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phone systems January 5, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Technology Trouble.

The VOIP phone on That Guy's Desk. Interestingly, when certain people call, the phone thinks it's actually Jesus. (Please pardon the subpar Photoshop job.)

The VOIP phone on That Guy's Desk. Interestingly, when certain people call, the phone thinks it's actually Jesus. (Please pardon the subpar Photoshop job. It really says Christ when this person calls, but I didn't do so well removing his name or phone number.)

When we moved into the new CorporateSpeak Headquarters last year, we upgraded from regular phones to VOIP phones. In principle I had no problem with this; it meant free long distance and a ton of great features that would make using phones so much easier.

Forget for the moment that almost nobody except me, the IT staff, and two other people (maybe) know how to use the phones the way they’re supposed to be used.

Over the course of the past half-year, I’ve been having lots of trouble with what I thought was my phone. In fact, my first day in this building, my phone (which for some reason is also my internet router, just as it is on every desk) kept crashing, rebooting, and hanging during the boot process. I went through five phones before IT finally figured out it was my connection from the biscuit under my desk to the main phone/internet closet on this floor. They fixed it and I was fine for a few months.

Then it started happening again. The phone would crash. The internet would go down. I would call IT. They would reboot the phone and then move on. But when it was happening two-to-four times a day, I stopped calling IT. I just started rebooting the phone myself*. It’s dumped out of important calls on more than one occasion.

Turns out it’s not just me anymore. One of the IT guys’ phones, two of the executives’ phones, and almost every phone at the manufacturing desk crashes at least once every three days. IT’s pretty much given up on fixing it and is just rebooting phones when they’re called upon to fix them.

And now the phones in our main downstairs meeting room crash when you try to log into them.

It’s too bad. I really like the phones, and the people who installed them were really friendly. The fact that the phones are so messed up detracts from their inherent usefulness and pushes people away from using them as they should be used. I suppose all new phone systems have their growing pains as they’re installed and as people get used to using them, but this is a typical CorporateSpeak endeavor: do something that seems awesome, but when it starts to fail, just keep sticking Band-Aids on it.

* I wasn’t doing it in the past because our chief of building engineering suggested we not reboot the phones too many times. So much for that plan.



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