This site functions as an archive of Conner's Blog, which was a blog from 2006-2014 located at http://connermccall.com. Images and links are likely to be broken.

10 Things I've Learned Working for an Insurance Company

  1. Most people are unaware of what coverage they actually have.
  2. There is very little insurance companies can do when they suspect fraud.
  3. Adjusters want to pay and close your claim as quickly as you do.
  4. If you are going to experience a total loss on a vehicle, do it when it's 2-3 years old, otherwise you will feel like you have been shorted. (you'll still feel shorted, but much less so)
  5. No one has enough medical coverage.
  6. Medical billing systems are incredibly inefficient.
  7. Privacy regulations cost everyone a lot more money and time than you would imagine.
  8. Wear your seatbelt.
  9. Don't ride a motorcycle without very good health insurance.
  10. Many insurance companies usually pay out around 1 dollar for every dollar they take in on premiums.

Get Results when Calling Support

Anyone who has held a job that involved a computer has likely dealt with a technical problem,which required a call to his or her company's help desk. If not with a company, I'm positive most people have contacted a technical support line for a product they had purchased.

Within my office, I pretty much assumed the role of the “computer guy”. Not that it comes with a pay increase, but it does get recognition, and I get to know nearly everyone in the office. One thing I have noticed is that when contacting our company help desk, I have a remarkably higher success rate and much quicker turnaround on my calls than most of my co-workers.

This led me to post a quick idea of what I think you should do when contacting technical support.

  1. Be able to describe the problem, this includes what steps cause the problem and how it affects the system you are using. If your system shutdown down when you launched your virus scanner, try the same steps again and see if you can recreate the problem. Do not assume what you think causes the problem actually creates the problem, and if you are not sure let the person at the other end of the line know that you really don't know what caused the problem, don't just assume you know.
  2. Realize the person at the end of the line will probably ask you to repeat some of the steps you have tried. Don't get irritated, unfortunately they deal with people who say they have restarted their computer when they never actually did.
  3. Try and make a personal connection, you will always get better service if the person can relate to you. Asking about their day can make a world of difference
  4. Don't blame them, even if it's a problem caused by a recent software update or a change to the way the system operated, you can bet a good chunk of change that their opinion of the change wasn’t solicited, now they are dealing with an increased workload, and are likely just as annoyed with the change as you are.
  5. Unfortunately you will occasionally get someone who really is incompetent, I don't hesitate to either request a transfer or just hang up and call back to get someone else. Your time is valuable and if you are wasting it don't feel bad about taking steps.
  6. Educate yourself; try to know enough about the systems you company uses that you can at least find the settings dialogue if you are asked to.

To summarize, a few simple steps could lead to 90% of your problems beings solved in 10-15 minutes. The most important thing is to be able to recreate and describe the problem for the help desk, be polite, and have at least a passing knowledge of the technology you are using. Doing those three things should lead to much better results the next time you call technical support. However, remember number 5, if you are not getting anywhere go ahead and try to get someone else on the phone.

And Average You Will Get

"Average Oracle PL/SQL Skills"

I just saw this in a job description on a technology oriented job site. I understand that they don't need someone who is an Oracle wizard, but honestly "Average". Let's teach Human Resources some marketing skills for next time.

How does that work?

taco johns

No really, look at that sign, what do you think when you see that sign. I'm guessing you don't think about the most delicious taco you have ever had. In fact you may think greasy, mildly flavorful, decent food. But for some reason we continue to spend our money at this place. The thing that amazes me is that they haven't really updated their look in forever. The menu really doesn't change. Compared to their chief competitor, Taco Bell, they really don't spend anything on advertising. Unfortunately I couldn't find the stats to back this up, but considering the number of television ads you see for Taco Bell compared to Taco Johns it seems that this would be the case.

Yet I know if I ask my friends which of the two fast food taco places they prefer almost everyone of them will say Taco Johns. I guess it's proof that if you do the same thing and do it well you don't need to market yourself nearly as much.

More Feedreader Pruning

Hot on the heels of removing readburner from my feedlist, which by the way I will probably be adding back in a few days, I have just decided to remove Lifehacker from my list. One too many completely worthless posts and a week of one year ago posts did me in. The whole Gizmodo at CES debacle definitely swayed my decision to, not such a fan of Gawker right now. I really wish Gina would start her own blog, she is much better than what has been going up at Lifehacker lately.

Diamonds

Via Kottke.org

The Atlanta Monthly dropped their pay wall. Yet another great writing establishment to realize that traffic is important. Just a quick scan brought me to this article. Which takes a look back at the myths of the diamond business.

Now if only I could find a woman who would agree with me that diamonds are not nearly as great as common wisdom says they are.

RSS Overload

Recently, I subscribed to Readburners's upcoming feed. Readburner aggregates the shared items on Google Reader and creates a feed based on the items shared most frequently. The first few days were great, I found some interesting posts and there weren't too many. Today was a completely different story, I checked it before I went to work and had around five items. I got to work and opened up Google Reader and suddenly I had 51 unread items on the ReadBurner feed. I hardly get 50 items a day from all my other feeds combined.

Well I unsubscribed from it immediatly. I love the idea of a feed of interesting items generated by users, and I really like the fact that it gave you the original feed item. This is much better than using Digg and having to click through to the Digg site and then on to the actual article. 51 items is just too many to parse through for me. I like to be able to get through all my feeds quickly and have no unread items. I might check ReadBurner out later and see if I can find a different feed to follow, but as of right now it's off my list.

Must Love Sandwich

Tasty simple and delicious sandwich:

Ingredients

  • Ciabatta Bread
  • Avocado
  • Turkey
  • Pepperocini Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Onion
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Grill the turkey along with the onions with a touch of olive oil and some vinegerrette . In the meantime roast the tomatoes seasoned with basil and oregano. Cut up your avacado's and peppers. Cut a slice of bread in half lengthwise, top each slice with the turkey and onions, peppers, tomatos, and cheese. Toss in the oven under the broiler for 4-5 minutes and remove. Add the avocados close sandwich, cut in half and enjoy.

Bin Laden’s Son

Omar Bin Laden, Osama Bin Laden's son, warranted a piece by CNN. I had no idea that Bin Laden had a son (not that it should have surprised me), let alone that is son does not support his fathers terrorist tactics. I really liked his quote "Before they call it war; now they call it terrorism." The sad thing is the majority of American's don't have an idea what he is talking about.

Excitement and All That

I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas and wasn't exactly sure how to use it. At first I was going to get a receiver for my car, but with my new position I get a company car so that seemed like a waste. So I started thinking about the things I really want and started leaning towards a widescreen LCD. I browsed Amazon for a few weeks debating on which one to get.

What finally sealed the deal for me though was getting the other perk from my new job, a new laptop. This has a 15" wide screen monitor. It is amazing how much better browsing and working are on a wide screen. Even at 15" it's better than the 17" CRT I was using before. With that I went to Amazon and ordered this monitor, twenty-two inches of widescreen goodness, which didn't cost me a much after applying the gift certificate. I should be getting it on either Wednesday or Thursday, can't wait to get it setup. Photos and gushing to come.