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Old 17th October 2018, 09:31 PM   #241
arthwollipot
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It surprises me how little trust people have in a simple email.

Hi, I'm phoning to check whether you received an email.

Did the sender receive delivery failure notification?

No.

Was it sent to the correct address?

Yes.

Then the email was received.

She also wanted to check whether an email from her manager was sufficient for the kind of request she had, or whether she needed to do something else. I was very tempted to suggest that that was the sort of question that probably may have been best asked before the email was sent.
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Old 17th October 2018, 11:34 PM   #242
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It may have been delivered by the mail system, doesn't mean it was received by someone who could act upon it. The last place I worked, the IT managed spam filter was sometimes sending messages from the IT department to the junk mail folder.
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Old 18th October 2018, 01:22 AM   #243
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And the email protocol SMTP does not guarantee delivery.
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Old 18th October 2018, 05:25 PM   #244
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For all intents and purposes, it can truthfully be said that if a legitimate message fails to reach its destination, it will report a Delivery Failure Notification to the sender. In all cases with our quarantine system, a report will be sent to the recipient of a quarantined messages because that's what it was designed to do. Emails do not just vanish.

I once experienced a situation where an email took two weeks to arrive at its destination, but that was in 1994.
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Old 18th October 2018, 05:26 PM   #245
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
It may have been delivered by the mail system, doesn't mean it was received by someone who could act upon it.
Oh, and one other thing. In this particular case, the person who could act upon it was me.
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Old 19th October 2018, 01:49 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Oh, and one other thing. In this particular case, the person who could act upon it was me.
I don't think that affects the working of the mail system. A message might be delivered to the mail server, but for some reason your mail client is not able to access it, and you may be unaware of that. The message is delivered, but you cannot see it until the client connection is re-established. Not a hypothetical situation, but one that has happened to me more than once. Similarly, if it is misfiled in the junk folder; again, you won't see it.
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Old 19th October 2018, 01:51 AM   #247
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It's also a less confrontational way of asking why you haven't acted on the email yet, giving the option that the message has gone astray.
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Old 19th October 2018, 02:44 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by malbui View Post
I have a gmail account of the format firstname.lastname. My full name is not desperately uncommon.
Mine is pretty uncommon, I've only a few namesakes that I've found in that way.

Originally Posted by malbui View Post
I have namesakes in NYC, Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, British Columbia, London and Sydney, all of whom are reliably incapable of getting their mail addresses correct in online forms, utilities contracts and, most impressively, CVs.
What gets me is a company who sends x.y@server a receipt when the receipt itself lists the email address as z_y@server. This is a special kind of stupidity.

[quote=malbui;12468864]
The lack of response I get when I try to inform people of their errors is deeply depressing.
I find a threat to some of their senior manager (it's usually easy to find their contact details on Linkedin) to forward the matter to the local DataProc authorities helps. But some staff are frighteningly stupid.

Originally Posted by malbui View Post
The difficulty I have in contacting a number of US-based institutions to tell them of the error is astonishing. Numerous places donít accept contact via mail or twitter; all they offer is a phone number. As Iím in Europe, screw that.
Try Linkedin and search for the company.
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Old 19th October 2018, 06:56 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Try Linkedin and search for the company.
My philosophy is that if I can reply to a mail or click a link to be able to pass a message, I will. But itís not my responsibility to do research to compensate for some strangerís incompetence.
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Old 21st October 2018, 04:31 PM   #250
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I don't think that affects the working of the mail system. A message might be delivered to the mail server, but for some reason your mail client is not able to access it, and you may be unaware of that. The message is delivered, but you cannot see it until the client connection is re-established. Not a hypothetical situation, but one that has happened to me more than once. Similarly, if it is misfiled in the junk folder; again, you won't see it.
Except that that has never happened, and it did not happen in this case. I had the email. It was in a queue.

Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
It's also a less confrontational way of asking why you haven't acted on the email yet, giving the option that the message has gone astray.
I had the email. It was in a queue.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 05:51 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Except that that has never happened, and it did not happen in this case. I had the email. It was in a queue.
Having worked on (written and supported) enterprise mail servers for a significant while, as well as using them for several decades, I know that email is not infallible.
Quote:
I had the email. It was in a queue.
How was she to know that? She sent the email. Nothing happened.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 05:57 AM   #252
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
It may have been delivered by the mail system, doesn't mean it was received by someone who could act upon it. The last place I worked, the IT managed spam filter was sometimes sending messages from the IT department to the junk mail folder.
So working as designed?
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Old 22nd October 2018, 07:02 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Having worked on (written and supported) enterprise mail servers for a significant while, as well as using them for several decades, I know that email is not infallible.


How was she to know that? She sent the email. Nothing happened.
When I worked at IBM Hursley we had access to printing and binding services and I used to keep a box of these under my desk to give to people who came to my office with "a simple question" re: TCP/IP.

Guaranteed delivery was actually one of the selling points for what I knew as Message-Driven Processing and emerged as IBM MQSeries. Because smtp does not guarantee delivery.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 09:53 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I don't think that affects the working of the mail system. A message might be delivered to the mail server, but for some reason your mail client is not able to access it, and you may be unaware of that. The message is delivered, but you cannot see it until the client connection is re-established. Not a hypothetical situation, but one that has happened to me more than once. Similarly, if it is misfiled in the junk folder; again, you won't see it.
When my work email at a federal government agency was using Lotus Notes client and Lotus Domino servers, I know of one instance in which multiple emails which had a user name that did not exist in the domain to which they were addressed were delivered to a user with that user name in a different domain.

More detail: I normally use my middle name, rather than my first. My work email account is <FirstInitial><MiddleInitial<@domain. My user ID on the ERP system we use is <MiddleInitial>. I had a scheduled job on the ERP system set up to send an email to a list of users, inlcuding me, if there was an error. My user record in the ERP system had the email field blank. The system was configured such that if the email in the user record was blank, email would be sent to <ERPuser>@domain (same domain as my email). These emails ended up in the inbox of somebody who worked for a different federal government agency, in a different city, with a different email domain, but whose user name matched the one the ERP system was putting on the email. She replied to the list on the email, obviously perplexed and more than a bit frustrated as to why the hell she was getting these emails. The fix was easy; put the correct email address in the user record of the ERP system. I attribute this primarily to the fact that the whole Lotus Notes/Domino email system was a steaming pile of crap.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 01:26 PM   #255
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Notes and Domino are pretty good if competently administered. At the IBM lab I worked at we had our own support and Notes was integrated with other systems and worked really well. Then corporate took over.
One of the trickier aspects is (damn, forgot the term) the cross-site certificate and references that allow other notes domains to wok together. The bank I worked for was a complete shambles. Supposed to be a global company and we couldn't see colleagues diaries in India or China.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 05:28 PM   #256
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Having worked on (written and supported) enterprise mail servers for a significant while, as well as using them for several decades, I know that email is not infallible.
No, of course it's not infallible. But - especially in a government system - it is by and large reliable enough that it is reasonable to assume that unless a Delivery Failure Notification is generated, the email has arrived safely at its destination. Problems are exceptions, and usually pretty obvious.

Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
How was she to know that? She sent the email. Nothing happened.
Of course nothing is going to happen within two minutes of sending email to a service desk that supports approximately 8,000 users in 11 different government agencies. It's completely unrealistic for us to be able to respond that quickly with anything but an automatic reply, which we don't do.

Anyway, another thing that continually amazes me is how many people don't understand what account locking is all about. We get many calls every day from people whose account has been locked, and almost all of them ask why it was locked. It's always the same answer. It's been the same answer for fifteen years. You got your password wrong too many times. Every Windows/Active Directory environment does it.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 10:00 PM   #257
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Of course nothing is going to happen within two minutes of sending email to a service desk that supports approximately 8,000 users in 11 different government agencies.
Ok, fair enough; that's new information.

Quote:
Anyway, another thing that continually amazes me is how many people don't understand what account locking is all about. We get many calls every day from people whose account has been locked, and almost all of them ask why it was locked. It's always the same answer. It's been the same answer for fifteen years. You got your password wrong too many times. Every Windows/Active Directory environment does it.
Again, true, but it can happen without you actually entering your password incorrectly at all. It's happened to me when I changed the password, as required by the system settings, on my laptop, but forgot or was not able to update the password on my mobile phone. The mobile continued to try to sign in with the old password, and eventually reached the lock-out limit.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 10:24 PM   #258
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Ok, fair enough; that's new information.
Yep, that's the bit that I had neglected to mention.

Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Again, true, but it can happen without you actually entering your password incorrectly at all. It's happened to me when I changed the password, as required by the system settings, on my laptop, but forgot or was not able to update the password on my mobile phone. The mobile continued to try to sign in with the old password, and eventually reached the lock-out limit.
Yes it can, but it's by far less likely. It used to be if you were logged on to two workstations at the same time, and you changed your password on one of them, it would lock you out. Not sure if that still happens. What does happen sometimes is that Credential Manager can store and try to use old passwords. We also use a mobile app suite from Citrix that people can install on their smartphones, and that sometimes stores and tries to use old passwords too. That's a real pain, because the only way we can fix that is to get them to delete and reinstall the apps to their phones, and the install process... let's just say that there are a lot of steps.
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Old 22nd October 2018, 11:43 PM   #259
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Meh. Don't use password, I say!
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Old 23rd October 2018, 03:34 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
When my work email at a federal government agency was using Lotus Notes client and Lotus Domino servers, I know of one instance in which multiple emails which had a user name that did not exist in the domain to which they were addressed were delivered to a user with that user name in a different domain.
Meh, Notes. What would you expect?

Originally Posted by CORed View Post
I attribute this primarily to the fact that the whole Lotus Notes/Domino email system was a steaming pile of crap.
Exactly.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 05:28 AM   #261
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Anyway, another thing that continually amazes me is how many people don't understand what account locking is all about. We get many calls every day from people whose account has been locked, and almost all of them ask why it was locked. It's always the same answer. It's been the same answer for fifteen years. You got your password wrong too many times. Every Windows/Active Directory environment does it.
Nu-hu! I'm sure I remember my password. Your system must have changed it!

Seriously the number of times I get accused of "changing" or having a system that just randomly changes passwords in an average week is a bit high.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 05:30 AM   #262
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Meh. Don't use password, I say!
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Old 23rd October 2018, 05:35 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Nu-hu! I'm sure I remember my password. Your system must have changed it!

Seriously the number of times I get accused of "changing" or having a system that just randomly changes passwords in an average week is a bit high.
On the other hand, the IT folk at my last-but-one employer would routinely ask for our NT passwords if they needed access to our laptops for some reason, despite this being explicitly against the IT guidelines (not to mention common sense). I would always refuse, but I suspect most people gave theirs.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 05:46 AM   #264
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I'm the exact opposite. I have to all but literally fight off users trying to give me their password because, as started this whole thread, most of my trouble calls aren't about anything being broken but the users not knowing how to accomplish a specific task and putting it on me.

75% of my trouble calls are users wanting me to do something for them, not fix an issue. And that means they have to give me their password since doing their job for them means doing it under their account.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 10:55 AM   #265
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My sister sent me a text saying she had set a bag down on one of the TV remotes and now there's only sound but no picture.

Previous experience told me to wait a couple hours before replying.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 05:08 PM   #266
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Originally Posted by alfaniner View Post
My sister sent me a text saying she had set a bag down on one of the TV remotes and now there's only sound but no picture.

Previous experience told me to wait a couple hours before replying.
I had someone once put their handbag down on the power cable.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 05:37 PM   #267
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm the exact opposite. I have to all but literally fight off users trying to give me their password because, as started this whole thread, most of my trouble calls aren't about anything being broken but the users not knowing how to accomplish a specific task and putting it on me.

75% of my trouble calls are users wanting me to do something for them, not fix an issue. And that means they have to give me their password since doing their job for them means doing it under their account.
Do you separate Service Requests from Break Fixes? There could be some statistical reporting you could do.
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Old 23rd October 2018, 09:04 PM   #268
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Here's a good one. Client sent us an email asking a particular question. We responded, saying that they will need to contact a different area for assistance, and closed the ticket. Then client forwarded another copy of the same email to us, advising us that she had logged the first ticket.

Actually come to think of it, it might not have been in that order. It might have been that she logged the first ticket, our automatic reply gave her the job number, then she forwarded us the second copy (of course generating a second ticket) giving us the job number, then we responded to and closed the first ticket, then I linked the second ticket to the first and closed it. But why would she forward us a second copy of the email? It was not a reply to our automated reply, she actually went to her sent items and re-forwarded the original email. I don't understand why someone would do that.

Ah well, never mind. It wasn't our jurisdiction in the first place. It was just unnecessary extra work.
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Old 24th October 2018, 06:11 PM   #269
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Here's a good one. Client sent us an email asking a particular question. We responded, saying that they will need to contact a different area for assistance, and closed the ticket. Then client forwarded another copy of the same email to us, advising us that she had logged the first ticket.

Actually come to think of it, it might not have been in that order. It might have been that she logged the first ticket, our automatic reply gave her the job number, then she forwarded us the second copy (of course generating a second ticket) giving us the job number, then we responded to and closed the first ticket, then I linked the second ticket to the first and closed it. But why would she forward us a second copy of the email? It was not a reply to our automated reply, she actually went to her sent items and re-forwarded the original email. I don't understand why someone would do that.

Ah well, never mind. It wasn't our jurisdiction in the first place. It was just unnecessary extra work.
Did you send her an email telling her you had closed the ticket? We sometimes get people responding to that with Reply All saying "Thank you.". But that triggers a "DO NOT REPLY" to the user from the call-logging system...which they duly send to us as a new job ticket asking why they got that email. And so it goes...
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Old 24th October 2018, 06:29 PM   #270
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Did you send her an email telling her you had closed the ticket? We sometimes get people responding to that with Reply All saying "Thank you.". But that triggers a "DO NOT REPLY" to the user from the call-logging system...which they duly send to us as a new job ticket asking why they got that email. And so it goes...
Yes, our system automatically emails them when a ticket is closed, unless we select the "stop notification" checkbox when we close the ticket. If they reply to that, it re-opens the original ticket and we have to close it again, selecting the checkbox, with the comment "NFAR" (no further action required).
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Old 24th October 2018, 06:32 PM   #271
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Actually it's a bit more complicated than that. We don't close tickets. We "resolve" them. That sends the email, and for the next three days it can be reactivated. After three days it is automatically moved to "closed" and we can no longer reactivate it. If they reply after that time it creates a new ticket.
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Old 25th October 2018, 08:19 AM   #272
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Do you separate Service Requests from Break Fixes? There could be some statistical reporting you could do.
Theoretically yes but we have (essentially) a single client and everything is handled under the same SLA so... functionally no. And with our customer base making no distinction between "My computer is broken" and "I don't know how to (or even just don't want) use it" it's even more meaningless.
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Old 25th October 2018, 08:49 AM   #273
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This ITIL wiki isn't bad.
https://wiki.en.it-processmaps.com/i...ent_Management

I failed one paper on the ITIL v2 Service Manager exam (by 1 lousy point) as it was handwritten and with my damaged thumbs I ended up in too much pain to write
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Old 25th October 2018, 09:00 AM   #274
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Throughout this thread I've used the driver/mechanic metaphor.

Imagine you have a person who drives to work everyday and that's all they know when it comes to cars. They only know the absolute, bare minimum steps that will allow to drive to work under perfect conditions with nothing wrong.

They know to put the put the key in the ignition, turn it and the car starts. They know to move the gear lever to "R" and the car changes to moving backwards. They then know to back out of their driveway. They then know to move the gear lever back to "D." They then know to drive 3.9 miles on Mainstreet and then turn the steering wheel left and that then the car turns left on Highway 1. They know to drive 10 miles on Highway 1 and to turn the wheel right and they then take the off ramp to Work Blvd and to then drive 1.2 miles on Work Blvd and then to turn the wheel left and the car will turn into a parking space in front of work. They then know to move the gear lever to "P" and turn the ignition the other way and then the car will turn off.

Now I worded that very specifically because noticed I didn't phrase it as "Turn the ignition to make the car turn on" or "Turn the wheel to make the car turn." This is not a person who has been taught to "drive" in any real sense of the term but to perform a series of route, one after another, "check in the box" tasking after the next to complete one specific series of events with zero concept of why anything is happening or what step actually causes another.

Now imagine if any change is made to that exact routine, they shut down and become completely unable to function. If one night their son borrows the car and when it returns it he backs it into the driveway into pulling straight in... that breaks the chain. They will sit in the car paralyzed because they get to the "Put the car in reverse" step but can't move on to the next step because the house is behind them and not the road and that don't have any conceptual framework of "Putting the car in reverse when you need it to go backwards" they just know their memorized checklist and "Put car in reverse before leaving the driveway" is on it.

One of the stop signs on Main Street gets replaced with a traffic signal? Complete shut down. Detour on the road so they have to go to the next exit down to get on the highway? Complete shut down.

And that's simple stuff. Borrowing another person's car where the layout of the knobs and switches isn't 100% identical to yours? Complete shutdown hell that's a full on existential "Scream into the void" crisis. Car manufacturer updated a certain feature so it looks different but operates exactly the same? Complete shutdown. Someone borrowed the car and adjusted the seats and mirrors? Complete shutdown.

And their response to everything is the same. Complete shutdown and call an all in one mechanic/driver out to drive you to work.

This is not a person anyone would claim with intellectual honest was a "good driver" or "had excellent car skills" or should take a job that requires them to drive a car all day without further training.

But that's the level of about.... 80% of my customer base, literally. They were never taught to "use" a computer or what any of the programs they work on actually does in any real sense of the term. They got the job, they sat down with someone (who also didn't know anything about what they were doing beyond "Do this, then do this, then do this") for a week or so and watched them go "Okay you press this button, then this button, this this menu will pop up, so you select this option, then press this button, the this screen will pop up, so you select this button, then this menu option, and then finally this button." and that's the entire limit and scope of what they know how to do.

And whenever that doesn't happen in the exact same order in the exact same way and produce the exact same results... like I said they shut down. I've had users shut down, I mean just literally sit at their desk and play on their phones for hours waiting for one of the "Computer guys" to show up because a menu option they never used changed.

Combine this with the passive aggressive "Oh I'm just not a computer person" excuse, the idea that it's perfectly valid for a person to get a job that is literally 100% done on a computer and know nothing about them, and the idea that IT Support pointing any of this out makes us "rude" or "unprofessional" and it doesn't always make for the most rewarding career.
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Old 25th October 2018, 11:26 AM   #275
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Dear Email administrator:
How can you say I read and open an email when I didn't?

(This goes down so many rabbit holes)
-iPhones and other devices doing wonky things
-Gmail 'Conversation' view mucking up the filed
-filters wrenching emails to other places
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Old 25th October 2018, 11:57 AM   #276
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Dear Email administrator:
How can you say I read and open an email when I didn't?

(This goes down so many rabbit holes)
-iPhones and other devices doing wonky things
-Gmail 'Conversation' view mucking up the filed
-filters wrenching emails to other places
Preview pane. Preview pane + "Read Receipt" is one of the banes of my existence.

I can tell you, within a more than reasonable margin of error, if someone had an e-mail open. I have no possible way of telling you if they read it, comprehended it, or are going to respond to it.
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Old 25th October 2018, 01:59 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
For all intents and purposes, it can truthfully be said that if a legitimate message fails to reach its destination, it will report a Delivery Failure Notification to the sender. In all cases with our quarantine system, a report will be sent to the recipient of a quarantined messages because that's what it was designed to do. Emails do not just vanish.

I once experienced a situation where an email took two weeks to arrive at its destination, but that was in 1994.
I had an issue a couple of years ago where emails, apparently at random, sent to me would vanish into the aether with no Delivery Failure Notification. It started after my domain host of the time upgraded their servers and seemed to be related to problems with (iirc) my virtual domain hosts not being updated correctly. After missing an unknown amount of mail, orders and losing a customer due to lost mail, and spending enough time arguing with their technical support to establish that they didn't understand the difference between incoming and outgoing mail, I just gave up and changed domain hosts. Much better.
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Old 28th October 2018, 08:34 PM   #278
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A weird thing I've noticed that is not anything to do with a caller's IT knowledge. A surprisingly large number of callers appear to be incapable of hanging up the phone properly.

We have a standard VoIP handset across all our clients. As far as I know the process of returning the handpiece to the cradle isn't particularly complicated or difficult, but many people seem to be unable to do it. Every day I'll end a call, I'll hear the caller fumble at the cradle, then go off and have a conversation with someone else that I can still hear because they haven't hung up the phone properly.
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Old 29th October 2018, 06:11 AM   #279
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
A weird thing I've noticed that is not anything to do with a caller's IT knowledge. A surprisingly large number of callers appear to be incapable of hanging up the phone properly.
Speaking with my consumer electronics design engineer hat on. Assuming "large number" means more than 0.5% then almost certainly that is either do to poor design of the phone hang up switch system or faulty hangup switches. I've thrown away or returned for credit many of phones over the last 40 years for those two reasons.
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Old 29th October 2018, 05:04 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by paulhutch View Post
Speaking with my consumer electronics design engineer hat on. Assuming "large number" means more than 0.5% then almost certainly that is either do to poor design of the phone hang up switch system or faulty hangup switches. I've thrown away or returned for credit many of phones over the last 40 years for those two reasons.
I suspect the former, rather than the latter. But I've got the same model (Cisco IP Phone 7941 if you are familiar), and though I use a headset, I honestly can't see why there should be an issue. The handpiece sits in the cradle neatly and snugly and doesn't fail to make a firm connection with the hangup switch. I don't understand how so many people can fail.
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