Category Archives: 1063

Cookies and Support People

I’ve got a gripe with support people.  How many times have you been investigating a problem and either told someone to delete there IE cookies or been told to do that yourself?  I find this extremely frustrating as a user that the support people do not know WHICH cookies are related to their particular site.  Surely if I am having a problem with a site then I should be able to delete all the cookies related to just that site – surely the site developers know which cookies they rely on and therefore which ones we need to delete.  I get frustrated when told I need to delete all my cookies as so much information is stored inside of them that is a real pain to reset them.  I know the purists out there will say “No – cookies are bad and you should never accept them”, but it’s a fact of life.  Website developers should clearly document the things their site relies on and then ensure that this doco is passed on to the support people so that they can remove the frustration.  Furthermore IE should be enhanced so that it knows which cookies are linked to which site and you have the option to delete all cookies related to a specific site.  Oh well – I guess now I’ll get someone telling me how IE already does this or that it’s a feature of Vista or something – go ahead… make my day [:D]

I’m an MCSE – why should I sit the 70-282 exam…

Ok – at conferences you overhear many conversations.  One I heard yesterday, just made me mad.  Typical of some people though.  Two guys – they were MCSEs and had many enterprise clients.  They were looking at the new Small Business Specialist program and were trying to understand what value it had to them.  They are registered partners and MCSEs.  Their question was why should they have to sit the 70-282 exam and take all that time out of their business to study for it.  Surely given that they had their MCSE meant that they could handle the lowly SBS server as it’s “just the components all on one box”…  GRRRR…. They felt that they should get an exception from doing the exam and bailed up a couple of Microsoft people to push their point.  Why should they get an exemption…  Heck – it’s all on one box – that’s the first reason.  It’s got wizards that most MCSE types don’t use – and when they don’t they stuff up the system and make a real mess of it – that’s the second reason.  It’s got more features than just the sum of its components – that’s the third reason.  I know many people have had to rescue systems that enterprise level MCSEs have abused by treating it like an enterprise system.   What do you think?

Honesty with customers counts too!

Yup – honesty counts. I had to talk to a customer last week about a stuff up one of my guys did. SBS2000 server – we could VPN to the server but could not ping anything on the inside of the network, or access resources on the inside of the network. The network appeared to be running.

We could not see the issue. Lodged a case with PSS and after 3 weeks – the guy asked us to stop the “Trend Micro Personal Firewall Service”…. CLANG.  A few months back when my guy upgraded the customer from OfficeScan for SBS2000 to CSM Suite for SMB, he mistakenly downloaded and installed OfficeScan Corporate Edition which includes the personal firewall turned on by default. He installed this on the server also as is normal. We didn’t realise it was the wrong version as they look so similar and once PSS asked us to turn of that service we realised our mistake. The customer was not any less secure with our mistake one way or the other – it’s just that it stopped this VPN function from working properly.

So – what to do. I rang the customer – told him that we’ve made a mistake with his network configuration and that I wanted to send out a guy to resolve this in the next day or two – no charge of course. The customer was silent for a moment and then said “Wayne – Thanks for your honesty… I’ve not had anyone admit their mistake in the past. It’s good to see that your not afraid to admit when you do the wrong thing.”

Basically this was for us a customer building experience. The customer has greater confidence now than ever before in us and that he knows from the last 4 years of dealing with us that we’ve never made an error like that before. He can move on with confidence that we’ll be open and honest if we make a mistake in the future.

Why do I post this – I’m tired of consultants in the industry, certified partners etc that stuff up a system and can not admit that they’ve done the wrong thing by the customer.  It gives us all a bad name and makes the customer less trusting.  Like the stereotypical image of the used car salesman – nobody trusts him at all – always looking for the catch.  If you want your customers to trust you you’ve got to shake that image and ensure that your totally transparent with them.  If your a good reputable company then you’ll already be doing this. 

Care to share your experiences with us?

Netgear Print Servers and SBS 2003 or Windows 2003 Server – just does not work!

I’ve been a strong advocate for Netgear for many years – in fact back in 1996 I had dinner with Patrick Lo – the Managing Director of Netgear and I felt that this was certainly a company that I wanted to be associated with.  They typically make a good quality product that is reliable and at a good price.  However I’ve got a big gripe with them about an issue that has been going on now for sine early last year that it Netgear seem to be failing to resolve.  I am hoping by publishing this and getting public feedback that we can entice them to resolve it.

So what is the problem?  Their most popular and longest running print server is the PS110 – this has dual parallel ports and has been around for many years – in fact they still sell them and I’m not aware of any intention to discontinue them.  We’ve got a lot of sites with these installed and running with Windows 2000 Server and SBS 2000.  We print to them via TCP/IP as LPR printers.  However it came as a big shock to us when we started upgrading clients to Windows 2003 and SBS 2003 last year to find that these devices would totally lock up when you print to them from a Windows 2003 server.  So much in fact that they then fail to respond to pings.  Now I’ve lodged cases with Netgear before on this and the end result I get is that “yes it’s a problem and we don’t know when we will have a resolution“.  So bad is the issue with it now that we’ve had to resort to replacing them with competing brand print servers from HP.  Netgear basically shrug their shoulders at the entire situation.  I’m sorry but it’s just not good enough.  This is a current product and should work with operating systems that have been out nearly 2 years now!

For the record, I’ve tried other model Netgear print servers and found them to work well, specifically the models I have tested are the FM114P and the PS101 and the PS121.  They work fine – now the initial thought might be that we could replace the PS110 with one of these, but the issue is that these are all single port devices and will not work if you’ve only got a single network connection to share between multiple printers.

So the question is – when will Netgear resolve the problem with the PS110 and make it work with Windows 2003? Have you seen this problem?  If so please leave comments so that we can gather momentum and entice them to fix it.