Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Let me amaze you!

My amazing discovery of how to improve my co-workers' lives was rejected out of hand. I asked my boss if I could give the company the equivalent of having an employee show up, totally for free, for eight weeks, and he said no... that might come back and bite me (not him, me) later. It's not my job to fix their computers, ergo, I am directly forbidden from improving the operation of their laptops, regardless of current impaired function. Mine, however works great. I am somewhat satisfied because NO one in my department, nay, my company, has ever figured out what I know.

Today, I sent a request through the regular channels, and I think I've prevented any NEW employees from being set up with hideous default laptop partition build-outs. Even that is a win, for as the new laptops become available, my co-workers can just break their current laptops.

Yes, that is certainly simpler than letting me use the **FREE** method which I researched and tested on my own time, and was told to not use, demonstrate, or explain to co-workers.

Here's the problem, start to finish:
Two of my co-workers boot their laptops, then go for coffee, because their C: drives are so painfully small and fragmented that the benighted machines require 20 minutes to boot. That makes me feel bad that smart people can't fix their troubles. They have no personal files on there, no pictures, no MP3s, no nothing. The company's mandatory virus-scanner kicks in at noon, and then their laptops freeze for the next few hours. They are smart, and they know which end of the mouse is up.

The C: partitions are only tiny because when the laptop images were built, the image used to build them had to be small enough to fit random microscopic hard drives. Yes, I and my present-day co-workers, who are real actual consultants who actually make the company money most of the time, have laptops that are retarded for the convenience of the guys who put together the laptops FOUR YEARS AGO.

Late Friday, in 40 minutes, I went from having a 5 gig C: drive that gave me occasional problems, and a totally-useless D: drive that was 95% empty, to having one BIG C: drive.

Before I did this:
1. I researched all possible alternatives. I removed files, I defragmented, I fiddled with Windows memory settings, I removed .TMP files, any useless folders, etc.
2. I read up on the issues (this was a while back). I read up on all the alternatives. I even tried to get the support people to get a copy of Partition Magic. You know, to spend $69 to make it back in a single day of increased productivity.
3. When I read that certain software I had considered didn't work well... I didn't try it. Even when my laptop keyboard stopped working, I didn't just say, "Y'know, screw this, I'll break it or cure it," and dive in. I sucked it up.
4. Recently, I talked to a person who configures all manner of laptops, who confirmed that the drive image was a relic, and that the D: drive was full of old, weird, driver packs, used by another one of our shell companies for the tech's convenience if the laptop was rented out.
5. Thursday, one of my two afflicted co-workers came to me and said his problem had gotten worse, due to mandatory virus-scanner files and Windows Update files pushed over the corporate LAN. He said I had talked about it before, but now he was getting messages that the C: drive was so full, Windows defrag popped up messages that it wouldn't defrag well. I asked him all the questions in #1, and he said, "C'mon, bro. I'm pretty good at this." He does, he tried his best, and now he was politely and non-confrontationally asking for my help, a second time.
6. I researched the programs I had seen before, and found that the new versions were faster and evidently much more reliable.

So I did the dirty deed: I tossed that useless D: partition over my shoulder and never looked back. My laptop now boots more quickly, opens files more quickly, and seems to run well. No issues, worked perfectly on the first try, took less than an hour all told, from start to finish, from booting Knoppix to taking a screenshot of my single large C: drive in My Computer for proof that I rule.

Thanks, Knoppix boot CD! I never could have removed a useless logical drive partition using QTPARTED without you.

My supervisor's a good guy, and he's right to have reservations, and he means well by telling me not to do the job of our technical folks, but seriously. I'm offering FREE MONEY here. I can make our people happier to just do their jobs. Let me amaze them, and you, by bringing us weird wins, totally out of nowhere. Don't ask me if I got written assurances that this was totally legit.

I asked the questions of the right people. I didn't get their answers in writing, because when I am consulted on my field of expertise in the company, they don't ask that of me. Sometimes, they email me, I research their issues thoroughly, and give them excellent written instructions.

So, no detailed instructions for my co-workers, no painless re-partitioning for them... yet. I am going through proper channnels to stop this from ever happening again, and after this is prevented from happening in the future, I will present this option for correcting the partitions, only on the slowest and most clogged laptops.

I can give our department probably an hour of extra time every day for free, with absolutely no downside, maybe two. My best guess is that it's 300 extra employee-hours per year.

I will wait, and only say what can be heard. I rock, and some days, that has to be enough.


Blogger Larry said...

You've been there for what, nearly four years now? And you can still care now and then? I am impressed. They've not completely gotten to you yet.

Thanks for the agonizing detail, really. You will be forever bookmarked in my "Free Computer Utilities" list now.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Tito Maury said...

Just thought I would stop by and say "Hello Todd D.." It's been a hectic
but very worthwhile last few days for me. In searching for more single board computers related info on the Internet, I came across your site. I appreciate your content and I really appreciate your this post! It's been a great help in collecting more info on single board computers. Thanks again and have a great day!

11:22 AM  
Blogger Crazy Dan said...

Great blog. Found your blog while searching for more information at yahoo about Let me amaze you! . Your blog has quite a lot of interesting thoughts. Keep up the good work, Todd D..

3:22 PM  

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