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.

Similar Symptoms, Exactly the Same Problem

I should probably be used to this by now, and to some degree, it’s actually understandable. Users tend to think that similar symptoms means they’re having the same problem as the last time they had a problem like this. I can understand how “can’t print” is the same to them every time, even if the last time the problem was that the printer wasn’t mapped and this time the problem is that their connection to the printer has crashed. What I can’t figure out is why they think “document failed to print” and “printer is out of toner” are the same problem.

But it’s worse than that. Users don’t know the difference between “shared drive failed to connect” and “you don’t have permission to access said drive”. I’ve had people say “I can’t access my shared drive”, only to find out that they have never had access to it, but felt they needed it (or were told they did) and expected it to magically show up and/or let them in. Oftentimes, after such permission has been granted, they’ll have an issue where the computer loses connection to those drives, and even though there’s a clear message saying “failed to connect to shared drives”, they call us up and complain that someone removed their access.

We recently had an office migrated to a new server. The people in this office are…well, they’re special people. They go beyond “don’t know much about computers” and have headed straight into “how do they function in the modern world”. Migrating them to a new server, and the calls this caused, was fresh Hell. It’s still going on. I’m on the opening early shift today, and twice already I’ve gotten calls from people who have normal “failed to connect” errors (probably caused by a refresh in the night) that both times has been solved with a simple reboot, but because they fly into panic mode whenever they “can’t get to my files!” which is how they all phrase it, they’re sure it’s that we took their access away.

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.

Addons and DLC will not help you here…

Wow… so good to see all the familiar nametags again… Used to be TrueTenacity… but times and life have changed…

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Just had a call from a user working remotely that managed to lock out the password. User needs the password reset yesterday as he’s on a deadline and needs to work.

I verify and reset the password only for him to still be unable to log in.

“Are you putting in the password I just gave you?”
“Yes, it’s not working though”
“What password are you using?”
“$password I gave him plus extra characters pulled from the ether”
“The password is $password, not what you’re putting in, try that one.”
“Wow… it worked! Thanks!”