try to react to help requests and trouble reports as quickly as we can. Whether
you just need an explanation, or whether there's an actual problem with the
system, we want to hear from you, and we want to make it work for you. If we
can fix the problem, fine. If we can give you a workaround, fine. If we can't
fix it now, we can at least explain what is happening and tell you when we
will fix it.|
when you have a question, please try this help system, and the man files, first.
There are a lot of answers there. And some things that look like system problems
are just weird Unix features. When you know the magic words to type, everything
is fine . . . and there are a lot of magic words in our help system.
are two reasons that we really hope you'll try the online help first. If the
answer is right there, well, that saves you a phone call, and it saves us some
time. That's not a bad thing.
the other hand, if the answer is NOT there, we need to know so we can put it
in! This help system was created painfully, one question at a time, and we'll
hack on it forever. If you have a problem and can't find the answer yourself,
that's two problems for us to fix, and we want to hear from you. When we ask
"Did you try the help system?" we're not picking on you - we're trying to improve
I Really Need Help. Now What?
- if it's a real emergency, feel free to phone. There is always someone on
duty at the office. The office number is 512-462-0999. If you are in Houston,
you can save the long distance charge by calling us at: 1 (800) 294-6266. If
it's less urgent, you can do one of two things. You can post to one of our
This may get you an answer from a staff member, or one of our fellow users,
or both. It's a good way to start a discussion if your question is general.
you have a specific question, or if you just don't want to start a discussion,
you can also get an answer via e-mail. Send the mail to email@example.com. This
is not one person; it's a mail- handling system. This is monitored by several
different Responsible People . . . one of whom will jump on it, and notify
the others. You should get an automated acknowledgement almost immediately,
and a real response within three days at
That's a worst-case, assuming that your question arrives right AFTER a batch
is processed, AND that it's a technical question, AND that the usual techie
for such questions is taking a day off. If you do not get an immediate acknowledgement
OR if you don't get an answer in 3 days, e-mail a copy of your question to
firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that you did not get a response through the normal
Perfect Trouble Report
you are reporting a problem, please be as descriptive as possible. Include
anything that could conceivably be relevant, such as date and time of the problem,
what software you were using, which of our machines you were using and in what
subdirectory, and so on. If you can tell us the exact error messages you got,
wonderful! If you can send us a capture buffer showing what happened to you,
tell us who you are and where you're sending from. If we get three mail problems
in an 8-hour day, and they're all from Boston, that's very diagnostic.
. . .
really want to make this system as friendly and useful as possible. Every time
you report a problem, you're doing us a favor. We can't fix them all right
away, but we DO want to hear about them.