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]:
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