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It’s not the network or the application, it’s the…

Level 12

If you’ve worked in IT for any amount of time, you are probably aware of this story: An issue arisesthe application team blames the database, the database admin blames the systems, the systems admin blames the network, and the network team blames the application. A classic tale of finger pointing!

But, it’s now always the admins fault. We can’t forget about the usersoften the weakest link in the network.

Over the years, I think I’ve heard it all. Here are some interesting stories that I’ll never forget:

Poor wireless range

User:     Since we moved houses, my laptop isn’t finding my wireless signal.

Me:        Did you reconfigure your router at the new location?

User:     Reconfigure…what router?

The user had been using their neighbors signal at their previous house. I guess they just assumed they had free Wi-Fi?  However, this was almost a decade ago when people were unaware that they could secure their Wi-Fi.

Why isn’t my Wireless working?

User:     So, I bought a wireless router and configured it, but my desktop isn’t picking up the signal.

Me:        Alright, can you go to ‘Network Connections’ and check if your wireless adapter is enabled?

User:     Wait, I need a wireless adapter?

Loop lessons

I was at work and one of my coworkers…let’s call him the hyper enthusiastic newbie. Anyway, the test lab was under construction, lab devices were being configured and the production network wasn’t connected to the lab yet. After hours of downtime, the hyper enthusiastic newbie came to me and said:

Newbie:               I configured the switch, and then I wanted to test it.

Me:                        And?

Newbie:               I connected port 1 from our lab switch to a port on the production switch. It worked.

Me:                        Great.

Newbie:               And then to test the 2nd port, I connected it to another port on the production switch.

This is a practical lesson on what switching loopbacks can do to the network

Not your average VoIP trouble

A marketing team member’s VoIP phone goes missing. An ARP lookup showed that the phone was on a sales reps desk. The user decided to borrow the phone for her calls because hers wasn’t working. Like I said, not your average VoIP trouble.

One of my personal favorites: Where's my email?

User:     As you can see I haven’t received any email today.

Admin: Can you try expanding the option which says today?

Well, at least it was a simple fix.

Dancing pigs over reading warning messages

So, a user saw wallpaper of a ‘cute dog’ online. They decided to download and install it despite the 101 warning signs that his system threw at him. Before they knew it…issues started to arise: Malware, data corruption, and soon every system was down. Oh my!

Bring your own wireless

The self-proclaimed techie user plugs in his wireless travel router that also has DHCP enabled. This DHCP also first responds to a client that asks for an IP. As you all know, this can lead to complete Mayhem and is very difficult to troubleshoot.

Excuse me, the network is slow

I hear it all the time and for a number of reasons:

Me:        What exactly is performing slowly?

User:     This download was fine. But, after I reached the office, it has stopped.

Me:        That is because torrents are blocked in our network.

That was an employee with very high expectations.

Monitor trouble!

Often, our office provides a larger sized monitor to users who are not happy with their laptop screen size. That said:

User:     My extra monitor displays nothing but the light is on.

Me:       Er, you need to connect your laptop to the docking station.

User:     But I am on wireless now!

Due to all these instances, user education has been a priority at work. However, these situations still continue to happen. What are your stories? We’d love to hear them.

Level 17

*Instead of Dancing Pigs or a Cute Dog, it was those stupid Waterfall and Butterfly Screen savers... Circa 2K - I started reading the EULA's.

  Once this 'screensaver' is installed, the software company X is not responsible for the state of your machine, or the information that may or may not be shared with other 3rd parties in effort to find you 3rd party apps and plugins, etc. Nor was the company responsible for any software downloaded to your machine with or without your knowledge, either by said company or by any 3rd party company. Thereafter resulting in bad stuff being done to your PC; stuff that you could not blame anybody but the user for.

*Questions about this and that not working with someone's network after they hooked up a wireless keyboard and mouse.

*Service/Help Desk with the # 4-INFO often gets calls about how to Hail a Cab or where to order Pizza...

Level 12

Ah yes - I remember that one too - I connected a wireless keyboard and now I cant go online. This despite the fact that the user was able to the web address in the address bar.

Level 12

Users : Creating IT job security since 1980 !

Level 12

You won't believe this :

My help desk tech just came back from a remote site where the manager said that "Nothing works this morning".

We've just had a major upgrade on our ERP last night, but all went well.

Anyways, the manager claims nothing is working. The tech went through the ERP software, looked for error messages, checked some settings, everything seems fine. The manager says "No, it's when I make an invoice". "Then sell me a coffee" offered the tech. The manager produces the invoice, and at the end of the process (which works flawlessly), there's a YES/NO question saying "Do you want to print a coupon ?". The manager exclaimed "There ! See ! It wasn't asking that yesterday !"...

Nothing. Works. This. Morning.

Sometimes I despair for us...

Level 12

One new message and its an application problem!

Level 12

Yeah, but the worst is the idea that "nothing works" while in fact they just have to click "yes" one more times than they previously did...

Level 9

One of my favorites was when a remote user had a pop up on his screen that he wanted us to look at.

His response to me asking for a screen shot was him walking his laptop over to a copier, making a "copy" of his screen, then faxing the physical copy to me.

And to think that he manages a muti-million dollar office...

Level 12

IT fun never stops.. A user who joined today asked if the company allows employees to carry their additional monitor (a 24 inch dell monitor!) home with the laptop!

Level 12


Level 7

An employee said there was a problem with his email because his Outbox icon kept spinning and therefore freezing his email. I immediately thought it was a Mac Mail issue, but it turns out he was trying to send a 275MB file.

Level 17

We allow you to do that with the one your paid for... and brought here first.

Level 12

10MB... is that all? Does that mean I cant email that movieeeee!!!

Level 12

And please leave those phones at your desk.. I meant that big phone.. yes, that IP phone..

Level 17

It doesn't work at your house.. no Video conferencing from the home now. 

Level 15

This brought back good memories of life in IT from my past 30 years.  Thanks!

Level 12

30 years must have given you a treasure trove of stories.

Level 13

Ah, the classic layer 8 issue.

I had a call once where I called a branch office that was down following a thunderstorm. I won't bore you with all the details, but the call started with the person who answered asking me to wait while they tried to figure out a problem with their alarm system (they couldn't turn it off). It ended with me saying, "If your alarm panel says '38 SMOKE/FIRE' and you and your coworkers actually do smell smoke, I would go with the assumption that the alarm system is operating as designed. Please exit and lock the building, then call the fire department, security, and your regional manager, in that order. Once the fire department has cleared you to re-enter the building, give me a call back and we'll pick up where we left off."

While I did not have the authority to tell an office to close, my decision to do so in that case was never questioned.

Level 12

That reminds me.. not an user joke, but when I was in tech support. While everyone else were exiting the office after an earthquake, there was one colleague who was on a call and patiently asked his customer:

"May I place this call on hold for a couple of minutes. I think the building I am in has been hit by an earthquake and my facilities team is asking me to evacuate"

The customer responded: "Please get out instead of asking me such a stupid question during emergency".

It was a mild earthquake but most "people" never ever take an evacuation seriously. Even IT.