Being The Pro That Other Pro's Call When Stumped

David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Edited by: David Draper
Being the tech support person that other tech support companies call as a last resort
Back in the day I was the golf pro for several computer stores. I had the latest certificates including being a CNE4 (Novel Netware).
 
I was called in by one store to go to a large law firm and resolve a problem they were struggling with. The problem was that Canada had instituted the "Goods and Services Tax" which now covered their industry and their billing software had to be updated to add this new tax field.

The problem was that when you ran the update on the 'Server' the server would get about 80% done and then the computer would lock up.

There were several other techs that had visited this law office and their first idea was run the map command. As it turns out this company was using Novell 1.0.0 so the map command didn't exist. The previous techs had left instructing the company that they update the server and the Netware to at least Novell 3.x before they would be able to resolve the problem.

As an aside, I had been to this company many times before to fix machines that didn't boot. People (being people) when they were bored would open various files i.e. command.com into their word processor (Word Perfect), see that it was apparently junk and then save it, close it, and and carry on (This was before recent documents existed.) The next morning their computer would not boot, but a simple boot from floppy and sys c: would fix this problem.

This was a small guaranteed income stream until people stopped looking at things they should not have. If they had just exited without saving they would have been fine.
Back to the problem at the law firm... I had tried the update and gotten same result as everyone else. I rebooted the Netware Server and contacted the developers, but they could not reproduce the fault and this was the only reported instance of the problem.

By this time the law office was getting desperate; and as we all know if you can't bill someone you don't get paid and they were rapidly running out of their line of credit. 

Note: What made this the most memorable TS experience was having to sue the company that hired me to get paid. Make sure you always follow necessary steps to ensure payment.

Going back to my home programming skills I recalled where I would occasionally exit twice from a program. which would unload command.com.

I loaded another copy of command.com into memory by typing command at the commapnd prompt. This way when the installer ran, and exited command.com there was still one copy in memory that was able to process command.com functions.

So I ran command.com to load another copy into ram ran the update and it worked to completion. Ran a few checks and closed out the ticket.

There are times when real world experience trumps formal training. In the real world everything is not perfect and things always run as expected. Here a problem was solved by using real world experience of mistakes you've made and how you overcame them.                                 



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David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Comments (5)

David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Commented:
What is command.com

I guess you used  msdos operating system. It is the command processor a vital operating system process.
MSDOS was used from 1980 to 1995

This took place in late Jan 1991 - early Feb 1991
Why does it matter that recent documents  hadn't come out yet?

There was no audit trail to find recently opened files.

it was the MAP command that had not come out yet..  Again you have to understand Novell Netware.

Who tried the update?

the staff and when the server locked up, called different computer stores to send their support person. The Support people thought it was a Netware problem and the fact that the law office was using Netware 1.0.0 when the latest edition was Netware 3.  Netware moved from being on op of the operating system to being the operating system. its like  sitting on a linux system and typing    dir and getting an error message.. Netware was primarily creating and setting up shares and share access later on.

Why is the lawsuit relevant to the topic of the article?
Getting PAID for performing services is for Service Technicians a VITAL area   Even though I was the ONLY person in the area that could solve the problem and SAVED the company (law office) from going bankrupt getting paid by the contracting computer store .. I should have got a bonus but even getting PAID was like pulling teeth because you are the expensive hired gun.
David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Distinguished Expert 2021

Author

Commented:
ok sounds good
David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Distinguished Expert 2021

Author

Commented:
I loaded another copy of command.com into memory by typing command at the command prompt. This way when the installer ran, and exited command com there still was one copy in memory able to process command.com functions.
David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Distinguished Expert 2021

Author

Commented:
There are times when real world experience trumps formal training. In the real world everything is not perfect and things always run as expected. Here a problem was solved by using real world experience of mistakes you've made and how you overcame them.
David Johnson, CDThe More I know, the more I don't know
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Distinguished Expert 2021

Author

Commented:
so do I .. publish away

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