Tuesday, March 27, 2018

This nearly broke me

OK, after about 7 years i recently got access to this blog again, i found this post that I never published (from 2011) and all these years, and two jobs later, it made me laugh. Not sure if anyone is still reading but I thought I'd hit 'publish' for shits and giggles. If anyone is still out there let me know ;)

[userPF 11:50 AM]:
ok .. what i do need though.... is some more wireless mouses though as I have userLC on a wired up mouse and when we get the internet usb's she will be needing the usb port for that...

[TheITG 11:50 AM]:
mouse can plug into the back of the keyboard
keyboard has two spare ports on it

[userPF 11:50 AM]:
okey dokey..

[TheITG 11:51 AM]:
new laptops have 3 ports anyway
so she should be fine with mouse/kb and internet modem
regardless of the extra ports

[userPF 11:51 AM]:
our keyboards dont have usb ports>???

[TheITG 11:51 AM]:
what brand is your keyboard ?

[userPF 11:51 AM]:
HP... and also Lenovo

[TheITG 11:52 AM]:
all lenovo, IBM, dell ones (the only ones IT have ever ordered) have spare USB ports on the back

[userPF 11:52 AM]:
they are wired up into a usb in the laptops and pc/laptops
NUP... ours don’t

[TheITG 11:52 AM]:
are you talking about USB keyboards ?

[userPF 11:52 AM]:
FUC&&&&&..

[TheITG 11:52 AM]:
HP ones were old PS/2 ones that came with desktops, they will not have USB ports on the back

[userPF 11:52 AM]:
sorry i am confusing you.. lol

[TheITG 11:52 AM]:
You’re confusing me ????....
if you are talking about a USB keyboard that IT supplied, then they have it
with 2 exceptions:
1. you are blind ;)
or 2. your office sourced those keyboards themselves
lenovo ones have USB ports on the back, 4000% sure
take another look
providing it is a USB keyboard
same with IBM and dell

[userPF 11:54 AM]:
lenovo do not have the usb ports and also the Microban do not have usb ports...

[TheITG 11:54 AM]:
microban we did not supply
never heard of them

[userPF 11:54 AM]:
just checked and got the crew to double check for me and only two of the guys have usb ports in their keyboards.. the rest don’t

[TheITG 11:54 AM]:
someone must have gone and bought the microban ones

[userPF 11:54 AM]:
God knows with this office..

[TheITG 11:55 AM]:
what model is the laptop that userLC is using

[userPF 11:55 AM]:
we have so much SH*^ from the last few years.. hence I am doing the clean up etc...
Lenova Think Pad
T400

[TheITG 11:55 AM]:
t400 has 3 usb ports
so one for mouse, one for kb and one for modem
two on the left one on the right

[userPF 11:55 AM]:
only 2 usb ports and 2 ethernet ports

[TheITG 11:56 AM]:
Nope

[userPF 11:56 AM]:
Yep

[TheITG 11:56 AM]:
don’t make me come up there
ive got a t400 sitting in front of me

[userPF 11:56 AM]:
gonna smack you back..

[TheITG 11:56 AM]:
two on the left, next to an ethernet port and a modem port
one on the RIGHT

[userPF 11:56 AM]:
well yours is special

[TheITG 11:56 AM]:
mine isnt special
we ordered 150 of these

[userPF 11:56 AM]:
USERLC SAYS NO.... :)

[TheITG 11:56 AM]:
i dont care what userLC says

[userPF 11:56 AM]:
ok

[TheITG 11:56 AM]:
one on the RIGHT
towards the back
next to the optical drive

[userPF 11:56 AM]:
YOU ARE RIGHT..

[userPF 11:57 AM]:
I JUST LOOKED

[TheITG 11:57 AM]:
I know im right
im going to smash this monitor in a second
and charge it to your office!

[userPF 11:57 AM]:
thats why you’re IT.. :) and I am business support :)

[TheITG 11:57 AM]:
im seriously doubting you have lenovo keyboards without USB ports too ;)

[userPF 11:57 AM]:
but we're right with the keyboards not having the usb ports

[TheITG 11:57 AM]:
ive never seen one that didn’t
but we'll have to agree to disagree there ...

[userPF 11:59 AM]:
mine does but the consults looks like a kids one...

[TheITG 11:59 AM]:
for now, we're sorted with ... userLC does not need a wireless mouse.
done ?

[userPF 11:59 AM]:
all good...
need to give you more beers.. (b)

[TheITG 12:01 PM]:
jsut for the record, i walked through the office here
looked at 28 lenovo keyboards, of varying models
and all of them have 2 usb ports on the back
some in different places
provided they are USB keyboards of course

[userPF 12:01 PM]:
YES YOU ARE RIGHT AS I FOUND IT ON USELC’s KEYBOARD AT THE TOP RIGHT.. AND SHE IS SORRY FOR ME FOR HAVING TO CRAWL BACK TO YOU..
userDW’s microban doesnt though.. they must have bought it from a local shop..

[TheITG 12:02 PM]:
Possibly

[TheITG 12:03 PM]:
also, a wireless mouse still connects at the computer via a USB port, so even if you were right and that the computer only had 2 USB ports and the keyboard had none, then a wireless mouse still wouldn’t have helped you :)

[userPF 12:04 PM]:
we are all good and will leave you in peace rather than in pieces.. lol...

[TheITG 12:05 PM]:


k

Friday, August 12, 2011

My first job working with Technology.

The other day I was making a coffee in the kitchen at work and listening to the conversation of a few of my colleagues. The discussion jumped from what they had been up to on the weekend, to what their workload was like, to where someone had gone out to dinner the night before and then all of a sudden, almost as if it was a perfectly natural progression, it somehow jumped to what they had all done for their first job. At first I was amused by the way one conversation lead to another but before I knew it I was well and truly involved in the discussion. Someone mentioned that they had a job in a shop cleaning the showroom, someone else said they didn't have a job until they were well into their university degree where they has some weekend work as a babysitter. Another mentioned the obligatory early morning paper round on their BMX. It got me to thinking about my first job and for the first time ever it dawned on me (albeit a little bit of a stretch) that my first job was in IT, I had come full circle!

To be fair, my first paying job where I was registered with the tax office and was properly on the books was when I was 16, working the kitchen in a roast chicken take away food chain. Rewind a couple of years earlier and I had a cash-in-hand (shhh) job working for a local chemist. I worked one hour everyday after school delivering prescriptions with my bike to old people who were either too frail, immobile, or in some cases too lazy, to come into the chemist to collect their medicine. That wasn't the first time I was paid for services rendered though, to discuss my first job we'd need to head back a little further, back to early 1990.

My birthday falls in August, as a 12 year old kid there are few days in the year more exciting than your birthday. I don't recall what I received for my birthday back in '89 but I have no problem remembering the gift I got 5 months later. As a kid one of the things I loved about having my birthday in August was that not long after I got sick of whatever toys I received, festive decorations were already starting to be put up in the shops and I was already carefully drawing up my wishlist for Christmas.

It must have been September/October when my parents asked me if I knew what I wanted and there was no hesitation on my part, the object of my desires was being thrown in my face everwhere I looked, the nintendo gameboy, I just had to have it! At the time I recall that my brother (barely a year older than me) wanted an electronic pocket organiser/calendar and my dad's thoughts on the gameboy are still clear in my mind "why do you want that piece of junk that you'll use for a couple of week and then toss aside? why don't you get something useful like your brother?" The funny thing here is, the gameboy became somewhat of an obessesion for our household in the months following Christmas, by the middle of the following year we no longer had one gameboy, we had three!

The gameboy came packaged with Tetris, the ridiculously addictive puzzle game. It was the extra gift however, 'Super Mario World' that I was most excited about. I already had a long standing and serious relationship with Mario, Mario Bros on the NES had occupied way too many of my "should have been outside kicking a ball" hours growing up and the thought of being able to game without being at home was a lure way too attractive to ignore. Super Mario World for the original gameboy did not disappoint, it flowed well, had the original NES Mario feel and was every bit as enjoyable as I expected it to be, the only problem was it had a start, middle and end. I arrived at the end of this game before New Years rolled around and although I occasionally picked it up after that, it was Tetris that soon occupied nearly every moment of my waking time.

For the uninitiated (and I hope there aren't too many of you) follow this link to play an online version of tetris the exact way it appeared on the original gameboy, even the music is identical. In our house a competition quickly developed between me, and believe it or not, my dad. I don't think he ever looked at my brothers pocket organiser! In the month following New Years he bought another gameboy so he could play tetris without having to wait for me to put it down, a few months later my sister requested a gameboy for her birthday, then we were three.

The basis of the game was to drop the differently shaped blocks into the playing field, the only control you had was to move the block left/right and rotate it. Once you had made a solid line of blocks from the left to the right of the screen, that line would be removed and one would be added to your 'line tally'. You could achieve more points by removing more than one line at a time, 4 being the maximum you could remove at once. With every 10 lines added to your total, the speed at which the blocks dropped increased, hence the more and more difficult the further you went. In our house we weren't interested in points, lines were the basis of our bragging rights. To the best of my memory my highest all time record was 216 lines and my dad's was 213 but to be fair there is a chance those figures were the other way around.

Ok, here's where my "job" came in. One of the biggest pains about this game was the amount of time it took to go through the very easy, and very slow, levels of 1-10 (lines 0-100). I'm sure the catalyst for this was the fact that I had a higher record and my dad couldn't stand it but I guess an adults time is more valuable than that of a child.  He wanted to try and beat me but decided he just couldn't sit there for (what he considered to be) the prohibitive amount of time it took to get to from 0-100 lines. First he wanted a favour, he asked me if I could get it to 100 lines and then hand him the gameboy. For me, this seemed like a terrible agreement, why would I help him beat my record ... I wouldn't of course.

     "what's in it for me?" I asked.
     "I'll give you a dollar every time you get it to 100 lines and let me continue"


It was on! I must have made over $100 by the time Easter rolled around, which funded more games and was also used to buy some of the Easter chocolate off my sister and brother.

So that was my very first paid job, and as long as you're prepared to draw a very long bow then it was my first job in IT.

Feel free to shoot me an email and let me know your line record.

Cheers, The ITG.



Thursday, July 28, 2011

Just when I thought they couldn't get any worse

On Tuesday I received a new staff form (managers lodge them via our intranet) for a user interstate. We have a member of the IT team that works two days a week who normally handles new staff and terminations, so I mostly ignore these however the 'start date' on this form caught my eye. It was the 31st of May, it now approaching the end of July I just assumed this was a mistake.

I contacted the manager and this is the conversation that followed:



The ITG [12:23 PM]:
hey mate, on the form it says <users> start date was 31st of May
is that correct ?

Manager [12:24 PM]:
yep
don't you love it when people don’t do their job. (here she was eluding to the fact that someone else should have put in the new staff form already, not sure who though!)

The ITG [12:24 PM]:
you've put TBA for where to set her up, I’m confused. What has she been working off for the last 2 months, and where ?

Manager [12:24 PM]:
poor girl is wondering why she didn't get paid - when i investigate - doesn't exist. She has been working out of <users office> - TBA just meant I needed to find the name of the computer to set her up for her.

The ITG [12:24 PM]:
surely she would have to realise she doesn’t have a computer login, a computer, an email address, a log in to anything
what has she been doing for 2 months ?

Manager [12:25 PM]:
she did training, and then some work only as casual - think was case of organising her to come in to see what we do, and then someone unilaterally booked her in for work - and probably did the backend case management software notes for her
that is my assessment anyway




Come on!!! are they fucking serious? Clearly a manager, either this one or another, has dropped the ball here big time but this user is sitting in an office, for 2 months, with 25+ other people who all have computer logins, they all have email addresses, business cards, mobile phones, their own laptops, case management software logins and access to our intranet. On top of that they are ALL GETTING PAID!!! For me alarm bells are ringing here, not only am I concerned about how this office is being run at a management level, I'm concerned about what kind of staff we're hiring. All I can think about is the episode of Seinfeld where George was working at the rest stop supply firm on the Penske file. He started at a company and didn't actually know he had a job as the manager who he thought hired him was on holidays. He spent weeks doing nothing until it was confirmed he was actually employed. The only difference here is that this user spent 2 months.

Sometimes I'm embarrassed to work where I do.

On the plus side, I received my new ThinkGeek "I'm here because you broke somethings" T-shirt in the mail this week and plan on wearing it to work tomorrow. The worst part for me though is that this shirt rings true, but unfortunately most of the time the thing the users break is my head. Just like this manager.

The key is not to think too much about it, I only wish i was that kind of person.

Lets hope August is better than July.

Cheers, The ITG.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

IT support fail

When I started this blog, in fact back in the very first post, I mentioned that I had moved across from another blog where I was posting amusing and frustrating interactions with users. I had planned to keep that going and run it as well as the spiel but that never happened. I've decided to delete it but there was some funny stuff there and seeing as at the time I didn't have an audience I thought it would be a good idea to post some of it over here for your reading pleasure. For the (I'm pretty sure only) one spiel reader who used to read my old blog... nothing to see here move right along, for everyone else, enjoy!

This first one was transposed from a phone conversation I had that morning:

(user) Hi ITG I have an issue with my computer
(ITG) ok mate, you're going to need to lodge an IT helpdesk and i'll get to it asap
(userGP) I don't think you can help me, that's why i didnt lodge a request, i was just hoping you can give me some advice
(ITG) what seems to be the problem
(user) I have a CD stuck in my CDrom and i cant get it out
(ITG) so the CD tray wont open and close?
(user) well, no... the CD tray is stuck open and the CD is stuck in the drive
(ITG) Umm ... so is it jarred in there? are you able to turn the computer off and then gently pull the CD tray all the way open? that way you can then just take the CD out.
(user) No No, the CD tray is fully open already, the CD is behind that, Inside the Drive, i cannot see the CD but i know its in there and i cant shut the tray because the CD is behind it.
(ITG) are you serious ??? I've never heard of that before. I have no idea how you managed that, i wasn't even sure that was possible
(user) I have magic powers.
(ITG) No, Seriously, How did you manage that?
(user) to be honest i have no idea.

Brand new laptop, remote location, daft user with (magic) powers... how could I not expect this !
_________________________

This second one took place whilst we were migrating users from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Outlook. A fairly senior manager had been done the night before so I contacted them around lunchtime to ask them how outlook was going:

(ITG) Hi there, just following up.. how's outlook treating you?
(user) Hi ITG no Outlook very disappointed
(ITG) huh? how do you mean?
(user) I could only see Lotus and went to all the programs and no outlook!
(ITG) ok that's just odd..1 sec
(user) Just hank [sic] on, I have found a 2003 Outlook is that right

funny thing is, this conversation took place after the user had been sitting at their PC for a few hours, not receiving emails to Lotus Notes anymore .... quiet morning anyone ?

_________________________

This last one is one of my favourites, it shows you just how frustrating life can be dealing with someone who doesn't know a computer from a shoe. It was hard for me not to swear here!

(ITG) press the power button
(User) which ones's that
(ITG) the button you use to turn the computer on in the mornings
(User) the bar button?
(ITG) I don't know what a bar button is ?? have you got a desktop or a laptop
(User) desktop
(ITG) ok it will be on the box part of your computer
(User) you mean on the laptop itself
(ITG) laptop? You said you have a desktop
(User) oh yes I have a laptop sorry, it's on my desk though
(ITG) seriously, this isn't something difficult, it's the button you press every day to turn your laptop on
(User) oh, yes, you must hate people like me

yes ... yes we do!

Hope you're all enjoy the Tour de France ... loving it here!

Cheers, The ITG

Sunday, July 17, 2011

bloggers block, Android tabs & sleepless nights

Quite a few people that I know in real life actually read this blog now, well let me clarify that... if I'm talking about people I've actually met I could count them on one hand. To the best of my knowledge, until very recently there was only two. Just this week I believe I've picked up a third. The people I was referring to in my 'quite a few' are online friends, people who I would talk to every week but have never met. Amongst a few others, most of them are friends I made playing an online browser game called travian who congregate in a chatroom on skype and some of the others are people from an IRC channel on efnet called #eztv. (yes I know I'm a geek, but surely given the name of this blog that shouldn't come as a shock to you!)

Recently, readers who I know, from all three area's (real life, IRC, skype) have all been asking me why I haven't been posting, when someone pointed out to me that my last post was early May I thought "surely that isn't right!!" and had to come here to verify. The truth is I've had a bit of bloggers block. I've actually started three separate posts since my lenovo saga, but on re-reading the draft a day or so after writing, none of them have really cut the mustard. I don't see the point of posting just for the sake of putting anything up so these all ended up on the cutting room floor so to speak.

I do realize though that nothing will turn people off a blog quicker than extended periods of time without posts, I don't want this to happen to me. It still comes as a shock to me that I actually have regular readers and when I occasionally log in to check my stats it's always a pleasant surprise to see that not a day goes by without page views coming from all over the world. I don't want to squander that so I promise to make an effort to post more regularly (as long as I have something to say ;)

So, what's been going on in the life of The ITG? A bit has happened in the last month or so and I hope to write some detailed posts at some point about this stuff.

Firstly last week, due to a group of events that surrounded the birth of my second child, I went nearly 60 consecutive hours without sleep... This wasn't the best preparation for months of sleepless newborn baby nights. (you know what sucks more than having a new born baby spoil your night? a jealous 2.5 year old spoiling the day that follows said night!) I guess the important thing to take away from this is that my wife has just given birth to our second child, I'm all about me though.

Work has been a bit meh for me recently. I can't really put my finger on it but I'm really over it of late. Nothing has really changed but I'm hating every day more and more, As of August 23 I will have been there 7 years so perhaps the problem is this itch I've been hearing so much about. I've actually started to wonder if I'm on the right career path altogether. I don't mean to say that I want to get out of IT but just feel like I have more to offer than what I'm able to in my current role. Probably a bit deep for here at the moment, we might revisit this some other time.

On the IT/geek side of things, I went out and got myself a 7" Samsung galaxy tab. It's basically a Samsung Galaxy S (android phone) on steroids. The idea was for me to have a proper evaluation / everyday use test of an android device to help me decide if I could happily make the jump from apple iOS, which is something I've been wanting to do for a while. Android certainly hasn't disappointed me and I feel that some of the added 'out of the box' functionality more than makes up for the fact that it feels a little less polished than iOS. The real revelation for me though has been how much I've been enjoying using a tablet PC. A post I started on this blog a long time ago and never finished was a bit of a "why the hell are tablet PC's so popular, considering their lack of usefulness" This thing has had me eating my words! (if nothing else, I will definitely be doing a post about tablets/android/iOS soon)

Finally, as much as I hate to say it (and I vowed never to be sucked back in) I'm playing travian again. I blame the good doctor for this, she started the account and then hung me out to dry. I'm getting help from chuck though (shout out!) who has been a useful dual. I'm not sure exactly how far I'm going to go with this server (uk4) but at the moment it's occupying most of my ifk (in front of keyboard) time, read: most of my time in general. For those of you (and I'm guessing it's most) who have no idea what I'm talking about, consider yourself bloody lucky. I can't imagine why anyone's life is better with travian than without it!

Everyone caught up? good!

Cheers, The IT Guy

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lenovo are driving me crazy

I follow @Lenovo on twitter and recently saw this retreat from Lenovo (trying to tell us all about how good they are)


@Lenovo
RT @shaddih: Less than 18 hours after my space bar broke, new keyboard received and installed #Lenovo support is awesome.

It got me to thinking that my experience with Lenovo customer support has been anything but awesome over the years. I decided that I was going to write a post explaining just what issues I tend to have with them and tweet a link to Lenovo to see if anyone there cares. Following this (as many post ideas do) it slipped out of my mind and I moved on to something else, probably playing portal2. Over the past couple of weeks something happened to jog my memory, and actually take what I believe to be terrible customer service to new heights.

The company I work for deals mainly with Lenovo for our hardware. We're not a massive company but would have around 500 computers across the country, 350 or so being Lenovo laptops, a majority of these being either the Lenovo thinkpad T400 or T410. Before I go on I want it on the record that I'm not a Lenovo hater, I have been involved in the decisions that lead to us going with thinkpads for our employee's and don't believe there is a better business based laptop available. Over the years I've worked off an R51, T41p, T43, T60, T61, T410 and at the moment I’m lucky enough to be calling the brilliant x201t my work machine (a hybrid laptop/multitouch tablet, if this was a tech review blog I'd write a glowing review!). They have all been great performing machines and I can't see us making a move from Lenovo anytime soon.

Now that I've got that out of the way... It's the T400 in particular that has caused us the most grief, I've yet to experience this issue with the similar bodied T410 (which I'm currently rolling out to replace some old T61's) so I guess they sorted the problem. On the T400's the issue is that the tongue inside the USB ports sometimes comes lose and falls out, either on their own or when users are unplugging a USB device. All the users in our company work off external USB mouse and keyboards (both Lenovo brand) so plugging and unplugging USB devices is something many of them do on a daily basis. Without getting technical, because the issue really isn't, the problem is that when one of these plastic tongue's is missing it leaves the 4 metal pins exposed with no protection. The next time someone tries to plug something in they bend the pins, which fold flat and this shorts the motherboard causing the laptop to not boot. Unfortunately it's not an easy fix as the ports are part of the system board which (on a laptop) basically hosts a majority of the computers equipment. From my experience a system board replacement is the fix.

We recently had another one of our T400's experience this issue. We have a return to depot warranty, meaning that Lenovo will fix it but it has to go back to them. From memory our warranty has a 5 business day turnaround agreement (depending on parts availability) from when Lenovo receive the machine. The below communications followed:

  • Tuesday 26/4: called Lenovo to lodge a job, was given a reference number and told that the courier would be in contact.
  • Thursday 28/4: The courier called and said they would be sending out a box and when I receive it I should call them and they would arrange to come and pick up the laptop. I don't see why this should take 2 days to happen! I explained to the person on the phone that the courier has always come with a box and taken the laptop with them and they told me they aren't doing it that way anymore.
  • Tuesday 3/5: I called Lenovo to say that I had not received the box, they said they would call courier but I should also call them to put pressure on them from two points. I explained to the Lenovo support person that I didn't believe that was my job, I bought the laptop from Lenovo, not the courier. I also questioned why the system had changed from the old system of 'a courier coming out with a box and taking the laptop with them' to the new one of 'sending a box and then me calling the courier once it was ready to be picked up'. It was explained to me that often the courier was going out with the box and the laptop wasn't ready to be collected so they needed to keep coming back, this was costing them too much. I went on to ask how a new system which guaranteed that the courier had to go out twice was going to help that, he didn't have an answer.
  • Wednesday 4/5: still no box arrived, decided to skip Lenovo this time and call the courier. They said that the box was sent on Friday and takes 3 business days, meaning it should arrive sometime that day 4/5. I asked them why if I logged the call with Lenovo on Tuesday the 26th that the box wasn't sent out until Friday the 29th, they didn't have a good reason.
  • Thursday 5/5: by 2pm box still hadn’t arrived, called courier who said they we’re going to pass this on to another team who handles box delivery, said they would express one to me if it didn't turn up soon. I asked why it takes 4 days to deliver the first box if they can express them, they didn't have a response.
  • Thursday 5/5: (4pm) box arrived, I called the courier to let them know the box had arrived (as instructed by the notes inside the box) they told me they would email me paperwork now and collect the box tomorrow.
  • Friday 6/5: Laptop collected to be taken back to Lenovo, 10 days after the call was lodged.

The whole process of getting a Lenovo computer repaired under warranty is exhausting, hopefully some of that comes across in this post. I completely understand that we haven't forked out the big bucks on a warranty where a tech comes out to our site and fixes the machine but I don't think we should have to wait 10 days and make 5 phone calls just to get to a point where a tech sees the machine. I also understand that some of the above issues were caused by the courier but surely Lenovo should dictate some SLA's that are a lot more acceptable than this.

Just to rub salt into my wounds, this morning when I went to turn on my x201t I noticed that the spring loaded clip that locks the screen closed (or down when in tablet mode) was broken, it's a return to base warranty too, so I'm about to go through all this again. :(

I'd love to hear from someone at Lenovo regarding this and how they justify (even if everything goes to plan) a customer having to wait 5 business days with a broken laptop from the time a call is logged till the time a tech gets their hands on it. Ignoring the fact I had to wait 10. Surely this isn't something customers would realize when they read through the "return to depot" warranty.

The (disgruntled) ITG

update: two things to report. 1. I received the T400 back today in working order, good turnaround time from when Lenovo actually managed to get their hands on it. 2. @Lenovo on twitter messaged me to say they are listening and asked me for the job reference number so they could look into it, which i have passed on.

In the next couple of weeks i plan to call them again for the broken clip on my x201t, lets see if things have improved or not!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Virus crazyness ... more stupid users

I work in a very small IT team, which has its pro's and con's. The main pro is that I get to do different things all the time which stops the job from getting too boring. I have mates that work at much bigger companies in very large IT teams, for some of them it can mean more money but there is a downside, not only do they have to clock in/clock out, they also often have someone watching over their shoulders, scrutinizing their work. The biggest complaint I get from them though is that often they are pigeon holed into a role, each person has their place, so they get stuck doing the same kind of thing day in day out.


For me this is not a problem, one day I could be interstate helping relocate an office/setting up a new site, the next day I might be setting up some new domain controllers. I could jump from that to a meeting with Business Managers to see how technology can improve their processes and even deal with our suppliers (hardware, network, communications) to nut out the specifics of new service offerings. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, like I said, pro's and con's... The main (small IT department) con I face is that I unfortunately have to deal with the day to day stuff that at a much bigger company would be considered basic level 1 helpdesk. The kind of stuff that a university graduate, someone holding a diploma in network engineering and a fistful of certificates wouldn't normally be expected to do. Don't get me wrong, it's not just me, my boss is on the front line too, setting up user accounts, installing printers, configuring desktop software, a whole plethora of crap jobs ... including cleaning virus riddled PCs.


Recently we've had to deal with quite a bit of infected PC's and that is the focus of this post. Sometimes I try to get into the head of a user, I wonder (assuming I didn't know a lot about computers) what I would do if I had my virus scan pop up telling me my computer was infected. Would I just hit cancel/ignore and keep working away like it never happened? Or would I let the IT team know about it. I'd like to think the latter. In the last couple of weeks however, a trend has emerged that can be easily summed up by this small interaction i had with a user:
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     User01 [12:25 PM]:
Hey ITG, Sorry to bug you, but just wasn't sure what the appropriate thing would be to do at the moment with this query - have a virus scan thing that keeps running on my computer which seems to be freezing things up a bit and every time i try and close it down it keeps popping back up? Wasn't sure if it was best for someone to have a quick look or something?

     The ITG [12:26 PM]:
ill give you one guess at what you should do (probably should have done the first time you saw it too) ;)

     User01 [12:27 PM]:
lol - logging an IT request

     The ITG [12:27 PM]:
how about that
go for it
thanks mate

     User01 [12:27 PM]:
no probs
thankyou
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This user proceeded to pop in an IT helpdesk request which explained that her computer had been telling her that it was infected with a virus for the last week or so. Unfortunately she isn't alone.

Some people also get a bit of an attitude towards IT when they have issues, here is a recent virus request that made me wish I had a device to stab people in the face over the internet:

Request Description: For the past week every time I log into my computer and at random intervals throughout the day I get a popup telling me that my computer has a virus, I click clean but it keeps coming back. Often this causes my computer to crash and i need to restart to get working again. This is very frustrating and not an ideal sitution [sic] at all as it is directly impacting on my work and causing me to fall behind in my billing. I would appreciate it if this could be fixed now!

When I called this user and explained she wouldn't have been having this issue for the past week if she lodged a request as soon as she first saw the popup, as expected she got her back up and started blaming everyone else for her stupidity. I understand a user clicking 'clean' or 'remove threat' and going back to their work but you'd assume (clearly I make assumptions way too often) that as soon as it comes back once, or worst case scenario a couple of times, they would let IT know as opposed to battling through it, sitting there, getting angrier and angrier at the issue for a full week!

I also had one user tell me that they needed a new computer as their old one had a virus that couldn't be cleaned and they were sending it back to me to be replaced. I tried to explain to them that a virus is software, and even if it cannot be cleaned I am able to back up all their data, blast the hard drive and reconfigure for them. She responded:

     No, That isn't the case here, my computer will no longer boot up so I know it has to be replaced.

For the record, I've since received this laptop, backed up the users data, blasted it and its sitting next to me being reconfigured as I type this.

There sure is enough of them working at my company so I hope you guys don't get sick of reading about stupid users, I sure don't get sick of writing about them!

Cheers, The ITG.