The Life of a Computer Analyst
User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use
password retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant,
they thank me and hang up. God, we let the people vote and
Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports
database. Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it
works for me." Let them rant and rave while I unplugged my
coffeemaker from the UPS and plugged their server back in.
Suggested they try it again. One more happy customer...
User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error
accessing Drive 0." Told them it was an OS problem.
Transferred them to microsupport.
Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support
phone back in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are
coming into town this weekend. Put her on hold and transferred
her to janitorial closet down in basement. What is she thinking? The
"Myst" and "Doom" nationals are this weekend!
Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL
changed on HR performance review database so that nobody but HR
can access database. Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change
ACL. Add @MailSend so performance reviews are sent to */US.
Return from lunch.
Wake up from nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no
reason. Return to napping.
Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on
form. Ask them what chip set they're using. Tell them to call
back when they find out.
Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next
shift has something to do.
Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy.
Terrible time with Save/Replication conflicts.
Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on
PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Put something in the
calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which
have (mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.
Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they
need form J-19R=9C9\\DARR\K1. Say they never heard of such a
form. Tell them it's in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they
never heard of such a database. Transfer them to janitorial
closet in basement.
Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID.
Tell her I need employee number, department name, manager name,
and marital status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board
database, Centers for Disease Control database, and my Oprah
Winfrey database. No hits. Tell her ID will be ready tonight.
Drawing from the lessons learned in last week's "Reengineering
for Customer Partnership,"
I offer to personally deliver ID to her apartment.
Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in
basement. Offer to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch
console while I grab a smoke.
Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he
transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy.
Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled
floor tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not
running in computer room, even if I do yell "Omigod -- Fire!"
Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in
form names. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix
it. Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.
Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls
for "Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't
hear over industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably
"Lettuce Nodes." Maybe the food distributor with a new product?
She thinks about it and hangs up.
Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to
check in her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell
her it probably fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put
duct tape over all the airvents she can find on the PC.
Grudgingly offer to create new ID for her while she does that.
Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day.
Irate user calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on
form. Tell them Of course, they should have been checking
"Bitset," not "chipset." Sheepish user apologizes and hangs up.
Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules
10:00am meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support
manager about terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about
to go into meeting. Sometimes life hands you material...
Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support
manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several
lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world
countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask
if he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed random e-mail
databases and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer
in Marketing on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he
reaches for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.
Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe
corporate PBX system sometime.
Return from lunch.
Shift change; Going home.
New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show
him server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him
up with IBM PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in
both monochrome and color.
New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID
for him. Set minimum password length to 64. Go grab smoke.
Introduce Louie the custodian to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie
comments. Is this guy great or what?!
Beat Louie in dominos game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominos
out of sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says
Accounting server is down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio
antenna (better reception) and plug back into hub. Tell user to
try again. Another happy customer!
Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01: "Whereas all new
employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all proper
aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to
provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on
shift." Marvin doubts. I point to "Corporate Policy" database
(a fine piece of work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's
DOUBLE pepperoni and NO peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps
over open floor tile to get to exit door.
Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...
Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.
Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just
testing the On/Off button...). See ya tomorrow.
Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server.
Told them it worked fine before I left.
Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these
calls myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.
Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and
the Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call
Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San
Diego and can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's
sunspots, but with a two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the
time on the server back two hours.
Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them
to set server ahead three hours.
E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the
time on their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it
Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.
Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.
Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So
hard to get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has
appointment with orthopedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind
sitting in on the weekly department head meeting for him. "No
Call Louie and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a
meeting this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff"
I tell him.
Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make
Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology!
Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel
2:45 pm appointment for him. He really should be at home
resting, you know.
New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection
document. Tell them to run connection document utility
CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.
Support manager calls to say mixup at doctor's office means
appointment cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him
if he's seen corporate Web page lately.
Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working.
Suggest they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send
them document addendum which says so.
Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set
point size to "2" in help databases.
User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell
them to go to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key,
and then refresh. Promise to send them document addendum which
Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell
them I'll fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.
Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not
Night shift shows up. Tell that the hub is acting funny and to
have a good weekend.