The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Technical support woes

This is not a political post, unless you want to call it the politics of technical support.

Having done some technical support, I may be a tad more sensitive to the dynamics of the interchange between user and support. "May" might be too weak a word. I really hate being lied to... even if those folks do not realize or believe they are lying. All too often, support people are following a script. Face it, we users create most of our own problems. We make a change, probably without thinking much about it, and something breaks. However, so do the various sites all over the internet.

Currently, Blogger has changed the interface to our blogging experience. And I am struggling to become comfortable with it. I do not like the new interface, I was fine with the old one. The new post editor is a bit buggy. One example is hitting enter after changing or adding a sentence jumps the cursor down to the bottom of the post draft. I have reported this but haven't seen it fixed yet. It's annoying but not life-threatening. One change I am having a little trouble getting used to is the scheduling options. It used to be a simple click on "Post options" on the bottom of the editor's border, now it is to the right side on a menu as "Schedule". But the result is the same and I will eventually get used to it.

But this screed is not about Blogger's changes, it's about Scottrade. For several years, the login was through and my desktop shortcut used that URL without a problem and Firefox happily populated the login data smoothly. And then one day, it didn't. So, after struggling with it for a couple of days, I sent a query off to Scottrade's technical support about it. And what did I get in return? Denial of any changes at their end, a hint that others were suddenly experiencing the same problem, and wholly unhelpful tips to completely stop my saving of password data. Finally, on day 3, I get an email that tells me I am probably trying to login at the above URL when I should be going through a different one and that I should call their tech support number to talk to a tech live to resolve my problem.

That was all the information I needed to resolve it on my own. I had no need to talk live with a tech, I just had to change the URL the shortcut used and tell Firefox to "remember" it. Once that was done, the problem was dealt with.

But why is it like pulling teeth to get the answer to a problem?  It is not just Scottrade's tech support, it is almost every tech support I have come across in several years. Even when I would call our company tech support, something known as NESAC, I would go through a long period of re-doing the same things I had already done and get wildly incorrect answers to support questions.

One of the problems we had went on for almost 2 years. Several of us worked on the problem with support many times with no resolution. I had decided the problem was a software bug and that it would eventually be corrected by an update to the system's operating system or diagnostic software. After many service interruptions following the advice of our technical support, the problem was fixed... by a software update to the system.

There were many more instances. Long term, much reported, problems would eventually get a response of "Oh yeah, we know about that... don't know when the fix will be available."

I am glad I no longer do tech support, or even tech work, for a living.

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