back to article The BOFH is BACK: And it's cloudy with a 90% chance of beatings

"I just need you to go through it for me once," the user whines down the line at me. "You mean once more?" I reply. "Once more?" he snivels. "Yes, as I already went through this with you a few weeks ago. You said you understood, you even wrote something down." "Really - are you sure that was me?" "Positive." "How can you …

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Ah.... Friday again :)

Love the bit about personal emails :)

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Angel

Yes but

How long have we had to wait :(

My Colleagues have noticed how shouty and how snappy I have become

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Flame

Never received it....

Oh yes the joy of users who absolutely insist they never received an email, and that the email system must be faulty, despite one or all of the following being true:

1. You have a read receipt

2. You have an Exchange delivery report

3. You have proxy access to their mailbox and can see the f***ing email in their inbox

4. You're standing right next to them pointing at the f***ing email on their screen on their PC (after them not believing you about the first 3, and even with point 4 they insist the message wasn't there before you came into their office).

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Re: Never received it....

I too have gone to the lengths of literally checking their mailbox, often seeing the important and pertinent email thrown in deleted items.

Then there are the people that use deleted items as some kind of store. But that's for another day.

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Meh

Re: Never received it....

or my personal favourite:

"I saw it was from IT so deleted it, I never read them"

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Jad
Unhappy

Re: Never received it....

" there are the people that use deleted items as some kind of store. But that's for another day."

What is it with those people, every so often during "maintenance" we go into their machines and turn on the "empty trash on exit" ... or when it gets to be over 500Mb my colleague cat's devnull to it :)

"Can you get it back it was full of important stuff" ... what like you keep all your important files in your waste bin next to your desk?

However the "read-receipt" thing doesn't exist at my work, not only do all the clients have it turned off, but the mail server strips the header from the emails.

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Facepalm

Re: Never received it....

Then there are the people that use deleted items as some kind of store. But that's for another day.

The first thing I do when someone calls about email problems is delete their deleted items. I used to have people that store things in there, they don't now. It may take a few times to realise what 'deleted' actually means but they get there eventually.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never received it....

"Then there are the people that use deleted items as some kind of store. But that's for another day."

I am aware of one Head of IT who used the Exchange dumpster (deleted deleted items) as a storage area for crucial work-related email.

This cunningly avoided any problems with mailbox quotas as the dumpster is not part of the mailbox.

However it also means that if the person concerned does something like authorise an upgrade of the email system which involves moving mailboxes they lose all this mail because it is not part of the sodding mailbox.

I'll leave Reg readers to judge for themselves how much the subsequent suggestion "Maybe I should not have done that" calmed the situation. Thankfully it was not followed with a "but ...".

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Re: Never received it....

"the mail server strips the header from the emails" really? that's wierd.

Are you sure it's not just because your e-mail is Exchange so you don't get email headers like you do on conventional SMTP. The info that would otherwise be there is dealt with differently and can be found through delivery reports.

Also getting your management to agree a mail policy that automatically empties deleted items after X number of days is a VERY good idea.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never received it....

Sod read receipts; they're creepy.

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Re: Never received it....

I don't really see how? To me it doesn't seem much different than a recorded delivery letter that you've signed for.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Never received it....

"Then there are the people that use deleted items as some kind of store. But that's for another day"

Yeah they never understand why you emptied the deleted items (Because I see a large number and think UNTIDY MUST DELETE)

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Mushroom

Re: Never received it....

If its exchange, then non-receipt is very likely.... more than once I've emailed something for the 3rd time, walked over to the recipient and sat waiting for any of the emails to arrive...

Exchange makes me want to throw things....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never received it....

Nothing good will come in an unsolicited recorded delivery letter...

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Paris Hilton

@Jad Re: Never received it....

.PST files are the worst. There's not really a good backup solution when they have them stored locally on the machine. And, Micro$oft doesn't support them on a network share. We found that out the hard way.

We used to have a utility that would copy the PST about every 15 days to there home folder on the server when they were logging out or shutting down. It would take a while for some of them to complete as they were close to a GB in size. I'll bet you can guess what they would then do because they couldn't wait for the copy to finish.

-Paris coz I got something she can find out the "hard" way.

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Re: Never received it....

"Nothing good will come in an unsolicited recorded delivery letter..."

Bearing in mind that we were talking about read receipts in the context of work email, I'll address that statement about recorded delivery letters in the context of work post.

Here are the things I can think of in under 15 seconds that might arrive at work unsolicited (where I'm meaning unsolicited as not in response to a letter you've sent).

1. Job applications

2. Bills

3. Communication from government departments or regulatory bodies

4. A letter from another division of the company

5. A letter from a prospective new customer

6. A complaint from an existing customer

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Pint

Re: Never received it....

"I saw it was from IT so deleted it, I never read them"

Depending on quantity I can perhaps understand that. While not always IT, the number of distributed emails of pointless "news" means that most distributed mails are ignored by me. The emails triumphantly informing me that the tireless efforts of the maintenance staff have resulted in a fixed vending machine rapidly turns all such mails into spam.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Never received it....

Ok, now explain to me which of these you consider good. I can see 1 possible good and 1 neutral.

In my experience, the kind of person that tends to send read receipts is the kind of person who continually pesters people to do things that don't really matter yet they take far too seriously.

I make a point of refusing them specifically because I know the ambiguity will wind them up.

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Re: Never received it....

The situation of people using them to pester has arisen because they're generally not on by default.

If read receipts were on by default and automatically silently responded to by your mail client, it would mean they would simply be treated as a notification that you'd received the message.

In a work context that is extremely useful because it prevents lazy arses from saying they haven't done work weeks after it should of been done because they never got the email.

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Re: Never received it....

I must admit that I like to play a little game with read receipts. I have Outlook prompt me when one is requested and sometimes I send the receipt and sometimes I don't. I find that it keeps people guessing.

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Re: Never received it....

"Then there are the people that use deleted items as some kind of store. But that's for another day."

What the actual f*ck is that about?

I have come across this a few times now and promptly deleted their deleted items.

One guy had a whole elaborate folder structure going on.... not for long though.

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Facepalm

@Rick Giles

"We used to have a utility that would copy the PST about every 15 days to there home folder on the server when they were logging out or shutting down. It would take a while for some of them to complete as they were close to a GB in size. I'll bet you can guess what they would then do because they couldn't wait for the copy to finish."

Yep...know EXACTLY what they did. Hit "Cancel", and went home. PST file never backed up.

I use that "pfbackup" utility at home on my personal network DAILY, to make sure I have copies of the wife's messages...because she is another one who uses the "Deleted Items" folder for storage...but I still love her.

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Facepalm

Re: Never received it....

re: deleted items as a store

I had a call once from a user that used the system trashcan as his documents folder, he called me in a panic because he'd emptied it due to finally running out of space, no backups, I wonder how some people get through each day without maiming themselves.

I've also pencilled 'space' on the spacebar for a user that was struggling with the concept. She was thankful at the time but in retrospect, it's probably why she never called again.

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Re: Never received it....

Perhaps AC finds recorded delivery letters creepy as well? They seem to have an aversion to all kinds of things, including arbitrary online handles.

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Re: Never received it....

I have had users like that, using deleted items as a store. I ask them, "Do you keep your lunch in the trash bin too?"

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Re: ...delete their deleted items

We automate that one here at WROK PALCE; trash disposal is performed religiously at 12:00AM on Saturday.

You would not believe the howls of protest the first time that script ran.

CIOs response: "Tough SHIT!!!!"

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Holmes

Re: Never received it....

[snip]However the "read-receipt" thing doesn't exist at my work, not only do all the clients have it turned off, but the mail server strips the header from the emails.[/snip]

Send email as HTML, include a 1x1 white pixel on an external server you control. That's what I do, at least.

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Facepalm

Re: Never received it....

My old boss, who in all other respects was a competent and sensible IT professional also used to use the deleted items folder as his slush pile and only keep important stuff in his inbox. He was not happy when I emptied his deleted items, although I did point out he didn't keep his files in the waste-paper bin.

Yes Malc, I'm talking about you ;)

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Thumb Up

Re: Never received it....1x1 white pixel

Ahhhh!

You mean the old fashioned web bug!!!!!

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WTF?

Re: Never received it....

@technos

"Send email as HTML, include a 1x1 white pixel on an external server you control. That's what I do, at least."

Thankfully: "To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of some pictures in this message" and any other client I use offers similar.

I'd be suspicious of anyone who went to such ominous lengths to determine whether I'd read their email or not. When and if I read an email is my f*&^ing business and any cretins that try to figure it out would be wise to pick an alternative method of communication if their message is so important.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "notification that you'd received the message"

Um, that's what delivery receipts are for. The recipient generally cannot affect these.

The point of a read receipt is to inform the sender that you have read it. It is optional and the recipient can choose in each case whether they think it is appropriate to send one.

The clue is in the name, really.

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If only..

.. he'd brought up the nerve to ask what the hash key was..

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IT Angle

Re: If only..

Hash (n): A mixture of ingredients created by dicing, chopping or repeatedly slamming someone's head in a laminating printer.

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Pint

Re: If only..

Stewing the results in beer is recommended

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If only..

It's the one that delivers a much-needed jazz cigarette on Friday afternoons.

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Happy

All too true!

I'm sure this could be almost any IT department that has users!

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Thumb Up

Nice

very nice indeed

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Nice indeed

I second that. What better way to bring a smile about on such a rain-sodden Friday morning. Sorely missed.

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A blood boiler

But all too true! Especially.. well, all of it. But deleting important emails from IT is an all-time classic.

WARNING: SERVER GOING DOWN TONIGHT

<server rebooted for maintenance>

Users: Why is X down?

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Pint

I really am . .

. . . typing this through tears, whether it is tears of laughter or tears due to bitter memories I leave you to guess

<---------- I need one of these now

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Sometimes there's just no substitute for percussive teaching methods.

I swear by them!

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Thumb Up

Re: Sometimes there's just no substitute for percussive teaching methods.

I prefer the term "Wall to wall counselling".

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Happy

Re: Sometimes there's just no substitute for percussive teaching methods.

Don't you mean "Concussive" teaching methods?

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Re: Sometimes there's just no substitute for percussive teaching methods.

I prefer the term "Wall to Off the wall1 counselling".

FTFY

1 As in slam head Off the wall.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "off the wall"...

means something else.

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Déjà vu

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Coffee/keyboard

"Think of me as a meteorological expert as far as IT support beatings go. "

That was my coffee-keyboard interaction moment :)

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RE: Think of me as a meteorological expert as far as IT support beatings go.

I emailed the link to my boss (the CIO) and recommended several (l)users who may benefit from an IT support beating.

The reply stated that she was taking that under advisement.

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Coffee/keyboard

BOFH and morning coffee.

THAT, is how one should start a morning!

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Ahh the joys

And I get this a lot from people. But I've sent you this email on that and that day.

Mostly a lot of my mails get looked over for some reason. I guess it's my inivisible personality shinning through.

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