It's a remarkably popular office, some days.

During the course of my day, I was visited or called by the battalion commander, his executive officer, my company commander, and the company first sergeant. They all wanted to know variations on the theme of how things were going, how the transition was, was I happy with the way it was working, was I about to go on a killing rampage, etc., etc. The BC is not my favorite person in the world, but we had a 10-minute conversation that was remarkably pleasant and interesting. The XO just wanted to shoot the bull and give a sort of pep talk. The company CO actually just wanted to drop some paperwork off, I think, but she was being polite.

Actually, I think only 1SG was wondering whether I was a lit fuse or not. He knows me best.

Work continues to be interesting. My minion has been having some health problems, so she's been out a fair bit. While she was waiting at the ER late the other evening, we texted back and forth and she told me what I which databases I would need to update if she were to die on the table such that our monthly reports didn't get screwed up too badly. That's dedication to duty right there.

My predecessor has taken to flinging everything directed at the "Readiness NCO" my way since, as he gleefully reminds me, that's my title now, not his. I retaliated by directing every call asking for him (by name) back to his extension; since no one actually calls for the Readiness NCO (and most people don't know that's now me), that's effectively every call that comes in the office.

The IT situation is... interesting. It took me a week and a half to get an account on the network so I could do more than open the office and make coffee. That was frustrating, although to be fair it was not G6's fault; the paperwork never made it to my boss to pass on to G6 shop [-6 means the commo people, which means computers and such nowadays].

Having received an account, I discovered several interesting things. First, my desktop computer sucks. A Pentium-4 is perfectly adequate to do basic tasks, honestly, but it starts chugging when you add all of the extra overhead of a government network and all of the security and auditing that requires. 1 gig of RAM is incomprehensible in this day and age.

More incomprehensible is that my network account does not come with any network drives mapped: no personal drive, no share, no nothing. Other than my e-mail being configured in Outlook, none of my profile settings roam, so every time I use a different computer, I have to set everything up again. There IS a share, of sorts, but I had to browse to it through the literally hundreds of computers on the network domain, and it's cluttered and insane, full of read-only documents going back five or six years that no one can delete because the original owners retired or otherwise vanished years ago.

From the perspective of a former IT professional (now reformed), this is Very Bad. For one, it's very difficult to find ANYTHING, since the share is used by echelons above battalion, even. For two, unless you find such a share, all of the working documents are in your My Documents folder on the local hard drive, which is never backed up. Frequently, we find ourselves stuck temporarily because needed files are on my computer under someone else's profile, and only they can get at them.

Since DoD has mandated that we not use USB storage ever, the only way to backup or transfer files is to burn them to CD-Rs (not CD-R/Ws). This is, supposedly, safer. In reality land, where I work, it's just idiotic.

I've also noticed that the G6 employs a ninja-style help desk, meaning that they resolve (or try to resolve) your help requests without ever contacting you. I only found out I had an account by logging in to it; they had helpfully sent an e-mail notification to my new account e-mail address, which I found after logging in. I put in a request to fix my e-mail alias, since no one was able to reply to my e-mails without it going to a non-existent address on a different domain, and they fixed it without so much as notifying me that they were looking at the request. While I applaud the speed with which it was done, that's really lousy customer service, and I despair of having to actually communicate with them when I have a real problem.

[However much you think you hate calling the help desk, I can almost guarantee that it's not as much as I do, unless you are also an embittered former (or current) professional computer nerd.]

On a brighter note, I learned today that I have my very own Dell Latitude D620 laptop, several years old now but in virtually new condition--the dust cover is still on the keyboard. On a darker note, it may be in such pristine condition because no one knows where the power adapter (or any other extra, like a case) might be.

Anyway, we're getting there. I have my predecessor/mentor for another week and then a few days after our next drill, and then I'll be mostly on my own, although there are lots of people around to answer questions. It should be interesting.

Also, for the curious, the lieutenant was in the office today and we had pleasant and non-confrontational conversation. She's not my favorite person and likely never will be, but my opinion of her inched up a fair bit. Equally nice and rare it is to be pleasantly surprised by a junior officer.



Power adapters for old Dell laptops

On the bottom of that laptop, it'll tell you the type of adapter that'll take, it'll likely be pa-6, pa-9 (or potentially, either) or some such like that. I have a fair array of old dell adapters, if you let me know which that takes, I may be able to find you one. :) I suspect I have a spare laptop case running around as well.


power adapters, II

If Mike doesn't have one, I know of call centre that just lost it's contract with Dell - the entire lab is being stole... er, deconstructed, so I can get an adapter for cheap (re: free) though I despair of shipping it across the border.