Monday, January 09, 2006

Now back to you, Bob...   Bob?

The Blackberry handheld, made by Research In Motion, is a personal digital assistant (PDA) which has an integrated cellular phone so that it can silently connect to various cell carriers or Internet providers, without intervention from the user, to gather one's email frequently throughout the day. May I never be so important that I have to be in touch at every damned minute of the day and night. Blackberries can read three types of mail accounts: POP3 (what your Internet provider offers), Exchange (what many offices offer through Microsoft Outlook), and Blackberry Enterprise Server (what some offices offer only to the drones' Blackberries). Blackberry Enterprise Servers, like any mail system, have techies, usually called 'administrators', who are in charge of keeping the email and the devices the company use running, and most of the time they work for the same company though not always in the same office as the people who rely on their Blackberry devices for mail. I give you this bit of background about 'Crackberries' as a preface to today's stupidity.

The Blackberry administrator for some organization called me to figure out a problem that one of his users was having, specifically that user could not use the phone function and when dialing the display on the device said, "Sorry, emergency calls only." They BiteI looked at the account details, and I didn't see any of the usual reasons why it would disallow outgoing calls, such as the cellular provider putting a block on the function in the provisioning or nonpayment of the bill. The administrator asked me to call the user on line 2 and conference them together, and since the user had the device I figured that would be a bright idea [see previous post about calling without the thing you want to fix in hand]. I talk to the user for a bit with the administrator on the line, being totally silent, and after having the user try a few things to persuade the phone to let him make calls, I decide there has to be something I'm not privy to about the account, so I let them know I would be bringing a customer service agent onto line 3.

After a minute or two of holding, the admin on line 1 hangs up. He must have had more important things to do than his job. Soon after, the customer service person comes on, I bring the user from line 2 on, and we discuss the problem. The customer service agent says, "I think we had an email recently about this issue," and we can hear him flipping through his mail program. He then reads the content of a missive he had received, which explains that if a Blackberry which uses a Blackberry Enterprise Server for its mail produces a "Sorry, emergency calls only" message, the cause is the administrator has applied a block on the phone function. I wonder how many calls it took for the user to get in touch with the administrator (they are elusive beasts) and convince the admin that he created the problem so only he can fix it. I'm guessing... five over the next three days.

Well, at least you did your job well, and found the person who knew where the source of the problem came from.
You are a problem solver. Doesn't that feel good?
I assume the administrator is a problem avoider.
Issue Vishnu: the problem creator and the problem destroyer. Mostly creator. Also a responsibility and client avoider. According to my last boss at the ISP, work interferes with one's livelihood.
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