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.

  • If your users must IM, at least spare them from using adware

    If your users must IM, at least spare them from using adware

    IM clients from the biggies--AOL, Yahoo, MSN and so on--are full of annoying advertising. Spare your users from the sales pitch and put the focus back on communication by providing alternative client ...

    William Jones · July 3, 2008, 4:55 PM PST

  • Learning to say no!

    Learning to say no!

    Harping again on the subject of stress and burnout, I recently learned about the art of saying no. You will find that regularly taking on any job that you are asked to do will result in more tasks and...

    Jeff Dray · July 28, 2008, 6:32 AM PST

  • Helping users optimize their Internet connection speed

    Helping users optimize their Internet connection speed

    With users becoming more reliant on a speedy Internet connection, including file downloads and e-mail attachments, it might be worthwhile to test their connection speed and make upgrades accordingly.

    Joe Rosberg · July 23, 2008, 1:18 AM PST

  • Sysadmin Day: a day for techies to celebrate each other

    Sysadmin Day: a day for techies to celebrate each other

    Systems Administrator Appreciation Day was originally created so 'civilians' could commemorate the individuals they rely on for their technology support. IT folks shouldn't lie idle this Friday, thoug...

    William Jones · July 24, 2008, 7:46 AM PST

  • Providing the right kind of help

    Providing the right kind of help

    In the world of supporting end users, sometimes the solution is clear. Sometimes the best solution is to take a bit of time and teach the end user how to solve their own problems. You don't want the...

    Tricia Liebert · August 5, 2008, 12:36 AM PST

  • Vista's recommended system requirements were not realistic

    Vista's recommended system requirements were not realistic

    Did Microsoft sell itself short when it listed the recommended requirements for Vista? Would it have been better received had Microsoft originally presented Vista as requiring a powerful hardware plat...

    Joe Rosberg · August 6, 2008, 10:59 AM PST

  • The one terabyte disk: Is it reliable?

    The one terabyte disk: Is it reliable?

    About a year ago, when major manufacturers made their first terabyte disk drives available to the public, a storage capacity barrier had been broken, albeit a mental one more so than a technological o...

    Joe Rosberg · July 30, 2008, 11:14 AM PST

  • Lo, the gas man cometh

    Lo, the gas man cometh

    There are times when the cheapest option may not be the best, but how do you justify going for the more expensive option? A recent transaction with a utility provider got me thinking about this equat...

    Jeff Dray · August 4, 2008, 5:51 AM PST

  • What if business buys a Mac?

    What if business buys a Mac?

    Apple has shown strong sales, going 51% beyond the previous year. Some of that sales strength has come from the corporate market. What does an increase in corporate Mac use mean for support staff?

    Tricia Liebert · May 1, 2008, 8:24 PM PST

  • Being part of a team

    Being part of a team

    When you're overwhelmed by work requests, deadlines are piling up, and the phone won't stop ringing, don't forget that you have other team members to ask for help.

    Jeff Dray · May 2, 2008, 6:12 AM PST

  • Don't leave new helpdesk people to struggle

    Don't leave new helpdesk people to struggle

    Make sure that new help desk analysts understand the job before they start taking calls. Creating a documentation package for new hires ensures that they know all of the rules for your organization.

    Jeff Dray · June 6, 2008, 7:12 AM PST

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

    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 v...

    Andy Moon · August 11, 2008, 12:46 PM PST

  • Keep sunk costs from influencing your support decisions

    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 ...

    William Jones · August 7, 2008, 2:42 PM PST

  • Technical support according to Dilbert

    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...

    Joe Rosberg · August 13, 2008, 12:28 PM PST

  • Pranks and their effects

    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 wi...

    Jeff Dray · August 11, 2008, 5:41 AM PST