Friday, March 1, 2013

Lessons Relearned

In a week spent doing more user support than I had for years, I noticed a few things once again.

First, the models that techies take for granted, others do not.
  • A slowly refreshing web page over Remote Desktop suprised me not at all--a terminal server in city A is rendering graphics, and sending the images over the internet to the machine in city B to display, and the machines between them are paying to encrypt, then decrypt the traffic. But to the user--a very intelligent person--this simply meant that IE is slow.
  • To connect to the internet from the event center's network, one must first go open a browser, which will present a log-in page. Ah, but if you open the browser to take you to a secure site (office email, for example), the browser will (rightly) warn you of a certificate mismatch. This is not really a problem, but it looks like one.
Second, old software really does not go away. User: "I need you to scan this to PDF". Self: "But Word 2010 will save PDF." User: "But this is WordPerfect."

Third, cables, about the simplest bit of hardware there is, will let you down now and then. Twenty-five years ago, my problem was likely an RS-232 connector with a pin loose or out of place that would. In 2013, a couple of times it was an RJ-11 connector with a worn-out clip. Securing them with tape worked, but replacing them would have made me feel better.


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