Troubleshooting Woes

Sometimes I hate trying to use the Web to troubleshoot a problem. Whether it’s via a general search engine or a sites own internal search, it’s often impossible to find a decent solution.

Instead, I often find the following:

Try Option X

Which is all well and good, but I’ve usually already long-since tried that. By the time I search, I’ve already discounted this as a viable option.

Please Search Before Asking

Yes, thankyou Mr Forum Policeman. In an effort to reduce people re-asking the same problems, you’ve just diluted the efficiency of the searches you’ve just recommended. Often the true answer is hidden in a sea of hits for “please try searching first”.

Counterproductive, much?

Alternatives to using Y with Z

Congratulations! You’ve made it that much harder to try and find a solution to actually getting Y and Z to work by providing a very detailed webpage detailing exactly what I’m not looking for.

If I’m searching for a certain scenario using a specific product, the last thing I want is a hit for that scenario followed by:

Of course, I could use (insert product here)

That’s just polluting the search-space.

Freshmeat.net – moving forward, when needs don’t

I’ve been a bit vocal on Twitter and FM’s own blogs in my opinion that Freshmeat.net‘s new version (FM3) is fundementaly broken.

No more can I use a combination of searching and true catergory heirarchy drill-down, it now has some sort of hand-wavy tag-cloud system.

I’m sorry, guys, but you’ve totally screwed it. I just saw an archived version of FM2. It was planer, more borring, but it bloody swell worked for what I needed out of a software-search site. The ability to actually search it.

Yes, imporvements have been made since it went live. In fact, it seems like the site was put out in an incomplete state, which is even worse. It’s getting better, but it will never be what it once was.

And that’s a shame, as it once worked.

Training Woes

I’ve noticed an interesting aspect of in-house training for computer systems. You end up using a test logon with generic system access. The drawback with this is that it ends up being practical experience that is still largely theoretical.

As somebody who learns by doing, I really learn by doing. Yes, playing around with a test system gives me a damned site more useful information than merely reading a manual. The problem, though, is that it isn’t real experience.
For example, if my department does things a certain way, I really need to see the system set up the way it will be. I cannot get a full picture of how things are going to work if it doesn’t truly reflect how I’m going to actually use the system.