kitchen table math, the sequel: stop making sense

Friday, February 15, 2013

stop making sense

Back from another tête-à-tête with Help Desk & now in the process of amending the 14 pages of Directions I have written for navigating my college's computer system.

This afternoon I've added a new heading:

Weird dangers & quirks:
  • OUTLOOK/EXCHANGE: DO NOT use the “Change password” option inside Outlook. If I  do, the system will either refuse to make the change (message: password illegal, or some such) or lock me out.
  • OUTLOOK/EXCHANGE: DO NOT use the “Change Password” option in http://xxxxx.edu/xxxxxpass . If I do, the system will lock me out. Ignore on-screen directions. ("You can change your existing password by confirming its current value.")
  • OUTLOOK/EXCHANGE: If I want to change your password for Outlook/Exchange, I have to use "Reset password." Ignore on-screen directions. ("If you have forgotten your password, you can reset it and unlock your account if needed.")
  • OUTLOOK/EXCHANGE: When I sign into Outlook, I must use mycollege-backslash in front of my user name: mycollege\myusername
  • OUTLOOK/EXCHANGE: When I change my password for Outlook, the phrase “Account Name” actually means “user name.”
  • OUTLOOK/EXCHANGE: DO NOT use the mycollege\ prefix when entering my user name under “Account Name.” Just use my user name as I do for the Mycollege Connect system.*
  • LOGGING ON TO CAMPUS COMPUTER: When I log onto an on-campus computer, use the “Student” domain.
  • LOGGING ON TO OFFICE COMPUTERS: For computers inside mycollege offices, as opposed to mycollege classrooms and the mycollege libraries, everything is different.
Highlights from today's exchange:

"Why would you have a button that says "Change Password" if you can't use it to change your password?"

"If you're going to have a button that says "Change Password" that can't be used to "Change Password," why don't you tell us?"

It's been 2 years now, and I've only just discovered that "Change Password" means at least three different things depending upon which "Change Password" button I hit on which one site:
  • "Change password" 
  • "Enter a new password and receive a "password illegal" message" 
  • "Lock yourself out of the system" 
* A couple of weeks ago I discovered that my college has two completely separate computer systems with two completely separate passwords and two completely different set of instructions. 

7 comments:

MagisterGreen said...

IT people gotta eat.

ChemProf said...

Yeah, and this is also why people wind up using the same two or three passwords for everything. When I worked in the national lab, they assigned us passwords -- awful, un-memorizable things that met IT's standards. So of course everyone kept theirs on a post-it someplace or locked in a drawer.

Catherine Johnson said...

I'm laughing!

The system here is crazy weird!

FOURTEEN PAGES OF DIRECTIONS (that I have written myself).

I'm sure there's still stuff I don't know that's going to blow up in my face.

ChemProf said...

Also, I must say that a college is the worst possible place to have an over-complex IT system. I have some lovely colleagues who have been at my institution for 20+ years who are, shall we say, less than tech-savvy.

Catherine Johnson said...

oh ChemProf....I should probably be talking about this off-line....

My department has people in their late 70s -- quite a few of them. At the professional development workshop, the leaders passed out iPads and taught us how to:

a. turn an iPad on
b. lock and unlock the screen using the side button
c. take a photo
d. put a photo in an album
e. how to find Settings
f. how to change screen-lock settings inside Settings

The gentleman in front of me wasn't progressing too quickly, and the facilitator, who was sitting beside me, whispered: "He doesn't use computers."

iPads are a lot easier than computers, though. I finally just taught him everything myself & he had no problem with it. When I sat back down he was taking photos of the other facilitator.

The funny thing is .... I had already suspected that no one was getting along with the IT system, because the very capable manager of my department sends nothing to my campus email address -- and had no objection to switching over to my personal email address.

I thought: if she's so happy to take the time to enter a whole new personal email address for me, that tells me she's had long experience of people not getting their campus emails because they've been locked out AGAIN.

GoogleMaster said...

My SigOther does desktop support (among other things) for an academic department at the local university. Some of the professors emeriti that the SO supports are in their mid-to-late-80s. One of them keeps forgetting how to get his email, and if his mail window gets hidden behind another window, then that will warrant a help call because he's totally lost. Poor man, he knows his subject, but his subject has nothing to do with computers.

Lsquared said...

My university also uses Outlook, and I have discovered that I can set it to automatically forward (and then delete) everything to my other e-mail (which I then set up to pretend it's e-mail address is the university one, so it all looks official). The only hiccups are that occasionally I get a "password reset" message which is set to not forward, so I have to go out to outlook and look in the trash for it. Otherwise it's a solution I'm very happy with. Good luck with IT.