I hate calling the Help Desk at work. It's for all IT-related topics, including proprietary systems and cell phones. Today though, was the 2nd day in a row that while my VPN connection was in effect, I could not access 3rd party web sites. So if all I wanted to do was work, that wouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong. Because our company utilizes a variety of 3rd party web sites and programs. So, here I am trying to approve a vendor's invoice, but I can't get to the site, because my VPN won't let me. Sure, I could disconnect and reconnect through my own home server, but why should I have to do that? It worked perfectly fine on Monday, and every day prior. Why would it suddenly STOP?!
I call the Help Desk. The first time, I have to hang up because the agent, Carolina, says she can't hear me (on my cell phone). I ask if I'm too quiet or if the connection is breaking up. Her answer is neither. I'm making a WTF face. She finally decides that the issue is loud static. I'm not hearing it at all. I hang up and try again with a land line.
Now I'm speaking with Miguel. I explain my problem. He says, "so what you're saying is that when your VPN is connected, you can't access any of the company internet sites." Um. No. In fact, I said the opposite. "Oh, right, OK, please hold a moment." After awhile, and several more "please holds" he asks "Is it okay if I take over control of your computer?" Here we go. "Sure," I say.
M: go to your URL bar and type in www.rooms.hp.com
FG: you realize this won't work, right?
M: what do you mean?
FG: I am connected through the VPN, I won't be able to go to that site. If I disconnect from VPN to let you remote access my computer, you won't be able to see my problem, because it's related to the VPN connection.
M: Just a moment, please hold.
He comes back and starts walking me through the steps he'd have taken. We get to where he wants to use an automatic configuration script. He says the box should contain either of 2 options, and starts telling me them. However, my box is empty, so I ask what I should type in the box, because while his English is good, his accent is occasionally difficult to parse. He is surprised the box is empty. Another hold.
M: type http
M: type backslash
FG: should there be a colon after the "p"?
FG: Ok, http\
M: no, wait. put a colon (to my ear it rhymes with column, sounds like colum, it takes a couple tries to get on the same page)
M: no, wait. make that a slash
FG: forward slash?
we get that done, wipe all my temp files and browsing history, reduce my security from medium to "allow ALL cookies", reset defaults on a few other pages, and now it works. Except, now I have to deal with extra cookies, and I'm betting that at least one of my now default settings is going to bite me on the ass, so I'll be on the phone with the Help Desk soon, trying to get that fixed.
Seriously? If it was working 2 days ago, and I didn't do anything to change it, how did wiping my customizations resolve the issue? If anything, it was the automatic configuration script. Why they teach the front-line Help to automatically wipe everything every time they touch a machine is beyond me. It's a step above rebooting, but shouldn't they at least ask if I've made any changes or installed something new recently? BEFORE they start wiping stuff?
Secondly, why is it that every time I call, I end up catching/correcting at least one mistake? This time they were minor, but one time the dude nearly deleted my entire email archive when I gave him remote access. Maybe I can get that job when I "retire." Then I can spend my days wreaking havoc on people's systems, and giggling when I hang up the phone.