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-   -   Dear Users… (A thread for Sysadmin, Technical Support, and Help Desk people) Part 10 (http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=352419)

xterra 7th August 2022 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catsmate (Post 13872264)
I always use DDMMMYYYY, i.e. 07AUG2022.



Look up ISO 8601, which establishes

Quote:

an internationally agreed way to represent dates: YYYY-MM-DD
For example, September 27, 2012 is represented as 2012-09-27.
Arth could use this as justification for a change in the date format in his situation.


https://www.iso.org/iso-8601-date-and-time-format.html

RecoveringYuppy 7th August 2022 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xterra (Post 13872288)
Look up ISO 8601, which establishes

Arth could use this as justification for a change in the date format in his situation.

That solves one problem and exacerbates the main problem that humans are typing these dates. catsmate's solution is less likely to be typed incorrectly and more likely to be correctable by someone else if it is typed wrong in the first place.

Wudang 7th August 2022 09:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy (Post 13872332)
That solves one problem and exacerbates the main problem that humans are typing these dates. catsmate's solution is less likely to be typed incorrectly and more likely to be correctable by someone else if it is typed wrong in the first place.

And is less likely to be read wrong. A project I worked on we had to get extracts from a hospital's database which was based around the US company Cerner's system and a homegrown datawarehouse. The former used variants of US formats with day and month in the opposite order from the DW which used largely UK data formats. Often we had to guess which format a column used. The few that were free format were a nightmare. And being hospital records you don't want to risk errors.

alfaniner 7th August 2022 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wudang (Post 13872341)
And is less likely to be read wrong. A project I worked on we had to get extracts from a hospital's database which was based around the US company Cerner's system and a homegrown datawarehouse. The former used variants of US formats with day and month in the opposite order from the DW which used largely UK data formats. Often we had to guess which format a column used. The few that were free format were a nightmare. And being hospital records you don't want to risk errors.

At least before the turn of the millennium, one could figure out which position the year was in, in a six-digit format. Once we got to 2001 and beyond, trying to figure out something like 050308 without a format definition was nigh impossible. I found that problem mostly with expiration dates on stuff in my cupboard and refrigerator.

Blue Mountain 7th August 2022 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alfaniner (Post 13872363)
At least before the turn of the millennium, one could figure out which position the year was in, in a six-digit format. Once we got to 2001 and beyond, trying to figure out something like 050308 without a format definition was nigh impossible. I found that problem mostly with expiration dates on stuff in my cupboard and refrigerator.

Relevant XKCD: https://xkcd.com/1179/

(Note that there's another joke in the mouseover text.)

arthwollipot 7th August 2022 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13871079)
Seems to me like there should be separate fields for the date and number of contacts, right there and visible, so you don't have to play with text strings as the title.

You should put in a service request for that change!

In an ideal world, yes. But for now, putting it in the Short Description (ie. title) field works well enough.

Another peeve I have with On Hold incidents. We currently have a number of staff working Incident Management who will take a job, send an email to the client saying, basically, "Here's how to fix the problem: do this, do this, do this and reboot. Let us know how it goes." And then they put the incident On Hold. The instructions they are sending are reliable and are known to fix the reported issue.

To me, this incident should be Resolved, not placed On Hold waiting for them to contact us to tell us it worked. People don't do that. Once they've got the problem fixed, they don't care about our incidents any more. Doing a followup wastes my time and theirs.

Ah well. I have a week off next week. It's been prearranged for ages because I knew that by about this time of the year I'd need to take some downtime. And I do. Thanks, past me!

Norman Alexander 7th August 2022 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13872644)
In an ideal world, yes. But for now, putting it in the Short Description (ie. title) field works well enough.

Another peeve I have with On Hold incidents. We currently have a number of staff working Incident Management who will take a job, send an email to the client saying, basically, "Here's how to fix the problem: do this, do this, do this and reboot. Let us know how it goes." And then they put the incident On Hold. The instructions they are sending are reliable and are known to fix the reported issue.

To me, this incident should be Resolved, not placed On Hold waiting for them to contact us to tell us it worked. People don't do that. Once they've got the problem fixed, they don't care about our incidents any more. Doing a followup wastes my time and theirs.

Ah well. I have a week off next week. It's been prearranged for ages because I knew that by about this time of the year I'd need to take some downtime. And I do. Thanks, past me!

Auto reminder at 7 days: no response = call closed

arthwollipot 7th August 2022 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norman Alexander (Post 13872648)
Auto reminder at 7 days: no response = call closed

As I have related before, it's first contact - 3 days - second contact - 3 days - call closed. As the person who does the late shift most often it usually falls to me to do the second contact. It's a pretty easy job, especially since I have boilerplates to copy & paste:

Please phone the Service Desk on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally), or reply to this email, and advise whether you still require help with this issue. We may be able to provide additional assistance over the phone.

Please phone the Service Desk on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally), or reply to this email, and advise whether you still require assistance with this issue. We contacted you on 01/08/2022 requesting additional information, but have not yet received a reply.

Please phone the Service Desk on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally). We will need to remotely access your computer in order to resolve this issue.

--o--

This incident is being resolved as we have attempted to contact you several times with no response received. Should you have any further questions on the matter, or if the problem reoccurs, please either reopen the incident in the Service Desk Portal using the link above, respond to this email, or phone us on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally).

--o--

20220810 *1 contact made*
20220810 *2 contacts made*

Norman Alexander 7th August 2022 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13872655)
As I have related before, it's first contact - 3 days - second contact - 3 days - call closed. As the person who does the late shift most often it usually falls to me to do the second contact. It's a pretty easy job, especially since I have boilerplates to copy & paste:

Please phone the Service Desk on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally), or reply to this email, and advise whether you still require help with this issue. We may be able to provide additional assistance over the phone.

Please phone the Service Desk on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally), or reply to this email, and advise whether you still require assistance with this issue. We contacted you on 01/08/2022 requesting additional information, but have not yet received a reply.

Please phone the Service Desk on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally). We will need to remotely access your computer in order to resolve this issue.

--o--

This incident is being resolved as we have attempted to contact you several times with no response received. Should you have any further questions on the matter, or if the problem reoccurs, please either reopen the incident in the Service Desk Portal using the link above, respond to this email, or phone us on extXXXXX (XX XXXX XXXX if calling externally).

--o--

20220810 *1 contact made*
20220810 *2 contacts made*

There you go. ;) :thumbsup:

gnome 7th August 2022 10:03 PM

We did that for a while at my workplace. Then we moved to a system where the ticket was marked "Resolved" if the tech believed the problem was solved. The user could reopen the ticket at any time in the next three days and say there was more wrong. After three days with no contact it was marked "closed". If the user called again after that you started a new ticket and put in a link to the previous ticket.

arthwollipot 7th August 2022 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gnome (Post 13872720)
We did that for a while at my workplace. Then we moved to a system where the ticket was marked "Resolved" if the tech believed the problem was solved. The user could reopen the ticket at any time in the next three days and say there was more wrong. After three days with no contact it was marked "closed". If the user called again after that you started a new ticket and put in a link to the previous ticket.

That's exactly what we do. Except that apparently some of us don't.

TragicMonkey 8th August 2022 03:21 AM

When I worked as support for a bunch of hospitals the children's hospital was always quick to add "for the children!!" in every ticket and call, to emphasize how much more urgent and important their problems were. A printer is spitting out an extra sheet of blank paper after every once-daily batch print? For the children!! highest priority. Much more so than every anesthesia device in ten operating rooms stopped working.

The CHILDREN!! business soon stopped after a new manager was put over support. He reasoned that if each ticket were truly that incredibly urgent we should of course contact the user immediately and constantly to keep continual updates on these urgent fixes. Including calling them at home in the middle of the night and if we couldn't reach them moving up their chain of command until we got someone.

Apparently presidents of hospitals do not enjoy being woken at 3 a.m. over a printer issue on one workstation at a secretary's desk. Ticket priority was more carefully assigned after that, and the children's hospital sulked for two whole years.

gnome 8th August 2022 05:56 AM

I like it when priority designations are descriptive, for example, choices indicating how many people are affected, whether it stops work, incurs significant risk, etc.

TragicMonkey 8th August 2022 06:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gnome (Post 13872930)
I like it when priority designations are descriptive, for example, choices indicating how many people are affected, whether it stops work, incurs significant risk, etc.

Agreed. Later we got a more modern system going, where users entering tickets indicated impact in both severity and extent, and the priority would then be assigned by the software assessing both values. Rather than letting the user decide on a scale 1 to 5 how critical it is. A serious problem for one person might equal a minor problem for a thousand people, depending. Much better than letting an irritated nurse vent her frustration about "a too-clicky mouse" in the middle of the night.

Gord_in_Toronto 8th August 2022 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13872855)
When I worked as support for a bunch of hospitals the children's hospital was always quick to add "for the children!!" in every ticket and call, to emphasize how much more urgent and important their problems were. A printer is spitting out an extra sheet of blank paper after every once-daily batch print? For the children!! highest priority. Much more so than every anesthesia device in ten operating rooms stopped working.

The CHILDREN!! business soon stopped after a new manager was put over support. He reasoned that if each ticket were truly that incredibly urgent we should of course contact the user immediately and constantly to keep continual updates on these urgent fixes. Including calling them at home in the middle of the night and if we couldn't reach them moving up their chain of command until we got someone.

Apparently presidents of hospitals do not enjoy being woken at 3 a.m. over a printer issue on one workstation at a secretary's desk. Ticket priority was more carefully assigned after that, and the children's hospital sulked for two whole years.

Brilliant! Sometimes the cleverest response is to play the game.

arthwollipot 8th August 2022 09:01 PM

Okay, this is the weirdest ticket title I've ever seen:

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...1db9c38178.png
(click for clearer image)

BowlOfRed 8th August 2022 09:16 PM

Doesn't seem that weird. A bit incoherent. Do you have any tickets in your system that are completely and totally incorrect for the system they were submitted to?

I think we have one in ours where someone logged a ticket because he needed to board a train in about 30 minutes.

"Please help. I'm at <station> and need to get on the <x:xx> train to <destination>"

Yes, this is our standard IT help ticket system that thousands of people prior to him were able to understand was usable for email problems and password changes and other IT services. Maybe he confused "IT Ticket" and "Train ticket"?

(There were no further comments from the user on the ticket. It was simply closed. I don't think there was any sort of explanation trying to disabuse him of our ability to purchase travel vouchers at short notice. I hope he caught his train...)

arthwollipot 8th August 2022 11:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BowlOfRed (Post 13873592)
Doesn't seem that weird. A bit incoherent. Do you have any tickets in your system that are completely and totally incorrect for the system they were submitted to?

Of course. I call it a sparrow in the stairwell. One time we had someone call the Help Desk (it was before they were called Service Desks) because a literal bird had become trapped in a stairwell.

As it turns out, I think I know what this is supposed to be, and no, it shouldn't have come to us. It's a HR/Recruitment thing.

Norman Alexander 8th August 2022 11:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13873584)
Okay, this is the weirdest ticket title I've ever seen:

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...1db9c38178.png
(click for clearer image)

Is there a system called "Transcend" in your organisation? Something that sounds like that? Or an HR process with that name?

Because a Director-of-(Nursing | Numptiness | Nothing) called Rodney is being killed by that method.

It's HR, regardless.

arthwollipot 8th August 2022 11:46 PM

I've actually done some sleuthing and worked it out. A DoN is a Deed of Novation, which is used to legally transfer the rights and responsibilities of a contract from one entity to another. In this case the DoN was executed to transfer them from a person named Rodney to an organisation named Transcend.

i.e not HR but Legal.

It was cced to a bunch of other people. I closed the ticket with the comment "No action required by Service Desk".

Norman Alexander 8th August 2022 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13873656)
I've actually done some sleuthing and worked it out. A DoN is a Deed of Novation, which is used to legally transfer the rights and responsibilities of a contract from one entity to another. In this case the DoN was executed to transfer them from a person named Rodney to an organisation named Transcend.

i.e not HR but Legal.

It was cced to a bunch of other people. I closed the ticket with the comment "No action required by Service Desk".

See, I was THAT close! :D

arthwollipot 9th August 2022 12:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norman Alexander (Post 13873661)
See, I was THAT close! :D

Couldn't have done it without you, Norm.

TragicMonkey 9th August 2022 06:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13873656)
I've actually done some sleuthing and worked it out. A DoN is a Deed of Novation, which is used to legally transfer the rights and responsibilities of a contract from one entity to another. In this case the DoN was executed to transfer them from a person named Rodney to an organisation named Transcend.

i.e not HR but Legal.

It was cced to a bunch of other people. I closed the ticket with the comment "No action required by Service Desk".

Fool! This was your one chance to stop Rodney! With Don's murder that made the 12,685 human sacrifices necessary for Rodney to transcend this plane of existence and become a demimortal demon god! If you had responded to the ticket properly by stabbing Rodney with the Six Daggers of Xabaoth you could have averted the apocalypse! It's now too late!! Rodney is even now flying through the demon dimension gathering power, and has been in talks with lawyers as well!!!!

Wudang 9th August 2022 09:06 AM

Yeah about that. The Six Daggers of Xabaoth are still sitting in the delivery area as we can't figure out how to enter them as Configuration Items in the CMDB.

Norman Alexander 9th August 2022 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wudang (Post 13874095)
Yeah about that. The Six Daggers of Xabaoth are still sitting in the delivery area as we can't figure out how to enter them as Configuration Items in the CMDB.

Miscellaneous widgets.

catsmate 9th August 2022 03:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xterra (Post 13872288)
Look up ISO 8601, which establishes


Arth could use this as justification for a change in the date format in his situation.


https://www.iso.org/iso-8601-date-and-time-format.html

I'm quite familiar with 8601. When it actually becomes a generally used standard I will embrace it happily. This hasn't happened in the last thirty years and I'm somewhat doubtful, barring generalised user re-education via CPT, that it will happen soon.
Meanwhile in the Real World it's more important to deal with the problems caused by DDMMYYYY and MMDDYYYY.

catsmate 9th August 2022 03:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wudang (Post 13872341)
And is less likely to be read wrong. A project I worked on we had to get extracts from a hospital's database which was based around the US company Cerner's system and a homegrown datawarehouse. The former used variants of US formats with day and month in the opposite order from the DW which used largely UK data formats. Often we had to guess which format a column used. The few that were free format were a nightmare. And being hospital records you don't want to risk errors.

I've had international project meetings be missed because of the problem. I've lost count of the hassle in conversion, especially the time lost.

Armitage72 11th August 2022 06:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13873656)
In this case the DoN was executed to transfer them from a person named Rodney to an organisation named Transcend.


My first thought was a joke I heard as a kid about a man checking a book out of the library called "How to Hug" only to discover that it was a volume of an encyclopedia.
In retrospect, it must have been a really inclusive encyclopedia to have a volume with such a small entry range or a really thin book.

a_unique_person 11th August 2022 01:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13871174)
Here's the newest demand, which I'm assuming one of my users got from a book of logic puzzles right next to the one about getting the wolf, goat, and bag of grain across the river.

There's a PC at the front desk.
User 1 has to be able to search job sites.
User 2 cannot be able to search job sites.
Users 1 and 2 have to share a login, the "workflow" (oh how I have come to despise that word) cannot support the time it would take for one of them to log out and the other log in, so a group login has to be used.

Put two PCs at the front desk.

a_unique_person 11th August 2022 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by catsmate (Post 13874446)
I'm quite familiar with 8601. When it actually becomes a generally used standard I will embrace it happily. This hasn't happened in the last thirty years and I'm somewhat doubtful, barring generalised user re-education via CPT, that it will happen soon.

Meanwhile in the Real World it's more important to deal with the problems caused by DDMMYYYY and MMDDYYYY.

I blame the founding fathers.

TragicMonkey 11th August 2022 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by a_unique_person (Post 13876127)
Put two PCs at the front desk.

Right, and these police constables could arrest the workers if they attempt to exceed their rightful permissions.

gnome 11th August 2022 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13871174)
Here's the newest demand, which I'm assuming one of my users got from a book of logic puzzles right next to the one about getting the wolf, goat, and bag of grain across the river.

There's a PC at the front desk.
User 1 has to be able to search job sites.
User 2 cannot be able to search job sites.
Users 1 and 2 have to share a login, the "workflow" (oh how I have come to despise that word) cannot support the time it would take for one of them to log out and the other log in, so a group login has to be used.

Price out a biometric system for identifying the user by facial recognition, and the development costs of adapting the job site software to assign permissions according to the results without changing the login.

Then ask if they're sure they don't just want two logins.

TragicMonkey 11th August 2022 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gnome (Post 13876256)
Price out a biometric system for identifying the user by facial recognition, and the development costs of adapting the job site software to assign permissions according to the results without changing the login.

Then ask if they're sure they don't just want two logins.

Nah, users are notorious for finding a way to bypass security and proper procedure just in order to be lazy. If you install facial recognition as a requirement to login on Monday, by Thursday the users will be swapping faces to get around it. Anything to get out of memorizing their passwords!

arthwollipot 11th August 2022 08:36 PM

One of the best parts of having a week off next week is going to be not taking VIP calls.

catsmate 11th August 2022 11:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13876303)
Nah, users are notorious for finding a way to bypass security and proper procedure just in order to be lazy. If you install facial recognition as a requirement to login on Monday, by Thursday the users will be swapping faces to get around it. Anything to get out of memorizing their passwords!

Last week one of my SOs and I were dropping some supplies off to a friend at her boat when she decided that this was the perfect time, about 9PM, to drop down to her excellent local pub. She was paying, for the three of us, via Revolut. The facial recognition was hilarious, she has to scrunch up her face for the app to accept her.

catsmate 12th August 2022 12:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 13876562)
One of the best parts of having a week off next week is going to be not taking VIP calls.

Cue Covid related emergency call out, exigency of service, in 10...9...8...

Filippo Lippi 12th August 2022 02:00 AM

That scandal that has hit our company and has featured in the UK Sunday papers still hasn't been mentioned by management. About six months since the implementation... tumbleweeds.

Explains why we can't get simple changes to THAT system done in anything like a reasonable time, because they're fighting the terrific skip fire

gnome 12th August 2022 05:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TragicMonkey (Post 13876303)
Nah, users are notorious for finding a way to bypass security and proper procedure just in order to be lazy. If you install facial recognition as a requirement to login on Monday, by Thursday the users will be swapping faces to get around it. Anything to get out of memorizing their passwords!

Now I'm imagining them carrying in a cardboard cutout of each others' faces on a stick.

ZirconBlue 12th August 2022 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gnome (Post 13876780)
Now I'm imagining them carrying in a cardboard cutout of each others' faces on a stick.

I was imagining something more like the movie Face/Off.

gnome 12th August 2022 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue (Post 13871386)
//Long story short//

Person B, the one who isn't allowed on job searching sites, mans the desk most of the time doing normal front desk stuff, answering the phone, greeting people and directing to places, accepting packages, nothing out of the ordinary.

Person A mans the desk during a specific timeframe when they do like a "speed dating" version of job interviews, a bunch of people rapid fire, weeding out the people who don't deserve a full sit down interview. Person A has job searching sites up during this process to review these applicants.

No it doesn't make any sense to me either.

So how did it get resolved in the end?


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