Thanks, John - what an appropriate metaphor!

Ditto to Tommy: Many of us "live and breathe" this discussion. I have just
come from a meeting with Ed. Leaders in preparation for a Board meeting to
propose increased staffing AND a bit more money to replace our 9-year old
equipment... I am currently optimistic but I'm sure reality will hit soon

Somehow we'll do it anyway, won't we? I guess the real crisis happens when
the work doesn't get done: the danger is in stretching ourselves to the
limit in order to get everything done and having THEM say "Why do you need
help - it's all getting done isn't it?" I guess in order to get additional
support we need to leave things broken for while? Put off cleaning the
principal's spyware-ridden laptop? Neglect to replace the office printer
until it's too late? Let the internet connection stay down for half a day:
THAT would fix 'em!

Happy Friday,


> I just read vince's  last paragraph regarding single users vs
> multiple users on a given machine....
> I often try to describe my tech support challenges with the metaphor
> of managing a fleet of delivery vehicles.........
> with many different teenage drivers taking out different vehicles
> each time they drive, some leaving the lights on, some locking the
> keys inside, few checking the oil, and all with very different
> driving styles...riding the clutches, burning rubber, gunning the
> engine etc etc....
> service and tune ups and ongoing driver ed are just part of my job
> Most fleets buy a quantity of a specific model ( bread truck, police
> car, delivery vans etc) which mean that the motor pool can easily
> swap out parts, canibalize entire vehicles,  and recognize/isolate
> similar problems to make and model... new brakes 28kmiles.... new
> engine 193k miles..... decommission 201kmiles
> I on the other hand ( given my small budget ( small school) I buy a
> few new computers each year to add to the mish mash mix... and
> consequently have multiple makes and models, all with different
> dashboards ... rearranged furniture, and idiosyncratic
> behaviors....P3, celeron, G3, G4, G5, Printers, copiers, cameras,
> scanners, switches hubs etc and many different engines Windows 9x 2k
> ME xp OS9x 10x jaguar, panther, tiger.......... now ipods,
> Plus my 300 plus drivers have all manner of driving experience and
> confidence..... I still get new customers pointing a mouse upside
> down and asking "what is double click?" ( I actually told one user
> to "go file ... open new document" and they said " file... open...
> new document" and waited for something to happen....
> not that I see buying a whole new fleet of like computers every 3-5
> years as a likely solution.......
> There is a calculus somewhere in here but I don't have the time to
> try to figure it out...... except to say that here at my understaffed
> motorpool (i mechanic) there will always be a percentage of rigs in
> for repair, rigs doa, and service calls to users to tell them that
> "the battery cable was loose", "you have to depress the clutch before
> turning the ignition" and "yes it is important to check the oil" and
> "no gas.... no go"
> I don't have time to go back and reread but often think of the book
> "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" which I first read prior
> to touching my first pc... but described different user/operator
> styles with a different technology...... I am sure there are very
> appropriate passages to capture the joys and frustrations of our
> multi hat responsibilities.....
> On Nov 10, 2005, at 4:47 PM, Vince Rossano wrote:
> I guess I can add my belated $.02 here as well:
> In Montpelier, there are three of us officially doing computer tech
> support.  That includes me, though I also have administrative duties and
> responsibility for the phone system as well.  Still, I probably put in
> at least full-time hours just on computer support and my assistants
> probably put in more than full-time hours.  On the other hand, our three
> tech educators get sucked into providing some technical support too, so
> it's difficult to figure exactly how many person-hours are spent
> supporting our users' computer needs. But let's say this:
> We have ca. 1150 students and another ca. 250 staff members who use a
> computer for at least checking their email, so, if we call it 1450 users
> total, and call it three support people, that makes, rounding off to the
> 25th decimal place: 466.666666666666666666666666 users to each techie.
> We can really call it 467 because the .6666666666666666666666666 user is
> a real pain and he takes more than his share of support.
> Seriously though, I at first thought this statistic relatively
> meaningless in comparison to the usual hardware-to-support-person ratio,
> but then I realized that if you've got one computer with only one person
> using it, it's probably going to take significantly less support than if
> you've got three people using that one computer.  Of course, as we all
> know, there are so many variables......
> Vince