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Dec. 21st, 2005

I got the kind of support call today that you can only get when you've been somewhere for a good long time. One of our rent-a-techs who works three days a week in the Health and Human Services department calls me. "Do you know of any changes made over here at two Holcomb?" (I love calls that start that way.) Um, no, what's the problem? "Well, two floors of the building can't get on the network. It started late Monday." Oh Hell, I know exactly what the problem is.

Of course, to get to the technology part we must first traverse the people being numbskulls part. The tech then proceeds to tell me that he's got the wiring closet open and is ready to dive in to fix the problem. No. Desktop techs are not to touch anything in any wiring closet anywhere. He proceeds to make those unhappy noises at me that people who are unused to hearing the word "no" emit when someone with the authority to tell them "no" and make it stick does, in fact, say no. I tell him that I will have one of my engineers come out in the early afternoon.

Apparently my assurances that I would have someone on-site in a few hours did not satisfy young Mr. Technology, for not more than forty minutes later one of the Deputy Directors of HHS calls me (on speaker, and I can hear Wonder Tech in the background) to tell me that this tech is qualified to fix the problem. I will admit to taking a certain pleasure in restating very clearly no [Wonder Tech] is not trained or qualified to work on this network. He is not to touch anything in any wiring closets. Once assured that, yes, I will have an engineer on-site before two PM the Deputy Director went away.

So what happened? A little history is required. Back in 2001 we were wiring up youth centers and offices for YO! Hartford (a Federal Department of Labor program for reaching out to "at risk" youth to give them extra help so that they're ready to get jobs when they graduate from high school) all over the city. There was a center in the North End, one in the South End, a satellite program at the Kelvin D. Anderson Community Center, and some offices at no. 2 Holcomb St. As was our practice, we used the ATM network to put them all on the same IP subnet -- four sites all over town effectively on the same LAN, with the router (ATM attached) sitting at the district central office.

Years passed. The offices at Holcomb were vacated. The program at KDA dried up and blew away. The North End center closed last year. The one survivor was the South End center adjacent to (and fed from) Bulkeley High School.

As our great ATM-to-Gigabit upgrade moved around the edges of the network in October and November I remembered that KDA was still on the YO! subnet -- we moved it onto the IP subnet of the adjacent school when we took out the ATM switch in the school that feeds both of those sites. That left YO! South, running off of Bulkeley. Monday night my crew was at Bulkeley taking out the ATM switches in the satellite closets and getting routing for the site and for YO! South moved into the new gigabit switch/router. And that's where the light went on when Wonder Tech said "it started late Monday."

I (and the one other person on my team who was around back then) had forgotten about no. 2 Holcomb. After the YO! office closed in 2002 we never put that part of the building back on the regular Holcomb subnet. Over time HHS glommed that vacant space. When my engineers killed the YO! subnet in the central ATM router and moved it over to Bulkeley, the folks at Holcomb still on the YO! subnet were left high and dry. The fix was easy -- grab the ports on the Holcomb ATM switch that were assigned to the YO! subnet and reassign them to the Holcomb subnet. One of my guys went out to do some hand-holding and make sure that people got back on track. An open-and-shut case once my memory rendered up the appropriate history.

The kicker is that Wonder Tech sent an email to his boss (my counterpart who runs the desktop support group) complaining about being told to stay out of the wiring closets. His boss cc'd me on his response -- telling him that networking is the province of Tech Services (my crew) and that his job is to make sure that the problem gets reported to us as quickly and accurately as possible.

Perhaps next he will make an appeal to the Pope.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
half_elf_lost
Dec. 22nd, 2005 04:49 am (UTC)
Think of the time he probably wasted mucking about first, thinking about how he could try and fix it (and impress his boss). Thank goodness he didn't touch anything. But the stunt he pulled complaining about you (instead of partnering with you) before you even had a chance to fix the problem within the promised timefream was pure corporate evil. Perhaps he'll end up breaking things at my company someday.
netcurmudgeon
Dec. 23rd, 2005 02:58 am (UTC)
What frustrates me more than the immediate misbehavior, is that inside many of these undisciplined kids is a perfectly fine human being who needs only some direction and boundaries.

One of my wife's grad advisors described the current student body at UConn as "the most over parented, under disciplined children" he had ever seen.
half_elf_lost
Dec. 23rd, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)
You're just itching to make me rant, aren't you? LOLOL I've a 12 yo, 9 yo, and a 4 yo. And each one of them well understands the concepts of responsibility and consequences (appropriate to their age, of course). You cannot BELIEVE the overparenting our friends do....checking and perfecting homework and assignments for their kids, while we're like "hey - did you finish your homework? Okay, good!". We figure when the grades come back, THAT will tell us whether our school-aged kids did it right. It's not my JOB to micromanage, it's my kids' job to do their homework to the best of their ability.

And it's sadly enveloped the teachers and administration too (they finally fell to all this cr@p). If I get one more memo about "partnering" with my kids' schools and teachers I'll scream. They BEG you to overparent. Your job is to teach, my job is to parent. There's no need to "partner" if everyone just does their damn job.

And don't get me started on all the "contracts" we're asked to sign. If you dig far back enough in my journal there's a big rant on that concept. It's no wonder why our kids learn to be so litigious.

/rant....sorry!
netcurmudgeon
Dec. 23rd, 2005 03:18 am (UTC)
Amen. No need to apologize.

When we have kids, and they finally get to be school aged, I sincerely hope that people will have come to their senses. Probably not, but I can still hope, right?
half_elf_lost
Dec. 23rd, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC)
They may not have come to their senses by then, but YOU will both have the good sense and tough spine not to give in to all the garbage.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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