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Getting lost FTL

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Nov 7, 2011 in Fail

I’ve got a Tax assignment due tomorrow morning at 8:00am.

And it won’t be getting done on time, because apparently at some point back around September I was mentally checked out and totally don’t remember anything at all about calculating “adjusted basis” and related stuff :beatup:

I know it seems like law:/dev/null is becoming one big cautionary tale to the NCCU Law 1Ls/2Ls coming after me, but y’all I’m dead serious: when you go to class, GO TO CLASS.

More to come when I can find some time…

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[F]ixed [O]r [R]epaired [D]aily

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Oct 11, 2011 in Fail

“The best laid schemes of mice and men,” Robert Burns wrote a couple centuries ago, “go often askew[.]”

That pretty much sums up today :beatup:

One thing I left out of yesterday’s update on life was that I missed AppAd last Monday to get repairs made to my car, a paid-off-but-aging-rapidly Ford Focus that I’ve driven across the State of North Carolina several times over.1 My cursed tire was flat again for reasons unknown so I headed in to the repair shop, got the tire fixed (gratis), and decided to get the usual pre-winter maintenance done as well: oil change, tire rotation and alignment, coolant flush, and so on.

Sure it came out to a few hundred dollars, but I thought to msyelf “At least this car won’t need any more maintenance until Spring semester.”

Ha. Hahahaha. Ha.

:(

So today’s Election Day in the Bull City, I leave the apartment a little earlier than usual with the plan to go vote before class… and notice the car feels funny. When you’ve been driving the same vehicle for nearly a decade, you can just tell when something’s wrong. And sure enough when I get to the next stoplight the battery warning light comes on to tell me something’s awry with the electrical system.

Rather than turning right to go to the polls, I turn left to go to the repair shop again. A few minutes after turning my key over to them I learn that the refurb’d alternator I had installed back in 2008 picked today to stop working :mad:

And unlike my old 1987 Mazda pickup truck (the first vehicle I had), today’s cars are manufactured by machines that cram parts so @#$%ing tight that it’s damn near impossible to service yourself and takes repair shops a few hours to fix things too. My Focus is actually intentionally designed so the only way you can really replace the alternator is by machine-lowering the entire engine block a few inches :roll:   So I’m at the mercy of the repair folks, shell out more $$$, and head on my way 3 hours later.

In time to completely miss both Tax and Employment Discrimination, less than 24 hours after promising Prof Tax I’d be in class on-time and caught-up…

Over the past just-over-a-month I’ve now spent in excess of $1500 on auto repairs:  getting the cursed tire fixed 3x, replacing some part that holds some other belt in place,2 last Monday’s maintenance, and then this stuff today. That not only totally wipes out my savings account that barely endured what is already my most expensive semester of all time, it also erases the $700 I had set aside for my NC bar application due January 1st :(

And just to add insult to injury? I was late getting out of Sales & Secured Transactions tonight so I couldn’t even make it to the polls before they closed, making this the first election I’ve missed since I started voting 12 years ago :beatup:

Needless to say your friendly neighborhood blawger’s in a bitter @#$%ing mood. Heading to bed with the knowledge tomorrow will inevitably be a better day — have a good night y’all! :)

  1. Literally — I’ve driven it to every campus in the 17-institution UNC system at least 2-3 times apiece. :D []
  2. Which just completely fell off while I was driving one day, destroying the belt in the process :mad: []

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Reason #17 why I don’t work in IT

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Sep 1, 2011 in Fail

Alternate title: how I almost created a really expensive paperweight :beatup:

After 5 years of dependable service, the Airport card in my original edition MacBook Pro finally started to die a couple weeks ago. It was making life difficult between my networked laptop backups getting corrupted from the sporadically dropping signal1 and having absolutely no internet access at all during classes.2 :(

Determined to make this laptop last until after I’m licensed next year, I took it into Apple for an official diagnosis that the card was dying (it was) and an estimated on repairs (~$100). The cost wasn’t particularly exorbitant but it would have required me to part with my laptop for 3-5 business days — which simply wasn’t going to happen.

Since my laptop has long been out of warranty — and I’ve already hand-upgraded the RAM, hard drive, and CD drive myself — I bought a replacement on eBay and planned to do the upgrade myself.

I’m at NCCU Law about 45 minutes before Sales starts, which should be plenty of time to get the top case removed, the antennas unhooked, the card swapped out, the circuit board tape replaced, and everything back to together again. Leaning over a table with an ice cube tray beside me for sorting the removed screws, I’ve got everything apart and the card out in 15 minutes and the new card put in.

I go to replace the screw in the retaining bracket that holds the wireless card in place…

…and my fat fingers knock the @#$%ing thing off the screwdriver :cry:

I shake the circuit board and don’t see anything fall out. I check the table I’m working on and don’t see it. I crawl around on the floor and can’t find it. I get a broom and sweep the entire region, poring over flecks of dirt bigger than the missing screw, all without success.

And did I mention this particular screw for this particular retaining bracket is required to hold the wifi card in place and re-secure the top case? :mad:

After successfully burning 30 minutes on an unsuccessful screw-hunting expedition and my “laptop” looking like nothing but a circuit board with a monitor attached, I ask EIC to go tell Prof Sales that I’ll be missing class for the 2nd day in a row.3

I then go to the law school’s IT folks and get a magnet-tipped screwdriver4 and also ask if they’ve got a screw of a comparable size and width. After spending another 30 minutes testing various screws from a bad Lenovo ThinkPad, nothing works and what little hair I have left on my head is falling out from the sheer terror that I’ve just torpedoed my efforts at keeping this laptop through law school.

Finally, in near-total desperation, I take the recommendation of a nearby 2LE who suggests using one of the screws elsewhere on the logic board instead. I promptly unfasten one of the screws holding the CD drive in place (since I use that once every 2-3 months at best) and fasten the wireless card, get the keyboard reattached and the top case back on, press the power button — and everything works :surprised:

By the time I’m done, it’s roughly 2 minutes before Sales class ends… whereupon I had to tuck my tail between my legs and go explain to Prof Sales that I had no intention of missing his class.5

The upside is that I’m now able to write this entry from the comfort of my bedroom without losing signal for the first time in weeks — but after nearly having a heart attack over a screw comparable in size to a blood clot, I think I’ll stick with law instead of IT ;)

Have a great night everybody! :D

  1. Not having multiple redundant backups of my files makes me paranoid after seeing what happened to one of my Legal Eagle colleagues and my own personal drama with Gmail here, here, and here… []
  2. Yes, I listed “no wifi in class” as an unmitigated negative — as counterintuitive as it sounds, I actually pay more attention to the material when I know I have the option to not pay attention to the material :crack:  When I’m trapped in a room and forced to listen, I pull out my iPhone and start playing Angry Birds. []
  3. On Tuesday I participated in an interest meeting for SBA elections — clearly my priorities have not improved since undergrad :beatup: []
  4. I know, I know — something I probably should have done in the first place… []
  5. Even though we’re paying to be here, and we’re all adults and professionals, and etc etc etc… every time I have to initiate one of those types of conversations with one of my law school professors I still feel like I’m back in elementary school being called to the principal’s office. []

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Most expensive. semester. evah.

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 20, 2011 in The 3L Life

Hey everybody :)

Unlike my past disappearances, I actually intentionally left law:/dev/null un-updated the past few days so the new folks could find outlines without a problem.1

Which is probably a good thing because otherwise I would have spent the past 4 days complaining about how f*cking expensive my penultimate semester of law school is getting :mad:

Now some of this stuff I knew was coming even back when I was a 1L, like the $2,667 I still owe BarBri for my bar review. And some of it I didn’t know about my 1L year (like the MPRE) but the cost isn’t that significant ($63).

The rest may just be my own ignorance, but $700 just to submit an application to the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners??  :surprised:  And textbooks!

I’ve already spent $729 on books this semester — more than I’ve ever spent at any point in the 24 separate semesters I’ve been buying them2and I’m not even done yet! :crack:  The bookstore is still missing the casebook for my Employment Discrimination class, and the statutory supplement for my Tax class :(

I’ll be a hair’s breadth under $1,000.00 (just on textbooks) by the time 3L Fall is over…

Then there’s the $310 tuition increase requested back in December by NCCU (not the law school), approved by the UNC Board of Governors in February, and then skimmed off the top by NCCU (not the law school) as part of a 14% budget reduction handed to the law school a couple weeks ago.3 And of course the unexpected costs of getting old, like (in the case of my car) spending half a grand to fix something in the engine block earlier this week or (in the case of me) dropping just-under-a-grand to get a cap put on one of my molars last week :beatup:

Sorry for venting y’all, the past couple days with these textbooks have just crystallized my general frustration with being a broke law student and watching everything I saved up over the summer vanish paying for unexpected expenses. I’ve got no earthly clue how I’m going to get everything paid for by the time I’ve got to pay it, but I’m ready to graduate, pass the bar, get my license, and start making real money.

Hope all of you are having a less-expensive start to your school years! Have a great night! :D

  1. If you’re a 1L, copy and paste www.lawdevnull.com/docs/1LStuff.zip and if you’re a 2L/3L copy and paste www.lawdevnull.com/docs/2Land3LStuff.zip — send me an email if you have any trouble! []
  2. 6 years of undergrad, 2.5 years of law school, and 7 sets of summer sessions between them. []
  3. Which, coincidentally, is the exact same percent as the 14% budget cut the UNC BOG gave NCCU as a whole. Looks conspicuously like an “across-the-board” cut by NCCU despite the BOG’s explicit instructions not to engage in across-the-board cuts… []

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“We are currently experiencing technical difficulties”…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Aug 11, 2011 in Technology

Sorry folks, no post tonight. Back after I got home from visiting Nan and Pops for Independence Day I discovered that my modem, NAS and trusty ages-old WRT54G router had all been fried from some sort of electrical event (my guess is the surge protector failed).

After that I got everything replaced — including purchasing a shiny new Linksys E2500 router — and the @#$%ing thing keeps dropping connections like a gunner during 1L Orientation :mad:

So, reminiscent of what I thought was a bygone era, you’re currently getting this status update with the help of a tethered mobile phone…

Hope to have more substantive content tomorrow. Until then, have a great night!

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Crunch Time

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Jul 9, 2011 in The 3L Life

If I’ve learned anything from law school, it’s that school-related work tends to ebb and flow instead of coming in a steady stream.  Case in point:  nothing at all for the latter part of the coming week, but 2 papers and ~100 pages of reading all due Monday :crack:

New blog material coming soon… once I make it through this weekend :beatup:

Have a good night y’all :) And if you’re a Legal Eagle who hasn’t done so yet please consider sending us your (anonymous) class rank and GPA data for the 2011 pie charts!

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An inauspicious start to the summer

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 23, 2011 in The 3L Life

For whatever reason, Mondays are the red-headed stepchildren of the week. I always thought it was an ill-deserved reputation; after all, Monday signals the start of the work week and all the cool stuff that happens when people work on doing cool stuff.

The popular perception of Mondays

Besides, if nothing else it means you can start making money again for another 5 days ;)

But, every now and then, I can see why people hate Mondays…

  • I’ll be volunteering as a counselor for NCCU Law‘s Legal Eagle Law Camp, where 2Ls and 3Ls spend a week teaching 7th-11th graders about our legal system. The volunteers can either get paid or get course credit, and I opted for the 1-credit over the $$$… only to discover that getting the course credit will entail assignments on the side and 3 extra class meetings on either Wednesdays or Thursdays :beatup:
  • Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, since there was an open spot in my Thursday schedule. Except that my USPTO class has now randomly been moved from Tuesdays — where it was scheduled in our course registration system, and around which I’ve planned my summer work and travel schedules — to Thursdays. (A change that just got announced when? Today.)
  • And I still don’t have any Spring 2L grades… :mad:
  • Aside from the academic drama, I also somehow managed to sprain my left thumb this weekend. The pain got bad enough that I decided to go buy one of those immobilizer things you can find at just about any big box or department or drug store in the country (theoretically). So I go to the Super Target closest to my house to save gas, just to discover they only sell them in Small/Medium sizes instead of a one-size-fits-most style :surprised:  They suggest the Walgreen’s that’s on the way home to my apartment… which I visit, and which is out of them entirely. By the time I’m done the Rite Aid up the street is now closed. The closest Walmart is out-of-stock too. So I end up having to drive to a Walmart in a neighboring county until I can finally get my hands on one, wasting more gas than if I had just gone there in the first place and burning an hour of my life in the process. :crack:
  • And the whole trek takes just long enough that, by the time I get close to my apartment, there’s a car accident blocking both westbound lanes of Fayetteville Street nearest to the apartment complex — the only portion of roadway that can be used to get into the complex, since there’s a median with trees blocking the entrance from the eastbound lanes ::headdesk::

Yes, I realize things could be worse; that could have been me in the car accident, or I could have broken my thumb instead of spraining it (or I could have all my grades but they turn out to be F’s :beatup: ).

But I’m still adding Mondays to my list of things to avoid in the future… :mad:

Hope Monday went better for the rest of y’all out there — have a good night! :)

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Dear Future 2Ls…

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 4, 2011 in Fail

…if you’re going to write down the wrong time for your last 2L final exam, at least make sure the time that you write down is before the actual exam time and not after it.

That is all.

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Rawr (or, “F*ck the Cloud, Day 3”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Mar 1, 2011 in Technology

Don’t have much to write tonight y’all — operating off 2 hours of sleep and just got home from NCCU Law about a half hour ago, so I’m completely beat and ready for bed :beatup:

I’m also still locked out of my Gmail account, just like I’ve been for the past two days now :(

Fingers crossed that I’ll wake up tomorrow and have all my stuff miraculously restored so I can promptly back everything up and contemplate de-Google-fying my lifestyle…

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G[F]ail (or “F*ck the Cloud, Day 2”)

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 28, 2011 in Technology

Another day on the internet, another day with no access to anything Google-affiliated :mad:

Now at least it says Google is trying to fix things...

After sporadically checking Gmail throughout Trial Practice and Business Associations this morning, I finally just gave up. Still no email. Still no docs.  Nothing. Nil. Nada.

At least Google was kind enough to put a new redirect in place when I tried to access my account. Now it tells me explicitly why I can’t access my account, instead of sending me to a page saying I violated their Terms of Service.

After winging AAJ trial team practice tonight since I didn’t have any of my docs, I made my way home from the law school around 11ish when I discovered I now at least (it appears) have access to my non-Gmail services.

I also noticed Google had posted an update on their blog making it out like there was never really an issue.  Here’s the copy/paste, but you can read the original at this URL:

Gmail back soon for everyone
Monday, February 28, 2011 | 6:30 PM
Posted by Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar (24×7)

Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we’re making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon.

I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That’s what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue.

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.

So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

As always, we’ll post a detailed incident report outlining what happened to the Apps Status Dashboard, as well as the corrective actions we’re taking to help prevent it from occurring again. If you were affected by this issue, it’s important to note that email sent to you between 6:00 PM PST on February 27 and 2:00 PM PST on February 28 was likely not delivered to your mailbox, and the senders would have received a notification that their messages weren’t delivered.

Thanks for bearing with us as we fix this, and sorry again for the scare.

A “scare”? Really??

I realize Google has a vested interest in downplaying this situation — after all, they’re trying to convince major corporations to entrust their networks to The Cloud — but I’m almost offended that they’re acting like (i) losing access to my email for 2 days now (potentially permanently), complete with (ii) redirects to a page saying I violated the Terms of Service, alongside (iii) cryptic and thoroughly uninformative status updates on the Google Apps Status Dashboard, and (iv) no substantive response from the company until after the media catches on to what’s going on, is all merely a “scare.” :roll:

Then there’s the rest of the content in this non-apology apology. They’re backing up my email from tape archives but it’s somehow still all there? I call bullsh*t: the sheer volume of tape cartridges they’d need to use to back up all their users is too huge to believe they do these backups daily. A more likely explanation is that they’ve got a monthly or quarterly tape archive that they’re going to use to restore my account (assuming they actually restore it), which would mean I’ll have permanently lost anything recent.

We’ll see what happens over these next 48 hours that they’re supposedly working. But for now I’m drifting toward becoming one of those anti-GOOG partisans…

[Postscript: And to those of you thinking “But TDot, Gmail is free! You shouldn’t complain!”: I’ll stop complaining about losing my access when Google decides to give me the advertising $$$ they made from ads targeted based on heuristic analysis of my email messages ;) All the “free” users are paying for Gmail service, exchanging the privacy of our email correspondence for cloud storage and reliable access.]

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