November 30th, 2006

Random - Oblivion wheels

Irony in the Council.

Birmingham City Council is very hot on new technology and making sure all of its employees know basically how to use it. Which is why, of course, the PCs are slow, the photocopiers are rubbish, and the printers break down. And it's also why their IT 'Helpdesk' doesn't actually help you, but refers you to someone else who invariably can't help you either...

All of these have one thing in common - they look pretty, but are mostly useless.

BCC's helpdesk is run by a company called Service Birmingham, which basically means they answer calls, write down the problem and give it to someone else. Their response time is faster than it was before, but at least when you were on hold for three hours you eventually got through to someone who could solve your problem, instead of someone who can't. (Although, actually, if you were on hold for more than about 15 minutes, the automated queuing machine would just cut you off... It has less patience than the average caller, evidently.)

So, I currently have two IT-related problems at work. One is that they forgot to give me access to the Legal Services Intranet when they moved my email over, which means I can't access important information and can't pull up a blank PDR (Personal Development Review) form to fill in. (Not that I want to, but, y'know...) The other problem is that one of the networked printers decided to stop working at about 11.30 this morning, for no reason at all, having been happily printing away not 15 minutes before. There is another network printer, which is showing up on my PC and letting me default it and choose it and all those nice things, but it refuses to print things for me. But then again, the printer I could print from (the one that is now broken) would steadfastly ignore all the build-in tray commands from the templates ad print everything from Tray 1 regardless, wasting letterheaded paper and trying my patience.

I telephoned our 'Helpdesk' about both of these queries. Service Birmingham referred the problems off to the appropriate helpy people and said they'd ring to arrange a date to fix the printer either this afternoon or tomorrow morning (given it's now 3.30, my bet's on the latter.) For the moment I am printerless and having to print from my colleague's PC, which is inconvenient for both of us. (Of course, it doesn't help that Legal Services is so very bogged down in paperwork...)

As for the intranet problem, the Lotus Notes team can't help because they don't have access to that database. It took them a swift 10 minutes to let me know they COULDN'T do something; it'll probably take a week to actually do it.

The further irony is that yesterday, at our WPO/Support Staff away day (well, away morning) at St Philips Chambers (very posh) it was suggested that, because the IT support is so crap, some of us could shadow the IT staff on the 4th floor and learn how to solve problems like this. It's a marvellous idea in principal, but apparently they've asked before and been refused because upper management in IT won't make anyone except IT staff into administrators (in case we, like, destroy the network or something, I suppose) so even if we've got the knowledge we won't be able to use it.

The argument is that if we learn this stuff it puts the IT staff out of a job. Well, tough cookies. Maybe if they DID their frelling job we wouldn't be asking. "Three working days" is NOT an appropriate response time in a Department with a 24-hour turnaround of work.

It is now 5.15 (it's been an ongoing process, this entry) and for the past hour or so my printing process has gone thusly, mostly because Windows XP is the bastard son of Bill Gates and should be shot into the sun:

1. Type work on my PC and save to filing system.
2. Log off PC.
3. Log onto colleague's PC now that she has gone home.
4. Open work, discouraging XP from trying to install things because it thinks I'm a new user (every time I log in.)
5. Print work off on remaining functional printer.
6. Discover that typing in the amount of copies doesn't work, for some reason, and waste time reprinting things on the right paper.
7. Close windows.
8. Log off PC.
9. Return to own PC, log back in.
10. Repeat process.

Needless to say, after doing this three times it was starting to get more than a little annoying, so once I've posted this I'm going home, late day or not. There's not much I can do without printer access, and IT are a waste of space...
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed