Re: No, this is not right
% First and foremost: Not all computer
> users are computer literate. They were
> hired because (hopefully) they are
> "sufficiently skilled" in some other art
> which directly or indirectly contributes
> to the value of their company. It is
> that simple.
I'm sorry. It's not that simple... nothing is. A regional outside salesman cannot simply be good at selling: he or she must be reasonably skilled at operating a motor vehicle. Someone who deals with documents all day cannot repeatedly break the copier and expect favorable reviews. A system administrator cannot simply do her job without being nice to the end-user; people skills are required, too.
Likewise, in this day and age, if you are in a position that requires computer use, it is expected that you understand or be willing to learn their proper operation. "Delete any unnecessary email" is as straightforward a directive as "Reset the copier options after use". If you don't understand, ask someone who does. It's your job.
> The reason an organization hired
> system administrators is so that their
> artists, accountants, engineers (yes,
> engineers) and executives would not have
> to worry about "why the -email is down"
> or "why the dhcp leases have are
I couldn't agree more... end users should not be concerned with the details of a DHCP broadcast or an inet problem, but I don't think that is the issue here. It has been my humble experience, though, that the DHCP server doesn't run out of numbers nearly as often as users change Network Neighborhood settings, and email servers aren't down nearly as often as Netscape preferences are 'adjusted'. So why was I hired? To go behind folks that thought they could do my job (even though their champion argued that they were not hired for their computer skills)?
Fortunately, this is not the sort of fire I most often put out. I am most often responding to pleas for help with MS Word and Netscape Messenger. I have access to these folks resumes, and believe me, the software skill set gets pumped way up. You could be right - I might be overexpecting, but when you indicate that you have 4 years experience with Word, I expect you to know how to use styles and sections to lay out a document. And I am a very patient person with a user's first few experiences with mailbox space exhaustion. But the 10th time I have to point out that folder full of "WhyMenDon'tDoDishes.jpg" crap, I get a little testy.
> Quite simply: that is your job. You
> mention that you experience hours of
> boredom, then panic and frustration.
> Your hours of boredom should be filled
> with this: figuring out what your
> customers (i.e. users) really need or
> perhaps how you can really help your
> company save some money.
That is precisely what I do, because I don't make the company any money. At least, that is the management perspective. I earn all the disrespect of a cost center: management looks at me like a leaky faucet. And unfortunately, a good bit of my efforts involve telling folks that what they are doing is inefficient. This does not stroke the ego (no, sysadmins are not the only egomaniacs in the building). So I come across as being someone that... well, someone folks don't care much for. It doesn't matter that I try to smile and say "please thank you I love you".
"What my customers really need" and what my customers really want are two opposite ends of two different universes. My suggestions might be humbling, nerdy, cryptic, or just plain unsexy, but I'm not being dramatic when I say that, were my marketing department left to their own philosophies on file storage, backup schedules, bandwidth usage, email organization or virus checking, we'd all be looking for new jobs. Strangely enough, you seem to agree here without concurring that perhaps, the user should humbly heed the advice of the sysadmin.
> Administering, whether it be network,
> servers, workstations, is necessarily a
> support function. What would make your
> users happy? Likely if they left an
> email or phone message that said "my
> e-mail doesn't work, please fix it".
> And then, in a timely fashion, it would
> be fixed. In the mean time they would
> perform functions which do not require a
> particular service until you had it
> fixed. They do not know your lingo -
> they may have never read an RFC, they
> may have never read the user's manual or
> your FAQ. Why? Because they were not
> hired to do that and more importantly
> that is not where their passions lie.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. And I know you winced when you typed it, because you know it's not true. It bears repeating: if your argument were correct, then you would effectively be telling me that it's ok for me not to be nice to the end user, because that's not where my "passions lie". All I have to do is fix the machine. Life is complex. Many tasks involve using a computer, a pencil, a copier, a car, a smile, a calculator, a ruler, a book, a torque wrench. You must know how to use your tools. Period. An argument to the contrary is... unconscionable.
> Have you *ever* read the employee's
> handbook that HR handed you the day you
> were hired?
I know exactly where that manual is... I have read it, and I participate in writing it. It is integrated with the Network policy and usage guide at my company, and it is reviewed with each new employee. Does this make us different than most? Perhaps. Does this mean I don't get unnecessary support calls? Nope.
By the way, please don't assume that I am rude or abrupt with users, or that all of my users are troublesome. I am very polite and cheerful, and inject a fair amount of pleasant or self effacing humor into both conversations and training materials. Many of my users do comprehend styles and sections, and lots of other things. However, when discussing the situation amongst peers, I will address the problem, and tell it like it is.
The argument the author was originally trying to make was that sysadmin's attempts to help the user often fall on deaf ears. The point you make is quite similar - that users often don't care to be educated, and have neither the time nor inclination to "read the manual" if it doesn't relate directly to their "passions". I don't think you disagree, even though you seem to think you do, and I don't think you helped the case of the end-user much, if at all.
Re: Auto completion
> Ok, I want to start Gimp. So I enter
> gi<tab>, wait
> half an hour until bash has searched
> thru my
> harddrive until in finds all matching
> binaries and
> I can pick the right one.
I hate to sound Redmondian here, but if you're running GIMP, chances are good that you are in X... I love a terminal window just as much as the next guy, but for image manipulation, you're gonna have to grab the mouse sooner or later. Just click the desktop icon.
If you really can't stand a desktop shortcut, put symlinks to all your executables in a /shortcut directory and do your tab completing from there.
I'm neither for nor against this gimp/bin idea... I am for any good idea whether or not it rocks the boat. "Just because this is the way we've always done it" means nothing to me on its own merit. If there's a good reason, by all means, say so. If we just like to argue with people who have ideas, we should examine our methods. No progress will be made this way.