Spiceworks contest: Return of the Network Closet – voting now open

If you’re an IT pro, you probably have a special place in your heart for those nasty (or pristine) network closets.  Head on over to Spiceworks and have a looky-look at their contest.  Voting is now open, and I promise you, there are some pretty awesome pics guaranteed to give you a headache or two.

You can vote on the following categories:

In general, if you are an IT pro…especially in the SMB space, you should join the community, even if you don’t use the software.  We are a great bunch of folks and try to answer your questions in a timely and professional manner.

If you do, tell ‘em Rob sent ya by using my referral link (don’t worry, it only gives me prestige points, nothing more).

Head on over there once you get registered: Spiceworks – Return of the Network Closet Contest

Derps and herpaderps – 4 short stories for your facepalming pleasure

First off, disclaimer: I am not in IT. Nowhere close. That said, I’ve always enjoyed working with computers, especially with hardware issues, and when my boss found out I’m able to do that, she promptly started using me as technical support…for her entire family. I should have realized this was going to be tough when they lost over a year’s worth of business records because they didn’t realize they had to actually back stuff up.

The first “derp” moment came when they wanted to buy their college freshman a new computer. I took the time to explain what they needed to look for, recommend some models that would give them great value for their money, and felt pretty confident that they could get something appropriate. They wound up with a Mac that would be great for doing some photo or video editing…for their daughter who is pretty much limited to Facebook and wasn’t going into any field requiring that – she just wanted a Mac because “everyone has one.” And then they wanted to know why their existing copies of Microsoft Office wouldn’t work on it.

The second “derp” moment came when their main computer wouldn’t connect to the Internet using Internet Explorer. Obviously, this had something to do with me trying to convince them to use Firefox instead. I nearly bit through my lip when a family friend who was “good with computers” told me it was obviously related to the recent Firefox update, and Internet Explorer was a much better browser. Turned out it was a setting that had gotten messed up (I don’t remember what it was, but I checked one box and that was it), but they still prefer to use the “better” browser.

A third “derp” moment occured when my boss was complaining about losing all the data she had stored on her iPhone. Turned out she’d been sharing an iTunes account with her husband and had finally gotten her own, with no idea how to back things up or migrate them to her own account. I’m sure I could have easily shown her where to find things like her pictures, but I was beginning to see how futile it all was…

The truly “herpaderp” moment, though, came when my boss’s mother came in to process some paperwork while my boss and her family were out of town. It was half an hour before I was due to come in, and she called my co-worker complaining that the computer wasn’t working and was giving her an error message. He told her I’d be in soon, so she waited for me to show up. When I finally walked into work, she told me that the computer wasn’t working and was giving her an error message, which she worded so vaguely I didn’t know what was going on. I sat down and noticed the tower was turned off, so I leaned over and turned it on. Instantly, she said “Oh, was it off? You know, [boss] said something about shutting it down before she left, but I didn’t know that’s what she meant!” The computer was perfectly fine – the “error message” had been the monitor’s “going into energy conservation mode” message when she had tried to turn it on.

This doesn’t even begin to cover the number of times I’ve cleaned viruses off their computers, performed system restores, etc (because they insist on using IE, of course). Some people just shouldn’t even be allowed to touch computers.

- NICE.  Welcome to our world! – Rob

So, is that with an upper-case “F” or…?

Here’s a story of my most embarrassing IT Support Incident.

In the 1980′s and 90′s I was a Novell/cc:Mail administrator and a desk monkey for Intel.  Occasionally I had to go to people’s desks and figure out why cc:Mail BETA 1.0 wasn’t working (well, it was junk that’s why).  I was the lead beta support tech for over 2,000 people in the campus.  So I often had to go to clients desktops and ask them for their password (as most of you do, in that special part of your brain which erases it just after you hear it).

We had just implemented a password change requirement for Intel and NO one liked it (ESPECIALLY admins because we were the first ones to hear the complaints from the users).

So I go to this office and the person at this office is a beautiful woman, I mean absolutely gorgeous.  Her office is the cleanest I’ve seen, the desk is very orderly and professionally arranged.  She is wearing a business dress and looks ready to take on the world…Here I am, trying to be a professional, despite the fact she looks really awesome (this is really hard for a goof like me).

As an computer professional, often when people see you they are happy because they know that someone is there to fix things and help, but this woman gave no expression and only grunted when I introduced myself.  After her expressionless response, I asked if I could sit down and work on her system.  She was really busy doing something else and gave me, with no smile on her face, the “OH, OK whatever!” and went back to work.

After some basic checking to see if I could login to my test account etc. I kindly asked her for her password.  She was still busy doing paper work and not even paying attention to what I was saying.

She said abruptly “F@#k y%u.”

Ok, I thought I heard wrong so I whispered again, so no one could hear, “Uh excuse me what was that again? and she said LOUD “F@#k y%u” – so loud, in fact, that people in the next four offices could hear her quite clearly.  Ok now, great…so I take a deep breath and say: “Uh, I’m going to need your password, so is there a time I can come back and work on this?”  Big Pause…..  She started cracking up, and then began laughing almost uncontrollably… I said “Uh – sorry Did I say something wrong?  She put her hand on my shoulder and said, ‘”that IS my password…” We both started laughing and my face turned bright red.

I said, “ok, so let me guess – it was a bad day when the password change was required?”

She replied “Yes VERY bad day.”

Every time I saw her in the halls, I’d ask “So did you change your password yet?” – she’d just laugh!

Love those inside jokes – These can make even the hardest-to-deal-with users our allies.  I would bet that the fact she was forced to change her password was the reason for the password choice…? – Rob