Friday, October 15, 2010

How many outsourced folks does it take to screw up a new laptop?

I got a new Laptop for work this past Wednesday. Since I am a full time remote-worker I had a former boss bring it home from the office and I picked it up from him. I got it home and tried the VPN connection and it stalled out about 3/4 of the way through the process. I retried many times to no avail so i opened a trouble ticket with our help desk since it was after 9p and nobody was online.

That was probably my first mistake.

Around lunchtime the next day I decided to call about my ticket since I'd not heard anything on it. I went through the normal Level 1 troubleshooting chit chat and explained the problem. Since the laptop was new and I'd never logged into it before I had no cached credentials to get logged in with; and since the VPN wouldn't connect I couldn't get logged in to cache them. Catch-22. The Level 1 person finally got someone from the VPN Client team on and they determined it was a corrupted VPN Client and I needed to reinstall the client, which I couldn't do since I had no way to login. Level 1 guy told me I had to go into the office and get on the LAN so they could remote to my machine and fix it. Ok, no problem. Annoying, but no problem.

I drive in to the office today and give the Level 1 crew a call back. [+1 outsource person] Despite having all the notes in the ticket I still had to rehash everything that had happened before. Then he wanted to go through yet more troubleshooting to get right back to the same point. He needed to reinstall the client. 45min wasted to get back to this point. He then proceeds to attempt an uninstall then a reinstall of the client which tells him it can't because its already installed. Then he goes out to and pulls down some third party Windows Installer Fixer app to try and force windows to remove the old client entries. When he finally gets that done he then tries to put an old version of the client on my laptop. Not one or two revisions, 8 revisions back OLD. He stops when I point this out and gets the appropriate client files but is still unable to get it installed. He is stumped and reaches out to his supervisor [+1 outsourced person] He messes around with the machine for a bit longer and determines I need a local tech to come take a look and fix it. I explain to him I had until 1pm to get this fixed and he needed to escalate the ticket as necessary to get an immediate response. Another 45min wasted.

After waiting for 30min for someone to show up at my desk I called back to ask WTF was up. I was under a time crunch and they were pissing away my time. I get routed, finally, to a Level 2 person [+1 outsourced person] who then goes to a completely different site to get the VPN files and proceeds to install it. Everything seems ok when the install rolls itself back when she got disconnected from my machine. She tells me thats normal and means the install worked if she got kicked off. I explain to her that I watched the installer roll back the installation and then delete the icon from the desktop. After the 3rd time explaining it she finally gets it. /sigh just kill me. She re-remotes to my machine and gets a good install of the client to run and tells me its all done and to try it when I get home. Yeah riiiight. I'm going to drive all the way home to test this. I don't think so.

I go to the Lab and jump on one of our test DSL lines and fire up the laptop. It acts funky and won't let me select Remote Logon so I select Local and log in. The VPN Client then does some self configuration and pops an error about not having permissions to modify the Winlogon process. Oh boy. Not good. I ping the Level 2 lady and she says to click through it and I'll be fine. Ok, she's level 2 and should know what she's talking about. (Wrong again!) I click thru and it says to reboot so I let it reboot.

BLAM!!! Blue Screen of Death!! Reboot, Blue Screen of Death, Reboot, Blue Screen of Death, Re....well, you get the picture by now.

The botched install and apparent failure of the client to successfully modify the winlogon process has thrown me into a blue screen death spiral reboot loop.

Safe Mode? Nope, no good since I didn't have a local logon
Safe Mode with Networking? Nope, Bluescreened as soon as it tried to load Winlogon
Last Known Good? Nope, Bluescreened as soon as it tried to load Winlogon

I was toast and the proud owner of a brand new, shiny, HP boat anchor.

I tell her that I need a reimage IMMEDIATELY and to escalate the ticket however she needed to in order to get someone down to me ASAFP! She initates that process and I head back to my desk. I arrive to find no Voicemails or calls but then get an email saying they tried to reach me and would be closing the ticket in 24hours if I didn't contact them back. WTF?!?!?

I had had it. My time was almost out and I had wasted an entire day fraking with these outsourced, lowest bidder imbeciles who couldn't click their way to google without a detailed script and nice pretty pictures to show them how. I called the number only to get a Level 1 person who wanted to do all the troubleshooting over again. I explained that the machine was in a reboot loop and he was wasting time. After arguing with him for 20min I finally demanded he get someone down to reimage my machine as I would not perform any further (and useless) troubleshooting. He then takes another 15min to put in the Work Order to do what I asked them to do 2 hours ago. He said someone would contact me within 2hours to discuss the repair and I got the number from him and hung up.

Taking the Work Order number with me I went up a few floors where the Techs sit and gambled that someone would be up there and able to help me skip the outsourced HELL that is the Help Desk. Arriving on their floor I discovered what I knew but didn't try earlier. The lady that set up my machine the first time was there and had time to get right on the work order. She still has the laptop but is re-imaging it and I'll pick it up on Monday.

Lesson Learned: FRAK THE HELPDESK. Reach out and ping people directly skipping the morons in India. You'll save HOURS of time and actually get something done.

Oh, and the answer to the question? 4
it takes 4 outsourced folks in India to take a functional laptop with one minor issue and turn it into a blue screening worthless boat anchor over the course of 4 hours.

I'll smurf a cactus before I ever call the help desk again.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

13.1 - My First Half-Marathon!

We did it! Jessica and I completed our first Half Marathon. The Disney Inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Orlando Florida. Jessica did great. She finished in 2:45:17. I finished but didn't do so well. My right knee blew out with a flair up of IT Band Syndrome just after the 10K mark. Up until that moment, I was running at a pace to finish around 2:58. Instead, I had to painfully walk the last half of the race and finished in 3:20 collapsing into a wheelchair with the help of the wonderful volunteers. I was wheeled away to the med tent to see the Ortho. She iced down my knee and wrapped it up. Jessica and I then got our medals and took a slow walk through epcot to head back to the hotel.

Despite the knee problem, I had a great time and definitely plan on doing the Wine and Dine again. Its a night marathon and running through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and around the Boardwalk to finish in Epcot was an incredible experience.

Next year though, we're taking Logan with us and doing the Royal Family 5K Saturday Morning before the Half Marathon.