Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm a Mac, Apparently

Ok, so after being sick for two weeks, and yes, I think it was the swine flu even though I had assumed that my body would have rejected something that trendy, we decided to use our tax refund to get me a decent laptop. I think I literally glow in the dark from a lack of sunlight at this point, and laptops are far less expensive now that I had remembered. They are actually so inexpensive that we got two.

One is a MacBook and the other is an HP Mini. The plan was for me to try one computer one day and the other computer the second day and then to decide which one I liked best and to claim it. So, the first day I tried the Mac. It was weird and confusing and the mouse made me so mad I actually threw it once. I still wasn't sure about it when I tried the HP the next day. That thing is about $200 and runs pretty much exactly like my HP desktop. It's got the same speed and the same amount of freezing, but it will run Firefox and it has a mouse with two buttons, so I figured that it was probably the way to go. So, the next day I used the HP and it started dawning on me- the Mac never once froze up when I tried it. I never had to wait minutes for something to load and I never felt like smashing it as I often do with my desktop and the HP Mini.

I tried the Mac again and actually figured out how to use what they call a mouse and how to navigate Safari, the Mac browser. It's actually an extremely good computer for a reasonable price. It doesn't freeze, it doesn't take forever to load anything, and it doesn't slow down over time. I had to reboot my desktop at least once a day to keep it running at a decent speed, and I never never once had to reboot my Mac to make it run better or faster. I don't have to worry about the virus software getting in the way of my stuff because there isn't any. Viruses aren't a big threat with Macs, apparently.

I always thought Mac people were pretentious and/or hipster gadget lovers, but, um, I'm afraid I may be a Mac person now. I've only had the thing for a week and I really have no wish to use anything else ever again. So here's my question- why haven't we been told how much better these suckers are? Why aren't Mac people proclaiming this stuff in the streets? With something like this on the market, PCs should have been edged out of the market years ago. Nice going, keeping it all to yourselves, Mac people. You can only keep your secret so long before the world finds out. Be afraid.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Uh Oh

I've been horribly sick for about four or five days now. I've been in bed most of the time, coming out briefly here and there to stay on top of projects and write an article or two when I can. I figured this was another sinus infection, I get them from time to time, but it's just gotten worse and worse with no signs of getting better. It just occurred to me this afternoon that, um, I think this might actually be swine flu.

I haven't gone to a doctor because they've evil, so I'm not sure if I have to do anything. I know the CDC is tracking swine flu, and I seem to have all of the symptoms as mentioned on a site that won't hire me. If I get tested for it, are they going to put me in a tent and bring in the guys in chemical suits to spray our house? I'm picturing the scene from E.T. now. I think I'll just skip it.

In other uh oh news, I have two clients who are pretty late with payments right now. One is a large company that should know better, and they're giving me runaround. When you hire people as independent contractors, you have to understand that they depend on the money they are making. They are self-employed people who need payments coming in on time in order to keep going. No company should shrug off when a check is coming, and no contractor should have to inquire about why their check never came. Any company that makes you jump through hoops to get paid should be struck down with the swine flu. And I have the means, baby. I have the means.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Elance Still Trying to Drive Me Insane

I haven't had to use Elance that much over the past year, but lately work has been drying up all over. I went back to Elance last month to start bidding on freelance jobs. I thought it would be an easy way to drum up some new work. WRONG. They are again trying to creating the most complicated site every known to man.

If you've never used Elance, you can probably imagine how it should work. You should be able to bid on jobs and then you should have an account area where you can see what you've bid on and what jobs you've landed. WRONG.

Bidding on jobs is easy. Finding them again afterward in your account, however, has been made difficult to the point of ridiculousness. There are so many statistics, workspaces, pages of portfolio options and other crap that it's impossible to actually find anything. I was actually in tears once trying to find a project that I was supposed to be working on but couldn't find.

Elance has also started some type of Sunday report crap that they never really explained. I keep getting emails about sending Sunday reports for projects that have been over for weeks. In addition, they put up a bunch of tests that they encourage you to take to show off your skills. I thought that did sounds like a better idea than just self evaluation. WRONG.

I started the grammar test, getting partway through before I realized that it never said whether this was for MLA, AP, APA or any other style. The questions were ones that you would expect in a high school English class, not from anyone working in any professional capacity. The questions were extremely style specific, so I thought I could just get the answer from the site. WRONG. I emailed, asking which style the test was for. No response. Follow up email. No response. Screw it.

As much as Elance bothers me and is increasingly treating its users like kids, I simply was not prepared for the email that came today. Here's just one quote from this masterpiece: "Elance is introducing a new way to display your activity in a section called "My Stats" (short for My Statistics)." I do have to thank them for clarifying that, though. I would have been up all night running Google searches trying to figure out what "stats" meant.

Now, because the site just isn't crushingly complicated enough, with rankings and ratings and placement based on about 10 factors, they are now starting a points system that will affect your placement in their search as well as your credit rating, your medical history and whether or not you get laid. I am assuming. The points are based on feedback, getting repeat work, earnings and other stuff that already affected your placement.

So, why all of this? Because they have too damn much money and no real reason to spend any of it. I have an idea. I need patio furniture. Bad. If Elance will pay for my patio furniture, I will plaster it with the Elance logo and give myself a point every time I sit on it. Then, I can test myself as to how long I sit and report back with pages of statistics about it. I will rank where I get to sit on it based on my points. Then I will create pages and pages of information about what it is used for and submit a detailed report every Sunday about its use. I am seriously thinking of submitting this idea to them. I don't expect a response.