General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2298220

    The lighter side of IT


    by zulj ·

    Ever had one of those problems where you have absolutely no idea how you solved it? Seems to happen to me too many times to be coincedence.

    My boss was working at a client for 2 weeks solid trying to setup a server there. There was some email/fax software that was involved and even the software developers where there trying to solve the problem. One day my boss asked me to go round the client’s place and configure the system before he and the developers could continue that day. So I went round configured the server and reinstalled the software. I wasn’t given any real info on the product or what the actual problem was, so I wasn’t completely sure of what I was configuring when I installed this fax/email software. Somehow it was also linked to an AS/400 system. (I am clueless when it comes to AS/400’s) Anyway I sent some test faxes through just to check I’d set it up alright, when suddenly the CEO came charging through demanding to know what happened. Confused, I told him I just sent some test faxes through. This is when I discovered that I had, by accident, solved the problem my boss and the developers where trying to fix for 2 weeks.

    Even though I admitted that I actually didn’t know what I did to fix it, I became the “guru” of AS/400’s and this software, both of which I knew and still know nothing about.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2743576


      by oz_media ·

      In reply to The lighter side of IT

      Sometimes it is easier to just reinstal software and it will work the second time around. It is always possible that some files may be in use or inaccessible during install, perhapse someone logs in or has access to something the software needs during install, files aren’t updated correctly and a whole host of other little bugyy problems may occur.

      I see many techs at customer sites that have been bashing their heads against a wall for weeks. By the time I get there, the files are usually patched, copied over, modified etc, and it’s very hard to diagnose the root of the problem. I often find that cleaning the system and reinstalling the new software has resolved more problems than not.

      CERTS as I’ve always said, don’t prove or do anything and i see them as misguiding and useless, I can’t understand why many companies hire based on certs and not ability. The person doing the work may not see the forest through the trees, it doesn’t matter how much experience someone has and what ‘title’ they hold.

      Good for you in ‘inadvertently’ solving the problem!

      Now go see the boss and tell him that if he wants you to fix ALL THE REST of their problems, you need more money. 😉

      • #2743395

        The sad part

        by zulj ·

        In reply to Congrats

        The sad part is that I did speak to him about getting a raise….multiple times. For 2.5 years I got excellent “performance reviews” and not a single raise. Eventually I had to resign for my own survival.

      • #2743391

        certs and braindumps

        by zulj ·

        In reply to Congrats

        I’m right there with you on the cert stuff. They don’t prove anything anymore. How badly do you think braindumps are affecting these certs. I mean I know of people who didn’t study a friggin thing but downloaded braindumps on MCSE and memorized the questions and completed the exams.

        This guy gets a job and the boss realises that he know nothing. He’s going to really distrust the qualification from then on.

        Is this hurting the industry or is it going to someday force the issue of proving oneself to a company?

        • #2742880

          Sale courses

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to certs and braindumps

          I remember a time when slaes courses dtermined how good a sales job you could get. I had VanSec 1,2 &3, Dale carnegie (all three) and others sales/management certs. they got me ahead in the industryu at THAT time, but these days, performance rules out sales certs.

          I see the same for IT. At one tmie, there were only the chosen few who could actuall administer a network. Nowdays, everyone can. I run two Novell servers at home, for testing patches, learning new tricks etc. My nephew can resolve Netware issues (at age 11)! I think by the time he is in high school, Novell, MS and CISCO certs will be common knowledge learned in schools.

          As for BrainDunce, you may be able to cheat a test but can you cheat life? I’d like to learn how, longevity is my goal.

        • #2741127

          The Value of Certification

          by montypdj ·

          In reply to certs and braindumps

          There are reasons Pro and Against certification and the main on still seems to be ‘OK your qualified but can you do the job?’

          For me, I have had 10 years in Catering and switched to IT 5 years ago. I want employers to know that I was serious about IT. I invested several thousand on acquiring knowledge and earning NT4 & 2000 qualifications which should prove that I’m not about to retrain or give it all up.

          My Win 2k MCSE says that I know about Microsoft Server Products but not that I am an AD Expert. The Microsoft Certs serve a purpose but do not prepare you to work with all the kit you are faced with in any ‘normal’ network.

          I have used my qualifications to make my CV look good for a Job. A CV gets you an interview and it is then dumped.

          Before I sit any exams, I have probably read two or three hundred exam questions as part of my revision process. It is important that you understand the format of the test and are not completely wasting you money but simply learning questions and answers isnt enough to pass the exams. The Microsoft wording is particulary sneaky and requires careful reading to even begin to tackle the understanding the what the questions means, never mind the answer.

          Final word: I was recently passed over on a new job because another candidate had MCSE and CCNA, my MCSE was not quite enough for that one.


        • #3364939

          Yes but have you ever noticed

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to The Value of Certification

          That no matter how much experience you have you still fall into the good old trap of tuinnel vission?

          I can remember countless times when I’ve spent hours/days on a problem only to have someone else come along and fix the problem in 30 seconde or so it seems. You start off with one problem and when that is fixed and stillthings don’t go right you get a mind set that it just has to be something to do with what you have done to the unit in question. More so with servere and I’ve noticed mail servers particuarly to be a cause of this type of problem you go in and fix the original problem and then you insist that you must have altered something necessary to the continued fuction of the unit.

          It is always a very good idea to walk away from a problem and come back latter after you’ve had a break that way at least you can have half a chance in breaking the mindset that you have adopted but with mailservers there is always someone hanging over your shoulder asking when is it going to be working again?

          I understand just how important e-mail is but sometimes I think that we are becoming far too reliant on it for our own good. Mind you this is always when there is a problem and other times I just forget about it all.

        • #2744878

          Reply To: The lighter side of IT

          by dude846 ·

          In reply to certs and braindumps

          hey, I defend certifications! But i do agree – that unfortantly i have heard of people that dont study at all for the tests and make it watered down… i know CCNP and higher are-still-good.

    • #2743574


      by timwalsh ·

      In reply to The lighter side of IT

      I think I have several people in my office convinced that I have some sort of magic aura. Whenever I appear around a problem, the problem magically disappears.

      The exchange usually goes like this:
      User: “Hey, I’m trying to… (let your imagination run wild and name a process), and it’s not working right.”

      Me: “Well, have you tried… (steps right out of the manual or help file)?”

      User: “Yeah, I’ve done it that way about 5 times now and it’s just not working. I’ve really got to get this report out. Can you PLEASE help me??”

      Me: “Okay, I’ll be down in a few minutes.” (Stop and drink some MORE coffee while wishing I really had something to put in it. Then, I head down the hall.)

      Me: “Okay, let’s try it one more time. I want to see what errors are popping up, or what else is going on.”

      User: (After following the correct procedure) “Wow, how did you do that? I did the exact same thing before and it never worked. You must be magic!” (Yeah, right!)

      Me: “Just my magnetic personality!”

      Of course, I’m sure there are no other Techs out there that have EVER had the same experience.

      • #2743538

        It’s no magic,

        by voldar ·

        In reply to Magic

        it’s just happening – and basta!
        This situation is something very usual for me – my users ask me to “sit next their computers” so that they will never have computer problems :))).
        But I am only one – and they are 160 – how can I be in all places in the same time? I thought about “clonning” (hehehehehehehe), but it’s not an option – I prefer to be ONE – and besides, who needs two or more fellows like me?!?! Not even my girlfriend :)) Off the record – I would be bored soon if I’d have two or three clones of my girlfriend (I like diversity) – why then she’d not be bored too?!? Hahahahahaha!

        • #2743394

          6th sense

          by zulj ·

          In reply to It’s no magic,

          Maybe it some kinda 6th sense IT guys get. Though I’m sure that you’re either born with the ability or you’ll never have it. You also get the people who have the anti-pc aura. Somehow they sit infront of a computer for 5 minutes and things just start going wrong.

        • #2743377

          Don’t let them see you’re afraid

          by scarecrow71 ·

          In reply to 6th sense

          I have my finance director convinced that PC’s know when a techie is in front of them, and that they daren’t give us the hassle they give to lesser mortals.

          I tell him not to let the PC smell his fear!

          His son happens to be a computer consultant, and he has the magic touch too, so that really gets him going!

        • #2743347

          Sometimes that works on a specific machine

          by paul.davis ·

          In reply to 6th sense

          There was an old PDP-8 in the computer lab at Western KY University. If I sat next to it, it would die in a couple of minutes. Nobody could ever figure out why.

          Static field maybe? Anyhow, it didn’t like me in that seat.

          I had a grad student SWEAR that machine never rebooted one day, so I walked up to it and put my hand on it while we were talking about it. About two minutes into the arguement, he started cussing. ONE active user, and me, and that machine flat crashed to the ground.

          If they still had the logs from that lab, it would have an entry “Don’t let Davis sit next to the PDP-8. It doesn’t like him.”

          I also had a paper tape of a program I’d made. Put it in backwards and reversed one day, and found it would cause the machine to freeze solid. Same grad student bet me that could never happen twice. So we tried it. It did.

      • #2743322

        Computer Karma

        by jennifer.gardner ·

        In reply to Magic

        I call it computer karma. I swear, I read an article once that said some people’s natural magnetism adversely affects electronic equipment. I’ve looked for it since, but could never find it again.

    • #2742879

      Serendipity its called

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to The lighter side of IT

      But actually after today when I spent 2 hours trying to get an old P 150 to just get to read the A drive {and I finally found out it was the floppy although it worked perfectly in another computer.}

      This little job is just so some fool can replace the original Lexmark printer with a USB version of the same brand because its susposed to be faster!

      Well it just might be for them if I ever get it working as after spending 3 hours just trying to install the printer driver and giving up in disgust I decided that the only sensible course of action was a complete reload anyway it was miles too slow anyway so fixing the OS with a reload would work wonders. Which it eventually did but why this computer didn?t like that floppy is beyond me as I?ve tested it in 8 other computers and 10 different floppy drives and its worked perfectly but no way with this particular computer no matter what I even changed the floppy and lead but to no avail but what make it worse is that the same floppy in the same drive on a P 90 worked perfectly. Well I just put it down to the horrible little Gremlin who Lives inside that Computer Just Doesn?t Like Me.

      When I had the same thing happen with a CD I just loaded it from a network drive and forgot about it after all how much can one take in a day? Again the CD works perfectly on a different machine but not on this one even with a new CD it Just Doesn?t Want To Play Nice.

      Anyway a different floppy and everything worked OK but don?t ask me why it is so because I just don?t know.

      • #2742722

        Hardware hate

        by deadly ernest ·

        In reply to Serendipity its called

        Sometimes you get situations where one particular brand of hardware or a specific item is just not compatible with that PC or the BIOS on it. Had a simialr problem with a floppy and it went away when I updated the BIOS (soemthing I loath doing). It was just something not matching betwenn what the BIOS was sending as hardware instructions and what the device was expecting.

        • #2742702

          I can understand hardware conflicts

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Hardware hate

          But how do you explain a Floppy drive failing to read a floppy disk that is easily readable by any other floppy drive that I put it into?

          Some of these where very old and one was even on a 486 that was in here with Win 3X {I like to inflict pain upon myself on occasions as its good for the soul} or so I’m told but actually that particular repair came in unanounced and my Office Manager willingly took it the only problem here is that it’s so old that most of my staff have forgotten about Win 3X and I wish I could say the same, I remember enough to be dangerious nothing more so I got elected to do the job much to my office managers discust because no matter how long I spend on it she just knows that I won’t charge for all my time. She is under the impression that she owns the company and only requires me when she messes something up because as the owner I have all the responsibility.

          But the above one had me stumpted as I just can’t think of an answer for it. With a different Boot DIsk it worked perfectly but it would have nothing to do with the original boot disk. Now I’ll stick to my original conclusion that the horrible little gnome that lives inside that computer just doesn’t like me one bit and didn’t want to play nice with me. There are no other explinations.

        • #3375425

          That is an OLD and known problem

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to I can understand hardware conflicts

          Sorry for not getting back sooner, but I moved house and despite a weeks notice it took Telstra 4 weeks to get my ADSL running again.

          It is very easy to have a floppy drive that will not read discs that can be read on other machines. The cause of this is old and very, very common on 12″ and 5 1/4″ floppies, has been known to happen with 3 1/2″ floppies but much rarer with them.

          Head alignment — The heads on the floppy drive can get slightly out of alignment through use. We used to have alignment disks that you placed in the drive and then ran software that caused the drive to change its alignment start point.

          Now when you make a floppy on a drive that is slightly out of alignement the ability of other drives to read it will change depending upon the quality of their alignment and the head adjust capability. The ability of an out of alignement drive to read a floppy from another drive will also vary with that drive’s alignment adjust capability. Thus you can get mixes of floppies and drives that have varying compatability.

          Improved head alignment capability with the 3.5 floppies makes this problem so rare that you cant get alignment disk for them, but it does happen occassionally and then it is best to just replace the drive, a $15 to $20 drive is not worth the hour or so to fully diagnose and fix.

        • #3364946

          Actually I should have explained things better

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to That is an OLD and known problem

          The flkoppy in question could not be read in that particular computer no matter what different floppy drive that would read the same disk on another computer but not on the 486 I tried 3 different floppies starting with a new one and then reverting back to know good ones at the same time I pulled the drive out of that computer and tried it on another computer and it read the floppy perfectly or well enough to get to the DOS prompt as I never tried anything further. It was just a screwy computer and I’m sticking with my original idea that horrible little gremlin inside the box just didn’t want to come out and play nice that day.

          Telstra you have my sincerest condolences. Known them you’re lucky you only had to wait that long. When I first moved in here 14 years ago every time it rained the phomes woud stop working landlines anyway so we all had to use mobiles when they became available after thsi continued for 6 years they eventually found the problem a faulty bit of insulation allowing water in and shorting things out. That was only a six year wait so every time it even looked like someone was going to spit the phones would go on the blink and stay that way for all the time that it rained and then another three days until things dried out and then they would work again. In the end I think it was corrosion that alerted the linesmen to the problem as thay had stoped working all together by then.

      • #3364675

        Sometimes they like you

        by 1stladytech ·

        In reply to Serendipity its called

        There are days here at the shop that every machine that I try to check out in order to estimate the repair magically fix themselves and refuse to break again. That’s when I get banished to the office and not allowed on the bench unless the estimate has already been called and approved. Don’t ask me why, but fortunatly for me (since we make our living fixing things) this doesn’t happen everyday. But when it does, I usually make a run through all of our internal machines “just for a check out”. :->


        • #2744932

          Surely that is one of the most dangerious things to do

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Sometimes they like you

          Because every time things go right for me and I have an easy day several things happen.

          1 If I’m on a call out and fix the thing magicly they don’t want to pay the call out fee.

          2 If I’m ever silly enough to actually look at one of my onw machines they break and take days to fix and it is usually only the important ones that I’m talking about here as the demo boxes with different OS’s on them aren’t all that important. But he main server is, and that one is one that happens to dislike me for some reason. I really don’t understand it as others here can pull SCSI drives from it and do whatever but when I come to put it back together again with all its drives it just spits the dummy nad gives me grief but every thing else that I touch on days like that just work.

          3 When everything is going too well I get concerned about what is going to come in and ruin my day.

Viewing 2 reply threads