Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Work (Page 3 of 44)

Already Voted. Going On A Trip.

I love being an Oregonian. It means that I took care of my civic responsibility over a week ago. If you haven’t yet… please do.

No, today’s fun isn’t about voting. It’s about leaving on a business trip. I’m headed to IT Nation in Orlando FL for the rest of the week. Yay? I haven’t been through the airport/airline/hotel process since the Datto training a couple years back. My anxiety levels are, as you could probably guess, stratospheric.

I’m bringing the same duck as last time, though, so keep an eye on my (rubber duck) Twitter (and maybe Instagram) for some of that, won’t you?

Wish me luck.

Nothin’ On My Plate

On the day I started work with this company almost 10 years ago, I had no tickets assigned.

Once, late last Autumn, I got down to zero tickets.


NoTickets4KKMind you: I have projects to work on, so I’m not bored by any stretch of the imagination. But still, the Spring Break doldrums seem to be rolling on into early April for some reason…

4200 minus 2700 equals Headache

For most of the calendar year so far we at work have been plowing through a massive reorganization, upgrade, and consolidation of our servers. One of the last stages of this consolidation & upgrade process involved upgrading our Kaseya environment. During the shuffle I found some quirks. For instance, the UserProfiles directory contains roughly 4200 subdirectories, one per agent in the system.

Problem is, we only have about 2700 agents. The other 1500? Old agents.

I asked vendor support about this, as the impression I had was that there was an agent archive process. I mean, there’s an archive directory configured in the system, what else is it for if not to archive these agent directories? Heck, the archive directory has agent directories in it.

Apparently, nope. This isn’t something Kaseya does. I must archive those 1500 directories manually. How did the previous archive directory become populated? No idea at all.

“Okay,” you might be saying right now, “Just look for the oldest directories.”

Problem! We just migrated the front-end and database back-end parts of Kaseya to new servers over the last couple weeks! All the directories have brand new dates, all in numerical order, dating from when they were copied off of the old server.

4100minus2700So this is my life now. Comparing the list of directory names with a list of agent IDs from a report, moving anything not in the report into an archive directory, by hand, one by one. Lather, rinse, repeat.


It’s a Very Monday Monday

This week is getting an early start on kicking my ass:

  • Sunday Night Insomnia with a vengeance.
  • Remembered to do dishes and take out garbage this morning, forgot to grab lunch.
  • MAX train broke down one stop away from where I needed to go. (The operator had to be talked through cycling the breakers. That’s right: They rebooted the light-trail train.)
  • BurgerVille’s closed today, so no high-octane breakfast to boost my energy levels.
  • Half the office is on vacation or out sick.
  • The link between two of our key work systems is broken for no reason I can determine.

Is it too late to throw my hands up and head back to bed? (Yes. Yes, it is.)

Standard Support Screwup

The script you’re about to read doesn’t detail how every interaction with a particular vendor’s tech support staff goes, but it’s very, very indicative and common…


Me: Hello! A problem has occurred with your product. Now, having worked with this product nigh onto a decade now, I’m aware of the usual issues and have gone through the knowledge base articles numbered Such and Such. I can confirm that the state of the usual problem-causing factors is nominal. I am looking for alternative avenues to pursue to remedy the problem.

Ticket: *remains unassigned for hours*

Me: Hello, Support Manager! I can’t help but notice that the High Priority ticket I submitted has gone unassigned. We, ah, kind of need this problem resolved ASAP.

Support Manager: I have assigned your ticket. Please be aware that we do not post support SLAs.

Me: That’s nice, but five hours without assigning a ticket isn’t about SLAs, it’s about “if we treated our clients like that, we’d be put out of business.” But whatever.

Tech: Hello, I have been assigned to your ticket. Judging by the environment, you should read knowledge base article numbered Such. It will resolve your problem.

Me: Had you actually read my ticket (*), you’d know that I already referenced and followed the instructions in that article. Next?

Tech: Have you tried rebooting the system?

Me: …yes. The system has been rebooted. Next?

Tech: You are using the wrong kind of credential (**). Change that and you’ll probably be all set.

Me: Tried that. Tried two variants of that, actually. Still not working. Next?

Time: *passes*

NewTech: I see that you are trying to use the product in a particular environment. Please see knowledge base article Such, it will remedy the problem.

Me: Hello, NewTech! If you’d read my ticket notes, you would know that I have already addressed the possibility detailed in the second article. Next?

Time: *passes*

Me: *sighs*

And that’s where things stand.


(* – If I had a dollar for every time this vendor’s techs utterly failed to read the text of my ticket submission, I could treat both of my girlfriends and their families, all together, to a very nice dinner out.)

(** – This is a domain controller. The credential account was technically shown as a “local” account but since it’s a domain controller, its local accounts are domain accounts. Idiots.)

The File That Crashed Word 2013

My morning started with a ticket assigned before I got here, scheduled for first thing after the morning “huddle.” The dispatcher pitched me to the client as “the best person at this sort of thing,” having wholly misunderstood the nature of the call. (They thought it was a backup-restore situation, when in fact it was an Office Behaving Badly situation. D’oh.)

I was, in fact, able to quickly recover the desired information from Word’s auto-recovery files. This made the client very happy. Unfortunately, unless we could figure out why Word was crashing so reliably (as it were) in one particular set of documents, the problem was going to come back again and again. In one location on the network could be found eight similar Word DOCX files.

The symptom: Open a file, scroll down into the numbered lists, go to the end of a line of text and press the Enter key to initiate a new numbered line. Word 2013 immediately crashes.

The things we tried:

  • Open the document in Word 2010: No problems at all.
  • Use Word 2010 to save into 2003-compatible DOC format: Word 2013 still crashed.
  • Launch Word 2013 in Safe Mode: Word 2013 still crashed.
  • Use Word 2013 to open-and-repair the file: Word 2013 still crashed.
  • Repair Office 2013: Word 2013 still crashed.
  • Copy & paste the document contents into a whole new file and save (into either 2003-style DOC or 2007+ DOCX): Word 2013 still crashed.

I lost an hour and a half on this just of my own time, and then brought in a couple members of my team to bash on it as well. One of them figured out the problem:

The numbered list formatting was broken, somehow, in a way that only Word 2013 had a problem with. If we select the document contents and simply choose another numbered list format/style preset… the problem vanishes.

Yep. Seriously.

So, that was a fun way to spend the first half of a Friday!

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