135 thoughts on “Press any key”

  1. I maintain a network in our office. I had just finished setting up the wireless network on a new laptop, handed it to the owner. Walked back to my desk.
    Not even 10 minutes later, the owner of the laptop came to see me. It seems his network wasn’t working. I took the laptop, turned it on and it worked just fine…I wasked him to show me what he had done. It seems, his laptop (running win xp) crashed after 20-25 copies of IE had been opened….
    ugh.

  2. Hi Wil,
    Does it count if your ex uses you as his own personal tech support line just because “you know more about computers” than he does?
    I keep getting phone calls and paged “911” when his “sound doesn’t work” (speakers are off) or when “he can’t get online” (modem not hooked up right).
    To his defense, he’s not stupid, just incredibly absent-minded… but still…
    -Jocelyn

  3. Wow. I’ve applied for low-level tech support jobs in the past…suddenly I’m very glad I didn’t get them. :) Although I work as a tax preparer now, and I’m an endless source of stupid customer jokes. I think the whole concept of taxes just pre-scrambles the brain.

  4. Oh boy! And I thought *I* was the only one who had the problem of the ex calling me constantly asking computer questions! Ugh!
    My ex has worked in many offices, for companies that have their own tech support people. But does this matter to her? Of course not! Anytime she has a problem with her work computer, instead of calling her own tech support people, she calls me! Yea, no matter what time of day or night I get a call. She even told me she considers me her own personal 24-hour on call PC support tech.
    But okay. Anyway, she called me just the other day, as a matter of fact, complaining that her keyboard wasn’t working, and that she was going insane trying to figure out why. Since this was her home PC, my first thought was that she was moving things around and unplugged it, and didn’t plug it back in. So I asked her to make sure it was plugged in. She said it was. I told her to reboot her computer and tell me about any error messages. She does this, but says there are no messages, but still, her keyboard isn’t working. I asked her to check the cable to make sure there are no breaks or exposed wires, and she says the cable is fine. Then I asked her to unplug the keyboard and look into the connector, to make sure there are no broken pins. She says all of the pins are fine. At this point I’m thinking that there might be a problem that can’t be fixed over the phone, and I tell her I’ll have to come by sometime and look at it. This whle process so far had taken about 30 minutes. It was only then she asks me “Could the fact that I spilled Coke all over the keyboard have something to do with it not working right?”
    Oh the joys of being computer saavy…

  5. I would have to start my own website for the stories I have from Roadrunner cable modem tech support.

  6. I work for an ISP, cable company. Can’t really say which for fear of losing my job. I’ve got plenty of stories to tell and I can’t really decide which so I’ll just go with one that’s freshest in my mind…from about an hour ago: Ok, so this lady calls me up and she’s already pissed because she’s been on hold for 20 minutes or so she says, which is kinda funny considering the longest call waiting which is a stat we have says 4 minutes. Ok, so I get her on the line, she complains about hold time and then proceeds to grill me for 10 minutes about how it’s MY fault that there’s a dozen pop-ups on her screen. She keeps saying how she pays so much money for this service and there’s nothing we can do to get these things off her screen. She even goes so far as to say she shouldn’t have to pay for these ads and she wants a credit to her account for having to view them. I basically told her to piss off only not in those words. Told her I can’t block those pop-ups anymore than I can stop advertisements on TV. I finally got her to shut up by pointing her to google.com and doing a search for pop-up blockers.
    God I hate being nice to these people… If I hear one more time how I have the patience of a saint I’m gonna burst.

  7. I’m no Computer expert but I and my brother are always trying to help teach my mother how the computer runs and she always freaks out when I say the word “Crash” She thinks I am saying that her computer is broken or has a virus. “Good frickin grief” :S

  8. I spent 4 years in tech support before going into business for myself as a trainer. Although I have many stories of my own, this is one of my favorites…
    A few years ago on NPR, there was a segment on tech support. At the end, the reporter asked the techie about his funniest call. I am recreating this from memory, so some of the details might not be exact…
    He had a woman who bought a new computer. She unpacked it, set it up, then called because the power cord was too short.
    He had her measure it and it was indeed too short. He couldn’t believe his company sent such a cord, so her had her go through the box of couple of times. He also made sure it was indeed a power cord and had her plug it into the back of her computer.
    Finally, he thought of something. But he was afraid to ask her, as he didn’t want to insult her intelligence.
    He said, “Ma’am, did you take the twist tie off the power cord?”
    Dead silence on the line, then “No.”
    “Ma’am, can you take the twist tie off the power cord, unravel the cord and let me know if it is long enough?”
    Needless to say, his job was done. He also said that the call taught him to assume nothing!

  9. I did PC support for S0nY for 3 years. I once troubleshot a cd drive that WOULD NOT read a cd.
    long story short, 45 minutes later I asked the question that I should have asked 45 mins earlier. “You’re putting them in shiny side down right?” She had seen it the other way on TV and in magazines and thought that shiny side up was correct. AAAAAAAGH !

  10. My most memorable support call was from a blind man who needed help installing a SIMM in his computer. He said he always did the work on his own computer, but he couldn’t figure out how to get the memory chip installed.
    After a minute of trying to tell him, and asking again if there wasn’t someone nearby who could help out, I got a great idea. I went to our tech bench and walked him through installing the chip with my eyes closed. I described the notch on one side of the SIMM, and talked him through finding the sockets on the motherboard.
    Most even slightly cynical people who I tell this are convinced that he was messing with me, and seeing how far he could get me to go. I’ll just keep my happy thoughts though, and revel in the good karma that I gained from my tech support days.

  11. Yes, I did several years as a help desk person. I still have unresolved issues about this period in my life, and my counsellor might let me go public about it soon…

  12. Rich Hermes- I’m probably one of your people that you’ve talked to, since I use Tampa Bay roadrunner and I’ve called tech support about nine billion times!

  13. My friend recently moved to a location where his DSL service did not provide access. Therefore, instead he went with the Time Warner Roadrunner cable service. He had been dreading the installation for days, knowing that some half-brained tech was going to be touching his system. I laughed and told him to just remove the hard drive to prevent the imbecile from doing anything stupid. We decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and left the drive intact. And it

  14. teehee.
    never done the tech support job professionally, just for friends as my level of computer geekdom continues to grow and blossom into full flower.
    First time replying to the blog, so i have say how cool WWDN is.
    It is tre-cool. Yes. Cool like… like… well, like something very cool.
    For instance, the Help Desk comic over at Keenspot. good fun. just follow the linkylinky.
    (i also heartily recommend sinfest)
    -matt

  15. Although I primarily do technical writing these days, I have had a little experience as both a consultant AND a customer, so, to some extent, I can see BOTH sides of this kind of situation.
    My most recent tech-support problem was just a few days ago. I was trying to refill the ink cartridges in my Apollo P-2250 printer, a nice little unit which, up to that time, had given me good service. Unfortunately, it uses the HP #20 cartridge, which is one of the WORST cartridges from a refilling standpoint! Anyhow, after I had finished refilling the #20 black cartridge (I thought!–it later leaked out ALL the ink!), I read in the refill kit manual that I should run several cleaning and test cycles to make sure everything was OK.
    The problem was that this printer came out just before Windows XP made its debut. While XP does have built-in drivers for this printer, none of the other utility software works under Windows XP. Worse yet, HP has now discontinued making Apollo printers, so there will be NO software updates, especially since my printer is long since out of warranty (which also means no support as far as HP is concerned!).
    Although they explained that the printer would do an automatic test run any time a new ink cartridge was inserted, I was so offended by the sheer corporate arrogance that fairly oozed and dripped out between the lines of their email and their online help facility that I decided to scrap the Apollo entirely and purchase a used (but still supported!) Lexmark Z52, which I found on eBay. To put it mildly, the long and short of it is that HP has not only lost me as a customer–they have made a mortal enemy of me! I will not hesitate to recommend AGAINST using ANY of HP’s products under any circumstances from now on!
    Please forgive me if this post is a little long, but I had to give you the details in order to explain the nature of the problem. I’m sure that anyone who has had problems with either HP or Compaq (which of course are now one and the same!) will understand what I mean. HP STINKS!!

  16. Me: “Well, you have a 10 GB drive. And you only have 4 MB left. You have over 6 GB of MP3s. You should probably get rid of some.”
    CoWorker: “What if I partition the drive? Will that give me space?”
    Me: “Must … control… fists.. of… death…”

  17. I was part of a dotcom (the smart one, the rest were suits that knew nothing) and the ISP hosting us kept saying that our space was ready to go.
    It wasn’t
    I spent a few weeks on the phone, trying to convince them that it wasn’t active. They gave me several new passwords and every time I attempted to log in, it wouldn’t work.
    About a week before the launch, I called them and went all mad at them – “my *beep* space doesn’t work. you *beep* been giving me *beep* passwords for *beep* weeks now and it still doesn’t *beep* work”.
    Needless to say, we launched without a dotcom and got someone else to talk to the ISP.
    A few weeks after the launch, I got a phonecall from the ISP. They said “You were right. The webmaster apologieses”
    I should have pushed it further, but the site was uploaded that night and all was well.

  18. when i was head programmer at International software systems, we had a lady who worked at a credit union for 10 years on the same computer, at the same desk, doing the same job. Her complaint was that the computer was very slow, and refused to open the programs anymore.
    We suspected that it was low on memory, so we asked her to reboot the computer. She refused, saying she didn’t know how to. We explained that all she had to do was hit the switch on the side of the box on her desk, then hit it again in a few seconds. She refused, as she had never done that before. She wanted us to fly fa tech from our office in SC to Manhattan to reboot a computer, and the problem was that it had never been rebooted in all the time she had had it, except for power outages and the like. This woman wasn’t eighty, and worked on a computer at the second biggest credit union in the world doing their accounting. makes you want to bury your money in a can in the back yard, don’t it?
    Dalton.

  19. Hey Dalton,
    Stop scaring me with your credit union horror stories. With W all ready to bomb Iraq into the stone age, I am tempted to stuff my mattress with my greenbacks as it is…
    -Jocelyn

  20. i just love the tech support people who do not speak english. That or i can’t understand their accent. Then they get mad at you because you dont understand what they are saying

  21. So I thought of a tech “help” story that I had somehow forgotten until I began reading all the ones here. First of all, let me say I do customer support for a credit card company, so I know all too well how frustrating it can be to deal with a customer who thinks they know how something works better than the trained professional. On the other hand, when I don’t have any fucking clue what a customer wants of me, I’m the first to admit it.
    (Side note: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever call your credit card company and ask “What’s this late fee??” if you don’t want a sarcastic answer.) Anyway…
    So about three years ago broadband service became available in my neighborhood. (I live in Missouri. Pity me.) I didn’t have a decent computer at the time, so I didn’t bother with getting it for about a year. I finally got a new Mac two years ago and decided it was time to move on up.
    I call and arrange an appointment for a tech to come “install” my cable modem for me. I had an iBook and was running OS 9 at the time. I know that the only requirements are for someone to bring me a cable modem and plug it in. I also know full well that whatever tech I get is going to be baffled, but I play along, thinking that they’ve been at it for a year now, so they probably know what they’re doing. So I make my appointment for a month from when I was calling (gotta love AT&T) and wait.
    The day arrives. I was given a window of roughly four hours in the afternoon in which the guys would arrive, so I’m running errands that morning and arrive back at my apartment about 45 minutes before the start of the four-hour window. The tech guys are already waiting for me, acting extremely huffy that I’m not home waiting for them.
    Already, I know it’s going to be a bad experience.
    My second clue is when I realize that there are not one, not two, but three tech guys along for this. Again, let me reiterate. Macintosh. Open modem box. Plug it modem to cable outlet and ethernet connection. Done. Three guys. Three. Three.
    As I let them in my apartment, Tech guy #1 seems my computer on my desk and says,
    “Great. A Mac.” (I’m thinking whew.) “I fucking hate Macs.”
    Okay, now I have friends for whom those would be the ultimate challenge. Spoken in the street on in a store, those words would at the very least trigger a 15-minute diatribe on why Macs rock. Those words spoken in their own homes would probably result in tech blood painting the walls.
    I try to be a little more sanguine, so I just laugh it off, say “yeah,” and let it go, hoping I can get them out as quickly as possible.
    Two hours later, Tech Guy #1 is still sitting at MY seat at MY desk scratching his head, after my repeated offers to take care of the installation and his snide little remarks about how I wouldn’t know what I was doing. Tech Guys #2 & #3 have never moved from their positions on my couch where they’ve been watching Mtv the entire time, except when one got up to use my bathroom without asking. The two couch monkeys have been joined by Tech Guy #4, who showed up about 30 minutes into the ordeal without any summoning whatsover. I guess he was just in the neighborhood. These three guys have never once offered to help Tech #1 nor have they performed any duties in the installation. I still to this day have no idea why they were there.
    About another ten minutes go by with no results and my final attempt to get the guy to let me sit down and fix things. (By the way, his problem was he couldn’t figure out the TCP/IP window. There are maybe five places to enter data in the entire window, and only the client id has to be filled in by the user because AT&T requires it. Everything else will fill itself in given a chance. I kept telling the guy this, but does he listen? No.)
    I’m fed up. I refuse to get angry with these guys because I know what it’s like to have their job. I know they deal with pissy know-it-all customers all the time and after a while it becomes automatic to dismiss whatever the customer is saying. So I excuse myself to go into my bedroom to make a phone call.
    Five minutes later I come back into the living room with two cordless phones and hand one to Tech Guy #1 while I listen on the other. A man on the other end begins to berate him over how long the job is taking, orders him to allow me to access my own computer immediately and instructs him and his coworkers to report back to the office within 10 minutes where at least one of them is going to lose his job. When Tech Guy #1 asks who this is, the man on the phone screams, “My name is Cooper! I’m a Team Leader at AT&T’s central offices in New York! I’ve already spoken to your office manager there in Springfield, and let me tell you, he’s even more pissed off than I am that you’ve wasted this gentleman’s time with your idiocy! If it was in my power to do so I would fire you all over the phone! If I have to repeat my request for you to report back to your office I will damn well FIND a way to fire you over the phone! Now move!”
    Cooper then began to apologize profusely to me for my inconvenience and to assure me that this sort of discourteous service was not typical of AT&T’s commitment to the customer. He then offered me three free month’s of service if I would just withdraw my request to cancel my cable modem service. As he was saying all this, Tech Guy #1 was hanging up his phone, gathering his friends hurriedly together and apologizing to me as he left my apartment.
    As soon as the door closed behind them, I couldn’t help laughing out loud. The guy on the other end of the phone was my best friend Corey, who invented “Cooper” (we’re both Twin Peaks fans) on the fly and gambled correctly that the guy he was speaking with wouldn’t have any clue where AT&T’s home offices were located or how the chain of command worked. I thanked Corey and told him to come on over to check out my new high-speed internet connection, which I was sure to have installed by the time he made the five-minute drive to my apartment.
    -WE

  22. Two things:
    1) My husband and i used a UNIX shell until 1998. (i do miss that thing). Eventually, with a better puter, we switched to a regular account. it didn’t work, it didn’t work, it didn’t work. Tech support guy is going over the settings with me (all as he said they were supposed to be), yet no one could figure out what the hell the problem was. He was an @-hole to me, too… condescending, etc. I demanded our usual tech guy, who understood the UNIX stuff. He was out for the day. Called back next day, he’s there, and LO & BEHOLD- *someone* forgot to switch us over. I called back and talked to the other guy and told him what a dumb F** he was.
    2) Not puter related, but phone support: I worked at an answering service for a few months once. one of our clients was the local cable company. Oregon storms are *windy*, and tend to knock cable out, so working the phones overnight during a storm tends to suck. Customers are livid when they cant have their cable (the usual complaint is “what am i supposed to do? I can’t watch TV!” to which i usually answered, “i dunno, talk to your family, read a book, go to sleep, i don’t care..”). So this one woman calls, screaming at me, right off the bat, “Turn my cable back on right now, i know you can”. Thing is, i can’t. The cable office is 6 miles away, ok? I don’t even work for the cable company! Tried explaining, she doesn’t care or understand. After about 20 minutes of unbelievable abuse that i really just didn’t deserve, she threatened to call the cops on me because i “wouldn’t” turn her cable back on. I laughed out loud.

  23. I don’t know if this is going to be read…so far down. But anyhow, I actually have a good tech story.
    I live in South Jersey and we have Comcast. I’m really lucky here. When I had ordered cable, I expected to have to wait eons to have it installed. Nope. They were out in less than a week of me placing the order. And the guy was a sweetheart too…he even told me how to config my other computer so I can share the modem. Technically, he shouldn’t have done this…they would prefer I buy 2 modems.
    Also, whenever I have an issue, even if it’s just a computer problem, I call Comcast. They’re tech help knows their stuff. They route the calls to Canada, but even so, they answer the phone right away, and actually know what they’re doing. My brother-in-law has had the same experience with them. He called them when he was networking his computer and they stayed on the phone and walked him through it. They even told him exactly what brand of router to buy…so it would be easier.
    I love Comcast. :o))

  24. sorty Wil, all I have is the tme I called the police, for a guest, to register a noise complaint regarding the noise from a carpet cleaner / truck… when asked to describe the noise… I said it sounded like a “jet engine”
    the police dispathcher then told me to call the FAA… because the oplice don’t handle “jet engines”
    (I dropt the phone)
    see ya

  25. It’s the attack of the ID-10-T computer problems!
    Most of these are all what we in the field call the ID-10-T errors. I’m sure that many of my fellow PC Support Techie guys and Techie girls out there know exactly what an ID-10-T is. For those that don’t, well, take a piece of paper and write it out:
    ID10T
    There are lots of those ID-10-T problems running around out there. ;}

  26. Funny, I was flipping through the cable and for some reason I noticed Wil on CMT. I discovered it was a thirty minute commercial for a 3D system. It made me think to check the blog.
    I used to do tech support for Dell. I had one customer call and wanted to be able to resize a window to a custom size. Thinking it would be easier to show her rather than explain we fix problems and are not a “how-to” desk, I began.
    She couldn’t find where the mouse cursor became two arrows so she could click and drag. I was at this for almost twenty minutes before I put her on hold, went outside, had a cigarette, and came back in.
    I continued to baby-sit this particularly clueless user until she figured out how to do the resizing on her own. The call took forty-five minutes.
    And she wasn’t even the stupidest person I ever spoke to.

  27. I’m a computer/web design instructor. I teach all types, those that have years of programming experience, and those that are literally afraid of computers.
    I had a Windows 2000 class (application level, here is a desktop, this is your my documents folder)…so anyway, I was showing them how to use their mouse, and the lady actually picked up her mouse and laid it on the monitor screen.

  28. Oh, this comic brings back memories. I work for a cable internet provider, and did my time on the phones. We get people all the time … “I’m a network admin”….”I’m a sys admin”….I have my degree in comp sci”. They think that the person they are speaking to isn’t able to help them.
    Typical conversation…
    Me: Lets try bypassing the router and going directly to your computer to see if we can get you back online.
    Them: It’s not going to work!
    Me: Oh, you tried this already? Ok, lets try something else. Go to..
    Them: No! I didn’t try it, I just know that my router is working fine! I’m a network admin, I should know! (yelling).
    Me: Humor me and lets try.
    Them: Ok, but it isn’t going to work…….
    Me: ….I can ping your computer now.
    Them: I STILL don’t think it’s my router.
    Me: Ok, is there anything else I can help you with?
    Them: Click.
    This happened to me several times a day. It’s enough to make you go mad.

  29. Here’s a Tech story you might like, Wil. My website has a counter from Fastcounter. When I signed up for it, Microsoft didn’t yet own it and have it under their bCentral name. Anyway, last year, I wanted to get into my counter stats page, but it wanted me to convert my bCentral account into a .NET passport.
    Well, at the time, I was running Mandrake 8.1, and using Konquerer to do my surfing. So when it wouldn’t let me even start the conversion process, I called up Microsoft and began to gripe. I told the tech on the phone that I couldn’t click the “Next” button, and he asked me what browser I was using. “Konquerer” I said. He said “What?” And of course, I told him that it was a Linux browser that came with KDE. The rest of the call was me telling him why I simply refused to use IE, and wouldn’t boot into Windows just to convert that account. He tried his best, but couldn’t sell me on the idea. Eventually I compiled Mozilla and was able to do the conversion, and called that tech back to tell him that I had managed to get the job done while staying in the Linux environment. I’m sure that went over well with him and his superiors, since I ended the call with “Thanks for all your help. Long Live OSS.”

  30. Back in 1991, I had just started working as a contractor for Helpdesk support of a US Government agency. I wasn’t on the phones yet; I was familiarizing myself with the systems when we had not one, but two different calls from field offices in different parts of the country with the same problem:
    They had put carbon paper into their laser printer to get a second copy of the printout.
    Seems that many of these offices had just upgraded from a daisy wheel (!) printer, and they had been used to using the carbon paper. Of course, when used in a laser printer, the carbon just melts and totally gums up the workings.
    We decided that if we got a third call, we’d ask them to fax over a piece of the carbon paper for analysis.

  31. I do tech support for the Canadian Government (insert 486 joke here) and have had MANY MANY idiots who could be replaced with a simian and nobody would notice. The most notable of which is when I had a call that the user’s computer wouldn’t work. I go there, remove the half a dozen non-regulation software that are known to cause this problem, all the while having him say over my shoulder “What are you doing?” “Why are you doing this?” “I like to use this program.” and so on until I finally removed his Yahoo and AOL Messanger programs. He looked at me and said “You can’t remove them!” I asked him why and he replied “Well…what would I do during the day then?”. I was floored by this and said “Why don’t you try working for a change?”
    After some more of him complaining I just left, with his computer fixed, only to have the BIG boss of my whole section of the gov’t i work for bring this up at a meeting two days later and find it absolutely hillarious….except not to do it anymore cause ‘we need to be professional in our line of work’
    End-users can be so inane sometimes.

  32. Hi Will
    The worst, the one that makes my skin crawl. The people I want to really expose to this world. Sorry for the long post but this is stuff that gets me so wound up:
    Location: It’s Saturday night at a party at some friends house. It’s been a tough week of solving computer problems/studying in uni for my computing degree. I’m relaxing with some wine enjoying (what I thought to be) good company. My friends/gilfriend has just introduced me to someone. This scenario is the same no matter what country/city/group of friends I’m with.
    Me : Really? your a (insert name of fascinating profession that saves babies from being ginger or something)? That sounds fascinating!
    Interesting-Person: Not really, what do you do?
    Me: What do I do? I’m studying computing/an IT specialist. Not as interesting as working with all those different types of (insert interesting things e.g. tropical plants).
    Now-Very-Interesting-Person: Really? I’m thinking about buying a computer!
    Me(alarm bells ringing in head): Ah, I expect that is to help catalogue all those marine expeditions!
    Not-As-Interesting-As-First-Hoped-Person: Nah, just for internet and stuff. So what kind do you recommend?
    Me(cursing friends/girlfriend for all managing to fuck off out of sight at this moment and leaving me with this person): Oh, just a basic PC with a modem should do you. Doesn’t sound like you need much.Anyway, those trips to the exclusive Antartic research centre Dave was telling me about, what was that like?
    Shortly-Going-To-Be-Stabbed-With-Cocktail-Stick-In-Eye-Person: What’s a modem? And how much will all this cost, and I’ll need a printer. Where should I buy it from?And someone recommended MS Publisher, could you show me how it works?
    And so goes the rest of a now shit party.

  33. I’ve been working tech support at a small Liberal Arts college for a few years, now. I can sympathize 100% with the situation depicted in the cartoon. There’s nothing like realizing that a nationally recognized, widely published professor of godknowswhat is a complete moron.
    Sure, there’s the power strip-plugged-into-itself story, but that’s been told twice.
    Here’s a favorite story.
    – insert first few minutes of a typical call here –
    Me: “OK, I’m going to suggest that you reboot the computer.”
    Caller: “What’s that mean?”
    Me: “That means restart it.”
    Caller: “What… you mean with the power button?”
    Me: “Well, you go up to the “Special” menu at the top and choose “Restart.” Right. Then click the “Restart” button.
    Caller: “Oh! That’s pretty neat. I’ve never done this before.”
    Me: “You’ve never rebooted your computer?”
    Caller: “Nope.”
    Me: “Do you shut it off at night?”
    Caller: “No. Never. I didn’t know you could shut it off.”
    Me: “Yep. It’s pretty handy sometimes. Like for times when you have to unplug it and stuff.”
    Ahh… the good old days.

  34. I used to work at a top 40 radio station. We were number one in the market and the Jocks had the ego’s to match.
    The morning drive time Jock had a little amphetimine problem and would constantly bitch about the quality of the sound coming out of our air room mixer.
    We changed the color of the knobs and didn’t hear another word out of him except to thank us for fixing things….

  35. too many instances to count, or post, however i think i can sum them all up in one short sentence.
    “i’ve been a network technician in nebraska for 6 years”
    good enough?

  36. An interesting point that I’ve discovered over the years is that if you know ANYTHING about computers and/or networks, people tend to think you know everything about anything with electrons flowing through it. Oh, and non-technical people also tend to believe that since you work in the technology field for your JOB, that you want to spend all of your free time working on technology as well…FOR free.
    While I’m ranting, let me just say this: buying a computer for your technology ignorant or incompetent older relatives is the worst idea since “Robot Jox.” I mean seriously, do you want these people to spend their twilight years on the phone with tech support, or worse, on the phone with you complaining about the system you bought them instead of asking about your life/children/next vacation?
    Kevin

  37. I did tech support for years while I was in college. One of the saddest cases I had to deal with was a doctoral student who had been getting rid of all of the versions of her thesis. She had finally gotten down to one copy of the most recent version…
    No, she didn’t delete that one too.
    She alphabetized it.
    She was trying to sort the bibliography by author and accidentally sorted the entire document. It would have been fine if she’d just used the ‘undo’ function, but instead she hit save…
    She brought the disc over to us and asked if we could do anything. We wound up having to call an ambulance for her when she broke down into hysterics.

  38. Back in the days of yore when I did tech support I noted another type of error, in addition to the ID-10-T error. I noted that many of the problems experienced could be explained away with “PEBKAC”.
    Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.
    One of the funniest/saddest things I ever encountered was the old man that purchased a Compaq, and then called so we could teach him how to use it. He couldn’t understand that I was there to fix it, but since it was broken…. yeah.
    Another fun one was the poor goon that called because the language setting was incorrect. No big deal, he was a nice kid and it was a quick fix. I didn’t want to have to bill this kid the $35, but he wasn’t very bright. I walked him through ALL the steps to get to where he could see what the problem was. We got to the point where I said, “”Tell me what it says under ‘language'”, which he read off to me… and I paused. When he asked, “what do I do now?” I just sighed, launched into the billing speech, charged him and fixed it.

  39. I was in the tech department for a Gateway store when a poor old man brought me a pc because his sounds weren’t working any longer. I felt awful charging him 70$ to unmute the volume.

  40. I worked tech support for the last 3 years. All with earthlink. And to be honest, you can have a funny story once a day. I didnt know how retarded americans are until i took this job. I knew most of us where a bit slow.. but please… i have about 100s of stories. The best one was, i had to call Cox Cable to tell them my internet connection was out. We just got done having a huge lightning storm in phoenix, and it went out, i called up to report it. The guy says ” Yes, we know… the lightning hit the internet.” .. i was like oohhh no is that bad? He was like yes, we will be down for a while. I said, can you please email me that explaination, cause im keeping a log, and sure enough, i got the email telling me lightning hit the internet. And you say, EOE doesnt apply to standard hiring practices. So i sent it to this boss. GAWD, help us when we call tech support..

  41. How many stories can I come up with? Let’s see.
    Well first, there’s the user who plugged a Lexmark printer into her Win95 machine, then went into the printer control panel, added a printer at random, then hit F2 and typed the make and model of the printer that was on her desk. She couldn’t figure out why it didn’t work.
    Then there was the time I was walking into a building and a user looked at me and said – and I quote, “Steve, my computer at home doesn’t work. Why?”
    Oh, and my fav: a few years ago as a network admin, I made this neat little cheat sheet showing users how to print to a shared printer in a peer to peer network. It’s a simple process, and my instructions had pictures and arrows. It was dead simple. I emailed the document to all staff. Half of them replied, saying that they couldn’t print it.

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