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Samba Configs - six hours!

© July 2008 Anthony Lawrence

I don't really like going to Boston, especially in hot weather. The train ride in is fine, but the air quality in the city is always bad, and of course is even worse after a few weeks of high temperature and little rain. As I walked up Summer Street this morning, I could see the haze of smog in the air ahead of me and I could feel it irritating my lungs. I unconsciously found myself trying to breathe shallowly while walking more quickly - not a winning combination.

I was there because a customer of several decades had lost their internal part time IT person and had unfortunately hired a Windows Consultant who had quite literally created a substantial mess and had subsequently been rudely discharged. My job? Fix some of the problems..

This outfit has some unusual attitudes. The owner of the firm I was headed for had called me a week back to tell me some of it. The first thing she explained was that she didn't have administrator passwords. "So ask for them", I said, and she responded that the consultant "didn't want me to have them".

My response to that was short and simple: "Call your lawyer."

What incredible arrogance. She went on to describe how the consultant had switched them to an NT Domain (they were peer to peer) without her approval or even discussing it - they just did it. They also scrapped our Kerio mailserver and replaced it with Exchange.. and followed that with lots of billable time fixing Exchange problems, of course. Worse, they broke the association of the Unix Samba server with the network and told her it would require six hours of time AND "training" to fix that!

I wish this were an atypical story, but it isn't - I've had similar experiences at other clients with other consultants. Not every business needs or wants a Domain setup. Certainly the customer should have a chance to understand the advantages and disadvantages. As to Exchange, I think most of us know what a pile of junk THAT is. I explained to my customer that my yearly income from her Kerio server was $70.00, so I wasn't trying to keep her on it out of profit motive - but I can guarantee that was the motive the other consultant had for switching her to Exchange. As to the reluctance to give administrative passwords to the owner of the company, well, that's just beyond belief.

My customer explained that what she hated the most was that "he treats me like I'm stupid - I'm NOT stupid! I can understand computer technical subjects; it may not be my daily work, but I'm not so hopelessly dumb that I can't comprehend a discussion of why we should or should not switch to a domain model. And I KNOW that six hour quote is complete B.S.!"

Of course she's right. She didn't build a 50+ employee company by being stupid. And it took me all of five minutes to reconfigure Samba to work with the NT PDC. My billable time was an hour, but that included getting logins, server names, testing, setting up some new shares and deleting some old, chit-chatting, and a few other minor things..

Yes, she has fired that consultant. She's trying to hire a new in-house person and in the mean time I'll take care of day to day issues.. idiot Windows "consultants".

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Wed Jul 30 05:02:05 2008: 4460   JohnB

Just amazing. What a sinking feeling it must give people to discover that their network has been handled by someone so arrogant and immature.

I would suggest thorough reference checking of consultants. It's been a fairly good option for me in the past.


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