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The Admiral's Breifing Room

By The Admiral ·
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The Outsourcing of Sanity

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

<p>I look all around and see people like Bill Gates talk about not having enough people to fill positions in Information Technology, then I remember the experience working for a contracting company, and then I see in the news that almost no college students are taking Information Technology as a major.  I wonder why they are saying such incorrect things when, if they looked around, I am sure they can find the people.</p>
<p>My opinion is that first, companies like Microsoft and Oracle imported people to perform the jobs in the dot com craze stating that there is large need and not enough skills, so the rush of college students was on in order to fill those positions.  Then when the bubble burst, IT positions were cut and slashed, and nearly all IT professionals pay was cut in order to keep companies alive.  The funny thing is that while the people who made sure that the companies infastructure and employees were able to work, the CEO's who were coming down with the slashes were getting multi-million dollar raises.  So the idea that Technology or Techknowlogy as a romantic and prosperous career went out the window with nearly (as I estimate) 60% of those laid off because of the actions of the company filing bankrupcy in the United States.</p>
<p>And it continues.  IT professionals are being outsourced,  the rate in which they are getting paid here in the US (not inches but foots) lower toward general laborer wages.  At one point in time my son-in-law who is an apartment complex maintenance man, was making more than I was.  When wages fall to a point where people can have better careers like that, then why should they even bother with the bureaucracy of working on information systems?</p>
<p>If Gates and other CEO's want to have more people to hire in their corporate offices, they have to show that they are serious about hiring people in the United States and paying them, rather then saying "We need more from the education arena" then turn around and say "Outsource more."  What signals are companies sending saying one thing and doing another?</p>
<p>Now you have the mass migrations from IT to other careers, and those who set this page are now whining.  They claim it is because they can't find people, and I think it is because they have learned that IT work is backstabbing and learned their tricks and don't want their intelligence insulted.</p>

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Reducing Support Times & Options

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Reducing Support Times & Options<?xml:namespace prefix =" o" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"" /></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Many technicians have problems when it comes to supporting systems that are different or have quirks that, if you look at them overall differ from machine to machine.<span>  </span>In some cases it can cause application incompatibility.<span>  </span>A good example of this is when the video drivers of a notebook take the same memory space of Microsoft Word or Lotus WordPro.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">There are some things that the company can do to reduce the amount of time a technician spends on incompatibilities that should not be an issue in the first place.<span>  </span>Here is just a few:</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">First, standardize the hardware across the entire corporation.<span>  </span>In many cases, making one desktop that has many of the same features as notebooks (such as the operating chipset into the system) can make a difference in time to support a particular system.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Second, create a standard image for all of the systems across the board.<span>  </span>Notebooks and Desktops alike that have the same hardware can share the same images, and with a good image engineer, you can have the drivers install automatically.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Third, do not skip over using the utilities and drivers that the manufacturer supplies.<span>  </span>I have seen MSCE?s trip over them trying to figure out problems with systems writing it off to bad hardware when it was an install of the motherboard drivers.<span>  </span>These utilities and drivers in many cases come installed directly from the company, and are updated on a daily basis from the manufacturer, and can mean the system running like a 486 or running at blazing speeds.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Fourth, standardize applications across all platforms so that you can reduce your licensing and support costs.<span>  </span>We have two groups here; Information developers and administrative folks.<span>  </span>Both groups get the same basic applications, but the ID folks get applications that allow them to do their job.<span>  </span>The licensing is kept track of in a database since most if not all of the software that tracks licenses tend to cause problems that cause our technicians more work then necessary.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Fifth, communicate with users that they are responsible for the security of the system.<span>  </span>You can place security policies on the system with passwords, profiles, and a multitude of other items, but they like to install web shots and other freeware that can contain spy ware.<span>  </span>While updating the antivirus from the vendor is a best practice over trying to do it internally, the extra things that the users like to install can interfere with the system in that it causes more work than needed.<span>  </span></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Sixth, implement a ?reload after X amount of time? policy where the systems are reloaded after a certain amount of time to troubleshoot the system.<span>  </span>While technical support personnel are a commodity, you waste it when they are at a workstation attempting to fix a problem that has taken them 2 hours to fix, when it takes 15 minutes to restore a system.<span>  </span>We generally limit calls to no more than an hour and fifteen minutes before we require a system reload.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Last, keep metrics & ask users their opinions.<span>  </span>We had a problem with customer satisfaction and did the mistake of ?The complaint wasn?t about the problem, so it does not count,? and found that the complaint was valid, and it did count.<span>  </span>It is the lazy way to avoid fixing something that is broken.<span>  </span>Do not send out a survey just to ignore it with questions that are not important.<span>  </span>Put in questions that are important, and where your customers can expand on their ideas of creating a better organization.<span>  </span>We all too often see companies, departments, divisions, and nearly every aspect being transformed, but you never see why, here is why, your not keeping track of what is going on until it is too late, so you can?t correct it when it needs to be corrected.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">With the large number of employees that you may have, you will find that making minor changes saves the company more money than making a huge jolt.<span>  </span>Also, as a manager, you have to get out of the quarter reporting structure, since your weakest support quarter is always December.<span>  </span>If you even out everything over the year like you do when you go bowling, then you have much a better idea as to where you are and what you need to do in January than you do when you look at them every three months.</font></span></p>

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The impossible employee

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

An impossible employee is always a challenge, granted, but you have to understand coming from a technical area that you are now in a management position, and the company expects you to fulfill your obligations for that position. There are a few steps that you should take when dealing with ?Loud Larry? or, in your case, ?Loud Lisa?.<br /><br />First, you have to understand that he or she is an intimidator. These are the people who will air their dirty laundry to everyone to make you look like the bad apple, when you are being as nice as humanly possible. This is the person who can and will disrupt the entire nature within your company. As with any intimidator, they drag a lot of baggage with them such as hate, deceit, trickery, and will disrupt the normal flow if they can. These are also people who tend to get on the nerves of other people, but because the other people are either afraid of being termed the rat, not a team player, or told that it is a problem with them, they just look and not say a word. Their ego is bigger than their education or in some cases their common sense.<br /><br />Second, the intimidator is a very ambitious person. It is your job as a manager of this person to understand the reason why they are loud and ambitious by having a formal one-on-one with each person and determine their goals in their career, and understand your role in allowing them to reach those goals. But the intimidator is out for their own good, and not that of the team. I have often told management when I was in that position that you can not play as a team if you are the only one playing on it. When you look at their actions, you will see that their history shows that they have done everything to benefit their own goals and objectives.<br /><br />Third, these kind of people attempt to dominate everyone around them, and at some point in time will to some extent, the important part is that you can manage these people. You, being the manager and new, were probably caught like a deer in the headlights and were caught off guard, making yourself an easy target. What they will do is dominate based on becoming the center of attention, having in their own mind that they need to be the center of the universe.<br /><br />Fourth, you have to understand that these types of people are the kind who lack self-control needed to keep their impulses in check. They lack the internal controls to keep their actions, or control their actions, the same about compulsive liars, thieves and obsessive compulsive behavior. <br /><br />Here is how to manage the people that the intimidator reaches: <br /><br />First, observe the interactions between the intimidator and the targeted employee. Determine if this may be a case or teasing, or pulling a chain or if the intimidator is harassing or bullying the target employee.<br /><br />Second, listen to the company grapevine. This is the all-out indicator as to what is going on, what everyone is saying, and gives you and idea as to how the other employees feel. This is NOT a place to start taking action, it is only a milestone mark as to where you need to go from now.<br /><br />Third, look for signs of tardiness, absentees, or a lack of drive from other employees or wanting to leave, transfer out, or change shifts to get away from dealing with the intimidator.<br /><br />Fourth, check to see if people are having problems that they can not explain such as sweating/shaking, feeling/being sick, sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, anxiety or depression or even symptoms of withdrawing from the team such as irritability, withdrawn or aggressive or defensive, or signs of alcohol abuse.<br /><br />If all of these shows that the person has done something that would be construed as intimidation by the person, then you need to take steps to stop it. <br /><br />Have a private meeting with the employee with a peer manager. This meeting can occur at any time, but it is important that you follow these items:<br /><br />1. Look the employee in the eye<br />2. Talk slowly and surely to ensure that what you are saying is being heard.<br />3. Do not raise your voice or conduct yourself in an aggressive manner.<br />4. Do not allow the intimidator to become loud or the situation gets out of hand.<br />5. Take control over the environment.<br /><br />At the start of the meeting tell the intimidator what you have observed and been made aware of through different avenues. This puts everyone on the same level, and it puts the ball in their playing field. Then tell them where you stand or the company stands when it comes to harassment and the possibility of what be perceived as harassment or violence in the workplace and how their actions or their unintended meanings of words fall under those areas. Explain to them that as a leader of the group that you may be forced by the corporate guidelines to take actions such as suspension, demotion, transfer or removal against them to remedy the situation. As the manager you must be straightforward in your approach to the problem, don?t be politically correct and beat around the bush, since that tends to take the edge of seriousness away from the problem. Focus your energies on correcting the poor behavior!!! <br /><br />As a manager it is up to you to advise them in how you want to see their attitude change toward a more team focused environment and that you will assist them in getting to sensitivity classes or anger management or other counseling. In some companies, they offer counseling for issues such as this.<br /><br />It is important that you keep this professional and not show any emotion such as disgust or anger toward the employee, but talk very firmly. No matter what their excuse is, ensure that you re-enforce that:<br /><br />? Such behavior does not have anyone?s interest at heart<br />? Affects the company?s bottom line by putting undue pressure on others.<br />? Lowers Morale to a point where people don?t care about their job.<br />? People do go postal over situations because of the added pressure<br />? That all employees have the right to dignity, and that everyone has principles as to how they act toward one another.<br />? No one has the right to inject their subjective intervention in relation to their privacy, home, family or employment.<br /><br />These items may stick in there for a little bit, but you have to persevere in making sure that at meetings their voice is heard when it comes to how to further the team. You also have to be vigilant in that anyone else in management does not become targets of the intimidator.<br /><br />When the meetings are done, then have the peer manager meet with you on how well you performed, have him or her critique what you said and if they have any other constructive comments about your situation. That gives you an idea about how to handle situations later on as well.<br /><br />The important thing is to keep it high level and not a shouting match. Then, after the meeting, the person can then decide what their next move is. Then schedule sensitivity training for the entire team, not just for the intimidator. You then build the team. <br /><br />If the behavior continues, you can then have the same peer manager come in and sit down to re-enforce what you stated above, and if it is not working out, it is time to get HR involved. <br /><br />When it is all done and over with, you will look honest, fair, and someone your employees can look up to be unbiased when other situations come up.

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Security Policies in need common sense

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">When we look at security policies that are effective when they are implemented, we have to ask a simple question that requires an answer:<span>  </span>Are we trying to keep the bad people out, or are we trying to keep employees from performing their job.<span>  </span>Obviously, some think that keeping an employee from performing their job would be the wrong answer, but many times, when we try to keep the bad people out, we tend to make the people who have to do their job from doing it as well.<?xml:namespace prefix =" o" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"" /></font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">A security policy has to be enabled where the employee is responsible for the security of their work area.<span>  </span>Everything in that work area is includes the workstation, the chair, and what is on their desk needs to be addressed.<span>  </span>If they have a locked door or sit in a cubicle means that there are additional processes as well to make sure that confidential information does not disappear.<span>  </span>In the many cases where you have more than one company that shares office space, it is imperative that steps be taken in order to handle any kind of security issue.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Desktops and Laptop pose a security threat, but not as bad as you would believe.<span>  </span>Desktops with a SYSTEM BOARD PASSWORD where a removal of a battery would not make a difference, is important.<span>  </span>Simply placing a Power-On Password that can be removed is not sufficient.<span>  </span>Notebooks are the same.<span>  </span>They should have the following:</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">System Board Password</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Power on Password</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Hard Drive Password</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">These can be different, or they can be the same, but your employee has to manage those risks if the system does not have different passwords.<span>    </span>Why?<span>  </span>First, if they get past power on password, and want to make a change in the BIOS, they need the System Board Password.<span>  </span>And in order to boot the PC, they need to know the hard drive password or they go nowhere.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">They can take the hard drive out and put a different drive in it and run it if it only has a HD password, but generally, they can?t eBay the item or attempt to get the data off of it with dual passwords, which secures your investment.<span>  </span>That is what you can do for physical security outside of cabling it to the desk and locking the zippers on laptop bags, and educating users that leaving the notebook in the back of the car is not exactly the smart thing to do.</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><font size="3"><span>The other part of security is the ability to be able to detect threats and deal with them at the firewall and the network level.<span>  </span>First, A firewall rule where if someone on the network inside our out is attempting to use a particular port for a period of time gets automatically put on the ignore list.<span>  </span>Internally, you would disable the MAC address on the network, externally, you would place the IP on a temporary or a permanent ignore list.<span>  </span>Second, email viruses and spoofing is a problem.<span>  </span>You can get rid of much of the spoofs if you only do business in the </span><?xml:namespace prefix =" st1" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"" /><st1:country-region><st1:place><span>US</span></st1:place></st1:country-region><span> by blocking the rest of the world out.<span>  </span>Or if you do, then you can manage it by including those companies you do business with by adding subnets.<span>  </span>Third, have a daily updated virus detection system that detects Trojans, viruses, and scripts that are harmful and disables them at the network level.<span>  </span>Next, if you use email (and who don?t), the email servers should have anti-virus scanning software that kills the virus and don?t email that it did it to the user.<span>  </span>Why a user needs to know that a virus was killed is silly.<span>  </span>Why waste the bandwidth with useless information that is going to be deleted by the end user?</span></font></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">There is a wealth of things that can be done in a corporation.<span>   </span>Letting users know the system is being watched, that they can be brought up for disciplinary actions for illegal activity and installing unapproved software, PLUS if the system is not to have software installed or other un-needed access, then the global security and local profile should also disable those functions (See global profile for installing software.)</font></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o><font size="3"> </font></o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><font size="3">Some of the common sense stuff is right in front of many peoples face, all they have to do is flip a switch or make a policy that uses the security features of the operating systems.<span>  </span>As I have said, I do not believe that the lack of common sense is the problem.<span>  </span>Over thinking solutions and not hitting the mark is the problem.</font></span></p>

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Companies seeking return on Investment with Sarbanes Oxley missing point.

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

<p class="MsoNormal"><span>Companies seeking return on Investment with Sarbanes Oxley missing the point.<?xml:namespace prefix =" o" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"" /></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>In the last few weeks there has been news story on top of news story about companies that are seeking a way to gain a return on investment with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.<span>  </span>In fact, some say they are seeking ways in order to get money back in order to be compliant under those rules.<span>  </span>Unfortunately, the point is being missed in respect to Sarbanes-Oxley, in that SarbOx is a method of accounting, not a process.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>The process of change in the organization to get the companies financial methods of accounting is going to be the main cost of the business, which is taken off at the end of the year as an operational expense.<span>  </span>The fact of the matter is that ignoring what Sarbanes-Oxley is will cost them longer in the short term than taking the law at face value.<span>  </span>The sole purpose of the law is to ensure that the people in the company who are shifty eyed are being tempered back.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>Just remember, companies have put controls in to temper back their employees, such as RFID tags, security monitoring, and even looking for the serial numbers of stolen machines on eBay.<span>  </span>But while the employees were apologizing for taking a paperclip and a pencil, the executive management was taking millions.<span>  </span>Sarbanes-Oxley ensures that the executives who are dictating to HR how to put the pinch to the subordinates are also pinched.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>I have found in my travels that companies that are whining about the deadline probably did not have their controls in a way that was ethical in the first place, and/or did not consider that the system that they have been using since the dawn of computers was not up to date when it came to spitting out the newly required data, and compliance reports.<span>  </span>Now that the system requires controls that were ?self-regulated? previously to be used in a regulated frame, we hear complaints.<span>  </span>It would seem to me that anything that is labeled self-regulated is trouble.<span>  </span>The ?Fox guarding the henhouse? analogy can be placed here.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>It is the opinion of many of the people who are on the inside that once controls are placed and the process of tracking where the dollar goes and if that dollar was used ethically is placed into full force, that the Return on Investment will be equal to the initial implementation of the former accounting systems.<span>  </span>If it costs more, it means that the longer that the accounting system is in place, the better return that will be realized.<span>   </span>The total cost of ownership of this will be based on if the system has the appropriate security controls as well as disaster recovery aspects enabled.<span>  </span>The TCO should have minimal impact on the company if the system that was used previously had generally accepted DR Principals attached to it.<span>  </span>If not, the company will have a long time finding which place to cut to ensure that the appropriate qualified IT staff is engaged in maintaining the system.</span></p>

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Companies seeking return on Investment with Sarbanes Oxley missing point.

by dawgit In reply to Companies seeking return ...

<p>Did I miss something? Accountability yes, but accounting? It's not about money at all,</p>
<p>it IS about Accountability, Personal Accountability. Who said what to who about what and when.</p>
<p>One can not put a price on that. It's about good comunications, and that's priceless.   -d (dawgit@tiscali.de)</p>

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Time for a new Desktop

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

<h1><span>Time for a new Desktop - </span><span><span>Monday, August 22, 2005</span></span><span><?xml:namespace prefix =" o" ns =" "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"" /></span></h1>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>Over the past 10 years, I have seen a certain disdain for any desktop operating system other than Microsoft.<span>  </span>Windows 95 kicked it off with making the user interface more ?intuitive? than many of the other operating systems.<span>  </span>At the time, many of the other operating systems that were being developed started to look more like Windows with the GUI.<span>  </span>The problem with those OS?s has always been trying to get the hardware vendors to sit up and take notice.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>OS/2, one of IBM?s more stable Desktop OS products was initially in the running with the 32-bit architecture, being the first to market with the OS to desktops that were still running Windows 3.1.<span>  </span>Jointly built by IBM and Microsoft, it had all of the great benefits of becoming the next Windows NT, until the two companies split.<span>  </span>Once that tear happened, the Operating System war started, and the fallout from that war is still being felt.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>Now that we see that IBM is pulling out of OS/2, and Microsoft is riddled with problems before the Operating Systems are released, it is time to start thinking about the next evolution of the operating system.<span>  </span>The BE/Os was a great step forward, but unfortunately, did not take off with any measurable success in the retail sector.<span>  </span>It is time for a division between desktop and server operating systems in that what riddles the desktop OS does not riddle the server OS, as we have seen in previous times with other OS?s.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>Computer users around the world are clamoring for a set and forget OS where they can install it in less than half an hour, and when it is installed, it is resistant to viruses, spy ware, and other nasty bugs.<span>  </span>I don?t blame them.<span>  </span>From my perspective, I am sick and tired of having to keep my definitions updated and the patches streaming because of the seemingly large lack of forward thinking in products.<span>  </span>It may not even be the lack of forward thinking, but the lack of intelligent management of problems that lead to the case of a new OS.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>I suggest a prom based kernel OS where when you turn the power on, it is there, and there is no problems with the OS.<span>  </span>The OS is what drives everything.<span>  </span>If you change out the modem, then you lost the ability to use the modem because the OS on a PROM don?t recognize the card, it has to be done through software.<span>  </span>Applications can be loaded, but since it will be loaded in its own memory space rather than be integrated into the OS, if the Word Processor Crashes, it does not take down the desktop or other processes working in the background.<span>  </span>If you want to do multi-media, since most if not all of the functions is done by software already, why the need to have it integrated into the OS?</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>I am not being a purist here at all, I just believe that the more junk that we put into an operating system in order to do the stuff we want on demand, the more patches we need in order to keep it running.<span>  </span>Who ever heard of needing to patch sound drivers because of an exploit?<span>  </span>Or even a better one, a printer driver that allows a hacker to gain access to a system, or a manner of rendering the graphics from a webpage allows someone to take over your system?<span>  </span>It has gone from mildly amusing to lunacy.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>I suggest this, because companies are spending too much time and effort on items that should be the vendor?s responsibility.<span>  </span>Microsoft should be drawn and quartered if their system (which by the way was patched previously ? remember unPnP?) is still vulnerable.<span>  </span>Then an aggregate release of windows with all of the patches goes from Windows 2000 to Windows XP?<span>  </span>Please, how about canning the speeches on innovation and start talking about the value that your operating system brings me if it is unbreakable.</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>For years, the Commodore 64 and Commodore 128 was something I used because of how easy it was to get rid of corruption in the Kernel.<span>  </span>Power On/Power Off was the solution.<span>  </span>Within 10 seconds, I was sitting there ready for the next program to be loaded and ran.<span>  </span>Slow, sure, but those easily learned lessons about computing has become lost in a sea of bureaucracy, and now all users from Mom & Dad to large corporations are feeling the pinch.<span>  </span>Just how long are we going to go before we start telling companies like the Operating System makers for every vulnerability in the OS that is found we demand a refund of a proportionate amount of money?</span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span><o> </o></span></p>
<p class="MsoNormal"><span>What the heck, if the Anti-Tobacco Lobby can blame companies for people?s bad habits, then why can?t we blame manufacturers of OS?s and applications for bad or vulnerable code?</span></p>

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Poor Customer Service is the new black

by The Admiral In reply to The Admiral's Breifing Ro ...

<p class="MsoNormal">Poor Customer Service is the new black.</p>


<p class="MsoNormal">In the world of fast communications & information
technology, customer service is out the window. 
Whether you are an internal employee or a customer who is asking for
service on a product line, you have probably hit the brick wall of customer
service hard.   One of any company?s
largest costs is customer services activities, which now is the definition of a
company.  Many of the cable companies now
have a hard time with customer service because of lost work orders, contractors,
and other professionals that point the finger at the other person rather than
getting the task done.</p>


<p class="MsoNormal">In fact, some companies have learned a term that in
customer?s eyes is a poor excuse for customer service.  That term is ?Out of Scope.?  A developer who has a system as their primary
system and a secondary system for development, for example, finds out that he
can call in his primary desktop for service, but the secondary desktop, even if
it has the same operating system is considered out of scope.  And the customer service representatives make
it abundantly and abruptly clear that they are out of scope.</p>


<p class="MsoNormal">At the Cable and Telephone company level, it is generally a
matter of years of miscommunication that continues to this day.  Systems that are supposed to be in use to
schedule service as well as ensure customer satisfaction has become part of the
cost cutting measures, with that, many of the customers internal and/or
external are alienated.  A disconnect
that measures the size of the continental rift has occurred where a customer
calls in and the overpaid script readers are giving general non-descriptive and
non-helpful assistance.</p>


<p class="MsoNormal">SunCom, one of the nations more aggressively marketed
cellular phone companies has a saying for no-nonsense.  ?Why is it that a $39.95 plan for wireless
companies cost you $46?? Harry Connick Jr. asks of the audience.  However, with their plans, they have been
sued over and over again about hidden charges. 
So now you see the disconnect. 
What the companies market the item for in its capabilities, and what
actually is done.  </p>


<p class="MsoNormal">Customer complaints have grown over the last several years,
so much that it has become apparent that the focus on companies is to gather
new customers rather than to ensure the satisfaction of the old.  The fact of the matter is that angry
customers can be a death sentence to new products and services.  When a customer is rubbed the wrong way, the
tend to tell their friends and family and nearly everyone around them about how
bad the service actually was.  In fact,
since most if not all companies tie their customer satisfaction rates to their
financial bottom line, it continually has been cut.  </p>


<p class="MsoNormal">According to the Washington Post article by Yuki Noguchi,
Claes Fornell, a University of Michigan Professor states: ?They just don?t have
much sense of how to keep customers satisfied? 
When consumers have no choice, (and) when they can?t penalize companies
for bad service, there?s no incentive for the supplier to improve service.?</p>


<p class="MsoNormal">Has the Information Technology sector fallen victim to stupidity
such as ignoring customers because we lock them into contracts?  If so, we wonder why there is so much change in
the industry when a multi-million dollar contract is lost.</p>

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Poor Customer Service is the new black

by CG IT In reply to Poor Customer Service is ...

<p>Sales and Marketing only care about Sales and Marketing. Customer service is just a Dog and Pony show to get the sale. HP, Dell, Gateway, Compaq [when they were around] sent their customer service centers off shore simply due to cost. It cost them a heck of a lot less to subcontract it than to hire employees. Telemarketing companies virtually shifted their companies to customer service centers overnight when the national do not call list went into effect. </p>
<p>Customer service isn't a profit center for most companies. Its a money pit.  We see this in the home computer user. They have no where to go for affordable computer service. Apple got it right when they opened up a tech center in their stores. Staffed it with people who knew what they were doing. People come in, talk to the tech get their problem solved. Buy a ton of merchandise while there. go home happy. </p>
<p>This is something that doesn't exist in the PC world but should. It's what we here are trying to figure out how to find capital investment $$. A computer store that has a help desk staffed with friendly people who know what they are doing and can actually help the customer rather than a $8.00 telemarketer that could care less. </p>
<p>If Apple can do it, the PC industry should do it. </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>

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Poor Customer Service is the new black

by donaldhodges In reply to Poor Customer Service is ...

<p>I believe that if a group of individuals and/or companies organize themselve as an independant ISP union, and over time get a large number of ISP service provider customers to join the union, then such union could have an effective bargining chip with any ISP.</p>
<p>Such a union could publish the customer service reputation of certain ISP's.  Such a union could also significantly effect a particular ISP's customer service performance, if that ISP wanted to stay in business. </p>
<p>In the 1950's and 1960's, AFL-CIO had a profound effect in getting decent wages and salaries for employers, especially in the automobile industry.  There is no reason why such a union could not have a similiar effect in the ISP customer service industry.</p>
<p>Of course, one problem is when the union gets as large or larger than most ISP's and began to, itself, ignore its clients.  This would be a significant problem when the union clients have no legal connection to the union.</p>
<p>Donald Hodges</p>
<p>Systems Administrator/programming analyst</p>

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