12
Mar
08

What users don’t know won’t hurt them.

In the world of network administration/management, one frequents himself with interfacing with … Users.

Users come in all different varieties from Power users to “Where’s the Any Key?” users. From simple administrative assistants to CEOs.

Users can also be defined in other categories. These users range from the user who calls every other day, because she can’t remember her password, to the user who tries to remove a non-removable CD-ROM from his laptop and then launches it at you when he realizes that the ribbon cable should not be visible.

Then there is the user who never calls. This user will be asked to fill out some survey, that was concocted by some brilliant uber manager to measure “How we’re doing” with the user community, and states that he has NEVER been able to print and NEVER gets any help and now rates you a zero.

Let’s look at the words users use.

Never – “I have never been able to access that application” Interpretation: You haven’t been able to access this application “since” you got back from your six month maternity leave and haven’t been told by your supervisor that that application isn’t used any more. Another example would be that this user can’t print to a certain printer because they have Never tried. Hence, they have Never been able to print to this printer. It makes sense to them.

Everyone – “Everyone is getting an error when they login” Interpretation: This user hasn’t actually determined that everyone is getting the same error, they say this because they think it will get their problem addressed faster. Actually it slows the process because the unsuspecting administrator begins troubleshooting the situation on a grander scale to determine why the entire facility is “off-line”, instead of looking at the fact that he selected “Workstation Only” when she logged in.

No One – “No one can print” Interpretation: See Everyone above.

Nothing – “I turn on my PC and nothing happens” Interpretation: I turned my monitor on and not my PC, which is on the floor, and now nothing is displayed, except maybe “Monitor Going to Sleep.”

One other thing users will do and that is, users will flat out lie about something they have done and want to blame it on you.

You announce that this weekend the company will be upgraded to the next version of the spreadsheet software. That, when the users login on Monday, the new icon will visible on their desktops and they need to call the HelpDesk, if they have any problems. Big mistake. First thing Monday morning, you get a call. Some user in Paulsboro got the message about the upgrade and now all of his files on the server are missing and he is demanding to know what you did. I know. It has nothing to do with the upgrade. So you look on the server in his user directory and, yep, no files. You think, “Let’s look at Salvage to see what might have happened. Oh look”, you say, “Salvage shows all the files were deleted that morning and, the Deletor is the user who called!” Now, you know that this Bozo whacked his files and is too embarrassed to confess, so he blames your upgrade on it. It’s an easy out for him. You salvage his files and tell him a lie about what the real cause is. “You must’ve lost your connection to the server.”, you say. “Logout and log back in and see if that fixes it. I’m able to see all of your files.”, you tell him. He does as he’s told and viola! You saved him from coming clean and he no longer blames you. Whatever.

Then there is the public announcement of a server upgrade and, once again, if you have any problems, call the HelpDesk. Only, this time, the upgrade gets canceled after everyone’s gone home. The trap is set. The next morning… here they come. My mouse doesn’t work. My monitor is spitting sparks. I have a run in my pantyhose. When did they all start? After the upgrade, (that never took place.)

Users. G-d Bless them. They are the reason we have jobs. They are also the reason some of us drink, abuse controlled substances, kick our pets and probably the root cause of some incidents of road rage.

That’s why, most of the time we just don’t tell them, because… What users don’t know won’t hurt them.

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