back to article So this Saudi Prince calls and asks why he can't watch movies ...

We at weekend Reg realise that some of you are actually at work when you read, often because you're part of the tribe of on-call workers who have to stay sober and hit the office at all sorts of odd times. In the spirit of our popular eXpat Files column, we thought we'd have a lash at telling your weirdest tales of what …

Anonymous Coward

Lawrence Of Arabia

Sounds better than Mr X.

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Anonymous Coward

The temptation to say...

..."Have you tried turning it off, and on again", must have been overwhelming:)

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Anonymous Coward

Do you think that when Mr X sent in the invoice...

...it was for payment in Camels? or have they moved on to a more sustainable Chicken based currency?

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Joke

Computer stupidities...

Here's a whole website dedicated to it :

Computer stupidities...

Be sure to check out the 'Tech support' section...

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Re: Computer stupidities...

Sometimes I just can not fathom the level of stupidity that supposedly educated people exhibit when it comes to computers.

I have had my share of urgent calls for help that, upon reflection were easily solved/understood; but the fact that a computer is involved, the caller has a dramatic leave of their senses.

A recent one involved a frantic call on a Saturday morning. Ms. (L)user calls me from her cell phone demanding to know when am I going to fix her computer - it doesn't work, and the office lights are out. I remote into the building's management system, and see that the power is completely out, and only essential systems are operating on a backup generator. I call the power company, and find out, that due to a semi hitting a pole, the feeder line to the entire area is down, and it will be at least 2 more hours before power will be restored.

I call Ms. (L)user back, and tell her to 'go home' as she will be sitting there doing nothing for at least 2 hours while the downed line is repaired.

THAT WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH!! and she called my boss (the CIO) and screamed and yelled at her. My boss (I later found out) did exactly the same thing I did, and got the same answer, and told Ms. (L)user exactly the same.

THAT STILL WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH!!, so she called up the CEO (who also happens to be a part owner of the company), and bitched at her: We (me and my boss) were not helping her with her computer problems.

BIG mistake! I happen to work for a company where the CEO does have some tech smarts; she remoted into the management system, and saw exactly what we saw: all three phases dead on the line side of the main circuit breaker. She too called the power company, and got the same response from them. She (the CEO) called Ms. (L)user back, and told her that repairs was going to take all day, and that she should go home. and that she (the CEO) wanted to discuss the manner in which IT provided its "services" to her first thing Monday morning.

Monday morning came, and Ms. (L)user, my boss and I were summoned to the CEO's office. Ms. (L)user was invited to "express" her issues with the way we had provided our services.

Ms. (L)user narrated her interactions with me to the CEO. I was asked a simple question: "Is this a correct recitation of the events?" Since it was, I answered in the affirmative. Ms. (L)user then did the same for my boss, who also indicated that the recitation was accurate. Of course, the CEO knew exactly what was said between herself and Ms. (L)user. What happened next was absolutely beautiful (from a 'getting satisfaction' perspective).

The CEO stood up, and looked Ms. (L)user straight in the face and screamed at the top of her lungs: "What part of `there has been a major area wide power failure, and repairs will take some time DO YOU NOT FUCKING UNDERSTAND???`

Ms. (L)user sat there with a 'deer in the headlights expression' on her face.

"I think your 'talents' are better suited for a job where the only knowledge you are required to possess is the ability to ask the person on the other side of the counter: `Do you want fries with that?` Clear out your desk, you don't work here anymore."

My CEO is of the opinion that in order to work for our company, you need to possess some basic skills, and Ms. (L)user seems to be deficient in that area, and the manner in which she handled the situation strongly suggested that she was not capable of `being educated`. Good riddance!

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Re: Computer stupidities...

"Clear out your desk, you don't work here anymore"

One of the client's sales execs (desk at the other end of an open plan office) asked for some sales data to be extracted from the database. About an hour later I had a nicely formatted report printed off for him and took it down to his desk. I asked someone nearby "where's xxxx". "He doesn't work here anymore."

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

xyz

Re: Computer stupidities...

> Ahahahaaaaaa... you have a female boss etc.

All I can muster is "Blimey." I can't believe someone actually thinks like that this side of Boko Haram.

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Re: Computer stupidities...

Ahahahaaaaaa... you have a female boss...

I assume you're going for the record for the number of downvotes for a single comment. I think you've got an excellent chance of getting it.

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Re: Computer stupidities...

I've had male & female bosses. I tend to prefer the female as they've been less likely to let ego get in the way of logic. But that's just been my experience, your mileage may vary.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Computer stupidities...

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper. That is all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Computer stupidities...

It's a shame the moderators deleted that post, I think it is actually quite good to show that so many people disagree with that stupid misogynist statement by gurugeorge.

Sometimes a ridiculous statement can be turned into a positive if it is met with such big disapproval (downvotes) to show that is not the general consensus in IT.

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Re: Computer stupidities...

>>One of the client's sales execs (desk at the other end of an open plan office) asked for some sales data to be extracted from the database. About an hour later I had a nicely formatted report printed off for him and took it down to his desk. I asked someone nearby "where's xxxx". "He doesn't work here anymore."

You had a very narrow escape, by the sounds of it. Depending on the data Sales exec was probably aware of an incoming problem and had asked you for the hard copy so they could leave with a bunch of valuable data to reference once they were locked out of their email, CRM, etc.

It's possibly lucky for you that it did take you an hour. Not that it would have been fair to blame you so you'd probably be okay but still - not good for the company, either. I hope you mentioned to other people that you'd been asked by him to get him a hard copy of it all.

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Re: Computer stupidities... @ h4rm0ny

Not really. Just a run of the mill report. And a manglement who decided that what they really needed was an empty desk. He certainly wasn't running anywhere as he turned up in the entrance to the local supermarket flogging double glazing a short while after.

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Childcatcher

Back to the stone age

If these backyard Kings and Princes ever lose access to western intelligence they are doomed to live out their pitiful lives in candle lit tents in the desert...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Back to the stone age

...but still with a harem of no less than fifty young and attractive women? Yes, I am sure the royals will be suffering immensely.

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Re: Back to the stone age

I think you'll find that they'll be enjoying a comfortable exile in Alicante, Kensington, Manhattan and all the other nice places they own...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Back to the stone age

"What's the time difference between London & Riyadh?"

"About 600 years..."

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xyz

Re: Back to the stone age

Trust me, I've stories from London that are the same. People in power always fill their prams with toys so they can lob them about liberally. No names, no packs of razor blades in Oxfordshire fields.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Back to the stone age

""What's the time difference between London & Riyadh?"

"About 600 years...""

Good one, have an upvote. After spending a fair amount of time in gulf countries, I indeed found out every single idiot in power (not only locals, and surely not only royals) only works by sheer stupid pressure, rather than have any single brain cell engaging in any process.

I only found out some possible cause: said cells are largely intoxicated by excess of sugar and fat which seems to be notion-wide problems.

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Re: Sheer stupid pressure

I think you have a notion wide problem.

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Anonymous Coward

Remember visiting a computer store in the middle of the 80s

There were two teenage girls there.

The first girl said to the second girl: Let's touch it (an 8 bit computer)

The second said: Let's not. What if it knows who we are?

That was when people hardly knew what computers could do, but people had heard about computer A.I., probably from the newspapers.

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Facepalm

Re: Remember visiting a computer store in the middle of the 80s

"The second said: Let's not. What if it knows who we are?"

And fast forward almost 30 years, and those same girls are probably giving all sorts of information to the likes of Facebook, happily searching on Google, etc - forgetting what they (kind of, sort of thing) prophesied.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Remember visiting a computer store in the middle of the 80s

Fast forward to today and they do know who you are.

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A long way away and a long way down

Worked for a company making environmental monitoring.

We had a call from a mine in Canada that needed a blast effects monitor urgently - so urgently they needed the manual scanning and emailing so they could learn to use it in advance.n

Got a call at 2 in the morning.

>It won't turn on.

Did you charge the battery for 24 hours like it says in the manual (we can't ship the internal battery charged)?

>No as soon as it arrived we took it underground to use.

Try connecting the charger it should run anyway.

> No there is no power - I need you to fix it now. We need to blast in the next hour.

So you are 5000 miles away, a mile underground, no power and the battery isn't charged - exactly what do you expect me to do ?

....

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Re: exactly what do you expect me to do ?

There are ways to fix that - none of them pretty but it can be done. That's my job.

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Headmaster

Training

Several years ago I worked at an outsource call center for Dell. One night I had to break in a newly trained (?) support rep who asked, "Isn't AOL the Internet?"

When I signed up at the local Comcast store for cable Internet service, they gave me a receipt with an account number, which their system failed to recognize. It took >1 hour of being passed back and forth between tech support and customer service before I lucked into talking to the one person at Comcast who knew I had to add a zero to the end of the account number to get it to work.

"Clueless users" has become hackneyed. I'd like to hear more about clueless people who somehow find their way into "expert" positions.

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Re: Training

1st line support here is basically filled with non-techies now so there is no triage of the stupid calls no ability to fix silly little thing and no ability to translate the problem into something meaningful for the workers with knowledge.

That seems to be the trend now since no-one is ever laid off they just go on redeployment and end up on the helldesk.

Desktop techies aren't much better tbh. "Check it works before you leave" seems to be a bit of an alien concept

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People frequently seem to lose their common sense when it comes to computers, and lose the ability to solve problems that they would solve easily if there was not a computer involved...

This is generally down to fear of technology, a fear that is perpetrated by systems that are excessively complex and more importantly, filled with warnings which scare users...

People who started out on systems which encouraged experimentation and were hard to break like the C64 or Spectrum are generally not afraid of technology and can use common sense to troubleshoot, those who start with windows which is filled with "dont look here, these are system files and you can break everything" warnings generally become paranoid of breaking something.

So what we need, is systems for end users which aren't horribly fragile and full of scary warnings.

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Pint

Around these parts, they're called tablets. Especially Kindle tablets. The hardest problem I face each day is recalling what someone's WiFi password is and I've got no complaints! The owners are scared of entering it wrong. I just smile. Beats the snot out of dealing with malware (so far).

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"So what we need, is systems for end users which aren't horribly fragile and full of scary warnings"

To be fair, the reason you could feck about with a C64 or Speccy 48k was because the OS was in ROM. There was (almost*) nothing you could do that couldn't be fixed by turning it off and turning it back on again. And the reason windows locks down a good proportion of the file system is because, if you delete some of those files, you really CAN bork the OS and create hours of work for yourself or (more likely) IT. I know I've had to resort to a Windows re-install after a bit of over-zealous tidying up and I can't imagine I'm alone.

*almost - okay, you could completely destroy a Speccy by knocking the kempston joystick interface out of the back whilst playing a game but, as I spent 17 as a coder repeating ad naseum, "that's a hardware issue".

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Users...

Conversation that I have had more than once. "I cannot open any Word documents or spreadsheets. What are you trying to open them on? An iPad, I just cannot get them to open. Did you check before you bought the iPad that things like Word would work on it? I didn't know that I had to, my friend had an iPad and says it is wonderful and she takes pictures with it so I had to get one." Puts phone down in exasperation....

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Re: Users...

You'll be happy to know Microsoft Word and Excel are both free via the App Store now...

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Re: Users...

But not then....

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Anonymous Coward

An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

He explained the requirement to me.

It was a change to a software setting.

I said it was just a simple configuration change, something I could do right now.

In fact, I've just done it, I said.

He said, OK, now all we need is the Change Request....

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Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

Holy cow, a user that wants to follow due process? Most users spend more time justifying to me why they do not need to follow the process than they would have spent actually filling in the forms. And it does not help when the user hints at contract renewals coming up and the managers cave and allow it to go through "just this once" (repeat ad infinitum).

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FAIL

Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

Err, Manager was right and you shouldn't really have make a change without an RFC...

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Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

They need the change request so that the organisation knows what config the software has. Otherwise what happens is another helpful chap makes another change relying on the config setting in the official design and we're off into the wilds without a map.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

Depends.

We had a situation where a customer (a) had IT complaining about too many changes from our end and (b) operations had a serious problem that was impacting their ability to bill some customers.

We had a new operations director who lambasted me for making too many changes and upsetting the customer IT department, and announced a feature freeze on the software release until "all the bugs were fixed".

In the past I had decided that these clueless managers would self-destruct before I gave up, but this one seemed to have sticking power. Time to go. When I left, the feature freeze was still in place. I believe it ended, some time after I left, with the customer putting someone on my former company's board to keep an eye on things.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

Umm AC here:

The change was to existing software.

Fully deployed.

Fully tested.

The equivalent of changing the Word default from portrait to landscape.

now all we need is the Change Request....

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Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

I have users call because the icons have moved on their desktop and the computer has lost all the programs.

Change word to landscape and what watch chaos that causes in a large office.

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Re: An IT Manager asked me to raise a formal Change Request...

We designed this system so that everything to do with setting up a new product (no, not just setting up a product code) could be done through a proper GUI interface by business users. All the surrogate keys & what not would be properly fitted together. What management decided they wanted was a full-blown procedure written out for IT support with hand entered SQL. Horses & water....

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Anonymous Coward

I can't log in

I'm an analyst rather than IT, but new Business Intelligence software - Tableau and the like - is starting to put us on the receiving end of support calls.

"I can't log into the dashboard using the details you sent me", said a marketing person.

Took a little while to work out that when we said your username is "auser" and your password is your windows password. They'd typed y-o-u-r-w-i-n-d-o-w-s-p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d in the password box.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I can't log in

I remember my first lesson at secondary school.

The teacher had handed around the exercise books.

"And on the front, where it says 'NAME', write your name."

And I wrote 'Y' 'O'.

D'oh!

Sometimes people take things literally.

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My printer is leaving streaky marks...

I friend was working in support, many years ago, and reported this gem.

A user called to say that her laser printer was leaving streaky marks on the page. She was based in a different building, so he scheduled a desk side visit for later that day and went armed with new toner/drum kit etc. He arrives, opens the printer casing and finds it full of ... earth!

"It's full of earth", he says, somewhat surprised.

"Oh yes", says the woman, "I accidentally dropped my pot plant on it."

Quite why she couldn't bring herself to report what had actually happened in the first place...

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Hmmm...

Surely a Saudi prince could afford a UPS and backup generator.

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I have a mate that used to do IT on superyachts. He had many similar stories.

I used to be the "IT guy" in a school where basically if it plugs in the wall and doesn't make food it's a computer problem.

I've had teacher yelling at me down the phone to make their printer work because it was

"urgent" (everything with teachers is urgent) and unacceptable that it wasn't working - printer was out of paper.

Internet access had been off all day - she'd unplugged the modem to plug in a phone (it was a while ago) and forgot to switch them back.

Recording "PC" wouldn't start up for an experiment - It was a 25yr old BBC Micro that had finally died.

I'm sure there were many others but it becomes the norm after a while and your brain screens it out as noise.

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Thumb Up

I have a mate that used to do IT on superyachts.

I think that may be my retirement job.

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Alien

Re: I have a mate that used to do IT on superyachts.

Having known a few of the well to do I don't think I'll be doing that as a retirement job. Not unless the owner of the yacht doesn't mind going the way of Maxwell...

"Yes, you need to get this phone working now."

"I don't recognise it, where's the asset tag?"

"It doesn't have one, it's my daughter's phone"

"What's the problem?"

"I don't know, just get it working"

Turns out the bill hadn't been paid. Which obviously was someone else's fault...

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I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you're looking for netflix, I can tell you I don't have an account... but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you hang up now, that will be the end of it - I will not look for you, I will not pursue you... but if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you... and I will switch it off and on again.

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