* Posts by Michael

9 posts • joined 19 Apr 2007

How gov scapegoats systems for man-made errors

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I used to support Capita SIMS in schools not so long ago. There's just one database that can be viewed in various ways depending on which menu option the user is accessing. There is a deceased flag on each pupil record and a reporting module for generating letters, attendance reports etc accesses the database based on choices made by the user (which class/year group, report type etc).

If a member of admin staff has been asked to generate attendance letters for a class/year group etc and the deceased flag has NOT been set on the pupil account, then the report will be generated for this pupil along with the others.

The head should have spotted the name for a deceased pupil among the letters, but if they had tens or hundreds of letters to sign chances are that they were just focussing on the bottom of the letter to write their signature.

The way I see it this is down to human error because; a) someone forgot to flag the pupil as deceased and b) the head and/or whoever printed the letters and put them into envelopes failed to spot the fact that the parents of the deceased child were being written to.

El Reg salutes ultimate shed anthem

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Made me smile on a Friday!

Well, what else can I say?

Lesbians like straight men, researchers find


@Ken Hagan

"...a medical condition that might be cured by surgically trashing the offending part of your brain..."

If researchers were able to find the part of the brain which controls whether someone is left-handed for example, would you suggest "trashing" that part of the brain in an effort to "cure" them of their left-handedness? I don't think you would, as being left or hand-handed is simply a part of a person's being, in the same way that someone's sexuality is just a part of their being. It is NOT something that needs to be "cured".

Reding would OK charges to receive mobile calls

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@Anonymous Coward

LOL re. the stamp, great idea! I'm sure that if enough mobile owners did this she'd soon change her mind...

Malware still malingering for up-to-date anti-virus users



"It is advisable to run a complete scan with ActiveScan 2.0 from time to time. This will minimize the chances of infection."

How on Earth will running an online scan minimize the chances of infection?!?! I would have thought that it would *detect* any infections on a machine, but at the end of the day only an anti-virus program installed on a computer is capable of minimizing the probability of said machine becoming infected.

Miscreants subvert search results to punt malware


Possible defence

Would using scandoo help to protect against some of the malware?

PC superstore unhinged by Linux


As a former Tech Guys (then known as "PC ServiceCall") employee...

... I have to say *I* used to be baffled by this "we can't support your machine if you've replaced the operating system" policy. Sure, I could understand that the student I spoke with who had replaced his pre-installed version of XP Home (which worked fine) with a *pirated* copy of XP Professional (because his student friends told him to), would have a slight problem. However, what on earth does a different operating system have to do with a broken hinge?!?!

Genghis Khan didn't much like gays


And the IT angle of this story is....

....what exactly?

Reg readers admit to faking it


Views from both sides of the fence

As an ntl broadband customer a few years ago I experienced a problem with my machine getting an IP address of I called their technical support in Swansea and spoke to a guy who must have used a one line script which read "buy a new Network Interface Card". I duly spent £20 on a new network card from Maplin Electronics, installed the driver and hardware but the problem remained. As a last resort I re-installed Windows which resolved the problem.

A couple of years later I experienced another problem getting online via ntl broadband and again I called technical support. I spoke to another technician who was also using the "buy a new Network Interface Card" script who refused to try anything else until I did so. He didn't even ask any diagnostic questions, he just simply offered the above as the solution. Re-installing Windows instead resolved the problem. I never called technical support again.

On the other hand I used to work for a technical call centre which supported PCs bought from stores which were part of a large, international organisation. All I can say is that it was another call centre more obsessed with high call stats that satisfied customers. The number of times I dealt with repeat calls caused by someone quickly rattling through the script to get the customer off the line ready for the next call became quite depressing. Oftentimes the "solution" was to advise people to run their recovery software for the umpteenth time. I was frustrated to be constrained by this script, because if I couldn't prove to a technical coach that all steps had been taken - usually because the (obviously IT literate) caller would say "I've tried everything" and would refuse to elaborate - then I wasn't allowed to book an engineer with a part.

I agree that helpdesks should be more flexible and staffed by intelligent people not constrained by scripts or other procedures. Consumers receiving a positive, helpful experience for their supplier's helpdesk are more likely to recommend that supplier to their friends, family and colleagues.


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