DPM's diary 4 July 2006

As flaming June slides stickily into baking July without any credible sign that climate change is going to flip us into the next ice age, the absentee rate in the Bogcaster IT department rises alarmingly.

C P Bound

Monday

As flaming June slides stickily into baking July without any credible sign that climate change is going to flip us into the next ice age, the absentee rate in the Bogcaster IT department rises alarmingly. Much of the blame lies with the coincidence of Wimbledon, the World Cup and, that perennial sporting favourite with IT types, Henley Regatta. If we continue to lose people to bad backs and dodgy stomachs at this rate, I will be manning the service desk by the end of the week.

Tuesday

I was wrong. Today we are in such straits that Dave actually asked me to come down and help. He must be desperate.

As far as I could see there was only me, Dave, Charlie and a couple of students in the office. So today I was the voice of Bogcaster IT service desk. It is not a problem. I can be arrogant, obnoxious and make users feel inadequate and stupid. Nothing to it really.

Wednesday

Dave is trying to run a set of end-of-month financials. This is the new user-driven, fully parameterised FMS that the director of finance insisted we pay £4m for last year - just before he took early retirement and went to work for the supplier as a consultant. The thing requires more operational intervention and maintenance that your average self-build steam-powered gyrocopter. Last month it took four systems programmers three days to get the standard set of reports out. Now Dave is by himself and must finish by 4pm tomorrow. I suggested it would be easier to image last month's reports, do a bit of adding up on a calculator and hand cut the new month's figures. He sneered at my naivety.

"Actually, seeing as you ask, what I am doing is to screen scrape last month's figures into this database then I will run this little program that updates the figures using a semi-randomised trend analysis algorithm," he said.

Thursday

Latest reports from our helpdesk CRM show that not only have our customer satisfaction ratings improved but time-to-fix stats are also doing better these past couple of days. I suspected a Dave algorithm intervention, but it turns out the figures are kosher. So this means that when we have no one in desktop support doing fixes, just me saying things like "Have you plugged it in?" and "Try shaking the systems box violently for 30 seconds," our performance improves. Interesting.

Friday

Too hot now for Mavis, who rings in with "post natal depression". When I queried the diagnosis, citing her absence of children, or indeed pregnancy, she suggested that mine was a typical male attitude.




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