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Ten Things Your IT Department Won't Tell You
The Wall Street Journal ^ | July 30, 2007 | VAUHINI VARA

Posted on 07/31/2007 7:47:38 AM PDT by redfish53

Ten Things Your IT Department Won't Tell You By VAUHINI VARA July 30, 2007; Page R1

Admit it: For many of us, our work computer is a home away from home.

It seems only fair, since our home computer is typically an office away from the office. So in between typing up reports and poring over spreadsheets, we use our office PCs to keep up with our lives. We do birthday shopping, check out funny clips on YouTube and catch up with friends by email or instant message.

And often it's just easier to accomplish certain tasks using consumer technology than using the sometimes clunky office technology our company gives us -- compare Gmail with a corporate email account.

Security expert Mark Lobel of PricewaterhouseCoopers describes the most common things employees do on the internet to jeopardize company security. There's only one problem with what we're doing: Our employers sometimes don't like it. Partly, they want us to work while we're at work. And partly, they're afraid that what we're doing compromises the company's computer network -- putting the company at risk in a host of ways. So they've asked their information-technology departments to block us from bringing our home to work.

End of story? Not so fast. To find out whether it's possible to get around the IT departments, we asked Web experts for some advice. Specifically, we asked them to find the top 10 secrets our IT departments don't want us to know. How to surf to blocked sites without leaving any traces, for instance, or carry on instant-message chats without having to download software....

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: 10things; computer; computers; internet; it; office; web; work; workplace
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To: ccmay
Can you block outgoing port 443? Probably not. That's what I use to run an SSH tunnel with proxy forwarding from work to my home network, where it is NATted to port 22 on my Unix box. Then I adjust Firefox so that not just http and https are proxied, but DNS lookups too. Been doing this for a couple of years with no problems at all. I can go to any web site I want in perfect encrypted secrecy.

I've got the same setup, except the DNS. I actually need it fairly often for work though, as a troubleshooting tool. It's really nice being able to just type a short string and I can verify connectivity from the outsite world to most of our websites.

51 posted on 07/31/2007 9:00:28 AM PDT by zeugma (If I eat right, don't smoke and exercise, I might live long enough to see the last Baby Boomer die.)
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To: P-40
Yup. I wonder how many people know that their IT department often employs devices that inspect every single incoming and outgoing packet. :)

I particularly enjoy reading those packets as I spread them out on my desk! My favorite ones are the packets that are secured with the little velcro tabs, because they're so easy to reseal, and nobody knows you've peeked!

Mark

52 posted on 07/31/2007 9:01:30 AM PDT by MarkL (Listen, Strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government)
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To: relictele

They will exclude things for me also if I request them. I am a web developer/programmer and they trust (but verify) my judgement.


53 posted on 07/31/2007 9:05:15 AM PDT by Ingtar (The LDS problem that Romney is facing is not his religion, but his Lacking Decisive Stands.)
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To: wbill
Maybe you IT guys can help... I'm a father of 4 and want to know what my kids are doing on their computers.

They aren't very savy YET. So I can check histories etc... Is there an inexpensive key logger program or do you have any suggestions on how I can monitor e-mails and web sites visits..

I have 6 computers in the house that are linked by Linksys to a cable modem. thanks for any help.

54 posted on 07/31/2007 9:06:29 AM PDT by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: redfish53

Would 18 pieces of flair express what you want to express?


55 posted on 07/31/2007 9:07:52 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: MarkL

Never seen those but I have watched the contents of every IM session go by in real time then get processed and sorted by user and put into a word document automatically. :)


56 posted on 07/31/2007 9:09:49 AM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: zeugma

I do the same thing to my Citrix server, at home. I can get to the outside world and come back in. It does help when I need to check on the web servers.

Of course, I can do nefarious things from there, too. But I’m a network guy, so I can change the firewall if I wanted to, anyway.


57 posted on 07/31/2007 9:13:34 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: redfish53

I am so glad I have a Mac and NONE of this crap has any effect other than bewondered amusement at all the problems PC users must have.

= )


58 posted on 07/31/2007 9:21:33 AM PDT by RachelFaith (Doing NOTHING... about the illegals already here IS Amnesty !!)
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To: JenBrower

“LOL... Anyway, I was looking out my window and there are two squirrels and they were married....”

Uh, I’m going to have to ask you to move your desk. Now, if you could get it to go as far back against that wall as possible, that would be
great.


59 posted on 07/31/2007 9:26:04 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: Incorrigible

Mordac?


60 posted on 07/31/2007 9:27:18 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: redfish53
Not all system administrators are misanthropic sadists, only the ones who have been doing it more than six months. Nine times out of ten the restrictions are there for a reason and "getting around" the IT department means laying your hand on a table and waiting for somebody to come along with a ball-peen hammer. You may never know you're compromised but when your company's IP address gets black-listed because you and your work buddies are running a spambot empire for some Russian hacker you may not like the results. That gets to be a b*tch to unsnarl. Trust me.

There are even more challenging environments than industry in this regard. I went from industry to an academic environment and now in addition to the careless or thoughtless but benign worker who just wants to jigger the system so he can download nekkid pix I also have an actively malign element who (1) demands that the network work flawlessly for his or her own little term papers and (2) also regards it as a playground and an opportunity to Stick It To The Man by betraying what he or she doesn't even recognize as a trust relationship.

Most of it is human attitude, really. If you have a login name and a password you are in every real sense an insider with the ability to soil whatever nest you're being allowed into. If it stinks afterward, whose fault is that?

Oh, and as long as I'm ranting - the next idiot who breaks the system and smirks that he's found a hole gets his nose cartilidge tested by my trusty clue-by-four. Go stick nails into the tires of the football team and then complain that security shouldn't have allowed you to do that. See what it gets you. < /rant >

61 posted on 07/31/2007 9:29:59 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: relictele

“Yes and the network guys probably exclude their machines from the block(s).”

Most IT guys worth their paycheck don’t.

From time to time I get an Email from a freind saying check out this Youtube video.. I click on the link and up pops “The website you are trying to access has been blocked. If you have a business need to access please contact...”

Then I go “Doooohhhh” and slap my forhead forgetting that I blocked that website.

For the most part the rules are there for a reason. For us its HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley. If I violate the rules then the rules are useless and my efforts have been for nothing. Also we are violating the law.


62 posted on 07/31/2007 9:32:48 AM PDT by Syntyr (Freepers - In the top %5 of informed Americans!)
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To: rwfromkansas

We have college students who don’t know a monitor from a modem but they can yank down their AV and firewall software like pros.

We had a kid get majorly infected. He went to a Russian porn site from an email and got the infection. We asked him why he took down the AV and firewall and he told us the site recommended it. Geez!


63 posted on 07/31/2007 9:40:44 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: quikdrw

“I do the same thing to my Citrix server, at home.”

You know you are a geek when you can say that!!!


64 posted on 07/31/2007 9:41:45 AM PDT by Syntyr (Freepers - In the top %5 of informed Americans!)
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To: AppyPappy
We asked him why he took down the AV and firewall and he told us the site recommended it.

(Hysterical laughter being stifled here.) Yeh. I think I have his brother out here.

65 posted on 07/31/2007 9:44:32 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

Now, imagine 10,000 more just like him in your zone.


66 posted on 07/31/2007 9:48:54 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Billthedrill

“Not all system administrators are misanthropic sadists, only the ones who have been doing it more than six months.”

Can I PLEASE use that line? Can I use it as a tagline if I give attribution?


67 posted on 07/31/2007 9:49:34 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: Gorzaloon
The people who write and distribute many of these are known. Nothing happens to them.

.....that needs to end.....

.....by one means or another.....

68 posted on 07/31/2007 9:55:04 AM PDT by cyberaxe (((.....does this mean I'm kewl now?.....)))
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To: Celerity

“If you’re shopping for a house, you’ll get lots of mortgage mail. if you’re going to gaming sites, you’ll get lots of pharma / porn spams. You’ll get those pesky little PDF attachment emails from going to more “nefarious sites”.”

I get all the above @ work and have been very protective of my email addy. (and aren’t you support folks supposed to be blocking those gaming and nefarious sites anyway?)

Since you “know” and you “can see”, you wanna explain that one to me?

Could it be because the Support folks here had a system compromised, which grabbed all the internal addresses including those of people like myself who strive to keep their accounts spam free?

“it’s a matter of understanding how it all works.”

yea, I know how it works. Those with an inflated sense of self importance because they *think* they “know” and “see” what’s going on just like to always blame the user and never admit that they made a mistake.

(for the record, I’m in IT, just not desktop support)


69 posted on 07/31/2007 9:55:56 AM PDT by PissAndVinegar
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To: AppyPappy

“We asked him why he took down the AV and firewall and he told us the site recommended it. Geez!”

HAHAHAHAHAHA

I am an IT Director and the Email below is from a person in the Payroll Outsourcing department:

THE PROBLEM

Good Morning Raymond,

I do not have the FTP file on my computer, the GL is ready to be dropped... Can you please drop it in that file for now and set me up later?

Thanks,

MY RESPONSE

Sure. I can FTP a file if you can tell me 3 things:
1. What file?
2. Where is it stored?
3. Where do we need to send it?

HER RESPONSE

I do not know the answer to any of those... LOL
I was told to just tell you about it, and you would be able to assist...


70 posted on 07/31/2007 9:56:54 AM PDT by Syntyr (Freepers - In the top %5 of informed Americans!)
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To: expat_panama
All that matters is that the company gets rich serving the customer via the sales rep.

The IT is worth his paycheck only if he can serve the sales rep.

That's the kind of IT that keeps spammers in business.

71 posted on 07/31/2007 10:02:44 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: expat_panama
All that matters is that the company gets rich serving the customer via the sales rep.

The IT is worth his paycheck only if he can serve the sales rep.

That's the kind of IT that keeps spammers in business.

72 posted on 07/31/2007 10:03:06 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: ko_kyi

LOL - it’s all yours. I have a colleague who used to be a problem child until we hired him as an SA. Now he’s worse than I am. He’s taken to keeping an irrigation hammer at his desk with a sign on it reading “Ye Hammer Of Compliance.” I do think you mellow a little over time too, or at least he’d better or he’s gonna pop a blood vessel come September...


73 posted on 07/31/2007 10:08:56 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: Syntyr

My favorite is “Why did my friend get a message that the email she tried to send me was undeliverable?”


74 posted on 07/31/2007 10:14:42 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: Billthedrill
Great rant. Looks like you've been doing this for awhile? (grin)

I can't imagine handling security in an academic environment. My hat is off to you, sir.

75 posted on 07/31/2007 10:16:56 AM PDT by wbill
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To: redfish53

And... You're welcome!

76 posted on 07/31/2007 10:18:42 AM PDT by SlowBoat407 (It's never a good time to get sucked into an evil vortex.)
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To: Syntyr

That’s pretty usual. I get this one all the time.

“That Word document didn’t work. It’s empty”
“When it asked ‘Do you want to run this query?’ what did you do?”
“I hit the No button”
“There you go. You got what you wanted”

Same person every time.

My all time favorite was “My PC won’t boot up. I was cleaning out the Windows directory because it had all these files that I didn’t recognize. The PC said it was out of space so I was deleting things.”. It turns out she moved all her music into the Startup directory so they would “play all day”. She ran out of RAM and started deleting things that “weren’t mine”.


77 posted on 07/31/2007 10:28:37 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: Syntyr
ROFL! I love it.

Among other things, I handle backups for our company. I used to get frequent requests for restores like "I deleted a file. I don't remember the name, but it was related to (a client). Or, it might have been related to (some other unrelated client)....I don't remember. It was last week, or it might have been three months ago. I don't remember the server it was on. So, please go recover it immediately, it's critical".

Then, when I told them that I needed more info, occasionally I'd get "What part of critical don't you understand!?" then I'd hear from my boss that, per this user's supervisor's Vice President, our DR/restore process is seriously flawed and needs a complete and thorough review.

Finally, I got the powers that be to put a policy in place where I don't look at restores without a filename, location, and recovery time. Idiot cases like the one above are why IT locks down their policies so tight, IMHO.

Don't even get me started on the perils of dealing with clients that have outsourced their IT departments. I recently talked to a nice young man from India, who although being very personable, was clueless - enough so that he asked me how to spell FTP. You can't make these things up.

78 posted on 07/31/2007 10:29:08 AM PDT by wbill
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To: Billthedrill
He’s taken to keeping an irrigation hammer at his desk with a sign on it reading “Ye Hammer Of Compliance.”

LOL! At my last job, I used to keep a whiffleball bat close to hand and prominently displayed at my desk...likely for some of the same reasons.

I like the hammer idea better.

79 posted on 07/31/2007 10:32:38 AM PDT by wbill
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To: wbill
"Private sector is a whole different ballgame. Self-Employed is even better."

IMHO those are words suitable for framing --for engraving!

80 posted on 07/31/2007 10:34:39 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: wbill
LOL! At my last job, I used to keep a whiffleball bat close to hand and prominently displayed at my desk...likely for some of the same reasons.

.....try a pair of wire snips.....

.....every time someone pulls a fast one.....

.....just snip off the rj45 from their patch cord.....

81 posted on 07/31/2007 10:36:13 AM PDT by cyberaxe (((.....does this mean I'm kewl now?.....)))
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To: Billthedrill

I had an irate senior manager tell me (after she was unable to play a CD she received in the mail) “I used to work in the federal government and it wasn’t THIS locked down.” It was meant as criticism, but I took it as compliment.


82 posted on 07/31/2007 10:37:00 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: tacticalogic

“Why did my friend get a message that the email she tried to send me was undeliverable?”

One if my favorites is “What e-mails haven’t I received?”


83 posted on 07/31/2007 10:38:38 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: cyberaxe
.....just snip off the rj45 from their patch cord.....

Yeah, but then wouldn't the token fall out of their Token-Ring network? Perhaps it could be caught in the Ether Net.

(/obscure Dilbert reference)

84 posted on 07/31/2007 10:40:03 AM PDT by wbill
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To: wbill
Yeah, but then wouldn't the token fall out of their Token-Ring network?

.....oh, i forgot to say you need to.....

.....bend the cat5 180 degrees and tape it.....

.....to stop the flow don't you know.....

.....(actually had someone try that, lol).....

85 posted on 07/31/2007 10:43:28 AM PDT by cyberaxe (((.....does this mean I'm kewl now?.....)))
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To: tacticalogic
“My favorite is “Why did my friend get a message that the email she tried to send me was undeliverable?””

Ohh heard that one!

I have been in the biz for a while.

1. Monitor wont work but the light is on (Computer was off)
2. 5 1/4” Floppy wont work (Left in the car during Texas heat now looks like a bloated spoapilla (Mexican dessert))
3. The floppy disk is not working (pulled it out of their pocket and unfolded it then handed it to me so that I could check it)
4. The floppy drive wont let my disk go (Floppy disk was actually crammed between two drives)
5. Monitor is weird colors (took the three sticky magnets off the side of the monitor)

Just the tip of the iceberg... We love our users we truly do...

Back when I was running networks for a University all of my data centers that were student accessible had the following sign in them:

Poor Planning on Your Part does not Constitute an Emergency on Our Part!

86 posted on 07/31/2007 10:44:12 AM PDT by Syntyr (Freepers - In the top %5 of informed Americans!)
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To: tacticalogic
...serve the sales rep.  

That's the kind of IT that keeps spammers in business...

Hmm  Coming from a career as a design engineer I see your point. 

Some say that a firm can survive a bad engineer dept. but not a bad sales force.  I'd counter that the bad engr firm just goes out of business, but the bad sales company gets bought out and just the sales group gets dumped.

87 posted on 07/31/2007 10:44:20 AM PDT by expat_panama
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To: expat_panama
IMHO those are words suitable for framing --for engraving! Personally, I'm not self-employed....yet.

I'm trying to convince myself that I *won't* work harder when I'm self-employed, than I currently do as a corporate geek. Not having a lot of luck, there. The IT shop that I'm currently in is OK, for an IT shop. Hours are moderately reasonable...I'm home for dinner most nights.

But, I gotta tell ya, when things slide downhill and I'm pulling all-nighters, or two-nighters, or all-weekenders..... getting paid for that extra time would be nice. My Dad was a consultant, and he *loved* getting those "we need you immediately" calls....he and Mom went to Europe after one of his clients had him put back together all of their AR databases that had been inadvertently purged.

88 posted on 07/31/2007 10:46:13 AM PDT by wbill
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To: wbill
...wouldn't the token fall out...?

The guy who brought me into this business actually used that line on an intrusive supervisor one time - I was an eyewitness. Then it turned up in Dilbert. For years I was absolutely certain that Scott Adams worked there...

89 posted on 07/31/2007 10:46:53 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: cyberaxe
.....bend the cat5 180 degrees and tape it..... Well, the "0's" can slide through OK, but the "1's" get caught.
90 posted on 07/31/2007 10:47:51 AM PDT by wbill
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To: snowman_returns

Ah yes... the .zap file.


91 posted on 07/31/2007 10:48:33 AM PDT by CougarGA7 (Never get drunk and play on a trampoline.)
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To: Syntyr
At my old job, we'd invariably get calls for "My computer won't turn on." during power outages. People were amazed that we couldn't tell which outlets had computers plugged into them, and then magically keep the power flowing somehow.

I've worked in a couple of places that had hot outlets with generated power...but this place didn't do it.

I bailed out a dentist's office at my first consulting gig. Their building had a direct hit by lightning, and it ran in on all of their modems (Ok, I'm dating myself, here...). I walk in and the receptionist says "Come quick, my PC has a problem." It's *literally* on fire, with smoke rolling out of it. She says "What can we do?" I told her (while hastily looking for something to pick it up with) that "We'll be taking it outside before it burns down the office."

Her next question was "Well, can you fix it?" lol!

92 posted on 07/31/2007 10:56:27 AM PDT by wbill
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To: Billthedrill

Scott’s worked with me in several jobs, too. I think that he’s worked with everyone in IT.


93 posted on 07/31/2007 10:57:36 AM PDT by wbill
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To: wbill

BFL8-er!


94 posted on 07/31/2007 10:59:40 AM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: wbill
get calls for "My computer won't turn on." during power outages.

.....i always liked the ones that said.....

.....the power went out, then.....

.....that box that my pc is plugged into started beeping.....

.....then 15 minutes later, my pc turned off while i was right in the middle of something.....

95 posted on 07/31/2007 11:07:10 AM PDT by cyberaxe (((.....does this mean I'm kewl now?.....)))
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To: Syntyr

I admit it. But I have to support them, so it is good to have one that I wreck with Microsoft and Citrix updates before I have try to do it to a customer’s production server. Not all updates cause problems, but you just can’t be too sure.

Users get upset when they can’t access their Citrix server when ever and from where ever they want to.


96 posted on 07/31/2007 11:07:58 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: Syntyr

I absolutely hate those situations. Some how, it is always my fault that I don’t know which file they need to do their work.


97 posted on 07/31/2007 11:10:51 AM PDT by quikdrw (Life is tough....it's even tougher if you are stupid.)
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To: cyberaxe
.....that box that my pc is plugged into started beeping.....

Well, doesn't the "U" in UPS stand for "Unlimited"? Sheesh, you IT guys don't understand how IMPORTANT it is that I get my work done! Let me call your manager to complain.

98 posted on 07/31/2007 11:11:42 AM PDT by wbill
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To: redfish53

Here’s the 11th thing your IT department won’t tell you.

11. Use one of the above dodges and screw up the network and you’ll be doomed. If you get to keep your job expect extreme scrutiny of all you do and don’t lay awake at night thinking about that new high end system on your desk.

The IT Manager


99 posted on 07/31/2007 11:13:03 AM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution ? 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: TC Rider

too funny!! and true!!


100 posted on 07/31/2007 11:18:55 AM PDT by redfish53
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