Sunday, January 30, 2011

Occupied ... for as long as it takes me to finish this post.

I'm going to expose something about the ITG here today, I nearly always use my computer when I'm sitting on the toilet. In fact I'm typing this post right now whilst seated at the throne. In the past I've told people that I was chatting to (when in front of my computer I'm normally involved in any number of IRC/skype/messenger chats) that I was sitting on the toilet and it seems to really freak people out, I just can't see why.

A lot of people like to make use of the time they spend on the toilet, that's why you'll normally see a stack of magazines or a few books sitting next to the bowl, I think I've just taken it one step further and I really don't see the problem with it. I must admit I've been known to take a phone call while doing my business and occasionally been called on it. I completely understand someone not wanting to know what you're doing through way of hearing sound effects but if I'm typing at my desk, or typing on the lounge, or typing on the toilet, as far as the recipient of the message is concerned ... I fail to see the difference.

These days I'm lost if I find myself in the bathroom without at least my phone, to try the latest app, or read up on the most up to date news, or in the very least; read some useless fact someone has tweated about how their pizza is too cold (or too hot, or some other rubbish). I've mentioned in this blog before that I often work from home (I normally take a day a week) and it's not unusual for me to be fixing someone's computer or managing some users permissions whilst in the smallest room in my house.

Having a young family I find that the bathroom happens to be one of the very few places in my house where I can get some peace and quiet, if it wasn't for wireless networking I could probably make do with a hole in the ground like they do in China or India, in and out, don't waste any of my precious time! Fortunately for me that's not the way it is where I live. I like to have a good long sit, a good long think and get some stuff done.

Does anyone else out there agree with me, or am I freaking you all out?

I best get back out there, so much stuff to do. Pity I can't put a toilet in every room in my house!

Cheers, The ITG

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oblivious to the paradox of their uniform individuality

Someone told me that I often come across angry in this blog, I don't really see myself as an angry person but reading back through the posts I see where they are coming from. As to not break tradition I bring you The ITG's cynical thoughts about 'the youth of today' ... enjoy!

This morning I had the unfortunate, and thankfully rare, experience of travelling to work via public transport. At one of the stops a group of young people (I guess there would still be many out there who would look at my as a 'young person' but I certainly don't see myself that way anymore) got on an already overcrowded carriage and started doing what young people do... be annoying.

I couldn't help but notice them, I'm sure that was their intention, but one thing that struck me very quickly was they all looked the same. All the girls were in similar clothes, as were the boys. They had similar haircuts and accessories and sure as hell all had the same phone as they looked down at them constantly. I wondered at one stage if they were messaging each other.

I've been watching the TV show 'Mad Men' of late (which for those of you that don't know is about the people who work in an advertising agency in the 1960's) and I saw an episode the other day when a young person was talking about the sentiments of their generation. He said something along the lines of "we don't want to be told what to do, we want to experience things ourselves". I don't think the group of people I saw this morning could be any further from that sentiment. They had been told what clothes to wear, what shoes to buy, what phone to use and how to cut their hair.. maybe not directly but each bloody one of them was trying to portray how individual they were by looking and acting exactly like the person the person next to them. At first I thought of the film clip for Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' with row after row of faceless identical figures but then my mind wandered to Nathan Barley.

For those of you have haven't seen it, Nathan Barley is a TV show by Chris Morris and Charlie Brooker which originally aired in 2005, I guess if you had to label it somehow you'd have to say it was a sitcom. It's a comedy full of social commentary, I think its hilarious and one of my favourite shows of all time. Nathan Barley stars Julian Barrett (of Mighty Boosh fame). Barrett plays 'Dan Ashcroft' a cynical journalist who at times I can really relate to. In the first episode of Nathan Barley, Ashcroft's article 'the rise of the idiots' is read over the top of images which could have quite easily been replaced with the ones I saw this morning.

     "The idiots are self regarding consumer slaves, oblivious to the paradox of their uniform individuality. They sculpt their hair to casual perfection, they wear their waistbands below their balls. They babble into handheld twit machines about that cool email of  that woman being bombed by a wolf. Their cool friend made it, he's an idiot too. Welcome to the age of stupidity, hail the rise of the idiots"

If I didn't know any better I could have sworn that Morris/Brooker (which ever one of them wrote 'the rise of the idiots') was sitting there with me and had written it about this bunch. 

I guess at this point of the post I feel like I should be offering some advice, or some way of fixing this problem, a solution as seen through the eyes of the ITG, but to be completely honest I think all these people need to do is grow up. Grow up the same way I did, hopefully they can hold off longer than me!!

If anyone out there has a solution or just some thoughts feel free to let me know.

Cheers, The ITG.

p.s. welcome home doc!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome 2011! NEWSFLASH:The users are still annoying

Well here we are, ringing in 2011 with a bang. If the Mayans are to be believed this will be the last happy year we all have on earth. Just in case they are correct I'm going to party like its 1999, will you join me?

Having almost completely healed from the fire incident in early December I'd like to start off this year on a positive note... but I wont. If you'll allow me to continue my blogging at the start of 2011 with bitching about the end of 2010 then we can get right in to it!

In between Christmas and New years our offices were opened (in a reduced capacity) for 2 days, Wednesday the 29th and Thursday the 30th but closed weekends and public holidays. I'd say only about 20% of the company was working with many of the smaller sites closed so I wasn't expecting things to be crazy, having said that I was the only IT staff member working for those two days. In that time we received around 25 requests, which is quite a lot comparatively when you consider how many people were working. Of these 2 dozen or so there were 2 standouts, two idiots that I feel I should, nay must, share with you.

Firstly you need to understand how annoyed I was on the morning of Wednesday the 29th. I was on a post Christmas break high and feeling great when I woke up and rode my bike into work, I hardly saw any traffic and, without speeding, it took me 11 minutes from sitting on my bike at home to getting off at my office. I'm pretty sure this is a new record for me (without speeding). I love working this time of year, most people will say "oh that sucks you have to work through Christmas and New Years", my response is normally something along the lines of "well, I have no issues getting to work, no traffic, less people, less work, cruisy days and then I get to take my holidays when everyone else is slaving away in a sucky part of the year." It's brilliant!

Back to the morning of the 29th. I got to the office a touch late, pulled my phone out of my pocket and noticed 6 missed calls, all from different people. All of these people had IT issues, all of these people know the online form process, all of them decided to ignore it. We had gotten off on the wrong foot. Without returning anyones call I sent out an 'ALL STAFF' email explaining that IT support was working as per normal and that if people had issues they needed to lodge an online form. I went on to say (as I normally do) that the only situation in which someone needs to contact IT directly is if no one in the office has access to our intranet.

Not long after that the forms started rolling in, everyone who had called me lodged a form except for one, a member of the finance department.

Idiot number 1:
Immediately after reading my mail she called me again and the conversation went something like this:

     "I just got your email, thank goodness you're there, we've got an issue...."

     "sorry to cut you off, you'll notice in my email that you are required to lodge an IT form for assistance, I'm happy to help you but I'm already in another call, can you please fill out a form and I'll get back to you asap"

     "This is so complicated, I don't even know how we would put it in a form"

     "That's OK, just put down whatever you can and I'll call you if I require any more info, thanks.. bye"

I was annoyed but very polite. Annoyed would describe how I felt before I got the form, raging was how I felt afterwards... below is a direct copy of what was in the form (name removed of course):

"One of the Temps we have in the office cannot log into the network.  She has been using [users] computer and password, and this needs to be re-set on computer [computer name]."

WHAT IS SO FUCKING COMPLICATED ABOUT THAT!?!?! (i use !?!?! for a lack of an Interrobang in this font)

Idiot number 2:
The second idiot shows just how clueless (and apathetic) some people can be. He did the right thing and filled out a form explaining he was moving desks and wanted his phone extension changed from his old to new desk. When I went over there to check what ports they were I noticed a pop up on his screen:

"Your virus definitions are more than 30 days out of date"

We have our computers setup to download virus updates from an internal server automatically, clearly for this PC it had broken. I asked him:

     "How long has this been popping up on your screen"

     "oh, most times I log on for the last few months"

     "Did you not think it was something worth telling IT about?"

     "Nah, all you have to do is click 'OK' and it goes away"

Well played my friend, well played indeed. Then they bitch and moan when their computers are infected with viruses.

I must admit the first week back for 2011 has been nothing but a pleasure, we've had great weather (unlike some other parts of the world) and I've been very productive, crossing most things off my 'to do' list (including my first post for 2011). For those of you that got one I hope you had, or are having, a nice break. Happy New Year!

The ITG.