April 26, 2004
Welcome to My World, Part VI: Postcards from the System Edge

Lots of vignettes today:

U1, a famously frantic staffer, strides into my office brandishing a piece of paper and without any preamble or introduction asks, "is this what I need to give you?"

Me: "To...?" (Light a fire? Scribble an autograph? Choke you until the vacuous excuse for a brain you use suffers a seizure?)

U1: "Purchase [software I frantically need yet somehow only asked for once, a month ago]"

Me: "Ah yes! Thank you!" I need to get my money back from the psychic friends network.

U2, in an email on Thursday: "I need this printing in color. Could you get this converted to PDF or directly print to color. [U1] has start working [sic] on this project ASAP so I would really appreciate if this is printed tomorrow."

Me, in email reply, that day: "I cannot work with [toy desktop publishing documents]. I've found a spare Acrobat license. Let me know when you have 30 minutes and I'll install it. You'll be able to print it yourself then."

U2, in reply: "That's great! Can you do it Monday afternoon?"

At 3:30 p.m. sharp I was not surprised to discover it was already installed on their system.

U3, fabulous and fabulously charming, streams fashionable scarves into my office. "Scott," flashing a "sex-in-the-city" spectacular smile, "the screen on my laptop is broken and I desperately need to fix it," runway-worthy turn on some imaginary catwalk that seems to end at my doorstep, "when can you replace it?"

Me: "Not sure, I'll have to see what is free."

U3, in a gracefully executed cross-pose (the word VOGUE briefly flashes over her head), "well I have to get it soon, it's just unusable like this." Exit in a sashay that makes Cindy Crawford weep.

So I scrounge a very nice reasonably new laptop from a recently departed employee (I'm known as the Angel of Computer Death around here because I "harvest" the computers of the dearly departed), and notify U3 by email that I'll need her system for 1 hour to transfer all files and settings.

Six weeks pass. Weeks.

This morning, U3, in a ravishing ensemble, gracefully strides down that weird runway I just can't see: "I hear you have a system for me?"

Me: "Yup, need an hour."

U3: "Let me get a few things done and I can give it to you this morning."

Six hours later, no laptop.

u4, our resident short fuse: "I need another mouse for my system."

Me: "Isn't this your third one?"

U4's spring obviously clicks two notches tighter: "Well, yes, I guess it is."

Me: "That normally means it's the computer, not the mouse."

*CLICK* goes the spring one notch tighter, U4: "Well, if we can find another one..."

Me: "Let's go look and see what's wrong."

Yes, they did have a real problem. Which I eventually fixed, and then went to lunch, with a closed door.

*KNOCK KNOCK* Great. What now? [Open], and there's U4 half way to my boss's door.

Me: "Did everything wor--"

U4, spring wound so tight I'm expecting a sprocket to fly out of his ear and take out a passing staffer, "my password changed again."

Me: "Well, I didn't change it." *CLICK* *CLICK* "Let's go check."

Walk down to U4's office, where they sit and furiously begin typing. Me: "Slowly now, let's try it again."

The password, of course, worked fine.

Update: Forgot this one:

This afternoon, a remote user sent a desparate (they're all desparate... email is like oxygen to these people) note to me regarding how one specific organization was unable to send mail to her.

Examination of the error messages revealed what is probably a buggy e-mail firewall on their end. This has happened oh, say three times in the past six or seven years. The cheaper firewall companies only test against the Borg, and as we all know Microsoft is not all that interested in interconnectivity. Since, what, half the internet still uses Sendmail, they end up posting corrective patches pretty quickly. It's getting them installed that's the trick.

At any rate, I gave this theory to the sysadmin on the other end, only to get the following reply (which I swear I am not making up):

Moron Admin: "Well, yes, now that you mention it we did upgrade our systems a few weeks ago. And actually, I have had a few domains mention they were having trouble connecting to our systems. But I know it's not on our end. Would you please check your systems out again?"

Why no, actually, I don't think I will.

Posted by scott at April 26, 2004 04:00 PM

eMail this entry!

Do you talk to the same "L"users I do?
Oh, my, GOOOOOOOODDDDD! I'm with ya bud!
(Just to let you know that you are NOT alone.)

Posted by: Cindy on April 27, 2004 11:43 PM
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