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Avigilon, Goodbye Shaw

It's been a strange couple of weeks.

For starters, a job just sort of fell into my lap. I got a call from Aerotek, saying they'd found something for me. Frankly, I wasn't really sure I wanted to go back to work yet, but couldn't really work up the nerve to turn it down. Besides, I'm bored anyway.

So it started with going down to Aerotek's offices for an interview with my recruiter Daniel, just so he could get a sense of who I was. It included a brief written test designed to see if I could follow instructions -- "put five stars in the upper right corner, don't do question 13" that sort of thing -- and I aced it. Then a few days later, I was told to go to an aptitude test at a company called Avigilon, which manufactures security cameras. It was me and three other guys, we all sat around a table where we were given a bag full of parts and a set of instructions, and told to assemble the camera. I was first to complete it, and it was assembled correctly. It was not a pushover, by the way. Later, I got a call from Daniel that the job was mine if I wanted it. I started on Monday, December 8.

Finally got some closure on my knee injury and WorkSafe claim, but it wasn't good news. After an absurdly difficult time trying to get in touch with the woman handling my claim, which I finally did by leaving her a message during my lunch break to be waiting for my call at exactly 2:05 (my Avigilon afternoon break), we finally connected. My claim was rejected, so I will receive no compensation for the lost week of work at Modu-Loc.

And then there's Shaw Cable. Last October, we had a power outage in New Westminster which apparently fried Shaw's digital cable box. I had to go to their store in Guildford to exchange it for a new one. Then, a few weeks ago, the new one quit working as well. So I had no TV. I was already behind on my Shaw bills, and I decided two things: First, I wouldn't pay them another cent until I had a box that worked properly, and second, I wouldn't lift a finger to help them make that happen. I talked to their rep via Twitter and got very irate as he tried to take me through all the same steps as last time. I said I didn't want to go through all this again and cut off communication. Then I visited the Telus store in Royal City Center.

Telus of course said it would be next week Sunday before they could get someone out to install it, and shortly after I spoke to them, I guess Shaw realized I was leaving and they cut off my Internet and phone as well. For a week, all I had was my cell.

It was a frightening experience. I have no real social life, and only when deprived of Internet did I really understand how much of a void it fills. Who knows what I would do if I didn't have that connection to the world; but for a week in December I've never felt as close to simply falling off the face of the world.

Having a job again has helped quite a bit, of course. And after the installation from Telus was complete, I'm quite pleased with the results. The digital box seems much more robust than Shaw's, AND it includes a digital TV recorder. AND their Internet box includes wireless routing, so I can now have a WiFi network in my apartment. AND on top of everything, I'm going to be getting a notebook computer, just for signing up. I should have done this a long time ago.

Another bit of creeping darkness was an escalating problem with my computer itself. Its CPU kept overheating and shutting down. I thought at first it was just because I was working on a project that took a lot of computing power -- converting the entire series run of Gilmore Girls from MKV to AVI -- but it kept getting worse even after I finished that job. Soon, I couldn't even watch a video and surf the Web at the same time without the computer shutting down.

It was scary, for exactly the same reason as losing Internet was. I really can't afford a new computer right now. If it dies, then what?

But, the day after the Telus switch was made, in a burst of optimism and energy I decided to do something about it. I assumed that dust was somehow blocking air from cooling the CPU, and had already opened the computer a few weeks prior to clean it out, but this time I did a much more thorough job -- removing the entire heat-sink and fan assembly. Sure enough, all the flanges of the heat-sink were completely caked with dust. After cleaning it out, the computer has been performing like new, and I feel rather revived myself.

It's been a consistent theme of the last year; feeling useless, feeling stuck, watching everything I own fall into decay because I can't afford to fix or replace it. My bike has not been working for a month now. My knee has me worrying about getting older and weaker. But getting a new job, fixing the problem with the computer, and making the switch to a superior system with Telus has me feeling much better.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 29th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
Here's to a new job and a New Year!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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