A computer conversation

There was a tweet from @findchaos that made me remember a conversation I had with a coworker at my kitchen job a few days ago.

The gist of it was “I’m looking for a new computer that’s good for everything and has lots of gigs to do what I want because I don’t want to spend a grand on an apple laptop“. Cue the questions regarding use (“Are you going to use for facebook? Youtube? Are you going to play on it?”) and connectivity (“Do you have WiFi at home? No? Are you going to use a hotspot from your phone then? No? So how are you going to get online???”)

This guy is from a poor part of Mexico. Whenever I ask specifics I just get grunts or non-answers, because he gets embarrassed. He knows he’s in over his head on these matters and I am understanding, but there’s so much I can do without kissing his ass which I will not do.

So with that said, I recommended a few models from the Dell XPS line, the Lenovo Thinkpad line and a couple of Samsung laptops I saw for cheap on Amazon. The guy was quite insistent that he wanted a “Sony laptop” if he couldn’t get a cheap Apple laptop. It didn’t matter what the sub-brand was since Sony has a few, most of them with the esoteric model names so favored by this manufacturer. I kept asking if he wanted a Vaio, but he just answered “I want a Sony laptop if I can’t get a cheap Apple laptop”.

After a while of circular arguments on his part I eventually ended the conversation with “If you don’t want to pay over a grand for a computer from Apple and you don’t like what Sony or Dell or Lenovo or Samsung or anyone else has to offer then I can’t help you. You have to decide what you want and all of it costs over 500 dollars from what you say you want.”

That shut him up.

From this I get a few things:

  • Apple is quite uncaring of people like my fellow cook. I’ve seen their support and as they’ll help you as long as you give them money, which most in his position don’t have, otherwise you’re on your own. For them, an Apple device is a status symbol.
  • Other computer manufacturers should try to fill in this gap. Even though these people are mostly illiterate they are already online through facebook and whatsapp. They are quite willing to spend the funds, it’s just that they don’t even have brand awareness of others because no one has even tried beyond a few ads in the most popular telenovela.
  • I think more efforts to promote Chromebooks would help as these people pretty much only use facebook, youtube, whatsapp and a few others. Particularly now that Google is working on having chromebooks have the capacity to run Android apps and even use the Google Play Store itself.
  • People like him want to know more but the classes available are designed for people with 9 to 5 schedules. The vast majority of Hispanic immigrants do not have that schedule and if governments want to better integrate them into US society at large more efforts should be made to allow for schedules where people have free time in the morning and work in the evenings.
  • I should probably start a side business giving people like him advice on what to buy and for a commission, buy it for them through Amazon. Offer training for an additional charge.

In writing this I forgot the original point of the post, but that’s okay. At least this is now out there since it happens somewhat often. People ask me something, I try to obtain more information to provide better advice, then they clam up because they realize they don’t even know what they want or what the person that wants the thing wants.

I’ll just go along with it.

There are a few things that I have to make clear, though, as the entire conversation was conducted in Spanish:

  1. “Lots of gigs” is a valid unit of measure for people like him. I don’t know whether they refer to RAM or to storage capacity, but I go along since they usually mean a bit of both. The actual phrase was “hartos gigas”.
  2. Apple is the same whether they are talking about an iPhone (“Un telefono Apple”) or a computer (“una laptop Apple”) regardless of whether the computer is a desktop or a laptop. The only difference is whether it is a mobile device or not.

Agreed.A “gadgets off” policy means you will be paying attention to your surroundings. This means you will respond to them. Should there be an emergency, you may faintly remember the indications from the people working on the plane.When you don’t pay attention, you become the douchebag who doesn’t want to move because he’s too busy playing Angry Birds Space on an iPad. You become the idiot who is playing music so loudly through the headphones that everybody hears it.Having devices turned on through a flight offers people yet another chance to become assholes that get in other people’s way.

Opinion: Shutting down your gadgets at takeoff and landing: not such a bad idea


Recorded this outside of Virus Club over in Ave. Revolucion. The only thing I dislike is how crappy it looks… the YouTube people need to work a bit harder on their transcoding tools. The original AVI file was converted into an h.264 MP4 file that looks almost the same as the original, but once it got uploaded it just doesn’t look right.

If this keeps up I’ll begin uploading videos somewhere else; Vimeo looks good.


Lo grabe afuera del Virus Club, ahí en la Revolución. La gente de YouTube ocupan mejorar sus programas para trascodificar… el AVI original de 200MB lo pase a un MP4 h.264 que no se ve nada mal, pero ya que esta en YouTube si se mira de la chingada.

Si siguen así mejor subo mis vídeos a algún otro lado; Vimeo se mira bastante bien… así como los vídeos.

The boss

Our ‘boss’ at work isn’t even in the city. He invests time and effort on growing another team in a city in the center of the country, where is cheaper to hire support personnel. No big deal, it’s the very nature of my sector for work to flow into places where labor is cheaper.

The problem for us is the team we’ve got here in Tijuana. A few hours ago I was informed beginning next Monday our daily work hours are reduced to 6 hours and the night shift is being phased out. This after fighting management for a few months to get our shifts reduced from 12 hours to 8 hours daily.

“There’s no budget”, he alleges; fuck that. The fucker doesn’t declare our full salary to the IMSS(social security here in Mexico). He’s changing the company’s stated reason of being with the SHCP(the Mexican Fed). Long-expired workplace permissions and documentation. Utterly stupid ideas of growing that make hiring and retaining personnel that much harder. An endless parade of workplace practices worthy of The Daily WTF.

Screwmotherfucking bastard.

El patrón

Nuestro ‘jefe’ actual ni siquiera esta en la ciudad. Invierte su tiempo y esfuerzo en hacer crecer otro equipo en una ciudad del centro del país, donde resulta mas barato contratar personal para soporte. No hay gran problema en ello, es la misma naturaleza de mi sector que el trabajo fluirá lentamente a áreas donde resulte mas barata la mano de obra.

El problema es para el equipo que tenemos aquí en Tijuana. Hace unas horas me fue informado que a partir del lunes que viene nuestro horario de trabajo sera de 6 horas diarias, y el turno nocturno sera eliminado. Esto viene después de haber batallado durante varios meses para reducir nuestros turnos de trabajo de 12 horas a 8 horas diarias.

“No hay presupuesto”, alega; esas son mamadas. El cabrón no declara nuestro salario completo al IMSS. Esta cambiando la naturaleza de la empresa con Hacienda. Permisos vencidos hace años. Ideas de crecimiento completamente estúpidas que hacen mas difícil la contratación y retención de personal. Un sinfín de practicas de trabajo dignas para Daily WTF.

Hijo de su gran renormeputarevergadre y dos tantitos.

Iris de luz

Buscando algo; abrir un cajón, asomarse, cerrarlo con llave, ir a otro archivero. Repetir, ad nauseam.

Frustración, cuando sus compañeros de trabajo en otros lugares la hacen renegar. Cuando verifica información, no obtiene respuestas. Llamadas caídas, llamadas desconectadas, llamadas colgadas.

Sus ojos se apagan. Se mira… mal. Un repentino, casi invencible cansancio. Dice no sentirse bien. No ha comido su almuerzo aun, quizá en una media hora. Atún, es lo que comerá.

Su respuesta es no.

Platica leve sobre el trabajo. Conoce a mi jefe, también le disgusta. Sabe todo acerca de nuestros sórdidos desordenes monetarios. Su jefe también sabe de ellos. Mi jefe llego un día en el pasado reciente. El grito y lo dejaron. Amenazas vacías.

Trabajara en el problema, como empleada. Si esto se atora, cualquier cosa que venga después puede resultar afectada también. Si eso llega a suceder habrá consecuencias inesperadas.

Me miro a los ojos. Mire de regreso. Su respuesta continua siendo no.

Iris of light

Looking for something; unlock a drawer, look in, lock it back up, go to another bin. Repeat, ad nauseam.

Frustration, when her remote co-workers do unto her. When checking for information, she does not get any answers. Dropped calls, disconnected calls, hanged calls.

Her eyes glazed over. She looked… Wrong. A sudden, overpowering tiredness. Says she doesn’t feel good. She hasn’t had lunch yet, perhaps in half an hour. Tuna, is what she’ll have.

Her answer is no.

Small talk over work. Knows my boss, dislikes him too. Knows all about our sordid monetary disorders. Her boss knows about them as well. My boss showed up one day in the recent past. He yelled and they let him. Empty threats.

She’ll work on the problem, as an employee. If this gets stuck, whatever comes after might be affected as well. Should that happen there will be unexpected consequences.

She looked me in the eye. I looked back. Her answer is still no.

Mirar gente

On the corner (by nullrend)

Me gusta salir y solo… mirar. Solo, dado que ya no tengo a alguien a mi lado.

Como todos vienen y van. Escuchar conversaciones sin estorbos y sin ser notado. Ser ese perfecto extraño, para nunca ser visto otra vez.

Me muevo de vez en cuando; aparentemente desinteresado; aparentemente sin prestar atención a mis alrededores.

La gente ya no esta consciente de los que les rodea. Celulares, PMPs, consolas… todos conspirando para atraer tu atención lejos de lo que esta a lado tuyo. Podrías estar en algún otro lugar para lo que te interesa.

Eso si, escuchar música puede cambiar la experiencia. Esa señora con la gran melena? Fan de Madonna en los ochentas, ahora la odia; ese tipo con la manicura? Le choca cuando tocan Amandititita en el radio, preferiría escuchar Sevendust. La caminata a casa mientras el sol se oculta? Yann Tiersen es a quien escuchar.

Siempre mirando, cuando piensas que no. Deja de buscarme, y me encontraras.


On the corner (by nullrend)

I like to go out and just… Watch. Alone, as I don’t have anyone by my side any longer.

How everyone comes and goes. Listen to conversations unhindered and unnoticed. To be that perfect stranger, never to be seen again.

I’ll move a bit every now and then; apparently uninterested; apparently not paying any attention to my surroundings.

People just aren’t aware of their surroundings anymore. Cellphones, PMPs, gaming consoles… All of them conspiring for you to be drawn away from what is right next to you. You could be on another place for all you care.

Listening to music can shift the experience though. That lady with the big hair? Fan of Madonna back in the eighties, now hates her; that dude with the manicure? Gets annoyed when Amandititita is on the radio, would rather listen to some Sevendust. The walk home when the sun is setting? Yann Tiersen is the guy to listen to.

Always watching, when you think I’m not. Stop looking for me, and you’ll find me.