Category Archives: Work

monday already

I came into work this morning and was immediately notified that our “trusty” fileserver had crashed late Friday afternoon. Through testing this morning, it appears the motherboard has bit the dust and I’ve spent about three hours so far just getting the files from it in a usable condition on another temporary server. The fun thing is I get to go through this all again in a couple of days once the new fileserver is prepped and ready. I really hate Windows file permissions…

microsoft product activation hatred

I really despise the product activation in WinXP. Isn’t it kind of pointless now that they’re offering discounts and/or free copies to people who have purchased “fake” copies of Windows? I’ve been on hold for 10 minutes now with Windows Activation Services (or whatever they’re called) to activate a fully legitimate copy of XP Professional owned by my employer. that “has been activated too many times” according to the on-screen activation wizard. One of our PC’s hard drive crashed and so began this process…

Once Windows finished installing, I went ahead and activated it when asked by the setup wizard. Well, crazy me forgot that I was going to use the XP Deployment utilties first and make an image of this drive using Ghost before sending it back out to our branch office. Well after sysprep regenerated SIDs, I of course had to re-activate. Well, now I was greeted with that oh so friendly message. ONLY the hard drive has changed since the first activation two years ago and NOTHING has changed on the hardware configuration since I activated it two days ago, yet now I’m on hold for 10 minutes wasting my time.

Get a clue MS… I wish we could switch every computer in our company to Linux… I don’t care if it’s 5 years or 10… Hopefully it will happen someday…

call for software

I need a some good ticket management software to help me keep track of the crap I deal with on a daily basis. I’ve looked at several groupware applications and was using dotProject for a bit with an add-on module for help desk related items, but it’s just not at all an elegant long-term solution. Their UI is horrendous and there are no real reporting/history capabilities so that people higher up the chain of management can monitor the kind of stuff I’m dealing with down in the trenches.

I’ve also used Alex King’s Tasks, and it worked pretty darn good, but I wanted something a little more geared towards IT people. I feel like I’m in the same boat as Owen and he has had some fantastic thoughts recently about exactly what this app should be. One thing he noted in a reply to a comment was how some of these groupware offerings are pretty good with all the different modules loaded, but the lack of unification between them was pretty pitiful.

Here are my wants/needs, so if you know of a solution, PLEASE let me know:

  • Help Desk/Ticketing system – needs to allow submissions from an external/public form. I’ve used PerlDesk through one of my hosting providers and think that it’s pretty nice, but not free, and not worth the price just for how we would be using it.
  • Contact Management – Currently using pen & paper or the Thunderbird Address Book
  • CMS – currently using lucidCMS and it’s excellent for our company intranet, but if it was unified with the rest of the systems, that would be incredible.
  • Wiki – Currently using MediaWiki which is OK, but a real pain to administer, IMHO.

Our company has multiple branches, so having a place to enter them (as a company under Contact Management would be just fine) and then issuing help desk tickets assigned to that company is crucial.

If anyone has any ideas – please do share. And no, I don’t expect it to be free, but it shouldn’t be a million dollars either.

stuck in

Yes, I’m in a bit of a blogging rut. I have been absolutely covered up with work and extra-curricular activities since we returned to The States. Have no fear my dear readers, I am alive and well and I’m sure once things settle down I’ll be back in the swing of things.

On the work front, we’re in the final implentation phase of a HUGE project that was started months before I ever began working there. It’s meant quite a bit of travelling and spending more quality time with the other half of our I.T. Department. This project alone has been consuming two and sometimes three days out of the work week, and then the remainder to deal with the standard support issues that typically occur. It’s been fun, but I’ll definitely be glad when it’s over and we can sit back and say, “wow – we built that!” It’s also been a fantastic learning experience, technically and otherwise. Heh…

Tomorrow brings the end of another short-term work project. I was somehow chosen/nominated or maybe I volunteered (I was suffering major jet lag at that meeting, so who really knows) as the one to document and prepare the presenation/notes for a training session for some of our staff tomorrow. I barely finished the 44 page document and got it to CopyMax in time for duplication before punching out at 5:00 this afternoon. I’m looking forward to the meeting though, as I’ll get the chance to meet several employees that I haven’t gotten to meet in person before.

two thumbs up

I’ve sorta made a habit of ranting about horrible customer service here. So, today I’d like to take a moment and reflect on what so far has been an excellent process. At work, I recently built a new computer and sent it to a branch office. Not even a month later, the hard drive failed. This had me quite upset, but I know these things do fail every so often, and I’ve probably used 20 – 30 of these same identical drives in the past year without trouble. Well, rather than go through the company where the drive was purchased, I decided to check directly with Western Digital. I entered the drive serial number and was immediately told it was under warranty. Enter my name, address, phone number, and there is my RMA number. Ship the drive in and they ship back a repaired or new drive. Sweet! I just sent it out yesterday, so I am curious to see how long the turnaround is.

Now it gets better though. This actually prompted me to go digging in my closet of “dead” hardware and I discovered a 40GB drive that was manufactured in February of 2002. Went online and sure enough – still under warranty. Entered my phone number and last name and was then presented with all the other personal info that I had entered the other day. This drive is going out today and I’m about to go start digging and see what else I can find to get replaced.

perk-ulator

Yes, I know that isn’t how you spell it, but I’m not talking about making coffee. I got my first “_____ Cordially Invites You…” in the mail at work this morning. This is definitely the kind of thing I love about my job! BellSouth wants myself and a guest to join them at the BellSouth Bobcats Bash prior to the Charlotte Bobcats vs. Toronto Raptors game in a couple of weeks. Man I do love the woo-ing involved in business.