Category: Uncategorized

Collected Links for June 19, 2015

Cover versions | Flickr – Photo Sharing!
I'm especially in love with “The White Room” (no surprise there, eh?)

Hacking “Chutes and Ladders” | MetaFilter
The commentary on Metafilter is just as worthwhile as the article it links to.

Four Columbia House insiders explain the shady math behind “8 CDs for a penny” · Expert Witness · The A.V. Club

Another hacked site in the news..

LastPass Security Notice | The LastPass Blog

We want to notify our community that on Friday, our team discovered and blocked suspicious activity on our network.

And that's why I use 1Password. Ultimately, with LastPass they handle it all – one stop shopping. And one point of failure. With 1Password, you need to get access to my storage and then break into my 1Password file. It may not actually be more secure, but it sure feels like it is.

Froggy visitors

Frogs in our pool

I was hanging out tonight when I noticed a new sound. For the past week or so, we've had a lot of very loud, very romantically interested frogs in the neighborhood. This sounded louder and different. So I went out to investigate. It sounded like it was behind he pool. As I got closer to the pool, I realized it was in the pool. I looked around… Nothing. I finally turned the flashlight up under the edge and there they were. When I grabbed a bucket, they hopped right in.

Bella was less impressed with them. She went in for a sniff and was surprised to find that they could jump.

Why I hate recruiters

Truth be told, I’m kind of in the job market. It’s a long story, and not really all that interesting, but the short version is that if the right job came along, I’d take it. However, I’m barely what I’d call an ‘active seeker.’ What this means is that I tend to take more recruiter calls than I normally would.

Last Friday (Halloween), my cell phone rings at 4:30. I don’t recognize the number, but decide to pick up anyways. I say “hello” and no response, so I hang up.

A minute later, my phone rings – same number again. I pick up, again say “hello” and hear a very garbled voice. I manage to make out “exciting opportunity” and what sounds like “pennsylvania”. Ummm, no. Not Pennsylvania, and you know what, it’s 4:30 on Halloween and I’m carving pumpkins and hanging out with my family. I say I’m not interested and hang up. That should be the end of the story.

Phone rings 3 more times – 5:56, 5:57 and 6:04. I finally block the number because this is ridiculous at this point and I don’t want to deal with it. Score one point for technology.

6:07, the following lands in my inbox.

Hi Neil Kelly,

We received your resume as a response to one of our advertisements on for a Business Analyst full-time position with Cognizant Technology Solutions. The position is based in Boston, MA. If you are intrested to for an intresting career in Cognizant, Please do reply me with your updated resume with the Contact details and the best time to reach you.
Also please provide us with the following details:

· Are you currently in a project?

· Your work authorization (Visa Status)

· Current Salary & Expected Salary

· Willingness to relocate across states within US

· Time required joining us once the offer is rolled out

· Current Employer and Location

Please feel free to call me at 973-368-9700 (Extn:453722), for further details on the same.

About Cognizant:

We are a Fortune 500 company with over 165,000 employees globally and 8 billion dollars in revenue. We provide business solutions and technology consulting to global corporations, using some of the world’s most sophisticated and advanced technologies. You can learn more about us at or at any of the leading business websites.

Please provide a phone number and a convenient time when I can speak with you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks and Regards,

[logo] Monish George | Talent Acquisition Group (NA)
A Fortune 500, S & P 500 and NASDAQ 100 listed Company
Phone: 973-368-9700 Extn: 453722
E-Mail: |

Okay, so clearly he’s not getting it. I said I wasn’t interested and he keeps hounding me. Now I’m pissed off. I write back around 9 that night.

Monish –

To be honest, even if I was interested in the position, I wouldn’t want you to represent me for it. To call someone, have them tell you they’re not interested, and then call four more times over the next hour? Unacceptable, unprofessional and amateurish.

Please delete my information from your system. Under no circumstances would I want you or anyone from your company representing me to potential employers. I’ll be sure to tell everyone about my experience as well.


I figure that will be the last of it. I was wrong. 6 minutes later, on a Friday night, I get this:

Hi Neil,

My sincere apologies for the same. I did call you twice on this no. to confirm with you on an alternate position based in MA. Since you told me you were looking for positions in MA. However, I did not hear from you post that. This is a board number and I am sure someone else would have tried to connect you on the same. Please do reply if you would be interested on this Opportunity in MA.

Thanks and Regards,

[logo] Monish George
Talent Acquisition Group (NA)

You have got to be kidding me! Ugh.

I thought about whether to post this, and whether to include the name of the recruiter and the company. Ultimately (and obviously, since you can read) I did. Clearly he doesn’t listen – I never said what I was looking for to him, and he clearly doesn’t understand ‘no’. And if someone hires Cognizant to represent them, they should know what kind of representation they were getting. I won’t be accepting any further calls from them, and I’m not interested in working with anyone that would want them as their representative.

More fun with Charter Support

You know it’s good when you start with the virtual agent putting you on hold. 

Actually, 2 of the 3 support humans I talked to just now were good. Admittedly, it did take a half hour to resolve the problem, but that’s unsurprising. The third one (which was the front line and the first actual person I spoke with) well… let me back up.

Last night, we get into bed and turn on the TV. Message says our cable service has been disconnected, which is disconcerting as we pay our bills on time and the TV downstairs (the troublemaker with the cable card and tuning adapter) worked fine when we were down there. But, it’s late and I don’t want to deal with Charter so we watch some Hulu. 

I get home from work today, still not working. Call up after dinner and battle to get the automated system to understand me. Finally convince it to give up and get a human whose name I have forgotten. First she sends a hit, then she tries to pawn it off on a partial outage in the area. I play dumb and ask “What time do you show that outage having been reported?” (Kelly starts laughing at this point as she knows where I’m going.) 

“4 PM.”

“Okay,” says I. “It’s not that as we noticed the problem at 10:30 last night, so it can’t be the outage you’re seeing.” 

“Well, maybe the outage didn’t get reported right away.”

“Somehow, I doubt that an outage went unreported for nearly 20 hours.” Unsaid was “Why don’t you try another line?”

Apparently their reps aren’t used to be called on bullshit. She got rather flustered – I’ve never been thanked for “educating” a rep, which makes me think “thank you for that information” is the standard reply to anything they get told now. She did transfer me to another rep, who tried to recalibrate the box before passing me off to the third. 

She was able to see the problem right away – the cable box was inactive in their system. She reactivated it and all was well. Of course, me being the curious sort, asked how that would have happened. Turns out, the tuning adapter wasn’t properly noted in their system and something triggered in their system so it deactivated everything but the TA. I’m not completely sure that makes total sense, but both TVs are now working with all their channels, so I’ll let it go. 

Changes and Milestones

Today my bathroom begins its transformation. Which means right now it’s less a bathroom and more of a unfinished closet. That’s okay because I know that the future state is better than both the current state and the past.

At the same time, we brought in 1300 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. 500 have gone out so far, so there’s hope that we will someday be able to reclaim the dining room.

And Erin got her ears pierced. No tears, no fuss. The girl is tough. Grace apparently nearly passed out just watching. I knew better, I stayed home.

I’m trying to do things better. I saw a number on the scale I didn’t see at all last year. Now i just have to try to keep on this track. Like all the above things, they are changes and they’re headed the right direction.


Something about the calendar changing over makes people want to review what happened and plan for the next one. Especially for having passed one of those big milestone birthdays.

It’s been an interesting year. +1 to the count of cats. Not much else changed in that regard. No other new additions to the family, no subtractions. So that’s good. Car continues its inevitable decline. Job is what it is. In some ways, it’s all a rut but in others, it’s okay. This time of my life isn’t about me so much as enjoying those around me. 

That being said, some things on my mind. 

More of this. More words. More content. I say it a lot, and then I claim that life overtakes it but honestly, I enjoy doing this typing activity and I just need to actually sit down and do it instead of dicking around. And maybe finally spending the time to make this more interesting and less of a link dumping ground.

And the counterpoint to that is more reading. I have a Kindle. I enjoy reading. I don’t do it enough.

More walking. I was good about it for a while, but then it got cold and I got lazy. Bella and I took a good walk today, so that’s a start. 

Less screwing around aimlessly. I tend to blow a lot of time dicking around online or watching TV that just fills time. That includes you, Facebook. I could be doing something more interesting. 

Things that I’m not worried about: life-work balance. I’ve made it pretty clear I’m not sacrificing time with my family for the workplace. If that’s to the detriment of my advancement, then I’m okay with it. I think we’re raising two pretty good kids, so I’m not going to worry much about parenting either. It could be better, but all in all, we’re doing okay.

This isn’t going to be a year of big changes, I think. Just little incremental ones that hopefully will make the next 12 months better.  

Back in the saddle.

So, remember all those other times I thought I’d try my hand at writing. Didn’t last long. 

I’m not going to pretend this one is different. But now I’ve got a plan. 

Northeast Highways will remain my road geek hobby site. Pictures, maybe some more thoughtful pieces. will continue to be my personal archive and repository of things I’ve done, read and written. has always been the domain name I loved but didn’t know what to do with. Maybe now I have a plan – it’s going to be my tech writing. Organization, automation, task management, maybe some opinion. 

A little bit of clean-up – there’s some stuff that was on insurgia that doesn’t belong there, and probably some stuff here that now more properly belongs over there. Definitely need to clean up a few things on Neilbert, the auto posting needs some more rules and organization.