User Support

When things go wrong, IT support professionals get the call. Here are the resources to help them improve their troubleshooting skills, their people skills, and their technical knowledge.

  • Jeff Dray // September 8, 2008, 6:44 AM PST

    When should we play games on our PCs at work?

    In most commercial environments, it is a risky thing to load and play games on PCs but they are sometimes useful in support situations with new users.

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  • Joe Rosberg // September 4, 2008, 9:57 AM PST

    Growing dependency on IT

    With the passing of each year, it seems that companies are becoming more reliant on their Information Technology infrastructure. Consider how far we've come in a relatively short amount of time, and what kind of additional challenges are placed on the people who support IT.

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  • William Jones // September 4, 2008, 9:26 AM PST

    Google's Chrome, and why it will change enterprise support

    Talk of Google's new browser, Chrome, is on the lips of techies everywhere. Lots of people have criticisms, but the software shows Google is sensitive to the way we use Web applications. Supporting users who live life in the cloud may be getting easier.

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  • Jeff Dray // September 1, 2008, 6:14 AM PST

    You say resume, we say CV

    The résumé, or CV, as it is known this side of the water, is there as a tool to get you noticed by a prospective employer. It is the key selling tool at your disposal but so often it can do more damage than good.

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  • William Jones // August 28, 2008, 3:54 PM PST

    What happens when management insists that you "work dumber"?

    Centralized system management is one area where the disciplines of user support and network administration overlap. Implementing systems management solutions effectively can up your productivity and provide stability for your users. So what do you do if you can't sell management on the investment?

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  • Joe Rosberg // August 27, 2008, 10:56 AM PST

    Securing your home computer

    A user recently asked me what I would recommend to keep his home computer as secure as the ones at our office. Here's the list of considerations I gave him.

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  • Jeff Dray // August 24, 2008, 9:35 PM PST

    Is it okay to earn a bit extra in your spare time?

    What are the ethics of taking on private work? Do you stay faithful to one employer or do you feel it's okay to freelance?

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  • William Jones // August 21, 2008, 3:32 PM PST

    Extended warranties and paying for peace of mind

    Extended warranties are often characterized as a form of insurance. Most consumer advocates consider them a bad investment. Does paying for an extended warranty ever make sense, or are they false comfort?

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  • Joe Rosberg // August 20, 2008, 11:55 AM PST

    What's your biggest user support challenge -- Take the poll

    Providing user support presents any number of challenges. What would you consider the biggest challenge facing IT professionals providing user support? What's your biggest challenge?

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  • Jeff Dray // August 18, 2008, 6:58 AM PST

    Solving support problems with good table manners

    Remember what your mother told you about good table manners? They are as relevant today as they ever were, and they might help you find the solution to a support problem.

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  • William Jones // August 14, 2008, 2:00 PM PST

    Connecting with clients: Is it possible to provide personal support from afar?

    William Jones has moved a time zone away from the rest of his office and that has forced him to think about the effect distance has on customer service. Is proximity the difference between being a colleague and a being a commodity?

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  • Joe Rosberg // August 13, 2008, 12:28 PM PST

    Technical support according to Dilbert

    Good comedy takes some element of truth and stretches it to the absurd. However, the Dilbert cartoon series might not have to stretch the truth too far when showing the humor associated with providing (or receiving) technical support.</

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  • Andy Moon // August 11, 2008, 12:46 PM PST

    New virtual desktop offerings increase variety, but will they catch on?

    Even though we have more processing power on our desks than NASA used to put men on the moon, there are companies out there who want us to give up that power in favor of "dumb terminals" that access virtual desktops running on very powerful computers back in a server room. Are you willing to take this step?

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  • Jeff Dray // August 11, 2008, 5:41 AM PST

    Pranks and their effects

    Over the years there have been many pranks played on users, some highly amusing and some downright malicious. When Windows 95 arrived and the new style desktop appeared, we had a great deal of fun with a user who insisted on fiddling with absolutely everything.

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  • William Jones // August 7, 2008, 2:42 PM PST

    Keep sunk costs from influencing your support decisions

    Behavioral psychology has identified several ways that human beings undermine themselves when making decisions. One trap that can affect IT shops in particular is the so-called sunk cost bias. Here's how to avoid that pitfall.

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