• scubasteve (unregistered)

    maybe she should try unplugging her cable modem, waiting 30 seconds, and then reconnecting....

  • Daniel (unregistered)

    This sounds like the (l)users side of a BOFH article; I call fake :P

    (I swear I've had the same captcha three times in a row...)

  • AC (unregistered)

    Thats the BOFH. She should be lucky nobody is moving her data to /dev/null.

  • Sauron (unregistered)

    Sounds to me it's a competent IT department, just not competent in the way you would wish. They know that it would be an extreme inconvenience to move the trash can to the corner, you see. They know that she's bound to move it back and then they get free reign to say "if only you listened to us...". Quite frankly, it's a brilliant way to get out of doing actual work.

  • Gedoon (unregistered)

    Everyone knows any trash can within the range of one kilometer will cause random crashes and that's just the way it is!

  • redbull34th (unregistered) in reply to scubasteve

    Power cycle the cable modem to force it to reload the config? Yes, that's totally unreasonable.

  • Matt (unregistered) in reply to scubasteve

    heh, speaking of cable, my neighbour was having trouble with his cable tv. the tech guy came round, and said he was getting "too strong a signal" so he unscrewed the coax cable on the back of the box, and for some unknown reason, the tv worked again :P

    Captcha: Paint. Damn, couldn't you guys think of something more exciting? :D

  • Jeff S (cs)

    It's funny .. so many IT departments work so very hard to avoid doing any work that they work much harder than they would otherwise. Instead of simply doing some research and some legwork and solving a problem correctly , they do things half-assed and end up creating more work for themselves. And, at the same time, the users are unhappy being nothing is getting fixed. It's a vicious cycle, and it happens all the time.

  • shakin (cs)

    "Trash can support" is exactly why I no longer deal with tech support. Helpdesk people need to realize that they are the lowest of the low on the IT ladder and despite the fact that they think they know everything they are actually quite clueless about anything more complex than fixing desktop software and hardware problems. Their jobs depend entirely on the average person not knowing anything about how their computer works and they'll be out of a job if that ever changes.

  • jtl (unregistered)

    good lord, ever hear of phoning someone's boss?

    It wouldn't have been a funny joke if he had said 'just kidding' shortly after telling her what he thought, but letting her suffer should get them fired.

  • cowboy_k (cs)

    Nick from IT? Oh no.....

    MOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!

  • Tod K (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • H3SO5 (cs) in reply to redbull34th
    redbull34th:
    Power cycle the cable modem to force it to reload the config? Yes, that's totally unreasonable.

    My crappy ADSL modem sometimes requires a reboot to unscrew^H^H^Hmake it work again correctly. Even more so after a long session of gaming or P2P. This also means I can't leave P2P programs overnight.

  • sir_flexalot (cs)

    This is worse than percussive maintenance (hitting pc). At least that used to help with certain beta systems I worked with. I don't see how belittling users for fun is really anything to be proud of... I wouldn't do that to a coworker, you never know when it will backfire and cost you at least a job, if not a busted nose from someone who really doesn't like being screwed with.

  • Anonymous (unregistered) in reply to AC

    I thought the same thing - classic BOFH. I'm waiting for her to be given the "tour of the server room" when the Halon extinguishers kick in...

  • Tom Parker (unregistered)

    #1 What is it that makes idiots like this unsackable. If you were working on a checkout an minimal wage and treated a customer like this you'd barely have time to take a breath.

    #2 Why is it that it is always guys who treat women like this, they should be up for harassment.

    My favorite from my tech support days was the secretary whose PC would run out of ram because she would have 20 or 30 (I kid you not) copies of the same document open at the same time. Each one had been typed from scratch because she kept loosing them (Win 3.1, couldn't understand ALT-TAB). She complained to my boss that I wasn't fully explaining things to her (I tended just to clean the mess up for her) so I spent half an hour showing her all about ALT-TAB etc. At the end she said, in her best scottish accent, "You know, Tom, sometime I swear its the little people". I left her alone after that.

  • Grant (unregistered) in reply to Tod K
    Comment held for moderation.
  • GregM (unregistered)

    "I need you to unplug the ethernet cable from the DSL modem and computer and switch which end is plugged into which device."

    This is a 'polite' way of saying

    "Are you sure that the ethernet cable from the DSL modem to the computer plugged in properly"

    because people equate that to

    "Hey, dumbass, did you forget to connect the ethernet cable?"

    and just say

    "Of course I did."

    It's a way for the user to "save face".

  • Leo (unregistered)

    After getting the '"you-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about" smirk" Maria should have simply said: "Ok, so, explain tom e, in layman's terms, why I should move and why is it interferring with my computer". Simple. After some very stupid explanation, write an e-mail to the IT department head with a copy to your own reporting what hapenned.

    As a little story, some years ago I networked tow PC I had at home, using cheapo network cards and coaxial cabling ( yes, I put the termination caps ). Everything worked for some time, until one day the computers wouldn't see each other. I ended up changing both network cards, the cabling and reinstalling windows, nothing worked. Then one friend told me "just swap the cards between the computers". I replied that I had already changed both cards and the cabling, his answer was "indulge me". Amazingly, it worked. Using the same cards, same cabling, simpling swaping them between the computers solved it. To this day I have NO idea what was wrong.

  • GregM (unregistered)

    Grant, thanks, I was looking for that link, but I couldn't find it. I knew I had read it recently. I guess it was through a link in a recent article.

  • JF (unregistered) in reply to Gedoon
    Gedoon:
    Everyone knows any trash can within the range of one kilometer will cause random crashes and that's just the way it is!

    It is indeed known that a butterfly dying in an earthquake in Australia will randomly cause your trashcan's atoms to rearrange creating an electro-magnetic plasma burst that will invisibly switch 0 into 1 and 1 into 0 at the core of your memory bus when the bits are waiting for their next bus at the Front Side stop.

    I heard that a crappy OS and/or faulty hardware could cause it too though...so that makes it incredibly hard to troubleshoot. If you have problem with your computer AND have a trashcan nearby you shouldn't contact Technical Support but instead call the FBI hot line directly so they can hunt down that stupid Butterfly...once the Butterfly is dead, then the problem as been tracked down to hardware and you should contact the Help desk.

    CAPTCHA: blamethebooterfly

  • Grant (unregistered) in reply to Tod K
    Comment held for moderation.
  • andy brons (unregistered)

    I'm sure this article is a joke.

  • MOD (unregistered)

    Way back I guess around 1999, my wife (then girlfriend) had DSL near NYC. Occasionally her DSL would stop working, and any time she attempted to upload anything it would get a few packets in, slow down, and eventually disconnect. She must have gone through 50 trouble tickets, and who knows how many tech visits when one day, while I was visiting, the problem got in my way.

    I promptly started troubleshooting, did some pings, and tracerts, and discovered that whenever her traffic got routed over a certain backbone, it would start bouncing between two routers.

    So, I call tech support for her, and start off by explaining the problem is on the so and so backbone between two routers that are misbehaving, the 1st level tech gets panicked, and makes sounding very confused makes me go though the same set of troubleshooting steps I'd already gone through, then says they'll need to elevate the ticket to another tech. I try again to explain where the problem is, and that they'll need to contact their backbone provider, and I think the tech seriously started twitching. Finally, they admit they have no clue what I'm talking about, and they put me on hold while they try to talk to a higher level tech.

    Apparently, they went through several levels of techs, probably right up to the top before finding someone who had a clue what a tracert is, and how routers can misbehave. I'm put in contact with that tech who realises how long the problem persisted, and how many times they botched it. The tech listens while I explain the problem, and where they need to go, and what they need to do to get it fixed.

    The next day, the tech calls back, the problem is fixed, and they offer me a job. (which I didn't take) apparently, they were running an ISP, and had no idea how TCP/IP actually worked. :/

    captcha craaazy ... yeah, it is... all of it.

  • Sean (unregistered) in reply to Tod K
    Tod K:
    "I need you to unplug the ethernet cable from the DSL modem and computer and switch which end is plugged into which device."

    I think that's just the common way of making someone check that everything's plugged in without just saying "is it plugged in", since in the latter case, most people will just say "of course it's plugged in, I'm not stupid"... but the thing is, most users are stupid...

  • Marcin (unregistered)

    The real WTF is that we are being fed garbage. With this kind of support, she should have contacted their boss. And any real person would have.

  • yotta (unregistered) in reply to Tod K

    "I need you to unplug the ethernet cable from the DSL modem and computer and switch which end is plugged into which device."

    He doesn't think this will actualy fix the problem. The goal here is to ensure that shit is plugged in without directly asking you if it's plugged in, because the obvious response to that is "Of course it's plugged in, do you think I'm an idiot?".

  • Daniel (unregistered) in reply to Tom Parker
    Tom Parker:
    #2 Why is it that it is always guys who treat women like this, they should be up for harassment.
    Yeah, right. It just happens to be a male CSO and female user, therefore it must be sexist and the CSO should be up for harrasment. Idiot.
    Tom Parker:
    My favorite from my tech support days was the secretary whose PC would run out of ram because she
    I hope you won't complain when you're taken up for harressment for this.

    Seriously, read the article. It seems the CSO is a jack ass regardless and the user happens to know their way around a computer. If they had not mentioned genders you probably wouldn't have said anything.

  • JGM (unregistered) in reply to Tod K
    Tod K:

    "I need you to unplug the ethernet cable from the DSL modem and computer and switch which end is plugged into which device."

    Sadly, after I got out of the military and went back to college, I worked part time at a local tech support call center. And this had made it into the content tree for troubleshooting DSL. I hated to ask the question every time, but if I didn't and in a tape review later it was discovered then I would have been fired, dont blame the call center people for this, they simply read from the script. The "Network Engineers" that write the troubleshooting guides that are turned into the scripts are the ones to blame.

  • nobody (unregistered)

    Whe should tell them her computer is still crashing, and if they don't fix it, she'll swap trash cans with one from the tech support department.

    And make sure her trash can is right next to one of their computers. When she does that, she should also loosen some cables from the back, so their computer does have problems.

  • Me (unregistered) in reply to yotta

    Fact remains, that's a poor way to get the user to check, since anyone with clue knows it's meaningless. I'd suggest either "Do you have another cable you can try?" or "Check that neither end of the cable has come loose", both of which will have the same effect, but could actually solve real problems.

  • KG2V (unregistered)

    I would have moved the garbage can - right into his office when he wasn't looking - and had the last laugh

  • bstorer (cs)

    At an old job, the ITR (IT Rescue team -- their logo was a red cross, as mandated by the company requirement that all departments and subdepartments have logos. In MIS, ours was a blue square with "MIS" in it.) not only handled tech support on the computers, but also managed the PBX. It's probably not surprising that the people who called with the most computer problems also became the people with the most phone problems. Later, when the Intranet Help Desk came online, these same users started to have problems connecting to the corporate domain...

  • kaz (unregistered)

    "I need you to unplug the ethernet cable from the DSL modem and computer and switch which end is plugged into which device."

    Well, I have done this very thing when several computers kept dropping off the network and it fixed the problem. However, it was in a very dusty environment where I would regularly be blowing dust off of and out of all the computers, but after that time I included the switch ports in the routine. It really comes down to the depth and breadth of your experience to understand why.

  • Dontmatter (unregistered)

    Not a bad fix. Now when the PC crashes she can take a trip to her trash can, and when she gets back her PC will be up and running again.

  • blodulv (cs) in reply to Tod K
    Tod K:
    "I need you to unplug the ethernet cable from the DSL modem and computer and switch which end is plugged into which device."

    This is actually a very good tactic for making the average user check if the cable is loose or not plugged in at all. Users are much more likely to switch a cable around and solve both of those problems by accident than check for either when asked. Everyone knows you're supposed to get very angry when the tech asks "are you sure it's plugged in?"

  • MyWillysWonka (cs) in reply to Anonymous
    Anonymous:
    I thought the same thing - classic BOFH. I'm waiting for her to be given the "tour of the server room" when the Halon extinguishers kick in...

    Ahem FM-200 extinguishers... Halon is "toxic"... Personally I'm not planning on being anywhere near the server room when the extinguishers go off.

  • Tod K (unregistered) in reply to blodulv
    blodulv:
    This is actually a very good tactic for making the average user check if the cable is loose or not plugged in at all. Users are much more likely to switch a cable around and solve both of those problems by accident than check for either when asked. Everyone knows you're supposed to get very angry when the tech asks "are you sure it's plugged in?"

    Several people have said some form of this and I guess it is true, but when I call and say, "Everything's working, but I'm watching the PPOE handshake and the modem negotiates a connection but the actual account login against the authentication server is timing out." and then to be asked, "Are the lights on modem on and blinking?" makes we want to hurt somebody. I did eventually get the answer but it took about 30 minutes of hoop jumping to get through the script so I got elevated to "Level 2 support" and then it took about 5 minutes to get the information I needed.

    Kind of like the time years before I was getting DNS errors returned for certain websites and the tech support guy was kind of stumped but brightened up when he found out I was on a Mac. "Oh... do you often get DNS errors on the Mac?" Yeah, DNS error return codes from your server are all about my computer and not your DNS servers. I "rep surfed" until I got someone who had actually heard of DNS servers before.

    =Tod K

  • Tom Woolf (unregistered)

    I've been lucky enough to work with some very intelligent, skilled, and (gasp) helpful techies over the years.

    Well, the one who left written instructions on what we needed to do after she changed our mail servers, then after it did not work proceeded to email us all to disregard her earlier note was the exception. She also wanted to fingerprint a coworker's keyboard after I changed the default font on their desktop as an April Fools joke because she couldn't get it back to normal after an hour...

    But the trashcan story reeks of an April Fools joke. I can picture the techies I've worked with pulling that one for 10 or 15 minutes on somebody. But then, they would have really helped with the problem.

  • Micro (unregistered) in reply to blodulv

    I guess for me, it makes more sense to ask, "Please unplug each end of the cable and plug it back in. Sometimes the connectors need to be reseated."

    Less BS that way.

  • jgoewert (cs) in reply to Tod K
    Tod K:
    Turns out the company had merged their access with a "content provider" and had after several years silently changed the login to obtain PPOE access so instead of "account name" I had to instead use "account@providername" to login in.

    Ah yes, SWBell.net. Love when they did that. Glad they didn't bother doing anything like send out an email to let you know.

    The bigger kick in the nads from then is when they started blocking port 25 to "stop spammers". I spent two days trying to figure out why my qmail install was letting me get mail but not send when I was using outlook. But it I go on the machine and use Squirrelmail, it was fine. Then, I noticed on a disused SWBell page in the basement of the site with a big sign saying "Beware the Leopard" was a posting said they were blocking 25.

    Stung me again a year later when I reinstalled Windows and the problem started and I couldn't remember what I did last time.

  • Zero (unregistered) in reply to Leo
    Leo:
    Using the same cards, same cabling, simpling swaping them between the computers solved it. To this day I have NO idea what was wrong.
    Same thing just happened to me with some RAM. One of the sticks didn't like being in slot 0 and would cause very odd problems even though it passes any memory test I give it. The other stick is happy to be in slot 0. Shrug.
  • AnonCoder (unregistered)

    I'm going to assume that they were playing some sort of joke on her.

    If they weren't, she deserved the crashing computer for putting up with that.

  • DocJowles (cs)

    Have to agree, this is either fake, or the IT guys disliked her for some past incident and are exacting some passive-aggressive revenge. There are some real morons in this world, but come on, an entire IT department that is convinced plastic trash cans next to your machine cause random crashes?

  • Anonymous Technie (unregistered)

    This is a real, albeit slightly modified, email sent out from my company. I never did figure out the circumstances that prompted the email, but it sounds hilarious.

    ...

    Please be advised that dropping an handheld device from shoulder height to a concrete floor is NOT a troubleshooting step under any circumstance. I’m not sure how or why this was communicated to the support teams, but it is not proper procedure. The device cost $1500 per unit and should not be abused in this manner. Please refrain from telling stores to do so.

  • Kinglink (unregistered)

    Seriously there's no excuse for this, there's many people who want a job at a company doing IT work, if these guys want to be dicks about it get them fired.

    A poor IT department is never an excuse or acceptable.

  • jgoewert (cs) in reply to MyWillysWonka
    MyWillysWonka:
    Anonymous:
    I thought the same thing - classic BOFH. I'm waiting for her to be given the "tour of the server room" when the Halon extinguishers kick in...

    Ahem FM-200 extinguishers... Halon is "toxic"... Personally I'm not planning on being anywhere near the server room when the extinguishers go off.

    Which is why the BofH likes Halon.

    http://www.theregister.com/odds/bofh/

  • Gsquared (cs)

    My favorite tech support call (as in the one I hated the most), was when my internet connection kept failing on me. Despite troubleshooting all local possibilities (new modem, etc.), I could get a connection for about 5 seconds, then it would drop. It was very consistent.

    I tried switching to a "free 200 hours of AOL" account, which worked, but my connection to my ISP would drop after about 5 seconds. (I really, really did not want to use AOL, so permanently switching was not an option I wanted.)

    So, I reluctantly called tech support, presciently aware that I was about to get asked a series of robotic questions by a person who had probably been in IT for less than a month.

    I described the problem. I was asked the usual, "is it plugged in? Is it turned on?" type questions. I jumped through hoops for about five minutes, and then I asked if they had recently changed anything on their end. I was told most emphatically "no", and that the problem was definitely on my end of the connection. Finally, after about half an hour of testing this, that and the other thing, I was informed that my modem drivers were out of date, despite the fact that the manufacturer of the modem said the most recent version was the version I had installed.

    So I changed to another local ISP. A day after I cancelled my account, I got an e-mail from the prior ISP, asking me to come back, to check out all the new services and the upgraded connections and servers they had installed just a week ago (right when my connection problems started). "We've upgraded our service and all our systems to better serve you."

    I called and spoke to the tech support manager, told him I had been told by the tech that "we haven't changed anything", which was contrary to their own marketing, and that he should make sure the tech support department knew about such things. I was promptly informed that that particular tech support person regularly got rave reviews from "90% of the callers", and that I couldn't possibly have been told that, and that even if I had been told that, none of the new upgrades could possibly have caused my problem, and even if they had, why didn't they have hundreds of other people calling about the same thing?

    Needless to say, I stayed with their competitor and didn't go back.

    (Thinking about this suddenly makes me feel old - was I really getting crap from tier -1 tech support personnel when AOL was new? Uhg.)

  • KattMan (cs) in reply to Micro
    Micro:
    I guess for me, it makes more sense to ask, "Please unplug each end of the cable and plug it back in. Sometimes the connectors need to be reseated."

    Less BS that way.

    This works until you realize there were two cables involved. Only one end of each was plugged into the equipment. Asking to swap the ends of the cables usually reveals this. I use color coded cables for my home network for just this reason. I always know which cable at my router is attached to what device.

  • LT (unregistered)

    BOFH Favorite Reason for having issues "Increased Sunspot Activity"

    Actually had a couple people believe that...

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