Lawyer guilty of arrogance after ignoring tech support
When users decline to answer 'have you tried turning it on?' surely no judge would fail to convict?
On Call As the week powers down, The Register brings you another instalment of On-Call, our weekly column in which readers share memories of tech support messes.
This week, meet a reader who has asked to be Regomized* as "Poker Face" and once worked in second-line support for what he described as "a bustling London law firm where time was as precious as the cases they handled."
Poker Face told us that desk moves were a big part of the gig and involved hooking up a laptop, a docking station, a power supply, and all the cabling needed to connect with multiple monitors and Ethernet.
Desk moves were usually on lovely high floors of a big office building – space reserved for lawyers. IT folk travelled from their own low-storey lair to do the job.
The day after making such a trip to move a desk, Poker Face told us he received a call from a seasoned attorney who arrived at his recently reconfigured workspace and couldn't make anything work.
"After placing their laptop in the docking station, no screens turned on, the laptop battery was slowly draining and there was no internet," Poker Face told On Call.
Your fellow reader immediately suspected the power supply wasn't connected, so politely asked the lawyer to check if it had been plugged into a wall outlet.
"I don't understand what that means and I don't have time for this!" was the angry response, followed by the unmistakable percussive sound of a telephone handset being handled roughly as the call was terminated.
The next sound in this story was the attorney arriving in the IT department and demanding that someone accompany them to troubleshoot this urgent – and highly technical – issue immediately.
That demand was accompanied by "Threats regarding continued employment and questioning of general competency" directed at the entire IT support team.
Poker Face recognized the lawyer's voice, sighed, and volunteered to sort things out.
- CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it
- Suits ignored IT's warnings, so the tech team went for the neck
- Making the problem go away is not the same thing as fixing it
- Workload written by student made millions, ran on unsupported hardware, with zero maintenance
That meant accompanying the lawyer high into an office tower, all the while enduring criticism of the IT department's right to exist and how unreasonable it was to expect a highly-trained attorney to troubleshoot complex technical issues.
Once in the office, Poker Face looked under the desk, noticed the power cord dangling, and connected it to the docking station.
Then, having decided not to gloat or delay his return to an enormous pile of trouble tickets, Poker Face left the blushing attorney without saying a word.
Ever had to hold your tongue – or your laughter – after an encounter with a non-technical user? Let it all out in an email to On-Call and we'll share it with your fellow readers.
* "Regomized" is a made-up portmanteau of "The Register" and "anonymized" to indicate we're not using the real names of folks who contribute stories to On-Call. Mentioning that after a reader last week alerted us to a typo.