back to article I didn't touch a thing – just some cables and a monitor – and my computer broke

With another working week almost done, The Register once again offers a fresh instalment of On Call, our reader-contributed tale of tech support trials and tribulations. This week, meet a reader we'll Regomize as "Edward" who works for an Australian managed services provider. "We do all sorts of things for our customers to …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Windows

    Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

    I cannot fathom why a sane person would state that nothing had changed when they know that they made a change.

    You can screw something up without knowing you did bad. It's in the Constitution or something. So, instead of a blatant lie that will be caught, buy yourself a pair and say : "I touched this for that reason and now I think I screwed something else up. Could you help ?".

    Why are people so cowardly ? Why does it take brass balls to admit that you might have made a mistake ?

    Babies try standing up for weeks before getting it right, but it would seem that, as soon as a boy makes it upright, he loses the courage to stand by his actions.

    Pff.

    And get off my lawn !

    <wanders off muttering>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      Where I work, when something breaks, I can make money on the bets that the guilty party will say "didn't change anything".

      And then, when I've spent 4 hours dismantling the process and find they have, they use one of the following:

      1 - that wasn't a change, it was correction

      2 - that wasn't a change, it was an update

      3 - I didn't change it, the application I was updating did the update

      Or some such guff.

      1. Little Mouse

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        In most places I've worked, certainly the bigger ones, company culture silently encouraged this kind of behaviour. Because "Incidents" always take priority over "Service Requests".

        If you want something done quickly, report it as broken. But then you have to run with the lie until the very end, despite all evidence to the contrary.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          If you want something done quickly, report it as broken. But then you have to run with the lie until the very end, despite all evidence to the contrary.

          I don't really mind, as long as they notify me about it (without putting it in the system) so I don't waste too much time. In that case I'll run with that same lie just to get the work done. Besides that, that gives me a nice reputation as a miracle incident solve, exactly what the system is asking for.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          "If you want something done quickly, report it as broken."

          Have a genuinely unskilled assistant who, on suspicion of that, will be sent round to look, can be guaranteed to break it and then bring it back to the workshop for investigation which will take at leas until next week.

      2. CatBoy

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        I've just spent 2+ hours with a person who said - it's your installer - not our Anti-virus.

        "Oh my AV it's new and shiny - best in the World... and was installed after the old version of your crappy app was in the infrastructure...but did I mention I personally had tea with Bill Gates and he and I wrote all the scripts ?.. I'm also best in the World - invincible and immortal to be precise"

        Hmmm says I ... The installer gets blown away - leaving nothing of its existence in task manager... and it's really nothing to do with the AV killing everything that isn't labelled "made with love by Microsoft" ?. ?.

        Quelle surprise !.. it's a "them" issue rather than "my issue" once our esteemed customer said... "oh there is a thing about a PuP which wasn't there last night " (There must be magic occurring on the logs)

        "mumble mumble" says the dearly beloved administrator (sub-deity)

        (could that of been an apology for getting quite shitty with me ?. phone warrior surely can't back down... "mumble mumble ,Obviously GPO not propagated... blah blah (add technical BS jargon for full effect) - we'll speak next week"

        It's time for a not-so-subtle victory dance and a cup of coffee.

      3. Acme Tech Support

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        At the hospital I work at, I'm convinced that we get invaded by invisible little pixies that come in overnight and break / change stuff. No one ever sees anything, as "It was like that when I got here!" or "A patient did it!"

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          There are, and they're the same little bastards that run off with all the 10mm sockets, and put the tool that you JUST HAD IN YOUR HAND, and you've not moved your feet, over on a bench at the other side of the shop that you haven't been near for the last 3 weeks.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            Those are called "children" around these here parts.

            My cure is to buy them something to work on and a box of their own tools to do it with. They'll still run off with the socket or pliers that you need right now ... but at least you;ll know where it is ... stashed in their tool box.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

              "but at least you;ll know where it is ... stashed in their tool box."

              They'd put things in a tool box and not in the freezer where they exchanged the tool for a lolly? Please tell us how you accomplished that, please.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          "At the hospital I work at, I'm convinced that we get invaded by invisible little pixies that come in overnight and break / change stuff."

          I worked at a radio station that had pixies that would attack in the overnight hours when they couldn't make something work so they rewired things until they got signal from Unit A to console B. The morning crew would come in and would have all sorts of issues since nothing would work for them. It took time for the management to start giving notices to people that unauthorized repatching would be met with sackings. It didn't entirely go away due to contractual issues until after I left.

        3. Snapper

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Back in the 90's I had a client call me in to the Apple server I'd installed the day before saying it was 'broken'.

          Took about two nanoseconds to realise they'd disconnected the SCSI connection to the three external hard drives, and totally messed up the sequence of the cabling with one drive connected to itself!

          'How could this happen!' said the brains in charge....

    2. Killfalcon Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      I've had some users spend so much time "trying to fix" a problem under heavy deadlines that they genuinely forgot having made changes.

      They changed a thing that shouldn't matter (or ""shouldn't"", at least), it broke, they quickly concluded it can't have been that meaningless change, spend two hours trying other things, and only then do they call for help.

      Most of my work was about data format and validation, so in the end I just made sure to have ways to quickly find out what changed, and set that running while the user explains what they think the issue is. So often it was dumb shit like "opened file in Excel, excel changed the dates formats when saving" - the user "didn't change anything", but it still broke!

      ...and yes, sometimes, the user just lies.

      During Lockdown, I once spent half an hour trying to remotely diagnose why someone's monitor was "too green" before giving up, telling them it was probably the cable needing to be replaced. I later found out they'd dropped it down the stairs and were hoping the company would give them a bigger one when replacing it.

      The company would have given her a bigger monitor on request.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        Scottish addresses for flats are an absolute bugger for this.

        1. G.Y.

          ? Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          what is the issue with Scottish addresses?

          1. Aladdin Sane

            Re: ? Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            Instead of having "flat 12, 10 nowhere street", it'll be "12/10" in the building name field.

            1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

              Re: ? Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

              I believe that's Royal Mail standard for addressing - street_number/apartment street_name. But a great amount of data is Flat Something, Number StreetName.

              Now the "problem" in Scotland is that at 101 Thistle Street, there may be flats G/1, G/2, 1/1, 1/2, 2/1, 2/2 identifying floor and then flat number. But they also may be numbered say 1 to 8 at the same time.

              I think either Orkney or Shetland or both, not that they're particularly similar, has a lot of cases of "Number Streetname" and also "Flat, Number Streetname" - I assume that each of these is one property converted or extended into two somehow. I don't know why.

      2. Fading

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        Excel does change the data formats - if you open a CSV and have somthing like SAAB in one column and 9-3 in another (to represent the Make and Range of a Swedish built car) - save it as a csv and next time you open it you will have a SAAB 09-Mar (without doing anything else). I use this behaviour to convert data into dates if stored in a non-date format.

        1. Woodnag

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Weird. Just tried that with your example and got SAAB 3-Sep.

          1. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            So that's two errors: not recognising 9-3 is a Swedish car, and not recognising that Swedish dates are dd-MM.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          "I use this behaviour to convert data into dates if stored in a non-date format."

          Excel is just trying to be helpful by guessing what the contents are rather than defaulting to "text". What I hate is when doing an import that guesses will be made and I'll have to do it all over again since it changes the data as it formats.

      3. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        "opened file in Excel, excel changed the dates formats when saving"

        I see this all too often

        Users wont just give us the raw data csv that they exported from whatever to warehouse , they feel they have to load it in excel and fuck with it , and if they dont break it at that point Excel will do it for them.

        1. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Didn't they have to rename a DNA base because Excel messed with the old one, and ALL biologists do data analysis in Excel?

          (Except my son, who uses 'R' like a sensible person).

          1. Richard 111

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            I think the issue was with gene names and other meta data rather than the DNA sequences themselves. And it is considered a big issue. A more recent article is pay walled:

            https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34389840/

          2. Henry 8

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7494048/ describes the standards to follow when naming human genes. I quote from the section on replacing problematic nomenclature : "symbols that affect data handling and retrieval, e.g. all symbols that auto-converted to dates in Microsoft Excel have been changed (SEPT1 is now SEPTIN1; MARCH1 is now MARCHF1 etc);"

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

              ElReg covered this.

              https://www.theregister.com/2020/08/06/excel_gene_names/

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          I've had Local Government Authorities tell me that excel spreadsheets created from raw data ARE the raw data

          Of course in that case, the raw data showed that they were illegally manipulating the input to report absurdly low traffic speeds in order to be paid for keeping road speeds down

      4. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        I've been the guilty party once. Spent a long time on the phone to my ISP trying to trouble-shoot a router/modem where the default admin details wouldn't work, even after doing a full reset. It took me an embarrassingly long time to remember that I had once tried flashing the bios to the non-ISP version - it did actually fix whatever the problem was back then - which had different default admin details. I fessed-up and apologised for wasting their time, and the nice chap in the Indian call-centre said that he'd send me the latest router-modem thingie anyway, and hopefully I wouldn't need to fiddle with that one. Not my finest 45 minutes.

        1. Roopee Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Kudos for fessing up to wasting their time! I did that recently too - rang my ISP about a domain-related problem before remembering that my domains are hosted with a different supplier. In my defence I had been on the phone to them about a (rare) broadband outage just the day before and I sort-of assumed it was related.

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          "and the nice chap in the Indian call-centre said that he'd send me the latest router-modem thingie anyway, and hopefully I wouldn't need to fiddle with that one. "

          I've had those promises many times and the hardware never showed up.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        "I've had some users spend so much time "trying to fix" a problem under heavy deadlines that they genuinely forgot having made changes."

        Back in another millennium, I was a PFY working at a place that was lacking a BOFH, so I was largely on my own. I got burned by that enough times that I implemented (paper, ugh) forms for tracking server changes. Saved my bacon once or twice.

      6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        "I later found out they'd dropped it down the stairs and were hoping the company would give them a bigger one when replacing it."

        Replace with a smaller one.

        1. Excused Boots Bronze badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          "Replace with a smaller one.”

          With a much lower resolution, possibly second hand and badly stained!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      It does tend to be majority men who tit about with stuff and break it, wire ut up wrong etc but the number of women who rock up with "it just stopped working " and their laptop is dripping wet with wine, water, coffee, soda, whatever...

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        I was at a conference the other day and watched literally this. Everyone was packing up to leave, a woman knocked coffee over her laptop which immediately died. She ran off to get paper towels and dried it off, then when the IT guy came over she told him without a hint of shame that it just stopped working while she was using it. With 6 or 7 witnesses standing around her who saw exactly what happened.

        IT guy turned the laptop upside down and a cupful of coffee poured out. He told her it was buggered and good luck, then walked off.

        Good lad.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Presumably this was a random guy at conference who "knew IT" rather than her own company providing I.T support man to follow her to the conference to then blow off his contracted duties with a grumpy "good luck"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            Pray tell, what were his contracted duties in the face of user stupidity causing terminal damage to a laptop at a conference?

            Because I'd have said similar after telling the user to phone home and request a new machine.

          2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            "Presumably this was a random guy at conference who "knew IT" rather than her own company providing I.T support man to follow her to the conference to then blow off his contracted duties with a grumpy "good luck""

            Not random but not really full-on IT either. It was the in-house conference AV/tech/network guy.

          3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            Or, it was someone from her company, who knew her, also knew she was clearly a salesperson (i.e. habitual liar), had seen her spill the coffee in it, and, quite rightfully, when faced with the evidence (a laptop full of coffee), told her that she was lying, and refused to take responsibility for her lie, when she claimed it "just stopped working"?

            1. Paul Kinsler

              Re: refused to take responsibility

              There are two separate issues here, which perhaps should be treated as separate:

              (a) company equipment was carelessly damaged by an employee (perhaps indicating some disciplinary action might be applied)

              And, notwithstanding (a), it might also be the case that:

              (b) the employee still needed to get some work completed in a timely manner (in which case the IT support needs to assist, not just laugh).

              1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                Re: refused to take responsibility

                (b) the employee still needed to get some work completed in a timely manner (in which case the IT support needs to assist, not just laugh).

                When packing up to leave a conference at the end of the day? Depending on circumstances, the employee either went straight home after the conference or went to an afterparty. The chances of an employee doing any work at the end of a day after a conference is somewhere between zero and absolute zero.

                1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
                  Joke

                  Re: refused to take responsibility [Ones' Complement]

                  Or, if their computer uses ones' complement arithmetic, "The chances of an employee doing any work at the end of a day after a conference is somewhere between positive zero and negative zero."

                  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: refused to take responsibility [Ones' Complement]

                    AT a guess a tech at the conference would have plenty of packing up work to do after it finished.

                  2. MachDiamond Silver badge

                    Re: refused to take responsibility [Ones' Complement]

                    ""The chances of an employee doing any work at the end of a day after a conference is somewhere between positive zero and negative zero.""

                    I'd use a thermometer and likely get a reading around -270C.

              2. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: refused to take responsibility

                That might be true, but the person responsible for getting presentations working at a conference is not the same person, or if it is not at the same time, as the person who fixes a computer that's had coffee poured into it. Quite likely, that was going to need to be replaced. If not, it was going to need a painstaking disassembly. Either way, work on that computer was not going to happen quickly.

              3. theDeathOfRats

                Re: refused to take responsibility

                And then you tell me: "Fuck! I dropped my cup of coffee on the laptop!", and my answer goes: "OK. Don't panic. I'll get you another machine, I'll even lend you my own, if needed. Is there any data that has to be recovered?"

                Just don't lie to me. Because I may save your ass this time for the company's sake, yes. But don't take that as a given.

                Own it (even if only to me), and I'll search for an excuse to save your face, if possible, and you don't do it again. Try to blame others? Then you better be VEEERRRY good at it. Cos one of us is gonna find it. And we morloks may not have much power, but our memories are long. Same as our logs.

            2. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

              "and refused to take responsibility for her lie, when she claimed it "just stopped working"?"

              One of my first jobs was working on musical instrument stuff. There's no lying about a beer being spilled into a guitar amp. The smell is a dead give away. A mixed drink can be even worse since fizzy drink or juice mixers are often acidic and that's it for the circuit boards at that point. Coffee? easy to identify. I was at a conference once when a company president dumped a coffee into his laptop while we were outside on break. We pulled the battery and drive and gave it a swim in distilled water right away until it seemed like we rinsed out all of the coffee. The drive was wiped off and put in another laptop where it worked fine and I found out later we saved the moistened laptop. This guy took the blame immediately and asked for help solving the problem. Problem solved.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                At one point I got yelled at by the tech department manager for dunking a coffee soaked keyboard into a bucket of water

                It took a while to dry out but the thing survived as good as new. It was on a reuters terminal and _very_ expensive to replace but his attitude was simply to throw it out

        2. mirachu

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Was it a Macbook of some description, with a soldered SSD? :)

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            No it was a Lenovo thin 'n crispy, so probably also with a soldered SSD.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

              To be fair, I've only really seen soldered SSDs in consumer grade Lenovos. Some of the mid and bottom end business grade might have soldered on RAM, with one or zero SODIMM sockets, mainly bottom end ones. And it's quite rare to replace a Lenovo SSD these days. A system board replacement is more likely which invariably leads to having to carefully peel up the thermal pad to move it to the new board when swapping the original SSD over, although in recent models, that's a lot easier now, the newer thermal pads don't tear into bits if you look at them sideways :-)

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                "To be fair, I've only really seen soldered SSDs in consumer grade Lenovos. "

                Apple is doing this now and they aren't off-the-shelf SSD's. I've had enough issue where the fastest fix was to remove a drive and transplant it in a new box to go with any hardware like that.

                1. Snapper

                  Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                  Apple has been doing it since 2016. They used non-standard NVMe's from 2012 to 2016.

                  1. This post has been deleted by its author

                  2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                    Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                    Soldered != non-standard NVMe.

                    Besides these days Apple's moved beyond NVMe. It's all integrated onto the SOC die. Gives incredible speed and bandwidth, but replacing it is a monumental task. A MacBook is basically a tablet with a keyboard now; it'll last for the duration of the warranty and hopefully a lot longer, but when it breaks you throw it away.

                    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                      "Besides these days Apple's moved beyond NVMe. It's all integrated onto the SOC die."

                      Which means you need to have a very robust back up regime in place since you have to worry about more than the drive flipping on its back and twitching its legs.

                      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

                        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                        Safest is to treat it in the same way you'd treat a phone; fine for interfacing with your data, but absolutely not suited for storage. Assume that if it dies, it's gone forever. Keep your important data elsewhere, well protected and well backed up, and use the iDevice as an conduit.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Just last year I was at a vendor's site, was trying to hook up an external monitor to my laptop, and knocked over my coffee. It went all over the desk, not the keyboard, but enough made it up into the vents that the laptop promply died.

          I called IT, told them that I had accidentally caffeinated my laptop, and what was the process for replacement. Fill out a web form, apparently... which can only be filled out while on the company network with a company laptop. Hmm. Talked to my manager, who said he could order one but lead time was in months.

          Thankfully the laptop dried out, booted just fine, and is still running today.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            "Fill out a web form, apparently... which can only be filled out while on the company network with a company laptop."

            Top quality BOFH work.

        4. Roopee Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Some people are shameless liars. Certain senior politicians spring to mind. Unfortunately it's hard for we relatively honest people to accept, and even more unfortunately it's a selected-for trait - i.e. we are evolving that way as a species...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            The answer to that is simple, if we can get enough people to do it. Don't vote for habitual liars, even if they claim to stand for what you do (besides, they are probably lying). And if you find yourself employing a habitual liar, fire them. "They often lie, so I can't trust what they tell me" is legitimate cause for termination.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

              You seem to have described most of the senior management of the Post Office.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

                Western (american) business models encourage and promote these people

                It's a side effect of "maximising shareholder value" forcing companies to act in manners which if they were human we'd describe as sociopathic

                For some completely inexplicable reason, sociopaths do well in such an environment... Go figure

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

            "Some people are shameless liars."

            I'd say about 25-30% of the population

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          Been there, done that. Although in this case it was a desktop that had spontaneously stopped working. The coffee that poured out of it when I moved it was spectacular.

        6. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

          These are the same users who tell you that there's a conference which needs to be setup - 20 minutes after it started, rather than a week beforehand as required

    4. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      Bane of my existence when I did Helldesk...

    5. cozappz

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      I know, stupid parents, stupid employers.

    6. Evil Auditor Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      Why does it take brass balls to admit that you might have made a mistake ?

      “On reflection, it was a mistake not to stay in France longer — and I apologise.” Are you telling me that Rishi's got brass balls?!

      1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

        Brass for brains certainly. For balls? I just keep in the back of my head that he’s a gazillionaire so doesn’t really give a shit either way; anything and everything he does is purely for show with zero real world consequences as far as he personally is concerned.

    7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      "I touched this for that reason and now I think I screwed something else up. Could you help ?".

      Most likely, in this case, because it's a managed service and anything directly caused by a user will chargeable and the users will have been told that from the outset :-)

    8. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, sure. Nothing changed. Pinky promise.

      9 times out of 10 the user will say nothing's changed

      My usual response is "It was working before. Something must have changed and if you can think of what that might have been it will save money/time by reducing my hours diagnosing & fixing it"

      Giving them an economic incentive helps a lot

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was asked to do a favour by a friend to have a look at his landlord's PC - the CDROM drive had stopped working. It had been worked on by a technician in a shop a few weeks before. As soon as I opened up the case I could see the drive wasn't plugged in. Quickest fix (and easiest £50, which she insisted I took, even though I refused payment for something so simple).

    Then there was a several hundred mile round trip in a crappy old company pool car just to find the user had 'rewired his phone socket so he could hear if the modem was working' and then wondered why he couldn't get connected back to the main office (yes, modem - this was a looooong time ago).

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    "I didn't touch a thing"

    This is listed in my manual as:

    Standard issue user response number 3a

    usually followed by:

    Standard issue user response number 3b

    "I only ..." or its variant "just some ..."

    or some other variant flatly contradicting 3a.

    Tiresome, but certainly not as annoying as Standard issue user response number 1a

    a.k.a. "You lot must have changed something" or "It's all your fault"

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      Don't forget

      "Don't you know how important I am?" as a get-out-of-jail-free.

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Don't forget

        "Don't you know how important I am?"

        No, do you?

      2. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget

        I worry that they be learning, asking

        > "Don't you know how important I am?"

        instead of "Do you know who I am?", so we can't give a practised reply[1] of " No, but if you've forgotten again there is a reminder in your wallet".

        [1] best used[2] only in those situations where you know they'll respond with "What is your name? I'll have you fired!" - keep a few random cards from other people on you; or simply walk away, they only have a short memory span.

        [2] do not take potentially career-changing advice from a random posting on a website!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget

          "Do you know who I am?"

          I've had that one a couple times over the years. My response is always the same, whether I know who they are or not. I look 'em up & down with a quizzical expression, and say with complete sincerity "No. I'm sorry, I haven't the foggiest." ... it instantly deflates even the most inflated ego.

          1. ShortLegs

            Re: Don't forget

            ."Do you know who I am?"

            .I've had that one a couple times over the years. My response is always the same, whether I know who they are or not. I look 'em up & down with a quizzical expression, and say with complete sincerity

            ."No. I'm sorry, I haven't the foggiest." ... it instantly deflates even the most inflated ego."

            Nah, much better is to reply "no. Do you know who I am?" and then they reply "no" retort "Good!" and disappear off, Best exemplified with:

            Those of you who are ex Forces will understand this

            IN a farway land, many many many years ago (Nienberg, 1987), a mate and I were at anotther unit, and he committed the cardinal sin of taking a shortcut across the parade square. Actually committed two sins, the second 'being caught'....

            "YOU! Stand still" screamed out from the RSM.

            Without hesitation, Frank N turned about and in an officers accent replied "Do you knaw who I ahm?"

            "No", replied the RSM cagily (because anyone asking that of God could just be very very senior)

            "Good!" hollered Frank N and pegged it

            1. James O'Shea

              Re: Don't forget

              No doubt Frank made very sure to never cross paths with the RSM again. RSMs have very long memories, and there would be... retribution.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Don't forget

            say with complete sincerity "No. I'm sorry, I haven't the foggiest."

            Shout out "Does anyone know who this is - they seem to have lost their memory?"

          3. JPeasmould

            Re: Don't forget

            When I was 17 and just getting ready to go to University, I got a job in a sports shop for the summer.

            One day a titled gentleman came in to pay for a bicycle repair and presented me with a cheque. I (as trained) asked for a cheque guarantee card. The "gentleman" turned bright read and shouted "Don't you know who I am", at which I carefully inspected the cheque and replied "I hope you are Sir D**** H*** as that's the name on the cheque you are attempting to give me".

            I turned round to look at my boss but he'd fallen through the door to the store, shoulders heaving with silent laughter.

            I'd not seen anyone turn that deep purple colour, but he eventually gave me the card.

            God knows what colour he'd have gone if he'd caught me climbing out of his daughter's bedroom window at 2am the previous Sunday morning.

        2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: Don't forget

          "What is your name? I'll have you fired!"

          To paraphrase Malcolm Reynolds , "Offering to fire me don't work so well as an incentive as you might imagine"

        3. Excused Boots Bronze badge

          Re: Don't forget

          "What is your name? I'll have you fired!”

          The one and only time that this ever happened to me I did answer with “no you won’t because you are nowhere near as important as you think you are, and if push comes to shove, I promise you that my skills are vastly more valuable to the company than your's are”. Which possibly wasn’t true (probably was though) but, at the time, I wasn’t in a good mood and was in a full-blown ‘fuck-it’ situation.

          Guess what actually happened? Although he and I made sure to give each other a wide berth in future.

      3. ShortLegs

        Re: Don't forget

        To which the Australian reply would be "yepno"

        And I am very surprised that phrase didnt feature n the story. Along with numerous other shortened words and 'robust' responses

        Absolutely love dmy time out there

      4. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: Don't forget

        The correct answer to this, is "yes", before turning around and walking away.

    2. Flightmode

      Re: "I didn't touch a thing"

      We had a colleague who would open all her helpdesk support requests with "Ever since you guys installed Windows 97 on my PC, my life has been hard."

      Let me tell you lady, your life was hard before we gave you Office 97 - we just gave you something new to blame.

    3. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: "I didn't touch a thing"

      I once had the PR department decide that their office was getting 'tired' and decided to desks and chairs and couches and shelves to different places in the office to 'test' the layout. After each different change, they would send email stating their phones no longer worked... Of course, you unplugged the voip phones and put them on a non-voip VLAN. The network guy was going crazy trying to switch the VLANs at each iteration. I was in the middle of a switch refresh across the whole network that day\week, fun day.

      My coat, as I'm no longer with that org.

      1. Excused Boots Bronze badge

        Re: "I didn't touch a thing"

        Yes, well, the problem is that the ‘network guy’ should have simply taken his (assume his) time in doing it. Nobody needs to ‘go crazy’; the PR staff’s phones aren’t working - tough! Make them suffer for a while, otherwise they never learn!

        And yes, you’ll get the ‘make it all work now or I’ll have your job...’ This is the knee jerk reaction to them realising that they have fucked-up and looking for a scapegoat, understand this and simply play the same game.

        Dig out an ancient, but technically, still in force Company Policy document which specifies that changes need to go through ‘xyz' procedure. Keep this in reserve, deploy it if things get really bad, point out to the C-Suite that you were only following company policy as per their orders, and provide said written policies as evidence.

        I do sometimes wonder if some people genuinely believe that because they are paid more than you, it proves that they must be more intelligent than you are. A philosophy that really does't work when IT is involved!

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "I didn't touch a thing"

        "Of course, you unplugged the voip phones and put them on a non-voip VLAN"

        802.1x and automagic lan assignment FTW

        Although if it's PR or HR I'd be mac-locking the ports anyway

  4. SVD_NL Silver badge
    Flame

    Crows

    We refer to this kind of end-user as "crows", often it's almost company culture.

    Why crows? They see shiny, they want shiny. To the point where we noticed whenever someone at those companies gets a new device, their colleagues suddenly get inexplicable issues with their slightly-less-shiny devices, or they even "accidentally" damage theirs.

    This really boils my blood, and if at all possible we try to replace those devices with even older or worse versions. Unfortunately they generally get their way, and the shiny cycle continues..

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Crows

      I lIke the organisational crows because they want shiny, they get shiny and I get their cast offs which are still shiny enough....

      /mine is the one painted to look like a magpie...

      1. Mast1

        Re: Crows

        Yes, let the crows squabble over the shiny.

        I too see the cast-offs as usually "shiny enough": it means that no-one wants to come and nick them off you.

        Then you can get on with your real work unimpeded.

        1. Shalghar Bronze badge

          Re: Crows

          It is advisable for some working environments to have a selection of "not shiny" and/ or "looking used" tools.

          There are some very special people who always sneer at a scratched multimeter, a very old looking selection of pliers and screwdrivers and similar things. Those are, however, the exact same people working at places where new and shiny tools seem to evaporate, the moment you turn your eyes away.

          To put in a big name surely noone expected, we had a brand new ratchet case vanishing at an airbus facility within a less than 10 minute timewindow. At least after that, one of us was spared the "project status meeting" to stand guard with the remaining tools.

          1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

            Re: Crows

            This is what the 'for rectal use only' stickers are for.

      2. storner
        Angel

        Re: Crows

        Oh yes - the "cast-off" is often better than the new and shiny stuff.

        Only this week my company dumped a large number of excellent Logitech keyboards in the bin labelled "take one if you like it". These were nice keyboards, backlit keys, not a lot of use. In other words much better than the keyboard I was provided with recently, which has a new shiny "knob" in the top left corner. A knob which I constantly hit due to my being left-handed with the mouse, so spontaneously windows got rearranged, new email windows popped up etc. And the battery life is crap.

        The cast-off keyboard is now my primary keyboard. At least until the Internal IT police comes banging on the door and confiscates it.

        1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Crows

          I'm on reasonably good terms with our IT guy.

          So, when "shiny enough" equipment is being replaced, I usually get an email that starts, "We're getting rid of...would you like it?"

          Several monitors, an HP 24 port Gigabit POE switch, a couple of laptops...the list goes on. All enjoying their retirement at my place, where they are serving quite useful roles. There's nothing I enjoy better than postponing their trip to the e-waste people.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: Crows

            I used to do same when I was that guy who emails you.

            Now stacks of very elderly hardware lying around having the last bit of life wrung out of it. I'm struggling to think how to get rid of it , recycle centre i guess (sans hdd) but every time I go there with absolutely any waste they have a problem with it , or the vehicle I'm in.

            I imagine in this case they'd freak out about "commercial IT waste"

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: Crows

              There are some good organizations that attempt to reuse usable hardware and recycle obsolete electronics. Since they're already reusing plenty of computers, they don't have problems dealing with more ones, even if they end up having to recycle a lot of them. The only tricky part is finding them, as they usually end up being small groups of motivated people and differ from city to city. I've lived somewhere with a good one and am sad that the city I moved to doesn't seem to have such a thing, but I'd try to find if such a group exists where you live.

      3. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Crows

        Your Magpies steal shiny things.

        Our Magpies stab you in the back of the head with their very sharp beaks. But they sound tremendous on a sunny late autumn morning, so we'll keep them anyway.

        Waddle Giggle Gargle!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Crows

          ITYM Quardle Ardle Wardle Ooodle Doodle

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crows

      We ran the numbers and the claims of damage, faults etc for iPhones and iPads always spike around Apple keynote time of year.

      We usually keep a stock of empty boxes so we can repack returned devices and hand those out.

      Some of the regulars are in for a nasty shock this year because we've changed policy on replacing damaged devices and there's no instant replacement, instead they have to get it repaired and their cost centre pays instead of the IT budget.

      1. Jay 2

        Re: Crows

        Absolute genius move! Love it!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Crows

          Agreed. ANd your handle seems particularly appropriate when dealing with crows.

    3. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Crows

      At a previous employer we had a manager who always insisted on having a laptop that was slightly better than his subordinates, even though they were in technical positions that needed the extra processing power.

      He persisted in this when we were under threat of factory closure, despite it being made very clear that if he was made redundant he would not be allowed to retain his new laptop*, but if he stuck with the perfectly good, and fairly powerful, existing one he probably would.

      So we supplied him with the new shiny, shiny and, when the inevitable redundancies came through, requested it's return, having made sure his old one had been officially "redeployed" (to a pallet in a Birmingham warehouse but he didn't know that) so he couldn't try and get that one back. He held out on the return until almost the last possible day when he was informed by HR that he would be reported to the Police for theft - that did the trick, even though we knew full well they wouldn't, and probably couldn't, take any action.

      So his scheming meant he ended up with nothing instead of accepting a usable laptop for free.

      *We set a limit on the net book value, below which any equipment could be retained on redundancy - strangely it was just slightly higher than the anticipated value of the IT team's equipment!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crows

        we had a boffin in a lab I worked at just like this. Always got himself the latest shiny despite the fact he wasn't in the lab much and just did basic stuff. His staff, who did all the real work and needed decent kit just had shite. Eventually I managed to change the policy of the lab and we just leased all our kit and everyone got the same devices (unless you add a good business case for something different). The leasing of kit also got over the expectation that if they left the business they could take *their* laptop\computer with them. Always wondered why staff think the business kit somehow belongs to them!

        1. Fading

          Re: Crows

          I have ended up keeping kit from work but normally it has been due to me keeping the work kit so long and in good condition that I have missed a couple of "upgrade cycles" and they don't want it back.

        2. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: Crows

          The only kit I've carried away from work came after redundancies:

          * an old kvm and cables, which had been chucked out of the server room years before it even reached me

          And from the job just before that

          * a mousemat with the company logo on it

          As for walking off with a laptop: I supplied my own laptop, 'cos it was old enough to still have a serial port to plug into embedded kit (and happily watched everyone else walk back to their desk to find yet another driver for yet another random brand of USB serial cable - oh, and you remember when FTDI bricked anything it thought was a fake? Quick, to PC World - what driver does this *one* need?)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Crows

            What do you mean, "do you remember"? We had trouble with one of those cables this week!

            Thankfully we have an old, non-bricked driver; just tell the machine to uninstall the "current" driver, then install the old one.

            1. that one in the corner Silver badge

              Re: Crows

              > Thankfully we have an old, non-bricked driver; just tell the machine to uninstall the "current" driver, then install the old one

              Nope, you've got the FTDI driver version just *after* the bricking one!

              The later driver refuses to work with the adapter, the one I'm referring to actually wrote to registers in the adapter's chip which plain stopped said chip working: the USB id was set to 0 and it wasn't recognised as a serial device by Device Manager, so even when you rolled back the driver it still didn't work.

              Until you found a (non-virus-loaded) copy of a utility that would rewrite the USB id *and* rolled back the driver so it wouldn't just happen again. Which was fine and dandy after the news got around (ta, Register) but before then it was time to run in circles, panicking and bricking adapter after adapter...

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Crows

        "He held out on the return until almost the last possible day when he was informed by HR that he would be reported to the Police for theft"

        The last company I worked for had a policy that a final check would be withheld until access control devices (keys, passcards), company tech and credit cards were returned. I'm not sure they could legally do that, but those things being reported as theft would be worse. We also had to sign an affidavit that we didn't posses any company data (hard copy or computer files). I retained a backup of all of my email and work logs (always keep a daily journal).

    4. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Crows: It starts at the top

      This is about status and hierarchy. And tends to come from the top. When an organisation supplies kit according to where the staff member sits on the informal ladder this becomes a matter of deep significance. It applies to individuals and entire departments too. Department A will have new shiny devices and comfortable ergonomic seats while department B will have to make do with older kit.

      When working for a local authority education support team, we were clearly not seen as being as important as the seat shiners in the Town Hall- or indeed some other frontline teams more fashionable or favoured. So we'd be given the cast off furniture that wasn't good enough for the directors, and the computer network that had been swapped out from a more gilded service.

      In those organisations you know where you are by the kit you are given.

      1. Wally Dug
        WTF?

        Cascading Crows

        In a place that I worked in many years previously, if a new sales rep started (i.e. new, not replacing somebody else) - let's call him "A" - then a new laptop was bought. Of course, this laptop had to go to the Sales Manager. And his current laptop was reinstalled from scratch and given to "B", one of the Assistant Sales Managers... whose laptop was reinstalled from scratch and given to "C"... whose laptop was reinstalled from scratch and given to "D"... and, yes, eventually "A" got a laptop, but after perhaps five or six iterations of the "higher up and therefore better" reps getting better laptops.

        This was in the days of Windows 95 when an installation usually consisted of IIRC 27 or 29 floppy disks for Windows alone, followed by Office, and everything else that was required. And then, obviously, each laptop was kept for a week or so before being wiped to ensure that all data had been transferred successfully. So one new sales rep could generate work lasting a good wee while. And most of the reps lived so far away that handovers were conducted via Red Star parcels, which introduced further delays and the possibility of broken screens, no matter how well the laptop had been wrapped. (We always bought the optional insurance!)

        Then came the advent of CD-ROM drives (hurrah!) and then pre-installed Windows (yay!) which drastically reduced the timescales. This cycle was only broken when a new sales application was bought which necessitated everyone getting a shiny new Gateway 2000 laptop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cascading Crows

          Red star? Me old mates and me used ta put the packs with no insurance on bottom to pad the insured stuff. Right down the end, we'd be walking on them so yeah, yer screens were getting broke. On purpose. That'll learn ya to not pay us our pub money!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Crows: It starts at the top

        yep. And in the said lab above they even had named parking spaces for senior management, this was 2016 not 1976! The director of the lab lived about 10 mins walk from the building so didn't use it much but even if he or one of the other halfwits were away and not using the spaces you couldn't park in them! Parking was tight and if you arrived latter in the day you had no hope so would have to park outside on a meter. So if earning over £100k wasn't enough for you you had your own parking space, whilst those on the lowest wages landed up on a meter.

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: Crows: It starts at the top

          A complete contrast to a place I worked at yonks ago. Parking space was at a real premium: once the bays down the side of the building were filled, the routine was that folk would start parking two abreast along the dead end access road, completely filling the space. If anyone wanted to go out at lunchtime it wasn't unheard of for a half dozen cars or more to move. Noone really minded 'cos we were all in the same boat. And I mean all. A client observed the parking and asked if the guvnor had allocated space. Guvnor duly replied that of course he didn't and that if he'd not arrived early enough to bag an easy space, that was his lookout.

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: Crows: It starts at the top

            At McLaren we were double and triple parked in the normal car parks, unless you came in massively early to get an actual space and didn't leave until late, you'd be called away a couple of times in the afternoon to move cars. There was also an executive car park which wasn't so oversubscribed, but required a special access pass. They started a ballot where each week two mere mortals would be allowed to park in an uncontested space. It wasn't much consolation to get that week once in 3 years, but it did mean you could drive around the lakeside road in front of the building that the F1 drivers in their supercars.

            1. adam 40 Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Crows: It starts at the top

              I went to T-Mobile labs in Bellevue.

              THe building was grey, and completely anonymous, no company logos, because it contained bleeding edge not yet released mobile handsets, and squillions of dollars of test kit.

              HOWEVER, they overlooked one thing, near the main entrance was a reserved parking space. And on that space, they had painted "T-Mobile Employee of the Month"

          2. Potty Professor
            Unhappy

            Re: Crows: It starts at the top

            Place I once worked at in a suburb of Birmingham (UK) was on a busy dual carriageway. Parking was only allowed on the south bound side of the road in the morning and the north bound side in the afternoon to allow for tidal traffic flow. This meant that I would arrive at work and drive past the office building and around the north end of the central reservation in order to park on the opposite side to the building. I would then go out at lunchtime and drive around the south end to the same side as the building, before finally going around the north end of the central reservation again in order to go home. Each day in the office would mean having to drive an extra three quarters of a mile in order to park. Luckily, I was not in the office full time, most days were spent at site doing actual work.

        2. andy the pessimist

          Re: Crows: It starts at the top

          Parking was tight and if you arrived latter in the day you had no hope so would have to park outside on a meter.

          At a large Bluetooth company we had a similar problem. The boss of one department (generally always in early) wanted to make a point. He parked his car in the grassy area of the roundabout in front of the hq.

          The hr director was loudly unhappy. The manager went to the cto and said so when is the disciplinary.

          Nothing further was said and he kept his job!

        3. Old Used Programmer

          Re: Crows: It starts at the top

          Many years ago, I found out what the policy at the University of California at Berkeley had for policy to get a personal parking spot on campus. It was "win a Nobel prize".

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Crows: It starts at the top

            Many years ago, I found out what the policy at the University of California at Berkeley had for policy to get a personal parking spot on campus. It was "win a Nobel prize".

            That is at least a very clear and clearly merit based system.

            1. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: Crows: It starts at the top

              "That is at least a very clear and clearly merit based system."

              I'm sure they've done away with that now. California, am I right?

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Crows: It starts at the top

            The key to parking on campus at Berkeley (and Stanford) was the proper car ... Mine was an early '60s Innocenti Spyder. Tucked in almost anywhere (sometimes with a little judicious fly-by-night brush pruning), went under most boom barriers, and apparently the UC cops thought it was a toy and never bothered me.

            Still kicking myself for selling that car ...

      3. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Crows: It starts at the top

        First day on a new job a a system software analyst, I was greeted by my officemate thus: "Welcome to Hell. Where's your computer?"

        Me: "Uhhh .. I didn't know I was supposed to bring one."

        I spent the rest of the day scavenging through the tech area scrap heap, piecing together a 486/33 and a 486/50 with 4MB and 8MB, respectively.

        My boss eventually ordered me a proper computer.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Crows: It starts at the top

          I've had three jobs where I've turned up and I've asked: ok, where's my computer; and the response has been blank faces along the lines of "eh? what computer?"

      4. Dafyd Colquhoun

        Re: Crows: It starts at the top

        Funny how it is the manager that get a carpark in the building that get the <1kg laptop with QHD or 4K panels, but the plebs that have to trek in on the bus or train are get the "value edition" laptops with 1366x768 screens that weigh close to 2kg.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Crows: It starts at the top

          Working as a peripatetic specialist teacher we needed to drive between schools. For which we got a "casual" mileage allowance that had to be claimed on a complicated form, with spaces for mileage readings between each (listed) school stop, and a calculation of the difference, which then had to be totalled, signed and submitted in triplicate. Even though the routes and mileages didn't vary from one week to the next.

          The higher up officers who seldom ventured out of the Town Hall except for an expensive coffee on expenses and never normally needed to drive anywhere were given an automatic "Essential" driver allowance that did not need any kind of accountability or claim- other than if they had done a rare long journey ( like to a nice hotel for a "team building event") and wanted a few more quid they could claim it as extra.

    5. Mage Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Crows

      Unfair to corvids, except maybe some juveniles.

    6. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. David Newall

    Blonde moments

    Users can be really stupid, and I don't mean willfully. They can genuinely not see our understand the obvious.

    I took a support call once, I don't remember what the issue was but the lady could not seem to navigate through the menus. Even 0 enter 0 enter 0 enter failed to get her to the main menu. The screen stayed the same. In desperation, I asked her to press the secret, magic debug key combination. She said it was still the same. But, when asked if the screen now displayed "Debug: H)ex edit, F)iles" and so on, she allowed that it did. In fact, that was the only thing displayed, and she had never used the magic debug key before, so, in her mind, "same as before" meant "wonder-filled and different".

    I can't remember if I hung up on her or kept helping. I'd like to say it was the latter but I've got such little patience for fools that I probably did hang up on her. At least I didn't swear.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Blonde moments

      I think the stupidest I ever had, which the user herself admitted was a blonde moment, was the call, "How do I turn my computer off?" This was back in the days of physical hardware power switches and the "You may now turn off your computer" message.

      Having suggested she press the same button as she'd used to turn it on she replied, "I know that - but I've forgotten since this morning!" Given that she had an HP tower with a big white button in the top corner* I'm really not sure how she couldn't see it but I told her where it was and she was grateful for the help.

      *Unlike an Apricot PC compatible where the power switch was a grey rectangle on the back, amongst the various plugs and sockets, that looked just like a cover over something - even I had to RTFM for that one.

      1. disgruntled yank

        Re: Blonde moments

        I have not had fair hair since early childhood, but I did once have to ask somebody on the help desk where the power button was on a new PC.

        1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

          Re: Blonde moments

          Had that myself with a PC where they had very nicely made the slim power button blend in as an underline for the case logo.

          1. Wally Dug
            FAIL

            Re: Blonde moments

            Or trying to install a wireless mouse for the first time and cursing the manufacturer for not supplying the USB dongle for it.

            And then you RTFM...

            1. VonDutch

              Re: Blonde moments

              Is that the logitech one where the receiver is slotted into a piece of cardboard that forms the end flap of the box?

              I've cursed about that one on a couple of occasions.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: Blonde moments

                It could be the kind where you should remove the plastic cover with no release button or slot and the receiver is in there. I prefer that storage method, but if you don't know that they did it, it can be confusing because yanking off a panel is usually not the right policy when you can't find something.

          2. H in The Hague
            Pint

            Re: Blonde moments

            "Had that myself with a PC where they had very nicely made the slim power button blend in as an underline for the case logo."

            And me when I got a new PC years ago, turned you just press the front of the case to operate the power button. But they forgot to put any sticker or engraving to that effect on it. Suppose it looks tidier that way.

            Here's one for the weekend -->

            1. gnasher729 Silver badge

              Re: Blonde moments

              I once needed a computer and was shown a desk with two computers and two monitors, all turned off. Someone had swapped the monitor cables, so left monitor connected to right computer and right monitor connected to left computer.

              And the monitors showed a black screen until the monitor and the correct computer were turned on. Took me too long to figure it out.

          3. John 110
            Coat

            Re: Blonde moments

            I once got called to a Microbiology lab PC that wouldn't turn on, to find the user vainly stabbing at the big silver DELL "button" instead of the tiny recessed power button that Dell helpfully supplied.

            (a few years earlier, the same user didn't realise that the monitor power switch was different from the computer power switch, although in her favour, she was really computer-phobic and had managed to avoid using them for ages.)

        2. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Blonde moments

          That's hardly a surprising item. Those lovely black boxes with a small, black button under a thin black strip of plastic.. FFS! I hope there's a Hell. And that it has a special place for those designers.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Blonde moments

            And that it has a special place for those designers.

            It does, with a very nicely hidden exit sign/button/switch, which leads to an even worse place with a even better hidden exit. And repeating at least 666 times.

          2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: Blonde moments

            They'll have to wait for the keyboard designers who think that putting a power or sleep/hibernate key on a keyboard is a good idea to make room. I'm not letting those eejits out of their own personal hot seat.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Blonde moments

        "Given that she had an HP tower with a big white button in the top corner* I'm really not sure how she couldn't see it"

        I once spent a couple minutes looking for the power switch on an IBM dot matrix printer. Yes, it was Big. Yes it was Red. Yes it was on the top of the printer and impossible to miss.

        But having spent most of my printer repair days dealing with Epson, Panasonic, Oki, Star and other similar printers where the power switch was almost always a small black rocker switch on the back or side under the case overhang, my brain just wasn't programmed into the "Big Red Switch" pattern recognition mode that day :-)

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Blonde moments

          And Big Red Switches are usually things that bring the server room to an eerie silence so you're also programmed to avoid pressing those even when you see them.

    2. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: Blonde moments

      In the olden days of SuSE Linux 6 (1997ish), i tried to help via telephone, spelling out console commands to no avail.

      When i got to the place, the poor human on site had entered what i said to the letter.... Sadly including "Leerzeichen" instead of pressing the longest button on the keyboard and much more sadly also entering "Enter" as a word.

      This is an interesting way to not get a response from a computer. Simply avoid the enter key...

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Blonde moments

        I remember once at school , teacher was dictating to class for us to write down (thats how long ago) and occasionally she'd rewind and repeat stuff for the hard of hearing .

        Some pupils were frantically trying to keep up as they wrote down these repeated lines for a second time.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Blonde moments

          "Some pupils were frantically trying to keep up as they wrote down these repeated lines for a second time."

          I learned to not take notes early at the junior college where I dispensed with my undergrad carp. Most of the lecture courses were recorded and available the next day in the media center (bring your own cassette). The ones that weren't I would find out on the first quiz if the teacher was just working straight out of the text book or adding to it in the lectures. Usually they just followed the textbook so I could pay attention in class after already having read the chapter(s) and have a list of any questions for things I was clear on. Scrambling to take notes mostly means missing things unless you learn the teacher first.

  6. Filippo Silver badge

    I make bespoke MES software for industrial plants. I try to protect users from themselves as much as possible, but, ultimately, there are times when the software has to ask for something and has no way to validate the user's response before Doing Things. The Things it Does won't blow anything up, but a wrong answer can and will cause expensive wastes of time and materials.

    Obviously, users sometimes screw up. Some of them try to claim that they clicked the right button, but the software "went mad". There are logs, but logs are a technical thing, hard to understand.

    Which is why I just dump a screenshot whenever certain critical buttons are clicked.

    I can't see red faces through the phone, but, oh, the embarrassed silences...

    1. theDeathOfRats
      Joke

      I think I now see where the idea for that Micros~1 Recall came from. It was the HellDesk Morloks!

  7. gnasher729 Silver badge

    I changed nothing. I took my private laptop on holiday, returned back home, plugged in, didn’t work.

    Turned out my monitor officially needed a Thunderbolt cable, but a plain USB-C cable could sometimes depending on the positioning of the stars also just barely work. Before holidays my cable that should never have worked _reliably_ just worked, after holidays it didn’t.

    1. FeepingCreature

      I had a 4K monitor stop working with my laptop, and I think the solution I finally came across after at least one "ship in and get repaired" maintenance cycle on the laptop, was to completely power cycle the *monitor.* After which it resumed working just fine.

      I suspect I'd just kept it on for too long and some internal counter had overflowed. Stands to reason those things have state too, these days...

  8. johnB

    Ask the right question helps

    I volunteer at the local library assisting mobile phone / tablet / laptop users with their many & varied issues.

    During lockdown, I was asked to do a telephone session with an elderly lady who was having problems with her laptop.

    The session went badly - nothing I suggested worked, the screens seemed all to pot, etc, etc. Eventually in desperation I asked her for the model name & number so I could look it up online. She was unable to do that as it was a hand-me-down machine from "the daughter". So I said when next the daughter sees her would she ask the daughter for the details & I'll see what I can do on the next scheduled call in a weeks time.

    Next week arrived & I asked if she had the details of her laptop. Oh yes, daughter says its an iPad laptop...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ask the right question helps

      "Next week arrived & I asked if she had the details of her laptop. Oh yes, daughter says its an iPad laptop..."

      So, possibly it was actually an iPad with a keyboard flip case. Or just some other tablet in a keyboard flip case but like certain other brand names, eg Hoover, simply gets called an "iPad" by many users. Likewise, I've heard users refer to their mobile phone as an "iPhone" when it's clearly not an Apple device of any sort. Even at work, I've seen tickets reading "Need iPhone replaced" with follow-up notes from the hell desk stating "Do we supply iPhones?" and "Checked asset register, user was supplied a Samsung Galaxy, please confirm with user that this is a company phone he want;s replaced and not a personal one" :-D

      Funniest "blond" moment was the user who called the hell desk from home to report his company laptop had been stolen. It was passed to infosec who called him, confirmed the "theft" with him and initiated a remote wipe, 20 mins later a relieved employee phones up to say he's found the laptop in the car where he'd left it and "everything is fine now....oh, it's just rebooted and says it's wiping the system". We don't do remote rebuilds and would he like to come in on Monday as we don't work weekends and it's 5pm now :-)

  9. 0laf Silver badge
    Terminator

    IT Crowd

    I suspect everyone who has ever worked tech support has a multitude of stories like this.

    I too am old and can remember -

    Businesses 'losing internet connections' because someone had switched the phone plug to the fax machine and not switched it back.

    The secretary that had kicked the socket under her desk breaking the modem cable.

    Broken printers that were out of paper

    Servers unresponsive with a kettle plugged into the power socket

    Desktops that "had just stopped working" but were filled with sugary tea/coffee/coke (full sugar fizzy drinks being the destroyers of all things electrical).

    PCs on workshop floors filled with soot/dust/metal shavings

    (definitely not) Dropped computers with crashed disk heads

    Crital work on floppy discs erased by phones or magnets in clothing

    any many more joyous repair jobs

    1. Shalghar Bronze badge

      Re: IT Crowd

      " work on floppy discs erased by phones or magnets in clothing"

      Or much better, disk drive at work with a misaligned head (track 0 sensor was slightly out of position). Saving to and loading from the disk works at work but not at home nor on my computer. After much consideration and similar incidents with each and every disk that worked on that specific computer, i was allowed to delve into the innards. Replacing the drive would be expensive and a proper replacement would take too long to arrive. After much headscratching and the decision to clean the poor drive before guessing any further i coincidentally touched the sensor with the pincer/cotton combination i was using to clean and relubricate the head spindle.

      Whoopsy, that shouldnt move at all.

      After this discovery, i used my disks to manually find a somewhat correct position for track zero.

      When it comes to old tech, how about a video missing from the cassette all of a sudden ?

      Long story short, the VHS accustomed user did not know that Video2000 cassettes are double sided....

      1. NITS

        Re: IT Crowd

        CP/M systems, 8 inch floppies written at a particular field site would not read at the office. The (full-height) drives had AC motors. In the field we had 10KVA inverters (double-bay cabinet, batteries big enough to run a forklift). The inverters had a free-running oscillator that ran close enough to 60 Hz for most purposes, but the disk spindle rotation speed was sufficiently off that the data couldn't be recovered in a system powered by the mains. Our solution at the office was to power the B drive off the mains,and power the A drive off an audio oscillator, which drove a 100-watt PA amplifier via a step-up transformer. Adjusted the gain to get 120V, tweaked the oscillator frequency until the floppy would read. Then PIP B:=A:*.* for the win.

        Later systems had half-height drives with DC motors and their own timebase, so the issue went away.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: IT Crowd

          Wow. What idiot thought that was a good idea?

          Mains frequency is very stable in the long term, but not quite so much in the short term. Especially when the ad break happens and everyone puts on t'kettle for a quick brew...

          Brilliant workaround on your part, of course!

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: IT Crowd

            They try to make sure that there are the correct number of cycles over a 24 hour period. Ironically if you have a mains driven clock, this means that during the working day when demand is usually slightly grater than supply, the frequency drops and time runs slower. During the evening and night demand is less than supply, the frequency is slightly higher and you get less of your own time!

            1. G.Y.

              measure g Re: IT Crowd

              Princeton physics lab had an experiment to measure g using a pendulum's period. It was wrong enough that the prof looked it up.

              It turned out the clock used was a line-frequency clock, using a small local power company. When 5PM got near, the crew wanted to go home, so they sped up their line-frequency clock (and all others) a bit, got home a few minutes early

      2. GrizzlyCoder

        Re: IT Crowd

        Aaaaargh... the Philips V2000 ... device of the devil with he heads mounted on piezo-electric cells so they had "dynamic tracking" -- the only good thing (YMMV) I remember from those was being sent on a course about them down to Philips HO in Croyden in the days when this was a big deal....

        1. Test Man

          Re: IT Crowd

          Philips HQ in Croydon? That massive building in West Croydon going towards Mayday Hospital? Long gone IIRC - Philips I mean, the building is still there but it's now a massive block of flats.

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: IT Crowd

      Broken printers that were out of paper

      I was called to a fax machine once that had a really cryptic error on its LCD screen.

      Neither I nor the users could even remotely guess what it was even related to let alone about.

      Turns out it was out of paper.

      Im split between the facepalm , pissed off , grammar nazi and fail icons to represent my feelings on that situation

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: IT Crowd

        "I was called to a fax machine once that had a really cryptic error on its LCD screen."

        Yesterday I swiped my debit card at the corner shop and got a message to "present card" so I presented it to the cashier. The translation was to "insert the card" and use the chip rather than the mag stripe. Does nobody verify the translations from one language to the next? (to the next, to the next).

        1. elbisivni

          Re: IT Crowd

          I agree with you on the 'present card' thing. For some reason it always makes me think of gift cards.

          The other parts of your message - magnetic stripe? Chip? I'd all but forgotten those existed! I do have an old carbon copy paper copy credit card swipe machine that I use as a doorstop though. It's not very good at that but it scares the cat and that, too, is useful.

    3. BartyFartsLast Bronze badge

      Re: IT Crowd

      Sodding PC Load Letter.

      Triggered by word documents being sent from the US office to a UK office and the idiot manager calling in a fault on their HP printer to field service.

      Repeatedly.

      Every few days.

      Despite it having been explained to him *every* time.

      Still, it usually got me out of the office and a day trip to Anglesey until we issued an invoice for our wasted time

      1. Fading
        Pint

        Re: IT Crowd

        That brings back some long suppressed memories. Need a few more pints to kill those brain cells off for good........

    4. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: IT Crowd

      The secretary that had kicked the socket under her desk breaking the modem cable.

      Not their fault. Why the hell do installers put cables where people's feet and legs are going to go?

      Similar to an office I attempted to work in once, where *all* the under-desk space was used as storage. Excuse me. Where the ***K do I put my knees?

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: IT Crowd

        "Why the hell do installers put cables where people's feet and legs are going to go?"

        They have only so many microseconds to complete the install or get a down check from their supervisor counting beans on another continent.

        Everything in my home office (extensive) is neatly tidied away under the worktops along with a couple of NAS's and Mac Mini's that aren't to see unless you get down on your knees and look under in the back. The Mac Cheesegraters and the PC's are easy to spot since they are large and bolting them under the work tops doesn't buy me any space savings.

      2. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: IT Crowd

        "Not their fault. Why the hell do installers put cables where people's feet and legs are going to go?"

        Usually these offices predatated IT by a number of decades, often they were converted victorian houses so most cabing was surface mounted where it was easiest to run a cable.

        Nit really a blame thing just shit that used to happen 25yr ago.

  10. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    Ghastly loops

    Edward's corvid client§ only attached both ends of a single HDMI cable to two monitors, it's the truly gifted who manage a similar trick with two ports of a dumb switch* with a single patch lead. (* basically an ethernet bridge)

    "My internet stopped working." - (So has everyone else's. ;)

    Super glue or epoxy is a real temptation here. ;)

    Enterprise switches can handle (limit) the traffic from these sabotaged switches but weren't always configured to do so or some possibly lacked the capability.

    To be fair users are often blind sided by things that they cannot be expected to know or understand.

    Notebook docking stations with network interfaces accessed from the notebook via USB or thunderbolt normally have an ethernet (Mac) address from the docking station. A user borrowing another dock or temporarily using another desk is then confused by their notebook having a different IP address or on a different network. DELL docks attached to DELL notebooks apparently configure the dock with the notebook's unique "mac" address (unlike many of their owners ultrathins aren't thick enough for a RJ45 socket and therefore lack ethernet hardware.)

    The wifi mac address could also be assigned as this is/was allowed by the early RFCs. Originally Sun machines would assign the mac address stored in the nvram chip to each of its interfaces. Try telling that to a 20-something networking "expert." ;) "More things in heaven and earth, Horatio...."

    § crows and ravens are normally a lot brighter than the average PC user.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Ghastly loops

      I once discovered a home broadband router that someone had brought in and plugged in the Cat5 socket of their office to use as an adapter to plug more laptops in . It was really busy handing out IP addresses to all the nearby machines ensuring they wouldnt work on the wider network.

  11. ColinPa

    Hoping for a new laptop

    Our company had a policy of renewing laptops every couple of years on a rotating basis. Someone was impatient because junior people were getting upgrades before him, and "dropped" his laptop down the stairs, expecting a new one. The IT support team knew this ploy, so they gave him an even older laptop as a replacement, and promised him a new one in due course.

    I do enjoy schadenfreude.

    I sent a document to the printer, and wandered over to the printer to find a recent grad looking at it. It said "Paper Jam". I asked the grad if they were going to fix it, and he said "No, I haven't got time". I asked "so what are you going to do about it?" "Find another printer" was the reply. I calmly said "let me show you how to solve the problem". Open the door of the printer - ah it says paper jam here. Pull this lever to release it. Problem solved.

    The document he was trying to print was not work related... I made a comment about this, and he looked guilty.

    We had a chat about work and life etc, and I said this printer problem was a good metaphor for life. If you run away from the first problem, and not try to solve it, you will not get very far in the company. If you think "Wow a problem, let me see if I can fix it" you will develop a good attitude and learn skills.

    1. Excused Boots Bronze badge

      Re: Hoping for a new laptop

      In the name of <insert name of favoured deity here>, who the hell downvoted this post? And more importantly, why?*

      This is an excellent example of good mentoring, passing on knowledge accumulated via experience, and knowing ‘actually how the real world works’, rather than what you may have been taught in business school or whatever!

      * oh no, hang on maybe the downvoter, was the complete twat who thought that deliberately damaging company property, and hence costing the company money, would benefit them in some way?

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Hoping for a new laptop

        Downvoted for the pious and setentious explanation of something that anyone who is going to learn a lesson has already learnt, perhaps. Or just because sometimes people hit the voting buttons while scrolling on a phone.

    2. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      Re: Hoping for a new laptop

      If you could fix the problem yourself why didnt you in the first place ?

      1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

        Re: Hoping for a new laptop

        thank you downvoters, what a bunch of arseholes...THey could make something better or by themselves but they make it worse just to prove they are aresholes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hoping for a new laptop

          Thanks for that whiny self-reply which gives me the opportunity to downvote you a *second* time. ;-)

          1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

            Re: Hoping for a new laptop

            Why exactly does my comment deserve a downvote ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              If you run into "arseholes" all day...

              I explained elsewhere what was wrong with your original comment attacking the OP, most likely explaining why nine people- myself included- had downvoted it.

              And it's generally true that those who then whine about getting downvoted tend to get downvoted for *that* too. Particularly if you go around calling them "arseholes"!

              The fact you got eight downvotes for your comment and no upvotes- i.e. a universally negative response- suggests that they weren't doing so because they were being arseholes, but because *you* were.

              (Also, this time round I wasn't the one who downvoted the parent comment I'm replying to right here, so go figure!)

              1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

                Re: If you run into "arseholes" all day...

                AC: I explained elsewhere what was wrong with your original comment attacking the OP, most likely explaining why nine people- myself included- had downvoted it.

                cow:

                Why did you write 7 LINES of text instead of just telling me WHY i am wrong ?

                SEVEN lines of name callin and ZERO lines of actually answering the WHY.

                Thats the behaviour of an areshole, plenty of time to call names and ZERO time to "help".

                AC: suggests that they weren't doing so because they were being arseholes, but because *you* were.

                cow: what did i do thaat makes me an areshole ?

                Just saying im an areshole because im aresehole is circular and not an answer, but hey i guess you tried your best because you cant actually write something positive.

                ~

                My original question asked was if the original poster could fix the problem themselves why didnt they do it themselves ?

                What is wrong w/ that ?

                How many years jail should i get for that ? Maybe you want to call the Saudi religious police or something as well...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hoping for a new laptop

        Sounds like that's what he did in the first place, or at least 99% the "hard" part of diagnosing and pointing out the problem, leaving only the most trivially easy part for the grad to do. (And that was most likely as a token gesture for the sake of making a point and helping the lesson stick).

        But yeah, you do you, slagging them off anyway.

        1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

          Re: Hoping for a new laptop

          You need to read the original post where our friend fixed the problem and still went out of their way to make a big deal out of it and contact "others".

  12. I Am Spartacus
    Mushroom

    Its a PICNIC

    I had one case with an application that worked everywhere, except on traders desk. London, Singapore, Switzerland, all perfectly fine. And New York too apart from one persons PC. So I get to fly business class to NY to see whats wrong. Plug in my machine and its fine. His machine, and its true the app fails and falls all over the floor with a BSOD.

    So I do a trawl over whats different and find LimeWire, DonkeyKong and an early betting application install. All, I might add, totally against company policy. I delete these, and HEY, the App works. I leave a note on his desk saying I have rfemoved the apps. I email him and his local head of IT saying these apps were removed, the business app he really needs to do his job now works, and reminding him of the companies IT policy.

    I get as far as JFK to fly home when I get a call. Its broken again. Yes, you guessed, he had installed his apps again,

    I gave up and went home. Couple of months later he got fired, but not for this.

    Karma can be a real bitch, but sometimes it plays your hand for you.

  13. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge

    Computer won't switch on

    Tech: Can you check the power cable.

    User: Yeah, but it's a bit difficult to see right now - we have a power-cut.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Computer won't switch on

      "Turn the power off, count 10, then turn it on again"

      User puts phone down and there is a long pause then shouting in the distance...

      User had turned the power off to the whole building!

      Luckily it was a one-room school house and everything was find afterwards (including the box that needed resetting in the first place)

  14. spacecadet66 Bronze badge

    I believe it was the late Joe Armstrong (F and RIP), father of Erlang and the BEAM, who said his stock response to "I didn't change anything" was "Then it must work the same as it did before."

  15. Marty McFly Silver badge
    Pint

    The monitor "upgrade" and the good 'ol days!

    Late 1990's before we had a lot of centralized controls and hardly any asset tracking...

    The body wouldn't even be cold before we were raiding the vacated office and calling dibs on the kit. There were even advanced stealth recon missions to determine what was in the case under the desk before the departing had learned their fate.

    RAM & video card swaps were beginner stuff. The real pros knew what chip was on the motherboard and if the motherboard in their desktop could handle the upgrade. Exchanging a Pentium 150 for Pentium 233 MMX was a favorite.

    If anything was declared 'surplus' it was fair game to be re-purposed. Long forgotten is Windows 98 was the first OS to support multiple monitors, using additional low-end PCI cards. No fancy 3D graphics cards, just basic 2D 16-bit color. No one had seen that before and they were often amazed when the mouse appears to magically move between what looked like different computers. All made out of recycled hardware that had been destined for the scrap heap.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: The monitor "upgrade" and the good 'ol days!

      "The body wouldn't even be cold before we were raiding the vacated office and calling dibs on the kit."

      Watch the movie "Head Office" for variations on that theme. "The furniture movers are the first to know (of a sacking), people see them coming and shit".

  16. Helcat

    Similar to a support call I had >cough< years ago when I was working for a manufacturing company: Computer Terminal was faulty: The screen was distorted. Went down and saw the terminal had been moved. Asked the user why they'd moved it, they denied it: Insisted it was in the same place as before.

    So I pointed to the high power cable just behind the terminal and asked them when that had been moved, instead, as we don't put sensitive computer equipment next to high EM emitting cables like that.

    Oh, and we put the network port by where the computer is intended to go, not stretch the patch cable around the pillar so it's barely connected.

    Yup: They'd decided to move the terminal because... reasons. Which translated to: They wanted a new terminal and needed to find a way to make it look like the old one wasn't working any more. Hence they put it next to the high power cable.

    They got a new terminal. Not a brand new one, mind: One we'd swapped out for a newer model. One that was older than the one it was replacing. As the user was told: If they're going to break company kit like that then we can't risk giving them the new (more expensive) stuff: They'll just have to live with the cheaper old kit instead.

  17. S C
    Pint

    Did you hear the one about the user who complained that the SFTP connection that was configured for them wasn't working, giving the error "access denied - you don't have permission to access $Recycle.Bin"...

    Happy beer o'clock, folks.

  18. AbortRetryFail

    Didn't change a thing

    I've told this one before, but we had an internal Defect Report from another team within the company about our code, which went something like this:

    "It just stopped working. There's obviously a bug in your code."

    "Did you change anything?"

    "No, absolutely nothing. It just stopped working. Your code is at fault"

    (clickerty)

    "Ok, well I am looking at the logs and I can see that you have swapped out the <piece of discrete rack hardware> for another, that has a different serial number, different firmware version, different configuration, and I'm seeing error messages saying that you haven't connected it up properly to the other equipment."

    "Oh, yes, we did do that"

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Didn't change a thing

      ""No, absolutely nothing. It just stopped working. Your code is at fault""

      I went through that a lot at an aerospace job. Of all the times my avionics were blamed for something, I can't recall more than 2x it wasn't something else over 3 years. "The rocket motor melted down, it was the electronics!" When torn down, it turns out it was assembled poorly and a sliver of an O-ring clogged a cooling channel. I suppose letting an intern build the motor unsupervised wasn't a good idea. The next time it's debris in the igniter fuel feed. etc etc. Maybe it's that many people don't understand electronics or code and they gain a demonic reputation. We often fear what we don't understand.

  19. Horsie

    It worked yesterday, it doesn't today, and I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!!!!

    My best occurrence of "It worked yesterday, it doesn't today, and I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING!!!!" was maaaany years ago, doing a spot of troubleshooting over the phone for a customer.

    Said individual was a customer of the ISP where I worked. This was in the age of dial-up modems, and probably Windows 98 or something like that.

    The "day before", the customers dialup was working, today it wasn't...

    After a few minutes, the "and I didn't do anything..." was in fact:

    -I went out and bought another computer.

    -I opened the old one and pulled out the hard drive(s).

    -I opened the new computer and put the old hard drive in it.

    -And now... for some very mysterious reason, it doesn't work.

    Honestly, I didn't do anything!!!

    Nice.

  20. Handlebars

    who did the bad install

    I'm trying to understand how someone who cares about the difference between one monitor and another is also unable to grasp the need to connect both ends of a cable.

    All I can think of is they wanted to waste some time, or maybe feel important because someone else had to do the fix.

  21. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    This story is actually possible.

    Its well known that most usb ports are only rated for 5v with no protection and yet its possible to BUY usb devices that send back thoushads of volts to fry your computer.

  22. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Always consult ...

    ... this flow chart first.

  23. jeffdyer

    Worst thing that happened me was a user's network cable came out the back of their PC and they thought they were helpful by plugging it back in - trouble was they plugged it into the back of the hub/switch if came from causing a loopback that took the entire network down.

    Took hours and hours to find out what was wrong - missed my daughter's 10th Birthday party

    1. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

      The real q is why did you even goto work in the first place ?

      Priorities...

      Work has to respect you and your family and your daughters birthday only comes once a year.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like