Friday, September 24, 2004

Average Speed of Stupid

As the end of the month approaches at the Help Desk, it turns out that our ASA (Average Speed of Answer) statistics are down. We are contractually obligated to answer all calls in an average time of 35 seconds. Typically, one can answer within a few seconds but if things get busy, those waiting in the queue can wait for several minutes. It has to average out to under 35 seconds.

However, our numbers this month are over 40 seconds. So, for the past week we have been getting regular messages from The Powers That Be that we need to keep out talk times down and stay available.

Coworker A** was off sick yesterday and was still sick today when he came in so already he wasn't doing well. As noontime approached I noticed that he was gone and another coworker told me that he was sent home in a huff for taking 3 minutes too long on a scheduled break.

I can't be sure until Monday but I figure what happened is that D****, a team lead and the kind of person how counts every bean, made a stink. Art responded in an insubbordinate manner because he was not only physically sick but also tired of D****'s behavior. And D**** sent him home. Art didn't care because he didn't want to be there in the first place.

So, with it being vitally important that calls be answered quickly, D**** has sent home one of the more efficient and productive workers at the Help Desk. How does that help our end-of-month metrics?

I saw the Project Manager talking to D**** and might guess that he was going over the same problem with D****'s math. It's happened before. D**** and I have come to words on numerous occasions.

Half an hour later I was to leave early to go pick up my daughter at college. That would bring the Help Desk down another highly productive worker. I wonder if D**** was reminded of that as well.

Friday, September 10, 2004


I received a call from a User that said she could not access her Office applications. That they were not found. Many times, Office applications are run from a netword drive rather than being installed locally so should the user loose their network connection or their server connection, they will loose Office.

I asked the user if she had any other problems and she said that she had problems signing on but she had gotten past that. Ahh! Theory #1: She had a problem signing on to the server and selected "Workstation Only" to signon. She had thus skipped signing onto the server and thus didn't have the connection to the network drive from which the Office application would run.

I tried to explain that he first error she had when trying to sign on would be the one that tells us what her problem was but she said she didn't have any errors signing on.


"You said you had a problem signing on, what was that problem?"

At which point she puts me on hold. I know that when user's do that, they have become confused with something and have gone to get help. What confused her? I asked "what happened?"

So, her manager comes on and I explain to him that the user's problems was probably network or server related and that I had asked what her first error was because that is the one that tells us what's going on. Everything else are just symptoms. He told me that they had logged on again and didn't have any errors. I didn't believe that so I asked him to click on the My Computer icon.

Once there I asked if any network drives were listed there.


"Ahh," I said, "Without the network drives, the user isn't going to be able to access the Office applications running from those drives."

He then proceeded to read off a list of drives, A: floppy, C: windows, D: CD rom, M. . . .

"M:? That's a network drive"

He wanted my full name and asked why I was so rude.


If I asked you the question, "Do you have a thingswoggle on your desktop," you shouldn't answer either "yes" or "no" if you have no idea what the hell a thingswoggle is. Why is it that users insist on answering these questions and then call me rude for pointing it out? If I ask what the problem is, you shouldn't have to get a manager to help. Just tell me what happened. You were there at the time, right? Users often claim "computer illiteracy" but it has nothing to do with computers. It's simple literacy and observation. What does the error message say? What is on your screen? What happened next?

Finally I asked him to have the user log off and log back. Miraculously, they were able to sign on, the network drives connected and the Office applications worked.

Friday, September 03, 2004


I am a semi-bicycle communter in that I drive part of the way in to work and ride my bike the rest of the way. It allows me to get some exercise but not spend excessive time in transit. For the most part, I've been parking in Panther Hollow at a parking lot near the soccar fields and then riding the Eliza Furnace trail into downtown. It's about 4 miles each way.

Today was much like any Friday. I left work and rode back to the car. Put my bike on the rack. Opened the passenger-side door to take off my belt pack, helmet and gloves. Went around to the other side and drove home. Only after getting home, checking my e-mail, getting a shower and going back out to the car to go out to dinner did I notice the damage.

Some pinhead with a cordless drill had drilled out the driver's side lock. I hadn't noticed because I opened the lock on the passenger side. I'd been parking there for years and, so far, my vehhicle had been unmolested.

And what would they have gotten? A crappy CD player that I'm thinking of replacing anyway. Some CDs that are too ecclectic for you average amateur criminal. An umbrella.


So, when I try to call the police to file a report I am told that I cannot make such a report over the phone. Since I was currently outside the city limits I would need to come into the city and file a report in person. To serve and protect, indeed.