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|Actual dialog of a former Customer Support employee: Support: "Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?" Customer: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect." Support: "What sort of trouble?" Customer: "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.", Support: "Went away?" Customer:"They disappeared." Support: "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?" Customer: "Nothing." Support: "Nothing?" Customer: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type." Support: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?" Customer: "How do I tell?" Support: "Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?" Customer: "What's a sea-prompt?" Support: "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?" Customer: "There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type." Support: "Does your monitor have a power indicator?" Customer: "What's a monitor?" Support: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?" Customer: "I don't know." Support: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?" Customer: ......"Yes, I think so." Support: "Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall." Customer: ......"Yes, it is." Support: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?" Customer: "No." Support: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable." Customer: ......"Okay, here it is." Support: "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer." Customer: "I can't reach." Support: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?" Customer: "No." Support: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?" Customer:"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle-it's because it's dark." Support: "Dark? Customer: "Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window." Support: "Well, turn on the office light then." Customer:"I can't." Support: "No? Why not?" Customer: "Because there's a power outage." Support: "A power... A power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?" Customer: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet." Support: "Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from." Customer: "Really? Is it that bad?" Support: "Yes, I'm afraid it is." Customer: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?" Support: "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."
|Computer Problem Report Form1. Describe your problem:________________________________________________________________2. Now, describe the problemaccurately:________________________________________________________________3. Speculate wildly about the causeof the problem:________________________________________________________________4. Problem Severity: A. Minor __ B. Minor __ C. Minor __ D. Trivial __5. Nature of the problem: A. Locked Up __ B. Frozen __ C. Hung __ D. Strange Smell __6. Is your computer plugged in? Yes __ No __7. Is it turned on? Yes __ No __8. Have you tried to fix it yourself? Yes __ No __9. Have you made it worse? Yes __10. Have you had a friend who knowsall about computers. Try to fix itfor you?Yes __ No __11. Did they make it even worse?Yes __12. Have you read the manual?Yes __ No __13. Are you sure you've read the manual?Maybe __ No __14. Are you absolutely you'veread the manual?No __15. If you read the manual, do you thinkyou understood it?Yes __ No __16. If Yes, then explain why you can'tfix the problem yourself.________________________________________________________________17. What were you doing with your computerat the time the problem occurred?________________________________________________________________l8. If you answered nothing, then explainwhy you were logged in?________________________________________________________________l9. Are you sure you aren't imaginingthe problem?Yes __ No __20. Does the clock on your home VCR blink12:00?Yes __ What's a VCR? __21. Do you have a copy of PCs for Dummies?Yes __ No __22. Do you have any independent witnessesto the problem?Yes __ No __23. Do you have any electronics productsthat DO work?Yes __ No __24. Is there anyone else you could blamethis problem on?Yes __ No __25. Have you given the machine a good whackon the top?Yes __ No __26. Is the machine on fire?Yes __ Not Yet __27. Can you do something else instead ofbothering me?Yes __
|Top Ten ways things would be different if Microsoft built cars:1. A Particular model year of car wouldn't be available until AFTER that year, instead of before.2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you'd have to buy a new car.3. Occassionally your car would just die for no reason and you'd have to restart it. For some strange reason, you would just accept this.4. You could only have one person at a time in your car, unless you bought a car '95 or a car NT, but then you would have to buy more seats.5. You would be constantly pressured to upgrade your car. Wait a second, it's that way NOW!6. Sun Microsystems would make a car that was solar powered, twice as reliable, 5 times as fast, but only ran on 5% of the roads.7. The oil, alternator, gas, and engine warning lights would be replaced with a single "General Car Fault" warning light.8. People would get excited about thew new features in Microsoft cars, forgetting completely that they had been available in other brands for years. 9. We'd all have to switch to Microsoft Gas (tm).10. Ford, General Motors, and Chrylser would all be complaining because Microsoft was putting radios in all its models.
|Top ten ways the Internet could get worse10. Rigorous user screening process abolished by America On-Line.9. "MAKE MONEY FAST" posts protected by 1st amendment, declare internet lawyers Canter & Siegel.8. Home shopping "network".7. Netrek corporate sponsorships. Out: Orion, Pollux, Klingus. In: Planet Bud, Toyota Prime, Intelworld.6. Sun internet servers replaced with pentiums.5. Dan Quayle appointed head of "bandwidth expansion tiger team".4. Free netcom account with purchase of big mac.3. Gameboy web browsers.2. Tipper Gore cancelbot unleashed onto the net.AND THE NUMBER ONE WAY THE INTERNET CAN GET WORSE:1. Two words: "Microsoft Network"
|COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS:As depicted in movies,Word processors never display a cursor. You never have to use the space-bar when typing long sentences. All monitors display inch-high letters. High-tech computers, such as those used by NASA, the CIA, or some such governmental institution, will have easy to understand graphical interfaces. Those that don't, have incredibly powerful text-bases command shells that can correctly understand and execute commands typed in plain English. Corollary: you can gain access to any information you want by simply typing "ACCESS ALL OF THE SECRET FILES" on any keyboard. Likewise, you can infect a computer with a destructive virus by simply typing "UPLOAD VIRUS" (see "Fortress"). All computers are connected. You can access the information on the villain's desktop computer, even if it's turned off. Powerful computers beep whenever you press a key or whenever the screen changes. Some computers also slow down the output on the screen so that it doesn't go faster than you can read. The *really* advanced ones also emulate the sound of a dot-matrix printer. All computer panels have thousands of volts and flash pots just underneath the surface. Malfunctions are indicated by a bright flash, a puff of smoke, a shower of sparks, and an explosion that forces you backwards. People typing away on a computer will turn it off without saving the data. A hacker can get into the most sensitive computer in the world before intermission and guess the secret password in two tries. Any PERMISSION DENIED has an OVERRIDE function (see "Demolition Man" and countless others). Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds. Movie modems usually appear to transmit data at the speed of two gigabytes per second. When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the control panels will explode, as will the entire building. If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password when you try to access it. No matter what kind of computer disk it is, it'll be readable by any system you put it into. All application software is usable by all computer platforms The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it has (Aliens). However, everyone must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren't labelled. Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three- dimensional,active animation, photo-realistic graphics capability. Laptops, for some strange reason, always seem to have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a CRAY Supercomputer. Whenever a character looks at a VDU, the image is so bright that it projects itself onto his/her face (see "Alien", "2001").
|Humorous Computer-Related AcronymsIBM I Blame Microsoft Idiots Buy Me Idiots Building Machines I'll Buy Macintoshes It Bit Me It Built Microsoft It's Better Manually I've Been Mislead I've Been Mugged WINDOWS Well, It Never Does Operate With Speed When I Need Data Output Without Speed While Idle, Needs DX or WorkStation Will Install Needless Data On Whole System WIN Whoppingly Immense NOP Worm Infestation Netware MS-WINDOWS NT / WINDOWS NT My Solitaire With Its New De-accelerator, Only With Some Network Technology Well Intended, Netword De-accelerator, Only Works Sometimes, Never Totally WINDOWS (as a) Network Trojan Different Operating Systems ExpectationsMacintosh: What You See Is What You Get MS-DOS: You Asked For It, You Got It UNIX: IfUHv2sk, UDntWnt2Kno VMS: You Got It, All Of It, Want It Or Not Random Abbreviations for Many Computer CompaniesAPPLE: Arrogance Produces Profit-Losing Entity DEC: Dump Everything and Close DEC: Do Expect Cuts HCL: Hilarious Computer Logic HP: Hot Pursuit IBM: I Blame Microsoft MAC: Most Absurd Computer MACINTOSH: Most Applications Crash; If Not, The Operating System Hangs MICROSOFT: Most Intelligent Customers Realize Our Software Only Fools Teenagers NEXT: Now EXchange for Trash OS/2: Obsolete Soon, Too. WARP: What A Rot Program Acronymns for Other Computer Terms:AMIGA: A Merely Insignificant Game Addiction BASIC: Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control CD-ROM: Consumer Device, Rendered Obsolete in Months COBOL: Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language DOS: Defective Operating System ISDN: It Still Does Nothing LISP: Lots of Infuriating & Silly Parenthesis MIPS: Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed PCMCIA: People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms PENTIUM: Produces Erroneous Numbers Through Incorrect Understanding of Mathematics SCSI: System Can't See It WWW: World Wide Wait
|The Life Cycle of SoftwareProgrammer produces code he believes is bug-free. Product is tested. 20 bugs are found. Programmer fixes 10 of the bugs and explains to the testing department that the other 10 aren't really bugs. Testing department finds that five of the fixes didn't work and discovers 15 new bugs. See 3. See 4. See 5. See 6. See 7. See 8. Due to marketing pressure and an extremely pre-mature product announcement based on over-optimistic programming schedule, the product is released. Users find 137 new bugs. Original programmer, having cashed his royalty check, is nowhere to be found. Newly-assembled programming team fixes almost all of the 137 bugs, but introduce 456 new ones. Original programmer sends underpaid testing department a postcard from Fiji. Entire testing department quits. Company is bought in a hostile takeover by competitor using profits from their latest release, which had 783 bugs. New CEO is brought in by board of directors. He hires programmer to redo program from scratch. Programmer produces code he believes is bug-free. See step 2
|The Net is SlowOh, the network outside is frightful,But on campus, it's so delightful,Our packets have nowhere to go,Net is slow, net is slow, net is slow.It doesn't show signs of stopping,All our packets, our hosts are dropping;Bandwidth is turned way down low,Net is slow, net is slow, net is slow.When we finally connect to a site,It's time to go back to the dorm;But if I could stay here all night,I could submit their Web form.The network is slowly dying,And, I fear, we're still denying,But as long as Sprint is the way to go,Net is slow, net is slow, net is slow.
|While trying to diagnose a problem over the phone I told the user to type out his autoexec.bat file.He said it said "File not found".I told him to do a dir.I asked him if he saw autoexec.bat listed.He said, "Well it says autoexec, then there's some spaces, but no dot, and then it says bat."I said type this in "type autoexec.bat".Again he got "File not found".I asked him to tell me exactly what he typed.He said, "I typed just what you told me: `type autoexecdotbat'.
|A person turned on the computer without a keyboard plugged in.When she turns on the computer, the computer finds out that there is no keyboard attached and it gives a "Keyboard Error" message.She then asks "Why did it give me a keyboard error?There isn't even a keyboard attached?
|An office technician got a call from a user. The user told the tech that her computer was not working. She described the problem and the tech concluded that the computer needed to be brought in and serviced.He told her to "Unplug the power cord and bring it up here and I will fix it."About fifteen minutes later she shows up at his door with the power cord in her hand.
|I work as a systems administrator, and part of m job involves answering questions about computers. I generally like my job, but sometimes it gets on my nerves. When people ask me what I find so irritating, this is what I tell them:Imagine that you are a salesperson for Ikea (substitute "furniture store" if you don't know what "Ikea" is). You get a phone call that goes like this.Customer: I'd like to buy a kitchen table.You: That's fine; we have many styles of kitchen tables, I'm sure you can find one you like.C: I need one that's 3 feet by 5 feet and has a butcher block top.Y: Yes, we have a table like that. You can pick it up today.C: OK, how can I get it back to my house?Y: Well, it comes disassembled, so you can just put it on a roof rack. We can loan you a roof rack if you don't have one.C: But how do get there?Y: We're just off exit 25 of the Turnpike. Where are you coming from?C: Wait, wait, you're going way too fast for me. I have a Ford in my driveway, and the keys are in my hand. What do I do next?And, whatever you say at this point, the response is always the same:C: But all I want is a kitchen table! Why does it have to be so *COMPLICATED*!
|In a recent contest in The Washington Post, readers were asked to take an expression using a number, add or subtract one, and create a new definition: The Year 2001 Problem: How to find jobs for all those programmers hired to solve the Year 2000 problem. Catch-23: Complete the previous catch before proceeding to this step. Fortune 501: Levi Strauss makes the list, but just by the seat of its pants. Motel 5: If you're not there by midnight, they turn off the light. Dressed to the Eights: Impeccably attired with white socks. Six Brides for Seven Brothers: Someone's gonna get hurt ! Snow White and the Eight Dwarfs: The title, before they expelled Gassy. Five Eyes: Other kids can be so cruel when you are Siamese twins, and one of you is wearing a monocle. 665: The mark on the forehead of Satan's slightly less evil brother, Ralph.
|SYSTEM CRASH (to the tune of "The Monster Mash") I was working in the lab, late one nightWhen my eyes beheld an eerie sight,Some smoke from our VAX began to riseAnd suddenly, to my surprise... [chorus](There was a crash) There was a system crash(A mighty crash) I heard the disk heads smash(A system crash) It came down in a flash(There was a crash) A fatal system crash The lab manager then appeared from his room,Said: "I don't want to be a prophet of doom,But we had one like this just the other dayWhich blew up 4 megs and the SBA"[chorus] The system had just been booted, diagnosticshad all run through, When a power fluck made itall run amuck, then SCOTTY and IRVING blew tooSo we'd lost all our VAXes in less than one nightWhen a VP came in and said: "hey, that's all right,I'll loan you a Venus - here's what to doWhen you call up Support, tell them Gordon sent you...[chorus]
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (The Times of London)Dear Sir,I am firmly opposed to the spread of microchips either to the home or to the office, We have more than enough of them foisted upon us in public places. They are a disgusting Americanism, and can only result in the farmers being forced to grow smaller potatoes, which in turn will cause massive unemployment in the already severely depressed agricultural industry.
|11th-hour tweaks for Windows '98 by Microsoft10. Included subliminal "Impeach Janet Reno" messages in start-up screen. 9. New Internet Explorer feature: whenever you visit a Web site ending in ".gov," a message first appears reminding you that Microsoft is not a monopoly. 8. Source code no longer ones and zeros--try 666s and zeros. Windows start-up theme, played backward, says, Here's to my sweet Satan." 7. Comes with check for $50 that, if cashed, puts your name on an Internet petition telling the DOJ to buzz off *and* changes your long distance carrier to AT&T. 6. New desktop icon--click once, and $1 will go directly from your checking account into the Microsoft Legal Defense Fund. 5. Added new template to preinstalled version of Word: "Letter to the editor expressing delight with Microsoft products." 4. Freebie computer-controlled Barney doll has been reprogrammed to say, "Big government is sca-a-ary. Janet tried to hurt me." 3. TV function scrambles C-Span during antitrust hearings. 2. Desktop display with countdown tracking number of copies of Windows 98 that must yet be bought to prevent worldwide economic collapse! 1. Last-minute name change: was "Windows 98," now "Windows: Assimilate."
|From "Machine Design" Magazine......Byte BatAll too often, computers aren't up when you need them, or some sort of system error costs you a lot of time and effort. Hitting a computer or terminal with anything substantial can be satisfying, but expensive. That's where the Byte Bat comes in.It is a foam rubber baseball bat, 17 in. long, that may give you a harmless but satisfying way in which to "strike back" at computers.Specially designed to serve as a frustration shunt, the Byte Bat is compatible with all computers and operating systems, making it the first universally compatible foamware. Each Byte Bat comes with a complete user's manual, one genuine "Byte Bat User Button," one multi-color poster showing the device in use, and a warning decal that advises all who approach that "This computer-friendly liveware is protected by Byte Bat."
|The checkout line at the hardware store was getting longer and longer as the clerk labored to get the new cash register to cooperate.At one point she wailed "Oh no, NOW what do I do ? It just rang up sixty-four thousand, five hundered seventy four dollars in sales tax on a ten-dollar sale !"Suprisingly, the customers in front of me didn't seem too upset by the delay.Some even chuckled sympathetically. It wasn't until I got near the front of the line that I saw the neatly hand-lettered sign in front of the register: WE ARE CURRENTLY DOING BATTLE WITH OUR NEW COMPUTER FOR CONTROL OF THE STORE---WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.


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