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This is a question Oldies vs Computers

As someone who is "good with computers" I get a lot of calls from people who've got problems. Some of them even have problems with their computers.

Back many years ago working for a telecoms company, I was called to a senior secretary who "had put a disk into the drive and couldn't get it out". She had one of the first Mac II machines with two drive slots. But only one drive.

Opening up the case revealed stacks of floppy disks that she'd been posting through the hole in the case for weeks. She'd only decided there was a problem when her boss wanted one of them back...

(, Fri 22 Sep 2006, 13:58)
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This question is now closed.

Wireless power?
Working in the support team for an educational IT supplier, I was working the late shift with a n00b I was training. A client phones at 5 minutes to leaving time, saying that they'd had a power cut but that only one of their servers had stayed up, although they had a UPS.

Talk the n00b through my thinking that they haven't fitted a serial cable to the second server, so it hasn't had a shutdown command, so it just stayed up until the battery on the UPS went flat.

So, talking the client through the connections on the back of the UPS:

Me: You've got two kinds of cable - thin ones are data cables, thick ones are power cables.
client: Yep.
Me: OK, how many data cables have you got?
client: One, which goes to the server that stayed up. Oh, wait. There's only one power cable as well.....

Completely true. No apologies for length, it satisfies me.....

/Goes back to lurking.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 13:23, Reply)
Virus or not?
I worked for a guy who was not all that familiar with computers. One day he came into my office, telling me that he had a virus on his computer.

I went to his desk, ran an antivirus program, did some checks, but I could find nothing.

Me: I can't find anything. What's the problem?
He: Each night I shut down my computer, but when I arrive in the morning, somehow it has switched it on again.

Now, I should tell you that this guy worked very hard, and actually left the office as the last person each day, and arrived first in the morning. He actually has the key to he office and nobody can enter the building or his office without him being there. So, nobody could have switched on his computer.

Me: Could you please show me what you do every evening?
He: Clicks on 'start', 'shut down' (which, by the way is already one of the stupiest things about computers anyhow), and the shut-down dialog box appears.

Instead of 'shut down', the dialog box shows 'restart'...

I "repaired" his computer for him, and he couldn't stop thanking me and tell everybody how I saved the company from hackers (didn't get a raise though...)

Length? I know, but admit: it's a funny story!
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 13:12, Reply)
MEN vs M.E.N.
A friend of mine who really should know better (runs his own business developing software for national companies) once wanted to check the upcoming gigs at the Manchester Evening News Arena, so innocently typed 'www.men.com' into his web browser.

As he put it, "before the page had fully loaded I had a member of network admin asking me why I was trying to download gay porn"

* BANG *
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 12:53, Reply)
Just last night...
...while I’m busy lurking away in the background here, racking my brains trying to think of a decent story from my time in Tech Support (because some of the stories sound SO like Urban Legends), my ‘phone rings.

I scoop it up – “Yey-lo?”

“It’s not working!!” yells my (obviously quite irate) mother.

Deep breath,

“Pray tell, what’s not working, dear mater?”

Turns out she’s trying to ‘draw’ (read ‘write’) data to a CD-R. So I put my best helpdesk head on, and tried, several times, to talk her through it. During this time I was met with such wonderful phrases as:

Mum: “Where’s the ‘Start’ button?”
Me: “It’s the one you just pressed to open ‘My Computer’”
Mum: “Oh. You meant that one. I think I’ve just turned it off.”

Me: (slowly) “Now, put the CD in the CD drive.”
Mum: “Which one’s that?” (fair point as her PC has both a CD and DVD drive)
Me: “The one with CD something-or-other written on the front.”
Mum: “Well, I can’t see that.”
Me: “Wha…?”
Mum: “I haven’t got my glasses on.”
Me: *faints*

50 MINUTES this took. And all she wanted to do was write a data CD for her boyfriend to put pictures on his work PC. When she could’ve just given him her digital camera and a USB cable and have him copy them that way. But no. And why not?

He’s a fireman, and she didn’t want her digital camera going in to a burning building.

What scares me is that she’s a senior manager in the NHS and works with computers every day… No wonder that new system is so up the ‘chute…

Length? Sorry, I’ve been using it as a cupholder…
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 12:30, Reply)
Quite a short one
When I was 15, my grandad (god rest his soul) bought a Pentium P75. Chuffed to bits, I bought a few of the big games at the time: Quake, Duke Nukem, Magic Carpet. That sort of stuff. I was a happy guy and my grandad bought the internet, he didn't do it to please his grandson, he did it because he wants to learn.

I showed him Theme Park, which became a christmas present for me. I was a happy little chappy. However, it wouldn't install. Cue my gran - who was in the room at the time.

"Oh well, if it work straight away, it wouldn't be fun!"

She worked on the very first Radar system in WWII. How the bejesus did we win the war?
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 11:27, Reply)
I am an oldie
and a dumb shit. At the time I worked for a large very well known uni. I could never log in. Machine would tell me I had an invalid log on or I didn't exist or some crap like that. The weird thing was if someone else typed my name in, Machine accepted it. When I called the help desk, they couldn't figure out what was wrong. (I was convinced Machine knew it was me and just hated me.)

This went on for a YEAR. Finally , in frustration the IT guy came to my desk to see what I was doing....

No one ever told me the space bar counts as a letter. I would hit the space bar to arrive at the login box, so I was typing "(BIG SPACE)twat-man" instead of "twat-man". Oh, how they laughed.

Currently, I'm in week 5 of the term and still can't sign on to the uni's computer. Help.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 11:00, Reply)
Forward Emails
One of the engineers at the local council where my wife works was off on holiday, as he was close to retirement and had some projects to complete he set his office email up to forward to his home account.
Unfortunately he forget he had previously set his home email up to forward to work so he could read his personal emails there.
He takes into retirement the knowledge that you can get over 80,000 emails in a Microsoft Exchange account before it runs out of space.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 10:46, Reply)
me Mam finished Super Mario World on the snes
I used to watch her playing it...not for the fact that she was crap at it, ohhh no. It was because every time she tried to make Mario jump further, she'd lift the pad up and in the direction he was jumping, as if to make him jump further.

I'm laffing now, but when the Nintendo Wii is released, that would most probs work. Damn me mam's foresight.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 10:37, Reply)
Nice thought, crap execution.
When I was 11 I had a battered old C64. One day I came home to find my older sister had run into problems loading a game (quel suprise) and was now 'cleaning' the tape deck, tape heads et al...with bog roll. I never played Jet Set Willy again. :(
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 10:31, Reply)
Netsend windup with the oldies in the office
Had an old manager, who was a bit of a windup bastard, but a good laugh too. Good with numbers, not all that great with comps and got slightly scared easily.

Cue me getting the Z number of his comp and netsending;

"Pornographic material has been detected. A member of Security will be with you shortly."

He fecking shit himself. Another manager twigged on, found that I'd sent it and he proceeded to hit me with a sponge office toy.
After he done that, he got me to wind up the office idiot with him doing ghost-errands, eg;
"Hello this is Mark (the manager), please come over and see me for a report." He'd walk over and Mark would swear blind that he'd done nothing. This carried on until Mark got me to send him a message saying he'd been reported on watching donkeys masterbating on the office computers. Thick twunt.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 10:09, Reply)
Oldies think the worst
Our ISP had a problem in one area due to a local network upgrade which was taking a few days. I get a call from an oldie from that area saying that he's trying to setup a new comp on the internet and it doesn't work.
He'd binned the last PC as the internet wasn't working and bought a new one to "fix the internet". I asked him where the bin was, could do with a free PC. He wasn't amused. So I took his email address and subscribed him to www.postmanpat.co.uk , now who'se the paedophile?
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 9:35, Reply)
I work on the IT helpdesk for a company who deliver pizzas by skydiving with them
straight to peoples front doors.
One day I received a call from an irrate delivery man saying that he was hurtling towards the ground at great speed and felt sure he would die before he could deliver his 2 large pizzas, garlic bread and 1.5ltr bottle of Pepsi.
I asked him to talk me through what he had done so far. He explained that, as per instructions, he had leapt out of the plane, got out a cockateil and then blown it's head off with a hand gun.
"No!" I said "Not that sort of "parrot shoot!"
Then he pressed the wrong button on his computer and his legs fell off or something.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 9:32, Reply)
Heads Of IT - The grey versions
At my old college, the head of IT was a blustering old fool who'd seemingly shown some semblance of computer knowledge - by the looks of him, he probably worked on the Engima machine with Turing, but done very little else since - and somehow, despite clearly being a bit thick, got the job.

Now, as computing students, we had a predilection to try and see what we could get away with on the network - we'd already figured out internet access (yep, computer students weren't allow to use the internet, how progressive), and via newsgroups we were downloading music long before anyone had ever heard of iPods.

So, when my lecturer tells me, in the middle of a tutorial session, that's she's just had a phone call, saying that myself and 3 others had been trafficking hardcore pornography through the college network, and that we were up infront of the head of the college on Monday, we were a little scared, after all, we'd not done anything THAT bad, even though we had obviously broken college rules with the newsgroups thing.

Letters went home to the 'rents, and a few days and some severe bollockings later, we were pleading our case.

In the meeting, the head Of IT pops up:

Him: "I've got a list of times when the accounts were accessed, along with file names, and as you can see, they're clear evidence of what's gone on".

Us: "Hang on, at that time, we'd have been in a modular exam in Physics".

Him: "Well how else do you explain it then?"

Us: "Hackers?"

Him: "What?"

Us: "Hackers, you know, people who break into computer systems illegally?"

Him: "Never heard of that term before."

Yes, the Head of IT at one of the biggest tertiary colleges in the UK had never heard of hacking. He had very little network knowledge (which we, as first year A Level computing students had to explain to him), and apparently delegated all the work to his lackies whilst looking good in front of the boss.

It turns out that a lad who'd been kicked off our course (for hacking, funnily enough) had managed to break into the accounts setup, set up accounts in my and my friends names - just slightly different from our actual ones - and used the college's high-speed connection to download his favourite 'specialist' entertainment.

The Head Of College formally apologised to our parents (one lad's dad considered legal action) and the Head Of IT was never seen since.

What did we do after that? Well, carried on breaking the rules. What else do computer geeks in academic establishments do, after all?

Length? You betcha.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 9:27, Reply)
Old Guy Touretter? Lying cunt morelike.
I get a call from one of our agents here saying that there's a highly abusive old guy shouting at her etc because he cannot get his internet.

I get the caller passed over to me and am greeted with;

"Oih, Jeccy is it? Just to fuckin' tell ya now, I got tourettes. Now I'm fucking pissed off with the lack of internet at the mo you stupid cunt, you're all a bunch of useless fuckers..." He carries on like this for about 3 minutes, and I haven't said a word yet.
Once he finishes his rant, I say nice as pie "Are you done?"
"What the fuck's that meant to mean?"
"Well, as we all know Tourettes Syndrome is an involuntary outburst condition, causing the sufferer to say the most unsociable comments randomly, and moreso in nervous or high-stress situations. You've just sworn at me for 5 minutes straight. Do it one more time, I'll report you to the police you nasty abusive prick."

Christ he was great after that, he didn't swear one more time and I fixed his issue in 5 minutes.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 9:00, Reply)
Parents - Don't you love 'em
Quite a few years ago, I decided to build myself a new PC and so I gave my father my old one, complete with printer. I made sure to show him how to use MS Word and sort out the printer and I set up some shortcuts with useful names. All in all, I spent a good few hours with him, patiently answering his questions, providing basic notes, showing him this and that.

When I came back the following week, he had gone out and bought himself several hundred pounds worth of electric typewriter and was using the PC as a doorstop.

However, now, a few years down the line, he has finally got hooked up to the internet (read: I hooked him up to the internet) on his new computer.

Like a lot of people, I work. Father however has retired. He send emails to my home account in the morning at some ungodly hour saying “Have you got this email?” When I don’t respond within a ‘reasonable period’, he sends another one. Sometimes I get a phonecall too about mid morning from him, asking me if I have received his emails (all twelve of them) and why I haven’t responded to him yet. His emails literally say nothing but “Did you get this email?” There is nothing of any substance in them at all. Infuriating.

Recently, I have taken to hitting the Reply button and saying “No, sorry, didn’t get your email (below).”
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 8:36, Reply)
A combination of naivete, injury, and 'adult interest' pictures
Imagine it. It's 1998 You're 17, at college, your parent's have just set up an internet account. What's the first thing you're going to do at 3am on a evening when no-ones looking?

As the only one who actually knew how to properly use the first PC we owned in our house, I thought I could get away with this by hiding my 'collection' deep inside the system folder of Windows. I even went so far as to remove the 'my recent documents' option on the start menu, to cover my tracks.

Now, one day, I'm playing football at college and somehow manage to dislocate my shoulder after a dodgy header challenge. My mum comes to pick me up and take me to hospital - and all through the journey, the x-ray and then on the trip home, she's got a grin on her face.

I get back, walk into my room, and emblazoned all over my bedroom are printed copies of playboy bunnies, Jenna Jameson, a few page 3 models and my particular favourite, Jenny McCarthy naked, legs akimbo in the hottub. They even knew about the copies of Penthouse I'd 'hidden' in my room.

I can hear my mum and stepdad laughing their head off downstairs, and after a couple of hours of panic attacks, go down to face the music.

Turns out, my tracks hadn't been so cleared as I though - my stepdad's cousin had e-mailed some wedding photos to him from Ireland, and the picture viewers 'open' dialog box had popped up with my 'special' folder by default.

Best thing about it? I know for a fact my stepdad wouldn't have worked out the possibilities of the net had I not shown him the way, indirectly as it was.

Moral of the story? Parents know. Everything. Even if the technology bewilders them.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 8:34, Reply)
More of the elderly :)
One tried emailing a zip file with 1 GIG's worth of photos to his friend down the road. Didn't work funnily enough.

One other guy rung up our ISP for support on Freeserve (which is not us) with the immortal line "Cmon, it's all the fucking same." to which I replied *dead tone*.

Another one was passed over to myself because he was pissed out of his head, and had been ringing up the night team all night and abusing them. I was given the record to ponder upon, and on reading it the previous woman he'd spoken to had listed absolutely everything he said to her...which included the following;

"Customer abusive, swearing at me.
Customer not making much sense, slurring alot.
Customer says he loves me?
Customer now says he loves Shirley Bassey?"

Fucking hell. As it goes, I tried to ring him back and he was already abusing another one of our workers, who managed to sort him out. Most probs sent him a kebab.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 8:22, Reply)
My friend
My friend at uni was having some difficulty with his pc, calls me as I do a computing degree.

Pop over to have a look expecting hundreds of dialers/virii/malware/spyware etc.

Wasnt disappointed. He had no antivirus and no firewall or anything.

4 hours later, the scan was complete (he had quite a selection of data if you know what i mean). something in the region of 700 of the aforementioned parsites sitting on his machine. Thats was a fun evening clearing it down. Although he did supply the beer.

He was also having problems with system stability. I informed him that using the mains power switch is not the best way to end a windows session or restart the computer.

Machine is still going strong tho. But if anyone can tell me why when playing an mp3 track it starts fine and then starts to jutter only to continue at normal speed on every track, i would love to hear from you. I suspect the crappy onboard soundcard.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 8:18, Reply)
Text looks like dots
This didn't happen to me, but a friend. He's the tech nerd of the company, and he's called for every tech question there is. One day the boss's secretary has him come over for a question about Word. She opens up a doc and there's just a bunch of dots, no text. He's mystified, and says "I've never seen that before." She says, "not that". She selects the whole text and changes it to 10 point type. It's turns out the clever secretary was changing her documents to 1 point before saving to economize on disk space.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 6:45, Reply)
The Solar Eclipse in 1999
Was working for an charitable education agency in the west country as a Tech Support to 60 or so Professors/Doctors (all semi or fully retired in their late 40's/50's) who were given laptops to perform their work on.

Many funny stories but the one that always makes me laugh is the support convestation that went as follows:

Prof: My laptop isn't working.
Me: [Run through basic diagnosis procedures]
Prof: [not listening to me] It hasn't been deviled by the eclipse has it? It was working earlier but since the Moon went over the sun its not been working.

It was very hard to complete the call after a comment like that. In the end the problem was due to the battery being empty, he'd plugged it into a wall socket but hadn't turned that on.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 2:48, Reply)
It says it's the modem but it's not the modem
Ten years back I was doing phone support for an ISP. I had many calls from cluefully impaired seniors, such as:

Customer: Your software doesn't work.
Tech Support (me): What about the software doesn't work?
C: Well it says it's the modem, but it isn't the modem. I have AOL and Prodigy and it's not the modem.
T: What does it say about the modem?
C: [Ranting] I told you it's not the modem. I have AOL and Prodigy and the modem works. So I uninstalled your software and reinstalled your software, and still it said it was the modem, but I know it's not the modem. So I uninstalled your software and reinstalled your software, and still it said it was the modem, but I have AOL and Prodigy and the modem works. So I uninstalled your software and reinstalled your software, and still it said it was the modem, but I know it's not the modem.
T: What did it say about the modem?
C: [Screaming] I told you it's not the modem. I have AOL and Prodigy and I know it's a good modem.
T: Sir I am sure your modem works, and all we have to do is change a setting in our software to use your modem. But in order to do that I need to know what the software is saying about the modem.
C: Well, let me reinstall the software.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 1:27, Reply)
been working for a newpaper for about 5yrs..
had to fix an digicam card reader because the forceful & regular wrong insertion of cards had bent all the pins inside

mangled floppy disks being pulled out of zip drives

someone still doesnt know how to use a flatbed scanner after 4 years

'boss' (use that in the loosest term as he does fuck all) regularly drags stuff into other folders - 1 example being the weeks property section disappearing for about 3hrs until someone noticed the drag & the whole "A" section of ads going missing where he'd dragged, but then clicked cancel before anything else moved.

oh, and stretching some stupid unfunny 10x10px picture you got from a collegue to a 1280x1024 desktop looks shit, stop it.

christ, these people are annoying!

i'll stop before i get all worked up again :oP

edit; re. some comments about the QOTW - i have no problem with people who are crap with computers, but if u are - dont take a job that completely revolves around the fact you need to know how to use them well :)

(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 1:02, Reply)
people have no idea
used to do IT support for a large organisation meant to have the most intelligent people in the country working there. these are a small selection of the 'IT Problems' they would have.

* one particular office's cd roms were refusing to work at a rate of about 1 per week for about a month. went down early one day and noticed the entire office were using the open cd trays as cup holders for cantine coffee cups.

* 'my monitor isnt showing any picture' after making the users assure me the machines were powered on, i would visit and turn the machine on. funny a few times, after the millionth time, and having to walk 30 minutes across london carrying a backup machine - not so.

* someone was moaning about emails not getting through, had to explain that you couldnt jsut type peoples names in the 'To:' field, when they had nothing to do with the organisation and were 'friends from school' (decades previous) who they wondered were on email or not. . .

* loads more, falling asleep.
(, Tue 26 Sep 2006, 0:21, Reply)
Having just set my parents up with broadband.
I thought I would no longer have to put up with my mother maniacly shouting "I want Bulldog", every time there was the aforementioned ISP's advert on the TV.

I was wrong.

My mum still wants to know "why can't you have two broadbands in one phone" and "why do I get emails from a bank that I have never heard of, has someone stolen my identity?"

My Dad is slightly better, but does that dodgy two finger typing, and he sends me virals with images off here. From 3 weeks ago. From bandwagons.
(, Mon 25 Sep 2006, 23:37, Reply)
Blowing on the Keyboard
A year or so ago, I gave my dad my old PC for his birthday having purchased a new one myself.

He had absolutely no idea how to work it, so I spent about three hours showing him the basics of email and internet browsing.

I told him that occassionally the PC may freeze up, and that a CTRL/ALT/DELETE was the best way to restart.

As he questioned me about why it "froze" up, it was obvious that having been a mechanic he was trying to comprehend which of the pistons, cogs or other moving parts inside were causing the seize ups (??).

At this point, I remembered an old ZX Spectrum trick which was to blow on the keyboard when games were loading (this was genuinely included on the instructions of a Specky game). For a bit of a laugh, I told him that blowing on the keyboard during boot up seemed to reduce the number of freeze ups. He nodded sagely and informed that this probably cleared dust from the air intakes, allowing the PC's carburettor to function better.

A year later...I visit Dad again and he is dying to show me a "funny" email my Uncle sent me. Cue PC boot up and Dad blowing furiously on the keyboard for about a minute...

I did not have the heart to tell him it had been a joke, and to this day he continues to "clear the pipes" with hard blowing every time he turns it on.

I may confuse him further by getting him a cordless keyboard for Christmas.
(, Mon 25 Sep 2006, 23:01, Reply)
Cute one from today
My 4-year-old son had made a "computer game" today using some kid k'nex (like the grown-up k'nex but chunkier) and a torch. He showed me how it worked by flashing the torch and making p-yow noises, as is the wont of most 4-year old boys when faced with anything vaguely gun-shaped.

He asked me to have a go, and I dutifully p-yowed and flashed, only for him to look at me wearily, point at a separate pink piece of k'nex and say:

"Daddy, you've got to click on the mouse."
(, Mon 25 Sep 2006, 22:42, Reply)
idonthaveafunnynickname, I'm sorry
I'll do a true one then, just for you. I've only known how to use a PC for about 3 years and even then it's all basic stuff and not much else. My Dad however ran the R&D lab in one of the large companies in Team Valley and has been using computers in one form or other since about 1970, frankly he's a ruddy genius. Errm, there you go, hysterical eh.
(, Mon 25 Sep 2006, 22:35, Reply)
Father in law got a PC about 2 years back. As he's into collecting and using old / antique radios the first thing he did was a search for "Amateur radio" - he got quite few amateur sites of a rather different nature (and was not impressed)

Also my father was using the library PC and noticed someone had been using Booble - and snitched to the librarian !

(, Mon 25 Sep 2006, 22:31, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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