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J. Riley Castine Posts


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Random Thought for Friday, June 16th, 2017: Nothing Burger

Welcome to Friday’s Random Thought.

Nothing Burger.

What is a Nothing Burger?  Various search results on the Internet yield various stories about how the phrase came into use. The simple definition provides the meaning of something lame.

You feel cool and are keen on being hip when you say “This was a nothing burger.”

So tell me this.

Why is it that when a politician says something is a Nothing Burger the Human species doesn’t collective throw up?

Hip language coming from the supremely un-hip.  Yeah…that’s just gross.


Random Thought for Friday, June 9th 2017: Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher

Random Thought for Friday, June 2nd, 2017: Sorry, I Can’t Hear You

Welcome to Friday’s Random Thought.

I work in the IT world and I have a bit of a rant. For those of you who know me, please understand that I am not attacking any one person here or anyone at my current job.  I did have a few phone calls this week and it had spurred me to write this little collection of observations and solutions. Please allow me to vent a bit perhaps something in this list will help you when you have to contact IT support in the future.

When one experiences a technical issue with a piece of technology and has to contact support of some fashion, these are some tips that I would like to share.  These are things that I have noticed over the years that could make your life easier when you need to get help.

  • Don’t use a speaker phone. Speaker phones contrary to the ads you see on TV don’t work very well.  We can’t help you if we can’t hear you. Please don’t use them. I know, it sounds counter intuitive as you may need both hands to work with whatever technology is not working. Use your Bluetooth headset or that wired headset that came with your phone. Doing so will also ensure that company confidential information or your personal information is not spread publicly.
  • Locate and understand how to use the mute button on your phone.  If you are calling tech support while you are eating your lunch, we don’t need to hear you crunching on those walnuts and dried candied cranberries while you are slurping up some soup. It’s really disgusting sounding.
  • Reboot it. You already know that when you call tech support, you are going to be asked when the last time you ‘rebooted’ said device. We ask this question as many security patches and software updates can not completed during normal operation as what needs to be updates is in use.  Rebooting will complete those processes and clear up memory. As advanced as computing technologies are today, they are still like three-year olds.  They need help to clean up their toys from time to time.
  • Consult any training documentation you have before you call.  Yes, we know you follow a routine each day but many times, training documentation on a process or application will contain basic troubleshooting steps.  Try them first, you may surprise yourself that you were able to fix your own problem.
  • Try it more than once. If your VPN connection failed, check for an internet connection and try again.  Try an alternative VPN server if your company has more than one, it’s why they have more than one. Many issues with a device are just singular events easily bypassed by a second attempt.
  • Be nice.  When you contact support, don’t yell and scream at the rep on the other end of the conversation.  You have encountered a problem and you need help.  Don’t piss off the person who you contacted for said help.  They are there to help you and they will do so. Being rude only sets the stage for not getting the help you need in a timely fashion or potentially not at all.
  • Slow down and let the support person ask questions first.  Many support organizations have to document all incoming calls, even when there is a company wide issue ongoing.  They need your full name and contact information.  They need that information when they ask for it, not in an avalanche when you start speaking. Let them ask you for your name and contact information and then let them prompt you to explain what issue you are seeing. They are most likely filling out some form in some ticketing system to either track the solution to the issue you experiencing or to be able to send the issue on to some escalation process for resolution.
  • Be ready to solve the issue. Calling tech support when you are in the car and your computer is at home will not do.  You need to make yourself available to resolve the issue at hand.  We can’t address the issue if you are not willing to work with us.
  • Report problems in a timely fashion.  Don’t wait until 5 pm on a Friday to report that your computer has been down for two weeks, you have a training class that is past due, that you need to complete before you head out-of-town on a business trip just, before a holiday weekend. Problems with a device that you can’t resolve yourself are important and should be treated as such.  Waiting until the last possible minute or beyond will not endear you with the support staff and will in most cases result in delays in problem resolution. This is due to things like systems logs being out of date for the issue you encountered.


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