Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Average and Retroactive Stupidity

Have you ever had somebody say something so stupid that it sucks the intelligence out of everything else they say? As if you are averaging their intelligence across their comments. Or are you averaging their stupidity?

Tech support from our printer supplier emailed me to say the user complaining about a smell and noise when they print may "have no toner cartridge installed." I don't know about you, but my printer doesn't print at when the toner or ink cartridge is removed. The printers are intelligent enough to know this, apparently some printer techs are not.

Their next suggestion was actually very insightful and under normal circumstances could have been considered brilliant. Since the printer was reporting toner level at 0% they suggested that installing a fresh toner may resolve the "burning smell" issue. Of course! Why didn't we think of that before?

Unfortunately the ballast of the first comment is dragging the second one down so it is no longer 'brilliant' or 'insightful'. Instead we just have a 'good idea'.

A similar effect can be achieved by stating something intelligent followed by something stupid. In IT support we often see this from Cliff Clavin-type users who say things like "I ran out of hard drive space. I need more RAM" In this case the stupidity is retroactive.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

And you are...?

There are times when I have been able to solve a problem from a brief or poorly worded description. Most of that is experience and intuition getting together for an educated stab in the dark, not clairvoyance or omniscience. Judging from some of the work orders I receive, however, a lot of people think it is the latter.

They must think of us as minor deities to think that we can solve an issue from, "I can't log in." Keep in mind that our ticketing system only identifies the location the complaint is coming from, the rest is up to the person submitting the ticket. We even seed the ticket with reminders, "replace with short description of issue" and that sort of thing. Yet, each day we get tickets with such detailed information as "1 computer not working" when the site has 5 computers.