[bct] Tech support

  • From: "Debee Norling" <debee@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2006 15:36:37 -0800

Since I worked for tech support for ten years for a variety of companies,
here are some real stories that really happened to me:

I was talking to a lady once and asked her if she was in Windows.

"Oh no honey," she said "I'm actually in New York today but I was in Miami
last week".

Back in the DOS days, I was explaining to a customer about how Borland's
sidekick might be having a keystroke conflict with another TSR. "I know
about all those TSR programs," he told me confidently, "They terminate and
stay resistent."

I used to support an operating system called CTOS where backing up was
called flopping out, since you backed up to floppies. One customer, with a
slow southern drawl explained one day that she flipped out while flopping
out and that consequently she could no longer flop back in. I don't think
flopping in was an official term for restoring a backup.

I had a customer once who couldn't get two access technology products,
MegaDots and OSCAR to play nice on his DOS system. While I was talking to
him, the song,  duelling banjos came on the radio and he commented that he
really liked the song.  I explained over and over he would need to reboot if
he ran program A and now wanted to run program B. He was a self-described
"techie" but he just refused to see the problem. Finally, I told him
something in exasperation that actually got him to see the light. "Sir," I
explained, "it is a simple case of duelling DOS extenders".

I was helping an angry court reporter who claimed that our company's
software was carrying the cheesehead virus. I had never heard of this virus,
but she said that each time she inserted her CD,  a message would appear
claiming that Cheese-Head now had control of her computer.

She called back later to appologize; apparently it was a teenage son's April
fool joke. He'd made a custom CD with a cartoon of the infamous cheeshead, a
character he'd invented himself. If you clicked on the message, which she
was afraid to do, the cartoon would have played for a minute and signed off
with April Fools.

I had a boss who was big on follow-up, so our customer database contained a
follow-up field which we were supposed to fill in for every call. We had to
keep it current each time we followed up to see if a problem had been
solved. This field was abreviated as F/u, so our department rebounded with
cries of "I F.U'd just now," and "Did you f/u that customer," and "F U to
you too".

In that same job we had this other boss who knew nothing about computers but
who refused to use Windows 3.1 and only ran DOS. So we used the prompt
command to change his DOS prompt to "error 37". We put it in his Autoexec
and he went crazy trying to figure out why everything he did generated an
error 37.

Once I was helping a sighted father install an early scanning product on his
child's first computer.  We got it to scan fine, but when the scanner
finished his screen filled with error messages about IRQ conflicts with his

We uninstalled and re-installed his CD-ROM drivers; we fiddled with IRQ and
port assignments and we tried everything else I could think of that would
prevent his CD-ROM from conflicting with his scanner.

Finally, I asked him to read all the text on the screen very slowly and with
extreme care. Curiously enough, besides error messages, there were
explanations of what the messages meant.

"Sir," I said, "Can you tell me if there's a page on your scanner?"

"Oh yes," he replied confidently, "It is the piece of paper that came in the
box with the CD-ROM.

The poor clueless guy had been scanning the CD-ROM documentation, which the
software had faithfully rendered in to text then placed it onscreen. There
was in fact no conflict with the actual hardware whatsoever!


Other related posts: