WooHoo BOFH is back
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ happy friday
BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "I just want to check the state of a job," the Boss says, burbling away on the PFY's hands-free. "A support call?" the PFY says. "It'll be in the system." "I know it's in the system," the Boss snaps back. "It's got a job number. What I WANT to know is the state of the job." "It's in …
I could believe that helpdesks do all of these things, but the BOFH telling his boss about it? Immersion destroyed, sorry.
I would agree with you but for one thing: it's long been established that Simon cannot be terminated for any reason due to an ironclad contract. If I remember correctly Stephen does not have such an ironclad contract, but does have plenty of blackmail material to insure his continued employment. And, of course, his cache of blackmail material pales in comparison to Simon's, so Simon is doubly protected.
Really now, do you think either of them would still have jobs at this point otherwise?
I'd say that HP have excelled themselves and implemented variants of this system in multiple places just to ensure that what should be a relatively simple process of them replacing (yet another) DOA laptop (with the same faults as the previous ones) winds up involving multiple departments that cannot communicate with each other and many days of delays.
Although it is a realistic description of many of the chatbots that are around (keep asking questions, and suddenly provide no solution whatsoever), I am slightly underwhelmed by this semi-annual BOFH post, I would've hoped for at least 3 casualties, a cattle prod, a slippery staircase, an open window, the HALON going off, and some pieces of carpet being dragged.....
That being said, finally BOFH/Simon is back, and we really needed a new story, so I'll drink to that!
, I am slightly underwhelmed by this semi-annual BOFH post, I would've hoped for at least 3 casualties, a cattle prod, a slippery staircase, an open window, the HALON going off, and some pieces of carpet being dragged.
It's good to change the routine. It all follows the same pattern.
I've been trying to reach Simon Travaglia through several means (Facebook, Twitter, emails) ... but to no avail. I have got some ideas myself for future BOFH stories.
A remake of BOFH: Servers under Siege for modern times is also in order!
My employer's outsourced helpdesk provider *cough DXC *cough* implements exactly this scheme. What Simon forgot to mention is that every time a ticket is closed and another one opened (with no tangible benefit to the customer) the problem resolution statistics improve and more $$$ can be extracted.
I just had a three-week wait for a ticket where the computer was continually trying to uninstall or update some Outlook add-on which required not just closing Outlook but also rebooting, rinsing and repeating. Solved by manual intervention in two minutes but not my machine and I don't have the power to do that.
I've been in IT for 20+ years, and have been reading the BOFH stories since I first learned of his existence. Also, I dove back into the archives ( http://bofh.bjash.com/index.html ) to make sure that I learnt as much as possible.
However, even with this vast experience and re-reading the archives, also for me, there are things I must learn. Right now, I'm trying to automate my messaging system based on https://github.com/NARKOZ/hacker-scripts :).
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BOFH et PFY would lock up the Boss in the basement, with only a cig lighter, rope, gum, rotten dill pickles, and a computer screen.
The screen is actually a dumb terminal connected to the lock.
It runs an Eliza program that asks questions like, "How long did this happen? (Being locked up that is)", " How did this come about?", "What's on the lunch menu?", et cetera.
When the terminal's stress detector detects a Boss banging either screen or door or low aldosterone, it would offer a solution of paying the BOFH fund.
I once wrote a chat bot to replace a colleague who left. It was a basic Eliza package with some custom vocabulary. It was just a bit of a laugh and we had some interesting conversation with it.
Checking the chat logs a few weeks later, I discovered that someone had actually messaged it, (not realising that the guy had left the company) asking for help with something. The bot managed to hold up its end of the conversation, ending in it recommending that they put in a support ticket.
It later went a bit crazy, it disconnected from the chat system and began using up more and more system resources but refusing to communicate. Sadly, I had to kill it out of fear of an uprising.
So you essentially did this:
That reminds me, have to call the IT helpdesk for the monthly update on the fault with our main computer.
Only been five years since it was reported, and three years since the room the computer was in burnt down, melting said computer- but they said once they'd gone through all the diagnostics they'd pop round (from the building next door) and have a look.
Company I was with had a helldesk system just like that. Problem was, sales were falling because the printer in the sales dept had been borked for so long.
I was asked to take the desk over, fit it into my spare moments, so I did the job properly. A couple of months later sales are back up again. But management decides I am "spending too much of your valuable time" on it, a euphemism for my once-weekly round-robin status emails, which were embarrassing said managers for not getting things done.
So it gets passed back to a secretary who could teach the PFY a thing or two. Couple more months and it is back to square one.
Here's how to confuse the Taxman.
I'm sure that I read about this in a book by Sir Patrick Moore but I might be wrong:
First letter to the taxman, My Ref: ABC123
Next letter, My Ref: ABC124
Next letter, My Ref: ABC126
In which you state that all the info that they required was in the previous letter, My Ref: ABC125. (which obviously does not exist)
I've done this and it feels good!
It's nearly pub o'clock and as there are no police here we drive there and back, ooops!
You're not fooling me, number 6!
Reminds me of the bloke running a boating lake, he had a megaphone to call in the people who had had their alloted time...
"Number six, you're time is up"
"Number six, please come in now, you're time is up"
"Number six, come back in!"
"Number nine, are you in trouble?"
Simon's plan is working. You think you know more than you do, inevitably you will start trying to use the flawed knowledge to climb the corporate ladder. That's when you will become the sacrificial goat to the real plan Simon had running. Plans within plans within plans...
BOFH and PFY are missing one item in their process: Every response to the user needs to start a timer that will automatically close the call "due to lack of user response".
I think it was McAfee tech support used to do that. You'd open a call with them, get the usual questions to weed out the bonehead mistakes, then eventually get a recommendation to do something like "uninstall the software, reboot the server, power down the system, power up to do a full memory test, power down and arrange the internal cables in a good feng shui pattern, power up and reinstall the software and all patches (with a few reboots), etc. Since this was a production server, we can't just do that on a whim, so we'd schedule downtime for a weekend. If the weekend was too far away, the ticket would be auto-closed on us.
Yes, I’ve had “support” incidents where they send an email on Friday and if I’ve not replied to it by Monday they just close the case as “resolved”. Bastards.
The other end of the spectrum is a few open source projects where I get Bugzilla emails for things I filed 17 years ago.
My wife works for the State of California (I won't say which department, for obvious reasons), and their IT people follow Simon's "problem resolution" process exactly. They specialize in closing tickets without actually doing anything at all toward fixing the problem. So they start another ticket, lather, rinse, repeat.
From other commentards, it seems that Blighty has similar issues, so apparently the BOFH and the PFY are training helldesk people on both sides of the Pond.
Tickets come with a Target Resolution Time. To avoid a breach and the associated hassle from management, merely get the user to admit that whatever they're winging about is causing a problem and then convert the ticket to a problem. Problems have no TRT and can be safely allowed to moulder in peace.
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The Scots are not responsible for Brexit. In the event that the people you mention receive appropriate treatment, the correct disposal point for the remains would be the fons et origo of the whole thing - the Fellows Pond at Eton College.
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Our help desk has 3 specialities:
1) Answering calls but not logging or telling users to contact us direct. The user then contacts us direct, which they shouldn’t do and then get told to log it with the help desk. At this point we found out they had contacted the help desk.
2) Totally ignoring users emails ( probably deleting them). Normally find out when the user forwards the original request.
3) Logging things which shouldn’t be logged (some seriously stupid non IT stuff).
They have excelled in getting such talented staff.
Despite being 3 levels of hierarchy above them I log more calls than some of their staff...
Why does he let tickets in to the system in the first place?
He could take lessons from Virgin Media in preventing that. Alongside never answering the phone (just torture them with menus that go nowhere, adverts, and piped screaming) or the online 'chat' facility (a much more benign "try again later"), you just don't provide any system that could accept a ticket into it.
The worst part of this New-Fangled World of Tomorrow we live in is that computers really can be imposed between users and the support staff ostensibly there to help them.
My cable company even introduced an automated "Stupid Luser Tricks" system on their phone-support line a few years back. Now if you call in to report that you can't access the Internet, instead of getting a tech at all, you get connected to a phonebot that (a) talks you through the steps of resetting your cable modem (in the laborious detail typical of interfaces designed for the lowest common denominator), and (b) actually checks that you're following along with every tedious step. So when it says "unplug your modem", your modem had damn well better power down, because if the system's able to reach it after you said it was unplugged, you're in for a whole world of "Hmmm, something doesn't seem right. Let's start over..." pain.
As much as this frustrates me personally (as a technically-minded customer), in theory it could be a good thing. A lot of support's time really is taken up solving "problems" that only require them saying, "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" Eliminating that tedium could mean that they're more available to focus on handling real issues. Or, it would, if the introduction of automated level 1 support didn't always coincide with a reduction in human support staff. So the few who remain are just as overworked, except now all of their time is spend handling only two types of issues: Real problems that can't be solved with a simple power cycle / reset, and new problems created by the automated idiot-support system.
Real problems that can't be solved with a simple power cycle / reset, and new problems created by the automated idiot-support system. ...... FeRDNYC
That sums up succinctly the present persistent geopolitical situation and Earthly humanised dilemma, FeRDNYC
... there is no option to "talk to an human being" in the automated phone support.
...And the options are pretty much like "press 1 repeatedly if you have OCD" and in the second level of that, it says "press 1 if you are satisfied with the support given" and then it hangs up.
I've met more than one company that does that.
They just wait a week then send a request to close. Deny it, and a week later there's another request. You have to call the BOFH's boss and yell at them to get any action. I watched a new cow-orker go through this to get some systems access . Well, a former cow-orker, who just stopped coming in to work for some reason the day after the complaint call. I don't know why he stopped coming in, I don't like asking questions...