Monday, April 29, 2013

Avoiding problems

When dealing with other people, you have two choices: 1- attempt to solve their problem or 2- avoid directly confronting the problem.

Sometimes this results in amusing situations. For example, last summer I was told that my office had a book lice infestation, which was "dealt with" through spraying some awful smelling chemicals which the lice happily frolicked in (at the end of the post, you can see the ACTUAL video I took of them with my phone... if you want to barf). Long story short, I finally got the "Director Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability" to listen when I told him I was concerned for my health and safety (cough cough LAWSUIT), who got us a de-humidifier (and promised us a UV light, which I have yet to see...). I also got a de-humidifier since I didn't trust him to follow through, so we now have TWO dehumidifiers in the lab. Neither of which, apparently, the tech support guy saw when he came in... leading to his diagnosis that my computer problems are being caused by high temps and humidity.

It's all the more frustrating considering he told me the SAME problem was the cause of my problems with ANOTHER one of the lab computers... which was, of course, not true. I work in a lab that heavily relies on bioinformatics, so we all know a thing or two about computers. A few years ago, we had a wonderful tech support guy who knew this and talked to us as equals, and assumed that if we couldn't figure out the problem with the computer, it had to be something more than "running too many programs" or "not running Windows Update". He never hesitated to bring the computers to the shop when needed, even if it was because the computer was running normally now and he wanted to "replicate the problem" so he could figure out what was really going one. Never once did he try to make us feel guilty for calling him or waste my time by doing things that I already tried or giving the excuse that he "does have a magic wand" that can tell what the problem is (THIS IS AN ACTUAL QUOTE from my discussion with the tech guy ten minutes ago. I'd like to tell him exactly where he can put his magic wand.)

I know that these problems are widespread. But to bring the whole thing back around to a theme that's more central to my writings (although, let's be honest, bitching rampages are pretty common on here), one of the differences between Helpful Tech Support Guy and Not So Helpful Tech Support Guy is that HTSG liked his job. He also got to know the people he helped and kept himself on his toes by trying to learn about what each lab does and how they use their computer resources. Whereas NSHTSG has been here at least twice before and still didn't remember where our lab is (there are only 10 labs in the department... come on now) and seems totally bored by the idea of fixing our computer. Which probably would  be boring, but sorry, we kind of need it for research.

I know this post is basically 100% whining. But it's SO frustrating when I take the time to shut down the computer that crashed when someone else had been using it, restart it, watch it crash again, restart, see that it's fine, come back in three days and repeat the whole thing, email the problem to the tech guy, then find a time that he can come in, then wait in the office for him, and then have him tell me, "Hmm, although your computer crashed twice in the last month, nothing seems to be wrong."

Gah. Defeat.

The following is proof that our lab did indeed have a rampant infestation of book lice, even though the "Director Environmental Health, Safety and Sustainability" insisted that he "didn't see anything". Remember, the crazy/bitter grad student will always have the last laugh.
Because she knows how to record data.

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