Monday, December 5, 2011

Best Reddit Ever - IT doesn't think you're necessarily stupid, honest

I work in IT. It's a pretty good assumption that you or someone you know work in IT also. Unfortunately, we get denigrated as not liking people and are seen to have an arrogance about people who can't use their computers. This topic came up on Reddit last week, and here's the best response to these types of characterizations ever. (I couldn't find the original post to give credit, so if you happen to find it or know who it was, please post the source in the comments.)

Not Everyone Is An Idiot, but here's why IT thinks some people are... -- 

We don't think users are complete idiots for not knowing how to set up a server rack, or configure their WAN, or setup their raid array.
We think users are idiots when they don't understand what the start menu is, how to type in a web address, or what right-click means.
We understand not everyone is an IT person. What we don't excuse are users who RELY on their computer every day of their career, and don't understand the simplest of tasks.
I use my car every day to get to work. I am not a mechanic but I understand how to put gas in my tank, change my oil, change a tire, and how to check fluids. 
I am not a carpenter, but I no what side of a hammer to use, how to use a level, a tape measure, and how to use a saw. 
I'm not a doctor, but I know to drink more water and maybe some Tylenol for a headache, how to stop bleeding of an open wound, how a tourniquet works, and not to mix pain killers and alcohol.
We aren't asking you to be super advanced with computers. Just learn the basics to do your job. That is 99% of our complaints. We understand our job is to support the users, but turning on someone’s computer, or how to click File > Save, or what the start menu is is basic stuff.
I don't go to my mechanic and have him put gas in my car. I don't get a carpenter to hang a picture. I don't have a doctor treat a papercut.
I learn the basics so I don't waste my time nor the professionals time. I would expect users to do the same.
I see a lot of people saying we expect too much and to be happy because it keeps us employed. Well, when you have users who don't bog you down with simple shit, you get proactive IT staff that get to work on minimizing downtime and upgrading the infrastructure.
Stop pampering ignorant users and blaming tech support for expecting too much of users.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

On Whitelists and Getting my EMAIL!

I'm disappointed in how email and spam has been handled over the years by email applications. Today, if I would like to ensure that I receive one of the many email newsletters I subscribe to, the primary way to avoid having these messages marked as junk is to add the sender to my address book. I feel as if this is simply a stop-gap process that was put into place as email newsletters were getting their start in the mid-to-late 90's that has now become the norm. I subscribe to over 30 email newsletters, however, I have yet to actually email ANY of these newsletters and doubt that I would ever receive a reply from the newsletters' originating email addresses anyway (especially when so many of them have "no-reply" in their sending address).

So, bloating up my address-book with email addresses I'll never use has become the way to ensure that I receive my newsletters and can view them without having to "download images" and get them in my inbox vs. my junk email box. (And, instead of 470 contacts in my address book, I add another 30+ to ensure I get my subscribed emails. I know -- not a huge percentage, but still annoying to me.)

In my opinion, the ability to white-list email contacts to allow safe delivery from specific email addresses and domains and automatic image download (e.g. Outlook 2010 for Mac) versus adding that email as a contact would be very beneficial. I realize that the paradigm has always been to add a newsletter's originating email address as a contact to allow messages from that sender to come through properly, I just see that as a programatic FAIL, when just a simple whitelist feature would really simplify what shouldn't be a complex issue.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mac App Store

So, Apple came out with Snow Leopard update 10.6.6 today, and it's primary reason? The Mac App Store. Personally, I like the idea in principle; however there are some caveats -- and I share most of the concerns Stephen over at pointed out.

My primary addition to his comments is that I'm hoping this doesn't kill the traditional means of installing applications. While to some users installers, dmg images, etc. are confusing and can cause mis-installations (wrong locations, running off of the images, etc.) for many corporate, enterprise and educational customers, having the App Store can be a security and privacy concern. Personally, I removed the App Store from all of my images at the school.

It will be nice to tell grandma that she can just download using the App Store, though.