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.

Chicken Little

Chicken Little was one of my most despised types of co-worker: the type that figures they can take a job that depends on constant computer use, claim they’re “not good at that stuff” and get paid to sip coffee all day.  Because why should you learn anything new just to cash a paycheck, am I right?

Anyway, she got her name because everything was a crisis.  She didn’t recognize her new homepage?  A crisis.  Didn’t know how to use a Word template?  Total meltdown.  I cannot count the number of times she stood in my doorway, halfway between screaming and tears, saying “I just don’t know what to DO!”

Gee, maybe if you consistently don’t know what to do at work, that’s a sign you should maybe do something else?  Far away from me?

So, there were two printers in our part of the office.  The main, industrial printer, which everyone shared, and a small laser printer which was connected to Chicken Little’s PC.  This printer existed so that she could print confidential stuff without having to let it sit in a public printer, and allowed her to print onto specialty papers without fussing with the large paper trays.  It was not, however, SOLELY her printer, and a few people such as myself mapped to it as a backup.

Chicken Little, however, always had it in her head that this printer was hers and hers alone, and would print off batches of address labels, leaving the rest still in the tray.  This would mean if I printed a report, I’d walk to her desk (knowing full well she wasn’t there and therefore not using her printer) and find it had been printed on address labels.  This would not happen once or twice, but in fact became a pattern.  And when she would discover the wasted labels, she would act surprised.

It got to the point where I would hear her talking with her co-workers at the other end of the building, decide to use her printer, and as soon as she heard the paper churn through, she’d be literally RUNNING down the hall (dress and heels, no less) screaming “NO NO NO WAAAAIIITTTT!!!!”  as if she expected the printer to listen to her.  Who knows, maybe she did?  And without even getting up, I knew I needed to (again) go change the paper back because she’d left the good stuff in the paper tray.

It was maybe six months before it was decided that Chicken Little needed to find another henhouse.

Apparently They Think They’re Famous

A breed of starfish that is getting worse (in fact, it’s pretty much all of them now) are those who literally think that if they tell me “Hi, it’s Dave from Luserville”, I’ll know exactly who this is and there is no need to tell me their last name.

We might have three Dave’s in one location alone. Or, failing that, we might have three to five locations in Luserville that “Dave” might work at. And for whatever reason, it’s getting increasingly annoying to have to ask them for their last name, not because it takes so much effort to do so, but because it takes so little effort for them to just tell me their full name when they call. I also detest the assumption that I’ll know exactly who they are. There are maybe five users whose voices are instantly recognizable, or who work in a small enough location that I will instantly know which of them is calling.

But here’s an example of why they should never assume I know who they are: I have a user who calls frequently and for the longest time she was the only one with her name who called, so “Hi, it’s Brunhilda” was usually enough to go by. For the record, Brunhilda (not her real name) was the designated liaison for IT in her office, not just a trouble-magnet or -maker. However, one day I was well into a call with another Brunhilda before I realized I wasn’t talking to the one I generally hear from (even their voices sounded alike!).

So, please, starfish, tell me your first and last name, please!

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…