This is a look back at some of my favorite blog pieces of 2008, and why I put them into the category of my favorite.


I thought I’d take a look back at 2008 and select a few blogs that stood out for one reason or another.

The worst day of my user support life:

This was a recent blog that was posted in the middle of December. What was intended to be a lighthearted look at those things that happen at the most inopportune times (in this case, on my birthday), it did, in part, turn into an in-depth analysis of my mode of operation, questioning my effectiveness, criticizing my knowledge, and in some cases, even escalating into a good old flame war. (I avoided the flame wars, by the way.)

This one proved to me that I do indeed have thick skin and a sense of humor. While some people might have been offended at some of the comments, either direct or innuendo, I took it all with that proverbial grain of salt. To summarize, while I was tending to my network problem as described in the blog, I might not have done everything right (at least in the way others might define right), but I certainly didn’t do anything wrong. It’s been said that no one can possibly be offended without giving his own permission; and I simply chose not to give that permission. Here’s how others have stated similar sentiments:

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” – David Brinkley

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby

“Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they please.” – Pythagoras

I sure learned from that one, but I believe others got a lot from it as well. And many TR members left some very nice comments. So as my brother often says, It’s all good.

Another one of my favorite blogs was this one:

Build a computer for a Vista 5.9 performance rating:

At a time when Windows Vista was being criticized (and rightfully so) for underperforming, this blog was the result of my research to find a Vista platform that provided the best bang for the computing buck. I actually built about a dozen of these computers, and they’re still performing quite nicely. And what made this piece most satisfying was not the fact that I built some good computers for my own users, but the many e-mails I received from my TR peers telling me that they used this specification as well and were quite pleased. I will, however, have to update my computer specification sometime during the upcoming year. That’ll be a subject for a future blog piece.

And a related blog subject was this one:

Vista’s recommended system requirements were not realistic:

In that blog I explored what I believe Microsoft should have done that might have prevented one of Vista’s biggest criticisms. In a nutshell, if Microsoft would have actually presented Vista as an operating system that required a powerful hardware platform, instead of understating the requirements, they would have been better off in the long run. There were some great comments made as well.

In the following blog, I will admit that I created a title that was sure to draw some attention and some chuckles:

Help prevent users from stealing mouse balls and keyboard keys:

What it also drew, however, was some great advice and suggestions for a fellow TR member who was searching for that elusive answer to a nagging problem. It was also a chance to draw attention to the charitable cause taken up by that same TR member. This one reminded me of what a great community TR provides.

The following three blogs were really a TR community effort to define the best tools for user support professionals:

What’s in your desktop support toolbox?

Which spyware removal tool do you use? Take the poll.

Which virus protection software do you use? Take the poll.

The TR community is probably the best tool and resource I’ve ever had the pleasure and privilege of using. I know I’ve helped a lot of TR members over the many years I’ve been hanging around here, something that’s quite satisfying to me. And as a group, they’ve (you’ve) repaid me many times over.

When I first entered into the IT arena in the late 80s, I had absolutely no training or experience. But I learned by relying on others, and I’ve actually learned even more by helping others. I think we could all probably say the same thing. It’s been both good and bad, and both easy and difficult. As said in the lyrics of a Grateful Dead song, Sometimes the lights all shinin’ on me; Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.

And to think, I’m still truckin’.

“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” – Vernon Sanders Law, Major League Pitcher and Cy Young award winner

Let me know what kind of subjects and/or issues you’d like to see in the User Support blogs in 2009. I’m looking forward to writing more, some of which will undoubtedly be counted as among my favorites of 2009. I hope they can be yours as well.