The Support Files

In any heavily managed corporate tech environment, there are rules. And there are standard configurations. And reasons for why things are the way they are–whether it’s for security reasons, money reasons, or simply someone in IT being controlling because they can.


But as we all know, there are many people in the world who seem to exist purely to push the envelope and disregard rules (or at least work around them). And somehow, I get to deal with a lot of these people.


These people don’t pay attention, don’t ask for help or direction, don’t do things through the proper channels, and insist on forcing their way through the organization, simply because they feel like they’re more important than anyone else.


For instance, we’ll take the guy who called because he does a lot of presentations, so he went out and bought a portable computer projector since it was just too inconvenient to grab one from his office. I’m certain he’ll be expensing it back, but that’s beside the point. But he’s sitting there looking at the projector and the back of his laptop and the cables that came with each and realizes that there’s no way to directly connect the two because the projector has jettisoned two port types in order to save space.


Bonus points: his next presentation is tomorrow morning, first thing.


The challenge he presents to me is basically to make his projector square peg fit into the laptop round hole. In a matter of hours. Because he just couldn’t be troubled to make sure the two would be compatible.


I looked online. Such adapters exist, I told him, and could be ordered (this was before I knew about the presentation being at the next sun-up). Can this mysterious item, found only in the deep recesses of really tech-heavy websites, be found at a store at his local strip mall?


Somehow, I’m turned into super secretary, searching the brick-and-mortar stores’ websites for him to see if they have such a contraption. Radio Shack carries it, but it only shows up as an online item. Best Buy acts like a French three-year-old when I ask it if it’s got the adapter: “Ehhh?” Then he pipes up: “What about Target or Kmart?” Really? You think an adapter that is so rare that I’m certain it’s manufactured by mute, wingless, fallen fairies in the dark corners of dirty factories in China, would be available at Kmart? Uh…No.


So I ask the only obvious question remaining: “where exactly did you purchase this? Maybe they’ve got an adapter if they were selling such a unique projector?”


I received back a two-syllable answer. It was proud initially, but yet somewhat sheepish especially once I think he realized just what level of trouble he may have just found himself in. In those two syllables were a reflection of many things including the fact that he should have gone through the existing and well-established business channels to get what he wanted, and that support will probably be difficult to come by. Those two syllables made him almost immediately start planning his drive to the office to pick up the projector from there.


Those two syllables formed one problematic word: “EBay.”


See you tomorrow.