Obey Wheaton’s Law!

As some may recall, a few months back, I pulled the trigger on beginning my own IT cybersecurity company, and it started off rather slowly, despite my best efforts in advertising and word of mouth. In August, I was invited to join a business networking group in my area that met once a week for a breakfast meeting/conference and to pass along buisness, and which only allows one member per business field, meaning in a group comprising major lawyers/law firms, doctors, accountants, real estate agents, and several local and national banks, I was the sole IT person there. They were only too happy to have me aboard, and with very good reason from what I discovered soon enough.

Slowly, I began hearing horror stories that the previous IT company representative they had, who was the owner and head tech of the company… let’s just say he was a certified, Grade-A jackass. He overcharged the other members every chance he got, told them to get equipment that was either unnecessary, a horribly bad and overpriced mismatch for their business and then either refused to set it up or would set it up so badly, they’d be forced to call him back at extra $350 hourly expense, gave vague and contradictory advice, his schpeals every meeting were little more than “Look at me, rah rah rah” sessions with very vague info on what he actually did, and in one case, flat out told one of the other members in the chapter who’s the owner of a prominent accounting firm in the State, with customers covering a good chunk of the Western Hemisphere, and whose soda budget is bigger than half the member’s salaries combined, that he wouldn’t provde tech support for her company any more because her company was now too small for him. Needless to say, when the annual membership committee met, they gave this guy Das Boot, letting the other chapters in the state know not to bring this guy in.

In just the month I’ve been with them so far, they’ve referred some good business my way, and that’s just the beginning. I already have three more major referrals from them, two with the possibility of being $6k-7k each for cybersecurity pen tests, a third from the vice president of the state chapter to do his company’s annual PC cleanup, and yesterday, the lady who’s the head of $accountingFirm was so impresed that I got rid of all the bloatware the previous IT guy had put on her computer, making her computer usable again, she wants me to be her go-to IT guy from here on out and even asked me to do some reasearch for her on a new SAN/NAS system with a virtual AD server so she can store the 45+ years of digitized client files such that her employees are able to better access them, since the previous IT guy refused to take the job. And she told me yesterday as I was finishing up, that she would do everything in her power to steer more IT business my way, especially from some of her prominent clients that have businesses of their own, or who are in need of cybersecurity as well as some good old-fashioned tech support.

Just goes to show that obeying Wheaton’s Law has it’s perks.

It’s all my fault…

I am such a terrible person…

I truly believed that the techs on-site would be as well educated and knowledgeable as myself when it came to matters of tech support… especially since they get double (or more) kudos than I do on payday.

From today I shall treat them like PFY’s that have never seen a computer before today.

May the $dieties have mercy on anyone who complains about me being condescending…

People really do think we’re magicians…

It’s early. I’m the only one here. Hardly any offices are open, but we have to have an early guy both in case someone does call and also to work on imaging computers, and this week that’s me.

I’m in the middle of imaging three different machines when I notice there’s a ticket in the queue, and it’s not one of those automatically generated warnings that I can essentially ignore. It’s a VIP asking me to remote to a user’s computer and figure out why she keeps losing connection.

Okay, a few things…

First, I cannot remotely connect to a user’s computer without their permission. Even if I wanted to. Our program prevents this. And needless to say, this VIP did not have the login credentials I would need to get into her computer.

Second, even if I could, an issue like random disconnects is something that should really be looked at in person. Sure, I can check settings, change any that look wrong and do a network analysis, etc., but chances are good that it’s something environmental causing this issue (and the fact that she’s the only one having it doubles the chances that it’s something physical and near her).

Third, if she really is losing connection like this, and I’m connected to her remotely, I’ll lose connection as well, and that means getting her to log me back in, etc. once her connection is restored. Even doing something like an IP release/renew would cut me off from her computer.

I called the VIP, who seemed surprised to hear from me. She literally thought I could remote into that computer, work my magic and fix it. In fact, she specifically wanted it done now because the user is in meetings all morning and she thought it would give me all the time I needed to root around looking for a solution! Yeah, sorry, but the user not being there makes things harder, not easier. Even for issues that aren’t about connectivity, there might be restarts necessary, and I might need to login as the user, meaning the user has to be there in case I can’t get reconnected or we need their login.

But apparently I’m a magician and I should be able to figure out a way around these things…

Phone-Induced Amnesia

CaffeineHead here, old soldier from back in the days of the site, back then a wide-eyed young pup, now a cynical old fart. In the ensuing years since the site, I’ve lost one wife, gained another, went from having two cute little kids to being Dad to two young adults and one sweet little toddler through whom I cling to the notion that there is still some good in the world.

I also don’t deal with the general public anymore, but work an internal IT position where I speak solely to company employees, which makes the following situation even more head-shake worthy.

Presumably, these people use their computers every day. They log into their accounts, launch their apps, check their email, yada yada yada. They know instinctively how to do everything they need to do on their systems to the point where they could do it in their sleep.

Until, that is, something breaks, and they have to call IT. Then, suddenly, they forget how to do anything without explicit instructions. I mean, even on stuff they do every day.

Me: Okay, I’ve killed your citrix session and it looks like the new one launched successfully. Here, I’ll open your [Citrix App] for you. Can you put your password in please?

Starfish: What’s my password?

Me: Whatever one you use to login to [Citrix App].

Starfish: I…I don’t think I know what it is…

Me: What do you put in there when you first launch the app every day?

Starfish: …I…um…can’t you put it in?

Me: We don’t store your passwords as doing so would be a breach of security.

Starfish: Well, I really can’t remember. Can you login for me?

And the song and dance starts again with any other thing I have them check. And $deity forbid I need them to reboot, especially if I plan on getting reconnected to their screen.

Outside my scope of support

A few days ago, I picked up a call ane began with my standard schpeal. The lady on the line was a nurse located at a site somewhere in the Pacific Nrthwest. I only say that to emphasize the distance between her and myself, as I’m located somewhere in Sunny South Florida.

She called in because she insisted that it was “critical to patient care” that she receive a 2nd monitor, and so she can do her job. I informed her that her local IT folks would be responsible for it, and she replied that she was given our number by the local IT shop. Confused as to why they would do that, I explained to her that my group in The Matrix handles issues far more sizeable than a request for a monitor, and none of my group works even remotely close to her facility. Getting agitated, she insisted on knowing why I couldn’t just give her a monitor.

That’s when I began breaking it down for her. I told her first that we didn’t even have any monitors to give her, as we are not her local IT shop. Secondly, we were not in the habit of doing work simply because an IT team decided to be lazy.  Third, the travel costs from Sunny South Florida to the her office in the Pacific Northwest would be sky-high, and the travel and budget folks would have my head on a silver platter, and that’s even if I somehow got it approved, and found a monitor to give to her. And lastly, a 2nd monitor hardly qualified as being “critical to patient care”, and if I had to hazard a guess, one of her coworkers in the ward got a 2nd monitor, she saw how shiny said 2nd monitor was, and wanted one as well. I told her to call the local IT folks back and request a 2nd monitor, and if they had any trouble, to call me.

I never got a call or an email back.