Friday, June 02, 2006

Users

The Cubes - Bob
The Cubes - Bob,
originally uploaded by thepretenda.
Users.

Just the term, for those of us in IT, conjures up images and emotions. Love 'em or hate 'em, they are the reason I have a job.

In some companies, the IT department is no longer allowed to call users “users”. It's become a derogatory term, a pejorative that management wants to avoid. So they're called “clients”, or something similar.

I can see the thinking behind this. We should think of our users as clients, even though they often don't appreciate our work and are hostile to rules and checks we put in place. We exist solely to facilitate their work, to make them more productive, to help them use the technology that we provide in the best way, to it's fullest potential.

But people do stupid things sometimes, don't they?

When I was consulting to the public, one client required monthly visits to clean spyware, pop-ups, and other miscellanea from his machine due to his admitted porn surfing. Since he owned the company, he did what he wanted. His excuse was he had to have 'something to do' while on the phone. He was willing to pay the bill for it, so who was I to complain?

Now that I'm strictly in house for a large corporation with a pretty stringent Acceptable Use policy, you'd think things would be different.

Or not.

I've had user's complain about screen resolution and colors, only to find out that the only time it really mattered was when they were trying to view the latest naked picture that someone had sent them.

I've had to strongly suggest to senior management types that they should consider “cleaning up” their user folder because of “space concerns”. What I didn't want to say was that I ran a scan for *.mpg, *.avi, *.wvm, and you need to delete blowme.mpg and cumonmyface.avi before someone higher up than me spotted it.

I've had users steaming audio while downloading something else, and then wonder why their wan-based connection to our Citrix farm was slow.

I've seen user's machines crash, and then listened to them whine when I made them delete their 4 gigs of illegally downloaded and ripped from CD music that filled up the hard drive.

And of course they all wonder why we need to lock down their workstations and laptops now. Why we need an agent that runs to prevent them from installing programs. Why we force them to a default company screen saver. Look over the top of your cubicle, I want to say. Blame your neighbor.
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