back to article Say what you see: Four-letter fun on a late-night support call

We do like our acronyms and initialisms in the IT world. Some might suggest we conceal the simplest of concepts behind a bewildering array of letters. And sometimes users try to join in. Welcome to On Call. Our tale, from a reader whose name the Regomiser chewed up and spat out as "Rob", was working in IT at a hospital in the …

  1. Steve K Silver badge
    Coat

    X-Ray

    Well he saw right through that error message....

    1. Data Mangler
      Coat

      Re: X-Ray

      Hence the negative response.

      1. Dave K

        Re: X-Ray

        He was obviously too tired to develop something witty to say.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: X-Ray

          Last weekend I pulled a soggy and bewildered X-ray out of a car that landed in my creek. Cop arrived in time to wrap her in a blanked and stick her in the back of his patrol car. Talk about your four-letter fun ... her, not the cop. Mouth like a sailor. Spent the night in the drunk tank. Her car spent the night in the creek. Late the next morning, she blamed me for putting the creek there. With more four letter words. I guess it's true that no good deed goes unpunished ...

          1. aerogems Bronze badge

            Re: X-Ray

            Just make sure you only use your creek placing powers for good from now on and there won't be any more issues.

        2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: X-Ray

          > He was obviously too tired to develop something witty to say.

          I thought he framed it nicely.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: X-Ray

            As everybody's eyes start glazing over ...

            1. Zarno

              Re: X-Ray

              There will be points when they turn to putty, too.

  2. xyz123 Bronze badge

    FILM error - same one you get for whoever greenlit Twilight and the "%"$£! that allowed the new James Bond film to go ahead....

    1. jake Silver badge

      Cheer up.

      Arguably, there hasn't been a new Bond film since 1983. Some might say '85, nbut that was the start of the Hollywodization,.and thus doesn't count.

    2. sanwin

      You mean the best Bond ever starring the best Bond ever?

      1. DailyLlama

        No, that was The Living Daylights, in 1987

        1. KarMann Silver badge
          Joke

          You misspelled Never Say Never Again.

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            I love the way people always joke about this. Of course the only actually-good Bond film is On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and therefore by default Lazenby is the best Bond.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              The best Bond movie is Chity Chity Bang Bang. Best car, best villain, best Q.

              The Rock, aka what happened to Bond, is the best Connery Bond film

      2. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

        You mean this one, right?

        1. Dabooka Silver badge

          We all know the best Bond film

          is OHMSS.

          It is just unfortunate it had the worst Bond.

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: We all know the best Bond film

            You're forgetting the original Casino Royale. The one with David Niven in it. And Woody Allen. And Ronnie Corbett.

            What do you mean this is going to cost you thousands in therapy again now?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: We all know the best Bond film

              At least it didn't have an invisible car in it!

              1. Steve K Silver badge

                Re: We all know the best Bond film

                Yes it did - you just didn't see it

            2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: We all know the best Bond film

              You're forgetting the original Casino Royale. The one with David Niven in it. And Woody Allen. And Ronnie Corbett.

              Don't forget Peter Sellers.

            3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

              Re: We all know the best Bond film

              "You're forgetting the original Casino Royale."

              The one with Barry Nelson as an American James Bond? And Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre?

              1. PerlyKing

                Re: an American James Bond

                ITYM "Jimmy Bond".

            4. Aus Tech

              Re: We all know the best Bond film

              "You're forgetting the original Casino Royale. The one with David Niven in it."

              Oh, you mean that hideous spoof. After seeing that, thinking in advance that it was the first of Fleming's books, I vowed that I would NEVER again watch David Niven in any TV show or movie. The movie was an outrageous spoof (for want of a better (or worse) term. I've never regretted the decision.

          2. nintendoeats Silver badge

            Re: We all know the best Bond film

            It is my feeling that "my favorite Bond film is OHMSS" is a thinly disguised code for "I do not like James Bond movies".

            1. MOH

              Re: We all know the best Bond film

              Is that OHMSS Law?

              1. nintendoeats Silver badge

                Re: We all know the best Bond film

                It sure is now!

              2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

                Re: We all know the best Bond film

                > Is that OHMSS Law?

                You just couldn't resist could you?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: We all know the best Bond film

                  History suggests we have the capacitance for worse.

                  1. TheWeetabix

                    Re: We all know the best Bond film

                    The lot of you need to conduct yourselves better.

                    1. Zarno

                      Re: We all know the best Bond film

                      Sorry, there seems to be a rather high impedance to getting that done.

                2. segillum

                  Re: We all know the best Bond film

                  What a truly revolting notion.

              3. Tomato Krill

                Re: We all know the best Bond film

                Ampsolutely outstanding.

          3. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge

            Re: We all know the best Bond film

            It had a Bond? I kept waiting for him to show up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of a message I once got.

    A customer sent a mobile phone photo of an error on their server screen and asked if we could remote in and see what was wrong. How do you explain to someone like that that the network unplugged error would mean we can't remote in.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

      I had a manager ask me to send a mail to everyone in the company informing them that the mail server was down...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

        I got a DEVELOPER attaching a Word document with a screen capture in it to a support ticket stating there was a massive authentication error in a production server. Turns out the asshat had forgotten the password and exhausted the 5 failed login attempts. That was it. The ticket had nothing in the description field, except for "look at attached evidence". The word document had nothing but the screen capture of a Putty session with countless login attempts. And it was a darn Sev2. Needless to say, we UNIX guys didn't perform IAM tasks so the ticket was promptly lowered to a Sev3 and sent into the right queue, for them to take care of it during business hours.

        Oh the joys of working with TITSUP (Total Inability To Supply UNIX Passwords) staff, in a timezone 12 hours away from yours...

        1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

          Re: I got a DEVELOPER attaching a Word document with a screen capture in it

          That annoys the hell out of me. Users taking screenshots and attaching Word documents containing those screenshots. Just attach the damn JPG or PNG. Let me view the screenshot in whatever viewer I have for that file installed on my device (probably the same browser I'm using to view the ticket) rather than require me to have Word installed.

          1. dvd

            Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

            I've been on a number of customer sites where workstations were really locked down with accessories like paint just not available, yet for some reason word is.

            Users are often being ingenious in using word to get you a screenshot, not bloody-minded.

          2. PerlyKing
            Thumb Down

            Re: Screenshots

            I don't really care what format a screenshot arrives in, I just hate it when I ask for a message ID (which might contain a UUID) and get sent a screenshot of it instead of text that I can copy & paste!

        2. Mike 16 Silver badge

          Re: ...Supply Unix Password

          One place I worked solved that problem neatly. Any Windows user could just use an application with a drop-down menu containing all Unix usernames. Click a name and it logs in as that user. What could possibly go wrong?

          (In case you are wondering, actual unix users did not, technically, have this luxury, but since most Windows users never locked their machines, one could always find an open system over lunch)

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

        Where I used to work, we had an account manager who would, after sending an email to a client, go into "sent items", open it up, print it out, and fax it to them, to make sure it got there.

        I can't imagine why that place went out of business after I left..

        1. You aint sin me, roit

          Not so foolish...

          Faxes are (were?) considered legal documents.

          Your account manager was covering their legal arse.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Not so foolish...

            Exactly. I used to do something similar when sending formal reports that might be used in child protection proceedings or SEN appeals.

            Fax the report.

            Then immediately send the email with maybe the report attached or at the very least to inform the recipient that the fax had duly been sent.

            That way I increased the chance that the fax would be picked up by the right person in that office, and not left hanging around or lost, or missed completely. With that I'd done what I could to ensure the best outcome for the child. And yes covered myself too if the case went judicial and my submission hadn't been included in the evidence pack.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not so foolish...

            Faxes are (were?) considered legal documents.

            Your account manager was covering their legal arse.

            Exactly this. Many years ago, in a different life from which I still haven't completely recovered, I used to get involved in the sharp end of litigation.

            At the time, many parties, including a lot of law firms, didn't formally accept electronic service of documents even though some individual lawyers were switched on enough to use email. Consequently, it was very common to email the documents to them and then fax or courier a paper copy as formal service.

            I gather the courts are more inclined to favour electronic service these days, but the thought of some of those lawyers being allowed to play with anything more advanced than a paperclip is the stuff of nightmares... :)

        2. Dave K

          Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

          Ah, the amount of times someone has e-mailed me, then immediately phoned me as well "Hi, I've just sent you an e-mail".

          Very nice. Maybe you'd like to give me more than 5 seconds to try reading it first? That's assuming I have time tor read it now and am not in the middle of something far more important...

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

            Thing is.Too many people think it's OK to send routine emails that aren't worth reading and too many people don't read emails. There's probably some cause and effect in there of course. But if you've seen someone's screen with 400+ unread emails showing you'll know that this call makes complete sense. because sender probably knows that otherwise it may never be looked at.

            [I know of people who have an official email address and an actual one. The actual one is not shared with anyone unless the person chooses to give it out with a strict oath of secrecy required.. That one gets read. The official one gets, I dunno, glanced at or something. I did something similar at one time - there was an Outlook forwarding rule for important emails].

            1. Stuart Castle Silver badge

              Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

              I think the problem is with email is a lot of what I get sent isn't relevant to me. Now, we actually do have excellent spam filters on the email system, so I only get one or two emails per week from outside the company that are actually spam. Of course, being a requisitioner, I get a *lot* of sales emails from our suppliers (even though I always make sure that whatever option is available for me not to have marketing shit sent to me is set). Thanks to a few rules on the server,most of these are directed to a folder that I check periodically for any important emails. Not found one yet.

              My problem is internal spam. Stuff sent to various staff mailing lists by staff. Thankfully, the ability to send to these has been reduced to a few users, who do use them for official company business. But we used to regularly have situations where one user would send an email to half the company moaning about something (the fire alarms and stuff going missing from the office fridge being two examples), then you'd have a dozen people clicking Reply all, adding their own complaints, saying "I agree" or just trying to discuss whatever the problem was.

              It actually got bad enough that one of my colleagues did a reply all to one of these email chains (which was all about the volume level of the fire alarms) where he asked all the users didn't they have actual important stuff to discuss, and work to be getting on with.

              The poor sod ended up with a verbal warning for that. He was just saying what nearly everyone (on our team at least) was thinking. In his defence, that was the third such email chain that week, and we had each received well over 100 emails between the 3 chains. All of which were irrelevant to most of the company.

              The problem with those emails was that while I could (and did) delete them, I had to be careful because in that dozen or so emails about the fire alarms being too loud, there could have been an email about something important, that I did need to read.

              1. vcayenne
                Holmes

                Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

                No. The real problem is that some twit'll be bound to hijack the inconsequential thread with an actually important message. Framed *within* the cacophony of fire alarm dreck will be a message about something un-related that you needed to know. And they'd blithely assert that they sent it to you. Never mind the the subject was "Re: the fire alarm volume situation", the specifications for the all-important project build were in there. Sigh.

                Sherlock, hoping you fiound it...

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

                  "Framed *within* the cacophony"

                  At both Berkeley and Stanford (and SLAC) such messages were deemed "not sent properly", and thus the word not getting out was considered to be the fault of the sender. I managed to convince DEC and a couple other companies to implement the same policy.

                  Those who refuse to learn from history ...

            2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
              Mushroom

              Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

              > "But if you've seen someone's screen with 400+ unread emails showing you'll know that this call makes complete sense."

              400+ ??? I have a client who has 25000+ unread in his inbox. And that's only because we archived off the old unread ones a couple of years ago.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

                My team lead has 10000+ unread emails in his inbox. Needless to say I only email him when I can't be bothered to deal with something and forward it on to get lost in the black hole of his inbox.

                Anon cos of where I work

      3. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

        Start licking the stamps then...

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Reminds me of a message I once got.

      "That's why I love VoIP. You don't get people phoning up to complain that the network is down."

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    my response

    would have began with Effe as well... and well as Effin!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: my response

      But there was no F in Film, that was the error

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: my response

        Once had a manager who insisted on making sure people knew how to spell his surname and was forever known by what he said... and he certainly didn't disprove it

        Yes, there's only one 'f' in 'Graf'!

  5. Giles C Silver badge

    How to deal with calls

    I send to be on call and get called by various people with quite strong accents. My reply was I need to get the laptop on the network first can you send me an email with the fault so I can have a look.

    This saved a few problems

    1 It allowed time for the brain to start working

    2 I did not spend time figuring out what they had said

    3 the remote access system the company used at the time (Microsoft direct access) worked first time about 1 in 10 so it could take 15 minutes to get logged in. So by the time that happened I could have forgotten what was asked.

    4 when they have to write an email it generally makes more sense than an 2 am call

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: How to deal with calls

      4 when they have to write an email it generally makes more sense than an 2 am call

      You have clearly worked with some above-average colleagues. I've had emails sent to me that not only didn't make technical sense, they didn't even parse into actual sentences. Emails that looked like the sender had picked the first 30 words that passed through their minds and thrown them at the keyboard in a random order. Emails that make you question why, when you know that the user can actually talk, they lose all sense of lingual structure as soon as they start typing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How to deal with calls

        I know the user you describe. The one who comes up with all kinds of random technical words they know and tries to jam then into the description.

        Thankfully we now have mobile phone cameras in pockets and so I can just ask them to take a photo.

        That just leaves dealing with out of focus text, or the important parts cropped from the image - but usually gets us somewhere quicker.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: How to deal with calls

          "I know the user you describe. The one who comes up with all kinds of random technical words they know and tries to jam then into the description."

          Management.

        2. My-Handle Silver badge

          Re: How to deal with calls

          I've had those too, but the two users I'm thinking of right now don't usually go above 2 syllables or use any word that they've not been familiar with for a few years.

          "broken is, thhing can fix" is the style I have in mind

          1. DJV Silver badge

            Re: How to deal with calls

            Reminds me of a software error in one of my programs back in the 1980s. I can't remember exactly what the fault was now but the person sending me the report sheet had written "funny on screen" - yeah, that made it absolutely clear as to what the problem was!

            1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

              Re: How to deal with calls

              That's marginally better than the default user error report of "it doesn't work". WTF is "it", dammit?

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                Re: How to deal with calls

                'Cept most of us will have quickly found out when doing support that when they name the "it" they might not actually be referring to the correct thing anyway,

                "The email isn't working" - BSOD

                "The computer won't turn on" - PC lights are on but screen isn't.

                "There's no sound" or "There's no picture". Computer isn't actually on - but the screen is

                And so on.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: How to deal with calls

              "funny on screen"

              Try telling it down the pub, then.

            3. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

              Re: How to deal with calls

              Some years ago, I did put an error message in a program that said, "Fatal error. Committing seppuku. Argghhhh!"

              One of the other programmers managed to trigger it when doing some testing. He came to me and said, "You put this in, didn't you?"

              It was one of those conditions that was supposed to be impossible to get to...

              1. logicalextreme

                Re: How to deal with calls

                Ah, well then you clearly forgot to guarantee against that eventuality by adding a comment saying "this should never happen".

              2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

                Re: How to deal with calls

                It was one of those conditions that was supposed to be impossible to get to...

                There are certain users who are guaranteed to infallibly provoke those errors. Strangely they usually look quite normal.

                1. Roundtuit

                  Re: How to deal with calls

                  We IT auditors walk among you, Earthlings

                2. Mike 16 Silver badge

                  Re: Infallible provocation

                  Those people are valuable. We had one guy (one of us, not a user exactly, although we dog-fooded our support software) with a distinct knack of finding those cases before we shipped to customers, let alone managers.

            4. swm Silver badge

              Re: How to deal with calls

              On an old FORTRAN compiler there was an error:

              ERROR #2 GOTO into nested DO loop (or something of that nature).

              Everyone wondered what error #1 was.

              One day there was a loud laugh:

              ERROR #1 END is not last.

          2. Mog_X

            Re: How to deal with calls

            So a bit like Geordi Le Forge trying to help the Pakleds?

        3. Spanners Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: How to deal with calls

          I think my favourite description of spurious words being strung together was when a colleague asked (also a radiology consultant) what they were trying do do...

          "upload files to the hard drive"

          It turned out he was trying to play a music CD but had turned off his speakers.

          1. EVP

            Re: How to deal with calls

            One of the funniest things I’ve heard on a radio show is

            Caller: “I coded it onto google”

            Host: “…?”

            The caller was trying to say that he used an Internet search engine.

            1. DJV Silver badge

              Re: How to deal with calls

              Someone at a place I once worked thought that she was "programming" when she was using a wordprocessor to write letters. The laughs coming from the direction of the programmers soon relieved her of that delusion!

        4. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: How to deal with calls

          > That just leaves dealing with out of focus text

          Or a 15 MB attachment with the text still to pixelated to read.

      2. Gerhard den Hollander

        Re: How to deal with calls

        Dear sir,

        As per your request, I am sending you this email in relation to our telephone earlier (around 1:56 AM ).

        The problem is still not solved. Please refer to our telephone conversation for details about this problem.

        As it is imperative that this problem is solved, I've cc:ed my manager.

        Kind regards,

      3. Tim99 Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: How to deal with calls

        In the early days of Windows, I wrote a software package that tended to be used by older people. Typically volunteers at local authorities who had little/no computer skills. Some support calls started like:-

        Punter: "My thing won't work"; Me: "What thing?" - P: "I do it when I start"; M: "What does it look like?"

        - P: "It's on the computer"; Me: "Where?" - P: "I need it to start"; M:"Is it a small Picture?" (an icon).

        P: "Yes, its the thing I clicky!"; M: "Can you see it on the screen?" - P: "I'm not sure"; M: "Start looking at the top left hand corner, is there anything there?" - P:"Yes!"; M: "OK, now look further along to the right, is the picture there?" - P: "No" - M: "Are there any pictures in the next row down?" - P: "Yes"

        repeat, repeat...

        M: "OK, the picture (icon) has been removed, but don't worry - Everything else is there".

        At this point I know that either the punter has inadvertently removed the icon; or IT has updated their SOE. Now comes the good part, where I take the punter down the rabbit hole of finding the icon in Programs, taking a copy and pasting it back on the desktop, knowing that the same punter will be back with the same problem later. I normally asked them to get in touch with their own IT, as they had probably caused the problem by either updating the screen; or more likely, not having the skill to keep said icon read-only; but IT always said something like "We don't know how it works, talk to the developer". That's when I introduced 12 months free support, and then every call after that needed a purchase order...

    2. Naselus

      Re: How to deal with calls

      A brilliant plan only slightly let down when Dave in Glasgow rang you at 2am to let you know the exchange server was down.

      1. David Neil

        Re: How to deal with calls

        I feel attacked

  6. WanderingHaggis

    The joys of the phonetic alphabet

    Learned the NATO alphabet as a boy scout -- was nerdy even then. It is useful when giving codes over the phone but it seems that the average user doesn't have a clue about it which is a real pain. foxtrot India lima mike

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      I think you meant Freddie Italian Lorenzo Mercedes, you font need to know the NATO Alphabet, plus freestyling can be so much fun. I deliberately try and avoid using the correct versions

      Anonymous as I'm a Senior PM and supposed to be a grown up

      1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

        doxxed

        > I'm a Senior PM and supposed to be a grown up

        You're meant to be working, Gordon!

      2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        I used to play rugby with a hooker* who had his preferred secret calls to use at line-outs ( used to tell his teammates where the ball was going, without the opposition being able to work it out ).

        The system was based on the first letter of whatever word he shouted.

        The look on our faces when he shouted "Ulysses".

        * yes, yes

        1. smudge
          Coat

          Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

          The look on our faces when he shouted "Ulysses".

          How many of your team thought that was move 'y'? :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

            "Right lads, if it's a town in Wales I'm throwing to the front, if it's one in Ireland it's going to the back."

            First lineout: "Bangor!"

            1. My-Handle Silver badge

              Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

              Clearly it's going to the front then.

              Bangor's in Northern Ireland :P

              1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
                Happy

                Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

                Bangor's in Northern Ireland

                The one in Mayo isn't.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

                  I thought it was in Northern California.

                  (The only reason I know this is because I'm helping a friend start a vineyard and winery near there. If you ever drive through, be sure to visit the Bake Shoppe ... 'orrible yuppie-tourist name, but delicious old-fashioned hand-made baked goods. Recommended.)

              2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

                "Bangor's in Northern Ireland :P"

                No, it's a mis-spelled sausage.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

              llanfairpwllgwyngareth... llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobbiewilllams...llanfuckit. Cardiff!

        2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

          Some of my co-workers considered using words like 'euphonium' and 'Aesop' to be a tad mean.

          1. Roundtuit

            Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

            Everyone knows it's L for leather, A for orses, F for vescent ...

        3. Arthur the cat Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

          The look on our faces when he shouted "Ulysses".

          Ptarmigan.

          Xenon.

          Bdellium.

          Phlogiston.

          1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

            Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

            Chamois.

            Gill. [unit of volume]

            Knight.

            Quay.

            Write.

          2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
            Windows

            Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

            Ah.

            I see you've met my uncles.

        4. The Grifter
          Thumb Up

          Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

          That would be a front ball. There us no "Y" or "U" in either of the other two words "THE" or "DOG" but there is a "U" in the first word...

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

            Correct but for slightly wrong reasons. The phrase he preferred was "F... the pigs".

          2. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

            Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

            ... cont'd.

            The problem is that it takes a few seconds to think how a word like that is spelled, even if you know.

            Did he say that? Is that an 'E'? A 'Y'? I think it's a 'U'. Yes, it's a 'U'. Of course it's a 'U'.

            So that means 'F'..'U'.., right so front ball. That's me. Quick I need to lift.

            By which point the ball has been thrown in, stolen by the opposition and is half way down the pitch.

            My current club has the opposite problem. The positions are all named and there's no disguise on it at all.

      3. dogcatcher

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        "Anonymous as I'm a Senior PM and supposed to be a grown up"

        ............ Yes, Boris.

      4. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        You mean "Foam Inter Lamental Motable". I mean, you wouldn't want to cause any confusion now, would you?

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        Even better: Freddie Italian Lana Mancy

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      I learnt it out of embarrassment dealing with indian call centres! They were doing all the Alpha Bravo Charlie while I was doing Apple Banana err.... Computer!

    3. Ochib

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      You mean

      F for 'vescence

      I for Novello

      L for leather

      M for 'sis

      1. OwenMc64

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        I tend to use it on the phone - my accent isn't local, and it usually saves re-doing.

        Sept I rang the garage back to check on an MOT time, and the mechanic read back the full entry on my booking..... including the "(nerd)" at the end :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        A for 'orses

        B for mutton

        P for psyche

        S for sea

        1. Potty Professor Bronze badge
          Boffin

          Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

          My Dad taught me this WW2 version

          A fer 'orses

          B fer mutton

          C fer yourself

          D fer nition

          E fer brick

          F fer vescent

          G fer police

          H fer consent

          I fer an eye

          J fer oranges

          K fer Frances (ancient film star)

          L fer leather

          M fer Sis

          N fer lope

          O fer the garden wall

          P fer relief

          Q fer the flicks (ie cinema)

          R fer mo

          S fer Williams (another film star)

          T fer two

          U fer me

          V fer la France

          W fer a quid (One pound Sterling)

          X fer breakfast

          Y fer mother

          Z fer breezes

          As well as the "official" version Able Baker Charlie Dog ..... etc

    4. NightFox

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      Just last week I had:

      > "Hello, Customer Service - Can I take your order number please?"

      "Hi, yes, it's November Five Three Charlie Echo Eight Two Six"

      > "No, your order number, it should be eight letters or numbers"

      "N 53 C E 8 2 6?"

      > "Thank you, how can I help?"

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        "N 53 C E 8 2 6?"

        Why are you using my NI number as an order reference?

    5. Rtbcomp

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      I was spelling my name out to someone, "R for Romeo, O for Oscar, G for Golf, E for Echo, R for Romeo"

      "G for what?" came the reply

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        Gavin.

      2. Naselus

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        "R for Roger, O for the second letter of Roger, G for the third letter of Roger..."

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

          Relevant Family Guy: https://youtu.be/4-ohJ6oXGkI?t=13

    6. Spanners Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      I have had more than one user ask how to spell some of those words...

      "How do you spell that? Is it eff-oh-see-kay-ess-tee-arr-pee?"

      Sometimes sensing this I will say things like "F for Foxtrot" and so on. It doesn't always work. I told someone that I would give them 8 letters to type in and they came back after the first letter (i) and told me that was 9 letters and 2 spaces! "I for india"

      1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        Reminds me of the very old couple who were about to get married and were discussing 'sex'.

        "Is infrequently one word or two?" he asked.

        Yeah, boom tish and all that.

    7. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      Somebody once came up with a phonetic alphabet in which every letter began with some other sound. The only one I recall from it was "K as in knewelpost."

      1. Screepy

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        Our service desk each has the NATO alphabet on their desks. During induction it is suggested that learn it of by heart as it really does help. It's surprisingly easy to memorize and we've never had a single analyst not learn it.

      2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

        Newel post doesn't have a silent k at the front :)

    8. Zarno

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      I always get a chuckle on the ATL airport tram: "Next stop D gates, D as in David."

      Can't use "Delta", because that would be confusing. (Ow ow ow, my eyes rolled back too far.)

    9. MJB7

      Re: The joys of the phonetic alphabet

      There are some people (I've lived with one for >30 years) who are completely unable to understand anything in the phonetic alphabet. I think the problem is that the part of the brain which processes _words_ doesn't connect with the part that processes _letters_ (or at least not to send info _to_ "letters"). So if you ask them to type "Quebec Echo Delta" they can't untangle those words to get at the initial letter.

      If you haven't met this before, it is _very_ confusing. "Q for Quebec, E for Echo, D for Delta" is better - but even then the flip-flop between letters and words is confusing for them.

  7. John Sager

    IBM abend codes. Now, I haven't encountered IBM kit since I were a nipper (lucky me!), and I've always wondered what they had to do with evening. So believe it or not it's only now, as this on-call triggered the memory, that the Omnipotent Google Oracle tells me that abend is actually short for 'abnormal end'! I wonder what other important misapprehensions I've carried through life?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "the Omnipotent Google Oracle tells me that abend is actually short for 'abnormal end'!"

      I remember in my early days as a hardware field engineer being asked for the "abend" messages on a Novel server. It took a little while as I'd never heard the term before, the "word" made no sense in my brain, and it was a few years later that I figured out it was Abnormal End too :-)

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Stirrings in the darkest recesses of my mind remind me that there used to be a book titled ABEND Debugging for COBOL Programmers. It was the one book in the computing section of the university library that had never been lent out.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge
        Joke

        I sneaked in in the evening and read it in peace :-)

        (Perhaps I misunderstood the title)

  8. jake Silver badge

    Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

    "Some might suggest we conceal the simplest of concepts behind a bewildering array of letters."

    And to be perfectly fair and honest, sometimes we use abbreviations to keep the uninitiated's heads from exploding. It's the humane thing to do.

    CSMA/CD comes to mind.

    ADPCM is another ... I'm sure all y'all have your favorites.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      A little dated now, but I always liked:

      PCMCIA - People Can't Memorise Computer Industry Acronyms.

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        Don't forget the case of what TWAIN is best remembered as, Technology Without An Interesting Name

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

          TWAIN driver - someone who dwives a twain on the twain twacks........

          1. adam 40 Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

            I alway had loads of problems connecting scanners with these because....

            never the twain shall meet!

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

          Don't forget the case of what TWAIN is best remembered as, Technology Without An Interesting Name

          My first association with TWAIN is SLC.

      2. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        I always like Please Do Not Try Some Pathetic Acronym for remembering the OSI model…

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      Yup. Totally.

      The BOFH once had that, baiting some salesdroid by saing he was representing a Danish bank group "Dnebonk":

      "VoIP he mouths - ?? - you know, voice over IP - IP? - ... it'll make your phone calls cheaper"

      Seriously, every group of people develops their own lingo....

      1. Evil Auditor

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        Seriously, every group of people develops their own lingo....

        That's fine if within reasonable limits. I once work for a big corp that used their own lingo extensively. Should have been wary before I joined as they even littered their public job ads with. At least, it taught me to stay away from such places: too much cult-like self-adulation and apish chest beating.

    3. BenDwire Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      What worries me now is not only do I know what those abbreviations stand for, I've made a lucrative career out of them!

      Cheers --->

    4. Jedit Silver badge
      Boffin

      "I'm sure all y'all have your favorites"

      Everyone seems to have forgotten the classics:

      TLA: Three Letter Acronym

      ETLA: Extended Three Letter Acronym

      FETLA: Further Extended Three Letter Acronym

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "I'm sure all y'all have your favorites"

        PBX ... Private Branch Exchange

        MPBX ... Manual Private Branch Exchange

        PABX ... Private Automatic Branch Exchange

        VPBX ... Virtual Private Branch Exchange

        YAPBX ... Yet Another Private Branch Exchange

    5. Munchausen's proxy
      Pint

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      My favorite is from the pharmaceutical world: NSAID - New sorts of aspirin in disguise.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        New Stomach Ache Inducing Drug.

    6. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      CKI - chair keyboard interface

      VDU - very dumb user

      Both from the days when I was doing desktop support

      1. Dagg

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        FCIP

        Fecal Cerebral Interchange Problem

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        In the same vein:

        PEBKAC - Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair

        ID-ten-T error - ID10T

        1. Jedit Silver badge

          "PEBKAC"

          Coming back to this late, but I believe the preferred acronym for that these days is PICNIC - Problem In Chair, Not In [Computer/Code].

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      Try working for IBM. I spent 13 years there and I couldn't make sense of all the three letter acronyms they had for procedures, departments, positions... "Yeah, I know you were a SIL, but from now on, you're a SAM"* was the bread and butter...

      *That kind of announcement was always counterattacked with "Will I get a pay raise?", even knowing the inevitable answer would be "Nope, just a raise in your responsibilities".

    8. jake Silver badge

      Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

      I'm surprised nobody's mentioned INTERCAL, which, for obvious reasons, is the abbreviation for "Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not really concealing anything, more like technically accurate shorthand.

        And there's always UTC... erm, Universal Coordinated Time

        Most of the world would have been happy with UCT, but the French wanted TUC... so mummy said you're all being very silly and no-one should have it, and we got UTC as the abbrev.

        1. Francis Boyle

          Surely

          the obvious solution would be to put an 'F' for France in front of the first option.

  9. Wally Dug
    Facepalm

    What's The Password?

    I once got a phone call from a very worried user. "It's asking me to enter my password, what'll I do?" "Uhm... enter your password?" "I don't know..."

    "What does the screen look like?"

    "What were you doing beforehand?"

    "What application were you using?"

    No matter what I asked, I couldn't get any proper answers from her, so decided I needed to do a desk visit, just in case there was something nefarious as this was in the Accounts department after all.

    When I got there, it *appeared* to be the standard login screen. "Right, so what were you doing before this appeared?"

    Then I got the answer...

    "I was working away and the computer said it was installing updates and it needed to reboot and I told it to reboot. And then it shut down and when it came back up, this password screen appeared."

    I gently replied that this was normal and after a couple of reassuring "Yes, it'll be fine" replies from me, the user logged on and everything (surprisingly) worked...

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: What's The Password?

      I remember getting a very similar support call from a... let's be charitable and call her an overly cautious user.

      She was just in the next office, so it wasn't even worth going through the effort of working out what the issue was over the phone - I just went through immediately. She told me that she'd been working away, when suddenly this error popped up and wouldn't go away. She didn't know what to do.

      I looked at it. And then asked her if she'd read it.

      "Antivirus has updated and needs to reboot. Do you want to reboot now?" she read (you all know that kind of message).

      "Do you?" I asked.

      "No." she replied.

      "So click 'No'."

      She did. Box went away, and she continued working.

      The very next day, she called again...

      1. Graham Newton

        Re: What's The Password?

        I had a colleague who was a great electronics engineer but liked to be guided through things like software installation programs which was fair enough in those days.

        However I did wonder when we would get to:

        "Your software has been successfully installed. Press OK to continue."

        "What do I do now?"

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: What's The Password?

          Don't confuse insecurity with ignorance.

          Anyone not confident using techie procedures on a computer will duck taking an initiative if at all possible. Especially if the expert is stood by them.

          In my early days of supporting school computer users I had to reassure staff that they couldn't break the computer before they'd try even pretty simple things like starting a programme.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's The Password?

            I had someone 'break' Excel... it just opened with a blank screen... no rows, no columns, nothing

            After a lot of head scratching, it turned out she had managed to 'window' the default sheet then drag it off the screen, hence it opened to a blank screen

            (View|Arrange All)

      2. Bowlers

        Re: What's The Password?

        "The very next day, she called again..."

        Get in there my son.

      3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: What's The Password?

        Excuse me looking up the supposed academic paper example that went something like:

        A complicated mathematical paper.[1]

        [1] Thanks to Colleague X for translating this paper.[2]

        [2] Thanks to Colleague X for translating the previous footnote.[3]

        [3] Thanks to Colleague X for translating the previous footnote.

        And it stops there, but shouldn't it go on? And on and :-)

        1. Richard Pennington 1
          Boffin

          Re: What's The Password?

          This one is an old favourite. At least one version states that the acknowledgments terminate because the author was able to copy a one-line acknowledgment without requiring further assistance.

    2. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: What's The Password?

      Don't complain too much - at least she had read the message, realised she was out of her depth, and asked for help. It's the ones who don't do this and click through whatever that cause the problems.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: What's The Password?

      The accounts department. A PC is able to start updates. It's then able to request a reboot. From under a user.

      Who hadn't been warned in advance or told what to do or how to respond and/or it's not under IT's control?

      I'll leave that thought there.

  10. CT

    IOL dot com

    My partner eventually worked out why someone's email with the domain 'iol.com' wasn't getting through - he had given her the 'aol.com' address over the phone in his customary Brummie accent.

    1. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: IOL dot com

      Ah! The classic "Whale with no spokes."

    2. adam 40 Silver badge

      Re: IOL dot com

      F...I...L...L...U...M Error....

  11. PM from Hell
    Unhappy

    800008

    Any ICL techies out there will remember the STD Table Full error, a pain in the arse to diagnose during the day and a nightmare at 3 am in the morning. The usual answer was to get the site to start an IPL.

    Getting that call meant that sitting at home on my tiny One Per Desk wasn't going to hack it so a drive into the office, fight with the security guard about parking in one of the 4 directors parking spots by the front door then a few hours of remote diagnosis using VISA. On a very rare case the IPL cleared the error and I'd be back in bed for 4:30 AM but it usually meant I'd still be working on the fault when the day shift came in at 08:00.

    I really do not miss that part of the tech role

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: 800008

      You had a table for Sexually Transmitted Diseases?? Urghh.

      DROP TABLE Claps;

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: 800008

        Given it was ICL, I'd have expected an "STC" error...

    2. Wally Dug

      Re: 800008

      One night, I was called out from 9 pm until midnight, fortunately able to work it from home. I slunk into bed, my brain still hyperactive. At 1 am, another call out, this time for the "sister" system, and that went on until 5 am. Again, my brain still hyperactive and lying in bed not quite sleeping until my almost-a-year old child awoke at 6 am.

      Fortunately, the policy was that if you had had a bad night of call outs, you could have the next day off.

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: 800008

      "a nightmare at 3 am in the morning."

      Much, much worse when the computer demands attention at 3am in the afternoon ...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: 800008

        Depends. Is it 3am where you are and afternoon where the fault is or vicky verka?

  12. Notrodney

    That number does not compute

    It was a long time ago so I cant remember the exact details, but we had an out of hours support call come in from a customer in Hong Kong very early one morning. He had to read out some numbers but they didn't make sense. The number he was reading out was something like 3342 - eventually realised it was 3 lots of 3 and 4 lots of 2 i.e. 3332222!

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: That number does not compute

      I expect your Hong Kong customer was called Run Len.

  13. ColinPa Silver badge

    Hello - it's the manager here - click

    A friend of mine was in a back end support role of an 24*7 enterprise. There were teams who were meant to handle the end user calls, and pass on any really difficult ones to the back end team. Some how the number of the "call out team" got into the wild, and a small group of people were phoning them directly, as they could solve the problems.

    They started getting a couple of calls a night for pretty trivial things which was exhausting for the person on call.

    The manager of the team took the phone for a week to "filter the calls".

    The calls went a bit like

    "Hello,Jo Blogs, manager of the IT support team, who are you and what's the problem?"

    "Ahh are you the manager?"

    "Yes"

    click.

    After a few days the calls dropped off to the usual 1 a month.

  14. Southernboy

    Reminds me of x-ray film fun and games

    My wife, as a very young medic, was travelling by air with x-ray film in her hand baggage

    Got to the security gate (smart readers may see where this is going).

    Wife: "I've got x-ray film in here, it can't go in the x-ray machine"

    Security guard:"It's ok madam, it doesn't harm film"

    Wife: "It's x-ray film, it will harm this"

    (Repeat above several times)

    Wife: "Look" holds package saying "x-ray" on it up near x-ray machine. "x-ray film, and x-ray machine".

    Eventually the penny dropped for the guard, and they went into a darkened room (those were the days) where the guard fumbled with the package to make sure it didn't contain stuff which might go bang.

    1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
      Boffin

      really?

      I call mischief.

      it was either fully processed x-rays so no possibility of affecting it as it is developed and fixed,

      or it was unprocessed photographic film which is susceptible - just like everybody else's cameras but with no noticeable difference (slightly increased fog if you want to do the physics).

      X-ray film relies on being next to "screens" in a cassette that fluoresce ie reduce energy/wavelength down to visible light.

      And there is no reason for "a young medic" to be carrying unprocessed film.

      and it comes in sizes starting at 150mm x 200 (unless it is dental at 20 x 30mm)

      I'm in the trade and trained in the obsolete* "wet" technology.

      *digital except the dental :(

      1. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: really?

        My last dentist had a really impressive machine with a sensor you bit on and the X-ray source did a circuit around your gob, then he could show the results on his PC in the next room.

        1. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge

          Digital Dental

          you are absolutely right.

          They do have some issues around usability/positioning compared to smaller film based things. And they are a lot more delicate.

          Only around 5-10k so really cheap in radiology terms. Finding one that talks proper DICOM to a non-proprietory PACS

          We stick with our 1970s wet process and all the COSHH hazards.

          Our local dentists have better facilities than we do as a hospital serving >200k people.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: really?

          My dentist has the screen right beside the chair, he can talk you through the x-ray, live.

          1. adam 40 Silver badge

            Re: really?

            Yeah that's right there was a screen in the room with me, but the dentist was in the next room shielding his gonads.

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Reminds me of x-ray film fun and games

      Four years ago....

      Indian female security check operator who couldn't understand why my car key "key ring" had electronics in it & kept insisting on running it through the x-ray machine, then questioning me as to what it it was again.

      Eventually one of her co-workers decided fortunately to intervene & explained (a few times) it was perfectly normal for a remote lock\start.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Reminds me of x-ray film fun and games

        I had jury duty so I rode over and went through courthouse security. Since I was on a motorcycle, I had a key ring with a firm attachment to my belt.

        Apparently this was a romper room no-no since it was A Serious And Lethal Weapon.

        So I ask what to do? The guard tells me to take my keys and lock them in my car. Seriously.

        So I turned around and left.

        I got an annoyed call asking why I didn't turn up for jury duty, and I recounted the above story. There was a long stunned silence, then she told me in a tired voice that I was excused and she would deal with it.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Reminds me of x-ray film fun and games

          Same exact thing happened to me here in Sonoma County, California. Twice.

          Except I called them when I got home instead of waiting for them to call me.

  15. Jay 2

    And repeat...

    It seems like I've (unofficially) been on call for longer than I remember. My usual automatic response when woken up at some unmentionable time in the morning is to go onto autopilot and say hello, ask what the problem is etc... and then when they've finished get them to repeat it all again as this time my brain might have switched on.

    Another problem is that for most people I work with everyone knows the acronyms, how best to pronounce server names and mostly how to best identify the application instance. However sometimes when I get called up by some of our more far-flung colleagues a lot of that goes out the window and it's a bit more time consuming to figure it out. The worst was many years ago there was a US-based ops guy who would very slowly spell out the hostname, which even during the day confuses me as for example my brain is much used to hearing something like "web (oh) one" opposed to "w, e, b, zero, one". Then consider some hostnames are often 10+ characters long and will start with location/env identifiers before what the box does and which one it is...

    1. PerlyKing
      Facepalm

      Re: And repeat...

      I did overnight support when I was in a Knowledge Management group, and all our servers had "km" in the name. When the automated text-to-speech called us it always converted that to "kilometre" so the server name would come through as "el oh en kilometre pee ess one two three" or whatever :-)

  16. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    It does beg the question...

    ...what the hell was a security guard doing poking around with the machines in the radiology department? Trying to re-enact scenes from The Incredible Hulk? Did he have some cars that needed lifting?

    1. Naselus

      Re: It does beg the question...

      Clearly, one of the perks of being a late-night hospital security guard is being able to x-ray bits of yourself whenever you feel like it. And this perk is so official that the guards have no fear of ringing up IT support if their off-book x-raying breaks the multi-million pound piece of equipment somehow.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: It does beg the question...

        Photocopying one's bits is one thing, X-raying then something very different!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It does beg the question...

        Our building security guards used to let themselves into the labs to play games on the PCs. The ones that were running overnight QA tests. After they'd ignored the polite Post-It notes several times we had to invoke the nuclear option, one almighty bollocking later and we had a new set of guards.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    File a bug report to the manufacturer

    Your "film error" was written in capitals and caused one of our security guards to panic and wake us up. Please allow us to customise this message into something like "the film loader an issue which will be dealt with by team X".

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: File a bug report to the manufacturer

      Error messages seem to be uniformly scary and unhelpful.

      You'd think after about 30 or so years of routine computer use they'd have developed something a bit better.

      1. DavidRa

        Re: File a bug report to the manufacturer

        The problem is that people don't read them anyway. Perfect case in point would be an error message that says

        "Please call the help desk on 555 5555 and say that the Rostrum app had error Bingo"

        They call and what you're told is that

        * I can't log on

        * There's no error message

        * Windows is broken

        * It's definitely not the same Bingo problem in Rostrum that twenty people have reported.

        How do you make that any clearer?

  18. trevorde Silver badge

    On call cash cow

    Company I worked for got taken over by IBM, who were obsessed about giving our customers 365x24x7 product support. As a lowly dev, our group was allocated an ancient Nokia featureless phone to take 3rd level support calls. We had a voluntary rota to carry the phone, for which we were paid a reasonable consideration. Turned out our customers kept normal office hours and the phone never went off. After that realisation, there was a bit of a queue to take the phone!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: On call cash cow

      Good job if they expected 365 * 24 * 7 in one year

  19. Ikoth
    Big Brother

    Security Guard Bothering

    Around the turn of the millennium, I was tasked with setting up a new network monitoring tool for the place where I was contracting. I spent a couple of weeks adding all the important kit, baselining the data and setting & tweaking alert thresholds. Once I had a nicely tuned system, it was time to setup notifications - email to the help desk, escalation actions, out-of-hours SMS, yadda-yadda-yadda...

    The boss also wanted a big screen in the department, showing a dashboard full of nice green icons, showing what a great job he was doing of running things - me and my mate nearly ruptured ourselves hoicking the biggest Iiyama monitor money could buy up on top of the cupboards against the office wall. - The boss also wanted an audible alert to sound in IT, if something went awry and the tool allowed any WAV file to be played as an alert. As he was a big Red Dwarf fan, he sent me "the perfect" sound file.

    All went as planned, the system went live and all was good. Until the 3am phone call the boss took from a security guard whose patrol had taken him through the IT office, who was concerned about the disembodied voice of Norman Lovett repeatedly intoning "Emergency, emergency, there's an emergency going on..." The Holly WAV was replaced with the default alert ping the next day.

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Security Guard Bothering

      If it were me, I'd have just put an out-of-hours limiter on it, so the "Emergency..." wav only played during the hours that the office was normally manned.

      And "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn..." on repeat, with echo, at low volume at all other times >:D

      1. Mog_X

        Re: Security Guard Bothering

        or "Smeee Heee"....

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Security Guard Bothering

      If you want to bother people, just use sonalerts. They are designed specifically to drive just about anybody nutty after a couple minutes ...

    3. PerlyKing
      Joke

      Re: Red (Dwarf) alert

      Rimmer: Step up to red alert.

      Kryten: Sir, are you absolutely sure? It does mean changing the bulb.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Red (Dwarf) alert

        Back in the day, my mum got a Red Dwarf windows theme installed on her machine. That exact phrase was set as the replacement for the error tone.

  20. Unicornpiss
    Happy

    Many years ago..

    ..I remember a waitress in one of the restaurants I supported at the time turning from the credit card terminal and saying deadpan: "Why does it say it's dilating?"

    Visions of it at 9 cm and ready to give birth flashed through my mind for a second before I realized she meant "dialing"...

  21. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Eye Pee See Oh

    Last week ago I needed a remote user's IP address so I could remote in. I tried to walk him through getting a command line and running ipconfig. God, it was the most frustrating ten minutes of my recent life. I thought I'd got him to a command line, but trying to walk him through typing i p c o n f i g return seemed beyond him. Go the the start button. The bottom left. The button at the bottom left. Down there. Down! Down! No, the other down. Left. That's it keep going, left. That's it! That's the Windows start button. Clock on it. No, just clock, not double... no! just. Gah. Look, press the WIndows key on the keyboard. Just left of the spacebar, is there a key with a Windows picture on it? Left. LEFT! That's it, now just type cmd, that's short for command, and press return. Have you got a black box that says Windows Command at the top? "Yes". If there a flashing underline? "Yes" Ok, I need you to enter the ipconfig command by typing eye pee see oh en eff eye gee and pressing return. "Ok, done that". What does it say? "Nothing".

    We were connected via a Zoom call so I was trying to show him by showing him the actions on my machine, warning him that his would look slightly different. I think at one point he was trying to put the focus in *my* command window. I ended up frustratingly telling him to bring his laptop into the office.

    This is why I don't "do" remote support, if I can't see the machine with my eyeballs I can't see what happening. I can't understand this belief that I can see through other people's eyeballs.

  22. el_oscuro
    Devil

    The somebody’s else’s problem

    Ah, yes, the Somebody’s else’s problem. I get one of those and it’s like I am hanging up, logging out and removing the SIM card from my phone as fast as I can.

  23. Not Entered

    eff-eye-ell-em

    eye-dee-ten-tee problem

  24. 54bombay

    I can't see the computer

    I had one many years ago early 1990s as tech support for a well known computer maker, a guy rang me he was having problems with his computer so I went through the usual test but he kept saying he couldn't see the computer we seemed to be going round and round he was sat in front of it but couldn't see it. Anyway to cut a long story short after an hour. The computer was fine all working but the guy couldn't see the computer because he was blind. It would appear someone had convinced the guy to buy this computer at great expense they even set it up for him but he couldn't use it as he couldn't see it. I immediately arrange a refund and pickup of the computer also had strong words with the sales people and mangers.

  25. Furtive Lurker

    Unable to Assess Acronym

    I once worked on a Windows NT4 migration plan. The company logo of the customer, Commercial Union, was CU and it looked really good on the front cover of the proposal document.

    The CU NT Project.

    1. mrz80

      Re: Unable to Assess Acronym

      We have a major hospital, Shands Hospital, attached at the hip to the University here. At some point they were trying to rebrand their tech organization, and had tentatively settled on Shands Hospital Information Technology. Fairly straightforward, and it was all systems go until somebody happened to notice the resultant acronym. :D Oh, SH**

  26. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Fax for Legality

    One college job was night watchman at a local hospital. It was by this random chance that I learned that at least one hospital in the early 1970s used Telautograph machines to communicate prescriptions from nurses stations to pharmacy. Any method that did not include a signature was not legal, and apparently at that time (at least in that state) a fax (or other image) of the signature was not sufficient.

  27. mrz80

    Sounds like an Eye Dee Ten Tee error to me

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