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Oct 20 2012

Sleazy Joe Walsh doubles down on the crazy

I would have loved to post a quote and link from Joe Walsh claiming his female injured war veteran opponent insulted women, but I can’t. Because out of the blue my mouse suddenly stopped copying and pasting. The PC has been rebooted, the mouse has been replaced, it does everything else except copy and paste. It’s just one of an endless series of tech issues I face everyday that have exploded over the last few years, while resources and expertise to address them have dwindled. So on this deal today, no one here at work, a software development company mind you, seems capable of fixing it or in all honesty, even giving a shit. I guess I’ll just have to work without a major necessary tool functioning all day ::Shrug::

Is anyone else tired of this tech failure bullshit being foisted on non tech people at the workplace and home? If I failed at my job as often as my PC and my laughably understaffed IT department, I wouldn’t last a month. And we know the reason why, it’s the dollars, always the fucking dollars. Tech and IT people like being paid, so it’s much cheaper just to transfer those tasks onto rank and file non experts and if we/they can’t fix it by coming in an hour early everyday, dragging our filthy PC out from under the dark hole in our desk and start experimenting with wires and ports we know nothing about and basically working for free, tough shit, it’s not the company’s problem, it’s your metrics/performance bucko. And when you try to bring it up in a meeting that no other company I’ve ever worked for, big and small, has such a consistent problem with basic critical tools — the mouse is just the tip of the iceberg, every single day major tools crash and won’t come back when we’re right in the middle of an issue that can only be resolved when that tool is functioning – at this so-called tech software firm, you are met with blank uncomprehending stares from managers who are paid three times what you are paid to basically, well, fail at their jobs. It’s just fucking bizarre that well funded, profitable employers are getting away with this shit scot free and I hear the same stories from people all over the workplace nowadays.

This do it yourself attitude has completely taken over the corporate culture where I work. It is epidemic. You need to file for FMLA? Don’t go to HR as the law requires, here’s a confusing website and an 800 number with a myriad of computer prompts leaidng to reps who have no idea what you’re calling about, do it yourself, good luck! You want to sign up for a 401-K and put some money in mutual funds? Don’t ask our advising investment company, we use a discounter, here’s a website with the fund names and fields where you put in percentages – or is dollar amounts? — shucks we dunno, do it yourself, good luck! Your primary or critical secondary tools suddenly stop working, maybe there’s some kind of software conflict, aww shucks we have no idea, look through your files for … something,we dunno what, good luck! Your phone, cable TV, PC, toaster, won’t boot up, unplug it and try again, we have no idea why YOURS isn’t working, good luck!

It is absolute bullshit: this is a subtle but growing symptom of the war on workers waged by the ruling class who want a world where the rules only apply to their drones, not to them. Good luck!

9 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    This do it yourself attitude has completely taken over the corporate culture where I work. It is epidemic.

    A couple of thoughts:
    - With the emphasis on “BYOD” (Bring your own device) it will be likely that everyone will have to be their own system administrator, in the reasonable future. This cost-cutting on the part of companies is short-sighted and will result in massive loss/leakage of information. But that’s not “our” problem.*
    - In the not-too-distant future being computer illiterate is going to be more or less the same as being illiterate in general. If you can’t at least install software and do basic system administration stuff, you’re going to find that some categories of jobs will be harder to get, as you’ll be competing with people who (at least say…) they can manage their own devices.

    Most of this is corporatism fail; the whole push-down to desktop/portable computing was because mainframes got too expensive and PCs were seen as a cost-saving departmental alternative. They forgot to take system administration into account when they went for those savings! The backswing is re-centralizing data to be under professional management – the new mainframe – aka, “cloud computing.”

    (* Except for people like me, with a job title of “CSO”)

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    this is a subtle but growing symptom of the war on workers waged by the ruling class who want a world where the rules only apply to their drones, not to them.

    This will also return to bite them. In their desire to cut costs, they wind up putting themselves into our hands. I am endlessly amazed to see companies place their valuable intellectual property under the untracked control of people in other jurisdictions who are paid disproportionately small amounts. They shouldn’t be surprised at all when that data winds up on the open market.

    If you’re feeling abused/disincentivized, go to work someplace with valuable data, plan to work there long enough to learn the lay of the land, then do a late-night walkthrough with a USB boot device and drop malware on a few important systems, quit, get another job, wait a year, then sell the malware keys on a blacknet site for a couple thousand bucks. Or get a job working a maintenance job that gets you in and out of a lot of corporate facilities.

    The downside that corporatists haven’t factored in to the new environment of zero loyalty is that zero loyalty cuts both ways and they have more to lose.

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    You want Joe Walsh?

    I gotcher Joe Walsh right here!

    * grabs ass *

  4. 4
    julial

    I’m entirely in your corner.
    My explanation differs.
    It’s a throwback to the Old Testament, and entirely obsolete rule of, “You don’t work, so you don’t eat.”
    We haven’t had useful work for everybody for more than half a century. Producing the necessities of food and shelter takes a laughably small proportion of the workforce. The rest have to convince themselves and others that what they are doing is important enough to keep them fed.
    Some folks can do this by designing and manufacturing equipment with intentionally short service lives (crap) so it will have to be replaced. I’m old enough to have seen the (sadly temporary) outrage engendered by “planned obsolescence” in the 1950s & 1960s auto industry. The concept was one-upped by the software giants who are able to obsolete their products by fiat. Good software that you only have to buy once doesn’t keep their programmers paid.
    Some workers earn their salt by entertaining the rest of us (blogs, porn, media in general.) The life of their products is even shorter than that of software. It ranges from a few weeks for the biggest half billion grossing blockbuster to a day or less for the nightly “news.”
    But one place where an unlimited number of drones can pretend to produce value is in bureaucratic paper shuffling, be it in government, insurance or finance. Computers have made this massive make-work possible and their systematic complexities confuse and obscure its essential uselessness.
    The problem has no internal solution in any relevantly short time frame. I expect it will be solved by ecological or societal collapse before we give up that one OT rule.

  5. 5
    ShowMetheData

    I had a direct experience with this
    I was given a new responsibility for working on the issuance of documents that were valuable and I needed to be timely with them. I worked through all the procedures & learned the system.

    But we needed physical files for reference. For that I needed to re-order file labels. I had to walk down to supply, pull the actual freaking catalogue, flip through the index, find the freaking buyer product-codes, and then pull off an order sheet, and write in the order code. We have a supply person but that was not her job. There had been many cuts and she had more important things to do.

    American management has the cutting disease – it is easier and more sure to work a spread-sheet and cut people than actually manage a business. There is no depth of personnel and no opportunity to be more than a processor of current business.

    You can see what happens – anything extraordinary (and extraordinarily profitable) gets neglected
    Banks Responsible for 800,000 Unnecessary Foreclosures

    Billions lost because there was no depth

  6. 6
    dfarmer1584

    I read your blog regularly, but rarely comment. However, your rant struck a nerve with me. The problem you cite, with faulty tech generally, has indeed been a growing annoyance in my life as well.

    In general the overall quality of all types of new tech is atrocious and getting worse all the time–and by “new tech” I mean computers, cell phones, game consoles etc, as opposed to old tech like receivers, TVs, amps etc. I have no complaints at all about the advances and applications of new tech–far from it. The things we can do with our tech–when it works!–are amazing and only getting better! Kudos to the high tech industry for revolutionizing our society in largely positive and wonderful ways! My growing exasperation is strictly with the never ending equipment FAILURES of that tech, and lack of industry support/ responsibility for those failures.

    It boggles my mind. The amount of unreasonable equipment failures and the non-existence of industry accountability for shoddy products are not accepted by consumers of any other industry that I can think of. We would not purchase a power tool, for example, knowing with certainty the tool will not work correctly in 18 months. The industry standard for power tools, as well as most other consumer electronics and appliances, is that products will be in good working order for at least a decade. With some products the expectation is that the product will work FOREVER. But, we take it as normal from the relatively young high tech industry that their equipment will fail very quickly—two years is the absolute maximum. How did this become the state of things?

    With the telling exception of the first two computers I purchased, every PC and every laptop I have owned since the early 90s has had a major hardware failure within two years. Each has also had software problems at some point as well, but that is more understandable and easier/less costly to fix. The first and the second PC I owned STILL work—of course, you can’t do anything with them now, but they still run as well as they did when I first opened the box. The same pattern holds in a different section of the high tech industry: game consoles. The Atari 2600 I got as a gift in Jr. H.S. still works. The Nintendo I replaced it with in the early 90s still works. Every game console I have had since then though; PS; PS2; Xbox; 360; PS3 (x2!), have all broke down within two years. Cell phones are now following the same pattern.

    My point is this: For the better part of twenty years now the high tech industry has completely abandoned product quality and durability as an important factor in their products. They focus solely on tech advances and apps, but the industry as a whole simply does not care if their products work after 18 months. It did not start that way. In the early days of consumer high tech,as in most other industries, product quality mattered; but that was a long time ago. Like most other people, It didn’t matter much to me in the past that my tech was not durable–I was going to replace it all soon anyway. But the problem is growing worse. These days I do not want, and I cannot afford to buy a new laptop, and a new PC, and a new cell phone and a new game console every 18 months. It is becoming absurd! And I’m mad as hell.

    I’ll reserve comment about you frustrations with IT departments and your proposal that tech trouble is–and I hope I’m paraphrasing your point fairly– “just another tool by the man to keep a brother down.” But I certainly share your frustrations with shoddy equipment.

  7. 7
    harrysanborn

    I disagree with your conclusions. This isn’t an intentional war on workers. It’s true that businesses are often not very good at providing services to their line workers. It has a lot less to do with executive management intentionally screwing the workers. It’s usually issues with interdepartmental conflict, and, often, incompetence. Joe, the guy who fixes the hardware, doesn’t think it’s his responsibility to fix application issues. That’s Jan’s job. Jan hasn’t seen this issue before, she thinks it’s a network issue, she escalates it to Irene. Irene doesn’t know anything about any of this, and she has more important work to do, so she turfs it do the new desktop support guy who just got out of college, and doesn’t know the organization, and doesn’t know where the user sits. this is all exacerbated by the fact that margins are slim and the company is having to try to be more lean in general, but the middle management isn’t staffed with professional managers. They usually don’t know how to manage effectively.

    Most organizations don’t run very efficiently. It’s not intentional, it’s accidental incompetence. I’ve been in IT for 15 years, and in executive management of IT for a good part of that in both large and small orgs.

    Bring your own device (BYOD) is, in general, being accommodated, not promoted. Businesses don’t necessarily want people bringing in their own devices. IT management definitely would prefer to continue to supply company standard devices. End-users are increasingly insisting on being able to use their own devices because they are comfortable with those devices. Users are saying, “I hate Blackberry, and I don’t want to carry two phones, why can’t I just use my iPhone?”.

  8. 8
    sabai456

    Just a thought since I don’t know anything about your tech skills level or experience, have you tried
    1. select the text you want to copy
    2. hit Cntl C
    3. move the cursor to where you want to paste the text
    4. hit Cntl V

  9. 9
    lanir

    I’m a techie so I don’t run into that exact problem… But generally what you find is that even if you do know how to fix things, it can quite often end up that you simply don’t have the access to do so. Or there’s always the fear that if you actually do go make things just work, that any stupid issues that pop up later will be blamed on you rather than coming home to roost on someone else’s lap where they belong. So unfortunately shit jobs are still shit no matter what you know or don’t know.

    I would have to say that in my experience a tech company that is too badly managed to handle simple tech support is not going to last long. I’d really suggest looking into an exit strategy if you haven’t already. Anyone with any competence who deals with an organization like that quickly comes to a similar opinion about them: Every company pays for work. The Stupid costs extra. If they’re really huge they can get away with making mistakes in some areas or departments but inefficiency always has a cost. It sounds like they’re trying to make you pay it but anytime companies do that it just pushes it just hides the real cost of having piss poor practices.

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