Time to make another luser miserable!

A co-worker and I are pranking one of our more annoying users, let’s call him Mr. Annoying.

We’re doing this with full blessing of Mr. Annoying’s chain of command.

His Division is in the middle of their laptop refresh cycle, so the users have been receiving their new laptops & turning in the old ones as they become ready. Mr. Annoying is one of those who believes that all computer productivity and usage issues magically disappear when the device is produced by Apple, and has no hesitation in being vocal about his displeasure for all else. This is an ongoing issue for more than the decade I’ve been there, because it was one of the first things I heard drop out of his face way back then.

There was a message sent to Mr. Annoying, his supervisor, and his Division Director (also in the prank loop) stating, in part: “After hearing constant annoying protestations regarding comparisons between Apple and all else, it has been decided that in this round of the Laptop Refresh Cycle, you will be provided with an Apple device. Your Apple device will be available by the time you receive this message.” There are of course other things presented before and after that section.

He has, of course, expressed elation at this. As he’s not in the office again until Friday, it will work /even better/, as one of the other highly annoyed IT folks will be back in the office to observe.

So, Mr. Annoying will arrive in the IT Room to collect his “new precious”, only to be handed the same Dell unit that everyone else receives. His will be different in /one/ way…it will have an Apple logo sticker carefully placed over the Dell logo on the lid.

I can’t wait….

Remember, folks…”device” can mean “a label or designator of brand or status.”

Coined a new acronym today…”KSTU”

This week, the Boss and a couple of the IT folks are out on leave, so I’ve needed to cover Remedy tickets that I’d normally not need to worry about.

As a result, Our Intrepid Cave Dweller took a ticket for “Keyboard not working.” I successfully called the user (a known “Frequent Flyer” regarding computer issues) to ensure desk presence, so I asked her if everything was plugged in, receiving an affirmative response. Since I know that this didn’t mean anything truly useful, I sauntered on up to that floor of the building and graced her with my presence.

On arrival, I asked the user to “Please demonstrate the issue” upon which she took her hands off the laptop keyboard and put keystrokes on the USB keyboard sitting on the keyboard tray under the desk edge, resulting in no characters.

Of course, it took only a couple seconds for me to inspect the situation and find the end of the keyboard’s USB cable sitting loose behind the docking station. My statements “Here’s your problem, the keyboard isn’t plugged in. That’s why I asked you if everything was plugged in, so I could prevent coming up here to do something inside the user scope. This service ticket was entirely unnecessary except for me explaining this to you.” was met with the response “But it’s /supposed/ to work! Look, there’s the wireless keyboard adapter and I plugged it in because the cord’s too short to reach where I want it to go.” This was accompanied by pointing at a miniature USB dongle sticking out the far side of the computer, plugged-in near another similar one that’s running her wireless mouse.

At this point, I merely shook my head, called the guy over who had provided her with the USB dongle that I’d freshly removed from the computer, and told him “Next time ask /why/ she wants something unusual, would you?” as I handed him the useless part.

Then I plugged the USB keyboard back in, tested that it worked, and told her “Just because you plug in a wireless keyboard adapter doesn’t mean it sprinkles Magic Technology Dust over your wired keyboard to make it work without plugging it in.”

On the way back to my desk, the back of my mind provided the new acronym “KSTU” which I expanded as I typed it into the ticket resolution notes:

“Keyboard Smarter Than User”


Bureaucracy. It’s one of the longer 4-letter words.

Two examples of this, from today and last week:

“What is the purpose of this new terminal server?” It’s a replacement for a non-compliant W2k8 32-bit server, using like-for-like hardware loaded with W2k12 64-bit server and the same current software loadout.

“What’s the primary use?” Right now, as we have no field activity in our Region, it’s primarily used as a compatibility tool. We have mandatory OCFO financial spreadsheets which have embedded macros, and the current approved user system image has 64-bit Office, which won’t run the 32-bit macros in these old but required spreadsheets.

“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?! OMBWTFBBQ! MACROS ARE OF DE DEBBIL HIMSELF! MACROS ARE NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE! AUTHORIZATION DENIED! UNAUTHORIZED PURPOSE!” These spreadsheets and the macros therein are /required/ as /mandatory/ by $agency OCFO. These are not optional in any way. There is no workaround for these spreadsheets. Without these spreadsheets, we cannot complete the required Quarterly Spend Plan for the new fiscal year. We also cannot spend money against any Field Operations that may arise.

“DO NOT CARE! UNAUTHORIZED PURPOSE! AUTHORIZATION DENIED!” Okay, I’ll have my Admin Services Branch CHief get the contact information for the OCFO personnel in charge of this aspect, so you can get on the same page with them. FYI, they are using these same spreadsheets /RIGHT NOW/, the only reason you haven’t heard about any problems is that they haven’t transitioned to the 64-bit image yet.

“DO NOT CARE! WILL NOT CHANGE MIND! DENIED! DENIED! DENIED!” Roger that, I will inform OCFO that OCSO states all financial operations using macro-embedded spreadsheets must cease immediately, and attach your name personally as author of the order.

“I WILL TALK TO THEM ABOUT THIS. AUTHORIZATION DENIED BUT ON HOLD. DO NOT PROCEED FURTHER WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION.” Okay, but make it quick…there are Congressionally-mandated reports, using these spreadsheets on a mandatory basis, that are due by the end of next week.



Received e-mail from On High: “You have a mandatory EOL Software Report, due COB Thursday. Use $tool (only approved data source) for data acquisition.” Roger that, I’m on it.

*login* *click click click* “Invalid Policy” *click click click* “Invalid Policy” *logout*

Lync with Security Ops tech: Hey, $tool keeps giving me “Invalid Policy” when I try to set up a scan. “Really? Lemme delete and repost that policy to your profile. *delay* Okay, give it a try.”

*login* *click click click* “Invalid Policy” *click click click* “Invalid Policy” *logout*

Nope, same thing. “Okay, lemme delete your profile and recreate it in $tool.” Cool, I’ll go to lunch. “Okay, lemme know when you’re back.”


*login* *click click click* “Invalid Policy” *click click click* “Invalid Policy” *logout*

On Lync again: Same thing, dude. “Yeah, after I deleted your profile and rebuilt it, I found out from $boss that it’s a known bug in $tool and we’re waiting for a patch from $creator.”

Okay, but I’ve got this mandatory report due day after tomorrow – here’s a copy of the message *forwards e-mail* “Sorry, here’s all I’ve got for workarounds”

*two hours of back & forth trying to get the required data and failing*

“Sorry, we’ll keep working on it. Send the requestor a message citing that we can’t make $tool give you the data, and we have to run $tool for you and send you the reports. That’s gonna be tomorrow at the earliest due to tonight’s maintenance window. Sorry!” Roger that, I’m the speed bump and you’re the bus.

*sends e-mail to On High*

On High reply: “I’ll make sure to get you the raw data tomorrow.”