Tag Archives: computing

People are strange

We have a lot of customers. A few, whilst emailing us at tech-support can be rude. It’s interesting, visiting their sites, and seeing whether that is just because they’re stressed, under the effects of caffeine, or are just naturally rude.

Take one example… one person just kept ignoring what I said, treating it as if I didn’t know what I was writing about. Turns out, I did, and I fixed the immediate problem (if not the whole one, but that’s something different altogether). He still insists on treating me as if I’m not worth listening to.

Surprise surprise, if I am given the choice (and at the end of the day, when I’m just doing support tickets to stop them needing to be done tomorrow, I often am,) I will delay answering the tickets of those who have been rude. They’ll get done at some point, but I won’t prioritize them; what’s the point? I’d rather help someone who will be grateful! I will go all out in my own time on a problem that interests me, or a customer who is kind. I will go all out if you are rude, but you are stressed and have an excuse. I may force myself to go all out if you pay us a lot of money (but it won’t be on my own time 😉 )

I’ve stayed in the office till 10pm, on a ‘I’m not getting paid right now’ problem, because it interested me, and I liked the people running the website involved. I will gladly spend my free time trying to help them.

If you talk to tech support, be nice! Say thank you, treat us with respect, and you’ll find we’ll be inclined to help you a lot more. Ignore what we say, treat us rudely or as if we don’t know what we’re talking about, and we’ll get dispirited. The last thing you want is dispirited sysadmins. They tend to go home on the dot, and they won’t go out of their way to help you.

If you’re angry, worried, stressed, take a deep breath and a calming moment before speaking to us. We, like anyone else, don’t like people shouting at us for something we can’t help. If your website goes down, because the server it’s on has blown up, and you didn’t pay for a fail-over system, we can’t help you any faster by you shouting at us, and you shouting at us will not make us like you 😉

In the end, just remember, we’re human too! That person you call up because your email is broken has emotions, and they’re likely busy fixing problems, or helping others already. Don’t let the frustration of the problem blow into anger at the people who try to fix it for you 🙂

How a website Works

This is just a quick guide on how a website stays online. It’ll probably be common knowledge to most reading this blog, but good to put up anyway.

You may think when you visit, for example, bbc.co.uk that it’s just “there”, and not worry about how, but my job is dependent on the how. The error messages you see when a website isn’t working are also very descriptive, but quite cryptic if you’re not in the know.

All websites are hosted on servers. A server is just a computer which we use to serve others, so in this case, serve a website, or provide email services. Normally, a server is a rackserver, designed to fit in a small space with a lot of other computers in a datacentre, far, far removed from that big beige box that allows you to browse the internet.

When you visit a website, a lot of different things are happening in the background. Firstly, your computer looks up the computer address with the domain name you just visited. Say you just hit my site, “kirrus.co.uk”. Well, the internet addressing system, that tells your computer where to look for the website is based in numbers. So, your computer asks special servers on the internet, we call “Domain Name Servers”, what the address is for that website. In this case, they’ll reply “80.87.131.49”. Your web-browser, firefox, will then ask for “kirrus.co.uk” from my server “80.87…”). Everyone has one of these IP addresses, even you. Go to http://itempeter.com to see yours 🙂

Once my server has the request, it then sends the web-page back to your computer.

What is a webpage?

A webpage, as your computer sees it, is a collection of a couple of languages. The most basic is “HTML”, or “HyperText Markup Language”. This was designed to allow you to quickly put together a webpage – all you do is wrap (or mark up) the text you want with the flags you want. For example <b>word</b> tells your computer to make word bold, so, you see: word

You can see the HTML that makes up this page by clicking on “View” and then “View Source” in your web-browser.

That’s the most basic level. It gets a lot more complex than that under the skin, with extra languages running on your computer (JavaScript, CSS [Cascading Style Sheet]), and on the server (PHP – PreHypertextProcessor, ASP, perl, python, MySQL) but they’re all too complex to go into unless you want to create dynamic websites. A good place to go if you want to create webpages is w3schools.com, where they have lots of tutorials on all the major web languages.

Move Complete :)

My blog’s move is finally complete 🙂

As I said, my new RSS feed is available from https://kirrus.co.uk/feed/

With the move, my commenting system is now open, and does not require registration. Be patient for comments to be posted – the first time you post, your comment will be moderated. Also, I have a set of spam filters that may be a little too exacting; if a comment hasn’t gone up after a while feel free to contact me.

As well as the blog move to WordPress, had all three interviews. On the final interview I was offered the job and I accepted it. I started two days after the interview (thursday). Yay! Currently, my commuting time is a total of 5 hours a day, so I’m already thinking about moving closer to the office.

Interview – I had to take a brief test, which was interesting. The first section was grammar, one of which we had to find what was wrong with “LCD Display” and “PIN number”. Later, it turned out, that the website of the company which I’m now working at has a very similar error, with “ZDR reboot”. Fun fun.

I will be working on a theme for this blog shortly – this is a stock “K2” theme. I saw that elwoodicious is using K2, and it seems to be quite handy 🙂 (Look at the footer for a link to info about K2)

Photographs – My memory card reader is ready and waiting next to my laptop for me to download another batch of photos from my camera, so the next post will be the best out of that batch.

Computer – I’m back on my laptop, because my new hard-drive has failed in a very similar way to the old one. I’m guessing that theres’ a problem with the PSU or SATA PCI control card.