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Archive for the ‘Frustration’ Category

A Tale Of Two Dwellings

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Where o where have I been for the last 6 months?! I know you’re dieing to know. Well, for your information, I have been quite busy. The first few months of this year were spent furiously developing the latest version of TestTrack, TestTrack 2010, which boasts our brand spankin new requirements management tool – TestTrack RM. This latest version has been receiving tons of positive feedback, and is set to release very soon. Many a night and weekend hour where required to bring this version to fruition.

In addition to that, my wonderful fiance (yep, she received a title change since my last post) and I have been attempting to purchase our first home. We had the fantastic idea to by a foreclosed property in need of some TLC – for the potential to build up some serious sweat equity relatively quickly. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.

(This is the part on TV where the show fades into a scene from some character’s recent memory.)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The owner of the property was none other than the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, a.k.a. Freddie Mac. This was just one of many foreclosed properties that had contributed in driving the company to the brink of collapse, only to be subsequently seized by the government. The previous occupants of the home had been removed around 6 months earlier, and by this time the price had been significantly reduced. Of course, the house needed quite a bit of work. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with a bank when purchasing a home, but it can be quite a frustrating experience. The most important thing you need to know when dealing with a bank is, banks do not react quickly in any situation. Much of the time spent in the negotiation process will be dedicated to you waiting for the bank to respond. Fortunately, the bank responded to our initial offer in only a few days – sometimes this can take months. But that, of course, was only the beginning.

The entire negotiation and closing process took almost 3 months. Most of the negotiations were the result of a mold problem that was discovered during our initial inspection. Mold – it’s nasty stuff. Fortunately we were able to get the bank to come down on the price by the amount of the estimate to fix this mold issue. This required us to be very persistent. We finally closed on the house around 1 month ago.

Since we closed, we have been working diligently to get the house into condition for us to move in – which we did this past Sunday. All new paint, floors, appliances, bathroom fixtures, counter tops, refinishing the kitchen cabinets, the list goes on. Things are coming along, but there is still a lot of work left to be done. Trying to remodel a house in your spare time is a long process. At least we are no longer traveling back and forth between our apartment and the house every day.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a link to a Picasa web album of the “before” pics. The “after” pics will hopefully make their way to the web within the next 2 – 3 months. I keep telling myself, it will all be worth it at the end of the day. I just wish the end of the day would finally get here.

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Written by Kris Wong

July 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm

What A Tingley Nose And Tongue And Doggy Drool Have In Common

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So now that I have my new dog, it is of course my desire that the dog not get fleas.  Accordingly, I went to the pet store to purchase an off the shelf flea prevention product.  The product was Sentry Pro XFC, made by Sergeant.

The solution packaging itself is tubular, with a very narrow neck at the top where it is to be cut to dispense the product.  I did this, and started to apply the product.  It didn’t seem to be coming out very well, and my dog doesn’t like to stand still for this sort of thing, so I decided to just cut the packaging at the thicker tube portion.  Now, granted, this is not the recommended practice for applying the product, but I’ve never been much of one for following directions exactly.  So, when I went to apply the rest of the product, it of course came rushing out and got all over his fur.  I didn’t really think anything about it, and went on with the rest of my day.  My girlfriend walks the dog in morning.

When she got home from work that evening, she was complaining of a tingley nose and tongue.  I didn’t think much of it at first, but an hour or so a later I started to get the same sensation.  We also noticed the dog was drinking much more than he normally does and was drooling like crazy.  It didn’t take me long to make the connection – the flea product was responsible for all of this.  The first thing I did was try to google “sargeant flea” – I spelled “sergeant” wrong.  There were still many results, most of which were telling stories of dead or sick pets.  This was obviously a bit disconcerting.  Once we got the spelling right, we called the manufacturer to see what they had to say.  It quickly became obvious that this problem was not uncommon.

We ended up having to first wash the dog with dish detergent, then a second time with his dog shampoo.  We also had to poor tuna water in his water bowl.  For my girlfriend and I, we pretty much had to wait it out.  It wasn’t an extreme sensation, so not a huge deal.  All in all, it wasn’t a very pleasant evening, but at least we all made it through with only minor injuries.

So, the moral of the story is, don’t use off the shelf flea products.  Get them form your vet.

Written by Kris Wong

December 4, 2008 at 3:45 pm

What’s With Wireless?

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Borrowing a phrase from Jerry Seinfeld, I have to rant a bit… what’s with wireless?  Being an avid linux fan, I’m used to wasting hours troubleshooting obscure, and what seem to be impossible, issues.  But I always seem to have some sort of problem with my wireless configuration.  It’s not that complicated, why does it never seem to work quite right?

I had a linksys router and wireless NIC that just did not want to talk to each other.  The signal wasn’t bad, I had an IP address, my gateway and DNS servers were all setup correctly through DHCP, yet for some reason I could not even ping my router.  I know each piece worked independently (through testing against other devices), just not together.  So I used linksys’s live online help.  The support person tells me the NIC I’m using doesn’t support Windows Vista 64-bit.  1. Vista has been around for over 2 years now, get with the program.  2. It was working before, so it’s obviously possible to get it to work.  Lets just say I returned that hardware for some netgear equipment.

Of course I got the “Range Max” version of the wireless router.  It’s supposed to work throughout the entire house.  I have a 2 bedroom apartment.  I get almost no signal on my desktop that’s maybe 30 – 40 feet away from the router, no major obstructions in the way.  Maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. =/

UPDATE: After looking into the issue a little more, there appear to be 10 – 20 wireless networks at my apartment complex in range of my desktop.  Since there are only 3 wireless channels that do not interfere with one another, this is obviously an issue.  Eventually I had to purchase a separate D-Link wireless antenna to increase the coverage at my desktop, and switch my wireless to a channel that would have the least amount of interference.  The net result: I have a decent signal, and am getting 6000+ Kb/s from dslreports.com.  Another option would have been to go with equipment that supports 802.11 n, but this standard is still in draft and the equipment is quite expensive.

Written by Kris Wong

October 3, 2008 at 4:54 pm