Your tax dollars at work

This local government's IT shop has finally embraced nearly modern technology with field devices, says a pilot fish on the scene.

"The devices were out of action for a while due to a malfunctioning VPN," fish says. "Once the VPN was really working -- as opposed to when the Department of Public Works said it was working -- I realized that everyone would have to update the antivirus signatures on their devices."

Fish knows her users very well, so she writes up some very explicit directions for doing the update, complete with pictures of what the screen should look like in the process of doing the update.

Then she sends the instructions out to the users, with a note emphasizing that this absolutely has to be done first thing.

A few days pass, and to fish's astonishment there haven't been any calls about the instructions. Has she finally gotten them to do something right the first time? she wonders.

Fat chance -- she has underestimated one of her high-maintenance users. Fish gets an email from him with an attachment. The email says that he can't use his device and he keeps getting this weird error message.

"He wanted me to see the error message because apparently calling and reading it to me or typing it in an email would not have conveyed the complexity of the 14-word sentence," sighs fish.

"He had taken a picture of the device screen -- complete with flash obscuring part of it -- and then printed it out in color, scanned that full-page print to email to himself, and then forwarded the email to me.

"The error message? Yes, it was the one you received if you didn't update your antivirus."

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