Tips on implementing the latest in technology, how-tos for finding employment or contentment in a current job, analyses of "what's on the horizon" -- it's one thing to keep up with all the information out there. It's quite another to put it all into practice.
For technology, the place where the rubber meets the road is what Off the Record is all about: a blog written by InfoWorld readers that share stories of working in technology -- all under the Anonymous byline. The stories give a real-life glimpse into the complexities of varied personalities, workplace expectations, and tech implementation covered under the deceptively simple acronym of "IT."
Judging by what was on readers' minds in 2011, we present a smattering of stories from the last year -- and anticipate the twists and turns stories in 2012 will bring.
Hardware and environmentOff the Record stories frequently cover the tangible aspect of technology and how it draws in people's opinions. Hardware seems to invite interference, which can often lead to strange problems and hours of frantic troubleshooting.
- VPs, step away from the servers! Chaos ensues after IT VPs visit a newly acquired company and turn off servers -- without telling the tech staff.
- Admins troubleshoot puzzling, random network issues. Their discovery? End-users -- and suppliers -- can't always be trusted.
- Take business managers who don't listen to the tech pros, add an ancient air conditioning system in the data center, and wait for the inevitable.
- Human beings aren't the only ones who find hardware irresistible. A technician investigates a printer that's acted buggy -- in more ways than one.
The many hats of the "IT pro"There's been much debate about the role IT plays -- a department critical to a business's productivity, bottom line, security, and well, existence. But the shifting sands of modern tech and business needs add to the department's challenges. As these Off the Record stories show, users and managers pile on more expectations and demands on IT pros, blurring the job description.
- Professional movers wanted; only IT experts need apply. Cube-dwellers in one company move around frequently and sometimes with short notice, so of course the IT staff is called.
- An end-user complains of email problems, insists it's not her fault, and blames IT -- then refuses to help solve the issue, which turns out to be the easiest fix of all.
- "Thanks but no thanks. Now go away. Again." The fifth time is not the charm as two unfortunate techies get drawn into an overly aggressive ERP sales pitch.
- Why are we hung up on basic security measures? A tech team can only do so much to remind employees to remember their usernames and passwords.
Projects and upgradesIt's human nature to want to improve things and to tinker. That trait has served us well to some extent -- we have inventions ranging from the wheel to mobile devices, after all. But the drawbacks? Sometimes enough is enough. Other times one person's idea of perfection and how to achieve it collides with another's. Alternately, the complexities of technology can make it hard to cross all the t's and dot all the i's.
- A rookie programmer's purchasing order system works perfectly -- until the new corporate managers start laying off employees. Turns out, people actually doing their jobs is crucial to keeping technology working.
- Thinking he's smarter than his predecessor, an IT expert tries out an idea for configuring the company's file server. Instead, he confronts technical reality.
- If it ain't broke, don't touch it! A data center operator spends spare time on the day shift trying to increase operational efficiency, and one day fiddles with a power off button in the data center.
- Admins lavish attention on a critical database upgrade. But when the files disappear, it's obvious they missed crucial details.
This story, "Life in IT: Tech ideals meet user reality," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.