There's a Rat in my Computer, Naughty NAS, and other Support Stories

« Return to Article
  • masseyis 2012-08-07 08:08
    Should have been obvious there was no HDDs. Didn't sound like rats at play.

    What the frist?
  • Kate 2012-08-07 08:12
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.
  • configurator 2012-08-07 08:17
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    I'm probably feeding the troll, but how could he follow the steps when they require the computer to boot?
    The support guy asked "Can you boot into safe mode?" Should he have answered yes?
  • Avenger 2012-08-07 08:17
    ...and then they just leave the conversation, refusing to do the job they were hired to do, and you have no chance to call them back and get in touch with the same person.

    Yeah, sounds like a very shitty job.
  • Anketam 2012-08-07 08:19
    I am so sad at the Naughty NAS story. Beause of it, we will not get a story in a few years when a tech guy comes in and has to explain to them that he cant recover their backed up files because the drives were never there.
  • Recursive Reclusive 2012-08-07 08:20
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude.

    How is he being rude? He's going along with "Sagar", explaining why he can't try the offered fixes. I don't see him interrupting or name calling or any of that stuff.
  • INITymous 2012-08-07 08:24
    Yay I'm not the only one who noticed ^-^
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 08:26
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.

    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with? Yes... they have a script... and I am usually patient enough to pretend I am performing all of the useless steps so they feel like they are doing their jobs... but they need to at least have a fundimental understanding of the distinction between useless and impossible.
  • Remy Porter 2012-08-07 08:29
    John just should have used the keyword- shibboleet.
  • Nook Schreier 2012-08-07 08:45
    Some Jerk:
    WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?


    Uhh... capitalism? To those companies, tech support is mostly a money pit, so they are going to throw as little money down that hole as possible. They will provide the warrantied "tech support". But they won't guarantee that it will be effective.
  • Mark Bowytz 2012-08-07 08:52
    Jonathan Levy:
    Wait a minute (...)

    So - is it SAAAAAAgar or *********?

    Vewwy suspicious!

    INITymous:
    This could be an error on this end, but why is ***** spelt "Sagar" everywhere except when he leaves?

    Fixed - Good catch! Anonymization is more of an art than a science (I know, I know, Find/Replace).
  • AGray 2012-08-07 08:54
    Nook Schreier:
    Uhh... capitalism? To those companies, tech support is mostly a money pit, so they are going to throw as little money down that hole as possible. They will provide the warrantied "tech support". But they won't guarantee that it will be effective.


    In Soviet Russia, tech supports you!

    CAPTCHA: pecus - peekaboo in Latin.
  • Mr Ed. 2012-08-07 08:55
    I like to use the stories here to keep the "Micro Windows Technical Support" scammers from trying to extort money from less savvy people.

    The next time one calls you, choose a character, and see how long you can keep them on the phone with that story.

    I'm going for "there's a rat in my computer" next time.
  • beginner_ 2012-08-07 09:07
    I think a bot would do a better job than Sagar but I suspect Sagar was just a bad bot...

    Doing this in a chat makes no sense as anyone can speak faster than type. But I assume they got tons of complaints because no one could understand their English and the honking and other common "indian background noises" didn't help with that either.
  • ceiswyn 2012-08-07 09:09
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them.


    Is it just me, or would it be less trouble for everyone involved if they just gave users the relevant flowchart and cut out the middleman?

    Kate:
    Then you can get referred on to the next level of support.


    A process that obviously worked perfectly in this example.

    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?
  • Brent 2012-08-07 09:19
    Some Jerk:

    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.


    The problem is that they get too many calls from people like the "Rat in my computer" guy. People who will say their computer "does not boot" just because their computer isn't working for any reason, because they don't know what "boot" means. The end result is that tech support can't trust anything the user says, and ironically, that's even more true when the user uses terms like "boot" (especially if they keep repeating it... because that's what clueless newbies are doing on the other lines, repeating the one tech word they know).
  • NextLevel 2012-08-07 09:19
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    What kind of flowchart doesn't have some short circuit evaluation? Really, there are only so many ways to say "no, it doesn't boot."
  • MBV 2012-08-07 09:19
    The nicest thing about the last chat is that from the first line I can see the support 'engineer' is from India. And I hear the entire conversation in Dinglish when reading...
  • FrostCat 2012-08-07 09:21
    I don't see how John is being rude, either. Abrupt, probably. I was going to write "but how else do you get through to someone that you need to break out of the script?" but Sagar was probably copy-pasting anyway.

    I've actually been in this exact situation, where an HP laptop refused to boot up, and they DO want to run you through a bunch of stuff in Windows, and you do have to make a little effort to get them to realize you really mean "my computer won't boot," and not "windows isn't working right."

    Also, nobody comments on "delete the prefetch folder?" Sounds like voodoo to me, frankly. That must be this year's "you need to reinstall Windows."
  • Chad Garrett 2012-08-07 09:23
    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?


    I can go one better. My cable Internet was down last week. They got back to me and confirmed that there was construction in my area and a fiber was cut that day (even though I'd been up and down for over a week while on vacation) Later that day, they closed my ticket when that construction was completed - when my modem was verifiably still offline from their end.
  • Kasper 2012-08-07 09:24
    Mr Ed.:
    I like to use the stories here to keep the "Micro Windows Technical Support" scammers from trying to extort money from less savvy people.

    The next time one calls you, choose a character, and see how long you can keep them on the phone with that story.
    The last time I had one of those on the phone, I pretended to have an Internet connection with only IPv6 connectivity. That meant I was able to access Google and other big sites, but I could not download the software the scammer wanted me to install because it was on an IPv4 only website.

    Moreover I pretended that I had no clue why some websites were inaccessible.

    It didn't take long for the scammer to get so frustrated that he actually told me I had to fix my Internet connectivity before he could help me.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 09:25
    ceiswyn:
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them.


    Is it just me, or would it be less trouble for everyone involved if they just gave users the relevant flowchart and cut out the middleman?

    Kate:
    Then you can get referred on to the next level of support.


    A process that obviously worked perfectly in this example.

    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?


    I think Lex Luthor said it best with "I am surprised his brain produces enough power to operate his legs".

    CAPTCHA: Inhibeo - A magical spell that prevents a person from completing whatever objective they currently possess. NOTE: This spell is copyrighted, owned and frequently improved at Microsoft!
  • Chad Garrett 2012-08-07 09:27
    I'm not so sure I understand the WTF on the torch.

    The US public has no familiarity with ANY British/Australian English differences, except for maybe the extra u in words like colour. If you ask someone here what aluminium is, they seriously wouldn't be able to figure it out.

  • Luigi 2012-08-07 09:36
    Sorry, but isn't it obvious the TSA goons broke the laptop?
  • Basil 2012-08-07 09:36
    Tell him it's just a hamster?
  • Mcoder 2012-08-07 09:37
    FrostCat:
    Also, nobody comments on "delete the prefetch folder?" Sounds like voodoo to me, frankly. That must be this year's "you need to reinstall Windows."


    I used to get mad at that kind of voodoo, until it solved a problem I had that I tough it was impossible to solve that way. Computers are complex, caches fail and you can never be sure about what depends on them.
  • $$ERR:get_name_fail 2012-08-07 09:43
    "A torch. Oh, wait, no, not a torch -- a flashlight."

    A torch would very likely have worked too. Open fire emits even more infrared light than lightbulbs.
  • Severity One 2012-08-07 09:44
    beginner_:
    Doing this in a chat makes no sense as anyone can speak faster than type. But I assume they got tons of complaints because no one could understand their English and the honking and other common "indian background noises" didn't help with that either.
    You're assuming now that the Indians are capable of understanding your 'interpretation' of the English language.
  • Peter 2012-08-07 09:46
    Nook Schreier:
    Some Jerk:
    WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?
    Uhh... capitalism? To those companies, tech support is mostly a money pit, so they are going to throw as little money down that hole as possible. They will provide the warrantied "tech support". But they won't guarantee that it will be effective.
    In the free market, companies compete to get your money. You're free to choose another company if you don't like the one. You can choose based on cost or service or whatever matters to you.

    Companies hate to compete with each other, though, because it means they can't gouge you on price and screw you on support, all to maximize profits. So they go to their purchased politicians and get laws passed to make it nearly impossible for anyone else to compete with them. That's not capitalism, it's fascism. But whatever name you use, don't confuse politician-assisted-screwing with the free market.
  • Bldsquirrel 2012-08-07 09:48
    Some Jerk:

    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.

    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with? Yes... they have a script... and I am usually patient enough to pretend I am performing all of the useless steps so they feel like they are doing their jobs... but they need to at least have a fundimental understanding of the distinction between useless and impossible.


    Well, when telling people that they need to plug their computer in before they can turn it on and rebooting to solve the problem makes up 90% of their cases, they don't really need a qualified agent to handle most of them.
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2012-08-07 10:08
    Some Jerk:
    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?
    The cheapness is because publicly-traded companies have to meet earnings targets set by Wall Street, which gives them an incentive to squeeze out every last penny of profit. If they meet their targets, the stock price goes up. Who cares about the stock price? You do, if you have a 401(k), in which case this is at least partially your fault.
  • Steven Seagal's ponytail 2012-08-07 10:17
    Exactly this. Down with crony "capitalism"! Ron Paul 2012!
  • Callin 2012-08-07 10:17
    There is a rat in my ultrabook!
  • Steven Seagal's ponytail 2012-08-07 10:17
    Peter:
    Nook Schreier:
    Some Jerk:
    WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?
    Uhh... capitalism? To those companies, tech support is mostly a money pit, so they are going to throw as little money down that hole as possible. They will provide the warrantied "tech support". But they won't guarantee that it will be effective.
    In the free market, companies compete to get your money. You're free to choose another company if you don't like the one. You can choose based on cost or service or whatever matters to you.

    Companies hate to compete with each other, though, because it means they can't gouge you on price and screw you on support, all to maximize profits. So they go to their purchased politicians and get laws passed to make it nearly impossible for anyone else to compete with them. That's not capitalism, it's fascism. But whatever name you use, don't confuse politician-assisted-screwing with the free market.

    Exactly this. Down with crony "capitalism"! Ron Paul 2012!
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 10:23
    Brent:
    Some Jerk:

    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.


    The problem is that they get too many calls from people like the "Rat in my computer" guy. People who will say their computer "does not boot" just because their computer isn't working for any reason, because they don't know what "boot" means. The end result is that tech support can't trust anything the user says, and ironically, that's even more true when the user uses terms like "boot" (especially if they keep repeating it... because that's what clueless newbies are doing on the other lines, repeating the one tech word they know).


    That is when a person seeks clarification. The fact that the prepresentative chose not to seek clarification is an indication that said individual was unaware of said distinction... AKA: Not qualified to support computer hardware
  • Rick 2012-08-07 10:28
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Some Jerk:
    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?
    The cheapness is because publicly-traded companies have to meet earnings targets set by Wall Street, which gives them an incentive to squeeze out every last penny of profit. If they meet their targets, the stock price goes up. Who cares about the stock price? You do, if you have a 401(k), in which case this is at least partially your fault.
    But suppose "Watermelon Computer Company" gains a reputation for superior support, so much that some people are willing to pay extra for a Watermelon, or maybe even pay a little for support when they need it. As a result, when your 401(k) invests a million in WCC they get a higher return than they would investing in Cheap Ass Suckpport.

    But you don't care about anything but price when you buy "commodity" gear. One hard drive is 79.99 and the other is 79.93 and you go for the cheaper one, every time. So once again, it is still your fault!
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 10:32
    Bldsquirrel:
    Some Jerk:

    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.

    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with? Yes... they have a script... and I am usually patient enough to pretend I am performing all of the useless steps so they feel like they are doing their jobs... but they need to at least have a fundimental understanding of the distinction between useless and impossible.


    Well, when telling people that they need to plug their computer in before they can turn it on and rebooting to solve the problem makes up 90% of their cases, they don't really need a qualified agent to handle most of them.


    This is why many companies have a small questionair prior to receiving support. Questions to determine where in the support chain the current customer resides. If they wish to save money AND help customers with legitimate problems. Just to take this a step further... grant 1 support license to each purchaser which will be revoked only in the event that the solution to their poblem is available on the site without the need for contacting support. Then charge $20 for each support call thereafter... there again... except those that are actually the result of hardware issues.

    There is a difference between support and training... which is well established by larger market companies. Training (such as how to plug your computer into the wall) is not free... it is purchased.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 10:37
    Rick:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Some Jerk:
    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?
    The cheapness is because publicly-traded companies have to meet earnings targets set by Wall Street, which gives them an incentive to squeeze out every last penny of profit. If they meet their targets, the stock price goes up. Who cares about the stock price? You do, if you have a 401(k), in which case this is at least partially your fault.
    But suppose "Watermelon Computer Company" gains a reputation for superior support, so much that some people are willing to pay extra for a Watermelon, or maybe even pay a little for support when they need it. As a result, when your 401(k) invests a million in WCC they get a higher return than they would investing in Cheap Ass Suckpport.

    But you don't care about anything but price when you buy "commodity" gear. One hard drive is 79.99 and the other is 79.93 and you go for the cheaper one, every time. So once again, it is still your fault!


    Me personally... I choose my products first based on industrial reputation. If I cannot ascertain the quality of support, I may try out the little guy once or twice ... but if the support is not there I will never make another purchase from that company again, regardless of tech/price ratio.

    I suppose you are right in a way though. The support on my ASUS Mobo was exceptional. The drive controller burned out pretty soon after buying it and they paid my shipping and their own to replace it as quickly as feasibly possible.
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2012-08-07 10:48
    Rick:
    But you don't care about anything but price when you buy "commodity" gear. One hard drive is 79.99 and the other is 79.93 and you go for the cheaper one, every time. So once again, it is still your fault!
    Yes, and that's why people who complain about Walmart taking over retail should complain about the people who shop there instead.
  • Andrew 2012-08-07 10:51
    The real WTF is that the "Naughty NAS" didn't even have the hardware to store anything naughty. Here I was thinking that the NAS would be full of porn. WTF!
  • Remy Porter 2012-08-07 10:57
    Maybe the HDDs that belonged in the NAS were full of porn, and that's why they were removed. Y'know, for... researching how that porn got there. Yeah, that's the ticket. Total violation of our IT standards. Oh, that's a total violation. It'll be a long, hard job figuring out how it got on there.
  • Anon 2012-08-07 11:03
    I don't see the WTF with Sagar. Since you are chatting with him online, it's not unreasonable for him to assume you are a moron and your computer has, in fact, booted. If it wasn't booting how are you talking to him?

    John should have started by stating that he was talking to him on a different computer!
  • Anon 2012-08-07 11:05
    So sure, the NAS had no hard drives in it, but think of the savings by not including expensive hard drives. That's probably how the last "IT Expert" managed to bid so low.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 11:09
    Anon:
    I don't see the WTF with Sagar. Since you are chatting with him online, it's not unreasonable for him to assume you are a moron and your computer has, in fact, booted. If it wasn't booting how are you talking to him?

    John should have started by stating that he was talking to him on a different computer!


    I would agree with you if a phone call was possible. As those who require support for a computer that does not function must use the online chat however... it still equates to abject stupidity.

    CAPTCHA: genitus - My wife's maiden name is Genitus Kickeros
  • oldami 2012-08-07 11:14
    $$ERR:get_name_fail:
    "A torch. Oh, wait, no, not a torch -- a flashlight."

    A torch would very likely have worked too. Open fire emits even more infrared light than lightbulbs.


    Yes. It would have worked. But only once.
  • Maltz 2012-08-07 11:16
    NextLevel:
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    What kind of flowchart doesn't have some short circuit evaluation? Really, there are only so many ways to say "no, it doesn't boot."


    But how vague is that? "It doesn't boot" What does that even mean? No login screen? Hangup while it's booting? Doesn't post? No power at all? And all those assume the user is even using the term correctly, which, let's be honest, is kind of a stretch.

    The guy wasn't particularly rude, but he should have described the problem in greater detail MUCH sooner. He didn't give the support guy anything to go on until he actually described at exactly what point during the boot process the machine hung up.
  • D-Coder 2012-08-07 11:24
    Anon:
    I don't see the WTF with Sagar. Since you are chatting with him online, it's not unreasonable for him to assume you are a moron and your computer has, in fact, booted. If it wasn't booting how are you talking to him?

    John should have started by stating that he was talking to him on a different computer!

    This has helped me figure out what really happened at the end.

    "Sagar" lost track of his script... and rebooted his own computer.
  • Ayn Rand's Ghost! 2012-08-07 11:27
    There's a reason why OFFSHORING won't work.
  • Kef Schecter 2012-08-07 11:29
    "Torch" is not a WTF. Perhaps amusing (especially to Brits; I can't blame them for having a laugh at our expense), but not a WTF nonetheless. I recall this scene from various incarnations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (sadly, not the movie version, wherein virtually all funny jokes were excised):

    Arthur: On display? I eventually had to go to the cellar.
    Prosser: That's the display department.
    Arthur: With a torch!
    Prosser: The lights had probably gone...

    I'd read, listened, and watched this scene several times before I realized "torch" here simply meant "flashlight". And even then I only realized it when I encountered "torch" somewhere else (probably in another Adams novel, as it happens) in a context where "flashlight" was the only thing that possibly made any sense.

    Hitchhiker's also had a similarly confusing scene regarding a "zebra crossing". As with the line about the torch, this conjures wildly different images in the minds of Brits and Americans, but happened to work nonetheless with either interpretation.
  • Zylon 2012-08-07 11:31
    Please to reformat the needful.
  • Loren Pechtel 2012-08-07 11:35
    ceiswyn:
    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?


    Yeah. Long ago I spent an hour on the phone with tech support being the non-compliant customer because the idiot tech wanted me to direct-connect an unpatched, no AV XP system to the modem. (Back when that meant a near-instant infection with Blaster.)

    Windows 98 direct connected--nope, not supported.
    XP, via a router, nope.

    I finally went and got my machine and direct connected it, of course there still was nothing. He then actually began troubleshooting and we got it almost immediately--their installer had goofed a digit in the MAC.
  • Loren Pechtel 2012-08-07 11:40
    Mcoder:
    FrostCat:
    Also, nobody comments on "delete the prefetch folder?" Sounds like voodoo to me, frankly. That must be this year's "you need to reinstall Windows."


    I used to get mad at that kind of voodoo, until it solved a problem I had that I tough it was impossible to solve that way. Computers are complex, caches fail and you can never be sure about what depends on them.


    Yeah, I had a *REPEATED* run-in with a cache mystery that was never resolved. It was possible for stuff in the temp directory to cause the program to puke on startup, never mind that the closest the program did to reading the temp directory on startup is to create one file or append to it if it existed--a simple seek to the filesize with zero bytes of data transfer.

    It could never be reproduced on anything other than a production machine and it blew things up so badly that no logging was possible. Despite going back and banging my head on it periodically it was never resolved, wipe the temp directory if the program pukes on startup was simply a known troubleshooting step.
  • MiffTheFox 2012-08-07 11:45
    Is a PVD file something that I'm supposed to know what it is? Otherwise, I'm just gonna assume that the law firm was using VideoNow for whatever reason (the only definition I found that would include audio).
  • PoPSiCLe 2012-08-07 11:45
    Maltz:

    But how vague is that? "It doesn't boot" What does that even mean? No login screen? Hangup while it's booting? Doesn't post? No power at all? And all those assume the user is even using the term correctly, which, let's be honest, is kind of a stretch.

    The guy wasn't particularly rude, but he should have described the problem in greater detail MUCH sooner. He didn't give the support guy anything to go on until he actually described at exactly what point during the boot process the machine hung up.


    No. I agree that users are idiots, but if you at least assume that the person is vaguely knowledgeable about what he's talking about, starting with "do this in Windows" when he's stating "the computer won't boot" is plainly stupid.

    At least start by asking the right questions, for instance "how far into the boot-process do you get before it stops", "can you enter BIOS", if they have hardware-diagnosis available in BIOS, has that been run (if it's accessible) etc.

    There is nothing more frustrating than idiots reading a premade script that isn't even vaguely close to your problem. Been there, done that - I still have to inform my ISP, when I call them, that I used to work for them, and can probably go through the script faster than they can. That usually moves me into tier2, and I can talk to someone who actually knows something.
  • Kef Schecter 2012-08-07 11:46
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them.


    Are you kidding me? Anybody with half a brain, flowchart or not, knows "it won't boot" means "no Start button". The tech could at least have said "So there's no Start button?" instead of stupidly pretending that there was any possibility that the instruction "Click the Start button" could be followed. If the tech's higher-ups cannot understand this, they really shouldn't be providing technical support.
  • Harrow 2012-08-07 11:51
    Some Jerk:
    ...CAPTCHA: genitus - My wife's maiden name is Genitus Kickeros
    Wow. What is her married name?

    -Harrow.
  • Paul Neumann 2012-08-07 11:52
    The "Naughty NAS" may be mine...

    When I was doing consulting, the company I worked for allowed clients to purchase their own devices which we were to connect and support. It was quite often that a client would purchase something which did not satisfy any need, but it was cheap. Generally only about 5% of those clients would listen to such recommendations as:

    └ It may be cheaper to buy a new printer rather than find a fuser for a 1980's LaserJet you bought at GoodWill for $15;

    └ No you don't need a Cisco Pix 535 for a 4 person office, a Netgear will provide plenty of bandwidth for sharing your 256kbps DSL connection;

    └ Installing Windows XP on your PII 300Mhz 96MB Ram computer is not "as good as buying a new one.";

    └ Installing a NAS without harddrives won't do anything for you. Yes, hard drives do cost more than the NAS box... You're not willing to spend that much?


    Yeah, good times for all.
  • @Deprecated 2012-08-07 11:56
    Callin:
    There is a rat in my ultrabook!

    That's nothing; I have a rat in my iPod! I can hear it scratching, scratching, driving me crazy!!!
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 12:00
    Harrow:
    Some Jerk:
    ...CAPTCHA: genitus - My wife's maiden name is Genitus Kickeros
    Wow. What is her married name?

    -Harrow.


    Sorry... I am having trouble coming up with one. :p ... seems like she still fits that name sometimes.
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 12:02
    Some Jerk:
    Harrow:
    Some Jerk:
    ...CAPTCHA: genitus - My wife's maiden name is Genitus Kickeros
    Wow. What is her married name?

    -Harrow.


    Sorry... I am having trouble coming up with one. :p ... seems like she still fits that name sometimes.


    I wanna be genitus massivous though... if it weren't such a blatently contradictory idea.
  • Llarry 2012-08-07 12:11
    Previous place I worked, one of the other guys had had a gig doing hardware support for a PC builder. He told me of getting a call from a customer complaining of a "mouse problem". Mike starts through the usual suspects: plugged in, cursor move, clicking, etc. Guy says, "No, you don't understand, the little bugger crawled into the back of the machine and died." Mike cleared him to just send it back in to be taken care of...
  • Barnaby 2012-08-07 12:19
    Paul Neumann:
    The "Naughty NAS" may be mine...

    When I was doing consulting, the company I worked for allowed clients to purchase their own devices which we were to connect and support.

    Oh. Dear. God.

    └ No you don't need a Cisco Pix 535 for a 4 person office, a Netgear will provide plenty of bandwidth for sharing your 256kbps DSL connection;

    I would only ever recommend a specific model. I love a lot of Netgear stuff, but some models have given me trouble. Of course, they do provide job security...
  • Mason Wheeler 2012-08-07 12:32
    PoPSiCLe:
    Maltz:

    But how vague is that? "It doesn't boot" What does that even mean? No login screen? Hangup while it's booting? Doesn't post? No power at all? And all those assume the user is even using the term correctly, which, let's be honest, is kind of a stretch.

    The guy wasn't particularly rude, but he should have described the problem in greater detail MUCH sooner. He didn't give the support guy anything to go on until he actually described at exactly what point during the boot process the machine hung up.


    No. I agree that users are idiots, but if you at least assume that the person is vaguely knowledgeable about what he's talking about, starting with "do this in Windows" when he's stating "the computer won't boot" is plainly stupid.

    At least start by asking the right questions, for instance "how far into the boot-process do you get before it stops", "can you enter BIOS", if they have hardware-diagnosis available in BIOS, has that been run (if it's accessible) etc.

    There is nothing more frustrating than idiots reading a premade script that isn't even vaguely close to your problem. Been there, done that - I still have to inform my ISP, when I call them, that I used to work for them, and can probably go through the script faster than they can. That usually moves me into tier2, and I can talk to someone who actually knows something.


    This. TRWTF is that the guy didn't know how to ask to be escalated when presented with a mindless support drone. That's basically Tech Support 101.
  • Cbuttius 2012-08-07 12:40
    I'm gonna fix that rat, that's what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna fix that rat...
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 12:51
    Mason Wheeler:
    PoPSiCLe:
    Maltz:

    But how vague is that? "It doesn't boot" What does that even mean? No login screen? Hangup while it's booting? Doesn't post? No power at all? And all those assume the user is even using the term correctly, which, let's be honest, is kind of a stretch.

    The guy wasn't particularly rude, but he should have described the problem in greater detail MUCH sooner. He didn't give the support guy anything to go on until he actually described at exactly what point during the boot process the machine hung up.


    No. I agree that users are idiots, but if you at least assume that the person is vaguely knowledgeable about what he's talking about, starting with "do this in Windows" when he's stating "the computer won't boot" is plainly stupid.

    At least start by asking the right questions, for instance "how far into the boot-process do you get before it stops", "can you enter BIOS", if they have hardware-diagnosis available in BIOS, has that been run (if it's accessible) etc.

    There is nothing more frustrating than idiots reading a premade script that isn't even vaguely close to your problem. Been there, done that - I still have to inform my ISP, when I call them, that I used to work for them, and can probably go through the script faster than they can. That usually moves me into tier2, and I can talk to someone who actually knows something.


    This. TRWTF is that the guy didn't know how to ask to be escalated when presented with a mindless support drone. That's basically Tech Support 101.


    "Umm... can I please talk to somebody capable of intelligent thought?
  • RFmich 2012-08-07 12:51
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    I once tried that. I was at a friend's house. Their brand new Hell computer (you can figure out the real company name if you like) was having an intermittent problem. After a bit of poking around, I discovered that if I wiggled the hard disk power cable I could hear the disk spinup/spindown etc. So flakey connector or flakey cable or flakey disk.

    We call Hell support in on my cell (no landline in that room). The script took about 1.5hours to go through with me punctuating each step faithfully done with 'If I wiggle the power cable on the hard drive I can hear it power up and down maybe there's a problem there.' Finally we got to the point where he said he suspected there was some sort of problem with the hard-drive (that was the first 45min). The next bit was convincing him that:
    - This was a brand new computer.
    - Shipping parts around when there could be more than one cause for this was a non-starter.
    - Please replace the damned computer because it is under the infant mortality period.

    What I did at the end is what I often do when someone's service frustratesmen. The last question on all the script is:

    Support tech: "Is there anything more I can do for you"
    Me: "Yes I wonder if you could rate your performance on this call?"
    Support tech: "I'm sorry I don't understand?"
    Me: "I just ran up a 1.5hour cell phone bill with you not listening to me tell you what the problem was. How do you rate your performance?"

    Key...say this very calmly don't be angry don't be an asshole just ask "How do you rate your performance on this call?"

    Captcha paratus
  • Some Jerk 2012-08-07 13:02
    RFmich:
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    I once tried that. I was at a friend's house. Their brand new Hell computer (you can figure out the real company name if you like) was having an intermittent problem. After a bit of poking around, I discovered that if I wiggled the hard disk power cable I could hear the disk spinup/spindown etc. So flakey connector or flakey cable or flakey disk.

    We call Hell support in on my cell (no landline in that room). The script took about 1.5hours to go through with me punctuating each step faithfully done with 'If I wiggle the power cable on the hard drive I can hear it power up and down maybe there's a problem there.' Finally we got to the point where he said he suspected there was some sort of problem with the hard-drive (that was the first 45min). The next bit was convincing him that:
    - This was a brand new computer.
    - Shipping parts around when there could be more than one cause for this was a non-starter.
    - Please replace the damned computer because it is under the infant mortality period.

    What I did at the end is what I often do when someone's service frustratesmen. The last question on all the script is:

    Support tech: "Is there anything more I can do for you"
    Me: "Yes I wonder if you could rate your performance on this call?"
    Support tech: "I'm sorry I don't understand?"
    Me: "I just ran up a 1.5hour cell phone bill with you not listening to me tell you what the problem was. How do you rate your performance?"

    Key...say this very calmly don't be angry don't be an asshole just ask "How do you rate your performance on this call?"

    Captcha paratus


    Script or no... I don't waste time on fools. When possible, I describe the problem in the most technical way possible and usually get redirected directly to someone who knows their right hand from their left testacle. If I don't, then I never do business with that company again.
  • Obvious Man 2012-08-07 13:42
    Tech support via "live chat" is always useless. What people fail to recognize is that these people's reading comprehension is much worse than their verbal skills. I wish they would just run Google translate so they could read what I'm writing in their native tongue.

    That's what's so frustrating when there's a simple phrase like "it won't boot" fails to register.
  • wyz 2012-08-07 13:52
    Some Jerk:
    Harrow:
    Some Jerk:
    ...CAPTCHA: genitus - My wife's maiden name is Genitus Kickeros
    Wow. What is her married name?

    -Harrow.


    Sorry... I am having trouble coming up with one. :p ... seems like she still fits that name sometimes.


    We aren't. You're Some Jerk, replace Kickeros with Jerk or variants thereof...

    Captcha: saluto - I saluto you and your wife.
  • PiisAWheeL 2012-08-07 14:02
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.
    I don't think he was being a dick. He was very clear and direct with his answers. The tech support guy is the moron. You would think he could at least switch from the "internet doesnt work" script over to the "it wont boot" script, and start by asking the guy if it is plugged in.
  • Gurth 2012-08-07 14:07
    NextLevel:
    Really, there are only so many ways to say "no, it doesn't boot."

    True, but if you get the impression the support guy doesn't get it, you could try to say it in a few more words so they understand at what point things go wrong and/or that you know what you're talking about. Of course, this might still not help if they're just following a script and don't have much actual knowledge of the subject themselves.
  • Dann of Thursday 2012-08-07 15:49
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    This may blow your mind but it's not actually rude to not coddle incompetency, particularly when your job description consists solely of the two words "fix shit". If you cannot perform your two-word job description correctly, you do not magically get respect just for trying. Craziness, I know.
  • Svensson 2012-08-07 15:56
    Rick:
    But suppose "Watermelon Computer Company" gains a reputation for superior support, so much that some people are willing to pay extra for a Watermelon, or maybe even pay a little for support when they need it. As a result, when your 401(k) invests a million in WCC they get a higher return than they would investing in Cheap Ass Suckpport.

    But you don't care about anything but price when you buy "commodity" gear. One hard drive is 79.99 and the other is 79.93 and you go for the cheaper one, every time. So once again, it is still your fault!


    I care about things other than price, so it's not my fault. No company is going to provide the products and service that I want, because they can make more money catering to a million mindless drones. They just won't offer tech support for somebody who understands computers.

    It's kind of like democracy. The "American People" get the government that they deserve -- unfortunately, I get the government that they deserve too.
  • arh 2012-08-07 16:05
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    Following his flowchart is exactly what you shouldn't do. If they have stupid rules, that's their problem. Of course there's no need to be rude, but if they won't listen or won't budge from a flowchart they're incompetent and you shouldn't waste your time. Seriously, if they have an inch of skill, they'd skip the flowchart when (and if, at all) they understand that the computer won't boot. If they do, but don't have the balls to use common sense, then that's their problem. And not yours!

    Seriously, I just get so pissed when I hear someone saying "well, that's just how it is you know (and I'm too lazy/incompetent/stupid to do anything about it). Listening in the first place significantly lowers the call length (i.e. saves money), makes the customer happy and reduces the need for staffing at the call center.
  • arh 2012-08-07 16:08
    Obvious Man:
    Tech support via "live chat" is always useless. What people fail to recognize is that these people's reading comprehension is much worse than their verbal skills. I wish they would just run Google translate so they could read what I'm writing in their native tongue.

    That's what's so frustrating when there's a simple phrase like "it won't boot" fails to register.


    They probably think you have a shoe in the computer and can't fit another. So the only logical thing is to go into safe mode and make more space.
  • PG4 2012-08-07 16:17
    Not going to give the real company name or product but....

    We had a blade server that suddenly went off line. We could even get to it's little diag processor that remains up as long as the blade is plugged in. We went to the machine room and saw that all the status lights, and even internal ones on the system board you could see through cooling vents were not on. Reseated the blade, even in another slot, and no change.

    Called support, and told them it's dead send the guy out with a new system board. Tech support insisted we get to the daig process and check the logs because it could be something else.

    We kept saying, it has no power, we can't get to diag processor. They kept saying they needed the logs first, and we told them there are no logs to get. This goes on for about 30 minutes. Finally we told them, either send the ticket on to the hardware group or give me your supervisor on the phone, NOW. We have a 4 hour response time contract, we are not going to play 20 questions for ever.

    When the field guy came out with the new system board and replaced it, you could see a crack in the plastic around the power pins on the backplane connector, and the power pins were loose.
  • Brent 2012-08-07 16:45
    Some Jerk:
    Brent:
    Some Jerk:

    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.


    The problem is that they get too many calls from people like the "Rat in my computer" guy. People who will say their computer "does not boot" just because their computer isn't working for any reason, because they don't know what "boot" means. The end result is that tech support can't trust anything the user says, and ironically, that's even more true when the user uses terms like "boot" (especially if they keep repeating it... because that's what clueless newbies are doing on the other lines, repeating the one tech word they know).


    That is when a person seeks clarification. The fact that the prepresentative chose not to seek clarification is an indication that said individual was unaware of said distinction... AKA: Not qualified to support computer hardware


    No, it's a sign that the person has realized after hundreds of calls that if you ask "What do you mean it won't boot?", you'll get pretty much the same answer regardless of how clued they are... "I mean it won't boot", typically with a derisive tone, because that the tech representative is an idiot that doesn't know what "boot" means. Ironically again, both the most clueless and the most clueful will be among the most upset and derisive that the agent is asking such a stupid question and doesn't seem to know what "boot" means, which makes them indistinguishable. So they skip such worthless tests and jump to user is clueless and probably thinks "doesn't boot" means that "IE ain't working" and follow the standard script.
  • Spewin Coffee 2012-08-07 16:54
    "John > There is no chance do do anything.
    John > it won't boot."

    Ha! You said "doo doo"!

    CAPTCHA: genitus
  • da Doctah 2012-08-07 17:00
    Chad Garrett:
    I'm not so sure I understand the WTF on the torch.

    The US public has no familiarity with ANY British/Australian English differences, except for maybe the extra u in words like colour. If you ask someone here what aluminium is, they seriously wouldn't be able to figure it out.

    It's a metal, right? Like platinium and molybdenium.
  • da Doctah 2012-08-07 17:03
    ceiswyn:
    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?

    The underpants gnomes!

    We finally discovered what phase 2 is!
  • dkf 2012-08-07 17:24
    PG4:
    We kept saying, it has no power, we can't get to diag processor. They kept saying they needed the logs first, and we told them there are no logs to get. This goes on for about 30 minutes. Finally we told them, either send the ticket on to the hardware group or give me your supervisor on the phone, NOW. We have a 4 hour response time contract, we are not going to play 20 questions for ever.
    I'm a little surprised that they played such games with a 4-hour-response contract; at that sort of level, I'd expect them to both expect to be dealing with a competent admin on your end (or a money-wasting fool, but the cash is still good) and to operate on a principle of “ship the replacement part immediately and figure out what's wrong with the old one after getting it back to base”.

    Mind you, the most frustrating problem we ever dealt with was a workstation that liked to fail mysteriously after a part was changed about 10 minutes after the vendor's tech left the building. Eventually was tracked down to some sort of subtle motherboard problem in that particular machine. (Not mentioning the vendor name as the other couple of hundred workstations from the same vendor were perfect. It was just this one system that was downright malicious in the timing of its failures. We renamed the machine “murphy” in the DNS after that.)
  • Paul Neumann 2012-08-07 17:38
    "A torch. Oh, wait, no, not a torch -- a fleshlight."


    FTFY. That will leave them guessing!

    captcha: erat -- an alternative [to ehampster] computer power source.
  • Kensey 2012-08-07 17:54
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    First of all, nothing in the world could have made this flowchart work if the computer wouldn't boot. As soon as he said "won't boot", the tech should have switched to a "power-on problems" flowchart.

    Second, I am sick and tired of the "they have to go through the script" excuse. If they haven't the clue level needed to go outside the script in obvious cases like this, they shouldn't be working support. If they have, they shouldn't be working first-line any more.

    I had an interaction with Dell on a won't-boot issue with an Optiplex desktop at my last job. The tech immediately recognized my symptoms, assessed my tech level, had me open the case and perform some tests to confirm his diagnosis, and ended up sending me a new part to install myself. He was quite obviously working from a script, but it was a script informed by his own experience and judgment at every point. The whole call was 10 minutes from the time he came on till the time he entered the part dispatch, most of which was me fumbling around underneath my desk, and the result was success in that when the new part arrived, it resolved the issue completely.
  • ekolis 2012-08-07 18:48
    M. Fragger is the most awesome name EVER!
  • default_ex 2012-08-07 19:23
    Been through the last story a dozen times with my HP laptop.

    The machine had a faulty BIOS chip from day one. The vendor of the mainboard had a utility just for testing for problems on the mainboard. Download, burn to disc, boot from disc, it did the rest on it's own and displayed a list of test results. I can't remember the exact message but it said something like "BIOS integrity compromised. This is usually a result of a defective BIOS chip". I flashed the BIOS and ran it again, same message, so I knew right away that chip was most likely defective.

    Having not been able to solve the problem on my own, I gave in and phoned HP support to send it in. HP never gave me a reason to doubt them in the past, after all my HP printer I bought in 2000 is still working to this day just like new, as is the camera that came with it.

    Two years after that first call, and at least 30 more calls and RMAs. I was still getting the same damn thing and my warranty period was almost up. Every time I sent it in, they dusted out the keyboard, reinstalled Windows, and sent it back. I even started to put symbols on parts with a market that only appears in UV light to see if they swapped any parts out, no such luck.

    So in the last month of my warranty I was sick of being a polite person, and I stirred up a lot of trouble. So much so that they sent a tech out to my home to verify my story. I ran the guy through the whole processor I used to isolate the problem (which is much more than what I mention here), he hadn't even heard of half the tools I used, which were at the time very popular among reputable computer techs.

    I got a new laptop out of it, but those assholes screwed up the most important part. They asked what feature was most important so that they could find a suitable replacement. I responded a GPU that supports Shader Model 3.0 (I'm a graphics programmer). They assured me that it was a reasonable request and would be given priority over all other factors. They ignored that, sent me one with a slighty faster processor, half the memory, and wireless card which is temperamental at best. Not only that, but the GPU is inferior to the one in the previous laptop, 1/4 the clock rate, 2 vertex units and 2 pixel units (the previous had 8 of each). It's not at all suitable for the kind of work I do, in fact it's just an overpriced note taker and document reader now.

    I wish I was smart enough to ignore their offering and just replace the damn BIOS chip myself. It was surface mounted but I did have access to the equipment I needed to replace it.
  • Konstantin 2012-08-07 19:47
    I think I know the company of which you speak, their name is 2 letters...

    Yeah, they are horrible, their enterprise support is on par with Dell's consumer support. I can't believe they consider it enterprise support. The other 2 big enterprise system companies have real enterprise support, where they will go through a quick script to see if you know whats going on and will take your lead most of the time.

    The onsite tech's for the company you speak of are also unhappy with the phone technicians as they have to call them to get case info and status.

    captcha: opto
  • Ken Mitchell 2012-08-07 20:47
    It's been my experience that a polite, calm, repetition of "May I speak to your supervisor, please?" is often helpful. It often takes several, sometimes dozens of repetitions. If you get disconnected and have to call back, OPEN with that statement.
  • TDog 2012-08-07 21:32
    You can all whine and moan until your throats are raw, but the simple truth is that while support stories like the above are certainly frustrating, they are also notoriously embellished and happen because of one fundamental truth:

    99% of support tickets can be solved through a script consisting of things like "Please assure that all your cables are plugged in" and "Have you installed the latest updates", and adding an 'Expert' script doesn't work because there isn't a secretary in the world that isn't convinced that they are a computer expert and not as stupid as all the other people who can't even plug their cables in.
  • Cheong 2012-08-07 22:27
    RFmich:
    ...We call Hell support in on my cell (no landline in that room). The script took about 1.5hours to go through with me punctuating each step faithfully done with 'If I wiggle the power cable on the hard drive I can hear it power up and down maybe there's a problem there.' Finally we got to the point where he said he suspected there was some sort of problem with the hard-drive (that was the first 45min).

    I bought a Hell computer 5 years ago and have a faulty harddisk that won't boot, the call is just about 10 minutes and I thought it's long!

    Maybe some sort of culture difference? (Here is Hong Kong)
  • Mizchief 2012-08-08 00:49
    Remy Porter:
    Maybe the HDDs that belonged in the NAS were full of porn, and that's why they were removed. Y'know, for... researching how that porn got there. Yeah, that's the ticket. Total violation of our IT standards. Oh, that's a total violation. It'll be a long, hard job figuring out how it got on there.


    Dude, It's insulting to suggest that some twelve o' clock flasher would have a better porn collection than an IT guy. That's why we learned how to use computers in the first place. Free porn!
  • Mizchief 2012-08-08 00:53
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    That's bullshit. Why even bother having a human do tech support if your just going to blindly follow a script without even a hit of rational thought. If your asking someone to click on the start menu when you've already been told the damn thing won't boot, there is no reasonable excuse for that level of bureaucratic nonsense.
  • Flinkle 2012-08-08 01:07
    Some Jerk:
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    This comment I don't get. It doesn't take a genious level IT to know that no back button will be available if the computer does not boot.

    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with? Yes... they have a script... and I am usually patient enough to pretend I am performing all of the useless steps so they feel like they are doing their jobs... but they need to at least have a fundimental understanding of the distinction between useless and impossible.
    Well, well, well....we seem to have found a fundamental problem in IT. Anyone with even the slightest technical knowledge is over-qualified for the service desk. Even decent companies hire peoople with absolutely no technical qualification - and it's for the simple reason thart they can't find anyone suifficiently qualingfiead who actuly want to do the damns job!
  • eprtuieepa 2012-08-08 01:18
    Chad Garrett:
    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?


    I can go one better. My cable Internet was down last week. They got back to me and confirmed that there was construction in my area and a fiber was cut that day (even though I'd been up and down for over a week while on vacation) Later that day, they closed my ticket when that construction was completed - when my modem was verifiably still offline from their end.
    Must have been a good vacation if you'd been up and down for over a week....
  • Basil 2012-08-08 01:20
    Basil:
    Tell him it's just a hamster?
    A Siberian Hamster, perhaps?
  • Mike 2012-08-08 01:27
    Anon:
    I don't see the WTF with Sagar. Since you are chatting with him online, it's not unreasonable for him to assume you are a moron and your computer has, in fact, booted. If it wasn't booting how are you talking to him?

    John should have started by stating that he was talking to him on a different computer!
    I must admit, I expected that to be the cause of the WTF too - the fact that the drone from the service desk couldn't uynderstand how this chap was logged on yet claimed his computer was dead....
  • Biggles 2012-08-08 01:31
    Harrow:
    Some Jerk:
    ...CAPTCHA: genitus - My wife's maiden name is Genitus Kickeros
    Wow. What is her married name?

    -Harrow.
    Same as his....Genitus Jerk....
  • Sheffield Wednesday 2012-08-08 01:35
    Dann of Thursday:
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them. It won't take too long and it's much less hostile. Then you can get referred on to the next level of support. You might be a genius-level IT professional, but to the support tech, you are Schrödinger's technical support problem. Don't be a dick.


    This may blow your mind but it's not actually rude to not coddle incompetency, particularly when your job description consists solely of the two words "fix shit". If you cannot perform your two-word job description correctly, you do not magically get respect just for trying. Craziness, I know.
    Yes indeedy! All this political correct shit is a crock. If you are a tool and cannot do what you are hired to do, then you have to expect an occasional backlash from people who mistakenly assumed you might actually be capable of doing the job you're paid to do....
  • Jimmy 2012-08-08 01:38
    arh:
    Obvious Man:
    Tech support via "live chat" is always useless. What people fail to recognize is that these people's reading comprehension is much worse than their verbal skills. I wish they would just run Google translate so they could read what I'm writing in their native tongue.

    That's what's so frustrating when there's a simple phrase like "it won't boot" fails to register.


    They probably think you have a shoe in the computer and can't fit another. So the only logical thing is to go into safe mode and make more space.
    Sounds like there's a mouse in the shoe too....maybe that's why the cat spends so much time on the computer....who knows?
  • Jimmy 2012-08-08 01:40
    da Doctah:
    Chad Garrett:
    I'm not so sure I understand the WTF on the torch.

    The US public has no familiarity with ANY British/Australian English differences, except for maybe the extra u in words like colour. If you ask someone here what aluminium is, they seriously wouldn't be able to figure it out.

    It's a metal, right? Like platinium and molybdenium.
    More like tin, I think.
  • Dirk 2012-08-08 02:02
    M. Fragger? That wouldn't be D's brother, would it?
  • Dirk 2012-08-08 02:14
    ** Sagar has left the conversation **
    Thus, a new meme is born!
  • anonymous 2012-08-08 02:42
    Well, I am also from Hong Kong and I got a lot of Hell computers. (Un)fortunately I have 2 desktops with failed harddisk in the last month or 2.

    The first time I called is a nightmare. The support staff apparently don't have any clue and just don't know English alphabets (I ran the Dell diagnostics to confirm the harddisk problem and had to repeat the hex error code to them)....

    The second time is much better, it is simple a 2-3 minutes call, including taking the servicing address...

    BTW, the Hell call center for Hong Kong support is in Xiamen, Fujian, People's Republic of China, which is hundreds (possible thousand) miles away...
  • anonymous 2012-08-08 02:43
    Cheong:
    RFmich:
    ...We call Hell support in on my cell (no landline in that room). The script took about 1.5hours to go through with me punctuating each step faithfully done with 'If I wiggle the power cable on the hard drive I can hear it power up and down maybe there's a problem there.' Finally we got to the point where he said he suspected there was some sort of problem with the hard-drive (that was the first 45min).

    I bought a Hell computer 5 years ago and have a faulty harddisk that won't boot, the call is just about 10 minutes and I thought it's long!

    Maybe some sort of culture difference? (Here is Hong Kong)


    (sorry for repeating because I lost the quote)

    Well, I am also from Hong Kong and I got a lot of Hell computers. (Un)fortunately I have 2 desktops with failed harddisk in the last month or 2.

    The first time I called is a nightmare. The support staff apparently don't have any clue and just don't know English alphabets (I ran the Dell diagnostics to confirm the harddisk problem and had to repeat the hex error code to them)....

    The second time is much better, it is simple a 2-3 minutes call, including taking the servicing address...

    BTW, the Hell call center for Hong Kong support is in Xiamen, Fujian, People's Republic of China, which is hundreds (possible thousand) miles away...
  • QJo 2012-08-08 03:55
    ceiswyn:
    Kate:
    The guy in the last story was pretty rude. The support techs have a shitty job and are usually forced to follow a fixed script. They can't skip any part of the flowchart and just refer your issue upwards because they'll get done for it. The kindest, most human and also most efficient way to behave is just to go through the flowchart with them.


    Is it just me, or would it be less trouble for everyone involved if they just gave users the relevant flowchart and cut out the middleman?

    Kate:
    Then you can get referred on to the next level of support.


    A process that obviously worked perfectly in this example.

    Last time I called up tech support for anything, it was my ISP to tell them there was an outage in my area. It took me fifteen minutes of fiddling with the settings on one of my three computers, all the while staring at the I-am-not-connected-to-the-internet blinkenlight on my router, before the support tech gave up and said someone would call me back. The next day I got a text to say they'd fixed the outage in my area. Who, exactly, profited from that interaction...?


    a) What good would a flowchart do if the user can't get his machine to boot up so as to log into the appropriate website so as to download it? Come on now, plug in the braincell ...

    b) In the domestic environment of QJo Towers, we had an ISP which would frequently go down, and every time we logged such an issue the (heavily accented) voice at the end would specifically inform us that we had a problem with our hardware. "What you mean, the modem, the telephones and the TV cable box all going simultaneously faulty in exactly the same way?" Yes indeedy, I am booking you an engineer who will be arriving at you in a week and a half's time, and you will be charged (silly money). "In the meantime do we get compensation for your not being able to provide service?" As I have said, it is a problem with your hardware which you have obviously misused for it to break like this, so you will be charged for the engineer's time.

    This conversation happened sufficiently often that it caused us to change our ISP at the moment the contract came up for renewal. Our current ISP is (compared to that) first-rate (i.e. it's never gone down in the last 3 years or so we've had it).
  • IMil 2012-08-08 04:27
    We don't know what Jonathan's last name is.
    But one thing is for sure: it is not Snow.
  • QJo 2012-08-08 04:37
    Rick:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Some Jerk:
    Truly though, WTF is the deal with all of these CHEAP ASS COMPANIES hiring people with absolutely no technical qualification whatsoever to support their technology to begin with?
    The cheapness is because publicly-traded companies have to meet earnings targets set by Wall Street, which gives them an incentive to squeeze out every last penny of profit. If they meet their targets, the stock price goes up. Who cares about the stock price? You do, if you have a 401(k), in which case this is at least partially your fault.
    But suppose "Watermelon Computer Company" gains a reputation for superior support, so much that some people are willing to pay extra for a Watermelon, or maybe even pay a little for support when they need it. As a result, when your 401(k) invests a million in WCC they get a higher return than they would investing in Cheap Ass Suckpport.

    But you don't care about anything but price when you buy "commodity" gear. One hard drive is 79.99 and the other is 79.93 and you go for the cheaper one, every time. So once again, it is still your fault!


    Yes, you probably do and it probably is, if you're stupid and have not done your research. And you deserve to get what you pay for.
  • QJo 2012-08-08 04:43
    Kef Schecter:
    "Torch" is not a WTF. Perhaps amusing (especially to Brits; I can't blame them for having a laugh at our expense), but not a WTF nonetheless. I recall this scene from various incarnations of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (sadly, not the movie version, wherein virtually all funny jokes were excised):

    Arthur: On display? I eventually had to go to the cellar.
    Prosser: That's the display department.
    Arthur: With a torch!
    Prosser: The lights had probably gone...

    I'd read, listened, and watched this scene several times before I realized "torch" here simply meant "flashlight". And even then I only realized it when I encountered "torch" somewhere else (probably in another Adams novel, as it happens) in a context where "flashlight" was the only thing that possibly made any sense.

    Hitchhiker's also had a similarly confusing scene regarding a "zebra crossing". As with the line about the torch, this conjures wildly different images in the minds of Brits and Americans, but happened to work nonetheless with either interpretation.


    The WTF, if there is one, is that people in the UK are perfectly familiar with the language spoken in the US, whereas the other way about does not hold. Then again, the same applies to practically every single nation in the world.
  • QJo 2012-08-08 04:47
    @Deprecated:
    Callin:
    There is a rat in my ultrabook!

    That's nothing; I have a rat in my iPod! I can hear it scratching, scratching, driving me crazy!!!


    That's nothing, I've got lots of interesting rock bands inside my Galaxy SII. I can hear them playing when I plug the headphones in. I wonder how they managed to miniaturise them so neatly.
  • Andrew 2012-08-08 07:49
    I have had so many fucking idiot tech-support lie the last one. I work in a company that trains everybody to the same standard to avoid that. I used to think that it was the training quality in non-English speaking countries to blame, but beginning to see that other companies just drop the ball before the game starts.
  • Kris 2012-08-08 08:46
    I nearly sprayed coffee on my monitor when I read that! I just yesterday received an e-mail that stated, "Please to give security to the needful."
  • radarbob 2012-08-08 09:17

    What I did at the end is what I often do when someone's service frustratesmen. The last question on all the script is:

    Support tech: "Is there anything more I can do for you"
    Me: "Yes I wonder if you could rate your performance on this call?"
    Support tech: "I'm sorry I don't understand?"
    Me: "I just ran up a 1.5hour cell phone bill with you not listening to me tell you what the problem was. How do you rate your performance?"

    Key...say this very calmly don't be angry don't be an asshole just ask "How do you rate your performance on this call?"


    "It's all coming back to me now"... Bought a Hell referb as new. Out of the box it would not fully boot & got worse with each subsequent attempt. After 45+ minutes with on-phone help, the helper declared "you need a new mother board and new screen." Replace it? Noooo. Fortunately a personal friend was a Hell executive and one *short* phone call later we were able to return it for a full refund.

    Contrast that with Apple customer service - I'm an Apple customer since 1981 - no contest.
  • PG4 2012-08-08 09:37
    dkf:
    PG4:
    We kept saying, it has no power, we can't get to diag processor. They kept saying they needed the logs first, and we told them there are no logs to get. This goes on for about 30 minutes. Finally we told them, either send the ticket on to the hardware group or give me your supervisor on the phone, NOW. We have a 4 hour response time contract, we are not going to play 20 questions for ever.
    I'm a little surprised that they played such games with a 4-hour-response contract; at that sort of level, I'd expect them to both expect to be dealing with a competent admin on your end (or a money-wasting fool, but the cash is still good) and to operate on a principle of “ship the replacement part immediately and figure out what's wrong with the old one after getting it back to base”.


    They didn't used to be like that. Not long after that we bitched to our sector rep and they gave a special number to call, that then required a PIN number, and got you to someone not offshore that understands basic english.

    I've always seen if you can get past the first one or two idiots, the issue gets resolved quickly.

    Anyway nothing, I repeat, nothing is as bad as Oracle support. Getting hardware service out of them for what started as STK equipment, then Sun, is the worst in the world.
  • Coyne 2012-08-08 10:07

    John > it stops at that screen.
    John > There is no chance do do anything.
    John > it won't boot.
    ** Sagar has left the conversation **



    From: Sagar ...
    To: Support Team
    Subject: Customer John ....

    This customer is extremely uncooperative and will not follow instructions given while trying to correct his computer's supposed problem.

    Recommend we contact his supervisor and have the supervisor assign someone else to work with us in order to resolve the problem.
  • ceiswyn 2012-08-08 10:26
    QJo:
    ceiswyn:

    Is it just me, or would it be less trouble for everyone involved if they just gave users the relevant flowchart and cut out the middleman?


    a) What good would a flowchart do if the user can't get his machine to boot up so as to log into the appropriate website so as to download it? Come on now, plug in the braincell ...


    a) The relevant tech support process already requires the user to be able to access the internet, so it's no worse than the existing method.
    b) Or they could send me out a PDF on disc when I take their product in the first place. Maybe even a printed manual. I miss those sometimes.
  • newbie to site 2012-08-08 13:48
    I am a newbie to this site. Can someone elaborate on the (not the term itself, but the lingo) *CAPTCHA: Latin nouns from Wiktionary - description* angle of this?
  • Sagar 2012-08-08 14:42
    RFmich:
    How do you rate your performance on this call?
    I rate my performance as most excellent. Your call was very important to us. Thank you for using Hyderabad Tech Support Services.
  • The Darned 2012-08-09 08:44
    More like Magnesium, Titanium, Vanadium, Chromium, Lithium, Sodium and dozens upon dozens more, but you're getting close.
  • Shackleton 2012-08-09 22:28
    @John B.

    The solution to your problem was in the chat window. Unplug your external USB mouse. All HP computers, both laptops and workstations frequently have this lockup problem when an external USB device is plugged in (usually a mouse). The problem should also go away after a "normal" boot cycle - the security dude did a hard power-off once he insured your laptop would boot, which is when the mouse-boot-lockup problem manifests.

    Just guessing of course. Let me know?
  • Andrei 2012-08-10 03:56
    You are about 10% right.
    Yeah, when it can remotely make sense, you need to let the tech make sure you're not an idiot, because a lot of users call thinking they know it all, and they actually have the cable unplugged or something. Tech need to rule out the obvious scenario.

    However, we are not robots. I know there is a script to follow, however, you don't follow it as a robot. When the user tells you 'I see the DELL logo, and there it is', you don't tell him to 'click on my computer'. At most, you try to establish if the guy is retarded, and actually confuses stuff, so you clarify 'so apart from the DELL logo, you dont see anything else on the screen?', or you try to make him describe all the elements on the screen.
  • Jared 2012-08-13 21:41
    Oh man i spat my coffee out when i read that! "Please do the needful" Gold.
  • Ndr 2012-08-15 02:29
    OKAY FINE!!
  • julian 2012-08-15 06:39
    "A torch. Oh, wait, no, not a torch -- a flashlight."


    Different countries - different words. In South Africa we called 3.5" floppies "stiffies" and yes I did it - Newly in the UK, I walked into a room full of guys and asked "Has anyone got a stiffie for me?". I will not repeat the comments I got back!
  • David 2012-09-17 12:45
    For a brand new computer you shouldn't bother going through the script. Call tell them the problem you diagnosed, if they don't immediately deal with it tell them you intend to issue a return as a failure of merchantability and formally ask them to send you a mailing label.

    Then call your CC company and tell them you got non-merchantable products and need to issue a charge-back. That hurts the company which sold the product whereas running up 90minutes on your cell phone is probably a net positive for the company. Those 90minutes of cell phone conversation probably lead to net sales at CIA monitoring stations in excess of the 10 rupees they are paying the guy you were talking to.
  • Hired Mind 2012-12-03 22:06
    Kate, how exactly was he rude??? All he did was give the support person the facts. Not one single word of commentary at all.

    How could he have been less rude?