M. SCOTT MORRIS: Fun in the sun with Jay Bell

M. SCOTT MORRIS

The Mighty Daily Journal’s email went down, so I alerted Angie Wright, IT manager.

“I should’ve just emailed you,” I said.

“I’ve never heard that before,” she said.

That’s when I realized that I’d fallen into the pit of cliché, but Angie said my bad joke wasn’t as bad as I might’ve thought, though it remained horribly unoriginal.

“When the email is down, I think I should send an email to everybody in the company to let them know,” she said. “It’s the easiest possible solution, except when it’s not.”

I got to thinking there might be some funny material I could play with: What do people like me do to drive IT people crazy?

The problem was Angie took me way too seriously, and by that, I mean she was interested in helping you out – yes, you.

An IT person – aka information technology person – looks at the world in different ways than other folks.

Angie said that when it comes to computers, most people flip a switch in their heads so they don’t have to think about it any more.

But Angie and her fellow ITers usually have an affinity for the ins and outs of computers, servers, software and assorted magical artifacts.

In short, the same stuff that causes my eyes to gloss over causes hers to twinkle.

“People do things …,” she started. “We all have cars, right?”

“OK,” I said.

“If you’re going to an important meeting and you run out of gas – that’s impossible. Nobody’s going to do that,” she said.

Then she mentioned my co-worker Ginna Parsons, a fine human being if there ever was one, and her laptop recently went kablooey, which I’m told isn’t an industry term.

Angie was shocked, and said any ITer would be shocked, that Ginna hadn’t backed up what she most wanted to keep.

This isn’t dump on Ginna day. I hadn’t backed up my stuff, either, and neither have many of my co-workers. So Angie told me about Cubby, Dropbox and other services that back up the digital files you couldn’t live without.

Angie also mentioned that ordinary dust can clog fans and cause computers to overheat. She recommended canned air specifically designed for blowing debris from electronics.

“I’ve heard of people going to the shop and hooking up an air hose,” she said. “They end up ruining the ball bearings in the fan, stripping it out.”

As our discussion was winding down, Angie thought about what else you needed to hear and went into rapid-fire mode:

• Letting kids on your work computer is courting pop-up purgatory.

• Never click on links in mysterious emails.

• And don’t keep problems to yourself.

“My biggest frustration with users is when they don’t tell us,” she said. “It could’ve been happening for a year, but we could’ve fixed it a year ago.”

In case you’re wondering, System Administrator Appreciation Day is July 31.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at scott.morris@journalinc.com or         (662) 678-1589.

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