I Know Your Job Better Than You!

Gripes is back! It’s been years since I posted one, but it’s time.

Without further ado:

I’ve been privileged to work with a group of talented people over the decades, some I count as geniuses in their field. They helped me and my area of responsibility greatly and taught me a lot. Even the disagreements were productive because they often came from logical discussion and “walking the walk,” not just “talking the talk.”

Then, there are the other ones. Fortunately, I’ve known very few. The ones I do know grind my gears and exhibit these common traits:

  • Think they know how to manage your area better than you do, despite literally zero experience in the field.
  • Offer “suggestions” coming from a point-of-view of “I’m the smartest person in the room”, yet their suggestions show a complete lack of understanding of minute-to-minute and even day-to-day operations of the task/area they seem to think they are the ultimate expert on.
  • Their purported knowledge is little more than textbook knowledge or reading buzzwords and does not equate to real-world experience at all.
  • They continually blame older processes or things they don’t understand/find value in for woes across all areas.
  • Suggestions/blame noted above are often couched in vague terms with no specifics that further enforce complete lack of knowledge on the topic.
  • They have a preconceived bias/preference towards a brand or service and are unwilling to change. (Preference is fine, inability to use and adapt to that which you need to support as part of your job is not. A technology professional should be like The Borg from Star Trek. They adapt, constantly. They assimilate better tech and ways of doing things.)
  • Typically, while very good at telling you what you should be doing, their own area of responsibility is a disorganized mess. Seriously, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

I’m always looking for ways to improve my area’s processes and resources. Suggestions coming from a knowledgeable point of view or a thought-out “better way” and presented logically are godsends to me and I’ve acted on most every single one.

Ignorant comments, trying to push responsibility away from where it should be (yours), or inability to use the tools at your disposal are what really grind my gears.

Disable the Annoying “Try The New Safari!” Messages

Apple has become extremely aggressive when it comes to some of their software. They seem to have forgotten that you own your computer, not them.

safariNOCase in point: often you’ll get popups bothering you to “try the new Safari” and, should you happen to try it and then quit, if you have another browser as your default it’ll ask if you really want to not have Safari as your default. SWEET JESUS Apple, NEEDY much?

You can enter the following into your Terminal to just turn the noise off for yourself, or better yet, use OS X Server’s Profile Manager or deploy them with a profile via Munki and send it out to all of your users – at least until the year 2080 or MacOX version 19.99 comes out.

First the defaults in the Safari preferences to stop it from asking it to set itself when you quit.

Then, the OS X preferences that tell it when it last asked for you to try Safari as well as if you’ve ever tried it.

You should now logout of your account or reboot your computer so that the system doesn’t revert these changes.  It is also possible that during system updates Apple will reset the above to again try to sway you to Safari.

For now, enjoy your computer.

The Organizational Support Flowchart

I’ve been doing this customer service thing for awhile now. In that time I’ve seen the occasional round of people who always go “straight to the top”, even for the simplest of things.

So, here’s a flow chart resembling my place of employment that illustrates what happens when that person makes such a request:
ITworkflow

You see? Doing this doesn’t provide for “better” or “faster” service. More often than not, the request is re-directed to where it should have started in the first place and the request is often delayed because a good support organization already has a mechanism to make sure that the right group gets the right tasks.

To be crystal clear, that isn’t to say one should never engage with an organization’s leadership if you’ve gone through proper channels and have gotten nowhere. If you go this route your concern will carry much more weight when leadership realizes that you honestly tried to get things done per-procedure and it didn’t work out. This information can help an organization become better and plan for contingencies that may not have been foreseen. Once that unknown is identified, it can be included in the proper workflows to the benefit of all.

Phish Scams & User Foolishness

We’ve had a ton of Phishing Scams at work. These are attempts by people to get your user name and password so that they can, in turn, use your credentials to send out more phishing scams and spam. Usually an official looking email is sent out to users claiming some system maintenance or other “thing” is going on where we need your information to verify “you”, and if you don’t supply them, there is usually an “or else.” Hence phishing, get it? Fishing for user’s information?

So, if you’re a naive user or just not thinking, preoccupied with doing something else, whatever, I can see where you may and would fall for this scam. My gripe comes in when:

1) We’ve sent out two emails to our population expressly stating these are scams and that we will never ask for your information over an email.
2) The latter email even includes a website with an annotated sample phishing email, again noting in at least three places that we will never ask for your information over an email.
3) We’ve pasted a banner in BearMail (or primary student email portal) with the above website, again noting that we will never ask for your information over an email.

A new phishing email started to spread last night and a bunch of people fell for it. I can only conclude:

1) They ignored our emails and warnings.
2) They got our emails and warnings, read it, and promptly deleted it.
3) They got our emails and warnings, read it, and just don’t get it.
4) They are ridiculously stupid people.

I’m sure there are defenders of these folks that would say something like, “they are not stupid, they are just not good with technology.” I would have to counter that “we will never ask for your information over an email” is pretty clear to me, and since you’re reading your email you obviously know what your user name and password are, else how did you get into it to read it? As for not good with technology, I don’t need to know how to drive a car to understand that it’s a bad idea to step out in front of one on the street.

Can you *chomp-chomp* help *slurp-smack* me?

This one has been a long time coming for the Gripes list. Exactly what makes people think that I want to hear you eating food while you’re speaking to me? At least once a week I answer the phone to someone eating their lunch in my ear. This has to be one of the rudest and disgusting things you can do to a person; it is no different than talking with your mouth full. At this point I just politely ask them to either stop eating while speaking with me or finish their lunch and call me back when they are finished.

Did I mention this is rude? Good.

Ar”ro*gance

Ar”ro*gance, n. [F., fr. L. arrogantia, fr. arrogans. See Arrogant.] The act or habit of arrogating, or making undue claims in an overbearing manner; that species of pride which consists in exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power, or which exalts the worth or importance of the person to an undue degree; proud contempt of others; lordliness; haughtiness; self-assumption; presumption.

It’s really too bad that most arrogant people don’t know that they are and instead define themselves as “ambitious” and able to “take charge” – feh, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.