THE LIFE OF A COMPUTER ANALYST
(Long but VERY Funny!)
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 these people vote and drive, too?
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
Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on PhoneNotes
SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Could you 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
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
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 Telecommunications.
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 to Milwaukee.
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 problem!"
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 them
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 says so.
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 (too) much.
Night shift shows up. Tell them the hub is acting funny and to have a good