• September 2008
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IT Gets You Down Sometimes, But It Comes With the Job

Just because one’s job location moves to a less busy, smaller location, doesn’t mean that life is simple.  Take today for example.  I started the day off with a high school teacher who couldn’t connect her digital camera via firewire to her student’s computers.  Easy fix, right?  Unfortunately not.  I worked on this for two hours before the teacher had to lock up the cameras for the day.  No drivers for the firewire cards, and no drivers for the camera available.  Just some bad software that doesn’t appear to work.  I have to go back tomorrow afternoon to work on this one.  Next, I take my lunch, then we have a mandatory meeting where a bunch of “new rules” are put into place.  This happens whenever the higher ups hear about anything that happens in the real world.  I don’t blame my manager for any of these “new rules”, it just comes with the job.

Then I attempt to contact three or four customers to close out some easy work tickets.  But its already passed 4:00, and apparently no one stays until 5:00.  So I can’t get a hold of these people, and these easy tickets continue sitting in my queue.  Ok, moving on.  I have a very nice CAD instructor, with some influence and a reputation, whose CAD installation isn’t quite perfect.  He likes things perfect.  But he is a nice guy, so I’m not stressing this one.  It just sucks that CAD doesn’t seem to work on any image I find, and so I’ll have to spend two days rebuilding it.  Oh yeah, and he mentions that he wants CAD, Solid Works, Revit, and the rest of the boys installed on his office computer (along with the latest and greatest Visual Studio 2008).  So, we’ll just bump this up to a four day project.  Not a biggy, comes with the job.

So, I go about the rest of my night, while it is quiet and slow, trying to learn how to build software packages with Symatnec’s Wise Package Package Builder.  Great looking piece of software compared to the trash package builder that LANDesk sold us.  I’m getting a lot of pressure from our management to build a package deployment solution for labs and classrooms, and move away from our Ghost imaging solution.  If I want tools that work, its up to me to research them, evaluate them, and argue that the money we’re spending admist state-wide budget cuts is worth it.  God, do I hope its worth it.

Oh, but I forgot, the boss just told me that I have to unstinall Everdream’s EDMS on every computer in our network as soon as possible.  Its been out there for a couple of years, and no one has used it.  Suddenly, this is an urgent project.  Mind you, there is no documentation on this stuff.  The isntaller doesn’t work with the /uninstall switch, and there is no other install media or MSI available for me.  No one is still around who knows anything about it except the smart guy that moved into Server Services (then again, I think he is the only one that knew anything about it from the beginning).  So, I email him and call it good for now.

Back to Wise.  While building a package for Firefox, using some great video tutorials from AppDeploy.com, I get interupted by lab assistants who are new and can’t fix the buggiest software that has has ever been spawned (GenevaLogic’s Vision), only to find out that by the time I get up from my desk, walk over to the classroom, and ask the instructor if she needs any help with this bastard of a software program, that no, she didn’t need any help.

I peacefully go back to my desk and continue working on building my first Wise MSI package, which doesn’t work.  I guess I shouldn’t have multitasked and built those last few Kiosk OSD scripts in LANDesk while also building this software package.  The damned thing does not capture the Firefox profile in the Application Data folder which I manually copied to the Default User’s profile.  By the time I fiddle with this and try a few far reaches only to find that my technique has no logical reasoning behind it, my head is pounding and my stomach is wrenching from old coffee at the school cafe. I spend the rest of my night, all fifteen minutes, making sure that the kids (I mean lab assistants) are not burning candles on the front desk, or pissing off that afore mentioned CAD instructor with over zealous yet inexperienced technical assistance.  I gather my things, and with my frustration-caused throbbing headache, head home only to sleep and come back the next day.

All in all, IT work isn’t that bad, as long as you have an outlet, and you can succeeed every now and then.  Politics, customers, technology that doesn’t work worth a shit, are all made up for when you get to be a part of something larger, or at least work on something interesting.  I mentioned that I am responsible for creating a new system of doing things at our college.  This is frustrating at times, like tonight when things don’t work, but when they do work I go home feeling like I’ve done the world some good (or at least my community).  There is a kind of rush about figuring things out, and making IT work.  Maybe tomorrow I will make some IT work, and feel good about what I’ve accomplished.  Sometimes, this also comes with the job.

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