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Category: Tech support

Find out what user has a file open

One of the questions that pop up every now and again, yet not often enough for me to consistently remember how to do it, is some variant on “What user is blocking my file access?” A user will typically call in, complaining that they are unable to open/edit/delete a given file on a file share, and ask the support tech they reach to solve the issue.

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From support analyst to DevOps thinker

The title of this post might seem a bit on the conceited side. After all, who am I to claim to be a DevOps practitioner, much less thinker? I will simply say that I am working to implement DevOps principles in my day to day life, am spending more than a little time reading, thinking, and writing about DevOps, and though I may not be considered a DevOps thinker today, I certainly aspire to join their ranks. The title, then, is a statement of aspiration, more than a statement of achievement.

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Thoughts on single piece flow in IT support

My first IT job was a one day per week internship with a pharmaceutical company while I attended my last year of high school. It was the first time I was exposed to the constant stream of support and service calls that makes up a large part of the day to day life of a support technician. I remember having a distinct impression that the IT department was constantly over-worked, always having too many things to deal with.

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The value of Kanban

Kanban (capital-K, as in the method) uses a kanban (lowercase-k, as in the board) to visualise and reduce work in progress (WIP for short). This is the most well-known, and visible, part of Kanban. It is achieved by limiting how many pieces of WIP any one work centre can have assigned. At first glance, this may seem to be incompatible with IT support work. This is as erroneous as assuming Kanban is incompatible with knowledge work in general, whereas it has been proven to be an excellent match for software development (for details, I recommend David Anderson’s book “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business”).

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Understanding bookings in Outlook

I’ve been seeing a surprising number of tickets from users asking why they are seeing double bookings of meeting rooms of late. In each and every case, the issue has boiled down to one of user error, with users not knowing or understanding how meeting invitations work in Outlook. This was a source of confusion to me, until a user put it as follows:

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Windows: Quickly find system information

This article was been published more than a year ago. The information may be outdated.

For a number of reasons, I often find myself needing to find information about a system that can be somewhat difficult to source, such as when it was last rebooted, or when the system was installed originally. Luckily, there’s a tool to help us out, called System Information. A command line utility, systeminfo.exe, offers a lot of information. This is both good and bad. It is good, because there are lots of things to be found. It is bad, because it can be hard to find the specific thing you are looking for. Enter the Pipe. By adding a vertical bar and a search query, we can find the exact information we are looking for without having to wade through irrelevant information.

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MacOS: Images not loaded in Messages

This article was been published more than a year ago. The information may be outdated.

A while back, I had an issue where images sent via MMS and iMessage would not load in Messages on my Mac. After a lot of troubleshooting and googling, I finally found a solution, which needed a little tweak to work for me. Here is how I resolved the issue:

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Find attachments opened in Outlook

This article was been published more than a year ago. The information may be outdated.

Early this year, a user called in with a somewhat peculiar story. They had previewed a file attached to an email, and the subsequently deleted the email. It wasn’t important enough to be worth it to restore the entire mail file, and so they wondered if there was any other way to find the attachment. They noted that they had previously gotten into a folder which seemed to contain all previewed files, though they were unable to find it again when searching. The user had searched the web, to no avail, and so turned to me with two questions. First; could I help them find the folder, and second, why did it not show up in search.

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Word: “Track changes” shows up as “Author” instead of author name

This article was been published more than a year ago. The information may be outdated.

A user called in, reporting that Word’s Track changes-function tagged her as “Author”, instead of her name. I opened a remote session, and started out by confirming that everything else was working correctly, and that her name had been set as the author in the settings for Microsoft Word. Stalling for time while I researched the issue, I found that it seemed to be a problem affecting particular documents. Knowing this set me on the path to the solution, as follows:

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