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Thread: Tales From the Help Desk!

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Tales From the Help Desk!

    My father is tech-friendly, but falling behind and he sort of knows it. I provide supplemental tech support because it physically pains me to know he's about to buy the wrong cable because he has trouble keeping up on all the new plugs. The biggest headaches come from the DVI->HDMI transition, but different USB plugs have resulted in 10-20 minute conversations where I finally persuaded him I knew what I was talking about when I said the USB connector on the back of his 10 year old Laserjet was different than any of the plugs on the USB cables he'd been using for the last 5 years. It has the original "B" plug.

    I spent a good 5-10 minutes before dropping him off at a Wal-Mart to buy an "emergency" adapter, making sure he knew what plug he was looking for. He needed either a mini HDMI to HDMI cable, a DVI to HDMI cable, or a DVI to HDMI adapter. He kept talking about the wrong plugs and I was afraid he was gonna end up with a DisplayPort cable.

    We got the issue sorted, but along the way he told me a great tale from the early days, when computers were just starting to make their way into offices. The days that brought us stories of computers with broken cup-holders (CD-ROM tray) and wonky foot pedals (mice).

    He did a trouble call that involved walking several miles across San Diego only to discover that while the person had indeed plugged their computer in (an enormously common failing and the reason why it's the first thing on Troubleshooting lists even today) and they had indeed turned on all the switches, they hadn't plugged the power strip into the wall, and somehow hadn't realized that would be necessary.

    Back in the day, I guess people just assumed computers were magic. Or maybe "Power Strip" was just too misleading.


    Any good yarns about tech support? Things you were startled to discover weren't obvious? Most bizarre method for setting the time on an appliance?


    Regarding time setting on an appliance--awhile back, I cleaned my car battery terminals. After hooking everything back up, I sat down to see if I could figure out how to set the clock. Most car radios these days have hidden functions. In my experience, you usually find interesting menus by pushing on the volume or tuning knobs. Sometimes both at the same time. They can be fun little puzzles.

    I spent a few moments adjusting the hidden equalizer, but was dismayed to find I wasn't finding the clock settings. I resorted to the manual and discovered there was a button on the front that said "clock". You hit it and you can set the time. Didn't even see it because I had zero expectations of a dedicated button for that function. I was all set for some strange combo of keypresses like finding Sabbath mode on a major appliance.
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

  2. #2
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KOI View Post
    Any good yarns about tech support? Things you were startled to discover weren't obvious? Most bizarre method for setting the time on an appliance?
    I did three months of Best Buy tech support. Explaining how to plug things in that I hadn't even seen before. My favorite experience there was that time I went down to the break room and took a nap on the couch for 2 hours.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

  3. #3
    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    I did three months of Best Buy tech support. Explaining how to plug things in that I hadn't even seen before. My favorite experience there was that time I went down to the break room and took a nap on the couch for 2 hours.
    What drew you into that job? It was the job title wasn't it?
    Most of time, when people ask why something terrible happened, they don't realize they are looking for someone to blame.

    --Meditations on Uncertainty Vol ξ(x)

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KOI View Post
    What drew you into that job? It was the job title wasn't it?
    Oh geez. I dunno why I got it, it was a summer job and one morning I just didn't want to get out of bed and never went back.

    Lots of old people calling about very basic things like setting up their TV, kinda shocking to me because over here they ask a family member for that (usually a son or daughter), not some tech support person. Depressing in general.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hephaestus View Post
    Heh. We've been here years now.

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