Sunday, December 06, 2009

The first part arrives, and I lose another little piece of my sanity

Ok, first thing's first. The heat sink arrived. All I can say is Wow. This thing is big. Really big. I mean, you may think it's a long way to the corner to pick up a paper, but that's just peanuts to this heatsink. Listen... Whether you get the reference there or not, this sucker is huge. So it turns out that quiet and big mean the same thing in the cooling world. What really scares me though is that this was NOT described as one of the larger coolers available. It's modest size for this crap. So if I had gotten a BIG one, I imagine I'd need a second case just to hold it. I'll post a picture of the titanic that I'll be mounting in my PC case later.

Ok, next thing's next. One of the things I hate hate HATE about my job is IRM. You know, the people whose JOB it is to help me do MY job by managing informational technology like, say, computers. So 3 months ago, no kidding, I ordered a new wide screen monitor. Because of where I work, I couldn't just call IRM and say "I need a wider screen monitor - I'm working with data from up to 10 different programs, pdfs, and word files all at once and need to be able to have them displayed on a larger screen." No, that would never work. Instead I had to use some money left over from a grant to order my own monitor. Which I did. 3 months ago. I had to nag, I had to wheedle, I had to harass to get the money, which is supposed to be used at my discretion, spent on time according to my discretion. 3 months ago. Then came a series of every other week emails and phone calls to make sure the thing was actually going to arrive. So finally, FINALLY, the sucker arrives. I know it arrives because some guy shows up at my office door with a huge box. "Did you order this?" "Why yes." "Why?" "To go on my pc." "Ok, sign here." "Are you going to hook it up?" "No, you have to put a work order in for that." And off he goes.

So I spend the last 30 minutes of my day uninstalling the old monitor, assembling the new monitor, and hooking it up to the machine. Mind you, I am a rather expensive person, salary/hour wise, to be crawling around hooking up computer hardware, but if that's how the system wants me to spend my time, who am I to argue. I get it all hooked up, but of course can't install the driver for the monitor because I have no admin privileges. No problem, right? I just call IRM and put in a work order. Which I did.

So today I get a phone call. "HI this is July from IRM. Did you put in a work order to install a monitor?" "Just the driver to the monitor." "Why did you get a new monitor?" "I purchased a new monitor with research funds so I can work with multiple applications and documents simultaneously." "Oh, well you can't switch monitors with leased pc's. Your pc is leased. It has to stay with the same monitor. So we can't install drivers for a new monitor." "But I bought the monitor, it's sitting right here on my desk." "Well, I can try to get you a wide screen monitor that is leased." "But I have this new monitor, bought and paid for, sitting on my desk. If you do that I've bought this new monitor for nothing." "Yes." At this point, my head is in my hands and I'm feeling like a dog who has been kicked about 100 times too many.

SO I say, in a strangled whisper, "Well, I would really appreciate it if you could get me a wide screen monitor." "Ok, I'll put in a work order." "While you're at it, could you put in a work order to install the codec I need to view the video files for this research project in Windows Media Player?" "I don't know if we support that application." "Really, you don't support Media Player?" "But you said we had to install a codec." "Yes, the codec is the information media player uses to decode a new video file format." "Oh, I guess we can do that."

At this point I can barely speak. I say thanks and hang up.

I was going to try to elucidate the things wrong with this exchange. I was going to start with the wastefulness of one part of an organization buying a monitor for me and another part refusing to let me use it, then ask again whey they want a PhD program manager using his time to do basic IT work, then discuss the whole work orders upon work orders thing, then perhaps rhapsodize about having to justify why I'm doing things to two different, seemingly and alarmingly equally incompetent people, and then ask how it is someone in an IRM job does not know what a codec is. I was going to start there and then just keep going, but as I started to write that I started to get more, and more, and more depressed so I think I'll just leave it at this simple description:


That's been my catchword for the entire episode, and no doubt will continue to be so every time this crap turns up.

No comments: