It’s been a while since I wrote a post about technology and this one could just as easily be about faith. I do believe it is the first post I have ever written that is in both categories. But what do God and technology have in common, other than the fact that some people use science and technology to try disproving the existence of God while others use it to help prove He exists? We could go down the rabbit hole of faith vs fate, but I choose to believe in a higher power guiding my life and that is my God-given right. C’mon… that was a little funny.
I need to go back to give you history of some technology as well as a challenge I have been dealing with for the better part of a year. First of all you should know what Spiceworks is. It is a company, a tool, and a community for geeks from around the world. I use Spiceworks as a tool to manage Small and Medium Business (SMB) help desk and I.T. inventories. I also use Spiceworks as a company to network with other geeks both at local events in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary and Regina (but it has been way too long) and also at their annual conference in Austin, TX. Of course I haven’t attended the conference in a few years but it is the best opportunity I have ever had to meet and learn from some great peers in this industry.
I also use Spiceworks as the largest online community of professional geeks on the planet… and that is where our story ended last night.
Let’s go back and tell you where it started in the spring of 2019 when I was tasked with setting up a connection for an accountant to work on files for one of my clients. This should be simple, I will map a drive on his laptop to the network share so that when he comes to the office once a week, he can simply connect and get on with his work.
Well that would have been the dream but it turned into a nightmare after a couple weeks of me struggling to find a solution to odd errors I was seeing and after exhausting every ounce of my training I turned to my Google-Fu only to realize that it was lacking as well. Not only could I NOT find a solution to my problem, but the more I looked for a solution, the more I realized that I wasn’t all too sure what my exact problem was to start with.
This computer was the first at the site running Windows 10… maybe that was an issues somehow. I was also connecting to a share on a Synology NAS… maybe that was where the problem was stemming from. The laptop was also not part of the domain and that might be causing the issues. Maybe it was a combination of everything, or some of the things, or something that I hadn’t thought of yet.
I built a workaround with a remote connection to a VM and proceeded to pour spare time into the issue for almost a year until I woke up to a new nightmare a couple weeks ago…
I was asked to install a new computer at a remote location for this same client. Piece of cake. I could do this in my sleep. New computer… copy profile and C drive data from old computer… backup favorites… create new profile on new computer… copy data back… configure browsers… add printers… set up mapped drives so the user has access to the server… wait… what is this stupid, yet eerily familiar error I am seeing…
And for the past two weeks I have been busting my butt. I have sacrificed so much time that I had planned to be writing my book but instead I chose to bang my head against a brick wall of Google-searches… yes, I actually reset my default search engine to Google for one of my browsers thinking that Google would save the day over the youthfulness of Duck Duck Go. I was wrong… again.
Let me break away to say that last night I was about to give up. To concede defeat. To quit. God heard me talking to myself at my laptop last night and proved once again that you are given nothing in this world that you can’t handle. We can debate the quote in another post one day.
And the end of the day, actually in the middle of the night last night, Duck Duck Go actually found a page that solved my issue once and for all. I don’t even know why I was using my chrome browser to do the search but I am sure happy that I was. I typed the perfect combination of words describing my problem into Chrome, the Duck Duck Go search engine came back with a list of solutions and I opened up five or six pages in new tabs to review… and one of them was a discussion on Spiceworks. How could that be?
I had spent months combing through the online community last year and found nothing. Now I find this post from July of 2018. That’s right, the post was written over six months before I first started having my problems. After the computer was working and everything in the universe was back in order, I was lying in bed thinking about how close I came to quitting. It bothered me that I was going to give up on something. It still does.
When I woke up I decided that it wasn’t God who sent this answer to me. It was just my amazing Duck Duck Fu and possibly some dumb luck. I wanted to say thanks to the guy who posted that answer in Spiceworks and when I clicked on his name I was blown away. I was shocked into jaw-dropping silence and that doesn’t happen often.
After a year of troubleshooting, I got assigned a task to build a new windows 10 computer for the same client, I had changed my search engine to Google and then accidentally searched in a different browser that was still using Duck Duck Go, and then I found the answer in the community that I searched for dozens of hours in 2019. The thin threads were getting pretty small… and then I noticed that my hero, a Spiceworks user named Rob Dabrowski, created his account on July 20, 2018 to post one question, and then answer that question himself (I love it when SpiceHeads do this instead of just closing the thread).
Rob has never posted again. He has never “spiced up” another conversation. He has never commented or added to any other conversation in the community. I have never seen a Spiceworks user with less activity. It’s like he posted the question, then found a solution 2 hours and 33 minutes later and posted that solution for all of us to see, and then vanished from existence. He follows nobody and not a single person follows him. He is a ghost.
Almost 31 months later to the day, I stumbled upon his two-line solution and solved my year-long headache.
You can say I was lucky, you can say my Duck Duck Fu was amazing, you can even say that I have been doing this for 20 years and lessons I have learned make me an amazing geek. What you can’t say is that the thin thread that allowed me to find Rob’s post was anything less than completely amazing. I wasn’t suicidal, but I was mentally drained and verging on depression from this project… a depression that was eating away at me for a very long time.
I choose to believe that a higher power put that answer in front of me in the middle of the night. I choose to believe in God.