Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tech Support Problems – cont.

While I have problems trying to teach people how to use technology, these are stories that I have collected from the internet and have nothing to do with me.

Story 1

One day a friend of mine called me up to tell me he was thinking of buying a computer. This guy is particularly sensitive to criticism and not to exactly in the upper eschelon of the IQ range, and personally I don't think he should own a programmable VCR much less a computer, but he's a good guy, so I said "good for you." The following conversation ensued:

  • Him: "Well I have a couple questions though, that I thought I should ask you, cause you know about those things, right?"
  • Me: "Yeah, ok, what do you want to know?"
  • Him: "Well...what one should I buy?"
  • Me: "What do you want to do with it mostly? Play games, word processsing (blah blah blah)...?"

Twenty minutes later....

  • Him: "Well, I think probably I should get a real fast one, you know, cause I want it to go fast so I don't have to wait for the Internet."

I proceed to explain, SLOWLY, about the difference between megahertz and modem speed, which takes another twenty minutes.

  • Him: "So how much is this going to cost me anyway?"
  • Me: "It all depends on what you want. Some stuff costs more.

(Now, let me say here that at the very begining of all this I had stated that neither a monitor nor a printer would come with a computer itself, unless you went for a package deal. He was, at this point saying that he wanted to spend about $500 and that everything had to be from the same manufacturer. This was when the 550 P3 had just come out, so prices were still higher than $500 for any system you could go buy in a Circuit City, which he said he HAD to do.)

  • Him: "Well, you know, I just want the basic stuff, a monitor, and a printer and a scanner, and maybe a camera, plus the stuff to make cards and print photos and all that, and the stuff to take care of paying my bills, and online."
  • Me: "Ok, well, you need to get a system first, then think about the extras. You really need to learn the basics first. A computer with a monitor and a printer is probably going to be a minimum of $800 to $1000, if you really want them all to be from the same company."
  • Him: "REALLY?! Well, ok, but I probably will need two printers, so it'll be more then, huh?"
  • Me: "What?"
  • Him: "Yeah, you can do that, right, hook up two of the same printer to one computer?"
  • Me: "Well...NO, you can't."
  • Him: "But I'll need to do that!"
  • Me: "No, really, you won't. Why do you think that?"
  • Him: "Ok, wait, I know, what about two computers? Can you do that? Can you hook two computers together?"
  • Me: "But...why? No."
  • Him: "But I am going to NEED that! You can't do that for me?!"
  • Me: "Ok, ya know what, what the hell are you talking about?!? No one ever NEEDS to do what you are talking about doing so why do you think you need to do this?!?"
  • Him: "Well, when I go to print out that manuscript I'm going to write, it'll probably be like 800 pages or so, so how am I ever going to get one printer to print that much, and one computer probably can't even hold that much in one thing right?"

Inside I was going ballistic at this point, and it did boil over, especially since there is NO WAY there is 800 pages worth of anything in this guy's head, but I explained that (a) one computer can in fact "hold" that much and a whole lot more, and (b) one printer (unless it is a huge Xerox or other office type industrial machine) CAN'T hold that much paper in one shot.

I hope that none of you nice tech support people never EVER get a call from this guy, because I guarantee you it will be the worst call you ever get in your life. You guys may all have to get together and dedicate a page to him, posting only his calls, just to vent your anger. He is the cupholder guy, the NOSMOKE.EXE guy, the guy who insists he "hasn't changed anything" when he really edited his AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS to include lines like "and don't say I'm bad and an invalid," and the guy who has everything plugged in but nothing where it is supposed to be plugged in. He WILL have his powerstrip plugged into itself and will insist that it is NOT. May the force be with you all; you'll need it.

Story 2

  • Tech Support: "I need you to boot the computer."
  • Customer: (THUMP! Pause.) "No, that didn't help."

Story 3

Giving instructions on how to use Microsoft Word 7:

  • Me: "Type in a few words, or a test sentence."
  • Secretary: (skeptically) "With what?"
  • Me: "The keyboard."
  • Secretary: "The what?!?"
  • Me: "Keyboard. The jobbie in front of you with the keys on it."
  • Secretary: "Oh. That."
  • Me: "Yeah, it works like a typewriter."
  • Secretary: "I don't understand. (types a few words) "Oh! Hey! It works just like my typewriter!"
  • Me: "Uh-huh..."

Story 4

A teenage lad and his mother called in to our shop and approached me. The mother announced her son needed a virus killer for his computer. The Atari ST had been out a year or two, and Amiga computers were rapidly gaining popularity at the time, and both machines had viruses being passed around on floppy disks. So we asked the son which of those computers he had. He muttered to his mother again, and she announced her son had an Amstrad 464 -- which only had a built-in cassette deck and no floppy drive whatsoever. After we explained that it was the more modern computers which had floppy disk drives that got viruses, the mother calmly stated that the virus had been on his friend's new ST computer and that her son and his friend had played a few games on it. The virus had passed from the friend's computer directly to her son, and thence, later that evening, from her son to his aforementioned Amstrad 464!

Boggling, but still polite, we patiently explained that although computer viruses existed, they could not be "caught" by human beings and passed on to other computers by physical contact. The word "virus" was, we told her, slang that referred to hostile code that replicated itself when a disk was inserted into a computer, not an actual biological virus. Her son's computer probably had just gone faulty and needed a repair. Smiling smugly, and after informing us her son knew about computers (and that we didn't), they left the store to search for more computer-savvy tech support.