. Follow Me....

Andrew Birchler
Newest Version Computer Services

Andrew Day - May 13, 2009

I am announcing the first ever Andrew Day. A day of fun, food, and adventure!!! I am scheduling it for this Wednesday, May 13th, 2009. Participation in Andrew day is purely optional. From the average person's point of view this will look like any normal Wednesday. I will be spending my morning basking in the glow of my computer monitors working on system issues and coming up with crazy ideas about those issues and plans to fix them that are even more far out and crazy. I will undoubtedly cause anguish, disbelief, and mayhem just like any normal day.

The differences... My day is starting it at 4am. I will be getting up, taking a shower, making coffee, and then heading to work by 5am. I will go to work and be play my part in all the fore-mentioned scenarios. It is when I leave work that Andrew Day will have meaning. I am leaving work early for an appointment 5+ years in the making. After this meeting of the minds and talents of several individuals things will never be the same again. This change in the norm is scary and exciting and has the potential to be good, bad, or both. We will all have to wait and see!!

I don't know exactly how the day will end. There are several possible outcomes. I will be recapping the day shortly after and it will be documented with photos and I am sure many many endless comments...

There isn't a plan for third party involvement in Andrew Day but you can send your RSPVs to Andrew at gottoon at or post in the comments. Everyone has a place in the Andrew Day celebration... See you there!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Blogging to blog

Hey! Andrew is blogging just to blog, so this will be a boring one. Well not much happened this last week. Work was work and life was slow. That combo worked well for this week due to the endlessness of the jobs I was preforming at work. I have been trying to lay out a plan for the next few weeks with the parental visit coming up fast. I used to like having plans weeks before stuff happens. These days it is easier to just go with the flow and make decisions at the last minute. This weekend I decided to stay home all weekend to get caught up on all the little stuff. It has been a while since i just sat in my computer chair for several days straight and cleaned up all the crap on my computer. I was nearly completely successful with my weekend plan. One little detail was pushed to Wednesday and will have to wait for another blog.

Got some software reviewing done today. I am looking in to turning all this testing for personal information reasons in to a money making venture. Don't think I will make lots of money but if I am already looking at the software I might as well get something for doing it. Although the next real plan has to be the website. I need to create a cool techy geeky site, but I haven't played in web design since I was 15 and even then I wasn't that good at it. Looks like I am going to have to teach myself the skill. Paying for a website for a business that really doesn't make any money is a hard investment to make. Learning how to do it is also a hard investment, but there are good reasons to have the skill. Well the rest of the night is just going to be sitting on my but listening to music, reading, and watching TV. This is my weekend off everything.

Hope you all had great weekends too.