What is somebody paying some of these people for? – Ed
I get a subscription to eWeek. Sometimes there’s some useful tidbits of information, but I find myself laughing besides learning. Unintentional humor, that is. Scary humor.
I keep reading comments about various situations from “IT professionals,” and a rather high proportion of them say pretty amazing things.
My favorite so far is the person who said that the Windows 2000 platform would be good for 25 years. My PC-DOS 1.0 still has a few more good years left in it, doesn’t yours?
This article isn’t quite as memorable, but it shows what I’m talking about.
This article deals with automatic Windows XP updates. Apparently, some of these patches create some new problems.
Now if the article quoted run-of-the-mill users, that would be one thing. But this article mostly quotes the head of a company that is supposed to deploy and maintain XP systems. and the comments unknowingly reveal much about their work practices (or lack thereof). Maybe funny to me, frightening to someone who can’t afford problems.
For openers, this particular company apparently sets up WindowsXP systems and let all the systems automatically update away with zero testing of any patches. Like there’s never ever been a problem with any code MS has ever written. My God, I’m not a system administrator, but even my bowel movements know better than that. 🙂
“The patches are coming with such unbelievable frequency these days that it’s very hard to tell exactly what is being changed and which patch is causing the problems.”
Ever heard of monitoring software? More importantly, it’s not like automatic updates are your only choice; all you have to do is find the MS webpage that let you download them at your leisure. When you’re there, you’d also find out that a grand total of four patches in a couple weeks is that “unbelievable frequency.”
He added that Microsoft’s patches do not contain sufficient information about their nature. “They could be modifying core DLL files and not telling you,” Perlow said.
Well, you might get a clue, Sherlock, if you watched an actual update, but again, there are nice little programs that tell you just that.
“My Windows XP workstation … had been working problem-free for about two months now, but after an automatic software update, my Microtech USB CompactFlash/Smartmedia Card reader stopped working,”
Ever heard of ghosting? Ever heard of System Restore?
“People look to me for help. I’m not supposed to get stumped by trivial problems like this. As an IT professional (my emphasis), I feel helpless and in an out-of-control situation and, as an end user as well, that sure doesn’t feel good.”
Well, I’ll agree on the “I’m not supposed to get stumped by trivial problems like this” part, though not the way it was meant. If even elementary precautions and procedures had been taken, this wouldn’t be so “out-of-control,” now would it?
This isn’t some kid with a Quake box. This isn’t Joe SixPack or JoeSuit. This is the head of a system integration company running a business that runs and deploys XP for companies.
“Another IT professional, based in California, who runs Windows XP systems for testing purposes, said that after installing the latest batch of XP security patches on four systems running XP Professional, all the systems became unstable.
“I’m seeing system failures requiring a reboot about once a week on each machine,” said the user, who requested anonymity. “Before this latest batch of patches, I hadn’t had to reboot any of these boxes. They were as stable as Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 or my Linux 2.4 systems.”
That’s a strict definition of stability, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Again, for somebody who is allegedly “testing,” he sure seems pretty nonchalant about his testbeds changing all by themselves, and doesn’t seem to have the slightest desire or ability to figure out just what got changed or what might be causing the need for reboots.
You want to criticize MS for not doing certain things, fine, but you get the distinct impression that if they don’t, these folks have no idea what to do next. Except whine, I guess.
If the comments had been, “MS did this, and it took me three hours to track down the problem; MS is evil” that’s a whole different story.
Wheat and Chaff
If this just happened to be a few odd comments in one article, I wouldn’t be writing about it.
However, there’s such a consistent pattern of these types of comments week-in, week-out that either eWeek separates out the chaff from the wheat or this is typical.
Whom do you have running your equipment? Wheat or chaff?
If you’re reliant on people to keep your equipment going, it sure wouldn’t hurt to maybe get a subscription to this or a similar magazine, skim through it, and when they mention issues like this one, ask those whom you’re paying big bucks to find out just what
they’re doing or not, and maybe more importantly, just what they do or don’t when a problem does emerge.