PLEASE FIX WINDOWS!

Today I had a very frustrating issue crop up with a Windows box – the TL:DR of it was that Windows updates applied and the box rebooted without being asked cue install error.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/windows-update-fatal-error-c0000022/95545731-a30d-4672-aca5-55d254a9efd1?auth=1

The above is very similar to the issue – but you’ll note it was posted in 2011 – today is most definitely 2017.

It’s not the same conditions but essentially the same error and, ironically, the same fix was offered.

Isn’t it about time that in a production environment we had some form of safeguarding or at the very least let’s have a flag when a potential update issue might occur or at the very least a REALLY SIMPLE way that a user can be directed, remotely, to prevent this causing major hassle.

Especially in these enlightened times when we’re all going to get nagged to bits about the importance of keeping our kit up to date with the latest patches.

Sad face

The A-Team

 

In 2014 one of Cornwall’s brightest and skilled technical management talents was sent to a secure location near Bodmin for daring to have views that challenged the fragile status quo of the technology sector in the county. Shortly after that he disappeared.

Today, he is still working to undermine the established traditional thinking around technology services and how to supply them, he is a quick thinker, in possession of a rare power to prevent problems BEFORE they happen, and incredibly reasonably priced to boot!

If you have a problem, are unhappy everyone is telling you the same old thing, and if you can find him….maybe you can hire the A-Team

 

I was once told that customers/clients need to have two things before you can get to work with them. They need you to tell them that something will eventually fail, and quite possibly fail spectacularly and the second is that that thing needs to happen.

The logic being that you would then get to swoop in all white knight like and promise them it’ll never happen again, not as long as you’re on the case.

I gotta tell you I’m just not impressed by that idea. And you shouldn’t be either.

Is it so hard to understand/convey that my firm, Aurumtech work differently? Taking time and effort to understand your business and your technology and in so doing come into contact with the early warning signs for these problems and offer you the choice to put in place preventative fixes to either stop the problem happening, or at the very least lessen its impact significantly.

Let’s take an example, we all know the “eggs in one basket” scenario, well how about the local creative firm who put all of their faith in one supplier for their data. All files held in the cloud and they’re reasonably secure right?

Ka-pow!

Down goes the supplier’s servers, that’s a shock, they didn’t have redundancy, resiliency or any other scary technical IT things, well alright then, but at least they’ll have a working backup?

NO? Three months? That’s the best you can do?

Stop and think for a minute………how would you cope if you lost the last three months digital records? Businesses have crashed and burned to ash for less.

Would it offend if that problem could have been overcome by a relatively simple (and reasonably priced) hardware solution installed in their office?

I know of at least two companies that would probably be very upset to hear that – for two different reasons.

A visit from the A-Team would have highlighted this “issue” and led to the very pertinent question being asked, “You don’t hold a current, local, working backup then?”

Different to a “backup”, a current and local backup would have meant that in a relatively short space of time (if nothing was in place 24-48 hours maximum) more or less normal service could have been resumed, instead of a very messy and embarrassing case of falling on the sword.

Too many IT firms will sell TO you and head off into the sunset. What I want to do with Aurumtech is become a partner with you, and support your business, but not by REACTING.

The example above has left a much more fragile company that was there before, overly backup conscious which actually CAN be a bad thing (there’s a risk that if a future failure occurs they simply be lost in so many backups they won’t know which one to use) and an inherent distrust for technical firms in general, not particularly ideal when you really do need at least one to properly advise you.

Please just don’t wait for things to fail. Speak to your current provider and get them to tell you how best to protect your business.

If you’re not happy with the response then come and speak to me, I’m confident we can alert you to a problematic scenario before a catastrophe occurs, and that will give you some time to actually do something about it.

Owning IT needn’t be a constant rollercoaster of fear, pain and infrequent, often ill-thought through pleasure. Having a strategy and knowing where things are going and planning for future changes are not things that are exclusive to much larger corporate firms – Aurumtech can help.

If you can find us* 🙂

(*You can find the A-Team at Aurumtech.co.uk, please note, van not included!)

Amateur Marketing Expert?

I’ve worked out that I have several peculiar personality traits – all, save one, of which I won’t go into any detail here – but the one I’d like to talk about here is that I’m a “fiddler”

The fiddler is, by definition, the one that will wait for as long as possible until calling for help, they will seek a solution (usually Googling the problem and trying the first option that appears) to a problem, and sadly in many cases break more than they fix.

It is natural to fiddle. So don’t be upset if you fall into that category, especially as a small business there is a natural reticence to call in the experts early.  In larger corporates, certainly in IT, there usually exists an entire internal support structure to help, and whilst problems can be wildly varied it’s generally regarded that’s what they’re there for.

How does this fit in with marketing? Well that’s the thing – as my business is young and therefore not entirely financially able to support the cost of a marketing expert I find myself in the unenviable position of having to become my own marketing department – something I really don’t want to do, but simply can’t avoid.

I’ve been lucky, had some help from various government funded groups and spoken to a few professionals but the one thing that’s standing out is that there just isn’t a clear path to follow and the whole thing is very subjective – is that by accident or design?

It’s not a completely inexhaustibly researched point of view, I’ve only met with most of these people once or twice, but ultimately it’s been enough research for me to form a considered opinion, or rather get confused as hell about the direction I need to go in!

And so due to the cost involved it’s not an investment we are able to make at this time, the hope and expectation is that as soon as a practical budget is available we will look to engage the services of a really good professional, but for now it’s just the spit, lolly sticks and sellotape approach.

I have become a Marketing Fiddler (TM)

At the core of the problem is our offering and the sector.  We have an extensive range of skills in the IT industry that are transmutable across many sectors and a service that is very generic in it’s nature, and so the temptation is to offer “general IT services” to all. That is something that the majority of the professionals have agreed on, so how to, as an amateur, get over that particular hump?

When you are a generalist is it such a bad thing?

After much thought, brain hurt and consternation a plan has been hatched, a plan to provide a “Managed Service” wait….what do you mean too generic?

A lot of previous work with clients and in the private sector has meant much in the way of troubleshooting but also negotiating, lots of messy stuff, lots of awkward stuff, in some cases having to evolve a really thick skin and be very bull-headed/strong-willed just to get things done. But I wholeheartedly believe that’s yielded a unique skill set.

Like a wind up kids toy, set the destination, put us down and let us go.

Isn’t that a valuable skill to market? Please please do drop me a line and tell me either way? To hell with the sales – this is more about the time spent on this and getting it right.

The service I’d like to sell is that of an outsourced managed service, a direct contact for all technical issues. One that is smart on the detail and that keeps you looped in, if you want it, but just gets on with it if you don’t. Making things work, work better, faster and cheaper (there I’ve said it, we can save you money blah blah!).

But each and every attempt at putting it in words just feels like a cheap sales brochure!

Your personal IT something or other (they jury’s still out on Guru @johnharvey !) or your Virtual IT Manager / Department, your Bespoke IT Expert Fiddler Pasty arrrgggghhhhhH!!

And so I sit at my desk gibbering like a madman – I WILL win! Eventually!

Footnote

After another day of wrangling (I’d rather be working) this delightful tweet comes in from Mike Truscott ( @michaeltruscot1 )

And, well, lets just say it makes the effort, and writing really does take an effort honestly it’s not all bashed out (rarely at all!), worth while – but potentially saved me from another time-costing round of more corrections, mad typing and consternation – on the right track then? Thank you again Mike!

If nothing else it must demonstrate the determination I have, and ultimately my company does, to get things done, and done right?

The indiscriminate blogger

I’ve always been a sporadic (you say lazy, I say potato!) blogger at best but such is the way of things huh?  This blog has existed online in one form or another for some years now the first post on this incarnation the ubiquitous “Hello World” in 2010 at which point it was supposed to become a resource of tech gubbins as well as detailing my progress through the murky world of IT Management in a medium-sized enterprise.

And its fair to say that that journey was an interesting one, but I have very definitely moved on to pastures new now. In so doing it’s given me a load of extra social media responsibility and pardon me if I feel all old-school about it and prefer to be working as opposed to talking about working, or even talking about talking about working! (I think you get the gist!) But I just do – so how come I’m back here trying my best not to author yet another sorry-I’ve-been-away post?

Well here’s the thing, this time there’s a point to it, or rather more of one than there has been in the past – at least as far as I’m concerned.  That point being I’m drowning! Well ok, not physically drowning but metaphorically so!  Drowning in a sea of new processes and new distractions whilst trying to make sense of just what I’ve done.

Actually that’s over dramatising it – I know exactly what I’ve done, I’ve fulfilled a life-long, no really, ambition to become the lord and master of all I survey – that is to be Director of my own business.  To be fair I did achieve that nearly 20 years ago, sort of.  I’m not sure we can really count a shell company setup by a contracting firm to avoid paying me full rate for a bunch of contracts in the 90s can we?

So then, forward to 2014 and Aurumtech Solutions – and lets get that out of the way first off shall we? Aurum is the Latin word for Gold, it’s also the first letter of the alphabet (if that means anything on lists any more) and we were going to be called “Aurum Technology” until someone stole the name from us – the domain name had been registered and in the week or so before we registered the business name someone else nabbed it – lesson learnt kids!  With me so far?  Gold Technology the symbolism is buried pretty deeply, but we like that it had a meaning to it.

And far more important than faffing about with a name, image, and all of that is to just get out there and start swinging right?  Right?

Apparently there’s a little more to it than that!

So the best part of 20 years worth of IT and technical work, troubleshooting, support, projects, pretty high-level stuff (some project values ran into six figures – I have, in my time, installed systems responsible for managing staggering amounts of money, well into the millions!) a great understanding of customer services and more importantly how to treat people – that is to say not everyone is safe, take note suppliers! Management, experience, qualifications, how could I possibly fail?

For that, the jury is definitely still out!

What’s intriguing about the whole process is just how far removed from the general Business world I’ve been, despite living in Cornwall my entire life. I’ve realised over the past few months that I simply know no-one within the circles I’m now moving.  My wife jokes about how we can’t go anywhere without bumping into someone I know (it’s happened in London, Eastern England, the middle bit and even, annoyingly way up North) and that I must know everyone in Cornwall, nope, not true, just half of them it seems.

Of course I’m referring to that wonderful mainstay of any business – the networking.

To me it was never a word that struck fear, it was usually made in reference to some messy cables or some switch gear, but in the business context it’s a catch-all for the deepest depths of HELL itself.  And you know what, see me out and about and I might even tell you I hate it, but that’s far too strong and simply not true, I can see that it’s a crucial part of business and as a really young business like we are I know we need to stick our heads up and wave our arms about – even if we’re not quite at the point of shouting how great we are yet.

And so you find us (mostly me, but I do try to drag Mrs R along to events now and then) neck deep in the middle of our next mission, a mission to find a direction and a purpose for Aurumtech – will we manage to become a general technical improvement provider as we’d ideally like or will we be forced to define our specific offerings and target a certain sector or sectors, as we are being told?

This isn’t personal, it’s Business. Just having a personal work ethic and set of values isn’t enough it seems as we all have to seek and provide clarity – so that’s where we’re headed – but until we get there we are the BEST IT firm you’ve never heard of, we can fix stuff, save you time, money and even hold back the inevitable march of the wrinkles and grey hair (that’s reduce stress to you and me!) and all of it whilst remaining cheerful, more or less!

What have we done?!

Chris – 12/02/15