Author Topic: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)  (Read 664167 times)

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Morticia

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2955 on: October 01, 2013, 08:36:34 AM »
I had a fun conversation with an employee in another department trying to report a problem in extremely vague terms.  It was the computer jargon version of "The thingamajig isn't talking to the whatchamacallit or the whosonfirst, can you please fix it?"  After a few minutes of playing 20 questions "Is it blue?  Is it calling home?  Is it from Mars?" I finally got the specific problem details, which were extremely specific - and, more importantly, something the system administrators would actually take a look at. 

Actually, all of my callers who call in with the non-complaint: "It's not working!"

So far that has meant:

"I forgot my password again."
"Someone turned the volume down."
"The curly cord on the phone is twisted around itself."
"I never bothered to read the instructions."

Very rarely does that phrase actually mean some piece of technology is broken - it's usually the user who is malfunctioning, and unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to fix those yet!
I work in a IT department and we often get useless screenshots to go with our ultravauge problem reports. They don't tell us what web page it's on, or what user access level they logged in with or what data they entered, they just give us a cropped screen shot of the generic error message that gets thrown in hundreds of possible places in our applications.

So we can get an email that says "It's not entering data!" and a screen shot of a message box saying "That is not a valid reference. Please enter a valid reference" but no indication on what page this happened, what they were trying to do and what data they were trying to enter. <headdesk headdesk headdesk>

These sorts of emails are not good for my blood pressure.

If it makes you feel better, we used to get that from QA.
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Carotte

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2956 on: October 01, 2013, 09:50:56 AM »
The one time I had to mail the IT dep about a problem I included every relevant detail, who/what/when, what I had tried...
Then the only time I had to phone them because the motherboard had died (so no mail possible, I hate the phone) the guy must have thought I had never seen a computer in my life, he was asking about the unit-number of the computer, I gave him the screen ><, I had never noticed those numbers anyway and the tower was way under my desk, number hidden by something.
Then he ask me my employee number and couldn't find me, I got wondering if I even remembered my number correctly (of course I did, I logged everyday with it, now that I don't work there I even use part of it for passwords).
Told you, I hate phones, I get all bothered and forget how to talk or string sentences together.

cwm

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2957 on: October 01, 2013, 10:11:10 AM »
This is why whenever I have to call IT, I jot down what the problem is, when it's happening, what I'm doing, what seems to make it worse or better, what error messages I'm getting when, and every other relevant detail I can think of to get.

Of course, it doesn't do any good when the IT people port into my computer and ask me why all the printers are there. You know, the ones I don't have installed on my end. And chances are, the 30 printers installed on my unit that I can't access and IT can't delete might have something to do with the weird memory errors I keep getting.

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2958 on: October 01, 2013, 10:13:25 AM »
I had a fun conversation with an employee in another department trying to report a problem in extremely vague terms.  It was the computer jargon version of "The thingamajig isn't talking to the whatchamacallit or the whosonfirst, can you please fix it?"  After a few minutes of playing 20 questions "Is it blue?  Is it calling home?  Is it from Mars?" I finally got the specific problem details, which were extremely specific - and, more importantly, something the system administrators would actually take a look at. 

Actually, all of my callers who call in with the non-complaint: "It's not working!"

So far that has meant:

"I forgot my password again."
"Someone turned the volume down."
"The curly cord on the phone is twisted around itself."
"I never bothered to read the instructions."

Very rarely does that phrase actually mean some piece of technology is broken - it's usually the user who is malfunctioning, and unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to fix those yet!
I work in a IT department and we often get useless screenshots to go with our ultravauge problem reports. They don't tell us what web page it's on, or what user access level they logged in with or what data they entered, they just give us a cropped screen shot of the generic error message that gets thrown in hundreds of possible places in our applications.

So we can get an email that says "It's not entering data!" and a screen shot of a message box saying "That is not a valid reference. Please enter a valid reference" but no indication on what page this happened, what they were trying to do and what data they were trying to enter. <headdesk headdesk headdesk>

These sorts of emails are not good for my blood pressure.

Probably as much as when I get an error message and look it up in the book to see what the problem is and find the solution is "fix the problem" (exact quote). If I knew what the problem was I wouldn't be looking in the error message book.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2959 on: October 01, 2013, 12:19:01 PM »
Just had a fun conversation with an administrative assistant in one of our colleges. She needs to order a flier or a postcard or a brochure -- she's not sure which. They may want between 200 and 500 but maybe less -- they're not really sure of the quantity. They may want to mail these, or maybe just hand them out. Can I give her a price for how much this will cost?
 ???

1) I need to know what exactly I'm designing, printing, and mailing -- a brochure, flier or postcard? What size? Does it fold? Printed on both sides or just 1? Full color or black and white? What kind of paper? If it's a postcard, it needs to meet minimum postal requirements for thickness.
2) I need a quantity to figure the price. Actually I need a size and quantity to determine if it's more economical to print these digital or litho -- the price will vary widely.
3) Postage -- will this be first class or do you want to use the our nonprofit indicia (minimum 300 quantity)? If this is a postcard it needs to be no larger than 4.25" x 6" to qualify for postcard rate. If it's a brochure, it'll need to be tabbed closed or inserted into an envelope. If it's a flier, it can mail flat or be folded and tabbed.
"Oh, just give mea price for every possible option, then I'll decide."

It's obviously not possible to give her an exact quote for every possible permutation, but I would expect a business to be able to give me a general range: "Brochures run from $A to $B apiece, depending on how many you have and what options you want.  Flyers tend to be around $C per batch of 100.  Postcards are $D-$E pre-stamped and ready to mail or $F-$G if you want to process them yourself.  These are all really general numbers, mind you, but they should help you figure out what fits into your budget."

I'm reminded of when DH and I wanted to buy a sofa - one or two places in town refused to even give me a general price range for their furniture.  I know sofas can range from a few hundred up through several thousand dollars - I just wanted to know whether their store had $$$ or $$$$ options!  The places that told me "Just come in and customize something and see for yourself!" - yeah, no.  I ended up doing that with one place, only to find I had wasted my and the salesperson's time because even their cheapest options were way more than I wanted to pay.

That may work at a quick print shop that runs out photocopies on a letter or tabloid-size sheet of paper on a Xerox -- like FedEx Office. But I'm a professional graphic designer and not a print shop. I don't do the printing myself. I bid it out to various vendors based on what the project is, and go with the best bid. The prices vary widely not just based on whether it's a postcard or flier, but on the vendor, quantity, size, color, mailed/not mailed etc. The majority of the projects that I work on are going to print on an offset lithography press.***

If she called and asked how much 500, 4.25" x 6", full-color postcards, mailed might cost, I could pull up a similar job that I've done recently and give her a really good idea, but in essence -- to use your example of furniture shopping -- she did the equivalent of calling an interior designers office and saying she doesn't know if she wants a new sofa...or 2 bedroom night stands, or a dinning table with between 2 and 10 chairs and she's not sure how big for any of these because she hasn't even decided on where this mystery piece of furniture will go...can they tell her how much that will cost. THAT what? There are literally too many variables to even begin to give a reasonable estimate.


***If you're interested in a more detailed description of printing technology: offset lithography uses metal printing plates usually aluminum to put ink on paper. This produces a higher quality, better color, and sharper image. Ink soaks into paper so there is no chance of it "rubbing" off when going through mail processing equipment. You can use spot colors like Pantone, or varnishes that create a really high gloss finish. The largest sheet size is usually 26" x 40" which allows for multiple jobs to print at one time.

Digital printing is like an office Xerox on steroids: powered toner is adhered onto the surface of paper using heat. The pros are that it can do small jobs quickly and cost effectively. The cons are that it has a higher per sheet cost than offset depending on the quantity, the quality is (in my opinion) not nearly as good especially if the finished product is going through the mail as toner can flake or rub off, they aren't as color accurate especially if you want to match a Pantone color, the only varnish available that I've seen isn't very good at all (I just tried it on an invitation project and nobody could even tell it was supposed to be extra glossy) and generally the largest sheet size is about 14" x 19".

This is a pretty good summary of the differences: http://www.pinscreative.com/articles/digital_vs_offset.htm
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gingerzing

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2960 on: October 01, 2013, 01:24:35 PM »
I had a fun conversation with an employee in another department trying to report a problem in extremely vague terms.  It was the computer jargon version of "The thingamajig isn't talking to the whatchamacallit or the whosonfirst, can you please fix it?"  After a few minutes of playing 20 questions "Is it blue?  Is it calling home?  Is it from Mars?" I finally got the specific problem details, which were extremely specific - and, more importantly, something the system administrators would actually take a look at. 

Actually, all of my callers who call in with the non-complaint: "It's not working!"

So far that has meant:

"I forgot my password again."
"Someone turned the volume down."
"The curly cord on the phone is twisted around itself."
"I never bothered to read the instructions."

Very rarely does that phrase actually mean some piece of technology is broken - it's usually the user who is malfunctioning, and unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to fix those yet!
I work in a IT department and we often get useless screenshots to go with our ultravauge problem reports. They don't tell us what web page it's on, or what user access level they logged in with or what data they entered, they just give us a cropped screen shot of the generic error message that gets thrown in hundreds of possible places in our applications.

So we can get an email that says "It's not entering data!" and a screen shot of a message box saying "That is not a valid reference. Please enter a valid reference" but no indication on what page this happened, what they were trying to do and what data they were trying to enter. <headdesk headdesk headdesk>

These sorts of emails are not good for my blood pressure.

This is why my IT puts up with me.  My web designer found out that I can "break websites" and give VERY exact directions of how I did it.    (The last two revamps of our site I was asked to find the holes and it even is on my reviews with happy comments from the IT department) 
So I do get my Help Desk IT guy some fits when I call and say "I broke the internet"  (Really, Ginger? The whole Internet? "yup, just ask Al Gore."  :) )  Or - more often - "Help Desk Guy, my computer is possessed!"  (Sigh, yeah, that will do that some.)    My Help Desk Guy is WAY mellow and really good at dealing with my brand of crazy.    And usually he agrees that my computer is wonky.  But not that I broke the Internet, turns out the server at the provider went down.

greencat

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2961 on: October 01, 2013, 06:24:48 PM »
I had a fun conversation with an employee in another department trying to report a problem in extremely vague terms.  It was the computer jargon version of "The thingamajig isn't talking to the whatchamacallit or the whosonfirst, can you please fix it?"  After a few minutes of playing 20 questions "Is it blue?  Is it calling home?  Is it from Mars?" I finally got the specific problem details, which were extremely specific - and, more importantly, something the system administrators would actually take a look at. 

Actually, all of my callers who call in with the non-complaint: "It's not working!"

So far that has meant:

"I forgot my password again."
"Someone turned the volume down."
"The curly cord on the phone is twisted around itself."
"I never bothered to read the instructions."

Very rarely does that phrase actually mean some piece of technology is broken - it's usually the user who is malfunctioning, and unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to fix those yet!
I work in a IT department and we often get useless screenshots to go with our ultravauge problem reports. They don't tell us what web page it's on, or what user access level they logged in with or what data they entered, they just give us a cropped screen shot of the generic error message that gets thrown in hundreds of possible places in our applications.

So we can get an email that says "It's not entering data!" and a screen shot of a message box saying "That is not a valid reference. Please enter a valid reference" but no indication on what page this happened, what they were trying to do and what data they were trying to enter. <headdesk headdesk headdesk>

These sorts of emails are not good for my blood pressure.

On one hand, I deal with a fairly limited number of systems, which have distinctive enough looks and really non-generic errors, so that screenshots are almost always helpful.  On the other hand...I'm jealous that your users take screenshots.  An unfortunately high percentage of my users are unfamiliar with the concept of a "browser" and lack basic skills like copy/paste, even though a large percentage of the things they call us about are web-based.  Sometimes I troubleshoot complex technical issues...sometimes I have to go over 3-click procedures as though I was explaining them to a five-year-old who hasn't quite mastered reading yet.

figee

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2962 on: October 01, 2013, 07:29:37 PM »
All the IT ones make me think about what I usually have to say to our IT:  "Uh.  I think I might have done something stupid...."  Then there's this big sigh on the other end of the line......

MissRose

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2963 on: October 02, 2013, 08:25:54 AM »
All the IT ones make me think about what I usually have to say to our IT:  "Uh.  I think I might have done something stupid...."  Then there's this big sigh on the other end of the line......

I've been doing various types of IT support, and its rare to hear someone say they messed up or similar.  A good many will blame the IT staff or the company not themselves.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2964 on: October 02, 2013, 09:34:49 AM »
At a previous job, I used to schedule things for an entire department, and so I had access to everyone's calendar.  In the morning, I would pull up all 18+ calendars, plus my regular programs, and start scheduling.  After awhile, my computer started freezing when I tried to pull up my calendars, which was not good.  I called IT, and verified that yes, I had shut down and restarted my computer and everything was still freezing.  The IT guy accessed my computer while I was on the phone and said, "WHOA.  How many programs do you have up and running?".  I said, "About 25 or so - 18 calendars plus a few IE windows plus two other programs." IT guy replies, "That's your problem.  You have too much stuff open.  You need to close down everything but the essentials."  I said, "those are my essential programs.  I schedule for all of these people, I do searches on these IE windows and I have those two programs open to document everything."  IT guy said, "Well, can't you just close it all down and only have it open when you need it?"  ::)  I eventually convinced him that I needed all of it open, all of the time, and they came and put more memory in my computer to help it run faster.  But that was my impossible IT request - "Can you just not do your job so I don't have to do anything on my end?".

ladyknight1

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2965 on: October 02, 2013, 11:09:19 AM »
I am a super-user and my IT co-workers know it. I always get the machine with the highest available RAM and fastest system. I am responsible for keeping track of almost 100K students, and I use some web-based programs, but primarily Excel spreadsheets. My largest Excel file is 30.7 MB.

cwm

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2966 on: October 02, 2013, 11:52:52 AM »
I had the IT guy at my desk today, setting up my new computer. And he had forgotten something on his end, so it took a bit longer than usual. He actually told me what he had done, why it was taking longer, and didn't speak down to me at all, which is great.

He then came up with some weird sort of error that he'd never seen before. I laughed and told him I was the person that had all the bizarre problems. At several jobs I've been the one to call IT and tell them what's going on (with full documentation on how to replicate the issue, what I was doing, the exact error message, etc.) and have them respond with "Well, I've never heard of that before."

Several jobs. Different computer setups. Wildly different programs. All within the norm of that job. I come up with all the weird stuff. But at least I document everything.

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2967 on: October 02, 2013, 11:55:45 AM »
I am a super-user and my IT co-workers know it. I always get the machine with the highest available RAM and fastest system. I am responsible for keeping track of almost 100K students, and I use some web-based programs, but primarily Excel spreadsheets. My largest Excel file is 30.7 MB.

That's a good system. In my office, it was traditional that Management got the new computers with bells and whistles, which were then passed down to people who actually did the work.
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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2968 on: October 02, 2013, 12:11:26 PM »
I had the IT guy at my desk today, setting up my new computer. And he had forgotten something on his end, so it took a bit longer than usual. He actually told me what he had done, why it was taking longer, and didn't speak down to me at all, which is great.

He then came up with some weird sort of error that he'd never seen before. I laughed and told him I was the person that had all the bizarre problems. At several jobs I've been the one to call IT and tell them what's going on (with full documentation on how to replicate the issue, what I was doing, the exact error message, etc.) and have them respond with "Well, I've never heard of that before."

Several jobs. Different computer setups. Wildly different programs. All within the norm of that job. I come up with all the weird stuff. But at least I document everything.

I think part of it is confidence, honestly.  I'm comfortable with computers and I use them all the time, so if something goes wrong I'm pretty confident I can distinguish between "Oops, I did something wrong and need to try it again" and "Yikes, the computer software/hardware has an issue that I can't fix [or at least can't fix without a significant time investment]."  I suspect someone who is less comfortable with computers (or any specific technology) may feel pressure to try to work around problem scenarios (e.g. only opening one spreadsheet at a time) because they're worried the problem may have been their fault and they're embarrassed to have someone else have to correct them on it.

ladyknight1

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Re: Not Going To Happen 'Cause I'm Not Harry Potter (Impossible Patron Requests)
« Reply #2969 on: October 02, 2013, 01:22:56 PM »
I am a super-user and my IT co-workers know it. I always get the machine with the highest available RAM and fastest system. I am responsible for keeping track of almost 100K students, and I use some web-based programs, but primarily Excel spreadsheets. My largest Excel file is 30.7 MB.

That's a good system. In my office, it was traditional that Management got the new computers with bells and whistles, which were then passed down to people who actually did the work.

They know that a good machine will keep me from whining for a couple years.  >:D