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Old 02-22-2006, 09:34 PM   #1
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Tech support follies

Inspired--in part--by the marvelous thread on warning labels.

What is your favorite tech support story (from either side)?

To start:
In a long-standing dialog with Adelphia about their blocking of "bounceback" messages when an e-mail is undeliverable, the robot responds with instructions for setting up the POP and SMTP servers.

From the other side: Tech support struggles to help a customer with a broken "coffee cup holder"--finally deducing that it was the CD tray.

What is YOUR favorite??
Old 02-22-2006, 09:39 PM   #2
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Registered: May 2004
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Wasn't me per se, but the IT guy at my old school told me a story once.

He turned on a computer, that he was going to fix. The computer hissed, and then started smoking. He opened it up, and there was a snake inside! He showed me the pictures and everything.
Old 02-23-2006, 05:24 AM   #3
Registered: Oct 2005
Location: Scotland, UK
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The tech guy at my school first accused me off hacking, which i was most annoyed at.
But then a few weeks later he came into my english class to fix a moniter problem, it wood not turn on when the case was turned on. i have had that problem at my house and i just flicked the power switch, but no the system admin at my school didnt think of that, instead he pulled the keyboard, mouse and other I/O devices in and out, exept the moniter, and wher all else failed he started pressing the SHIFT key!!!
I was quite scared that the system admin had these ideas.
The email filters at my school also blocked my open office document as it 'was related to the files extension .exe'
Old 02-25-2006, 02:20 PM   #4
Registered: Oct 2005
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I'm going to date myself with this one, but....

Worked as a contractor pulling cable and setting up workstations at Naval Submarine Base, Kings Bay, GA. A trouble ticket came in saying that the Base Commanding Officer's PC was really slow. Two techs spent the day on the problem, to no avail - still slow. Multiple teams went out the next day and it was determined that his entire cable run would have to be re-pulled. It was, no effect. Day 3 arrives and during the morning meeting the IT Dept Head tells me to go ahead up there and take a look. By this time everyone else has already been, what harm could another set of eyes be? I wander on up, and there in the CO's office is one very pissed off "Full Bird Captain" talking on the phone whilst a squad of techs are standing around in his office talking about the problem in hushed tones.

I look over at the Captain's PC and notice that the little "Turbo" light is off. I reach over, hit the turbo switch and walk out of his office to a chorus of groans.

I love that story. (This is for all you guys {and gals} that can remember the day of the Turbo switch when you could switch between 8mhz and 33/66mhz.)
Old 04-08-2008, 10:50 PM   #5
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Tech Support Follies

I was doing tech support in Chicago and got a call from a client in the south. Complained that his system would act weird (had dumb terminals for workstations - kinda dates me...). He quoted tons of stuff about what was wrong and when it would freak out. So about 30 minutes into trying to solve one problem at a time, I said it would be good just to shutdown and reboot (to kill processes and to see what the BIOS would report on POST).

He said he would have to go down stairs to do it, so I waited. When he came back, he said "I can't find the off switch. Can you do it remotely" Pondering this, I had to say "Its the big red switch on the right, near the rear."

He said, "I can't see it, the machine is underwater...."

(Basement flooded, 4 feet of water...)
#include <homer/moment.h>


It gets better, he got the water pumped out. The machine still running. Asks if he should get a hair drier to dry the motherboard, and if Super Glue would get the motherboard traces to lay flat again.....

...and this guy was a doctor.....
Old 04-09-2008, 07:17 AM   #6
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Well this is not about IT but its some other tech:

Customer makes me come to Peru because his machines will be in on Monday.So I go and fly there Saturday and do a little training.
No machines until Wednesday and training is getting old - owner tells me to wait till Friday.I tell owner that I'll charge 8 hours per day plus expenses no matter what.
Nothing on Friday besides the disturbing news that the ship is in Charleston/SC which is a couple of miles from Lima/Peru.Think about flying home - owner tells me to stay.Don't even need to show up at the plant but still get paid.

Go and drink beer for 3 weeks in Lima (did now every bar by then) until ship arrives.
As ship arrives the guy doesn't have 60k to pay import - there goes another week of paid beerdrinking duty.

Work for 2 days setting everything a far as possible with other machines missing.
Other machines arrive and are imported after another exhausting week of drinking beer.

Continue setup to find out there are some parts wrong just in time to pickup other tech at the airport.
Pick the guy up and tell him we'll go and drink some beer for a week because of some minor screwup.

After that things worked out pretty well and within a week (which is the normal timeframe) everthing is up and running.

Coolest job ever - spent almost 2 month drinking beer on the clock for a one week job

Of course the guys at the home office didn't see that way.
Old 04-09-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
Registered: Oct 2005
Location: Annapolis
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Bubblehead Question

Originally Posted by skelton View Post
He said, "I can't see it, the machine is underwater...."

(Basement flooded, 4 feet of water...)
#include <homer/moment.h>


It gets better, he got the water pumped out. The machine still running.

But what I really want to know is: What computer was this that continues to run while submerged?
Old 04-10-2008, 09:42 PM   #8
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Re: machine being under water...
It was a Altos. Old 386 machine or 68000 I think. The classic 50 lbs of fiberglass, plastic and metal for the case, and motherboards you could have used for flooring. Not a whole lot on the motherboard but the traces were huge.

As for the customer machine actually being underwater - I report'em, I don't run'em.

...and the one about the user that actually wanted to use the cassette port on the old IBM-PC. (Yes, we got them what they wanted) Later, he went with floppies and used the cassette port as a buzzer. (anyone remember that trick?)

...or the Sequent Balance with external 8" HD's that originally didn't queue requests, it simply did them one at a time, until they changed the Unix driver to support queuing (They called it Otis Elevator Logic) and had a problem of the drive walking across the floor.

...or when I got called in at a prison because they wanted different mice, as security took the balls out of them because prisoners were using them as weapons. Had a run on Optical Mice that day...

...or the same place asking me if ink-jet ink was toxic or would cause problems if used in tattoos...(Why call me, I'm not poison control...and not to mention they had a full medical staff with doctors)...

...or a client asking me to come to Macon,GA to fix their Pyramid servers, with bus connected hard drives, to expand their hard disk capacity. It took me 2 hours and a dinner to explain the concept of NAS storage. (I should have taken the contract and kept my mouth shut...but I really did not want to go to Macon...)


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