They let me fix something

On Monday, I came into work and discovered that one of the Army Reservists (a curse be upon them and their officers–oh wait, their officers are the curse, nevermind) had gotten the unsecured fiber line wrapped around the chair caster and then stood up with such force that it ripped the fiber–and the plastic collars they plug into–right out of my desktop machine. The NIC was now decorative, and the PC only useful for converting electricity to heat.

Our nearest tech support is several time zones away. They visit once or twice a year. Our only color printer has been broken since 2008. I didn’t have a lot of hope for this situation.

Though it was surely futile, I submitted a help ticket, expecting that they would add it to the list of things they fix when they come out next in six to eight months. Lo and behold, the support contractors get approval from on high to “work it out” with the local person (me) to fix the issue.

This has never happened. At least, not in writing.

I pulled a spare media converter (a box that plugs fiber in one end and gives you an ethernet jack on the other) out of storage, hooked it up, and fired up the computer. They gave me the local admin password and I enabled the built-in (but normally unused) ethernet port, configured all of the TCP/IP stuff (DHCP is for the weak of will), and gave them the MAC address to plug into the router ACL (so my connection didn’t get immediately killed when I plugged it in).

Observations: first, it’s a damned good thing we have a former/recovering IT person in the office because the phone person was an idiot and I had to pretty much suggest the next course of action at every stage of the game, to include telling her what command she needed to tell me to type so I could give her the MAC address.

Second, the technical thinky part of this took about 4 seconds, but I was jazzed that I got to actually fix something and get my machine up and running. We’re already so short on systems that some of the teams have started moving to shift work; I did not want to join them for something as stupid as this. And it’s nice when some of my problems are as simple as plugging in some cables and configuring a TCP/IP stack.


And yes, they immediately pushed out a new local admin password for all of the machines on site. But not before I went through and removed a bunch of useless desktop icons from the All Users profile.


Shout “yes” brothers! We can bring this forgotten child back into the fold!

But really - you have fiber to the desktop? I thought I was the the peak of cool when I had CAT6 run to my new suite’s desktop. We could do Gigabit!

'course, we didn’t yet have switches, or servers to handle it… but forward thinking, forward thinking.


That’s ok, he can’t bring an ipod into his office.

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Fiber to the desktops, but nothing else even remotely modern. I logged into a system the other day (while mine was broken) that had Firefox 3.6. The most recent version we are allowed to use is 17. The place is truly amazing.

You know the next step is they’ll make you fix something.


What will really happen is that they’ll expect him to fix things. Even if they are utterly unrelated to his normal duties.

“Hey sig, the targeting computer thing in that there M1 is fritzed. You’re an IT guy, go fix it.”

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Or the classic: “Hey, I think the coffee maker is on the fritz. Go get sig, he can fix it.”

More like: “this toilet is clogged, and I know just the man for the job!”

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This morning a luser bleated at me that their power downstairs is off.

Told him I’m no electrician, but since the server room (with the backup server) is located downstairs, I had to look.

Earth leakage was tripped. A simple matter of resetting the CB and all is well. Luckily the backup server didn’t fell over as it was on an UPS, and it never lost power anyway.

Pfft. Next thing they’ll bring a kettle/VCR/PVR/whatever and ask that I fix it.