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Re: [Computerbank] the support curse


This really addresses a problem of Shauns.

No you shouldn't be travelling, in Vic we either try to help over the
phone or ask people( even from the country ) to bring in their systems to
get fixed.

it's amazing how peopl with out cars can travel by public transport to
have the pc fixed.

Some of our recips load everything to a jeep or suitcase even. I am really
saying that you must tell peopl that you don't do onsite stuff. There is
also a danger problem we have a policy of 2 vols if it's on soite for
everyones protection.

Hope this helps with this prob


On Thu, 10 Jan 2002, Bruce McCubbery wrote:

> Thank you Shaun,
> I finally get what I have needed all along -- a reason the support curse
> exists so badly. As someone from a much different background than most
> involved with Computerbank I'm locked out of this knowledge but I'm keen to
> understand and still keen to help wherever I can.
> I will be pondering what you said (below) very hard, Shaun.
> There just HAS to be an answer (or answers) to this plainly irritating
> situation.
> To move off the dime a bit, can you tell me what easy answers a help person
> -- without all the knowledge the very best ones should have -- could cover?
> I'm immediately accepting that what you say is so -- and it is simply NOT
> ON that you have to travel miles (particularly outside of Adelaide) to do
> any of it -- what can we do to reduce the help load people like you (the
> experts among us) have?
> I think, as I ponder on trying to come up with as many ways as I can that
> will help ease our load in this area, I need some insights into what
> proportion of the "help" needed is simply answered. How much could be fixed
> by someone without the extensive background needed for the harder examples?
> Also, I think I need to know if the situation you describe is because you
> distribute older machines than pentiums in SA which (I think?) VIC doesn't
> do any longer.
> Thank you very much for bringing me to this stage.
> Regards, Bruce (Ascot Vale, Melbourne)
> PS. When I learn some more I think I'll be suggesting a way (as yet
> unthought of) which might "qualify" requests for help, running them through
> a first stage process to see what level of expertise seems to be needed.
> At 20:39 9/01/02 +1030, Shaun Branden wrote:
> >On Wed, Jan 09, 2002 at 06:45:52PM +1100, Bruce McCubbery wrote:
> >> 
> >> So I've lanced this boil for a few of you?
> >> 
> >> Simple.
> >> 
> >> If you don't want to do it, then don't.
> >
> >Cool, thanks- I will pass them on to ummmm, who ...
> >
> >> * But what about the clients?
> >> 
> >> They'll be better off. They'll get a warm hearted, very patient and
> >> understanding person looking after them instead -- not a distracted
> >> I-hate-doing-this one -- a people person.
> >> 
> >Bruce, what is this magical persons name?, I have some work for them.
> >After you teach them some basic UNIX trouble shooting (that should only
> >take 5 years or so), please ask them to move to South Australia and be
> >expected to drive around, visiting our impatient, rude and sometimes
> >agressive recips. There are several ways of doing offsite support, but
> >unfortunately, a recip saying "It's f^#$ed" is not overly helpful for
> >diagnosis- that happens.
> >
> >We currently use Linux for recip machines. Many of the boxes out there
> >can have severe issues if the power simply goes off. We install a
> >bohemiath of an operating system, because we have to make the systems
> >easier to use- this means that more stuff goes wrong. We install KDE-
> >don't get me started on that waste of resources and catalyst for
> >problems. We then install software to make the machines appear like
> >Windows because that is thought to be user friendly.
> >Every one of these steps makes the job of support harder- but
> >unfortunately marketting always wins over design.
> >
> >I would enjoy support if I was permitted to install a base freebsd
> >system, a couple of ports and the machine was connected to the Internet
> >permenately behind a decent firewall (which I could also ssh into). Then
> >if someone said It's f^$%ed, I could simply log into it via the firewall
> >and the previously setup admin account and look at what was wrong. I
> >could do the trouble shooting, recongigure it, document what I had done
> >and move on to the next one. That is not an option though:)
> >
> >What we really have is:
> >Hardware which is only just good enough for systems that people expect.
> >Low end users (geek joke there) who think that I should come out and see
> >them if: an icon stops working, there is a memory leak (usually from
> >kde or netscape), the can't understand "remember your password", they
> >can't get their cd copy of MS money out of the 5 1/4 floppy, etc, etc,
> >etc.
> >
> >Support is easy- I do it for a living, but the more crap we put on these
> >systems the harder it is. You suggested training up non-geeks who are
> >people friendly to be unix support- that is impossible. I only know,
> >probably 10% of what I would like to know about unix, however that took
> >me 7 years @ ~8 hours per day to learn- that includes weekends. Even
> >learning the standard unix editor can take years. Perhaps we need
> >someone on the phone who can interpret "it's f^%$ed" to mean one of the
> >simms has probably worked loose.
> >
> >> * Where will these sort of helpers come from?
> >
> >fantasy
> >
> >> Through a four step process:
> >> 
> >> First, from recognising the type of person we need to do our support work.
> >
> >techs
> >
> >> Second, by publicly saying we need these sort of people, having recognised
> >> this is truly horses for courses stuff.
> >
> >and pay them the $130/hr our bosses charge while we are at work
> >
> >> Third, by recognising a simple fact: techies relate to machines and
> >> systems, these other sorts of people we will now seek like person to person
> >> interaction and helping others.
> >>
> >fantastic, so get some people who can do the interpreting and we will
> >tell them the fix to pass on. When they get fed up dealing with low end
> >users too, they will stop enjoying support.
> >
> >> Fourth, by then sourcing people like that with some or all of the skills we
> >> now are seeking and training them to be Computerbank support/help
> providers.
> >
> >Techs became techs by learning a difficult task over time, it is not
> >easy.
> >
> >> A totally different other type of Computerbank volunteer.
> >> 
> >> * While also having the proposed mailing list and website for those not
> >> needing this one-on-one personal help.
> >
> >A FAQ will help, but many users don't know enough about what is
> >happening to even ask the right question. Even then, they often don't
> >read for themselves and need to be online to see it. If they are already
> >online, they can come into #computerbank and ask us anyway, or we can
> >pop into their box and take a peek. 
> >
> >Shaun
> >-- 
> >Shaun Branden, email:  shaun@pcuse.com    It's a damn poor mind
> >icq: 10469563, homepage: www.pcuse.com    that can only think of
> >public key www.pcuse.com/shaun/key.txt    one way to spell a word
> >Computerbank SA:  www.linunix.com/cbsa    -- Andrew Jackson
> >_______________________________________________
> >computerbank mailing list
> >computerbank@lists.linux.org.au
> >http://lists.linux.org.au/listinfo/computerbank
> >
> >
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