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Your Favorite Support Anecdote 1177

Most of us have had the unfortunate opportunity to have worked tech support at some point, whether it was for a paycheck or for a relative. The Register has offered up a vote for several of their favorite support stories but I'm sure there are many more out there to be had. My favorite horror story was while working a tech support call for a governmental employee, when asked to take her mouse and click on the "start" button all I could hear over the phone is what I later found out was the user banging her mouse against the monitor. What other horror stories have people seen from the trenches?
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Your Favorite Support Anecdote

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:35PM (#15661152) Journal
    A half a year ago, I went home for the holidays and fixed my parent's windows machine for them.

    Not more than two weeks later my mom called me up saying it had a blue screen of death whenever it tried to boot up. I asked her what the error said and she started reading to me the hex from the screen.

    She said my older sister had been using the computer last so I told her to put her on the line and asked her what had happened. She told me her friend in college had sent her an attachment in an e-mail named "ms ... blast ... worm ... 32.exe or something" but when she clicked on it, the machine started acting funny.
    • by PantheraOnca ( 983705 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:45PM (#15661237)
      1. Talking to a customer who is unable to get her DSL connection to work because she had inserted the network cable in the cd-rom drive. 2. Talking to another customer having the same problem as the one above, but this one has not been able to locate anyplace on his computer where a network cable might fit. When I asked him if he had a network card installed I got the answer (in a very annoyed tone of voice) "Of course I have a network card, do you think I'm an idiot?!? The card is right here in the box from the store." 3. Realizing that this will be a long and very painful day.
      • Re:A day at work (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rvw14 ( 733613 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:34PM (#15662726)

        he had inserted the network cable in the cd-rom drive

        I had much the same thing happened to me, except that it was my own wife calling me at work to tell me the digital camera wasn't working. After asking if she had plugged it into the USB hub I sitting on top of my wireless router, she got a little irritated with me, saying she knows how to plug a USB cable in. Long story short, when I got home I found the USB cable shoved into a port on the router. Being a little smarter than I was when first married, I said nothing.

    • by fubar1971 ( 641721 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:27PM (#15661572)
      Try this one....

      Stupid User Story [slashdot.org]
    • by Were-Rabbit ( 959205 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:37PM (#15661642)
      Here's another e-mail related incident that I experienced a few years ago.

      Back in the days of Windows 3.1, I installed a small Microsoft Mail post office for our department, a state government agency. My manager got a call one morning from one of our ... er ... "repeat customers", screaming that his e-mail wasn't working and that the Commissioner had sent him very important e-mails that he absolutely needed. So, she - me manager - came over, rolling her eyes, and said, "Will you see what he's doing wrong?"

      I went over to his office where he was with some other employee. As soon as he saw me, he started up. "This e-mail sucks! The Commissioner sent me several important e-mails yesterday and I never got them! This is ridiculous! What the hell is wrong with tis thing?!" I calmly wlaked over and stated, "Let me look at it."

      After about two seconds of looking at the screen, I calmly stated, "You're not in your Inbox." { click on Inbox }

      { dramatic pause as his stupidity sinks in while the wind howls and a tumbleweed blows by }

      "I am so sorry. I can't believe I didn't see it."

      "Not a problem. Let me know if you have any other issue with it." as I walked out with no indication of the "You moron!" attitude on my face.

      I even had the gratification of hearing, "I feel so stupid" as I walked out the door. Well, who am I to argue with management?
    • by tcphll ( 979777 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:42PM (#15661673)
      Just a couple of months ago, I had a co-worker come in and complain that one of the machines (windows) he was working on had the file extensions removed from all the files, so he went in and renamed around 100 files so that they would have the proper extensions, but soon found this tiresome. He asked me if there was a reason the file extensions were gone and if I had a quick fix so he wouldn't have to rename the files. I went to the machine, went to folder options, unchecked the "hide extensions for known file types" and voila! a directory full of files with names like "filename.doc.doc" or "something.pdf.pdf". Of course now he had to go through and rename all the files again. To top it off, this guy teaches an "intro to computers" class at the Army base we work on.
      • by GeckoX ( 259575 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:07PM (#15661913)
        Hardly indicative of a stupid user. That is one of the BEST examples of HORRIBLE UI design out there. Unfortunately, it's so incredibly common a problem that just about EVERYONE forgets about the first time they ran into it and what a leap it was to find the magic switch that fixes it.

        Just because you know the workaround doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist, or that someone faced with the actual problem who does not have knowledge of said workaround is an idiot. I have a feeling 'this guy' probably doesn't hold you in the highest regard, and rightly so. There are stupid users, but there are also arrogant IT staff as well. The latter is much more likely to cause problems than the former.
        • by NateTech ( 50881 ) on Thursday July 06, 2006 @12:47AM (#15664965)
          Agreed that cocky IT people are more dangerous to a company than anything else.

          A great example would be when companies operate fleet vehicles. They lay down a few basic policies, and handle ALL maintenance of the vehicles or hire only those they can trust to do the maintenance if the vehicle is in the care of the individual.

          The maintenance people don't cop an attitude to the drivers, if they ever even see them, and they certainly don't question the boss for giving the driver the vehicle. They just fix the damn cars/trucks so the company can keep doing business.

          Too many IT people think they're more than just glorified copy-machine repairmen. Only those who actually HELP their companies make the situation better and fix the root-cause problems (get the users training, provide only "kiosk" machines for workers too untrained to use a full operating system, make or keep the company's money) are anything more than that.

          Complaining about "stupid users" without providing training in the use of the complex equipment sitting in front of them is stupid. It's like pointing someone at an F-16 and saying, "She's all yours. Go do your job. We'll make sure you're shot down quickly so you don't have to do anything other than get it airborne."
  • by lecithin ( 745575 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:37PM (#15661159)
    I am getting status 41s with my backup and need help.

    Okay, will you please email me your bp.conf, bpsched, bpcd logs?

    No, I can't.

    Okay, why not.

    Well, we are having problems with our network. Nothing seems to be working.

    What part of NETBACKUP don't you understand?
    • by GoNINzo ( 32266 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <ozNINoG>> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:06PM (#15661391) Journal
      haha those kind of problems were so common, it wasn't even funny. Those 41's would happen when ANYTHING broke on the network, with no real details on why. So you'd be talking to someone, they'd be 'Oh yeah, we were getting 41s for the past couple days, but didn't really think anything about it.' Then you'd find out that someone had unplugged the server. or the switch. Or just removed that nic because it made ifconfig look messy. `8r/

      My favorite netbackup horror story was when a coworker took out "the" DNS server with an accidental rm -rf / . And then we couldn't get a restore to happen. Because it used DNS to resolve names. And an anal retentive sysadmin refused to allow a hosts file entry because it was against "corporate standards". So we had to do a new bind instance with two entries for the server we were restoring to and the netbackup master. Which then got overridden in the middle of the restore process. Which bind didn't notice, but then the admin (enforcing "corporate standards") did notice. So he rebooted the machine. And we had to restart the process again. Which failed because bind was broken because not all of it had been restored. So we recreated bind again, with a few more entries this time. And restored. And this time it 'took'. My coworker was very sorry (and learned why everyone uses sudo that day), but the "corporate standards" sysadmin blamed netbackup for the length of time of the restore.

      Damn that netbackup, why doesn't it function when you chop the network out at it's knees!!

      I do love netbackup though. But only because it paid the bills because noone wanted to learn it.
  • by cyrax256 ( 845338 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:38PM (#15661172) Homepage
    You should check Computer Stupidities for even more funny stories: http://www.rinkworks.com/stupid [rinkworks.com]
  • Uh Oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spittoon ( 64395 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:38PM (#15661175) Homepage
    This might be the longest /. thread ever.
  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:41PM (#15661192) Journal
    We had made a fat client app for a company with a metric buttload of regional offices all over Germany. Each office had their own database, and it was replicated daily against the central database. (Short story: each office only needed the data for their region, so it really didn't need the whole central database. And conversely the "mother" corporation didn't need their data immediately either.)

    So this woman (afaik, a sorta boss for that particular office too) calls that the application stopped working on her machine. The tech-support guys can't solve it, so they forward the call to us programmers, namely to the guy next to me. Turns out that she had heard about evil hackers and whatnot, and someone recommended that she installs ZoneAlarm and forbid any programs to connect if she doesn't know what they are and what they do. So she installs it on her work computer too. And forbids our application from talking to the database.
  • An oldie... (Score:5, Funny)

    by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:42PM (#15661199) Homepage
    When I worked Telephone Techinical Support for Fifth Generation Systems in the late 80s/early 90s, I had a legal secretary that could not restore her Fastback backups from the 5 1/4" disks she used. As a service, we would have customers in this situation send them in and we would restore the data, reback them up and send them back. We would want copies of the disks to be made and those sent to us. Well she did make copies. I received via overnight FedEx ten 8/12x11" photocopies of her really nicely labeled diskettes. I had a really hard time calling her back and explaining the process of how to copy a floppy.
  • by Incy ( 635621 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:44PM (#15661214)
    Customer had been angry from the start. Don't know why. Just was that way. We fixed her computer up nice and new and sent her home. About 30min later she calls. Screaming and yelling. "you broke the computer..".. lots of profanity and swearing. After awhile I got her to say that it wasn't even "booting". I asked if the power LEDs were on. Took another few minutes to get the answer "no" through all the yelling and screaming. They weren't. I asked if she could confirm that it was plugged into the powerstrip, she said "no".. more screaming and yelling at me. At this point every customer in the store is listening on my side of the conversation as they were all hushed and no longer really shopping. I asked why she couldn't check the powerstrip... more swearing.. finally she said something like.."okay whatever..".. and set the phone down. She came back and I asked "was it plugged in okay"... "I don't know I had to get a flashlight.." more yelling and swearing. "Why did you need a flashlight?" "The power is out and I can't see under the desk" She immediatly realized her mistake and hung up. The call lasted about 20minutes and was the most difficult customer I've ever had to help out over the phone. Now we had another guy who was 6 foot 5 and had real anger issues -- threatened to beat me up when I refused to let him return DOS without all the disks. However that was in person, so it isn't on topic..
  • by adamofgreyskull ( 640712 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:44PM (#15661218)
    On tuesday, a colleague of mine was on messenger with client:
    Support says:
    Ok, could you ask me for remote assistance, please?
    Customer says:
    Can I have remote assistance?
  • by C0rinthian ( 770164 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:45PM (#15661226)
    User: AOL Stole my credit card.
    Tech: If you are having a problem cancelling your AOL account, you may need to call them...
    User: No! AOL stole my credit card, and I want it back!
    Tech: Wait... Tell me exactly what you did...
    User: Well, I was installing AOL, and it asked for my credit card number. So I put my card in the ATM slot and now it won't give me my card back.

    Yes, the user had stuck her Credit Card in her floppy drive. She had to send the machine back to the manufacturer, who then had to disassemble the floppy to get it out.
    • by Amouth ( 879122 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:17PM (#15661483)
      Remember when CD rom speed was a hughe deal and liteon game out with the loud 52x drives.. i had a customer put in his win98 cd.. and when it spun up the cd shattered and (more like an explosion) blew the from of the drive off and mangled the drive.. he was asking us over the phone if this was normal.. brought a whole new meaning to winblows 98
      • by ahsile ( 187881 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:22PM (#15662052) Homepage Journal
        There was a time back in college, when I was installing Diablo 2 onto a lab computer. Games and the public lab were expressly forbidden, especially since I was a lab monitor at the time so I "shoule have known better". We had been caught a few times, but were threatened that if it happened again we lost computer privileges. This threat was worrisome considering we were programming students and no pc == no work done.

        So, like I said, I was installing Diablo 2 onto the computer and it wanted the second or third CD (I forget, and it doesn't really matter). I open up the drive, and I forgot to pull out the first CD. I close the drive with the two CDs in it, and hit the button to start the next part of the install. At this point the drive starts buzzing pretty loudly and I don't know what's going on. I hit the eject button, but before it responds the cd on the top shoots to the back of the drive and shatters.

        The PC is locked down so it can't be stolen, and now I figure I'm fucked. I figure they can track when this thing broke through logs and whatever, so I'm screwed. But wait! I have a friend who works in the computer support department. I called him up and he came down with keys and a screwdriver. We ripped the sucker apart, emtied the cd-rom bits out... and were never caught.
  • by swab79 ( 842256 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:45PM (#15661228)
    Me: Thanks for calling tech support. Him: Hi, I just purchased a CD Writer, and it says I need to open up my computer to install it. Me: Yes, and? Him: I don't have a computer, can I still use it? Me: Can I place you on hold for one moment? Him: Sure Me: Bahahahahahaha!!
  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#15661242) Journal

    This was a real support call [slashdot.org] I once did:

  • gah (Score:4, Funny)

    by B00yah ( 213676 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#15661245) Homepage
    I work for a fairly large hosting company, and we deal with some fairly large customers...but on a daily basis I see them change their server ips to gateway ips, changing all their network interfaces to have an ip of 5 (ifconfig -a 5, if you ever want to), etc. Then they wonder why we are so hesitant to give them root access to these boxes again.

    The best antecdote though, was working with a customer, who couldn't figure out why he couldn't reach his server, and was cursing a storm about it, wanting to talk to vps, etc. I can't hit the box either, and no response from the remote console, so I have the data center tech check the box, and it's powered down. I have him power the box back up, and lo and behold, connectivity restored. Customer is livid at the news that the box was down, and wants to know why. I start digging in, and notice that the user was on the box when it when down. I check his history, and sure enough, "shutdown -h now". I brought this information to him, and he hung up on me. I made sure that our trouble ticket was noted with the info, and by the next week, the customer had a new technical contact, who was much nicer.
  • by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#15661246) Homepage
    My favourite came to me in the form of an e-mail:

    I spil;l;ed a gl;asasas of waster on the keyas asnd now thias ias whast happenas when I type./ Thias ias reasl;l;y asl;owing down my productivityl./


    thias ias not as joke
  • by mj01nir ( 153067 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#15661247)
    I was working internal support for a bank about 10 years ago. One day I got a frantic call from one of the older Vice Prsidents.

    "I can't login! I've tried and tried, but the ^%((* thing won't let me in."

    No one else had reported a problem, so I went over to his office.

    "OK, please restart your computer and login for me."

    He dutifully restarted, typed in his login name, and proceeded to type in his all-numeric password on the phone next to his keyboard.
  • by Flimzy ( 657419 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:46PM (#15661250)
    My computer reboots. This is a true story that happened to a customer who lived in a rural area when I worked for a dialup ISP several years ago. Living in a rural area, the customer got their water from a well, and whenever the toilet would flush, their water reserve would suddenly drop low enough to kick on their water pump, and cause a temporary brown out.
    • My computer reboots. This is a true story that happened to a customer who lived in a rural area when I worked for a dialup ISP several years ago. Living in a rural area, the customer got their water from a well, and whenever the toilet would flush, their water reserve would suddenly drop low enough to kick on their water pump, and cause a temporary brown out.
      (Note: the french railroad slang has been translated in american railroad slang)

      Back in 1989, when the french railroads put in service their new TGV Atlantique silver screamer 190 mph trains, there was one trainset that would, once in a while, big-hole it (do an emergency stop).

      So they pull it out of service, check everything, and everything checked fine. So they put back in service, and, eventually, big-hole again.

      This happenned at least ten times; they wouldn't find anything wrong with the train, and it would only fail when it was in regular service with passengers on board.

      One day, a maintenance boss was riding the train while it was in regular service, and as soon as he went to the can, the train big-holed it as soon as he locked the toilet door.

      He had a hint, and called the engineer on the intercom: "What were you doing when it big-holed"?

      -- Well, I was cutting the power and putting it in electric braking...

      Turns out that one of the wiring harness in the car had an intermittent short where the toilet doorlock indicator light shorted against the emergency braking signal wire, but it was only energized when the train was in dynamic braking... So whenever someone went to the toilet while the train was in dynamic braking, it caused the train to stop.

      • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:59PM (#15661841)
        There was a similiar type of incident when British Telecom switched their first telephone exchange from analogue to digital. In order to ensure a complete switchover, the decision was made to physically cut the analogue connections inplace, so there was no going back.

        They chose a long weekend (public holiday monday) in order to do this, so it gave them more time to fix any problems. After starting early saturday morning, by sunday evening they had the exchange fully on digital and were congratulating themselves - and then the exchange crashed, entirely.

        All sunday evening and night it went through a cycle of 'reboot, work, crash' on an hourly basis. The engineers could not figure it out, tehy did acomplete code dump and laid out the entire codebase on tractorfeed paper in the halls, went over it line by line to find out what was wrong.

        Eventually sometime monday morning, the night guard from a factory across the road popped across the road and mentioned his phone was going absolutely crazy, every hour he would try to ring his head office to report onsite, and the phone would emite a high pitched buzz and go dead.

        Turned out the exchange switchover had put his phoneline in limbo with no phonenumber associated but in a live usable state, and the exchange software couldnt handle that state and so it died with no error state reported.
    • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:34PM (#15662175)
      Living in a rural area,

      Speaking of rural... (Bellsouth country) We had an interesting DSL tech story.

      One of customers bought our DSL package, but for some strange reason it would stop working as soon it got dark out. We troubleshooted to see if anything happened at that time such as him turning on 900mhz phones, tvs, halogen lamps, lived near AM radio station etc, but none appeared to be the case.

      So one day my supervisor was helping him out since the guy wanted to keep the service because it worked fine during the day and had blazing speeds. So my supervisor is sitting there and asks him to kind of watch what is going on around sundown and not just in the house... The guy looks out his window and sees one of those street lamps turning on near his road and says he noticed lights going on and it turns out his phone line ran directly under that line.

      My sup advised him to call the powercompany if they could do something about it

      The guy sad... "Hold on...." And about 5 minutes of silence my supervisor hears a loud bang and the guy comes back and says his DSL is working fine now. ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:47PM (#15661253)
    I was serving at a forward deployed location with the US military. Many things were wrong with our technical position, including the fact that our office was NOT being provided the security updates for MS Exchange, due to a typical military SNAFU.

    One of the many known and expected email attacks hit us, and crashed our server.

    We couldn't get the server back up. Our "home office" back in the US couldn't figure out how to get our server back up. We got permission to pay for the service, and called the MS Service line. After a short discussion, the MS Techs knew exactly what our problem was, and told me to download a 4.2 Meg update. At this point I had to interrupt, and point out that my connection to the world wasn't that stable, and didn't have enough bandwidth to keep that download under 12 hours, if the connection didn't get lost.

    The next thing I knew, I had two MS Engineers on the phone, talking to each other while I listened, trying to figure out how to deal with the problem without using the download. That phone call ran nearly 5 hours. It ended with me typing in hex edits to the MS Exchange software . . ..

    EVERYTHING these men suggested short of that I had to refuse, for technical or mission reasons. The direct hex edit was something like the 7th or 8th solution the engineers came up with.

    How would YOU like to hear "Yeah, that would probably work, but, I can't do that because . . .." and have the because be something you recognized you couldn't argue against?
  • by fahrvergnugen ( 228539 ) <fahrv@noSPAM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:47PM (#15661257) Homepage
    In the late 90's, Packard Bell disappeared. Most people assumed they were finally taken down by their own incompetence, but what really happened was this:

    Packard Bell was able to manufacture their systems so cheaply because they had rent-free facilities on a disused airbase in Sacramento, CA. NEC, wishing to enter the end-user/retail sector and covetous of this manufacturing facility, bought 49% of Packard Bell, re-named them to NEC Consumer Systems Division, and put a clause in the contract that allowed them to gain ownership of the other 2% if certain milestones were not reached. Then, NEC seeded the CSD division with internal executives, who made sure those milestones would never be reached. Mission accomplished, NEC now had their manufacturing facilities rent-free, and they shut down the consumer systems division, no longer willing to compete with Dell & Gateway.

    I was one of the end-user technical support nerds for NEC-CSD, and wow did we get some crazies. Among my favorites were the black supremacist who refused to speak to me because I sounded white, so I put him on hold and then picked up a few minutes later with a badly faked "black" accent ("Yo what up? This is NEC, I'm Johnson. How can I help you?"). His issue? He'd set all of his Windows desktop color settings to black - backgrounds, borders, buttons, and text - and was calling to complain that his monitor was broken, because all he could see what his mouse cursor (which he was angry at for being white).

    Also good was the hung-over stoner who'd woken up to find that he'd thrown up IN his monitor. No, sorry, that's not covered under warranty, but could you tell me how you did it?

    But the best call didn't even happen to me, it happened to Chuck. One slow afternoon Chuck came around and motioned for everyone not currently on a call to follow him. We gathered around his cube and he muted the input on his phone, put on his headset, and then piped it to the speaker.

    Chuck: "Hello sir, I have my supervisor here with us, could you please repeat for us what you told me?"
    Cust: "Well, this laptop is junk, and I want a new one."
    Chuck: "Okay, can you talk me through what's wrong?"
    Cust: "My modem wouldn't connect, and I got really angry, so I pulled the card out and snapped it in half. Then I threw it across the room."
    Chuck: "So your modem is no longer functional?"
    Cust: "My computer's busted and I want a new one."
    Chuck: "Okay, so how did we go from broken modem card to broken laptop?"
    Cust: "So I calm down and I figure I can fix this modem. I got the pieces, and I figured out how they were supposed to go. Then I superglued them together and put them in a vice clamp overnight."
    Chuck: "Okay. What happened next?"
    Cust: "Well, I put it in my computer and tried to dial out to the internet again, but it still didn't work. Then I tried to pull out the card, but it got stuck. I had to use needle-nose pliers to pull the damn thing out, and I only got half of it. The other half's stuck in there, and now my computer's ruined! Your computer is junk, and I want a new laptop!"

    At this point, the twenty or so people gathered around Chuck's cube were in hysterics. Chuck reached over, released the mute so that the man on the other end of the phone could hear us, left it open for a few seconds, and hung up on him.
  • by usermilk ( 149572 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#15661277)
    Me: How may I help you?
    Customer: Hi, my name is Customer.
    Me: Hi, how may I help you today?
    C: I just bought a Powerbook G4 and I can't get it connected to the internet. There are no ports at all, no USB, no Ethernet, no modem.
    Me: What? Are you sure there are no ports on it?
    C: Yes, this is the worst purchase I ever made! Can I bring it to you guys to have a look at it and get ports added?
    Me: This is the first time I ever heard of this! You're sure you flipped down the panel in the back?
    C: Panel in the back? I don't see a-- I am such an asshole! Thank you so much, I feel so stupid.
    Me: It's okay, don't worry. I'm glad I could help.
    C: I am sorry for cursing, thank you so much you just saved me so much money.
    Me: You're welcome, have a good day.
    C: You too!
  • Bad Router? (Score:5, Funny)

    by obsidianpoet ( 978026 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:49PM (#15661278)
    I used to work for the local Telescom company here in Western Canada doing support for the ADSL help desk. We had just rolled out 2.5 high speed. A customer called into my queue and was complaining about slow speeds. One of the first question we have to ask is "Is the ADSL modem hooked up directly into the computer, or is there a router in between?" Of course, the customer said no, he did not have a router. I saw he was on the new 2.5 program and so we went through about 40 minutes of speed testing. Download rates, TRACRT, Pinging... all of those tests came back with speed equivilant to the 1.5 package. so I excalated to our network support team. Well after about an hours worth of testing, NS asked again if he had a router, he said no again. Finally we were about to dispatch a tech when he said these exact words :Well, let me try bypassing my router and see if that works...." Which of course it did. So moral of the story? Even though tech support has to aks dumb questions, they would not be there if there was not a reason somewhere down the line.... :)
  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:51PM (#15661291)
    I worked phone support for a software company for a while. We get all kinds of calls - anything from how do I login to the app to I don't believe the data your app is showing me to it's just broken. One day, my coworker gets a call from someone who obviously is facing some problem and wants it to be taken care of. After about a 2 minute session of standard Question and Answer, my coworker goes silent, puts the guy on hold for a short time, then continues. When he finally hangs up, I ask him what happened. Here's apparently how the conversation went:

    Coworker: tell me what's happening.
    Caller: It's broken, I need it fixed.
    Coworker: ok, so what is the problem.
    Caller: It doesn't matter, just open the ticket.
    Coworker: I need to know what's wrong before I can open the ticket.
    Caller (screaming now): Do you know what your purpose in life is????
    Coworker: Ummmmmmm.....
    Caller: Your purpose in life is to open this ticket for me!!

    And they say there is no such thing as workplace abuse.
  • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:51PM (#15661295)
    A few years ago, I had a combined programmer/support job. One day, a colleague called and said that he had an application on his computer he could not close.
    So I went over and indeed, one of our programs was in the middle of his screen and did not react to anything. On a hunch, I checked the dektop settings. Lo and behold:

    Somehow the guy had made a screenshot while running the application and used that screenshot as Windows wallpaper. Changing the wallpaper got rid of the phantom application ;-)
  • by lomedhi ( 801451 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:52PM (#15661303)

    Back when I was assembling i386 PCs for a small reseller, one of our regular clients walked in the door carrying a machine we had recently sold to his company. He said that it had "just stopped working", and implied that it should be covered under warranty.

    When I opened up the machine, I discovered that every screw and stand-off holding the motherboard had been sheared off, and the board was shorting against the case. There was no obvious damage to the case itself. I figured the guy must have dropped the machine and it landed flat on the bottom. Amazingly, after the board was re-mounted, everything seemed to work perfectly.

    Of course, we were rather curious about what had happened, so my boss asked the client when he returned. The client sheepishly admitted that they had planned to use the machine for tracking wildlife, running off a generator in the middle of the forest. They flew it to the intended location, and dropped it from the aircraft with a parachute. I turned around and headed back into the shop stifling my laughter while my boss told the client he couldn't justify covering the incident under warranty.

  • by Bradlegar the Hobbit ( 132082 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:54PM (#15661316)

    I discovered what I call the Rinkworks site [rinkworks.com] a few years ago. It doesn't get updated very often, but because it's edited, the content is usually pretty good.

    I love the comment at the top of the "Computer Stupidities" page:

    "On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    -- Charles Babbage (1791-1871)

  • by Avogadros Letter ( 867221 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @01:58PM (#15661339)
    A Congressman from my government's House of Representatives was having issues with the Internet just last week. His problem? The "tubes" that made up the internet were "filled."
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:00PM (#15661348)
    I had a remote user sitting in front of an NT3.5 machine, needing to do some work in a FoxPro app. We were having some library problems, etc... but lacking remote desktop tools for that session, I was relying on the user to tell me what she was seeing as she clicked on what I told her to click on. After tracking down the right icon, I asked her to run the app. "Yep," she said, "it's running! Now, how long before I see the program?"

    This went on for a long, long time. Finally I asked her how she knew it was running, when, well... it obviously wasn't running. She said, "Well, obviously I can see its legs moving."

    Never heard that one before. Long pause.

    Ah... remember the animated pointer sets that NT came with? You know, the one where the "busy" mouse pointer (hourglass) could be replaced with an animation of... a running horse? Gaaah!
  • by mc_dork ( 986995 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:03PM (#15661371)
    While working in notebook support at an Large Computer Manufacturer a few years back, I took a call one night. We handled education accounts at the time and a call came in from one of the large unviversites concerning a notebook belonging to a professor. She opened the call with, "I'm going to need to send in my laptop for servicing." So I proceed to ask the standard opening question, "What seems to be the problem with it? Is it not starting up?" She replies, "I peed in it." My brain tells me that I did not just hear that and I say, "I'm sorry?" She says "I peed in it. If you look at the history on this thing, you'll see that I've had nothing but problems with it over the past several months. I got fed up. I opened it up, I put it in the floor and peed in it. So of course it doesn't work now and I know I'm going to have to send it in to get it fixed." "You do realize this is not going to be covered by your warranty, right?" "Oh I don't care, I feel a lot better. I'll just bill it to my credit card." So I go through all of the process to set it up for depot repair and get her off the line after telling her to seal it in plastic and put biohazard stickers on it. Then there was the process of letting the repair depot know what was coming in. In the end the computer she sent in was junked without ever being touched by the depot and she was charged for a new maachine which was roughly the same cost as the pissed one..
  • Ah, war stories. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:09PM (#15661419) Homepage Journal
    First Story:

    Many moons ago, back in the 80s, I worked for a company that sold and serviced mini and microcomputer systems. We had one company that was complaining and threatening to sue because the "crap" computers we had sold them kept crashing several times per day. So we sent a tech down to check them out. He walked into their brand new, ice cold computer room. Noticing that the room had, like most computer rooms, flourescent lighting, he pointed to a bank of dimmer switches on the wall.

    "What are those for?" he asked.

    "Oh, they control all the outlets in this room," was the reply.

    The tech walked over and spun them all to "max". Problem solved.

    Second Story:

    Another customer who said our "crap" computers were crashing. I personally flew down to to visit them to see what was going on. As we were discussing the situation, the lights dimmed for a few seconds, came back up, then flashed bright, then went back to normal.

    "What was that?" I asked.

    "Oh, there's a auto crusher across the street. When the turn on the magnet we get a little brown out, and when they turn it off the lights go up for a moment."

    "I here see you opted not to by the uninteruptable power supply, and have not even installed a surge suppressor," I noted. "Do you think that the fact your power is unreliable might have something to do with your problems?"

    UPS == End of Story.

    Third Story:

    Which is not to say our computers weren't crap. Most weren't installed in computer rooms, they were installed in offices, which was kind of a new thing at the time.

    We certainly did have a number of strange reset problems, especially in the winter. Then one day we get a technical bulletin entitled, "Static discharge from pantyhose implicated in unexplained system resets." The recommendation: secretaries doing word processing and data entry should stop wearing pantyhose. Now, most of our customers were New England CPAs, and standards for business attire in New England at the time were formal. The secretaries were NOT going to where slacks or skirts without pantyhose.

    So one of the techs comes up with a solution. "Hey, isn't fabric softener supposed to stop static cling?" So, the recommendation goes out: avoid pantyhose, but if you must where them, spray Downy brand fabric softener on them several times a day. Naturally, they all opt to go into the ladies room every couple of hours and spray their legs with Downy.

    Another problem solved.
  • by ibbieta ( 31756 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:12PM (#15661447)
    Years ago, back a few jobs, I handled internal user support plus the occational escallation from external clients. Such an escallation comes in but not from a client but from our vendor support people. That's strange, I think, I never get calls from them. Anyway, I'm told that the vendor is having problems logging into our web site and checking his payment status. No big deal, really, since most vendors prefered to get that information by phone from the very person who was transfering the call to me. I just assume that he hasn't been set up for on-line access to his account.

    I pick up the line while at the same time checking the database for his information. At the very second I find out that he has been set up for on-line access I get an earfull about how "you guys" are fucking everything up and nothing works. "Total fuckups who can't do anything right. This worked before but then you changed something and now nothing fucking works you ass-hole."

    Yep, he is swearing. A lot. This goes on with every sentence and he accuses me personally of screwing it up with some mysterious changes to the web site. Never mind that the site had never been updated since the vendor logon was implimented, I was not the one to make those changes.

    I sigh, take the abuse, and lead him through the logon "process". "Yes, I have the fucking right page." "I know my fucking ID number." The ID number was four digits long and I checked that he was using the right one. "My fucking password is my last name, goddamnit!" I look that up in the database (nice security, huh?) and that is true. On my machine I log in just fine and he is still complaining that it isn't "fucking working".

    I check the web logs. Bad password. He is connecting fine but typing in the wrong password. I try to find some way polite way to ask if he knows his own last name. He does. It was Johnson. OK. I keep having him try the user ID and password. I lead him through the numbers one at a time, although I could see from the web logs that he was getting that right. I finally lead him, letter by letter, through the spelling of his own last name (not case-sensitve). That worked.

    "What the fuck did you change! Well ... shit. Stop fucking with my stuff." Then he hung up.

    His heartfelt thanks fills me with warming joy to this very day.
  • by tenton ( 181778 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:14PM (#15661458)
    Case 1: Man calls up, angry that his CD burner isn't working (it's an external drive USB). After going through the normal troubleshooting steps (including asking him if it was connected to the computer), we're finally about to throw in the towel and chalk it up to bad hardware. We try one last thing; have him disconnect everything, turn off the drive, turn it back on and reconnect everything. We then here a box opening, plastic crinkling, etc...turns out the guy hadn't take the drive out of the box yet. How he thought that the drive was connected, when the box was still sealed, I don't know.

    Case 2: Woman calls up, with a external CD burner (it's a firewire drive). I hear the words "doesn't show up", "cable didn't fit" and "pliers" and I cringed. Of course, she didn't have any firewire ports on her computer, but she did have USB ports...well, at least she used to have USB ports, before Mr. Pliers got involved. The cable "fit", but I wonder why the drive didn't work?

    Case 3: Man calls up, irate that his computer reboots everytime he goes to burn some files. After calming him down a bit, we attempt to troubleshoot it. Sure enough, every time we instruct him to click on the "Record" button (in the software, there's a button that says "Record", his computer immediately reboots. We try everything. We even turn off the auto-reboot feature in XP (so that it would, hopefully, blue screen), but that doesn't change a thing. Lucky for us, the man's brother was nearby, as my colleague heard him in the background. What was heard was, "[customer's name], what are you doing, you stupid [some expletive]? Why are you pressing the reset button on the computer?" Why he thought that was the "record" button, I'll never know...maybe I don't want to.
  • by ajakk ( 29927 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:14PM (#15661460) Homepage
    I was working at IBM in their Thinkpad support group when Win95 was rolled out. We had a special group created to handle Win95 support calls of techs who had taken training on Win95 on the IBM machines. I remember my first call after getting put on the Win95 support que. At this point in time, IBM had approximately 30 minute wait times to get to a Win95 support rep. After I pick up the phone, a guy tells me hae is having problems with Win95 on his new laptop that he bought. After confirming his serial number I asked him what the problem was. His exact answer:
    "Solitaire is dealing me the wrong cards."
    The mute button was my friend that day.
  • Scroll bars... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Theaetetus ( 590071 ) <theaetetus.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:16PM (#15661477) Homepage Journal
    Two weeks ago, a user here complains that her Excel spreadsheet is broken. Where she used to have three wide columns with data, now she only has the rightmost one, and it's on the left side of the screen. Plus, the letters at the top don't start with A, now they start with C.

    Yeah, she scrolled to the right, and couldn't figure out how to go left. 30-year old woman, reporter, uses computers daily. Mmmkay.

    One week ago, I send her a /. story that relates to a piece she's producing. She tells me that she can't read it because the text goes off the bottom of the screen and ends in the middle of a sentence.


  • by Saint Aardvark ( 159009 ) * on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:17PM (#15661486) Homepage Journal

    "There's something wrong with the network."

    "Okay, what's going on?"

    "Well, the machine was all like, bam! bam bam! and that surprised me. Then I tried making it go again. That didn't work, 'cos it just sat there going ghh-ghh-ghh-ghh!"


    "It's a machine gun sound. Now it's just sitting there, all like, what the fuck?"

    "Okay, what does that mean?"

    "I said, first the machine was all--"

    "Never mind. What were you doing when this happened?"

    "I was running a test."

    "And then what happened?"

    "I started getting NFS errors."

    "Aha. What kind of NFS errors?"

    "You know, like, the file wasn't there."

    "Okay. Then what happened?"

    "The machine gun sound. Weren't you listening?"


    "I'm heading out of town next week, and I'm going to need the notebook."

    "Okay, when do you need it?"

    "Oh, some time next week."

    "I can do that. What do you need on it?"

    "Foobleymatic 2.5, BarfTastic XP, and Crunchometer 2."

    "Okay, that sounds good. How's Tuesday sound for you?"

    "Today's Friday, right?"

    "Yep. Why?"

    "Well, I'm actually heading out of town on Monday."

    "Aha. When on Monday?"


    "Early as in, you won't have time to come in here and pick up the laptop, right?"


    "I see. So really, then, you need it today, don't you?"

    "Yeah, I guess I do."

    "I see. Well, thanks for telling me."

    "Hey, no problem!"


    "Have we thought about wireless access here?"

    "I'm agin it. It's too easy to sniff traffic and there are lots of data ports here."

    "Well, has anyone ever sniffed traffic?"

    "Absolutely. A guy got convicted in the US for sniffing credit card numbers from a Home Depot. They were using encryption. The FBI recently demonstrated how to crack encryption in about four minutes using off-the-shelf software. It's not hard."

    "Well, I don't think we have that many secrets."

    "...Email? Our source code? Budgets?"

    "Well, I'm only thinking of this as a way of getting the printer closer to my office."

    "What, you don't print any secrets?"


    "You've just picked up your printing, right? Look at what you have in your hand: email, budget requests. Programmers print out code all the time. Should we open the window and throw it all into the streets?"


    "We have shredders for a reason."

    "Well, maybe I should just get a printer and put it by my desk."



    A: Ever since I moved to Linux, I can't print these PDFs any more. I think it's a font problem, just like B had. Have you fixed that yet?

    Me: No, but I don't know that you're having a font problem. There are, like, four programs involved in printing that, and each one of them is different now.

    A: No, I think it's a font problem. I hate OpenOffice.

    B: Fonts are screwed up in Debian. This never happens to me on my Fedora Core machine at home.


    Me: Well, I printed out seventeen pages from two different machines in eight different ways using the printer on the floor above me, and as you can see the crucial difference is the version of Acrobat Reader used to print them. It's not a font problem. Those big black bars? It's a bug in the latest version of Acrobat Reader.

    A: Oh.

    Me: Yep, the PDFs generated by OpenOffice were fine. Now, I'm reluctant to install an older version of Acrobat because of security pr--

    B (sitting right next to A all this time): Oh, you don't have that problem if you use this PDF reader over here.

    A: What?

    Me: What?

    B: Yep, just use the Gnome PDF reader and it prints just fine.

    A: Why didn't you tell me yesterday?

    B: You said it was a problem with OpenOffice, not PDFs.


  • Least favourite (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:19PM (#15661514)

    Girl from HR with large chest walks in to department and says "I'm sorry to bother you guys but I really need to get these out!" Talking about her newest pamphlet.

    Look you immature arseholes, this is why women hate dealing with IT departments. Why the fuck do you have to compare a perfectly reasonable request to complete and utter idiocy just because the woman happens to have <GASP> boobies!

    Yes, I get the double entendre. How fucking hilarious. Obviously the woman needs to be ridiculed for her stupidity. It's not as if "get these out" is an extremely common phrase heard through offices every day, is it?

    I'm a bloke and articles like this make me embarrassed to work in the IT field because, quite frankly, the reputation it has as being full of fuckwits with no social skills and a fear of women is well-deserved. Grow the fuck up and stop making the rest of us look like dickheads.

  • by the_maddman ( 801403 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:23PM (#15661540)

    When I first started working at a local computer store in the "lab" we got one irate lady whose son had really destroyed Windows 95. She had something against my boss, and kept making a big stink about the computer being defective and demanding that we build her a brand new machine, and claiming that I didn't know what I was talking about. She eventually cornered the sales manager and yelled at him for an hour or so, and as soon as she left the store I got called into his office.

    The sales manager was upset of course, and started chewing me out, but after about 5 mins he asked me what I had to say about it all.

    "There's a difference between bending over backwards for the customer and bending over forwards."

    He turned beet red, pointed at the door and I left. I never heard another word about the incident.

  • by allroy63 ( 571629 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:25PM (#15661557)
    I used to work for a large IT firm doing internal support. On the morning of 9/11/2001 I received a phone call from a manager in the manufacturing division. I was based in NY and he was based in MN. He demanded to know why he had not been able to access his e-mail for the last hour and a half. I explained to him that our mail servers were located in building #2 of the World Trade Center, which no longer existed. He demanded to speak to my supervisor because he could not believe our response time to correct the problem and reboot the mail server was so slow. I pointed out that three targets on American soil had just been attacked, two of them civilian and completely destroyed. He still didn't get it. I pointed out that 3000 people died. He again demanded to speak to my supervisor, screaming about our Service Level Agreements and such. I hung up and walked out.
  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:34PM (#15661629)
    "OK, so does the mouse still move?"


    "OK, so it can't be completely frozen. Let's go over to the lab and I'll take a look."

    footstep footstep footstep Well, it looks to be completely locked. I thought you said the mouse still moved?"

    She grabs the mouse and swings it all over the desk, looking at me like, "SEE?"

    "Look, if the computer ever locks up so hard that you can't move the mouse on the desk, RUN."
  • by Onan ( 25162 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:45PM (#15661694)

    Some years ago a colleague told me about the strangest support problem he had ever run into: one of their developers could only log in sitting down.

    He had recently noticed that if he tried to log in in any other position (eg, still standing and just quickly checking his mail while walking past his desk), his password was always rejected. But as soon as he sat down, he had no problems getting in.

    My colleague at first laughed it off, but it was demonstrated to be the case. He spent a long time looking into cabling problems with the keyboard or network, thinking that perhaps there was a loose connection that only worked reliably with the guy's foot on it or similar longshots. Nothing panned out, and they eventually gave up on it as not important enough to dig into further.

    Finally, months later, the developer came back to him, doubled over in laughter, having figured out what the problem was. At some point in the process of cleaning his keyboard, he had reassembled it with a couple of keys juxtaposed. Which never cause him problems, because he touch-typed... when he was sitting in a normal position. When he was standing awkwardly, he looked at the keycaps, and typed his password wrong every time.

  • Incoming! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Petersko ( 564140 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @02:56PM (#15661802)
    Back in the old days I had to pay my dues running the tech support centre of a local computer store.

    A guy came in with an ink-jet printer that was six months out of warranty, and purchased from one of our competitors.

    He argued that it should be fixed by us for free. I said that unfortunately it was going to cost $x and we could not assist him with a free repair.

    He paused for a couple of seconds, then he picked up the printer and threw it at me. I dodged and it hit the wall and more or less exploded. He then walked calmly out of the store and we never saw him again.
  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @03:21PM (#15662046)
    I worked for a major 3rd party DSL provider a few years ago and I heard this one from a VP in the smoking area (in the parking garage next to peachtree...)

    They have this strange situation with a DSL customer.

    It was your basic off the web order ,install, we sent out the kit and he was running at good DSL speeds. No problems.

    He calls in about 4 weeks later and reports his DSL has stopped working. We have him check the NID and he doesn't have any sync which means he's not even getting a signal from the Central Office. So we roll out a telco truck and they find that his cable was pulled from the DSLAM box and they just pop it back into his copper line.

    A week later he calls in the same problem. We have him check his DSL at the NID again and no sync. We call the teclo company again and they send a truck out to the central office box and check the DSLAM, find it was disconnected again, and pop the cable back in again for the DSL.

    Then it happens a again... They send out another truck... Fix it... A few days latter... It happens again... And they keep sending the trucks to fix it...

    Finally after several weeks of this... The VP gets a call from the teclo... Who has the FBI on the phone asking us to stop fixing the DSL because its disconnecting their wiretap!

    So the VP has a CS rep call the guy and politley explain that DSL isn't possible at his location and refunds his money.
  • by MrCopilot ( 871878 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:17PM (#15662588) Homepage Journal
    I was employed at a PC repair shop a few years back.

    We had this customer who was irate that his new computer was acting up and it was new I built it myself. No reason for it to be acting so strange. He brought it in we checked it out seemed fine.

    He comes back complaining again. We replace the entire PC. He leaves happy for 2 days. Then he comes back demanding a refund.

    We tell him if there is something wrong with the PC we will make it right. Leave it with us and we'll throw everything we got at it. He does. His wife comes in an hr later. "Can I see my husbands computer for a minute, I just need to check one thing.?" Sure come on back. She presses Shift Ctrl ScrollLock or something similar & up pops this EVIL unnoticable Screengrabber. She quickly scans through the last 3 days worth of pics. Instant message from her teen daughter, Web surfing of her hubby 3 pics a second. Gobbling up space & cycles. If she doesn't check it daily & dump it fills the harddrive with 1280x1024x32 Pics. I explain to her it is unnecessary to grab so many, 1 every couple of minutes is more than sufficient. She asks me to promise I won't tell her husband. I promise she tips me 50 bucks and promises to bring me a bottle of wine (her Idea).

    Later that same day.

    The owner (who has dealt with the husband only on more than one occassion since the sale.) checks in with me to see if I found the problem. I calmly explain the situation, and the promise. He asked me "Did she make you promise not to tell me?"

    Obviously I can not and did not make that promise.

    "Well then, I never promised her shit. But I did promise her husband I would find out what was up & fix it." Cue him Dialing.

    Later that same day, Hubby comes in pays us for all our service (3 hrs on site. 3 trips to the shop) and tips me 50 bucks.

    Still Later

    She comes in like a rocket right passed the counter into the bench area Slams down a shiny bottle of wine & says thanks a fuckin lot.

    My boss says thank you come again.

    The husband still shops there service & purchase.

    Moral of the story: If you are gonna spy on your kids do it with your loved one.

    Opened the wine on my wedding day. Wife loved it.

  • by Hardhead_7 ( 987030 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:18PM (#15662597)
    It took all of us around the office a while to piece together the full story, but it turned out, it went something like this... The customer called up one day copmlaining their computer had stoped working. In fact, they noted a sizzling sound had eminated from it at the moment of failure and the smell of something burnt was in the air. The phone tech did just what they should have done and told the customer to box the unit up and send it in for repairs. I worked a few cubicles down from the room where the techs opened these boxes. It was a fairly booring day until I heard the bloodcurdling scream. Half the office jumps up and runs over to see what's the matter, and I'll never forget the sight. Coachroaches. The tech, once he'd removed the side of the unit, had exposed them to the light and they were trying to find a new place to hide. There must have been a hundred in there. Craziest thing I ever saw.
  • by VonGuard ( 39260 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:36PM (#15662748) Homepage Journal
    OK, this one comes from Georgia Tech. It's an oldie, but a goodie.

    A tech gets a call from Professor Anders in the statistics department. Anders says that the members of his department are only able to send email 500 miles. The tech gets a strange look on his face, then starts asking questions about the situation. After a lengthy phone discussion, he decides that the fellow who has called him is truly not making this up. After all, this is the statistics department, and they're not prone to pulling figures out of the air.

    So, the tech goes over to the statistics department and checks out their server. It's a simple old SPARC running Solaris. He sends out some email to a friend in California. Sure enough, it bounces. He sends an email to a friend in Florida, and it goes through fine. The tech scratches his head.

    He asks Anders is anything has changed on this SPARC server recently. Turns out that, yes, the server was recently updated to a newer version of Solaris (Version numbers lost to the fog of history). So the tech takes a look at the server and finds that, despite the newer OS, the older version of SendMail is still on the machine. Anders nods and says that, after the update, they downgraded SendMail to an older, more stable version. Ahah! The tech opened the config file, and sure enough, he found the problem.

    The new version of SendMail had created a new Config file. This file had some new format for the "Timeout" entry. When the old version was placed onto the system, it tried to read the new config file, but couldn't interpret it correctly. Thus, it set the "Timeout" to "0." How far can electronic information travel away from the server before the CPU can count to 0? 500 miles.
  • Mr E called (Score:5, Funny)

    by jimlintott ( 317783 ) on Wednesday July 05, 2006 @04:58PM (#15662902) Homepage
    This is my favourite even though I didn't actually handle the call. My old boss, Mr. E, calls and my eleven year old daughter answers.

    E "Is your dad there?"

    D "No, he'a at work."

    E "Well I needed his help with a computer problem. Maybe you can help."

    Mr E. goes on to describe the problem to my little girl who he knows is eleven.

    D "Did you try rebooting?"

    E "No. I'll try that. Hey, it works. Thanks sweety."

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling