There are good helpdesks out there and then there’s… well…

I do stuff with numbers at times, working for a engineering firm. One of my specialized skills is working with multivariate analysis (MVA) [e.g. statistics] and there are a number of ways I can go about doing it. One is harder. That’s using a programming software known as “R”. It is very powerful and very lightweight and, as freeware, I can install at will on my work laptop. It is also much less forgiving, complex and requires much more front-end effort to run stats, as I need to essentially write scripts to process the data instead of using a handy-dandy graphical user interface (GUI).

Then there is some licensed Excel macros out there. My company has purchased several that I could use and I do on a regular basis.

The helpdesk folks recently updated my laptop to use Office 365. I haven’t had an opportunity to do MVA since then, but now I’ve been tasked with generating some hypothesis on some environmental contamination sourcing. MVA happens to be my go-to tool, especially the macros due to the ease of getting quick iterations of statistics without scripting full-fledged models (which change with every data set).

The macro is missing.

So, with tears in my eyes, I asked the helpdesk to reinstall the macro. After 3 days, I poked again and got a response. Instead of trying to reinstall the macro, however, they uninstalled and reinstalled Office 365. I watched in horror as they remotely did the one thing guaranteed to not work.


Unsurprising to me, when they asked me to try loading the macro again, I got the same missing file message.

Some days, I really understand the reason people refer to many helpdesks as “helpless desks”. I specifically identified the problem and the guys who are supposed to know what to do did something that wouldn’t fix my issue.

And now I have to reset all my preferences and shortcuts for Office.

Brushing up on my R scripting skills in case they can’t get their head out of their ass….


It appears that the problem lies apparently with the “app” version of Excel. In doing my own research, I need to get IT to install the desktop variant of Excel (Office 365). What a bother!

[shakes fist with frustration]

You keep pissing me off Microsoft!

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