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Road Rage on the Information Superhighway 85

Manuka writes "A CNN Story about people venting their frustration on their machines. Those of you that work support jobs already know about this problem :)" I just swear a lot. It would be amusing to record me some afternoon when I have a crashing server. It certainly would deserve an R rating.
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Road Rage on the Information Superhighway

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  • I've been looking for a dead CD-ROM drive to use as a cupholder - it'd compliment my AOL coasters. Only thing is, the only dead drives I've found so far either take a caddy or have the laser built into the tray...
  • With computers, abuse can sometimes be used to rectify past abuse. Some of the keys on my laptop's keyboard don't seem to work unless the system is bent at a certain angle; although it looks like I'm abusing it I'm actually trying to use 'g', 'h', '\'', uparrow, and escape. It first happened after the computer fell

    I've also run into monitors that go whacked until whacked - one has a funny green channel, the other (at school) has a slightly less funny red channel.
  • With computers, abuse can sometimes be used to rectify past abuse. Some of the keys on my laptop's keyboard don't seem to work unless the system is bent at a certain angle; although it looks like I'm abusing it I'm actually trying to use 'g', 'h', '\'', uparrow, and escape. It first happened after the computer fell off a table under a load of books... the same accident broke the CD-ROM drive so it has to be taped closed.

    I've also run into monitors that go whacked until whacked - the one downstairs (attached to the computer I fried the BIOS of) has a funny green channel, the other (at school) has a slightly less funny red channel.
  • Thank god!
    I thought people were just getting meaner, but I guess it's just stupidity. It's one thing to give tech support to someone who genuinely doesn't understand computers and will admitt it. It's another when you have to help someone who doesn't get it and is pissed off about it!
    Does anybody want to start a computer/psychological research lab/company with me? This would be an excellent area of psychological research!
  • Funny, I never get that smash-the-computer feeling unless I'm running a Microsoft product.

    I take it you've never tried configuring PPP on a Linux box.
  • Posted by stodge:

    I think I read somewhere that Stephen Hawkings suggested we will eventually build computers as complex as our brains. Does that mean they will also have arms and hands, and can then slap a face with a wet kipper when they do something reaaaaaly stupid??

    rm -rf /.
  • Posted by The Mongolian Barbecue:

    This shit sounded just like a user friendly cartoon. I always figured those were jokes, and that no one was truly that stupid. My god. "Mouse click"? That lady must have had the IQ of a small rodent. If I were called out there on something like that, I wouldn't stifle a guffaw, I would slap the moron.
  • WHY DO THESE PEOPLE EVEN HAVE JOBS??????? Sheesh...the minute I learned I'd hired someone THAT stupid, they'd be out the door!

    You'd be surprised what kinds of idiots recieve MCSE's...

    I had a boss that was working on an atx powered machine, he has a MCSE, A+ Cert, MCP, and a BS in CE. (lots of initials, you're about to find out how little they mean)

    For a good 6 hours on a sunday, he was working on this box... about 4 hours into it, I can hear him grumbling in the other room, so I figured I'd poke my head in there and check it out, the lines were slow (i was tech support there). He was with another MCSE, with the fully built machine, pushing hte power, seeing nothing happen, and griping. I asked if I could help, but because I wasn't part of the MCSE club (and pointedly told him I wouldn't be), I couldn't help.

    About 2 hours later, he leaves, still not getting the machine to work, so I figure I'll go in and check on it.

    On all ATX power supplies (as most of you know), there's a "soft" power switch on the front of the case, and on a "hard" power switch on the back of the power supply.

    I flicked the one on the back, and went back to my tech support calls. He comes back in an hour, hits the soft power-on, and thinks god has smiled on him or something, because, obviously, the machine started up.

    I've never experienced such silent gratification in my life. The Linux sysadmin got quite the laugh too.

    (you konw, the type of sysadmin that doesn't know anything because he doesn't know NT, but if he left the job the ISP would fly like a lead balloon)

  • When there's a tie for second (mice and monitors), the next available position is fourth, damnit...
  • That is true. While I personally have never worked in techsupport and I generally respect the people who do (it sounds like a tedious and often boring job) I think they are ticking timebombs.

    Take the standard 3 tier model. Level one people answer the phone and follow a procedure which involved them taking down user information and plugging it in to an expert system to try and diagnose the problem, I equate this to putting groceries into the bags. Sometimes a little more skill is needed but you can often give this job to a highschool dropout who has never touched a computer before. If you're a more advanced user I imagine that unless you have some special gift of patience, you'll blow a fuse at this job after a while.

    Level 2, these are supposed to be more sophisticated tech guys but are often only slightly more advanced than level 1 guys. They know the standard problems and some tricks usually. Depending on the company, these guys can just end up being middle men who play keep away. The level 3 guys are in development and they don't need to spend time doing techsupport so the level 2 guys do everything they can to keep the caller from reaching level 3, sometimes including sending them back to level 1 to get "more information"
    Not the same kind of stress but we give our tech support guys a hard time when they esculate problems to us that aren't worthy of our time... heck we give them hell period.. Either way, they've got it comming from both directions, and when you burn the candle at both ends...

  • "The future of workplace violence isn't in the post office,

    It's in Tech-Support!"

    -- (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)
  • I do support at an Investment company.
    I'd have to say one of my most interesting calls was this one guy who needed help with his mail.

    As soon as i awnsered the phone, someone was on the line, and I also heard hold music. He told me that he was currently waiting to speak to a technician from Netscape.

    A lot of the departments use Netscape Messanger for their e-mail, which is why he had contacted them as well. Once the Netscape tech came on the line, the guy started explaining his problem.

    He had one of those cell phones with e-mail capabilities, and he wanted to know how to access our imap server with it.


    Took me a while to explain to him that since our mail servers aren't accessable on the internet, it wouldn't work. The Netscape guy never did figure out what he was doing on the phone with us.
  • Translation from user to actual terms.

    CPU - Actual Computer, case and all
    Hard Drive - see above
    Screen Saver - Windows Background

    There are more, but i'm too tired to think of them :)
  • I have badday.mpg and it does not jive too well with xanim (choppy frames and random junk.) Is there a better viewer or format of this classic?

    I have not seen rage. Links?

  • These people would be much happier if they were not running Windows. My computer doesn't crash at all, when it runs Linux. :-)

    Last year NY Times had whole section about people placing crystals next to their computers so that their computers wouldn't crash. Naturally they were from California... ;-)

  • ...I think that the article is more about *lusers* (and not support people) venting their frustration against the machines, instead of admitting the real reason of the problem, which is their own stupidity.
    (Sheesh, lusers are being allow to *vent*? What will be next? Demand to be treated like human beings?)

  • a computer licence.

    same thing happened long ago with cars. the first cars were all driven by the techies who knew exactly how the car worked and who knew exactly what they were doing. then cars became gradually easier to use and cheaper, and dummies started to drive cars... and that's why the drivers licence was born.

    so why not have a computer licence? and an internet licence as an extention to it.

    then you can split users up in people who have a licence and people who don't have a licence, and from the people with a licence you can expect that they have at least the basic skills needed to use a computer or to use the internet so you can just give those people quick tech support if needed. and companies could require their employees to have a computer and/or internet licence.

    I mean, currently tech support assumes zero intelligence and zero computer knowledge in their clients. let me tell you a tech support story...

    I tried to get Forsaken to work on mplayer, but somehow it always failed to launch correctly. so I asked around on mplayer, nobody knew. I dug through the FAQs and help files, nothing there. so I send a message to the mplayer tech support. I get an automatic reply to read the FAQ, and to reply on that message if what I need to know weren't in the FAQ. so I smack reply. a week later I receive a message from mplayer tech support lecturing me on latency and packetloss and the basic workings of the internet! so they didn't even actually read my mail, because I specifically said that it couldn't possibly be a latency or packetloss problem. so I told them that in a reply, and !#$^&!#$^ again I get that automated RTFFAQ message.

    now if there were computer licences they could have had seperate tech support for people with and people without licences, and ofcourse having an internet licence means you already know about the workings of ping and packetloss and that you already know to read the FAQ first so they could have just given me direct on topic tech support.

    oh well...

    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • nt

    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • well uh, I had the situation in mind as it is here (in the Netherlands). you take driving lessons, and when you think you're ready you apply for a driving test. usually your exam will be within two weeks, but in prime time (end of the summer holiday) it might take a month. when you've passed the test you get a certificate with which you can immedeately pick up your drivers licence at the city hall (if it's open), and in most city halls the waiting time is less than 15 minutes.

    door to door computer cops? then you really misinterpreted me. you could use a computer without a computer licence. what I propose is kind of like a diploma. of people with that licence/diploma you can expect a certain base knowledge about computers and the internet so you can give quick and to the point tech support if necessary, and so companies could require it just like any other diploma/licence/degree.

    and as for writing tests... hellooooo, it's a COMPUTER licence, so you'd probably do it on a computer.

    disallowing somebody without a licence to use a computer is evil, and simply can't be done. perhaps the word licence was ill chosen and diploma would be better, because that's the general idea I had in mind.

    the Gods have a sense of humor,
  • That reminds me of a story I read a while ago about a person who called his computer manufacturer and wanted to buy a new cup holder for his PC because the old one was broken.

    After some confusion, the man at the company wanted to know where the cup holder had been placed before. The guy explained, and it was clear that for about half a year he had used the moveable part of his CD-ROM as a holder for his coffee cup. Then it broke.

    Strange world.

  • Seems like it didn't. =:-)

  • My computer use has been calm sailing since I switched over to Linux from Win95 since Win95 found a creative way to erase my hard drive.

    My only headaches have been alternate drivers for sound cards - but that hacking is for a later date.
  • at least, the one i've seen (rage, i believe) is obviously fake. you'll notice his keyboard isn't actually plugged in, among other things. ignoring the fact that there seems to be a high quality color camera pointing directly at one persons cubicle.
  • PPP???? What are you smoking?

    The first time I did the text configs manually. The HOWTO gave me everything I needed. I even got diald working on the first try.

    The second time I found the RedHat GUI utilities very usefull. Point, click, dial, done. Worked great from the control-panel RedHat wrote as well as LinuxConf. I hear KPPP works well too, but I have DSL now so I don't care. ;)
  • Is the reason that my keyboard can no longer be put up on its little leg-things. After the d*mn thing failing to install 5 times, I misclicked, it started to grind and refused to respond. My ESC key took quite a beating, as I was getting very, very ticked off.

    Friends don't let friends use MSExchange
  • A lot of people think the case is the hard drive. I've learned to just make the translation from the context and not even ask.



    I'm sending you this email privately so as not to overload I think your story was really funny. I had the same thing happen to me just last week. The power went out and it took me the longest time to figure out why my recompile of glibc-2.0.7 didn't seem to be getting anywhere. I finally realized, and after about 20 minutes the power came back on and the compile finished up with only minor warnings about my checking to see that the power cable was securely plugged in (and a few 'blah' may be used unititialized warnings). I'm using kernel 2.2.3. with the apm module enabled. Anyway, thanks again.

  • >So you can remove that one from the Urban Legend
    >list, folks. I was there. Another techie at this
    >same company managed to successfully get away
    >with the techie's dream: telling a caller to f***
    >off (yes, we all paid for that too). Other

    Once upon a time, I worked as a bicycle mechanic. It doesn't pay as well as programming, and you get
    dirtier, but the hours are better... At my shop,
    we had a rule that we were allowed one fsck off a month. That is, once a month, if we felt the necessity, we could tell a really STUPID customer to fsck off. The only problem is that the store owner kept using his up early, and had to borrow mine... I still think it was a pretty good system.
  • hrm? I've done that twice. First time was in 94, and it involved a fair amount of doc reading, but ended up working nice enough. last time was a month ago, and it just involved going through a couple of menus to put the phone #, account name, etc.
  • Yes, on the odd occasion, Linux (even RedHat) can be severely annoying.

    On the whole, however, I find that NT is much more annoying than Linux.


    • Boot off cdrom. Answer basic questions. Occasionally put in board-specific drivers if ones on CD aren't current enough (eg. newer SCSI-based SuperMicro boards). Reboot
    • NT comes up with slick install interface. Answer all questions, inserting appropriate driver disks to right points to get current drivers. Reboot
    • NT comes up. Log in, update to correct video drivers (since NT won't let you install correct ones in previous step). Reboot
    • Log in, and install correct sound drivers. Reboot.
    • When NT comes up, log in and install SP3 (SP4 still has lingering problems). Wait for NT to ask you if you want to replace the drivers installed above with the SP drivers. Click "No". Reboot
    • Install IE 4.0 (since it's required by virtually all MS products nowdays). Reboot
    • Install other desired products (remember, Reboot after installing each product!)
    • Re-apply SP3. Reboot
    • Apply the 12 relevant hot-fixes to SP3. Reboot after each one.

    Total time: ~3 hours per machine (assuming about 2 minutes to fully reboot a machine).

    Linux (or Solaris x86, for that matter)

    • Boot off of CDROM (or floppy, then CDROM). Answer questions. Wait while it installs everything. Reboot
    • Log in, install latest updates (perhaps a new kernel, too). Reboot if you feel like it.
    • Build a custom kernel. Reboot

    Total time: 30 minutes.


    On another note, I'm having a slight problem. By boot disk (a new IBM 4.5G SCSI) has more than 1024 cylinders. My boot partition is below the 1024 limit. A normal RH 5.2 install works fine, and boots OK, however:

    • fdisk complains that the partition table isn't correct (slices don't end on cylinder boundaries).
    • If I build a new kernel, add it to lilo.conf, then do a "/sbin/lilo", it complains all over the place, and craps out. If I do a "/sbin/lilo -P fix", things work fine, and it boots fine. However, if (after that), I at anytime do a "/sbin/lilo" without the "-P fix", it screws up the boot loader and I can't boot anymore. Still searching throught the docs for info on this one...


  • I hope everyone here has seen the AVI/MOVs "Bad Day" and "Rage". Watch them, you'll feel better.

    I find slapping my CPU around like it's my ho makes it run faster, puts a shine on it and puts a sparkle in my eye. I need to, the bastard refuses to OC.
  • Nah... Just kick the lower left-hand corner of the machine...
    'We have no choice in what we are. Yet what are we,
    but the sum of our choices.' --Rob Grant
  • Actually, userfriendly is alot closer to Real Life (tm) (c) (r) then most people seem to realize...
  • The last time I had a hard drive die, I kept the dead drive. Since I live in a dorm room where most of the flat surfaces are concrete, I can just pick up the dead drive and throw it at the wall with impudence =]
  • i actually get extreamly violently mad at my college admins.. its a two way thing
  • You'd think beating in the case would rank higher than a user taking out his hard disk and punting it around :-)
  • Unfornately, I too have to deal with the denseness of the 'great unwashed masses' on a daily basis. However, before I can laugh at them TOO much, there have been times I've found myself, late at night, pointing a shotgun at my computer to make it do what I want it to do, not what I tell it to do.....
  • Ain't that the truth...

    And then I have to hide from mirrors from sheer shame for at least an hour.

  • It even bugs me when people call the whole box the CPU. There is even a little sign telling you that it has 'Intel INSIDE' on the case. Oh well its not really that big of deal.

    As far as hard drive damage goes, I find dissassembly to be the best revenge. Slow, methodic removal of all parts, followed by burial. Bits to bits and sand to sand. Next time an important disk has a head crash, Im even making a tombstone.
  • that I have to deal with these problems all of the time at work.
  • Well accually I can understand people calling it a CPU because it is the Central Processing Unit in a very Vague sorta way. Also alot of intro to computer classes teach people to call it the CPU, so you really can't blame the user. Now on the Hard Drive thing (I remember the other day when someone at work ask me if it was a bad idea for their printer to be ontop of their harddrive, I would never have figured what they where talking about had I not put it there myself), or the thing about the Screen Saver, accually I remember the other day a user asking me why the screen saver wasn't working I went through the screen saver and couldn't discover a problem till I found out they where talking about (It was down) Hey Does anyone have a link to a site that has a list of translations like GrenDel made. If not we need to start something like that. It would help alot.
  • You need to work for a cool company that lets you use Linux. Hopefully in the future more companies will.
  • I worked for a major long distance company not too long ago and spying on employees was common. We had many occurances of stolen computer hardware/software and it began costing the company quite a bit of money. Their solution was to install security cameras (during a holiday weekend) into vents and lighting fixtures to keep an eye on the employees.
    Because of space limitations, the security monitors/recorders were located in a storage area in our server room. We got to see employees doing silly/stupid/crazy things. "Computer abuse" was quite common; pounding on keyboards, slamming mice on the desk, slapping monitors, even one guy who took a leak into his computer then turned it on. He'd been wanting a faster machine but his position didn't require a fast machine; all he did was e-mail and wordprocessing.
    You might want to think again, the next time you sit in your cube, if you think no one is watching you. I'm surprised no one has come up with "America's Funniest Office Antics" TV show.
  • The CNN hack who wrote the story is only slightly less ignorant than the hopeless end lusers he wrote about. He refers to users kicking in "hard drives." From having worked Help Desk for the past six months I know that many end lusers refer to the CPU, or more appropriately, box as the hard drive. This CNN story was pretty weak.

Air is water with holes in it.