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A mighty fortress

Plus, snobbery in IT?

After reading Maggie Biggs’ two articles about firewalls and junk blockers (Security Advisor, September and October), I finally got around to trying one. I connect through a modem, and don’t spend much time online, so I’m not much of a target, right?

Well, I went looking at one of the apps that Maggie said had free version. It turned out that they had an offer for their “pro” version that was to my liking–free. It was a 30-day trial. Guess what: I was sold in 30 minutes, after a dozen attacks were blocked!

I was already sold on antivirus. Now I’m sold on firewalls. Thanks, Maggie!

Rick Van Dusen, [email protected]

I was very amused (or is that amazed) by your story “The Hardest Upgrade”.

Your experience of the wireless network only working in the next room reminded me of an article written by the CTO at a large company. He says that when planning a wireless network you have to apply the “scream test:” Have someone stand on the other side of the wall and scream. If you cannot hear them through the wall, then the wireless signal probably won’t pass through the wall.

PJ Voysey

I read your article entitled “Trends in Telework” with great interest as I feel I am one of the “Renaissance Techies” of which you spoke.

After 18 years as a chef I recently got A+-certified and have been working for a telecom company in an internal help desk for just over a year. A few things have struck me as I have gotten used to this new environment. The lack of customer-service awareness and understanding in this industry is amazing. Customers are treated as a nuisance to be ridiculed and made fun of instead of a team member who is asking for assistance from their dedicated resource for technical issues. Usually they are made to feel stupid for even having a problem and they certainly had better not call in for the same issue twice or their name will be “marked” as someone who can’t learn.

Second is the apparent inability for most techies to explain issues and resolutions in anything other than tech-speak. On one hand they decry the lack of knowledge their users have; on the other they expect them to understand when they speak in cryptic phrases like “GUI” and “NIC”. It really is no wonder that IT departments have such a bad reputation.

How important is it that the first-level help desk knows about intricate networking issues when those problems are most often escalated anyway? I have found that the people I help are less concerned with a resolution as they are concerned with being heard and understood and respected.

I know when my résumé is looked at, the experience managing people and adapting to diversity is often overlooked due to my relative lack of experience working in IT. Yet customer service is clearly a concept that crosses all fields and industries. Many of the people managing the call center and help-desk environments are technically savvy instead of the customerservice-savvy.

My question is, how would a “Renaissance Techie” communicate this skill to prospective employers when the general perception is fairly narrow minded as far as what type of skill set and experience they are looking for when filling open positions? What will it take for an entire industry to understand and value what excellent customer service can mean to an organization?

David Vollmer Keefe, Applications Support Analyst

to start a discussion or ask a question, e-mail [email protected] letters may be edited for style, length, or content. no anonymous letters will be published.

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