My Computer’s Jacked Up: Share Your Horror Story!

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 8 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #100175

    Throughout the year, GovLoop will be running a series of “Knowledge Exchanges,” sponsored by one of our 2010 Premier Partners. This week’s Knowledge Exchange is brought to you by HP.

    How many of us have endured months (or years!?) of madness, being asked by our organizations to operate with outdated or malfunctioning equipment?

    Remember the movie “Office Space” where they take the printer/fax out to the field and beat the heck out of it? Think of this forum as your space to vent – you know, to take a virtual bat to the machine you love to hate.

    Seriously, though, bad equipment thwarts the productivity of employees like you, making it incredibly costly for agencies in terms of lost time. Plus, older PCs are less energy efficient AND leave employees more vulnerable to security risks.

    If you’ve had a bad experience with a computer, here’s your chance to achieve some level of catharsis.

    NOTE: We move from venting to value proposition in this follow-up forum:

    “Hey Boss! Give Me a New Computer (PLEASE!)!”

    It’s designed to help you make the case for new equipment with key stakeholders. We asked “PC refresh” expert Bruce Michelson to respond to your questions and make recommendations.

  • #100219

    Steve Ressler

    When I worked at DHS, I used to be an auditor who traveled to countless field offices of various DHS components who often had out of date equipment.

    It was not out of the ordinary to see computers with Windows 95 still running in 2006.

    My favorite was one office had it down to a science. Turn on the computer. Go talk to co-workers for 10minutes. Log-in to windows. Go get coffee for 10 minutes. And then he’d be up and running.

  • #100217

    Nice story, Steve…

    As a grant writer in my past life, my nightmare scenarios involved working hard on something for a couple hours – head down, plowing through the project – only to have my computer freeze up unexpectantly. The lost time still makes me cringe…and increases my appreciation for auto-save.

  • #100215

    Oh boy, where to I begin?

    It’s tough because the system I use is from 1975. It’s not a real-time system and so if you do something and it bounces, you won’t know until the next day.

    The other problem is that it has to print reports on the floor printer. And every morning, the system has to print out about 300 pages of reports. You can’t pull these up on a screen.

    So, our poor floor printer gets a ton of use and tends to break down. One morning, it began to make a sound. A screeching, horrible, God-awful sound.

    I quickly called IT and was given a ticket. They scheduled a contractor to come out and fix it.

    He was late. I called again a week later.

    “Helpdesk, how can I help you?”

    “I need you to send somebody to fix it today”

    “what’s wrong with it?”

    I hold the phone up, the printer which is across the room is screaming in pain. The person on the other end of the line hears this


    It was about a month of this before it was fixed. Next time, I’m just going to hit it with a big truck and be done with it!

  • #100213

    Brianna E. Azzara
  • #100211

    Kimberly Hill

    I am still left speechless sometimes when people expect a system to analyze and spit out comprehensive reports on data that was never put into it. People also tend to have a harder time when a system gives them too many options. We have users who don’t want to have to log in, but do want the system to know exactly what they need and take them straight to it. (really)

  • #100209

    Kellie Graham

    Blessed to have not only an updated OS on my work computer, but two screens so I can get double the work done! But… I enjoy reading the stories from everyone else!

  • #100207

    Steve Ressler

    Two screens! You are lucky..

  • #100205

    Dawn Lautwein

    I have two screens, too, and life is good. My only problem is that every now and again, my mouse decides to boycott. It used to happen almost daily, and my coworker’s mouse in the next cubicle would stop working at the same time. They are usb, not wireless, so we never did figure that out. Things had been going well for awhile, then last week, I went to the printer for a minute and came back to my keyboard and mouse not working. I simply have to unplug them and plug them back in, but getting at them behind my dual monitor barricade is a bit of a reach.

  • #100203

    Kimberly Hill

    Oh – you just reminded me of printer frustration! We have two large, expensive copiers/printers/scanners in our office that do all kinds of cool things – when they work. They are broken down so often that it makes the technology more frustrating than useful.

  • #100201

    My mouse eats more batteries than cheese!

    It’s a trap…and I’ve bought stock in the makers of Duracell. πŸ™‚

  • #100199

    Where do I begin, lets see

    -Trouble call from one of our problem users, she cant seem to get the computer to come on so we go out to check on it and apparently she placed her purse on her power strip and didn’t realize she killed her computer.

    -User calls in and reports no connectivity, we go out to the site and come to find out she moved her computer to a new desk without telling anyone and there’s no CAT 5 cable, of course she didn’t realize she needed the “Pretty Blue” cable so she threw it away.

    -Of course we have the issue where a user in one of our offices wanted all of his personnel to have wireless mouses and was angry that IT wouldn’t allow it so he walked around with a pair of scissors and cut 15 mice cables thinking he could force us to buy them wireless mice. We just fired him.

    -Then you have the fun job of tracking what your command does with its issued laptops, I always love the one where the user didn’t need it so instead of turning it in she left it in the trunk of her car with the spare tire.

    I could write o book on some of the things I have seen, thanks for letting me vent now for a cup of coffee πŸ˜‰

  • #100197

    Susan Duis

    Argh – wireless mouses/keyboards are a big pet peeve of mine. They make no sense for 90% of desk setups, and are such a waste. Our IT office has been replacing any dead ones with nifty wireless units – which suck down batteries, have sketchy connectivity, and altogether are not worth it. We go through more AAs these days than I care to think about. When my old mouse dies I am going to have to dumpster dive and find something with a cord attached to it …

    My biggest frustrations are software, rather than hardware, based – programs that are obsolete and have not been supported for years, but are still in use for some reason. So we keep them updated and pray they don’t die unexpectedly …

  • #100195

    1. Aaahhh…the purse always holds the key to power, eh? πŸ™‚

    2. You mean you can’t wear that “pretty blue” cable as an accessory?

    3. At my fraternity, we had something called “night of the mouse”…but I am fairly confident the activity would have led to a firing as well if done in the office place.

    4. So you’re not supposed to open your laptop and its case, using it as a window shade on a hot day?


  • #100193

    I think it’s all going to be “software frustrations” in the not-too-distant future!

  • #100191

    Faye Newsham

    I have a friend who used to do very intentensive graphics (hundreds of layers of complex vector images type stuff)… he would come in and “render” a drawing to prepare for printing which would take hours and hours (sometimes days). Click a button and then go disc-golfing, lunch, whatever. One day he got back after several hours and a coworker said, “I noticed your computer went to the black screen, so I turned it off until you got back! It’s better for the environment!” After that they moved my friend into a vault so it would never happen again…

  • #100189

    Lisa Pierson

    It’s simple….it never fails the technology fails one day after any warranty!

  • #100187

    Christina Morrison

    It truly sounds like many of us are in serious need of an equipment makeover. How many of us can really afford to let our computers load for twenty minutes in the morning?

    Although many of the posts in this discussion raise issues ranging from annoyingly tedious to the excruciatingly confusing, it’s important to remember that these dinosaur devices are also less energy efficient AND leave all of us vulnerable to a number of security risks that have been addressed on newer machines.

  • #100185

    Tracy Kerchkof

    My computer would work just fine if it wasn’t jammed with all of the agency security software!!! I’ve provided enough “customer support” to my mom to know why these safeguards are in place…but I still hate them. It takes my computer 25 minutes or more to turn on in the morning!!!!!! I also hate that I don’t have administrator rights on my computer. If I want to install any program, I have to put a request in to IT and wait sometimes over a day to get it installed. I’ve replaced hard drives and reinstalled operating systems several times, you don’t think I can be trusted to install a simple water quality model I want to test out?? Again, I understand why they do this, but its really really frustrating. I wish there was a way we could ask for more admin privileges, like a certification or something.

    On the flip side, I also hate it when people in my office complain about technology when its actually the user’s fault. When we got our new email software, my boss complained that it wouldn’t allow him to view his calendar in a certain way. All he had to do was change his settings. But no, its the programs fault, its IT’s fault, everyone is out to get him. So annoying!

  • #100183

    Caryn Wesner-Early

    Yes, but just think how it would go over if an item in the next tax increase was “better computer equipment for government employees.” We thought people were excited about the health bill!

  • #100181

    Steve Ressler

    I do think we need to start giving users more rights. Maybe there is a test you can take and then if you pass, you can get more rights. To do things like install Firefox etc

  • #100179

    Tim Buchanan

    I have a Logitech V450 Laser Cordless Micro Mouse (for notebooks) that works well for me……can’t remember when I last changed the battery. It’s great because I often stand when reading long documents and I can work it from just about anywhere in my cube… keyboards might be another issue, I have one at home that eats batteries. My stock is in Energizer…

  • #100177

    Bill Brantley

    Testify brother!

    Nothing infuriates me more than not being able to install programs to my system or perform simple administrative tasks. It is especially infuriating when I am asked to create applications for work and I have to wait days (sometimes weeks) for my “business case exception” is approved and the help desk can install the programs I need.

    I can clearly demonstrate that I have the necessary knowledge to competently maintain my own system and my manager can confirm my need for having my own administrative rights. I have even offered to have keylogging software and any other audit programs installed on my system if IT wants to make sure I won’t abuse the privilege.

    This is why I telework. This way I can use my own systems and not have to deal with the limitations of the workplace systems.

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