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Worst Explanation From Tech Support? 1907

Posted by Cliff
from the what-silly-things-have-you-heard? dept.
Disgruntled-with-Tech-Support asks: "Let's face it: At some point or another, we've had to deal with some form of tech support. Quite often, it's a hit-or-miss experience depending on the level of support required. Occasionally, strange, bizarre, or nonsensical explanations result from the problems reported, such as this one: I had just had DSL installed, only to find it much slower than the 56K line I was looking to get rid of. On calling the provider, I was told (by someone who likely reading off cue cards) to visit one of their internal websites for measuring bandwidth. While there, I observed that they had both bytes per second and bits per second listed, and that the number of bytes/sec != bits/sec * 8, rather a factor around 13 or 14. I pointed this out as a possible problem, and the guy's reasoning: 'Uh, it looks like the bytes are getting through to you ok, but the bits are getting stuck someplace.' What was your worst explanation from tech support?"
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Worst Explanation From Tech Support?

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  • by Raindance (680694) * <johnsonmx@NOsPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:35PM (#9211379) Homepage Journal
    He *was* way off... it was the bytes getting stuck, not the bits!
    • by mlyle (148697) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:57PM (#9211579)
      at the number of bytes/sec != bits/sec * 8, rather a factor around 13 or 14.

      Shouldn't it be bits/sec = bytes/sec * 8? ;)
      • by innosent (618233) <jmdority@gmail . c om> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:11PM (#9211704)
        Actually, it depends on what you are measuring. If you are measuring bits/sec of traffic vs. bytes/sec of data, the factor is probably around what you stated for smaller packets. Since this is typically how bps/Bps is measured, the numbers on the page of the site are quite possibly correct. Of course, the tech guy is still a moron, but the explanation is almost correct. Those extra bits get "stuck" when the packets are decoded, since the ethernet and TCP/IP headers will all be stripped off.
      • Bits about Bytes (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:38PM (#9211885)
        actually in asynch serial comms (such as your 56K) a byte is data bits, plus start, stop, parity bits
        so the old standard 8,n,1
        is really 1 start bit, plus 8 data bits, no parity bit, and 1 stop bit
        so 10 bits in this case
        the largest commmon byte would be something like
        8,e,2 (1 start+8+1(for even)+2 stop bits, thus
        12 bits in that byte as transmitted.
    • by Glonoinha (587375) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:08PM (#9211671) Journal
      User : Why does it (something, various) .. ?
      Me : Because it fucking does.

      User : Why do I have to (do something, various) .. ?
      Me : Because you fucking have to.

      User : I can't (do something, various) ...
      Me : Reboot your computer.
      User : I just rebooted my computer.
      Me : Rebooting the computer without knowing why you are rebooting it won't fix it. Reboot it again.
      (waits...)
      User : Wow, that fixed it. Thanks!
      Me (under my breath) : D'oh.
      (actually there was a esoteric bug in SPX connections on a Netware network where computers configured as remote print servers would not reconnect the SPX connection the first time it was attempted after that workstation locked up because the Netware server thought that the SPX connection was still connected. Attempting to reconnect from the same MAC address failed, but the server knew something was wrong at that point and released the SPX connection and the next time the 'print server' configured computer tried to tell the server that it was ready to be a 'print server' it would let it. As it did all this in the boot script (autoexec.bat) it really would fail on the first reboot and work on the second reboot. I could have walked them through typing in the commands by hand, but having them reboot it again was generally (much) faster.)
    • by StanMarsh (781675) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:13PM (#9211725)
      I had a cdrom going bad on a Dell that I had decided to put Linux on. I saw that the cdrom was totally gone when I couldn't boot from it. I swapped out with another machine and started installing RH9 and called Dell. I told him that I needed a new cdrom sent out because this one was bad. He asked in his Indian-accented english how I knew that it was the cdrom. I told him the computer wouldn't boot from that one but would from another cdrom. He asked me which version of Windows I had. I told him that the hard drive had been wiped for my Linux install. He told me to go to dell.com and download a utility to run on it. I said there is no OS, and even when an OS is on it, you're win32 app won't work. He said to right-click My Computer and go to Properties... I said, HEY there's no OS, no Windows, no nothing. He finally got some of the point and asked how could I possibly know that the cdrom didn't work if the computer didn't have an OS. I said that I know. He then said I probably need to update my drivers. I finally gave the phone to my boss (luckily a native of India) and had him cuss the tech support guy in Hindu. The cdrom arrived the next day.
    • Emachines (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bot24 (771104) <slashdot@ b o t 2 4 . i g3.net> on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:26AM (#9212199) Homepage
      I used to have a 433Mhz Celeron computer up untill a about 5 months ago when I got an EMachine T2341. It started up so fast, and I got all of my stuff installed and put in a extra Gig of ram. So, I was playing Warcraft III, and then the thing just shut off. I pressed the power button and nothing happened. I unplugged it and started it back up. Well, the memory had never shown the full gig. *runs free* It only shows 641840. I installed MBM and relized that my computer has an automatic temperature shutoff switch somewhere over 150 degrees that I was hitting. I got some clock cycle limiting stuff and managed to keep it from crashing or powering down. I opened up a tech support request, and they said that my ram was being used for the integrated graphics that I wasn't using. I E-Mailed back, and then they said how to turn it off. That didn't work.

      Hold shift at the EMachines logo to see the ram.

      This is an AthlonXP 2400+, it goes to fast to read.

      Your ram is defective.

      I don't think it is. What about my heat problem? Is that red light supposed to be on?

      Your ram is defective.

      What about my heat issue?!

      Your ram is defective.

      I took it back to Best Buy:

      This computer has heat problems.

      You opened the case. The warrenty is void.

      It says right here in this E-Mail(waves paper) that I can do that.

      The warrenty is void. All we can do is exchange it for a new one.

      Well, the ram still doesn't work, but the inside of this one looks different. It hasn't overheated yet. Same model, different motherboard and cpu-fan...
  • by Stir (446728) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:36PM (#9211386) Homepage
    ...and we have an error code we give our unfortunate *special* callers. We tell them they are experiencing an i-d-10-t issue but they should give it time and it might clear itself up.
  • Worst Explanation? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rupert (28001) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:36PM (#9211388) Homepage Journal
    The one they won't give you unless you cough up $25.95+tax.
  • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:37PM (#9211389)
    As a former tech i've had to make up some pretty lame ones for people who were too dim or uninterested enough to comprehend the real explanation.
    • by MikeDawg (721537) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:51PM (#9211513) Homepage Journal
      I completely agree with this. I've worked tech support, and even POS (point-of-sale) support before. Often times, if some layman asks you what you did to fix the problem, I give them a non-sensical (to the layman) answer, just so they stop bothering me. I have also developed new words for cashiers, as taught to me from other techs to get people to comply to what you're doing.

      For instance, you don't say: "We are going to reset/restart your unix server" you say: "We are going to bump your server" You don't say: "A backhoe dug up your local T-1 line, and now you're on dialup, credit authorizations are going to take longer" You say: "Please don't call me, call the credit authorization company" There are so many more, but I just can't think of any handy right now.

      Key is, you have to dumb things down a bit so the average lay person doesn't take 45 minutes chatting about what could be the technicial difficulty.
    • by petabyte (238821) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:09AM (#9212055)
      Yeah, I had one of those from when I did tech support at the university. Working a 8 hour shift from 4pm to midnight on a thursday night. About 11 o'clock someone calls down and wanted to register their new computer for a connection before the weekend. This should be no problem, I just need to get her MAC address. Now mind though that I'd been up since 6 and had 2 exams that day. The conversation goes something like this:

      Me: "Ok, you're going to want to right click on My Computer and click on where it says Properties at the bottom"
      Her: " ... Right Click the Mouse where?"
      Me: "Oh on the My Computer Icon on your desktop"
      Her: "... Well where on my desktop - My mouse is on my desktop"

      Now, I think she means her mouse cursor but she actually means the top of her desk. After I realize that I try to explain "No no, the computer's desktop ... like where the wallpaper is" which she thinks is the monitor as her wall is behind the monitor. It had been a really long day and I couldn't think of how to explain what the computer desktop was. It wasn't her fault, she had just never heard it put like that before. Anyway by this point the two of us are laughing at one another because we both sound completely clueless. Eventually her roommate pointed to the screen and we were all good. It was a nice laugh on a very long day.

      She sounded cute too but you know ... I'd always just be the "Tech Support Dude" anyway ...
  • by evel aka matt (123728) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:37PM (#9211392)
    That my website was down because a link was posted on some news website, causing millions of geeks to load the page and overload the server. What a crock of shit!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:27AM (#9212202)
      Worst excuse I've heard from a client.. "I can't tolerate ANY downtime for my website.. I'm losing thousands of dollars a minute!! I have multimillion dollar clients!!" Right.. And you have a $7/mo shared hosting account that gets a hit or two a day.
  • by OdinHuntr (109972) <ebourg@po-box.mcgi[ ]ca ['ll.' in gap]> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:38PM (#9211400)
    I had a shipment of bad IDE hard drives. I was instructed by the Dell support dude that Dell recommends SCSI for "servers". Upon asking why, I was informed that it "had something to do with data harmonics".
    • by nursedave (634801) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:42PM (#9211422) Homepage Journal
      No, that's data harmonicAs. You got da bad block blues.
    • by peacefinder (469349) * <alan.dewittNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:30PM (#9211841) Journal
      Upon asking why, I was informed that it "had something to do with data harmonics".

      My brother once explained a firewall's operation to a non-tech as "rotating the shield harmonics." The explainee (while obviously not believing it literally) considered this a good enough analogy for his purposes.

      Bloody brilliant. Wish I'd thought of it.
    • by AaronD12 (709859) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:48PM (#9211928)
      I'm so sick of having to deal with Dell. I work at a college with several labs full of the pieces of shit.

      Recently, I spent 96 minutes on the phone "troubleshooting" an integrated NIC that would not illuminate it's link lights.

      After escalating twice, the supervisor wanted to check the Windows drivers again, even though the PXE boot in BIOS reported that it wasn't seeing a network connection.

      I angrily asked what the connection between Windows drivers and BIOS was. He said it does affect the BIOS if your drivers aren't set properly in Windows! WTF?

      I asked him, what about Linux? He said, "We don't support Linux."

      It frustrates me to no end to deal with a technician who wasn't even born when I took my first computer class, and have him (or her) treat me like I don't know the first thing about computers or troubleshooting.

      My Macintosh can beat up your Windows PC!

    • by cgenman (325138) on Friday May 21, 2004 @01:49AM (#9212598) Homepage
      I had been getting bad parts from MicroCenter for several weeks, had been dutifully diagnosing them and returning things that didn't work as I was desperately trying to complete a system that did. As I had bought the processor and motherboard as a pair, and the motherboard wasn't working, they wanted to refund only the total deal cost minus the non-sale cost of processor, leaving me with a processor costing about 20 dollars more than the identical ones they had on sale.

      "We can take back the motherboard, but not the processor"
      "Why can't you take back the processor?"
      "Because you've opened it. We only take returns if it is unopened, or we can exchange it if it is defective."
      "Can I at least get the sale price for the processor?"
      "No, because you bought the 'bundle' processor, not the 'sale' processor."
      "That doesn't make sense. They're the same processor, in the same box, with the same SKU..."
      "Sorry."
      "If I tell you it's defective, are you going to take my word for it like the other half-dozen parts I've returned."
      "Yes."
      "And if I get that exchange processor, the exchange processor is in a returnable, unopened state, correct?"
      "...Yes..."
      "Can you see where I'm going with this?"

      "...Sales price it is."

  • by SnprBoB86 (576143) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:38PM (#9211401) Homepage
    I call to complain that my service was flaky. Several times an hour the cable modem would just go out for 30 seconds then return. I call them and the guy says "well the problem isn't on our end it must be your network". I respond "Why do you say that?". He says "Well because your cable modem has been online and operational for the past 3 days with no disconnections". I say "Oh really? That's interesting... because its power has been unplugged for the past 20 minutes..."
    • by schwaang (667808) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:11PM (#9211702)

      me:"My cable modem is dead."
      @home tier1: "Clear your browser cache."

      me:"I can ping the gateway everything else is unreachable."
      @home tier1: "Clear your browser cache."

      me:"I just downloaded 200MB of pr0n in 30 seconds and I'm calling to say thank you!!"
      @home tier1: "Clear your browser cache."
      me:"Hmmm.. good idea."

    • by taernim (557097) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:12AM (#9212084) Homepage
      We have Speakeasy DSL, which is the best service I've ever had. Unfortunately for some people in our building, they opted for the cheaper solution: Cable. Our friends moved in next door, so we decided to share our DSL with them -- totally within Speakeasy's TOS. My neighbor came over to tell my roommate, who had hardwired the two apartments' networks together in the phone room, that their network was down. He checks everything in our apartment and everything looks good. Then he remembers the cable guy was in the building... he goes and finds the guy had disconnected the two apartments and told my roommate "Sharing your connection is illegal." He kept saying this, even after my roommate explained that we had DSL, not cable, so even if it WERE true we weren't allowed to share, it wasn't their problem. Ten minutes later, the internet isn't working again. Turns out the cable guy took the power cord to the hub, since he felt that my roommate "didn't understand stealing was wrong." Words... escape me.
  • CompUSA (Score:5, Funny)

    by agent dero (680753) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:39PM (#9211403) Homepage
    I've had some doozies of experiences at a couple CompUSA.

    One time the guy tried to explain to me that I would need about $50+ more hardware than necessary to fix what I suspected to be a buggy RAM problem.

    On another occasion, I was with a friend, checking out a couple hot-swap IDE cages for a development server I was building and a CompUSA dorkus walks buy and says "They're really overrated, and you probably don't need them, unless you're building a server (guy leaves)"

    I didn't know what to say, he didn't help, he just offered a stupid opinion and left. So I left too.
    • by OneIsNotPrime (609963) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:11PM (#9211703)
      I bet we could start a whole subthread of explanations heard from Best Buy employees. I hear something ridiculous almost every time I go in there (unfortunately, the line is usually delivered to someone who seems to buy every word)!

      * "This [less expensive] camera can only hold 15 seconds of video because of the 'cache overflow'" - about a Sony Cybershot P7 whose video length is limited only by Memory Stick size

      * "Well, the wireless internet is faster because it doesn't have to squeeze through the cable."

      and the most egregious of all lies-

      "This Lexmark printer is excellent."
  • Oh that's easy. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Tyro (247333) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:40PM (#9211415)
    "The problem must be on your end... everything here is working."

    Yeah... sure.

    That ranks right up there with their classic first question "do you have a firewall?" Answer "yes," and that IMMEDIATELY becomes the problem (despite the fact that it's been running for months with no change in configuration).

    Just FYI: I find that confronting them with a few ethereal packet dumps usually gets you to the second tier at least.

  • by Sefi915 (580027) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:41PM (#9211419)
    I was having a major problem with my DSL connection last summer.
    I had a connection. I had an IP. However, nothing would go through the modem.
    I even tried 3 different PCS and a Mac running Jaguar, directly to the modem, and still couldn't get anything through. And yet, I had a working, connected (if not logged in) modem.
    So I called their support. Three techs I went through. They kept saying it was my problem, because they could ping my modem.
    So I got to a second level guy. Chatted with him a while, told him what I'd done, what the first level guys had me redo.
    He tells me he'll have the network guys check into it.
    A day passes. Two. I call back.
    Oh, it'll be a week before the problem's resolved.

    A week. And four days.
    I call back. I give my case number.

    Drumroll.

    I wasn't using an Earthlink-supported modem.

    *blink* WTF? Excuse me? You guys SENT me this damn thing in the first place, and it worked fine til 11 days ago, and now it works again after I turned it off for two days.

    Never did find out the real reason for it...

    • by Gunfighter (1944) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:18AM (#9212134) Homepage
      Let me preface this by saying that I am the network administrator for a small ISP. Here goes...

      My lovely chat with tech support at another ISP (idiots). The following is a transcript of my chat with Tom at Earthlink's tech support.

      Welcome to Earthlink LiveChat. Your chat session will begin shortly.

      Tired of Spam? With Earthlink's free spamBlocker you can customize your settings to eliminate all of your unwanted email!

      Tom M says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?

      Gun: Yes, I need to check and see if my forwards to a [yourdomain] account are being blocked based on the server they're being forwarded from. Do you need the IP address, forward address??

      Tom M: In order to resolve this issue I need to know what email program you are using. If you are unsure, please open your email as you normally would, click on the Help menu (at the top by File, Edit View, etc) and click on About. In there you will find the name of the program and the version. please let me know what they are.

      Gun: they are SMTP and, I imagine, POP3. I'm the administrator, not the end user

      Tom M: Could you please be more specific about the issue?

      Gun: rfk@[ourdomain].com forwards to rkruse@[yourdomain].com, but mails are not getting through to [yourdomain].com... at least, not to rkruse@[yourdomain].com. Therefore we have a mutual, unhappy customer as I host the [ourdomain].com domain, and you host [yourdomain].com, do you not?

      Tom M: Kindly hold on.

      Note: ALERT!! ALERT!! I could practically _hear_ the Indian accent as soon as he said this. This means I've reached a level 1 moron at a call center in India. Granted, not all people in such call centers (or call centers in India) are morons, but in this case, I think I ended up with the lowest bidder. Shame on you Earthlink!.

      Tom M: Kindly hold on while I verify your account.

      Gun: It's not my account, but go right ahead

      Tom M: Have you set the forwarding feature in this email address rfk@[ourdomain].com to forward emails to rkruse@[yourdomain].com?

      Gun: yes

      Tom M: I am working on this issue and please hold on.

      Tom M: I suggest you contact to the [ourdomain].com technical support regarding this issue.

      Gun: I am the [ourdomain].com tech support! I was contacted, now I'm contacting you

      Tom M: Okay, it appears that there might be problem at [ourdomain].com email address.

      Gun: such as?

      Tom M: As you set the forwarding email feature in the rfk@[ourdomain].com, you need to contact to their technical support to resolve the issue.

      Gun: one last time... I AM THE TECH SUPPORT

      Note: You'd think he would get the point by now, right?

      Tom M: Okay, the problem seems to be at their end.

      Gun: How so? We're forwarding email all over the world, and it all works except for this guy's. Doesn't sound like a problem on our end. Would you like for me to cat his .qmail file and paste it here for you to confirm?

      Tom M: As you set the forwarding feature at this email address rfk@[ourdomain].com, I suggest you contact to this domain [ourdomain] administrator.

      Gun: I am this domain [ourdomain] administrator

      Gun: please repeat that back to me so that I know you understand... say something along the lines of "Gun has complete and god-like control over the [ourdomain].com domain"

      Note: AAAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHH

      Tom M: Can I know where did you set the forwarding feature?

      Gun: certainly! we use Qmail as our mta

      Tom M: I am sorry to inform you that EarthLink does not given any technical support for Qmail.

      Note: Please make the bad man stop.

      Gun: hermes [ourdomain].com # pwd /var/vpopmail/domains/4/[ourdomain].com hermes [ourdomain].com #

      • by trg83 (555416) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:42AM (#9212283) Homepage
        My guess is that "LiveChat" is actually a robot. I tried to contact eBay's online tech support one time and got the same sort of stupid pre-scripted one-liners. Eventually, I finally asked "are you a robot?" He replied "No". Then I asked "Are you a real person?" and his response was "I am human" or some stupid shit like that. All his responses were very quick and completely without grammatical cues to indicate any emotion. If corporations think their customers should accept shit like that, SCREW 'EM ALL!
      • by Nurgled (63197) on Friday May 21, 2004 @07:05AM (#9213637)
        Support Rep: Hi! I'm Eliza. What's your problem?
        Gun: I need to check and see if my forwards to a [yourdomain] account are being blocked based on the server they're being forwarded from. Do you need the IP address, forward address?
        Support Rep: What does that suggest to you?
  • by lupin_sansei (579949) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:42PM (#9211425) Homepage
    When I was a teenager I had a Sinclair Spectrum computer that loaded games off casettes. One game I bought wouldn't load properly and I was told by the salesman "Probably the Pixels on your type of TV are modulating incorrectly with the computer causing the loading error".
  • by Samah (729132) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:42PM (#9211427)
    At a computer repair place I was working at a few years back, I recall one of the techs there explaining to a customer that the reason his power supply had stopped working was that the "flux capacitor" had blown.
    Mind you this tech wasn't an idiot (or an ID ten T), he just wanted to get rid of the customer :)
  • by RevRa (1728) <kate.loux@org> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:42PM (#9211429) Homepage Journal
    One time I called Redhat for tech support in getting a RH to run on a laptop. I was told, "LCD's don't have scan rates and frequency settings like CRT's do."

    I almost went through the phone to choke the bastard.

    -k
    • by jdreed1024 (443938) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:00PM (#9211606)
      One time I called Redhat for tech support in getting a RH to run on a laptop. I was told, "LCD's don't have scan rates and frequency settings like CRT's do."

      I almost went through the phone to choke the bastard.

      Uh, only problem is, he was mostly right. While LCDs do in fact have scan rates and frequency settings, no one cares, since they're mostly fixed. Almost all LCDs (at least in the home user market) have a 60 Hz vertical refresh rate. And most LCDs have a fixed resolution, so the scan rate is fixed (it is derived from vertical refresh and resolution). So he mostly knew what he was talking about, assuming the question was "How do I configure XFree86".

      Now, if the question was "Can I install Linux on a laptop?" and the answer was "No, because LCDs don't have scan rates", then that's pretty stupid. But that's not clear from the post. Also, how long ago was this? It wasn't that long ago that Linux on a laptop required a lot of kludging, especially to get X running.

  • by lemsip (59349) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:42PM (#9211431) Homepage
    At one big corporation I worked at, they rolled out a security patch and it caused my Windows machine to start acting up, so I called the IT support (we were encouraged not to fix problems ourselves), and the guy on the phone took control of my desktop remotely from his end, so I could see what he was doing. He got the Task Manager up, paused a few seconds, and then said "That's really odd, there's a process taking up 99% of your processor time". He tried to kill the process, but it wouldn't go away, and he repeatedly tried to kill it about five times.

    He didn't seem to realise that the "Idle" entry isn't actually a process...
  • by Ffakr (468921) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:46PM (#9211468) Homepage
    When I did phone support as a student worker, I had to tell someone that their email was unavailable because the server sprung a leak and it was out of water.
    Unfortunately this was true as we were still running a water cooled IBM Mainframe.

    The clients seemed to accept it without question but I'd have to image they though we were yanking them.
  • by T.Hobbes (101603) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:48PM (#9211488)
    At least, not in the place I work. The problem is lack of training, but the people I work with have a full knowledge of all materials in which they were trained. Admittidly, the level of training is subpar; but the workers are only expected - and allowed - to perform a limited number of fixes. Lack of knowledge about bits vs. bytes is embarassing, but knowledge of the 8:1 ratio is not required for the work that is performed.

    At issue is the level of training provided.

    All this is not to say that don't find the horror stories, from a tech's and customer's point of view, funny. Speaking for myself, half the people I speak to assume I can see their monitor and the other half think you can't open Outlook Express without connecting to the internet, despite the big 'work offline' button in front of them...

  • by thedillybar (677116) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:48PM (#9211489)
    Not sure if I can blame the tech support guy for this one, but it was funny.

    A friend of mine had satellite internet working for months, and one day it started cutting out on him. The signal strength would show EXCELLENT->BAD->ZERO->EXCELLENT. It'd keep repeating in this cycle so fast, it couldn't even initialize the connection. So it was basically worthless.

    After installing all their updates, rebooting 10 times, rebooting the satellite modem 10 times, etc. the tech support guy told me 1) I must not've done what he'd been saying and 2) I have to uninstall everything and start over. If you don't have the CDs we'll have to mail them to you.

    Enough of that crap, there was no way I was messing with that software anymore. I already fought with that thing for hours. Time to climb up on the hot roof and look at the dish.

    The problem: About 500 bees nesting in the thing. Apparently it was cool...that or they were just getting high on the radiation, I'm not sure which.
    The solution: 3 large cans of Raid [killsbugsdead.com].

    I called the tech support guy back and he didn't believe me...

  • by CSharpMinor (610476) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:54PM (#9211550)
    I ordered cable Internet from Charter a few years ago. The good thing was that they had someone out there in less than a week. The bad thing was everything else.

    At the same time, we switched from satellite to cable TV. Just in case Charter had problems, I told them NOT to remove the satellite dish. At some point during the install, he decided to use the coax coming off the dish-- which he pulled out of the wall, leaving a hole in my garage's wall. Furthermore, he hit the dish-- hard-- and dented it, rendering it worthless.

    I wasn't home at the time, and I knew he'd need to access my computer, so I set up an administrator account on Windows for him. (Hey, It was 2001, I hadn't switched to Linux yet.) I left this note for him, exactly these words: "username: Charterguy; no password." It's probably a good thing that he couldn't figure out what "no password" meant, seeing as he would have ruined my computer if he got onto it. (Of course, he left without running any cables or installing the modem, because he couldn't log on to my computer.)

    And, just to add insult to injury, that night, when I went to sleep, I could swear that I was hearing voices! Turns out, he left his radio in my attic. (And those radios last for days on a charge if you only listen on them without transmitting.) I never did find it, so for the next three days, I slept to the sound of field calls.

    Mod Interesting, I need karma.
  • by beejay54 (781673) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:57PM (#9211575) Homepage
    I once had to call into the 'lovely' folks at Logitech to deal with issues regarding a wireless keyboard and mouse package. At the time the keyboard and mouse would randomly loose their connection to the base station. So after doing some standard troubleshooting myself and checking every concievable thing, I bit the bullet and called them. The guy on the line was not only rude but I questioned whether he had attended his science classes back in grade 10. Call it manufacturer denial, but he tried to insist that the colour of my mouse pad would somehow 'suck' the RF signals into its deep black hole of 'mousepaddery' before they got to the base station less then a foot away. The word 'wow' came to mind, but for all the wrong reasons. I know dark colours can attract certain waves better then others but come on!
    • This is closer to the wierdest solution ever, but what the hell.

      I witnessed a housemate of mine who worked from home have an amazing issue with an early Logitech optical-tracking mouse. (The kind that still used a ball... this was back in '95 or so.)

      It would stop working after six hours of use or so. Specifically, it would no longer track left. Up, down, right were all fine, but left failed. He was a tech himself, and tried all the usual stuff... installed latest drivers, checked the cabling, cleaned the ball and rollers, everything. Nothing worked. Being a patient guy, mostly he lived with it. When it happened, he'd walk away from his computer and go have a late lunch, and when it came back it would usually work.

      But eventually, that last straw arrived and he couldn't stand it anymore. He called Logitech support. He went through the whole business on the phone, and the whole Logitech troubleshooting script. Eventually the tech basically gave up, and put him on hold while he found a mouse guru to ask.

      So my friend is sitting there on hold, toying with this mouse that's not tracking left, shifting restlessly because his ass is sore from sitting there for hours, and suddenly it starts working again right before his eyes. He sits up straight in disbelief, and it stops working. He slumps in disappointment, and it works again. He resorts to handwaving.

      From across the room, amidst the cussing, I practically hear the little *ding* as he finally figured it out.

      He started work around noon, and in the late afternoon in that season the sunlight would come in under his arm, hit that part of his desk just right, bounce through the seams in the mouse buttons, and dazzle the "left" part of the optical sensor. If he kept it in shadow, it worked fine.

      Sometimes it's the little things that get ya. :)
    • by Piquan (49943) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:14AM (#9212708)

      My call with Logitech:

      I worked for a mom-and-pop computer store. Got in a new design of joystick. We were going to put it on a display computer, so I open the box, and the unit is broken. The stick lolls over to the side. One of the springs that holds it upright had failed. (Insert juvenile jokes here.)

      I call Logitech. The tech asked me, "Did you try it on another computer?" I patiently explained that the problem was mechanical, and was clearly not a computer issue.

      "Well, try it on a different computer." I explained the problem again, careful to be clear and precise.

      "Alright, then, try it on a different computer." I clarified that the joystick had never been plugged into any computer. Ever (at least not since it entered the shop). I was completely aware of the defect from the moment I removed the joystick from the box. It had never been attached to any computer.

      "Are you refusing to try a different computer?"

      Everything after that is a blur.

  • by JMZorko (150414) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @10:58PM (#9211582) Homepage
    Let me preface this by saying that I think Apple, generally, makes quality products, and I own 3 Macs and am happy with them. However, I had once purchased an iBook 900mhz G3, only to find that it often wouldn't wake from sleep when I opened the lid (yes, it was still on), leaving a cold restart as the only means of recovering. When talking to the Apple tech support person, I told him this; I also told them that I had an iBook 700mhz that never exhibited these symtpoms, even though it was running the same version of OSX, the same software, etc.

    His responses were professional, until the point where he mentioned that the 900mhz model was 30% faster than the 700mhz model, and that could possibly justify the increase in the number of time I needed to restart. I then asked if, given two machines, one being twice as fast as the other, but crashing twice as often, these machines were equally usable. At that point he backed from his earlier statement :-)

    Regards,

    John

  • by br00tus (528477) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:00PM (#9211609)
    I've found if two companies are involved with something, it's always the other company that is to blame. If there were dropped packets or slowness between machines we had at Level 3 and machines we had at Globalcenter, the fault would always be the other one from whoever's tech support I was asking. Same with carriers and network providers, Verizon blamed the ISP, the ISP always blamed Verizon.

    One time I was working with an application server called NetDynamics running on a Solaris machine when NetDynamics tech support said "It's a problem with Solaris, it's a Sun problem". I yelled at him "Sun bought you last year, you ARE Sun!!!" He stammered and said "Yaa, that's true...but it is a problem with Solaris". Ugh.

  • by ewhac (5844) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:03PM (#9211632) Homepage Journal

    The canonical multiplier to go from bytes/sec to bits/sec is ten (10): One start bit, eight data bits, one stop bit. This is how things were over serial/modem connections not so very long ago.

    I find it still remains a reasonable rule of thumb. DSL and Ethernet frame data packets differently, of course. There are no start or stop bits surrounding each byte, but there is a multi-byte packet header and trailer. IP framing, of course, adds more overhead, but I find the 10:1 rule is close enough for most purposes. Besides, it's really easy to calculate in your head.

    Schwab

  • by soren42 (700305) * <jNO@SPAMson-kay.com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:07PM (#9211667) Homepage Journal
    The stupidest tech support answer I've ever run into was during the height of the virus/worm scares in February.

    My cable modem connection had stopped work. Given my ISPs track record, this was unremarkable, but after it continued for 2 days, I decided to call the tech support number. After supplying my ID number, the support person told me that my connection was intentionally shut off because I was broadcasting a widely-circulated Windows virus. I promptly informed the tech support person that I did not use the Windows operating system on any of my computers, and that I could not possibly have the virus I was accused of having.

    The support rep immediately told me that I had the virus, and that they would not turn my connection back on until I jumped through their anti-virus hoops. I argued for almost 10 minutes with this neophyte that I could not use their Windows anti-virus on my Linux systems, and that even if I could, it would not do a damn bit of good. Did it matter? Of course not.

    Finally, in order to get my connection back on, I agreed to perform their anti-virus tricks "to the best of my ability", and install Windows just so I could "remove the virus" from my system. The rep actually thought this was an excellent resolution to the problem, but for some reason didn't believe I would actually do it (could have been my vehement renouncements against the entirety of Microsoft's products). After another 5 minutes of cajoling, I convinced her to turn my connection back on so I could get the anti-virus tools, and access Windows Update.

    I was, however, given a stern warning that if I was found to persist in operating with this virus, I would have my account revoked, and my services cancelled. I submissively agreed, and thanked the rep for her time and patience. I haven't heard anything since, and I never did actually install Windows or use the anti-virus crap.

    What do you expect for minimum wage, a script, and a bunch of college kids majoring in business?
    • by adrenaline_junky (243428) on Friday May 21, 2004 @12:12AM (#9212087)
      I had this EXACT same problem with my ISP. It turned out that the LISA daemon that comes standard with Mandrake (dunno about other distros...) burps out ICMP pings over your network. My ISP took his ICMP ping traffic to be port scanning and/or some MS-Blast virus, and disconnected my connection. The bastards finally turned it back on once I tracked down exactly what was generating this (very minor) ping traffic.
  • by HBI (604924) <kparadine&gmail,com> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:14PM (#9211735) Homepage Journal
    The problem is simple: you have a fixed budget which is universally too little to hire a lot of good people. You have a fixed (or increasing) call volume. So, what to do?

    Well, in most places today they construct scripts and then hire peons to read them. They figure that most people will be deterred by this. They spend their nut on a theoretical third level person or people who are going to take care of the insurmountable issues. The rest of the people are there to obstruct the majority of people from the people who actually have a shot at fixing problems.

    I've never worked that kind of desk. I actually know what i'm doing and if I don't, I find out fast. I hire people who are either tabula rasa, whom I can turn into something decent, or who have worked in service industries (I don't hire other people's help desk people, in other words). I prefer ex-military people. They are used to being treated like mushrooms and still solving problems. I also like to hire bright young women fresh out of college (or even those who didn't finish). Besides the obvious improvement in the surroundings, they tend to be pretty good at first level support if you give them a solid grounding. They're better at settling customers down in many cases. Then, garnish with one or two talented techs to sit in the middle and start spreading knowledge around. No scripts. Keep a team together for 6 months and everyone pretty much rises to the level of the 2nd level people.

    The funny thing is that I can't keep employees very well (heh). They leave me and go make more money elsewhere with the skills they gain. Good money, too. I'm glad to see so many of them succeed. At my current job they have budget, and we've had the same team for 2.5 years. That's an all time record for me.

    Even in 1994, imagine being told in NYC to hire 6 techs at salaries between $25k and $35k (preferred under 30). Even getting people to show up for that money in Manhattan is a pain in the ass.

    As for problem solving skills, you tend to like those who worked in service industries. I personally worked at an appliance store for my parents from when I was 11 on. Me and my brother used to go out on a truck and fix refrigerators, washers, dryers, etc. It wasn't all that dissimilar to fixing up computers - there was a user interface, and a good portion of the time the problem was that the people were using the interface wrong. Say, not knowing how to use the washer timer or overloading the dryer or letting crap melt in the dishwasher and foul things up, or failing to clean the condenser coil at the bottom of the fridge (this is important). The rest of the time it was hardware issues. The hardware was modular and easily replaceable. Sound familiar?

    Good support isn't unattainable. The sucky help desks have thrown in the towel though and basically don't care.
  • by Zakabog (603757) <john@jm[ ].com ['aug' in gap]> on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:20PM (#9211778)
    "We don't support linux." I've heard that so many times from Road Runner. When I moved to AZ though the DSL guy saw my desktop (Afterstep) looked around a bit for the start menu, then I realized I should probably reset (the modem he gave me to start off with only worked in windows so I had to reset to install it) so I killed X and he saw the prompt "Wow linux, what distro is it?" I told him (debian) and he said "Wow, debian? We're converting all our servers over from Win 2000 to Debian real soon."

    I've also had good experiences with tech support, especially on other peoples computers cause I'd be calling for warrenty work. I'd call up say "Hey this computer has a problem starting up, so I swapped out a few things like the PSU, RAM, CPU, and motherboard, the motherboard is probably fried since when I tried a different one it worked, so where could I get a new motherboard since the PC is still under warrenty?" The guy went from ultra depressed (thinking "Oh no, not another problem that will probably require 2 hours to finally get to the conclusion that someone has to look at the computer") to really happy and excited like "Wow thanks for testing out all that stuff, so it's deffinitely the motherboard? Just bring it to such and such store and they'll install a new one for you."

    PC tech support seems so much easier to deal with since they seem to know more about how the computer works. I guess it's easier for them since the problem is always on the users end and they have to deal with a lot of different situations. With internet tech support all they know how to deal with is configuring e-mail and setting auto detect IP address in Windows 98 and above. They rarely have to deal with a customer calling up telling them there is a problem on their end and even if the customer described exactly what was wrong, they wouldn't be able to do anything.
  • by Brian Kendig (1959) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:26PM (#9211816) Homepage
    Back when Apple released its first widescreen (1600x1024) LCD "Cinema Display", I got one. But I was disappointed that Apple's DVD player software didn't handle it properly. When I played a widescreen DVD, it would have thick black borders around all four sides, as if it was first matted to fit inside a 4:3 area, then it was matted to fit inside a 16:9 area inside that. Not a big problem, just a silly bug, and an annoyance. So I called Apple tech support. "I just want to make sure you know of this problem, that you log it in the Apple bug database to be fixed in the next rev of the DVD software," I said.

    "That's not a bug," said the tech support peon. "Here's a tech note which explains why you'll have bars above and below the picture when you play a widescreen movie on your monitor."

    I told him, "That tech note only applies to 4:3 displays. I'm on a widescreen display. It should still give me thin black bars on the top and the bottom, but it shouldn't put bars on the sides as well. This is Apple's high-end monitor and I paid good money for it. I want to see this problem logged as a bug."

    He gave up and had second-tier tech support call me back.

    "First, I want you to reformat your hard drive and reinstall your operating system, then try it again," the second-tier guy told me. I figured, what the heck, I have backups, doing a reinstall will take less time than trying to convince him I don't need to reinstall. So I reinstalled. The problem remained, of course.

    "The problem is that the Mac can only show a movie at up to twice its original size," the second-tier guy told me. "Your Cinema Display is bigger than that."

    "Listen," I said. I have a sixteen-by-nine movie. I have a display that's 1600x1024 resolution. The movie is playing in a 1280x720 box in the middle of the screen. Now, what's the biggest resolution a 16x9 movie should be able to play on a 1600x1024 screen?"

    There was silence on the line.

    "I'll give you the answer. 1600x900. Right? That goes from edge to edge and leaves thin black bars at the top and bottom, each exactly sixty-two pixels tall. Not thick black bars around all four sides like I have now. Right?"

    More silence, then: "I'll work on this and call you back."

    He never called me back.
  • Earthlink (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bugmaster (227959) on Thursday May 20, 2004 @11:46PM (#9211917) Homepage
    Earthlink is, by far, the worst tech support bunch I've ever had to deal with.
    Tech Support Guy: Ok, now here's what I want you to do. Reach behind the modem, and...
    Bugmaster: I've rebooted the modem about ten times already. The DSL light is still off.
    TSG: Well, do it once more for me sir, please.
    Bugmaster: Fine. Rebooted. DSL light still off.
    TSG: Ok, next thing we want to check is if there are any filters on the line...
    Bugmaster: *checks to see if any filters have magically sprouted overnight* No.
    TSG: In this case, it might be a bad phone cord. What I want you to do is replace the cord. Here's how to do it...
    Bugmaster: Fine, fine, it's replaced. DSL light is still off. Incidentally, last time I called you, I had the phone plugged into the cord that I have now replaced -- and I didn't hear any DSL carrier noise. So, now what ?
    TSG: Hm. Is the modem connected directly to the computer ?
    Bugmaster: Yes.
    TSG: What else is connected to the computer ?
    Bugmaster: Monitor, keyboard and printer.
    TSG: Ok, now what I want you to do is disconnect the printer.
    Bugmaster: *temporarily speechless*...What.
    TSG: Just follow the printer cord that leads to your computer, and disconnect it.
    Bugmaster: Is this step in your script designed specifically to waste my time ?
    TSG: Well, sometimes we find that extra devices connected to the computer cause interference, so why don't you...
    Bugmaster: No. Let's pretend this didn't work, and go on to the next step.
    TSG: But the printer...
    Bugmaster: NOW.
    TSG: Ok, the next thing I want you to do is check if you have sync at the NID. The NID is a small box on the side of your house where all the phone wires are going to. You'll need a pair of wire strippers.
    Bugmaster: You want me to rewire my phonebox.
    TSG: Yes.
    Bugmaster: *punches in adelphia.com on a dialup connection* Will that finally satisfy you ? To put it more succinctly, is there a point at which Earthlink will actually accept responsibility for their service ?
    TSG: Well, you see, we need to check the sync at the NID so that the next step is for you to call the phone company, and arrange for the next step with them. If that doesn't help, we'll escalate your request.
    Bugmaster: *clicks "order broadband"* I didn't think so. Tell you what. I am not going to rewire my phonebox at 3am. If there isn't a tech at my house tomorrow, I am cancelling my service. Thanks for your help.
  • by Punk Walrus (582794) on Friday May 21, 2004 @01:06AM (#9212396) Journal
    I did International Help Desk for about two years with a large ISP. While I couldn't honestly say all the people in Europe were better techs than the US, with a European tech, I never had to:

    1. Explain the concept of time zones. Mail went down in the UK at 10am. EST was 4am, and I call UUNet. The guy goes, "What do these people in the YOOKAY want mail at 4am?" It's 10am there, sir. "But it's so early in the frickin' morning! We always do our maintenance between 4 and 6." Yes, and that's 10 to noon in England. "But it's still dark out there, right?" The supervisor I demanded to speak to later told me she had to explain the concept of time zones with a flashlight and an orange.
    2. Confused Sweden and Switzerland. Austria and Australia. "I am am sorry, sir," said the snooty tech to the head of our Australian Division on a conference call, "I show no 'Sydney' in Australia, maybe you meant Salzberg?" His response, "What are you, kid, TWELVE???"
    3. One tech said on the conference call, "My boss said to tell the frogs to sip their wine and just wait." On the call? Two techs from Transpac. Merde.
    I also got boldfaced lied to, like "Our routers don't keep logs," or "I'll call you right back." Of course, not all was rosy overseas.
    1. We have test machines in a 3rd party data center in Frankfurt. The machine tests web cacheing, so the browser cache is measured preceisely. One day, tons of pr0n (which we were NOT testing for) started to show up in our cache, horribly skewing results. Frankfurt says, "Impossible, no one is allowed in that room! It is locked, and all entrances and exits are monitored!" But while using PCAnywhere, we watch some guy surfing pr0n. They still say that's impossible. We threaten to install a webcam. Problem ceases. Later, we find that "Locked and monitored" meant "everyone has a key, and are required to sign in and out on a clipboard hanging by the door if they access the room." Riiight!
    2. We had a series of outages in Austria with French GlobalOne that were delayed for days because, and I quote, "The guy with the van is unavailable." You only have one van in the whole fleet? Their answer was a kind of shrug. The French tend to do this a lot. I loved them anyway.
    3. Production servers that end up as MP3 server mirrors. Hard to do network testing metrics when half of Canberra and Brisbane are downloading pop music over supposedly restricted bandwidth.
    4. The city: Hong Kong. The data center: leaky basement. The server racks: machines stacked atop one another, leaning against wet masonry wall. The servers: Machines that end up missing parts (RAM, hard drives, modems) after going through Chinese customs. The company branch: Out of business in less than two years.
    5. Learning that when the Japanese say they understand, moral code forces them to say that whether they actually understand or not; apparently, it would be incredibly rude to say, "I am sorry, sir, I don't understand." This was averted by walking people though everything. This was not averted when things went down. It was like that office was terrified to reporting anything going wrong, even with normal, understandable issues.

    But all in all, I loved working International.

  • by lxt (724570) on Friday May 21, 2004 @01:37AM (#9212543) Journal
    I rang Microsoft up to activate some software (I know, I know). I had to go to a human operator, as the system didn't like my serial number. The conversation went like this: Tech Support: Hello, Microsoft Activation Services. I'm afraid I can't activate your product, please call back tomorrow. Me: Why not? I need the software as soon as possibly... Tech Support: Yeah, there's a bit of a problem at our side. Me: What? Tech Support: [embarrassed] All of our computers have crashed, we don't know what's gone wrong, and we can't boot them back up. ...well, at least for once Microsoft were refreshingly honest :)
  • True story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrouchoMarx (153170) on Friday May 21, 2004 @02:02AM (#9212653) Homepage
    Earlier this year at work, I needed to run Visio 2003 to make some simple diagrams. (This is at work, not home, so I didn't have a choice of software.) Visio, installed on Win2k SP4, would not run. When I started it up, it would crash immediately, usually without even giving me a message.

    Called Microsoft.

    After a 45 minute call to setup an account, then a wait to get a callback, then another 45 minute conversation with a very nice Indian gentleman, we fixed the problem.

    Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Windows are incompatible. This is a known issue. The fix is to drill down to some obscure registry key and add a 1 to it. Then everything works fine.

    And somehow Linux is the OS with the reputation for obscure configuration and software conflicts. Go figure.
  • Gateway Sucks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fahrvergnugen (228539) <fahrv@hotmaCOBOLil.com minus language> on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:18AM (#9212945) Homepage
    In early 2001, after building my mom a computer from scratch, I received her old Gateway 233Mhz system to do with as I pleased. The first thing I did was flash the BIOS. When the system failed to POST after that, the next thing I did was contact Gateway support.

    Thus began an odyssey that I hope never to repeat with any company, and certainly will never repeat with Gateway. They're never getting another dime out of me or my family for as long as I'm alive.

    Below is why. The first two logs detail a chat session between Gateway and myself, conducted using a particularly nasty piece of customer service software called eGain. You can see how it made the live person on the other end of the chat session sound like a robot.

    After that follows a series of e-mail correspondence. This log has been edited both to cover my tracks a bit, and to get around the slashdot filters, as the characters per line ratio of the post is otherwise too low.

    Chat Session 1

    Question: I updated my BIOS and the system boots, displays gateway logo, but does not POST.

    A Chat Agent will be with you shortly.

    Wendell:
    Hello Fahr, welcome to the Gateway Chat Support Service. I am Wendell here to help you with your issue.

    Fahr Vergnugen: Hi. Have a system here that's not terribly happy.

    Wendell: Can you please tell me the exact problem you are facing with your Computer?

    Fahr Vergnugen: Need S/N?

    Wendell: Fahr, please provide me your Serial number.

    Fahr Vergnugen: Okay, older PII-233Mhz / LX chipset board. tried to slap in a newer celeron, it didn't take, decided to update the bios.

    Wendell: Okay , Fahr.

    Fahr Vergnugen: sure 0009589521

    Wendell: Thanks , Fahr.

    Wendell: Can you please tell me the problem you are facing with your System?

    Fahr Vergnugen: grabbed BIOS 4A4LL0X0.15A.0023.P18 from the gateway support site (was running P11) and flashed the board.

    Wendell: When this issue happens is there an error message? If so, could you please tell me the exact error message?

    Fahr Vergnugen: now, the system fires up, displays a gateway logo, and a small progress bar in the top left fills from grey to white, and the system acts like it's going to POST normally, but it never happens.

    Fahr Vergnugen: the bar takes between 3 and 4 minutes to reach 100%.

    Wendell: When this issue happens is there an error message? If so, could you please tell me the exact error message?

    Fahr Vergnugen: and from there it just sits. If I hit TAB to view system messages, it acts normally, but again, no POST. Nothing happens.

    Fahr Vergnugen: no error message. Just doesn't beep and post.

    Fahr Vergnugen: I think it's probably pretty shafted, but I thought I'd check with you guys.

    Wendell: Fahr, please hold on while I search for your resolution.

    Fahr Vergnugen: np, holdin' on.

    Wendell: Thank you for waiting. Please review the following information, which I think will help you.

    Wendell: [Item sent - Astro and Profile 2 - Computer stops responding after power-on self-test (POST)] http://www.gateway.com/support/techdocs/astro/trsh oot/1106.shtml

    Wendell: Did you get the page , Fahr?

    Fahr Vergnugen: yep, but no help I can tell already, since it assumes I can get to Windows, which is not the case.

    Wendell: I realize your time is valuable, please wait one minute while I research this further.

    Fahr Vergnugen: np

    Wendell: Fahr, I apologize for the delay
  • by Niet3sche (534663) on Friday May 21, 2004 @03:53AM (#9213044)
    A few years ago, I was trying to get a part so that I could connect to a router.

    The part I was looking for was an RJ45DB9 connector. I had one on me (my personal one), but needed to buy another one (for the business).

    The fun started when I went into the store:

    Me: Yeah, I'm looking for a DB9-to-RJ45 connector. I don't see them on your shelf, maybe--

    SalesTroll: Sir, there's no such thing as that part.

    Me: Uh ... no, I need to connect a rollover cable to it. There is such a part. I didn't see it here, but was wonderi--

    SalesTroll: That does not exist! I don't know where you got the idea--

    Me: *pulls out my hardware - lo and behold, the hardware that "doesn't exist"!

    SalesTroll: *confused and shocked expression*

    Me: Please grab a manager for me and ask; you may well have one in the back, as you do some networking here.

    SalesTroll: *Goes to a manager and mutters something ... manager looks at me and loudly says, that doesn't exist. SalesTroll then pulls out my hardware. Manager looks confused, comes over.*

    Manager: Wow, that's weird ... I've never seen anything like this. They must be really rare.

    Me: Uh, no, they're used for Cisco devices all the time--

    Manager: Oh, those're like Macs, right?

    Me: *holding back laughter and murderous thoughts* Uh, no. *I take my hardware back* I'll order online, thanks.

    Ah, such fun.

  • by GerbilSoft (761537) on Friday May 21, 2004 @07:45AM (#9213871)
    A friend of mine called Dell Tech Support because a new USB 2.0 card he installed was slowing down his computer. He called Dell Tech Support, and the tech person told him to run the Dell Diagnostics software. He got an error saying "Invalid System Clock." The tech person put him on hold for around 20 minutes, and then came back on and said "You couldn't have gotten that error. Do you have another disk to try it again?" He said "Yes", tried it, and got the same error. The tech person came back on, and said "There's no way you could get that error. It's a figment of your computer's imagination."

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.

Working...