The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Calls from the Help(less) desk

[insert long and loud primal scream here]

[It's so long and loud you have to wonder how I am capable of sustaining it for so long with passin—

—oh sorry, I passed out there for a second.]

I just received a call from a gentleman who wishes to host his site with us. Dispite the fact that I am not in sales (and therefore have no real idea what we charge or even what we offer) and since he's not our customer yet (so I'm not supposed to answer technical questions) I was still on the phone for over half an hour with him, answering both sales like questions (“Well yes, you could get a dedicated server if you want”) and technical questions (“No no no, SQL is a database query language, MySQL is an implementation of SQL, like Oracle is an implementation of SQL”) and critiquing his site (“Well, the links are images so that increases the download time, especially to dial-up users”).

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

HELP I hastily wrote to my fellow cow-orker.

Get name & number and have C call them, my fellow cow-orker wrote back.

Took another fifteen minutes to get him off the phone.

It's not that the questions where stupid (well, frankly, they were; some didn't even make sense) but that the gentleman had no concept of how database driven sites work (and I suspect, he has no idea how websites work, or even how computers work, but then again, I'm applying my knowledge of how computers work against his knowledge and there's just no comparison—much like his knowledge of commercial real estate doesn't compare to mine). It's frustrating trying to explain the difference between SQL and MySQL and that no, SQL and ASP are not the same thing, much less compatible, but that you can embed SQL within ASP (and you are either going “Of course!” or “What is this gibberish?”—sigh) while at the same time trying to get him off the phone without seeming rude and potentially loosing a sale (since without customers, there is no job—sucks but that's “Reality 101” as Dad would say).

Thankfully, this gentleman was no JL (a customer I had to deal with a few years ago where the Company slapped a restraining order on him to keep him away from the office. JL was truely a customer that had (literally) forgotten to take his medication. It got so bad I was willing to pay to have him fired as a customer).

Okay, I'm feeling better now.

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