Little Boxes Everywhere (from Nick W)
A little while back, the help desk forwarded a call from Jane in accounting who, apparently, couldn't find a critical spreadsheet. Obviously, the help desk must have reasoned, this must be a job for... Data Recovery!.

After getting a few details from Jane, I opened up the network share and noticed that the file was, in fact, there. I even checked the backup catalog to make sure that previous editions of the file existed just incase it was a data corruption problem. Everything was where exactly where it was supposed to be, so I called up Jane to see what the problem was.

"Well," she explained, "I just can't find the file."

"Okay," I replied, getting into tech support mode, "navigate to DIVIS, then FINANCIALS. Now, in the RECON subfolder, do you see the file bankrec.xls? Go ahead and open it."

"Oh there it is," she responded, "this looks like the file I need."

"Great, it was a pleasure to—"

"Wait," Jane interrupted," "this doesn't look right. I don't like all of those little boxes all over the place. Let me exit and try again... wait, now I can't find the file again! I was able to open it the first time. Can you do whatever you did again?"

"Umm, I didn't really do anything... I just asked you to open it."

Frustrated, she replied "well I can't see it now. Whatever you did before worked just fine."

"Okkkaayy," I said, "now open My Computer."


"It's on your desktop."

"I don't see it," she briskly replied.

"Let's try the Start Menu then."

"Nope," she scoffed, "still don't see it!"

Baffled, I said, "Jane, how exactly are you trying to open the document?"

"I just go into Word, then click on File, then Open."

It was at that moment I realized what she meant by little boxes everywhere. What she saw in the file when she managed to open it the first time was the correct data, in a spreadsheet format. But she was hoping to see that data in a Word document. She was not happy about seeing the cells on the spreadsheet, or "Little Boxes" as they shall now forever be known.


Will This Cause any Problems? (from Celina Moloney)
I work for a software shop that sells an "online procurement system" to other companies who wish to streamline their vendor purchasing process. Essentially, it allows companies to set up suppliers along with the items they want to buy. The system then emails or faxes orders to the suppliers.

One day, one of our clients complained that they were receiving a "Fax Error" notice for one of their suppliers and that the supplier wasn't receiving the order. I remoted into their system and noticed that the supplier was set-up for fax delivery and had 000-000-0000 as the supplier's fax number. It was easy enough for me to change, so I sent our client an email that asked for the supplier's fax number. This is the response I received.

Hello Celina,

This is a local paper shop and they don't have a fax machine or an email address.

Will this cause any problems?



That Darn Annoying Laptop LED (from John G)

There is a certain "problem user" who my team has the pleasure of supporting. No matter what software, what hardware, or computer we give him, he always finds a serious defect with it.

One week, he called the helpdesk to complain that his new laptop, a Lenovo T61, had a bright little light that would continuously flash and annoy him. After a bit of back and forth, the tech realized that he was referring to the HD Activity, and explained that there was nothing the helpdesk could do about that.

A few days later, he emailed the helpdesk (CC'ing his boss and the helpdesk boss, of course) complaining about how dissatisfied he was with the "blinking light" resolution, and that the light was starting to become more and more annoying. It didn't take too long for the helpdesk manager to Reply All.


I'm sorry for the trouble you are experiencing with your laptop computer. 
At this time, we can offer three different solutions to this problem:
  1) Placed a small piece of tape over the LED as to remove it from view
  2) Simply turn off the laptop entirely
  3) Work harder so it will blink continuously


That Might Help? (from Dirk Grosskopf)
Back in the late 80's, as computers were becoming more and more available for the masses, I worked at the computer desk in mid-sized electronics store. We carried several lines of computers, but the most popular tended to be the Commodore PC. While computers themselves were OK, Commodore's customer service was a complete mess, taking six to eight weeks on average for warranty repairs.

One particular customer had a rather unfortunate experience with his Commodore PC 10 III. After purchasing the computer, he brought it home only to find that it didn't work. Period. Nothing happened when he pressed the power button. This wasn't a huge problem for us, but it required that the system be sent back Commodore.

After six weeks, the customer returned to pick up the repaired computer. When he got it home, he experienced the exact same problem: nothing happened. Not even a blink when he hit the power button. Angry, he brought it back in and we sent it back to Commodore a second time.

Another six weeks passed and he came back to get the computer again. And again, nothing. He went completely nuts, demanding to speak to the store manager, and insisting that he get his money back. This was surprising to us as, before giving him the computer back the second time, we tested it to make sure Commodore actually fixed it. Stranger still, the service reports from Commodore said that the PC was returned without any errors.

While waiting for the manager to come to the desk, I unpacked the PC, monitor, and keyboard, and installed it on a sales desk. I couldn't find the power cord and therefore used the "brown" one we used for tests. The PC came right on, which the customer's little boy notices right away.

"Daddy," he said, pointing to me, "we didn't plugged that brown cord into the computer, did we?"

The customer quickly learned after PCs do, in fact, need to be plugged in. I gave him back the Commodore and a new power cord. He was never seen again in the shop.


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