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Technical Support as a Career

“I work in technical support” is probably one of the less impressive admissions at a sociable meetup, and to be fair, it’s not ever been glamourous, nor will it ever be. The most admiration you’ll probably get is “Oh wow; hey I have this computer problem actually, you see it …. (badly summarized problem in absence of broken thing…) … do you think it’s a virus?”

However it is a viable career (with its admitted share of dead ends), with training on offer in the right companies, and plenty of potential for exposure to the core of businesses and some Real Computing (TM).

The following is a quick profile description of the most common configurations, if you were ever curious, or looking to move into IT – and one or two profiles to avoid as much as you can. Read more

About that: Growing the Desktop Linux Community

I have a great interest in growing Desktop Linux as a community – being able to learn about the system and do all sorts of things with it is fine and dandy, but when you still have to deal with the Real World that uses closed source systems en masse, you find that your system is still a fringe consideration, not worthy of time and investment by others, with vendors only making software for the closed systems, and your knowledge only has limited use when helping your peers with desktop problems. I like helping my peers with the knowledge that I gain. And I’m sure that people I help are happy to have someone who can help them.

Over at OStatic, Jon Buys has written a piece calling on the community to stop bickering and getting into flame wars, and start bringing productive input to the table, so as to make the Linux Community a welcoming and intelligent place. I couldn’t agree more. But that alone will not swell our numbers. Read more

Drivers in Linux: ndiswrapper and the demise of Windows XP

With the impending demise of Windows XP (even though it has recently been announced that XP will now continue to receive updates until July 2015), the prime time for migrating casual Windows users to Linux is nigh.

However, one crucial aspect remains: driver support.

Some will be swift to point out that in-kernel driver support has come leaps and bounds lately, and most things just work “out of the box.” Unfortunately, that is not sufficient in the Real World. Read more

Response to: Will 2014 be the “year of the Linux Desktop”?

An open poll for opinions on Linux Voice.com asks whether the tired and still popular question “is 20XX going to be the year of the Linux Dsktop” is still relevant.

My take on it is as below – but in brief (TL;DR) it is no longer relevant technologically, it is relevant and in progress from an industrial point of view, and is is most definitely still relevant when it comes to users at home, with no technical skills. The question beyond that is, do we even want non-techies using Linux? Read more

The story of a deli, and the need for coordination

A few weeks ago I was out at the local festival — it was a warm, sunny day, and the entire town was out. Many second hand stalls were hawking their wares, and every so often along the corridor of pots and books and unwanted bric a brac, a catering van was feeding and quenching the crowds as the music in the centre stage clashed and blended with the make-shift alternative entertainment grounds’ percussions in festive brouhaha. A great event altogether.

I decided to take a break with my friend however at a nearby delicatessen that we both enjoy, mostly. I say mostly, as this venue sometimes irks me — not for lack of good produce (which is excellent) or for lack of pleasant service (they are delightful), but for lack of efficiency. Read more

Ideal staffing levels for support teams

Prompted by a question on another site, I decided to do a little reasoning and napkin calculations to provide an answer based on my own experience. Note that whilst the below is an mainly an exercise in reasoning, and still needs work, I am fairly confident it is relevant to real world application.

Determining ideal staffing levels for a support operation depends on a number of factors, but the most significant ones I believe will be evident once you have some insight into the operation over time. Read more