Windows NT -- 03/30/00

I had expected this to be a busy week. I have lots of studying and preparation to do before attending a class in mid-April, need to work on Internet stuff and java and VisualAge for Java and WebSphere and... well, just lots and lots of stuff... plus I had ordered a pair of 128 meg memory modules for my ThinkPad and expected them to come in by the end of the week... plus I figured I would have to spend an hour or two installing Windows NT. It all seemed so simple.

Part of the problem is that I am in a very small part of a big, big company... a very small part in a small city on a little island in the smallest state... worse yet, in a different vertical reporting structure than the majority of the small number of employees in this small outpost... a small outpost that is divided between two completely different divisions of mega-corp.... and my group is part of one of those divisions but we don't report through the same chain of command as the the rest, we don't really have any actual managers on site, they're hundreds of miles away. A couple years ago and we were all part of the same group... last year all of us with offices on the second floor were part of the same group... now we may share the same office area, work in support of the same product lines, have parallel missions, but my group is part of a different structure. So what, you may say... well... one of the things we lost was on-site technical support.

Thus, when I was sent this new laptop a few weeks ago, it was just shipped to me as it came from the previous user. It was not reconfigured or anything, just shipped. It had an ethernet card; I need token ring. It was Win98; I need WinNT. It had 64 meg of Ram; I needed much more. So I've struggled with it a bit, but I've been too busy with other things, including the class I taught last week. This would be my week to set it up the way I needed it so that I could then begin to install the software I need to work with and learn.

Tuesday morning I installed Windows NT. Well... mostly... NT installed, but it had a problem with my token ring card... kept telling me there was a conflict over IRQ 10. Okay, no problem, I'll just tell it to use IRQ 11. Hmmmm, no luck.... well, one of my collegues and I spent many a jolly hour Tuesday morning fighting with NT over that.

My new memory had come in. Pull the 32 Meg module, insert the pair of 128's. Okay, with the 32 Meg on the mother board I now have 288 Mbytes of RAM! At least something went right this week.

Although the tech support person at our site is not supposed to support my group I did manage to get her to say that if she could find a few minutes to spare sometime before the end of the week she might wander over to my area and take a look at my problem. (She had, however, loaned me a diskette with the appropriate drivers for my token ring card, so at least I knew I had the right driver.)

Well, even if I couldn't do email or access our network or access the Internet or the corporate intranet, at least I could proceed to load the various pieces of software (such as Lotus SmartSuite) that I use on a daily basis and then maybe try installing VisualAge for Java. The only problem: my screen was in 16 color mode and only about six inches across... I needed to install the right video driver. So I did. Reboot. Nope. Try again. And again. I was getting an especially annoying error messages: it suggested that I might not have a sufficient level of priviledge to install the driver. Uh, excuse me, NT, but in case you hadn't noticed, I'm ADMINISTRATOR. NT didn't care.

Now, probably like most people, I think I am worth more than am being paid; I'm fairly confident I could go elsewhere and make more money (but I like my job and have no interest in leaving)... but that's not the point... the point is that I do make a fairly decent amount... divide my salary by hours in a work year to get an hourly sum... or consider what my hourly fully burdened rate is (salary plus benefits plus overhead, etc.)... or consider that when I am involved in consulting for a client the company is billing the client at almost two hundred dollars an hour (plus expenses... and I've had a promotion since my last consulting stint)... or that when people attend my classes here, such as the course I taught last week, they are paying $2500 per student for the five day course. In other words, whatever figure you use, there is a cost when I am spinning my wheels as I did all day Tuesday for lack of tech support. (And I know that the tech support person has a CD containing a fully configured image that would take just minutes to load but she can't/won't do it because I am not in that group.) My only recourse, beyond trying endlessly by myself, would involve calling the corporate help center and probably shipping my PC off to some other site.

Finally, after continuing to struggle Wednesday morning and hoping that tech support will decide to come by and take a look, I give up and call the corporate help desk. I am given an incident number and told I will hear back within four hours. It is noon. I decide to forego my lunchtime workout and babysit my telephone instead. Hours of reading technical manuals, etc. Four o'clock, no call. I call and end up connected to someone at the center that would receive my laptop if I should need to ship it, but he has a suggestion... he has phoned our tech support person's manager and suggests that I wander over and have a chat with him. Okay... and I am told that although he did not want anyone to consider this as being a precedent, he would approve having her take a look at my machine and taking care of it if it would only take a few minutes of her time.

So this morning I wait and wait for her to come in... and about quarter past ten I am on that side of the building when I see her come in... I ask her if she would like me to bring my machine to her or would she prefer to come to the machine. She said she would come to my area when she was able to find the time, she was very busy. So I wait... and I wait... and again I skip my noontime workout for fear that she might come while I was out... and I wait... at least my files and bookshelves are getting organized... and a little before three o'clock I get a phone call from the corporate help guy wanting to know if my problem is fixed or if I need to ship my laptop to him. I get the address information then wander over to make one last try at getting our tech support person over to look at it. She's gone for the day. Okay, that's it, time to pack it up and ship it out. Corporate tells me they usually have a two day cycle time. Hell, if I'd shipped it out Tuesday I might have had it back tomorrow or maybe Monday... but now there is a weekend in the way... it will probably be Wednesday before I get my machine back.

Yeah, I know, gripe, gripe, gripe... but I've left out many frustrating details... and all I want is to have tools that work properly so I can get my work done...

Yes, I had written an entry earlier in the week... Monday night... I had thought that I had moved it to my geocities directory, intending to post it sometime Tuesday but apparently memory led me astray, and that entry went to the great bit bucket in the sky when I wiped my hard drive Tuesday morning.
Sean has left his hair the bleached yellow-gold color, apparently he likes it that color.

previous entry

next entry

If you are new to my pages and want to know some background,
you could read a bit of autobiography

To list of entries for 2000

To Jim's Home page