I was now back as a full time help-desk operator and I’m struggling. I had been more or less thrown in at the deep end. I had explained before I went into hospital, some 4 months previous, that I was going to need to retraining. But when asked again I was told that there was no individual training. The Government cuts to the Councils budget was beginning to hit hard and the only training that was available was the old school “sitting with Nellie!’ Now this would have been fine if so called ‘Nellie’ had any sort of patience. This ‘Nellie’ was the colleague that wanted the job that I got, so you can imagine that there was a little bit of animosity going on.
I plodded on through the next couple of months and managed to let colleagues believe that I knew what I was doing. In reallity, I was bluffing it. There was a few things that I did know, but these were the easy things that I tended to miss. One of my colleagues realised what was happening and began to take me under their wing. She pulled out a lot of training manuals and told me to ask if there was anything I needed. I found out months later, that she had been asked to help me by the service manager. I was still struggling, but it was starting to get easier.
Then came the Christmas shutdown. That’s when the Council made non-essential office staff take leave from Christmas Eve to January the 2nd. But, just before that holiday, I was told that I was to be working on another project. I was to be part of the Waste Collectors team (bin men). The Council were developing some software to monitor the amount of waste that householder put in their waste bins. I was transferring back to the office where I had been working for years in the Parking Service. I had come home.
The project should last a year and I was back amongst real (sic) friends.
The software upgrade went as well as can be expected, with only one problem. Wrong build !!! The version was correct, but the build was wrong. As a consequence, certain parts of the software failed. So who’s fault was that ? The software house for sending the wrong client build?? Our IT department for packaging the wrong client build??? Well the IT department will say, that they packaged the client build that they were sent. I can believe that that could be the case. However (enter Hercule Poirot) the upgrade files that had been copied to the server, contained the correct client build !!!!! So the dilemma is, where did the wrong build come from, and why are there two builds ??? Once again I feel the answer is down to a lack of communication between the software house and our IT department. The next major project, is moving the whole data file structure to the new SAN storage area. This time, I will take a more pro-active role, and will insist on a detailed project plan. This will not go wrong.
On a different tack, the eldest rang his Mum today, to apologise for his money mismanagement. I don’t know if he meant it, but no one asked him to ring, so maybe there is something there.
My ‘Speed Awareness Course’ invitation came through today. I need to log on to a website to arrange a course and pay the £60.00 course fee. I’ve been getting lots of ‘expert’ advice people who have been in the same situation. Advice ranging from challenging the accuracy of the speed camera, to pay the fine, but send £60.01p !!! Apparently, the latter will stop the points going on, as the police cannot send me a refund for a penny, and they cannot keep the penny, so the point do not go on. Do I look stupid !!!! If they cannot process they payment, because of something I have done, then the law says that ‘I have failed to pay the fixed penalty’ and the case will proceed to court. End of story.
The IT testing went okay. It took a lot longer than anticipated. I ended up doing two sessions, 9:30 until 12:00 then 13:30 until 15:00. Once again, the problems were at this end. Things that should have been done that hadn’t been done. Files in the wrong place. Wrong data paths. Mind you, the upgrade was run differently this time. There was a lot more for me to do. Last upgrade, the client was installed on the server, and the software house dialled in and did all the work. This time it was done from a local PC. Lessons have been learned, I hope. What I think is needed, is a concerted effort on both sides to communicate more. Next time I will insist on a project plan, with a detailed list of tasks and responsibilities. Next time, I will take more of a lead.
I’m more than a little pissed off with the DVLA. I want to pay my car tax online, but because my insurance runs out at a similar time, the DVLA will not let me. They say that some national insurance database, has not been updated with my new insurance detail. So that means a trip to the post office in the next village. I though technology was supposed to help and make things easier.
Tesco ‘green’ points are a funny thing. You get loyalty points for every bag you reuse. So basically, you take your own bags. A couple of weeks ago, I was shopping for a number of things, and unfortunately, forgot to take my bags into the store. Because the car was parked near to the store exit, I declined the offer of disposable bags, and put all the shopping back into the trolley. When I checked my receipt, I noticed that there were no ‘green’ point, so I toddled off to ‘Customer Service’ to query this. The very nice lady at the counter told me that I could only have the points if I re-used bags, and that the cashier would need to count how many bags I re-used. Totally bizarre. You should have seen the look on the Customer Service lady’s face, when I asked for 6 plastic bags to put my shopping in !!!!
Not a lot to say really. Work’s been a pain. I’m getting more and more fed up with the fools who think they are something.
IT got it wrong again !! The software house was going to do the configuration this afternoon, but out lot had not done the work that was needed. Now it could well be, that the software house had not fully explained what was required. There should be a project plan, but I never saw one, so maybe I’m being a little harsh on our crew. Saying that though, the project leader at our end went home early today !!!! Makes you think !!
This mornings meeting went as well as can be expected. Toby was in his usual ‘salesman’ mode. I have got to admit, he does know his stuff these days. He still gives the impression of the dodgy car dealer, but he is very sociable and likable. Dave was a typical IT manager … very defensive in a jokey sort of way. He’s likable too, but needs a bit of a boot to keep him on track. Mark was Mark. Knows what he wants, and expects it to happen. The problem (as usual) was Spike. He just seemed to be very disconnected. His three item agenda, turned into a six item agenda. He even asked about a project that was finished and signed off before Christmas. Unbelievable. Still he is off tomorrow, so everyone will be in a happy mood.
The rest of the work day passed without incident. Although I’m not very happy with someone at the moment. They seems to be fiddling their time sheets. Taking an hour lunch and booking only 30 minutes. Okay, I’m not overworked at the moment, but I try not to make it look too obvious. I don’t sit there reading the paper when I should be ‘appearing to work’.
Tonight’s meeting was informative. I feel a little more comfortable now. All the staff that will be going to Germany with the kids, seem to be fully confident that there will be no problems, and that if there are, they will deal with them. Cannot say fairer than that. It looks like they have 20 years experience between them. It is an interesting thought though. If anyone had said five years ago, even two years ago, that he would be going on a residential to Germany, I would have laughed them out of the room. Then here we are studying his kit-list and wondering which case he will be taking. When you think, all those years ago, and what we were given to expect. It is really quite amazing what he has achieved.
Firefox is fixed now. Usenet comes up with the goods again. Thank you ‘Fox On The Run’. It’s good to know, that when you want free professional help, that the newsgroups usually come up trumps. It has been a long time since I had a look on the groups, and to be honest, some of the questions asked, I know the answer to. With a lot of the questions though, I don’t even know what the question means. I’ll scan through the Excel posts and see if I can pick up a tip or two. I must have a serious look at getting a separate news reader. I don’t really like using Outlook Express. I know there are a number of free ones out there, but the last time I asked for advice about a free one, I got a lot of grief about not using OE. It was not what I expected. I used to use Forte Free Agent, and I understand that an old version is still available. I may Google the question. at least I won’t get flamed that way.