Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

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The contents of this blog are my own comments and opinions and do not reflect those of my family, friends, colleagues, clients, employers, or anyone else I may know. Additionally, their comments and opinions are not a reflection of me or this blog. Any links contained in posts are maintained by third parties and are not under the control of this blog, and as such, this blog is not responsible for their content. All links are provided "as is" with no explicit or implicit warranty of any kind.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Job, New Directions

I haven't talked about Vertafore lately because, well, I just haven't felt like it. But I figured now is as good a time as any to talk about Vertafore and some recent changes in my life.

First, the big news -- after nearly 13 years, I resigned from Vertafore to take a position at another company. Looking back at my time there, I learned a lot, and I hope I taught as much to many different people. The decision to leave Vertafore was not easy, and not without reservations. I mean, it is rare for an IT professional to stay with a company more than 5 years, let alone nearly 13 years. But there were many advantages to my departure. But in case any of my former coworkers don't know, I will miss seeing you all on a daily basis, and will keep in touch as much as possible. Lunch is always a great way to catch up on life, and the occasional night out is also helpful!

Next, I resigned Vertafore to work for a company called Corptax. Corptax creates software that is used to compile and file tax returns. It is used by mostly large corporations that have entire departments dedicated to taxes. Many corporate names you hear in the news daily are customers of mine now. My new position is as a Technical Support Analyst. This involves, among other tasks, working with customers on installing, configuring, and troubleshooting the software. It's a job I did for a long time at Vertafore, so the general tasks are familiar. Learning new software is the key, and that's coming along relatively smoothly. It's a lot to learn so quickly, but I found my brain still works pretty well, so everything should go well.

Finally, the reasons for leaving. I don't have a good, solid, concrete reason for leaving Vertafore. I think it was the right opportunity at the right time. Perhaps many smaller factors, together, facilitated my departure. One deciding factor was the ability to work remotely, from my home, instead of commuting to an office every day. I have a laptop and a second monitor to get a full desktop affect, and an IP phone so that customers and coworkers can call me as if they are calling a desk at the office. The part I must be careful of is handling tasks as home, such as the dogs or the dishwasher. But so far, its worked out well.

My old job provided me with a lot of learning and opportunities, so I don't have bad things to say about them. Perhaps the recent economic turns played a factor in my leaving. There were things at Vertafore that were worse than others, just like any job. But the one thing I will always cherish is the comradeship of my coworkers. My former coworkers saw me through 2 marriages, 2 divorces, 2 new children, and 2 children that have grown to adulthood. It truly was like having an extended family.

So, one door closes, and another opens. Life goes on. Need to remember to turn down the TV tomorrow before making my calls...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

As Seen On TV!

So I'm watching TV tonight and a commercial comes on for the Neckline Slimmer.

What's that? You've never heard of the Neckline Slimmer? What is the Neckline Slimmer, you ask?

Well, let me show you the Neckline Slimmer. It's a device designed to help you get rid of your drooping jowls. You place it under your chin and press down on it, working out those hard to reach jowls in just 2 minutes a day.

I thought I saw everything. Once again, I was wrong.

This is the latest in a line of products shown on Saturday and late night cable television. Like the Snuggie. You know what the Snuggie is; it's the reverse robe that makes you look like a cult member, especially if worn outdoors:



Yes, an embedded video -- from the Snuggie web site.

(UPDATE: The Snuggie Web Site removed the code for the embedded video, so I found the original on YouTube )

Tonight, there was a new commercial with new, fashion Snuggies, in zebra and leopard prints. Good grief...

I really like this parody of the Snuggie commercial:



But someone had to come up with these ideas. Someone had to market these ideas into products that would sell to a public that will buy them. And someone is also on vacation in Maui on the profits of these products.

I have a weekend scheduled in August to brainstorm products that will become as an As Seen On TV product...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Tribute to John Williams

If you don't LOVE this, then you are not in touch with your Geek Side:


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So, You Think You're a Tenor...

I really love and hate reality competition shows like "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance". On one hand, it's great to see people that would not ordinarily have a chance to shine in the vocal or performance spotlight become superstars. But I think it can become overdone, and in some cases, one particular piece of music becomes worn out. So, to that end, I'll present the case for "So You Think You're a Tenor".

In the last few years, the show "Britain's Got Talent", and it's American step brother, "America's Got Talent", have showcased a number of talented and incredible performers, especially in the vocal arena. This last year, Susan Boyle was the latest vocalist to achieve worldwide acclaim by blowing away the likes of Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan with incredible voices despite rather regular, humdrum appearances.

The current trend seems to be those that think they can sing "Nessum Dorma" from Pucini's opera "Turandot". The song is, by ear, a beautiful song, the music well constructed in a way hardly done anymore. While one Brit pulled it off, and made my skin breakout in goosebumps, no one in my mind can come close to Luciano Pavarotti:



OK, maybe Pavarotti, Domingo, and Carreras all together:



This American tried, did OK in my opinion, but did not have the crisp voice that makes the song:



So, you think you can do it like Pavarotti? I don't think so...

Brief aside -- if you read the description of the song, it's actually quite morbid, as most operas were in those days, I think. The story goes that Princess Turandot needs to guess the name of the Calaf, else have to marry him in the morning. The song title means "No One Shall Sleep" because the Princess, being the cold hearted bitch she was, told all her servants to stay up all night and find his name, or else they would all die.

I think, after time, "Nessum Dorma" will be overdone and boring, but Luciano is, by far, the king of this aria. Hands down.

Further on the "...Got Talent" show, this performance was more impressive to me. Natalie from London, a mere 10 years old, doing Alicia Keys, was great. and more inspiring than any of them. And there are other examples of this type of performance all over YouTube.