×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

IT Calls of Shame

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the is-your-screen-on? dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 256

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's JR Raphael offers up six memorable tales of trouble and triumph from the tech support desk. 'Working in tech support is a bit like teaching preschool: You're an educator who provides reassurance in troubling times. You share knowledge and help others overcome their obstacles. And some days, it feels like all you hear is screaming, crying, and incoherent babble.' Pronoun problems, IT ghosts, the runaway mouse — when it comes to computers, the customer isn't always right."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

256 comments

First Post! (0, Offtopic)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#39620165)

All you lusers can just wait on hold for a few minutes while I submit this.

poor analogy (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39620173)

Working in tech support is a bit like teaching preschool: (blah blah removed)

Rather than the blah blah, from memory it seemed more like changing diapers, over and over and over and occasionally breaking up inter-sibling rivalry. It was excellent training for parenthood.

Re:poor analogy (4, Funny)

blue_teeth (83171) | about 2 years ago | (#39620797)

Training for parenthood?  That's low hanging food Sir.

IT has taught me Psychology,  Politics, Business, Meanness, Stealth, Intrigue, Black Humor and Survival.  I think I am ready for Sainthood :)

For more please see... (4, Informative)

Galestar (1473827) | about 2 years ago | (#39620199)

http://thedailywtf.com/ [thedailywtf.com]

Re:For more please see... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620479)

And here http://www.reddit.com/r/talesfromtechsupport/

Re:For more please see... (3, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | about 2 years ago | (#39620593)

(from the above link)
I call this the 'big brother check';

function index()
{
if ($this->ion_auto->logged_in() || 2+2==4)
{
$this->load->view('upload');
}

... snip ...
}

Because in Oceania sometimes 2 + 2 == 5.

Many users deserve the cloud. (0, Troll)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 2 years ago | (#39620249)

To a large extent the cloud is built for these people. And it solves most of the IT problems. They literally can't screw it up because they don't have the power to screw it up.

Half the time there's a problem it's the "Oh" "Ehn" switch. In about 99.9 percent of other cases the user did something to break it. Restrict users from being able to do bad things and most problems go away. Sure, there are legitimate IT problems occasionally but they're relatively rare.

Print version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620263)

here [infoworld.com]

Seriously, why can't we just do this for every article?

Re:Print version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620917)

Because your ability to read the article without the horror of ads or paywalls is ever so much more important than the magazine staff getting paid, right?

Re:Print version (0)

Cederic (9623) | about 2 years ago | (#39621251)

Frankly? Yes. After struggling through to page 2 of the article, its fragmented structure, glaring hyperlinks and low grade humour made me close that browser tab.

Those authors don't deserve paying.

Obligatory (4, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#39620285)

"Hello IT......Have you tried turning it off and on again? Yeah....no problem."

If your customers aren't always right... (5, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 years ago | (#39620289)

Please send them my way. My compay will thrive with the new business. I treat customers right, which usually results in new transactions from the same customers. Whuch, in turn, recommend my business to their friends/family/co-workers.

But hey, it's much easier to blame tough times on stupid customers and Obama (obviously).

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39620343)

What about the customers who insist a faulty cable is the reason their computer keeps getting infected and refuses to let you do anything but change the cable? Or the manager who asks why she can't print to the printer that was recycled years ago (and her specific words were "Why can't I print to the printer we got rid of?" - so she knew it was gone)? There's some customers that no amount of treating them right can help with. And both of the above happened to me within the past year.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39620437)

I'm in no way techy-savvy-goodness, I can be one big DUH about computers, but...

What about the customers who insist a faulty cable is the reason their computer keeps getting infected and refuses to let you do anything but change the cable?

Are you serious?

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620599)

clearly the customer should have purchased Monster Cables!

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621421)

have you seen those HDMI cables with anti-virus for the elderly? There's a pic floating around the intarwebs somewhere...

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about 2 years ago | (#39620649)

Almost as bad as a story I heard of a user CONVINCED the smoke coming from his computer was a software problem.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39620731)

"AH! My kitchen is on fire! I KNEW I should've gotten my groceries at Shop Rite instead of Stop & Shop!!!"

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39620675)

Sounds about right to me. I dealt with a similar user (a nice old guy, about 85, but inept as far as technology's concerned) who had once been told "viruses can come through the cable", which I assume was part of a sales pitch somewhere. He insisted that I "disinfect" the cable before hooking up his new computer to his home router. Fine. I took the cable out the door, went to my car, opened the back, and stood there laughing for a few minutes. Then I came back in, finished the job, and left. Probably not the nicest thing to do, but for as little as he knows or needs to know about computers, it's enough.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (2)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621455)

To me, the problem with IT-abuse becomes more about the tech-know-nothings insisting that they know what the problem is and refuse the explanation of someone who's professionally trained. As I said, I'm not the most well-versed when it comes to super-techy stuff. I'm also not a mechanic, so I don't tell my main-man (who I've been going to since I got my license, the most trustworthy I've ever met) "It's NOT the brake-pads making that noise, it's my stereo making feedback! FIX MY STEREO!!"

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39620821)

You replace the cable, then install the antivirus behind their back. If they are that dumb, they wouldn't even notice.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (2)

Terrasque (796014) | about 2 years ago | (#39621171)

You have no idea...

I once had a user that the internet didn't work for (DSL, with router), and he had DISABLED the network card in the settings.

He also insisted that it couldn't possibly had anything to do with the problem, and expected me to fix things on my end of the phone call..

No, he didn't get any internet that day.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (2)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621415)

No, he didn't get any internet that day.

He should get a life sentence from the 'net, never mind a day, lol. Daaaamn.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621313)

Someone once tried to return a computer to my shop because she "couldn't type numbers" on it. A friend told her he was able to type numbers on his computer, but that was because it was a better computer...

NEW! Anti-Virus USB Cable! (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about 2 years ago | (#39620761)

> "... and refuses to let you do anything but change the cable?"

I tell them I don't believe it will help at all, but I'm glad to sell them a new one if that is what they want. Wait....

1 - Offer new Anti-Virus USB cable
2 - ???
3 - Profit!

Re:NEW! Anti-Virus USB Cable! (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39620865)

A USB cable won't work well in an Ethernet port (although USB-B does fit surprisingly well), so it should do a good job of preventing infections from over the network.

Re:NEW! Anti-Virus USB Cable! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39621203)

FireWire 800 cables fit in the Ethernet port and Apple puts the two next to each other. If you're not looking, it's easy to plug the FW800 cable into the Ethernet port and wonder why nothing is happening.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Psicopatico (1005433) | about 2 years ago | (#39621305)

Or the manager who asks why she can't print to the printer that was recycled years ago

You know... the keyword is "she" :-)

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621417)

If you want the customer who was pissed I did not 'explain' that www.apple.com/itunes needed to be installed on his laptop rather than his new iPhone, please be my guest.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (4, Funny)

Trilkin (2042026) | about 2 years ago | (#39620359)

You know how I know you've never worked as a help desk monkey?

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620391)

You must be conducting business in an imaginary dream world.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620507)

I really hate this attitude gaining traction lately. I've been hired to solve a problem you don't have the time or talent to solve on your own. You're right as much I can let you be I won't give you the rope to hang yourself unless you can tell me why I'm telling you its a bad idea or I've had enough of your attitude and no longer care and am secretly preparing to quit. Because of you people people are making bad decisions with it and making life hard on the rest of us but I'm sure its career enhancing fir you.

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620513)

I mean this in total seriousness, but am posting anonymous for good reasons.

I used to work a uni helpdesk, where we had *two* customers out of 15,000 that took over ten percent of our total staff time.

I mercilessly lobbied my boss to 'fire' them, but he felt that would be 'cruel', and claimed it would also violated the ADA (they were visually and/or mentally impaired).

At one point I got a call from the uni's OEO office saying that I *must* help one of the students utilize hotmail in their webbrowser immediately when I told them I would arrange for a staff callback tomorrow (Mondays were always extra busy).

I lost my cool and CC'd the boss and them, indicated that I felt the request was unreasonable, impossible to comply with, and not actionable or worth the time. In the next sentence, requested sensitivity training for myself and the rest of my staff on the issue, along with university/employer compensation for out-of-state 508 training seminars, since none were advertised locally within the next month. Problem went away.

Mind you...it wasn't that I didn't want to help this user. They were however, an unreasonable jackass in demanding that I give them "equal access" to the hotmail website, over which I have as much authority as an ant does over an anteater. They were provided with training in using or configuring outlook, or eudora, or some mail client with POP, they demanded the ability to login to hotmail.com easily from a general student helpdesk. Forwarding email to another location was not good enough. Configuring a client to send from hotmail was not good enough.

Hotmail's crappy website is not and should not be my problem. And if it is, then they needed to hire a developer or pay me to greasemonkey the page for them, and I damned well refused to develop software while being paid minimum wage as a part-time technician.

Has your company never had a customer that 'wasn't worth the time' ? If so...how do you handle that? How do you manage the process?

How do you make a profit off of them, or are they just part of 'overhead' ? What do you do when their overhead grows?

I *get* every customer and call is an opportunity for feedback, to clarify, to improve your manuals and docs and processes. But there comes a time when you realize that $50, $5000, $50,000 or whatever is...taking more than an FTE of effort with their "needs".

So let me ask you...

Are you really so successful that every client is really worth it?

Re:If your customers aren't always right... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620627)

You lost me at Hotmail. WTF are you rambling about?

fire a customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621077)

Sometimes you have to fire a customer.

Deaf (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39620297)

As far as #2 goes, I've been partially deaf since my toddler years and it really does help a lot if women are able to lower their voices. Most people just try to talk louder, but if you have a higher pitch (like most women), then deepening your voice will be a much more significant improvement over talking louder.

Re:Deaf (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39621001)

Funny enough, I have a deep voice (I'm a man) and I've had to speak in falsetto to get some people to hear me. Like the person in the story, I don't particularly mind if I have to switch voices. It's silly but I've done way sillier things.

Re:Deaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621041)

Receptionist got cold, so her natural high pitch went really high and speaking across room, my coworker with -90dB hearing on both on ears could not hear her, and for me it was just jumble of really high sounds. I needed to tell her "Sorry, this is not a joke, we really don't hear you - your voice is ultrasound".

how to treat stupid customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620333)

http://v.cdn.cad-comic.com/comics/cad-20060407-7421d.jpg

there's another one with an AOL user but I can't find it right now

"Any Key" phone call really happened ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#39620337)

A friend worked at a brick-and-mortar that sold computers. He came back from work one day and shared that the "any key" stories are true. He said he watched a customer leave and call back a few hours later. He watched the salesman for that customer get on the phone, listen, and then say "the 'any key', that's the big long one on the bottom without a label".

Re:"Any Key" phone call really happened ... (2)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#39620401)

Those same people don't know the difference between Left and Right mouse button.

Re:"Any Key" phone call really happened ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620801)

I bought a computer once and it came with a transparent label marked "Any Key" which the instructions said to attach it to the space bar.

Wonder how many people really needed that sticker in place, probably too many!

Customer once demanded I go on location (2)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#39620383)

to diagnose why an IBM PS/2 wouldn't boot after they'd moved it --- I tried to get them to diagnose the problem over the phone / read off what was on the screen, but they refused, so I drove over, walked up to the door of the office in question, saw the error message (I think it was 101) on the screen, announced, ``You've switched the plugs for the mouse and keyboard. Do you want to pay the 1 hr. minimum for me to swap the connections for you?''

Re:Customer once demanded I go on location (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620535)

Why insult them by asking? Just do the job, fix the issue, leave, and bill them. Not every tech support issue difficult, in fact most are quite simple troubleshooting. The smartest people miss simple things sometimes.

Re:Customer once demanded I go on location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620899)

That's my experience.

I have a small side consulting business supporting a company's software . They're some great folks. We have a great professional relationship. They sometimes ask for help doing things that I've already trained them how to fix. In fact, a few times they've called me to click a button that's right there on their UI, that does the job.

Every time I cheerfully help them. Every time I log the issue, and when the time to bill them comes up, that issue is included. Every time they pay their bill.

This is amazingly awesome because it maintains a great relationship. They know we can be called upon for the big things and the little things, and that we treat them professionally. No eye rolling, no attitude, just two businesses trying to get ahead.

Now if I weren't the one making the profit off of their calls, then I could understand the attitude, but if I were the guy who busted his butt to build the relationship and earn their business and one of the people resonsible for executing our part of the agreement pulled something like that, I wouldn't be too happy.

I know that marketing is often maligned, but it's not really an easy job, and really anyone who interacts directly with the client or customer should at least understand that even if they're in the CSR group, they're part of marketing, and a bad impression there can be worse than the best impression from an official marketing rep.

Re:Customer once demanded I go on location (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39621033)

I love, love, love, the calls when it's "loose power cable".

5 minutes work, 1 hour pay. Now, this customer was happy as a clam eating a ... whatever clams eat because this was a piece of equipment that had been offline for years. They'd had a few people try to fix it up but they couldn't figure it out.

Re:Customer once demanded I go on location (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39620843)

My record is three seconds in the room to fix a ticket complaining that there is no sound when playing DVDs.

Enter room. Turn on speakers. Leave room.

I was followed out by the sound of the class laughing at the teacher who submitted that ticket.

Re:Customer once demanded I go on location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620855)

Why give them the chance to say no? You drove over there, so you probably spent close to an hour total dealing with the problem, even if it was just a 2 minute job.

Communication, Interrupted (3, Interesting)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39620413)

In most ways, this is true. Too many stories have come out about people screeeeaming at tech support, only to realize the computer isn't plugged in.

However, I had a recent experience with Verizon support when I wanted to ban an IP address from emailing me; I'm not the most tech-savvy in the universe, and everyone here could've probably done it themselves in seconds, but I knew the basics, anyway. I went to every forum, yahoo! help section, whatever else to find a way to stop getting these awful emails from someone using an IP-masking/dummy-email service; most used MY email as the 'sender'. The content of the messages, ones I'd get literally hundreds of in one day at some points, would make me physically ill. When I'd had enough, I hit 'full header', got the IP and zeroed in on where it was coming from. I called Verizon and started a help session, where the guy helping me took control of my computer.

TS: Okay, what we will do is block the email address sending these to you--
Me: No, no, I want the IP blocked. This one. *mouses around to show IP*
TS: Okay. *pause* So, you want these emails to stop.
Me: Yes, I want the IP blocked. I read a forum saying to contact your internet service provider to find ways to block the IP.
TS: Okay. *pause* But we can block the email address, which will--
Me: No. No, okay... look... *takes control again* THIS is the website this person sending me these abusive emails is using. THIS is the website's IP address. When I get the emails, each one has the same IP, because they're USING this service's IP to harass me. Look, they're using MY email address as a 'dummy'; blocking the email address means I'm blocking MY email address. *clicks full header from two different emails* See? These are alllll being sent from the same IP. This is a site people use when they want to abuse someone without being found out. Watch. *demonstrates by sending an email to herself from the service being used (probably not the best idea in the universe, but he was NOT. GETTING. IT.)* See?
TS: Ohhhhhhhhhh. Yes. It's not the email you want blocked, but the IP.
Me: *looks to husband and shakes her head very slowly*

There I am, a total amateur, telling a guy being paid to NOT be an idiot what I wanted done. No matter how many times I told him that forums and tech-guides all suggested getting your internet provider to help block IPs, he couldn't grasp the idea. I don't know if that IS possible, so I'm giving up on some aspects of tech support and just going to my brother, who, at eight-years old, outdid the instructor at the 'Computer Camp' he was enrolled in. Kinda sick of being so newbish when it comes to this stuff. I told him yesterday at my parent's Easter dinner he was going to teach me everything he knew. We're both kinda psyched.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620721)

tl;dr. You got spam email. Welcome to the Internet.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621507)

Let me finish the second sentence:

"You got spam email, or are being abused by someone you know in real-life who knows that you have a severely-autistic child and is suggesting certain acts, such as 'raping them' through using a site that masks who you actually are through their providing a dummy-IP."

I really don't care if you think I'm overreacting, or believe I'm ignorant to things that occur on the internet. I really, really do not.

In his defense... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620759)

You have to understand that users calling a helpdesk mostly do not use the correct terms to describe things. You called it "blocking the IP", which I take you to mean "blocking all email coming from this IP-address". But it is equally likely that someone with that question means "my printer is on fire". Users just don't know how to describe their problem.

Users say anything that they can think of, an most of it is not related to their problem at all.

Re:In his defense... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621551)

I believe I described the problem/my request with as much accuracy as I could. He was in my computer, so I was able to show him directly what the issue was, what IP I wanted ousted, etc. Believe me, I'm so-not-saying that he's the general example of what ALL tech-support is like.

Plus, I don't have a printer. Lol.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (2)

ciggieposeur (715798) | about 2 years ago | (#39620835)

The path of the original email is (a-hole's web server) ==> (your ISP's email system) ==> (your client, or web browser, whatever).

What you're asking for is for them to block the first bit of communication, from the world to your ISP's email system.

But what if there is another ISP user who expects to receive mail that originated from a-hole's web server? It isn't fair for your wishes to trump theirs, i.e. the ISP's email system is a shared resource, not yours alone.

The right solution for you here is a mailbox rule of some kind, either running on the ISP's server or in your own POP or IMAP client.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (2)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621321)

It isn't fair for your wishes to trump theirs, i.e. the ISP's email system is a shared resource, not yours alone.

No, it's not mine alone, I understand that. However, the problem I have with that philosophy is the service they provide is to use a generic IP in order to hide their own from whoever they're sending mail to, and while there are perhaps real, honest uses for that, it seems obvious to me (and others) that in a good majority of cases, that service is created to abuse the person you're targeting. No, not in EVERY case, and in going to the site myself there IS a 'disclaimer' one has to agree to, stating that you are not there to abuse someone and agree to it. But what a-hole wanting to use it to abuse someone is going to say, "Aw, darn it," click "I do not accept" and go on with their daily lives? Not a one. They will hit 'I Accept' then use it to abuse someone, period.

I cannot show you the actual messages to bring my argument home, as they're disgusting enough to probably get me kicked outta here for copy/pasting in a post or comment. But some of the words/phrases used are 'your retarded child', 'dead babies', 'rape', 'up the ass', 'lick', etc. Perhaps that wouldn't bother some people, but when I have a special needs child, I consider it not just disgusting, but a threat. I know what you're saying, but to make an analogy: convenience stores are being penalized for selling 'glass-tubed roses' (and in some cases, even 'Chore-Boy Copper Scrubbers'), because the sole reason the trinkets are produced and sold is to provide the tools to make a crack-pipe. There are people that don't know this, like my neighbor, who would walk down to the corner-store for a newspaper and buy her wife the roses. She was shocked when I told her what they were sold for. Every time someone would come in and buy ten of the roses plus a few scrubbers, I knew what they were for. Does your argument apply to this, saying, "Banning the tubed-roses is unfair to those who want to buy them for their boyfriend or girlfriend" while people are overdosing and/or dying as a result of their having convenient, disguised access to the tools for their drug abuse? Yes, they could find other ways to support and maintain their drug habit, but for a company to hone in on the drug-abuser-market, to me, is unethical.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just stating my case.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39620857)

Wouldn't happen to be extracts from Pornocopia, by any chance? If so, I think I know the program used to send them. It was passed around a bit during the Anonymous action against the Church of Scientology.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621097)

I've heard of Pornocopia, as I followed the Scientology Vs. Anonymous events, but don't know what it consists of. The site in question was emkei (dot) cz, a Czech-Republic site (I rec not going there, lol). Is that the service they used? Anyway... I hate saying/typing what the content was, but it involves doing things to either dead or special needs kids. Seeing as I have a severely autistic son, it hit hard, and the fear that it could've been someone I know makes me even MORE uncomfortable. I'm a bit suspicious of a few people that are mentally unstable in my life, seeing as when it first started, my mother got the messages as well. I'd decided to send a mass-email to my contacts, describing what had happened and what to do if you get those messages (especially if they're from MY email). The fact that the messages have ceased after I did that make me feel both good and suspicious.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39621193)

Pornocopia (Or is it pornucopia? I'm not sure) is a Piers Anthony novel. It contains lots of really weird and perverse stuff, but nothing like what you describe (He saves the stuff with kids for some other novels). It's more fantasy porn, involving weird and anatomically-impossible acts with creatures so strange they make furries look tame, all of it written in comedy and to some extent as a parody of more traditional fantasy works. It's been used in mass-mailing attacks because just grabbing a few paragraphs at random is almost sure to come up with something squick-worthy, and being actual english text rather than artificially generated it can get through spam filters with comparative ease.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621395)

I've been thanking people here for the info/advice, and getting this clarification definitely rules out some of my suspicions. The people whom I suspect have no ties or actual knowledge of Anonymous' actions, so in knowing Anon's 'source material', it kind of rules out the possibility that I'm being attacked by them. However, it also leads me to believe that this has been a personal attack, or even the prelude to threats, ones I don't deserve (or any parent of a special-needs kid, really). So yes, thank you for the info, I appreciate it.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

mpoulton (689851) | about 2 years ago | (#39620953)

The easiest solution is probably to set up a filter in your mail client that automatically trashes emails from that IP. It's not really the same as blocking all communications from that IP, but the end result is that you don't see the mail.

Re:Communication, Interrupted (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | about 2 years ago | (#39621127)

I'd tried to find out how, but all I came across was how to block addresses. I'll have to look closer, I suppose--thanks. :)

Teaching Pre-school? (5, Interesting)

squidflakes (905524) | about 2 years ago | (#39620465)

I've always thought working in IT was more like being with a beautiful abusive spouse than anything else.

When times are good, they are really good. You're happy, you're content, and you want the world to know that you love this job.

But when things are bad, they are really bad. You get the shit knocked out of you for the smallest things. You learn little rituals and laundry lists of rules and behaviors that you have to engage it, because you're afraid to get hit again. Of course, some days the mood is just wrong and you're going to get it no matter what.

When you do finally decide that you've had enough, and you turn your back on IT, all you can remember is the beautiful amazing job that you suddenly don't have and it takes every ounce of willpower not to go crawling back. Oh, sure, you know that IT has a history of this sort of thing. Life will be great for a couple of weeks then suddenly it will go back to a living hell, but you think... hey, I'm older and wiser now. Maybe IT has changed. Maybe I can change IT.

But IT never changes.

voice pitch sketch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620485)

kinda reminds me of this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOqfPG1ohKw

Computer won't start (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620505)

True tech-support story, on my part.

Customer calls complaining that she can't start her computer (she's in her late 70s), so I go through the usual culprits: power cord, disconnected video cable, etc.

Then I try to walk her through the BIOS to check a few minor issues, that's when my diagnosis of the problem come to fruition: Her monitor was powered off and she's been hitting the power button repeatedly on the CPU. (facepalm and fast thinking ensues).

I have her turn on the power on her monitor, then the CPU and her world returns to proper balance. (accepts the golf-applause demurely). She asks what the button on her monitor does, so without wanting to hurt her feelings and obliquely inform her, "That initializes part of the video system, so make sure that one is turned on first. You can check by seeing if the light on the monitor is on, either yellow or green is fine. That has to be on first before you turn on the rest of the computer."

Never had such a grateful customer in my life.
Just goes to show, a carefully tweaked white lie can give you a LOT of mileage! :)

Re:Computer won't start (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621377)

And some time later some poor techsupport gets his brain chewed out: "You were fixing my computer yesterday, right? And today it broke again, and I figured out why. You didn't initialize the video system before the rest of computer! Even I know that, so you are supposed to know that too, why are we even paying you! Now it's broke because of you, so come over here RIGHT NOW and FIX WHAT YOU BROKE!"

So don't. White lies often come back later to bite you (or someone else) in the ass.

firsZt (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620601)

is busy infighting mechanics. So I'm not going to p7ay beyond the scope of I type this. more gay than they BSD had become [slashdot.org], 8ay disturb other minutes now while

Neighborhood IT Support (5, Funny)

Chente (9402) | about 2 years ago | (#39620659)

I once worked on my next-door-neighbor's computer to solve a printer problem. The printer was not connected, and he didn't know what kind of cable he needed. I found a spare USB cable that would fit. I felt it was odd that his USB connections were so far down at the bottom of the back of his case, but I've seen a lot of odd cases. I downloaded the drivers and installed them, nothing unusual; the printer was soon working normally. My delighted neighbor and asked me if I could check the computer's CD drive. He told me that the last time he had tried to use it, the CDs just kept sliding right off the drawer each time he tried to load it. I was surprised to find that the CD drive was at the very bottom of the front of the case. Curious, I tried to find the maker's name. It was LLED, except the letters were written backwards.

It was a very easy fix, I can tell you. I managed to get everything set, and get out of his apartment and back into mine before I burst out laughing. I told my girlfriend about the mysterious DELL computer case I had just seen and how I had fixed my neighbor's computer simply by flipping it right side up.

She refused to believe that anyone could be that stupid, but there you have it.

Re:Neighborhood IT Support (1)

Admiral_Grinder (830562) | about 2 years ago | (#39620973)

Didn't HP have a series of office computers that looked upside down because they put the 5.25 bays on the bottoms of the case?

The runaway mouse ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620691)

As soon as I read those words, I got an instant migraine and my back started hurting too.

'MY' computer accessible to the public? (2)

dcsmith (137996) | about 2 years ago | (#39620727)

In story #1, why was the tech's computer powered up, logged in to the network, and not locked? That's the only way someone could walk up to it and access 'My Computer'. Sorry, I call BS.

Geeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39620745)

Geek industry makes crap OS the king.

Geeks get upset when people have trouble with the crap OS.

World hates geeks with complete justification.

One long phone cord.... (5, Funny)

Petron (1771156) | about 2 years ago | (#39620751)

I'll share my own store of tech support blues...

Back in the day, I worked at a dial-up ISP. I was working in tech support, and working in the PC-Repair office, and while most calls were the "Your caps lock is on" and "The power is out, wait for it to turn on" issues. There were some fun with the PC-Repair office (Coffee stains in the CD Load-tray (the stories are true!), or the "I never used antivirus! I know what I'm doing" people that tended to wind up on our "Maleware Count High Score" board.

One day I took a call from a lady that said she couldn't send and receive email. She said she was on her cell phone so I had her walk through trying to get the email and get the error message - 680: No dial tone. So I asked her to make sure the phone cord is plugged in to the computer and the wall. She said her laptop didn't need to be plugged in using a phone cord. Well now I'm thinking she had a wireless network setup and about to go through those settings, when I noticed the sound in the background.... Traffic. She and her husband was in the middle of the road. She insisted that she could unplug everything and still get her email while on the freeway before. Ends up that laptop was their only computer (no home wireless). I told her she could send/receive email when she connects to a phone line again, but she demanded to talk to my manager, who confirmed everything I said. She ended up stating she would look for other services that would know how their systems run better... I checked a couple of months later and her account was still active. Guess no other dial-up internet company offered a hundred mile long phone cord.

Re:One long phone cord....but its wireless (1)

rullywowr (1831632) | about 2 years ago | (#39621125)

I'll share my own store of tech support blues... Back in the day, I worked at a dial-up ISP. I was working in tech support, and working in the PC-Repair office, and while most calls were the "Your caps lock is on" and "The power is out, wait for it to turn on" issues. There were some fun with the PC-Repair office (Coffee stains in the CD Load-tray (the stories are true!), or the "I never used antivirus! I know what I'm doing" people that tended to wind up on our "Maleware Count High Score" board. One day I took a call from a lady that said she couldn't send and receive email. She said she was on her cell phone so I had her walk through trying to get the email and get the error message - 680: No dial tone. So I asked her to make sure the phone cord is plugged in to the computer and the wall. She said her laptop didn't need to be plugged in using a phone cord. Well now I'm thinking she had a wireless network setup and about to go through those settings, when I noticed the sound in the background.... Traffic. She and her husband was in the middle of the road. She insisted that she could unplug everything and still get her email while on the freeway before. Ends up that laptop was their only computer (no home wireless). I told her she could send/receive email when she connects to a phone line again, but she demanded to talk to my manager, who confirmed everything I said. She ended up stating she would look for other services that would know how their systems run better... I checked a couple of months later and her account was still active. Guess no other dial-up internet company offered a hundred mile long phone cord.

I work for a major audio industry product manufacturer and one of our technical support running jokes revolves around our technical support for wireless headphones. Like all wireless headphones, these headphones need to plug into the wall for power and of course need to be plugged into an audio source (TV, computer, etc.).

I have lost count of how many times our techs have asked customers on the other end of the phone, "Do you have it plugged into the wall and/or audio source?" and we are met with the ubiquitous response, "Of course I didn't plug it in, these are WIRELESS headphones."..... /sigh

I've had a few myself (1)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39620869)

My fav was a lady that called in and told me "My computer is talking" (this was in 1997) I asked what it was saying she stated it was "whispering" so I said put the phone by it and I heard "If you would like to make a call please hung up and try again" it was her modem speaker.

The other one that comes to mind is the guy who stated his mouse didn't work, after talking to him for a bit I figured out he had it upside down, yes upside down, the part where your palm goes on the mouse pad.

Designed to fail (2)

fermion (181285) | about 2 years ago | (#39620921)

What is interesting is that two of these things are problems that, for better or worse, and maybe for good reason, were designed into the system. 'My Computer' is a stupid name for the stuff on a computer. Even more stupid then 'Trash' to eject a disk, as that can be trained to.

The telephone system sucks for older people or people with some hearing loss. I am sure there was a good reason to make the frequency range so small, but as older people are expected to do everything they same as they always did, it becomes more of a problem. Fortunately there is Skype with is a lifesaver.

As far as everything else, support, like teaching, is about asking questions and assuming nothing. It is hard because the other person thinks they are being talked down to, but then some people cannot be helped.

Re:Designed to fail (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about 2 years ago | (#39621365)

What is interesting is that two of these things are problems that, for better or worse, and maybe for good reason, were designed into the system. 'My Computer' is a stupid name for the stuff on a computer.

True, but it is such an obvious source for confusion that anyone doing tech support should have made sure they spelt it out in full: minimise the window to see the desktop, find the icon named "My Computer" and double click it. Depending on the person who called for support, you may need to specify to double click with the left mouse button. Some older people can have problems with the double click action, so a right click and select "Open" from the menu works too.

If the user thinks that you are talking down to them then you just explain that this makes it easier for you to envisage what is currently on the screen, and that speaking the steps out loud is to help you rather than them.

Toner (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about 2 years ago | (#39621081)

I was debugging some code while the client was trying to get his copier to print properly. It was one of those large office copiers with equally large bottles of toner (gallon size). They decided to try shaking the bottle of toner (upside down of coarse) to break up any clumps, but forgot to put a cap on the nearly full bottle. I learned that large volumes of toner has impressive flowing properties, in a "get me the hell away from that flood" sort of way, and that vacuuming it is not very effective (goes right through the filters). It was years before they finally eliminated the toner from all its hiding places. Funny as hell anyway.

Computer Voodoo (3, Insightful)

fwarren (579763) | about 2 years ago | (#39621229)

Don't forget computer vo0doo.

You were the last person to work on my computer and that was 4 years ago. It has been working perfectly, I have installed no new software, I have made no changes. Ha! now it is not working and it is something that YOU did 4 years ago that is causing the problem. Fix it NOW and fix it for FREE.

Yes, you are the hoodoo with the voodoo. Magically something you did 4 years back has kept the computer running beautifully for 4 years, then all of a sudden "poof" it has broken everything. Links don't open, and the computer runs slow.

Do I even need to mention that on a computer with NO software installs in 4 years, now has 10 browser bars and Add/Remove programs shows Smiley Central was installed 2 days ago.

Why is dealing with IT like dealing with retards? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39621299)

Seriously. I can't decide which is worse - listening to a moron half a world a way read a scripted response in some sort of broken indecipherable semi-English or listening to a moron in my own country read a scripted response in some sort of broken indecipherable semi-English. Is that the only choices that IT can provide?

And what is with you IT guys putting your own failings on the end-users? Can any of you strip and repair a transmission from a tractor? Can you even explain how it works? What!? Are you idiots? How about doing a simple surgery? Can you provide an accurate forecast of economic activity in a given sector? No? I guess that makes you dumb.

Hmmmm... It almost looks like the case where almost every person has a talent and most people are competent at what they are trained at and not so much competent at what they aren't. How about we lay off the "dumb end-user" stories. IT uses them to cover their own lameness and the rest of us are getting tired of hearing IT whinging.

The Word Perect call of shame... (2, Funny)

FlyingGuy (989135) | about 2 years ago | (#39621493)

This is a true story from the WordPerfect help line. Needless to say the help desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the WordPerfect organization for "Termination without Cause."

Actual dialog of a former WordPerfect Customer Support employee:

"Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"

"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."

"What sort of trouble?"

"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."

"Went away?"

"They disappeared."

"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing?"

"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."

"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"

"How do I tell?"

"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"

"What's a sea-prompt?"

"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"

"There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything type."

"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"

"What's a monitor?"

"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"

"I don't know."

"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."

".......Yes, it is."

"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"

"No."

"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."

".......Okay, here it is."

"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."

"I can't reach."

"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"

"No."

"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"

"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."

"Dark?"

"Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."

"Well, turn on the office light then."

"I can't."

"No? Why not?"

"Because there's a power outage."

"A power... A power outage? Aha, okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"

"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."

"Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."

"Really? Is it that bad?"

"Yes, I'm afraid it is."

"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"

"Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

My stories (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#39621565)

While no longer technically helpdesk, a vast part of my job is spent doing the job of our helpdesk and solving the world's problems. These are a few of my oddballs.

1
A person at a field office could no log on to the Staples site. She contacted Staples who said her cookies must have been deleted which is why her information no longer auto-populated but they reset her password and sent her the information. She still couldn't log in.

I looked at the email that had been sent to her and something clicked in. I asked her if she hadn't transposed the company ID and her ID when logging in. As soon as I said this she started (nicely) cursing under her breath. Sure enough, with those two items switched, she got in with no problem. She all but begged me not to ever tell anyone about this, even when I was completing the ticket to close it. I put in some vague information about possible web site issues but did mark the ticket as 'Education Required'.

2
Whenever I tell someone to open their C: drive, I tell them to go to My Computer (similar to the one story). The only difference is I tell them it's the My Computer icon which is usually located in the upper left corner of the screen. So far, that bit of communication is all that is needed to get them on the right path.

3
I was working to streamline the process by which a visually impaired employee would receive documents from various offices. His screen reading software had issues with certain pdf documents. I finally got all involved to send him Word documents instead.

However, during this conversation, I had remoted into a different person's pc to look at where the documents were being sent from. This person asked me how I knew the documents I was looking at were pdfs. I moved the mouse to the Adobe icon in front of the document and explained this means it's a pdf. I then moved to the end of the document name and said, "See this .pdf extension at the end of the name? That also means it's a pdf document."

I then showed her what Word document icons look like for comparison.

4
A printer was no longer showing it had a high capacity, tray 4. Everything printed fine, it just wouldn't pull from tray 4.

After turning the machine off and on, hoping to reset it, someone mentioned the light for the tray no longer lit. That got me thinking.

I looked at the back of the machine and saw there were 2 power cords. One for the machine itself and one from the machine to the tray. I checked and the plug, which was only inches off the ground, was loose

Only conclusion I could reach was the cleaning crew had whacked it with the vacuum and slightly jarred it loose even though by looking at it you wouldn't have noticed it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...