Five Things Your IT Guy Wants You to Know

 

shutterstock_2581956531. You aren’t an auto-mechanic, either…

… but you know how to drive your car. That’s why we call you “users”: because you use the computer and that doesn’t mean you have to be a computer expert. Some things you should know how to do: find an application that isn’t on your desktop, create a shortcut, know the difference between copying files and moving files, clear jammed paper from a printer. It isn’t our job to teach you to use Excel. If you don’t know how vlookup works, consult Google. We don’t use excel, except once a year to calculate 1.5% of $21.

2. There’s nothing you can break…

… that we can’t fix. So try new things. We promise you, if you break it, we can fix it. And if we can’t fix it, it probably wasn’t you that broke it. So click around on stuff. Figure out how it works. We like users who know what they are doing, and are willing to figure stuff out on their own. In fact, this is why we often don’t get back to you on simple stuff. Because we know you’ll get tired of waiting, and just figure it out.

3. We don’t care…

… what your brother-in-law (or insert any family member here) said about how to fix whatever problem it is that you have. We also don’t care how they did it at the last place you worked. They have their network, and we have ours. And while there may be some things similar, there are always a great many differences. So just sit back, check Facebook on your phone, and you’ll be back to checking Facebook and Ricochet on your work computer in no time.

4. Which brings me to…

Yes, we actually have the time to sit and monitor what you do on the Internet. Just kidding. We don’t. And it isn’t our web filter. It is management’s web filter. Nine times out of ten — no strike that: ten times out of ten — when your boss brings you a report saying you spend too much time on Facebook at work, it’s because your boss thinks you spend too much time on Facebook at work. And he asked us for a report. Which we hate, because it takes time away from us checking Face… um … checking for updated drivers for “the server”.

5. The problem with 5 is …

… there are actually a million other things we want you to know. Like, the fact that disk space isn’t cheap. That backups are tough. That the network isn’t slow. That, if we had all the money in the world, we’d buy you whatever computer you think you need but we don’t, and that you don’t get administrative rights to your computer because — if you did — you’d install software that infects your computer, causing more work for us …

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  1. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Based on decades of observation, these things are inherently unknowable. RTFM be with you.

    • #1
  2. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    6. Don’t use MS Windows -just say no to the greasy kid stuff

    • #2
  3. Mendel Inactive
    Mendel
    @Mendel

    I have one pet peeve as a user:

    I understand how dangerous thumb drives can be and why some IT techs go absolutely bananas if they catch you plugging one into a company computer.

    But if you’re going to go postal on me for using a thumb drive, please make sure that new computers actually get hooked up to the central file-sharing platforms in a timely manner. At my last workplace, it would often be a week or more before new computers (especially those which were not personal workstations but were used to control a piece of equipment) were connected to the central servers, and the only other file transfer option was thumb drives.

    • #3
  4. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    https://xkcd.com/627/

    Tech Support Cheat Sheet

    • #4
  5. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    How often is a complaint accompanied by, “I liked the old OS/program. I knew how to use it. Why can’t I just use that?” ?

    • #5
  6. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Everyone should be required to take a class on efficient use of search engines and forums. The truth is out there.

    • #6
  7. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    jetstream: 6. Don’t use MS Windows -just say no to the greasy kid stuff

    7.  Don’t listen to the guy online who calls it “MS Windows.”

    • #7
  8. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Mendel: But if you’re going to go postal on me for using a thumb drive, please make sure that new computers actually get hooked up to the central file-sharing platforms in a timely manner.

    8.  You can map a drive, same as anyone else…

    • #8
  9. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Mendel: I understand how dangerous thumb drives can be and why some IT techs go absolutely bananas if they catch you plugging one into a company computer.

    I work out of my home and am my own tech person (I use Google :)  ).

    But I have never seen this as a problem.

    Why shouldn’t I use thumb drives? And by “thumb drive,” you do mean the little USB port thing that I’ve been using for the past five years to back up my work?

    holy cow.

    • #9
  10. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Spin:

    Mendel: But if you’re going to go postal on me for using a thumb drive, please make sure that new computers actually get hooked up to the central file-sharing platforms in a timely manner.

    8. You can map a drive, same as anyone else…

    This is one battle the wise gracefully concede, just map the damn drive for them and give it a nice letter.

    It’s trivial and you will be saving yourself headaches. It is not asking users to map a drive, it is often asking users to change their whole mental model on how disk storage works. The explanation will take three times as long as just mapping the damn drive.

    • #10
  11. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    MarciN:

    Mendel: I understand how dangerous thumb drives can be and why some IT techs go absolutely bananas if they catch you plugging one into a company computer.

    I work out of my home and am my own tech person (I use Google :) ).

    But I have never seen this as a problem.

    Why shouldn’t I use thumb drives? And by “thumb drive,” you do mean the little USB port thing that I’ve been using for the past five years to back up my work?

    holy cow.

    It increases the attack surface substantially, flash drives are a potent vector for inserting security compromises into your IT infrastructure. The degree to which this is an issue varies from org to org. If you are not using this drive on company machines and only at home it is not so much an issue.

    For an analogy think of it as sharing needles between junkies, from your unmonitored home computer to your business workstation. It is something that can end up being a serious headache for system administrators.

    • #11
  12. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    • #12
  13. Polyphemus Inactive
    Polyphemus
    @Polyphemus

    Can’t forget the first question that must always be asked:

    Have you tried…

    • #13
  14. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Spin:

    jetstream: 6. Don’t use MS Windows -just say no to the greasy kid stuff

    7. Don’t listen to the guy online who calls it “MS Windows.”

    Because MS Windows is a GUI pretender, the original industrial strength GUI was X-Windows .. X Windows was available in the mid 1980’s .. MS was never technically competent, they excelled at one thing – anti-competitive business contracts.

    Sorry, you guys are still suffering the consequences today, condolences.

    • #14
  15. Chris B Member
    Chris B
    @ChrisB

    Spin:8. You can map a drive, same as anyone else…

    Careful what you wish for. I have a client who figured this out. Now I have a new problem. There aren’t enough letters in the alphabet.

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Roberto:

    MarciN:

    Mendel: I understand how dangerous thumb drives can be and why some IT techs go absolutely bananas if they catch you plugging one into a company computer.

    I work out of my home and am my own tech person (I use Google :) ).

    But I have never seen this as a problem.

    Why shouldn’t I use thumb drives? And by “thumb drive,” you do mean the little USB port thing that I’ve been using for the past five years to back up my work?

    holy cow.

    It increases the attack surface substantially, flash drives are a potent vector for inserting security compromises into your IT infrastructure. The degree to which this is an issue varies from org to org. If you are not using this drive on company machines and only at home it is not so much an issue.

    For an analogy think of it as sharing needles between junkies, from your unmonitored home computer to your business workstation. It is something that can end up being a serious headache for system administrators.

    So I should be okay. I use a brand-new one and I just use it on my own computer. I don’t share the needle with any other addicts. :)

    Okay. Phew. Thank you.

    • #16
  17. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    MarciN:

    Roberto:

    MarciN:

    Mendel: I understand how dangerous thumb drives can be and why some IT techs go absolutely bananas if they catch you plugging one into a company computer.

    I work out of my home and am my own tech person (I use Google :) ).

    But I have never seen this as a problem.

    Why shouldn’t I use thumb drives? And by “thumb drive,” you do mean the little USB port thing that I’ve been using for the past five years to back up my work?

    holy cow.

    It increases the attack surface substantially, flash drives are a potent vector for inserting security compromises into your IT infrastructure. The degree to which this is an issue varies from org to org. If you are not using this drive on company machines and only at home it is not so much an issue.

    For an analogy think of it as sharing needles between junkies, from your unmonitored home computer to your business workstation. It is something that can end up being a serious headache for system administrators.

    So I should be okay. I use a brand-new one and I just use it on my own computer. I don’t share the needle with any other addicts. :)

    Okay. Phew. Thank you.

    Let us just say if it causes problems, they are your problems. For someone  just doing their job 9-5, that is good enough.

    • #17
  18. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    jetstream:

    Spin:

    jetstream: 6. Don’t use MS Windows -just say no to the greasy kid stuff

    7. Don’t listen to the guy online who calls it “MS Windows.”

    Because MS Windows is a GUI pretender, the original industrial strength GUI was X-Windows .. X Windows was available in the mid 1980′s .. MS was never technically competent, they excelled at one thing – anti-competitive business contracts.

    Sorry, you guys are still suffering the consequences today, condolences.

    The beardy UNIX fellow reveals himself, if you’re still pinning your hopes on X11 mounted on some UNIX derivation you’ll be taking that one to the grave. Results matter, technically competent is no substitute for utility.

    • #18
  19. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Roberto:

    jetstream:

    Spin:

    jetstream: …Because MS Windows is a GUI pretender, the original industrial strength GUI was X-Windows .. X Windows was available in the mid 1980′s .. MS was never technically competent, they excelled at one thing – anti-competitive business contracts.

    Sorry, you guys are still suffering the consequences today, condolences.

    The beardy UNIX fellow reveals himself, if you’re still pinning your hopes on X11 mounted on some UNIX derivation you’ll be taking that one to the grave. Results matter, technically competent is no substitute for utility.

    Ah, but X Window utility is magnitudes superior to MS Windows, especially the whole Windows XX disaster and that includes NT – even Dave Cutler couldn’t overcome MS programming incompetence.

    X Window terminals would have saved the U.S. economy 100s of billion of dollars in down time, lost data, support costs, cost of hardware .. there’s no metric by which MS Windows has more technical or user utility .. MS won with anti-competitive business practices not utility.

    Edit: X Window was distributed computing in the mid 1980’s, even in the 1995 or so, Bill Gates famously said the internet was a fad. Microsoft clung to their unique view that all computing was local, until they were forced kicking and screaming into the distributed world around 2002 +or–.

    Edit 2: X Window runs on the iMac -out lived it :)

    • #19
  20. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Roberto:

    Spin:

    Mendel: But if you’re going to go postal on me for using a thumb drive, please make sure that new computers actually get hooked up to the central file-sharing platforms in a timely manner.

    8. You can map a drive, same as anyone else…

    This is one battle the wise gracefully concede, just map the damn drive for them and give it a nice letter.

    It’s trivial and you will be saving yourself headaches. It is not asking users to map a drive, it is often asking users to change their whole mental model on how disk storage works. The explanation will take three times as long as just mapping the damn drive.

    Especially if your IT department has a good network policy where certain network drives all have the same letter.

    • #20
  21. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    MarciN: So I should be okay. I use a brand-new one and I just use it on my own computer. I don’t share the needle with any other addicts. :)

    If you never plug it in to another computer, then what is the point?  Backup?  Why ain’t your stuff on the network?  (#9)

    • #21
  22. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    Nice job, Editors!

     you’ll be back to checking Facebook and Ricochet 

    • #22
  23. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    jetstream: there’s no metric by which MS Windows has more technical or user utility

    You can’t actually do anything with Windows.  Nothing.  You can’t, say, post on Ricochet.  You can’t crunch a bunch of numbers in a spreadsheet.  You can’t write up a policy governing what beardy UNIX nerds can do with their work computer.  You can’t do any of those things.

    In all seriousness:  you are correct.  There were better operating systems out there.  I wrote a paper in college (early 90s) on this subject.  I was an anti-Microsoft guy for a long time.  But at some point you realize that the products aren’t as bad as folks say they are, and in fact, they are quite good most of the time.  And you also realize that you can’t live in the past.  And that there currently is no real competitor to Microsoft in the corporate environment.  There just isn’t.

    Which brings me to #10:  The Cloud!

    • #23
  24. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    I was delighted to see this, as I started about 5 weeks ago as a remote employee for a large non-profit.  I have had nothing but IT trouble since then.  My laptop they gave me disconnects from the wireless signal at random.  No other device in my house does this.  My VPN disconnects everey 1-2 minutes, which also disrupts my wireless reception.

    Yesterday I have the delightful experience of watching my required IT security training say “for highest security protection, all work should be done connected to the VPN…”  at the same time an email popped up from the assistant head of IT that said “you don’t really need the VPN for that much stuff, so that’s not a priority for our team.”

    I closed up shop and poured a glass of an adult beverage and helped my kid with math.

    • #24
  25. SpiritO'78 Member
    SpiritO'78
    @SpiritO78

    A couple things for the IT guys:

    1. You aren’t the only person in the company that works hard, so enough with the heavy sighs and constant moaning. You are a genius who isn’t recognized for his labor, we get it.

    2. Yes the network is slow!

    as you can imagine I need help often, sorry.

    • #25
  26. 1967mustangman Inactive
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    RE #25

    1) Bill Gates once said that IT is a profession where you can never earn more than a C.  If it isn’t working you get an F.  If it works right….well it is supposed to anyway.  Realize that and cut the IT some slack….maybe show him some appreciation

    2) Then tell your co-workers to stop listening to Pandora or Spottify or “clandestinely” watching the game.

    • #26
  27. 1967mustangman Inactive
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    #9 – Please don’t tell me how much you saw hard drives listed for at Fry’s Electronics.  Or desktops, workstations, or printers.  Enterprise hardware lasts longer and we often have contracts the replace it withing 4 hours of dying.  When your HDD dies you send it to OnTrac and pay $1800 to have the data recovered.

    • #27
  28. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    1967mustangman: #9 – Please don’t tell me how much you saw hard drives listed for at Fry’s Electronics.  Or desktops, workstations, or printers.  Enterprise hardware lasts longer and we often have contracts the replace it withing 4 hours of dying.  When your HDD dies you send it to OnTrac and pay $1800 to have the data recovered.

    Ditto…a thousand times…

    • #28
  29. Spin Inactive
    Spin
    @Spin

    1. You aren’t the only person in the company that works hard, so enough with the heavy sighs and constant moaning. You are a genius who isn’t recognized for his labor, we get it.

    I don’t remember the last time I went to, let’s say, the warehouse manager, and said “You know, my brother in law, who works in a warehouse, says….”

    No matter what, it’s never good enough, and there’s always someone who thinks he knows how to run IT better than you.

    • #29
  30. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    The stubborn moron who willfully refuses to learn how to use a computer has other “skills” or “attributes” considered vital by your/my employer. You and I may think those skills/attributes aren’t worth allowing the moron to remain employed, but your/my employer disagrees. In fact, your/my employer thinks those skills/attributes are so important that the moron gets paid much more than you or I, and our job is to prop the moron up so they can keep making more than you or I.

    The moron knows this.

    Deal with it or get another job.

    • #30

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