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Old 30th August 2018, 06:28 AM   #1
JoeMorgue
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Dear Users... (A thread for Sysadmin, Technical Support, and Help Desk people)

Dear Users.

- "Oh I'm not a computer perso..." SHUT UP! Just shut up. Your entire job consists entirely of things that are completely done on a computer. This cutesy poo passive aggressive "Oh I'm not a computer person" line whenever I try to explain anything to you is insane. You don't get to remain functionally (and oddly proudly) intentionally ignorant of the core conceit of your entire job.

- "But I'm old..." SHUT UP! It's 2018. Computers have been common in office environments since the late 70s/ early 80s and totally ubiquitous since the mid-90s or so. You're 40 not 110. Unless you're a Highlander the math on the whole "But I'm toooooo old to learn computers" excuse just doesn't add up.

- No I am not going to maintain older, no longer supported versions of software that are riddled with security holes and have zero support structure still in place just for you to use because that's what you're used to. I don't care that you've kept this spreadsheet in VisiCalc on your Amiga since the Carter administration and "That's what I'm used to," it's going on an a version of Excel from this millennium.

- "My computer don't work." isn't a trouble call. I need to know what function you can't perform, what error you are seeing, something to work off of. If you can't functionally describe the problem you are having, then I can't fix it. "It doesn't do what it usually does but I can't describe what it usually does" doesn't leave me anywhere to go.

- It is not my job to do aspects of your job just because those aspects are "on the computer." In loose analogous terms I'm your mechanic, I am neither your drive or your driving instructor. If your check engine light is on, call me. If your car won't start, call me. If your car pulls to left on straight roads, call me. If you forgot how to turn on your headlights for the 20th time, don't call me. If you want your radio stations changed, don't call me. If you want someone to drive you to the store, don't call me.

So no I have no bloody flippin' clue what the diagnostic code for a detached patella is and I shouldn't have that information available off the top of my head just because the form you are filling that information into is "on the computer." Your IT Support staff are not experts, or indeed even user trained, on how to functionally use every piece of medical software, every hospital and insurance company's website, or why your

- I cannot reset your GMail, Facebook, or in car stereo password/PIN.

- Every problem is not the result of the last thing IT did to your computer. No your computer was not "working fine before the IT guy touched it." No me adding a printer did not make your e-mail rules stop working.
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Old 30th August 2018, 06:53 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
.. on your Amiga since the Carter administration ...
Oh dear.
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Old 30th August 2018, 07:20 AM   #3
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Old 30th August 2018, 08:04 AM   #4
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-If the problem is important enough to ask for my assistance, then it's important enough for you to respond to my questions about it. It's incredibly rude and insulting to open your high-priority ticket for an urgent problem, then to have my emails and phone calls ignored for two days because you were "doing something else".

-When the system is all working fine and there are no issues, that doesn't mean we aren't doing our job. In fact, that usually means we have been doing our job, and well, consistently. Things don't run smoothly just because; networks and enterprises take proper care and feeding so the users don't see problems.

-ETA: Don't tell me I need to disable/remove/adjust the anti-virus on your server unless there's some sort of indication the anti-virus is the issue. If you got no notifications of blocked content or quarantined files, the AV didn't do it. Additionally, you're a server admin; the AV logs are in the usual place, easily found (and parsed) with a cursory look, as well as the information being available via numerous methods internally. And even if it is an AV problem, don't expect me to know immediately what your software is, what exclusions it needs, and how it works. At the least send me a link to the support knowledge base for the product. Finding their article on interactions with AV is not asking for a pint of blood.

Last edited by Hellbound; 30th August 2018 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 30th August 2018, 08:16 AM   #5
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I put all my supported users' (family and friends) data on a drive separate from the OS. I then put in my preferred backup solution, creating backups on a schedule.
  • Viruses and problems with stuff not working/whatever: restore the most recent known-good OS backup.
  • Personal data: backed up to the local NAS, restored when needed.
  • AV and other software setup to do its periodic thing.
  • Bob is everyone's uncle.
The rest of support consists of variations on shrugs, eye-rolls, and menacing looks.
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Last edited by Hlafordlaes; 30th August 2018 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 30th August 2018, 08:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
-If the problem is important enough to ask for my assistance, then it's important enough for you to respond to my questions about it.
Also fixing your system often times requires me to actually get on your system. Don't demand a tech show up immediately and then put on a big showy power trip of being too busy for them to get on your computer to work the issue.

Quote:
When the system is all working fine and there are no issues, that doesn't mean we aren't doing our job. In fact, that usually means we have been doing our job, and well, consistently. Things don't run smoothly just because; networks and enterprises take proper care and feeding so the users don't see problems.
IT Condition 1: Everything is working, why do we even have you guys?
IT Condition 2: Something is broken, why are we even paying you guys?
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Old 30th August 2018, 08:23 AM   #7
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Luckily, I don't deal with users so much anymore. I'm a server admin and own some infrastructure apps, so I'm mostly dealing with others that are theoretically IT-knowledgeable.

Sadly, it's only slightly better than end users
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:10 AM   #8
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- If a system wide issue is occurring and it is affecting all users, I don't need to see your particular instance of the issue.

Bill the User: "Hey Ted, my e-mail won't come up."
Ted the IT Guy: "Yeah Bill sorry about that, e-mail server is down. We're working on it."
Bill: "Well can can look at my e-mail?"
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Last edited by JoeMorgue; 30th August 2018 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
- If a system wide issue is occurring and it is affecting all users, I don't need to see your particular instance of the issue.

Bill the User: "Hey Ted, my e-mail won't come up."
Ted the IT Guy: "Yeah Bill sorry about that, e-mail server is down. We're working on it."
Bill: "Well can can look at my e-mail?"
Would it be better to send out a company wide email and ask everyone to reply-all with their particular concerns so you can properly diagnose the issue?
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Would it be better to send out a company wide email and ask everyone to reply-all with their particular concerns so you can properly diagnose the issue?
Of course (leaving aside the e-mail during an e-mail outage joke you were probably going for) keeping the user base updated on outages and issues is important.

But there's a difference between that and having to give each individual user a warm and fuzzy at the expense of working the actual larger issue.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:19 AM   #11
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Would it be better to send out a company wide email and ask everyone to reply-all with their particular concerns so you can properly diagnose the issue?
Oh, god.

And then the dozen or so "reply all"s back to the guy to tell him he replied all, and the cycle never ends, until the entire universe collapses into the black hole of stupid created by nonsense emails multiplying at frightful rates to infinity.

*shudder*

Users give me nightmares.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:20 AM   #12
Hellbound
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Would it be better to send out a company wide email and ask everyone to reply-all with their particular concerns so you can properly diagnose the issue?
Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Of course (leaving aside the e-mail during an e-mail outage joke you were probably going for) keeping the user base updated on outages and issues is important.

But there's a difference between that and having to give each individual user a warm and fuzzy at the expense of working the actual larger issue.
I think you missed the joke he went for

ETA: Or, of course, he could be multi-tasking
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
I think you missed the joke he went for

ETA: Or, of course, he could be multi-tasking
I think that aspect of the joke was too dark for most sys admins to even recognize.

There is nothing more beautiful from a stooge user's point of view than a massive reply-all spreading across a global organization over the course of days. It's the only thing I miss from my large company days. Well, that and the donuts.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I think that aspect of the joke was too dark for most sys admins to even recognize.

There is nothing more beautiful from a stooge user's point of view than a massive reply-all spreading across a global organization over the course of days. It's the only thing I miss from my large company days. Well, that and the donuts.
We got smart (well, smarter, anyway). We restrict which users can send to the large groups, including in replies. That makes sys admins get use from their pillows again.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:34 AM   #15
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- Don't tell me your problem is "causing a work stoppage" or "you're at a standstill." You work on a computer. If the computer doesn't work of course you can't work. That's what working on a computer means. Every issue I get is a work stoppage for somebody. You don't automatically go to the front of the line.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:40 AM   #16
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When I worked on the alpha of what eventually became IBM Websphere the chief architect of the project which covered just about every IBM software lab went on holiday. He set his out-of-office. He did not set the option to only reply once to each email address he received email from. Anyone remember majordomo? The mailing list manager? He was subscribed to all the discussions on that.
So he starts getting emails from it. His out-of-office replies saying he's out-of-office which gets sent to all the members of that mailing list. To which his out-of-office replies.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:58 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
When I worked on the alpha of what eventually became IBM Websphere the chief architect of the project which covered just about every IBM software lab went on holiday. He set his out-of-office. He did not set the option to only reply once to each email address he received email from. Anyone remember majordomo? The mailing list manager? He was subscribed to all the discussions on that.
So he starts getting emails from it. His out-of-office replies saying he's out-of-office which gets sent to all the members of that mailing list. To which his out-of-office replies.
You were responsible for WebSphere?

I hope you realize this gets you a place on the list...

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Old 30th August 2018, 10:03 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
You were responsible for WebSphere?

I hope you realize this gets you a place on the list...

I worked on the managed object factory of what was then Component Broker and the whole team at Hursley left after we'd delivered the alpha as it was such a horrid project to work on. I moved to MQ and most of the rest formed the IBM java team.
Don on websphere greatest mistake
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:29 AM   #19
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In the late 90's I had this conversation with an older woman:
"Can you help me fix my computer?"
"Maybe, what kind of computer is it?"
"Um, it's the kind that you get on the internet with."
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:39 AM   #20
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In 1996 I had to explain to someone, over the phone, how to double-click. Yes, they were a Windows user.
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Old 30th August 2018, 11:33 AM   #21
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https://old.reddit.com/r/talesfromtechsupport/
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Old 30th August 2018, 03:31 PM   #22
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"Sir, you do of course realise that by making all your jobs no.1 priority that none of them have priority?"

"If you don't have time to attend the application training, we don't have time to support you."

"No, you should not partition your internal hard drive to enable backing up to the new partition."

"I don't care if your login is slower than you'd like, do not disable your anti-virus to speed up logging in."

"No, we will not attach your usb powered drive to the back of the server to provide more capacity."

"Yes sir, I DO know who you are. This is how I can let the COO know that you're attempting to create a software licensing non-compliance situation within the company."
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Old 30th August 2018, 04:15 PM   #23
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Are you one of those guys from Windows Technical Department who keeps calling me from India to fix my computer?
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Old 30th August 2018, 04:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Are you one of those guys from Windows Technical Department who keeps calling me from India to fix my computer?



http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=283449
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Old 30th August 2018, 05:36 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
- "Oh I'm not a computer perso..." SHUT UP! Just shut up. Your entire job consists entirely of things that are completely done on a computer. This cutesy poo passive aggressive "Oh I'm not a computer person" line whenever I try to explain anything to you is insane. You don't get to remain functionally (and oddly proudly) intentionally ignorant of the core conceit of your entire job.
THIS!

This is my biggest pet peeve. The ability to use a computer has been part of every government selection criteria since the 90s. Did you lie on your job application?
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Old 30th August 2018, 06:29 PM   #26
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If you think that people really know how to use computers, read this:





http://coding2learn.org/blog/2013/07...use-computers/
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Old 30th August 2018, 06:43 PM   #27
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Dear users:

Error messages are important. If you have an error message on screen, expect that the agent will ask you what it says. And you need to be precise. Error messages, contrary to popular opinion, are usually very informative and helpful, if you understand what it’s trying to tell you. And if the agent you’re talking to doesn’t understand it, they will need to take a verbatim copy (or a screenshot) so that they can pass it on to someone who does understand it.

ETA: I wrote a whole pile of these a little while ago.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:16 PM   #28
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Here's another one.

Dear users:

Procedures exist for a reason. All service desks have a set of procedures, and these procedures exist for a reason. Please donít try to circumvent them. Doing so leads to a lack of documentation, a lack of clarity, a lack of transparency, and a lack of accountability. If the agent asks you to complete a form, then complete the form. Procedures donít exist just to annoy you; they exist to facilitate the incredibly complex process of providing IT services to an organisation.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:22 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Dear users:

Error messages are important. If you have an error message on screen, expect that the agent will ask you what it says. And you need to be precise. Error messages, contrary to popular opinion, are usually very informative and helpful, if you understand what itís trying to tell you. And if the agent youíre talking to doesnít understand it, they will need to take a verbatim copy (or a screenshot) so that they can pass it on to someone who does understand it.

ETA: I wrote a whole pile of these a little while ago.

Oh, good. You can help!

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Old 30th August 2018, 09:37 PM   #30
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I'll pass that on to someone who understands it. You'll receive an email shortly containing the job number.
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:17 PM   #31
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I am particularly NOT fond of the "Just before you go..." at about 4:45pm.

-- Just before you go, could you find out what all those fire alarm noises in the server room are about and fix them?

-- Just before you go, could you reinstall all the email servers with new versions of software including anti-virus?

--Just before you go, could you come and fix this blue screen thingy on my Windows PC? Oh, and all the other PCs in our office. I think it's a virus...

-- Just before you go, the boss needs his new laptop unpacked, configured, and all of Office installed. And have it connected to the wifi so he can do some urgent Skype-for-Business stuff at a shareholders' meeting tomorrow morning at 8:30am. Yes, he's gone home now and I don't know his account or password.
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:22 PM   #32
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Incidentally, I have a cure for the "Just before you go" syndrome.

"Yes, I will gladly fix your [PC | server | blocked drain] provided you stay here with me until it is fixed and do some testing afterwards. What, you have to go home? Where do you think I was going tonight? If you can't stay then it can't be THAT important, can it! So you can choose: If it is really urgent then you can stay with me until midnight and we will get it done together, or if it is not so urgent then you can call this in to Helpdesk tomorrow morning. I'm going in a minute, so let me know now..."
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:43 PM   #33
arthwollipot
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I wasn't going to post another one just yet, but given the previous posts, it seems relevant.

Dear users:

Be aware of the timing of your call. Agent shifts usually end on the hour and on the half hour. Calling one or two minutes before that means that you are likely to be holding an agent past their shift end time. Some agents might need to leave to catch a bus, but even if they donít youíre not likely to get them when theyíre at their best. Your call can wait a couple of minutes.
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Old 30th August 2018, 11:50 PM   #34
rdaneel
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It always amazes me how technophobic people can be. I don't even come close to being a qualified tech support person, but at a previous job many years ago, I was often the one that people turned to for connecting their laptops to our projector, simply because they hadn't figured out the complex problem of plugging the red plug in the red socket, the white plug in the white socket, and the yellow plug into, you guessed it, the yellow socket.

For this in depth knowledge, I was "The Tech Guy".

It's not that I minded, it just amused me that people with far more education than I have seemed to be flummoxed by this task.
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Old 30th August 2018, 11:59 PM   #35
Sideroxylon
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These people keep people in jobs.
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Old 31st August 2018, 01:16 AM   #36
Greebo
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post

-When the system is all working fine and there are no issues, that doesn't mean we aren't doing our job. In fact, that usually means we have been doing our job, and well, consistently. Things don't run smoothly just because; networks and enterprises take proper care and feeding so the users don't see problems.
This, 100 % this.

We have a reward system at work whereby you can send a "thank you" to anyone in the company (their manager also gets to see it so it gets included in the annual review), if you think it's appropriate you can put a value against it £10 - £100.
Recently I got £50 from one of team leads at work for a system that I did a lot of work on the database for it. He noticed that the application was more stable - part of me said "I was just doing my job" another part went "Yay - what we do is recognised and appreciated sometimes."
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Old 31st August 2018, 01:39 AM   #37
Wudang
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Originally Posted by Kid Eager View Post
"Sir, you do of course realise that by making all your jobs no.1 priority that none of them have priority?"
Or https://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/0...fh_episode_24/
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Old 31st August 2018, 04:03 AM   #38
Wudang
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It's been years since I had decent nntp access (ISP issues) but I used to enjoy alt.sysadmin.recovery (aka scary devil monastery). One of its rules was "No useful information" - i.e it was a place to vent and relax not to be pointed at page 531 of a manual. Then it seemed like every other day some newb convinced of their own brilliance and originality would post "But suggesting how they can vent is useful information so you suck".
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Old 31st August 2018, 07:14 AM   #39
theprestige
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
If you think that people really know how to use computers, read this:





http://coding2learn.org/blog/2013/07...use-computers/
That is a terribly written article.
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Old 31st August 2018, 11:49 AM   #40
Molinaro
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True story:

Got a call from a client who said their keyboard did not work. I asked them to confirm it is plugged in. They got mad and said they were not stupid. They insisted I come fix it because they are paying for a monthly service contract and bla bla bla...

I drove across town, and plugged in their keyboard for them. Then I went to their boss and let them know the problem was solved, by plugging in the keyboard for them.


Sometimes I liked to mess with my clients. As an obvious joke to relieve tension I would start by suggesting the most likely cause of the problem is that they are not clicking the mouse properly and should get some more practice.

Other times when it was not clear what caused the issue in the first place, that I could not replicate or find any evidence that it ever happened, I would explain that it was most likely a cosmic ray that flipped a bit in their computer. And boy were they lucky it hit the computer instead of them!
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