Callsheet hibernation, and the Overdue Alarm

As you may have noticed, Callsheets not only store information, they also serve as a kind of "to do" note, like slips of paper you've placed on your desk to remind of particular things needing done (or like a faxed dispatch that sits on your desk reminding that a customer needs called for scheduling). As you may also have noticed, ServiceDesk helps you know when a Callsheet needs work done by following a simple convention. When work does need done, and needs done by you (i.e., the Callsheet's in 'Current' status and assigned to your desk), ServiceDesk keeps it illuminated at your desk. When work does not presently need done, on the other hand (i.e., the Callsheet's in any other mode), ServiceDesk keeps the Callsheet dim. Thus, when you create a job from a Callsheet (meaning its particular duty is done), or transfer responsibility on it to another desk, the Callsheet naturally goes dim, telling you at a glance that you presently have no work to do on it. It's much as if that piece of paper on your desk is taken away: you don't have to see it there anymore, nor feel nervous about whether there's any work for you to do in its connection.

This is great for those items that you can, in such manner, actually dispose of, but obviously, there are many items that you might have dealt with only in terms of immediate need, even while knowing the matter needs to be re-visited in an hour, a day, or whatever. Or maybe it's something you haven't taken care of at all, but it doesn't require tending to right away, and you intend to put it off as long as you gracefully can. In either case, you don't want an annoying piece of paper sitting on the desk bugging you during hours or days when you simply don't intend to address it. Nor do you want to lose track of the fact that, ultimately, you must.

The solution, when that piece of paper is a Callsheet, is to simply put it to sleep for whatever period of time you intend to ignore it. This is what we call Callsheet Hibernation, and essentially, it involves making a Callsheet go dim (so that you can in a sense sleep in its regard) for a specified period of time. To put any Callsheet to sleep, either click on its hibernate button or press Alt-H. This will bring up the Hibernate form, from which you can easily select the period of rest. Note that, as in most other forms which offer a single set of options, here you can either click on your selection with the mouse or move over it using your cursor keys, then press Enter for your selection. You can also specify a wake-up time that is not provided in the direct options, by simply typing it in.

You may notice that each of the sleep-period options have an accompanying "alarm period." This relates to still another feature that helps you know which Callsheets need attention, or, more specifically, which ones are past-due for attention. This feature is what we call the "Overdue Alarm." Basically, there's a built-in sentry in ServiceDesk that's continually monitoring all active Callsheets (i.e., ones in 'Current' status) to see that adequate attention is paid to them. If any go past some specified time without activity, ServiceDesk will begin beeping, and showing a notice in the title bar at top, to alert you to the neglect.

It is, essentially, this specified time period that's being described by the Hibernate form's indicated 'alarm periods.' Essentially, ServiceDesk will allow the 'alarm period' stated, after the sleep period ends and a Callsheet "wakes up," before sounding an alarm that the Callsheet is overdue for attention (assuming no attention has been paid to it during that period). Logically, there are longer alarm periods following longer sleep periods, and vice versa.

Of course, the alarm period that follows a Callsheet's awakening from hibernation is only one attribute of the Callsheet Sentry. For Callsheets in general (i.e., one's not subject to a specific post-awakening alarm period), the period is two hours. If, therefore, any Callsheet that's not in a specific post-awakening alarm period does not receive attention (i.e., work being done on it) over a space of two hours, ServiceDesk will begin sounding the alarm in its connection.

Of course, the beeping of an alarm can be annoying, and you may not have time immediately to satisfy its call. If this happens, you can silence the alarm by pressing Ctrl/Shift-LeftCursor (this combination is used because the keys are next to each other and are easy to press). Each press gives you one minute of silence. If you wish, you can hold the keys down and allow the Windows auto-repeat feature to run up several minutes of reprieve-time. By holding down for three or four seconds, you'll get an hour or more of silence (depending on the repeat rate you've set from Windows). Alternatively, if you do not like this alarm feature, you can turn it off entirely from within the Settings form.

Eventually, of course (and regardless), you should heed the alarm and do something to service your anxious Callsheets. ServiceDesk is easy in this regard. If you make any saved change in a Callsheet, ServiceDesk figures you must have done your duty for now, and lets the matter rest for another two hours. After that, if there have been no saved changes in the interim (and you didn't put the Callsheet to sleep for longer, or in any manner put it to final rest by creating a job from it, or something similar) it will inform you, by beeping again, to indicate that the item is again past due for attention.

It may be useful to know, at this point (and as explained in more detail later), that ServiceDesk saves your Callsheet edits, when there have been any, immediately upon any action that moves the control focus to another form. Thus, if you've just changed one or more characters in any of a Callsheet's text boxes, and you hit F5 to display the DispatchMap (or take an action to display any other form, even moving to another Callsheet), ServiceDesk will immediately save your Callsheet in the form it was left. ServiceDesk also does immediate saves when you change a Callsheet's status or desk assignment. Thus, it will immediately save if you transfer its assignment to another desk, or if you change its status from 'Current' to 'Otherwise Done,' or anything similar.

Regardless of how done, it follows that you can satisfy what might be called the Callsheet Sentry by invoking any Callsheet save. In fact, you can even cheat if wanted. Suppose, for example, that at the present moment you have some Callsheet that's beeping you. You don't want to give it any serious service, right now, and yet don't want to put it back to sleep either. Simply make it your active Callsheet, then hit Esc. This will invoke an immediate save, and ServiceDesk will be fooled (for another two hours, at least) into thinking you've paid it some attention.