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  • #2257787

    From the kitchen sink


    by maevinn ·

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    • #3230359

      Writing yourself into a corner?

      by maevinn ·

      In reply to From the kitchen sink

      I’ve seen it here–in my short time–and I’ve seen it at other online forums.  The written word is a tough medium to use.  Most of us communicate in other ways much more frequently. We’re all used to our efforts at communication being aided by ‘peripherals’–tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, speed of the speaker…Common reference points which as a speaker or a listener, we share. 

      Start adding degrees of separation, and it gets harder.  On the phone, we lose the visuals.  As listeners, we can’t tell if the speaker is leaning forward towards us.  As speakers, we can’t tell if the listener is listening, or completing a masterful pen drawing of their handset.  Email removes the tone, the tempo, and often the colloquialisms.  Get into a forum, and the addition of smileys complicates the process even more, particularly for first timers (who may be newbies, noobies, n00bies, or nuby).  Was that intended seriously, or as sarcasm?  Is he really that angry? Is ‘he’ really a he?  We make efforts to document some aspects:  LIKE YELLING:  or emphasizing a point, and making some just seem drunk.  Or the ubiquitous 😀 which gets overused and underused and often adds less to a situation through being overly clever (is that a sarcastic wink, or a hey, baby c’mere wink?).

      And where does that leave us?  Trying to communicate with an audience with whom we initially have very little in common.  Trying to reach out?otherwise we?d be playing tetris or checking out stocks?for someone else slaying the same dragon, formatting the same file, programming the same code.  Finding out what else we have in common.



    • #3229465

      Tell me you’re kidding…

      by maevinn ·

      In reply to From the kitchen sink

      I was recently to a friends house. She was actually putting me up for a few days while I was in town. So of course, this means I’m going to be asked to ‘fix her computer’. After all?I’m the one who told her what to buy, and helped set it up, and installed the printer, and the scanner, and the digital camera…..And, it was also me that told her to get a firewall, antivirus, and spyware blocker. Specific apps, too, not just general instructions.

      So, I don’t MIND looking at her computer, since she is putting me up. Her daugher (yes, teenager, complete with MySpace and sore thumbs from IM’ing on her cell) whines that the computer sucks, it’s too slow, blah, blah, blah.

      I check to make sure everything is current?asking her as I’m doing so. She assures me that it is. So far, so good?the AV looks good. The latest patches are installed. The firewall is configured and running?though she has AV from one manufacturer, and the firewall from someone else entirely, oh well.



      Sigh. So I download and install my usual trio, get them updated, and run a search.

      123 CRITICAL objects. That doesn’t even include all the minor data mining crap.

      2 re-boots and 3 scans later, the poor computer and I are worn out. But I rally and explain in great deal how she needs to keep the spyware current, and run it regularly. And I threaten to unplug her cable connection if the poor machine is in the same shape next time I come through.

      The next morning, she commented that the computer really was running much better now.


    • #3139840

      Honesty amongst users

      by maevinn ·

      In reply to From the kitchen sink

      How honest are your users?

      I want to think the users I support are going to be honest with me.  If they goofed up, they?ll SAY they goofed up, and help me resolve the problem.  After all, that?s what I do when I biff something up?own up to it, see if I can resolve it without causing more damage, then admit it to whoever has to come clean up my mess.

      I?m learning this isn?t the case.

      Just this morning, a user pranced into my cube today, announcing ?My space key doesn?t work anymore.?  She held up a paper with ?KEYBOARDTESTSENTENCE? printed on it across the top as proof.  I go to her cube, and check to see if the key depresses normally?and immediately notice the drops of water.  A closer look reveals probably 1 teaspoon of water in the keyboard.   The conversation:

      Me: ?Your keyboard is wet.?

      Her: ?But it worked okay this morning.?

      Me: ?Yes, but it?s wet.  How did it get wet??

      Her:  ?Well I spilled water on my desk, but it didn?t get on the keyboard.?

      Me: ?Your keyboard is wet.?

      Her:  ?I tried to spray it out with some of the canned air from your office.  The water I spilled didn?t get on the keyboard!?

      I couldn?t come with a rejoinder more brilliant than ?Your keyboard is still wet.? 

      I swapped out the keyboard for a new one and put the wet out to dry, disappointed in no small way by the fact that she refused to admit that she had in fact spilled the water on the keyboard?and clearly knew she had done so, otherwise, why try spraying it out?

      About a month ago, some one casually mentions that a copier in their section was broken.  That, in fact, it has been broken for 2 weeks.

      No one mentioned this to me before.  No emails, no face-to-face, no sticky note to my monitor, no phone message.

      When I checked out the copier, there was a paper jam in the feeder to the sorter.  Oh, and pieces had been removed?from the opposite of the copier, where it feeds the paper from the tray into the printing path.  Completely removed?someone had opened a catch spring and deliberately lifted 2 rollers out of their seating.  It had been sitting thusly for 2 weeks.  No one reported it.  Apparently the guilty party either expected me to a) wander around and check every single piece of equipment daily, b) telepathically determine that the printer wasn?t working, or, c) I would hear the copier crying out in pain at the abuse it was subjected to and leap to it?s aid.

      Sigh.  How the heck am I supposed to trust these people to take care of their equipment? 

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