Things that piss IT people off


My university has a VPN setup that allows students and faculty to gain aaccess to the library’s subscription-only databases from home, or on the road.

I’m no tech genius, but i’ve learned a bit about computers over the past few years, and i’m also very good at following instructions if it’s something that is new to me.

I tried to set up the VPN client on my home computer. I followed the instructions to the letter, and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Downloaded the program, installed, restarted, had my router properly configured, everything.

Start the program and it asks for my username and password. Everything is looking good. I key them in and hit “Connect.” It searches for a while and then asks for my password again. This doesn’t look good. I enter the password again, but after a few seconds it gives me an error message saying that it is unable to connect to the remote VPN server.

So i contact tech support. The first level of tech support, of course, cannot help me. They have never once been able to help me. So they take my number, generate a ticket, and someone else calls me back later. This next person tells me that they don’t support the VPN software. I say “WTF? This is university-provided software that is designed to let me gain access to a university-provided service, and you’re telling me that university tech support can’t even help me get it set up?” Well, she can’t help me, but she asks me to send her a screen shot of the error message, and she’ll pass it on to someone else.

A few days later i get another call, from a different guy. I can tell, just by listening to him ask questions and talk about my problem, that this guy knows what he’s talking about. But then comes the bad news:

Despite the fact that this VPN software is provided specifically for installing on home computers, for the express purpose of allowing access to the library databases from home, the VPN software and server have been set up so that they will not function if the home user is using a software firewall. And disabling your firewall is not enough. If the VPN software even detects that there is a firewall installed, it will not function. According to the tech guy, this is because of “security concerns,” although he couldn’t or wouldn’t say exactly what security concerns might arise from me having Sygate Personal Firewall on my computer.

How stupid is this? The system is designed specifically for home users. If home users are smart, they will have a firewall installed. And the VPN client is specifically engineered so it won’t work with a firewall. Brilliant!

I’m not technically in the IT department but just yesterday a random woman who I’ve never seen before stops me…

Random Woman in Hallway: Do you know where my new computer is?
Me: Huh?
RWIH: You work in IT don’t you?
Me: No, I work in the Bioinformatics and Algorithms department
RWIH: Right, so where’s my new computer?
Me: Um, I don’t work in IT
RWIH: So, you don’t know where my computer is?

I feel our IT department’s pain. They are, generally, on top of things. I like to smack those that complain because we have got it good.

[angry techie mode]It’s the same damn ports you twit. http is http no matter what browser you’re using. If you want any ports other than 80, 25 and 110 (yeah, we’ll let you email too) open, you’ll have to buy the company.[/angry techie mode]

Seriously now, why would you need to open ports in the firewall to use Opera? You should switch to Firefox anyway. Way better than Opera.

Pet peeves…hmm…got an hour?

My biggest pet peeve is that users don’t seem to take a hint. We have 5 school buildings spread out across the county. We have approximately 300 phones (one in each classroom and office), along with about 850 computers (average of 3 per classroom just about). Every staff member also has e-mail. But many times when they have a problem do they call us? Nope. Do they e-mail us? Nope. Instead they wait until I’m carrying a 50 pound server across the building and then stop and tell me all their problems.

They also give notes to the secretaries and hand them to me when I come out to their buildings. Most of the times the problems are fixable over the phone or require me to bring a special part or accessory with me but since I didn’t know about it until I get to the building I have to make another trip out.

We spent around $200,000 for a Cisco IP Phone system and what do we do with it, let it collect dust and pass notes around like we’re in high school study hall. :rolleyes:

One other thing I’m dealing with today. One of the former secretaries who now only substitutes for when other non-certified staff are absent has been trying to get me together with some woman she knows at church who is old enough to be my mother. :smack: I’ve already told her once that I’m not interested in geriatrics and that women my age are more to my liking. She left a note on my desk to call her about the lady. I’m not going to call and if she calls me I’m going to have to nicely tell her to fuck off. I don’t need pity damn it.

I told my boss that work would be a lot more fun if we were allowed to show up drunk.

A typical tech weenie response. Who do you suppose described the problem as a ports issue? Why our friendly neighborhood IT geek! I personally happen to know it is more accurately Microsoft’s NTLM authentication, but if the AV club wants to dumb it down for me so that my puny mind can grasp the concept, they can have at it.

Regarding your Firefox recommendation: Are you familiar with my theories regarding SDMB members who attempt to ‘solve’ software problems simply by flogging their own favorite package without regard to the underlying problem? I believe that they have schizotypal personalities, and an acute inability to have a meaningful or useful conversation with another person. It’s just a theory mind you.

So if somebody pisses you off for whatever reason, you’ll make sure that that person pays, right? Do people have to suck up to you in order to get anything done?

That’s not terribly professional, is it? :rolleyes:

I was trying to access an ftp site after my company made some changes to their security scheme. I couldn’t use IE anymore, I had to download and use Filezilla. I set it up using our IT dpt’s instructions, but I couldn’t connect to the ftp site.
After a couple of days of back and forth emails, one of the head IT guys came to my office and worked on it - eventually finding that one switch in the Filezilla setup was not correct. He set it correctly and was able to connect.
I was relieved but…
once he found the problem, he told everyone concerned that the problem was caused by “User Error.”

Bullshit - you’re instructions were woefully inadequate. Dipshit.

That’s why you should buy a Mac!

My favorite part of it is when people offer their “helpful advice” when it’s completely irrelevant to the situation at hand.

I am posting from a public terminal. Last night there was a power failure, and no one turned on the power again, on the terminals. When I wanted to use a terminal, I had to reach under the monitor, fish around for the unit, and find an on switch without being able to see what I was doing. Sure, so I got some nice “thank you” from the girls who came along latter, whose terminals needed to be turned on too, but if they weren’t so impossible for a newbie to find, I wouldn’t have to help in the first place. Hello, sys-ops, if you don’t want people to be able to access the computers, but want it to be used as a closed system, use dumb terminals!
P.S. I know this isn’t along the same idea as the other posts, but I fix computers for money sometimes, on a contract, so I guess I barely qualify as an IT guy, thus saving me from starting a “Things that piss non-IT people off”, that would probably only get my response.

Yeah, it’s the problem solving equivalent of premature ejaculation – or in the case of platform wars – premature eMaculation.

It’s not the right time, probably not the right place either, but they just can’t keep their cerebral spooge from running down the front of their pants.

Hey, if your tech weenies spout out disinformation just to make you shut up, that’s a shame. However, if you go and pass that disinformation on to us nice tech weenies without telling us that you know it’s crap (hint: we can’t see you winking at the monitor ;)) then don’t be surprised if we call you on it.

I honestly like the people I support and do what I can to make their lives easier. However I’ve long since learned that going “techie” when describing a problem often makes their eyes glaze over. If a problem is complex enough I’ll give my users a choice between the short answer (it’s a network issue) or a long answer (the firewall is dropping ACKS due to a firmware issue. A rollback will need to be done to fix the issue).

You are right.
In all honesty, I had forgotten my :dubious: at the explanation. I researched it on my own time and sent the info over to IT, but couldn’t be arsed to follow up and forgot about it.

This disinformation tactic is common, though. They must have learned it from automotive mechanics.

Worst are the “almost-techies” who will sigh loudly and obviously when you ask them to go through the standard checklist.

“Look, I know about computers and I know what the problem is so just fix it for me, m’kay?”


  1. Bet ya ain’t as clued up as you think you are (otherwise your machine wouldn’t be buggered, now would it?!)

  2. 99% of IT user problems are simple settings, so it makes perfect sense to go through the basics first, as that usually sort sit!

I used to get ticked off when IT staff asked me to run the basics (even we I thought I knew what the problem was) but now I let them go through it and answer politely, and eventually tell them what I think the issue is.

Much more likely to get it fixed quickly that way :slight_smile:

Do not tell the technical writer that “You are not a reader” and expect her to do something to accomodate you.

Do not damn the technical writer’s work with the scant praise of “B’b’b’ut I can understand this! Really, I can!” The technical writer is well aware that many in her profession are total hacks, but you’ve been working with her for weeks and would hope you’ve noticed that she is conversant with the English language.

Do not complain to the IT project manager when her techs are too busy upgrading the system in time for Y2k to de-bug third party software you weren’t supposed to install in the first place. She will not be sympathetic to pleas that you are a manager.

Do not tell the project manager that because you’re a business manager, it’s important that you have a computer special-ordered for you because you want something that’s “prettier than what everyone else has.”

Do not tell the project manager that you refuse to plug in the entire new network that her techs worked massive OT to build and ship overseas in record time because it “isn’t exactly what you wanted,” (and when “what they wanted” provoked deriseive laughter from the CIO and company President) especially when what you received was the best hardware in any office in the global company - and which is, in fact, much better than what the project manager herself is working with.

Do not provide specs for a new reporting function that contain a major date error, override the programmers’ objections to said date error and insist they code to the original specs, sign off on a waiver stating that they are aware of the problem and want IT to proceed anyway, participate in meetings for months in which the date error is repeatedly mentioned as a major problem, and THEN decide that the programmers have to scrap everything and fix the date error.

Do not expect the web developer to write code using pen and paper for three days and then ask her to show samples to the company President half a continent away.

Whew, I feel much better now.

I used to do this as well. Now that I’m older and wiser I just follow along like a good boy and realize that sooner or later I’m going to get the problem solved. I’ll even admit that sometimes it was my screwup and the initial checklist solved the problem.

Well in that case I’m on your side. The IT geek should not have told you it had anything to do with the ports, because that would just confuse someone who has any idea about what ports are.

Also, I agree that they should let you use Opera, Firefox, Lynx, Mosaic or any damn browser you want. Heck I’m at work right now browsing with Firefox on my Debian Woody box. Then again we have the luxury of having two machines on our desk. One is our so called “production” machine which is used for internal emails and all other internal applications, and we aren’t allowed to change anything on it (we don’t have admin rights on it). The other is our “test” machine where we can do anything we want as long as it’s not illegal, and if we break it we fix it. IT won’t even touch this box.

P.S.: My Mozilla Hypnopiranha (I love my Firesomething extension) is still better than Opera though :wink:

There was a Dilbert joke I’d love to try sometime.

“I’ll just reprogram your computer so the radiation mutates your DNA.”
“You can do that?”
“As far as you know.”

My personal pet peeve is when people call me up to tell me the “system is slow”. Well, no shit sheriff. It’s the first day of the month. That’s the time in my company when every project manager has his admin print off a bunch of status reports so they can be put in a binder on a shelf and never looked at again. It doesn’t matter that we’ve built a whole other reporting program from stratch so they could print reports to their hearts content and not affect the production server. But no, they “want their information to come directly from the source”. :rolleyes: Hey, dumbasses! It’s the same data!

Users suck.

At least for a little while you will really see why my username is Bitterness Comes Standard.

My username actually came from one of my co-workers.

A couple of pet peeves:

  1. We move people in my company constantly. Every couple of months at least 1/3 of the building will rearrange the seating. But the moves that kills me the most is when it’s one seat over. Or they will cascade the whole row. I could maybe understand when the person moves to a different department but come on, especially when it’s within the same cube. The in addition to that I would say a majority of my users have multiple monitors, sometimes up to eight.

  2. The jokes never bother me; I just usually play along or respond with a smart-ass comment. What kills me are users who put in a help tickets (we use Remedy), then tries to do my job. Look I never claim to be an IT God, nor do I want that title, but why did you call for help if you think you know so much? Usually they’ll mess it up the computer and then I have to reimage the machine. One guy tried to clean his own spyware and he went through and started to delete any file he didn’t recognize. You can guess what happened then.

  3. Weatherbug - What the hell, you can’t look outside, or go to a local news website, or weather site?!?!?

  4. Completely ridiculous requests that are of high or urgent priority. Now the users call the help desk and they create the tickets. The help desk obvious has little troubleshooting skills, to deal with very high demanding users. These are the following requests I have had that required immediate assistance:

a) Someone needed his monitor moved two inches. So he could see the screen better.
b) Immediate speakers install. We later found out it was to listen to a sports match.
c) Calls to setup a new user, with no contact information.
d) The printer close to someone is jammed. We only have over 200 printers in my building.
e) One guy wanted to know why his excel was a different color green.
f) The guy who is leaving to go out of town in the next five minutes and needs something setup or configured before he leaves. (Gee you didn’t think about this, even when you got to work.

  1. Not my work related, but I constantly hear commercials for DeVry, ITT Tech, or other computer training classes. They all say the same thing, bragging about how many jobs there are in the IT field. Really they must not be talking about the Ohio area, because there are plenty of unemployed techies around here.

Of course my favorite lately is spyware, especially when users and managers complain the computers are too slow. Hey I have an idea for you, stop downloading every toolbar you can think of or clicking on every popup or mini game you see. I love the, “I don’t surf anywhere I am not suppose to.” Well you must be going somewhere, I surf when I have time and my computer doesn’t have spyware.

To end this rant, because I could go on for a while we once had a lady put in a request that her keyboard just stopped working. We later found out she omitted to tell us, she actually accidentally spilled her gin and tonic on it.

I love it when I get a request for a custom query from a user, and it is something that someone with three functioning brain cells can generate from the front-end filter screen. And then they tell me “I don’t have time to learn how to fill in three blanks and click a button; that’s your job” (a direct quote).

And then they complain when I work on things that have a higher priority. And then they get pissed when I point out that if they had filled in the three blanks and clicked the button two days ago, they would have had their report already.

Thank Og for e-mail. The last time I went through this with a user, I saved the entire e-mail exchange as documentation that justified my removing his access to the database. I restored it two days later and advised him to learn how to use the front-end filter. He has since shut up.

The BOFH is my hero!

True enough.

On the other hand, when you call my office, tell me that something is broken and you need to be in committee with your document in ten minutes, and then, when I walk in your door, you tell me that you “don’t have time to deal with this”, you shouldn’t be too surprised that this problem goes to the bottom of my “to do” pile.

If I show up to fix a user’s problem and they insist upon the IT guy coming to fix it, I give them one more chance to accept my highly qualified help and then I’ll leave. It will also be a while before the IT guy gets around to solving their problem.

Sometimes the solution to a problem does involve getting rid of or at least not using insecure and unstable software in favor of something that does not have those problems. If a particular piece of software has these major flaws, of course I’m going to recommend that people use something else.

It’s sometimes a necessary evil considering some of the people we get who needle for an answer they like instead of the correct one.

Not all computer problems are user error, and not all companies look kindly on users who know something fixing their own.

I used to. Until I had to call tech support for a monitor that was still under warranty and had failed. After being told it was the monitor that was ‘incompatible with Windows NT’, I quit happily following along the script.

As for my users, I’d like to let them know that yes, I can tell when you called to say that you couldn’t access that really important website that you absolutely needed to do your job but it was blocked by the firewall that it really was a website relating to people with both sets of genetalia, and we are most certinaly not a medical office specializing in intersex adults.