· by Sweta · Read in about 5 min · (860 Words)

So I am a very patient person, but right now, I am completely losing it! TSO is our own personal Tech Support for the COllege of Computing, and guess what? They cannot do their job- I know I speak for most students in the COllege of Computing when I say this. Let me explain my frustrations with them and suggest a very simple solution at the end.

  1. I am Head TA for a course, and we use a computer lab from 3-6PM on Mondays and Wednesdays. The entire first week of school, the lab was shut down.

  2. Now, it’s the second week of school, and the computers are finally back up. But, nobody can print, and logging in takes, on average, 5 minutes. Oh, and the answer to when I asked about the login issues: “That’s not our problem- OIT handles that.”

  3. A few weeks later: The log-in problems are now fixed for Windows, the printing is still a problem, and there are no servers for the new credentials.

  4. One week later: The printing is finally working, although there is rarely ever any paper, since it’s not properly monitored.

  5. One week after that: The course that we teach is now in the Linux section. Guess what? Nobody can log into Linux! Also in Linux, if you have one instance of Firefox running, you can’t open any more. On top of that, after a while, the keys stop working, so you can’t do anything with it.

  6. So, it seems like everything is finally okay, right? WRONG. It comes time to do my networking project, and guess what? The compilers on EACH MACHINE (out of ~80 of them) are different. Oh, and they’re also different on all of the servers.

  7. 2 weeks later: I have lost track of time and the amount of time I have spent trying to fix things. The second networking project rolls around, and guess what? The servers/network is down for an entire day and a half! What happens if the TA tries to grade the assignment and the network is down and he tries a different compiler?

  8. Throughout the ENTIRE semester: I am also the Webmaster for one of the websites in a student organization. I made a brand new website over summer, and guess what? TSO decides that they are going to get rid of the old servers and not replace them with anything, so what will happen to the new website? I asked them this, and I submitted a ticket, and nobody accounted for it. They have also been super-slow responding to any other emails too!

  9. Throughout the ENTIRE semester: The computers are running Firefox version 0.5 (Just FYI, Firefox is in at least Version 3.0 right now).

  10. If you try to log into your account through WinSCP, then guess what? There is an “error listing directory” error, and you know what else? It happens at least 1 out of every 5 logins- not just for me, but for EVERYBODY that tries! Oh, but if you try it with a different server, it SOMETIMES works.

  11. Once in a while, when I try to SCP my files from my computer to the servers, guess what happens? Timing out. Oh, and that’s not just me, either- it happens to everybody AS WELL. The biggest problem is that I’m trying to release an autograder to 100+ students, and if I can’t access my directory, I can’t really TEST the code I’ve written and release it!!

  12. Today: I called TSO, telling them that I cannot access my account (I tried on multiple servers and multiple computers), and this is generally how the conversation went:

Me: I cannot access my account and I get this error. It’s a prevalent error that almost everybody seems to be getting, but this time, it hasn’t worked when I just exited and retried.

Help Desk: Did you try on a different computer?

Me: Yes.

Help Desk: Well, submit a ticket detailing the problem.

Me: I’ve submitted multiple help desk tickets before, and they have never been addressed.

Help Desk: There’s nothing in the system about past tickets from you. I’m just a student assistant- all I can tell you is send in a ticket and we’ll take care of it ASAP.

So what makes me think they’re going to take care of it if:

-they have no record of my previous tickets

-they haven’t addressed any of the other issues above

-the person that answered the phone isn’t capable of giving any feedback

I have absolutely no more faith anymore in TSO. It’s embarrassing- we are the College of COMPUTING, and we can’t have Tech Support done correctly? Now you tell me: Wouldyou be frustrated after a semester of this? Oh, and here’s the kicker:

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) handles Tech Support for the ENTIRE REST of the university, EXCEPT for the College of Computing, and there hasn’t been a single, big issue that anybody has had with them.

My one suggestion: Get rid of TSO and have a branch of OIT in the CoC instead. Even if we didn’t have a branch of OIT, we’d be better off without TSO anyway.