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ComputerWorld's Help Form Elicits Some Laughs 85

Posted by Zonk
from the read-before-you-send dept.
PetManimal writes "Like many websites, Computerworld has a 'help' Web form for users to submit website-related questions. The page asks people not to ask about general Web problems, or other issues not related to Computerworld, but that hasn't stopped a regular stream of funny submissions, ranging from a question about using a computer to watch soap operas, to questions about troubleshooting printer problems."
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ComputerWorld's Help Form Elicits Some Laughs

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  • Not funny. (Score:5, Funny)

    by CosmeticLobotamy (155360) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:17PM (#15803742)
    Did those make anyone else really sad? I was feeling pretty good a minute ago, but now I think I'm going to go lay down for a while.
    • Yep. Did that to me too. Maybe playing some guitar will cheer me up. If not, I might go beat stupid people with bats.
    • The baseball player is quite sad. But some of the others really should have known better.
      • by JanneM (7445) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:34PM (#15803804) Homepage
        The baseball player is quite sad.

        Why sad? Sounds like he's mentally a perfect fit for pro sports already.

        • Perhaps, though I'd like to know how he got to a computer magazine's website to ask that question. The computer science student, on the other hand, was really sad. I've met a guy who was kinda like that ("What's HTML? And what's wrong with red text on a pink background for our software? You say the instructions shouldn't be in all caps?")
          • okay... It'd be funnier if I didn't deal with worse every day. Today I had a guy who couldn't use our web application. He hired a IT person to help him out, and was the middle man on the phone yelling things to the IT girl... I ask what browser he's using, he says he doesn't know.... Okay, I can understand there's people who aren't computer illiterate- at least he's smart enough to hire somebody... but I hear him ask her what browser he's using, she responds that she doesn't know what I'm asking....
          • That seems about right. It seems in computer science they teach you nothing for street smarts.
    • I also didn't think they were all that funny. My thoughts were more along the lines of "well that's typical" as opposed to sad.
    • It didn't make me feel sad, but neither was it that funny. Just the typical off-the-wall questions we've all come to expect. No real gems in the bunch.
    • Re:Not funny. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by evilviper (135110)
      Not funny, not sad, just a waste of time.

      The problem with the internet is that you have no way to tell if a message came for a 7 year-old kid, someone who is mentally handicapped, some foreigner who can hardly understand the language, etc. I certainly don't believe those messages are representative of the public at large.

    • My favorite gag website for the new user is BlankSheetofPaper.com [blanksheetofpaper.com] -- it's a utility for printing blank sheets of paper from the printer in case you need a blank sheet (apparently the "input tray" is too confusing) -- as it states in the testimonials:

      "I had a big meeting, but had no blank paper to write on! It was an emergency! After a quick Google, I found your site and sure enough after reading the FAQ's and online manual, boom, there was a blank sheet of paper for me to use from the printer! Thanks

      • The version history isn't bad either...

        # v. 0.9 -- Did not print blank sheet
        # v. 1.0 -- Printed slightly non-blank sheet.
        # v. 1.1 -- Printed all black sheet -- getting closer!
        # v. 1.2 -- Fire!
        # v. 1.3 -- Printed text to "O Solo Mio", don't understand why.
        # v. 1.4 -- New version 50% more blank.
        # v. 1.5 -- Improved speed, 62% faster.
        # v. 1.6 -- "unitray" support -- eliminated need to retrieve paper from output tray,
  • by Tweekster (949766) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:25PM (#15803773)
    "Yes, it is legit, send 500 dollars imediately"

    Help the concept of seperating a fool from his money
    • probably better:

      "In order to safeguard your identity please send the payment to me and I will then send it on to the destination"

      oh, and these are pretty standard - sorry, I did hear a funny one from my brother who was warned that one of the execs in his company were going after him because 'Microsoft Word asked him if he wanted to save a document and he said no but then changed his mind and it should have saved a copy anyway just in case'. You have to wonder how some people reach those kinds of career hei
  • by William Robinson (875390) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:26PM (#15803778)
    Definition of programming.

    Programming is race between Programmers, to produce idiot proof apps, and God, to create better idiots.

    So far God is winning.

  • ...wasting good time just to go pk stupid people.
    • What makes you think you're any better than these people? How about you go and perform brain surgery or rebuild a plane if you're so smart. Not everyone can know everything and while some of these maybe really stupid to us, to others they seem legit.

      Not to mention who's never sent an IM to the wrong person when getting confused with so many tabs or windows, some of these seem to just be that except with web forms.

      Untill you're perfect stop pointing fingers and being a dick. If you ever become perfect you ma
      • by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @12:11AM (#15803941) Homepage Journal
        Ok, ok! We're sorry. We wouldn't have said all those mean things if we had known. We had no idea that you wrote one of the questions.
        • He has a point. I see a huge amount of posts on here that get modded +5 Insightful that are about as stupid with respect to real life as some of these people are with technology. Take even an intro course in economics and then read slashdot (at +5 even) and you'll have a good laugh about how stupid some people here are. Anyone with any experience in debating will be amused by how poor the discourse it here. And let's not even mention political discussion here.

          Hell, even in the technology field, many post

      • You mean I haven't been born yet? :P

        the spyware on my brain caught the following thought...
        my karma can take a hit anyhow
      • by jlarocco (851450) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:46AM (#15804672) Homepage
        What makes you think you're any better than these people? How about you go and perform brain surgery or rebuild a plane if you're so smart. Not everyone can know everything and while some of these maybe really stupid to us, to others they seem legit.

        Well for one, I'm not a fucking moron. From an email in the article:

        please check this websit out for me this guy email that I have won 263,some owe dollars allI need to do is pick a courier and pay $500.00 for the winnings thanks for your help marva please write me right back before I pay this guy one penny this may be for real so I really need to know ASAP

        That's barely even English. I'm surprised that dumbass can even breath. My 6 year old neice writes better than that. That guy shouldn't be allowed to operate a fork, much less a computer.

        And you know what the difference between brain surgery and using a computer is? Billions of fucking idiots think they're fully qualified to use a computer. They should consider themselves lucky they're only being mocked, cause it should be illegal to be that stupid.

        • "And you know what the difference between brain surgery and using a computer is? Billions of fucking idiots think they're fully qualified to use a computer. They should consider themselves lucky they're only being mocked, cause it should be illegal to be that stupid."

          Truely, but not likely to passed into law (especially by Ted Stevens!), as all of the congresscritter's internets are getting clogged up in the tubes- arriving days late.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          That's barely even English. I'm surprised that dumbass can even breath.

          Oh, the irony.

      • I really think you're taking this way too personally. I used to work in IT at my university, first supporting students who actually brought their computers in, then supporting computers, faculty, and staff with their networking problems over the phone. EVERYBODY has problems and calls us. The very few 1337 folk who didn't were either people who actually knew what they were doing (read: extremely small minority composed almost entirely of my computer science bretheren) or wannabes that we would have to shut

  • I had a funnier post but it never transmitted after I held it up to my monitor and pushed on my foot pedal thingie.
  • This is actually a legit error.

    See http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb; en-us;321626 [microsoft.com]

    I remember it from installing Linux on a DOS system some years back and markting the Linux partition active without having installed LILO on the boot block.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:43PM (#15803836)

    I have my email address on my web site as well as a FAQ for a certain model of cell phone. I get all sorts of drivel as email.

    Just yesterday I got someone asking about functionality for a different model. The message stream looked something like this:

    Him: How do I foo with model 5000?
    Me: I don't know. I only have a 200.
    Him: So how do I do it with the 5000?
    Me: Quote first email. Point out again that I don't know as I only have a 200.
    Him: I have a 5000.

    At that point I gave up.

    • This reminds me of a SLC Punk quote:
      Mark: Now you see the problem with water beds is that they have these waves like this, Right? But you see this water bed is special, you see? It has no waves.
      Stevo: Why didn't you just get a normal bed... that has no waves?
      Mark: But this HAS no waves.
  • my question is to help me out getting to the cbs soap operas as the guiding light as the world turns ok since its computer thing looks like that i could go at start of these two soap operas and watch them when they first started on cbs tv i mean watch them over from the very start.

    Wtf? On /. a post like this wouldn't even be worth a -1 Offtopic mod point.

    Anyone who has ever worked in customer support/public relations has heard far, far more humorous (and serious) help requests. (Remember the story about a

    • It is funny. The one thing normal newbies are good at is finding pirated movies, music, and viruses.

      I rather enjoyed the lottery question though. Thinking of starting such 'send in $500 to claim your $283 prize' lottery business myself.
  • by QuantumFTL (197300) * <justin,wick&gmail,com> on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:49PM (#15803856)
    I have thoroughly enjoyed the aptly titled Computer Stupidities [rinkworks.com]. To be fair, may people really have no reason to know better, but there's a few entries in there that show that all too many people are willing to throw logic out the window, or are gullible beyond belief.
    • One time I went into a computer store with my brother. I was checking out a computer, and the screen was laid out in a manner that made it look like a touch screen monitor. Stupid me, I was sitting their tapping the screen trying to make it load an app. After a brief moment, I'm thinking that this touch screen is broken, and then it hit me that it wasn't a touch screen at all. At this point, I'm looking around, praying that nobody saw me sitting there poking the screen like a freaking idiot.

      Another true st
  • Instructions. (Score:3, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:51PM (#15803862) Journal
    They picked the worst they could find, everyday instructions are often ambiguous. Many moons ago I drove Taxi's, there can be a 180deg difference between...

    "Turn right[,] here."

    and

    "Turn[,] right here."

  • This is Nothing... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shaneFalco (821467)
    Compared to some of the stuff people in tech support see this is absolutely nothing. Check out http://techcomedy.com/ [techcomedy.com] to get a taste of just how stupid some people can be. Knowing computers is a bit of a curse, everyone that knows you assumes you are their own personal computer bitch.
  • I have had a stream of mistaken identity emails [baheyeldin.com] on my web site. They range from mistaking my site for the Library of Alexandria, to Sears Kenmore Water softeners and heaters, to an English school admissions department, to a hotel in Cairo, and more ...
    • Re:Been there ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rs79 (71822) <hostmaster@open-rsc.org> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @02:34AM (#15804440) Homepage
      "mistaken identity emails"

      I wish I'd known earlier. About 10 years ago I used to work with a guy called Kemp Watson and he asked me to grab watson.com for him. I did and handled mail for him.

      I'd get bounces for such-and-such@watson.com from IBM and it was obvious that wonks at ibm were sending to @watson.com not @watson.ibm.com (the IBM Thomas Watson research center).

      I kept writing to IBM to ask them to wake the fuck up, no no avail.

      Finally when I got one that was about nuclear secrets, for your eyes only etc, I got a call back, explaied the problem and never saw another one, ever.
      • In your case, it could be a simple misconfiguraton.

        They may have been typing jdoe@watson, and the assumption is that the TLD will be appended, so they end up with jdoe@watson.ibm.com.

        If their email/DNS is misconfigured, and appends just .com you will end up with what you describe.
      • I'd get bounces for such-and-such@watson.com from IBM and it was obvious that wonks at ibm were sending to @watson.com not @watson.ibm.com (the IBM Thomas Watson research center).

        I had a similar situation (with the culprit's identity masked, to protect the "innocent"). I registered <name>.com in '96. A couple of years later, a company named <name> started up and, being unable to get <name>.com, settled for <name>-inc.com.

        As you may have guessed, I began receiving misdirected mail

      • pretty scary that they're sending that stuff in plaintext. Shouldn't some training in encrypting email be required before you can get any secuarity clearance?
  • When I subscribed to the general helpline over on Wikipedia, we got buckets and buckets of these sort of things.

    This story is not news to ANYONE who's ever been a part of any sort of organization that maintained a public email address. I don't get it.
  • hell
    some prob in my PC, send yuor man to check it out, i unable to use internet.
    thanks


    Somehow that phrase, "send your man to check it out" really made me laugh. The computer science student, on the other hand...wow, how sad.
  • by esoterus (66707)
    I wonder how many of these are real. Maybe it's that internet-made cynic in me but most of these just appear to be the email equivalent of "drunk dialing". Ah well, guess they're not calling them at home, 4 AM.

    OMfg!!1
    wwere were you computr guy out?im sod runk. bet night ever wooo!
  • by buddahfool (123287) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @01:51AM (#15804293) Homepage
    me: Thanks for calling AOL, how may I help you?
    guy: I want to start an online business.
    me: Try keyword Busines, just type...
    guy: Actually first I wanted to check out other businesses first.
    me: O-Kay...
    guy: The most successful online business are porn aren't they...
    me: ...um, yeah.
    guy: Soo.. I was wondering if you could help me find some...
  • +Digg!

    ROFLMAO LOLOL! ... not.
  • most internet users have trouble making heads or tail of search engine results.
    Its all about lets get our site in the top ten for the largest number of keywords possible.

    probably computerworlds site came up when someone searched for baseball scout,soap operas etc...
  • by dargaud (518470) <slashdot2@nOspAm.gdargaud.net> on Saturday July 29, 2006 @03:53AM (#15804690) Homepage
    As well as some, but not too many, stupid questions I get through my website (most people are just impolite), I sometimes grep the access.log file for "$how|$why|$when|$where" and get surprisingly funny results. I haven't done this in a while, but some of the best older results are here [gdargaud.net].
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @04:13AM (#15804738)
    I remember a time when we all used to write things down on paper with pens or pencils and were taught all about capitalisation, punctuation and English grammar in school.

    Nowadays, most people can type faster than they can write and have access to all manner of spelling and grammar checkers but just look at the messages on that site (and many others) and it's quite shocking to witness the poor quality of what they've written, excluding the minority where English perhaps isn't their first language.

    Maybe some of this change for the worse is down to poorer quality teaching nowadays but I feel it's probably more attributable to simple downright laziness on the part of the writers who just cannot be bothered to take a little more time to communicate effectively.

    • Nowadays, most people can type faster than they can write and have access to all manner of spelling and grammar checkers but just look at the messages on that site (and many others) and it's quite shocking to witness the poor quality of what they've written, excluding the minority where English perhaps isn't their first language.
      ...says the master of the run-on sentence....
    • I blame time. If I have to write a letter and know it will not be mail for the next two days anyway, I may choose to sleep on the contens maybe rewrite it in the morning. If it is an email I run a spell checker on it (or forget to) but that is pretty much it. If on the other and i am chatting with somebody I will have no time to think so I will type really short messages full of errors.

      That ofcause assume that you are writting in you native tongue and not some foreign language (as I am doing now).

      I just wis
    • Aha, did you see YOUR spelling mistake? ... Well I didn't either! Dammit it's perfect! I so wanted this one ... wish me happier trolling the next time ... until we meet again ....
    • (Run-on sentences anyone?)

      Please remember that only those who can't do will send those emails. What about people who are perfectly fine using their computer systems? You and I don't hear about them.

      That's called skewed statistics.
  • I have on my website a tool called "CSS Preview". Nowhere on my site do I mention MySpace. I have a feedback form for this tool, to let passers-by tell me what they think. Every so often, despite the form having a big "CSS Preview User Survey" label over it, I'll get sent a dump of some MySpace CSS file that my site is supposed to magically interpret.

    I also once made a fake homepage for Tony Blair, deliberately designed to look as fake as possible, while matching several criteria for being genuine from a pa
  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Saturday July 29, 2006 @06:11AM (#15804980) Homepage Journal
    I used to be Senior Consumer Affairs Rep for Fisher-Price. I wish I could remember all of the funny calls I got but after a while they all just blend together. There are a couple I remember, though.

    FP sold a kid's outdoor tent for a while and a woman called to report that there were bees in her tent. First rule: Take everything seriously until you know for sure what's going on. It's not inconcievable that she bought a product and opened it to find bees. Strange things happen in warehouses.
    So I ask "do you have any idea how they got in there?"She replied "It's in the back yard and the kid must have left it open. How do I get them out?!"
    "Well, I would carefully unzip the door and open it, and maybe go to the other side of the tent and try to shake it and shoo them out, or just leave it until they leave by themselves."

    "OK, I'll try that! Thanks!" she said breathlessly and sincerely.

    Then there was the time a woman called to complain about a toy crescent wrench and bolt. That's all it was, a wrench and a bolt, sold as an accessory for a toy workbench. Her complaint? The wrench and bolt didn't come with instructions. I spent about 15 minutes trying to explain to her how to use a wrench on a bolt, how it fits on it. She couldn't comprehend it. She insisted that we were negligent for not including instructions.

  • I worked in a computer store in the early nineties. One day this very sad planespotter type (pan-am bag and all) walks in when the store was empty except me and my colleague behind the counter. He shuffles up and says 'Hi - I'd like a box of five and a quarter inch floppy dicks please'... We laughed him out of the place..
  • This site [clientcopia.com] also has quiet a few hilarious stories about clients who simply don't get it.
  • I was the lead developer on a intranet for a state-wide coalition of legal agencies. One time a staffer called and asked "can you print the website and send it to me every once in a while?" At this point, the site was around 6,000 documents and probably 40,000 to 50,000 scanned pages in PDF - if you ever signed into the site, the enormousness was pretty obvious. We nicely explained to her that there was NO way we could do that. She hung up pretty quickly, obviously embarrassed. It was kind of sad, actually.

Most people will listen to your unreasonable demands, if you'll consider their unacceptable offer.

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