tuba_man (tuba_man) wrote in techsupport,

A letter to my favorite client

I work for a small business tech support company. We're on pretty stable financial footing these days, but I still wonder what would happen if the company went under. Sometimes I wonder if our clients tried to hire us off individually. There's one in particular that would probably jump at the chance. Here's my hypothetical response to that.

Dear _____,

No. Not ever. Oh how I hate you, let me count the ways...

You have 5 locations, your monthly IT budget is less than my /personal/ computer budget, and for how much time I've spent trying to MacGuyver your systems into some sort of usable state, I'm making minimum wage! Rest assured that your next IT firm won't give you a contract you can abuse so easily.

You've got a server on it's 3rd failing DupliDisk device. I don't know how you were ever convinced to buy more than one, and I'm still in shock that someone managed to sell you on the idea of redundancy in the first place. Congratulations on wasting money. AND MY TIME.

You've got three users that move between sites. They all have old-ass laptops that you probably bought from craigslist. Let's get wireless working, you say! Certainly!
-The first one worked fine with minimal fiddling, basic WPA settings and everything's kosher.
-The second one only supports WPA through some back-asswards pile of crap third party "connection manager" (Which connection would you like to scream and curse at for the next hour?). It requires manual work to get anything working when the user switched sites. After about a week I got it to the point where it would switch networks, but only between reboots. (Not to mention 2 more weeks of calls from this user that went something like: "My internet isn't working." "Did you reboot like I said you would need to?" "No." "Reboot please." "Ok." pause... "It's working now, you're so smart!")
-The third computer didn't support WPA at all. I ended up buying a PCMCIA card and charging them for it, installing all three XP service packs via ethernet, then got it working.
Congratulations on wasting money. AND MY TIME.

As bad as that all is, somehow your "server room" is worse. You leave the door open because you didn't bother to pay for any sort of ventillation install. I have explained to you on no less than four occasions what each box does. ("That's a Cisco IAD. It's your internet.") YOUR ENTIRE COMPANY RUNS OFF A DATABASE SERVER ALMOST AS OLD AS I AM. YOU STILL HAVE SERIAL TERMINALS ATTACHED TO IT. I have no idea what sort of voodoo you've done to make this happen, but you've also managed to set up filesharing on this server and get random Excel files scattered everywhere from /etc/ to /usr/ to /var/. HOW? AND THE RAID ARRAY, OH GOD THE RAID ARRAY. You've got this massive external array, roughly the size, and at the time, probably the cost of a tuba (Tuba = $5000-$10000, for perspective.) It's got more fans than Metallica (at least 4), and I can store roughly 8 TIMES the amount of data on the flash drive I keep on my keychain. Hey, I'll give you this tip for free: Your 2-decade old database/file server and disk array probably shouldn't be plugged into a power strip. In fact, you might even think about at least moving that powerstrip out of the walkway. Thanks for the archeological dig.

Sometimes I wonder if this level of stupidity is a cost-saving measure. With you, I wouldn't doubt it. And with that, I want nothing to do with you.

Please die in a fire or two,
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