Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I’m sitting here looking at 4 small screws and a discarded network card. Do you know what I mean when I say network card? Can you picture it?

I now can, as I’ve installed one and removed another. Yesterday was an interesting work day, if you find frustration interesting.

I’ve been with the same company for 12 years come this June. It’s a very small, quirky company (as Ellie knows; she’s worked here during several of her San Diego visits). There are only 6 of us here in the office, 1 of whom only comes into the office 3 days a week. There are also 2 employees who work remotely, 1 from Michigan, 1 from South Carolina. They too, like me, joined the team back in 1997, and for their loyalty and thorough knowledge of the company's business practices they’ve managed to move where they want to and still keep their jobs.

The big rub, however, is that 1 of these remote colleagues is the IT guy. Yes, he’s in charge of the software, the hardware, and the networking. And he’s in Michigan. That’s three time zones away. Make sense? No. Not at all. It’s a terrible setup, especially when your computer is dying, as mine is.

Today’s plan was simple enough though. I was to take an extra computer from the back office, he would help me configure it so that I could access my files and programs, and I would package up and ship my poor sick machine to him for repairs.

But here’s what actually happened. I unplugged my machine, got computer 1 from the back office, and plugged that baby up. It would not connect to the network, in fact, no network option displayed at all; it was surmised that the network card must be faulty. Okay, so unplug that machine and try back office computer 2.

Back office computer 2, however, is ancient, and is displaying a domain that we’ve not used since the early 2000s. I couldn’t even log into that machine. Back to back office computer 1.

But in order to move forward with back office computer 1, we're going to need a new network card. Bryan, the far distant IT guru, thinks there's one up in our storage office. Okay, I'll run up and get it. But wait, what the hell does a network card look like anyway?

"You know, like a network card. It's green with gold and has a metal bracket at the end," explains Bryan.

"Oh yeah, one of those," I reply.

He thinks he knows just where they are, so I go hunt it down. I find two pieces of hardware matching his description so grab them both.

"Do you have the tool kit?" he inquires.

"Ah yes, the tool kit. Let me hunt that down." I say.

I find it. I open it.

I unscrew the PC's cover; I slide it off. I locate the current non-functioning network card. However there's an empty slot above it, so my instructions are to leave the nonfunctioning network card, but to add the new one in this extra space.

Here's what I attempt to add:

It's green and gold, and has a metal bracket on the end.

I fiddle, I jiggle, I angle it in myriad directions. It does not seem to fit. Finally I realize that this is NOT actually a network card. It's something else (although I still don't know what). I rip open the box that does contain a new network card. (It says so right on the box!)

Hey, this beauty slides right in!

Do you see it? The old network card is the bottom green thing, and the new one, installed by ME, is right above. Nice work, eh?

So I replug everything and boot up the machine. Still no sign of a functioning network card. Wtf?

My new instructions are to unplug everything, again, then hoist that tower back up on my desk, and then remove the old network card, so that just the new one remains.

I do this. I replug. I reboot.

Still nothing.


Bryan is now out of ideas and tells me to go back to using my original computer. It's 2.5 hours later and we're back to where we started. Hooray! I unplug, replug, reboot. I (sadly) feel grateful to be using my dying machine.

I get an email from Bryan a little while later that starts out with, "I wish I was there to troubleshoot this more, but…"

Me too, Bryan, me too.


Pickles and Dimes said...

Oh man. Nothing worse than remote IT service, when they can't SEE what you're doing and you have NO IDEA what you're doing.

Melissaand3boys said...

How did Bryan work that gig? It doesn't seem to useful to have someone who can't touch the computer in charge of it. But if you were able to get it fixed it would feel pretty rewarding.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

That is completely absurd, but so stinking funny! I agree with Melissa, Bryan got himself a sweet deal. Call the Geek Squad!

I'm very impressed with your attempts, I break out in a sweat just looking at those dohickeys.


Nancy said...

Grrrr, it's times like this I have looked at my PC, labeled it a boat anchor and started over with a new one =)

Me, You, or Ellie said...

That's about the worst thing I ever heard. That's Bryan's not in your office anymore. Oh! Plus he's not there to fix your computers either.


Anonymous said...

wtf? so why isn't he there... sounds like you need an IT guy or gal who is on site.. odd...just odd. Sort of like calling for a plumber and getting someone in India on the other end of the line... it just doesn't work well for some reason... DOH.