A long time ago – before even the World-Wide Web had been invented – I started doing a bit of FE-equivalent teaching on the side. This involved setting up teaching plans, writing notes, etc., and being good at explaining my subject: word-processing.

After that I started working in the Computing Services team at Leeds Met, doing much the same except there were more of us, our constituency was quite large (staff plus students) and we produced lots of step-by-step guides to help people get the most out of the software.

“We can do that for you…”

I’ve been thinking of this over the last week as I decided to change my web hosting package in conjunction with some other housekeeping and general spring cleaning (see earlier post about my identity crisis).

To be fair, they only got two things wrong. At first…

Does the new package offer at least the same as what I had at the time? Yes. Er… no. But quickly solved by doubling the amount of sub domains I could have.

And then the person writing on the other end said “we can migrate your data for you.” Once I’d bought the new package, he then pointed out that, in fact, I would have to do the migration. Download all my data (which had to wait until I got home – it was 5Gb) then upload to the new server, at 5Mbps – uploading is always slower than downloading.

He did offer to set up my email accounts for me, which was lovely. He didn’t tell me the passwords though; it took a day of not being to access anything before I thought to change them all, rather than try all the solutions he offered (which didn’t work, because the password was always incorrect).

I also had to put some content into a specific directory in order for my website to work (not this one, the new one), which was a different behaviour to previously.

I also ordered a static (fixed) IP. No idea why. Rather than assign it to me on purchase, I had to ask for the assigning to take place separately, via email. Which I didn’t find out until I discovered the bit in the help section that I hadn’t been pointed to in the first instance.

I also bought an SSL certificate for three years, which came through as a separate email. The certificate, as far as I can tell, has already been applied to my new domain name; but that section of my Control Panel also shows SSL certificates expiring in May for all my other domains, but which I didn’t order. Another Trouble Ticket to be opened.

Taking ownership

Most of these issues are minor, in the sense that if I knew what was coming I could have planned for them. But that’s the point; I didn’t know what was coming, I was poorly informed, and then getting the right response was harder than getting blood from a stone.

In my day (harrumph) we took ownership for getting our colleagues and students to where they needed to be. We asked them to do some research, of course (hence the guides), but they knew they could come to us if they were really stuck and that we would help them – because we knew that if they were calling us, they really were stuck.

I’ve got decades of experience in IT matters. If I was having problems, and I know what I’m doing, how must mere mortals feel? But then, mere mortals do the sensible thing and stick to LinkedIn, Gmail and similar for their blogging and email needs…