Tech Support from the Trenches

Tech support, funny tech stories

Unbelievable or Unbelievably funny?

It does not matter what your profession is, we all have had or heard of those situations that are just unbelievable or unbelievably funny. The IT profession is no exception. One of the most notable stories in IT is the support person who was spent a day, trying to get a computer running again. The support person walked the user through many different procedures to get the system working again but had no luck. In the end, the support person determined it was time to get information to do a return, so he/she asked the user to read the serial number off the back of the PC. The user replied they could not read the serial number because it is too dark due to the power outage.

I wrote this blog in hopes that we will get replies from people sharing their humorous or outright unbelievable IT stories. Allow me to share a few of my favorites.

This happened to me.

I was working at a job a long time ago (no, not in a galaxy far, far away) back when I was doing programming. To be fair, this was during Windows 3.1 and GUI based computing was relatively new (but not that new). The cube next to mine was empty because my neighbor was on vacation. A new QA person was starting that day and they let her use the unoccupied cube next to me. I was introduced to her and we had chatted for a few minutes. About a half-hour goes by and I hear her whispering/talking to herself because something was not working. I popped my head around the corner and asked if she needed help. She told me the mouse she had was not working. The arrow would barely move and rarely would it react to clicking the button. She proceeded to demonstrate it to me by picking the mouse up off the desk, put it up so it was touching the front of the computer screen, and started clicking the button… I later found out that her previous experience was only with green-screen computing. (Yes, this story is really dating myself, but it is still funny today.)

After about half an hour, I hear her whispering/talking to herself because something was not working. I popped my head around the corner and asked if she needed help. She told me the mouse she had was not working. The arrow would barely move and rarely would it react to clicking the button. She proceeded to demonstrate it to me by picking the mouse up off the desk, put it up so it was touching the front of the computer screen, and started clicking the button… I later found out that her previous experience was only with green-screen computing. (Yes, this story is really dating myself, but it is still funny today.)

A job in an IT career is not one that necessarily ends when we go home (as we all know). One of the many reasons for that is once our relatives, friends, and neighbors find out we know computers, we become their home IT support (whether we were asked or not). My Uncle needed help buying a new computer. I could have built him an excellent system, but then I would have become his permanent tech support. Instead, I had him order it from a reputable PC manufacturer who offered extended support options. One month later, the PC had an issue while I was away on business travel (of course). I told my Uncle to call support so that they would help. When I returned from my travels I was told from others how mad at me my uncle was and that the PC was still down. I found out that my Uncle called in for support and was told that there was no support on that PC and the Tech support would not help. My Uncle was more than mad at me for making him buy this computer and spending money on an extended warranty that was no good. So I went over to try and find out what had happened. I was greeted with daggers in his eyes. I volunteered to call support and find out the issue. He handed me the number for support and I called. The support number was for a completely different computer manufacturer. My Uncle defended himself saying how the “heck” should he know which company to call? I politely pointed to the large and obvious company logo next to the power button on the PC.

I know many of you have run into situations like these. We’d love to hear your stories. Please share them with us in the comments below. We could all use a good laugh.

AZS-3

 

 

Craig R. Kalty (CCIA, CCEE, CCA, MCITP:EA, MCITP:SA, VCP)|
Sr. Network Consultant
craig.kalty@customsystems.com

 

 

 

©2015 Custom Systems Corporation

The New USB-C Does Double Duty

Everyone knows what a USB cord is, we use them every day. They are the wires that are used to connect printers to a computer. And unless you have an iPhone, they are also the wires used to charge your cell phones. While there are many different types and specs of USB wires, I wanted to discuss the connector type called USB Type C or USB-C.

This new connector will bring a lot of enhancements over the previous specs. The most notable, and one that I am most excited for, is the fact that the wire can be plugged in either way. If you are familiar with USB wires you know they only fit in one direction. The new standard will replace that with one that fits either way. The reason this will work is that it is essentially two USB 3.1 Super-Speed connectors in one. If you plug the connector in one way, the top set of pins are used; if you plug the connector in the other way the bottom set of pins are used. Another great feature of this new spec is that it will also support the new USB Power Delivery spec which allows for up to 100 watts to be carried over a USB cable. That is roughly enough to charge a laptop. Another nice feature is that it will be smaller than the connectors most of us are familiar with. It will be about the same size as what is currently called a micro USB connector.

The one drawback I do see with this new standard is that the existing USB connectors will not work without having to purchase an adapter. The hope is these adapters will not be expensive though. That being said, that is not too bad of a drawback for the list of new features it will bring. One final note on this new USB type, it is going to be capable of speeds up to 10Gbps, which is a nice bump over the current standard top speed of 5Gbps.

As always, please post your comments and questions below or email me directly.

 

Ryan Ash

 

Ryan Ash
Network Consultant
ryan.ash@customsystems.com

©Custom Systems Corporation 2015