Pet Peeves, Teh Intarwebs

High Technology

11.15.06 | 2 Comments

The other day at work the server support team (of which I am a member) had a conference call with one of our vendors, a large computer manufacturer, to discuss how to get the best support for their products. After discussing who we should call first, how to escalate, etc., our Active Directory engineer brought up an issue we recently ran into on one of our most important servers.

The version of the network driver would occasionally cause a loss of connectivity when two or more adapters were joined in a team. Since this was not a new issue, but was first reported in 2004, we would not have received an email alert about it. So our engineer wanted to know the best way to locate this information.

“It’s on our website,” replied the manufacturer’s rep. “Are you familiar with the ‘site’ predicate on Google?”

There was a brief pause, then the engineer said, “Did you just ask me if I know how to use Google?”

This manufacturer is absolutely notorious for their crappy website. It is virtually impossible to find what you’re looking for, and totally impossible to find it quickly. One of our other server techs once opened a support ticket with the vendor because he couldn’t find a driver he needed. It took the vendor’s own technicians over two hours to find it.

And the worst thing is, it’s been like this for ten years! My boss took part in a survey a couple of years ago, where he was asked to find various information on the website while a couple of the vendor’s people watched. Instead of observing what my boss did and making note of how he expected the site to work, they offered instructions on what he should have done!

I’m really not surprised, though, because this vendor has always done things “better” than other companies. In many cases what they do is better, but it’s also wildly incompatible, meaning you tend to get locked in to their products. This was a good strategy – 20 years ago – but in today’s environment you just can’t afford to use incompatible business machines.


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