Geek humor: Computer StupiditiesSome geek humor to brighten up your day.
It's aimed to all audiences, although you will need some computer skills to understand all of them.
Here we go!
* Customer: "My computer crashed!"
* Tech Support: "It crashed?"
* Customer: "Yeah, it won't let me play my game."
* Tech Support: "All right, hit Control-Alt-Delete to reboot."
* Customer: "No, it didn't crash -- it crashed."
* Tech Support: "Huh?"
* Customer: "I crashed my game. That's what I said before. Now it doesn't work."
Turned out, the user was playing Lunar Lander and crashed his spaceship.
* Tech Support: "Click on 'File,' then 'New Game.'"
* Customer: [pause] "Wow! How'd you learn how to do that?"
I once had a woman call and ask if we also taught "Don'ts" in the "Dos" class, and she was dead serious.
During 12th grade, I read up a book called "Stupid Mac Tricks." One of the tricks in it was how to replace the Mac's startup screen. As a joke, I made a graphic of a black-bordered white box with a gray background. The text in the box read, "This computer will self-destruct in ten seconds. Thank you, Apple Computer Co." I made this the startup screen for a computer in my high school's computer lab.
The next day an "out of order" sign was taped to the monitor. The lab attendants usually wrote the reason on the bottom edge of the paper, so I leaned in to read what had been written there. It said, "Will self-destruct."
A call came in and the customer said that his computer was acting funny. The customer said that he shouldn't be having these problems, because the computer was reading that it was "Ok." The tech pondered a moment, and came to the realization that the display actually was "zero K" -- the customer's disk was full.
I helped a customer with a UNIX command that wasn't working once. He was entering the full path to an executable on the command line but typed an extra slash in the middle. I told him to retype the command without the extra slash.
* Customer: "That solved it. Thanks. What was the bug? Can you tell me?"
I just had a call from a woman who read to me everything in the "About Box" for Microsoft Works for the Macintosh. Her frustration was that every time she tried to click on the user's name in the about box it disappeared! "How do I get rid of this woman's name," she asked? "Well," I explained, "that's the name of the author of the program; you can't get rid of it." "What?! You mean every time I startup Works I'm gonna have to look at my husband's ex-wife's name?"
* Customer: "The computer says something to the effect that I can't write to a certain directory."
* Tech Support: "What were you trying to do?"
* Customer: "The computer asked me to 'Enter new directory or none to cancel' so I type 'none'."
* Tech Support: (trying not to laugh out loud) "Just don't type anything, and press the 'enter' key."
* Customer: "Oh, ok, it works now."
* Tech Support: "What does the screen say now?"
* Customer: "It says, 'Hit ENTER when ready'."
* Tech Support: "Well?"
* Customer: "How do I know when it's ready?"
One customer kept reporting a problem with her system beeping at her. This would happen (at times) without a user at the computer and at no specific times. The random timing, of course, made the troubleshooting difficult. Our decision was to create a problem report and have her call in when it was occurring or had occurred.
One month later, she called back. It turned out that a pager had been dropped under the desk where the computer was situated.
Once I worked as an operator on an old IBM 370/Model 138 mainframe at a local college. My position had been reclassified to fall into a new area outside of the I/S staff. One day, my new supervisor entered the room and stared at the air conditioning unit directly behind me. He studied the two flashing lights for a few moments and asked what job it was currently processing. I killed my career by replying, "Actually, sir, it's cooling the room. The computer is over here."
One morning at a former workplace at which I did PC support, the Lotus Notes server went down because of a hardware problem -- the fourth in three months or so from failed hard disks. Later that day, after the newest dead drive had been replaced and the server brought back up, the network administrator told me about a discussion he had with the IT manager. The IT manager had asked if we could "schedule server failures for more convenient times in the future." He was dead serious.
A guy came into my office, in a real panic. He kept saying something about how his computer screen was shaking violently, and he thought it had a virus! Going down to the computer, I found that the picture on the screen was indeed shaking a lot, but I also noticed something else...a desk fan was placed right next to the monitor, which was plugged into the same power strip. I switched the fan off, and the picture stopped shaking. I told him to move the fan away from the monitor in future, to avoid that problem.
Later on I heard him telling a colleague that his desk fan had a virus, and he had to keep it away from the screen to stop it from infecting his computer.
My senior year of high school, I was helping a friend of mine (who was a tech aid for the school) work the bugs out of a new administration program the computer labs were going to use. This was an override program the teacher could use to get the entire class' attention, or just a certain person if need be.
The teacher hadn't realized we had the program working and we were looking around at other students' screens. The teacher was helping a particular student with something when I looked at my friend and gave him an idea.
Suddenly, the teacher's monitor went black, and the words, "Enter any 11 digit prime number to continue" appeared.
After a trip to the math department, the teacher returned to a class that had been laughing the whole time she'd been gone.
My friend was quite good with computers. His brother was not. His brother's biggest problem was double clicking. He could never seem to do it fast enough and would often get very frustrated in his attempts. One day, while his brother was away, my friend took a snapshot of his brother's screen, set it as the wallpaper, and cleared the desktop of all icons. You can't even begin to imagine how frustrated his brother grew trying and failing for hours to click on the "icons" in the wallpaper.
My senior year in high school, I spent about half my school day helping the computer teacher and helping to administer the school network. We had a program on the network that would allow you to pull up the screen of another computer and control it remotely. I was bored one day, and so I logged myself in as the administrator and proceeded to "check up" on the students in the computer room to see what they were working on. I found one girl I knew typing a steamy letter and decided to scare her a bit. I started by erasing a few of the characters in her letter. She paused for a minute, but then continued typing, so I did it again. This time, she paused for a longer period and then started backspacing her whole letter. I then wrote "hello" on her screen. After a while she finally responded, and we got a bit of a conversation going.
She asked who this was, and I told her I was stuck in her computer and couldn't get out. She fell for it and asked how she could help. I told her she needed to lick the computer screen. She said she did. I didn't believe her, but I continued: I said she needed to stand up and act like a chicken. A minute passed, and she said she did that, too. I didn't thinks he had, and this time I told her so, but she responded by saying that not only had she done what I asked but had gotten detention for it.
An hour later, I went into the computer room, and the teacher told me that he had had to give a student detention. I asked why, and he said that he was watching her and all of a sudden she licked her computer screen and stood up and acted like a chicken. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.
* Tech Support: "Sir, something has burned within your power supply."
* Customer: "I bet that there is some command that I can put into the AUTOEXEC.BAT that will take care of this."
* Tech Support: "There is nothing that software can do to help you with this problem."
* Customer: "I know that there is something that I can put in...some command...maybe it should go into the CONFIG.SYS."
* Tech Support: "Ok, I am not supposed to tell anyone this but there is a hidden command in some versions of DOS that you can use. I want you to edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT and add the last line as COSNOSMOKE and reboot your computer."
* Customer: "It is still smoking."
* Tech Support: "I guess you'll need to call Microsoft and ask them for a patch for the NOSMOKE.EXE."
Four hours later, he calls back.
* Tech Support: "Hello sir, how is your computer?"
* Customer: "I called Microsoft and they said that my power supply is incompatible with their NOSMOKE.EXE and that I need to get a new one. I was wondering when I can have that done?"
A customer, attempting to show that he's knowledgeable about computers...
* Customer: "Do you know about MIDI?"
* Tech Support: (slightly puzzled) "Yes..."
* Customer: "I was THERE."
A friend of mine was recently typing up his resume and listing his experience with different operating systems. When the Word spelling/grammar checker came across "Windows ME and Linux," it was quick to suggest that "Windows, Linux, and I" would be more appropriate.
* Customer: "How do I print my voicemail?"
* Student: "Would it be possible to install Arabic language support on those computers?"
* Computer Teacher: "In order to use Arabic language in Windows, you must install an Arabic graphic card. So I don't think we could do that."
I was working at a help desk, and, thankfully, my co-worker took this particular call. A man nervously called saying that he couldn't print his proposal due out that day, because WordPerfect was reporting an error that his fonts were missing. My co-worker told the gentleman that we'd send somebody right up. Apparently there was quite a back log, though, and no one could get there fast enough for him. He had continually called throughout the day asking for his call to be expedited. Finally, at the end of the day, his secretary called and asked, urgently, "Could you PLEASE send somebody up as quickly as possible? He opened the computer with a screwdriver and is looking for his missing fonts."
I was an IBM tech at the time. A customer called in with a complex problem. During the course of the call I could hear, in the background, a screeching wail. I tried to ignore it, but it was distracting, and later I began to get worried about what sort of thing was going on there. About five minutes into the call I considered putting the customer on hold and calling the police when the customer asked if I was wondering what the noise in the background was. She said, "I work in an opera school, and that particular student is excessively terrible at singing." I had to put the customer on hold until I stopped laughing.
I work for a large ISP. In the middle of a call, suddenly there was a piercing high pitched beeping noise in the background.
* Me: "What is that noise?"
* Customer: "Hey Martinez!! I'm on the phone! Cut it out!"
* Me: "What was that?"
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
* Me: "What is that noise?"
* Customer: "It's from a device."
* Me: "What kind of device?"
* Customer: "I don't know."
* Me: "Like a fax machine or something?"
* Customer: "I don't know. Someone is under house arrest or something."
While working as a consultant in the eighties, I wrote a simple dBase program for a client. She phone me a few weeks later to say that it had stopped saving data.
I dropped by her office, and asked her to enter a record while I watched. She typed the data, then pressed Ctrl-Q. This conversation ensued:
* Me: "Whoa! Why did you type Control-Q? Control-Q means 'quit without saving'!"
* Her: "Well, I found that when I type Control-S to save, like you told me, the little light comes on, and the computer freezes for a bit. When I type Control-Q instead, the little light never comes on, and it saves faster."
The "little light" was the hard drive light.
I was giving instructions to a caller once, but his son was the one physically sitting at the computer, so all my instructions had to be relayed. Here's a snippet of the conversation:
* Me: "Click on 'start', then select 'shut down', then select 'restart in MS-DOS mode'."
* Customer: (to his son) "Ok, press 'start', 'shut up', and 'sit down'!"
The really scary part was what his son said then:
* Customer's Son: "Ok, I'm at the C: prompt!"
Do we really want to know what goes on at that house?
The lady was using a power strip to plug her computer and other devices into. Windows was completely frozen, and she was unable to shut down the machine by using the power button. She mentioned the power strip, so I told her to flip it off. She said, "Ok, I gave it the finger. I feel better."
Recently I overheard two co-workers, the first of which was training the other one.
* Co-Worker #1: "A boolean variable has two possible values: true or false."
* Co-Worker #2: "Umm...true?"
A lady struck up a conversation with me on an airplane.
* Her: "And where are you going?"
* Me: "I'm going to San Francisco to a UNIX convention."
* Her: "Eunuchs convention? I didn't know there were that many of you."
I work for Iomega tech support. One day, when I was answering the AOL message board questions, I ran across a letter complaining that this person's zip drive had ejected a zip disk clear across the room and hit her dog in the eye. The dog supposedly lost vision in that eye and wanted Iomega to pay for the vet bill. I wrote back asking for a picture of the injury. I got back a picture of a dog wearing a pirate patch.
My friend and I were walking to school one day when this guy tried to impress us with his computer knowledge. He launched into this big discussion about how he wrote all these cool programs for nuking people on IRC and that sort of thing. I had a feeling he was lying, so I asked him, "What language did you write them in?" His reply was, "English, of course."
I have been working at a local national chain computer store for the past few summers as a salesperson in networking hardware.
* Me: "How can I help you today, sir?"
* Him: "Hi, I'm looking for a router."
* Me: "Ok. What are you looking to use it for?"
* Him: "Actually, I was looking to tap into a network"
* Me: "You mean in hotspots?"
* Him: "No, my neighbor three houses down has a network that I want to get into."
* Me: (blink) "What? Uh. What you would need is an adapter."
* Him: "Yeah, I have one of those, but I can't get the signal from my house. I can only get it when I'm standing right outside their wall, but if I move away I don't get it."
* Me: "Sir, without knowing what kind of router your neighbors have, I can't definitively tell you if you can tap into their network, assuming it's insecure."
* Him: "Oh, it's unsecure. I got into it and figured out what they have. They have a 54mbs G router."
* Me: "Ok, sir, you're not going to be able to get into their network."
* Him: "But what if I get this card?" (grabs a Pre-N card) "Don't I get more range?"
* Me: "Yes, but you're still not going to get into their network."
He proceeded to ask about four more wireless adapters until he got it that there was no possible way for him to get into their network. Then came the topper.
* Him: "Maybe you should give them a new router for a present."
* Me: "That would be just a little creepy, sir."
Before moving into network support, I did PC support for a large multinational utility company. We had bases all over the country and personnel moves were frequent. There was an software model in use consisting of applications delivered to the desktop using Novell Application Launcher. A user's ability to run or even see applications depended on membership of Netware groups.
One user had moved sites and had his account moved to a different container. The next Monday, he logged a call to the help desk, saying that he couldn't see one of his applications any more. Obviously someone had just forgotten to add him to a group in his new location.
My colleague received the following email from a help desk employee:
This user has moved from Motherwell to Wrexham and has lost his Landmaster icon. Could it have fallen out of his PC when it was being moved?
* Customer: "Hi, I need some help."
* Tech Support: "That's what we're here for. How may I help you?"
* Customer: "I've heard of people getting on the Internet and using it to hack into their banks and change account balances, and I was wondering if you could walk me through that."
* Tech Support: "No sir, that's strictly illegal. We can't do that here."
* Customer: "No, don't try and pull any fast ones. There's nothing illegal on the Internet."
* Tech Support: "Yes there is, sir. You can break the law on the Internet."
* Customer: "Look, son, don't you go making up any stories about laws on the Internet. If you don't know how to do what I want you to, put me on the line with someone who does!"
* Tech Support: "Sir, there is no way anyone here will help you with that or any other illegal activity."
* Customer: "That's IT! If you don't know what you're doing, I want to talk to your supervisor now!"
This would be the first and only time I ever heard a supervisor call a customer an idiot over the phone.
* Tech Support: "Ok, let's put your operating system disk in the drive."
* Customer: "Ok...which way does it go in?"
* Tech Support: "The shiny side faces down."
* Customer: "Alright...um...which way is down."
* Tech Support: (rolling eyes) "Towards the floor."
* Customer: "Ahhh...so what way does the other side face?"
* Tech Support: "Are you kidding?"
* Customer: (outraged) "Hey! I'm not a computer genius, ok? That's why I called you!"
* Tech Support: "Ok, that side faces down too."
That kept her occupied for a couple of minutes, while I told my colleagues what was happening and we had a good laugh.
When working as a computer consultant in college, a co-worker and I were playing around with the NETSEND command in Windows NT. At one point he accidentally sent a message to all the NTs in the lab that said, "Can you see me?" Shortly thereafter, a girl came to our station looking perturbed.
* Girl: "Um, my computer is talking to me. It's asking if I can see it."
* Co-Worker: "Can you see it?"
* Girl: "Yes."
* Co-Worker: "Click OK."
We laughed for a good fifteen minutes after that.
A support representative had been walking a novice Mac user through rebuilding her desktop. She tiresomely questioned every direction the technician made. After half an hour, she finally stated, "Oh! Now it says, 'Are you sure you want to rebuild the desktop on the disk XXX?'"
* Tech Support: "Ok--"
* Customer: "Oh, now there's something like a spinning barber pole on the screen."
* Tech Support: "You didn't press 'OK' did you?"
* Customer: "Yes. You said 'OK'."
* Tech Support: (acting alarmed) "I just said 'Ok,' I didn't mean for you to press 'OK'!"
* Customer: (panicking) "What should I do now?"
* Tech Support: "Run! Get out of there! Run! Run!"
The next thing he heard was the phone hitting the floor, the sound of rapidly retreating footsteps, and a door slam. After numerous calls, the customer finally answered the phone. She had waited outside for an hour -- when the computer didn't explode, she went back inside and unplugged it.
* Customer: "I think I broke the Internet!"
* Tech Support: "So it was you!"
* Customer: (click)
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