Computer savyness in non-IT users

Many IT professionals bemoan the apparent lack of computer knowledge in the users they support or otherwise provide services for. Not even ten years ago, I agreed with that – users should know more about the equipment they are using.

However, this is no longer ten years ago. This is the age of the $400 laptop PC, the smartphone and tablet. And the “wearable”. Computers have transitioned into the status of an appliance, like a TV, refrigerator or car.

Auto mechanics don’t expect their customers to be able to service their cars, appliance repair service techs don’t expect customers to fix a refrigerator, why should we IT professionals expect our customers to be able to diagnose a system crash or upgrade hardware?  Just like their cars, refrigerators, and microwave ovens, people just expect them to work, and have a professional fix it when it breaks.

Operating one, however, that’s a different issue.  Anyone using one definitely should be able to correctly operate a computer.  I don’t expect my users to be able to install a printer, but they really should be able to select the printer from the list.

New gig

I start a new temp gig tomorrow. It’s a six month contract at Maine Medical Center’s IT Help Desk through ProSearch, Inc, of Portland, ME. Both the hiring manager at MMC and the recruiter at ProSearch tell me that there is a high probability, but no guarantee, that MMC will hire me when the contract is up.

It’s an hour commute, about 48 miles. I’ve done that before when I was on the IT Help Desk at Hannaford Bros in Scarborough, ME so no big deal. And I’ve got a car with much better gas milage this time.

The six month period with the possibility of permanent coincides with the lease on my apartment. If it does go permanent, I’ll wind up moving into Maine, both to cut down on the commute time but also because if I’m going to be paying Maine income tax, I may as well live in the state to get whatever benefits it provides. But, that’s six months down the road.

Last day at Liberty, again

Today was my last day at Liberty Mutual. And what a day it was. Apparently, there was a change of some kind in one of the data centers over the weekend, and it broke a lot of stuff, call volume was through the roof all morning and didn’t die down until after lunch.

One memorable call was what turned out to be my last call of the day, which I almost didn’t even get due to the timing. Lady had recently finished imaging a new laptop and the Data Capture Utility had failed to back up her old computer prior, so she was using plan B, Connected Backup. However, on her earlier attempt to restore the data, the prior agent did an account reassociation of Connected Backup and it appeared to work, except that none of her data was restored. The account was on the correct computer, but the timestamps of the store of backups were wrong. And there was a complete history of backed up data. So I checked the server and there were two backup accounts under her name, one attached to her old computer and one attached to her new. Both were listed as active.

So I did another reassociation – uninstall Connected Backup and reinstall it from the backup server entry for her prior computer. Then when I went in to restore her data… most of it was not there. The directory structure was intact for her My Documents, but there were no documents in the directories. She had a few Desktop items, and some IE Favorites so there was SOME data. And I checked back three weeks, no change.

I wound up, on her computer, doing a network share to her old computer and manually copying the data over. Turns out, there was about 7.5 GB of data in her My Documents. It was going to take over a hald hour to finish transferring that and it was already 5:15, 30 minutes after I was supposed to clock out, so I told her to let it finish and then she’d have her data back.

I wonder if I’ll get another Kudo out of it. Probably not. One of the ladies from last Friday never sent it in after saying she would.

I also got several unsolicited offers of recommendation from coworkers, including two of the ITHD-L2 guys who sit in the pod next to my cube. And a few others who came up to me to say goodbye. It’s good to know I made a positive contribution while I was there.

An interesting tea

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so here’s something new: Tea.

I like tea. Loose leaf preferably. I’ll drink tea made from a teabag if I have to, but it mostly tastes like paper once you’ve had the real thing (no, not Coca Cola).

Anyway, I prefer black teas, like Asam and Darjeeling. I like Earl Gray with milk. The other day for Christmas my nephew got me a tea blend I hadn’t heard of and never would have gotten for myself, called Genmaicha. It’s a green tea mixed with toasted brown rice, and some of the rice pops in the toasting process. It’s an interesting aromatic flavor, mostly that of brown rice with the grassy undertones of a young green tea. It’s not going to be a daily drink for me, but it’s a pleasant change from the normal.

Test post, changing domain hosts

Nothing really exciting here, I’m in the process of changing my domain / web hosting provider and testing to make sure nothing broke.

The move is complete.  I was hosting at Pair.com, but at nearly $200 per year, they are rather expensive.  There are several well-respected and better known hosting providers that charge less than half that for roughly the same level of service.  I went with HostGator.com.