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Old 27th September 2018, 05:06 PM   #161
arthwollipot
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I'm struggling to remember exactly the purpose of the first dongle I encountered. Something tells me that it was for a digital camera, but if so it must have been one of the early ones since it was some time around 1994. I doubt the reliability of this memory.
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Old 27th September 2018, 05:16 PM   #162
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Today I had a developer complain that a function call to my service wasn't behaving as expected. I looked up the vendor docs, and told him which function call he should use to get the desired result.

He replied by saying that his call should already give him the desired result.

So I had to tell him, "you're using an undocumented call, and it's not behaving the way you expected. I recommend using the documented call."

This is not a conversation I should ever need to have with a grown-ass man supposedly skilled in the art.
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Old 27th September 2018, 05:17 PM   #163
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I've found that "transparency" and "accountability" are magic words when people are asking why they have to follow procedures and use documented methods.
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Old 27th September 2018, 05:22 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I've found that "transparency" and "accountability" are magic words when people are asking why they have to follow procedures and use documented methods.
Very true, but irrelevant here. This was purely a "that's not how any of this works" situation.
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Old 27th September 2018, 07:19 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Very true, but irrelevant here. This was purely a "that's not how any of this works" situation.
Had a conversation today about a script that grepped through a log for a specific string and exited with a code of 1 to indicate a failure.

The person requesting I fix this said we should just change the job to indicate that an exit code of 1 should just be considered a success.

I tried to tell them... the original author of this script thought it important enough to fail the job if this string was found.

Fell completely on deaf ears. They just wanted to "fix the script", not understand why the script was designed to fail if that string was found.

I finally just gave up trying.
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Old 27th September 2018, 10:59 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I'm struggling to remember exactly the purpose of the first dongle I encountered. Something tells me that it was for a digital camera, but if so it must have been one of the early ones since it was some time around 1994. I doubt the reliability of this memory.
My first exposure to dongles was circa 1994 when using ACL, data analysis software I still use today. You needed the dongle plugged into your parallel port to get access to the full functionality of the software. With one single dongle for the whole regional IT audit team, you can imagine the fun and games we had when we were dispersed across various clients hundreds of miles apart.
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Old 28th September 2018, 12:21 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Thank you very much for taking the time to give such a clear description. I remain to be convinced that the new way of doing things is necessarily better than the old, but it's not something I'm going to worry about since I haven't done any development this millennium and I'm unlikely to do any serious work in IT again. The 'tl;dr' description is pretty much what I was taught we should do when I did my BSc in Computing (40 years ago), find out what the customer wanted first; we called it systems analysis in those days. Plus ça change...
Did my Post Grad Dip in CS in 83/4 so another old fart here. I've used Jackson structured programming, cleanroom, "it'll be fine in a few more 30-hour debugging sessions" etc and Agile really is the best. The problem is that like other paradigms someone reads a half-assed description which they misunderstand half of and then work with and/or criticize that.
We had to take ages to train our PM as he was old-school. He protested that what we were doing allowed users to sneak in new requirements. And we said yes and if they are needed we can fit them in the workstream. You run in short "sprints" where you have clearly defined achievable deliverables. It assumes a higher standard of programmer - not just someone who churns specs into code. I sometimes make the analogy like the difference between an old-fashioned infantryman with no idea of the big picture standing in line and doing what he NCO tells him and modern elite doctrine where every trooper knows the goal, understands his teams role, and improvise and adapt to changing circumstances in pursuit of the main goal. In contrast I remember meetings in IBM where developers were shocked to find what their code was used for.
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Old 28th September 2018, 12:30 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is not a conversation I should ever need to have with a grown-ass man supposedly skilled in the art.
One of the things you'd hear me saying on a regular basis working in a big banks mainframe world "So let me get your bug report straight. Your application worked. We changed nothing. You did a new release. Your application stopped working and you don't know why but somehow it's my fault?"
One interesting thing I noticed. Almost never did you see a competent guy working in a team of numpties. You'd find whole areas where nobody had a clue. How anything got done in some areas baffled me.
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Old 28th September 2018, 12:52 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's the rate of change that matters, I think. The basic principles have been around forever. What Agile does is tighten that feedback loop as much as possible.
Yep, it's the latter that's important.
All the requirements gathering in the world rarely succeeds in getting at exactly what the user is looking for, so being able to take it in baby steps and present them with something they can play with really does help. Also, it tends to result in less of a mountain of worthless documentation at the end of it all.

Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Right, not her fault.
If the people you work with, who you presume know something about what they are talking about, tell you "just ask for a dongle" then what do you expect her to do?

I'm lucky. I've been through lots of contracts and so know that, in fact, very few people you will end up working with know what they are talking about. It's an art to find the ones who do.
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Old 28th September 2018, 03:53 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
I remember meetings in IBM where developers were shocked to find what their code was used for.
Oh, yes! Like the German Air Force using an X.400 mail system to pass planes between air traffic control centres...
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Old 28th September 2018, 08:37 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Faydra View Post
Had a conversation today about a script that grepped through a log for a specific string and exited with a code of 1 to indicate a failure.

The person requesting I fix this said we should just change the job to indicate that an exit code of 1 should just be considered a success.

I tried to tell them... the original author of this script thought it important enough to fail the job if this string was found.

Fell completely on deaf ears. They just wanted to "fix the script", not understand why the script was designed to fail if that string was found.

I finally just gave up trying.
Perhaps you should have explained bit to use NOT or != to him.
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Old 28th September 2018, 09:03 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
And sometimes you get a request that just makes you laugh. Just received this email:
I love that!
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Old 28th September 2018, 09:05 AM   #173
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Back when I was in the Navy I once got a trouble ticket that said "Printer malfunctioning because a mouse has shredded all the paper and made a nest in the paper try while the building went unused for a long period."
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Old 28th September 2018, 09:26 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Back when I was in the Navy I once got a trouble ticket that said "Printer malfunctioning because a mouse has shredded all the paper and made a nest in the paper try while the building went unused for a long period."
Now that is an awesome ticket. What brings a smile to my face is when the humor in the ticket arises organically from the situation.

Ms ThePrestige just got a ticket saying, "please remove Mark Smith's middle name from the directory service, as it is causing confusion."

Pretty straightforward. She pulls up his record, and discovers that with his middle name, his first two initials end up being "M. D." He works in a hospital. As a medical assistant (MA). Showing up as "Smith, M.D." would, indeed, be confusing. And also amusing. Ms TP is pretty sure the person who filed the ticket understated the problem on purpose so that she would discover the humor herself in the course of fulfilling the request.

I suspect there may also have been a bit of laconic euphemism involved. "Causing confusion" probably translates to "there's one jerk MD in our department who's extremely butthurt that a lowly MA is running around with M.D. after their name."
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Old 28th September 2018, 09:51 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Back when I was in the Navy I once got a trouble ticket that said "Printer malfunctioning because a mouse has shredded all the paper and made a nest in the paper try while the building went unused for a long period."
Back in the 90's (I guess), I worked at a Quarter Horse race track where the back-office IBM AS/400 (about the size of a thin two drawer file cabinet) had a nest of field mice in the bottom. It was discovered during an upgrade. I got the system sans nest, but the smell persisted. Still worked fine for years.
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Old 28th September 2018, 01:59 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I'm struggling to remember exactly the purpose of the first dongle I encountered. Something tells me that it was for a digital camera, but if so it must have been one of the early ones since it was some time around 1994. I doubt the reliability of this memory.
I remember all too well because it was fall 1992 and as Chief Engineer I convinced management to pay $2000.00 to get Protel for Windows Advanced PCB software and another $2000.00 for a new workstation to use it on. The stupid parallel port security dongle refused to work. Turned out those new fangled on the motherboard parallel ports were not compatible with the dongle. Had to add a separate ISA bus parallel port card to get it working.
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Old 28th September 2018, 02:19 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
I remember all too well because it was fall 1992 and as Chief Engineer I convinced management to pay $2000.00 to get Protel for Windows Advanced PCB software and another $2000.00 for a new workstation to use it on. The stupid parallel port security dongle refused to work. Turned out those new fangled on the motherboard parallel ports were not compatible with the dongle. Had to add a separate ISA bus parallel port card to get it working.
So these serial and parallel port dongles were just to prevent unauthorized use of software, or what?
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Old 28th September 2018, 06:34 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by phiwum
Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
I remember all too well because it was fall 1992 and as Chief Engineer I convinced management to pay $2000.00 to get Protel for Windows Advanced PCB software and another $2000.00 for a new workstation to use it on. The stupid parallel port security dongle refused to work. Turned out those new fangled on the motherboard parallel ports were not compatible with the dongle. Had to add a separate ISA bus parallel port card to get it working.
So these serial and parallel port dongles were just to prevent unauthorized use of software, or what?
Generally. Copy protection/"DRM" has been around for a long time.
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Old 28th September 2018, 07:24 PM   #179
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Now dongles have appeared in quite a few posts, they seem to be of some interest.

As I feel partially responsible for what I regard as a slight derail, I offer this Wikipedia article for those wanting to know what they were.
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Old 29th September 2018, 01:27 AM   #180
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In one of those absurd co-incidences... at Heat request (what we call trouble tickets) landed on me last week, because someone couldn't connect to one of our environments via a laptop with a NextG dongle...

Turned out to be a firewall problem, but it was fun to look into for a while.

This makes me want to look at the Telstra NextG devices and see if they have the word "dongle" printed on them.

Edited to add:

Just found this on Telstra's website:


Quote:
Get started with a SIM Kit or Pre-Paid device

Choose between a modem to connect multiple devices at once, a dongle for laptops or a SIM for everything else.
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Last edited by novaphile; 29th September 2018 at 01:31 AM.
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Old 29th September 2018, 10:03 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
I think you are misremebering here. I don't think I've ever seen a dongle for use with any proprietary hardware. The only effect they ever had on hardware was for it to not work properly anymore.

The dongles were used for software copy protection. They were small things that you plugged (most often) into the parallel port. They then sat there and did nothing obvious.

Today I'm quite okay with calling anything a dongle that is small, plugs into the usb and doesn't do anything immediately obvious. But maybe that's because I'm a german speaking Swiss. We have a history of misusing a lot of english words.
I have seen (and used) hardware dongles as described, they 'usually' had a different socket on the far side (so were basically an adapter that prevented the hardware being used without it)- however some used what appeared to be a serial output on the other side- one actually caused damage to a machines port as it simply 'swapped' the wires around to different pins- which stopped the machine working without the dongle- however, what it did do was when a standard serial plug was plugged into the dongle by mistake wasnt pretty (user was swapping devices and only had limited number of serial ports available) instead of unplugging the dongle and lead and plugging in new lead, they unplugged the machines lead from the dongle, leaving it in the serial port and plugged the other machine into it instead of the serial port...
Scratch one motherboard for the machines controller....

Company that made the machine that required the dongle eventually paid for the repairs (several thousand dollars) only after legal action was taken against them- and that dongle was glued and heatshrinked to its lead so it could never happen again...
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Old 30th September 2018, 08:05 PM   #182
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Today is a public holiday in ACT and NSW, and I think South Australia, and not a public holiday anywhere else. So we have to have people on deck, but only at a reduced staffing level.

I LOVE working the public holidays. The workload is practically nonexistent and I get double time for more than a half shift. Four hours at double is better than seven and a half at single.

This is awesome.
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Old 30th September 2018, 09:05 PM   #183
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Yep, we're slacking off in South Australia too.

Celebrating the 8 hour day.
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Old 1st October 2018, 01:27 AM   #184
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Public holiday in sunny (HA) qld too
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Old 1st October 2018, 06:22 PM   #185
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I worked for four hours and took exactly two calls.
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Old 1st October 2018, 07:19 PM   #186
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This used to be the busiest couple days in the warehousing business. End of fiscal year, and trying to push orders through so they get accounted for in that quarter instead of rolling over to the next one. Inevitably in the chaos, somebody would mess something up (perhaps by fudging a date), which would generate a call. I think by the time I left all support personnel were basically expected to be available Sep 28-Oct 2.
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Old 2nd October 2018, 05:14 AM   #187
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Back on the main topic of the thread, I saw this one before passing to the correct team :
Quote:
I have a call raised XXXXXXXXX from Sep 21st. Despite several emails asking for an update, I haven't received anything.
I tried to escalate this, but still no response.
Is there anybody there or have they all gone home? Is there some magic word or special incantation I have to shout into my screen for this to get actioned?
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Old 2nd October 2018, 09:23 AM   #188
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I got this one this morning:
Quote:
The <printer name> located on 6UCC has been throwing an error and has not been printing for at least a couple of weeks. Several persons in our area have not been able to print using this printer.
Highlighted one relevant part.

The other is, instead of sending this to our service desk (or opening a ticket, which users have been able to do themselves, easily, for about two years now), she sent it to one of our internal groups that includes about half the IT department.
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Old 2nd October 2018, 11:06 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
I got this one this morning:


Highlighted one relevant part.

The other is, instead of sending this to our service desk (or opening a ticket, which users have been able to do themselves, easily, for about two years now), she sent it to one of our internal groups that includes about half the IT department.
Did you ask if there was paper in the paper tray and if the paper tray tray was completely seated into the proper shelf of the printer? Check those two things and report back?

When they report back that's when you tell them to switch the printer off, wait thirty seconds and switch it back on again ...
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Old 2nd October 2018, 06:28 PM   #190
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Oh man it feels good when someone comes to you with a mystery and you solve it.

Caller said that emails from three particular members of staff are just not arriving. He can receive emails from other people, just not these three. They do not get delivery failure notification. Also, this had been going on for months. He could receive emails from those people if they were sent to a distribution list that he was a member of.

Checked his workstation and what did I find? A bunch of Rules that were still in effect from an older version of Outlook, that were set up to automatically move emails from those people into folders. Where were those folders? Subfolders of Deleted Items. He clearly deleted the folders without realising that he had to disable the Rules that moved emails to those folders.

Mystery solved! Damn that felt good.
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Old 3rd October 2018, 09:12 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Did you ask if there was paper in the paper tray and if the paper tray tray was completely seated into the proper shelf of the printer? Check those two things and report back?

When they report back that's when you tell them to switch the printer off, wait thirty seconds and switch it back on again ...
No, actually, I don't do desktop support. I'm a server guy

I did forward her email to the actual service desk, so it could be made into a ticket and routed appropriately.
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Old 3rd October 2018, 06:03 PM   #192
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Dear Users:

Do not phone or email individual agents with your requests. Even if you think you will get better service from an individual than by going through the standard established procedure, you won’t. Apart from the fact that it would be the exact opposite of transparent and accountable, it also suffers from what could be called the Bus Problem. If the agent you sent an email to suddenly gets run over by a bus, then your request disappears and cannot be accounted for.
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Old 3rd October 2018, 06:05 PM   #193
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Sometimes problems appear in reverse.

I have asked the appropriate people four times to repair an email glitch, and each time the request is ignored.

It is possible that if I knew which software is involved, and had access to it, I could fix the problem myself, but unfortunately I don't know and don't have access.



Also, unfortunately, escalation is not possible; I have no idea who handles the actual software, or even whether it's in-house or outsourced.
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Old 3rd October 2018, 08:54 PM   #194
arthwollipot
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"I just got a quick question about my setup when I connect from home using my laptop. The remote connection seems to keep the sides of the screens as I was working from my office but I need that the side of the screen just get what is available in my laptop – double click the top of the screen I am working on seems that doesn’t work.

Appreciated your suggestions,

Cheers"

I have absolutely no idea what this person is asking.
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Old 4th October 2018, 12:58 AM   #195
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They want their mstsc/citrix/? session in a window rather than fullscreen? Maybe. <shrug>

Apparently they don't want it enough to take the time to write sentences with coherent grammar.
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Old 4th October 2018, 01:02 AM   #196
zooterkin
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
"I just got a quick question about my setup when I connect from home using my laptop. The remote connection seems to keep the sides of the screens as I was working from my office but I need that the side of the screen just get what is available in my laptop – double click the top of the screen I am working on seems that doesn’t work.

Appreciated your suggestions,

Cheers"

I have absolutely no idea what this person is asking.
Maybe meant 'size' rather than 'side'? They want the remote session to use the laptop screen resolution as the maximum screen size, not scroll around the larger screen of the remote system?
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Old 4th October 2018, 01:27 AM   #197
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Or they are trying to use software that only runs on the desktop at work and is either not accessible outside the office or not installed on their laptop.
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Old 4th October 2018, 06:25 AM   #198
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How is it in 2018 people don't understand that their monitor isn't their PC and vice versa?

Okay so to over simplify it somewhat the health care company I contract out to for IT support has two types of workstations in general use for their office, personnel, human resources, insurance, claims and billing and other general admin type workers. HP Small Form Factors (Elite Desk 800s mostly) and HP Thin Clients (T520s mostly).

Most of the worker bees get the Thin Clients because literally all their work is done in the company's web portal or various insurance and medical websites so all they need is a functioning web browser and very basic office and productivity software (MS Office, Adobe and.... and... hell that might actually be it) and the thin clients are substantially cheaper with lower overhead.

But... 10-20% abouts of the general admin/office workers for some reason or another, usually support of older legacy software, need to us a specialized piece of equipment (various scanners and mail postage scales and assorted other frippery), or other reasons require a full PC.

All pretty bog standard.

Anywho this one lady was getting moved from one position to another and in the process was being upgraded from a Thin Client PC to a full workstation.

It took me a legit hour to convince her that she could still keep her big dual monitor setup before she would let me swap out the machine. And again this is replacing her thin client with a full PC that would have all the capability plus some of her original machine.
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Old 4th October 2018, 07:02 AM   #199
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
They want their mstsc/citrix/? session in a window rather than fullscreen? Maybe. <shrug>

Apparently they don't want it enough to take the time to write sentences with coherent grammar.
Or include a screen shot.
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Old 4th October 2018, 07:04 AM   #200
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
Or include a screen shot.
Cue User: "Screen shot? How do I do that? I'm not a computer person I don't understand all these techie terms..."
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- "To the best of my knowledge the only thing philosophy has ever proven is that Descartes could think." - SMBC
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