April 05, 2005

Cure for What Ails Ya

Whilst checking on the other members of the HCBA blogroll, I came across Greg's (mis)adventures with Windows upgrade paths.

I have a one word solution that'll probably get me kicked off the blogroll as an apostate:

Macintosh.


You'll be glad you did. Aaaaand, as a matter of fact, although I just say it as coincidence (trust me! --L.), the husband and I have a G4 eMac up for sale. We're only selling it because he recently got a new G5 iMac.

It runs OS X. The Linux kernel makes it cool!

and the crickets go wild...

Well, I tried.

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posted by Linda at 07:55 PM : Comments (17)
SILATRELL.NET links with: Civilization Calls: Cure for What Ails Ya

November 09, 2004

Job Quest

Unabashed self-promotion:

Anybody in the northern tip of the Front Range in Colorado want to hire a slightly used, but very talented, technical writer?

You'll be lucky to have me now, while I'm on my way up. I'm priced very reasonably too.

I'll only appreciate in value, so get me now, while I'm a bargain!

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posted by Linda at 04:50 PM : Comments (0)

October 25, 2004

Toxicity

"If Allen were to do something like that on a case you'd handled, you'd probably go over and kick his butt."

That statement just shows how little my managers know me. So, I shook my head, "No," I said; "I never get upset with anyone who errs on the side of customer satisfaction. I only get angry with people who abuse the customers, or who obstruct issue resolution."

The context is this: a customer was in a situation in which he had come to believe that our hardware is the source of the issue. He was two and a half hours away from that hardware, and so, cannot easily troubleshoot. Sure, he'd been onsite for the initial troubleshooting phase, and felt confident that he had tracked the issue source to my product. He couldn't say exactly what the problem was, but he was sure he had it nailed down, and it was hard for him to get to the site. The network is in production, and his own end-user has some pretty clear service expectations.

The first agent who took the case was justified in saying, "It may not be hardware. I believe you, but what if we can resolve this with a simple firmware upgrade? I'd really like to troubleshoot further before we replace hardware."

Unfortunately, the customer doesn't have remote access to the equipment. When he pressed, stressing his unique restrictions, I believe that the first agent should have relented. The agent did not, so the customer ended the call, and got in touch with his sales representative. This person conferenced him in with us, and the second agent was somewhat less helpful; absolutely refusing to replace hardware without troubleshooting.

Yes, I can see where my colleague was coming from. Sometimes, issues that present as hardware failure are easily resolved with a simple firmware upgrade, or by fine-tuning a feature.

So, when the customer called back a third time, and got to me, I could hear the desperation leaking into his voice. He was 2.5 hours from the equipment, he had no spare stock on hand for testing, and he did not want to show up onsite without hardware, just in case that was the problem -- doing so would have resulted in more lost productivity for the end-user; not to mention unbelievable driving time for this person, who is located in one of the worst areas of the East Coast for long drives.

I could absolutely see where he was coming from. He needed someone to be flexible under the circumstances. So, after stressing to him that the warranty statement does indeed have a troubleshooting caveat, and that he will be expected to work with us in the future, I agreed to ship him some replacement hardware. He agreed to ship the switch back to us if it turns out that the source of the issue rests elsewhere.

There's more to this story -- at the time I took the call, the second agent had not updated the case notes. So, I had nothing to go on. I had no idea that he had spoken to supervisors and service parts resources regarding this case. What's more, none of these people were at their desks when I went by in an effort to talk to someone about it. So, I did what an adult is supposed to do: I made a decision.

I let everyone involved know what I had done. The other particulars in my office are upset with me. According to some, I undermined the agents who handled the case before me, and I taught the customer that he can call in and "cherry pick" agents to get service. That's when one of my supervisors made the statement that started this post, and that's when I stood up for myself.

I thought that I was hired to do customer service, you see. I thought that part of this job entailed employing something called discernment.

I guess I was wrong.

Whenever your immediate supervisors express distrust in your ability to make a decision, it's time to get out.

I'm working on that. My resume is on monster.com. I have a friend whose wife would like to personally deliver my resume to her HR department. There are options, and I have my hook baited. I'm just waiting on a bite.

In the meantime, how about a little discussion? Y'all put yourselves in the customer's shoes, and tell me what should have happened. Then pretend that you were me, and tell me what you would have decided to do. Sure, it's a bald appeal for validation, but I still think I made the right decision. What do you think?

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posted by Linda at 11:42 PM : Comments (8)

August 31, 2004

Elegant Innovation

HP may want to be associated with the word, "Invent", but I salute a manufacturer innovative enough to marry technology to aesthetics:

Apple's new G5 iMac.

Beautiful.
May it be wildly successful.

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posted by Linda at 05:29 PM : Comments (2)

June 22, 2004

*SMACK*

I deserve whatever ribbing I get from this confession. In fact, I think dear Pixy might get the biggest laugh out of this.

Stand back children, and remember that I'm a professional:

You can't route on-subnet. You just can't.
I just spent an hour trying.

It was beautifully subnetted. Three VLANs! Static routes! A drawn topology, doncha know!

My private networks were going through the firewall, getting NAT'ed, and going out to the gateway. I was hitting the internet. It was beautiful.

But the VLAN with the public address, which had a corresponding interface on the firewall, and then another on the gateway router wasn't going anywhere.

I actually spent time troubleshooting this.

Then another engineer walked up, "Emperor, meet nudie beach."

I'm hiding in my pod, now.

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posted by Linda at 10:03 PM : Comments (0)

April 20, 2004

Neat: CPOD

Even in the face of politics, international intrigue, and philosophical debate, I just think that this is neat.

Innovation. Invention. Devices that serve mankind. The best of the human spirit is still alive and well at NASA.

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posted by Linda at 06:23 PM : Comments (0)

March 26, 2004

They're so cute when they talk tech

Seems that the UN wants a piece of the Internet pie.

Check out Kofi Annan's utterly newbie statement: "[Internet standards] must be made accessible and responsive to the needs of all the world's people."

Um, Kofi? They are. The standards, as you put them, are not geography-specific. Operating systems are written in dozens of different languages. All you have to do is put a hardware infrastructure in place, study LAN/WAN networking with classes and textbooks written in your language, deploy your clients/servers/routers/firewalls ad nauseum, and golly-gee-whiz(!) you have an internet. (Don't quibble, dear readers -- oversimplification, I know.)

For me, it just further underscores how little the UN knows about anything.

Why are we still allotting them space on our soil?

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posted by Linda at 05:06 PM : Comments (8)
Feste...a foolsblog links with: Dot Disaster
Who Tends the Fires links with: "NEWS!" Don't try this at home, these people are professionals?

March 17, 2004

SCO Ordered to Produce Examples of Code (Again)

Repeating the order she issued in December, Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells has directed SCO to provide specific examples of the allegedly heisted code.

She is requiring IBM to provide certain pieces of documentation, as well. (See the linked article for all the details.)

In light of the legal brouhaha, it was only a matter of time before some enterprising soul launched a start-up to shield LINUX users who prefer to monkey with streamline the software to fit their particular deployment.

HP was the first to offer LINUX users protection, with companies like Novell and Red Hat quickly following suit, but many people in the LINUX community felt that the indemnification wasn't enough, because those companies require that users make no edits to the software. Open Source Risk Management seems to be doing it properly by providing consultation and insurance to the core LINUX demographic.

Their mission statement is certainly idealistic enough:

OSRM's vision is of a world "made safe for Open Source" - a world in which the unique freedoms and efficiencies of the Open Source Software Development Model are fully protected through comprehensive, low-cost vendor-neutral Open Source Insurance available to end-users, developers, and vendors.

I hope OSRM knows success beyond their wildest dreams. I really do.

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posted by Linda at 06:14 PM : Comments (1)

March 02, 2004

The Folly: SCO to File LINUX Lawsuit Today

ZDNet has the latest.

Despite an ongoing battle of documentation between Novell and SCO, McBride and his organization have yet to provide examples of the allegedly stolen code.

Now SCO has expanded their lawsuit to include another company. McBride declines to name who it is, but he hints that the company has had licensing agreements with SCO in the past.

That could be any number of different people. There are several manufacturers out there who have given their customers the option of a SCO bundle for their servers. Lots of those companies have also offered LINUX, as well as Novell and Windows. (I have a guess as to who SCO may be targeting, but I'll hold my peace until further events unfold.)

As someone actively working in the industry, I say that this case still smacks more of sour grapes than anything else. SCO sees its end looming with the growth of stable, user-friendly open source platforms. These lawsuits are the desperate thrashings of a company drowning in its own inefficiency.

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posted by Linda at 06:01 PM : Comments (1)

February 12, 2004

Quickly/Pointlessly

It just occurred to me that to the uninitiated, network support could sound a little dirty:

"First you want to sniff the packets. Then you can bind the port."

That is all.

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posted by Linda at 10:17 PM : Comments (2)
Ambient Irony links with: Valentine's Day Special