It’s easy to take for granted a lot of the words that have entered our high-tech lexicon. Many of the words – from Amazon to the Web – have real-world meanings that, oftentimes, are very far removed from “our” meanings. Here are a few stories from readers that serve as a fun reminder to all this.
Crunchies (from Romjin)
Recently, one of our customers called in with some problems he was having with his computer.
"I'm having a lot of problems with my crunchies," he explained.
"I'm sorry," Romjin responded, "I don't know what you mean?"
"Uhh," the customer paused, "you know, I was on the Internet this morning, and it kept telling me about my crunchies."
"Crunchies??", I asked, completely perplexed, "is this a game you have installed?"
"I don't know," he said, "it just keep saying something about my crunchies."
After some thought about Internet and websites warnings, it dawned on me. "Do you mean Cookies?"
"Yeah," he responded, "that's what it was saying!"
Virtual Return (from Dmitriy)
A few years back, I worked as a software developer for a company that resold prepaid airtime cards to retail outlets. We didn't actually buy physical cards from the provider, only Card Numbers and PINs; it was our job to print the barcodes on the physical cards, and ship those to the retailers.
One time, our system rejected an order of "cards" from a airtime provider we'll call "Sherizon". The number of cards, airtime amount, etc. didn't match the order that we had placed. Obviously, Sherizon's sales rep sent us another reseller's order. When this happened with other providers, standard operating procedure was for the provider to deactive the PINs and send us a new list. Sherion's process, however, was slightly different. This is the email I received back from their sales rep.
Hello Dmitriy, Thank you for catching this error! Please send me back the batch ePIN file *right away*, and we'll get a new one out to you right away. Thank You, Sarah M---
Somewhat confused, Dmitriy replied back.
Sarah: I'm sorry, can you confirm... you sent us a CSV file. Do you want me to email that back?
Yes; please send back the CSV file that was attached to the original email instead of running it through your system. Obviously, those were intended for another reseller, and we wouldn't want you accidently selling their cards.
Though I was tempted to explain the fundamentals of email and file copying, I decided not to argue. When I replied back with the incorrect CSV file, she was very appreciative that I "returned" the file to her.
The Busy Host (from Blake H.)
Years ago, I worked for a company that sold and supported a restaurant Point of Sale (POS) system named after a furry creature that eats and hides nuts. We had lots of large accounts across the world.
The system was sort of a client-server setup, with a Host Computer in the back office that drove dumb terminals on the restaurant floor. Whenever there was a problem or lost connection, the terminals would usually flash "Host busy, Manager check Host". Most problems could be cured with a reboot of the host computer.
One day I got a call from a manager of an Applebee's. He says that they can't ring up any orders and that the screens all say "Host busy, manager check Host".
I asked him if he's checked the host. He says "Yep, I've already done that. She's really busy, seating people as fast as she can!"
I put him on hold while I regained my composure.
Recycled (from Eric D)
Back in the Win 95 days, I helped a client clean up his computer, which seemed to be bogged down with too many installed programs, bad drivers, and all the other fun Windows 95 issues.
When I was done, the first thing he asked was “what happened to all of my files!?!”
“Which files,” I asked, having only cleared his temp and similar folders.
“The ones…” he said frantically, “they were all in the bin!”
I raised my left eyebrow, “the bin?”
“Yeah, the one for recycling,” he explained.
“Why were storing files you needed in the recycle bin!?” I questioned.
“Umm,” he said confidently, “so I don’t have to type up new bid estimate every time I bid a job!”
After a bit more back and forth, I realized that he would type up an estimate (completely with the same header, footer, terms, etc), print it, and then move the file to the recycle bin. When it came time to bid a new job, he’d rifle though all the old bids to see if he could “recycle” one to save himself a lot of typing.
I Love You (from Todd)
Back when I was running the mail system for a large (15,000 user) organization, we were hit by the ILOVEYOU virus. When it first happened, we quickly modified sendmail.cf to not deliver any emails with "ILOVEYOU" in the subject or body, in order to stop the propogation. Those emails were dumped to a temp directory. We then started looking through some of the emails. I distinctly recall one of them:
"Steve, why haven't you contacted me? Things were going so well. I love you, but this email is your last chance. If you don't respond, I'll assume that you don't want to be together anymore. Love, Kathy"
I guess I must have mixed up the pattern match in sendmail.cf. I hope Kathy gave Steve another chance.