back to article Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer

Welcome once more to On-Call, our Friday rummage though readers' recollections of tech support jobs that produced odd endings. This week meet "Wendell" who told us he "worked at a company in the mid-80s, when Windows was just starting to appear." "Of course, the 'executives' insisted on having Microsoft Office, specifically, …

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Wendal has tried to warn us about our ways

But we don't hear him talk

Is it his fault when we've gone too far?

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He should be Arrested and sent for professional Development training.

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Gone too far?....All the way to Tennessee perhaps?

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Says the man in the $6000 suit. Come on!

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You're development was arrested!

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Wendell should have offered

A mouse pad the size of a golf green...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wendell should have offered

I tried to use a mouse once, it squeaked "Bad touch!" the moment I fingered it's ball. Dang did he ever get cheesed off...

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Re: Wendell should have offered

Alternatively, a tread mill for the mouse would have allowed it to reach the left edge of the screen.

If you don't have a little treadmill, you can place a beachball in a dish of water and place the mouse on top of the ball... by rotating the ball you make the cursor go anywhere you want.

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Re: Wendell should have offered

Alas, that joke won't mean anything who only started using computers in the last 15 years or so

I have (un)fond memories of having to delint mouse rollers on a regular basis, especially at university. To paraphrase the old joke about household dust, I was essentially evicting the last prevoius user...

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Re: Wendell should have offered

Essential pieces of kit for a support person was a heavy-duty paperclip ready to unbend to eject reluctant floppies and the top of a BiC pen with which to clean the ball rollers of a mouse!

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Re: Wendell should have offered

I'm reminded of the IBM "mouse balls" memo

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Re: Wendell should have offered

"Essential pieces of kit for a support person was a heavy-duty paperclip ready to unbend to eject reluctant floppies"

We had an alternative need for a paper clip. An HP tape drive was for some reason "smart" and would "learn" the arcane back and forward movements and currents of air needed to get the end to separate from the rest of the spool, waft it to the take-up spool and attach it there. (Why they didn't just let the operator thread the tape I don't know.) The drive would occasionally get into a state where it would go back and forth with no useful outcome. I suppose it had learned bad habits. There were a couple of contacts on the top of the deck a paper-clip's bread apart that had to be shorted to restart the learning process. Adding this facility always seemed to me to be a case of solving the wrong problem.

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Re: Wendell should have offered

I tried to use a mouse once, it squeaked "Bad touch!" the moment I fingered it's ball. Dang did he ever get cheesed off...

Obviously you're not a girl mouse. If you were, it would have purred and yelled for "more! "....

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Happy

Re: Wendell should have offered

Dave 126 reminds me that I had for years a chromium-plated mouse treadmill on my desk. AFAIR, I finally donated it to the owner of a hamster in need of some exercise.

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Anonymous Coward

This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

I only mention this because I referenced Scott Adams in a post once and even though he was incidental to the point - which was completely ignored - about a dozen anti-Adams rants followed.

I'm just curious if this'll bait the ranters again :-D

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Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

This one? http://dilbert.com/strip/1996-12-29

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Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

So, what you're saying is that "Wendel" is actually "Dogbert"?

We are through the looking glass now people....

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Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

My favourite is this one, from September 26th 2003.

http://dilbert.com/strip/2003-09-26

Generally speaking I don’t ‘get’ Dilbert. I prefer Calvin & Hobbes and Alex. But when Dilbert hits the spot, it really hits the spot. But the top strips, for me, are still The Real Ale Twats, Mickey and his Monkey Spunk Moped - and many others from Viz.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

"But when Dilbert hits the spot, it really hits the spot. "

The same for the Peanuts strip - or B.C. - or The Wizard of ID - or The Perishers. They all contain observations that reflect many walks of life.

Newspaper current affairs cartoons have a good record of hitting the spot too. In the UK from Lowe in the 1940s - then post-war Giles - and nowadays Matt and Rowson.

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Re: This scenario was a dilbert comic strip

Ah yes, the very first dilbert cartoon I ever saw. Back in the days when life was not trying to outdo satire.

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Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Is there anyone who never has?

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

I believe you don't deserve techno-shaman (BOFH) status until you can look another in the eye and lie with a straight face. Could just be a survival skill. Possibly.

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Trollface

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Um, aah, I've er massaged the facts to reflect a certain reality, from time to time. When a technical issue becomes something else...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

I once told someone you can't get round a circular reference and left them to it.

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

It's not a lie. It's an alternative fact.

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Or it's just being economical with the truth.

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Headmaster

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Just be careful not to overdo it and end up as a politician instead...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

"Or it's just being economical with the truth."

A lie by omission - or massaging the meaning of a word. "I did not have sex with...." being a famous example.

A youngster in confessional/boasting mode said he slept with a woman after a party - "but we didn't have sex" - which turned out to mean "did not have penetrative sex".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

"Just be careful not to overdo it and end up as a politician instead..."

Politicians' lies do not solve problems. They usually exacerbate the problem by kicking it into the long grass. It becomes an S.E.P.

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

A lie by omission - or massaging the meaning of a word. "I did not have sex with...." being a famous example.

I presume that's the case of a certain Clinton and his interactions with a certain Lewinsky.

The beauty of that was Starr accused Clinton of lying about not having had "sexual relations". Starr was forced to define precisely what "sexual relations" were and, when Starr fucked that up, Clinton could quite rightly say, 'by that definition, I did not have "sexual relations". Lewinsky did, but not me'.

With Clinton having not had "sexual relations" by his opponent's own definition of that, he could hardly have lied when he said he hadn't had "sexual relations". It was Clinton's alleged lying which were grounds for impeachment. No lie, no impeachment. Starr blew his own case.

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Indeed, but I was thinking specifically of its use during the Spycatcher trial by Robert Armstrong, the then UK Cabinet Secretary:

Q: So that letter contains a lie, does it not?

A: It contains a misleading impression in that respect.

Q: Which you knew to be misleading at the time you made it?

A: Of course.

Q: So it contains a lie?

A: It is a misleading impression, it does not contain a lie, I don't think.

Q: What is the difference between a misleading impression and a lie?

A: You are as good at English as I am.

Q: I am just trying to understand.

A: A lie is a straight untruth.

Q: What is a misleading impression – a sort of bent untruth?

A: As one person said, it is perhaps being economical with the truth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economical_with_the_truth#Political_catchphrase

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Is there anyone who never has?

I can confidently tell you that I've never told a lie.

But that would be a lie.

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

With regards to William H. Macy:

"It's not a lie, it's a gift for fiction."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

"Starr blew his own case"

Well at least it was a happy ending for someone.

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Well at least it was a happy ending for someone.

Like that boy/dog story that ends with: Don't you wish you could do that?

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

Indeed, but I was thinking specifically of its use during the Spycatcher trial by Robert Armstrong, the then UK Cabinet Secretary:

Years ago I was at a business studies A level conference for students & teachers. One of the speakers was a Chief Examiner from one of the exam boards and gave a talk on the structure of exams. He had invited questions and a student stood up and asked......

Student: "Why do you put trick questions in exams?"

CE: "Well we don't" (much amusement from the delegates many of whom started laughing.)

CE: "What we do is put deceptive questions in that are designed to get students not paying attention or who haven't studied enough to give an incorrect answer"

Student: "Would you like me to give you the dictionary definition of a trick question? I've got the dictionary here."

CE: "Okay go ahead"

Student: "A deceptive question that is intended to make one give an answer that is not correct or that causes difficulty. Sound familiar?"

CE: "On the basis of that definition young lady you are correct we do put 'trick questions' in and we do it for the reasons I listed." (Now looking a bit redder in the face than he had been).

She sat down to a loud round of applause.

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Re: Well at least it was a happy ending for someone.

Sweet n Sour Labrador

Eventually I was taken into the lounge to meet Davina’s father. He wasn’t too impressed.

‘You look a mess,’ he said.

‘I should think so. I’ve just been raped by your Afghan.’

The whole family was there so I had to go around the room meeting aunties, uncles, grannies, brothers, sisters – the whole Jacobson hunting set.

… About an hour later, they brought in tea and cucumber sandwiches. While we were all chatting away, Sebastian appeared, limping slightly.

Luckily, he was too knackered by now to pay me any attention. Instead, he sat down in the middle of the room and started methodically licking his bum.

Now isn’t that embarrassing? I mean, where do you look? No one’s going to say anything, are they? They’re not going to say, ‘Stop licking your arsehole, Sebastian.’

In desperation, to break the acute embarrassment of the occasion, I said, ‘

Cor, I wish I could do that.’

It was just to break the ice – crack a little funny, that sort of thing, but you always know when you’ve said the wrong thing. People start spluttering and coughing and fingering their collars.

Thankfully, it was Davina’s mum who let me off the hook. She looked me in the eye and smiled sweetly.

‘If you give him a biscuit, he’ll let you.’

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Re: Well at least it was a happy ending for someone.

Jasper Carrot joke. (or was it Billy Connelly?)

Credit where credit is due.

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

> Is there anyone who never has?

Farage? David Davis? BoJo?

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Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

But you can get round and round it .....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

And the lawyer whose questions elicited those answers is now Prime Minister of Australia.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Have you solved a problem with a lie?

A sin before the Lord but help in time of trouble.

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Desk extenders are selling like hot cakes! Get yours now while stocks last!

Phone 0800-DESKEXT to order yours now!

Free gift of BOFH plushy toy with every 1000000 desk extenders purchased!

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Anonymous Coward

Is that the toy...

...with the sinister red glowing eyes that seem to follow you around?

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Re: Is that the toy...

...with the sinister red glowing eyes that seem to follow you around?

No - it's the one with the always-on microphone that records your every word and sometimes sends them off to a remote server to be analysed.

Or is that Alexa? I get them confused sometimes.

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Anonymous Coward

I have just applied for a patent on the "Stand-Up Desk Extender". Now if I can convince those hipsters to start using mice again I've got it made.

Free Beard Delinter(tm) with every order!

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"......with the sinister red glowing eyes that seem to follow you around?..."

Nope...that's your actual BOFH :)

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May have inspired a Dilbert

Dogbert did it

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Re: May have inspired a Dilbert

@Mycho...a good hour behind... but I guess handy if others don't read all the preceding comments either...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: May have inspired a Dilbert

"[...] .a good hour behind [...]"

Maybe it took an hour to find the remembered cartoon. Race conditions don't just happen in sub-second timings.

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