Dislocation, Dislocation, Dislocation

With appropriate acknowledgment to Phil and Kirstie, this week's random blather seems to have evolved with a dislocated theme; and rather more so than is usual in my weekly ramblings. It started with a series of events that made me wonder if I am somehow dislocated from the rest of my corporate employees and the huge organization of which I'm part. Mainly due to some unexpected emails that popped up in my Inbox.

The first was from a company that specializes in providing support for remote workers. I'm not sure if they meant remote as in working in the Outer Hebrides, or just remote as being home-based rather than enjoying your own cubicle or corner of an open plan office. Mind you, at 5,176 miles away from my office (according to KLM airlines, and not taking into account driving to the airport or continental drift) I guess I fit quite neatly into the "remote worker" category. Of course, this was just untargeted junk mail, but the following day I started to get more concerned when I found I'd been joined to one of our new corporate internal mailing lists called the "Remote Employees Group".

It didn't actually say whether the remoteness of employees was associated with a character trait or with physical location, but I'm assuming the latter until I see some emails on the list. Though, as they failed to include the posting email address of the list (the email they sent was a "no reply" one), it might be a while before there's anything useful on there. I have no idea how they actually found me either. I try and keep my head down most of the time, so maybe somebody sneaked on me. Worried I'm not getting enough support for my daily task of sitting in front of a computer writing stuff about enterprise application design. Perhaps they'll send me a life. Probably as a zip file.

It seems I'm also dislocated from my new Internet provider, as you may have inferred from last week's diatribe. Not dislocated in terms of physical connection, but just in terms of them actually accepting that I exist. No amount of contact with their customer services department can seem to unravel the mystery of where my account (if I do have one) resides. Although the fact that they got my name, address, phone number, and email address wrong on the one piece of paper that the fitters left me might somehow be a related factor. Mind you, while the ones and zeros continue to flow, I suppose I shouldn't complain. But I do wonder who is paying the bills.

And how about being dislocated from my hard disk? I reckon I've discovered how software companies force you to upgrade stuff. When I joined the brave new world of SATA drives and Vista a while ago, I discovered that my disk backup imaging software (Acronis True Image 6.0) couldn't read these drives, so I had to upgrade to version 10. But this doesn't recognize the hard disk in our new Media Center box, so I've had to upgrade again to the "2009" version. I wonder what is different about the SATA disk in this box that means I need the new version. Maybe it just looks at the earliest file dates on the disk and decides it's time I paid them some more money.

Though at around $50 it is a cheap solution compared to upgrading to Vista Ultimate just to be able to do disk images, and - more than anything - I trust it to actually do what I want. I managed to restore the old Media Center O/S with it more than once from saved disk images, and used it when replacing the boot drive in another machine. And a neat trick in the new version is that you can tell it to omit specific file types from the image it generates. So I don't have to include all the saved TV programs that Media Center stores in the Public Users folder. Otherwise the image process would probably take a week.

But, after all that, what really prompted this week's dislocated theme was hearing that a colleague was going into hospital to have his dislocated toe relocated. It sounded an odd term to use, and - as my understanding of the finer nuances of the American language is still somewhat less than comprehensive - I looked up "relocated" in the dictionary. It seems that it means "moved to a new location, such as a different office, building, or city". I suggested he have a word with the surgeons before they start to find out where it will be afterwards...

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