Corkish and ex-Corkish Fruit Salad

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Thumbs up

... Ireland's not the only country where bureaucracy is damn slooooow. Just got a letter from the German unemployment office here stating that the information I provided was insufficient. Well, I actually didn't know I ever sent anything in, must have been somewhere in sep/oct of 2005. So you're not alone. It took an awful long time to stick that note to my documents and send them back. Sometimes I really wonder what we're paying taxes for... . I really hope that you get your documentary of life (all the passports etc) back soon. For me, it was sometimes hard to have been stuck on an island like Ireland - when you're stuck your house, it's even worse.

Not getting a day off for your own wedding? OMG, that's so Apple. I've seen people not getting free time for their own child's care due to Line Coverage. Meanwhile, I'm quite confident that there's somewhere within Apple a secret room where all the managers gather together and pray to the Holy Shrine of Line Coverage, at least once a week... . It's ridicolous. When you're pregnant they will probably tell you: Eh, would you mind getting your kid in the morning? We would need you that day from 10 to 6... . Line Coverage, you know?
I've seen so many really dumb things that, in my eyes, Apple up there is just a nicely colored Call Center that is hip due to the Apple brand. When you rip all that off (the Legoland colors, the architecture, the coolness factor of the brand), you get - well, just a below-average call center. I'm quite convinced that they don't care about you, nor anybody else. Just a piece of meat with ears and a mouth to take call. Well, the call center would be great if one could organize it like a grassroots movement, and get the management fired (or at least trained on how to motivate employees). That bloody line coverage doesn't interest anyone outside of AppleCare. And they are all hopelessly devoted to it. They simply measure success the wrong way.

But I'm getting off the original topic... . Being patient is a noble feature, but if it's leading to nowhere, I would reconsider getting to America. At least they won't check M's stuff and opportunities are better over there than in Ireland. Just my opinion... .

Hey, and if you ever get your stuff again from the Irish Government, pop over to Munich, you're always welcome.

- Björn

Saturday, September 16, 2006

And the three things I will remember of this country ...

Oh man, it has taken taken so long since the last updates. I have started several times to write an update, a life update, an update on what is happening at the fruit garden, to its people.. and I have never had the guts to finish the updates. Let's try now.

It has been the longest time ever that I know of when they didn't take any new people in. As people tend to come and go, the rows of desk are getting emptier and emptier ... soon to have a replenishment. Some fresh blood, some fresh people, some fresh ideas.

Some nice people have left, and .. well, I'll try to get them here.

Some things have got better, some worse. And yet so many things will never change... or they will not change until something major changes. Or hmm... not comfortable elaborating this.

Ireland is sometimes painfully slow. M, the guy that I married, that moved from the other site to here finally this year, is still trying to fight the paperwork. Six months to get the licence to work?! Maybe it would be easier being an Irish in America than the other way around. The Irish government is painfully slow - for registering a non-EU spouse of an EU-non-Irish citizen resident in Ireland, they want the original passport, original (only copy of) marriage certificate, and .. my drivers licence and a lot of other original documentation. It can take up to six months for the government to sit on the papers. In which time .... nothing seems to happen. We can't even fly to Dublin as without a passport or driver's licence it's not really possible. Stuck on a T2 salary for 2, great. At least we are not the only ones in this s$$t. Nevertheless, it is getting on the nerves, slowly but surely, day by day consuming a bit, making me want to move mountains to get ANYTHING happen, to gt the life moving again.

We thought of staying in Ireland for a while. It was supposed to be easier for M to get fully documented and got in order here than me on the other side of the ocean. But the patience is getting slow ... I somehow don't see me want to stay here unless something starts to happen soon. Applications, applications .. well mostly for M to get something, on the same time I would not mind a bit to get somewhere warmer where I would not have to ever meet anyone speaking Klingon.

If I try to guess what I will remember of here in a few years ... let me see. Thing number one : not getting a day off for my own weddings. No matter what would happen in the work, I will not forget that. Line coverage? For a single Tuesday? I'm sort of speechless on this. Thing number two probably is that it took over two years to finally move my ass from home to see the Gaol, even though it's less than in a walking distance from home. Thing number three... hmm. The Hollyhill pink glamour velour tracksuits, the Hollyhill 1980s punk/farmer wife hairdon'ts with the three colors... or the way to "organize" the traffic on Blarney Street, or that I had to come all the way to Ireland to discover Swedish cider.

I have no patience in most things, and M has no patience in the same things. Now this waiting the government to get tired of sitting on their European sized a##es and start to move things around is getting annoying. Trying to get anything is getting annoying. Back to where M was before is starting to feel attractive, as is some jobs we have heard back from an HR in Australia .... Back to somewhere via Australia would be interesting.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

"Life After AppleCare" ends up in Slashdot

Wow. People end up in Slashdot too... Only for working in AppleCare. Interesting.
So this guy worked for AC in Austin. I just don't get how working as a tech support is worth slashdot first page headlines.

Weird stuff in his blog; "I recently started a column on Mac Geekery where I detail my experiences as a Mac Genius and share my thoughts on the Mac-related news of the moment. I figured I'd get a fair amount of traffic, but after getting links from LifeHacker, Digg, and TUAW, things really took off. In the end, several fellow former Geniuses chimed in with a little input, too. I also didn't realize how common it is for Mac Geniuses to go off on their own after working as a Genius - the number of ACNs among us is staggering" - wait, so a phone monkey, or a mac genius? If you were supporting servers as the blog first says, what mac genius? They don't support the servers on the retail side. Nevertheless, getting on the first page of slashdot for sure made his 15 minutes of fame. Nice photos he has however on his personal blog.

Snippets:

I worked in Austin's AppleCare center for four and a half years as a desperation move after a programming gig decided they'd rather give it a go without me several months earlier and my severance and unemployment checks stopped paying the bills.

All told, the job wasn't really challenging. I found myself coming in to work late, getting in from lunch late, missing breaks, etc. All the classic signs of being completely tired of the job. So I went to my manager and said, "I know servers. How do I get into that team?" A few weeks later there was an opening and I was told to interview.

(I wonder has anyone done that in Cork? Be late enough, and get sacked. Period)

That's a damn fine spread of Macintosh knowledge that you don't see very often at all. That's also the range of topics that the higher members of Apple technical support have. There is no specialization. And yet, with all of those skills (and more), we received phone center wages and the regular abuse of people whose jobs we should have.
(Again - the guys on the other side of the pond support only servers. Or only desktops, or only portables, or only pro audio, or only pro video, or even only iPods. Not the whole range of everything as here. So if needing to troubleshoot the servers, the same guy would still do all Logic and Final Cut troubleshooting here. And in more than English, with less).

The Apple Retail Store opened in Austin during my first career-induced depression and I applied and fought like hell for it. I worked my way to the final interview on that one, only to get passed over for other transfers. I tried hanging around, making my name known, all the fun tricks, but nothing came of it. Time and again I applied as Genius openings came up and got nothing. Well, almost nothing. One day I did, actually, get a call back from them for the job, complete with an offer. This was right around the end of the year and their offer was below my new salary after a respectable raise from a mid-year job change. This was also after they slid the Genius scale back quite a bit, too. Needless to day, more work for less money is something I try to avoid, so I did.
(There it goes. So he wasn't a Mac Genius, nor in Barton Creek, nor elsewhere).

And a chapter called Life Inside AppleCare that does not mention at all the inside the company relationships? Heh.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Windmills

I woke to the reality that neither my iPod (bless the 40gig old big guy) nor my iBook are supported anymore, and i did not get APP's for them. dunno how long i can keep asking for CS codes just because 'i know people who work for Apple'.

Otherwise i quite think this is a good idea. i keep being amazed by the opportunities presented by this 'internet' thing. every day i still find msn (yes, working for a big corporation way worse of its reputation than Apple and dealing with WIN2000) and real-life conversations incredible. as you might notice, during my year as 'tech support' i never got very technical...

whos' retuned to Munich? :S i wish my parents had named me mac_2006. or i am just too far out of the loop to understand (next someone's going to comment 'who the hell are you and who do you think you are owning an old 40gig iPod). or i've started thinking in dutch. which is tragic.

maybe the time will come i'll come up with something sensible to write. meanwhile i look out of the window to the sunshine and get a flash of nostalgia for the grey of Ireland and the local buses.

the beer is a good idea

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Just returned to Munich...

... and that was an absolutely nice surprise.

Well done, Anna, a cool idea. I thought I'd leave my fingerprint here as well (so that you all know I'm still alive). As some of you might know, I've just returned from a week of vacation in Ireland, and now stepped through my door here in Munich.
And before anything else: a big big big big thank you! for that absolutely nice evening at 47 last Saturday. You all really made me feel home, even if I haven't been living in the house for 6 months anymore. Pascal, Anna, Susan, Mathias, Sabine (and that cousin of Anna, my apology, I didn't catch your name - you're a nice person, as well), you all made me feel just great.
You're probably going to see me around in the future, not in the next few months (relax ;-), but it's great coming back for holidays to Ireland.
Weather over here is some sort of cool - only 4°C, some snow around... not much, but still not that Irish spring feeling. So we're still waiting for the beergarden season to kick off.
Oh, and for all you honeymooners in Ireland, if you like, I have an absolutely gorgeous tip for you: Shiplakemountain hostel in Dunmanway. A great place to stay and having a rest, you can even spend your nights there in caravans. It's really cool, hard to find, you won't be disturbed by any traffic and you get a 100% great nature. Have a look on your own: http://www.shiplakemountainhostel.com/.

That's my short notice for now, the next few days my PowerBook will be back from repair, so I'll then be back busy working... Expect to see me here... .

Thursday, April 06, 2006

We don't support you

We don't support you. Or some of us still do.

Since the first weeks here, I felt like one of the people who was here, Thomas, us has put it : If somebody someday decides to make a soap called "The Callcenter" trust me, that would be entertaining, with intriguers, sex, drugs, rock 'n roll and nerve thrilling moments.

So no one has made that soap yet. I think. Then again, I don't have time for watching TV, and it often feels like so many people who have been here, once supporting, have so become internet addicted that you just know that if they are still alive, they will be online when they are awake, unless they are very ill. So many of the people who have been here can easily be found online, they have their own blogs, their own lifes by now ... every time someone sends the email "I'm going away" I wonder where they go, what they will do, and if they will have good or bad memories of this place.

I always wondered why there wasn't some place online for hanging out for 'us', those who were here, and those who still are. There are so many legendary stories about the people who were here, who have gone away somewhere and do something else now. So many stories. To hopefully not be lost forever.

We don't support you. Or then some of us still do. If you got an invite to be an author here, then you were here... someone knew or remembers you. Want to join to be the co-author here? Any of the I-was-once-here are welcome.