Having worked in support for years, Ben has amassed quite the compendium of quick stories.

Double-Click on My Computer
I was on a call with a lady who was having Internet connectivity issues. I listened to her describe what was happening and was just starting to guide her through a few things to try to find the problem. I asked her to double-click on My Computer to which she replied, "How can I double-click on your computer?" I had to hit mute and collect myself because I didn't see that one coming.

Going Blue
I was on a call with an older, foreign gentleman who had a very thick accent. We had a hard time communicating, and even doing a simple task took a long time because it would take a few minutes of discussion to convey what needed to be done. After half an hour we managed to trek through a few screens, found his problem and corrected it. He inquired about setting his home page to something else so I guided him to the Internet Options screen. I could not convey to him that he needed to remove the text for the current home page and put in the text for the new home page. I went through every possible description for what he needed to do that I could think of and was running out of options. "Click in the box and remove the text...", "Select the text and delete it...", "Do you see the text for the home page? (Yes) Select it and remove it...". Eventually, out of pure desperation, I said "Make it blue," which he immediately understood and highlighted the text of the home page. After which he said something along the lines of "Why didn't you just say that to begin with?"

What What?
Me: OK, let's see if your networking is setup correctly. Can you...
Worker: Do you want me to run winpig?
Me: Uhh... winipcfg, yes; let's do that.

650 MB = 832 KgB
Worker: So, with this software I'll be able to burn my own CDs?
Me: That's correct.
Worker: Now, I see some information here at the bottom when I add a new file... what does KB mean? Is that how many Kigabits it can hold?
Me (repressing laughter): No, I think you're thinking of gigabytes, which are "GB." "KB" means kilobyte.

(To this day I use kigabits as my preferred unit of storage. Kilobytes are just overrated.)

I Love You
We were hit by the ILOVEYOU virus back in 2000. I was working at a large oil company, supporting the refineries and would get calls from people that worked at them when they had a PC problem. There was usually only a small number of PCs and the users were the refinery workers. They were usually gruff guys, but not altogether impossible to work with. So, this particular day I get in and we are notified of the virus and to expect calls about it. I get a call that goes like this:

Me: Help desk, this is Ben, how can you help you?
Worker: Yes, I'm not sure if you're the one I need to talk to about this; but there's this guy here that ... well, umm, maybe he's one of those types – you know what I mean. I don't know... but he's sending me emails saying he loves me and, well, I just am not like that and I want him to quit it.
Me: Oh, I see, well sir, I don't think it's quite like that, you see we were notified this morning that we've been hit by the ILOVEYOU virus. This computer virus causes emails to show up like they are from someone and the email says "I love you" in it. So, you see, this person that it's coming from is not really saying that to you; it's the virus sending the message.
Worker: Oh, I see, well I sure am glad I called because I was liable to go give that feller a piece of my mind; I don't take too kindly to that kind of thing.

And Jan V. has given me a new technique for when my computer is acting up:

Shake It, Baby
In the early 2000s, Jan was administering a small network of Windows 95 PCs. The internal mail was Microsoft Mail running on an ordinary workstation. When Jan arrived, he was told that they were still on Windows 95 and Microsoft Mail because "it had been working for several years and there's no money for an upgrade."

Except that it wasn't working. The mail was hilariously unstable. Sometimes the "server" wouldn't work, sometimes the clients couldn't see the server... and no matter what, you'd have to reboot your workstation at least a half dozen times a day just to get it to work. The staff wasn't happy about it, but they begrudgingly accepted it, learning to reboot their systems every time they went for a drink of water or on a break.

That is, except for Kelly, the owner's wife and "Creative Chief." She was the only one that would continue to call Jan for support, knowing full well that she'd always get the same response. "Did you restart yet?" To which she'd say no, reboot, and then thank Jan when it was working again. This would happen again in an hour or two with the same dialog. And again two hours later. And on and on.

Will it ever stop? Yo, I don't know. But Jan had a plan to play a little joke on Kelly. The seventeenth time she'd called about email issues that week, he had a different response. "Hi Kelly, I think I found a problem with your laptop – a byte has become stuck on your hard drive. Usually you can just shake it loose." Jan expected a chuckle, but got an "OK." Kelli shut her laptop down, undocked the computer, shook it, redocked it, and started it up again. And it worked! To be fair, it might have had more to do with a restart than clearing the byte clog.

From that day forward, her days were brighter. Jan got less calls, Kelly perfected her technique of resolving stuck bytes, and her colleagues had fun trying not to laugh whenever Kelly undocked her computer to shake the bytes loose.

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