Funny tech support stories

Okay, I know it’s an easy pot-shot to take at people who don’t understand technology as some of us geeks do, and I know we even do it sometimes in an unreasonable way. You know like, “Pff, that person didn’t even know you could compile from a command line.” Uhh.. yeah, if you think about it, that isn’t a common knowledge thing to know. So basically we make fun of people for not knowing uncommon things to know. Yeah, we are geeky.

However, since you are reading this site it most likely means you will know how a basic computer works and will still find this shameless poke at the masses a little humorous.

Okay, so at work in the military there is a kid sitting over in my section who just walked in to use our “open” computer, which is just set up there for anyone to use the various military programs available. I notice but don’t acknowledge him fiddling over by the machine and becoming more and more distressed. Finally breaking away from my intense session of sitting there doing nothing, I walk over and ask him if he needs any help. He claims that his “disk” isn’t working. So I look at the floppy drives and don’t see anything in the 3 1/2 and the 5 1/4 doesn’t seem to have a disk in it from the angle I’m looking. “Oh you mean a CD?” I ask. “Yeah, the disk,” he replies as I eject the CD tray. But… the CD tray is empty. “No, no,” he points in the general direction of the front of the computer. This is the point that I wished I had a camera. I tip the case foreword and the CD neatly falls out of the 5 1/4 drive.

Now, here is where I try to justify that people with degrees in paper mache sculpture don’t necessarily need a shiny metal bar on their collar. I get an urgent call from the command center in a field exercise. This always happens from the command center, everything is very important there. Important to the people in it and the people watching the people in it anyway. The urgent call also seems to invariably carry the tone of, “It’s the computer guy’s fault,” also which is appealing as I take my general computer stuff and my rifle and my gas mask and my helmet and my flack jacket over to the command tent to take a look. The lieutenant sees me enter and of course I give the appropriate greeting as he motions accusingly at the offending laptop sitting on a table exclaiming, “My disk won’t go in!” Now another thing about these command post calls is that officers are generally too important to describe their problem to you, especially during a field exercise, which I guess I can understand. Delegate duty, lighten your management detail level and all. In this case though, he would have been better off talking to me on the phone about it because at this point his boisterous exclamation had the whole tent staring at me as I went to work on it. I set down my kit, and eject a floppy disk from his laptop, put it back in, eject it, “Seems to be working okay here sir,” and I turn to him and see him holding a floppy in his hand and a sort of green cringe on his face. I guessed that he was trying put a floppy disk in there without first taking the other one out. The other officers standing around the scene started to curl their lips a little as I made a hasty exit.

Some of the other things perplex me a little. I get a call from an officer who says, “I can’t connect to the internet.” Okay then, I head on over to his office and there is his computer. The monitor, unplugged keyboard, mouse, all the cables are coiled up and piled on top of the case. Ooooh.. there is the problem, it isn’t set up yet! I mean, I’m happy to set it up for him but why is the computer’s lack of internet connectivity the first sign of trouble and not the power cable dangling off the side of the desk?


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