Archive for June, 2009

You will be mocked!

June 30, 2009
You know, it’s quite amazing that people think the computer world works soooo differently than the ‘real world’.  Are they ever going
to learn?  I doubt it.  How many of you actively go out there looking for things that you should know just don’t exists any more?
Seriously, when was the last time that Tandy made the 2500XL PC with Deskview?  Hell, do any of you even REMEMBER Tandy Computers?
(Although I suspect that a few of your closet freaks still remember Tandy Leather Company.  You mention Leather and Computers today and
you’ll get a whole different type of response!).  Suffice to say you don’t go out looking for out-dated products.  If you think
hardware (or anythying physical like cars or TVs) get outdated soon (like very year), software is even worse!  Any given piece of code
can be outdated within a week of its release, let alone upgrades and ‘patches’ for security bugs.
So here is one of our ‘less than bright’ clients who starts off with:
“why don’t I have access to the old version?”
You know you are dealing with a real gem when you see that line.  And it continues…
“I bought it in the past, see attached copy of email with proof.”  Hurray!  You showed me proof of something you bought!  Well it’s
a darn good thing I’m in a generous mood to allow that to be submitted as evidence in the case of ‘reality vs moron’ here, otherwise
I might have deemed it inadmissable.
I know people who have bought 1985 K-Cars in the past too but hey, guess what?  They don’t make them any more!  So I’ll give you 3
guesses why you can’t get the ‘old version’ and the first two don’t count!
It’s a wonder that some of these people even know how to procreate (would the correct opposite be concreate?).  I mean, when you email
someone with very striaght forward 8 simple steps (click here, click here, click here….type of thing) then said person forwards
the email to their IT department with ONLY the word ‘help’ in it….sad, sad, sad.  Seriously, I was truly saddened by this and
immediately after vowed to immortalize such people on a regualr basis on my blog!  Let this be a guiding light to all you people
crying to technical help!  You will be mocked!

You know, it’s quite amazing that people think the computer world works soooo differently than the ‘real world’.  Are they ever going to learn?  I doubt it.  How many of you actively go out there looking for things that you should know just don’t exists any more?

Seriously, when was the last time that Tandy made the 2500XL PC with Deskview?  Hell, do any of you even REMEMBER Tandy Computers?  (Although I suspect that a few of your closet freaks still remember Tandy Leather Company.  You mention Leather and Computers today and you’ll get a whole different type of response!).  Suffice to say you don’t go out looking for out-dated products.  If you think hardware (or anythying physical like cars or TVs) get outdated soon (like very year), software is even worse!  Any given piece of code  can be outdated within a week of its release, let alone upgrades and ‘patches’ for security bugs.

So here is one of our ‘less than bright’ clients who starts off with:

“why don’t I have access to the old version?”

You know you are dealing with a real gem when you see that line.  And it continues…

“I bought it in the past, see attached copy of email with proof.”  Hurray!  You showed me proof of something you bought!  Well it’s a darn good thing I’m in a generous mood to allow that to be submitted as evidence in the case of ‘reality vs moron’ here, otherwise I might have deemed it inadmissable.

I know people who have bought 1985 K-Cars in the past too but hey, guess what?  They don’t make them any more!  So I’ll give you 3 guesses why you can’t get the ‘old version’ and the first two don’t count!

It’s a wonder that some of these people even know how to procreate (would the correct opposite be concreate?).  I mean, when you email someone with very striaght forward 8 simple steps (click here, click here, click here….type of thing) then said person forwards the email to their IT department with ONLY the word ‘help’ in it….sad, sad, sad.  Seriously, I was truly saddened by this and immediately after vowed to immortalize such people on a regualr basis on my blog!  Let this be a guiding light to all you people crying to technical help!

You will be mocked!

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Thinking of a logo…

June 27, 2009

I’m contemplating creating a logo for The Jaded Tech.   I’m willing to allow someone else to do it simply because I’m not that great in the graphic arts.  Kinda looking for something simple but gets the point across.  Colours should be kept to a minimum, so much so that if a B&W version had to be made, the logo would still look the same.  Maybe I’ll just tweak one of the Kopimi logos…

Maybe I’ll just use a tweaked version of the broken image link.

Maybe I’ll just keep typing enough and come up with my own design…..<shrug>….go vote on it and I’ll see how motivated I am later on 🙂

A shining example.

June 24, 2009

I’m pretty fortunate that I only deal with emails for the issues we deal with.  That way I don’t have to force myself to clamp down on the response I really want to say if I was on the phone with some of these people.  Here is a shining example.

This guy emails in his issue at 6am (our time, we deal globally).  I work on it for a couple of days (some issues just take awhile).  I find out that the guy who submitted the problem isn’t the authorized person and the changes he made can’t be done.  I tell him that he needs to talk to the authorized person and give him that person’s name and email address.  On the third day the client seems to ignore me.  I send out the generic ‘if we don’t hear back from you, we’ll assume that your issue is fixed and close your ticket’.

A collegue of mine neeeded some help with one of his tickets.  I go to help him out and immediate notice that the name is exactly the same as the one I’m working on!  All the details are the same, the person, the company, everything.  I check the time this ticket was  created, 7:30am.  That’s right, 1.5hrs after sending in the one i was working on, buddy goes and creates ANOTHER problem ticket.

So buddy now replies saying we need to keep BOTH tickets open!

One thing I have learned is how to bitch-slap people in the most diplomatic way possible without seeming to cross ‘the line’.  I told him that having two tickets open for the same issue will cause problems and even delay helping him fix the issue.  I said ‘Please keep this in mind for the future’.  Combined with my earlier wording I basically said “You are an idiot and a whiny little punk in  opening up two records thinking that it’ll get fixed quicker.  I had to work twice because now I have to manage two tickets instead of one.”

It’s bad enough when you are dealing with companies in other countries because of the time difference.  They send a request, we get  it basically the next day, we reply.  But now it’s their evening and they get it their next day….this all assumes that the client is attentive enough to pay attention and respond in a timely manner.

Now, I know that the logic of ‘getting the problem solved quicker by talking to two people at the same time’ has it’s use on the odd occasion….but in the corporate world of business….it just doesn’t work.  Here’s why:

Let say you got a problem with your computer like it can’t connect to the Internets.  So you call up your local ISP and complain. (Note that people always complain….they never ask if there is a problem….they used to but not any more….damn demanding public). Achmed, the helpdesk guy on the other end of the phone, has an idea on how to fix it but will need a bit of time.  So you hang up and let him call you back when he’s fixed.  The problem is you arein’t a patient person so you call back hoping that you’ll get someone more ‘competent’on the phone who can fix your problem.  Next on the line is Shagunthula (can you tell I’m mildly pissed at Bell and their India-outsourced helpdesk??).  She has an idea as wellon how to fix yoru connectivity issues but it will ‘take some time’ and will have to call you back.  You sigh, loudly and hang up waiting like the dog that needs to go outside and hope you get a call soon.

So now you have Achmed and Shagunthula both figthing with their ‘second level’ people to fix the same damn problem.  Now here’s the fun part.  Both of them have different ideas on how it’s to be fixed.  Confusion reigns, problems are exponentiated, emails, calls and voicemails are left all over the place and you are left sitting by the back door hoping that noone notices the little yellow puddle because this is taking too long.  You’ll probably go chew on the couch next and then blame the two ‘incompetent’ help desk people because they can’t get their ‘act together’ and fix your connectivity.

5 days later you finally get a call back.  It’s Achmed and he’s ‘fixed your problem’ and your connection is now up and running!  You tell them “I know…I just plugged in the loose cable….”.  Achmed commits ritual suicide while you surf for prOn.

I told you so…

June 22, 2009

Boy, I’m going to love working at my job! The amount of material for this blog will be astounding! So here we go:

We license out the software our company makes. A client has a problem with a type of license he is trying to use.
I tell client that it has to be set up a different way than what he is trying. The client says he doesn’t want it that way, doesn’t need it that way, wants it the other way.

Just so we are all clear here. The client is telling ME how our product product works. Umm, I thought he was contacting us to ask how it works….

I tell client how it can work the way I originally told him. 2 days later, still no response from the client.

Nothing is more satisfying that us techies being able to say.. “I told you so…”  🙂

What's more important to you?

June 11, 2009

I really got to ask this question.  See, I’ve noticed a rather disturbing trend due to the poor education on the uses of technology, specifically in the entertainment sector.

I just called a friend, his wife answered and said “He’s not home, can you call bck in 20mins I’m just in the middle of watching something?”.

That little innocuous reply is the result of mis-placed importance of entertainment distractions.  Think I’m blowing this out of proportion?  Ok then, example #2.

My mother-in-law asks my wife to call back because she’s “In the middle of her show.”  Usually Survivor or some other such ‘reality’ show(which is farrrr away from ‘reality’, but that’s a whole other topic…).  See, my inlaws live in a different town and we don’t get to see them very often.  So my we call to say hi and how are things but apparently this is a bad idea because TV is much more important that speaking with you own daughter.  On top of that, my mother-in-law was quite upset that she was going to miss the season finale because she would be in England visiting her sisters/mother.

I mean does this just scream something is wrong with our society?  I mean, hey, I’m a damn big geek when it comes to gadgets and such, but never would I let them take precedence over the people I love.  Geeze, that’s what VCR’s were build for…so you can watch them later!  Now you have PVRs and BitTorrent to make sure you never miss an episode!

It seems that society has been groomed for that ‘instant satisfaction’ and damned be anything that gets in the way of stopping that!  See, this is where I have a great little perspective on life and technology.  See, tech is here to help us mature as a species, no de-evolve into being so distracted by the ‘pretty pictures’ that human interaction takes a back seat.  It’s actually very painful to watch.

So I ask you, what is more important to you?  The technological pretty distraction or the human race that is looking for someone to talk to?

On the flip side are the people who reside in the category of “a little bit of knowledge makes you stupid’.  A friend of mine lives with her parents.  She’s not allowed to use the Internet to read her hotmail or use any Instant Messaging programs because ‘they could damage the computer’.  What??!!  It gets better.  She’s not allowed to get her own comptuer and use their Internet connection because “It’ll slow down their connection.”  WHAT??!!!!  I mean damn, I should be heading up to them, with my external 2400 baud modem, and beating them till they bleed ones and zeros!  And I’d do it with the mantra “The Internet makes you stupid!  The Internet makes you stupid!”  It would be a righteous act of retribution!

Ok, so maybe you are thinking that someone of an ‘older generation’ has mis-guided concepts on how technology works.  You could be right, except that besides hydrogen, stupidity is the next most common element in the universe.  I did a cleanup/reinstall of a badly infected and severely fragmented system (I’m talking 97% fragmentation here!).  So when the lady, who helps out her sun run the bar, asks me what happened, I told her.  There was a virus and the system was nigh-unusable because the HD was so fragmented.  I asked what Anti-Virus she runs at her work (she’s some sort of IT manager…keep that in mind when you read the next few lines…), she said “Norton”.  Oh boy!  here we go.

So I ask her why didn’t she use AVG?  She said” it didn’t work, that’s why the system was infected.”

To whit I replied “Guess what I used to remove the virus?”

“What?”  she asked.

“AVG.” I said oh-so-smugly.  “You didn’t update it so it got infected by a newer virus.”

Just in case you missed that underlying tone, I’ll sum up.  We have an ‘IT manager’ who didn’t update the Anti-Virus definition files then blames the Anti-Virus program for not doing it’s job.

While that is the ultimate of moronic thinking, I still feel that beating the luddite parents with an external 2400 baud modem would give me slightly better satisfaction that what I felt when I told this ‘IT manager’ where she screwed up.

(I’m willing to bet that people think I don’t really own the modem….heh)

Time flies….

June 8, 2009

We all hear the depressing news about the economy and how ‘bad it is’ out there.  The biggest problem is that the ‘mob mentality’ sets in and everyone starts believing it and they act accordingly (cut backs, reservedness in habits, talk about it) .  Let’s say we rate a problem on 1-100 (one being the best, 100 being the worst).  The current problem is somewhere around 60 in reality.  When people start seeing it, they react and then the ‘perceived problem’ starts to look like a 90.  So what happens?  Well, since belief precedes reality, that 60 starts to actually become a 90 just because people believe it, then act accordingly.  Talk about the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy eh?

So what does this have to do with me and my blog?  Tons.  See, I subscribe to the age old axiom ‘believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.’  While this certainly puts me in, what I call, the enlightened few, this does not mean I am not affected when I go out and apply to jobs.

A little background on me.  I’ve been playing with technology since ’79.  Anyone recall the Pong consoles?  Yes, I said that….Pong Consoles.  Basically the size of a keyboard with two knobs (paddles for moving the little bars up and down) and two switches (one was power, the other was for level of difficulty (1,2, or 3) I think…) .  My parents got one for Christmas and since I was into ‘taking things apart’ (being the curious guy that I am, I even took apart a Mickey Mouse watch…never got it back together….), rebuilding 10-speed bikes, making go-karts and the like, they asked me to hook it up.  Ok, no problem.  I unscrewed the two screws for the UHF antenna (heh, let’s see how many kiddies understand that!  Geeze…kinda sad when I’m proud of that actually….), hook up the two leads and tighten up the screws.  Turn on Channel 3 and turn on the game.  Voila!  Instant baby-sitter for the parents!

Well, my tech ‘training’ grew from there.  Commodore Vic=20 (with a tape drive!  Yup, “Load 8,1,*”), C=64, then onto PCs…286/386/486/586/6×86….) and so forth.  Eventually I decided to get into the IT World, and got serious about my career.  Suffice to say, I’ve got a lot of experience and quite an interesting perspective on troubleshooting.  makes me damn good at what I do.

So, back to the modern economic world.  I’ve already ranted about the poor hiring process that many companies are using (“Tell me about a time when…”).  We’ve all heard about ‘how bad it is out there’.  So how does this all relate?

To sum up my recent job hunting excursion:

  • Time spent hunting for a full-time jobs in earnest:  2 months
  • Number of jobs applies to:  30+
  • Number of interviews granted:  2
  • Number of follow-up interviews hinted at during one of the above:  3
  • Number of internal sighs during above interview:  20
  • Number of repeated questions at same interview:  1
  • Number of  ‘inside connections’ (aka the ‘hidden job market’) used:  6
  • Number of places where the above was used:  3
  • Number of job offers:  1 (accepted)

For comparison, last year at this time I was able to apply to 5-6 jobs, get 2-3 interviews and get offered 1-2 jobs.  This was a constant pattern I’ve had in the last 3-4 years.  This year was different.  I mean seriously….3 interviews for a tech support job?  Talk about going wayyyyy past cautious and into ‘waste of company resources’ swing!

The upside of all this?  I got a job that does better in a ‘down economy’ than an up one!

Now that’s out of the way, I can get back to my thing here.

Enjoy!