Tag: Rants

All About Service

As part of trying to organize my never ending list of favorites I’ve been trying out various online bookmark services such as del.icio.us, Live Favorites and FavoriteSync. The first product allows you to bookmark and store all your links online. The latter two provide a way to synchronize favorites from a locally stored favorites file. While experimenting with Live Favorites and FavoriteSync I accidentally erased favorites both on the online site and my desktop computer. An obvious case of user error. I didn’t have access to previously archived copies of my local favorites and so I spent some time e-mailing the support teams for both products. Below are the responses I got from the support teams of Live Favorites and FavoriteSync. Can you guess which product ended up providing me with the best service?

Product 1

Thank you for contacting Product 1 support. My name is Barb, and I will be happy to help you today.  It is my understanding that when you synchronized the favorites with a computer that did not have favorites this action wiped out more than 200 favorites that you had stored.  I deeply regret you have lost your 200 favorites.  I have further investigated this issue for you and as we do not have any of your favorites in our files we cannot assist you.

 

Product 2

Here is the latest backup. Please put it in the Product 2 folder and use the Options | Backup to import it. There should also be automatically stored backups saved there.

 

Needless to say, I was able to recover my favorites using Product 2. Two different products offering very similar services yet in the end the product that provides the best service wins.

Return Receipts in Entourage

I’ve slowly started the move toward using a Power Mac G5 as my primary work computer. While installing and configuring Entourage earlier today I came across a tip for setting up Return Receipts in Entourage. The tip indicated that in order to enable return receipt requests for outgoing messages, you would have to customize your mail account so that every single outgoing message would automatically include an additional mail header titled ‘Disposition-Notification-To’ whose value was set to your e-mail address.

I have never been happier for not liking, or for not using return receipts with messages that I send.

Move-In Weekend

The words move-in weekend echo different sentiments for most people. The pain of broken backs for the movers, freedom from rules and restrictions for students, and for some the thought of more than 5,000 students returning from a Summer vacation eager to connect to the Internet. Today, I fall in the last category, preparing with colleagues to help keep a network secure and still ensure that these returning students are able to connect to the Internet with the least amount of hassle.

As I’ve blogged before, Temple University has continued to gain an increasing amount of recognition for the various initiatives that have been coming from the Computer Services department. The 2005 CIO 100 Award recognized the department for its boldness to assume significant risk for the sake of great reward. From the outside, it’s hard to picture how a public research university could be ranked or compared to other Fortune 500 company initiatives. However, picture for example a typical student computer. Plagued with viruses, spyware, file sharing programs and the host of unknowns. Multiply this typical computer with 5,000 possible similar occurrences and the picture immediately becomes a nightmare. How do you prepare for this onslaught on your corporate network?

In past years and in my previous college, students were allowed to connect to the Internet and if found violating a network policy were then taken off the network. This reactive approach worked really well for the small class size. However, Temple University has more than 35,000 students, staff, administration and faculty members who need access to network resources. Disruption of service is out of question and so for the Fall 2005 semester, the university decided that the best way to reduce the impact of this possible nightmare on the network was with a very proactive approach. An approach that extends the vision of security on the network to the workstation level. At this level a computer cannot connect to the network without passing certain basic rules that determine that the computer is safe to proceed with a connection to the Internet. For example, ensuring that a student’s computer has an antivirus program, a firewall and the typical operating system updates immediately raise the level of protection on the computer. Once this set of rules is centrally controlled and managed the security level is further raised allowing an administrator to effectively follow a best practice to maintain security on the network. This is boldness and as the CIO 100 Award aptly describes, boldness is the willingness to assume significant risk for the sake of great reward.

So as we mentally and physically prepare for move-in weekend I’m hoping that the resulting sentiment is one of accomplishment.