So as I mentioned in It's not supposed to be green, I used to work as a lab tech with responsibility for maintaining our FT120 analyzers. The nature of my schedule was that I worked four 10-hour shifts which included one Sunday shift. Weekend shifts are actually the best because the office drones and bosses aren't in. Unfortunately that includes IT. This will come up later.
Around mid-morning I saw that the production workers were coming in to the lab to run their samples. This is never a good sign.
Me: Hey is something wrong with the FT?
Production worker: Oh yeah, it's broken.
For reasons I never fully understood, any error message is interpreted as the machine being broken. Error messages do not necessarily mean anything is broken. Mostly they just mean someone did something wrong and the machine needs to be flushed. I'd long-since giving up disputing this, but I also never took this evaluation very seriously. Unfortunately they were actually correct this time.
Me: Ah, shit. I'll go take a look at in a minute.
It is always best and easiest to deal with these things before someone complains to a supervisor, so I really did try to keep everything running. I went out to the production area, and the program was frozen. "Turn it off and on again" is standard troubleshooting procedure for people who aren't afraid the fairy dust which powers computers will leak out if you touch them, so I restarted the program. It booted up and immediately froze again. This time, I restarted the whole computer. Same problem.
Now, I'm not any sort of computer expert, and my only expertise with this particular program is knowing how to operate it. Fortunately we pay for off-hours support with the company who makes the FT120 and the program. Their technicians are bonafide experts, and I have only positive things to say about them. After I provide my customer information, the receptionist connects me to the tech.
Support tech: You've reached the off-hours support line. What is your issue?
Me: I've got an FT120 where the program keeps freezing after starting up.
Support Tech: All right, what version do you have?
Me: Version 3.0 (I don't remember the actual version number, but it isn't super key)
Support Tech: 3.0? That's a really old version. What OS are you running it on?
Me: It's an XP.
Support tech: Oh, that's your problem then. You're not really supposed to run it on anything after '98. That version will sort of run on XP, but it sometimes crashes. You're going to have to reinstall. You're also going to need a new access code from [company name] headquarters in Switzerland or you'll be stuck using the trial version without calibration. They're not even open right now. Really though, you guys need to upgrade your program version or this is just going to happen again.
Me: Shit. Well, thanks anyways.
Now, I've been working here long enough to know that I need administrator access to install a program, and I don't have that password. Even when you have legitimate business that requires administrator access, IT actually has to let you in rather than just giving out the password. Probably a reasonable security measure, but that doesn't mean it isn't annoying in particular circumstances. No big deal though, because we won't be able to actually make the program work until [company name] in Switzerland opens anyways. Plus, the backup unit in the lab is working fine. I call my boss, who's a bit of a control freak and hasn't been there long, to let him know about the situation.
Lab boss: All right, well I need you to install the program today.
Me: Well, I can't really do that. I don't have access to install. Only IT does. Even if I could, the program won't actually work until [company name] gives us a new access code.
Lab boss: Well, just try it and see if it works.
My boss was an ex-military guy, and there was no point arguing with him once he'd made up his mind. It just made him angry.
Me: All right. I'll let you know what happens.
I root around and eventually find the installation CD. To give you an idea just how old this program was, the installation packet also contained floppy discs in case your computer didn't run CDs. Unsurprisingly, "just trying it" did not give me administrator access, and I was unable to install the useless program. I waited for an hour to make it seem like I was "trying" things, and then texted my boss to inform him that I was unsuccessful.
The story has a happy ending though. On Monday the re-installation, dealing with [company name], restoring our calibration database, and installing a whole series of newly purchased upgrades all became IT's problem. Therefore, they were no longer my problem.
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