When is a cardboard box not a cardboard box? and other tales ...
All the following are from my time spent at London Business School in the IT Dept.
"What Operating System are you running?"
Asked many times in 1993 - 1995 by MBA students (in an American accent): "How do I get on Innernet?". I watched those people become addicted to Windows 3.11 on laptops. Then to the "Innernet". I believe that these people, our future "business leaders", are responsible for a lot of the crap we still deal with. Microsoft spent their marketing dollars well.
I am manning the helpdesk. I get a call: "This is the 3rd time this week I have called you. There is a computer in its box outside my office. It is blocking the corridor. When will you come and move it."
I replied "Did it occur to you that maybe the porters left it there? Just because the box has a computer in it, why do you call IT? Please call the porters and ask them to remove it."
Another call to Helpdesk: "Hi, I think there is a problem with my computer screen. The picture is kinda wavy."
It's a hot day, so I ask "is there an electrical applicance that is switched on near the monitor?"
Undaunted, I continued, "Is there a fan near your computer?"
"Yes there is. Please wait a moment ... There, I've moved it and the picture is fine. Thank you very much."
[The user was always civil, and genuinely pleased that I solved his problem. But note the automatic "no" to my question.]
"Good morning, IT Helpdesk."
"Hello, there is a problem with my computer. I want you to come and fix it." This said in an accusatorial tone. Therefore, the user will not get a visit unless I think there is a non-PEBKAC problem.
"Can you describe the problem?"
"The computer is white."
"You mean the box is white, or the picture is white?"
"The picture is white."
I suspected that this was becuase the VGA cable was loose. I've noticed this before. The first thing to do is to reseat the cable. In principle, if a user can put a key in a lock, the user is capable of doing this.
"And it was fine yesterday?"
"Has anything changed since yesterday?"
[Note the automatic "No"]
"Have you moved your PC recently?"
"Yes. This morning." This without a trace of irony.
"OK. Can you please disconnect the monitor cable and plug it in again? Not the electrical cable, the blah blah one."
"I've done it and it is still broken. Please come and fix it."
[That was too fast. I know she's lying.]
"Ah, maybe one of the pins is bent. Can you please remove the video cable from the monitor and tell me if the pins are bent?"
[The user will now worry that if there is aproblem, they might get the blame (after all, she moved the PC herself. Our porters flat refused to move PCs, even if we disconnected them, etc.) This gets the user to remove the cable and check it..]
"OK. The pins are not bent."
"Please put the cable back."
"OK. I've done it. It is fixed now."
I was in a bad mood when I got this one:
"Hi, I appear to have a memory problem."
"Then go and see a doctor." <click>