• (cs)

    <asp:PlaceHolder ID="Fist" runat="server" status="Still Reading" />

  • Firn (unregistered)

    At least the commodore did not have any annoying blinking red lights!

  • (cs)

    Awesome response by the helpdesk manager to the little flashing lights problem. Reminds me of the time a user complained to help desk that she had received death threats by e-mail. Somebody had threatened to kill-fiule her for spamming the whole department. The helpdesk response to that was beautifully cutting.

  • RRP (unregistered)

    I guess the Dell help line really does have a reason for the first question they ask: "Is the computer plugged in?".

    captcha: incassum Incassum ergency, break glass.

  • (cs)

    "Support stories" should be called "proofs that people don't RTFM".

  • (cs)

    Both the fax and brown cord stories sound like variations on the old power outage tech support call. Same level of cognition, anyway.

  • dur... (unregistered) in reply to the real wtf fool
    the real wtf fool:
    Reminds me of the time a user complained to help desk that she had received death threats by e-mail. Somebody had threatened to kill-fiule her for spamming the whole department. The helpdesk response to that was beautifully cutting.
    An exciting story. I'm glad we all got to read their response and get a kick out of it instead of you just telling us how great it was. Thanks for sharing!
  • (cs) in reply to RRP
    RRP:
    I guess the Dell help line really does have a reason for the first question they ask: "Is the computer plugged in?"
    In the I.T. Crowd you'll notice that it's the backup question to be asked when "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" doesn't resolve the problem.
  • (cs)

    Ok, let's see... The first case is clearly the tech's fault; he hadn't put enough pixie dust in the computer so it'll display Excel documents as Word documents.

    The second one is the developer's fault; they forgot to add a "send by pigeon" option to the software.

    As for the third one... well, reproduced for awesomeness : "Work harder so it will blink continuously".

    The one with the Commodore is the only one where I was actually baffled. Why the hell didn't they just plug it in there and then the first time the guy brought it in? Wasn't verifying the problem before shipping it off to the supplier for 6-8 weeks standard procedure in the 80s?

  • James (unregistered)

    Sounds like Dirk's story should include something about how his service desk people were too dumb to test the machine before sending it in for the second-through-sixth repairs, eh?

  • mark (unregistered)

    In the early 90's part of my work-study at university involved "supervising" a computer lab in the library basement. Supervising essentially meant sitting at a desk until something went wrong and then fixing it, answering questions, that sort of thing. Great student job, since I could get studying done during quiet shifts...

    Anyways, one day a woman came up to the desk and spit out "I put the disk in like they told me, ButItDoesn'tWork, ButIDidn'tBreakIt!" I went to take a look and everything seemed fine; powered up just like you'd expect. I then had to gently explain to her that just like the stereo in her dorm room, you need to turn on the power before a computer will actually do anything.

  • (cs)

    Actually, I think before Nick W criticizes Jane he should learn what the actual problem was.

    When Word tries to open a file that's not a Word document, it treats it as text. However, an XLS file, being a binary format, has many bytes which are not printable characters. Most fonts map these it little black squares. That is what the "little boxes" she is seeing are, not sheetsheet cells.

  • ozymandias (unregistered) in reply to JamesCurran

    Sounds like the same problem Nick W saw: Dumb-as-dirt user.

  • (cs)

    I'm thinking the "little boxes" may not be the spreadsheet itself, but the square default-character Word likes to show you when it attempts to read binary gibberish in as text.

    What is not forgivable, however, is how this person fails to comprehend how to navigate to a file OUTSIDE of the program. Cripes.

  • Vidar (unregistered)

    The first company I worked at was a small ISP I ran with some friends. There was a steady stream of newbie users, which wasn't too unexpected given that this was '95 and most people had never been online before. It didn't get better because we were inexperienced with just how unable users are to think for themselves.

    One customer in particular taught us to ask all the "stupid" questions first.

    He complained that he couldn't get online, and one of the guys walked him through every single winsock settings and the dialer script as that was the most common problem, and it all seemed right. The guy only had a single phone line, so he had to hang up to try it out.

    He called back minutes later to tell us it hadn't worked. He was questioned about what sounds he heard (back in the day of modems with the speaker on until the connection was established), but he didn't hear anything.

    Our support guy walked through his settings again to make sure they were correct, and made sure the guy new how to actually start the connection. All seemed fine. Second try.

    ... and he called back again. At this point our support guy asked what brand of modem the customer had. It was a common US Robotics model, and shouldn't cause a problem - we used the same modems ourself.

    The support guy started finally started suspecting some really stupid mistake. He asked if the modem was on.

    The customer asked how he could tell. Support guy tells him to look for the red lights on the modem.

    Customer answers "hold on, I just need to take it out of the box".

    Support guy: What box? Customer: The cardboard box. Support guy: Why is it in a cardboard box? Have you connected the modem to your PC? Customer: It came in the box. What do you mean, "connected"? It is on the desk next to my PC.

    I swear this is a true story - 3-4 of us were standing there listening in on the call, watching the support guy get more and more agitated as he realized the customer had not even unpacked the modem, and not for a second had questioned how it could communicate with the PC or the phone network, or how it would get power.

    (Then there's the guy who demanded his money back because he didn't realize you needed a computer to get online - he "just wanted the internet")

  • (cs) in reply to dur...
    dur...:
    the real wtf fool:
    Reminds me of the time a user complained to help desk that she had received death threats by e-mail. Somebody had threatened to kill-fiule her for spamming the whole department. The helpdesk response to that was beautifully cutting.
    An exciting story. I'm glad we all got to read their response and get a kick out of it instead of you just telling us how great it was. Thanks for sharing!

    Yeah I know. I am the next Walt Disney.

    Unfortunately I never kept a copy of the email exchange - I never imagined that anybody else would be geeky enough to get the humour in it or that in the future websites populated with stories of IT perversions would exist, or that such web sites would have things called forums on them.

  • (cs)

    The middle problem is an issue from the devs.

    Did the procurement system never expect offline transactions? Either making a printable request or an e-mail to a secretary of the company that purhcased the system would work. Of course, ultra-cool TTS and ASR phone calls would have been nicer.

  • Old Timer (unregistered) in reply to evilspoons
    What is not forgivable, however, is how this person fails to comprehend how to navigate to a file OUTSIDE of the program. Cripes.

    Actually, I've seen this frequently with non-computer literate folks who have been using computers for a long time. This was the way to open a file back in the DOS, pre-Windows, WordPerfect 5.1 (and older) days. And once people find a way that works, they rarely change their habits (and usually computer savvy folks don't tell them about this sort of thing because it usually isn't a problem).

  • Frankie (unregistered) in reply to Vidar
    Vidar:

    (Then there's the guy who demanded his money back because he didn't realize you needed a computer to get online - he "just wanted the internet")

    <sarcasm>I get the internet without a computer all the time! iPhone, WebTV, PS3, Wii... It was the same back in the early 90's, wasn't it?</sarcasm>

  • (cs) in reply to evilspoons
    evilspoons:
    What is not forgivable, however, is how this person fails to comprehend how to navigate to a file OUTSIDE of the program. Cripes.

    Why do you think that using windows explorer should be second nature to everybody? I'd say the WTF here is that management weren't training their non-IT staff how to use computers.

  • Annoying Grammar Nazi (unregistered)

    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.

    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

  • (cs) in reply to Annoying Grammar Nazi
    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.

    Just a typo shirley?

    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

    Sounds really horrible with whom. Maybe taht?

  • (cs) in reply to Annoying Grammar Nazi
    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.

    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

    Anyone who insists on being a grammar Nazi should really learn to proofread their own posts thoroughly before pressing Submit.

  • captncraig (unregistered) in reply to JamesCurran

    Isn't M$ Office designed to work together nicely enough that you can embed xls into word if you desire?

  • (cs) in reply to Annoying Grammar Nazi
    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.
    Actually "incase" does apparently not mean what you think it means.

    in case: as a precaution against the event that

    Or did you think he used the word "encase"?

    Addendum (2009-01-22 12:38):

    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

    Actually, if you parse the sentence, "who" is correct.

    "I work for a software shop that sells an 'online procurement system' to other companies who wish to streamline their vendor purchasing process"

    The "who" in question is part of the phrase "who wish to steamline their vendor purchasing process". Hence it is used correctly.

    What is the technical term for a grammar nazi whose corrections are all incorrect?

  • Charles Manson (unregistered) in reply to the real wtf fool
    the real wtf fool:
    evilspoons:
    What is not forgivable, however, is how this person fails to comprehend how to navigate to a file OUTSIDE of the program. Cripes.
    Why do you think that using windows explorer should be second nature to everybody? I'd say the WTF here is that management weren't training their non-IT staff how to use computers.
    Windoze is just not intuitive. I used to get support calls from my parents and grandparents all the time. Now when they get a new computer, the first thing I do is wipe the hard drive and install Ubuntu. Since I've loaded Ubuntu on all of their computers, I never get any support calls from my family.
  • SomeCoder (unregistered) in reply to captncraig
    captncraig:
    Isn't M$ Office designed to work together nicely enough that you can embed xls into word if you desire?

    You can embed the files, but that's far more complicated than just opening an Excel file in Word. You get random garbage from trying to do that.

    As for using Windows Explorer to find files, I think most computer illiterate actually know how to use My Computer/Explorer better than using Word's open menu. The exception would be - as someone already suggested - a person who has been using a computer to a LONG time since back in DOS you had to open files this way. Maybe that was the case in this story.

  • K Blob (unregistered) in reply to Vidar
    Vidar:
    (Then there's the guy who demanded his money back because he didn't realize you needed a computer to get online - he "just wanted the internet")

    "Oh, so they have the internet on computers now!" - Aka. The Homer Simpson epiphany. I never thought someone would actually think like that in real life.

  • Harrow (unregistered)

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

    In the late 70's Wang Labs developed the ultimate automatic message delivery fallback process: an auto-answer modem connected to a Wang minicomputer with attached printer, folder, envelope stuffer, and postage meter.

    If your Wang computer needed to send a message to someone who didn't have a slot on your LAN, or a modem, or a thermofax -- or even a computer -- it could bundle it up with a postal address, dial up the mail computer (in Tewksbury MA), and send it via snailmail.

    I don't know if anyone ever subscribed to the service, but it made a good talking point for their salesmen.

    -Harrow.

  • Zerbs (unregistered) in reply to mark

    Reminds me of the time I had a summer job doing PC support while I was in college. Someone called to complain that the computer wouldn't take a diskette (3 1/2") that they had a very important spreadsheet on. Of course after asking where the backup of the file was and being told this was the only copy, I went up to check why the computer wouldn't take the diskette. Of course the problem I found was that after saving the file on it, they labeled it, having the label overlap the little metal sliding door, so the computer wouldn't even let them put it in the slot.

  • (cs) in reply to JamesCurran

    Nah. When she tried to open the file through Word she couldn't see it at all, presumably because of the filter on the Word "Open" dialog. It was when she managed to open it that she saw the boxes. Ergo, the boxes can't have been the default unprintable-character-character. She's not as thick as some people are suggesting though, because she evidently could get to the file through Windows Explorer (how is that not intuitive, btw? There are plenty of things Windows can be criticised for, but that's not one of them).

    Tools-Options-View-Grid Lines check box would have sorted her squares out.

  • (cs) in reply to Capt. Obvious
    Capt. Obvious:
    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.
    Actually "incase" does apparently not mean what you think it means.

    in case: as a precaution against the event that

    Or did you think he used the word "encase"?

    Addendum (2009-01-22 12:38):

    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

    Actually, if you parse the sentence, "who" is correct.

    "I work for a software shop that sells an 'online procurement system' to other companies who wish to streamline their vendor purchasing process"

    The "who" in question is part of the phrase "who wish to steamline their vendor purchasing process". Hence it is used correctly.

    What is the technical term for a grammar nazi whose corrections are all incorrect?

    Cue Smokey from Friday: "You got knocked the fuck out, man!"

  • (cs) in reply to Charles Manson
    Charles Manson:
    the real wtf fool:
    evilspoons:
    What is not forgivable, however, is how this person fails to comprehend how to navigate to a file OUTSIDE of the program. Cripes.
    Why do you think that using windows explorer should be second nature to everybody? I'd say the WTF here is that management weren't training their non-IT staff how to use computers.
    Windoze is just not intuitive. I used to get support calls from my parents and grandparents all the time. Now when they get a new computer, the first thing I do is wipe the hard drive and install Ubuntu. Since I've loaded Ubuntu on all of their computers, I never get any support calls from my family.
    Weak troll; try again. On second thought: don't.
  • (cs) in reply to the real wtf fool
    the real wtf fool:
    Unfortunately I never kept a copy of the email exchange - I never imagined that anybody else would be geeky enough to get the humour in it or that in the future websites populated with stories of IT perversions would exist, or that such web sites would have things called forums on them.

    Ah, that makes sense then.

    Thanks for wasting our time.

  • (cs)

    For the vendor who didn't have email or a fax machine, I would have set up an agreement with a local courier service and resold it to them for a heavy markup.

  • (cs) in reply to Annoying Grammar Nazi
    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.

    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

    You certainly are right about the "annoying" part.

    The only thing more rude than someone pointing out grammatical errors is someone who (not whom) points out non-errors out of ignorance or mis-understanding.

  • (cs) in reply to Flatline
    Flatline:
    Annoying Grammar Nazi:
    “Incase” does not mean what you think it means.

    First sentence of second store: “Who” should be “whom.”

    Anyone who insists on being a grammar Nazi should really learn to proofread their own posts thoroughly before pressing Submit.
    No, there's some kind of rule about that. I got called down for it recently: http://thedailywtf.com/Comments/Feeling-Aggregated.aspx?pg=2#240217

  • D. Travis North (unregistered) in reply to Vidar
    Vidar:
    Customer answers "hold on, I just need to take it out of the box".

    Support guy: What box? Customer: The cardboard box. Support guy: Why is it in a cardboard box? Have you connected the modem to your PC? Customer: It came in the box. What do you mean, "connected"? It is on the desk next to my PC.

    When I worked at the help desk at my university, we had a similar issue. Guy called up saying he couldn't get his e-mail (we had a dial-in system), all he heard was "static". I went through procedures to check the settings on his modem to which he cut me off: "What modem?". Trying to maintain composure, I took the high road and explained that he could probably get a decent modem from the local CompUSA for fairly cheap. He thanked me and, presumably, went directly to the CompUSA. A few hours later, he called back because he couldn't figure out what to do with the modem. He had an external model, so started to tell him how to connect it to his computer - and again he cut me off: "I don't have a computer...". Again, trying to maintain composure, I asked him how he expected to get his e-mail. He explained that he thought some nice undergraduate would read his e-mail to him over the phone.

    We laugh about it to this day.

  • ricecake (unregistered) in reply to Code Dependent
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Level 2 (unregistered) in reply to Code Dependent
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  • brouski (unregistered)

    You'd be surprised how many employees' file browser of choice is Microsoft Word.

    Or maybe you wouldn't...

  • Velko (unregistered) in reply to SomeCoder
    SomeCoder:
    captncraig:
    Isn't M$ Office designed to work together nicely enough that you can embed xls into word if you desire?

    You can embed the files, but that's far more complicated than just opening an Excel file in Word. You get random garbage from trying to do that.

    I just tried to do same thing in OO.org. Started OO Writer and tried to open an .ods (Spreadsheet). It worked fine - launched OO Calc with my file.

  • (cs) in reply to DOA
    DOA:
    The second one is the developer's fault; they forgot to add a "send by pigeon" option to the software.
    I totally agree. Obviously they should have used IPoAC
  • rmz (unregistered) in reply to Velko
    Velko:
    SomeCoder:
    captncraig:
    Isn't M$ Office designed to work together nicely enough that you can embed xls into word if you desire?

    You can embed the files, but that's far more complicated than just opening an Excel file in Word. You get random garbage from trying to do that.

    I just tried to do same thing in OO.org. Started OO Writer and tried to open an .ods (Spreadsheet). It worked fine - launched OO Calc with my file.

    I just did it successfully in Word 2000.

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Charles Manson
    Charles Manson:
    the real wtf fool:
    evilspoons:
    What is not forgivable, however, is how this person fails to comprehend how to navigate to a file OUTSIDE of the program. Cripes.
    Why do you think that using windows explorer should be second nature to everybody? I'd say the WTF here is that management weren't training their non-IT staff how to use computers.
    Windoze is just not intuitive. I used to get support calls from my parents and grandparents all the time. Now when they get a new computer, the first thing I do is wipe the hard drive and install Ubuntu. Since I've loaded Ubuntu on all of their computers, I never get any support calls from my family.

    Of course you don't get any support calls from your family anymore. Clearly, they became so frustrated by your switching their operating system, that they gave up on computers altogether and went outside for once.

    p.s. I've probably been trolled

    p.p.s. I don't care if I was.

  • Buffled (unregistered) in reply to Charles Manson
    Charles Manson:
    Windoze is just not intuitive. I used to get support calls from my parents and grandparents all the time. Now when they get a new computer, the first thing I do is wipe the hard drive and install Ubuntu. Since I've loaded Ubuntu on all of their computers, I never get any support calls from my family.
    Well, that makes sense since they've probably all stopped talking to you.
  • Downfall (unregistered)

    I can't believe people are biting on a troll that calls himself Charles Manson.

    This site never ceases to amaze me.

  • (cs) in reply to Capt. Obvious
    Capt. Obvious:
    What is the technical term for a grammar nazi whose corrections are all incorrect?

    Unskilled and unaware?

    Actually I prefer just plain stupid. And it's even funnier when it comes from someone as smug as AGN.

  • JimB (unregistered) in reply to Capt. Obvious
    Capt. Obvious:
    What is the technical term for a grammar nazi whose corrections are all incorrect?
    Republican?
  • KDP (unregistered)

    I've developed two ways to look at users:

    1. Computers will never become like toasters.
    2. Why should users think when they can pay someone else to do the job for them?

    The only problem with number 2 is that the pay is never on a level with the abuse that is heaped upon you when you fix the problem they bring to you, not the problem that should really be fixed.

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