Tech Support

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Computer Stupidities - A website devoted to Tech Support Mayhem.

Things You Don't Want To Hear From Technical Support

"Do you have a sledgehammer or a brick handy?"

* "That's right, not even McGyver could fix it."

* "So -- what are you wearing?"

* "Duuuuuude! Bummer!"

* "Looks like you're gonna need some new dilithium crystals, Cap'n."

* "Press 1 for Support. Press 2 if you're with 60 Minutes. Press 3 if you're with the FTC."

* "We can fix this, but you're gonna need a butter knife, a roll of duct tape, and a car battery."

* "In layman's terms, we call that the Hindenburg Effect."

* "Hold on a second... Mom! Timmy's hitting me!"

* "Okay, turn to page 523 in your copy of Dianetics."

* "Please hold for Mr. Gates' attorney."

Once you start buying or using software you quickly become aware that each software package has a version code. It is obvious that this version code gives the sequence of changes to the product, but in reality there's a lot more information available. Here at last is the layman's guide for interpreting the meaning of the version codes and what they actually mean.

1.0 Also known as "one point uh-oh", or "barely out of beta". We had to release because the lab guys had reached a point of exhaustion and the marketing guys were in a cold sweat of terror. We're praying that you'll find it more functional than, say, a computer virus and that its operation has some resemblance to that specified in the marketing copy.

1.1 We fixed the worst bugs and the program tends to run for quite some time without crashing.

1.2 We introduced a few new bugs fixing the last lot so we had to fix them, too. We even fixed some more from the original release.

2.0 We did the product we really wanted to do to begin with. Mind you, it's really not what the customer needs yet, but we're working on it.

2.1 Well, not surprisingly, we broke some things in making major changes so we had to fix them. But we did a really good job of testing this time, so we don't think we introduced any new bugs while we were fixing these bugs.

2.2 Well, we didn't think any bugs had got through but you know how it is. Just to keep people happy, though, we added some buttons on a button bar to get to features that have always been there anyway.

2.3 Some jerk found a deep-seated bug that's been there since 1.0 and wouldn't stop nagging until we fixed it!!

3.0 Hey, we finally think we've got it right! Most of the customers are really happy with this.

3.1 Of course, we did break a few little things.

4.0 More features. It's doubled in size now, by the way, and you'll need to get more memory and a faster processor...

4.1 Just one or two bugs this time... Honest!

5.0 We really need to go on to a new product, but we have an installed base out there to protect. We're cutting the staffing after this.

6.0 We had to fix a few things we broke in 5.0. Not very many, but it's been so long since we looked at this thing we might as well call it a major upgrade. Oh, yeah, we added a few flashy cosmetic features so we could justify the major upgrade number.

6.1 Since I'm leaving the company and I'm the last guy left in the lab who works on the product, I wanted to make sure that all the changes I've made are incorporated before I go. I added some cute demos, too, since I was getting pretty bored back here in my dark little corner (I kept complaining about the lighting but they wouldn't do anything). They're talking about obsolescence planning but they'll try to keep selling it for as long as there's a buck or two to be made. I'm leaving the bits in as good a shape as I can in case somebody has to tweak them, but it'll be sheer luck if no one loses them.

True Stories from Tech Support

Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key" because of the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key is. AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.

Another Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining that the system wouldn't read word processing files from his old diskettes. After trouble-shooting for magnets and heat failed to diagnose the problem, it was found that the customer labelled the diskettes then rolled them into the typewriter to type the labels.

Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective diskettes. A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along with Xeroxed copies of the disk.

A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on, and was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing the room to close the door.

Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of trouble-shooting, the technician discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.

Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so a Dell tech suggested he go to the local Egghead. "yeah, I got me a couple of friends," the customer replied. When told Egghead was a software store, the man said, "Oh, I thought you meant for me to find a couple of geeks."

Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys and washing them individually.

A Dell technician received a call from a customer who was enraged because his computer had told him he was "bad and an invalid." The tech explained that the computer's "bad command" and "invalid" responses shouldn't be taken personally.

An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn't get her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button. Her response, "I pushed and pushed on the foot pedal and nothing happens." The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's mouse.

Another customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand-new computer wouldn't work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in, and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked "What power switch?"

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