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I decided it may be better to move these all to one place







These are the unwritten rules from the highly over worked, but highly under paid technical support staff at an Internet service provider near you...




1. DO NOT talk over me. Listen damn it, you can't do what I tell you to do constantly jabbering bull crap over me. I talk... you do. Why did you even ask me a question if you are going to .ing answer it?


2. DO NOT call me and then put me on hold. You called me, genius. You want my help, stay on the .ing line and listen. We have much better things to do than talk to you anyway.


3. DO NOT read long error messages to me unless I ask you to. Do you honestly think we get anything out of a 50 digit hex number???


4. DO NOT start off a call by saying anything in the neighborhood of "hi, how's it going" or "busy today?" That just serves to piss us off. Get to the problem so we can get you off the phone. The day was great until I had to start answering your totally moronic questions.


5. DO NOT get pissed when we tell you that your system is royally .ed. We didn't . it up. It wasn't us. We're simply telling it like it is.


6. DO NOT call about unrelated products. We DO NOT know the intimate details of every piece o' . shareware program you dredge out of the internet. Nor do we want to. Stop it!


7. We DO NOT manufacture modems, write e-mail programs or engineer browsers. If something in this arena goes wrong, call the people who made the goddamned thing. YOU DON'T USE THE INTERNET TO FAX!!! Can't stress that one enough.


8. DO NOT compare us to AOL when something goes wrong with your connection to us. If you had the computer literacy of an 8 year old with a broken Atari 2600 you'd know better. Everyone else connects just fine. It's just you. Keep that in mind. It's just you.


9. DO NOT call simply for the purpose of giving us your thoughts on the content of our homepage or to request that we send you flyers so you can pass them out at bridge tournaments and bingo night. Not only is this a waste of our time, but it encourages just the type of user tech support reps fear most... the elderly.


10. DO NOT make us sit there on the phone while you tip toe through setup instructions so easy they were originally tested on lab chimps. We have better things to do than act as zoo keepers.


11. DO NOT call us and complain about a problem with your system and then say you're not in front of your computer when we try and help you. We aren't technological psychics.


12. DO NOT call us assuming the problem you're experiencing is our fault. If your computer crashes, performs illegal operations, gives you the blue screen of death, or flips you off and runs away with the .ing toaster to

Mexico, you can be damn certain it isn't us who caused it.


13. DO NOT call us and announce to us that you don't know anything about computers. This really pisses us off. Trust me, we're well aware of that fact. We figured it out the minute you called and announced "help, the internet

is broken!" Something here definitely needs help. People who know computers don't call us.


14. DO NOT call us and act as if you know all that are computers and that you're doing us a favor by gracing us with your call. This pisses us off more than 13. Chiming in with stupid suggestions and comments only increases the already tremendous temptation we face to use you as an unwitting instrument of destruction and really do some damage to your system. Not that you'd notice.


15. DO NOT (in addition to 14) say acronyms you don't know the meaning of or even what they are for. Just admin your completely lost and leave the techno bull crap to us.


16. DO NOT call in if you can't speak English. This might seem like a small thing to you, but we find it just a tad annoying when we try and assess your problem and we can only understand every fifth word you say. And no, just because those words may be 'computer' or 'broken' doesn't absolve you of the offense.


17. DO NOT call in hoping to get another tech rep to tell you something different than the first one did. If one of us tells you your system is .ed, it's .ed. The second guy is going to simply look at the log and tell you the same thing, it's .ed. That is of course unless you really piss him off and then he's going to make sure your computer has the functionality of a house plant.


18. DO NOT be stoned or drunk when you call us. You wouldn't think this would need to actually be said, but believe me it's come up. For god sakes, if you can't control yourself and must call, at least have the common courtesy to offer us some of what you're on.

Edited by Rokkaholik

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Sometimes it becomes necessary to move your computer to a new location for whatever reason; installing/adding new hardware or just decided to move it for "easier access", for instance (note easier access in quotation marks).


Whatever your reason is, this handy guide may help you alleviate some of the stress that always arises in such occasions.


Keep in mind that this is a venture only to be undertaken by those who know what they're doing...and masochists.


1. Bone up on your cursing. You will need it later.


2. Pick a *good* spot to locate your computer. Don't be too picky; you will regret having started on this venture soon enough.


3. Disconnect all cables, cords, power sources, umbilical cords and plumbing. Look at the black, gray & white spaghetti mess on the floor and sob. Refer to number 1. While you're at it, it helps to focus on cursing Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for making all this possible.


4. Be sure to dust machine off, since it's been sitting for months in one spot, gathering a dust mound the size of Mt. Rainier. This is especially essential if you have asthma.


5. Now that you've picked a *good* spot, it's time to replace all the cables, cords, etc. Make sure it's in a dark, hard-to-reach location.


6. New computers have color-coded plugs and plugins to make assembly easier. This has no bearing on you since your computer is in a dark, hard-to-reach location and they're all the same color: gray. See number 1.


7. Get a flashlight. Look for new batteries for flashlight you've left in the junk drawer for months. Go to store to buy new flashlight batteries since you don't have any. Rule number 1 is coming in handy now.


8. While inserting various cords and cables, be sure to drop at least one on the floor behind the desk, where it will take a contortionist to retrieve it.


9. Find out that your printer cable is now not long enough to reach the computer (see number 1). Oh well, you didn't use it that much anyway.


10. Once you have all the cables, etc. back in place, turn computer back on.


11. Sit, puzzled why computer isn't working.


12. Plug monitor in.


13. Ponder why keyboard and mouse don't work.


14. Switch keyboard and mouse plugins.


15. Call spouse in to admire your handiwork.


16. Spouse informs you that he/she liked it better where it was, and to move it back.


17. When asked why you're banging your head on the monitor, don't reply. It would only confuse him/her.

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Computer Problem Report Form


1. Describe your problem:



2. Now, describe the problem accurately:





3. Speculate wildly about the cause of the problem:





4. Problem Severity:


A. Minor__

B. Minor__

C. Minor__

D. Trivial__


5. Nature of the problem:


A. Locked Up__

B. Frozen__

C. Hung__

D. Shot__


6. Is your computer plugged in? Yes__ No__


7. Is it turned on? Yes__ No__


8. Have you tried to fix it yourself? Yes__ No__


9. Have you made it worse? Yes__


10. Have you read the manual? Yes__ No__


11. Are you sure you've read the manual? Yes__ No__


12. Are you absolutely certain you've read the manual? No__


13. Do you think you understood it? Yes__ No__


14. If `Yes' then why can't you fix the problem yourself?



15. How tall are you? Are you above this line? __________________


16. What were you doing with your computer at the time the problem occurred?



17. If "nothing" explain why you were logged in.



18. Are you sure you aren't imagining the problem? Yes__ No__


19. How does this problem make you feel? ____________________________


20. Tell me about your childhood. ___________________________________


21. Do you have any independent witnesses of the problem? Yes__ No__


22. Can't you do something else, instead of bothering me? Yes__


Thank you for taking the time to fill out our Computer Problems Form. Please allow 1 week response time so that the problem will resolve its self or you will reboot your computer, most likely resolving the issue.

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It's strange, after being a user of computer software for a while, you begin to pick up on some disturbing similarities to a not so squeaky clean industry out there. Is this telling us something?


Drug Dealers

Refer to their clients as "users".


"The first one's free!"


Strange Jargon : "Stick", "Rock",

"Dime Bag", "E"


Realized that there's tons of cash

in the 14 to 25 year old market.


Job is assisted by the industries

producing newer, more potent mixes.


Often seen in the company of pimps

and hustlers.


Their product causes unhealthy



Do your job well, and you can sleep

with sexy movie stars who depend

on you.





Software Developers

Refer to their clients as "users".


"Download a free trail version..."


Strange Jargon : "SCSI", "RTFM",

"Java", "ISDN", "Pentium"


Realize that there's tons of cash

in the 14 to 25 year old market.


Job is assisted by industry's producing

newer, faster machines.


Often seen in the company of marketing

people and venture capitalists.


Doom, Quake, SimCity, Duke Nukem,

'nuff said!


Damn! Damn! DAMN!!!

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How to Please Your I.T. Department


01. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.


02. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages from here.


03. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.


04. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.


05. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing.


06. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.


07. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.


08. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's electronics in it.


09. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.


10. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.


11. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.


12. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.


13. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work.


14. Don't learn the proper term for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by "My thingy blew up".


15. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps.

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During my years working in IT support, I have become more and more interested in the many types of people who call IT help desks. Like a biologist, I have found that having a classification system is critical in understanding the users that I help on a daily basis. It is with this in mind, and with my tongue in my cheek, that I have categorized users into the following species:


1. "The Expert": Userus expertia

"The Expert" user is the curse of most IT support establishments. Experts try out something they heard about from "the bloke in the pub," an unqualified expert on everything who offers advice to anyone who will listen. Experts usually make a complete mess of their systems when they follow the bloke's advice. Then they compound the problem by trying to fix it themselves, often destroying their machines. As a last resort, they call the help desk and demand that their machines be replaced or mended immediately, as they have urgent work that can't wait. There has been an Expert at every place I have worked. I leave it to you to decide who your resident Expert is.



2. "The Fiddler": Userus manipulata

The motto of "The Fiddler" is: "I wonder what happens if...." I've placed these callers next because they are the most closely related to the Expert. These callers don't realize that some files actually make their computers work. If they don't recognize a file as one of their own, they delete it and are surprised when something then stops working. Unlike the Expert, they don't say anything about the problem; you only discover it months later from a casual remark, such as, "Oh no, that hasn't worked for ages. I meant to call you." Fiddlers are usually very pleasant people�who will drive you mad.


3. "The Mouse": Userus rodentia

"The Mouse" is more common than the previous two and fortunately less harmful. For this species of caller, the big gray box is a source of blind terror. I can remember talking on the phone to a Mouse at a UK communications company. She had worked in a telephone exchange for years and was suddenly given a PC to help her. She had not asked for it and didn't want it. The screen was making strange noises, and she was concerned.

"I don't want it to explode or anything," she wailed.

"No," I said patronizingly, "they don't explode. There's no explosive in them." Then I heard a loud "BANG!" through the phone. "What was that?" I asked. "My screen has just exploded," she replied.


4. "The Train Spotter": Userus geekissimus

"The Train Spotter" is most often the offspring of an Expert and a Fiddler. These callers are usually harmless and don't have many computer problems. What they do have is an IT magazine, which they have read from cover to cover. The Train Spotter will invariably corner an unsuspecting help desk tech and proceed to bore the tech rigid by sharing their knowledge. The main difference between Train Spotters and other callers is that Train Spotters do not usually phone the help desk; they visit in person.


I'm not quite sure what they want from the help desk, but they take up a lot of time asking various questions about new innovations, about which I usually know nothing. I have found no explanation for the existence of this user other than that the Expert and Fiddler conceived the Train Spotter on a trip to a computer trade fair.


5. "The Paranoid User": Userus newbigata

"Paranoid Users" are convinced that the computer has an intelligence of its own and is out to get them. The machine is constantly doing something that causes a problem. The computer will maliciously alter their documents, obliterate all references to their passwords, and lose work they have saved. If a machine is ever going to break down, it will be while being used by a Paranoid. This species' one saving grace is determination. They never give up, as much as you wish they would.


6. "The I'm-building-a-case User": Userus fabricatum

"The I'm-building-a-case User" is grinding an axe to get some new gadget brought in to his department or have an old one taken away. They report hundreds of trivial problems, hoping upper management will buy them the latest all-singing and all-dancing machine. The real problem with this species of caller is the fact that they are usually not trying to replace computer equipment. This user doesn't see the difference between computers and any other piece of office equipment. I have often been required to pass opinions on all kinds of electrical equipment even after pointing out my lack of knowledge on the subject. I do not evaluate coffee makers. I do not drink coffee, and I know nothing about the black arts involved in its production.


7. "The Just-testing User": Userus gustulata

"The Just-testing User" is not even using a computer but wants to test your knowledge and, if possible, trip you up. The best technique for dealing with this species is by answering questions with "I don't know." They cannot deal with this straight capitulation. Most Just-testing users would love the chance to show your boss how useless you are or how little you know. They are thrilled when you give a wrong answer and will crow about it incessantly.


8. "Pig Pen": Userus perfumia

Based on the Charles M. Schulz Peanuts character, "Pig Pen" has the messiest, most unhygienic work area in the company. Pig Pen's personal hygiene is fine; it is only the workspace that is a hazard. It is a graveyard for old coffee cups, half-eaten green sandwiches, used Kleenex, and moldy sock collections. Pig Pens are some of the nicest and most technically able people you know. They usually give the help desk very little trouble except when their keyboard needs replacing, which is often. Pig Pen is a mainstay of most companies, the backbone of whatever department he or she works for. If that were not the case, the company would have let them go years ago.


9. "The I-don't-want-to-hear-that! User": Userus headinsandia

This is a rather curious species. They call, ask a question, and if they don't hear what they want, they take it personally. I always wonder why they ask, if they don't want to know the answer. It does not seem to matter that what they want is not possible. All they want is to hear the answer they're looking for.


10. "The End-of-my-tether User": Userus adlimitus

This is the angriest but, perversely, often the easiest to deal with. After spending weeks attempting to resolve their own queries, they finally swallow their pride and call the help desk. Calls from this type of user usually end in one of three ways:

1. The problem's solution can be found simply by reading page 1 of his instruction manual, which, of course, the caller has not done.

2. The caller is informed that the operation she is trying to perform cannot be performed with the equipment or software that she has.

3. The caller has already found a solution but phoned the help desk to let you know how frustrated, mad, or unsatisfied he is.

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User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use password retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant, they thank me and hang up. God, we let the people vote and drive, too?



Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports database. Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it works for me." Let them rant and rave while I unplugged my coffeemaker from the UPS and plugged their server back in. Suggested they try it again. One more happy customer...


8:14 am

User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error accessing Drive C." Told them it was an OS problem. Transferred them to microsupport.


11:00 am

Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support phone back in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are coming into town this weekend. Put her on hold and transferred her to janitorial closet down in basement. What is she thinking? The "Myst" and "Doom" nationals are this weekend!


11:34 am

Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL changed on HR performance review database so that nobody but HR can access

database. Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change ACL. Add @MailSend so performance reviews are sent to */ALL.


12:00 pm



3:30 pm

Return from lunch.


3:55 pm

Wake up from nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no reason. Return to napping.


4:23 pm

Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on form. Ask them what chip set they're using. Tell them to call back when they find out.


4:55 pm

Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next shift has something to do.






8:30 am

Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy. Terrible time with Save/Replication conflicts.


9:00 am

Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Put something in the calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which have (mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.


9:35 pm

Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they need form J-19R=9C9\\DARR\K1. Say they never heard of such a form. Tell them it's in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they never heard of such a database. Transfer them to janitorial closet in basement.


10:00 am

Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID. Tell her I need employee number, department name, manager name, and marital status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board database, Centers for Disease Control database, and my Oprah Winfrey database. No hits. Tell her ID will be ready tonight. Drawing from the lessons learned in last week's "Reengineering for Customer Partnership," I offer to

personally deliver ID to her apartment.


10:07 am

Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in basement. Offer to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch console while I grab a smoke.


1:00 pm

Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy.


1:05 pm

Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled floor tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not running in computer room, even if I do yell "Omigod -- Fire!"


1:15 pm

Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in form names. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix

it. Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.


1:20 pm

Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls for "Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't hear over industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably "Lettuce Nodes." Maybe the food distributor with a new product? She thinks about it and hangs up.


2:00 pm

Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to check in her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell her it probably fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put duct tape over all the airvents she can find on the PC. Grudgingly offer to create new ID for her while she does that.


2:49 pm

Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day.






8:30 am

Irate user calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on form. Tell them Of course, they should have been checking "Bitset," not "chipset." Sheepish user apologizes and hangs up.



Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules 10:00am meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support manager about terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about to go into meeting. Sometimes life hands you material...


10:00 am

Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask if he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed random e-mail databases and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer in Marketing on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he reaches for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.


10:30 am

Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe corporate PBX system sometime.


11:00 am



4:55 pm

Return from lunch.


5:00 pm

Shift change; Going home.






8:00 am

New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show him server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him up with IBM PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in both monochrome and color.


8:45 am

New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID for him. Set minimum password length to 64. Go grab smoke.


9:30 am

Introduce Louie the custodian to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie comments. Is this guy great or what?!


11:00 am

Beat Louie in dominos game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominos out of sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says Accounting server

is down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio antenna (better reception) and plug back into hub. Tell user to try again. Another happy customer!


11:55 am

Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01: "Whereas all new employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all proper aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on shift." Marvin doubts. I point to "Corporate Policy" database (a fine piece of work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's DOUBLE pepperoni and NO peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps over open floor tile to get to exit door.


1:00 pm

Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...


4:30 pm

Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.


5:00 pm

Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just testing the On/Off button...). See ya tomorrow.






8:00 am

Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server. Told them it worked fine before I left.


9:00 am

Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these calls myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.


9:02 am

Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and the Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call Telecommunications.


9:30 am

Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San Diego and can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's sunspots, but with a two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the time on the server back two hours.


10:17 am

Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them to set server ahead three hours.


11:00 am

E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the time on their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it to Milwaukee.


11:20 am

Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.


11:23 am

Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.


11:25 am

Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So hard to get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has appointment

with orthopedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind sitting in on the weekly department head meeting for him. "No problem!"


11:30 am

Call Louie and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a meeting this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff" I tell him.


12:00 am



1:00 pm

Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make them fast.


1:03 pm

Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology!


2:30 pm

Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel 2:45 pm appointment for him. He really should be at home resting, you know.


2:39 pm

New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection document. Tell them to run connection document utility CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.


2:50 pm

Support manager calls to say mixup at doctor's office means appointment cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him if he's seen corporate Web page lately.


3:00 pm

Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working. Suggest they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.


4:00 pm

Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set point size to "2" in help databases.


4:30 pm

User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell them to go to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key, and then refresh. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.


4:45 pm

Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell them I'll fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.


4:58 pm

Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not (too) much.


5:00 pm

Night shift shows up. Tell that the hub is acting funny and to have a good weekend.

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